Tag Archives: cooking

Dear Pampered Chef: Egg In My Space


Dear Pampered Chef,

Thank you for this:

You come over here and clean this up. Again.

You come over here and clean this up. Again.

Because I needed that to happen. Today. Well, it could have happened on any day, actually. And it sort of did because today isn’t anything special, it’s just a day that I am having like any other. But thanks to the fucking magnificent “Micro Egg Cooker,” which I will now send to my brother for his skeet-shooting practice, it’s a different day.

I did everything I was supposed to.

I used water. Room temperature today.

Before I used cold, so it would warm up together and …. it exploded.

I know if I use hot, why bother?

I watched it through the window.

I stopped it every 20 seconds or so… because I’ve been through this before.

I covered it with that absurd “boil over no more” thing you sell as was recommended by my consultant (whom I adore).

It was only in the microwave for 1:38 or — 98 seconds.

Do you know how long it takes to clean that up?

More than 98 seconds.

It took seven minutes. 420 seconds.

It’s not a huge deal, nor a massive inconvenience, and it’s surely a first-world problem.

I dig a lot of what you manufacture and sell. I even hawked it for a while. But this thing? I should’ve tossed it the first time it did that to me. That was on me, I believed you.

This is on you. But no, it’s still on me, or rather my microwave.

Do you see what it did? It shot that poor little egg all the way out.

Here, look at the ceiling of my microwave:

Egg DNA all over my microwave. It's like a crime scene.

Egg DNA all over my microwave. It’s like a crime scene. “Can you account for the weasel’s whereabouts around the time of this incident?”

Just beforehand, I checked the “cooker” (you should re-name it to “launcher” — “Micro Egg Launcher” has a more truthful ring to it doesn’t it?) for signs not three seconds (95 seconds) before it blew up. There were no signs a “homemaker” like I would have seen. I’m not a chemist.

But I did just learn this:

Microwave oven – egg, not a good idea unless..
You must puncture the yolk sack if you are doing any thing with eggs in M/W oven.

The yolk is contained in its sack, liken it to the womb, virtually indestructable,so when you apply ”heat” i.e m/w energy the yolk heats up and like every thing when you heat it, the yolk expands. The ”sack” will stretch so far then burst with considerable ”pressure” and spread yolk into every conceivble nook and crany in side the oven.

Any thing, everthing you put into a microwave oven must be able to expand with out any restrictions.
The rate of expansion varies in differing food substances hence the differing cooking times for foods etc.

Not sure what you can and can’t put in it..
If in doubt leave it out.
If all else fails read the instructions.

But I’m wondering if you knew that — to tell us to lance the yolk sac — I’m GUESSING…… NO.

Perhaps it can be fashioned as a gladiator bra for when I dress up for Hallowe’en.

Perhaps I can use it to hold paperclips of different sizes.

Perhaps I can use it to melt butter.

Perhaps I can do what I said I’ll do: send it away for skeet shooting.

Yes. That’s what it deserves. To go POP! like the eggs it destroys.

Here’s a fun clip for you to watch when you’re counting your cash from the sales of this failure:

One minute. At 45 seconds it starts to crack the shell and ooze.

You recommended 2 minutes, as the average, when I bought this door stop.

There are no complaints online about this device that I can find.

Some devotees say to cook as long as 3 minutes… If I did that, I bet my microwave would be doorless.

Never again, Pampered Chef. Please stop selling this ridiculous device. Oh, these are all my opinions by the way.

Thank you.

Three Things Thursday 4 — Sixth Graders, Chemistry and Sharing


This is my weekly series about enriching our Mind, Body and Soul; or a recap of what has happened to me which enriched mine; or a chat about products I like which enrich those essential elements to our wellbeing.

Mind: Serendipity cloaked as a missing sixth-grade classroom science project directive

Yesterday my middle son, Thing 2, needed me to bring in ingredients to make bread. His class was running a science experiment, “The Chemistry behind Baking Bread.”

The night before, he said, “Oh, I just need a couple things.”

“What things?” I asked.

“A bowl. Or some yeast. Maybe a wash cloth. Just that.”

“One of each only, all of them? So one loaf or is everyone making their own bread?”

“Yeah. Whatever you have.”

“Honey, I saw a paper about bread baking, but I haven’t seen it lately. Is this about that paper? Do you know where it is?”

“No. I just need a bowl.”

I let it go. This is how he can be sometimes. It’s not shame or indifference, it’s something else. Oh yeah: puberty.

Yesterday morning, he called me from school. “Mom, can you bring in that stuff for the bread? Or … I just need a bowl.”

“Hon, where is the sheet? You must need more than a bowl.”

