Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Great Hard-Cooked Egg Experiment...

Part 2!

As I posted last week, I’m on a quest to find a way to hard-cook fresh eggs, of any size or color, which leaves them easy to peel and perfectly cooked.  I’m a bit OCD, and it drives me crazy that so much egg white comes off with the shell.  I miss the days of easy-to-peel hard-cooked eggs, and I’m beginning to think they are simply a figment of my imagination.

We have pet chickens, so farm-fresh eggs are fairly abundant.  Now, if you're like me, you are well-aware of the philosophy that fresh eggs won't work -- you have to boil older eggs to be able to cleanly peel them (while leaving the egg white intact).  I'm out to find a way to hard-cook my fresh eggs and have enough egg white (and sanity) intact to make beautiful deviled eggs.

Misty's PERFECT eggs! 

Boiling Water Method

This week, I tried a method recommended by my friend and fellow chicken-raiser & chicken-lover, Misty. She described her method to me, which I also found on several websites.  Basically, you bring the water to a boil before adding the eggs to the water, boil for 15 minutes, then immerse in an ice bath.  After the eggs are cool, crack all over and peel.  She posted a picture of her lovely eggs -- of which I'm quite jealous -- and I'm out to duplicate her results.



If you're looking for a website for the method, here are two:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-hard-boiled-eggs-with-FRESH-eggs/?ALLSTEPS
http://www.goodstuffnw.com/2013/06/my-new-superpower-hard-boiling-fresh.html


As I did last week, I started with 9 super-fresh eggs, laid over the past two days.  I was using the perfectly-sized pan to cook dinner, so I used a larger pan than I normally would.  I put enough water in it to cover the eggs I would add, then put the pan on the stove and brought the water to a boil.  I added the eggs, and set the timer for 15 minutes.


I fished the eggs out of the hot water using a slotted spoon, and put them into an icewater bath.


Nine eggs, all different sizes.  Some small, medium and large (and all quite lovely, if I don't say so myself).

My Results
Egg #1: Perfect! (This egg had a small crack in the shell)
Egg #2: Also perfect!
Egg #3:  Another perfect egg!  Could it be?

Egg #4:  Rats! Well, you can't win them all, right?

Egg #5: I'm getting very hopeful right now!

Egg #6: I love these blue eggs!

Egg #7: There's a water droplet on my lens in for the first shot.
Egg #8: Seriously, only one bad one out of...
Egg #9: Well, TWO bad eggs out of 9.  Still, waaaaaay better than last week!


So, in a nutshell, out of nine eggs, only two came out questionable.  The first "error," was the fattest egg I boiled.  Maybe that had something to do with it, or maybe not.  As for the last one, I didn't crack the egg very well, and it may be why it didn't come off cleanly.  


The verdict?

I'll probably try this method again, but I might add a couple of minutes to the timer, because the smaller eggs all came out beautifully.  Perhaps the largest eggs needed a little more time? At any rate, they turned out better than my average, so it's at the top of my list...


... for now...  (maniacal laughter ensues...)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Great Hard-Cooked Egg Experiment….

Part 1

 So, I’m on a quest to find a way to hard-cook fresh eggs, of any size or color, which leaves them easy to peel and perfectly cooked.  I’m a bit OCD, and it drives me crazy that so much egg white comes off with the shell.  I miss the days of easy-to-peel hard-cooked eggs, and I’m beginning to think they are simply a figment of my imagination.

We have pet chickens, so farm-fresh eggs are fairly abundant.  Now, if you're like me, you are well-aware of the philosophy that fresh eggs won't work -- you have to boil older eggs to be able to cleanly peel them (while leaving the egg white intact).  I'm out to find a way to hard-cook my fresh eggs and have enough egg white (and sanity) intact to make beautiful deviled eggs. 

Steamed Method


According to this website, I should be able to cook my super-fresh eggs and they should peel well.  Please keep in mind that I'm at a relatively high altitude (4400 ft. above sea level), so that may (or may not) play into how they cook.  

I started with 9 freshly-laid eggs, laid over a 2-day period.  Those are some SERIOUSLY fresh eggs!

I used a medium-size pot, with a steamer “flower” in the bottom.  Unfortunately, I do not own a bamboo steamer, and I wanted to be sure the steam was fairly even around the eggs, so I chose to not use my double-boiler-style steam pot, which is pretty small.  

I chose to cook several eggs, to account for any variables within the eggs.  You'll notice the shells are different colors; this doesn't have any bearing on what the eggs taste like -- they just look pretty in the carton!  The eggs to vary slightly in size.



