Eggs: One Dozen Incredible Ideas and Recipes for Families
Humpty Dumpty was one. To be embarrassed is to have one on your face. The last one there is rotten. You must be very careful and cautious if you’re walking on its shells. Eggs are common, plentiful, and either came before or after the chicken (depending on your perspective). Whether scrambled, poached, fried, boiled or entirely made of chocolate, there’s an egg for everyone. So welcome to my collection of recipes, experiments, art projects and even literature related to this incredible feat of nature and symbol of faith.
CURIOSITY HAS NO AGE RESTRICTIONS
Are you already thinking:
- I don’t have kids around;
- Not everyone likes eggs;
- My kids are too old for this; or
- Why is this woman so obsessed with eggs?!?!
With the possible exception of number 4, I am certain, by the end of this post, I will have given you at least one option that will be intriguing enough to peak your curiosity.
And that, my friend, is how you get kids of all ages engaged. If you are doing something unique and you are visibly interested in it, others will notice. You don’t have to say a word or ask them to join. They will notice and, in their curiosity, start watching what you are doing. Questions will follow. Soon, those magic words may even be uttered: Can I try that?
Why, yes. Yes, you can.
There are a few tasks I firmly believe everyone should know how to do before going to college: clean the bathroom, wash clothes, and cook eggs. Eggs are inexpensive, healthy and versatile. Hard-boiled eggs require so little effort and, with the right tips, are easy to perfect.
This being said … not everyone likes hard-boiled eggs. I don’t. I love to make them for my family and for special occasions but I don’t like them. In fact, until a few years ago, I couldn’t make a pretty hard-boiled egg to save my life.
Click here to read about how that changed and see a video of my one-handed eggshell removal skills: Hard-Boiled Egg Recipe. Have a contest to see who can peel an egg fastest. The more kids get their hands on different foods, the more likely they are to at least try them. Even I try them more often than I ever did. Still don’t like them … but I do try!
2: EGG SHELL SCIENCE
Ask people to name the parts of an egg and the answers will likely be: shell, white, yolk. Those who have ever struggled to peel a hard-boiled egg might remember the membrane. Few will know that there are actually two membranes between the white and the shell. I didn’t know this until I started saving the shells for part 3 of this post. I wanted the membrane removed and, after a rather successful pull (more on this in a minute), I found there was another layer under the first. One quick web search for “parts of an egg diagram” revealed this truth. Also, that second membrane is much harder to capture (FYI).
CHALLENGE: Most complete removal of a shell membrane(s).
Save the shells as you cook with eggs. Rinse well and soak in water. This step alone will likely prompt questions from your family. Working from a broken edge of the shell, gently take hold of the membrane and slowly pull it away from the shell, trying not to tear it. Trust me … someone will want assume they can do better.
Or is that just in my house?
I must say, I was intrigued by the opaqueness and texture of the membrane. They are not clear and although easy to tear, they are thicker than expected.
Set the shells aside and dry completely.
3: EGG SHELL MOSAIC
Once the clean and dry shells are threatening to take over your cupboard, it is time for art class.
If all the shells are white, there are several options for coloring the shells. Food coloring is always a good way to get vibrant colors. Place a few shells in a resealable bag and crush them. Open the bag, add a few drops of white vinegar and a few drops of food color. Seal the bag and shake it until the dye has been distributed. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or paper towels and pour the shells onto the paper. Dry overnight.
To take our science lesson another step, try experimenting with natural dyes. Tea, coffee, grape juice, blueberries, spices, and onion peels can be used to create beautiful colors. See the article from Good Housekeeping for ideas and instructions.
To make the mosaic, find a picture or draw one. Keep the design simple and avoid patterns that are small as they will be difficult to fill. Transfer the design to a piece of cardboard or card stock. Starting in the center, squeeze a layer of glue inside the first area. Use a small paintbrush to distribute the glue evenly and to the edges. Sprinkle the shells over the glued area and press gently. Lift the cardboard up vertically and tap on the sides to remove excess shells. Let glue dry for an hour or two before moving on to the next section.
In my design, the center is a moon and stars but because they were small, it is hard to recognize them. Very simple sketches, like a rainbow, a tree, a beach or a field will be quite beautiful with the textures and colors of the shells.
Once the hard-boiled egg is mastered, deviled eggs are a walk in the … well, henhouse! Pinterest is loaded with ideas for flavor variations but start with the traditional recipe.
