In case you’re wracking your brain trying to remember how on earth to boil eggs, what on earth to do with those eggs, and what in tarnation (wherever that is) to serve on Easter, I’ve got a few reminders from years past.
Have a blessed Easter, don’t eat too much chocolate, and remember what the empty tomb really means–Jesus (God) lived and died for you, and then He came back to life. Why? So you could do the exact same thing. Don’t try to figure it out–we can’t love like that. Just appreciate it.
Did you know that the British-born St. Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved by the Irish? Eventually he escaped. In later years he became a missionary, and whom did he serve? The Irish, his former enslavers.
Pause for effect.
In honor of St. Patrick’s selfless love, here is a recipe for shamrock eggs. I don’t see a connection either.
St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast Recipe: Shamrock Eggs
1 green bell pepper
oil* or butter (mmmmmm, butter)
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the pepper into 4-6 rings.
Bribe matching small people to remove the seeds and other guts.
Heat the oil or butter (mmmmm, butter) in a pan set on medium-low-ish heat.
Drop the pepper rings, heretofore known as shamrocks, into the pan.
Crack an egg into a bowl and pour it gently into a shamrock. Repeat for each shamrock, or crack the eggs straight into the shamrocks.
Drop a couple tablespoons of water into the pan and cover immediately to trap in the steam. If you have a glass cover, watch for the eggs to firm up, or just lift the cover and peek after about 3-5 minutes. This will create the perfect sunny-side up eggs. (Thanks to Jan the Pepper Jam Lady in Yorba Linda for that tip!) Cook longer for more firmly set yolks.
If you love green peppers, you’ll like these eggs. If you don’t like green peppers, these will make you gag. I’m nothing if not honest…to a fault. Speaking of being honest, I don’t drink Irish ale for breakfast…or at all.
*My cooking oil of choice is coconut oil for its health benefits. When I don’t want the coconut flavor, I opt for expeller-pressed ultra clean, which has no noticeable flavor.
This post may contain affiliate links, which helps support this blog and my obsessive chocolate habits.
If you rarely use food coloring or have an “everything in moderation” kitchen philosophy, you’re probably completely happy saving time (and stress) by using store-bought food coloring. If someone in your home has an allergy to dyes in food, or you simply want to avoid it, then these 10 methods for how to make green food coloring have your name written all over them.
Please be aware that when you make your own food coloring, you will not achieve the same brilliant green you get from store-bought dyes. Even most of the natural dyes on the market will not result in a brilliant green.
Because you are using natural products which are not uniform (naturally), your results will vary dramatically each time from “not bad” to “not happening.” To improve your chances of success, check out the tips at the bottom before you proceed.
How to Make Green Food Coloring
Mash, process, or otherwise obliterate half an avocado. (Yes, please peel it first.) This will lightly color a cup or two of frosting or a similar white substance. Avocado has an understated flavor, so it won’t dominate the dish. Think of it as a culinary wallflower.
Puree 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen spinach. Boil it in 4 cups of water and then simmer for several hours. When it is concentrated, strain out the spinach—it’s the liquid you want. Add the concentrate to your recipe. Avocado will work as well.
Repeat the process above, but do not strain out the original food. Instead, press it through a sieve or otherwise grind the final result to get it as smooth as possible.
Soak pistachios in water. (Don’t use dyed pistachios, but rather those that have opened and greened naturally.) Grind them to make a faintly tinted paste you can add to desserts. Sounds like the makings of pistachio ice cream to me!
Sprinkle chlorella, spirulina, or a more suitably flavored green product into the recipe. Might I recommend parsley, especially stale, finely ground parsley?
Boil the skins from several red onions in a cup or two of water. Simmer until the water is the color you want. Some people get brown instead of green. Why doesn’t this make red? Good question. You should have your children research that.
Boil any green food substance in a cup or so of water for 20-30 minutes. Strain it and use the green water in place of the liquid in your recipe. For example, boil broccoli and make rice using the green liquid instead of water or stock.
Make the green liquid as just described. Soak or simmer potato slices or another white absorbent food in the liquid until it is tinted green. (This hasn’t worked for me, but others have had success with it. Salting may encourage a better transfer process.)
If your recipe calls for milk, simmer spinach, avocado, parsley, whatever, in milk until it turns green. Don’t get distracted! Milk burns easily and must be stirred and kept over a low heat.
