3 Homemade Dessert Recipes You’ll LOVE – NSC Series

3 Homemade Dessert Recipes You’ll LOVE

If you’re like me, the hardest part of this No Spend Challenge is finding ways to still get some dessert. I’ve scavenged my cupboards and come up with three homemade dessert recipes for you to try (with ingredients you probably already have)!

This Sunday we couldn’t make it to our scheduled church visit. The drive was about three hours, but the roads were covered in sheets of ice, the snow was drifting, and the wind was howling. The conditions were just too bad to make it there. So, since we couldn’t make it, we decided it would be a great day for a lazy day at home (that almost never happens).

We slept in a little later than normal, woke up to the sun pouring through our windows and the wind knocking on our walls, put on our slippers, and padded into the kitchen for some breakfast. After searching through our cupboards and deciding that cereal, eggs, and leftovers just don’t sound that good – we decided to make chocolate chip muffins. Not just any chocolate chip muffins though: warm, melt-y, made-in-the-microwave-in-only-two-minutes muffins.

We cuddled into our robes and devoured our mug-muffins with no regard to the below zero temps outside. It was a beautiful morning.

And don’t worry, that’s one of the recipes I’m going to share with you today!

Homemade Dessert Recipes (1)

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.

3 Homemade Dessert Recipes

homemade dessert recipes (3)

Chocolate Chip Coffee Mug Muffins

  • Pinch of Baking Powder & Baking Soda
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • Little less than 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • Chocolate Chips

Mix together in a coffee mug. Microwave for around two minutes. Presto!

Creamy Cream Cheese-Cake

  • Crescent Rolls – These can be either store-bought or homemade. I like to use THIS recipe that I found on Just a Pinch.
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375.’ Stretch 1/2 the crescent rolls across the bottom of a cake pan (greased). Mix together the sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla. Spread mixture across crescent rolls. Spread the second half of crescent rolls across the top of the mixture. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the crescent rolls. Place in oven and cook until golden brown. Yum!

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Pudding

  • Chocolate Pudding – This can be either store-bought or homemade
  • 1 Cup Strawberries – 1/2 Cup Halved and 1/2 Cup Chopped Up
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • Fudge Ice Cream Topping – This can be either store-bought or homemade

Fill cups with pudding about 3/4 of the way. Place the 1/2 cup chopped strawberries into a blender or food processor with the 1 Tbsp sugar. Blend well. Pour mixture on top of the chocolate pudding. Place 1/2 Strawberry in each cup. Drizzle with fudge ice cream topping. Enjoy!

homemade dessert recipes (2)

Homemade Dessert Recipes

There you have it: 3 homemade dessert recipes that you, your family, and your friends are sure to love. In most cases, you probably have these ingredients just lying around the house – why not put them to work? Substitutions work too, if you don’t have what you need! Experiment and see what you can come up with.

Just a recap:

  • Chocolate Chip Coffee Mug Muffins
  • Creamy Cream Cheese-Cake
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pudding

Now, if you didn’t remember, today is day 12 of the No Spend Challenge – we are coming close to being halfway done and we are still somehow making it through. I hope that you guys are as well!

Here’s your inspiration for the day, our quote by Zig Ziglar.

Quote - Day 12

“You were born to WIN, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to WIN.” -Zig Ziglar

The same goes for paying off debt, getting that savings going, succeeding at this challenge, and just living life to the fullest. In order to accomplish your goals, you must plan, prepare, and expect to accomplish them. It’s all about your mindset (you can read more about that HERE).

Make the choice to WIN today – succeed at your goals and take yourself one step closer to the life you are dreaming of living!

What does your plan to succeed look like? What are your goals?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Making Homemade Bread can save you TONS – NSC Series

Making Homemade Bread can save you TONS

Making homemade bread is one of those things that everyone should learn how to do at some point in their lives. The benefits far outweigh the work and once you figure out how to make one type, you can make just about everything (I know, I’ve tried)! The taste is amazing, the texture is great, it’s warm, and it can save you tons of money, but don’t take my word for it: I’ve got a couple examples of others who enjoy homemade bread, a cost analysis, and some recipes for you to enjoy!

Imagine enjoying a steaming hot bowl of soup while dipping in a warm, soft piece of freshly baked bread…

Imagine waking up in the morning to the scent of homemade cinnamon rolls smothered in cream cheese frosting wafting down the halls…

Imagine pulling apart a big, soft pretzel – still warm and sprinkled with salt – and dipping it into some melted cheese…

Now, instead of imagining it – let’s make it a reality.

Making Homemade Bread

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.

Why Making Homemade Bread is Important

I know what you are thinking: it’s a lot of work to make homemade bread just because it tastes good. However, don’t let the work scare you away. There are so many reasons why you should make homemade bread.

A good friend of mine, Lisa, outlines them in her blog, Comfortably Imperfect (Click HERE).

She states in her post 6 Reasons Why You Should Make Homemade Bread;

  1. Homemade bread is so much better for you.
  2. Homemade bread tastes so much better than store bought.
  3. It is much easier to make than you think.
  4. Making your own bread will save you money.
  5. There is something deeply satisfying about making food from scratch.
  6. Your friends and family will think you are a rockstar

Go check out the rest of her post (HERE) for a more in-depth explanation of each of these. I promise it’s worth it, she’s an awesome blogger!

Making Homemade Bread (2)

Making Homemade Bread: Cost Analysis

Now, I want to go a little deeper into her point number four about how making homemade bread can save you money. Do you remember when I did the cost analysis on making homemade pasta and discovered you could save over $100? If not, check it out (HERE); How Making Homemade Pasta could save you Hundreds.

Anyway, I plan to do the same cost analysis here with you today so that you can easily see how making homemade bread can save you tons of money!

