The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 20 August 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Learning to make pasta with Vicky.

The last weeks have been big learning weeks for me.  Gradually I have eliminated quite a few things from my shopping lists.  Some of them are surprisingly big savings!  Also one thing seems to lead to another i.e. making my own yoghurt has given me lots to play with and so I made my own Tatziki Dip which is something else new. Another thing I no longer will buy!

Before we get started I am going back to an old Laine's Letter.  This is just an excerpt but it is full of motivation to increase your cooking skills to help beat rising prices and get ahead.  It starts with a reader question...

2~ Can you tell us how you are handling the food prices going up? I don't seem to be doing so well in this area. I know you've written about it many times, but I need a pep talk so much.
Yes, I have watched the food prices go up as well in my area. And the gas is higher than this time last year, as well as our electrical and water bills. So I am doing my best to readjust my budget accordingly and continue to save as much as I can. I pray for God's help all the time!
My best advice to give you is to learn how to cook as much as you can from scratch. I am still amazed at how much I save from a continuing learning and growing in this area. I learn from cooking shows, magazines, friends and family, the ladies on this list, and cookbooks from the library. I am constantly trying new recipes to increase my knowledge.
It is so wonderful to know how to make pasta from scratch, as well as egg noodles, muffins, doughnuts, french fries, tortillas, bread, or numerous other things. They really require so few simple ingredients, so it is much cheaper to make them than buy them. Plus it is so much tastier as well. We have so many recipes on our website for you to try. And learning to cook with leftovers is so important, too. So often I look as forward to the leftovers as I do the main meal, because I know what I'll be cooking with them next.
It is also good to buy seasonally when things are on sale. For example, I just bought all my canned pumpkin for the year while it was on sale at Thanksgiving. I did the same with cranberries and froze them for the year as well. I do the same thing during the summer on certain fruits and vegetables. I also used coupons for cream cheese and stocked up on that this past week, as well as many baking goods. With cheese rising in price, it is nice to know how to make it; so I want to increase my knowledge in this area for the future.
And that is really the key, increasing our knowledge in cooking, baking, canning, freezing, growing, and drying food. The more we learn, the more we can save. It is also so important to be ahead of our families in this area. That is why I love to do my cooking in the morning, because then there are good things for them to eat all day. And I know what is coming out of the oven, so there is a plan for dinner when they ask me. Then we don't need to eat out or munch on junk food, which are both costsly and not good for our health.
"She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar, she also rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and a portion for her maidservants." Proverbs 31:15
"The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands." Proverbs 14:1
I think it is a continual learning and growing in our homes. I am constantly asking the LORD to teach and train me!

With those words to get us going now over to Vicky and her pasta demo.   Some of you will already be wonderful at this!  But I have always thought it was to fiddly for me surely!?  Now I am determined to learn.  So I hope this also helps others like me!

Vicky says in this tutorial her pasta isn't thin enough but her husband was hurrying her along and she was taking photos as well!  But to get it thin!  She also said it costs her about 40c to make a small batch of pasta.

She also says that she allows one cup of flour and one egg per person.  But to start off with a small batch to get the hang of it!

Here we go...

Start by sifting 1 cup of All Purpose flour onto the counter in a mountain shape and then make a well into the flour. 

You want 1 whole egg and 1 yolk in the well, but hang onto the second egg white in case your dough is a little dry then you can add it in. And add a dash of salt. 

Using a fork scramble the egg the well and when all scrambled going in circles start pulling the flour into the egg just like you're still scrambling the egg.

When you have mixed enough of the flour in to start forming a dough using your hands, start needing the dough. If it is sticky add flour a little at a time until it isn't sticky and knead until it is firm yet pliable.

 A good way I tell is I wash my hands because they will be messy and then give it another knead or two and if it isn't sticking to my hands I call it good. If it is still sticky add a little more flour and knead some more. 

After you have it all kneaded wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it to rest for 30 minutes. 

Divide your dough into workable pieces and sprinkle the counter with flour and start rolling it thin.

 Once your dough is rolled thin you can start cutting it. A pizza cutter works really good. 

Drop into salted boiling water. They will cook in 1-3 minutes depending on you like them so be ready to take them out not long after you drop them in the boiling water and voila fresh pasta! 

Vicky says that you can make soup noodles, buttered noodles, fettuccine with spaghetti sauce, chicken and noodles or whatever you like!  And that thinner again is Linguini noodles. 
She served her noodles here with butter and parsley. 

Thank you so much Vicky!  You make it look possible! haha! So I promise to get going!