Remember kindergarten? Neither do I. But I do remember that yellow and blue make green. Make blue food coloring by boiling red cabbage. Add a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to turn it from violet to blue. Then add yellow in the form of stale turmeric or saffron…or yellow cake.
These techniques for how to make green food coloring will produce mild food colorings that will tint your light-colored foods green…some even pastel green or army green. Don’t expect the same results as you find in commercial products.Also, don’t be surprised to see this work on lightly colored foods, such as white potatoes or white flour, but only “muddy up” darker foods, such as sweet potatoes or brown flour.
To make the food coloring liquid more brilliant, add 1/2 teaspoon or so of baking soda. This will affect the flavor, so experiment wisely.
Add lemon juice to anything that might brown, such as the avocado, and serve as soon as possible after preparing.
Many of these recipes will flavor the final outcome. Since you don’t want your sweets tasting like, say, broccoli or spinach, opt for avocado in icing and other sweets. Look for foods that complement each other nicely, such as potatoes with parsley, broccoli, or spinach.
Because you will need a larger amount of natural coloring than conventional dyes, the liquid coloring will affect the texture of the dish. Use less of other liquids until you have achieved the color that you want, at which point, you may wish to add more liquid if necessary.
Finally, to avoid the food coloring issue entirely, give the illusion of green foods by setting a green table—use green flowers, napkins, centerpieces, décor, and naturally green foods (like peas, kiwis, green grapes, lime slices, or M&Ms.) Sprinkle green herbs over savory foods, or cook greenies right into them, like in these Shamrock eggs. (You’re still writhing over that comment about M&Ms being natural, aren’t you? Let a girl dream.)
What do I use, you ask?
Well…to tell you the truth…we use green food coloring once a year (Christmas), and we use the bright, festive, bad-for-you stuff from the store. (You are welcome to comment on how bad our annual splurge is, which I already know, because then I get to share my story about the horribly debilitating effects stressing over healthy eating has had on my health and family. It’s a twisted, ironic, edge-of-your-seat tale the whole family will love.)
Easter is a fun time for families, but for my family, it is all about our faith, and our faith is all about Jesus.
At Easter it can be easy to get wrapped up in the Easter breakfast and the Easter basket and the Easter ham and the Easter eggs and the Easter buffet and the Easter chocolate and the Easter brunch and the Easter leftovers…and did I mention the food?
This nifty little jelly bean poem reminds the children of the reason we celebrate Easter. It’s essentially the entire Gospel in a nutshell…or in an eggshell.
Here is what you need:
Jelly beans (Note to self: Don’t eat all the black ones this year, or it won’t work. As if I would do that…again.)
Plastic eggs, plastic snack bags, little cups, mini baskets, frosted cupcakes, chocolate baskets, gauze and ribbon—anything to contain your Jelly Bean Gospels.
A version of the Jelly Bean Gospel poem printed out.
Here is what you do:
Step 1 – Put one jelly bean of each color, along with the Jelly Bean Gospel poem, in the container. (If it’s a cupcake or chocolate basket, lay it under or beside the treat.)
That’s it! There is no step 2. I love simplicity!
I go through this process with my children instead of printing up the poem. They have to search out the words and meanings themselves. It’s meaningful, and we can call it school. Wink.
Here is my version of the Jelly Bean Gospel poem:
Black is for the sins I’ve done.
Red is for the blood of God’s Son.
Purple is for the death of The King
Green is for life when Christ rose again
White is for my sins forgiven
Yellow is for my home in heaven
Pink is for my joyful face
Orange you happy for God’s grace?!
I like to stop with yellow. The last two lines are a little hokey. I don’t like to turn an amazing message that has stood on its own two feet for all time into a hokey jelly bean groaner…and that last line is a groaner. Sorry.
Here is my Jelly Bean Gospel for readers with Bible access:
Black – Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23 (sin and death)
Red – Romans 5:9 (blood)
Purple – John 19:19 (King)
Green – Matthew 28:5-6 (life)
White – Isaiah 1:18 (forgiveness)
Yellow – John 14:2-4, Revelation 21:21 (heaven)
Pink – Romans 15:13 (joy)
Orange Ephesians 2:8-9 (grace)
You can exclude the keyword, and let them discover it themselves if you prefer, or substitute other Bible verses.
