Perfect-Peeling Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs are one of those things that seem so easy, but then often become a huge pain to actually peel. I’ve actually resorted to throwing eggs away because the shells have been so annoyingly tough to remove, coming off in teeny tiny fragments. Since peeling is pretty critical for actual usage and consumption of hard-boiled eggs, I’ve tried a few different methods for achieving easy-to-peel eggs. This is the strategy that has worked the best for me:

  • Add 1 Tbsp of vinegar to water and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, carefully drop the eggs in. (Seriously, carefully. I’m notorious for
    having eggs crack and burst inside of the boiling pot!)
  • Boil for about 15 mins (I personally like the yolks to be the very cooked, pale yellow color upon completion. If you like the darker yellow, less dry yolk, boil for slightly less time.)
  • As soon as you remove the pot from the heat, give the eggs a nice ice bath by adding ice to the pot, as well as some cold water.
  • Peel the eggs once all of the ice melts. This should result in simple peeling, with nice big chucks of shell coming off.

 

Now that you have perfectly peeled eggs, what are your favorite recipes for using them?

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Spinach Ricotta Pasta

I’m always looking for recipes that can be enjoyed with and without meat, seeing as my husband is a carnivore and I am not. It is so much easier than creating completely separate meals, or perhaps I’m just that lazy? Whatever the case may be, I stumbled upon this spinach ricotta pasta recipe and thought it seemed enjoyable enough on its own and paired it with baked chicken for my husband.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t win the meal of the year award with this one, but it was good enough, made plenty of servings (4), and could potentially be enhanced next time to be a little more flavorful. All suggestions to make this dish a little more interesting are welcomed!

Ingredients:

  • Fettuccine (1/2 lb, which is 1/2 of a basic sized box)
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 lb. frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed as dry as possible)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 3…wish I would have used more…) Still don’t have a garlic press? Order one!
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper

Spinach Ricotta PastaBoil the fettuccine, drain, and set aside. To prepare the sauce, add the olive oil and minced garlic to a skillet. Cook 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the ricotta and the milk and continuously stir, reducing the heat to a simmer. As the sauce thickens, use the salt and pepper to season. Once you’ve squeezed all of the water out of the spinach, add it to the simmering sauce. Lastly, add the fettuccine and stir gently to coat.

If you’re opting to add chicken to this dish, I paired it with chicken breast marinated with dried onion, pepper, salt, olive oil, and garlic. I let it marinate for about 5 hours then baked it for 20 mins at 450 degrees.

 

 

Pinterest Pumpkins & Seeds

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re newbies in our neighborhood. Our neighbors apparently get very into holidays and they went all out for Halloween (so much so that I’m thinking our Florida street may somehow be covered in snow for Christmas!) People had everything from ghosts in trees to gigantic spiders over garages to tombstones in tPumpkin carving (drilling)heir yard. There were lights and music and everything. So, the least we could do was carve some pumpkins, right?

And by carve I mean drill. Yep, we broke out a power tool to create our pumpkins this year. Next year we’ll be scary (right after I shop the clearance sales this week!) This year we went with cutesy and, frankly, easy. I found the idea to use a drill on Pinterest and my husband and I each created our own “masterpiece”. You start the same way as a regular carving – cut the top off, pull out the yucky stuff and seeds – but then instead of using knives or carving kits, you utilize a drill and different drill bits. Honestly, it was kind of fun and oddly therapeutic!

Here’s our Yorkie with my husband’s drilled creation and my version lit up last night.

So, the seeds – YUM! My husband doesn’t love them, so that means I get to roast them however I please. This year I tried a recipe from where else?  Pinterest! (Do you see a theme here?) Thank you to Kami from NoBiggie.net for providing my pumpkin seed fix for the year. If you still have seeds you haven’t roasted yet, I’ve paraphrased her recipe below. Enjoy!

Pumpkin seed recipe

First, get all of the pumpkin yuckiness off of the seeds. Use a 1 cup Worcestershire sauce to 1 cup pumpkin seeds ratio and adjust according to the amount of seeds you have available. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.

Pre-heat your over to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet or roasting pan with tin foil and then lightly oil with olive oil. roasted pumpkin seedsSpread the boiled seeds and toss them gently to coat them in the oil. Try to keep the seeds in a single layer. Sprinkle with sea salt and then bake for 10-20 minutes until the seeds are golden brown.