Next week we are studying menu planning with Laine!  She recently got me started on menu planning and it is not what I thought.  My idea of menu planning was a list of my meals for the week.  Well, that is the beginning but there is so much more!  It is new to Laine too and you will see how this can save you so much money and also build up your emergency meals.  Laine who stretches a dollar unlike anyone else I know still has managed to halve her grocery shop with her new menu planning. I find this amazing since she is so frugal already!  But this is the power of menu planning. 
Then we have a Ravioli tutorial from Rachel!  I have so much lined up that I need more Mondays! 

Do you make your own pasta?  What would you really love to learn how to make but have never quite taken the plunge?  I am thinking there will be other tutorials that we can have as we have some great skills between is all!

Have a really productive week!  Be diligent and watchful!  xxx


  1. Homemade fresh pasta is so much nicer than the dried pasta from supermarkets. I always make our lasagne and cannelloni fresh. Fresh pasta cooks in just 3 - 5 minutes, so quick. I don't buy special flour, just the regular Aldi plain flour and egg. Have fun with your lovely fresh pasta :)

  2. Rebecca Finlayson20 August 2017 at 19:33

    How easy does that look!! I always thought it would be way too fiddly and hard to make pasta. My 9yo dd and i will have to try this!
    Great post as always Annabel


  3. I love it, Annabel, Vicky & Laine!!! I love your beautiful work and I love fresh pasta!! You may show me homemade pasta over and over, and I'll love it!! It cooks so quickly!!!!! What a lovely golden egg colour, too!! They must be from Vicky's own hens!!!!!
    Rachel Holt

    1. Hello Miss Rachel. So lovely to hear from you again. I so hope all is well in your world. I have been thinking of you and have had you in my prayers.

    2. Thank you, sweet Jane!!
      All is well! I am simply swamped with green lights for getting things done!
      Tonight, I'm tuckered out! I hope to dream of lovely homemade pasta! Ha ha!!
      Warmest regards,

  4. Dear Annabel , Vicky's tutorial makes pasta making look easy ! Encouraging me and I'm sure many to try it .
    Look forward to Laines meal planning next week .
    Have a lovely week bluebirds , love Maria xxx

    1. Remember to rest up, Maria!!

  5. I've made homemade pasta in the past and need to get back to it.

    Looking forward to meal planning with Laine and ravioli with Rachel!

  6. Thank you Vicky for your pasta making tutorial. I haven't made pasta for years. I guess I might need to have another go at it. When I made it before I thought I needed a special pasta machine to get the pasta thin enough. This way of making noodles is so much easier.
    Thank you to Laine for her wise words.
    Annabel all the information that you are providing is wonderful. I am overwhelmed and planning on making one thing at a time.
    Life is good.
    life is good

  7. I have made fresh noodles to go with a roast (like an egg noodle), but that's it. It is really easy!

  8. Dear Annabel,

    I have not yet made pasta although I had intentions a few years ago and hubby went out and bought me a pasta maker...I am sorry to say it is still in its box on the top shelf of my pantry, shame on me! I will be getting it out today and blowing the dust off! You have now inspired me to have a go, so I may try some pasta making later this week.

    Thank you for sharing Vicky's recipe, it sounds very easy to do :)

    I am wondering if when making lasagne as Cath mentioned, whether or not the pasta will need to be cooked first before adding to the dish, or put it in as is?

    Lots of love,
    Tania xx

    1. Dear Tania, You are lucky to have this pasta maker! With all your homegrown veggies pastas sauces are abundant... so this could be really good! I will see what Cath says but for me I would use the pasta fresh as the lasagne cooks and bubbles right though which should easily be enough to well cook the pasta layers. Plus dried pasta never fits my dishes and I am think of how I could roll this pasta out to fit any shape just right! This is the plan anyway! With love

  9. I have made pasta before, Annabel. I used a pasta maker and it tasted great but was a tad messy. We had a pasta making workshop at our simple living group which was run by a young man who really impressed all of us ladies :-) He was a great teacher. It tastes so much nicer than bought pasta.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, The workshops in your town are just wonderful. I think to do this I wills tart with a really small batch and see how I get one! With love

  10. Awesome post Annabel and Vicky! That definitely looks manageable, just need to find some clear bench space lol.

    Has anybody had a go at making gluten free pasta? I am going to try following the instructions as above, but just thought I'd ask in case anyone has any helpful hints.