Following the instructions outlined on the website, I brought the water to a boil, rinsed each egg in warm water and added the eggs.  I put the lid on the pot, and then set the timer for 20 minutes. When it went off, the eggs went into the waiting ice water bath. It really only took a couple of minutes for them to cool off “until they are cool enough to peel.”

So, how did they turn out?


Egg #1:  Well, it could be better…. Kinda bummed at this point.


Egg #2: Wow! THAT came out PERFECT!!!


Egg #3: Ugh…


Egg #4:  It started out looking promising, but ended badly… VERY badly…

Egg #5:  Oh, my.... Disaster struck again!


Egg #6:  Not as bad as some, but still not perfect.


Egg #7: It looked so good to begin with.  The peel looked like it would just slip off…. Sadly, NOT…


Egg #8:  Hmmm… Not bad!


Egg #9:  Seriously?  Grrr!


So, did my farm-fresh eggs peel perfectly?

NAILED it!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Mondays suck.


I know this well.  From experience.  Personal experience.

Last night, Brat2 told me how to wake her up.  "Just shake my arm and say 'BratGirl, wake up BratGirl!' and make me sit up."  I tried to tell her it wouldn't go well, but she disagreed. 

So, I tried it.  

It didn't go well.

I shook her arm, saying, "Braaaaaaaaaaat Giiiiiirrrrlll, wake uuuuuuup."  

She rolled over on her stomach.

About 5 minutes later, she yelled at me to leave her alone, saying "you're doing it wrong!"

Shheesh!

After Hubby left to drive her to school, I tried to get in the shower (at about 7:30).  My cell phone rang.  It was Hubby. "I forgot I have an 8 am meeting, so you need to drive Brat1."  

Grrrrrrrrr!

I managed to get my shower in (no makeup), still get Brat3 on the bus at 8:12, AND get Brat1 to school (albeit 30 minutes late).

I got to work, clocked in at 9:02, and at 11:11 recieved a call to come get Brat2.  She threw up.  

***Sighs***

Clocked out for 1 hour + 10 minutes.  Grabbed lunch on my way back.  Will probably end up staying late today.

I suppose, it could always be worse... :) 

Monday, November 18, 2013

"I promise, this will NEVER happen again!"

My little guy joined The Good News Club after school on Thursdays.  It's a Christian club that meets for an hour once a week.  Seems simple enough, right?  He stays after school, then I race out to pick him up after I get off work at 4:30.  No sweat!

The first week went off without a hitch.  5:00 rolls around, and *boom!* I'm there on time.  Huzzah!

The second week....?  Well, let's just say that my brain took a vacation at a most-inopportune time.  

5:10 p.m.  My cell phone rings.  I ask myself, "Whose number is that, do you suppose?" and decide to go ahead and press [send].  Good thing!  

The voice at the other end sweetly introduces herself, and that’s when my horror sets in.  “Oh, crap!” I mindlessly exclaim. (Never mind that she introduced herself as a pastor’s wife – oops!)  Apologizing, I explain to her where I am, and that it will take me at least 20 minutes to get to the school.  “No problem,” she says to the frantic mom on the phone. “But, would it be ok if I take him to my house to wait for you?”  Sure, she could be a psycho axe-murdering lady, but I’ll take my chances and hope that she doesn’t call Child Protective Services.  She explains where she lives (right next door to the church that her hubby pastors), and I rush to get him. 

It’s not the first time I’ve forgotten to pick up my son.  Poor kid; I’m sure he’s developing a major complex – one that will require YEARS of therapy to resolve!

Anyway, I get to her house, and he’s hanging out in the front yard, on the porch swing.  He’s not stressed out, and had a great time, both at the GNC and at her house.  She’s very sweet – albeit a tad bit introverted, so I’m certain I overwhelm her – and we chit chat for a while.  Needing to get home, I apologize for about the hundredth time, and swear it will never happen again….

Yea; right.

Two weeks ago, my son politely reminded me in the morning, before school, that he had the GNC that day.  So guess what?!!  I was there on time (actually, a few minutes early!)  My neighbor’s kids haven’t been picked up yet, and I don’t see the mom, so I try to call her to see if she wants me to bring them home.  (I’d been thinking we should car pool anyway, right?)  At any rate, the number I have for her is disconnected.  Her son seems disturbed to see me, and not her, so I promise that I will wait until she picks him up before I drive off.  Feeling very accomplished and responsible – adult, really! – I head home about 5 minutes later, when his mom shows up. 

That brings us to last week. 

