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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homemade chocolate pudding "snack packs"

Pudding snack packs have always been a favorite of mine.  So much so that I was contemplating if I could get a giant snack pack in a pretty urn in lieu of a cake for our wedding.  I only wish I was joking.

When I transitioned our family to real/whole foods, snack packs got left behind.  I've mourned them ever since.  So imagine my delight when I found a simple homemade recipe in an old copy of a Cooking Light magazine that I stole from my mom.  I've adapted it a bit to reflect ingredients we use in our house, but the base recipe is from Cooking Light.

Getting Back my Snack Pack (aka, chocolate pudding)
1/4 cup evaporated natural sugar (I use evaporated cane juice from Costco)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (try homemade)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp organic cornstarch
2 cups milk (I used raw)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tblsp organic butter
1 tsp vanilla (try homemade)
I always double this recipe.  It's too good to only make a normal batch.
1) In a medium saucepan, combine sugars, cocoa powder, and cornstarch.
2) I stirred in probably about 1/2 cup of milk and made a paste.  Doing this slowly will prevent lumpy pudding.
3) Gradually stir in the rest of the milk, and cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly; reduce heat.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.
4) In a separate bowl, whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture very very slowly in to the egg.  I think this is called "tempering".  Basically, do this slowly or you're going to have scrambled egg pudding.  This truly works best if you use an immersion blender.
5) Add the egg/milk mixture back in to the saucepan.  Cook on medium-low for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.  Stir to incorporate.
6) You're supposed to put the saucepan in a pan with ice water, but I didn't and it ended up just fine.  Put it in the fridge uncovered for a few hours before serving.

7) After it's cooled, serve as is, fancy it up (see below), or divvy it up to smaller containers.  I portioned ours in to glass "jelly" canning jars.  Theoretically, one jar would last two lunches, but I have a feeling Troy isn't concerned with serving sizes with regards to pudding...
PS, love my backsplash?  Troy did the whole kitchen for under $100.  It replaced rotten black wood.  Love my handy hubby!
Want to take this dessert a bit further and fancy it up?  This topping takes five minutes, and therefore you can serve a dessert on the weeknight that is fit for a weekend!  That of course assumes you made the pudding on a different day.

In a small frying pan, heat a small sliver of butter over medium high heat.

Quarter one banana.  On a plate, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of your sweetener of choice (I use evaporated cane juice - Costco).  Roll the banana in the sugar.
When the butter in the frying pan starts to bubble, place the banana seed-side down in the pan.
Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the banana is starting to brown. 
Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Serve over pudding.  Enjoy the praise that is now being heaped on your by your adoring family.  After a dessert of this, Jack came up to me, gave me a hug and said "I love you sooooooo much mommy".  Go me.
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday tip of the week!

This week's tip is a very simple trick to get awesome results!

If you're ever making a recipe and it calls for "thinly sliced meat", you know how hard it is to get paper-thin slices yourself.  The fix?  Cut the meat while it's a bit frozen.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Just this moment

One photo.  No caption, no explanation.  A tradition started by Soulemama.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Guest post: Simple homemade yogurt!

Today's guest post is brought to you by Aubrey over at Cookingmycsa

So simple, so cheap, so delicious. Why haven’t I heard of this before?
Apparently everyone and their mother is making their own yogurt in the crock pot, but I was left out of the loop. If you also didn’t get the message then don’t feel too bad. Pull up a chair, sip some tea, and hang out with us other outcasts for a few minutes while I explain to you this process.

You will need:
½ a gallon of milk. I used whole organic milk because that’s what we always have. ½ cup of plain yogurt to use as the culture. 

Crock Pot Yogurt

•    Turn your crock pot to low and pour in 1/2 gallon of milk.
•    Heat on low for 2 ½ hours.
•    Turn  your crock pot off. Leave the lid on. Let the milk cool in the crock for 3 hours.
•    After 3 hours remove 1-2 cups of the warmed milk and place in a bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of yogurt with live active cultures.
•    Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the milk and blend it all together.
•    Place the cover back on the crock and wrap the entire crock pot in a thick bath towel to help retain the warmth.
•    Let it culture overnight, 8-12 hours.
•    In the morning, stir and put into serving containers.
•    For optimum texture, refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.

