Momma Told Me: May 2018

Blog Archive

The Lost Post: Homemade Tortellini Minestrone #Recipe

This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
Momma Told Me: Life seldom goes as planned.

Growing up, Momma often told me "Life seldom goes as planned-" Now, this may seem like a bleak sentiment for a child, but I've come to learn it doesn't always have to carry a sense of the foreboding. Life is full of surprises, good and bad. It's one of the things that makes life worth living. And, while we are just in the 5th month of 2018, this year has proven an exemplary case.

Naturally, the true value in these unscheduled twists and turns is how we choose to view the circumstances. I'll be the first to admit the cacophony of events that have unraveled this first quarter have had me looking and feeling quite glum. I strive myself on being a very vibrant, positive, person- but even Piglet puts on Eeyore's clothes for a day when the scenery begins to look glum.

For example- when I was rear ended, at a dead stop, and my car was totaled on St. Patrick's Day I was devastated. Everyone I ran into insisted the experience should be positive, "Well, hey, you get to buy a new car!" they'd exclaim with a smile. But my back was a mess, and the insurance wasn't about to give me enough to replace my car with one of equal value, I now had no transportation to go and shop for a car, and there was the fact that my car was my baby- where was I going to find another Purple Turbo PT Cruiser? For weeks I let the negativity stack- January had been black mold, February was the great hard drive crash of 2016, March my car was totaled, and in April my grandfather was hospitalized in a stay he still continues. When will life stop raining on me?

For weeks I was very solemn. I slept strange hours or not at all. I felt no inspiration to create or write. And the lack of transportation had me feeling completely isolated and helpless.

But life seldom goes as planned-

And then I opened my laptop, to sort through the recovered files from my hard-drive back for family photos I could print and send to my father as a sign of support. And I found this folder of recipe shots from February 2nd. A post I had originally planned to share for Tortellini Day (February 13th,) edited and just sitting in a file in a subfolder on an external drive.

I can't claim that I had en epiphany over soup photos, I mean, they are nice photos- but something inside me kicked up that old phrase from my mother. The second half of her advice. "Life seldom goes as planned- the only thing you can control is how you choose to deal with it." Ironically, this goes hand in hand with one of her other favorite phrases- "It is what it is." A phrase I've come to adopt more recently. Sure, I could sit around feeling sorry for myself, or brewing negative thoughts in my head- but the only thing I'm really doing is punishing myself.

So, if you happen to be having a tough day, week, month, or year (like me) maybe Momma's advice can help. After all, you never know when the next very pleasant surprise is just around the corner....

And, without further ado- I present to you the 'Lost' Tortellini post-
I've never made pasta before.

In fact, it's something I can confidently say I felt rather secure in saying I never wanted to. I watch plenty of foodie shows, from professional cooking to home cook competitions and I know all to well, much like a soufflé, one tiny error in timing or measurement can be the difference between a hot mess or a hot success.

So, naturally, it was a silly national holiday- Tortellini Day that inspired me to try 2 things I'd never done before- homemade pasta (stuffed pasta at that) AND a homemade minestrone.
If you're like me and you've lived a life intimidated by the prospect of fresh made pasta, I'm here to say it is entirely doable. I did it on the first attempt.

Granted, I did cover my entire kitchen counter with flour and egg on my first attempt to 'hand mix' the dough. But, hey, I sure felt authentic pouring that egg into the center of a volcano of flour! Yes, your fingers will get impossibly sticky- keep at it, the mess will turn into a lump of dough. And, with proper kneading, you will actually be able to roll it out by hand.

If you're feeling a bit unsure just make sure to don an apron, and watch an Alton Brown video or two- you'll be rolling out fresh pasta in no time.
Of course you can choose to stuff your tortellini with a variety of things- In my world a stuffed pasta without cheese is no pasta at all- So I went with a delicious ricotta-parmesan spinach variation that will perfectly compliment the minestrone soup recipe I've paired with them. This makes the perfectly soft, creamy, tortellini texture really pop in the hearty vegetable soup broth.
I was again intimidated by the prospect of folding my pasta- First I decided on the proper size round cookie cutter and cut a few test circles out. I quickly learned I was not rolling the pasta thin enough- and my circles were not big enough to properly make the seams required to keep my filling from bubbling out when cooking.

