As simple as that! – Homemade Pasta.

IMG_2347Once in a while I’ll set some time aside and surprise my family with Homemade Pasta. Today was Pasta Bolognese.

Contrary of what you may think, it’s the sauce and not the pasta that consumes a few hours of¬†the time… about 2 hours. The pasta itself takes less than 30 minutes…

And so, a rainy day like today is the perfect day to dedicate some time to THE BEST PASTA BOLOGNESE!!!

You got 30 minutes to spare? Let’s make some pasta!

Pasta Ingredients – Two eggs per one cup of flour… 1 cup of flour will make 2 servings of pasta. I made pasta for 4 people… therefore, I used 2 cups of flour and 4 eggs. Got it? ūüėČ

Make a well in the center of your pile of flour and crack in your eggs. Slowly mix together with your hands. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until dough becomes smooth and pliable, adding flour to the board as necessary.

Let the dough rest for a little while before rolling it out.

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When you’re ready, roll it out as thinly as it’ll go.

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Cut the noodles. You can use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter if you don’t have this pasta manual machine.

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To cook the noodles, just boil them in salted water.

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Toss it with the sauce of your choice.

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Craving too some Bolognese for your pasta? Here’s that recipe also…
Ingredients for the Bolognese
1 tablespoon olive oil
50 grams butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
100 grams pancetta, diced
200 grams lean beef, minced
150 grams lean pork, minced
200 millimeters red wine
2 tablespoons double-concentrated tomato puree
500 millimeters chicken stock

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and pancetta. Cook for around 10 minutes until the onions start to look translucent.
2. Add the minced meats and brown all over, ensure the meat is fully broken up and no large chunks remain.
3. Increase the heat, add the wine, and allow to evaporate for around 2-3 minutes.
4. In a large jug, dilute the tomato puree into the chicken stock and add to the pan, stir well.
5. Reduce to a low heat, then cover and simmer for 2 hours. Check from time to time to ensure the sauce is not drying out. If this occurs, add a small amount of stock.
6. To serve, cook pasta and toss in the Bolognese. Top with parmesan cheese.

 

Oh YUMMMM!!!! ūüôā

 

“Life is About Using the Whole Box of Crayons”

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While camping, I couldn’t resist playing with my daughter’s color box…

I’m a perfectionist living a life filled with imperfections. I struggle with that.

I have been Tethered most of my life to this notion that my self worth is defined by my performance rather than my efforts.

But there isn’t enough hours in a day! Not enough free days in a week to achieve the results that would ease my soul… I have to accept that!

And so, everyday I remind myself, and learn, to Embrace the Chaos, to  Focus on the Process Instead of the Outcome… To appreciate the perfect little things in my so imperfect very full life.

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My drawing of my daughter and I at Peter’s Pond Campground.

“Drunken Mussels”

The night before I baked the coconut cake, made the pasta salad, pre-baked the barbecue chicken… at 6.30 am I was packing the snorkeling gear, the body-boards, the fishing poles, the picnic. At 9 am we arrived at our destination¬†at the seashore.

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After an entire day of eating, swimming, fishing and jumping waves, our most favorite hours were the ones spent in the only activity we had not planed for: …quietly hopping through tidal pools¬†harvesting mussels!

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This was a unique bonding activity for me, my daughter and my mother. There’s something almost sacred about the aromas, the sounds, the silent, the peace¬†you experience¬†when you devote some hours to exploring tidal pools.¬†And then they disappear¬†with high tide as the waves Dash upon the rocks…as if it all had been nothing more than a dream. The seashore you knew so well becomes unrecognizable.

I can’t describe¬†the immense¬†satisfaction I felt in cleaning each mussel we harvested¬†and cooking it for our meal…

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…But the pleasure we all felt in sharing and savoring this appetizer was quit obvious… it was DELICIOUS!!

And so, here goes the recipe for “DRUNKEN MUSSELS”, seasoned with sweet memories of a Summer day at the Seashore.

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DRUNKEN MUSSELS

2 tablespoons butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 lemon, zested

2 cups white wine

freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 slices bread, grilled

2 lemon wedges for garnish

Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic and let sizzle for about 30 seconds. Season with red pepper flakes and lemon zest, stirring for about 45 seconds.

Quickly pour in wine into the pan and season with black pepper. Bring sauce to a boil, stir in mussels, and cover immediately. Shake pot and let boil for 1 minute.

Stir mussels, replace cover, and let boil for 2 more minutes. The shells will begin to open. Stir in parsley, cover pot, and cook until all shells are open, 1 to 3 minutes.

Serve with grilled bread and lemon wedge.

