Tag Archives: eggs

Hatch Watch 2012 Live Stream

Update: The chicks moved out of the incubator to the brooder and you can watch them here.

Your regularly scheduled Jar Lunch is being pre-empted for live streaming of our hatching eggs! We woke up this morning to one pip and lots of peeping. You can hear the little peeps every once in awhile, and us cheering them on. They respond to the sound of our voices sometimes!

As an added bonus, you may hear our dogs Cash and Clementine whining, although I’m trying to convince them to spend some time outside in the sun with the fully formed chickens.


Filed under chickens

Hatch Watch 2012

Yesterday our Brinsea Mini Advance incubator told us there are 3 days left and stopped turning the eggs. Yes, our incubator turns the eggs for us and counts down the 21 days during incubation. Our research has told us to keep the incubator on lockdown for the final 3 days. No more opening it and candling the eggs for a peek inside. We removed the turning tray and added paper towels and we are ready for some hatching to commence.

I’m a little bummed that I didn’t have time to turn this into a photo project and document their development the whole time. Here is a photo of candling on day five.

There is certainly something developing in there!

On day five we thought we only had two or three developing. Our flashlight wasn’t bright enough and they were still very small. Within a couple days we got a better flashlight and we could tell exactly what was going on. There were two clear duds of our seven hatching eggs. Not bad! We started to see five little chicken embryos moving around inside the eggs. That was the highlight of my day at the end of each day during this process. It seriously blew my mind the first time we saw them move.

There are tons of YouTube videos (like this one below) that show candling eggs at different stages of development:

In the last week, we have been able to tell that one of our five remaining eggs quit. With four of them the chicks inside are getting so big all you can make out is darkness that moves sometimes and an air bubble. The quitter is noticeably smaller and not moving. So we have high hopes for four baby chicks and fingers crossed for at least 50% girls!


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Jar Lunch: Soba Noodles with Asparagus & Miso Butter

The Jar Lunch: It’s like a bag lunch or a bento lunch, but the next big thing is lunch packed in a good ol’ mason jar. I have to microwave my lunch at work, so metal containers won’t work and heating up plastic has me worried. We often simply fill mason jars with leftovers, but sometimes it is fun to come up with a clever jar lunch and make a big batch. Lunch for the whole family is already packed.

Have you heard about miso butter yet? It’s all over the internet. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it. Simply mix equal parts butter (softened) and miso. White miso makes for an amazing, subtle flavor. We now keep a mason jar of this heavenly stuff in the fridge.

This jar lunch was inspired by the Momofuku recipe for pan-roasted asparagus with miso butter and a poached egg on top. I am practically obsessed with poached eggs, but for lunchtime food safety I settled for hard-boiled*. This lunch is so simple, no recipe is needed. Just chop some steamed asparagus, toss freshly cooked soba noodles with miso butter to taste, and let them cool completely. Layer into a wide mouth pint jar along with a peeled, hard boiled egg sliced in half.

I promise, you won’t regret it.

Please add your photos to the Jar Lunch Flickr pool for this or any other jar lunches you make!

See our other Jar Lunches here.

*I don’t ever boil my “hard-boiled” eggs anymore. Boiling fresh eggs always leads to difficult peeling. Awhile back I discovered you can steam them for 10-12 minutes and avoid the difficult peeling problem. Now I’ve tested Alton Brown’s Hard Cooked Eggs that are baked in the oven. Although I need to reduce the baking time next time around, I am excited to report that they peeled perfectly and tasted great!


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meringue practice

I will let you in on a little secret: everything we make isn’t food blog worthy. Okay, you probably already knew that. It can be hard to tell, since there are not a lot of failure photos. For example, the orange meringue pie we made for Pi Day? Delicious. But the meringue was a total failure. It turned into more of a seven minute frosting. It tasted great, but it wasn’t a gorgeous fluffy meringue with perfectly golden peaks. If there is anything I have an excess of around here, it is eggs. So I need to practice my meringue. What better place to start than meringue cookies?


This attempt was this recipe from Joy of Baking, only substituting vanilla bean for extract.


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Jar Lunch: crustless quiches 3 ways

The Jar Lunch: It’s like a bag lunch or a bento lunch, but the next big thing is lunch packed in a good ol’ mason jar. I have to microwave my lunch at work, so metal containers won’t work and heating up plastic has me worried. We often simply fill mason jars with leftovers, but sometimes it is fun to come up with a clever jar lunch and make a big batch. Lunch for the whole family is already packed.

This week’s Jar Lunch is individual crustless quiches in three flavors so your family won’t get bored: rosemary tomato, broccoli cheddar, and pea & leek.

For this recipe you’ll need my absolute favorite jar, the half-pint wide mouth mason jar.

half-pint wide mouth mason jar

These jars are perfect for preserves like jam, but they truly are versatile as you can use them in place of an 8-ounce ramekin for just about any recipe. The bonus is you can see your food from all sides!

Crustless Quiche in a Jar 3 Ways: Rosemary Tomato, Broccoli Cheddar, and Pea & Leek

Makes 8 individual quiches.

butter for greasing jars
12 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Filling options (choose one):
Option one: Rosemary Tomato
(this option requires extra prep time)
8 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups halved, thinly sliced onions
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, torn into small pieces
4 ounces crumbled feta


Option two: Broccoli Cheddar
20 ounces frozen broccoli florets
6 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Option three: Pea & Leek
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon butter
4 medium leeks, sliced (white & light green parts only)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
3/4 cup shredded parmesan

1. Prepare chosen quiche fillings according to directions found below.

2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly butter 8 half-pint wide mouth mason jars and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.