A word to the wise- if you let your pasta sit out it will begin to dry and get 'scaly'- it's still edible, but might cook tougher or be hard to fold. To avoid this I cover my pasta dough/cutouts/sheets in a bowl with a damp towel.
homemade spinach ricotta tortellini
To fold a tortellini is actually quite simple. 

Place your filling in the center of your pasta disc leaving about 1/2" from filling to edge. Dip your finger in egg wash and run it along the exposed edge of pasta. Fold your pasta in half to form a semi circle, pressing the seam together, using the egg wash as a binder. Next, pinching the two corners fold the corners in towards each other to form a crescent. Tuch the corners into the very middle- the outer edges should have naturally curled up to form a 'lip'.
The rest is pretty easy-

Whether you choose to cook your minestrone in a pot or a slow cooker, you'll want to store your tortellini in the fridge until about 5-10 minutes before serving. Since minestrone is a slow simmer soup- I enjoy making this recipe on a lazy afternoon, when I can take my time and really fill my home with amazing smells.
chicken brothchicken broth
This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
Here in Southern California, we've already had several "Summer" days, where the temperatures have kissed 100F. So it might seem odd that I'm sharing this Fall soup recipe- remember, this was supposed to go live in February. No worries though, it turns out the winds have been unusually cold here on the SoCal coast and I'll actually be making this recipe again this week. I'm sure plenty of my readers are wishing they had Summer weather- and this soup will come as the perfect cold weather comfort.
This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
I do wish I'd made the broth a little thicker- and think I might add more tomato next time to really simmer down my stock base- thankfully there were plenty of fresh farmer's market veggies in the pot to really give this dish a  hearty, comfort food, feel without the weighing down of other dishes. Best of all, you can really customize the veggies to your family's personal preference, or simply what's freshest in season. The tortellini may seem like the star, but the flavors pop so much, every spoon really is a treat!
Homemade spinach ricotta tortellini
So there you have it- my first try at homemade pasta, ever.
It didn't turn out bad at all, I'd say. And the minestrone made more than enough to share with some family and friends- that's true comfort cooking at it's finest!

What Daughter Says: When life gets messy, make pasta!

This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
Homemade Tortellini Minestrone
***Click here for printable Tortellini Minestrone recipe

5 Amazing And Kinda Messy Things To Do In (Almost) Any Hometown

5 Amazing and Kinda Messy Things To Do In (Almost) Any Hometown #OnTheGo #KleenexWetWipes #AD
Spring is here and with it, for many, comes the sun and many lazy days off for Spring Break.

Whether you get a Spring Break vacation, or not, the many sunny days ahead leading up to and through Summer mean plenty of afternoons and weekends open for exploring. While I wish it was possible to plan a getaway and travel every weekend and break, it's just not practical for the modern 'doer,' so people such as you and I have to find creative ways to get out and have fun. Some of my absolute favorite ways are not only budget friendly, but satisfyingly messy. From down right muddy and color-coated dirty, to more mundane dairy drips and dusty trinkets, I've compiled some of my top 5 Amazing (and kinda mess) Things To Do In (almost) Any Hometown.

Read on to explore with me!
Whether you're simply out and about going on with your daily life, or tackling one of my 5 mini adventures life's bound to be a little messy.

As someone who is a bit, well, anal, about keeping things tidy and clean having things unkempt much farther than the incident that caused them gives me anxiety. Don't get me wrong, I love a good mess- stains, scuffs, and dirt are just a few of the badges any proper doer should wear proudly- but there's also a time to clean them up. Thankfully I don't have to wait until I get home, or a proper washroom to tidy up myself and the scene around me.

