I saw it on Pinterest…

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And it worked! I’m so excited. Eggs. Hard boiled eggs. Farm fresh hard boiled eggs. Anyone that’s tried to peel a fresh from the coop hard boiled egg knows. Basically you end up with a yoke. All your whites are stuck in the shell. But now. We can reclaim our whites!

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Steam those beautiful golden yoked babies for 22 minutes, cool a little in cold water and peel away. Enjoy! 🙂

Eggs How I Love Thee

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We are in the mists of many, many eggs.  Our chickens are laying at full speed and we seem to have one that loves to give us double yokers.  And lest you think I am complaining about the 13 dozen eggs we currently have I am not.  We love these nutrition packed, golden yoked eggs.  But, yes, now that you mention it, we do sell them!   It’s Zoe’s little business.

 She has been doing an awesome job taking care of the chickens  and collecting/cleaning the eggs.  As with many of us, she doesn’t like to work alone. That’s what siblings are for!  She will take Zeke out with her and tend to the chickens.  It is so sweet to watch her teach him how to do the different tasks.  And to be fair she told him she would pay him for helping.

Ezekiel is a natural at catching the chickens.  It’s quite funny actually.  He is very relaxed and easy when he goes to get one that I never see him chasing a chicken to catch it.  If I need one I know just who to send out on the job.

The biggest problem?  How many ways can one prepare eggs?  We eat our share (and some of yours) of scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, fried eggs, egg salad, egg, egg, egg, egg, egg.  (sorry, a little Dr. Seuss moment)  I was bummed to find out a quiche only uses 4 eggs.

Quick Tip:  Did you know if you put some baking soda into the water when boiling eggs it makes them easier to peal?  I just learned this nifty little trick(thanks Cindy!)  So, what are your favorite egg dishes?

Homemade Pop Tarts

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Lets just say YUM!  Really.  One of my goals this last Christmas season was to do a lot of fun things throughout the month.  Pack it full of fun activities leading us up to Christmas Day.  One of our activities was Homemade Pop Tarts.  It wasn’t something I would have thought about making myself but a friend was so excited about we just had to try it out.  I am SOOO glad I did.

What to do:

1. Make pie crust dough.  And please…Use butter.  Divide in half and let it chill in the fridge to make it easier to handle.

2. Once chilled roll out half in a rectangle.

3. Visually divide your dough into 6 rectangles.  Get your favorite jam (we used raspberry and blackberry) and put a nice sized TBSP in the center of each rectangle.  Spread it out a little but leave a 1/2 in edge to seal it.

4.  using your finger or a pastry brush put some water around the edges of the tarts.

5. Roll out your second dough in the same shape and size and put it on top of the first.

6.  Use a pizza cutter to cut out your tarts and crimp the edges with a fork.  Poke some steam holes in the top.

7. Put on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees doe 7-8 minutes until golden brown.

8. Cool and drizzle with a powdered sugar/milk glaze if desired.

(Note: Let me know if something doesn’t make sense.  There were a few, lets say, interruptions during the making of this post.)

 

Here is a picture midway for all you visual people.  And what did the kids think?

All thumbs up

And one index 🙂

Kitchen Lessons

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Zeke has been helping in the kitchen a lot more recently.  Something I love.  Yes, it makes the prep work take longer but that is just temporary.  I am already seeing the fruits of that labor with Zoe as she has struck out on her own on so many recipes.   As with many three year olds, I’m sure, he likes to taste everything.  Most time this is not a problem for him as one of his favorite job is cutting olives.

Today in particular though Zeke learned some important lessons.  As I was measuring whole peppercorns one fell and rolled across the floor.  Quickly he grabbed it and popped it into his mouth before I could say anything.  After a few crunches it hit him (honestly, it took longer than I expected).  Then a yell and a run into the bathroom for a towel.

But if that weren’t enough he was helping me peal garlic.  I’m sure you can guess what happened.  This time he waited till I was out of the kitchen then popped it into his mouth then came running around the corner to show me (he hadn’t bit down yet).  Yes, I smiled to myself and down he bit.  The garlic hit him a lot faster than the peppercorn as he spit it out after just one chomp.  Hey, I’m all for hands on learning.

Zoe in the Kitchen

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Zoe has recently started to want to do her own work in the kitchen.  She has always helped me in the kitchen but she wants to do it herself.  And she doesn’t want to use a recipe out of one of our books she wants to use her own recipe.  I love her creativity.  It started with the cookbook she created with recipes like Raisin Snack, Jalapeno Spicy and Apple on a Stick.  One of her latest experimental recipes was Apple Crispies. 

Basically rice crispy treats with apple and cinnamon.  It didn’t turn out quite like she was expecting but the flavor was good.  She identified what went wrong and what to do to correct it for next time.  I was quite impressed!  We’ll share the recipe once it’s been perfected.

Recipe of the Week: Thames Basic Cheese Ball

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The Cheese ball.

Ole to Joy…  This family favorite is a staple of the Thames family when the cold northeast wind starts to blow.  This recipe was inspired by a family friends recipe.  Mrs TW showed Merriann her recipe, and this is what grew out of our imagination.  It is great on crackers and  bread.  We have even heated it up in the microwave and used it with nachos (But that was when Merriann was pregnant, so I make no promises on how that tasted! :-).  Anyway hope you like it. 

Words of warning: The spiciness level of this dish depends on the spiciness of the pepper jack cheese.  We have had it really spicy and not spicy at all.   We thank the God of heaven for sending Mrs. TW into our lives because our lives would not be as blessed as it has been. Plus, we would be without this dish.  😉  Again I hope you enjoy!!

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounces) packages of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped and sauteed in a couple TB butter until soft
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup bacon, cooked & chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and Pepper Jack cheese. Blend in the onion, red bell pepper (butter & all), and fresh parsley.
  2. Form cheese mixture into desired size balls.  ( I usually make about 4 from this mixture)
  3. Mix the pecans and bacon and roll the cheese ball in the mixture to coat thoroughly.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.   Allow to soften a little before serving.  (that is if you can stand to have it sitting on the counter staring at you)

These can be eaten immediately but it is recommended to let them sit overnight to let the flavors blend.  They also freeze well.

Recipe Of the Week: Zucchini Brownies

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Tired of  Zucchini Yet!!!

If you have your own garden or your neighbor has a garden.  Chances are you may be tired of zucchini.  There are many things you could do with that left over zucchini from your garden.  You could use it as decorations for those of you that have that creative touch. You could feed it to your farm animals, our little piggies just love them. Target practice is also an option for those of you that love to shoot. Or you could just leave it on your neighbors porch.  No surprise there is even a National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbors Porch Day.  But what we at the Thames house love, I mean L. O. V. E. to do with them is making it into a dessert. 

Zucchini Brownies ARE THE BEST!!!

I know a lot of you have tried Zucchini bread and yes there are many simply delicious recipes out there.  But this is no ordinary zucchini bread and if you are up for something simply heavenly check out these brownies.  I love giving them to someone that “Hates” veggies, or zucchinis. They simply love them.  And get this, if you peel the green off the zucchini you can’t even see them in the dough.

Word of Warning: The dough is more cake-like than brownie but it is light and fluffy like floating on a cloud.  I really hope you enjoy our family favorite.

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.