Making Fresh Pasta at Home

“This is so cool!” I remember saying this to my eldest sister while I was rolling the pasta dough through the machine. Making pasta from scratch has always been a fun and interesting experience for me even though it requires more effort compared to boiling raw, store-bought noodles. So, when I recently craved for pasta, I decided to hang out with my pasta machine again.

homemade fresh pasta
homemade fresh pasta
fresh pasta
fresh pasta
fresh pasta
fresh pasta

While I was combining the flour and eggs, I already imagined the long streaks of pasta dough smoothly making their way out of the machine. However, after cutting the first two pieces of dough, my sister and I noticed that parts of the dough got stuck in the machine. It created a mess because they were stuck in between the rollers and we had to poke and push them out using a pointed knife/chopstick. Also, it was very crucial for us to thoroughly clean the pasta machine because if we left parts of the pasta dough on it and they dried up overnight, the hardened dough may eventually cause damage to the machine when we try to use it again.

fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta
fresh pasta
fresh pasta

 

During that time, I was already starting to change my mind about cooking homemade pasta because I was afraid that I would end up wasting ingredients, my time, and effort. But somehow, with the help of my sister, we continued to remove the bits that got stuck, sprinkled more flour on the rollers and dough, and proceeded with the next pieces of pasta dough. After rolling each piece of dough, I made sure to sprinkle enough flour on the machine to help roll the dough more smoothly and it worked! By God’s grace, I was able to finish rolling and cutting the pasta dough and I boiled the noodles in time for dinner.

fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough

Making pasta from scratch reminded me of a struggle that I face every now and then. I noticed how I was easily discouraged when things didn’t go the way I expected them to. When I made a mistake of not putting enough flour on the roller, it became such a hassle for me to clean up my mess and to start over again. In the same way, I realized that whenever I focus on my weaknesses, my past failures, and the things that I’ve done wrong, I allow these things to rob me of the joy and hope that I have in God.

fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough

Lamentations 3:21-23 says “I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

As mentioned in the verse above, we have hope in God knowing that his mercies are new every morning. Even if we fall or lose sight of Him every now and then, He is able to strengthen us and help us get back up again.

“We lose our way, we get back up again. It’s never too late to get back up again.
You may be knocked down but not out forever.”

-TobyMac

fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta dough
fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil
fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil
fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil
fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil

 

Pasta Dough = 2 cups of flour and 3 eggs.

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

 

 

Pretzels and Passions

One of the chefs in our company made pretzel bites in the office last week. Because of that, I was inspired to make soft, whole pretzels at home. I didn’t know why, but, I had a strong urge to bake that certain treat. Haha. I was excited because it was my first time to make them. :)

I remember thanking God for giving me time to bake pretzels. Honestly, last week, I tried my best to manage my time wisely. However, there were days when I wasn’t able to prioritize studying God’s word. Yes, I did read the Bible every day. However, I knew and felt that I missed out on the privilege of really learning more from meditating on His word during those times. I know that it is only by His grace that I am still able to bake/cook and blog. It is only by God’s grace. :)

Going back to the pretzels, I actually enjoyed making them, even though the process required a lot of work. The funny thing about it is that even if it took me 6 hours to prepare it (including taking photos, waiting for the dough to rise, and cleaning the kitchen) and was, in fact, tiring (with all the yeasting, rolling, boiling, and baking), I would still do it again and again if given the opportunities in the future. I guess it’s because of my passion and love for baking and cooking. :)

Making the pretzels was a comfort and a challenge at the same time. It was comforting because I liked kneading the soft and fluffy pretzel dough (it was softer than the pasta dough I recently made here: (http://encouragingtreats.com/homemade-pasta-dough/). However, it was a challenge too because the tricky part in the process was when I had to flatten the dough using a rolling pin and roll it again using my hands (to form a rope-like shape).

It was harder too because I stuffed the dough with bits of cheese and bacon before rolling it. There were times when I would see twists and holes (in the dough) which eventually resulted to pieces of uneven rope-like pretzel dough.

I then remembered what Alton Brown said in one of his Good Eats episodes (“Pretzel Logic”): “Now, if you start to see a twist formed right into the middle of the dough while you’re rolling it, know that you do not have your hands coordinated, and that twist could become a breakpoint when baked.”

While I was fixing the dough, God spoke to my heart and helped me see that in the same way: If I do not coordinate with Him; if I choose not to follow Him when I make decisions, etc., it is possible that I would eventually have twists and holes (possibly mistakes, problems, insecurities, compromises, etc.) in my life that can become my breakpoints — especially, when I would go through really tough and uncomfortable times.

By God’s grace, I was able to fix the pretzel dough with some of the excess dough that I had. I have to admit that it was frustrating to fix the dough. :/

But, I guess, God allowed me to experience it because He used it to remind me of His grace. He showed me that even if I did have or do have twists and holes in my life, He still has a purpose for me and He still is able to use me for His glory. Hope, definitely, is found in Him.

When the pieces of dough were already fixed, I took a piece and shaped it into the famous pretzel knot shape. I did it again, but, with the other pieces of pretzel dough. I really was fascinated by their interesting shape. And it was really cool because I noticed how the pretzel’s shape showed these two things: the shape of a heart and the symbol for infinity. Instantly, I knew what God was trying to tell me; why He wanted me to bake the whole pretzels.

If you were able to read my previous blog post (http://encouragingtreats.com/celebrating-strawberry-cake/), you would remember how God gave me my first job offer on June 8, 2012 (in the afternoon). It was also during that day that He encouraged me through His word (in the morning) to seek Him first above everything and place my security only on Him… not on the things that are temporary (including my desire to have a job at that time) – the things of this world.

Although I didn’t know that God was going to give me a job offer that day, it was such a perfect and comforting reminder for me to desire Him more than anything or anyone else. And at that moment, I actually surrendered my future job to the Lord. By His grace, I got the job by the end of the day and started working last Monday. 

After going through my first week at work, God encouraged me again… but, this time, through the pretzels. The heart and the symbol for infinity actually are gentle reminders for me to remember that God is the everlasting God and His love for us never changes; it never fails.

I thank God because even if we sometimes fail to prioritize Him, He still loves us the same. I praise Him because He gives us the opportunities to try again and do our best in loving Him more than anything.

                I recently declared that I have a passion for baking and cooking. But, I am reminded that even these good things will fade away someday. And so, it is my prayer that I would always choose to set my heart on things above (Colossians 3:2) and live life not for my own, but for my God — my One consuming passion.

Psalm 73:25-26

    Whom have I in heaven but you?

        And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

    My flesh and my heart may fail,

        but God is the strength of my heart

        and my portion forever.

*Other posts that include homemade dough:

1. Pizza (Thank God I Got Stuck) – http://encouragingtreats.com/god-stuck/

2. Pasta (Dough Not Give Up) – http://encouragingtreats.com/homemade-pasta-dough/

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Recipe by: Edward Lee (from www.epicurious.com; October 2009)