Ordinary? Nope, it’s Extraordinary…The Egg

Every now and then, the little things I pass by as “ordinary” suddenly appear unique and amazing. Today, it’s the egg.

Take 60 seconds and really think about the egg! Who thought to take the egg from the chicken, crack it open and decide to eat it? According to Incredibleegg.org, Europe had domesticated hens back in 600 BC. There are some very interesting factoids on that site, you might want to check it out!

Who first decided the egg might be good by tossing the whole thing, shell and all, in boiling water to make a soft boiled egg?How did a fried egg sandwich become so popular at restaurants? Who decided to crack open the egg and pour it onto a flat skillet? How about the hard boiled egg? Used now in cobb salad, deviled eggs, egg salad, radiant Easter baskets and just for sheer enjoyment!Eggs are now even used in beauty treatments!

Enjoying the EGGstraordinary in the ordinary today! 🙂

I Can’t Have a Relationship With My Turkey

I live in a suburb that is home to several beautiful farms. Recently, I saw two different signs offering turkeys for sale for Thanksgiving. I pulled over to take photos of both signs so I could call the numbers in the next few weeks to place an order.

I thought it would be neat to tell everyone at Thanksgiving that they were enjoying a healthy, no-hormone-injected, no-inhumane-treatment-turkey from the local farm.

Then, at the second farm, I looked to my right to see the other sign that said “choose your turkey”. There in the cutest little coop were several, beautiful white turkeys clucking around with their fellow feathered friends and family members. The customer could select their turkey, visit it regularly, watching it grow plump over the next few weeks.I stared at them. They were adorable! I suddenly thought about how the kids would name the horses or cows down the street when they were little. I didn’t have the heart to tell them back then that those cows we were visiting would end up in someone’s freezer by fall.

Not to sound like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but I’m a meat-eater. I love a good roast, pulled pork and definitely a Thanksgiving turkey with plenty of gravy. However, I don’t think my enjoyment would be the same if I visited my selection for a month before picking him up headless.A few years ago, one of our 4H Moms had us over to plan out the year of crafts for our daughters. About an hour into the meeting, her daughter got up and said, “I’ll be right back, I need to go feed him.” I inquired about who she was feeding. Mom explained that every year her daughter independently purchased a small steer. She fed it daily and cared for it, eventually selling it the following year at fair.

When the girl came back into the house, I asked if she ever got attached and felt bad turning it over for slaughter. She shrugged saying, “Nope. I get paid $1300 at fair. I’m saving for college.”

While some may not get attached, I fear I might. Knowing me, I might actually name the bird during a visit. Then, I’m likely to share with the family that our meat was once “Bob” and we are eating him. My kids might get a chuckle, but I may have trouble digesting.

I momentarily felt conflicted about the whole turkey situation, but it does not make me consider being a vegetarian. I’m looking forward to the cherished meal.  I have to go order my turkey now. But, I’ll let the farmer choose one for me.

Ordinary? Nope, it’s Extraordinary – And, it’s National Popcorn Poppin’ Month!

God has given us some really cool things to enjoy. Even though I usually pass right by them because they appear ordinary, I’m trying to pay attention to how they are really quite extraordinary!

Today, it’s popcorn. Or, should I say, the kernel. Who thought to pull that tiny thing off the cob, let it dry, cook it and flavor it? It’s extraordinary.

When my youngest was an infant, she had this habit of waking up every night around 11pm screaming. She was about a year old and the pediatrician said it was normal, and that we should settle her down and let her fall back to sleep.

My baby went to sleep nightly at 7pm, but for a few months, it was literally every night she awoke at 11pm with a piercing cry that demanded our attention (lest we allow her to wake her twin toddler siblings in the next room).

Unable to calm her down by merely holding, rocking or walking, I did what all smart Moms do when they are so tired they can barely see straight: I turned on the television. Back in 1999, there was a popular unit called the VHS player and I inserted a Little People video that showed a farmer harvesting corn on the cob. But, the weather at the farm was so incredibly hot, the farmer watched in amusement as the corn fields began popping kernels by the thousands.My baby would suddenly catch her breath from the sobs, and stared at the popcorn video until it ended. She watched that same Little People popcorn video over and over and over for three months.

