Late Summer Pasta: Homemade Noodles with Pesto + Tomatoes

I can feel the end of summer. I can sense the change in many aspects of my life. In the types of clothes that I’m starting to reach for. In the foods that I am craving. In the air that blows through our open windows. Summer is ending, but it’s not gone just quite yet, and I plan to cherish my favorite things about it – especially the food – for as long as I can.

This pasta dish is definitely a testament to that. The tomatoes – a symbol of the part of me that is still holding onto summer, and the homemade noodles – showing that the first signs of fall have me slowing down, desiring long days in the kitchen, with cool air coming through  windows and a glass of wine (not beer, like summer) by my side.

This was my first time making homemade noodles because I’ve been intimidated by it for a long time. I don’t have a pasta roller and I just didn’t think that a rolling pin could roll homemade pasta dough thin enough. Recently though, something in me told me just to go for it and I’m awfully glad that I did. Just like my success with homemade gnocchi, these noodles were a pleasant experience. I plan on doing this regularly now, especially through the winter months.

So since I am just a beginner noodle maker, let me show you the resources I used: The Pioneer WomanThe Kitchn and Better Homes and Gardens. Thank you to those wonderful sites for giving me the knowledge and wisdom to smoothly get through my first noodle making experience. My advice, from one beginner to another is this: just to do it. Give it a go. Enjoy the slowness + comfort this season has to offer and make some noodles! I do understand though, that for most people, who are busy on the regular, this is a Saturday or Sunday type of meal. Not a weekday meal, and that’s okay. Save it for a special day. Make homemade noodles, dress them simply and enjoy every bite of your hard work.

We were lucky enough to get a bunch of tomatoes recently from Greg’s vacationing coworker’s CSA share and from Greg’s mom and stepdad. So, for this particular batch of noodles, I simply tossed them with pesto and roasted cherry tomatoes. A meal just right for this time of the year. Consider making it even without the homemade noodles. 

Even if you don’t have the time and/or desire to make homemade noodles at this time, I encourage you to enjoy what is now. Enjoy the last of what summer has to offer and if you’re like me, embrace the “slowing down” feeling that comes with fall. I’m enjoying it thoroughly and this dish represents that perfectly.

Below the photos, I typed out just what I did. I also suggest in the recipe section that if you do decide to make noodles for the first time, to read through what I have as well as look at my photos, but to also study the sites that I linked to above. Be prepared as possible and enjoy the process! Leave any questions in the comment section. Enjoy!

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Late Summer Pasta: Homemade Noodles with Pesto + Tomatoes
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Ingredients
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
6 eggs
1-2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1 cup of your favorite pesto
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
Instructions
For the noodles, I followed methods from the Pioneer Woman, The Kitchn and Better Homes and Gardens, all linked above. I will describe what I did, but before making the noodles, I recommend also studying the pages I linked to above.
For the noodles: Into a large mixing bowl, measure three cups of all-purpose flour. Make a well in the center of the flour and crack six eggs into the well. Using a whisk, gently whisk the eggs, incorporating a little flour into the well at a time, and continue whisking until the dough starts coming together. Dump the dough and any remaining flour in the bowl onto a clean, floured surface and begin kneading the dough. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until dough is no longer sticky and the surface is smooth (The Pioneer Woman post shows a good photo of this). Using a large, sharp knife, cut the dough into four equal parts. Gently knead each part for several minutes, just to be sure the dough has been kneaded thoroughly. Let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
While dough is resting: Place tomatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until slightly blistered. Turn the oven off, tomatoes can remain in there until noodles are done.
While you roll out your noodles, begin to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
After 30 minutes, roll your dough. Using a rolling pin, on a well floured surface, roll out one segment of the dough at a time, as thin as you can get it. Mine was extremely thin but also very pliable. Once rolled out, sprinkle each side of dough with flour. Gently roll the dough, jelly roll style, and using a knife, cut thin strips (as shown in photo above). Once cut, unroll each strip. You have noodles! Repeat the rolling out, rolling up and slicing with each of the remaining three segments of dough.
To cook noodles, place in salted, boiling water and boil for approximately five minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your noodle, so start checking them after two minutes. Mine took a full five.
To make the pesto + tomato pasta: Add pesto to a large saucepan over medium heat, along with a ladle-full of the noodle cooking water. Add the cooked + drained noodles and toss. Add the roasted cherry tomatoes. Add more noodle cooking water, to thin the sauce, as needed. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired, and enjoy!
Notes
The amount of noodles made with this recipe lasted Greg and I over 2 meals. We each had a large serving for dinner, the next day for lunch, with leftovers yet.
I didn't make enough noodles to freeze this time, but plan to for next time and will follow the directions on the Better Home and Gardens blog, linked above.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
*Noodle recipe/techniques from The Pioneer Woman, The Kitchn and Better Homes and Gardens.

