Tagliatelle con prosciutto e funghi (tagliatelle pasta with prosciutoo and mushrooms)

Posted in Food! with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2012 by gearsofmymind

My first adventure with food as part of my New Year’s resolution. Follow it all at http://www.gearsofmymind.com

So this was my first time making pasta completely from scratch… it was definitely a new experience.  All in all it took me about 2 hours to make just the pasta.  The things I noticed were the dough was really dry at first so I did need to add a decent amount of water and I may not have used the best kind of prosciutto.  If you try this, I definitely wouldn’t jump the gun on adding water to the dough. From my experience making pizza dough, just a tiny bit of water can make a big difference so take it slow.  Also, the prosciutto I used was very very dry, granted prosciutto is naturally a pretty dry meat, I probably should have gone with the nicer stuff.  Ask the deli you go to for a suggestion on the best kind to use for mixing in to pasta.

Overall, I thought the experience went pretty well. My roommate enjoyed it so as long as that’s the truth it must have been alright.

Pasta Dough

  • 2 and a 1/2 cups of unbleached flour
  • 3 large eggs

Sauce

  • 6 ounces 1/8 inch-thick slices prosciutto
  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large or 5 small sage leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

To Make Dough by Hand:

  • Pour flour into a mixing bowl and make a “well” or pit into the center.
  • Break the eggs into the well.
  • Using a fork, slowly blend the flour and eggs until they are well blended
  • If the mixture is wet, slowly add a little flour; if the mixture is dry, slowly add a little water (I found that the mixture was really dry so I had to add water until it was good to go.)
  • Knead the dough until the dough has a consistent color and texture.
  • Form the dough into a mound shape and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the ingredients to blend together.
  • Cut the dough into 3 pieces and get the roll on with your pasta machine.
  • Once you have a number of pasta sheets, with the narrow end of 1 pasta sheet facing you, loosely roll up the sheet away from you.  Before rolling the dough, lightly dust with flour to prevent them from sticking.  With a sharp chefs knife, cut rolled sheet crosswise into scant 1/4 inch-wide strips. Unroll strips and hang on pasta drying rack.

To Make Pasta Sauce:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut prosciutto crosswise into matchsticks and slice mushrooms.

In a large nonstick skillet, combine shallot, butter and sage; heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Remove sage, then stir in prosciutto and cook for 1 minute more.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (about 3 minutes for fresh pasta). Meanwhile, add cream to skillet; bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in parsley and cheese; remove sauce from heat.

When pasta is al dente, reserving 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, drain pasta, return to pot, add sauce and toss to combine. Moisten with pasta cooking liquid, if desired. Serve immediately.

The sauce recipe comes from the September/October 2010 issue of La Cucina Italiana.

The dough recipe comes from the instructions of my Roma Pasta Machine. (I meant to use the one in La Cucina Italiana but wasn’t paying attention.)

2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2012 by gearsofmymind

Follow this all at http://www.gearsofmymind.com

When 2012 came around, I decided to make one big New Year’s resolution. I kept it simple. “Be more awesome.”  Alright so that’s the Spark Notes version of it.  The last two years have been very different for me.  I graduated from college and started my first career oriented job.  I’ve counted myself successful in both of those areas.  Outside of that, however, things have been a toss up for me. I’ve had a great deal of drama with love and am still putting together a life in Portland.  I have a handful of friends from college living in the area, so I’ve really hard to start anew. To be honest… it didn’t quite go the way I had hoped it to. I was continually trying to better myself, to motivate myself outside of work, and struggled a little bit.  During the summer last year I was finally able to really motivate myself to be dedicated to staying fit, and it was an incredible experience for me.

All of this has played into my resolutions for 2012.  As I’ve struggled being out of a relationship (just with all the baggage that comes with a hard breakup after a long relationship), I’ve made this year about me.  I want to be a better person. Now, I don’t look at myself and feel ashamed or anything like that. I’m really proud of who I am and where I’ve come in life.  But, as any self-respecting individual knows, there is always room for improvement.  Broken down, my New Year’s resolution of “Be more awesome” manifests itself in four parts.