Your yogurt should last 1-2 weeks refrigerated. Be sure to save ½ a cup for the next batch, too!

As you can see from the second picture, this version doesn't have the same gelatinous consistency that store bought does. To remedy this I’ve seen recommendations to add gelatin, pectin or powdered milk when you’re mixing the culture with the milk.  I’ve tried this and didn’t have luck.  The consensus that we came to in our house was that we would rather have a thin texture and leave the recipe more--for lack of a better word—real, than to keep experimenting with substances to replicate what we buy in the store.   I’ve also found this is the perfect texture for making breakfast smoothies with so, bam! Silver lining!

You may notice that your yogurt is lacking a little certain something that store bought yogurt generally has a ton of: sugar. Luckily for us there are plenty of alternatives to traditional sugar that you can use to flavor your yogurt:

  • Honey
  • Peanut butter
  • Vanilla
  • Fresh or frozen fruit
  • Jelly, preserves and jams
  • Syrup, or other natural sweeteners (like agave, stevia)
  • Granola
  • Nuts
A little bit about Aubrey:
My name is Aubrey and my New Year's Resolutions last year was to focus
on gardening and cooking.  With two little girls and a big hungry husband at home it seemed like the right time to combine the two and really make some lifestyle changes that revolved around us eating the right way.  That meant eating fresh food, which subsequently meant shopping locally. 

After joining our local CSA, weekly visits to farmer's markets and doing research, I couldn't help but feel like this was a cause I really wanted to share with others. Thus my site, Homegrown & Healthy, was created. Join us for more simple, inexpensive and healthy ideas!

Thanks Aubrey for your great guest post!  Have a post you'd like to share?  Email me at beingfrugalbychoiceblog at gmail dot com!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rescuing a kitchen workhorse, aka how to refurbish a cast iron skillet

There are a few tools that every cook should have in their kitchen - a great seat of knives, a heavy-duty stand mixer, a food processor, stainless steel nesting mixing bowls, a dutch oven, and a cast iron skillet.

Cast iron is one of those things that people either LOVE, or it scares the beejesus out of them because they don't understand it.  The reasons against cast iron are that:
1) "it rusts"
2) "they're heavy"
3) "I don't know how to use it."

The reasons FOR cast iron far outweigh the reasons against it:
1) they're durable.  It's not uncommon to find people using the pans they inherited from their granny.
2) many are made in the USA (Lodge brand)
3) they distribute heat evenly.  And you can (and should) cook on lower heat using cast iron.  Lower heat = lower energy bills.
4) they can help add iron to your diet
5) they cook food beautifully.  Roasted veggies and cornbread are 100% better when cooked in cast iron than something else.
6) they can go from stovetop, to oven, to hell - a campfire if necessary
7) my favorite - once properly seasoned, you don't REALLY have to wash them.  Oh how I love anything that doesn't require me to do additional dishes!

We have a 12 inch skillet that we received for Christmas a few years ago.  I learned more about cast iron from screwing up with that skillet than anything.  That sucker is also huge and not what I was necessarily looking for in an "everyday" skillet.

Friday I was at Goodwill, and an (I think) 8 inch skillet pretty much leaped off the shelf trying to get my attention.  It practically yelled "buy me Sarah, buy me!"  But at $14.99 for a rusted cast iron skillet when I could buy a new one for that price didn't tickle my fancy.  Until I saw its blue tag.  Friday was blue tag day, so it was 50% off!  I snuggled that now $7.50 skillet to my overly nursed bosom, and promised to take it home and give it the kind of life it truly deserved.

Poor, poor rusty skillet.  Someone didn't love you and/or know how to use you.

Is it just me, or does the rust stain look like a map of the Hawaiian islands?  Just me?  Ok...
First things, first, I cleaned the skillet with soap and water.  In my humble opinion, this is one of the last times your skillet should need soap.

Then give it a 10 minute steam bath in a 300 degree oven.
When it is mostly dry, remove from the oven and pour a puddle of oil (I used olive, but any kind will work) and a generously helping of kosher salt in to the center.