Up the Mountains

You will burn and
you will burn out,
you will be healed
and come back again.
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky
(found on Pinterest)

It’s been almost two weeks since we’ve been back in Philly after spending a long weekend in the Poconos with my family. Or, as we’ve learned they say in Philly, since we’ve been “up the mountains.” Some time has passed but I can still feel the sense of calm that came over me on that short getaway. I can still feel the air, if I try hard enough. Something about that trip brought me so much peace and I hope that some of that comes through my photos.

The quote above is one that I found floating around on Pinterest and that really resonates with me. I feel like we try and try and try hard for so long. And then we burn out. We all do. And we need a break. And I don’t know if it’s just the optimist in me, but I feel like life always gives us one. When it’s ready to and in the way that we need it. Isn’t that great? A weekend in the Poconos gave me just the healing I needed.

Our time was much enjoyed. We relaxed, we porch-sat, we cooked and ate good food and drank good drinks, we mountain-coastered, we celebrated birthdays, we brewery-hopped, we learned to lawn bowl, we hiked and drank coffee out of mugs on hikes, we took in beautiful views. We relaxed.

Just a warning – be prepared for lots of photos! Because I have so many, I am going to share some today and some tomorrow. Enjoy!

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Peach + Blueberry Pico de Gallo

This is a dish that Greg and I make frequently. We stand together, each chopping away at a vegetable or fruit, and create this bowl of beautiful tastes and colors. We top it onto chips as we make the rest of our meal, and then we enjoy it as a topping on veggie or fish tacos. Every single time we make this, we each take our first crunchy bite and declare it as our favorite food ever. And every single time we make this, we get into a conversation about just how good real food tastes and how lucky we are to eat food this good and healthy for us. I hope we do that forever.

We are lucky to eat food this good, especially this time of the year, using seasonal and local ingredients. For this batch of pico, we brought home most ingredients from Three Springs Fruit Farm and we’ve actually made it twice this week. Once for fish tacos and another time, sweet potato tacos. 

With just nine total ingredients, this dish is so easy to prepare and is also so versatile. The base of tomato, red onion, jalapeno and cilantro works so well for switching up the fruit seasonally. We often make it with mango and have done it with just peach, too. But for this batch I added blueberries and loved it. This pico adds just the right freshness, crunch and sweetness to a taco and is great with just chips, too. 

The color, smell and taste of this is truly special and I have a hard time believing that you wouldn’t declare this as your favorite food ever on your first bite either. Make it while we are lucky enough to have fresh summer fruits and veggies, enjoy every bite, and be reminded of just how good real food tastes!

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Peach + Blueberry Pico de Gallo
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Ingredients
1 generous cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large peach
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 small red onion (or about 1/2 cup)
1 small jalapeno
Handful of fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
Evenly dice the tomatoes and peach. Finely dice the onion and jalapeno. Roughly chop the cilantro. Combine everything in a bowl, along with the whole blueberries, with olive oil, salt and pepper and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Notes
*My tomatoes were multi-colored mini heirlooms but any cherry or grape tomato will work fine.
* I used a yellow peach but a white one would work great as well.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/

Blueberry, Peanut Butter + Banana Power Smoothie

Hey guys! Has it really been over a month since I last posted? Sorry for the silence, but it has been one heck of a month! So many things to do, and I guess blogging has fallen to the end of the priority list. To be honest, I still have some busyness coming up, so I can’t promise how often I’ll be posting, but hopefully I can get things together and start sharing more frequently soon!

But for today, I’m sharing with you something that I have been making consistently, almost everyday, even through the busy times. Blueberry, peanut butter, banana power smoothie.* I have even hauled my blender across the state twice, on a train, to continue making this smoothie. Truly my current obsession.

This smoothie is as tasty as it is healthy. I call it a “power smoothie” because of all the goodness in it. Let’s go over that:

Coconut water: Full of potassium and very hydrating.
Almond milk: I use vanilla, unsweetened. Besides adding a delicious vanilla flavor, it’s high in calcium and vitamins B and E.
Banana: More potassium! and so much more!
Blueberries: Antioxidants!
Peanut butter: Protein!
Chia seeds: Full of nutrients, antioxidants, protein, fiber and more. Eat chia seeds!
Spinach: Full of all the good stuff – nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants.

And that’s it. All real, whole foods that bring so many good things, and when combined, become a creamy, tasty treat! 

I’ve been making this for breakfast daily. I honestly never thought that just a smoothie would be enough for me for breakfast, but this one is. It keeps me full and I know that it’s probably the healthiest meal of my day – a great start. 

While each and every ingredient included in this smoothie is important to make it just what it is, if I had to stress one to absolutely not leave out, it would be the chia seeds. If blended long enough (I blend my smoothies a long time!), the chia seeds make the smoothie super thick and creamy, and it almost reminds me of ice cream. I like this smoothie so much more since starting to add chia seeds and it’s all because of that creamy, dreamy texture. A smoothie that reminds me of ice cream – can’t pass it up. 

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Blueberry, Peanut Butter + Banana Power Smoothie
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Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup almond milk
1 banana
1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Large handful spinach
Instructions
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend, until completely smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
*Inspired by a smoothie sold at the Cedars House Cafe!