Thursday, June 30, 2011

Honeydew Agua Fresca

Some of you may not know what agua fresca is, so I am going to share.  Agua means water and fresca means fresh....but agua frescas are something totally different.  In Mexico, they sell these on the street corners from large glass or plastic containers and they come in a wide variety of flavors including melon, honeydew, strawberry, mango, pineapple, jamaica (hibiscus flower) and more.

Yesterday, my hubby wanted a melon agua fresca so we stopped by Pro's Ranch Market (local Mexican grocery store) where they make and sell them fresh.  He enjoyed it so much that today I thought I would try to make some out of the cantaloupe or honeydew that I had sitting on the counter.

First, I decided just to throw the cut up melon into the blender with a little water.  However, it didn't taste quite right, so I decided to look up some recipes for aguas frescas.  Well, guess what the secret ingredient is?  LOTS of sugar!!!  Oh no!  That makes them not so healthy!  So I just added A LITTLE sugar and it turned out very yummy and refreshing.

So, now you have learned something new about life in Mexico!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spanish Grammar In Review

This is the book we will be using for Spanish 2 this year.  It looks like a great tool for mastering the rules of Spanish grammar and increasing fluency for the kids.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta....Yummmmm!

Now that summer is officially here:-), I am doing some things that have been put off for far too long.  I still have to run my kids to things almost every day, but since we are down to just a little Geometry and History for school (have to finish some things that we got behind on), I have several hours of time that I am not used to having each day.  So one of the things that I really wanted to do for a long time is to make pasta.

Several years ago, I bought an Italian pasta machine (hand crank variety) with spaghetti and fettuccine cutters at a thrift store for about $4.  I have wanted to use it many times, but I have never had a large enough time slot to get it all done (takes 3-4 hours).  So today I pulled out my pasta machine and looked up a good whole wheat pasta recipe and began.  It took me a few tries to get the hang of the pasta machine, but I figured it out and made a huge batch of pasta!!  For lunch, I just boiled some of the noodles and tossed with some spaghetti sauce.  And for dinner, I cooked some more of the pasta and tossed with some Chipotle Chicken Sausage, broccoli, onions and olive oil.  It was very yummy - even my kiddos said it was awesome!

Here is the recipe that I used for the pasta:

3 cups whole wheat flour (freshly ground, of course)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
8 eggs
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of olive oil
water (I used about 1/2 cup)

Since I have an awesome Bosch mixer, I just threw all the ingredients (except water) into the mixer and turned it on.  Then I added water about a tablespoon at a time until it came together as a stiff dough.  I wrapped it in a damp towel and just took off about a fist full for each batch of pasta (more than that got too long to handle).

I ran the dough through my pasta machine once on each setting 1 through 6 and then sent it through the cutters.  Then I laid it all over my table to dry, turning it as the top got dry so that the other side would dry, too.  I need one of those clothes drying racks to set on my table to hang the pasta on.  Note to Self:  watch for one at yard sales and thrift stores:-)

I still have enough for about one more portion of pasta and it is thoroughly dried now, so I can just throw it in a ziploc and keep until ready to use.

All in all, I would say it was a great success!  I will definitely do it again sometime soon!  And I want to make gnocchi again soon, too.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

June Already???

Wow, this year is really flying by!  I can hardly believe it is already June.  For the most part, we are done with school for the year.  Just a little Math and History to wrap up through the summer.

Summer football weight camp has already begun and next week begins wrestling weight camp and summer dance intensive for my daughter.  So summer will still be busy, just a little less so without school to do.

It is hot already, but I know it will get much worse:-)  This week is right at 100 degrees for the high - not too bad yet..... 

We don't have any big plans for the summer this year, but we may try to make another trip to PA to help move Joe's mom into his brother's house.  Don't know if that will actually happen or not.

So what do you have planned for this summer?  Anything fun and exciting?  Please share!