How to Make Perfect Boiled and Deviled Eggs

We eat a lot of boiled eggs in our house, and just this last year my kids have developed an obsession with deviled eggs. I made a batch of 12 deviled eggs (6 whole eggs) and I turned around and, seriously, they were GONE. I couldn’t believe it as my 3 boys (including my husband) sat there with a smile like, “What? I only had, like, one…” mmhmm.

If you’ve been frustrated with making deviled eggs or want to know how to get the shells off of boiled eggs effortlessly, then read this recipe!

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Perfect Boiled Eggs

AKA: How to Avoid Green Yolks and Easily Peel Shells like a Boss

Step 1: Place as many eggs as you want in a saucepan and fill with water.

2: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Set a timer for 15 min.

3: Green Yolks come from overcooking, so don’t do it! Now drain the water – being careful to not crack the eggs and let them cool for about 5-10 min.

4. Eggs should still be really warm, but cool enough to handle. Take one egg and crack it GENTLY all around by rolling it on a hard surface. (If you hit it too hard it will break the delicate egg white underneath.)

5. Under COLD running water, gently peel the shell off and slide your thumb underneath. Use your thumb to slide under the shell, working your way around the egg until the entire shell is gone.

WHY it Works: When cold water hits the outer shell of the egg, it causes the outer membrane to easily separate from the warm egg. 

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THE Classic Deviled Egg Recipe

This is the basic deviled egg recipe my kids love! You can add relish or bacon or hot sauce or other fun things to the yolks, but this is just the baseline “master” recipe to go from. Have fun!

Tip: Avoid messy looking eggs or even worse, WATERY EGGS. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people bring deviled eggs to get-togethers that are sitting in pools of water… I may sound like a food snob, but there is just something about eggs sitting water that is gross! Am I the only one?  Deviled eggs are one food where craftsmanship matters. 

Ingredients

6-12 Hard boiled eggs, cut in half and de-yolked

1/4 cup REAL Mayonnaise (try Greek Yogurt for a healthier version)

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp white vinegar

salt

1 TBS honey/agave

smoked paprika

Directions 

Slice each egg and de-yolk, putting the yolks in a medium bowl. Wash each egg white and place face down on a napkin as in the photo above.

While those are drying, mix up the filling. Put the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and using a hand mixer (or even a small food processor), blend until smooth. Do a little taste test and add spices as necessary. For 12 eggs you may need more mayonnaise. I usually start with 1/4 cup and add as necessary. You want the filling to be thick, yet smooth.

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Transfer yolk mixture to a plastic baggy and cut the end off. Yep, same thing with icing a cupcake! Now turn the egg whites right side up and place them in the dish. Now, fill each one with yolk mixture and sprinkle lightly with smoked paprika.

That’s it!! Enjoy!

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Make Your Own Muesli

The “invention” of muesli is credited to Swiss physician and nutritional pioneer, Maximilian Bircher-Benner. The recipe consisted of oat flakes, raw apples, condensed milk, nuts and lemon juice and it led Dr. Bircher-Benner to overwhelming improvements in the health of many of his patients. Dr. Bircher-Benner determined that much of the sickness experienced by his patients could be alleviated with increased exercise and a more nutritious diet. He was able to heal and prevent disease through a diet rich in raw grains, fruits, and vegetables, and with moderate exercise including walking and gardening daily. – Evokefoods.com

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I’ve always loved Muesli. My mom would buy it growing up and would serve it warm. When I went to Europe, muesli was an option every morning for breakfast. You might think that muesli is that same as granola but it isn’t at all. Granola is baked with sweeteners (varies by brand from corn syrup to honey) and oils (once again varies by brand). Granola is very calorie dense which is better for needing condensed fuel on a long hike/climb but for everyday living, muesli is a better choice on less active days.

You can eat it for breakfast but it can also be eaten as a dessert or for a pick-me-up during the day. I like to eat my carbs later in the day rather than first thing in the morning so this is a perfect little snack for me around 2-3 with a cup of coffee or tea.

Did you know?

Afternoon Fatigue can be avoided by drinking plenty of water and eating a low carb diet before 3pm?

Don’t believe me? Try it! Ditch the breads for breakfast and lunch for a few days and notice the difference.

And while your at it, try this recipe to make a ton of muesli your family can enjoy for weeks!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups Raisin Bran Cereal
  • 2 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/8 cup whole flax seed
  • 1/4 cup pecan bits
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • (Optional: add chopped dates or other dried fruit)
  • Sliced banana/berries
  • Milk/organic soy milk/unsweetened almond milk

You can double or triple this recipe as desired!

Directions:

Combine all dry ingredients and store in a tupperware container.

To Serve: Top 3/4 cup Muesli with milk and microwave for 1 minute until warm. This will soften the muesli a bit. Top with bananas or berries and enjoy this hearty, energy packed snack!

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I love food that looks pretty!

 

 

 

DIY: How to Update your Mantel with Paint

Mantel-for-WEB

This is my first post about our “new” fixer-upper home in Washington! Thank you for reading and bearing with my ramblings. :)

For a little background, Alex got out of the Navy in August and we decided to rent out or home and move closer to his new job. We put an offer on this house and fortunately for us – we got it! (That is almost sarcastic because we won the bid war and were actually pretty terrified because we knew the amount of work we were about to take on!) Since moving, I’ve secured a great job working 30 hours a week and am still able to be home for the kids during the day and work on the house with whatever free time I have. I feel so blessed in so many ways, and even feel blessed to have a strong body that can do the work needed to get these jobs done…because let me tell you – this ain’t no walk in park. Fixing up a home requires some serious sweat and persistence!

