Sunday Brunch: Shirred Eggs

I love a good breakfast. Not just in the morning either. We have backwards days around here sometimes; days where we eat breakfast for dinner. Those nights are usually eggs done somehow: fritattas, scrambled, snotty and looking at you (dear husband’s term for sunny-side up), omelets, or any other way we feel inclined to eat them. Sometimes I even let the kids cook their own eggs. They play diner and take our orders, cook our eggs and serve them to us with toast and fruit. They love these backwards dinner nights. They feel a sense of independence. It’s fun. They don’t even suspect my ulterior motive most of these night – that it’s an easy and inexpensive dinner once in a while.

I was bored one day and searched for a new-to-me way to cook eggs. Something that wouldn’t require a lot of preparation and was somewhat healthy. And of course it had to taste good. In my searches, I discovered my new favorite way to cook eggs, which up until now was to fry them. I stumbled across shirred eggs a few weeks ago and I’ve had them for breakfast quite a few times since. I know it’s a classic egg dish, but it’s taken me 40 years on this earth to discover them. I’m so glad I finally did.

Ingredients for a single serving:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp of cream (milk will work too)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • You can also get creative and add some herbs, like Thyme or Tarragon. Or finely chopped shallots, leeks or onions, mushrooms, and/or shredded cheese.

Next, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Grease a ramekin (or muffin tin) with butter. Crack the egg into it. Then add the cream, herbs, salt, and pepper. Bake for about 7-10 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them. The yolk should still be soft.

You can make the yolk a little soft and dunk toast sticks into it. Or, my other favorite way is to make an egg sandwich with it. I let it cook until the yolk is hard. then remove it from the ramekin, slice it, put it on an english muffin with mayo, avocado, lettuce and tomato. Yum!

They are also good over a bed of fresh arugula, which in a few short months I’ll hopefully be able to get fresh from my backyard garden.

I Knit a Sweater….

…and it’s actually wearable. Maybe only under a coat to hide the one sleeve that I messed up, but I finally finished the Tab Button Jacket. Dear husband even said I did a nice job, but he has to say that.

It took me forever to finish (9 months to be exact). Not because the pattern was difficult. Mostly because I took a long break to work on Christmas knitting projects. And I have the attention span of a flea, so I was easily distracted by other projects and new yarns.

I learned I need to work on picking up stitches. I didn’t do so well around the neck. And one of the sleeves is a bit puckered and bulky because I messed up the shoulder seam. Overall though, I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. It’s not the most flattering sweater I own, but it’s a comfy sweater. The yarn is soft (Knitpicks Swish DK) and it has a nice, easy fit to it. It was a good first sweater pattern.

I learned what I did wrong on the seaming of this sweater, so the next sweater will be even better. I already have a couple of patterns picked out, but first I need to finish the two projects that are on the needles right now.

Victorians, and Patriots, and Knitters! Oh My!

Now that the kiddos are older, and I’ve finished my second foray into college, I wanted to try and read more books for the mere enjoyment of it again. Unfortunately, I have a hard time breaking old routines and needed a little incentive. My incentive was to sign on to the Goodreads 2012 book challenge and then write about the books here. I challenged myself to 35 books this year. That seemed like a reasonable amount to start with. According to Goodreads, I’m right on track with the reading part of my challenge but not with the posting part of the challenge. I’m 3 books behind in that aspect. Rather than write 3 separate posts, I decided to combine them all into one post. It’s an eclectic list of books to review; I’m a bit eclectic in my interests, but maybe that means there is a little something here for everyone. I can’t be the only knitter in the world who is also interested in history and Victorian literature.

Victorians: I heard about this book, Three Men In a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome, on NPR in the car one day and it piqued my interest. It sounded silly and light and it did not disappoint. It’s a short little book, written in 1889, about three men and a dog on a boat trip down the Thames. The travelogue is interspersed with funny anecdotes about packing, camping, ladies fashions and river rage (which sounded an awful lot like modern-day road rage). Be cautious when reading this book in public because you will laugh out loud. I didn’t take this into consideration when I decided to read it during my kids’ Tang Soo Do class. Needless to say, I may have embarrassed them when I erupted into fits of laughter while reading about how Uncle Podger hangs a picture.

Patriots: The Whites of Their Eyes by Jill Lepore was recommended to me. It is definitely a timely read with the pending election, the rise and dwindling of the Tea Party, and the GOP’s apparent nod towards insanity. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like some perspective on events past and present. It is a short book and very quick read that is full of thoroughly researched content written in an almost conversational tone. It does not get preachy or reveal any political agenda.

