QuickTip Tuesday: Peeling Boiled Eggs

deviled eggs

I love a boiled egg. I love them plain for breakfast, in salads, and deviled. I could eat them any time of day, any weather, any occasion! But sometimes they are not easy to peel. Sometimes they get all pock-marked and cracked. This is especially true when I am using fresh eggs from my parents’ hens. That is because fresher eggs are more difficult to peel than older eggs. So, store-bought eggs should be easier to peel than fresh eggs.

Luckily, there are some tricks to help your boiled eggs peel a little more cleanly. The first is to peel them under cold, running water. If you will tap your eggs on the countertop in order to crack the shells, then place them under cold water, this will help loosen the membrane that holds the shells to the egg whites, making them easier to peel. Another tip is to crack them and start peeling from the wider end of the egg, as shown in the short video below. There is a little air-pocket here that can help get the membrane to let go of the egg.

whole egg_LI


Foodie Friday: May Menu

April has been a doozy of a month for my family. Like most other families across the US, we have had our daily routines turned upside-down by a global pandemic. I’ve been working from home since March 27th, my kids have been out of school since March 12, doing distance learning since April 7th. My husband spent some days working from home but is now isolated in his office. In addition to the chaos caused by COVID-19, we moved into a new house in the same town. It’s a really cool house and we are excited to be here but to say April has been a challenge would be an understatement. I am ready to bring in May and warmer weather! Our new house has an outdoor kitchen that I am very excited about and I plan to do a couple cooking videos from there in the coming weeks.

Really, the only thing that didn’t change much for my family is our dinner routine. I was already in the habit of cooking dinner every night. I also had lots of time to plan the May Menu. I hope you can find some inspiration in it!  I am especially excited to try three new recipes: Korean Steak Dinner, Rotisserie chicken cooked outside, and cannoli!

Here it is (and don’t mind the coffee stains on the menu, that is just one of the complications of having the dining room table set up as my office and the kids’ schoolroom):

May 2020

Look for the recipes for anything that strikes your fancy on my May 2020 Menu Pinterest Board.

May 2020 Menu

Read the fine print of loan forbearance agreements


As part of the COVID-19 financial relief efforts, some creditors are offering forbearance on some loan payments for a few months. This could be a good deal for some people, but it is important to read the fine print of the agreement.

Institutions such as mortgage or car finance companies, credit card companies and even some banks are allowing customers to skip payments during this time of crisis. Some companies may even offer this deal with no additional interest during the time of forbearance, which could be up to nine months. Although many individuals and families are in need of financial relief such as this – especially those who are now without jobs – it’s important to be very careful with these offers. When working with a lending agency, it is important to read all of the fine print. You may discover the entire amount of the deferred payments is wrapped up in a so-called balloon payment, one large amount, that is due at the end of the deferment. So you might be allowed to skip a few payments, but as soon as the deferment period is over, you’ll owe all the skipped payments at once.

In addition, if the entire sum is not paid by that deadline, the deferred interest could be added to what is owed as well.

Even though you may be doing your best to minimize costs and penalties by taking advantage of the offer, you risk the deal turning into a larger liability. The debt could be turned over to a collection agency. If that happens,  you could be putting your home or car in danger of repossession, as well as lowering your credit score.

For example, consider a homeowner who makes a monthly mortgage payment of $1,000, and the mortgage company offers a three-month forbearance with no additional interest. Customers who opt to skip payments in May, June, and July will still owe the mortgage company $4,000 on August 1. Missing that target opens the door to interest accrued for those three months as well.

It’s so important to carefully read the terms of any agreement you sign. Not all forbearance agreements work the same way. Some may add the deferred payments to the end of your loan. Keep in mind the word forbearance isn’t the same as loan payments being forgiven. You’ll have to pay at some point. This is why you must be careful about what you sign. Be sure you understand all the terms of the offered contract before signing in an effort to avoid putting your financial health at risk. Consumers who aren’t able to reasonably meet the terms of the contract shouldn’t sign it.

