Friday, March 11, 2016

Coloring Eggs for Easter Using Kool-Aid


Lent is nearing a close. Next week is our spring break, then following that is Palm Sunday. This year has really flown by. Where is that darn pause button?

I remember coloring eggs with the kiddos the week leading up to Easter. They loved the time with me, as much as I loved spending time with them. And after the annual egg hunt and Easter service on Sunday morning, I made deviled eggs to serve with Easter dinner.

In the past I always purchased the store bought egg coloring kits. It seemed to me like you were just paying for packaging, really. And no matter how long I left the eggs soaking in the vinegar, they just wouldn't get any darker.

Well today I'm going to show you how to color eggs at home with kool-aid! It's super easy to do, and there are such a unique assortment of colors. And besides it takes very little time and if I say so myself, smells pretty amazing, too.

So let's get started. Here's how.

You will need to start with hard boiled eggs. See my post in the link below for an easy way to hard boil eggs that won't leave the center yolk a yucky green-ish color.
How To Make Hard Boiled Eggs

Secondly, you want to choose what colors you want. I chose an assortment of colors. I used grape, peach mango, cherry, watermelon, tropical punch, orange, green apple, lemonade, and blue raspberry lemonade. I guarantee not many other moms will have eggs these colors. :)


Once you've chosen your color of kool-aid packets, pour 2/3 cup cool water into each mug or glass.

Add one packet of color per mug/glass.

Stir each cup well.


Next, (when the eggs have cooled) place an egg in each mug/cup and leave for 15 minutes. They are actually colored after 10 minutes, but I wanted mine the darkest they could be.

Once the time is up, carefully remove each egg from the mug/glass and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. They will need to dry fully. This will take between 15 and 30 minutes. And then voila', beautiful colors of eggs.


Two things you need remember...
First, if your counter top is an ivory color like mine, take precautions as not to spill the kool-aid on the counter. Since it's concentrated it could stain.

Secondly, don't "check" your eggs as they dye because this will chip the color off in the process.

Thirdly, have fun!

I will be taking a little time for some R &R next week, but will be back the following week with new posts and recipes.

Have a wonderful week, friends!



Sunday, March 6, 2016

World's Best Chocolate Sheet Cake


If your from Texas, there's no doubt you're familiar with sheet cake. You grew up getting to partake of it after church for potluck. You looked forward to it in Summer on picnics. Heck, your grandma probably had a recipe for it. Food historians aren't quite sure where the original recipe came from, or how it originated. But none the less, our hats go off to whomever was responsible for this brilliance.

This chocolate sheet cake will soon be your only "go-to" recipe. It's ultra moist, and packed with chocolaty goodness. The icing when cooled has a slight crispness to it. And if you serve it warm, I promise you your taste buds will dance.

So let's dive right in!

Cake:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 heaping Tablespoons cocoa
2 sticks butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing:

1 3/4 stick butter
4 heaping Tablespoons cocoa
6 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

*Here's a kitchen tip of mine to ensure you won't have any lumps in your icing.
Sifting powdered sugar the easy way

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt.

In a medium sized saucepan melt the butter. Add cocoa, stir together.

Add boiling water and allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds. Then turn off the heat, and pour over the flour mixture and stir lightly.

Add the buttermilk, beaten eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the butter/chocolate mixture.

Pour into a greased 18x13" sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make the icing.

In a medium sized sauce pan melt the butter. Add the cocoa and stir until combined, then turn off the heat.

Remove the cake from the oven. While the cake "rests", add the milk, vanilla and powdered sugar to the cocoa/butter mixture. Stir well and pour over the warm cake.

Next, sprinkle chopped pecans over the icing.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!

*On a side note: During Christmas time, you could add crushed peppermint to the icing, and substitute peppermint extract in place of vanilla extract to give this cake a holiday flare.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Slowing Down - Conquering Clutter and Reclaiming Simplicity


The weather here in the Texas Panhandle is definitely unpredictable to say the least. Last Monday we had highs in the mid 80's. Then, snow on the next day. Wednesday was sunny and beautiful, although the wind had a little bite to it. I have been experiencing spring fever because of this warm weather. Spring is my favorite time of the year. Nature is starting to bloom and the days are beginning to lengthen.

So, I spent the better part of the morning putting together my windowsill herb garden. This was something I'd been wanting to do for quite a long time, and just the act of creating this visual herb garden brought me joy. As evening fell, I stood back and soaked it in; the view, the feeling of accomplishment, and peace.

I have begun slowing down and just breathing. Life didn't give me much of an opportunity to do this before. We had children at home. Homework right after school. Activities to attend. Dinner to prepare. Evenings spent in preparation for school the next day. Bedtime routines for four children. At that time, there was no time (or even the thought of setting aside time) just to focus on the simpler things. To just be in the moment.

One morning recently I was watching Good Morning America and there was a segment on de-cluttering your life. This segment jump started me in wanting to make a change. Click the link below for a video clip of the segment.
The secret to de-cluttering your life

I began my journey six months ago when I saw the video (in the link above) on Good Morning America. I thought that is what I need to do. The children have all moved out, and it's just my husband and I. So, I've begun the process of purging things from around the house that I don't need. Or even want for that matter. Clothing, books, papers, kitchen items, bedroom items and so on. I'm using the KonMari method by Marie Kondo. This method incorporates visually looking at a item, and the act of touching the item. I suggest you examine this method more in depth if your interested, because it's a personal journey for each individual.

Everything is divided into categories, such as clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous and so on. To begin, place the items you want to consider purging onto the floor. Pick up each item one at a time. Ask yourself, does this item bring me joy? Does this item represent something significant to me? Are you inspired by this item? If the answer is yes, then you keep the item. What I love about this method, is that not only do you keep the item, you incorporate it into your everyday life/routine. I've starting using my good china (that I saved only for special occasions). Using beautiful tea towels which sat  neatly tucked away in my drawer. And that's just the beginning of this method. This technique also includes folding clothing, towels. etc. In other words, ways to help you enjoy the things of the present. To bring joy back into everyday.

There are two words to describe this transformation.
Life Changing.

You may purchase a copy of Marie Kondo's book from Amazon at the link below.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I've also taken up Yoga and meditation which have been a huge boost to calming my mind.

If you would like to simplify your life starting today, click the link below for wonderful useful tips.
Simple Living Manifesto - 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life

Slow down and enjoy your life, don't be a slave to it.

All my love to you in your journey to simplicity.

Anna