Rainy Day Creations

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New cover for an old journal

This is what happens when I’m in a funk and need to distract my mind with something creative and cheery!

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The back

All you need are some old magazines, a glue stick, some scissors and something made of thick paper or cardboard to cover with your creation.

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Make a pot of your favorite tea, put on some great music and start creating…

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Dinner with the girls…

My family has scattered to the four corners of the earth. Well – more like the 2.5 corners of the earth. My brother got on a plane to Korea last week and most of my family moved to the middle of Washington on Sunday. It has been a tiring and emotional couple of weeks. I hate saying goodbye, however temporarily or short term. Thankfully two of my sisters are staying on this side of the state, and my best friend Ayla is sticking around for a little while.

One of our goals for the summer is to make dinner together once a week. It will be a challenge because we all have pretty different schedules – but we’ve already succeeded once! Last night we had the welcome addition of the youngest member of Hannah’s host family join us…

For dinner I made fresh gluten-free, corn-free pasta! Ayla actually did all of the hard work, she rolled it all out while I worked on the sauces. Gluten-free dough is much more delicate then regular dough but as long as you pay attention and work a little slower – there shouldn’t be any problems. The nice thing about it is even if it does fall apart you can just squish it back together and start over!

The recipe I used for this pasta is an adaptation of a recipe from the Gluten-Free Girl – Shauna Ahern.

Note: When working with gluten-free flours and adjusting recipes, it is important to use weight instead of volume to measure them. That is why I have the weight of each flour in this recipe. I also used only guar gum instead of a combination of guar and xanthan gum because xanthan gum is a byproduct of corn.

Homemade Gluten Free Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1.25oz amaranth flour
  • 1.25oz millet flour
  • 2.125oz potato starch
  • 2.5oz quinoa flour
  • 3 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. Whisk the eggs and egg yolk together in a small bowl.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, make a well in center and pour in the whisked eggs and egg yolks.
  3. Stir all ingredients together with a fork until mostly combined.
  4. Using your hands, knead remaining dry ingredients into the dough until it is completely incorporated. (You will know the dough is complete when it feels kind of like play-dough.)
  5. After making the dough – tear the dough into golf ball sized pieces, flatten with your hands and dust with a little millet or quinoa flour to limit the stickiness.
  6. Use either a pasta maker or a rolling pin to roll the dough into thin sheets. Roll each piece as thin as you can before it starts to tear.
  7. After rolling the dough out, use either a knife (or a pizza cutter) or the fettuccine setting on the pasta machine to cut each piece into ribbons of pasta.
  8. Toss the cut pasta with a little flour so that it won’t stick together when you are ready to cook it. Always cook pasta in a large pot with plenty of salted boiling water. You want the pasta to be able to roll around freely and not stick to itself. Salt the water until it tastes like sea water. That gives your pasta extra flavor! This pasta is done cooking very quickly so you want to check it after it’s been cooking for just a few minutes. You don’t want it to be over cooked because it will just turn to mush. When done, drain it and add a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking.

To top the pasta I made two different sauces. The red sauce was made with canned grape tomatoes, tomato paste, sauteed garlic and onions, white wine, spinach, diced zucchini and sea salt. Delish 🙂 I also made a seafood sauce that used two cans each of Trader Joes crab and shrimp (including the juices), lots of butter with sauteed garlic, onions, leeks and mushrooms, as well as white wine and sea salt. At the very end I added half a pint of heavy cream and kept it on the heat just long enough to get hot.

Even Hannah liked this sauce and she doesn’t like seafood! We also sauteed some asparagus in butter and salt and ate that on the side.

All in all it was a great evening, especially because we were able to Skype with the family and get a tour of the new house!

I wonder what we’re having for dinner next week?

Yogurt!


I made some yogurt last night – while destroying the rest of my kitchen… It’s been a while since I’ve made yogurt, I made a few batches when I was in Moscow but I think the last one was before Sara and I went to Mexico. Anyways… it was long over due.

milk
yogurt starter or plain yogurt
a big pot
mason jars

Making yogurt is easy with or without a yogurt-maker. Simply heat your milk (I used a gallon of whole milk) to just before the boiling point – bubbles should be rising and there should be a lot of steam. At this point turn the stove off and let the milk cool down to between 108-112 degrees(F)(the milk is the right temperature if you can hold your finger in it for a slow count of ten). Cooling the yogurt down takes a long time. Once the milk reaches the right temperature – add the starter to the milk (use a packet of yogurt starter or a large spoonful of plain yogurt for each liter of milk, mix the starter into a small amount of warm milk before adding it to the rest of the milk). Fill clean mason jars with yogurt, put them in a prewarmed oven and cover with a clean dish towel. I warm my oven up a little bit and then shut it off right before I put my jars of yogurt in. I have a pizza stone in my oven to help hold on to some of the heat. Let your yogurt sit in the oven for 6-8 hours depending on how firm you want it to be. About half way through – or whenever you remember to – boil a small pan of water and set it in the oven to help keep everything warm. Once the yogurt has set – cover it and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.
Enjoy your homemade yogurt with granola, in smoothies, with fruit, in sauces, on rice, on it’s own, etc.

Plum BBQ Sauce

I had a bunch of plums to use up and I didn’t really want to just make jam with them. My solution? BBQ Sauce! I made this recipe up as I went along and it needs a bit of tweaking – but here is the rough draft to start with.

In order to get the 12 cups of plum “juice” that I ended up using – I simply washed and de-stemmed the plums, piled them in a big pot with a couple of cups of water and then cooked and mashed them until I could strain the seeds, skins and the majority of the pulp out with a pasta strainer. I’m sure there is an easier, more sophisticated way to do this but it worked for me!

12 c. plum juice (very pulpy)
1 c. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. Apple Cider vinegar
3 c. white sugar
3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. plus 1/8 c. salt (even though it tasted fine when I pulled it off the stove, it got saltier as it sat so I would cut this amount back)
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp ground dry mustard
2 Tbsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp celery seed
3 fresh garlic cloves – finely chopped

Put everything in a big pot and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally to reduce. Reduce to about 2/3 amount – or desired consistency. Taste as it is reducing and adjust flavoring accordingly. Bottle and refrigerate until needed.

Enjoy with chicken or pork or anything else you can come up with!