QuickTip Tuesday: Zoom Meeting Etiquette

Video-conferencing etiquette

Many of us have found ourselves in a sea of Zoom meetings. Zoom is a video-conferencing app that is very popular right now for telecommuting. If you are joining Zoom meetings, please follow a few simple rules of etiquette.

  1. Unless you are speaking, mute your microphone. In some formats, the person making the most recent noise is the one whose picture shows up for everyone else. If you are not the speaker but your dog is barking or your kids are making noise, the other users are just seeing your face and not the person who is speaking. It can be distracting.
  2. If you choose to join with video, make sure you are properly dressed and sitting up like you would be in an in-person meeting. If you would like to lounge back in a recliner wearing pajamas, simply turn off your camera.
  3. Don’t snack during Zoom meetings- UNLESS your microphone is muted and your camera is off. Again, it’s distracting.

I’m a fan of video-conferencing because it is helping me feel connected to my job and co-workers across the state while staying safely isolated at home. I’m not a fan of video-conferencing all the time, though. I miss seeing people in person, shaking hands and hugging when appropriate!


Ingredient Substitutions


Each week when we do the grocery shopping, we are finding some of the items on the list (which is always made from my menu plan) are out of stock. I am assuming this is the case for a lot of you as well. Instead of changing my plan completely,  I try to find ways to substitute a similar product and still end up with a satisfactory, if slightly different product.  You can do this too!

There are, however, several factors to consider when substituting ingredients. Take into account differences in flavor, moisture, texture, and weight.

Substitutions with an acid factor not found in the original, such as honey for granulated sugar, need to be neutralized to avoid changes in the flavor and texture of the product. Differences in sweetening and thickening power need consideration in sugar and flour substitutions. To help avoid disappointments when substituting ingredients, understand the physical and chemical properties of all ingredients. Measure accurately.

Some common measurement abbreviations are:

tsp = teaspoon
Tbsp = tablespoon
oz = ounce
lb = pound

Allspice 1 tsp 1/2 tsp cinnamon plus 1/2 tsp ground cloves.
Apple pie spice 1 tsp 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp cardamom.
Arrowroot, as thickener 1 Tbsp 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour.
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Baking powder,
double acting
1 tsp 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp cornstarch;
1/4 tsp baking soda plus 5/8 tsp cream of tartar;
1/4 tsp baking soda plus 1/2 cup buttermilk, sour milk or yogurt; (decrease liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup);
1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice plus sweet milk to make 1/2 cup (decrease liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup);
1/4 tsp baking soda plus 1/4 cup molasses (decrease liquid in recipe by 1-2 Tbsp);
1 1/2 tsp phosphate or tartrate baking powder.
Bay leaf, crushed 1 tsp 1 whole bay leaf.
Brandy 1/4 cup 1 tsp brandy extract plus enough water or liquid called for in recipe to make 1/4 cup.
Bread crumbs
1/4-1/3 cup 1 slice bread;
1/4 cup cracker crumbs;
2/3 cup rolled oats;
 soft 1/2-3/4 cup 1 slice bread.
Broth, beef or chicken 1 cup 1 bouillon cube, 1 tsp (1 envelope) powdered broth base or 1 tsp instant granules dissolved in 1 cup water.
Butter 1 cup 1 cup margarine;
7/8 to 1 cup hydrogenated shortening plus 1/2 tsp salt;
7/8 cup lard plus 1/2 tsp salt;
7/8 cup oil plus 1/2 tsp salt.
Catsup 1 cup 1 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp vinegar (for use in cooking).
Chili Sauce 1 cup 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and dash of ground cloves and allspice.
Chives, finely chopped 1 Tbsp 1 Tbsp green onion tops, finely chopped.
Chocolate, unsweetened 1 oz 3 Tbsp cocoa plus 1 Tbsp butter or fat;
3 Tbsp carob powder plus 2 Tbsp water.
  Chocolate, semisweet 1-2/3 oz 1 oz unsweetened chocolate plus 4 tsp sugar.
Chocolate chips, semisweet, melted 6 oz pkg
(2/3 cup)
2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate, 2 Tbsp shortening and 1/2 cup sugar melted (2/3 cup).
Coconut, grated, dry 1 Tbsp 1 1/2 tbsp fresh coconut, grated.
Coconut milk 1 cup 1 cup milk.
Coconut cream 1 cup 1 cup cream.
Cornstarch 1 Tbsp 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour;
2 Tbsp granular tapioca;
1 Tbsp arrowroot.
Corn syrup 1 cup 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water or other liquid called for in recipe;
1 cup honey.
Cracker crumbs 3/4 cup 1 cup dry bread crumbs.
half & half (10-12% fat)
1 cup 1 1/2 Tbsp butter plus 7/8 cup milk;
1/2 cup coffee cream plus 1/2 cup milk;
1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted.
     coffee (20% fat) 1 cup 3 Tbsp butter plus 7/8 cup milk.
     heavy (36-40% fat) 1 cup 1/3 cup butter plus 3/4 cup milk (for baking only, will not whip).
     sour cream 1 cup 7/8 cup buttermilk or sour milk;
1 cup yogurt;
1 1/8 cup powdered nonfat dry milk, 1/2 cup warm water and 1 Tbsp vinegar (mixture will thicken in refrigerator in a few hours);
1 cup evaporated milk plus 1 Tbsp vinegar (allow to stand 5 minutes before using);
1/3 cup buttermilk, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1 cup smooth cottage cheese blended together;
7/8 cup milk, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp butter or margarine.
     whipped cream 2 cups 1 cup chilled evaporated milk plus 1/2 tsp lemon juice, whipped until stiff.
Cream of tartar 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar.
Dill, fresh 1 head 1 tsp dill seed.
Eggs whole, large 1 egg
(3 1/3 Tbsp)
2 1/2 Tbsp dried, sifted eggs plus 2 1/2 Tbsp water;
3 1/3 Tbsp frozen egg yolks, thawed;
1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 Tbsp vinegar and 1 Tbsp liquid (in baking);
1 egg in every 3 can be replaced with 1 Tbsp cornstarch in baking;
Soften 1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin in 3 Tbsp cold water, add 3 tsp boiling water, cool and beat until frothy, add to recipe (reduce other liquid by 2 Tbsp);
1/4 cup commercial egg substitute.
     whites 1 egg white
(2 Tbsp)
2 tsp dried egg white plus 2 Tbsp water;
2 Tbsp frozen egg whites, thawed.
     yolks 1 egg yolk
(1 1/3 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp dried egg yolks plus 2 tsp water;
4 tsp frozen egg yolks, thawed.
Flour, pastry 1 cup 7/8 cup all-purpose or bread flour.
     cake 1 cup 7/8 cup all-purpose flour (1 cup less 2 Tbsp).
     white, all-purpose for thickening 1 Tbsp 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch, potato starch, rice starch or arrowroot;
1 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca;
1 Tbsp waxy rice or corn flour;
2 Tbsp granular cereal;
2 Tbsp browned flour;
1 1/2 Tbsp whole wheat flour.
     white, all-purpose for baking


Note: Specialty flours added to yeast bread recipes will result in a reduced volume and heavier product.