3. Beat together eggs, half-and-half, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix in the prepared fillings along with cheese and fresh herbs or spices listed for your chosen quiche flavor. Using a ladle, divide evenly between the eight mason jars. Though not required, a jar funnel makes this job a little easier.

4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until set and golden on top. Allow to cool completely before putting on lids and refrigerating.

Preparing fillings:

Rosemary tomato: If you opt for the tomato quiches, roasting will take an additional 45 minutes of prep time. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Slice the tomatoes, and spread evenly over the prepared baking sheets. Roast for 35-45 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone and tomatoes begin to caramelize. Roughly chop the tomatoes after they have cooled.

Meanwhile, heat a medium pan over medium high heat and then melt one tablespoon butter. Sauté the onions until soft and golden, 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Broccoli Cheddar: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the broccoli florets, and cook for one minute. Drain well and remove excess water with paper towels. Roughly chop.

Pea & Leek: Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat and then melt one tablespoon butter. Sauté the leeks until soft, 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

Show us your jar lunches! We have created a Flickr pool for everyone to share. What are you packing in your mason jars? Go here to join the Flickr Group and add your photos!


Filed under family, food

a little chicken update

Freshly washed eggs. Our ladies have muddy feet lately.

I am happy to report that we haven’t had to buy eggs since Lenora first started laying. I keep enough on hand that we have plenty to pull out for an egg heavy recipe when needed. See that brown pointy one in the middle? Pepper finally started laying! Her eggs are a very slightly different shade of brown than Ramona’s. I think the only reason we can tell them apart is she is still new at this and they are on the small side.

It’s about time, Pepper!

It’s cold, grey, and wet out but at least it isn’t freezing. Everything is covered in a layer of wet leaves.

The chickens love the okara we give them sometimes after making soy milk.

I love watching them get messy faces. Usually they wipe their beaks on the ground to clean up. This continues to be funny each and every time.

I tried to get a picture to share, but today they decided to take a different approach – shaking it off.

We are still keeping the ladies locked up when we can’t be outside with them. No luck catching a raccoon at night in the trap we borrowed. At this point I think it is unlikely we will. Our neighbors have had their flock outside free ranging just over the fence and haven’t had any attacks, so perhaps we will get brave and things will go back to normal soon.


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A second first egg

This may have been more exciting than our very first egg.

Our first brown egg! We’ve been waiting for weeks for another chicken to start laying. I had given up on the idea entirely, thinking maybe they were going to wait until spring.

I believe this egg was courtesy of Ramona, our Speckled Sussex. It had a reddish-brown feather stuck to it. We may not know which eggs belong to Ramona and Pepper for sure until we catch them in the act. Both should be in the light brown family.

Lenora, our White Leghorn has continued to give us a white egg every single day. We haven’t purchased any eggs since, so now we can up our egg intake a little.



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a chicken coop addition

No, we didn’t get a new hen to replace our rooster! Really this is something that just never got finished in our hurry to move the chickens outside this summer. Adding the nest boxes to our coop now seems to have worked out perfectly. Since Lenora started laying eggs last week, I threw the never-finished nest boxes together and installed them.

Fittingly, Leonora was the first to wander in to take a look.

Ramona came to see what all the fuss was about.

Lenora squawked her approval.

And starting the very next day she began leaving her daily deposits in the new boxes. Once Lenora started laying, she skipped the second day and has delivered an egg a day since. Nobody else has joined her yet! We have been trying to guess who will start next, but your guess is as good as mine.

Above are the nest boxes as seen from outside. You can easily reach into either one to grab eggs. We are still in love with our homemade Garden Coop. (Here’s the post with full-length shots from when we first introduced it.)

Our flock at five months (L-R): Lenora, Hatchet-Face, Pepper, and Ramona (White Leghorn, Easter Egger, Barred Plymouth Rock, and Speckled Sussex)

Jess cuddles Hatchet-Face

I do my best Hatchet-Face impersonation

Five months in we have been marveling at how much joy these chickens bring to our lives. The best decision we made was to place the coop in the corner of our yard that is visible from our bedroom window. Chicken TV hasn’t stopped being amusing. I honestly wasn’t sure if the charm would wear off once the cute fluffy chick phase passed and there were chores to be done. We all take turns taking care of them, and honestly the only chore that is a pain is changing out the water as it frequently gets pooped in. And as you can imagine, I have a plan to remedy that situation ASAP.


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Lenora’s first egg

When I imagined the discovery our very first egg, I pictured a sunny weekend afternoon brimming with natural light. What a wonderful photo op – a perfect little egg nestled snuggly in the coop. Of course this is reality, and today while Jess and I were both at work Levi came home from school, checked on the chickens (what a great kid!), and found the first egg.

He got on his cell phone and called Jess at work to report the exciting news. I’m tickled to know he was so excited to be the one who made the discovery. Of course I didn’t get home until after 9pm, at which point he was in bed. The egg had been precariously perched in the fridge in true teenager fashion and then tragically knocked to the floor.

Without further ado, I present you our first egg (a little worse for the wear):

Chicken of the week award goes to Lenora! This looks like the work of a Leghorn.


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tomatoes for breakfast

For me this time of year is what being a gardener is all about. I love having an abundance of food from our yard that is so flavorful you can make a few simple ingredients taste incredible.

We were out of bread this morning, so no eggs in a nest. I glanced over at the growing pile of tomatoes in the kitchen and breakfast was born: heirloom tomatoes and basil from the garden, a drizzle of olive oil, S&P and two poached eggs on top. Perfection!


Filed under food, garden