“It’s in the playroom.”

This is our playroom:


I didn’t find it. But I did in another room and here it is:

Just as it should be.

Just as it should be.

So because I’m off Facebook for Lent (except to share this post with the parents of the class because I set up an FB group for them), I had time to kill. I gathered all the stuff, brought it to him at school and ended up staying to help out. I am so glad I did. Those kids are so cool.

I opened bags of flour, gave everyone a tablespoon of salt, helped mix the dough, touched shortening (uch! I can’t believe that stuff exists) and everyone had a great time.


Here are just some of the kids in one of the several classrooms kneading and mixing. They made enough bread for each of them to take home two loaves, one for each teacher and one for the charity.

These teachers scheduled the day to the minute. When we were finished kneading, it was time for lunch. T2 invited me to join him, he’d “buy” me lunch using his card, but I demurred. I wanted to clean the dough out of my hair and off my clothes and blow the flour out of my nose.

Before I left, I asked the teachers if they needed anything else. They did: they asked me to deliver the bread to the food bank mentioned in the crumpled directive above. I was happy to do so, “but the shelter has specific hours, so you need to check out the website…” Ok. The delivery was going to have to wait until today.

There has been a tugging in my heart to be more helpful to our community and I leapt at the chance to have a “good reason” for getting involved. (As if simply breathing and being of sound mind and physically capable isn’t enough.)  

Body: Chemistry as Whole Wheat Bread


This is the bounty of bread the kids made. Each kiddo used probably an entire roll of aluminum foil to wrap their loaves. We brought about 40 loaves.

It’s a lot of work to make bread and many of the kids were talking about the arduous nature of the stirring and the kneading amongst the many inquiries of whether it was “time yet?” to bake it. All of them came away from the experience of wanting to do it again.

When I entered the school later on to fetch the bread, the front hallway smelled so good. It reminded me of the Italian bakery near  my childhood home in Buffalo, NY; that smell can mean only one thing: healthy delicious food.

Soul: Sharing the Bread with the Homeless

My youngest son is sick today. Shocker, I know. He has the sniffles, but I couldn’t not make the delivery. I promised the teachers as well as my Spirit it would happen. So I warmed up the car (it’s 28˚ and windy today), wrapped Thing 3 in a blanket, strapped him into his seat and invited Murphy to come along so he could keep T3 company while T2 and I dropped off the bread.

As long as he left the bread alone, he'd live to see another day.

As long as he left the bread alone, he’d live to see another day. He worked very hard and he didn’t touch it.

I had every intention of bringing T2 inside the shelter with me. I didn’t want to beat him over the head with the concept that he’s living an extremely fortunate life. That homelessness doesn’t always look like haggard and scary people wrapped in plastic bags sleeping on grates outside the White House. That homelessness and poverty and dysfunction look like you and me. It is clean, shaven, wearing a fresh shirt and a sometimes ready but weary and worried smile.

When we pulled up, I had to wrestle Murphy out of the way for the box of bread. T2 almost collapsed under its weight while I clicked on the key fob to lock my child and dog in the car for a few minutes. I had my trepidation: a child locked in a car outside a homeless shelter. But I believed in the Good that would overcome the Fear. I was doing the right thing. He was sick and T2 really needed to see where this bread was going. He needed his eyes opened. And I didn’t know it, but I needed my heart softened too.

When we opened the door to go in, it was plastered with flyers about masses, prayer times, AA and NA meetings, mental health counseling, shower availability and donation needs. I was humbled immediately. T2 is too young to understand the insidious domino effect that a bad step can have on the downtrodden.

We were greeted with smiles and gratitude and a plea to tour the place. I explained I had a child in the car, but the female minister won me over with her warmth and reassurances. I also wanted T2 to see what was going on in there. The entire place is the size of a 7-11 or a dry cleaner store. The room was almost packed; I would guess there were about 45 people in the public room and maybe 10 in offices or in counseling.

