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How I Make The Best Hard Boiled Eggs

8 Dec

 

I love  hard boiled eggs for quick protein. Up until a few years ago however, I never ate eggs. So when I first started, I had some pretty shaggy looking hard boiled eggs.

I have tried many methods from various other tutorials and kept what worked. My method is a compilation of several of those tips that have consistently worked for me!  I know many like the oven method or the steaming basket way of hard boiling eggs but to me the texture is never the same or as good as old fashioned hard boiled eggs.

First, I gather my ingredients: vinegar, baking soda, healthy pastured eggs.DSC_0130

 

Fill a pan with cold water and your eggs. Drop in a teaspoon of baking soda and stir it around till it dissolves.
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Then add a splash of vinegar. It shouldn’t fizz because you dissolved the baking soda first.

{I was posing the vinegar bottle while the baking soda dissolved fyi because I know you can still see it in this picture :-)}DSC_0142

 

Bring your water to a boil and while covered, turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
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While waiting, give attention to your screaming toddler climbing up your legs.

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When you get a minute, get some ice.
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After the 10 minutes are up, drain your water and fill with ice and cold water. This shocks the eggs and stops the cooking. DSC_0158

 

 

Now this is the most important tip I can offer. Look at your eggs and find the narrow pointed top part. DSC_0172

 

Tap the top part of your egg first. DSC_0174

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Then flip it and tap the wide bottom part of the egg. DSC_0176

 

 

I have found this is the best way to get easy to peel eggs because the act of tapping the eggs forces the air from the air pocket all around the egg and knocks the shell away from the egg white.

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I also like to have some cold water running to help rinse away the little bits. DSC_0178

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This egg basically peeled in two pieces. Don’t you love that!?

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Pretty, smooth, perfect hardboiled eggs! Not a shaggy one in the batch. DSC_0184

 

Rich and golden without any green ring! DSC_0186

 

 

 

 

 

As a bonus I will share with you my easy egg salad “recipe”.

First, chop up your 8-12 eggs in a medium size bowl. I LOVE using a pastry blender for chopping up my eggs for egg salad. It is quick and efficient! DSC_0190

Assemble your desired spices. I use about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I usually eye ball this part and season to taste but those amounts are pretty close. DSC_0192

Add about 2 big dollops of your favorite mayonnaise which is probably about 1/4 cup. Start with less if you prefer less mayo in general. I am a mayo lover so I like it really creamy. With that, add your favorite mustard. I prefer a slightly spicy brown mustard. I use a big squirt which is approximately 1 tablespoon. DSC_0194

Mix all together and enjoy!  DSC_0196

This is an easy lunch idea for my kids because they adore snack style lunches. They love crackers and egg salad or tuna salad with fruit. I love it too because it is super easy and a big batch keeps for about 5 days in the fridge.

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Be Our Guest!

21 Jul

The topic of hospitality has been a reoccurring theme in conversations with Steven the last few months. We have such a strong desire to have a home that is welcoming and comfortable for anyone who comes over. It has been on our hearts even more since Lilah was born and we’ve had a lot more visitors staying with us. We don’t have a guest room. We have an attic space that we usually put guests in but honestly, it was the least inviting place on earth. Our attic is 2 sided: one side is our craft/office space, the other was a sort of man cave area. Steven had a tv with his retro game consoles and games, an air mattress and a bunch of odds and ends that didn’t have a place elsewhere in the house and eventually made their way up there.

{I took these pictures while we were already in the process of moving stuff out because like my usual self, I always forget to take a true before picture.}

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We would always clean it up and make the bed nicely of course, but come on! Would you really feel comfortable in this place? The other issue is that our attic has very steep ceilings and there are no doors. There is a closet in the center that divides the 2 rooms and allows for some privacy but not enough. We had tacked up some spare fabric one time and it looks horrendous but we kept it up just so there was some semblance of a door.