Let’s take a normal loaf of traditional white bread. In both price examples, we are looking at the cost of one loaf of bread.

Homemade Bread Store-Bought Bread
Ingredients 26 oz Salt: $.75 Store-Bought Bread: $3
48 oz Oil: $2.28
5 lb Flour: $2
4 lb Sugar: $2.38
4 oz Active Dry Yeast: $4.78
Average Cost for 1 Loaf $.38 $3

I know you are probably wondering where these numbers come from. Well, I took the average cost of ingredients for the homemade bread from the stores in my area. These could differ some based on your area.

As for the store-bought loaf of bread, I used a decent-quality loaf of bread on the low-end of the scale. I know that there are breads that you can get for closer to $2 if you sacrifice quality and other breads that you can get for $5+ if you want super high quality (I promise that the homemade bread is higher quality than this, though). I chose to stick in the middle/low end to give you all a decent idea of what this will save you.

Anyway, here’s where the final average cost per loaf comes from for making homemade bread as opposed to purchasing it from the store.

Let’s break it down one ingredient at a time:

  • 26 oz Salt – $.75: One 26 oz container of salt can create 144 batches of homemade bread making it $.005 per loaf.
  • 48 oz Oil – $2.28: One 48 oz container of oil can create 96 batches of homemade bread making it $.02 per loaf.
  • 5 lb Flour – $2: One 5 pound bag of flour can create 10 batches of homemade bread making it $.2 per loaf.
  • 4 lb Sugar – $2.38: One 4 pound bag of sugar can create around 150 batches of homemade bread making it $.01 per loaf.
  • 4 oz Active Dry Yeast – $4.78: One 4 oz jar of active dry yeast can create around 34 batches of homemade bread making it $.14 per loaf.

As you can see, with these ingredients, it costs roughly $.38 to bake one loaf of bread at home. Thirty-eight cents – how awesome is that?!

There is an upfront cost of $12.19 to buy the ingredients in bulk (it’d be pretty hard to buy one teaspoon of salt at a time…), but I promise it’s worth it. Don’t believe me? Check out the numbers below.

Now, I also want you to realize that I am doing this cost analysis based on you eating a loaf of homemade bread two times per week. Remember that you can also save money on this homemade bread by making your own cinnamon rolls, pretzels, crescent rolls, etc. and eat like kings for super cheap. In my house, we use recipes like these almost every, single day – so I know that we save more than we outlined here in this post.

The question is: will you actually save tons of money as I have suggested? Will it be worth your while? Let’s do the math and find out.

If you eat two loaves of store-bought bread per week for 52 weeks, you will spend a total of $312 – which isn’t too bad at all. The cost is $6 per week, which is pretty slim when you consider how many meals you can serve with a loaf of bread.

Now, to take a look at why making homemade bread is so much better. If you eat two loaves of homemade bread per week for the entire year, you’ll spend a total of $39.52.

What?! That’s right. You read that right. Each week you’ll spend less than $.80 and each year you’ll spend less than $40. How cool is that? Now, when I told you about making homemade pasta, I found a way to cut your bill in half saving you over $100. However, as you can tell, making your own bread far surpasses that total cutting your bill by more than SEVEN TIMES.

Over the course of the year, your family will save $272.48 – TONS of money – just by making homemade bread!

My wife and I have chosen not to buy any more store-bought bread – it’s simply too expensive once you are able to make your own. You don’t knead a bread machine to start making your own bread, but even if you purchase a bread maker you’ll make up your expenses within a few short months – how cool is that? Imagine having $272.48 in your pocket every year!

Making Homemade Bread: The Recipe

Now it’s time for the recipe. I know there are many different recipes out there, but I want to make sure that you get the one we did our cost analysis on. Remember, you can also make crescent rolls, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, pretzels, and more once you get the hang of it – saving you even more per year than what you’ll already save with loaves of bread!


  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Active Dry Yeast

For the full recipe, visit the Oster website. We use the Oster 1 pound traditional white bread loaf recipe that came in our Bread Machine’s cookbook. We found a similar one online from Oster, but it creates a 2 pound loaf, so we cut this in half. Here’s the link (HERE): http://www.food.com/recipe/bread-machine-2-lb-traditional-white-bread-285666

Making Homemade Bread (1)

Thank you for reading!

I hope this post helps you to further your bread-making skills and save tons of money. I know it has helped us. Imagine: over $200 every year! Crazy stuff.

Anyway, it’s day 11 of the No Spend Challenge already and things are going well. I hope the same is true for all of you!

Our quote for the day is by Benjamin Franklin and really encompasses our post for today.

Quote - Day 11

“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” -Benjamin Franklin

As I continue through this challenge, I realize how much the little things add up. Like today’s post on bread: sure it’s only $3 a loaf, but that’s $312 per year! I used to go to Starbucks often too, or grab a soda at the gas station, but then I think more about how much those little things add up and how quickly they can sink your financial ship. Just something to keep in mind as we move forward!

What is your favorite homemade food to make?

Leave your responses in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

How to Crochet a Blanket: The perfect gift

How to Crochet a Blanket: the perfect gift for any occasion

When I first learned how to crochet a blanket, I was in the hospital. No, I wasn’t actually in the hospital, but my father was. He had been in a horrible accident causing him to break half the bones in his body and become permanently disabled. I was 12.

The accident led to an elongated stay at the Iowa City Hospital. My mother and I, with no car, stayed there alongside him throughout his journey. Days upon days of waiting for visiting calls (once an hour for 15 minutes or so) led to nights upon nights of sleeping in waiting room chairs.

I’m not here to complain about the situation. It was long and hard, life-changing and awful, but as with everything – you eventually have to pick yourself up and move on. The accident left us with a hole in our hearts, but we have my father with us still and I am happy to be able to talk to him, spend time with him, and see him often. I grew and am stronger for having experienced it.