In the same section as table salt
Using a rag you don't mind getting dirty, paper towels, or pieces of newspaper, work the oil and salt in to all parts of the skillet.  Pay special attention to the rusty areas.
Those are scars on my knuckles.  I'm 30 and do not have liverspots.  Yet.
Then, rinse off the skillet, and put back in to the oven until it's somewhat dry-ish.
Put it on the stovetop on medium heat with another puddle of your oil of choice and work it around with another rag.  I use a pastry brush.  Let it heat and "cure" for about 5 minutes.  Careful, the oil will be hot!

Pour the oil off, and put just a dab of high-heat oil in the skillet.  Some people prefer vegetable oil for this part.  I'm not a veggie oil fan - including canola - so I used a dab of bacon grease.  You could also use coconut oil, or ghee I guess.  Let the bit of oil melt/get hot, and then work it around to cover the entire surface of the skillet.  Then, using a paper towel or piece of newspaper and remove all excess oil from the pan. Bake for 90 minutes at 300 degrees.

After round one in the oven:
Then, repeat the bit of oil, rubbing it around, and removing all the excess grease and bake for another 90 minutes at 300 degrees.  And if I have to warn you that the pan will be really hot when you're doing it, I think you might have bigger issues than a rusted cast iron pan...

After round two in the oven:
You can keep adding oil and baking as many times as you want.  After two times, this skillet was ready for its big debut in my kitchen.  It made perfect eggs the next day.

Quick and final note on cast iron.  No matter how much seasoning you give it, you'll always need a pinch of fat (butter, oil, shortening, etc.  It kind of goes without saying that I wouldn't recommend cooking spray...) in a warm pan prior to adding food to it.  I always add a sliver of butter to the hot pan prior to cooking eggs.

May your thrift store adventures bring you a cast iron gem of your own.  The rusty and ugly ones need/deserve our love and help too.  Why Sarah McLaughlin hasn't done sad commericals about the plight of injured cast iron is beyond me.

I've shared this over at: Monday Mania, Make ahead Mondays, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Fat Tuesdays, Traditional TuesdaysReal Food Wednesdays, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Kitchen Tip TuesdaysSimple Lives Thursdays, Frugal Fridays, Fight Back Fridays, and Seasonal Celebration Sundays.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fixing my dirty pillows

I can't wait to see what kind of search engine traffic that title pulls in.  I had 3 different people find my blog last week using the search term "Britney Spears bikini wax".  Um...what?

ANYWAY, shall we talk about cleaning up and fixing some dirty pillows?  Get your mind out of the gutter; I mean actual pillows!  These pillows:
They're only about 3 years old, but what you can't see in the photo is all the stains left by, um, well...let's be honest - breastmilk.  If you've been to my house in the last three years and sat up against our couch pillows, you touched breastmilk stains.  Not gross to me, but I imagine some people find that icky.

My dilemma was that I didn't want to shell out money for new pillows when these were just fine.  And I knew if I washed them, the batting inside would just ball up and look gross.  Ball up and dirty pillows?  I'm classy like that.  Also, I wasn't seeing anything in the stores that tickled my fancy.

I found a very simple pattern on Sparkle Power.  And when I say simple, I mean "so simple that Sarah can make this".  Do I need to bring up the fact that I spent 15 minutes trying to trouble shoot why my sister's sewing machine wasn't working, only to realize that I hadn't turned it on?  So, yeah, they're that simple.

Saying I am good at sewing is like Bill Murray strapping himself to the main sail and calling himself a sailor.

I found some cool fabric a few months ago at Joann's, and realized that I needed to put a bird on it!  <------- you need to watch that video.  If you've ever visited the northwest, you'll find it funny.

Just a word of warning about these directions - I don't know proper terms for sewing stuff.  So while a good website will say things like "right" or "back" of fabric, I use "pretty" and "ugly" side.  Easier to understand in my humble opinion.

Super easy pillow covers
1) Measure your pillows, and cut your piece of fabric for the front of your pillow to the measurements, but add 1/2 inch allowance on each side.  So, if your pillow is 18x18 (like mine), the fabric should be 18.5 x 18.5.