As I explained in a note to my best friend today,

that homeless center… DUDE. it’s the place. i think i’ve found our charity. they do a lot there. i don’t think T2 has been spiritually altered, but it had an impact. they have a room the size of your office for a chapel with post-card-size pictures of the stations of the cross on the walls, an assortment of odd chairs for people to sit on and pray; a gorgeous mahogany cross donated by a man who also used the same wood to make some tables for the center because that’s what they do: God is in the tables. they are nondenominational, but clearly Christian oriented without any head-bashing with a bible. they have a laundry center where you can bring one load a day and they will wash it for the homeless; they have storage room filled with paper plates, napkins, fritos and chips and coffee and powdered creamer. i said i had some blankets and she said she didn’t need them anymore because hypothermia was almost over… i loved how she was very frank but kind about it all in front of T2. she said, “because hypothermia is ending soon, the people can go back to the woods and [get this]: they bring back the blankets for someone else…” the homeless have a sense of charity. they have computers for people to look for work (i was thinking we should get our Dell up to snuff and give it to them…) when someone applies for a job, a special line rings and they don’t answer “homeless shelter” they just say, “hello…” so the pride thing, as you know, is very important. they had free mental health counseling. the director’s office looked like our offices… papers everywhere… there were a couple women there, mostly men, but they looked so sad. a very elderly man was giving a younger man a haircut. there were young men, early 20s there, offered to help me with the bread; a larger middle-aged man was reading a book to a table full of people who were listening; it wasn’t a bible, it was probably a self-help book or heck, maybe even a story… i was blown away; my heart sang and melted at the same time.
i have a pamphlet for you. wow. i am going to write about this. i can’t help myself. heck, i’ll probably just copy and edit what i shared with you.
we are so lucky… i know you know this.

When we got back into the car, I asked T2 what he thought; if he’d learned anything, if he had any feelings. He said, “Yeah. I am lucky. There are a lot of sad people in there who have nothing. We should give them an iPad and some of our chips we don’t like and maybe a book or two. I don’t think they’d like any Legos…” I think he’s getting it…  We will go back with all the kids to teach them to help their fellow man. I will honor the vibe I picked up from a couple people in there, I’ll never leave my child out of my sight when we work there, but this will be good.

So that’s what we did before 10am today.

So… yeah.

Click on the red link for last week’s Three Things Thursday.

Thank you.

Holiday Brie Recipe


Hi readers! I want to say thank you for being such great friends since I started out and I want to give you something for the holidays:

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe. Here’s one that I did at my Pampered Chef debut and it was incredible. It’s super easy and amazingly comforting if you love brie, which I happen to do with great panache and élan as brie is wont to make me display.

The I used a small casserole they sell called a Coquet. It’s 5″ in diameter. Any small-sized casserole would do. For those of you with Pampered Chef tools, I’ll mark them in grayed italics.

The sauces are also proprietary, so what I would recommend if you don’t have them is to use raspberry/apricot/pineapple preserves with jalapeño jelly or add one super-finely chopped (or “zested”) jalapeños (but just the skin if you zest it) and blend them together in a small bowl with 2-3 tbsp water, mix them together and then pour on the brie halves. You also don’t have to make it spicy… it’s wonderful as-is without the peppers.

OK… here we go:

Screen Shot 2012-12-22 at 5.18.06 PM

Tangy Pepper-Pecan Brie
1/2  cup pecan halves
1  jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded and zested if necessary
1/4 c. Spicy Pineapple Rum or Raspberry Habanero sauce
1  4-inch round (8 ounces) Brie cheese with rind, room temp.
1  loaf (16 ounces) French baguette
Vegetable oil

1.  Preheat oven to 425°F. Coarsely chop pecans using Chef’s Knife. Chop, mince or zest jalapeño using Food Chopper. In small bowl Small Batter Bowl, combine jalapeño and Spicy Pineapple Rum sauce; mix well using Skinny Scraper.

2.  Warm your knife (it should be about 4″-6″ long) in hot water before doing this: Cut room-temperature Brie in half horizontally (making two discs / rounds) using Utility Knife. Place one half of Brie, cut side up, into Coquet casserole. Spread half of the sauce mixture evenly over bottom half of Brie using Small Spreader. Top with half of the pecans and remaining half of Brie, cut side up. Spread remaining sauce mixture over Brie; sprinkle with remaining pecans. Cover.

3.  Using Bread Knife, cut baguette on a bias into twenty-four 1/4-inch-thick slices; lightly glaze with vegetable oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Place in oven on cookie sheet. Bake both together in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until baguette slices are golden brown and Brie begins to soften. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve using Bamboo Spreader.

(I personally found that I had to cook the Brie 16 minutes.)

Yield: 12 servings

Fair warning: This recipe is not easy on the waistline. But that’s what January 1 is for.

Nutrients per serving: Calories 230, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrate 38 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 400 mg, Fiber 2 g
Cook’s Tip: Wear plastic gloves when working with jalapeño peppers. The juice from the peppers can create a burning sensation on the skin.

-For a simple garnish, slice a jalapeño pepper in half lengthwise using Petite Paring Knife. Brush cut surface with apricot jam and bake alongside the Brie.
-This recipe can also be prepared on the Large Bar Pan, if desired.
-Camembert cheese can be substituted for the Brie, if desired.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Brie: Substitute 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, patted dry and chopped for the Spicy Pineapple Rum sauce. Substitute 1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto for the jalapeño pepper and 1/4 cup pine nuts for the pecans. Proceed as recipe directs.

