Monday, April 14, 2014

silk tie dyed Easter eggs

This year for Easter we're making lots of pretty decorated eggs.  We have the PAAS box with little dye tablets for the girls to do this week but I also decided to do something different.  Last year I found gorgeous photos of pretty eggs that had been dyed with old silk ties.  I asked my mom to hit the local Goodwill and pick some up for me and I've been saving them all these months for this project.

Admittedly, this craft project was mostly for my enjoyment.  Almost all the work fell on my shoulders but the very last step of unwrapping the eggs to reveal the gorgeous colors, I left to the kids.  They loved it and it was so much fun.  If you spread the steps out over the course of a few days it's not really that time consuming.  It's certainly not difficult.

What you need:
White raw eggs
Patterned silk ties or cloth
Old white t-shirt or pillow case
Twist ties
White vinegar
Varnish or glaze

Step 1: Get out your selection of old silk ties.  The brighter and bolder the patterns the better.  Cut out the backing and open up the large piece of silk.

Step 2: Cut your tie into pieces that will wrap entirely around the raw egg.  We only have access to small white eggs so I was able to get 3-4 eggs wrapped with one tie.  With large white eggs you will get two eggs per tie.  Make sure the silk is tight and smooth against the egg.  Use a twist tie to hold the silk in place.  Cut the ends if they are long.

Step 3: Cut the old white t-shirt or pillow case into small pieces that you now wrap around the silk-wrapped egg.  It's not as crucial to make it smooth and tight but do your best and use a twist tie to secure the fabric.

Step 4: Place the wrapped eggs in a large pot for boiling, add 1/4 cup white vinegar to the water and set your temperature on high.  Once the water is boiling set your timer for 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes is up, remove the eggs and let them cool completely.

This is the step I let the children complete.  It's the best part.  Unwrap the eggs and reveal the amazing patterns that have transferred to the eggs. Let them dry completely.

Step 5: Glazing the eggs.  This step is completely optional.  The eggs are certainly lovely without a sheen but we had a little bottle of Crayola bead glaze from another craft project so we painted the clear glaze on the eggs.  It enhanced the colors and made them extra gorgeous.  I've read that a little coating of olive oil would shine them up as well.

It's really fun to see which ties produced which patterns on the eggs.
We're displaying them in a pretty basket but since the boiled egg inside can't keep forever we will likely display them until Easter and then toss them.  It's not advisable to eat the eggs since you aren't sure what kind of dyes are being used and the glaze adds an extra unappetizing layer.  Better to eat the PAAS eggs!  But these ones sure are pretty.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

we're drinking a little more here in Ethiopia right now

We have less than two months until we say goodbye to Ethiopia.  Only a few weeks until the moving company comes and packs up our life.  It's sort of moving too quickly and not quickly enough all at the same time.  

For all the entertaining we've done in Addis Ababa, we've accumulated quite a sophisticated liquor cabinet.  Gorgeous bottles of port, bourbon, liquors for baking, gin! We're grown-ups now! In the last few months, we've been drinking casually on the weekends and even in the evenings.  I hate to see some of our collection get wasted since it cannot be packed to move on with us to our next post.  It's a problem all expats have.  Gotta get rid of the liquor!  I swear we're not turning into alcoholics or anything but if you're familiar with the home stretch of any overseas tour, you'll know a good stiff gin and tonic can ease the pain a bit.  

Anyway, now that you've thoroughly decided I'm not nearly as sweet as you thought I was...HA!

Last weekend the sun was hot and we sat outside and let the girls ride their bikes, splash in the water and enjoy the afternoon.  

Enter- plan to get ride of liquor:
My husband drinks his whiskey on the rocks (or rock I guess since it’s a single huge spherical ice cube).  But I like mine as a cocktail.  I’m not allowed to use the “good” whiskey but too be honest, I don’t care.  Jamesons or Jack Daniels is good enough for me.  A seventy dollar bottle of whiskey definitely shouldn't be mixed with sugar syrup! HA!

The best cocktails are made with the freshest ingredients so slice some juicy limes and make a sugary syrup.  I like using the “raw” brown sugar found in Ethiopia.  It’s a dark brown color with a hint of molasses. 

Sara's Whiskey Sour
1 shot whiskey
Lime juice from 1 lime
Dash of sugar syrup (Just heat sugar and water 1:1 ratio until sugar dissolves)

Pour whiskey over ice and add the sugar and lime juice.  Stir.  Taste.  Add more of this or that to taste.  Some people like it sweeter, some more sour.  It’s up to you.  Have a few lime slices to garnish your drink.  

Sit back and sip while you make mental lists for pack-out!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lemony sweet crepes

I’m in love with crepes.  They’re so versatile!  Everything from cheese, ham, mushrooms, nutella, bananas...the list is endless.  They can be an entire meal or just a snack.  Have you ever made crepes from scratch?  It sounds a bit intimidating at first, but really it’s like making a very thin pancake. 

I've written about a basic crepe recipe before.  I like to replace the oil with browned butter now.  

Use a 9 inch non-stick skilled if you don’t have a crepe pan.  Heat it nice and hot (over medium heat) and rub on some butter for the first crepe.  The batter should sizzle and as you turn the batter to let it run and cover the entire pan, bubbles will form.  Within a minute the edges should start to peel up and this is when you flip.  Wait about another minute then slide it off onto a cooling wrack. 
Lemon juice on pancakes is typically a German treat.  If you want a quick sweet snack or even breakfast or dessert this simple crepe recipe is the perfect thing.  I made one for dessert yesterday and then had to make a second.  I ate both!

Lemony sweet crepes
Lemon wedges
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp browned butter. 

I use enough browned butter in my baking that I usually have a little bowl in the refrigerator that I can warm for this recipe.  If you don’t, here’s how you brown butter.  Place a stick of butter (or less if you like) in a sauce pan on medium heat.  Let it melt and bubble and sizzle until all the water in the butter has evaporated.  You will know this has happened when the bubbling and sizzling noises stop.  Use a heat proof spoon to stir the butter and you will notice that it’s browning.  Scrape up all the bits from the bottom and let it brown a bit until it smells nice and nutty.  Be careful not to brown too much, pour it into a heat proof glass bowl. 

Back to the lemony sweet crepes. 
Put a large skillet on the stove and heat over medium heat until nice and hot.  Place one crepe in the bottom and drizzle one tbsp of melted brown butter over the crepe, use the spoon to spread it over the entire thing.  Sprinkle on the sugar and let it cook for about a minute or two.  The sugar will bubble and dissolve with the butter.  Squeeze the juice from the lemon wedge on the crepe.  Turn off the heat and fold the crepe in half, then half again.  Eat it nice and hot with all that lemony sweet brown butter dripping over your fingers. 

Simple, yet decadent.