Then you're going to cut 2 pieces of fabric for the back of your pillow.  The length will be the same (for example: 18.5 inches), but divide the height by 2 (while rounding for whole numbers), and then add 2 inches.  Clear as mud?  If the height is 18.5 inches, half (while rounding for whole numbers) would be 9 inches.  Then add 2 inches.  So, you'll have 2 pieces of fabric for the back of your pillow that are 18.5 inches by 11 inches.  Got it?
I bought the green because it matched the green bird exactly and for a splash of color.  My MIL calls me "little miss earth tones".   These pillows really showed her!  You know, sitting on my brown couches...
2) Pin the pieces of fabric for the back on your pillow on the "long" side of the fabric with a 1/2 inch or so seam.  You can iron at this point, but I'm lazy and didn't.  Sew a seam where you pinned.  Do this to both pieces of fabric for the back of your pillow.
3) Put the piece of fabric for the front of the pillow, pretty side up.  The pretty side will be facing you.  Then, ugly side facing you, pin the 1 piece of fabric for the back of the pillow on to the piece of the front pillow fabric.
You can see how clearly I strive for exact measurements.  (insert fart noise here).  I'm bad at cutting in a straight line ok?  Lay off!
Then pin the other piece of the fabric for the back of the pillow, and overlap the other back piece you just pinned.
4) Sew the front and the back together with about a 1/4 inch seam around the outside.
5) When you've sewed all 4 sides together, cut the corners at an angle.
6) Turn your pillow cover inside out.

7) Slip your old pillow in to the cover.  Easy peasy!
Back.  My co-worker suggested a cute button for decoration.  That's a no can do.  Pillows are weapons in our house; ninjas use them for training, Army guys use them for bunkers, and race car drivers use them for track (wall) bumpers.
My name is Jackie, and I approve of this pillow.  My stuffed monkey is in agreement.  And even if I didn't, momma doesn't care because the pillows were dirty because of me anyway.  Did my mom mention that going off in tangents is a family trait?  Ohhh, look, a bird!  Anyone want to ride bikes?
The green fabric was purchased with 50% off Joann's coupons, and was $4.49 after the discount for the yard.  The bird fabric is their "snuggle flannel" line and was $2.79 on sale.  That brings it to a total of $3.64 per pillow; not too shabby!  Plus, I had leftovers from each kind of fabric to use towards future projects.

These pillow covers came together so quickly - we're talking both completed in a nap time - that I have a feeling I'll be making new covers quite often.  You know, to change it up for a cheap price!  No one wants dirty pillows in their livingroom...well except for the newest round of pervs who have found my blog.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday tip of the week!

This tip will require about $3 and two minutes to execute.  I love those kind of tips.

We have multiple cutting boards and used to lean them up against the wall in a corner. But then they'd all come crashing down at once and scare the poo out of me.  I figured there must be a better way to organize cutting boards. 

So I thought.

And thought.

And thought so more.

And then it hit me.  A napkin holder!

Geez this photo makes my cutting board look gross!
I think I got this at Target for about $2.99, but I've seen them in recent months at Goodwill too!

Happy organizing friends.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Meal plan for January 23rd - 29th

My goodness.  My goodness.  My goodness three snow days in a row when work is closed was heavenly.  Due to our snow, work was closed Wednesday-Friday of last week.  It was so nice to view the "storm" from the comfort of my warm, fully-stocked house.  My friend sent me a text along the lines of "I was going to ask about your supplies and how you're holding up, but then I remembered who I was talking to".  My food storage came in quite handy last week!

The last few days also taught me something else - just when I think I can't admire stay at home mom's any more, I get locked in the house for three days.  With a toddler,  And no husband.  I love my son, but by the end of it, we were both climbing the walls!!

Enough about our snow "storm"...let's talk grub!  Here is my meal plan for the next week.  Quick reminder - lunches for Troy and myself are dinner leftovers, and Jack has a PB&J with some sides.  Breakfast are generally eggs and toast for Troy and myself, or smoothies.  Jack eats at my aunt's.

Monday:: quesadillas, roasted beets, and fruit

Tuesday:: reubens, (frozen) asparagus, and sweet potato fries

Wednesday:: stir fry korean steak and fried rice

Thursday:: crockpot chili, cast iron skillet cornbread, and fruit.  This didn't get made last week.