How to crochet a blanket

What I am here to say is that crocheting became an escape for me during this time of crisis in my family. Every once and a while we would get visitors at the hospital. Throughout our time there, over a month, family members would come to see how dad was doing, how we were doing, and be present with us in those moments.

I remember my best childhood friend visiting early on in our stay. We ran around the hospital, went up and down the elevators, and played on the children’s outdoor play equipment. She stayed for a day and had to leave.

After that my mother and I spent all of our time together. We played games in the waiting room, we went out to the smoking area, and we talked. There were times we stocked up on food at the cafeteria in case we ran out of money. There were times where we struggled to find a place to rest and sleep, but we made it through, nevertheless.

When my aunt came to visit, with my uncle, she decided that we needed something to do that wasn’t simply sitting around worrying and fretting. My mom stayed at the hospital while I traveled with my aunt to a nearby crafting store. She exclaimed that it was time I learned how to crochet a blanket

We purchased skein after skein of yarn, a hook for my mother and a hook for myself, and set back toward the hospital. Sitting in the waiting room chairs, my aunt and my mom taught me how to crochet a blanket using singles, doubles, triples, and chains. I didn’t have a pattern, but it didn’t matter. I set to work crocheting a pink, blue, and multi-colored purple blanket.

The crocheting kept me from counting my father’s breaths, from smelling the familiar scents of the hospital, and from becoming encompassed by the institutional walls around us. When my mother and I went outside to the smoker’s lounge, the partially completed blanket kept me warm.

Once we left the hospital, I set down the project and didn’t pick it back up again for years. The sting of the hospital stuck to the yarn of the blanket and I couldn’t handle its intensity. It wasn’t until six years later than I finally picked it back up and completed it.

Now, I know that the skill my aunt taught me – how to crochet a blanket – kept me sane during our stay at the hospital. I also know that it is a life skill that I am excited to know and utilize it often. Crocheted blankets are perhaps my favorite Christmas gift to give to family and friends.

how to crochet a blanket 2

How to Crochet a Blanket

Crocheting a blanket is easier than you may think and there are many ways to go about it. While I won’t give you the exact patterns here (you don’t even necessarily need them), you can find some great ones at Ravelry.

When learning how to crochet a blanket, I recommend starting with this three types and expanding from there.

Throw or Baby Blanket

Creating a throw or a baby blanket is the easiest blanket to create. Basically: you start by chaining yarn until you reach your desired width for the blanket. Turn your chain and single crochet in each of your chain stitches. Turn again and create another row.

Tip: The easiest way to do this blanket is to follow this structure: Single, Double, Triple, Double, Single. Repeat until you reach your desired length of blanket.


Sure, there are more in-depth, fancy ways to do this, but this is a great place to start when you are learning how to crochet a blanket for the first time.

how to crochet a blanket 1

Quilted Blanket

The quilted blanket is second on the list because the concept is simple, the project isn’t too difficult, but it does become more time-consuming than the throw or baby blanket version. Basically, choose a type of granny square or decorative crochet square and start crocheting. Make as many as it takes, in whatever colors you like, to create a blanket.

Tip: Lay all of your squares on the floor to determine how many it will take to be the right size, what order you want them to sit in, and how they will look.

Once you finish crocheting these squares, use yarn to either sew them together with a yarn needle or crochet them together with looping chains.

Patterned Blanket

This one looks the neatest at the end, but definitely takes some time to make. If you have the patience, this blanket becomes a gorgeous finished product and I certainly recommend it. Similar to the quilted blanket pattern, you’ll need to create granny squares. The difference with this one is that you need the colors to match to create a pattern. Pictured below is a woven pattern created with yellow and blue mini squares (granny squares where the last row is not completed).

Tip: With this one you may want to do some research online for a pattern that you would like to complete. You can also google pixelated images and use that as a guide (create squares the color of the pixels) to create a neat and new blanket. I’d love to see a Mario one!

After your pattern and layout is complete, sew them together on the back edge. You may want to create a border by crocheting around the edges of the entire blanket at the end.


The Perfect Gift for Any Occasion

Learning how to crochet a blanket can be a time-consuming task. However, the end result is always phenomenal. Once you have completed your blanket, they become a beautiful gift for any occasion, but the process can be an escape. My wife and I have both given these as gifts to multiple people (our moms included) and they are always a cherished gift. We even received one as a wedding gift and use it all the time!

For more gift ideas on a budget, check out our DIY Christmas Gift Guide for Friends and Family!

Gift Wrapping Ideas for the Last Minute Shopper

Gift Wrapping Ideas for the Last Minute Shopper

When my wife and I have time, we like to sit down on the living room floor, throw on a Christmas movie, and take our sweet time wrapping the presents we bought. We take it slow and use as many gift wrapping ideas as we can come up with.

Gift Wrapping Ideas for the Last Minute Shopper

In our storage area, we have a treasure chest filled with ribbons, tags, and bows that we can put onto any gift to make it beautiful – most of which belonged to my maternal grandmother at some point.

I never met her, but I like to think of myself as similar to her. She was a fancy woman who loved to create beautiful things – she would create the perfect cookies for the beautiful parties she would throw and wrap gifts to perfection. I imagine her and I would have gotten along well as I truly enjoy taking my time and creating a masterpiece when I wrap gifts (and usually when I bake, too, for that matter).

However, as you may imagine, we don’t always have time to come up with beautiful gift wrapping ideas. Sometimes life gets in the way. We have all been there – you’re ready for Christmas except for one big aspect: you haven’t bought the gifts yet and Christmas is two days away.

Like a madman, you run to the store to buy the perfect gifts for your loved ones. You elbow through the mass of crowds to find the item you are searching for… only to discover that it is sold out. Instead, you overpay for last minute purchases that you pray will still bring joy to your family and friends.