My hubby and I both got off work early; one of our children had a couple of grades that had slipped into the “caution” zone, and we felt that it was very important that we take her to her Parent-Teacher conferences and meet with her teachers.  It was chaotic, because the conferences are held in the gym of her school; all of the teachers sit at tables, identified first by the subject they teach, then their last name.  We had already met with a couple of her teachers, but the teacher we most needed to meet with had (of course) the longest line.  As we’re heading to that line, my hubby’s phone rings.  It’s our oldest daughter, saying something unintelligible to my hubby.  Exasperated, he thrusts the phone at my head; “I can’t understand what she’s saying!”  As I put the phone to my ear, all I hear is “Good News Club!” and I’m certain the blood drained from my face. 

Ooops – I did it again!

What I haven’t mentioned here is that my cell phone battery died while I was at work.  I hadn’t bothered to charge it at home, and I didn’t have a charger at my office.  The only charger I had with me was the lighter-charger for my car.  Therefore, my cell phone was not on my person, but in my vehicle.  It’s rather hard to hear it ring from inside the gym….

My hubby, who probably wants to get out of meeting with the math teacher almost as much as he wants to win the lottery, insists on picking up our little guy, but “where do I go?” is his question.  As I’m trying to formulate directions in my head, my growing panic demands that I go to my car, because I know she will be calling me.  I just know it!  So I start barking orders at my hubby to stand in the line he most wants to avoid (“No, you stay there because I have to get my phone!”) so that I can go get my phone and rescue my “forgotten” son. 

As I turn on my headlights and navigate my car out of the congested parking lot onto the empty streets of my town, I am grateful that a) the roads are not nearly as busy as the school gym and parking lot, and b) that I remembered to charge my phone and turn it on!  At about that exact second, as if on cue, it rings.  Before she could even get more than her name out of her mouth, I prolifically apologize, confessing my horror and embarrassment, all at the same time!

I have to say, she truly is the sweetest thing ever, because she didn’t bat an eyelash about it, and almost more importantly, she didn’t laugh out loud when I sheepishly proclaimed,

“It won’t happen again.”

My son, on the other hand, sums it up the best: 

“I wasn’t really surprised, Mom.”
Ouch.

Thursday, January 3, 2013



resolution
Pronunciation: /rɛˈluːʃ(ə)n/  Noun  1 a firm decision to do or not to do something

New year, new beginnings.

Every year, sometime around January 1st, I find myself mulling over a list of items I’d like to accomplish for the year.  My list is usually more detailed, but includes such things as Organize, Build, Clean, Diet, Exercise, Read, Learn, Create, Stop.  My intentions are good, and I might actually stick with it for a while, but usually by March or so, I lose interest – or worse, I forget.  EVERY year.  So, what’s to make 2013 any different?

Maybe I’ve been approaching it all wrong.  I tend to look at my list of resolutions as a whole, instead of focusing on one thing at a time.  Common sense even tells me that some of my resolutions will be easier to keep – or accomplish – than others, just as learning some skills are easier than others.  Take tying your shoes.  When I learned to tie my shoes, it was difficult at first, but I managed to get it done, and eventually, I could tie one shoe at a time with my eyes closed.  But, what if I tried to tie both shoes at the same time?  Would it have worked?  Probably not.  In fact, even with all of my shoe-tying experience, I don’t see how I could tie them both at once, unless I tied them together.  But then, what would be the point?

Henry Ford once said, “a weakness of all human beings is trying to do too many things at once.  That scatters effort and destroys direction.”  (I wonder what he would think of today’s mentality about multi-tasking….?)  I suppose he’s saying that focusing on one thing at a time isn’t a handicap – maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.   Single-tasking forces us to concentrate on one thing at a time, so that at least one thing gets done with our full attention.  What a novel idea!

I’m thinking that this year, I’ll focus on one thing at a time.  Maybe I’ll get to the end of 2013, look back, and say “Wow! I sure got a lot done!”  Then again, if I can’t prioritize my resolutions, I may look back and say “Darn! I should have put ‘stop procrastinating’ at the top.”  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Isn't "dumb blonde" a peroxymoron? 



Thanks, UnKNOWN PUNster (https://www.facebook.com/UnknownPuNster) for posting this.  It suits me to a TEE!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dingbats ROCK!

I'm such a dingbat (though I'm sure you never would have guessed if I hadn't mentioned it now, would you 've?)...

I got a new car in May.  Mother's Day weekend.  Mine had reached a point that it was going to cost far more to repair it than it was worth.  So, lets head down to the Credit Union and see what they have available from the rental company sale.  Mini van?  Sounds great!  What, another couple is test driving the one that we want?  Sure, we'll take out this crossover SUV instead.  Wow! This is really nice!  Lets do some quick research.  Looks good.  LOVE the car.  Can we get it?  Cool!  We're approved?  Awesome!  Hours later, finally driving away with my new vehicle.  LOVE it! Totally!