As the kids grew up, popcorn was a staple for my girls and me. My husband and son aren’t big fans, but us gals have multiple flavorings, tried a few air poppers over the years and also completely enjoy regular ‘ol butter and salt shaken in a bag – always cooked in a pot, not in a microwave.

Recently, I’ve been missing Saturday nights with my girls, the Hallmark channel and popcorn. Them being at college has ruined my interest in popping corn just for myself (sigh). But, recently I did pull out the kernels and oil to make a batch and stared at one little kernel for a long while. I mean, really, the popping process is extraordinary.I thought of all the popcorn we’ve stuffed ourselves with at the movies…I reminisced about the elementary years when popcorn was part of the Thanksgiving pilgrim skits, harvest season and Christmas decorations.

Ahhhh, but those days are long gone, as are the baby years (double-sigh).

October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month so here a few fun popcorn facts (courtesy of popcorn.org):

  • Americans consume some 13 billion quarts of popcorn annually!
  • There are 4 main types, but only one “pops”!
  • One kernel can pop up to 3 feet in the air! (That’s higher than our pet bunny leaps!)
  • There is no such thing as “hull-less” popcorn. All popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. (I was glad to learn this because I was considering purchasing the latest greatest “hull-less” popcorn options for sale out there.)
  • 2 Tablespoons of kernels = 1 quart popped.

Popcorn.org is a great site for additional information and neat things like free download popcorn coloring sheets!

Reuben Braid and Irish Cream Coffee

CutReubenThrowback Thursday: Both recipes are quick and very easy! Even those who don’t like corned beef (there are a few in my house) may find the Reuben tasty!

Homemade Irish Cream CoffeeIrishCream

Ingredients
12 oz. (1 can) evaporated milk

1 cup heavy cream
½ cup 2% milk (I used 1%)
¼ cup sugar (I used a few packs of Splenda)
2 T. chocolate syrup (I eliminated this)
1 T. instant coffee crystals
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used 3)
¼ almond extract (I eliminated this)
Need ½ cup brewed coffee for each cup of Irish Cream

Directions
In a blender, combine the first eight ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.

For each serving, place coffee in a mug. Stir in 1/3 cup Irish cream. Heat mixture in a microwave if desired.
Yield: 3-1/3 cups.

Our own addition – we topped the drinks with whipped cream and green sugar!

Reuben Braids

Ingredients
6 oz. (1 cup) cooked corned beef brisket (I purchased ½ lb. thin sliced corned beef)

1 ½ cups (6 oz.) shredded swiss cheese (I made one braid with cheese & one without-both great!)
¾ cup drained and dried sauerkraut
1 small onion, chopped finely
3 T. Thousand Island dressing
1 T. dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dill weed (I used 1 & ½ t.)
2 packages (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg white beaten
Sesame seeds

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Unroll one tube of crescent dough onto an ungreased baking sheet; seal seams and perforations.

Spread half of corned beef filling down center of rectangle. On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips to within 1 in. of filling. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling; seal ends. Repeat with remaining crescent dough and filling. Brush egg white over braids; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. (Mine were golden brown within 20 minutes, so keep an eye on them.) Cool on wire racks for 5 minutes before cutting into slices. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2 loaves (8 servings each).

Enjoy! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

How to cut dough to form braid.

How to cut dough to form braid.

Ice Cream Cone Cakes!

Last week, I wanted to be a “fun Mom” who sent something “different” in for the end of season Lacrosse party.  I had completely forgotten about ice cream cone cakes!!  I fell in love with these all over again!cups

Ingredients

Cake mix – any flavor  {We like Funfetti}

Flat bottom ice cream cones {Joy sells colored cones}

2 tubs of whipped frosting – any color/flavor

Sprinkles or other decorations

Directions

Prepare cake batter as directed. While Betty Crocker recommends pouring the batter into cupcake papers and then placing cones upside down on top of the batter, I prefer filling the actual cone – not all the way to the top or the batter will spill over (I learned that the hard way!).  Then, your finished cone will look like this (instead of half empty): Ice-Cream-Cone-Cupcake

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.

Transporting the cone cakes is quite an adventure.  I decided on the egg carton, but here are a few other ideas as well:IMG_1464

ice-cream-cones-full-shot

I LOVE the next two photos and I plan on using cups the next time (but filling candy a little higher for my security!):

plastic

candy

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