Friday:: homemade chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, and fruit

Saturday:: homemade pizza, (frozen) asparagus, and fruit

Sunday:: dinner at my parent's

This week I spent a whopping $16.50 at the local farm on raw milk and eggs.  I needed 1.5 gallons of milk ($10.50) - 2 to make homemade ricotta, and 1 for drinking, yogurt, ice cream, etc.  I also bought 18 eggs from their "content pastured" chickens for $6.00.  Those puppies were delicious!
At the grocery store, I spent $61.94 on organic green onions, a dark chocolate bar with oranges (I'm not a machine people), organic bananas, tortilla chips for the avocados I bought (made guac), organic spinach, two 6-packs of Hansen's soda (the sale on this is over this week.  It's a fun treat every few months), organic ketchup (tried making my own and we've hated every recipe), Newman's Own organic pretzels for Jack, organic half and half (made ice cream), dried cherries, Tillamook smoked cheddar (it was on sale and what a yummy treat), gorgonzola for a salad, frozen organic raspberries (had a $2 off coupon expiring), pastrami and ham, swiss, and two, count them TWO boxes of satsumas.  We're addicted in this house.  I've found myself reaching for two or three whenever I want a snack.  Much better than chips or a cookie.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Just this moment

One photo.  No caption.  No explanation.  A tradition started by Soulemama.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guest post: Once a week cooking

My friend Elaina is guest posting this week about once a week cooking!  I hope you enjoy it and try it out for yourself.  It doesn't work in our house because of our tiny fridge, but I love the concept.

Hey there! It’s Sarah’s pal Elaina. You know, the one who can’t make Jello. Well, I can make Jello, just not to my husband’s liking. Sarah and I go waaaaaaay back. She and I met online and once we met in person and she grabbed my boob to confirm ovulation. True story. (Sarah's note: yep, that's true.  And we even had the waitress take a photo of it.  Don't you wish you were friends with me in real life so I could grope you too?).  Our kids were conceived at almost the exact same moment which would be creepy if it weren’t so freaking cool!!

Here’s my deal: teacher (which does mean early evenings but it also means early mornings), mom to two girls 16 months apart (at nearly three and one and a half it’s getting easier), wife to an OCD husband (for real, yo). I grew up poor, super poor, like food stamps back when they were tickets in a book. We may not have had much but we always had dinner as a family, even if said dinner was peanut butter and jelly or one of those .40 frozen pot pies. It was important to my parents; as an adult the family dinner is sacred to me. However, being a good American I carry my baggage with me and as an adult wife decided that my husband and I needed to have super elaborate dinners every night. Ever wonder who spends 40 minutes after work stuffing those mini shells? That was me.

When I had my first daughter I continued to cook every night, but I scaled back the meals, meal planned a little more. My first was nearly nine months when I found out I was pregnant with my second. The second was a bit of a surprise and for a long time, I freaked. One of the things I was really worried about was cooking dinner with a toddler and a newborn. Or an infant and toddler. Or two toddlers.

Enter my husband who came up with the most brilliant idea ever: cook once a week. Cook three dinners on Sunday and then heat them up throughout the week. At first, I balked because; well, for lots of reasons. Mainly because I enjoyed cooking every night and as a kid leftovers meant we were out of money so yeah, it brought up some baggage. Eventually I relented and it has been the best decision ever.

I cook three large meals a week, and then reheat them throughout the week. This usually gives us enough for dinners and lunches for my husband and me (unless he loved something so much for dinner that he decided to eat thirds, men!). It means zero stress when I get home from work and very little cleanup after dinner. It also means that I have to listen to OCD husband complain once a week about needing to scrub the kitchen instead of five times a week. I’ve found that my grocery bills have dropped because I’m making simpler, easy to store foods. Some things I don’t make ahead of time: sweet potato fries, sautéed veggies, and anything else that I deem icky if eaten cold. The one and only danger is if the girls don’t like the dinner then I’m scrabbling (eggs, literally) at the last minute.
What’s a sample week look like? Something in the crockpot, and then two actual cooking items.

For example:
Pulled BBQ chicken take as much BBQ sauce as you feel comfy using, dump it in a crockpot with ½ as much chicken stock, throw in 2-4 frozen chicken breasts, cook on low 7 hours, shred and either serve on a sandwich or let cool and store (served with salad and sweet potato fries)

Pasta Salad (both a side and a standalone meal) everyone has their own way, here’s mine, boil pasta with a bunch of broccoli (hidden toddler veggies), chop green onions, cucumber, cheese, and any other yummy veggies, when the pasta is cooked, mush the broccoli so it sticks to the noodles, dump everything in a bowl, toss with cheesy Italian dressing (TRUST me, never, EVER use regular Italian) serve or store. Make sure to have extra dressing so the pasta isn’t dry before you serve it.