  1. Continually seeking to improve myself and outlook on life.
  2. Setting fitness and diet goals, reaching them, and creating healthy habits.
  3. Cooking more and exploring lots of different foods.
  4. Returning to my one true passion… music.

For each part, I’m going to keep a blog.  You can find each up at the top.  The most important thing about this resolution is I’m doing it for myself. I’m not trying to impress anyone, not trying to get anyone’s attention. I want to focus on myself and I want to get to know myself better.  Happiness is driven from within.  I’m happy as it is, but I want to build and expand on it.  I’m keeping these blogs for myself, to watch my progress, to put my thoughts to paper (or electronic paper I suppose).  And maybe, if anyone is actually reading this, they might relate to some things and set out on their own journey.

As it says at the top, I’m going to keep this blog updated, but I’m also running a much cleaner blog at http://www.gearsofmymind.com.  I’ll always put my entries on this blog, but it’ll be easier to follow along at my website.

Fitness: And so it begins…

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1, 2012 by gearsofmymind

Follow me at http://www.gearsofmymind.com

 

2012 will be a big year for me.  Last  year, I dedicated myself to an extreme workout regiment, diet, and even signed up for personal trainer sessions. I was working out twice a day, five days a week from June thru September (missing a few days on occasion for rest or other duties).  I dropped about 8 pounds to get around 150 (I’m not that tall so keep that in mind haha) and brought my body fat percentage down from 15% to around 8.5% at its lowest.

 

My overriding goal for 2012… build a physique that I’m happy with.  For me, that will take shape in a few different ways.

  1. Work on developing my shoulder muscles. These are hands down the part of my body I’m the least proud of.
  2. Work on having a legit six-pack that doesn’t involve me having to suck it all in.
  3. Focus on defining all of muscles.
  4. Maintain a BMI less than 10%.
  5. Keep myself under 160 pounds (I am not trying to bulk up much at all and this will keep me from turning into one of those crazy meatheads).
  6. Run at least two 5ks this year and try for a 10k (I’m not a fan of just running for the sake of running so this will be a big thing for me).

 

So those are my goals. May seem pretty basic. But hey, I’m not trying to impress you. I’m working for myself and no one else.  This blog will take shape with me posting all of my workouts each day I workout and if I’m good enough at writing things down, I’ll post my diet for that day as well.  This won’t be anything crazy, but I’m hoping to build a very strong workout routine that helps me meet my goals.

Music

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25, 2011 by gearsofmymind

Music has always been my expression.
I’ve always used it in some way to relieve my feelings or express my emotions.
I have so much music, so many songs to listen to. They match my mood, pick me up, help me out.

When things are rough… I write music.
When things are happy… I write music.

I’m not that good at it and I’m not that talented but it let’s me express so much.
It also lets me say things that I would otherwise be too afraid to say.

Lately though… I haven’t been able to write anything. I’m continually disappointed in everything that comes out.  I haven’t been able to express anything.  It goes hand in hand with how I’ve felt about so many things.  Again, this is a plea of depression or anything like that. I’m happy. I’ve been through a lot, but I’m happy.  I’m just a little shaken up I guess. It’s like I don’t have the ability to feel much.  Well maybe not that extreme but maybe I’m just blocking my emotions because I’ve had them trampled on so much before.

I’m hoping the music will come back. I kind of really need it.

What Would You Do?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2011 by gearsofmymind

“Would you do, anything I wanna do
I want to believe in you, oh baby
Would you go, anywhere I wanna go
Around the world and back home, oh baby”

 

Things are changing for me.  I’m trying to figure everything out.  Am I doing the right things? Am I believing in the right things?

What would I do for love? What would I do to find that happiness?

It’s simple… damn near anything (as long as it didn’t maliciously hurt anyone)

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about my self-image and confidence lately.  People at work feel like I’m such a confident person that when they see me outside of work they are kind of confused.  I’m comfortable at work. It took me a while to get to that point, but I’m there. I’m tenured and established myself as a hard worker, as a good worker.  Since I started to have that confidence I started to branch out and interact more, talk with people more, be confident in my success.