1 cup 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs;
1 1/8 cups cake flour (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp);
7/8 to 1 cup corn meal;
1/2 cup cornstarch plus 1/2 cup rye, potato or rice flour (sift together 6 times, use with 2 tsp baking powder per cup in quick breads as wheat flour allergy substitute);
13/16 cup gluten flour (1 cup less 3 Tbsp);
5/8 cup potato flour;
7/8 cup rice flour;
1 1/3 cups rolled oats;
1 1/4 cups rye flour;
1/8 cup soy, cottonseed, peanut or carob flour plus 7/8 cup all-purpose flour;
1/3 cup wheat germ plus 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup minus 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour.
     white, all-purpose, self-rising 1 cup 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.
Garlic 1 clove, small 1/8 tsp garlic powder or instant minced garlic;
1/2-1 tsp garlic salt (reduce amount salt called for in recipe).
Gelatin, flavored 3-oz package 1 Tbsp plain gelatin plus 2 cups fruit juice.
Ginger, candied or raw 1 Tbsp 1/8 tsp powdered ginger.
Herbs, fresh 1 Tbsp 1 tsp dried herbs.
Honey 1 cup 1 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid (use liquid called for in recipe).
Horseradish, grated fresh 1 Tbsp 2 Tbsp bottled horseradish.
Italian seasoning 1 tsp 1/4 tsp basil, 2/3 tsp dried parsley, and pinch oregano.
Lemon, whole 1 lemon 1 to 3 Tbsp juice, plus 2 to 2 1/2 tsp grated rind.
     juice 1 tsp 1/2 tsp vinegar.
     grated rind or peel 1 tsp 1/2 tsp lemon extract.
Lemon grass 1 Tbsp 1 Tbsp lemon peel.
Maple sugar, grated 1 Tbsp
1/2 cup
1 Tbsp white sugar;
1 cup maple syrup (decrease liquid by 1/2 cup).
Maple syrup about 2 cups Combine 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water, bring to clear boil; take off heat; add 1/2 tsp maple flavoring.
Marshmallows, miniature 1 cup 10 large marshmallows.
Mayonnaise (for use in
salads and salad dressings)
1 cup 1 cup yogurt, sour cream or cottage cheese pureed in blender (use for all or part of mayonnaise called for in recipe).
Milk, buttermilk or sour 1 cup 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp sweet milk, plus 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice; let stand 5 minutes;
1 cup sweet milk plus 1 1/4-1 3/4 tsp cream of tartar;
1 cup yogurt (plain).
     skim 1 cup 1/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk plus 7/8 cup water.
     whole 1 cup 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water;
1 cup skim, 2% or reconstituted dry milk;
1 cup soy or almond milk;
1 cup fruit juice or potato water in baking;
1 cup water plus 1 1/2 tsp butter in baking;
1 cup buttermilk plus 1/2 tsp baking soda (decrease baking powder by 2 tsp).
     sweetened condensed 1 cup Combine 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp dry milk with 1/2 cup warm water and 3/4 cup sugar, mix well, may set pan in bowl of hot water to dissolve sugar.
Mint leaves, fresh chopped 1/4 cup 1 Tbsp dried mint leaves.
Molasses 1 cup 3/4 cup sugar, increase liquid by 5 Tbsp, decrease baking soda by 1/2 tsp, add 2 tsp baking powder;
3/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar, increase liquid in recipe by 5 Tbsp.
Mushrooms, fresh 1 lb 3 oz dried plus 1 1/2 cups water;
1 8-oz can, drained weight.
Mustard, dry 1 tsp 1 Tbsp prepared mustard;
1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
Nuts 1 cup 1 cup rolled oats, browned (in baked products).
Oil (for sauteing) 1/4 cup 1/4 cup melted margarine, butter, bacon drippings, shortening or lard.
Onion 1 small 1/4 cup chopped, fresh onion;
1 1/3 tsp onion salt;
1 to 2 Tbsp instant minced onion;
1 tsp onion powder.
Onion powder 1 tsp 1/4 cup fresh onion, chopped.
Orange 1 medium 6 to 8 Tbsp juice; 3/4 cup diced; 2 to 3 Tbsp grated rind.
Orange peel, dried 1 Tbsp 2 or 3 Tbsp grated fresh orange peel (peel of medium orange).
Parsley, fresh 1 Tbsp 1 tsp parsley flakes.
Pepper, white 1 tsp 1 tsp black pepper.
Peppers, green or red bell, dried 1 Tbsp 3 Tbsp fresh bell pepper, dried chopped.