Brown Sugar Dijon Brie: Substitute 1/2 cup brown sugar for the Spicy Pineapple Rum sauce, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard for the jalapeño pepper and 1/2 cup sliced almonds for the pecans. Reserve 1/4 cup of the almonds. Chop remaining almonds; combine brown sugar, chopped almonds and mustard. Assemble as directed in Step 2; top with reserved almonds. Proceed as recipe directs.

Just want you to know: I loved this recipe and I’ll never use this platform to sell you Pampered Chef stuff. I might talk about it sometimes, as a personal story and I’ll likely disguise it going forward. If you are interested in learning more about that, please contact me at grassoil@mollyfield.com or let me know in the comments.

This is going to likely be my last post before Christmas, so no Tuesday Morning Press next week or on New Year’s Day. Maybe I’ll share an old post between the days. If you’re like me, you won’t be online much more for the rest of the year. I am determined to take some time away, as you are, to be with my family and friends.

Thank you!

Easy Dinner Ideas.

Easy Dinner Ideas.

So I’m a SAHM.

I also have hobbies that take me out of the house: volunteering at school (not a hobby), rowing, running, yoga classes and I hope soon, classes to teach yoga classes. We are in and out of this house a lot. Last night The BreadWinner was coaching Thing 2 and his soccer team; Thing 1 had soccer on another field which required that I drive him. Note to self: get on a carpool list. Three games on Saturdays. The only free days that we don’t have soccer practices are Tuesday and Friday. Sunday we have CCD. Every day is booked with something.

So last night, I posted on Twitter what I made for dinner in a pinch. To my amazement, my children all loved it.

I aspire to be a holistic foodie; all home-grown, all organic, nothing from Monsanto or Kellogg’s but this is not realistic for me. My daytime hours are limited, I am doing the best I can within my personal patience and abilities, so if you’re looking for Perfect Food, I am about to WOEFULLY disappoint you.

Here’s last night’s recipe.

“Crisis-Averted Ravioli”

However many servings of Costco four-cheese ravioli for your brood

One package of ground turkey breast cooked and drained. Add garlic, add whatever veggies you wish to the meat after draining and cook for another 10 minutes.

One jar of Progresso Garden Fresh red sauce.

Dump all of that together (sauce on bottom, then ravs, then more sauce) in a crock pot set on high (for 2 hours) or low (for 4 hours).

Cover with shredded mozzarella, cover and walk away.



Another recipe:

“Keep Mom out of the Newspapers Chicken and Salsa Burritos”

Four (frozen) chicken breasts.

Whole wheat tortillas.

Shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend).

Sour cream.

Designated (per person) servings of orzo pasta.

One pint of deli-fresh or home-made salsa (you really don’t want to use the glass jar stuff on this if you can help it).

Can of black beans, drained.

Can of  corn, drained.

Mix beans, salsa and corn together in a bowl, set aside.

Crock pot.

Defrost (frozen) chicken, drain.

Flash boil orzo for about 3 minutes, drain.

Use half the salsa mixture to line the crock pot.

Add flash-boiled orzo.

Cover with chicken breasts.

Cover chicken breasts with remaining salsa.

Cook on on high (for 2 hours) or low (for 4 hours).

Shred the chicken when all cooked, mix it all together.

Serve with tortillas, garnish with cheese and sour cream.



I made tuna casserole and my kids eat it. I sneak in a can of salmon in there too to help amp up the Omega 3s.

“Not a PianoTuna Casserole”

2 small cans of chunk white tuna

1 can of salmon

wide egg noodles

Frozen peas.

1 cup sour cream

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 tbsp old bay seasoning (THIS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE!)

2 cups (+/-) shredded cheddar cheese

Flash boil egg noodles, set aside.

Combine tuna, salmon, sour cream, CoM soup and old bay with peas.

Add noodles. Stir again. I know, sorry.

Dump in crock pot on high (for 2 hours) or low (for 4 hours).

Cover with cheese.

Cover crock pot, walk away… You are free now…


If you’re like me, you feel guilty not having a salad on the side. I buy mixed field greens and some crumbled bleu cheese, avocado, balsamic vinaigrette (did you know there are two “i”s in vinaigrette?!), red onion, and tomatoes to make this:

This is the “salad of love.”

And my kids actually eat it if I use raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

That’s all for now. You all have been such nice followers and readers and commenters that I wanted to give something back. If you like these, let me know. I’ll try to post a few recipes every friday or something like that.

Thank you. Really.