Easter Eggs, wanting something beyond egg salad and deviled eggs?

We love eggs in this house.  Seriously, someday I will have a flock of chickens and will be able to stop buying eggs at Costco.  For us Easer is just another reason to eat delicious hard-boiled egg creations.  Let’s for a minute discuss the deviled egg – umm yum, but there are lots of other options out there.  You can add Sriracha to them and have a true Deviled Egg.

My recipe for Deviled Eggs:

6 eggs

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 tablespoon dill relish, or finely chopped dill pickle

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

pepper to taste

There you have it, pretty simple huh?

Devilish Eggs, follow recipe above, just replace the mustard  with 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha.

Guacamole egg,

6 eggs hard-boiled

2 tablespoons mashed up avocado

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon chopped jalapeno

1 tablespoon finely chopped tomato

1/2 finely chopped cilantro

squirt of lime

salt and pepper to taste

Other options are to make a delicious toast/crostini with the eggs – you can decide how much you want to be eating.  It at first seems like an unlikely combo, but its delish!

Prosciutto Pesto Egg Toast/Crostini

baguette sliced 1/4 inch, brushed with olive oil and baked at 350 for 10-20 minutes flipping over halfway.  Or if you opt for a toast, just toast up some sourdough bread in the toaster.

classic pesto sauce (or make your own)

6 slices of prosciutto

4-5 hard-boiled eggs sliced ( I don’t use the end pieces because they lack the yolk)

Or for the toast: toast the bread, spread a layer of pesto, add a little folded up prosciutto and place an egg slice on top.

 

proscuitto

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Cobb Salad, here is a great one from Better Homes and Gardens. Cobb Salad

Another delicious salad would be the Salade Niçoise here is a fabulous recipe from Savour.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to peel those pesky eggs.  So this will give you insight on what a nerd I am, recently I boiled a batch of eggs and they were the worst ever, I couldn’t peel them and ended up swearing up a storm the more frustrated and mangled the eggs got.  So here are some things I have learned since then.  Do not do the Pinterest bake them in a muffin tin, it will make the side of the egg that touches the tin turn brown and the eggs themselves are rather rubbery.  PINTEREST FAIL!

Next, to peel the eggs perfectly.  I read that if you soak them in water to cool them, because the egg is a permeable shell it will continue to absorb water, thus making it easier to peel.  Another way is in the cracking, you want to gently tap the bottom (less pointy side) of the egg and then tap all around the egg.  I then run it under cold water just briefly then pick first at the bottom, there is an air pocket and it is easiest to get the membrane to pull away from there.

These are just a few recipes that I think are delish.  After that Easter bunny has come and gone, what do you like to do with all of your eggs, I’d love to hear about other ways you use your hard-boiled eggs?
E

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My Gram’s Green Thumb

My Gram could grow just about anything.  She had an amazing garden.  I used to spend hours with her in the garden tending to the flowers and giving them lots of extra love.  She grew these amazing orchids in her sun-room.  These orchids lived long after she passed away in the care of my aunt and uncle.  My uncle has the green thumb too, he used to live in a house in the bay area where he had this, what I remember to be a, secret garden behind the main yard where he grew these huge tomatoes, you could almost get lost in his tomato plants.  I am sure there were lots of other delicious things in there too, but I remember the endless tomato plants and the huge amazingly red tomatoes.  My grams passion for growing things lives on in me as well.  I love gardening.  I love that you can grow amazing things in the garden and take them to your table and provide delicious meals from foods that you grew for your family.  When I think of gardening, my real strength and passion is in growing edibles, rather than flowers – don’t get me wrong flowers are lovely, but with limited space I tend to attempt vegetables and herbs.
Unfortunately, I do not live in a rural location where I can have the garden I dream about.  But aren’t these amazing?  I am in love with all of them.  They all have something in common…space and raised beds.  Yes, please!
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My reality is a concrete slab and beauty bark.  Boo! So I attempt to make do.  Sometimes it is an epic fail, but honestly that never stops me – there is always the chance it will be a mini garden of my dreams.  This year I’ve agreed to a challenge.  The goal is to spend only $50 on the garden.  In the past two years I’ve spent a lot of money and had very poor luck.  Basically, my garden has been a disaster the last two years.
This year is going to be different.  Usually I would have given up on this gardening in this yard, but I just can’t do it.  It feels wrong to give it up.  So, with my $50 the petite and I decided we are going to have our own little victory garden.
Last year I ordered seeds from a catalog and didn’t use them all so I attempted to grow them indoors to see what would happen – since they were out of date I consulted the web and found that yes indeed they have a much longer shelf life if they are stored properly.  We were so excited to see the seeds start growing.  I decided to make a gutter garden since we are so limited on space outside and the rest of the garden is in containers.  Some of these are found containers, wine crates, old Tupperware bins that I have drilled holes in.
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We’ve got quite a bit going on in the garden so far, in the gutter gardens we have strawberries, two types of lettuce and chard.  We’ve also planted peas, green beans, kale, cucumbers and zucchini.  We recently sowed some seeds outside now that it is a bit warmer.  We have scallions, carrots, 4 different types of lettuce, and beets.  We’re also attempting to grow potatoes in a clothes hamper – I have no idea if this is going to work.  If it does, I will be so excited, if not oh well it was a good effort.  What I really struggle to grow from seeds is tomatoes, we’ve tried a few varieties, and will see how they grow, but I’ve already reserved some of the budget to buy tomato starts.  I just need to decide what types of tomatoes to get, last year I bought the “doesn’t grow tomatoes” variety so I am hoping to not have that happen again.
My Budget $50
  • Kale, chard, strawberries, peas – $10
  • Watering can $8
  • Fertilizer, bamboo for the peas, and arugula starts $13
What’s your favorite go to vegetable in the garden?  I’m always curious as to what other people grow in their gardens.
Happy growing,
E