Outside of work it’s a mess.  My self-confidence is terrible.  I have  mindset that no one could be interested in me.  I know I’m no movie star, but I also know that I’m a decent looking guy, maybe even slightly above average if I’m feeling confident haha.  I’m well rounded, responsible, caring, loving, open minded and very dependable.  I know what my strengths are. I know my weaknesses.  I know that I do a lot of things well and that in all reality I’m a pretty good catch… yet I can’t get that to translate into confidence.  I’m convinced that even with all of that… no one will care.  I’m nothing special, I’m boring.  Now I’m not depressed about this.  These thoughts don’t make me sad. I’m at a happy point in my life.  But I wonder where my confidence has gone.  I was never crazy cocky or egotistical, I know I had my cocky moments though (but it never had to do with getting a girls attention).  But I did used to be confident. I used to believe who I was was something special.  For so long now, when a girl shows interest (assuming I’m understanding it correctly) I immediately start to deny it. I think that girl? She’s great! What could she possibly see in me?  It’s even started to happen with her. She loved me for so long, but now I don’t even have the confidence to convince myself there’s anything appealing about me.

I really want to work this out.  I’m in this rut that I need to get out of.  Maybe just maybe there are people out there that can see the good in me and like me for that.  But I guess before that can happen, I have to believe it too. I have to believe I’m worth something and I have to believe that someone really could be interested in me again.

 

What would I do to believe in myself again?
What would I do to believe I was something special?

 

I’m not sure, but I’m figuring it out.

Undeniable

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2011 by gearsofmymind

“It’s undeniable, how brilliant you are
In an unreliable world you shine like a star
It’s unforgettable now that we’ve come this far
It’s unmistakable that you’re undeniable”

 

I can’t deny how much I love her, how much I still care for her.
Every part of me misses her… her smile… her laugh… her touch… her love.

I’m having a hard time.  I don’t know what to do.  Should I distance myself, should I just bite my lip and hang in there?

I saw a picture of her… and him.

It hurt.

It hurts.

 

How can I hang on? How can I hang in there? I find my confidence dwindling. I feel like I’m only good enough for second hand love.

I know that’s not true, but I can’t help but feel that way sometimes.  She tells me not to worry and I believe her. Despite all that we’ve been through I believe her. I don’t know any other feeling but belief.  Love can make us blind. I know that. But I like to hope that what I see is true.

What part will I play in her life in a month? In three? In six? In a year?  Will I have to go through this same thing again? The pain of knowing the one girl I’ve loved unconditionally for over three years is in someone else’s arms? I know I’m not perfect, but I know no one has tried as hard as I have.  That doesn’t mean I’ve done it all perfectly, but when I’ve messed up, I’ve picked myself up, brushed the dirt off, and tried it again.  I’ve been there for her always, no matter what.  Even when I haven’t been the one she wished she was talking to, I’ve been there… I will continue to be there.

So many of her words ring through my thoughts. She thinks she’s still looking for the guy that’s right for her… what am I supposed to do?

I know what’d she say “You don’t have to wait”

But I have no choice.  I don’t want to be the one sitting here waiting but I can’t deny how I feel, I can’t lie to myself, and I can’t lie to others.

I guess sometimes I just need to vent. I don’t talk to anyone about this because I know what they’ll say to me.  I can’t really talk to her about it because I don’t want to put that pressure on her. I want her to be doing what she wants to do. I want her to smile for all the right reasons, and I want her to be smiling everyday.

It’s undeniable that I love her.
It’s undeniable that she deserves to be happy.
I just don’t know if it’s undeniable that she’ll be happier with someone else.

A Smile

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2011 by gearsofmymind

A smile on my face.

My day started out right… words from her and finally being able to talk.

Everything else just went right after that =)

I’m going to sleep with a smile on my face and I’m thinking of her =)

Thinking of you…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 14, 2011 by gearsofmymind

So many things… so much going on… life is crazy, chaotic, calm…

Through it all I’m always thinking of you… always loving you.

