Dyeing For Easter…

It’s somewhat of a tradition to dye eggs for Easter.  We always did it when I was growing up, and this year, I decided it was finally time to share the fun with Son.  Since I’m a DIYer, I decided I’d come up with my own way of dyeing eggs, that, and I forgot to purchase a kit.

Obviously, the first thing you need to do is boil your eggs.  I don’t know how it happened, but I am a master egg-boiler.  Seriously.  I never have any grey on my yolks, and Son loves to eat the hard-boiled eggs plain.  So I must be awesome.

To get perfectly hard-boiled eggs, you need eggs, and a pot with a lid.  Begin by placing your eggs into your pot; I chose to do six this time.

Then fill the pot with enough water to just cover the eggs.  The more water, the longer it will take to boil.

Place the pot onto the stove, uncovered, and turn the heat on high.  Bring water to a boil, and allow it to stay there for ONE minute.

After one minute has passed, remove pot from heat, and cover.  Allow to stand for 10 – 12 minutes.

I like my eggs with a darker yellow center, so I only let mine sit for 10 minutes.  If you want them lighter yellow, but still without the grey, go for longer, but no more than 12 minutes.  Then simply drain off the water, and run cool water over your eggs.  This is where I would normally peel them, but since I wanted to dye these for Easter, I didn’t do any peeling.

To dye your own Easter Eggs, without the kit, you will need the following…

  • A bowl of hard-boiled eggs
  • Something to protect your surface
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring
  • Enough containers for each color
  • Something to fish your eggs out with
  • Some white crayons
  • A happy, helpful kid

Fill your vessels with vinegar so that the eggs will be covered when submerged.  Then, drop food coloring into each until you have it as dark as you’d like.

Your dye vats should look like this when you’re through…

Of course, that is assuming you used Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green.

To dye your eggs, just dip them into the vinegar.

You can use the crayon to draw designs on your eggs, and the area will remain white when the egg is dyed.  The longer you let an egg sit in the dye, the brighter the color will be.  Allow the eggs to dry before hunting them.

Can you tell which ones I did?

So just in case you forgot that Easter is in TWO DAYS, and you have yet to buy your egg dyeing kit, or if you’re just too cheap to buy a kit, you now have the power to make your own.  And of course, you will also have perfectly boiled eggs for your future salads.   Yum.

Happy Easter!

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Filed under Cooking, DIY, Fun and Free Ideas, Parenting, Save my Wallet, Save the Earth

Man Your Stations….. (and a gift!)

Er, I mean stationary?   Leave me alone about my terrible title, or no gift for you.

A few days ago, I suddenly needed to write a note to the moms of Son’s classmates.  There was just one problem, I don’t have any note paper.  I don’t even have a notepad, much less actual stationary.  How bad was I going to look scribbling out a message on random scratch paper like I do with my grocery lists?  I decided I couldn’t be that lame, and so I devised a plan.  I figured I could quickly draw up my own stationary design, and print it from my home printer.

So I looked through the internet for inspiration, and decided since it was spring, and since I just got to know my dandelions, I’d go with a dandelion theme.  The next step was to find an image I could work with.

Whenever I do image work on the computer, I turn to Google Image search to get me started.  I searched for dandelion, and then narrowed my search to “line drawing.”  Once I found an image I liked, I saved it, and pulled it into Illustrator.

I played with my images, and moved them around until I had them where I liked it…

Once I had my flowers in place, I drew very faint lines across my paper to divide it into quarters.  My next step was to print.  Luckily, my printer can do border-less printing.

I chose to print my new notecards onto cream colored cardstock left over from my wedding 5 years ago, since it was what I had on hand.  Then, I had to cut it.

This is why I drew the faint lines.  With them, and you can almost see them in the photo above, I knew just where to place my ruler and blade.

When I was finished, they looked like this…

Not bad for free stationary, huh?

So the gift?  I thought I’d share a PDF of my stationary file, you know, in case you have to write 9 notes to fellow moms, or something prettier for your grocery list….

Dandelion Note Cards

 

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Getting Down to Dirty Business…

Over the weekend, I made Husband get on board with my “Get On That Already” challenge.  He wasn’t exactly excited, but he agreed to help just the same.  So what did we get on, together?

Well, for a while, maybe even years, our guests have been subjected to a rocking good time when tending to their business.  Of course, this embarrassed me, but instead of fixing the problem correctly, whenever we’d have a party, I’d shove poker chips underneath the pot in hopes that I could shim it in place.  I think it worked, but it was temporary, so it really wasn’t a good fix.  So encouraged by this post over on Young House Love, Husband and I finally fixed it right.