That was a Saturday.  The following Wednesday....

I have one of those handy-dandy key fobs.  You know the kind I'm talking about:  press this button to lock it, press this button to unlock it, press it twice to unlock all of the doors.  Press this one to unlock the trunk.  They told us that they would send the extra key in a couple of weeks, so don't lose this one.  OK.  I won't.  So, I drop my son off at school, then stop at the grocery store.  It was my sister-in-love's birthday, and she has always wanted a globe willow.  Lookee here!  They have globe willows on sale at the store, at an incredible price!  I better get one for her before they're gone!  Pay.  Carry it out to the car.  Unlock the trunk with the new fob (not the side doors, since I'm heading back in to buy some groceries).  Adjust the seats so that the tree fits (I have to lay it down).  Awesome!  It fits!  Time to go back in.

SLAM!!!

Oh, crud...

I left my key inside the trunk.  I had it in my hand, and didn't put it into my pocket.  Now what?  Keep in mind that we only had that ONE key.

I call my friend, who picks me up at the store.  I only have the one key, so there's no sense calling the hubby.    We don't have AAA or other road side "oops, I locked my key in the car" service.  I really don't want to spend a bunch of money to have a locksmith or tow-truck driver break in for me.  What the heck am I gonna do?

Fortunately, I left the window down about 2".  Unfortunately, the car is new enough that the locks are the flippy-kind in the side of the door (not on top of the door, where you can hook a hanger around it and pull it up).  The car is also quite wide, so I don't think the broom handle through one window will reach across to the other door to flip the lock.  Enter McGuyverMe.  At home, I grab duct tape, the flag "pole" for my son's bike trailer, and a 48" wooden dowel.  My friend and I head back to the store, laughing all the way.

Oh -- just for grins, I'm also parked in the very first space, directly out the doors of the store.  High visibility, right?  :)

So, I use the flag pole to try to reach through one side window, across the car, and (hopefully) snag the lock & pop it.  It's too short.  Next, I duct tape the dowel onto the pole, to make it longer.  That works, but it's too flimsy -- the pole keeps bending.  Next, I wad duct tape onto the end that I'm trying to use to flip the lock, hoping maybe I can 'catch' it -- sort of like fishing.  I keep trying, and trying, and trying....

Meanwhile, my friend is inside the store, looking for two types of things:  #1, items to try to hook the lock & flip it, and #2, the most "criminal-looking person in the store -- they'll know how to break in!"  Would you believe, she was successful?  She's standing there in the store, with a flyswatter in her hand, hoping to find a wire hanger, when another friend walks up behind her and gooses her!  

My hero!

Gooser-girl's hubby used to be a tow-truck driver, and they just happened to have a nifty kit with all kinds of fun tools for just such an occasion.  As luck would have it, she had driven the truck with the kit in it THAT VERY DAY!  So, she goes off to get the kit.  

Keep in mind that we're right in front of the grocery store, and that using such a kit is questionably (il)legal.  

We've been working on breaking in for almost an hour at this point.  Maybe even two.  (It was probably more like 30 minutes, but it felt like FOUR HOURS!)  People keep asking if we need help.  Duh!  Of course, but you're crazy if you think I'm going to admit it NOW!  No matter how hard we try, nothing seems to be working.  I'm mortified!  How do I go about telling my hubby, and all of my co-workers & neighbors & friends, and my KIDS, that I locked my only key in my car only 4 days after getting it?  How embarrassing!  Sheesh!

After another 5 hours (minutes), a nice gentleman, covered in tattoos,  with his little blonde kindergarten-age boy (who happened to be carrying a barbie doll with no head, but that's another subject all together), comes along and offers to help.  Relieved, my two friends quickly accept, and in no time at all, he has my car unlocked.  Of course, because no key was locked, the car horn & lights begin protesting loudly.  I quickly hop in, throw the seat forward, reach under the tree pot, and hit the "unlock" button.  

Blessed peace.

Do I have a point to my story?  Not really.  I learned not to unlock the trunk of the car ONLY, but to unlock at least the driver's door as well.  I also learned that a platinum blonde mom can quickly make new friends by acting as dorky as she feels when she does something (stupid) brilliant.  And, I learned that, when you drive off and leave the roll of duct tape laying on it's side on the hood of the car, that it won't go anywhere because the stickiness oozes out the sides of the tape, adhering it to said hood.  (Whew!)  

Finally, I learned that I truly am a platinum blonde mom....


@#%

This post is dedicated to my dear neighbor-friend, my hero-friend, and my new guy friend.  Oh, and new guy friend?  I'm sorry I didn't have any cash to give you for rescuing me, because you really need to get your son into therapy!