    Have a great week everyone

    Jen in NZ

    1. Hi Jen,
      A while back I found a recipe for homemade gluten free pasta made with brown rice flour and tapioca or arrowroot flour. I haven't made it as yet but now Vicky's tutorial has given me a nudge to try it. Here's the recipe:

      1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) brown rice flour
      1/2 cup (2 oz) tapioca or arrowroot starch
      1 tsp. xanthan gum or psyllium powder
      4 large eggs
      kosher salt.
      Whisk together the dry ingredients and add the eggs and proceed per Vicky's instructions. If you get to it before I do I'd love to know how your's comes out and if you used different flours. I'm going to use the arrowroot as I cross-react with tapioca and my body thinks it's gluten.

    2. Great, thanks Cookie! I will hopefully try this out next week. Gluten free pasta is so expensive here that we have it only occasionally, but my kids love it so would be a great thing to make myself.

  11. Hi Annabel and thank you for some more wise words from Laine and I agree we have been progressively cutting our grocery bill every month too by cooking from scratch. We are also learning to make so many more dishes and deleting items we used to buy off our shopping list too.

    Thank you Vicky for the wonderful pasta recipe. Somehow I thought it would be really hard and you would need a pasta maker to make it, how wrong I was. By the way a pasta maker would not fit in our workers cottage kitchen anyway :) .

    I hope you don't mind Vicky but I have copied it and will print it out for my own use, I always ask :) .

    Oh and may I say I made a half batch of the brownie mix recipe that Gardenpat supplied the link to using butter. We made the chocolate and walnut brownies from the link and they were just mouth wateringly delicious and we still have enough of the mix left to make another batch made up in the fridge. Thank you Gardenpat and did I mention I have pantry envy from seeing your photos :) .


    1. Not at all! Just remember to roll it thinner.

    2. Dear Sewingcreations, This always amazes me. While there are people with all the equipment and make amazing stuff, there are many who have no specialised equipment and they churn out things, in this case Vicky and her pasta! I think of old fashioned kitchens and all the food that came out of them and I doubt they had fancy gadgets. So this is good for us!
      I am glad you mentioned Gardenpats brownie mix! I am going to try this too as Brownies make a really good gift and so would the mix. Her pantry is so gorgeous to me also! I hope this week is going well sorry for the late reply! With love

    3. Thank you Vicky the recipe is very much appreciated :) .

      Annabel you must try the brownie mix it is an absolute must to eat when made up, yum yum. We made our brownie in our Kenwoood mixmaster and you can only fit a half batch in there and not a full batch.

      It is amazing what you can make without fancy equipment ie pasta which is the way I like it considering space restrictions in our little workers cottage.


  12. I've gotten out ot the habit of making noodles. This inspires me to get back at it! I love them made into chicken and noodles. I have used a noodle maker that attaches to a kitchen aid. It works well for getting the dough thin. Honestly, I prefer to roll it by hand. There is something therapeutic about using a rolling pin.

    I'm looking forward to the menu planning post. I menu plan but I am always looking for ways to improve.

    1. Dear Wendi, I am really loving the menu planning... there are so many spin offs from it that I just didnt realise! We will get started on this next week anyhow so I hope you will find it useful. Laine has a good way of teaching! With love

  13. Annabel , Awesome post! We are traveling so just a quick post. Love the instructions with the pictures.

  14. I have never made my own pasta, but I'm going to give this a try, it seems very simple, I know I can do it. By the way, this thought just popped into my mind; my Aunt used to say it whenever any child would try to do something and then protest with the words, "I can't!" She would reply, "Can't never did anything." In other words, if you never try, you'll never accomplish anything. So, no excuses! My Grandmother always made her own fresh noodles with her fresh farm eggs, and my mother made her own noodles a time or two. This will be fun!

    1. I agree Joy! I know I can do it too... why do we wait so long I don't know! Beautiful farm fresh eggs would be lovely! Your Grandmother would be awfully happy with you carrying on her tradition! xxx

  15. Dear Annabel and Vicky,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post. Vicky, you've given me the impetus to try my hand at making gluten free pasta. The ingredients are slightly different but the procedure is the same. Being able to "manufacture" more and more things at home definitely fits into our lifestyle.