You spend an hour and a half waiting at the register, claw your way out of the store, and purchase a to-go dinner on the way home because you’re absolutely exhausted. You go to bed, wake up late on Christmas Eve, and realize that you are nowhere near ready to host Christmas tomorrow – the dinner is unprepared, the gifts are still sitting in shopping bags by the door, and your house is a mess!

You barely have time to wrap your gifts, let alone think of beautiful ways to spice them up. That’s where we come in: here are some gift wrapping ideas to help you out. We have compiled these photos of beautiful gifts that you can copy to create a gorgeously wrapped Christmas present for your family and friends. Enjoy!

gift wrapping ideas 4 gift wrapping ideas 3 gift wrapping ideas 2 gift wrapping ideas 1

Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath

Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath

Top ‘o the morning to you, readers! I’m sure you’re busy preparing for Christmas, but I wanted to share with you another opportunity that I had to write an article about how to Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath!

A fellow blogger and I decided to tag team our articles and by that, I mean – we decided to exchange guest posts. You may remember her post from earlier this week: Last Minute Fashionable Holiday Gift Ideas. It was a hit – filled with awesome ideas for fashionable friends. So, since she posted that on my site, I posted about creating a beautiful DIY Christmas wreath on her site.

You can read the post here: Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath

DIY Christmas Wreath 3

I’m sure you’re wondering where I came up with the idea, though, right? Well, even if you’re not, I’m going to tell you because I think it’s wonderful.

So, every time we visit my wife’s parents for Thanksgiving they have a craft for us to complete. The first time I went there, her mom had gotten a project together for us and so we all made light balls. We took a bunch of plastic cups, drilled a hole through the bottom, and strung lights through them. Then we stapled them together to make a disco-ball type Christmas decoration that looked gorgeous!

DIY Christmas gift 11

Well, this past Thanksgiving my wife’s father got together a project for us all to make: DIY Christmas wreaths. After our big Thanksgiving meal, we headed out to the garage where he had set up a table filled with pieces and equipment to build wreaths.

My wife, her parents, her brother, her sister-in-law, and I all set to work creating our wreaths. We had a blast! My wife and I talked about it on the way home, gave a wreath to my parents, and hung two up in our house.

After we hung them up, it was like a breath of fresh air. They were beautiful and they truly brightened up our space! And from that moment came the post: Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath.

DIY Christmas gift 13

Want to make your own? Click here (HERE) to read the post and enjoy!

What is your favorite Christmas decoration or craft?

Also, if you’re looking for some other DIY Christmas gifts – check out our post: DIY Christmas Gift Guide for Friends and Family

DIY Christmas wreath

Gift idea for the person who has everything

Gift idea for the person who has everything

 Each year we spend countless hours coming up with the perfect gift idea for each of our close friends and family members. As many of you know, this can be tricky business – especially when the person you are shopping for seems to have everything.

My wife and I have this friend who seems to have everything. We’ll hear her say that she wants something and the next time we visit, there it is: sitting in her living room, on her counter, or in the hall. We search and search for a gift idea for this person, but we can never find something that she’ll love.

So, we decided to do some scavenging. We obviously couldn’t spend a ton to purchase a gift (with our budget being so tight and all). Instead, we wanted to find a DIY project that would be perfect for our friend who has everything. Remember that list of DIY Christmas gifts that I made last week? 

We looked back on that and found the perfect gift: DIY Wine Glass Treats – and today we are going to show you how to make them yourself.

gift idea for the person who has everything

The Perfect Gift Idea
for the Person Who Has Everything

Wine Glass Treats are an easy-to-make gift idea that always turn out beautifully. And the best part: They cost you hardly anything, they’re filled with delicious goodies, and they’re beautiful to look at it. It’s a win-win-win for that person who is impossible to shop for!

What you will need:

  • Hot Glue Gun: This is probably something you have lying around, but if not, super glue could also work!
  • Decorations: We are going to show you how we decorated ours, but feel free to get creative. Don’t have burlap around? Grab some ribbon or lace! Don’t have fabric lying around? Construction paper or strategically placed yarn could work too! Don’t have twine or fake stick-on pearls? Find some yarn or buttons! It’s all up to your choices.In order to make the wine glasses as my wife and I did, you’ll want Burlap, Fabric Pieces, Twine, and Fake Stick-On Pearls.
  • Something to Fill Them With: There are many differing ways that you can fill these wine glass treats and it all depends on you and the recipient’s taste! Fill them with small cookies or homemade fudge, baggies with dry ingredients to bake a cookie and a gift tag to explain how to make it, or store-bought candies or peppermints.

How to Make Wine Glass Treats

Gift Idea

Get your crafting space situated. Whenever I’m crafting, I like to make my space feel just right. I set out my materials, turn on some music (in this case, Christmas music on our record player), and get in the mood to do some crafting. Don’t forget to plug in your hot glue gun to get it warming up.

Cut your Burlap. You’ll need to cut your burlap to the right size. I would tell you what this size is, but it really depends on your wine glass. For my wife and I, we assumed that we wanted the burlap to be roughly have the size of the glass portion of our wine glass (as you can see in the pictures). Make sure that your burlap fits snugly around the wine glass circumference as well.

Cut your Twine. We cut our piece of twine to be twice the circumference of the wine glass. We also cut a piece to make a bow around the stem of the wine glass.

Cut your Fabric. The most importance piece for us when creating this gift idea was to make fabric hearts for the front. We wanted something that would really draw your eye in – filled with Christmas-y colors and fun shapes. So, we took two pieces of fabric – a dark green and a patterned red – and cut them into hearts. The dark green was the bigger, background heart, and the patterned red made the smaller, foreground heart.

