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Archive for March 24th, 2012

So, recently I was asked to do a review on a by now known, seen on TV, product called Eggies.  The box shows these beautiful sideways cut eggs laying on a platter filled with traditional, and fancy pipped yolk filling.  The perfect Easter egg!…that’s not exactly what you get.

But before you even get anything, you need to assemble the little cups you are to boil your eggs in.  Each cup has four parts, a bottom section, a top, a “lid” that screws into the top and of course the ring that holds these two halves together….so…fifteen minutes later I had 6 little cups all perched on my counter and ready to be filled with cracked eggs and then, I read a bit further down the instructions which announces you need to oil these cups.  Not just spray them with a good squirt of Pam either but using a paper towel “dab” oil around the insides of the top and bottom sections.  Alright….twenty minutes later I had disassembled, dabbed, reassembled the Eggies and was ready to go.

The entire process for actually making the eggs is pretty simple.  You crack your eggs and hope you got your aim right for the whole entire yolk and white to slide into the small hole at the top of each cup.  If not, you then spend time wiping egg off the cup and your counter.  But, that’s another story.  So you fill your cute little plastic egg cups with your cracked eggs and screw the lids tightly.  The next step is to take your cute little egg holders and place them in a pot of water on stove, set it to boil and wait.  They give you a chart for how long based on egg size.  I did not know you needed a chart of time based on egg size.  Boiling eggs for me was always just throw them in a pot, bring to boil, let hard boil for 3 minutes and turn it off leaving eggs sit for another 3 minutes.  But…it seems there is an actual scientific determined time limit involved in boiled egg making. Who knew?

Once boiled, remove the Eggies from the water and open to release the beautiful boiled, perfect eggs from inside.  Well…that’s how it’s suppose to work in theory anyways, in reality it is …grab a very thick hot pad to hold the now scalding pieces of plastic while trying to twist off the ring holding the two sides together without achieving third degree burns on your fingers.  If you have managed to achieve this, then squeeze the base and release what looks like three-forth to one-half of a hard boiled egg.  This “new” boiled egg is suppose to sit flat on any plate or platter.  It does, but to get to the yolk inside to make into the golden creamy filling of deviled eggs you need to chop off a good section of the rounded end.   I won’t go into the rant on that the yolk of the egg remains on the FLAT side of the boiled egg, so to scoop it out you create a hole all the way through.  The whole reason boiled egg yolks stay in the middle of the egg is due to the egg laying sideways in the pan while boiling, standing upright the yolk goes down.  I guess they didn’t study the scientific element of THAT!

So, alright, you have half a dozen or dozen of these little egg cups with holes straight through them, which your daughter thinks is really neat because she can hold them to her eyes and see through them like binoculars! To side you have a bowl of yolks you rescued from their trap along with another bowl of the whites “caps” you cut free.  I found a use for the “caps”, if you turn them over you can shove them back inside the egg cups to block the hole you made so your filling doesn’t slide out the other end onto someones lap.

Now, for all the negative I stated on this, I will say if one does not plan to use them to make deviled eggs, only wishes eggs for salads, egg salad sandwiches or to nibble on.  They do create good boiled eggs for that.  They also do help with peeling of eggs where at times you can waste a lot of the white if the eggs do not peel proper.  Something that can occur with older eggs past their “Fresh” stage.  I, as well, would suggest these for those who have issues of hand which makes such movements and motions as peeling eggs difficult.

I’ll give them some more tries and perhaps I’ll grow a fondness for them.

Oh, and speaking of eggs!! The latest batch of little chicks are getting their wing and tail feathers.  Some have already learned the art of jumping out of and fluttering back into their enclosure box.  Time to get working on the baby pen.

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Now, I know most of you know you can plant seeds and grow strawberries, or root cuttings to establish new plants…but did you know that you can actually grow strawberries by planting the actual berry?