This recipe has seriously bold flavor and reminds me a little of homemade Chex Mix (must be the Worcestershire sauce!)

DIY FAIL: Glittery Acorns

When I decided to get back into blogging, I made a promise to myself to include the good, the bad, and the ugly within my posts. Well folks, I have a DIY FAIL to share with you today. It could have been worse, I suppose, but I’m not thrilled with the time spent for the end result.

We have hundreds of tiny acorns all over our driveway this time of the year. So many that I often think I have a flat tire as I pull into and out of the garage! I was wondering if there was something cute for the fall season I could do with the survivors that had not fallen victim to our cars, so naturally I decided to check out Pinterest. There it was – the perfect idea – glittery acorns! Someone had pinned some super cute, glitter-painted, autumnal-colored acorns and suggested they would look excellent in vases for a fall wedding. I thought they’d make a cute centerpiece, so I clicked, DIY Acornsthinking there would be some step by step instructions on how I could create these adorable little acorns myself. NOPE. It was a dead link to an Etsy shop that stated the item was no longer for sale. After attempting these on my own, I now have some very strong suspicions as to why this Etsy seller stopped producing them (hint: GIANT PAIN!)

So I was on my own in terms of creating these cute little acorns. My first step was to collect as many as I could find that had not been smashed or cracked. I separated the caps from the nuts, as I had decided to leave the caps in their natural, un-glittered form. After seeing a tiny little buggy on one of them, I decided it would be important to ensure my future gorgeous centerpiece wasn’t a home to a critter family, so I baked my acorn haul at 250 degrees for a couple of hours, stirring every 30 mins. A few of them did crack from the heat, so those were tossed aside. Little did I know, baking acorns would be the easiest portion of the project.

After the completion of the baking, it was time to start spray
painting. I selected a nice fall gold and a red color, both Krylon Glitter Blast, as well as a clear coat sealer, as I was originally certain this would be a centerpiece I’d want to last for awhile. Spray paint is easy, right? Sure, as long as what you’re spraying isn’t so light that the force of the spray makes your target move around. Sigh. A step I had not intended to include – gluing the baked acorns to paper so they’d remain in place for painting.

Okay, fine. I got over it, put a tiny drop of hot glue on the top of each acorn, and stuck them on paper in preparation for the spray paint. I figured it would be okay if any paper stuck to them, since I intended to glue the caps back on to each of them anyway. This proved to be accurate, thankfully. I did two coats of each color and then a clear coat. The ones I sprayed evenly and thoroughly looked good. The others, yeah – not great.

Acorn DIYAlright, so my glittery acorns dried quickly thanks to this nice fall weather we’re experiencing and then it was time to start matching tops for hot gluing. I also thought this would be way easy and surprise – it wasn’t. Some of my little acorns look like little kids wearing their dads’ hats and others are clearly too large for their caps. Alas, I continued, after all, it’s just a centerpiece, right? Nobody is going to stare through the glass and evaluate each nut…at least I hope not. After realizing that I had far fewer tops than bottoms, I also decided to start throwing some in without caps. I suppose I could go back out onto the driveway and collect more so there aren’t any cap-less acorns in my centerpiece, but I’m not sure that I’ll botDIY Acornsher. I may not even complete this project and may trade all the glittery materials for their natural versions. TBD.

Alright, so after all of the “matches” had been made, I gave everything a little time to dry. After that, I started carefully placing everything into the bottom of a hurricane vase I purchased for this purpose. (Similar version available here.) Side note: I had not worked with a hot glue gun for several years and had forgotten the messy, spiderweb-ish strings one creates. Unfortunately, some of these “webs” are now inside of my glass. I’ll go back and pick them out later…maybe.

So, here’s my disappointing, semi-final product. Maybe it’s the fact that I didn’t include an orange color paint, but I feel like my fall acorns look more representative of Christmas. I don’t love that. I had also intended to do a second set to completely fill up the glass and surround the candle, but as I mentioned before, I may ditch them all and just use natural (but baked!) acorns. Or, I may just wait until Christmas and find some cheap bulbs to throw in instead and be done. Suggestions on what to do or how to salvage this project?

DIY Glittery Acorns

 

Simple Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad IngredientsWe laid in a big supply of canned tuna for this year’s hurricane season and I hope I’m not
jinxing us by deciding that it’s time to start using some of it, since the season is nearing its end.