Find the Centerpiece. In the middle of the hearts, we included some fake, stick-on pearls that we had left over from our DIY wedding day back in September. We wanted to use one button in the very center, but didn’t have any. So, it’s up to you as to whether you want to use some pearls, some buttons, or another item entirely for the centerpiece of your fabric shape.

Get to Gluing. Finally, we took our pieces and set to gluing them to the wine glass to create the perfect gift idea for someone who has everything.

Follow this order for best results:

  1. Glue your burlap piece into place (or ribbon, fabric, whatever you chose to use).
  2. Glue your twine into place – we wrapped ours around twice. Always glue in the back where the burlap met so that the front is pristine and beautiful.
  3. Add the bottom heart shape to the front and center.
  4. Add the smaller heart on top.
  5. Finally, glue or stick-on your centerpiece.

GIFT IDEA for the person who has everything

Fill’er Up! The final step for this DIY gift idea is to fill it up with whatever you would like! For some of ours, we choose to put a cute gift baggy inside and fill it with a cookie-baking kit (flower, sugars, baking sodas, etc.) and instructions on how to make the cookies inside! For the rest, we filled them with homemade and store-bought candies. Kisses and tiny peppermint candies work really well. I’m sure there are many other options that would also fit and look nice.

Give the Gift Idea to the Perfect Person

 Now you have a beautiful gift idea that takes no wrapping and can be given to anyone – especially those that are really hard to shop for. For more fun DIY Christmas gifts, visit our post by clicking HERE: DIY Christmas Gift Guide for Friends and Family.

DIY Christmas gift 1

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear some DIY Christmas gifts that you have given – share them in the comments below. I reply personally to each comment I receive. I love hearing from you!

Don’t forget: Sharing is caring! Share this post with friends and family who you think would benefit from this gift idea. Thank you in advance!

DIY Menu Board: DIY Jahn Featured in a Magazine!

DIY Jahn was recently featured in a magazine!

A few weeks ago I was contacted to do some writing for a green magazine – an eco-friendly online magazine designed for university students. The hope was to create an article with a DIY craft that could help students who are on a low budget become more environmentally friendly.

After talking with Atishi Ahluwalia, the Design Editor / Promotion Manager of Green Paper Leaf, I decided to write my article on how to create your own DIY Menu Board.


The menu board offers students (or anyone) with the chance to create a meal plan easily each week. With a place for differing meal ideas, slots for each day of the week, and a fun way to keep track of your shopping list: the menu board is a great way to go!

Utilizing a meal plan can help you to significantly decrease the amount of food waste your house incurs. By decreasing food waste, you are helping both your budget and the environment!

Related: Are you ready? Meal Planning: Shop, Prep, Eat, WIN.

If you guys want to learn how to make a DIY menu board, you can do so by visiting the article in the Green Paper Leaf online magazine. Just use the link or photo below.

You can find the article by visiting the Green Paper Leaf magazine here (HERE).

We are so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to this magazine and so excited at the opportunities to come in the future.

Working with Atishi was fun and exciting for me and the process was simple. After the article was published, Atishi let me know that they “had a promotion party and have already got students to circulate it. We also did your DIY project at the party…[and] everyone was loving their menus.”

Hooray! What a fun magazine to work with. I can’t wait to work with them again in the future.

DIY Christmas Gift Guide for Friends and Family

DIY Christmas Gift Guide

Creating a DIY Christmas gift can definitely take away some of the stress of the Christmas season. As we all know, Christmas time is a wondrous and joyous time of year. However, it also comes with its own string of frustrations, headaches, anxiety, and general stress.

I remember as a child wishing for a whole slew of toys – scanning the toy ads, watching commercials, and hoping to get exactly what I wanted. Now as an adult, I mostly just wish to sleep longer and have my bills paid online. That’s not entirely true; there are still things I enjoy getting as gifts, but Christmas has shifted away from a present-centric time of year and instead, represents a more holy season. To me, Christmas ultimately signifies the importance of family and friends in our lives and to show them how much we appreciate their presence in our lives, we give them presents (hah! get it, presence:presents).

This year my wife and I have been working extraordinarily hard to pay off our debt as quickly as we can (read about how we got into so much debt HERE). We have cut back on many expenses, started following a strict budget, and worked to live as frugally as possible.

Related: Save money & pay off debt.

So far, we have paid off almost $10,000 in only 10 weeks – which is super exciting for us! You can read about how by clicking HERE. However, this means that we need to cut down our present-giving budget by a LOT.

Therefore, we have decided to create DIY Christmas gifts this year in exchange for our normal store-bought gifts. Not only are these gifts less expensive, but they give my wife and I the chance to truly spend time thinking of who we are giving them to while we are crafting them (and we get to get creative, which we love!).

I’ve compiled a DIY Christmas gift guide of some of our favorite gift-giving options. While we are not making all of these this year, I hope that this list will help you when you’re stuck on what to give someone this holiday season. The gifts range from crocheting, to hot glue-ing, to spray painting, to simply writing, and more – Enjoy!

DIY Christmas gift 1

DIY Christmas Gift Guide

Crocheted Items

Crocheting is one of my favorite ways to craft. I remember learning to crochet at the age of 12 with my Aunt as we sat in a hospital waiting room. She bought me the needed supplies and I took on an ambitious challenge of crocheting my first-ever blanket. I won’t lie – it wasn’t the best completed project and it took me years to finish, but eventually I gave it to my parents and moved on to newer, more exciting projects.

Anyway, I have always enjoyed crocheting and so I have created this small compilation of DIY Christmas gifts that can be made by crocheting. Though, with more time, these could all be made with knitting instead.


These cute little Mary Janes can be made in under an hour and are the perfect gift for a new baby in the family.

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If you find a good shawl pattern, they can be an inexpensive and beautiful gift for any family member. A nice, crocheted shawl will be treasured for a lifetime.