    I'm looking forward to Laine's advice on menu planning and Rachel's ravioli. Blessings, Cookie

  16. Dear Annabel and Vicky,
    Thank you for sharing this tutorial. It looks so easy! I will have to give this a try once I get more time on my hands. I have heard pasta tastes so much better homemade, but then most things do!
    I'm looking forward to Laine's tips on meal planning. I've never been much good at it.
    Rachel it is good to see a comment from you again! I hope everyone has a good week!
    Love, Kelsey

  17. Wonderful input from Laine and Vicky. Thank you both for sharing.
    Blessings to all,

  18. Annabel do you also make Bircher muesli/overnight oats with your home made yoghurt? I've been soaking raw oats in apple juice and yoghurt, add some chopped dates and some grated or diced apple, cinnamon or whatever you like. Serve with berries or stewed fruit and a little milk if it's a bit dry. You may be already into this but I've been enjoying oats like this for breakfast and it does use up yoghurt.

    1. Dear Amanda, That sounds beautiful. At the moment I am having stewed whole apples with dates and sultanas... with yoghurt for a lot of breakfasts and deserts so similar! I am really loving having so much yoghurt... it is the most useful thing. And healthy! Many thanks! With love

    2. Apples and dates are a match made in heaven :) xx

  19. Thanks for the tutorial Vicky. It looks easier than I thought. Always thought you needed one of those pasta machines! I'm not very good with making any kind of dough really, it is something I would like to get better at. I also want to master yoghurt.. Annabel, do you mind sharing which yoghurt recipe you have had success with? I have made homemade before & it was very runny. I too am really looking fwd to Laine's meny planning tips as I need to get back on track with this. Many thanks everyone, Kelly

    1. Dear Kelly,
      I am getting on really well with yoghurt! This is what I am doing... I started with a jar in a crock pot as I didnt have a thermos the right size. Now I have bought an EasiYo yoghurt maker which is basically a big thermos to fit a large jar inside. It works really well. I make half batches as well. I like it to be very thick and creamy and it is working. I have tried several ways now, with the easi yo sachets and with two spoons of active yoghurt. Both work! I am having a post soon about all the things you can then make with yoghurt as there are so many things that suddenly become really cheap to make! Laine follows The Fundamental Home and she has taught me there is so much to menu planning I never fully understood... it is amazing and the most huge saving! I hope you will find it really helpful! If you feel you are not good at dough a bread maker would be awesome for you. Any type of dough can go in even pasta then you can take it out and do what you want... I saw two bread makers today in the op shops too! Otherwise a stand mixer with a dough hook. Really then all you have to do is think how does nice play doh or modelling clay feel? That is what you are aiming for, smooth and not sticky! Then you would be right! With love

    2. Hi Annabel ,just a question regarding your yogurt making. Do you make a water bath for your yogurt in the crockpot? I had a aldi small glass jar one but the element was starting to boil rather than incubate. I'm wondering if I could use my slow cooker as a ezy-yo container? I'm keen to know if thus has worked for others Di in aus

    3. Dear Di,
      I started out with my small crockpot instead of the thermos that Cath suggests. I would get it hot then turn it off and wrap it up to keep it warm. This mostly worked but not every time. So this is why I have gone over to the easi yo maker. It is really much the same as a thermo. I feel the thermo way keeps the temperature higher for longer so it is better. It the temp gets too hot then it kills off the active part of the yoghurt which is a problem. Coles had easi yo makers on half price and this was cheaper than a large thermos so that decided it for me! Having said all this.... it was worth it. I have tried both the sachets you can buy and using real greek yoghurt as a starter and both work really well! Now I am also trying using powdered milk and only two spoons of sachet ... I read that this will work but not 100% sure yet. I am finding it is really worth doing. I can make a litre of yoghurt for so little and then there are so many things to make with it. (apart from eating it as it is of course!) I am going to do a post on some of the ways I am using it. Sorry for the long winded answer! Maybe ask around family and friends if anyone has a wide mouthed thermos... if it will fit a jar then it would be perfect! Good luck! With love

  20. Vicky, your pasta looks so delicious.
    Are you ready for this, I have almost every pasta attachment you would want for my kitchenaid mixer, I have a hand crank pasta roller/cutter. I use to always make my own. Then I made home made angel hair for my present husband, (the smaller, the thinner, the harder it is to make. His comment wasn't flattering and not worth posting. But that moment I stopped making pasta, totally, have not touched anything.
    Amazing how our vanity hurts us the most. Thank you for posting this Annabel. I think after my next trip I will be diving back into homemade pasta. My one stepson even gave me a great drying rack.
    I think I just needed a little encouragement to restart.
    Thank you Annabel and Vicky.
    With love, Rosanne

  21. Thank you for all your lovely comments to Vicky! I have totally run out of time with replies... I had time this morning and we had two power outages! Please let us all know if you make pasta and how you are doing.... I got a nice rolling cutter yesterday at an op shop so I am one step closer! xxx


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