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I shudder at the sight of those bachelor ghetto tacked sheers!! But as you can see the angle doesn’t allow for a door and is extremely awkward. To top it off, it is all beige, beige, beige! My least favorite color of all time.

We decided to prioritize an attic guest room makeover in June because Steven’s brother and girlfriend were going to be visiting for 2 weeks. An air mattress and Nintendo stuff isn’t the homiest environment for 2 weeks, so Steven gave me the green light to shop around and undertake this endeavor.

We tried to stick to a really small budget for the room. I had an entire leftover sample can of Benjamin Moore – SanAntonio Gray paint from when I was trying out various gray shades in our  living room. I also had  a coupon for a another free Benjamin Moore sample can which I got in the same color. This was enough to paint the short 3 foot walls on the sides of the room and the entire window side as well. We also had plenty of leftover ceiling and trim paint from painting nearly every other room in our house, so besides the cost of tape, my painting budget for this room was free! Oh yeah, I also had a spare can of chalkboard paint that I used for the headboard wall.

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I already had the bedding which also helped me to stay within budget. I did buy a few Paris themed items for the room because it was an easy theme to pull off for a guest room.

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DSC_0020{I reused this cupboard from my craft area}

DSC_0012{I pulled a bunch of random french or travel books I owned from my other book shelves to tie it in with the theme.}

Finding furniture for this room is the really difficult part because we have a very narrow half staircase and nothing fits unless it is little or we build it in the room. I found this small dresser on craigslist that fit perfectly in the space and gives our guests some place to actually store their clothing.

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DSC_0019{These bottles contain sand from a beach in Ireland that Steven brought home}
DSC_0018{Hydrangeas from our neighbor’s yard}

The bed itself was an online purchase and our most expensive part of the room. I found a steel frame base that was sturdy, comfortable and inexpensive. The mattress was also an online purchase. It is a relatively eco-friendly memory foam, full size mattress. It arrived in a roll which we could actually get up our stairway and we allowed it to rest and inflate in the room!

The doorway is still an issue. I tried to create a ribbon door, like a bead door but not as noisy. It required more ribbon than I had purchased and so it isn’t entirely finished. I hot glued strips to a piece of trim board that Steven cut to fit the doorway. He then attached it to the ceiling. Steven hates it and I am pretty indifferent. It works for now to give a little privacy but we probably won’t keep it in the long term.

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O
verall, we are extremely happy with how everything turned out. Neither of us are great painters or decorators but on a next-to-nothing budget and a little bit of repurposing, the attic ‘beige man-cave’ is now a sweet little retreat for anyone who visits.

Front Yard Project

1 Jul

We live in an old house. It was built in 1916. We could be doing house projects daily for the rest of our lives probably but these days it is hard to make the time with the littles running around. We have decided that instead of putting our money towards one large project this year, we would rather do a few smaller projects to feel as though we are accomplishing more!

I started scalping the lawn for a front yard garden bed last summer but being pregnant, I never actually finished it and it all basically grew back. I always forget to take a before picture before I start things so this was after I stared creating the outline.

 

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After creating the outline, we cleared out all of the grass weeds.

 

IMG_7780{Just a couple of sexy diggers}

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Once everything was cleared, we placed these patio stones around our shape.

IMG_7775{Linden was super excited about his “castle”}

These are 6×9 patio pavers. Half of the pavers were to lie flat and level with the grass line.

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The other half of the pavers we added to the back of these in an upright position.

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It was a bit tougher around the curve because we had to keep a gap between each paver which created a rolling seam. So if you’re OCD, than don’t look too closely because the pavers stop lining up evenly.

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We added some sand over the top to fill in the cracks and add stability. We also added extra top soil to support the vertical pavers.


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We planted this hydrangea here 2 years ago and it has struggled for life. This was the first year it produced a flower. The flower was supposed to be blue but is actually pink which I read means our soil is too alkaline. I added coffee grounds to help that. I also just placed 2 little generic flowers in there for the summer. I plan to fill this with medicinal flowers next year like calendula, lavender, chamomile etc. The hope is that it will be beautiful but also useful.

