Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Near-Perfect Hardboiled Eggs

About a year ago, a very good friend of mine posted pictures on Facebook of her attempts at making hardboiled eggs.  As I stared at the three nearly mangled specimens, I felt her pain.  I had always, ALWAYS had trouble hard boiling eggs and would end up with very similar results.  Short of buying an egg cooker (which does work), which is a unitasker and thus, not allowed in my kitchen, I had to come up with a way to hard boil eggs in such a way as you could make deviled eggs and they'd all look beautiful.

We eat A LOT of hardboiled eggs in this household.  So I tend to boil a dozen at a time.  And important thing about boiling eggs, is DO NOT WALK AWAY.  I usually try to do small kitchen chores so that I'm in the same room, but not waiting for the (proverbial) pot to boil.

Where did I go to do my research?  Well, the internet of course!!!!  I tried several "proven" methods and have come up with the following method that has worked beautifully nearly every time I do them.  It has taken me a year to perfect this method, and continue testing, timing, etc.

FIRST - and most important - start with "old" eggs.  Well, not "old" as in out of date, but "old" as in not seriously fresh.  The older the egg, the more detached the white is from the shell, thus making the end result much easier to peel.  I actually buy an extra dozen each week to intentionally "age" them.  I stick them in the back of my fridge and don't pull them out until the next step.

NEXT - use room temperature eggs.  The warmer the egg is when you start the process, the more separated the white is from the shell (again, this will make the peeling easier).  I do this by midday - the day before I plan on boiling them - place them upside-down in the carton on the counter.  Placing them upside down re-centers the yolk so that it will be more in the "middle" of the egg - this is important when you're going to use them in deviled eggs.  I also leave them there until the next day (or about 24 hours later)….I move onto the next step.

AND THEN - place eggs in a pan large enough that you can cover them with 1" of water AND that they can move around while boiling.  I use my 5 quart soup pot for a dozen eggs.  Cover them with COLD water.  Place on medium heat and bring to a rapid boil, then:

NOW DO THIS - turn OFF the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and set a timer for 10 minutes.

NEXT - after 10 minutes, remove lid and drain hot water.  Cover with VERY COLD water.  Drain again.  While drained, place the lid back on and shake the pan around - I swirl in circles, do quick up and down moves, etc.  This breaks up the shells, and makes them easier to peel.

AND THEN - cover with VERY COLD WATER again.  Gently lift one egg at a time out of the pot of cold water and close to the water's surface, gently peel the egg.  And voila…beautiful hard boiled eggs, almost EVERY SINGLE TIME (that why I say "near-perfect" and not perfect, sometimes there's just one bad egg!)

So, Weave, hope this helps you!!!! :)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sticky Bun Ring

How many of you love Pinterest?  I got addicted to it this year.  Pinning like mad.  And trying things.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Well, this was a pin I came across and had hoped to make on Christmas Morning….however, I could not find it for the life of me!  And I had forgotten to pin it!  OH MY!  So, after learning that some good friends were coming to visit for an overnight, I made the plan to Aldify this recipe…which meant I had to find it again.  I FOUND IT!!!!

Since it is NOT my recipe and I only used Aldi ingredients, I'm not going to share the recipe - instead, I'll share the link to the originator.  Please visit her site and try this!  It's soooooo yummy.  The picture is mine.  I had to adapt a little b/c I don't have a bundt pan, I only have a monkey bread pan.  As you can see it turned out quite well, and it was all gone in a matter of minutes, so I believe it was popular.

Please do stay tuned, though.  I do have some of my own adjustments to it that I intend to test and try and will put an adjusted recipe on soon.

In the meantime, enjoy the original!

Sticky Bun Ring

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Cut-outs - Busy Mom Version

I'm gonna get a lot of flack for this recipe.  It starts with a cake mix (go ahead Kristy, gimme your best eye rolls and groans!).  It also happens to be derivative of a recipes I've shared before, the Cake Mix Cookies.  It's been updated and enhanced a little bit for use as cutouts.

Yesterday,  it snowed. A lot. And even though we're homeschoolers, and had schoolwork to do, all of our out-of-the-house activities got cancelled.  My oldest and I spent part of our day preparing doughs for Christmas Cookies.  A double batch of Ultimate Snickerdoodles, PB Kiss and Oatmeal Scotchies.  While the kids played in the snow and built a snowman, I watched from the kitchen window while preparing this dough on my own.  While hubby took my youngest to gymnastics, I rolled out the dough and baked them.

Today, we had a light agenda, so we decorated the cookies.  It was lots of fun.   Made memories.

Christmas Cut-Outs

1 Box Baker's Corner Yellow Cake Mix
1 stick Country Creamer Butter, softened
2 Golden Hen Eggs
1 tsp Stonemill Essentials Pure Vanilla Extract

In a mixer, mix together butter, cake mix, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth.

Place in a baggie and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll out dough on a well-floured surface.  Use floured cookie cutters and cut out.  Place on a greased cookie sheet about 1 1/2 apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until edges are JUST starting to get golden.

Remove from oven and allow cooling on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before trying to remove them.  Once cooled, decorate with Baker's Corner Vanilla frosting and Christmassy sprinkles!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas baking must commence….

Now that I've grabbed your attention!

A few years ago, I did the 12 Recipes of Christmas, counting down to Christmas day.  It included some yummy cookies and such.

I thought of all of you as I am starting to make my cookie doughs!

