Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cleaning Butcher Block with Lemon - Fail

Back in May my hubby and I renovated our kitchen. Well, our contractor did. And we went from this...


I'm STILL in love :D

But I'm learning some hard lessons about our lovely butcher block island counter. Like STAINS! EWW
I'm very diligent when using my island. Mostly dry ingredients, any wet spills are wiped up right away, and I clean it off regularly. My husband and mother in law - not so much. It's almost at the point where I need to sand down some parts and re-oil them to remove the stains. But that's what happens when you use butcher block.

I found some ideas for regular spot cleaning, one using coarse salt and half a lemon. I picked a spot on my counter to experiment on, a small-ish, relatively fresh stain.

As instructed I put on the salt, scrubbed with the lemon. No effect. I left the mixture on to set for a while. No effect.
I tried again with MORE salt and lemon.

Nope, still there. It's slightly faded, but there. 

After (with new stains added)

I had high hopes that this would work. Even though it faded the stain, I have used it on other more damaged spots with zero effect. I will most likely have to sand or bleach my butcher block to remove the stains and start over again.

No Egg Oatmeal Cookies - Win!

What do you do when you're craving cookies but don't have eggs?
No Egg Oatmeal Cookies!

When I was pregnant with Baby Girl I baked... a lot. So during one of my fresh baked cookie cravings I was very disappointed to realize we'd run out of eggs. So off to Pinterest I went to see if a No Egg Cookie recipe existed, and I was pleasantly surprised!

The recipe from Spark People worked out beautifully. The cookies were a bit crunchy but still chewy, and there was no compromise on taste with the lack of egg. 

The cookies baked up perfectly. And I was really excited that there were no 'weird' ingredients in the recipe. As long as you have Quick Oats, you can make these cookies. So a definite win if you have an Egg Allergy or just don't have eggs in the house, but REALLY want cookies!

Happy Baking!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Quest for the Perfect Soft Boiled Egg - Volume One

A couple months ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook about how she was discussing breakfasts with some coworkers and was weirded out that none of them had heard of Soft Boiled Eggs and Toast Solders. None of them.
My brother and I grew up on these tasty breakfast items, we called them Dipper Eggs. Must be my Scottish heritage. It was always a fun morning when we got to draw faces on our eggs, boil them, then lop their heads off and dip out the insides with toast sticks (solders). Yummy!
So back in November my mom came out for a visit to help with the kids while my hubby banked some major overtime, and I told her about my friends Facebook post. And that in turn became a challenge to find egg cups to hold the tasty soft boiled eggs we were going to make the next morning.

You know how many stores we went to that didn't have egg cups, or even know what they were?? 5. FIVE! Then my mom went to two other stores back in my home town and finally at store #7 was able to find lovely little egg cups.

So Christmas morning I open a box and inside was 6 little egg cups. Dipper eggs for breakfast!! Well, not Christmas Day, that was another tasty breakfast I'll report on later.

Getting to the point - Since I have not eaten dipper eggs in about 15 years, and my mom hasn't made them either. So off to Pinterest, cause it's my new recipe Google. There are so many different ways to cook soft boiled eggs!

I decided to go with the 'traditional' method. Once water is boiling, place eggs GENTLY into the water, remove pot from heat and let sit for 5 min as per the instructions. 
Results - FAIL
Eggs were barely cooked, whites were still very runny.

So the eggs (except for the one we cracked into) were returned to the water, plus one more. Boiled for 3 minutes, keeping the pot on the heat this time.
Results - Hard boiled eggs.
The egg that was replaced and not re-cooked was left in for a bit longer (I can't remember the time) and was sort of soft but mostly hard boiled. 
Fail again. But at least edible this time.

I was so disappointed I didn't even take a picture to document my failure.

I will continue to attempt to prefect the soft boiled egg, because I really want my son to experience this awesome breakfast.

Stay tuned for Volume Two

One Minute Mug Cake - Win

I have a problem, and it's name is chocolate. Sometimes I get the craving for something chocolate, but don't want to spend an hour baking. You know what I mean?
I've tried a few mug cakes with varying success. Some are super dry, some barely cook, and some require a portion of an egg and I don't like wasting egg if I can. This recipe is the best I've found so far, especially since it includes another of my top favourite foods, peanut butter. mmm....warm cake with a gooey peanut butter filing. Toss a few chocolate chips in there...Heaven. 

This mug cake takes a few minutes to whip up, and only one minute to cook as it states. My husband (not the biggest PB fan like I am) has tried other versions like adding strawberry jam in the centre instead and really enjoys the results. There is no egg in this recipe as well.

The cake comes out perfectly moist, not undercooked or dry at all. And only includes ingredients that most people have stashed in their pantry, so no last minute shopping. I followed the instructions and baked it for one minute in my microwave. This recipe is perfect for those late night chocolate cravings, but also helps keep your portions in check.
You could even bake it in some cute ramekins and serve it up for guests, or do as the original posted suggested and pop the cake out onto a plate. Personally, I just eat it right out of the mug with a huge glass of milk.