Tip for Coring Apples

This little tidbit has been sitting in my drafts folder forEVAH.   In honour of the farmers markets re-opening, and the big bags of apples available from cold storage, I thought I’d finally post it.

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Using my melon baller is WAY easier than a corer (which is both hard to use and hard to clean) and produces much less waste than with just a paring knife.

I love me a good kitchen tip!

Happy Tuesday to y’all!

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Green Eggs and Ham

I’ve been excited all week about today being Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  We love his books and his movies, and I knew I wanted to make Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast.  But was there a way to do it without nasty food colouring?  I decided to investigate.

What I found really exciting.  Red cabbage can turn eggs green?  What?

It didn’t occur to me until part way through the process that I should be taking pictures, but here’s what I did:

1)  I chopped about 1  1/2 cups of red cabbage, added it to a pot with a tiny bit of water on the bottom and simmered it for about 10 minutes, adding a splash of water when needed to prevent scorching.

2)  I used my immersion blender to puree it, and then pushed it through a fine strainer to squeeze out the beautiful purpleness.

3)  I separated a bunch of eggs…

4)   …and added a couple scoops of the purpleness to the whites.

5)  Then the kids got mixing.

Apparently, the green comes via a chemical reaction relating to the pH levels.  Here’s what I found:

“Naturally, red cabbage has a colour somewhere between red and purple, depending on the pH-value of the soil it is growing in. This colour change occurs due to the pigment flavin, which belongs to a group of water soluble plant pigments called anthocyanins (For those of you, that don’t know what the pH value refers to, it is the measure of the acidity (pH < 7) or basicity (pH > 7) of an aqueous solution). In this Instructable, we are making use of the fact, that flavin is a natural pH indicator and that egg white has a pH value of about 8. These slightly alkaline condition result in a colour change to a blueish-green.”

How cool is THAT?

6)  I then spooned some egg whites egg greens into the pan, and carefully spooned a yolk on top, flipping carefully when the time came.   (They look less green in this photo for some reason, but they were actually quite green in reality.)

7)  I tried to make the ham green, but it only made it purple.  Clearly, the ham didn’t have the right pH to cause the reaction.   Great science lesson!   We talked about pH levels in pools and how our eyes can be red when the pH is off, and perfectly clear when the pH is right.

We all enjoyed our breakfast immensely!

Caleb declared that it smelled like I was cooking chinese food for breakfast, I guess because of the cabbage smell.  But they tasted like …eggs, perhaps a slight bit sweeter.  All five of us ate them up and declared breakfast a great success!

Now this has me thinking about pH levels and experiments we can do with them.  Maybe planting seeds in soils of varying pH levels to see what happens…?    I think it’s all pretty cool.

It’s a snow day here in Nova Scotia (we’re finally getting our winter), and I’ve declared it a Funday Friday — because I can (the homeschoolers among you know what I’m talking about).   My brood is out in the snow now, a bit of shoveling, bringing in some wood and of course, playing!  Later, we’ll do some crafts – maybe draw some Dr. Seuss characters?  We’ll watch ‘Horton Hears a Who’ this afternoon, and probably do a read-aloud of Green Eggs and Ham.   It’s days like this that my kids will look back on with fondness.

And now I’m off to clean up the post-breakfast mess.  A small price to pay for all the smiles.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Recipe: Crack Bread er… I mean… Bacon Cheddar Ranch Pulls

I saw this picture on Pinterest and started to drool. 

Yes indeedy.

So when I attended a friend’s Christmas party a couple weeks ago, I knew I had to make it.    It was easy and delicious and I will definitely be making it again and again.  I followed the recipe found here, but added chopped green onion (because I love it so).

It was a big hit at the party and several people have asked me for the recipe, so it’s a sure keeper! 

(Thank you Steph.)

Now to test out other combos that keep popping into my mind:

 -olives and goat cheese?

-chicken and mushroom?

-BBQ chicken?

-a pizza version?

-shrimp and seafood sauce?

-artichoke and asiago?

-cream cheese and crab?

-a caprese salad version (mmmm… my long time favourite salad with tomato, basil and fresh bocconcini) 

– or a sweet apples and cinnamon version? 

– or chocolate and banana? 

Holy Schmoly, this is going to be fun! 