Now, I would have photos of the beginning process, but Husband said he’d throttle me if I started snapping while he was on his knees in front of the toilet.  So I waited until he stepped out…

Of course, he didn’t step out until after he had turned off the water at the wall, flushed the toilet to drain the tank, plunged out the remaining water from the bowl, unbolted the toilet from the floor, and make me help him carry it outside.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only time he made me help.  He instructed me to head back to the bathroom, and I was greeted with this…

…And a few too many poker chips.  Gross, right?  That, my friends, is the wax ring that seals the toilet with the floor and pipe below.  My job was to grab that brass wax ring, and get it out of there.  Armed with a scraper, and a trash bag, I got busy.

Don’t let the name “wax ring” fool you.  This thing was nothing like a candle.  It was sticky, and gross.  Scraping it off was a dirty job, and it took forever.  I also had to take out the black rubber ring in the center.  This comes with many wax ring replacements, so the old one had to go.  Once I was done, it looked like this…

Sure, it’s still not pretty, but all that wax on top was gone.  I even tried to get that wax off the tile floor, but it wasn’t going anywhere, and since it would be hidden by the toilet, I decided it could stay.

The next step was to insert the new bolts, by sticking them through the larger area in the slots, and sliding them into place.  Then the new wax ring was placed onto the metal plate.

And since the toilet was out of the way, I decided to finish painting the wall…

Once everything was in place, the final step was to place the toilet back onto the ring, and bolts, and then press it firmly into place.  Then you just have to bolt it down, and reconnect the water.

Ok, so you can’t tell a difference at all, but I’m sure my guests will feel a bit more stable when they have a seat.

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Spring Planting…

For the last two years, I, along with Husband’s help, have planted an outdoor garden.  You can see them here, and here.  Unfortunately, neither of these gardens have ever done much more than grow grass and okra.  So this year, I decided to forgo the garden all together.  Sure, I love home grown tomatoes, but my plants never fruit, or grow higher than 20 inches for that matter.  And my zucchini?  Well all it ever gave me gave me was flowers and squash bugs.  So I’m just not going to waste my time this year.  Oh, but don’t worry.  I still planted something….

I decided that I had done pretty well with my little lemon tree, so maybe indoor gardening was more my color.  I decided to try my hand at herbs.  I picked up a few different seed packets, and some soil.

And yes, I chose to do all this planting inside, on my kitchen table, on top of my pretty table cloth.  Shhhh.  Don’t tell Husband.

I decided to skip the larger pots, and to only plant a few seeds at a time in some little jars.  This was how I managed to grow my awesome lemon tree there in the background, and I figured I’d start my plants this way for luck.

I started with Thyme, and those seeds are tiny!

Then Parsley….

And Finally, Cilantro…

I only used a few seeds at a time, and simply placed them in my dirt…

and covered them up.  Then I gave each jar a tag, and placed them on my window sill.

Once my herbs were planted, and since I had the dirt out anyway, I decided it was time to re pot my lemon tree.  So I said a little prayer, ok a lot of little prayers, and pulled the plant up out of its mug.  I was surprised by the amount of roots waiting for me on the bottom, and as I knocked the dirt off, I thought I’d try to detangle them.  You see, my lemon tree is really four lemon trees, altogether, in one cozy pot.  I never dreamed I’d even get one tree from my store-bought-lemon seeds, but I got four!  I figured I’d someday have to cut all by one back to nothing, but felt bad about doing it.  What if I cut the wrong tree?  What if the tree I didn’t cut missed his brothers, and died of depression?

Luckily, I was able to get each tree free!  And just so you could see how extensive the root system is, I took a picture of a medium sized plant…

It’s incredible.

I was able to re-pot each tree into its own little plot of soil, and I planted my biggest tree in a footed bowl I found at Goodwill a year or so ago.

Then, of course, I said another couple of prayers, and told them to grow, and be happy.  Here’s hoping it worked!

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Half-Batched Brownies…

Friday, after Son and I finished lunch, I suddenly got a wild idea.  I felt like eating a brownie, and since I don’t buy those kinds of things — to keep myself from eating them — I knew we would have to make them.  That’s when I realized I had never made brownies without a box, and the last time I even did that, I was in high school!  It’s a good thing Al Gore invented that internet.