Adjust this poem however you see fit so you can save and eat all your favorite jelly beans. I first saw this concept years ago at our church, but there are 184,000 versions online (I make 184,001), so do a quick search for other options. I wrote my own, because some of the others didn’t make sense, and my kids would ask, “But WHY is orange for sins?” and “I don’t WANNA be tickled pink. I’m a boy. I wanna be tickled BLUE.” and “The fifth and sixth jelly beans don’t rhyme. That’s so lame.” I just didn’t want to go there, ya know?
Hey, if you have any questions about my faith, please ask me. I’m happy to share my faith…but I will not share my black jelly beans.
And now, a pressing question: what is your favorite color of jelly bean?
This post goes out to Facebook fan Jessica. Good luck and have fun with your first major Thanksgiving cooking!
I love to prep as much of my major cooking ahead of time as possible, especially for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. (I’ve even fed the family breakfast before bed to get a jumpstart on the next day. Note to self: bad idea.) Sometimes my prep backfires, like when my pre-peeled potatoes turn brown.
If I were to ask my husband about that phenomenon, he would draw on his pre-med training and say something all science-y, like the browning is caused when the polyphenol oxidase enzyme is released from the potato’s cells upon cutting. The enzyme immediately begins reacting with the oxygen in the air to turn the phenol compounds within the tuber brown in a process called oxidation.
Oxidation, shmoxishmation. I just call it ugly. They’re still perfectly edible, mind you, but they aren’t perfectly pretty. I like my taters to be pretty before I mash them into an unrecognizable pulp.
Here’s how you can get a jump start on your potatoes without the ugly.
How to Keep Potatoes from Turning Brown
Peel and rinse the potatoes. (So far so simple.)
Place them (whole, sliced, or diced) in a bowl, pot, bucket, trough, whatever, and cover them completely with water. Completely! Taters in, air out.
Store the bowl in the refrigerator. (I cheat on this step if I don’t have room in the frig. Shhh.)
That’s it! Told ya it was simple. Simpler than that whole polyphenol oxidase thingie.
I only do this overnight. Some people claim you can do this up to three days in advance as long as you replace the water and rinse the potatoes daily. Some people might be right about that. (See the comment section for other opinions.)
Others add a splash of lemon juice to keep potatoes from turning brown. This is a good practice for something that might be sitting in open air. Scientifically, however, the browning occurs when the potatoes come in contact with the oxygen in the air, which is an impossibility when the tubers are immersed in water whose oxygen is firmly bonded to hydrogen and won’t be oxidizing any taters. I save my lemons for lemon pie. Mmmm…pie.
I know you’re all itching to know why potatoes don’t turn brown after they’re cooked. Well, if I were to bother my pretty little head about such things, I would tell you that heat denatures the enzyme, rendering it inert, so it no longer reacts with the oxygen to transform the phenol compounds. (Heat kills enzymes.) But all that science just gives me a rash.
Another alternative: crockpot mashed potatoes
My dear blog friend Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents has a recipe for crockpot garlic mashed potatoes in her e-cookbook, Crock On. Crocking your taters would entirely free you up from even having to think about them. It would almost be like having a personal chef make the potatoes for you, and all you had to do was eat them. Crockpots are neat like that.
Read my review about Crock On here, or, if you want the recipe for crockpot mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving and don’t want to bother with any ol’ reviews in case it talks about phenols and denaturing enzymes (which it doesn’t),buy it now for $5, or get it on Kindle. That’s how I’m making our mashed potatoes this year.
One more Thanksgiving tip:
Brine your turkey! It’s simple and makes all the difference for a juicy bird. Here’s how.
Jessica, I hope this tip for keeping potatoes from turning brown helps you out! Happy Thanksgiving! (Have a question? Submit it in the contact me section.)
Use a whisk to remove Easter eggs from a cup of dye without coloring your fingers, or to lift boiled eggs out of hot water without burning your hands and without dropping the slippery little buggers from a spoon. This also works to remove them from ice water if you cool your eggs after boiling.
Simple press the whisk onto the egg, and the little stinker should pop right through the loops on the whisk.
To remove the egg, separate the wires a tad and the egg should pop right out. If it doesn’t come out, it doesn’t deserve to be free.
Of course, if you like your kids to show up at church on Easter Sunday with dyed hands and wrists, you won’t want to use this technique. For our family the dyed hands on Easter are a tradition, and I’m not one to break with tradition.