I Went to the Woods…

I went to the woods to bathe in its peace…to rest my mind from city worries…from the never-ending untangle work of our lives.

In these 7 days of¬†camping, between rain and fog, sun and Summer breeze, my moments of gratitude as I exhaled “Thank you God” were immediately replaced by thoughts of worry while wording “Oh God, help me”.

The peace I found was Transient…its warmth was breve, and some comfort was found in other much littler things…like this DIY Nesquik Chocolate Milk I prepared before departing to the campground.

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DIY Nesquik Recipe

Р1/3 cup of unsweetened 100% cocoa powder

– 2/3 cup of sugar

– 1 pinch of salt

Sift the cocoa powder and combine all ingredients in a mason jar. Mix in a cup 1 or 2 tbsp. of your mixture with 1 or 2 tbsp. of hot water. Mix well until powder dissolves. Add 1 cup of cold milk, or warm milk. Enjoy!

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One warm cup of this recipe was sure followed by a “Thank you God”. ¬†ūüôā

…It’s the Little Things…

 

Rethink, Reuse, Reimagine… Go “Green Team”!

IIMG_1633n my daughter’s school, she has to do a book report every month…I don’t buy the books. I love books, but once you done reading it, its pages becomes clutter.¬†I own several very special books but for the most of it, including for my daughter’s school work, we rent our books in our local public library. Sometimes our library does not carry the book we are looking for, but they will search for it online¬†in other libraries and request it… and a few days later we’ll pick up the book. When my daughter is done with the book report, we return it to the library to be enjoyed by others, free of charge, and clutter.

I feel I do the same when it comes to clothes shopping. I don’t do much clothes shopping but when I need to do so I check our thrift store¬† sasver.

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Next Wednesday my daughter’s school will host its annual “Field Day”. My daughter and her class will become the “Green Team”. She does not own any green t-shirt…neither last year’s shorts fit her anymore. So out we went to find a green t-shirt and a pair of shorts in “Savers” for “Field Day”. Whenever I plan to go to “Savers” I always go through our cabinets first¬†in the look for clothes that no longer fit or¬†stuff we no longer use… fill up a bag with it and drop it in the “Donations” bin at “Savers”. And then proceed with our shopping. We always find what we need in “Savers”.

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…And you can’t beat the prices!

Washed with some Fels Naptha, softened with some vinegar…¬†dried and ironed… now ready for new adventures and memories. “Go Green Team!!”

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Eventually, one day, when my daughter outgrows this green t-shirt and this pair of shorts, these will return again to “Savers” into the donations bin. Like the books returned to the library, it will be passed on to other families in need of a green t-shirt and a pair of shorts.

Rethink, Reuse, Reimagine… We all play a role in the “Green Team”. https://www.savers.com/

A Life Focused On Essentials!! – Lemons & Hair Care.

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As I declutter our home from all the plastic containers and packages, most of my products for household cleaning and personal hygiene were substituted by more natural options, like Dr. Bronner’s Soap Bar. … including Hair Care!

Whenever you use Soap Bar for your hair, its advised that after you should rinse your hair with a DIY diluted vinegar rinse as “conditioner”. I tried to use lemons instead of vinegar, and I loved it!

The combinations of Dr. Bronner’s Soap and my DIY Lemon Conditioner made such a difference in my hair since day one! My hair never felt better! … Silky and more manageable. I now don’t even need to wash my hair everyday and even so it looks and feels much better than before.

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Instructions

With a hammer and a nail I punctured a mason jar cap… ¬†squeeze half of a lemon in a 1 1/2 cup mason jar and fill the rest of the jar with water. Add 1 or 2 drops of Lavender Essential Oils. Shake and use.

Make sure you rinse well and completely your hair after lathering with Dr. Bronner’s Soap Bar and before you use the Lemon Rinse.

***

This is how my Bath/Shower products are organized now. As simple as that!!

And as my home shelves and cabinets change, I notice I’m changing too. My brain¬†¬†is changing in the way I process, organize and prioritize my thoughts about every aspect of my life.

In my Pursue of a¬†home with less waste, I’m finding a life¬†more focused on essentials… Freeing myself from all the irrelevant weights we put upon ourselves.

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(Curious about how my kitchen sink looks like? … check¬†Back in Harmony‚Ķ All-One!)

“Go Green”… in Gold and Pink.

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Trying to be more mindful with the foods we consume and the garbage/waste we produce becomes more difficult if you are not living on your own.

A smooth transition to a “greener” life when you are married to a 50-year-old and are a mother of a pre-teen 11-year-old… it’s challenging! But it is also even more important! I am not just changing my habits… I have to give tools to my husband to change his habits… I have to be an example to my daughter.

