Friday, March 29, 2013

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

It's almost Easter and nothing is more unappetizing than over cooked hard boiled eggs or undercooked hard boiled eggs.  You know what I'm talking about, that greenish, gray tinted egg yolk in an overcooked egg or the dark, wet looking yolk in an undercooked egg.  YUCK!  Why not trying cooking them the proper way?

Add just enough water to cover your eggs and place on the burner of your stove on high heat.
When the water is boiling, turn off the heat on the stove.
Cover the pan and let sit on the burner.

Wait 15 minutes.
Place the  pan in sink and turn on the cold water, fill the pan with cold water until the water in the pan feels cold to the touch.

Let the eggs sit in the cold water for 5-10 minutes.  Remove the eggs.
You will get a perfect, dry, fluffy yolk every time. 

Now you have the perfect hard boiled eggs for eating or for your recipes.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Waste Not Want Not

Many people like to save money and stock up when they find a sale.  However, if you find yourself throwing out food from your refrigerator every week you probably are wasting money instead of saving money.

Here are some scary statistics from the National Resource Defense Council:
- About 40 percent of all food in the U.S. goes to waste.
- The average American wastes about $28 to $43 in food each month, roughly 20 pounds of food.
- Broken down, about 17 percent of dairy, 20 percent of vegetables, 15 percent of fruit, 18 percent of the grains, 25 percent of seafood, and 33 percent of the meat you buy goes to waste.

You may be interested in some food storage tips to make your food last longer and have less waste.  Some of these tips have worked for me and the others I am still in the process of trying.  These tips are typically a few minutes of prep work and storage on shopping days, it may require you to plan ahead.

1. Wrap celery in foil
My celery used to  turn soft in a matter of days before I started wrapping it  in foil.  Now I can actually use all of my celery up to 2 1/2 weeks later and it is still crisp.

After 2 1/2 weeks.

2. Use paper towels to preserve asparagus.
Fresh asparagus dries out if it is not stored properly.  Wash your asparagus and wrap in paper towels.  This will keep the asparagus for a couple of days and allow it to stay crisp.

3.  Wash fruits and vegetables in a vinegar bath.
When arriving home from the market, fill the sink with water and 3/4 cup white vinegar.  Soak the produce for 10 minutes before storing.  The vinegar will remove dirt, wax and bacteria.  This works marvelously on fresh berries.

4.  Store onions in pantyhose.
Put an onion in the foot of a clean pair of pantyhose or tights, seal it off with a twist tie, add another onion and repeat until the hose are filled.  This allows the onion to breathe and they should last for a month or more.

5.   Add rice to your seasonings.
This is important in high humidity regions.  Dry seasonings tend to clump in humid areas.  Add 4-10 grains of rice to a bottle and shake.  The rice keeps the seasonings from sticking together and will last for 6 months or more. Especially good for seasonings that contain salt.

6.  Invest in airtight plastic containers.
I store cereal, chips, crackers and grains in airtight containers to keep them from going stale.

7.  Store bread in the freezer or refrigerator.
Bread tends to mold quickly when the weather is warm and humid.  Bread will last up to two weeks stored in the refrigerator.

8.  Keep fresh herbs in a plastic bag.
Wash and dry the herbs, place on a paper towel in a plastic bag and seal the bag.  The herbs will last about a week.

9.  Keep an eye out for bad apples.
If one apple spoils it quickly spreads to the other apples or fruit.  Keep the ripest fruit in a separate bowl.

10.  Utilize your freezer.
Some fruits and vegetable can be frozen if you will not be able to use them before they spoil.  Peppers and onions can be chopped or sliced and frozen in freezer bags for use in cooked recipes. Zucchini can be grated and frozen in bags for use in bread, muffins or pasta sauce. Berries and peaches can be frozen and used in baking and smoothies. Eggs can be cracked, whisked and frozen in ice cube trays to be thawed and used later.  Milk freezes well.  Pour about a cup of milk out of a full gallon to allow for expansion during freezing.  Grate cheese and freeze in bags for a later use.

Hopefully these tips will help keep more money in your pocket or give you more money to be spent on fun things, like shoes.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

March Madness

It has been a really busy week around here.  I make custom cakes and had three orders this week, which I managed to fit in between work and appointments.  This was one of the cakes for a baby shower.  It is the Baby Bump Cake.

My sister-in-law was throwing this oak bench out, so I took it off her hands.  I thought it would look great at my kitchen table after a little updating and some TLC.

I was able to paint it during our brief warm weather.  Now I have some extra seating, for the price of $7 for the glossy black spray paint.  

Now we have the problem of children fighting over who sits on the bench, even though it seats two.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


"Water is the only drink for a wise man."  - Henry David Thoreau

I am jumping aboard the "health wagon".  It is March, but most of the people who started in January have fallen off the wagon to make room for me.  The experts all say it is never to late to start a good habit.   I have chosen to start drinking more water.  I drink water and rarely drink soda, but I find it very difficult to drink the required 8 glasses a day.  As if drinking the minimum was not difficult enough, I had to find an online calculator that takes your weight, activity level and climate into consideration.  After completing the questionnaire and finding my desired water intake for maximum health, you will probably be able to find me in the nearest restroom.  I am going to try to meet my goal.  I have started adding frozen fruit to the water to infuse it with flavor. The fruit does give the water a little flavor.   Hopefully, I don't swallow a berry and choke.  Then there is the cold vs. hot debate, does drinking cold water burn more calories than warm or hot water?  Don't forget that you are supposed to drink only filtered water, which gets my brain thinking.
  1. I grew up with an artesian well in my backyard, which spewed out delicious, cold water year round, which I drank, unfiltered.
  2. I drank well water for the first 24 years of my life, which probably contained chemical contaminants, due to the surrounding farms.
  3. As a child, I also drank from a garden hose, which probably contained lead.
There are so many issues with water.  Then I started thinking about my water bottle.

  1.  Glass is not an option for on the go, and I will have to be drinking non-stop or have an IV inserted to get my fluids. 
  2. You are not supposed to drink from plastic, because of BPA and it's link to cancer. 
  3. Aluminum is bad, because if it is not lined the metal will leach and affect the taste of the water and the possible link to Alzheimer's Disease. If your bottle is lined, you are back to the BPA problem.
  4. Stainless is supposed to be the bottle of choice, so it looks like I will be off to find a new bottle . 
I think all of these issues have kept me from drinking my water.  Perhaps there would be fewer issues if I drank more wine.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Banana Peel Teeth Whitener

Life was so boring before the invention of the Internet and Pinterest.  I can not remember what I used to do to pass the time.  Imagine my delight when a friend posted this beauty tip.

I like white teeth, but teeth whitening can be a bit pricey if you purchase trays from your dentist or buy the strips. Allegedly, the minerals in the banana peel (potassium, magnesium and manganese) absorb into your teeth and whiten them.  You can be the judge, but I do notice a difference after one banana application.

1.  Rub the inside of the banana peel onto your teeth for 2 minutes.
2. Brush your teeth.  It is that simple.


I am predicting a banana shortage in the near future.  Don't say I didn't warn you!