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Yellow Spring Surprise

Macro Mysteries logo smallBlogging and photography have been pushed far, far down on my to-do-list the last few months.  I miss them both, so today I am making the time to publish a “Macro Mystery” post.  If it’s been so long that you don’t remember what this is, or if you’re new here at the Merry Hearts Medicine blog, I’ll explain…

Macro photography is so fun for me that I created a blog game with it.  It’s probably something thousands of other people have done — I post an extreme close-up of an object to see if you can guess what the object is.  If you have an idea as to what it might be, please leave a comment below!  In a few days (hopefully), I’ll reveal the answer in another post.

You may figure this one out easily, even though the photo quality is not as great this time.  (Sorry about that. I’m adjusting to a new camera.)

mysterious yellow-striped object with blue edging

Do you enjoy trying to identify mysterious photos like this?  If so, test your eagle eye with more Macro Mysteries posts.

So, give me your best guess!  What is this spring thing?

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{After your answer has fully grown in your mind, click over to this post to see if you’re right!}

Perfectly-Peeled Boiled Eggs? Possible!

Look at this egg!  It peeled like a breeze!

Never boil eggs again because a steamed egg peels perfectly every time!

This egg is fresh from our chickens, only a day or two old.  Fresh eggs are usually the worst to peel after being boiled — half the white peels off with the shell.  Store-bought eggs are typically several weeks old by the time you purchase them, and they are sometimes still hard to peel.

Well, no longer! There is a simple solution to your egg-peeling problems!

I figured out this great technique by observing an old egg cooker my mother-in-law bought 41 years ago for $1 at a yard sale.  (Wow, did she get her money’s-worth, or what?!)  She was getting rid of it because we bought her a new one for Christmas.  The old one now resides at my mom’s house after my creative, able-to-fix-anything father tuned it up and replaced a missing leg.  My mother was amazed at how perfectly her eggs peeled when she made her famous deviled eggs for the holidays. (They are so delicious!  Click here to get the recipe.)

old metal egg steamer with black handles and cord

After looking at both of the egg cookers, I thought “I can do this myself without paying for another kitchen gadget!” The keys to easily-peeled boiled eggs, it seems, are a hole in the eggshell and steam.

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Here’s how to properly cook “boiled” eggs, by steaming them instead:

1. Grab stainless-steel pot with steamer basket, which is typically used to cook veggies like broccoli and carrots.

2. Sanitize a sharp object, like a sewing needle (I used an ice-pick tool in a screwdriver set), and poke a small hole in the fat end of the egg (where there is an air bubble between the shell and the inside of the raw egg).

poking hole in end of raw egg before steaming it

3. Add about an inch of water to the pot, place the basket of eggs inside, and put it on the stove at a high temperature until you can see steam coming from the pot’s vent.

steam emerging from the lid vent of a pot full of steaming eggs

4. Close the lid vent, turn the temperature down enough to keep a low-rolling boil, and cook the eggs for 12-15 minutes for hard-boiled eggs.

TIP: Test to see if they are cooked the way you like.  You can test an egg by putting it in a spoon and running cool water on it until it’s cool enough to handle (or place it in some ice water for a minute).  Then peel it and cut it in half to check the appearance of the yolk.

These photos show how the egg dries off in seconds when it is still very hot!

I tested an egg at 12 minutes, and decided the others needed more time.  I like my eggs completely hard-boiled, with no dark or “gooey” places in the yolk, so I will stick with 14-15 minutes from now on for larger eggs.  Smaller eggs would, of course, take less time.

5. Place the eggs in cold water (or ice water) to stop the cooking process at the desired point.  It’s the same idea as rinsing pasta in cool water after you drain it; if you don’t cool it off, it will continue to cook.  Over-cooking will cause the eggs to get a grayish-green coating around the yolk.

6. Peel and enjoy!  Tap a cooled egg on a hard surface many times in different spots so that the shell is cracked all over.  You can even gently roll it between your hands to further crack the shell and help the outer membrane release from the egg.  Start peeling at the fat end where the air bubble is, making sure you are removing the outer membrane along with the shell fragments. (If you look closely at the first photo, you can see the outer eggshell membrane clinging to the peeled shell and holding the broken pieces together.)