My daughter always likes to carry around a “fancy” plastic water bottle.¬†She carries it to the computer desk, to her¬†side table in the bedroom, to her school in the lunch box. But¬†It broke beyond repair!! “Buy a new one” would’ve been our old habit. But let’s try something new.

Do you recognize that glass bottle?

It used to be a small Heinz Vinegar glass bottle. It fits perfectly in Amber’s lunch box…¬† it fits perfectly in her hand… and glass makes everything taste better. She really, really likes it, and is proud to carry it around and to school.

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Amber moved to¬†a new¬†school two weeks ago… some notebooks from the old school could still be used, but we needed to buy a few more new notebooks. Amber’s old habits would make her choose notebooks with plastic hard covers, and golden/silver metallic spirals…but not this time. She has chosen completely biodegradable notebooks… and was proud of it.

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A Feast for the Senses

Some days I feel I’m the luckiest person on Earth. I have many “little” reasons why I’m reminded frequently of how¬†fortunate I am…today I was reminded by my Lilac Tree.

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I can’t think of a better way to spend my morning¬† in a Spring day like today than to go pick some Lilac flowers in my garden.

The blue ski, the birds chirping, the Spring breeze spreading waves of Lilac aroma… No better way!!! None!!! Awwww… look what I found! I can’t think of a better tree to build a nest on than¬†a Lilac Tree! None, if I was a bird. No thoughts of fear or Danger! are possible when¬†inhaling an aroma like this.

I decided to attempt doing some homemade Lilac Essential Oils… I’m using two different processes: oil and alcohol.

Homemade essential oils can not be used for therapeutic means… but it is great for anything else. I’m planning to use mine in making¬† homemade products for household cleaning¬†and personal hygiene.

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I will have to wait one week to find out if I succeeded… but no result will diminish the pleasure of attempting it… it was¬†a “Feast for the Senses”!

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And while I wait for the results, I’ll keep enjoying my Lilac flowers… in the garden and in the house…

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How lucky am I? ….None luckier than me. ūüėČ

A Different Turn in Everyday’s Path

My Wanderlust desire is fulfilled with simple everyday things…

… Like taking a “right turn” instead of a left¬†in the road traveled everyday.

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…Or just to step inside a place I have daily¬†only driven by.

 

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My Neighborhood’s Craft Store

 

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My Neighborhood’s Craft Store

 

…Even doing the same “old” things, but in a much different way, or different season.

Wanderlust is not defined by the distance. It is the desire of living new experiences…and that can be found everyday right were you stand now.

Back in Harmony… All-One!

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As I proceed with my learnings and efforts in a more mindful approach to food consumption and garbage production, obviously¬†I started to feel restless¬† and in conflict with my self when shopping for personal/household cleaning products. I initially planned to tackle new “Personal Hygiene” and “Household Cleaning”¬†routines¬†at a later stage of the process/transformation (to avoid feeling overwhelmed with so many new routines)… But, to find Harmony with my self again,¬†I had to adapt sooner than later!!!

Therefor, our family is now using a bar of “Dr. Bronner’s All-One Pure Castile Soap” for personal hygiene. Our collection of bottles and containers in the bathroom is reduced to one (1) bar… for hands, and body, and hair, and shaving. That’s it!¬†I won’t even waste your time describing the amount of plastic containers that used to live in my porcelain tub before…

I am also using bar¬†“Dr. Bronner’s All-One Pure Castile Soap” for household cleaning… Not the liquid version suggested by the company for household cleaning! I don’t want¬†to acquire ¬†more plastic containers!¬†I was Avid and almost fearful to give it a try at washing dishes. But, OH WHAT A SURPRISE…!!

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Filled¬†the sink with warm water and dunk the soap bar for a couple of seconds‚Ķ removed soap and started washing dishes and setting aside to be rinsed and stacked on the dish rack drainer (or just rub the bar in the damp face-cloth and start scrubbing and rinsing your dishes). All¬†was sparkly squeaky clean! No odor or taste, no film or fogginess…! It’s marvelous!!!

***

This is how my kitchen sink looks now…

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We also ditched, almost a year ago, the sponges and plastic puffs for scrubbing and  lathering for personal hygiene and with household cleaning. We now use many, many, face-clothes designated to different tasks, that are used and washed and used again, infinite times.

I can breathe better now… Peace again!

The yellow soap in the picture…??¬†That’s my “Fels-Naptha” laundry soap.¬† Yes, I also removed the plastic containers out of our laundry routine… but that is material for another post, another day….

Have a marvelous week!!

Debora