Now, if you know me, you also know that I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian, which means I haven’t actually tried this recipe for myself – I’ve only made it. I can attest to it being easy to whip up, but you’ll have to take my husband’s word for it tasting good. I made him a sandwich with it today and he said it’s delicious. (That’s a relief, since I made enough and he’ll be seeing it again for lunch later this week with mixed greens!)

To make this simple tuna salad, you’ll need:

  • 2 (6 ounce) cans solid white tuna  (drained)
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 Tbsp red onions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp dill pickles, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed (Need a garlic press? Order one here.)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In my most recent version of this recipe, I also threw in 1 Tbsp of green onions simply because I had them on hand and need to use them quickly, ha! In addition, I was lucky enough to be able to use fresh lemon juice from the lemon tree my husband recently planted in our yard. I look forward to sharing more about our new and growing garden with y’all very soon! In the meantime, enjoy the tuna salad!

 

Easy & Unique Pineapple Cheese Ball

I received this delicious recipe from one of my favorite people after she made it for a baseball tailgate a few years ago. I’ve probably made it five times already. It’s always popular because it’s tasty and unique. The truth is, it’s pretty easy to make, too!

Pineapple Cheese BallTo make the pineapple cheese ball, you’ll need:

  • 8 ox. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 small can of crushed pineapple (well-drained)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped green peppers (I tend to put a few more in than the recipe requests.)
  • Paprika to sprinkle if desired
  • Your favorite crackers (or veggies!) for serving

Pineapple Cheese Ball

A couple of things to note:

– The pineapple needs to be well-drained. Seriously, drain it. As in squish it with a paper towel through a strainer, well-drained. You don’t want a soggy cheese ball!

– Make sure the green peppers and green onions are chopped really tiny. The recipe only calls for 1 Tbsp of each, but you’ll want them to be spread evenly throughout the mixture.

To create this ball of deliciousness, all you have to do is mix up all of the ingredients (minus the paprika) really well. This is not for the squeamish, but the best way to do so is to use clean hands, put all ingredients into the bowl and squish together repeatedly until everything is good and mixed up.

Pineapple Cheese Ball

Once you’re sure everything is combined to the fullest extent, you’ll want to begin shaping the cheese ball. I recommended going ahead and getting it onto the dish you intend to serve it on just to make things a little easier by avoiding a transfer later. Get it rolled into a nice ball (warning: it WILL stick to your hands and be messy for a minute) and cover in wax paper and place in the refrigerator for several hours.

After the ball ‘o goodness has chilled for a few hours, take it out, sprinkle with paprika, and arrange your crackers around it. We’re taking this to a party tonight, actually. I hope it’s a hit!

Pineapple Cheese Ball

 

DIY Puppy Pearly Whites

Dog Toothpaste
Okay, so let me be honest. The toothpaste is DIY. The actual usage of the paste on our canine children is definitely a two person job! Hopefully your pups will enjoy getting their teeth brushed more than ours do. (Please note: one of our doggies is happy to EAT the toothpaste; he just doesn’t appreciate the rotating toothbrush inside his mouth! I call that a win for this toothpaste recipe!)

Being that we’re huge proponents of using coconut oil and essential oils, we already had everything we needed to make this DIY doggie toothpaste. If you don’t have all of the ingredients in your home, please feel free to follow the links below to purchase. Everything except for the Young Living Essential Oil can also be found at your local grocery store. Like I said, the mixing of the paste was the easy part!

DIY Dog ToothpasteIngredients:

(Please be sure to only use Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil, as it is safe for dogs (and humans!) to ingest.)

Simply mix the above items together and store in a glass jar. Not only is it important to only use peppermint essential oil that is safe for consumption, but you also want to only use a drop or two if you haven’t given your dogs essential oils in the past. Best to err on the safe side.

Before the actual brushing took place, we gave each pup the opportunity to taste the toothpaste sans toothbrush. After that, my husband held each little guy as I played the role of dental hygienist to our unwilling patients. I only used a tiny dollop of the toothpaste DIY Dog Toothpasteconcoction for each brushing, so I expect the recipe above will last quite awhile (though much to these guys’ dismay, brushing is going to become a weekly activity for one and daily for the other!) We used an inexpensive battery-powered toothbrush to make it easier, though your pup may prefer the regular type.

Both boys forgave us shortly thereafter and getting kisses from each of them was much more pleasant than usual!

I’d love to know what your pup thinks of this toothpaste or if you have any other DIY recipes for pups to share!