October 31, 2011

Monster Eggs

We were invited to a Halloween Party over the weekend and I wanted to bring something fun. My traditional go to holiday specialty is none other than Deviled Eggs. I will fix these every chance I get; generally Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. This was the first time I've ever made them for Halloween before. When people ask what my favorite food is I usually can't decide. I like food in general. I think Deviled Eggs would be a top contender though.

When I was growing up my mom would fix Deviled Eggs for Holiday feasts or the occasional church potluck. I would end up eating most of them and would try my best to sneak a few before they arrived at their destination. That's when she decided she would have to start making a second batch just for home. I adored her for this! I continue the tradition and make a "few" extra eggs and when no-ones looking I will squeeze any of the extra filling from the bag into my mouth. I don't think I should have just admitted that....

Anyways these Monster Eggs, as I like to call them, were entirely too much fun to make! I got the idea from Rock Your Party where they made Spiderweb Eggs.

Here's what you need to make the Monster Eggs (click here for printable recipe)
2 teaspoons black food coloring
12 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Grainy mustard
A couple dashes of hot sauce
Salt and Pepper
Sliced olives  (I only used the end)
Ziploc bag
Gloves to protect hands from dye


1.) In a stock pot combine 8 cups of water with black food coloring. Place eggs in a single layer, 
cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. 

The dye ran onto the paper towels and made a beautiful pattern!

2.) Using a slotted spoon, place eggs on paper towels. Place colored water in fridge to cool. Use the end of the a wooden spoon to tap each egg in several places to slightly crack the shell. The more places you crack, the more veins the egg will have.

3.) Place the eggs back into the cooled water and let sit for 2 to 3 hours. The longer they sit the darker the veins. 
Peeling eggs is usually my least favorite part but this time it was so fun!

4.) When done, peel eggs and cut length-wise. 
Using a teaspoon, scoop out the egg yolks and set egg whites aside. Mash yolks with remaining ingredients. 

5.) Fill a Ziploc bag with egg yolk mixture and cut one of the corners off to fill each egg white.

6.) Garnish with a sliced olive.

Two great tips: Use a potato masher for the yolks and a Ziploc bag makes filling the eggs much easier.

I was mesmerized by the beautiful shells. This would be such a fun thing to do with children! Every-time I peeled an egg it was like a big SURPRISE. I even squealed with delight each time and said to my husband, who had his head stuck in a book, "Look at this one!"  After the about the 7th egg this started to irritate him a little since I was interrupting his reading. I can't wait to have children to enjoy these fun projects with. I should mention, for sake of my husbands ego, that he did help out with this project. (he doesn't want to be portrayed as a grump because he was engaged in his book during the peeling part)  He's the one who boiled the eggs and put the cracks all over them. Thanks Cookie Monster!

The eggs turned out great. I hope you'll try this out yourself sometime, it really is a lot of fun. You don't have to follow my recipe for the filling, there are tons of different recipes out there. You could change the color of the dye too. I think it could look like beautiful stained glass for Easter. Remember the longer you leave the eggs in the dye the darker they will get.

October 28, 2011

Body Art, Chapter 2

Contrary to what some might believe my husband and I did think about this for quite a while. The original plan was for us both to get a compass. We enjoy traveling and exploring so much, this is also how we met for the first time. Not to mention the compass is a great reminder to continue going the right direction even if the path gets treacherous.

I wanted my tattoo on my wrist and he wanted his on his calf. I realized that a compass would be challenging to put on the wrist without making it much bigger than I wanted. So I started coming up with other ideas and collecting inspirations; my husband compiled all of them into a sketch. Next thing you know I decided to get tattoos on both my wrists.

This is a picture of the rough draft he made.
I really liked the sketch! I thought it was so sweet of him to draw the birds in the middle facing each other so that when the two wrists meet the birds kiss. I liked it so much I had him draw it on my wrists in Sharpie so I could see what it would look like. That was an interesting experience... The Sharpie bled a lot but I got a decent idea of what it would look like. The Sharpie faded away in a couple days and I was ready for the real thing!

After doing entirely too much research we chose a place called Grinn & Barret Tattoo. Isn't it such a fitting name? We decided that I would not go first, that way I could still back out if I wanted to. It was fun to see the artist's interpret our sketches and make them their own. I was excited to have original art displayed on my wrists. Somehow I actually ended up in the chair first. What did I do? Well I just Grinned and Bared it!

It didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would and lucky for me it was relatively fast. Although I do clearly remember one point where it felt like the needle was hitting the bone.


My husband's took quite a bit longer than mine did.
Even though I was told what to expect during the healing process, I still wasn't prepared for all the changes that would take place. My wrists were swollen for a couple days and eventually the tattoos began to peel freakishly. Apparently everyone heals differently. A lot also depends on where you get the tattoo. The worst part for me was the itching. My wrists itched so badly! 

This is what my tattoos looked like on day 3.
You might be wondering why I chose to get this design tattooed on my wrists. Well I think it's pretty special that my husband designed it and it reminds me of his love for me. I also admire nature and God's marvelous creativity! The squirrel reminds me to plan and prepare for the future and beyond. The birds remind me not to worry. I think I waste a lot of time worrying about what others think and about all kinds of other things that don't matter. 

 Matthew 6:25-34 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

I think my tattoos turned out great and I'm happy to say that if I "need" to cover them I can do so with fun accessories. And In case your wondering my husband is really happy with how his turned out too.

October 27, 2011

Body Art, chapter 1

On Tuesday I posted a tidbit about the origins of the phrase "goody two-shoes." I think in the past this has been a phrase that has been used to describe me. Throughout my life I've put forth an effort to think about things before I do them and generally make "good" choices. I've always been a rule follower. Even in college I didn't do the typical experimental stuff most college students do. I've never smoked, done drugs or stepped foot in a bar or club unless a restaurant with a bar counts. When I drink I do so because I feel like it brings out the flavors in my food and I enjoy the taste.

I'm a pretty optimistic person I TRY my best to be positive and always assume positive intentions of others. Yes maybe I do strive to be "perfect" but is that such a bad thing? Does that make me a "goody two-shoes?" So what if it does? Everyone makes their own choices.

I guess what got me thinking about this was my choice to get some body art.  Overall the comments have been positive but there have been a few that have really got me thinking, "What did they mean by that?" I'm married and in my mid-twenties; I didn't decided to run out the day I turned 18 and get some ink to show my independence. Although I do feel like quite a rebel! I suppose because I knew I was making what some people could consider a "bad" choice.

One person made the comment, "wow...can't believe how much you have changed!" I didn't understand what this was supposed to mean?  Maybe that I'm not a "goody two-shoes" any more? For some reason people feel like they have the right to judge others based on appearance. People can be very opinionated when it comes to tattoos, I suppose because they feel it's such a permanent alteration of ones' body.

People make choices all the time to alter their appearances. Some might be more temporary than others and some can become permanent over time. People often change their hair through dying, perms, straightening, extensions... This alters their appearance and can add up to damage over time. What about people who don't take care of their bodies by choosing to eat unhealthy food  and not exercising regularly. This lifestyle often can led to a permanent change in appearance. What would happen if I approached a friend who gained some weight and said "Wow..can't believe how much you have changed!"

Another comment that got me thinking was when someone said to my husband that they just saw an 80 year old that was all tattooed up and that he "looked terrible." Apparently they were concerned that my husband may end up looking like this. I have quite a few thoughts on this comment.

Since when is it okay that we as humans think we have the right to comment on each others' appearances like that? I'm not denying that I've never done this before, but we have got to encourage each other and be more positive. Besides this guy was in his 80's! What is he supposed to look like after living life to the fullest? I've never been 80 before but I'm under the impression that at that age you're pretty content and feeling a lot younger than you might look on the outside. I bet that 80 year old had some great stories to share about all his tattoos.

Well I think I may have ruffled enough feathers for now. I hope those who read this get my point. Let's stop wasting our time judging others. Tomorrow you can look forward to hearing about my tattoo experience and seeing some photos. As always I would love to hear from you!

October 25, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday (Goody Two-Shoes)

Have you ever heard someone be referred to as a "goody two-shoes?"  Maybe you've used the phrase before yourself. Generally it means that someone is always willing to do whats "right" no matter what. They make an effort to be perfect in every way.

I find it fascinating to learn the history behind phrases that we use. Interestingly enough many of them are derived from nursery rhymes. "Goody Two-shoes" actually came from a story written in the 18th century called The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes.

This story is about a girl named Margery Meanwell who was so poor she only owned one shoe. One day a rich friend came along and gave her a pair of shoes. She was so delighted she ran around repeating that she had two shoes. She became known to the other children as Little Goody Two-Shoes. She eventually grows up and marries a wealthy widower and becomes a wise teacher who helps others solve conflicts peacefully. This story has a similar theme to that of Cinderella where virtue is rewarded.