5: EGG CARTON ART
We’re cooking the eggs and repurposing the shells but let’s not ignore those cartons! Once again, Pinterest is a goldmine of creative ideas. Masks, bugs, bird feeders, race cars, and building blocks are just a few creations waiting to emerge from that egg carton that was destined for the trash can.
It’s not just for kids, either. How about these flowers made by Bliss Bloom Blog? Click on this link to get the instructions.
Or this wreath as seen in Sweet Paul Magazine?
It’s kind of addicting, isn’t it?
6: FRIED RICE
Fried Rice is one of the most simple meals to prepare and a great way to give new life to leftover rice and cooked meat like chicken or pork. Adding the scrambled eggs and fresh vegetables to the leftovers creates a delicious one-pan meal. Get the recipe by clicking here.
7: EGG SHELL GARDENING
The calcium content of the eggshell is useful to compost and garden soil. Simply crushing them and adding to a compost pile or bin, or scattering the shells around a garden will help restore the nutrients of the soil and also help with aeration.
If you have a little botanist at home or if you have ever wanted to start your garden plants indoors, eggshells can serve another purpose: seed starter! Wash the shells and fill 3/4 full with potting mix. Add a seed or two (beet seeds used in photo) and cover with a little more potting mix. Spray with water once or twice a day, enough to moisten the the top layers. After the seed has sprouted and you are ready to move it to the garden outside, place the plant, shell and dirt too, into the ground.
8: DR SEUSS LOVES EGGS TOO
By the time our youngest was 4, we had worn out and memorized the book “Green Eggs and Ham”. I know I’m not the only parent who still has those words pass through my head occasionally:
I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
One day we decided we really should try green eggs and ham. A drop or two of green food coloring in a few scrambled eggs and some cubes of ham turned a story into a memory for both of us. Today, I’d skip the food coloring and add some finely chopped fresh spinach (it will look more like herbs after it wilts) along with the ham. Or add some pesto to the eggs before scrambling and add Parmesan cheese with the ham.
Want to take your tongue-twisting book-reading skills to another level without even leaving the egg theme? Scrambled Egg Super, also by Dr. Seuss, belongs in your library. Just be ready to have these words running through your head too:
So I took those eggs home and I frizzled ’em up.
And I added some sugar. Two thirds of a cup.
And a small pinch of pepper. And also a pound
Of horseradish sauce that was sitting around.
9: EGG MAGIC TRICK
This magic trick will amaze and astound kids and adults alike. All you need is an egg, white vinegar, a pint-size Mason jar and two days of observation. Egg shells contain calcium carbonate which is broken down by the acid of the vinegar creating calcium ions and carbon dioxide (look for the bubbles). Eventually, the entire shell dissolves.
Check this out! (Video will right itself when it starts.)
Good thing we put it on a plate, huh?
Click here for specific instructions: Disappearing Eggshell Experiment
Want to check your egg IQ?
Do you know why eggs can be different colors? Are you up on your nutritional information? Need to stump someone else in a trivia challenge?
Here’s a fun, on-line quiz to take. MSN EGG QUIZ
The websites for the Iowa Egg Council and the American Egg Board have abundant resources to explore. There are videos on egg production, coloring pages, experiments, nutritional information and recipes for all ages.
Much like the Fried Rice mentioned earlier, a frittata is an example of how eggs can transform leftovers into something appealing, inviting and healthy. Click here for the basic recipe and flavor variations: Frittata Recipe.
12: EGG HUMOR
Q: How do monsters like their eggs?
Q: How does a hen leave the house?
A: Through the eggs-it
Q: What day do eggs hate the most?
I crack myself up.
Back to that first question of this post: why am I so obsessed with eggs? I’m really not … or at least I wasn’t until we found ourselves practicing “social distancing” through the Corona Virus of 2020. Eggs are one of those food staples so often taken for granted. Their versatility, nutrition and affordability is almost irreplaceable. Having a neighbor who generously gives us the most gorgeous eggs of different sizes and colors is such a blessing. I have learned so much about her chickens and love to hear them welcome each new day. So few people get to see first hand from where their food comes. It truly is incredible … miraculous even, the science of nature and the nature of science.
There’s also the seasonal aspect of the timing of this post. Spring is arriving and Easter is a few weeks away. Dying eggs is a rite of passage for this time of year. Candy eggs fill bowls and baskets. For Christians, the egg is a symbol of the Resurrection, the promise of new life and rebirth.
I miss our regular church services. I miss our midweek Lenten services. Perhaps, the timing of this “obsession” of mine can be blamed on … or credited to … a strong reliance on faith.
Maybe it’s totally coincidental.
I really don’t believe in coincidences.