Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Project: Bird Nesting Materials!

Although we still have snow in our yard and the lake is still frozen over, it's spring in MN and I thought it would be a good time for a spring-y project with the boys!  We put out tons of bird feeders in the spring and summer, and the boys love watching them eating through the windows.  So, this year I decided to make some little pouches filled with nesting materials for the birds.  I saw the idea on Pinterest or somewhere...

Anyway, I saved a couple mesh produce bags and then we collected soft things around the yard and house.  Here's what we used:
Milkweed pods, dryer lint, and yarn
I gave each of the boys a few 2'-3' pieces of yarn and had them cut them up into short pieces.  Great thing to keep their little hands busy with!
Each kid got a bag to fill.  I tied one end shut and turned it inside out to make a bag.
Bag ready to tie shut!
Hung and ready to line a nice, soft nest! Now to wait and see if we find any colorful nests this summer!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Son-in-Law Eggs:" A Great Way to Use Up Those Easter Eggs!

I know I've already posted this recipe, but it's that time of year again so I'm posting it again...this time with more photos! I always end up making recipes that involve hard boiled eggs after Easter, for obvious reasons!  We love Thai food in our house, and this is one of my husband's favorite recipes.  That says a lot right there, knowing that my husband used to hate hard boiled eggs.  I began turning him onto hard boiled eggs when I made him try my mom's Scotch Eggs recipe, and he's liked them ever since! We made these for his dad once, who also says he HATES hard boiled eggs, and even he dished up seconds!  If you don't eat Thai food normally then there are a few ingredients you'll have to find at an ethnic grocery store.  But get the right stuff because it is worth it!
"Son-in-Law Eggs"
Ingredient list:
3/4 C tamarind liquid
1/4 C palm sugar or brown sugar
1/4 C fish sauce
1/4 C water
Vegetable oil for frying
6 hard boiled, shelled eggs
1/4 C thinly sliced shallots
2 tsp coarsely chopped dried red chili flakes
3 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves


1) Prepare eggs & shallots. Hard boil and peel 6 eggs.  Thinly slice 1/4 C of shallots.

2) Start cooking some rice to serve the eggs over.  We love jasmine rice!  1 cup of uncooked rice is about enough for this. 


While the rice is cooking...

3) Make the tamarind sauce:
3/4 C tamarind liquid
1/4 C palm sugar or brown sugar
1/4 C fish sauce
1/4 C water
Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Lower heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

The sauce! I accidentally added the chili flakes to the sauce that you are supposed to sprinkle on top at the end, but it tastes the same.  ;-)

4) Fry the eggs.  Heat about 3" of vegetable oil in medium pan, skillet or wok over medium heat to frying temperatures.  Carefully lower eggs into oil and fry until golden brown and crisp all over....5-7 minutes.
 This is the best I have ever gotten these to look which prompted me to take photos for this post!  Don't worry if they don't look evenly browned.  Sometimes mine are more white with spots of brown, but they still taste great in the end.  I'm not sure what the key exact oil temperature, a dry vs wet egg, the egg temperature...
 Remove the eggs and drain on paper towels.

5) Fry the shallots.  Break up the rings a little with your hands...

...and dump them in the hot oil.

 Fry for 1-2 minutes until they are browned but not burned.
 Scoop out the shallots and drain on paper towels.

Eggs & shallots ready to go!

6) Combine ingredients to serve.  Slice each egg in half.

 Put your cooked jasmine rice in a large dish and arrange the eggs on top of the rice.

Pour the sauce over the eggs.  Sprinkle the dish with crispy shallots, 2 tsp coarsely chopped red dried chili flakes, and 3 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves.  (I was out of that so in this photo I sprinkled it with parsley for a little green)

Voila!  These sound strange but are really extremely tasty!  The rice will soak up the yummy sauce.  You can use less chili flakes if it's too spicy.


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