 

Applesauce

15 Oct

I have been wanting to try my hand at home canning for a long time but for some reason it frightens me. I bought a canner this spring with the intention of canning jam, tomatoes, pickles and applesauce this year. Unfortunately, our garden harvest wasn’t as abundant as we had anticipated and we were able to keep up with the produce with ease. Our plum tree also failed to really produce well this year. Last year we were swimming in plums! Plus, being pregnant I have lost all energy to accomplish many of these extra tasks and struggle to keep up with the ordinary tasks of running a household and raising a toddler.

Since we went apple picking and brought home 23 lbs of apples, I had no excuse but to finally do some canning. Yesterday I made a big stock pot of applesauce. I used this video as a guide from one of my favorite blogs, Passionate Homemaking, that sadly is no longer active. Her video shows how to make easy no peel sauce.

I washed, cored and chopped my 11+ lbs of Jonagolds.

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Due to the size and strength of my blender I pureed my apples in batches of four chopped apples and 1/2 cup filtered water and repeated until all apples were pureed.

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Pour all pureed apple, skins and all, into a stock pot and warm on low heat. Add a little cinnamon and sucanat if desired to flavor and counter the tartness.

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Meanwhile, prepare your jars and water canner. Fill up your jars, leaving the appropriate head space and process for 20 minutes fully submerged in the boiling water.

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Remove your jars from the canner after 20 minutes and set to cool. After 24 hours check to see that the jars are sealed and don’t pop.

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Since this was my first time canning, I decided to only can 6 pint jars. I saved another jar that is a tad larger than a quart to go immediately into the fridge and the teeny bit extra I put in to a freezer container to freeze. Over all I made about 19 cups of sauce!

I was hoping Linden would love it as much as store bought sauce because it does have a slight gritty texture from the skins. It is more nutritious with the skins and heartier in my opinion but it had to pass the taste test after all the hard work!

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The verdict: Finger licking good! He devoured 2 bowls of sauce and asked for a third but I gave him an actual lunch instead.

I checked my jars today and they are all sealed so my first canning adventure was a success! It was not as scary as I had always imagined it to be. I will be more bold next time and can more.

 

 

2nd Trimester and Sprouted Zucchini Nut Muffins

6 Aug

It’s been almost a month since my last post. You can thank morning sickness and exhaustion for that. I have not been up to doing ANYTHING. Tomorrow I am officially in my 2nd trimester (13 weeks and 3 days). Today was the first day in a long time that I actually felt mostly better. Still little bouts of nausea but over all, today was great. I actually cleaned my house, did laundry, made dinner, and finally got around to baking zucchini muffins with the pounds of zucchini I have lying around.

In case you are interested in my recipe, I included it below. It is a concoction adapted from a few different recipes that I changed to be healthier.

zuchhinmuffins

SPROUTED ZUCCHINI NUT MUFFINS

3 eggs½ c. Coconut oil (melted)

½ c. unsweetened organic applesauce

2/3 c. sucanat

3/4 c. raw or local honey

2 c. grated zucchini

2-3 t. vanilla extract

3 c. Sprouted wheat flour

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. baking soda

½ t. baking powder

1 t. Redmond Real salt

1 c. chopped walnuts (divided)

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease tin well with coconut oil.

In mixer, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla and sweetener.  Stir in zucchini.  In a separate  bowl whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and half of the nuts.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients by the cup and do not over mix.

Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full and top with remaining nuts. Bake 20–25 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a muffin.

Makes about 2 dozen muffins.

The growing TO DO list is starting to get out of control and I am hoping today wasn’t a fluke. Here’s to hoping the 2nd trimester energy and wellness surge is upon me!!!

