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?)

Moments of Joy: November 2016

Last month, I described my favorite parts of fall party fun. Today’s story tells of another gathering of friends, this time away from home.

All-Region choir concert filing on stage

My best friend in the world is pregnant.  What a surprise for her and her family, as she and her husband assumed for years that they could not have children.  With her last few nauseous months, and my busy family’s schedule, I have hardly seen my friend this fall.  That changes today, however, because my daughter is participating in an All-Region choir concert near my friend’s house!

I leave the house with a smile on my face, eager to enjoy the afternoon with my buddy and the evening concert.  Forty-five minutes later, I pull into the Target parking lot, search briefly for my friend’s distinctive vehicle, and park near it.  We often meet here as it is on the edge of town, and she frequents the Starbucks coffee shop in the store.

Searching the coffee shop area, she is no where to be found.  A quick phone call later, and I meet her with a big hug in the Christmas decoration area.  We shop, we chat, we share thoughtful conversation that only best friends can, and before long it’s time for the concert.

We luckily find the venue without much trouble and find a parking space near the long line of school buses.  An image of my daughter’s face from this morning flashes into my mind, and I chuckle to myself. The least-favorite part of this day for my daughter was getting up at the crack of dawn to ride the very crowded bus to choir practice.  Overall, the experiences of the day definitely outweigh the inconveniences to her, and she loves the trip every year.  I’m proud that she is so successful each year in this chosen interest of hers (singing).  I’m also thrilled that from this year forward, the public school choir class is at 8 a.m., forcing us to get an early start on our homeschooling each day without any teen fussing about needing “five more minutes” to sleep!

My focus is brought back to the present, as we get out of the vehicle and follow the crowd inside.  This is the first time the All-Region concert has been held at this location, but we easily find our way around and luck into great seats on the third row.  At the last minute, family and friends file in and settle beside us.  I turn to check how my pregnant friend is faring, as evenings are usually her worst time of the day.  Luckily, it’s a good day for her today!

The lights dim and teens begin filing onto the stage.  My daughter is easy to spot in the crowd for a change, due to her burgundy and gold choir robe.  The girls’ typical black dresses weren’t ready in time for today, and this is the first time in all the years of singing that I’ve seen my daughter in a choir robe.  She wasn’t thrilled about it when she tried it on at home the day before, but we had some good laughs joking about how many of us could probably have climbed into the giant costume with her.

After a brief technical difficulty with the microphone (“What?” one person in the back yells, “We can’t hear you!”), the show is under way.  The singing is beautiful!  My daughter seems to do well on all the songs, even the new song they were required to learn earlier today in a different language.  A second choir files onto the stage after my daughter is finished.  One of their songs is an improvised piece, accompanied by bongos. It is interesting and lively, just like the comedic conductor. The final song of the night is a powerful spiritual that elicits booming cheers from the crowd and a couple of tears from my eyes.  What a great show!

It takes a while to reconnect with my daughter and gather our friends before we decide on the spur of the moment to have a late dinner together.  I’m thrilled that my pregnant friend even feels up to eating at this time of day — yay!  So, off we go, trying to follow each other across the busy town in the dark to the restaurant.  On the way, we get briefly separated in traffic and get a close-up view of a departing school bus swiping the side mirror off a small SUV.

Finally making it safely to the restaurant, we prepare to nosh on southern home cooking at Cracker Barrel.  We have a great time asking the waitresses to snap photos of all of us in front of the large, stone fireplace while we wait for the tasty “grub.”  Then we settle back in our chairs, and conversations fly back and forth across the table with lots of smiles and laughter.  My daughter tells the details of her day, with only one sad bit of news to report.  It’s sad to her, anyway…her teacher found it so easy to spot her students among the sea of black dresses and suits that she’s decided they will wear the giant burgundy robes again next year!

We eventually admit we all need to end the fun and head home for bed.  In the restaurant gift shop, we mill around and enjoy a few more minutes together while the tabs are being paid.  I notice a couple of people sneaking up to the register to purchase Christmas gifts after someone “Oooos” or “Aaaaahs” over an item in the store.  A few final hugs are exchanged and another blessed day draws to an end.

Passionately Pursue

Look at the things that you are seeking first–what do you care most about?–and go to the bottom line: How lasting are they?  How permanent?  Can you depend on them?

And when we answer that question, we come to the conclusion that the only thing worth pursuing is not popularity (what people say and think about us) because we know that changes.  And it’s not money because we know that goes away and we always want and need more. And we know that it’s not some kind of physical pleasure because that only lasts for a moment and usually leaves us with more regret than before…

The truth is we are all going headlong after something. We’re really intensely pursuing, seeking, worried about something…What is it we are so passionate about? …

Let’s passionately pursue God. Let’s seek Him first.  Let’s give Him all the zeal that we give our sports team, and let’s give Him all the love that we give our families, and let’s give Him all the time that we give our stuff. Let’s let God have it all.Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

~ Jacob Hudgins, 2016

Moments of Joy: October 2016

Last month, I shared with you the one thing that brings me happiness every day of every month — the true source of joy in this world. Today, I am remembering an evening of fall fun and friendship.

collage of fall party with scarecrow, fire pit, and pumpkin pudding desserts

What makes for a wonderful evening? Some of the things I would include are all gathered together in my backyard:

  • friends, neighbors, and family — So many people I love are mingling and getting to know one another better.  What a joy this is for me to see!
  • fun games — We’re all laughing and cheering as we take turns catapulting decorative squash with a three-person water-balloon launcher.  The goal is to hit a target hanging on hay bales across the yard, but most of the squash end up in the grass or lodged into the chain-link fence.  My first shot lands in the chicken pen, and one brave hen comes to check out the strange object.  Party games don’t have to be complicated or expensive.  Kids and adults alike are happy tonight with the “Pumpkin Launch” game, hitting a beach ball over a volleyball net, a tetherball pole, and even just using sidewalk chalk to draw on a 20-foot-long roll of black bulletin board paper that is taped to the back of the house.
  • beautiful weather — A few wispy clouds highlight the sunset before the stars begin to twinkle and shine.  A gentle breeze blows on this cool evening, encouraging us to circle around the campfire.  You can see in the photo above where I threw on an armload of sticks that was too large for our little fire pit.  The flames shot above our heads and made roasting marshmallows a bit dangerous for a while!
  • food — Food is always a great thing in my book!  I’m particularly happy with the tasty pumpkin patch pudding cups (my first-ever Pinterest project).
  • singing praises to God — Gathering friends around a beautiful campfire to sing is always a great way to spend a cool evening.
  • costumes and decorations — Several of us agree, as we sit on a row of hay bales eating smores and hot dogs, that there should be a holiday at least once per month where we could dress up in costumes.  It’s funny to see your friends looking like a Harry Potter character, Superman, a lion, a football star, a pirate, a queen, or even just a grumpy girl in a bathrobe.  Then there’s the friends who enjoy a play on words: like the geeky girl with candy glued to her jeans (“Miss Smarty Pants”) and the lady in the shower cap with sacks from different stores hanging all over her (“A Bag Lady”).  It can be fun to step away from the everyday, get out of your comfort zone, and be a little silly!

The few weeks of preparation were worth it, I decide as I look around at all the smiling faces.  I appreciate the motivation this gathering provided to clean up and repair the property, and I momentarily forget the seemingly endless times I climbed ladders to trim giant hedges and fix the gutters and siding.  Seeing friendships, new and old, deepen and grow makes it all worthwhile.  Though, I’m not positive if I would do it all again next year…whew!