Monday, March 31, 2014

New Egg Design Winner!

New Design Winner...


The poll is closed.  After one week of voting the Scottish Thistle won by a landslide with seven votes! Tied for second place are the Modern Mermaid and Art Nouveau Woman.  Tied also for third place are the Modern Wolf and the Lithuanian Castle. 

Thank you so much for voting.  Here are a couple ideas I will use for inspiration to make the Scottish Thistle:
The goal this week is to complete the new egg design along with 12 more eggs. 

Today's goal is to etch 5 eggs and start the new design.
What's dying today??? Asparagus Green and Raspberry Pink!
This weekend I will be in Rockville Maryland as well as Unionville Pennsylvania for two craft shows.  Check out tomorrow's post for details!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies (Crispy) and Egg Baths!

 Two days ago I made sure I baked some awesome cookies from a cookbook I have no had a chance to try out until now.  You will find that I have way too many cookbooks for my own good.  I took a picture a couple days ago and will share that in a later post. 

Today is a special day. It's FRIDAY! Today is the day all your boring, but smart, decisions are forgotten and instead, new decisions, not in your best interests are made.  For example... COOKIES!

All week I try to eat well.  I try to limit myself to 1/2-1 cup of coffee.  I refrain from sugared creamers or syrups.  I try to have soup or salad at lunch.  And for dinner, well I try not to go too over the top with salt, butter, and the other tasty treats that make more dinners sing.  However, on the weekend I let loose.  Baking is a passion of mine and I try my best to reign it in.  You will find that I fail at this attempt miserably. 

Plus... my mom bought me this awesome Kitchenaid mixer... I just love to use it as much as possible!

This weekend I got a head start and baked some walnut chocolate chip cookies.  This recipe is slightly different because it uses half shortening and half butter.  This difference creates a crispy cookie.  Here's how I made it:

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies (Crispy)

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup shortening                      
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg                
1 3/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

Pre-heat oven to 375

- Beat the sugars, butter, and shortening together until smooth and fluffy.

- Add egg and vanilla.  Slowly Mix in flour, salt, and baking soda until evenly combined. I love the good Madagascar Vanilla...

- Hand mix in chocolate chips and coarse chopped nuts. 

- Make dough into 1- 1 1/2 heaping teaspoons mounds.  onto a greased pan. 

- Bake for 8-10 minutes.  (Watch cookies after 8 minutes as the shortening makes these cookies turn brown fast).

Let cool on wire rack. ENJOY!  Look at the ladies at the office enjoying these lovelies!

On an egg note... Yesterday was egg washing day!

"What do you mean Chrissy?  What's egg washing day?"

I'm very glad you asked.  Egg washing day is when I take all the eggs that I either emptied while baking or received from local friends who also emptied eggs for me.  I want to make sure each egg dyes evenly and takes egg dye beautifully.  I set all the eggs together, turn the water on warm, and scour each egg with a plastic scrubber (NOT METAL!).  I use vinegar and baking soda in a mixture to wash each egg.  I also use a little soap if the egg was really dirty.  

Here is my finished egg pile!

I hope to have lots of new egg photos for you in the next couple days!  Come back soon for a great creamy red pasta recipe!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Daffodils and Cocoa Almond Peanut Butter! Eggs and Recipes Continue...

Last night I started working on another old favorite egg... dandelions gone to seed.  I hope to show you a completed version of this favorite tomorrow.  While working on that egg I started wondering what new design I would create next.  I want to do something modern and fun.  I do lots of flowers and nature themed eggs.  This time I want to focus on either a human design or something so off the wall that it would be hard to put to words. 

I started looking online for inspiration.  I thought maybe a music theme.... Scrolling music bars and Lithuanian lyrics swirled around the egg.  Then I thought maybe some form of a woman face in an art nouveau style.  I also dabbled with the idea of a mermaid with hair all over the place.  In the end I could not decide on a new design or even a direction I wanted to focus on. 

As a result I am begging for help in the matter.  To the right of my posts please find a poll with numerous choices for new egg designs.  You may pick as many design ideas as you like!  By the end of the week I hope to have a design voted on that I can work on over the weekend.  Thank you so much in advance for your help!  The challenge has been made... help me get out of this designing funk!

Next let me reveal my newest egg design... the daffodil!

I love how this egg has both elements of the traditional with the scalloped borders, but also a touch of modern with the very realistic daffodil!

Finally... a recipe of some kind...

I was very tired last night.  My weekend was full of cooking and baking.  I am dying eggs every day.  I am still attempting to keep most rooms of the hose in decent shape.  The last thing I wanted to do last night was cook something big.  Actually I didn't want to cook at all.  One box of instant rice and a pre-assembled stuffed pork later, I decided I must make something to blog about...

Then it hit me... I love peanut butter.  I love Nutella.  I love almonds.  However, I am trying to not eat Nutella until I lose 7 more pounds and almonds get boring after you munch on a few.  Eureka! I decided to make... DRUM ROLL PLEASE...

Cocoa Almond Butter!

Yes I took simply these Ingredients:

One Bag of Almonds, about 1/4 cup walnuts (just for fun) and a little less than 1/4 cup chocolate wafers.

Then I dumped everything in the food processor.  Finally... I processed...
And I processed...
And I processed...
Finally... this amazing smell of warm chocolate almonds filled my kitchen! This was the easiest and best thing for me to make last night.  Dip fruit, cookies, even celery in this perfect snack accessory!




