Nobody likes a sad, skinny baby...nobody!

Whether I’m ordering a meal at a restaurant or cooking up something at home, enjoying what I eat brings me immense satisfaction. On the other hand, being disappointed in a meal sends me into tantrum mode.

I expect certain things out of a dining experience. I’m realistic about the standards I hold for each place, from the local taco bar to the five star steak house. What I've decided is that it's about a perfect balance between service, food quality, ambiance and price. That may seem like a lot to juggle, but Houston is a big city with a plethora of restaurants to choose from. There’s no reason to expect anything less than the best.

If you strip my needs down to the bare essentials, you'll find I'm very much like a baby; I love tasty food and I love to be happy. If an experience doesn't generate a sense of fulfillment for those two basic're gonna hear me cry.

Nobody likes a sad, skinny baby...nobody!

Homemade Pesto & Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta

The Skinny: Roll your sleeves up and get ready to earn your meal.

The Fat: Blah, blah, blah about the economy and how we have to keep an eye on spending and cut down on dining out. WE GET IT. But dining in doesn't have to feel like punishment, it can be a fun activity that helps you really appreciate the food you put in your body.

You know I'm not exactly a health nut, but I don't eat fried food every day either. It's all about balance and enjoying yourself. I do love when I can almost cook a whole meal from things I already have at home...makes me feel so "old world."

I have a basil plant that was just asking for a pruning..and so it was "Pesto Night". I thought, since I'm already making the Pesto from scratch, why not play full out and make the pasta too. So my 15 year old goddaughter and I put our aprons on and set about creating the best meal ever!

Here's what you'll need: (besides some time to kill and elbow grease)

To make the Whole Wheat Pasta: Takes about 1-2 hours. I would start making the pasta first, then while the dough is resting turn out the pesto.

  • 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups of unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • little bit of water on hand
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl or on a large clean workspace. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the olive oil and mix. Add eggs one at a time, while mixing quickly with a fork until the dough is wet enough to come together. If it's still dry and some flour has not come together, add drops of water and continue mixing until it comes together. Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is stiff and elastic. Cover, and let stand for 30 minutes to relax. (this is a good time to make the pesto)

I like to cut the dough into three manageable pieces and roll them into balls. I take one ball at a time and set the rest aside. Keep your surface floured so the dough doesn't stick. With a rolling pin I roll it out - flip- roll it out- flip and repeat until the dough is as thin as possible.

Use a sharp knife (or my favorite pasta making tool - a pizza cutter) to trim just enough of the edges to make the rolled out dough into a square or rectangle. Put the scraps with the extra dough. Use the cookie cutter to cut the dough into thin strips..aka your pasta.

Repeat this process until you've used all the dough, laying each batch of pasta out to dry on a clean cutting board or kitchen towel until they've dried (between 15mis & 1hour)

Right before you're ready to eat- add pasta to boiling water, cook for 3-4 minutes & drain. Mix pesto into hot pasta and the two will be ready to eat fresh off the stove.

Pesto (takes about 15 minutes to make)
  • Two (tightly packed) cups of basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbs pine nuts
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2tbs soft butter
Some recipes will say "drizzle this slowly over this" and "put this in first and this in later". I say just throw all the ingredients all into a food processor and push the button. When it's all processed and looks like got PESTO.

Pour desired amount over hot pasta, mix and serve....ugh! so yummy!

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