Made for Doers NEW Kleenex Wet Wipes come in convenient to take on the go 20 count packages of gentle yet strong wet wipes. With 3 uniquely strong varieties such as Gentle Clean, Sensitive, and Germ Removal you'll always have the clean you need to get clean and back to Doing. All 3 varieties are thick and soft for tough cleaning jobs, free of harsh chemicals, and perfect for hands and faces. You'll find them at Target for just $1.49 a package right next to all of your other favorite Kleenex products- be sure to stock up on some Kleenex Go-Packs too, Kleenex Wipes work great when paired with your favorite Kleenex tissue products!

Now that you're properly ready to tackle nay adventure that life throws at you, let's take a look at my first hometown messy adventure:

#1. Flea Market/Garage Sale/Thrift Store Hunting

So the idea of treasure hunting someone else's long forgotten goods isn't exactly ground-breaking to you, but when was the last time you actually got out there and experienced the thrill of the hunt? I know, personally, every weekend I drive past yard sales in a rush from here to there, getting things 'done' and always think, 'I should stop.' Naturally, I never schedule time to actually stop- but when I DO make time to go out and explore thrift shops, flea markets, and more it truly is an adventure worth having.
Scouting your hometown for local treasures can be as simple as visiting the local second hand or antique store, planning a Saturday yard sale route, or visiting the weekly Flea Market. The latter of which is naturally the most messy- you truly never know what you'll find sprawled along the concrete at a local fairgrounds or parking lot event.

In most cases you'll have to pick up potential treasures to really inspect them for their hidden value, or even re-purpose potential, and the dirt and gunk builds up fast! Halfway through the afternoon when the smell of roasted nuts and fresh fruit cups from the food trucks hit your nose you look like you've been diving in an attic all day. No fear- Kleenex Wet Wipes Germ Removal are the perfect solution for tough and soft cleanliness in a few good swipes.
2. Location Based Treasure Hunting (Geocaching)

This one I'm fairly confident ANYONE can do in their hometown. Even if there aren't many geocaches in existence near you it's fun to spend an afternoon creating, hiding, and registering a cache of your own.

What is geocaching? Well it's a real life treasure hunt which relies on geographical coordinates and written clues to locate small treasures known as caches. You can geocache as casual or intense as you choose- simply printing out a few points of interest before you leave the house, or using a full blown companion application with real time community updates.
There are several guidelines as to what can be a cache and where people can hide them, so you don't have to worry about getting into anything illegal (like trespassing or vandalism). While geocaching is often considered a hobby it's something anybody can do with no prior experience and minimal to no preparation. So, while you might not pick it up as an interest it's definitely something worth exploring for an afternoon.
You are bound to get dirty hunting for those tiny little treasures- things can be stuck magnetically, taped, tied, or even lightly buried. The only real rule in geocaching, when hiding, these little treasure capsules is not to damage ore deface property that does not belong to you. You'll definitely want to bring along some Kleenex Wet Wipes Germ Removal Wipes to keep your hands clean in between peeks and poking around. While you're at it, why not give the capsules you do find a quick little wipe down to freshen them up from weather and wear?
3. It's not your ordinary 5k, kay?

A few years back 'themed' 5k events first began hitting the scene exclusively in large towns across the country. What started as a fad has grown into a global phenomenon- you'll find everything from night time glow runs to muddy tough runs, and (my favorite) color coated jog/walk/skip/dance runs. If you've never looked into attending one of these 'fun run' events you might be surprised just how many take place near you monthly.

There are so many individual events and 'races' being conceived and started every day that even small community events are being organized nationally. And, if the thought of 'running' is why you've never really taken the time to inspect this idea more let me be the first to tell you there's no competition in these fun events. Generally everyone gets a participation metal, no awards or times are handed out- and you can quite literally stroll, cartwheel, or casually walk from the starting line to finish.
Kleenex Wet Wipes at Target are just $1.49 a package and perfect for clean up after fun runs! #OnTheGo #KleenexWetWipes #AD
Even better exercise is exercise and the very fact that you're choosing to get out in the fresh air and sunshine and hauling yourself across 5k (which really isn't that much) of terrain, while being social, is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

While every one of these 'fun runs' have their own theme, my favorite are the ones involving glitter, mud, or color. Jay and I will typically put a little time in planning face-paint, outfits, and more to really have FUN with the day. The messes, however, are intense- this definitely tops my list as the messiest local activity. You'll want to pack a Kleenex Wet Wipes Gentle Clean for your face, hands, and more, and leave another package in the car to wipe down any stray color or glitter that inevitably will 'puff' out of your very clothing and pores on the way home.
4. Let it go to the dogs (and cats)

This 4th kinda messy adventure for any hometown is definitely my favorite and absolutely free- no money involved, outside of gas to travel if you only have a county specific location to visit.