October 24, 2011

Chip Cookies

This is no joke!
Yes people you read that correctly. Chip not with chocolate in front of it, chip as in potato chip. Potato Chip Cookies! I've seen chocolate covered potato chips before and I've always wanted to try them. I can see the look of shock and probably disgust on my mother's face right now as she's reading this. She's not exactly into the salty/sweet kinda thing. My taste buds though have grown to love salty/sweet. Last night we even put some sea salt on the Carmel Apple Pie we picked up from a local orchard. Yes it was divine. Anyways I found this recipe for Potato Chip Cookies on someone's Pinterest board which led me to a lovely blog called The Cutting Edge of Ordinary.

I had to try this recipe for myself. I chose to make half "regular" and half with the addition of chocolate chips. I found these cookies to be a buttery delight and for once I was able to enjoy the entire batch practically by myself. I'm not so sure I should have just admitted that... My husband who I should start referring to as the Cookie Monster goes crazy for cookies. If he's around when I'm baking cookies I can plan on half the dough being gone before it even gets in the oven. This time though he liked them at first but then the smell got to him and he couldn't bare putting a cookie in his mouth that smelled so much like a potato chip. That left me to enjoy them and I did. I would love to hear if you try out this recipe and what you think of them.

Potato Chip Cookies (click here for printable recipe)

 *This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies

2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups coarsely crushed potato chips (I used Ruffles)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and then the flour, mixing until well blended. Stir in the potato chips and mix well. (If you want to try it with chocolate chips then you would stir them in at this point)

Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. (No need to grease it, but I used parchment, I always use parchment). Using a fork flatten each cookie a little (I didn't actually do this part and they turned out great). Bake 20 – 22 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges.  Let stand 5 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

2 regular and 2 chocolate chip, I actually preferred it with the chocolate

October 21, 2011

A visit to Minnesota (Part 2)

Keltie blended in beautifully with the leaves.

This water was irresistible for the dogs since it was so warm out.
Keltie wasn't accustomed to all those leaves being in the way!
Blanca and Keltie have a love/hate kind of relationship.

After a wonderful day spent in the woods we got back on the road to see where it would take us next. Lucky for us we found a winery out in the middle of nowhere. Considering Minnesota has unique conditions for growing grapes, they aren't exactly known for wine. This place was really neat and had some interesting varieties. We got to try 16 different wines and they even gave us a cheese sampling. If you're ever in the area it would be worth a visit to Whitewater Wines.

The next random stop was in Wabasha. This little town is FULL of character. They have their own claim to fame too. This is where the films Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men were shot.

The decorations in the town were too fun! They even had a random display of pumpkin/gourd creations that were entered in a contest. I love finding little towns like this, especially when it's unexpected. 

Is this supposed to be a grumpy old man?

This was the winner for the size contest. This weighed almost 700 pounds!

Which pumpkins are your favorite? Its hard to choose but the one with the mustache and the pipe is my favorite!

Unfortunately the next day we had to head back to Nebraska. The plan was to have brunch before we headed out. We got sidetracked before brunch though because I just had to stop at the Cheese Mart. Boy am I glad I did! This place had every kind of cheese imaginable and you could sample ALL of them. They even had Bacon Smoked Cheese that was absolutely divine. The Northern Midwest has been holding out on us other folks! I grew up in Virginia and I had never heard of a cheese curd before. I think I'm discovering that cheese is the secret that keeps the people in the Northern Midwest thriving during the harsh winters. It's worth visiting the Northern Midwest just for the CHEESE!

These will make the perfect snack for the drive home!

We ate brunch at a delightful restaurant in Rochester called Pannekoeken Family Restaurant. Their specialty is the Dutch pancake called a pannekoeken. They have many different flavors both savory and sweet. When your order comes out the server is supposed to come running out chanting "pannekoeken!" They run because when the pannekoeken comes out of the oven it's so fluffy and they don't want it to deflate before it gets to you. We had a lovely table outside on the corner so our server was a little shy and brought ours out more in a trot and a whisper.

If you're ever in Rochester, MN you should try this place.
I love places with charm!

Pumpkin.  It was so YUMMY! 

Minnesota is a great place to visit, we were sad to leave. The drive home consisted of lots of farm land. It's interesting to see these giant modern windmills pop up in the middle of all that land. I was happy we had some tasty snacks to enjoy during the drive.

I'm so hungry right now...