I think I’m going to bring a whisk to the next egg-and-spoon race we’re invited to. That’s not cheating, is it?
To see your favorite simple tips featured on The Simple Homemaker (including a link to the page of your choice), please submit it through my contact page or send an email (pictures are optional) to TheSimpleHomemaker at gmail dot com with SIMPLE TIP in the subject.
It’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season and a time when Christians focus on what Christ did for them both through his life and more specifically through his death. Then it all culminates in the glorious resurrection of Easter morning. I’m giddy about Easter.
Over the years I’ve used several approaches to bring the magnitude of this home to my children and to awaken in their small hearts an awareness of and appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice. No, I’ve never used the give-up-chocolate-for-Lent approach. I want them to look forward to this time of the church year, not dread it. I want them to enthusiastically celebrate their Savior.
Today Amanda White launched her new hands-on ebook that will do just that, help children enthusiastically celebrate their Savior.
Why does the name Amanda White sound familiar? She is the author of Truth in the Tinsel, the hands-on Advent program I love. Oh yes, her!
This ebook is not a dissertation, exegesis or commentary on the biblical account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s an experience for parents to lead their kids through the story. We will not be learning every single detail of the story. There is so much historical and traditional background that our 21st-century brains can hardly understand it anyway. What we will be discovering is who Jesus is and why He came.
I have yet to share Sense of the Resurrection with my children, since it just launched today, but I have read it and I am excited to spend twelve focused days working through the projects with my clan, including my older children who can explore some of the ideas for digging deeper. Of course, I’ll tweak it a wee bit, because I’m an obsessive tweaker. Tweak tweak.
Those of you who know me know that I have difficulty finishing what I start. Life gets in the way, and I always bow to life. One thing I love about Sense of the Resurrection is that I have 50 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter morning to accomplish 12 days of activities. That leaves room for our traditional Easter and Lent activities, oh, and life.
Celebrate your Savior with us this year. Click through this link to see what Amanda says about Sense of the Resurrection.
Please share this post to help other families awaken a love of their Savior in the hearts of their children. A simple pin could have far-reaching effects.
This is an affiliate link, which means if you buy through this link, I will receive a portion of the proceeds. If you want to bypass my link, you may do that. I will not feed you to the alligators. Really, I won’t.
Running low on baking powder? No problem! Learn how to make baking powder in under a minute with this simple baking power recipe.
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Mix the baking soda and cream of tartar. Use in place of one tablespoon of baking powder.
Mix only as much as you will use right away. If you wish to store it for long term use, add a teaspoon of corn starch, potato starch, or arrowroot powder and seal it in an airtight container prominently labeled "My Amazing Homemade Baking Powder," 'cuz who doesn't need a little pat on the back in the kitchen!
Multiply the quantity of ingredients by how much baking powder you need, keeping in mind that there are three teaspoons in one tablespoon. Hello, math skills! (Cheat: if you need 2 tablespoons of homemade baking powder, that's 2 teaspoons soda, 4 teaspoons tartar, and 2 teaspoons corn starch if you're using it.)
Whether you want aluminum-free baking powder, need corn-free baking powder, or simply ran out, this baking powder recipe has got you covered. Did you ever think learning how to make baking powder could be that simple?
If you have kids, pets, or a pulse, you probably have carpet stains. If you are so perfect that you don’t have carpet stains, I don’t understand why you are here. I must really annoy you.
I have eight kids and I’ve also had two dogs and a cat over the past several years. One of those dogs was inherited from an ailing relative. The dog was older than peanut butter, and therefore messier than peanut butter. The kids are all younger than peanut butter, and therefore also messier.
But get this–our carpet always looked nice! (I say looked because now we don’t have carpet. We live in a travel trailer, remember?) We had two secrets to clean carpet success:
We bought carpet the color of spilled coffee, because one of us spilled quite a bit of coffee. Buying the right carpet was easier than learning to be grown-ups about our beverages. Truth.
We used Folex Instant Carpet Stain Remover.
Here is what I love about Folex:
It doesn’t have a ton of junk. (I’m sure it has some junk.)
It’s simple. I love simple. You may have noticed that by now.