I quickly found a recipe for homemade brownies here.  The only problem?  It made 12-16 servings, and anyone that keeps sweets in the house knows that no matter how many you make, they will still be gone before the end of the day.  When there are only three of us in the house, it’s best for me to make small batches of all indulgences.  So I did what makes sense.  I halved the recipe.

Now I know that when you halve a baking recipe, it might not work.  Luckily, this turned out to be just what I needed.

I began with 1/4 cup of butter (that’s half a stick), 1 egg, 1/2 Teaspoon of vanilla, 1/4 cup of flour, 8 Teaspoons of cocoa powder (that’s 2 Tablespoons +2 Teaspoons), 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1/8 Teaspoon salt, and 1/8 Teaspoon baking powder.

I melted the butter in a saucepan on the stove, and then removed it from the heat.  I stirred in the vanilla and sugar, and then whisked in the egg.  Once the mixture was smooth, I added the remaining ingredients, and stirred until fully combined.

When it came time to add my batter to my pan, I had a bit more math to do.  You see, most brownie recipes call for a 9″x9″ pan, and since I cut the recipe in half, that just wasn’t going to work.  Besides, I don’t think I even own a 9×9 pan.  I told you I never make brownies….

So I did the math.  9 times 9 is 81, and 81 divided in half is 40.5.  With that in mind, I figured I needed a pan that had an area of 40.5 inches squared.  I looked in my cabinet and found these…

Of course, Son immediately voted for the bigger pan, assuming it would make more brownies, but I wanted to do the math.  The larger dish was 8×6, giving it an area of 48″, while the smaller was 5×7, making a slight 35″ squared.  Since I had never made brownies before, and wasn’t sure of their rise factor, I erred on the side of caution, and went with the larger dish, to Son’s delight.

Once buttered, I poured in my batter…

gave Son the whisk…

and popped the dish into a 350 degree oven.

Now I won’t lie, I was a bit concerned about the cooking time.  Would it stay the same?  Would it be less?  So instead of watching the clock, I went with my nose and the age-old toothpick method.  Still, they cooked for nearly the 28 minutes the original recipe called for.

So how did they turn out?  They were fantastic.  I say were, because as I predicted, they didn’t last the day.  But they were soft, a bit gooey, and really hit the spot.  And for all you chewy-brownie lovers out there, they did firm up a bit after they cooled.

In the future, since the brownies don’t rise at all, I may opt for the smaller dish, and get thicker brownies.  Just the same, I would say, as someone who doesn’t make sweets all the time, that these were simple, and used few enough dishes, to be something I could make everyday.  Certainly weekly, since we don’t want to be indulgent….  After all, the recipe only makes six!

 

Half-Batched Brownies - makes 6-8

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Butter

1/2 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Egg  

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/4 cup Flour

8 Teaspoons of Cocoa Powder (that’s 2 Tablespoons +2 Teaspoons)

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Baking Powder

________________________________________________________

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt butter in a small pot on the stove.

Once butter is melted,remove from heat, and add vanilla, sugar, and egg.  Whisk constantly until smooth.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, and whisk until fully combined.

Pour batter into a buttered 41″ square pan, or in my case, an 8×6 pan.   Just get something close.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool before cutting, or eat them gooey right out of the pan.  Just remember they’re HOT!

Enjoy!

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Eating the Yard, Part II…

Two days ago, I posted how overgrown my yard had become, and that I wasn’t going to let all my weed crop go to waste.  Instead, I harvested what was good, and made dinner.  (More on that here.)

Dandelion leaves weren’t the only things I plucked.  I grabbed a few wild onions while I was out there.

Of course, wild onions aren’t exactly sparkling clean when you pull them out of the dirt…

So I took them to the sink, washed off the dirt, and pulled off the brown and outer leaves, exposing the clean bulbs beneath.

Then, I chopped them finely, and added some to that dandelion salad, and then rubbed the rest onto some pork chops that I had covered with olive oil and chopped garlic.

See, once they’re clean, wild onions look just like the green scallions you buy at the store, but they’re free!

I was going to grill the chops outside, but we ran out if gas!  So instead, I cooked them in a pan on the stove.

Just the same, it turned out amazingly, and the only thing I paid for was the pig.

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Calling In Sick…

Yeah, that’s about it.  I’ll be back with more yard eating when I’m better, but for now, Son has given me whatever he had, and I can barely think.  Is it hot in here, or is it just me?  Must just be me…..

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