Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pinterest Review - Easter Edition

Happy Easter!

Whenever a holiday rolls around, our family always has fun traditions. However, that doesn't ever stop me from trying to find new activities and recipes to keep things interesting. Besides, if you come across a really good one and your family loves it... That's how new traditions are born!

So this year I turned to Pinterest. I don't know about you guys, but I am pretty picky with pins. I always like to look at the source first and make sure the pin leads to a good, valid, helpful source before it goes on my board. Sometimes I even Google the pin to see if others have already tried it and to see what their thoughts were on its ease, taste, etc. That made me think that maybe I should also be trying pins out and reviewing them so others can see what worked for me and what didn't!

Welcome to my very 1st Pinterest Review!

Bird Nest Treats

So this first pin I tried can be found here. It originated (as far as I know) from the Curvy Carrot. I made these yesterday and gave them to family and friends as an Easter gift. I have to admit, I didn't actually look at the recipe beforehand because I didn't really plan on making these, it just sort of happened. As a result, I ended up using slightly crushed pretzel sticks instead of chow mein noodles and also I didn't have any butterscotch chips to use so I stuck with milk chocolate and peanut butter. But this was the end result!

They ended up really cute! They held together really well, too. As far as the pin goes, they are not kidding when they talk about greasing the muffin pan beforehand. These things want to stick in there. But I used a generous amount of cooking spray instead of butter and they came out relatively easily that way. I also put the mini Cadbury eggs in the nests before they set up in the fridge. That just made them stick in there instead of roll around, which made more sense to me and it worked well. Overall, I am pretty happy with it! Taste-wise they taste like.... Well, pretzels in chocolate and peanut butter. Haha. Nothing too special about the taste, but still yummy.

Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven

The second pin I tried was the claim that you can make better hard boiled eggs in the oven. That can be found here. This blog originally got this idea from the food science guru himself - Alton Brown. I love that guy, and that's what really pushed me into the decision to try it this year. Before that, I used this method for years and trusted it with every fiber of my being. Now I have to say... My heart may have been stolen by Mr. Brown's method.

So basically the pin says that you put raw eggs in your oven for 30 mins at 325 for perfect hard boiled eggs that are creamier, cooked more evenly, and easier to peel. It also mentions that putting the eggs on their sides will keep the yolk in the center and positioning them in a mini-muffin pan will keep them from rolling around. Then after they are done baking, you plunge them in an ice bath to stop the cooking and supposedly they are done to perfection.

After mine were cool, I sacrificed one to check that it had been cooked thoroughly. I cracked open the bottom of it and some watery liquid came out. I almost freaked out! I thought that they were sooo under-cooked that they were practically raw. But I was mistaken. I don't know what the deal is with the little bit of liquid that came out, but as I peeled more shell away (relatively easily I might add!) it revealed a perfect egg. The only difference I could tell between actual hard-boiled eggs and this baking method was this:

I know these pictures aren't very good, but you can kind of see a golden-brown discoloration on the bottom of the egg there. There wasn't anything wrong with it, it just looked like when you bake something in the oven and it gets a golden-brown color. It only got it on the bottom and in the two spots where it was touching the muffing tin. It doesn't bother me at all, but if you are making deviled eggs or something and it matters to you, I just thought it would be good to mention. However, these eggs are definitely the easiest to peel I have ever encountered (the peel doesn't slide right off like some pins say about it, but it's definitely easier), so if you are making deviled eggs and don't mind the discolored spots - I would still say this method is best because your egg whites won't end up with chunks missing. As for the yolks...

Ahhh... Beautiful! There is no weird raw-looking spot in the middle and absolutely no yucky green discoloration. They really were perfect. Amazing! They are so velvety and creamy too. So happy with them. I'm really not a yolk person, I will take scrambled egg whites over regular eggs any day, but these were really good.