I know that much of what I see on Pinterest for home renovations are from blogs that are sponsored by companies to try their products. This would be really nice if I had that opportunity, but seeing as I currently don’t, everything I’ve done is VERY inexpensive.

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(We got rid of the deep red and went with a muted light green. We also painted all the brown trim white.)

Paint Used:

Valspar Semi-Gloss Paint 

5006-2C SABLE EVENING 

and

Bulls Eye 1.2.3 Water-based Primer

ALSO:

1 Good Paintbrush (this makes a huge difference! I also like an angled brush for cutting in on the corners)

Fine grain sandpaper

RUSTOLEUM Black Metallic Spray Paint

Directions:

  1. Clean and dry all surfaces.
  2. Paint 1 coat of the 1.2.3 Primer. Much like the Frank’s Red Hot Commercial, I love this stuff because, “That sh*t covers everything”.
  3. After this has dried, give the primer a light sanding with a thin grain sand paper. This will give the paint a smoother look. You can paint 1 more thin primer layer if you want, but my lazy self says that is not necessary.
  4. Now paint 3 thin layers of the Semi-gloss Sable Evening Paint. Your first coat will look thin and terrible. The second coat will look much better and by the third it will look perfect. If it doesn’t – go for a 4th coat. You really can’t rush this process.
  5. If you have any brass figures, remove them and spray paint outside. If you can’t remove them, tape up a plastic drop cloth and spray paint directly.
  6. Enjoy your new mantel! Wait up to 12 hrs to place objects on top.

 

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No more brass! And the dark grey really makes the white tile pop! There are many shades of grey…probably more than 50…(sorry just had to do it). This is a greenish tint that works well with blues and creams. I also used this same color to paint the cabinets in the renovated Boy’s Starwars bathroom.

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I will be posting about this bathroom soon! This was my first time tiling and doing grout work. It was tough but I now LOVE the look of this bathroom! This full renovation cost right around 100$.

 

 

North African Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew with Almond Couscous

chicken-apricot-sharp-570webPhoto: http://www.panningtheglobe.com/2015/03/21/north-african-chicken-stew-with-sweet-potatoes-apricots-and-kale/

I know that I’m getting older when I get completely, jump-for-joy, excited about a new Le Creuset dutch oven and vacuum for Christmas. Not that getting older is a bad thing…but it’s crazy/scary to think that this year will be my last year in my 20’s!

I wanted to make something comforting yet different to de-virginize my new dutch oven, I mean, it’s a special moment, even in a lowly pot’s life… so I scoured the internet and low and behold: I settled on the perfect thing!

This stew is everything you need. It’s 1) healthy: low in fat, high in protein + tons of veggies! 2) satisfying, thanks to big chunks of sweet potato AND 3) inexpensive, due to the use of bone-in skin-on chicken breasts. I absolutely LOVE the spice combination of this stew – with fresh ginger, cinnamon and coriander, you might have random neighbors stopping by your house for free smells.

The couscous is optional but really brings this meal together. (Plus kids love it!) If you are following Paleo or a Ketogenic Diet – just leave it out! Enjoy!

FEEDS 4-6 

INGREDIENTS
3 large skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts: rinsed, trimmed and patted dry
1 TBS olive oil
House Seasoning: Salt + Fresh ground black pepper + garlic powder

1 Large Yellow Onion Roughly Sliced (1 inch wedges)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 1inch pieces of fresh garlic (cut into two pieces and slice skin off)

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sweet/hot paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup dried apricots OR golden raisins, chopped or sliced into strips
1 carton low-sodium Chicken Broth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
OPTIONAL: 1 bunch lacinato kale or spinach

2 boxes of PLAIN couscous + 1/2 cup sliced/slivered almonds

DIRECTIONS
-Preheat oven to 350F. Sprinkle chicken generously with house seasoning on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Brown the chicken in batches (5 or 6 at a time, so as not to crowd), about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside. Add aromatic vegetables: onions, garlic, and ginger. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 7 minutes. Add spices: cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika, red pepper, and salt. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Return chicken to the pot. Add sweet potatoes, apricots, chicken broth and lemon juice. Bring liquid to a boil. Cover pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 45 minutes.

-Cook couscous according to package instructions. Use butter or olive oil and add almonds before simmering!
-Remove pot from the oven and uncover. Using a large spoon or spatula, gently push aside some chicken and potatoes so you have a small area near the edge of the pot that’s mostly broth. Push the slivered kale down into the broth with a wooden spoon, a little at a time. It will shrink when it hits the hot broth. Gently stir the softened kale into the stew. Season stew with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve stew in bowls with cilantro if you like.

 

(TIP: I took the chicken out after cooking, and used a fork to remove the meat from the bone and returned the chicken meat to the pot. This makes it easier to serve!)

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Everything in the pot ready to cook low and slow for 45 min! This makes the chicken fall-apart tender.

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The recipe makes great left-overs!

Recipe adapted from:  http://www.panningtheglobe.com/2015/03/21/north-african-chicken-stew-with-sweet-potatoes-apricots-and-kale/