Steven’s lunch

16 May

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Cilantro coconut shrimp soup. He gets many more interesting dishes than I do on this Whole30 Challenge! I altered the recipe just a tad. Basically I added more shrimp, used homemade chicken stock instead of water to add more depth and we were out of cayenne pepper so I added a few dashes of paprika. Also, I was hesitant to add an entire juiced lemon as per the recipe, so I added 1 1/2 tablespoons to Steven’s taste.

Homemade Mayo

15 May

I am not trying to have a cooking blog. Although lately it might come across that way with all of the Whole30 posts. This is really a family blog of sorts, but I do love cooking and do a lot of it so it is hard not to post about yummy kitchen creations. Like this delicious mayonnaise.

Look at how beautiful that is… that creamy swirl… mmmmmm.

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I made that, you guys! This makes me so happy because I love mayonnaise so much. I grew up on Best Foods (or Hellmann’s for you midwest readers) because my family and I are mayonnaise snobs. Just in case you didn’t know this, Miracle Whip is NOT mayo. It is actually a miracle that people eat that junk.  While the taste of Best Foods is amazing, those darn ingredients make it junk too. So, since starting on my real food journey a few years ago this has been my one big struggle. I have tried various other “healthier” options out here but the truth is they still contain soy or canola. News flash, canola is not “heart healthy”. That leaves me with making it myself. I have tried SO many recipes and techniques. Many attempts have left me in tears and with a mild case of carpal tunnel.  I am always trying to recreate that same flavor and texture that I love so much and often, it is a miss. Until now!

I found this recipe from The Clothes Make The Girl! I made her recipe exactly and it was amazing but not quite fool proof because I still managed to ruin it once or twice.  I decided to combine a few other things from the many other techniques, I’ve tried and now it is PERFECT.

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Squeeze a lemon. I don’t care if people say the bottle stuff is just as good. Squeeze your own lemon.

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Put one whole pastured organic egg into your blender, along with 2 Tablespoons of the aforementioned lemon juice.

Let them come to room temperature. This is very important. I will usually take out the egg and set it on the counter in the morning so when I do this step in the afternoon it doesn’t take a long time.

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Add in 1/2 teaspoon salt. We love our Redmond Real Salt.

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The original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard. I don’t have dried mustard. I used this dijon mustard and just squirt a dollop into the blender.

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I was curious as to why this recipe tells you to include 1/4 of light tasting olive oil immediately and I’ve learned it is to make sure your mixture is up to blade level in your blender.

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Blend in your 1/4 cup of light tasting olive oil (not extra virgin because the taste is too strong) with your egg, lemon, salt and mustard for about 30 seconds. I should note that your blender should be on low. I snapped this picture while my blender was on the highest setting and almost messed this batch up. So don’t do that!  Your blender also cannot be a high powered blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix. Apparently they are such powerful machines that they run too hot and will break your emulsion.

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Next, pour in your additional 1 cup of oil very slowly! I have tried pouring in my 1 cup of oil with a measuring cup and without fail my patience runs out and I end up pouring too quickly and breaking my emulsion and ruining my batch. There are ways of salvaging your broken batches but it is just such a let down and it makes me cry. Here is my “secret” weapon! This is just a cheap Wilton candy making squeeze bottle. I have tried making mayo in a food processor, with a stick blender, by hand, with my mixer and all while pouring in drip by drip out of a measuring cup.  I always had very inconsistent batches until this little bottle.

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I remove the blender lid and my squeeze bottle fits perfectly on the opening. I could just allow it to drip slowly on its own, but I find that a soft, gentle pulse of the bottle every few seconds is helpful and doesn’t release too much oil.

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You can see the emulsion starting already! Just keep dripping slowly. I find it does take a little longer using the bottle (about 10 minutes+/-) but it is better then your mayo breaking half way through and having to start all over!

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There it is! Just scrape out with a spatula, fill up your jar and store for a week in the fridge. You can lacto-ferment your mayo to last longer but while on the Whole30 we are not allowed to have whey. And to be honest, we end up using it by the end of the week anyway. It only makes about a cup.

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