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Using this method, our fresh eggs are so easy to peel and so delicious! Yum!

steamed egg, cut in half, on a plate with fried potatoes

I’ve tried many of the touted tricks for easily-peeled boiled eggs:

  • heavily salting the cooking water
  • placing cooked eggs immediately into ice water
  • adding vinegar during boiling
  • using only older eggs
  • etc, etc.

Some of these methods worked fairly well, but none worked great for easily-peeled boiled eggs.  But, in my experience, steaming works without fail!

I Haven’t Shampooed My Hair in a Year!

It’s true!  And I’m loving it!

I cleaned my hair throughout 2016 with two simple ingredients which only cost pennies per month:  baking soda and vinegar.

Check out this post to learn the no-shampoo method of hair washing that I use and to see my…

"Never buy shampoo again!" One year update

Avoiding harsh chemicals, saving money, and having soft, clean hair — Yes!  That makes me a happy lady!

Moments of Joy: December 2016

We traveled to a choir concert in last month’s post.  Today’s “story” is very much more simple, because I am very much too busy to blog lately and am behind on this publishing this post!

black rectangle with white frosted edges, representing nothingness

What a great month it has been overall.  My family and I were showered with blessings and special memory-making moments.  In today’s post, I could recount stories about our silly antics on a shopping trip or during the holidays.  Or, I could capture in words a poignant moment of deep sorrow or friendship, or a life-changing event I witnessed in one of my friend’s lives.

Rather than go into such detail, I’d like to simply mention something which brought me great happiness this month — a thing many busy Americans long to find.

Can you see the thing I’m talking about in the photo above? Do you know what provided one of my greatest pleasures recently?

That’s right…You see it…It is NOTHING.  An entire week of nothing scheduled and nowhere to be at a certain time.  OK, there wasn’t actually seven days in a row of nothing, but in the space of two weeks my daughter and I had at least 5-7 days of pure relaxation.  It was wonderful!

Usually for my daughter’s homeschool we plan only one week off for Christmas so that we can have an extra “spring break” when we are feeling burned-out from studies.  This year she suggested we push summer break back a week so we could have the typical two weeks off for the holidays.  I was very receptive to this idea because we spent most of the first holiday vacation week catching up on her school work (my daughter has been sick more often this fall than ever in her entire life, and we were quite behind on her work).

That extra week off was blissful!  It was just what we needed to get us rested and energized again.  You would never think someone could get so excited about nothing, eh?

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I’m amazed to think that I’ve written these posts for two years!  How does the time slip by so quickly?! Looking back on the second year of “Moments of Joy” posts, I can’t decide which one brings me the most joy. So, I will delegate choosing the favorite post of 2016 to my lovely daughter…

After reading through the selections, she says her favorite one is the post from July. That makes sense because it was a sweet, heart-warming event that involved an adorable baby.

(She had trouble picking her favorite, as well.  If you prefer funny stories over sappy ones, she said the August post was a very close second favorite…Have you ever seen a tree wearing clothing?)

Fitness Blender

Hello, everyone.  I wanted to share that I added a new entry to my personal health journal post (for the first time in a long time — Yes, I’ve gotten a bit flabby and lazy over the last few months, but I’m back on track now.)

Have you heard of a site called “Fitness Blender“?  They have a YouTube channel with hundreds of free workout videos that are really great, from what I’ve seen so far.  Click here and scroll down to the December 21st journal entry to learn more about these free videos and about how I’m on the road to recovery with a probable torn deltoid muscle in my shoulder…without surgery–yay!

(I’m not saying you should not get surgery if you severely injure your shoulder. I was just wanting to avoid it for myself, personally. It has taken over a year, but I think I’m very close to a successful recovery.)

Have a great day, and take care of your health!

Oh, and please share in the comments below any free exercise videos that you enjoy using.  I’d love to try new routines.  Thanks!