Forrest Gump

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2011 by gearsofmymind

I watched Forrest Gump (well like the last half) with my roommates tonight.

 

I forgot how much I really enjoy that movie.  It’s funny and really enjoyable.  It’s also really touching.  Forrest’s commitment to Jenny is moving. He loves her and no matter what she does, where she goes, he still loves her.  Now I know it’s a movie so certain things are obviously a little dramatic.  Still it was really nice to see that.   I mean if Forrest Gump can do it, I’m sure I can =P haha

 

Love asks for some of the most difficult things at times, but what is amazing is love’s ability to overcome so many obstacles, so many side tracks.  I can’t go a day without thinking of her (in reality I’m probably not even going a few hours without a thought of her).  I love her. I need to learn to accept what I’ve done, accept where I am, and just keep loving her.

 

My love can overcome anything… and it will.

Reflection

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2011 by gearsofmymind

Today was a day of reflection.

I went out with a co-worker to watch the Michigan, Notre Dame football game.  He’s one of those guys that’s really fun but rarely shows a serious side.

 

I’ve gotten to know him a lot better recently but still didn’t really know much about “him.”  I did know that he was engaged earlier this year and he called it off.  I talked to him about that for a really long time.  Wondered why and what exactly happened.  He explained it to me and I was surprised.  He was still in love with her, but it was her family that put a great deal of pressure on him.  Her parents bought a condo in Portland after they got engaged and her mom started showing up at her place all the time… she was always there when he got home from work.  He tried to talk about it with her but it got nowhere.  Now keep in mind that this is a very simplified version of the story and there was a great deal of additional stuff that added to his decision (lavish lifestyle being one of them… she and her family spent money like it was going out of style) but that was the breaking point.

 

One of his friends also ran into him while we were watching the game.  He hadn’t seen this guy in quite some time and I overheard their conversation as they were catching up.  He apparently used to be pretty damn wealthy but lost a great deal of his wealth in 2008/09.  Things for him seemed to just spiral out of control from there. He had been with his girlfriend for some time but things weren’t going well. Apparently he thought she was cheating on him and they would get in terrible fights. He even said that at one point he threw a beer bottle up the stairs after she had gone in the room… Long story short they broke up after a few more months of terrible nasty fighting.

 

It always surprises me to hear all of this kind of stuff… I could never do something like that. Never get so violent and angry.  I know I’ve had my own temper tantrums on a few occasions, but to hear what he said and what he did…. I just couldn’t comprehend.  If you truly love someone, you would never do something like that to them.  It’s inevitable that two people will have disagreements at some point in time, or may get upset over things… but it should NEVER elevate to that level.

 

I reflected on my own life… on me.  I realize I’ve come a long way in the way that I deal with problems, disagreements and being upset.  I’m still not perfect, but I feel like I’ve done well and can’t remember the last time I really raised my voice in anger.  That’s not to say I haven’t been emotional and expressed myself, but it’s been quite some time since I really yelled and let my anger take over.

 

Hearing all of this stuff, and talking about some of the things in my life with him really made me reflect.

 

I’m an alright guy.  I’m an honest guy that truly cares about the ones I love. I would do anything and everything for those I care about and I would do even more for the one I love. I try my best to be a gentleman and always try to respect other’s views. I’m not perfect at this, but I whole heartedly try to at least understand them so if I’m wrong I can see it.  I do my best to surprise the one I love and keep things fresh. And I will ALWAYS do my best to give her what she wants. I will not half ass it and I will not procrastinate.  I will do all that I can.

 

Still, as I thought about all of this stuff… I could only think of her.  Only think of the way she makes me feel… the way that she motivates me to do everything I can for you, to always make her happy.  I protect my own happiness too, but when she’s happy it makes everything perfect.  If I’m down, but I can see a smile on her face, it lifts me up.

 

I don’t want to let her down again.  I want to make her the happiest girl in the world.

I don’t want to stop loving her. I want her to know that my love will never cease and will always have its arms open to her.

 

I want her to know I love her and no matter what we’ve been through, it won’t change. I see a happy future with her… and I’m going to make that happen.