Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Breakfast Sandwiches Made Easy

I am pretty sure that most of you who read my blog think I am a gadget freak.  I admit it, but I only like the gadgets that are proven to save time and those that make a better product.  I recently acquired another great gadget.

I am going to start my story with some background.  I wasn't even aware of this gadget until recently.  We have a tradition in our family at Christmas.  I wrote about it in this blog from 2016, if you want details.

Basically it involves exchanging gifts.  Each person in our family buys one gift with a similar monetary value.  We have eleven people, so we have eleven gifts.  Then we choose and trade in a certain order until we all have a gift. My daughter purchased a sandwich maker, but it never made it to the exchange.  They tried it before Christmas and liked it so much that she went out and bought a different gift.  Since Christmas they have used it often.

I may act like I am a health nut, but I'm not really.  I like sweets and egg McMuffins.  I make them at home to control the ingredients, but I still go to McDonalds occasionally.  Last week, we went grocery shopping.  While out and about, we stopped at one of our favorite thrift stores.  There on the shelf was a sandwich maker just like the one my daughter has.  It said it worked and had been tested.  It was 1/3 the cost of a new one.  I bought it and brought it home to try.  It didn't cost as much as our lunch so I wasn't worried about wasting money.

The footprint for this is very small.  It is only five inches across and five inches high.  It is very simple to operate.  The first thing you do is plug it in to preheat it.  I gather all the ingredients beforehand so it can be assembled quickly.  There are so many possibilities.  You can use bagels or pancakes instead of English muffins.  You could use avocado or sausage patties.  Whatever you like.  My husband likes them with bacon.

When the green light comes on, it is ready.  There are two separate compartments.  The lower one is for the muffin and toppings like meat and cheese.  

The top compartment is then pulled down to cover the lower section.  The top compartment is where you break an egg.  I just break the yolk with a fork or you can mix it up completely like a scrambled egg.

After the egg is mixed up, put the top half of the English muffin over the raw egg. 

Shut the lid and let it cook for 4-5 minutes.  When the the time is up, slide the lever to the side which releases the top half onto the bottom half.

When you open the lid, you have a perfect egg sandwich.  

It is so easy without any mess.  When I made them in a frying pan, they didn't have this perfect shape.  If you like the egg a little runny, don't cook it as long.  I made one for my granddaughter last weekend, and she thought this sandwich maker would be perfect to take to college.  I would have to agree.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Elderberry Syrup

Last winter I heard about Elderberry syrup.  Elderberries apparently have medicinal properties to treat flu and cold symptoms.  I haven't had a cold or flu for many years, but I wanted to be prepared in case.  Since I just stated that fact out loud, I hope I didn't jinx myself.  The bottle of syrup I bought last year was quite expensive, but a good start for last winter.   The summer of 2017 I was planning to go out in the country and find elderberries growing near the roadside.  When I was young they grew all around.  We would go out and pick them for jelly.  Some of my relatives would even make elderberry wine.  I also thought I could just grow my own elderberry bushes.   I found out that research was being done on a specific type of elderberry plant called the Sambucis Nigra .  This bush is different from the Common Elderberry that grows along the roadside.  The berries from this plant are extra rich in vitamins A, B and C.  They are high in immune-boosting compounds which may help with getting over illness more quickly.  I found the bush for sale from a plant nursery which would grow in our zone.  It looks a lot like a Japanese Maple and is very pretty.   I may try to grow one at some point.

For now,  I decided to buy the dehydrated organic berries.  Elderberries are very small, and it would take a lot of them to make a pound of dried berries.

The recipe is very simple.  Measure out a cup of dried berries and about four cups of water.  Bring them to a boil.  I also added a half cup of blueberries to the mix because they are good for us too.  Simmer them for 45 minutes and strain out the cooked berries.  I fed these to the birds to see if they like them.  So far no bird has tried them.

When the juice has cooled slightly, just sweeten with unfiltered local honey.  If honey is added to heat, it will kill the antibacterial properties of the honey.  Some recipes I saw put in ginger and turmeric, but I didn't want to mess with the flavor.  This is really tasty and will keep in the refrigerator for three months.  We take a tablespoon a day.  It is preventative and may be a placebo but that's fine with me.  It is no way a substitute for medical care if needed, but it is a little boost.  If we get sick then the instructions say to take a teaspoon every hour.  Hopefully we won't have to find out if that works.

I need to find a bottle which will make it easier to pour out.  Until then, I will use it from this pint jar.

Update:  I found the perfect container.  It's a glass vinegar and oil bottle.  It holds a pint and pours out easily.