This post has been linked to Edie’s  Party of Christmas Appetizers.  If you don’t read Edie’s blog, you need to.  

And that’s all I have to say about that. 

Day 3: The Receiving End of Intention

Last night was Date Night. 

It’s a weekly thing for me and David; a special time to eat great food, enjoy some fantastic conversation and a glass or two of wine.  The biggest plus is that it’s just the two of us.

One of the things that makes Date Night particularly special, is that most of the time, David makes a beautiful meal for us to share.  Last night was Salsa Night:  homemade salsa and chips as an appetizer, fresh tuna steaks on a bed of spinach with yummy mango salsa for the main, fruit salsa and cinnamon chips for dessert.  It was fabulous! 

We even tried about 5 seconds of salsa dancing.  It wasn’t pretty so we stopped.   It’s good to know your limits.

However, the best thing about our evening was David’s comment to me after we had enjoyed our beautiful fish.   Were it not for interrupting date night, I would have jumped up and recorded it verbatim, but his words went something like this: 

“I love you and so I enjoy pouring my love into the food, because I know you enjoy it so much.  Food is just another way I can express my love to you.  We might enjoy a frozen lasagna just as much.  It serves the same purpose of filling us, and we can still share it just the two of us, but it doesn’t do anything to really express how much I love you.” 

(Melt…)

After his comment, when my heart returned to its regular pace,  it came to me.   

Day 3:

Being on the receiving end of intention feels so wonderful, and makes me feel so well-loved, that I want to be the giver of more intention, so those special to me might feel the same way.   

 And for what it’s worth, that gorgeous tuna was way better than any lasagna, frozen or otherwise.

This post has been linked to the 31 DAYS series.  You can start from the beginning here, and check out the other 31 Dayers by visiting The Nester.

Ingenuity

Lastnight I made a lovely beef, eggplant and carrot stirfry over brown rice, complete with fresh herbs from our garden.  I LOVED it, but then, I love eggplant so I knew it would be yummy …to me. 

My kids, on the other hand, suffered their way through it.  We have ‘exemptions’ in our house and have had from the beginning.  The kids are each allowed to choose three items they will not be made to eat until they remove it from their list in favour of something else (but never on a day that the ‘something else’ is being served.)  Since eggplant isn’t on anyone’s list (though I do use it from time to time), they all had to eat it up. 

At some point along the way, Caleb had a mouthful of food and a super-disgusted look on his face.  I reminded him it was best to swallow quickly, to get it away from his tastebuds.  

A few minutes later, the boys had finished their portions and excused themselves to clear their bowls. 

Then, I turned to Eden and saw this (–it’s blurry because it was just a quick iPhone picture):

“I’m getting the eggplant off my tastebuds Mama, and onto my cheeks instead!”

Seriously. 

Where’d I find this kid?

Wordless Wednesday – Preparing for a Bounty

For more Wordless Wednesday photos, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Eager Hands

So, we baked on Wednesday, as I had intended.  We opted for chocolate banana cookies instead of muffins – an excellent choice!  Both the baking and the painting that followed were an effort to stomp out the ‘someday’ I too often draw on in my day-to-day.   Between homeschooling and the business and all the other things I have on my plate, it had been too many weeks since we baked and painted together. It felt good to back at it. 

Though it was also a test of my patience. 

Those eager little hands love to help and take their sweet time doing it. 

Am I right?

But yesterday, it didn’t matter.  Yes, I could make the cookies in about a sixth of the time it took with my helpers, but that wasn’t the point.  Instead of rushing them along (as I have done a LOT lately), I took some deep calming breaths, focussed on my patience, and left them to it.  

The learned, giggled, got their hands dirty.  They enjoyed the supervision of their Mama who was simply watching contentedly, and encouraging them along the way.

And I don’t think anything could have made them happier.  

I want my kids to later reflect on their childhoods with memories of a Mom who had the patience to let them do these kinds of things, not one who was always rushing them along to the next task.  

I want to encourage those eager little hands! 

Focusing on the “worldly” causes me to lose focus on what’s really important.  Sure, I may have lost bit of focus lately, but I’m getting it back.    Oh YES, I am! 

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This post has been linked to Amy’s Finer Things.

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