This might look like an ordinary muffin but it SO wasn't. It's was a moist, triple berry delight!

October 20, 2011

A visit to Minnesota (part 1)

We recently took a long weekend and drove to Minnesota to visit some friends who just moved there. We were very excited about this trip. We've only been to Minnesota one other time and really like it. Honestly I think we like anywhere but where we currently live. Our last move was abrupt and too fast. Nebraska was on our list of places we did NOT want to move to but somehow that's just where we ended up. We are trying to stay positive and make the best of it but it's not always easy. That's why I'm thankful that we can take long weekends to get away and spend time with wonderful friends.

It's very obvious when you leave the state of Nebraska, things just seem better. You don't need a sign to welcome you to Iowa, somehow you just know that you're not in Nebraska anymore. Our first stop on the way to Minnesota was in Elk Horn, Iowa. We've seen signs before promoting the Danish Windmill Museum but this time we decided that we should check it out.

My husbands family is Danish so it's always fun to experience places that connect us to his heritage. We were really hoping for some Danish food and this stop did not disappoint. Apparently Elk Horn, Iowa is the largest rural Danish settlement in the U.S. As we exited off the interstate and drove to this very tiny town we saw hints of Danish influence everywhere. Many of the homes were constructed with Danish architecture in mind. We only had time to visit the windmill and have a quick lunch but there are other places to explore like historic homes, farms and the Danish Immigrant Museum.

This mill was originally built in 1848 in Snede, Denmark. In order keep it from deteriorating
it was brought in pieces to the U.S.  in 1975 and built back up by VOLUNTEERS a year later.
What an awesome tribute to the Danish culture!
The actual museum was connected to the bottom part of the mill.

The inner parts of the mill still work.
View from one of the mill windows.
These boots were on display in the museum they were worn by Danish flour millers.
The bottoms could be replaced as needed. I mostly took the picture because it reminded me
of my husbands aunt who makes custom handcrafted footwear. You can check her stuff out Here.

Within walking distance of the mill is a little restaurant with some authentic Danish food selections. We both ordered the Open Faced Herring Sandwiches. The herring is pickled in a spiced vinegar solution which gives it a unique sweetness. 

What really made this place irresistible though was the  Kringle!  Kringle is a flaky pastry traditionally formed into a pretzel shape filled with marzipan. While we enjoyed are Open Faced Sandwiches we argued over what kind of Kringle to get. My husband likes the traditional Kringle but the baker decided to try something new and make a Kringle with Pumpkin. I just had to try it! Unfortunately my husband did not like the idea. Lucky for us the waitress brought us a sample of the pumpkin so that we could make a decision. O MY! It was AMAZING! What a brilliant idea!  We bought an entire Pumpkin Kringle to share share with our friends. They were fans! It didn't last long.               

After this fun stop we had to get back on the road again. We finally arrived a little after dark at our friends new house just outside Rochester, Minnesota. It was so nice to be greeted by familiar faces. They even had homemade Chili prepared for us which provided a warm welcome. It was DELICIOUS!

We are blessed to have such great friends! We've been on many fun hiking adventures with them when we lived in Colorado. Being outdoors is something we all enjoy so our plan was to go on a fall colors hike the next day. We were all looking forward to exploring new territory!

On our way out of town we had to stop at the local attraction. The covered bridge!

Blanca and Keltie were having too much fun running around.
Aren't they cute? So happy to be outside!

After seeing the covered bridge we all loaded back up in the car. Next stop our hiking destination.

My husband and Blanca lead the way.  Blanca always has to be in front of the pack, she has no manners.
This interesting rock formation was one of the "must see" stops along the hike.
They just had to climb in the bottom and explore!
While in there Mr. B our dear friend who is an awesome photographer gave my husband a photography lesson. Which took entirely TOO long! We got a new camera and the plan was to share it. He enjoys taking pictures just as much as I do. Supposedly I'm a camera hog though and he hasn't had any opportunity to learn about our new toy. Below are the results of the lesson.

The day ended up being much warmer than I thought it would be. The air wasn't exactly cool and crisp like you would think it would be during a fall hike. It was so good to be outside and this was the first "hike" I've done since having knee surgery. Even though it wasn't at all like hiking in Colorado it was still challenging for me. I long for the day when my knee will be normal again!


I really enjoyed the variety of trees and their enchanting shapes. In Colorado there are pretty much 2 kinds of trees, the Aspen and the Pine.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow I will share some more pictures from our hike and the rest of our visit.