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Everyone has a head… Hats make great gifts for people of all ages and can be done in many fun designs for any style!

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While these do take a lot longer to make, they are a truly meaningful and special DIY Christmas gift. If you have someone who means a lot to you, crocheted blankets are a beautiful way to let them know.

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Wine Glass Treats

If you feel uncomfortable crocheting, these wine glass treats are the perfect DIY Christmas gift. The only crafting they take is a little bit of hot glue and your imagination. Use whatever materials inspire you and fill them with your favorite homemade desserts or store-bought candies. I did a post with a step-by-step guide of how to make this craft too! Check it out by clicking HERE: Gift Idea for the Person who has Everything.

DIY Christmas gift 4

Homemade Lotions or Soaps

If you make some lotions or soaps for yourself, consider filling a lovely jar with them and giving it as a DIY Christmas gift. Not everyone knows how to make beautiful soaps and lotions, but many appreciate the quality of a homemade gift such as these.

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Personalized Frames

Frames have a very special place in our lives, as humans. We use them to remember and treasure the most wonderful of times, people, and art. Give somebody a beautiful personalized frame to show them how much you care. Here are two different kinds to choose from:

Written Frame

I received this frame as a birthday gift from a very dear friend. The photo is of us together and the words along the side are all words that mean something special: a memory shared between her and me. I display this frame proudly in my home and love sharing it with my friends.

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Multi-Photo Frame

Polaroids are becoming more and more popular, but so is the way in which they are displayed. This cute DIY frame can be made with a wooden frame, some twine, and hot glue. Clip photos in and you’re ready to give it as a great DIY Christmas gift!

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 Chalkboard Items

We all know that chalkboard items are all the rage in the twenty-first century. It seems that chalkboard paint and its uses were discovered practically overnight! People love to buy a bottle of spray-on chalkboard paint and go to town. So, how can you use this to your favor? Here are a couple of great chalkboard items you can make for your friends and family.

Flower Pot

Have a friend who loves planting or has a green thumb? Give them a chalkboard flower pot to write their plant names and draw pictures on.

DIY Christmas gift 2


This simple project is done by buying a regular frame and spray painting the glass with chalkboard paint. We use ours all the time as a scoreboard in our game room or to display inspiring quotes, fun pictures, or ideas we have.

DIY Christmas gift 3


Spray paint a small patch of chalkboard paint onto a jar to be used for any kind of storage. These storage containers are versatile and easy to change the writing (since they’re a chalkboard, of course).

DIY Christmas gift 7DIY Christmas gift 17

 Recipe Book

 This year for my birthday, my mother spent a long time compiling family recipes and creating a book on Lulu. Now I have a hardcover recipe book with all of my favorite family meals, recipes I made up as a child, and recipes shared by friends and family. There’s even a place to add my own as I go! Click here to make your own (HERE).

DIY Christmas gift 6

Christmas Decorations

Don’t forget that even decorations can make great gifts. My wife’s mother gave her an ornament each year for Christmas to ensure that she had enough to fill her tree by the time she was an adult and on her own. She still treasures each and every ornament she received throughout her childhood.

DIY Christmas gift 12

Christmas Wreaths

Making your own Christmas wreaths, with real pine, can be a great way to share the Christmas spirit with your family and friends. They can display it for a couple of weeks and enjoy the beautiful scent it provides, the gorgeous view, and the compliments they’ll receive from all of their visitors!

DIY Christmas gift 11DIY Christmas gift 13

Thank you for reading our DIY Christmas gift guide

I hope you enjoyed this guide! Don’t forget – sharing is caring. If you think any of your family or friends could benefit from this DIY Christmas Gift Guide, please share it with them. You can find, follow, and share our posts on our Facebook page as well by clicking HERE.

Do you have other DIY Christmas Gifts you use each season? Share them in the comments below!
I personally respond to each and every comment I receive.

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. Also, please not that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here

Best way to get rid of mice – essential oils

Best way to get rid of mice

My wife and I are all about having essential oils in our home. In fact, the more we hear about them, the more we want to keep them around. Our collection is very small right now (with only two types) due to our small budget, but as we are able, we like to splurge for a nice bottle of essential oils. While many people believe that oil usage is just a passing fad, we have learned that using them is the best way to get rid of mice (and I’m sure there are many other reasons out there).

Last year, while we were watching television one night, my wife and I noticed a movement on our bookshelf / entertainment center (we made ours out of old kitchen cabinets, find out how you can too – click HERE). Unfortunately, our suspicions were accurate: mice were living in our walls and had found a hole between the wall and the ceiling to sneak through. We set out right away to find the best way to get rid of mice.

We set out traps – any that we could find that wouldn’t harm our dog – and aimed to kill the sneaky, little jerk before he took over. Sadly, again, we were too late. The infestation began soon after. We caught one mouse, two, three, four…the list continued. We would open up cupboards and find mouse droppings or stashed dog food in corners (not a fun sight, let me tell you). We even found stacks of dog food in our couch. Yes, these mice were taking food from our dog’s dish, crawling between our cushions (where we sat each night), and hiding the food there. The problem: we didn’t know the best way to get rid of mice.

The mice were every where. We saw them while showering as they ran out from underneath the shower and into our cupboards, we found dead mice in stacks of towels, in cupboards where we kept our dishes, in a curio cabinet with valuables, in the couch, in corners, on book shelves, in drawers, in walls, under the sink, in the stove: they were everywhere.

No matter what we did, the mice would take over.

Best way to get rid of mice

We were left with no choice: we had to clean like nobody’s business. Unfortunately, due to the conditions, we had to throw away over half of our belongings which were destroyed in the mouse infestation. We cleaned like crazy and eventually were able to rid the house (mostly) of the mouse droppings (except those that were still happening).