Pimento 2 Tbsp, chopped 3 Tbsp fresh red bell pepper;
1 Tbsp dried red pepper, rehydrated.
Pumpkin pie spice 1 tsp 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp allspice and 1/8 tsp nutmeg.
Rennet 1 tablet 1 Tbsp liquid rennet.
Rice 1 cup cooked 1 cup converted, regular brown or wild rice, cooked.
1 cup bulgur or pearl barley, cooked.
Rum 1/4 cup 1 Tbsp rum extract plus enough liquid to make 1/4 cup.
Shortening, melted 1 cup 1 cup cooking oil.
     solid 1 cup 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp lard;
1 cup butter or margarine (decrease salt in recipe by 1/2 tsp).
Sugar, brown 1 cup 1 cup granulated sugar;
1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses;
1/2 cup liquid brown sugar.
     confectioners or powdered 1 cup 3/4 cup granulated sugar (for uses other than baking).
     granulated 1 cup 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar;
1 1/3 cup confectioners sugar (for uses other than baking);
1 cup corn syrup, reduce other liquid by 1/4 cup (never replace more than 1/2 of sugar called for in recipe with corn syrup);
13/16 cup honey (1 cup less 3 Tbsp); reduce liquid in recipe by 3 Tbsp for every cup of honey added; add a pinch of baking soda to neutralize acidity;
3/4 to 1 cup maple syrup minus 3 Tbsp other liquid;
1 cup molasses or sorghum plus 1/2 tsp baking soda; omit or decrease baking powder by 1 tsp; reduce other liquid by 6 Tbsp;
1 cup raw sugar.
Tapioca, quick-cooking 1 1/2-2 Tbsp 4 Tbsp pearl tapioca, soaked.
     quick-cooking for thickening 1 Tbsp 1 Tbsp flour.
Tomatoes, fresh 2 cups, chopped 1 16-oz can, drained.
     packed 1 cup 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water.
     canned 1 cup 1 1/3 cups diced tomatoes simmered 10 minutes.
Tomato juice 1 cup 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water.
Tomato sauce 2 cups 3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water.
Tomato soup 1 10 3/4 oz. can 1 cup tomato sauce plus 1/4 cup water.
Vanilla bean 1/2 bean 1 Tbsp vanilla extract.
Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp 1 tsp bottled steak sauce.
Yeast, active dry (1/4 oz) 1 package 2 1/2 tsp dry yeast or 1 compressed yeast cake.
Yogurt 1 cup 1 cup buttermilk;
1 cup cottage cheese, blended until smooth;
1 cup sour cream.
* For conversion to metrics, use the following equivalents:
1 tsp = 5 milliliters
1 lb = .45 kilograms
1 Tbsp = 15 milliliters
1 cup = .24 liters
1 oz = 28 grams

I really hope you find this information helpful. I know cooking every night can take a toll, especially if it is not what you’re used to doing. And not being able to run out and pick up whatever is needed only makes things more difficult.

Email me if you have questions: jessica.riggin@okstate.edu

QuickTip Tuesday: Quarantined Kids Still Need Bedtime

sleeping child

When the COVID-19 pandemic really started ramping up in the US and schools everywhere were announcing extended spring break, moving toward distance learning, I gave some tips for keeping the kids on a schedule. I will admit that this is a difficult task for some children. My older daughter as really adapted well, but my younger daughter has had a harder time getting used to our new way of doing things. If this is similar to your own experience, my advice is to hang in there. It just takes some kids a little longer to adjust.

Something I really want to stress is the importance of keeping a regular bedtime for the kids. Even during a pandemic quarantine, even when doing school via the internet, children still need a routine and that includes going to bed at a normal time.

Kids need enough rest to get through school and home activities.

Kids need enough rest to grow and develop the way they are supposed to.

Parents need enough rest so they can get work done and teach their children.

Parents must get adequate sleep so they can be patient and kind to themselves and their children.

Sleep is also important to parents and children to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19.