If you have ever tried to plant strawberries from seeds, you know those little suckers are TINY!..yet the entire outside of the flesh of the fruit is dotted full of them and they are nicely held in place just waiting to germinate.  This is how wild strawberries repopulate as well, they don’t wait for someone to come and pick every single seed off the flesh for them.  This is also why at times, strawberries come up in unusual places where a bird ate the berry and..well…voided the seeds.

Ok, enough bird talk.  How you can grow your own strawberries using the fruit.  The first step is assuring the fruits you have are not sterile.  Some commercial strawberries are bred to be this way.  Annoying I know, and yet I imagine it’s how they keep others from replicating their particular brand.  One way to help overcome this is to look for a local farmers market or a pick your own and go gather some berries.  Now I am not saying you can’t use those out of the produce section at your local store, I have tried this just to see if they would grow and some did, but I personally recommend a pick your own or farmers market.  Not only do you assure good quality produce, but also you support the Mom and Pop growers.

A second thing you need to realize is this.  Some strains of strawberries have been …for lack of better term…mutated.  Through seed germination you do not guarantee your fruit will look exactly like that you purchased.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Often the resulting plant you manage to grow returns more to it’s ancestral nature, or what we consider a heirloom.

Now for my method.  Strawberry seeds need a period of cold before they will germinate.  Your refrigerator is ideal for this as we store them in refrigerator to keep them fresh.  So, without thinking, you already most likely have done this step of the process.

The second step is to assure your berries are ripe and ready.  Green, unripe, semi-ripe does not mean ready to seed.  In fact the best ones you can plant are those which are already on their way to the trash pile.  You are looking for overripe, these will be the ones you slice up for planting.  Some will argue with me and say you need to throw the berries in a blender with water first, drain off the water and any floating seeds and use only the sinkers.  I find this step unnecessary and prefer just to use the slicing method.  The rotting flesh becomes part of the compost and benefits the growing seedlings.

Third step, remove over helpful cat from table and catch daughter about to tumble off the chair beside you…oh wait, that’s just in my house.  Third step!  Prepare the soil mixture.  Any seed starter soil will work fine for this.

Fill the cups 3/4 full, leaving a finger size indent in center to place your berries in.  You want them near surface and just covered with a layer when finished.

Place your berries and remove cat off table again.  Then cover berries with the top layering of soil.  Don’t be afraid to “smush” some up to fit, this won’t hurt them at all.

And, there you have it…and yes, that is the ever so helpful cat coming to offer assistance once more.

As a final note, be prepared for some seeds to just not grow. This is just the nature of the beast.

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Shamrocks!!

Shamrocks!! I love them!…and yes, I know St. Patrick’s Day is over and done with but what better time to talk about how to care for, and propagate these little fields of green luck then after the holiday is over?

Shamrocks, otherwise known as the less familiar name Oxalis, are actually bulb plants.  This means they have a period of growth, dying back and regrowing.  Knowing this, there is actually two methods in which you can divide these plants.

The first is to let them die back naturally, removing the dead leaves that form, and when all dried remove the bulbs from the soil.  Separate the new “offsprings” from the “mother” and return the “mother” to the original pot.  For the “offsprings”, lay them just under surface of some rich potting soil mixed with some wood chips.  Water well and keep soil moist (do not let it dry out completely).  Begin your newly established bulbs in a low light location moving to full light once you see growth appear.

The second method involves removing the entire plant from the pot and cutting straight down the center of the root bulb.  You can then place each section in a new pot.  If your shamrock is rather large, you might need to divide it into quarters..but be certain you have at least one bulb per new section.

In regards to caring for your shamrock….well…shamrocks like to sleep, a LOT!  They require at least two “rest” periods a year, three is not abnormal.  When your plant starts to look wilty and puney, are those even words? Well they are now….When they start looking wilty and pruny stop watering it.  Remove any wilted leaves and allow it to die back.  Remove the plant to a cool and dry location and let it sleep.   This sleep is usually two to three months long for the green variety and a month for the purple.    Once this time period is over and you are ready to kick them out of their slumber, change the plants bed (replace the soil) and water your shamrock. Return it to low light conditions until you see new growth at which point move to a bright light location and enjoy it’s rebirth.

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