We made the decision to live out of boxes. Since the mice weren’t in the bedroom at that point, we left the bedroom untouched. We moved any dishes that were not in the top cupboards to boxes and pull them out as needed. We moved all household items to plastic storage tubs. We moved all craft supplies to storage tubs. Basically our entire house is filled with boxes that we live out of: of course, when we eventually move, this will certainly make moving simpler. It’s not exactly the way we want to live, but our goal is to ensure that the rest of our belongings are unharmed by the mice.

The other concern we had with living with so many mice was our health and safety. Unfortunately, this is a harder one to surpass. Since there is little we could do, we filled the holes that we could and tried our best to disinfect every surface before touching it. And even with all of these, we still could not figure out the best way to get rid of mice. It was a horrid winter for our family, but we made it through and are stronger for it.

This year, we changed our thinking. We could not stand another winter living with that many mice – it wouldn’t be healthy, safe, or financially sane of us to live with that many mice for another year. We bought some caulk and filled in some more holes as we were able, but left the big ones as there is no way for us to repair those. Then we made one of the greatest decisions we have ever made: and it has worked. So far, we have not had a single mouse in our house (from a house that by this point last year was infested).

Best Way to Get Rid of Mice

So, what was this amazing decision? What made it so that our house could be mouse-free for this winter? What is helping us to survive the cold months in our home?

It’s simple: Essential oils.

More specifically, peppermint oil is the best way to get rid of mice. We went out to the store and purchased peppermint oil from the pharmacy in our town. Though, take my word for it: it is much cheaper on Amazon and if we had been able to wait for it, we would have definitely gone with that purchase instead. Even at our local Walmart, the prices for essential oils are outrageous at roughly $8 for a 1oz bottle. On Amazon, we are able to get 4oz for only $10.95!

You can find it here:

The thing is: mice hate the scent of peppermint. It creates a hazardous living condition for them so they steer clear of anything that contains that, to them, horrid scent.

We went out and bought two bottles and started using it right away. We poured a few drops on cotton balls and ran the oil along cupboard doors, outside door frames, and other heavily used areas. Then we placed cotton balls with the scent soaked in all over the house – near base boards, under shelves, under the couch, in drawers, in cupboards, by the television, behind the fridge, under the stove, near furniture, in the bathroom, inside the giant holes in our walls. We put them EVERYWHERE.

Even better: we are thinking of purchasing a diffuser which helps to conserve the peppermint oil and make the smell waft throughout the entire house. High quality diffusers can also be purchased for cheap on Amazon, similar to this beautiful one:

Our house smells strongly of peppermint at all times, but we don’t mind as it certainly is the best way to get rid of mice – and we can use all the help we can get. Thankfully, we have had the luck to not see any mice since saturating our house with peppermint oil.

Not only is our house cleaner and mouse-free, but the use of peppermint oil as a mouse-repellent is 100% safe for your kids and your pets – no more worrying about little fingers being snapped or poison being consumed. If the cotton balls are picked up, they are not considered harmful. Yet another reason why this is the best way to get rid of mice.

Tips when purchasing essential oils

  • There are many companies online that will try to sell you essential oils for outrageous amounts. For certain areas of life, these oils may have a purpose, but when trying to find the best way to get rid of mice, the cheap stuff works just as well. Use a company like Amazon which is trusted to give high quality products for a lower cost.
  • Always ensure that your oils are undiluted (meaning they are 100% oil). The best way to get rid of mice is to use pure, undiluted peppermint oil.
  • Pick up some lavender oil while you’re at it – it’s a relaxing agent and can help you sleep more soundly at night! This is just a random tip, sorry, but I sure do love lavender oil. I find it calming when I am getting ready for bed. I put a little on my wrist and the scent helps me to fall right to sleep.

best way to get rid of mice

Good luck!

We know how hard it can be to live with mice – it’s certainly not fun. I hope that you find this tip to work for you as well as the best way to get rid of mice. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns when it comes to using peppermint oil as a mouse-repellent.

What other uses have you found for essential oils? Have you found other ways to get rid of mice? Do you have a mouse problem at your home? Let us know in the comments below! I personally respond to every comment that is left on my blog. Thanks in advance.

Remember, sharing is caring!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest. Also, please not that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Homemade pasta can help you to save over $100

Homemade Pasta

 I know you all are probably wondering how homemade pasta can actually save you money. You saw the title and thought, “well, I doubt that – a box of spaghetti is less than two bucks!” You wouldn’t be wrong – boxed pasta is undeniably cheap, but there’s a better, healthier, and more satisfying way to eat Italian delicacies. What is it? Make your own homemade pasta!

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The Story

Last weekend my wife and I realized that we had a ton of leftover turkey – and not much time left to use it. Being frugal-minded and environmentally-conscious, we try really hard to never waste food. So, we decided to make some homemade turkey noodle soup. There’s nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of soup on a brisk and snowy day, right?

Plus, turkey noodle soup is easy. We take the turkey carcass and some leftover dark meat and throw it in the crock pot with as much water as we can possibly fit. Then we open up our freezer and grab a bag of frozen veggies – any kind will do – this time we used Italian seasoned protein blend of veggies that we got on sale and didn’t like plain. We threw two bags in the crock pot, turned it on low, and let it sit all day while we were out and about.

We came home around five and were ready to partake in our delicious meal. The only problem: there were no noodles. Now, my wife and I graduated college just a few years ago and we still tend to lean toward the “easy” meals rather than the “good,” “healthy,” or “frugal” meals. We are working on changing this, but it can sometimes be difficult when you have a habit built up, so we reached into our cupboard for a box of pasta.

That’s when we started thinking about how amazing homemade pasta tastes compared to boxed noodles. They’re so flavorful and the texture is to die for and we thought to ourselves – are they really that hard to make? We’ve done it before, why do we never make them? It was time to pull the recipe book out and give it another go.