That's right, the local animal shelter, OR animal rescue non profit organization.

These facilities are always looking for people to come by and spend time with the animals waiting for their new furrever homes. No commitment needed. In fact many county sized shelters even have designated co-habiting rooms for several animals to live and interact in outside of traditional kennels or cages.

Our Camarillo Animal Shelter has a lovely cat room for senior (over 7 years) kitties that anyone in the public can walk into during business hours and play with and pet the wonderful kitties. Come for 5 minutes, or stay for an hour- leave with a completely refreshing attitude on life. These animals spend the majority of their days waiting for new homes alone with minimal human interaction. Volunteers do their best but most facilities are over-crowded and one-on-one time just isn't there.
Fancy canines instead?

Most organizations are happy to let you take a dog out to a designated play space and run around with a pup no commitment required. Just explain that you're not currently looking to adopt but would like to help make a dog's day better, and they'll completely understand.

Of course, I can't say that doing this free activity won't result in you bringing a new family member home- it can be quite addictive!

Be sure to bring your Kleenex Wet Wipes along to tidy those hands in between animals (you don't want to contaminate animals kept in seclusion or kennels) and also for your own cleanliness when moving about the shelter or facility.
Speaking of pets- every day is an adventure in your hometown when you have a dog (or many in our case.)

Much like human children they seem to be mess magnets- I'm not sure how something attached to my arm with a lead ends up wandering into so may mud puddles and dirt clumps, but our 2lb terrier yorkie mix, Gidget is the queen of it! Just look at how muddy her little paws got on a recent walk at the harbor this past weekend!
If you have dogs, especially dogs that go EVERYWHERE with you then you know the need for a gentle, dye/alcohol/paraben free, solution to the many messes those paws and snouts seem to find their way into.

We love Kleenex Wet Wipes Sensetive for our tiny paws and whiskered faces. Whether it's cleaning up that leftover whipped cream from the Starbuck's Puppachino or wiping down muddy paws after a wayward adventure, the easy to pack and effectively strong Kleenex Wet Wipes are a must for any dog parent!
Inevitably, while we are out on all of these local messy adventures we always wind up stopping into our local Target for odds and ends. Either Kay forgot to pack sunscreen or we simply need more snacks to stash in the cooler for the evening's events. In either case, we love that we can grab a few more Kleenex Wet Wipes packs for just $1.49 before heading back out on the day's exploration and fun.
5. Eat the town.

This may seem self explanatory but your local flavor has an abundance to offer from fine dining to taco carts on the site of the road to that new Vegan bistro that just opened up downtown. You have to eat 3 times a day every day anyway so why not decide to go out and explore some new eateries and have a mini gastronomic adventure?

Whether it's a commitment to finally get that 5 scoop ice cream from the parlor down at the harbor, or to try that fresh catch of the day seafood place, there's plenty to explore outside your usual stomping grounds. Sure, it could be hit or miss on what you find, but playing food critic is never dull and always worth it in stories, experience, and more.

When we head out to eat the town we have a general rule of thumb, er sticky fingers- the messier it is, the tastier it probably is! Kleenex Wet Wipes Sensitive are perfect for cleaning faces and hands in between bites!
So there you have it, my top 5 Messy Adventures For (almost any) Hometown- which adventure will you set off on this weekend? Have you done any of these before in your town, and if so, what is your favorite? No matter where your feet, or stomach, takes you be sure to stop by your local Target first to stock up on a variety of Kleenex Wet Wipes for just $1.49 a package!