First, It works. I am blown away every time we use Folex and stains magically disappear. It’s like someone took a Mr. Clean magic eraser for carpets and magically erased those stains. Poof. Gone like chocolate. Honestly, pour red wine on your carpets, sell tickets, clean it up with Folex, and people will go home happy.
Second, the junklessness of Folex is fantastic. Here’s what it doesn’t have:
toxicity (I’m sure there’s something toxic in it–I mean, don’t drink it. Duh.)
irritants, like Dora the Explorer. There is no Dora the Explorer in a Folex bottle. Also, there are no skin irritants in it either, but I wouldn’t spray it all over my body after my two-year-old markered my arms either. If you have super sensitive skin, it might irritate you, but not as much as Dora.
the tendency to burst into flame. While the non-flammable nature of Folex does make it a bit less exciting to clean with, we’ve heard that 10 out of 10 insurance companies prefer your house not burn down. Who knew?
solvents. No solvents. What does that mean? It means that, you know, solvents…there aren’t any in there. If you have a math problem that you need solvented, don’t spray it with Folex.
odor. So no headaches for me! Other stuff–bam–headache! Not Folex.
CFC. Whew. That’s a relief. Okay, I don’t even know what CFC is–I’m not even going to pretend to know. Here’s a little truth for you. If something says it doesn’t contain a thing, then I automatically assume that thing is bad. Like if it said “avocado-free,” I’d be all, “I am never touching an avocado again. Kids, back away from the avocados now. Now now!” I’m a marketer’s dream.
magnetism. It’s not magnetic. The stains don’t come back after they’re gone. I don’t really get this either, because it’s weird, but I know that we’ve had our carpets professionally cleaned and they look worse within a week than they did before the dudes came and “cleaned” them. I now thoroughly believe we must have paid them to place magnets in our carpet, so the metallic dirt on my kids’ feet stuck to the carpet, whereas before it just fell to the ground and I vacuumed it up. Folex has no magnets. I know because I read it online.
Third, it’s simple. Find the spot–easy. Spray Folex on it–still easy. Rub it with your fingers–still pretty smokin’ easy. If you want to you can rub it with someone else’s fingers, a rubber glove (with your own fingers in it), or a towel. Then you simply dab up the cleaner with a towel–I use flour sack towels, because they’re white. Somewhere during the rubbing, and sometimes before, the magic happens. Wow.
Technically, you should test the cleaner on that secret place everyone is supposed to have in their homes where they don’t care if the carpet bleaches. I don’t know where that is, but if you have that secret place, go there and spray Folex. Then make magic happen.
Where do you get your hands on this stuff?
Walmart used to carry Folex and I was happy. Now I have trouble finding it without stepping outside of my shopping comfort zone, which is ridiculously small considering I am at a different store in a different town a couple times a week. I know. I have issues. Stores strike fear in me. I get lost and can never find the raisins…ever!
It (Folex, not raisins) is available at Home Depot, Lowes, and many grocery stores as well as some department stores. It’s also available online at Amazon (affiliate link), but I’m pretty sure it’s cheaper in the brick and mortar hardware stores. Don’t quote me on that, because prices change almost as fast as Folex gets the spots out.
I was not paid to write this post. I mean, if Folex sent me a lifetime supply of Folex for writing this post, I would certainly accept after an appropriate amount of fake modesty. In truth, I like sharing things I like…I don’t mean chocolate or cookies. I mean ideas and products. ‘Kay? Kay.
I’ve gathered a few of our simple family Thanksgiving guides for you all in one place. No chatting–just links…mostly. A post with me not chatting it like Thanksgiving without pie! You know you’d miss it. Actually, I once had a Thanksgiving without pie, and I didn’t really miss it. Hmmmm…
There is some debate out there about whether or not brining a turkey will make it juicier or not. We think it does, so we brine. If you’re going to do a 12-hour Texas smoking on your turkey, you don’t need to brine it–you need to give it to us.
This ham is super simple and super moist if you don’t forget it in the oven for four hours while you’re out at the turkey trot. It doesn’t have a sweet coating or anything else that looks pretty, but makes some of us a little, um, in need of R-O-L-A-I-D-S.
If you only read one of these posts, let it be this one. The concepts in this post are as relevant for Thanksgiving as they are for Christmas, and as relevant today as they were when I wrote it six years ago, and as relevant for the 21st century’s simple home cook as they were when cooks were sweating into George Washington’s hoe cakes and fish muddles 250 years ago.
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