Little Green Thumbs

gardening books for kidsThere are so many amazing books for young children.  Here are some of my favorite books about gardens, plants or gardening for the petites.  I love how these stories feature boys and girls and above all the love for growing things.

The Tiny Seed a sweet story where children get the opportunity to learn about the life cycle of a seed.   

Planting a Rainbow this is a great story about planning seeds, both my girls love it and the rainbow of colors, more for younger kids.  The board book is a particular hit.

The Curious Garden a great story about a little boy named Liam who lived in a dreary city and found a little plant and helped it to grow into a fabulous garden.

Grandpa Green – this is by far one of my favorite books, it is beautiful.  The story of a man’s life is told through the hedges that he shapes in his garden.  I’m not going to lie, I cried the first time I read it, it’s so sweet.

Ladybug Girl Visits the Farm – who doesn’t love a good Ladybug Girl book?  I know my girl does.  This one combines a lovely story and stickers that can be placed within the storybook.

Growing Vegetable Soup – this is another great book about growing your own food, so much fun, more for younger kids.

My Garden – I love this story a little girl who helps her mother in the garden and then uses her imagination to create her own remarkable garden.

Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash – My girl has loved this silly book and how it rhymes since she was about two.  She loves the giant squash and how silly it is.

Jack’s Garden –  This is the story of Jack and how he made his garden, this book shows the steps and the tools needed to make a garden.

 

I love all of these books, so many have amazing illustrations and inspire the love of growing things.  These books pose as fantastic conversation starters as well.  As a teacher, I have spent a lot of time speaking with parents about reading.  One of the most common questions I got was: How do we do more than just read with our kids, and what does that specifically look like?  Here is what I suggested based on the age of the kids.

2-3 year olds

  • What illustration/picture did you like the best? (start using words like illustration)
  • What was your favorite part of the story? Why? (if not verbal have them point)
  • Asking specific questions about what they see in the illustrations, having them point out specific things.

3-4 year olds

  • Before you read a new book, have the petite look at the cover and then do a “picture walk” where they just look through the book at the pictures.  When they are done ask them to make a prediction about the story.
  • It is also good to start using words like title and author as well.  Make sure to point these out on the cover.
  • Asking what they predict will happen next in the story at different points?
  • Asking them what the problem is in the story? How they think it could be fixed?
  • Asking them to retell the story, what happened first and last?
  • What was their favorite part?
  • What did the illustration make them think about?
  • When the story is over ask if they would want to tell a friend about it and who they would tell.

These are just a few things that will support your young pre-readers and get them thinking more actively about the stories they are listening to. Of course just pick a few of these each time, or questions that are more pertinent to the story.  All in all these questions are a great way to bridge listening to thinking about stories.

Happy reading.

Erin

Best Banana Bread Ever

Best Ever Banana BreadThis banana bread is so good, we love it.  I don’t know about you, but I always buy bananas as if they were going out of style, not to mention no one in my family will actually eat a ripe banana.  They all prefer them to be slightly green, and once they are yellow, it’s all “no thank you”.  So, considering all of this and the fact that I buy them in bulk it is inevitable that 1-2, okay usually 3 of the bunch turn a lovely shade of brown.  As soon as that happens I put them in the freezer, where sometimes they sit for a very long time.  Really they shouldn’t be in there for more than two months, so if you’ve got some in your freezer that have been in there longer, you might wanna toss them out.