We took the next half hour to make noodles (yes, that’s all the time we needed and it would have been faster if we had been more focused). We made a double batch and threw them into the crock pot. When we sat down to eat our soup, the homemade pasta was the star of the show. We couldn’t get enough of it.

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The Logic

 Then we got to thinking: if it only takes that long to make homemade pasta, why don’t more people make it themselves? Let’s think about it: my wife and I are in our mid-twenties and we easily understood the recipe and were able to produce an amazing homemade pasta dish within a half hour. Why couldn’t others do the same?

There are a few responses that I often hear to this question.

1.) I just don’t have the time to make homemade pasta – I’m too busy. Which I have to say is just impossible. If you are able to go to the store, buy pasta, and spend half hour boiling the pasta – you have time to make homemade pasta. It barely takes any more time than regular pasta – maybe ten minutes, and that’s pushing it.

2.) I don’t have the right tools. That’s one of the greatest things: you don’t need anything new! Sure, there are plenty of machines that make homemade pasta easier, but if you don’t have them: it’s still a simple task! All you need is a mixing bowl, spoon, measuring cups and spoons, a rolling pin, and a knife or pizza cutter and you’re set!

3.) I’m not skilled enough to make homemade pasta. The thing with homemade pasta is: it’s super easy. Pour ingredients together, mix, roll, cut, boil: simple. Homemade pasta is possibly one of the easiest meals to make (and also the easiest way to impress your family and friends).

4.) Why would I make homemade pasta when boxed pasta is less than two bucks? This is where we really get into why homemade pasta is such a great idea and how it can save you $100 on your grocery bill each and every year.

Let’s take a look at the cost analysis of these two differing types of pasta while assuming we are making four servings:

  Homemade Pasta Boxed Pasta
Ingredients 5 lb Flour: $2 Box: $2
26 oz Salt: $.75
1 Dozen Eggs: $4
1 Gallon Milk: $4
Average Cost
for 4 Servings
$.81 $2

I know what you are thinking – how do we get those numbers? Well, the boxed pasta section is pretty simple. One box of pasta will make the same amount of food as one batch of homemade pasta and is $2.

However, homemade pasta works a little differently. Yes, the ingredients do total a whopping $10.75 when added as a baseline, but we need to take a few things into consideration. First and foremost: most of these ingredients you already own and always have around. It’s unlikely that the making of pasta will be the first time you purchase salt (if it is, I’d love to know your secret).

Second, we need to take them one ingredient at a time because none of them will be used in their entirety with one batch of pasta. In fact, the above ingredients create six full batches of homemade pasta, with a bunch of ingredients leftover. Even at six batches, the cost of homemade pasta is cheaper than that of boxed pasta at $1.79 per batch.

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Here are the breakdowns for the ingredients:

  • 5 Pound Flour – $2: One 5 pound bag of flour can create 20 batches of homemade pasta making it $.1 per batch.
  • 26 oz Salt – $.75: One 26 oz container of salt can create 144 batches of homemade pasta making it $.005 per batch.
  • 1 Dozen Eggs – $4: One dozen eggs can create 6 batches of homemade pasta making them $.67 per batch (and the most expensive ingredient by far).
  • 1 Gallon Milk – $4: One gallon of milk can create 128 batches of homemade pasta making it $.03 per batch.

 As you can tell, by buying the ingredients ahead of time – you will certainly save money each time you go shopping. But the question is, will you save $100 as I promised?

Let’s say that you make a pasta meal twice per week – maybe you have spaghetti or ravioli one day and mac and cheese another day, or you make enough to have leftovers for lunch, or have two servings made for company. In any case, let’s assume that you average two servings of pasta per week for meals.

For 52 weeks using boxed pasta, you will spend a total of $208 to have pasta two nights a week – which doesn’t sound bad at all, right? I mean, it is only $4 a week.

Now, let’s take a look at 52 weeks using homemade pasta. Instead of spending $208, you’ll pay a total of $84.24 throughout the course of the ENTIRE year. That’s only $1.62 a week – cutting your bill by more than HALF for those bills.

Over the course of the year, your family will save $123.76 – more than ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS just by making your own homemade pasta!

If that’s not enough to convince you, think about this: The boxed pasta you buy at the store is chock-full of chemicals and preservatives making it one of the least healthy decisions you can make for you and your family. By making your own pasta, you have the opportunity to know exactly what goes into your body. If you choose to use organic ingredients rather than their cheaper counter parts, your cost may rise slightly, but will still be ultimately cheaper and healthier than the boxed alternative.

My wife and I have vowed to go from now until my 25th birthday (October 2016) without buying any boxed pasta. Read more about my goals here: HERE.

Can you handle the challenge of keeping your family healthy and living frugally?

Is it really a challenge when it means eating delicious homemade pasta?

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The Recipe

 Okay, so now that we have convinced you to try homemade pasta it’s time that we share our age-old family recipe for the most delicious homemade pasta with you. Don’t feel stuck here though – branch out! Try new recipes and go crazy.

Here goes:

HOMEMADE PASTA – The Hammon Recipe

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well.
  2. Coat surface with flour and place ball of dough on top.
  3. Roll out dough with a rolling pin until it is really thin (less than a quarter inch).
  4. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut pasta into desired shapes.
  5. Place finished pasta into boiling soup, broth, or water and stir often for around 10 minutes (or until it has reached desired tenderness).
  6. Serve as desired and enjoy your first batch of homemade pasta

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The Thanks

Thank you for reading today! I truly hope that this inspires at least some of you to give homemade pasta a try – you certainly won’t regret it. If you do, let us know how it turns out.

Also, if you’re willing, share your favorite recipes for pasta in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest. Also, please not that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.