So be brave! Try it out! This pin is Gela approved! ;)

Marbled Egg Dye

The last pin review I have for you today (I know! This post is already sooo long as it is! But hang in there, we're almost done!) is the marbled egg dyeing method that can be found here. The basic idea behind this one is that if you add some vegetable oil to your egg dye, you can swirl your egg around in it for a few seconds and get these gorgeous marbled, shiny eggs. Now, this pin was confusing because the information is messed up. On the actual pin it said to use one teaspoon of oil, then on the actual website it said to use one tablespoon. I decided to experiment and see what worked best.

First I tried the Tablespoon because that's what the actual website said. This is how it turned out.

Umm... Kinda weird and splotchy. I didn't really like it at all. So I tried it with a teaspoon instead.

Better! Now we are getting somewhere. I achieved this with the one teaspoon of oil, 10 drop of food coloring, 1 Tablespoon of vinegar, and 1/2 cup of water. Then I let it sit for about 10 minutes on the cookie rack before wiping it off. And when I did wipe it off, I didn't just pat it like the pin suggests. I rubbed it all around. This still doesn't match the amazing photos that the pin claims to have accomplished, but it also said to try swirling it around in multiple colors. So I did try that as well. This was the end result.

Now, I'm not gonna lie. This egg is pretty cool. And it did retain a little bit of shine even after wiping off the excess oil! But.... I still don't think it looks marbled, and it definitely doesn't match the picture from the pin at all. It's still a fun way to decorate eggs, but if you're expecting the amazing results shown in the photo.... Sorry kids.

You guys should definitely feel free to try out any of these methods and let me know how they worked out for you! In fact, if you got them to work better some how, please share with us! If you have any questions, I would love to help you out so feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Thanks for stopping by - hope you all have a fabulous Easter Sunday!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Overdue for an Update

Wow, you guys. It's been such a long time since my last post! I promise I'm still around and doing my thing, but things have been crazy over the past few months! Here's what's been happening...

I've crossed quite a lot more off my 101 in 1001 list! I realized yesterday that I had completed one of them, so I went to update my blog and realized I had crossed off quite a few things! Here they are...

62. Take a nice new family portrait.

Hooray! We took this one for X-Mas cards. Turned out pretty cute! And my little ones sure have grown, haven't they? I'm a proud mommy.

68. Plan our 1st family vacation.

This is beautiful Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii. It's where we will be spending a week in July. We have lots of fun stuff planned! Attending an authentic luau, taking our kids to the zoo and an aquarium, visiting the Dole plantation, and so much more. Not to mention the fact that it will be the very first plane ride for both the kids AND and the hubby! Yeah, it's going to be great. We are stoked.

37. Make a new friend.

See that nice lady in the middle there with the party hat? That's Alisa. See the two cute little boys on the bottom left? That's Vincent and his new best friend Kadon from pre-school. Alisa is Kadon's mom, and through their friendship I finally made a new friend here in St. George. She's been awesome, she always goes out of her way to help me out and is just kind in general. I know I seem outgoing and cheerful on the blog (because that's who I am on the inside!), but in reality I am a very introspective, shy, awkward person around new people and that has always made it difficult for me to make friends. That's what makes me so much more grateful for her friendship!

Here are some other ones that i completed that don't have fun pictures to go along with them....
7. Organize photos on computer. Seriously.
60. Unpack all boxes from moving.
64. Buy a new vacuum. (Technically we didn't BUY a new one, we got one as a gift. But it still counts because it actually WORKS and I love it!)
65. Go on a family picnic.
87. Vote in an election and actually KNOW who I am voting for and why. (I followed the last presidential election very closely and ended up voting for Obama. I don't like to discuss politics with people I love - like you guys <3 - so I won't go into detail, but I just have one word for you.... Equality.)
89. Donate to a charity. (My cousin runs a 5k like once a week I swear, and she is always raising money for charities so I donated finally. It went towards a pet rescue.)
90. Donate blood twice. (actually I have donated 3 times and am planning on continuing every 8 weeks!)

Well I guess that's it. Sorry I have been absent for so long. I will definitely try to update more often. Thanks for all your support!