 

So this is really the best banana bread ever its super moist (ugh such a gross word – but damp, wet, humid and soggy don’t seem to hit the mark)

Here is the recipe:

2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 stick of butter softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs beaten

6 overripe brown bananas – thawed if they’ve been in the freezer, not the liquid just the banana

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Using a mixer mix the butter and brown sugar, when they are mixed together add in the Making the best ever banana breadeggs and then the bananas.  Then slowly on a low-speed, so you don’t overwork the bread, add in the flour mixture.  Then pour it into a loaf pan, I use the Emile Henry Loaf Pan from William Sonoma so I don’t spray it or grease it before, if you use a metal one go ahead and wipe some butter on the edges or spray some cooking oil on it.  Depending on what type of pan you use it could take anywhere from 55-65 minutes to cook through, best use a toothpick to see if it is done.

It is great, we struggle to not eat it all in one sitting.  Even the smallest petite is a huge fan of this banana bread.photo 3

My Petite and Epilepsy – Diagnosis

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my petite has epilepsy, but I’ve never gone into too much detail about it.  Part of the reason is that the more I talk about it the more it becomes real and part of me is still possibly in a sense of denial.  You see I want to wrap her in my arms, much like I swaddled her as a baby and hold her close, close so I can protect her and keep her safe.  Recently, I admitted out loud that maybe I am not okay. I’ve been trying to put on a brave face and advocate fiercely for my girl.

How in a single moment everything changed:

In October my girlie was home from school and taking a nap, she woke up and seemed a little bit out of it, she seemed like she was still really tired.  She came down the stairs and just stood there, when I called her name she didn’t respond, her eyes were not focused.  In the amount of time it took me to get to her from where I was sitting, the “episode” was over.  She was back to her normal self.  I assumed she was just tired, maybe had low blood sugar or needed a snack.

The next day she woke from her nap and came downstairs and tried to talk to me and couldn’t.  She stuttered out mommy and was unable to focus her eyes and fidgeted with her dresses hem, her lips started smacking like she was chewing something that wasn’t there.  She stood, just looking off into, well into nothing.  Her father and I were panicked, we had never seen her doing anything like that before.  We immediately called the pediatrician and were seen two hours later.  We described what we had just seen and he checked her out and said she seemed fine now, but that it sounded like something neurological had taken place.  We left with a referral to a pediatric neurologist the following week.

The neurologist told us she wanted to get an EEG before she saw us in her office.  So we scheduled that.  In the meantime we started taking videos of the behavior that we were seeing if we could capture it.  We caught two seizures on video in less than one weeks time, both of them over 3 minutes long.  We showed up to the EEG appointment, the petite was nervous, as were we.  She was very confused because she had no memories of the seizures and in her mind only sick people go to the doctor and she wasn’t sick.  We started the EEG and almost instantly the tech held up a note asking when we were to see the doc.  We had no set apt, which we told him.  Unbeknownst to us, the tech had paged the neurologist with a 911 and she came down immediately to watch the EGG as it was happening.  Apparently, her EEG showed a multitude of disturbances.  My husband had stepped out of the EGG room with the baby since she was starting to fuss (we had our other daughter with us who was only 12 weeks old).  He had no idea the neurologist was out in the hall watching the EGG live.  She matter-of-factly told my husband that our girl had epilepsy.  I was laying in bed with the petite as she slept during the EEG trying to hold back the tears.  Later after she woke, I walked out to see what was going on with the baby.  When I walked out, my husband held my hand and told me that she has epilepsy.  I sobbed.  Before I even had time to process what epilepsy might mean the doctor was telling us about the medicine that she would be taking and what to do if the seizures turned into grand mal.

Epilepsy is a very scary word.  It is a very scary diagnosis.  It can mean so many different things depending on what type of seizures and the occurrences.  Of course when you hear that your four-year old has something that could impact her in ways unknown it is terrifying.  My heart ached.  There are moments now, where I can barely breathe when I think about my sweet girl and what all this means.  At the time, I had no way of knowing what was to come in the months in weeks ahead.  Even as I write this I have no way of knowing what is to come in the weeks or months to come.  What I do know is that I have an amazing daughter who is incredibly brave, smart, empathetic and hilarious,  Yeah epilepsy is something she has, something that is still scary, but it doesn’t define who she is.