Each chapter switches between the current Tea Party movement, defining moments of the American Revolution, and the Bicentennial Celebration. The juxtaposition of all these stories shows how all sides have misused history to fit their needs. Unlike other books focusing on the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers, Lepore doesn’t romaticize them or try to claim them for her purposes. She lets the founders speak through their letters and other writings. And there are some wonderful quotes, and other little nuggets in this book that often get ignored because they don’t fit with the current narrative. For example, there was one nugget about how Francis Bellamy (the author of the Pledge of Allegiance) once gave a sermon titled “Jesus the Socialist”.

The most important point I took away from the book is that historical fundamentalism and originalism are not solid foundations to govern from. And we must be careful not to commit the error of “historical presentism” by asking what the founders would do because it’s impossible to insert ourselves into their time and have any kind of meaningful insight. Our values are different today; the world is a very different place, and to think that we can relate our values and experiences today to the values and experiences of our founders is faulty logic.

Knitters: I picked up Rachael Heron’s, A Life in Stitches from Amazon during their January Kindle specials. I’ve never read her blog before this book, but I’ll definitely check in on it from now on. The book was a light and easy read. Each essay stands on its own, which makes it a nice book to pick up when you don’t want to, or don’t have time to commit to an entire novel. My only criticism was that I would have liked some of the stories to go into a little more depth. Some of the stories had so much potential, but I felt they stopped as soon as they got interesting. Her blog is also mentioned a lot in the second half of this book. Since I was unfamiliar with her blog when I read the book, I felt like I was missing parts of the some of the stories. (I know that was 2 criticisms.) I enjoyed it and I’d probably recommend it to some of my knitting friends.

Counting Anna Karenina, I’m 4 books into the Goodreads challenge with 31 to go. Tonight I plan on starting The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve been wanting to read this one for awhile.

Thinking of Gardens

It’s been a pretty mild winter here so far, which is making me more impatient than usual for gardening season to start. I’ve begun the planning stages for this year’s garden. I want to grow more things this year, but we have a small city lot, so I’ve been looking for ideas on how to grow upwards and creatively use the space we have without sacrificing our entire backyard. It’s also important that it looks nice since we spend a lot of time out there and entertain on occasion. I’ve been pinning my favorite ideas to my pinterest board. Here are a few that will most likely see their way into my backyard.

I wish I had seen these pyramid planters when I put our strawberries in last spring! It would have saved them from sprawling all over our rock garden. And I could have grown more. This year I might add some more plants in one of these and if works out, I can remove the old, sprawling plants.

 

And I think I might try a gutter garden on the side of our garage for salad greens.

 

Because of our lack of space, and my love of squash and melons, I usually trellis my vining fruits and veggies. I sometimes have trouble with the trellis not being sturdy enough though. This seems like a great, and inexpensive, solution that would be easy to make.

 

I like this tomato trellis too. It looks nicer than the metal cages I normally use. And it is something I can make myself. I’m thinking it might be a little sturdier too, which is always good.

 

And these re-purposed wood frames would be a great spot for potted herbs and flowers to add some color at eye level.

Source: sunset.com via Andrea on Pinterest

 

I just put in a seed order. I found a purveyor of local seeds and I’m excited to get them. Although I’ve probably ordered too many and will end up handing some out the neighbors. I do it every year. My eyes and ambitions end up being bigger than my actual garden. I’m hoping some of these ideas will help with that this year though.

Are you planning your garden yet? What are you planning to put in yours? Do you have any ideas for gardening in small spaces?

Handmade Holiday: Valentine’s Edition

My son made me a proud, crafting momma this weekend. He handed me his class list for the Valentine Party on Tuesday and said, “Mom, I think we should make our cards this year instead of buying them. They’re more special when we make them.” I couldn’t agree more.

 We got our inspiration from the Disney Family Fun site.

My daughter wanted to do flowers, of course.

My son chose a cell phone with lollipops for the antennae.

I think he had ulterior motives to his choice though. Almost the entire time we were working on them, he tried to persuade me that he needed one. He lost this round. In defeat, he and his sister made paper phones and iPods (he wants one of those too). Then they spent the rest of the afternoon playing pretend Angry Birds on their pretend BlackBerries, and loaded up their pretend iPods with pretend music.