Would love to hear what you like to bake this time of year!  Please comment!  If you have a link to the recipe, by all means, SHARE SHARE SHARE!!! :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ravioli Lasagna

Thanks to Pinterest, I've been having a craving.  It's really not fair.  I go on Pinterest, and pin and pin and pin.  I rarely make and make and make.  Lately, the top pins that keeps popping up on my page are for baked ravioli.  Mmmmm….baked ravioli.  It's made me crave Ravioli Lasagna.  Ya know, Lasagna the EASY way.  No boiling noodles, no messy ricotta cheese, just yummy, yummy lasagna.

Well, I gave in.  I made Ravioli Lasagna tonight for dinner.  Four ingredients.  A little bit of time, and a lot of reward for this easy meal.

Ravioli Lasagna

1 lb Ground Meat (I used Fit & Active Ground Turkey)
1 jar Reggiano Traditional Spaghetti Sauce
1 bag Priano Cheese Ravioli
1 bag Happy Valley Farms Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Brown ground meat in a pan, add half the jar of sauce.  Stir until just combined, it will cook more in the oven.

Pour just enough sauce to cover bottom of a 8X8 baking dish.

Layer 16 raviolis, lined up in a square (overlap if you have to) over the sauce.  Top with half of the meat mixture.  Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.  Layer on 16 more raviolis.  Top with the remaining meat mixture.  Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.  Layer on 16 more raviolis.  Top with the remaining sauce from the jar.  Sprinkle with more Mozzarella cheese.  You might have a couple raviolis and a some shredded cheese left.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes in the oven - until all warm and bubbly.

Let set for about 10 minutes before serving.


You're welcome.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Breakfast Cookies

Okay, I'm sure you read this title and have immediately called into question my parenting abilities.  Sure, Breakfast For Dinner, we can grasp that, support that, emulate that.  But DESSERT for BREAKFAST?  I must have a screw loose somewhere, right?  Nope.  I don't.

How many of you have sat and read the labels on your breakfast cereals lately?  Poptarts? Waffles? (you put syrup on them right?)….okay, so cookies for breakfast is not that much of a stretch, and THESE cookies?  Well, they're downright HEALTHY.

I'm always in search of a good grab-and-go breakfast.  Recently, a friend of mine posted on Facebook - or was it Pinterest? - I digress, she posted this recipe for Homemade Breakfast Cookies that she found somewhere.  I had to Aldify it, of course.  For your viewing (and dining) pleasure, I give you:


2 1/4 Cups Millville Whole Rolled Oats (you can use the instant, also, I prefer these)
3/4 tsp Sebree Salt
1 tsp Stonemill Classics Ground Cinnamon
1 Cup Creamy Delight Peanut Butter (you CAN use crunchy, if you prefer, or the natural version)
1/4 Cup Golden Honey
2 Ripe Bananas, mashed
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds (hulled and roasted, the only non-Aldi ingredient…my Aldi DOES sometimes carry these - check yours for sure, sometimes they're upfront by the checkouts)
1/2 Cup Baker's Corner Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
(or you could do 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup chocolate chips - my kids don't like raisins in cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies are the reason I have trust issues, so I used all chocolate chips in mine)

Mix all the ingredients together and drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Flatten the tops of each (these cookies will not spread as they bake like a normal batter would).

Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes (will depend on YOUR oven, mine took closer to 20) until slightly browned.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

NOTE:  I used my normal cookie scoop and it made about 2 1/2 dozen cookies, the recipe I worked from had it only making 12 cookies, so they were MUCH bigger.  I would say 2 cookies with a half cup of milk would be a serving. :)  The original recipe also called for processing the oats a little bit - especially if you were using whole oats - I opted not to do that because I love the texture of the full oat. If you are put off by that texture, process HALF of the oats OR use the quick oats instead.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Chicken Italiano Meatloaf (Crockpot)

I'm so thankful that it is fall, and that cold weather is setting in.  I have been using my crock pot A LOT the last couple weeks.  My preferred method for cooking in the fall and winter.  Warm, cozy comfort food.  Little effort.  Maximum payback.  It helps, too, on those crazy nights when each of the 3 kids go in different directions!

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a hankering for meatloaf.  But knowing that I was not going to be home over the dinner preparation hours, it had to be a crockpot night.  Now, I know you all will find this surprising, but I have NEVER made a meatloaf in a crock pot before.  Well, I have now, and quite frankly, I might not go back!

Chicken Italiano Meatloaf

2 Lbs Fit & Active Lean Ground Chicken (sometimes my store carries Tyson, but not always)
1 Tbs Stonemill Classics Minced Onion
1 Tsp Stonemill Classics Minced Garlic
1/2 Tsp Stonemill Classics Season Salt
1 Tsp Stonemill Classics Italian Seasoning
1 Golden Hen Egg
1/2 Cup Millville Rolled Oats
1 Can Happy Harvest Whole Tomatoes
1 Large Onion, sliced
1 Large Green Pepper, Sliced
1 Box Couscous (I know the brands vary by store)* OPTIONAL

In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken, minced onion, minced garlic, seasoning salt, italian seasoning, egg and rolled oats.  Mix well, set aside.

In a large crockpot, place half of the tomatoes, squeezing/crushing as you put them in.  Top with sliced onion, then sliced green peppers.

Form meat mixture into a "loaf" and place over the sliced vegetables.  Top with remaining tomatoes, crushing in your hands as you add them, pour sauce leftover from tomatoes in can over the top of the meatloaf.

Cook on high for 1 hour.  Turn to low and cook for 6-8 hours.

After finished cooking, remove cooking liquid and use to make the couscous (this is optional, if you decide not to use the couscous, strain excess liquid and just serve with the cooked onions, peppers & tomatoes overtop.