Turkey Burgers: ground turkey, Worcestershire sauce, Montreal Steak Seasoning, and Panko (Sarah's note: Elaina had no idea what Panko was until we became friends.  Such a stroke of luck she met me!), mix by hand, form and either freeze burgers separated by wax paper or bake at 350 until done. Store when cooked. Served with pasta salad and regular salad.

A note about storage: I have some awesome Pyrex with lids which I use to store almost everything in the fridge. It helps to save space since they are square and rectangle sized.

So, that’s my tip, I hope it’s been helpful. Thanks for reading my novel!

Thanks Elaina for sharing your experience with once a week cooking!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Simple. Frugal. Playful.

Jack is an incredibly spoiled little ducky.  Between two grandmas, a great aunt, and a godmother who love to buy him toys, gadgets, and stuff, we are overflowing with things to play with, things to "do", etc.  Troy and I buy him maybe two toys a year - he is simply overly-blessed with stuff.

But don't think for a minute that we're not grateful that Jack receives these toys.  They are given out of love, and Jack definitely plays with them and loves them very much!

And yet, like all children, Jack spends the majority of his time playing with the box that the toys came in.  The act of ignoring the new shiny item and showing preference to a simple cardboard container could teach all of us adults a thing or two.

Jack was sick last Friday, and he and I stayed home to chill and recuperate.
Sick little monkey
I was surprised when we were home that he requested a trip to the toy store.  I believe he was surprised with my alternative.  I think we were both surprised that we then spent the next hour playing a game that has been christened "marble balls".

Such a simple lesson from someone 1/10th my age - slow down, be creative, and have fun.

And as always, clothes are optional.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This may not be easy to hear...

...but I make better scrambled eggs than you.  Well, actually, since I believe in the 1% possibility, I'm 99% certain that I make better eggs than you do.

Do you need a moment to compose yourself?  Are you okay?  I know what you're going through right now.  I used to think I made pretty good eggs.  Then, I met Troy.  And then Troy invited me to his family's Christmas eve dinner and I tasted his mom's scrambled eggs.  And then I realized that my eggs were a huge pile of crap.  Thankfully, the woman who eventually became my mother-in-law shared her secret with me.  And today?  Today, I share with you.  The secret ingredient is hers, but the spices are all mine.

Mother-in-law eggies
Eggs (pastured preferred)- total number is your choice.  I do six when I'm making eggs for the three of us
1/8 tsp of dried dill
1/8-1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp dried chives
1 slice of cheddar cheese
Dollop of cream cheese (organic preferred)
Meat if desired (I either do bacon or sliced ham)

Start with a skillet.  Heat it empty for about 5 minutes over medium heat (my burners go from 1 to 10.  I make eggs on a 6).

While it's heating up, whisk your desired number of egg in a bowl, and add the spices.

Then, and this is the secret, put a dollop of cream cheese in the skillet (about 1 tblsp).  Let it sit there for about one minute.
I know, I know, teflon is a no no.  I got a new ceramic cast iron pan for Christmas, but it was back ordered
when these pictures were taken.
Add the whisked eggs.  Top with cheese and meat (if desired).
My advice for you when making scrambled eggs is the same advice that I would give to any new dad who is sitting at home expectantly when his wife comes home from her 6 week post partum check up - it's not ready yet.  Just leave it the fuck alone.  In other words, don't bother the eggs for a good long while.  I start to stir them when the eggs are separating from the pan.
See how the egg seems to be separating from the pan at the edges?  That is what you're looking for.
Give it one or two good stirs, turn the heat off, but keep the pan on the burner for another minute.
Eggs are delicious on their own (my dinner of choice when I'm working late and Jack eats at my aunt's), but are perfection served with home canned peaches and cherry chocolate scones.
So there you have it - the secret is a dollop of cream cheese and some tasty spices.  Please don't curse at the screen and yell "but Sarah, MY eggs are the best".  Please just make these first and then judge for yourself.  And then if I'm wrong and your eggs are still better, feel free to call me a bitch.

I've shared this with Traditional Tuesdays, and Fat Tuesdays.
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