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Easter Egg Design and Balsamic Steak

Today we continue with the new egg design unveiling as well as the sharing of a new recipe - Balsamic Steak!

First and foremost:

Here is yet another traditional new egg design! This tulip is on a chicken egg dyed red.  The egg had some natural speckles which I think really enhanced the color. 

This tulip like flower also has a lot of lines throughout the egg which is also very common in more traditional egg designs.
The leaves border plays into the nature theme of this egg.  Nature themes are very strong in Lithuania and pays homage to the pagan ties of the country. 
I enjoyed making this egg and I think it will make a great new addition to my egg catalog.  What do you think?
Next up... Balsamic Steak!

I used two New York Strip Steaks.  First i pat dried the meat.  I rubbed a combination of salt, pepper, garlic, fresh chopped rosemary, onion powder, and so salt seasoning. 

Next I chopped one medium onion.  I heated my cast iron skillet with some olive oil.  Once heated I threw in the two steaks.  I cooked each side for 2 minutes tops (I like my steak medium - with some pink in the center). 
Once cooked I set the steaks aside to rest. 
With the meat bits and oil still in the skillet I threw in the chopped onion and about 1/2 cup chicken stock, and 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar.  I cooked everything until it reduced in size by half. 
SIMPLE! This recipe is easy and you will look like a chef to your friends, family, children, husband, boyfriend, or just yourself!
Enjoy.... We did!


Monday, March 24, 2014

So Far So Good! Egg Etching and Weekend Yummies with Sis...

This past weekend was all about getting office work completed as well as working on eggs at home for some relaxation. 
My post two days ago talked about cleaning and completing some etched eggs (including creating a new design or two).
I am happy to announce that I completed 8 eggs over the weekend, created three new designs (one will be revealed today), cooked a fabulous meal with my sister, AND was a part of the creation of one of THE BEST good for you cheesecakes I have ever tasted!
Today I will share one recipe from Carol's and my success and one photo of my new egg creation.
First Thing's first:
Olive Oil and Bacon Brussel Spouts:

Carol and I found this lovely recipe:

1/2 pound lean bacon, finely diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoons butter


In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.
Saute the onion and garlic in the bacon fat over low heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir them around so that they are coated with the bacon fat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Add the broth and cook, covered, over low heat until the sprouts are easily pierced with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and transfer the sprouts to a serving dish. Garnish with bacon bits and serve.


Here are a few photos of our finished product:

Carol was very excited about the steaks and brussel sprouts!  Do not worry, I will give you the scoop on the steaks in time.

A few pointers about the brussel sprouts.  We quartered or halved the sprouts depending on size.  I personally wanted to quarter them but Carol left a bunch halved.  This turned out o be a great idea.  The halved sprouts were just a little firmer than the quartered sprouts.  This added a great texture.  They were not crunchy, but they had more substance to them.

Also, we added more bacon to the recipe (Duh!).  This made the need for salt much less.  I would recommend mincing some extra garlic to enhance the flavor.

In the end, this side is a must have for many many weekend and weekday dishes!
Okay... one more cooking photo:

Albbie and I enjoy the finer things in life... like red meat, roses, and a couch.  More on the red meat another day.


As most of you know, this blog is primarily an egg blog.  I etch eggs in my spare time and have a lot of fun doing it.  Since I have been etching eggs for well over 13 years now, I have created countless designs.  It is now a challenge to create different works of art.  Last night I banged out a few eggs, all of which were new!

Here is one of the newest designs:

This egg is more traditional Lithuanian.  As much as I love bringing this ancient art into the 21st century, a few traditional folk designs here and there are refreshing in their own right.
I will be working on a few dress eggs this week in the hopes of creating yet another Lithuanian girl egg that will be a new favorite at the upcoming spring craft shows.
Here is a look at my egg dying station before signing off fr the day:
The purple, pumpkin, and light blue eggs are coming along.  Next I will be dying pink, raspberry, mushroom, and hopefully Granny Smith. 
How are your Spring plans coming along?  Are you trying anything new?  Gearing up for Spring Cleaning perhaps?
I think that the first day of Spring is a much better day to make your New Year's resolution.  Now that the days are longer and warmer, I feel we are all more likely to attempt and stick to a resolution to better our lives! 
Any thoughts?
Thanks for reading! Have a creative and yummy day!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring is in the Air

After a long winter, full of snow and ice, it is great to know that Spring is officially here!  Now we can all focus on flowers, fresh air, walks, and spring cleaning!  I personally am focusing on building up my egg supplies.  As we speak, I am scouring the internest for Dover classic stencils and pictures of bunnies and flowers to spark my imagination.  Even with this full time job during the week days, keeping a house together during the week nights, I try to make time to let my creative juices flow on the weekend.

Today I am in the office, but I hope to work on eggs once I return home.  Here's the plan:

-  Get some work done in the office. (halfway through checking this one off already... woohoo!)

-  Dye 3 dozen eggs (the colors this week are Royal Purple, Tropical Blue, and Pumpkin)

-  Scratch at least 9 eggs (all designs from my order book)

-  Create 1 new design (much harder than it sounds since I am so picky about my designs)

-  Clean up the kitchen island (this sounds easy but you have no seen my kitchen.  This project may be a bog post in itself)

I have no been on here for a long time, but I plan (as I have said in the past) to make regular posts again.  The more I update this blog the more I hope to keep in touch with my egg designs and maybe my house will end up a little cleaner too (probably not).

What Spring goals do you have this week? Leave your comments and maybe we can all accomplish something together!