Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Perfect Egg

One of my fondest memories of growing up are the weekend breakfasts that my mom would make, and she still does! I clean my parents house every other weekend and I purposefully wake up early each time and make that 40 minute trek to get there in time for breakfast. The usual spread consists of some type of combo of pancakes, eggs, scones, potatoes, waffles, etc. Since my mom is such a great home style cook, she somewhere along the way perfected the egg and passed along the secret to me. I never grew up with fried eggs, it just grosses me out getting one that's crunchy, and has probably been fried in bacon fat. I like my eggs light, fluffy and slightly runny so that I can sop up the yolk with a good piece of toast!

I have made eggs for a few people and they usually comment on how great they turn out. It was at that moment that I realized, oh, maybe not everyone makes eggs like this? Do people usually fry them? Which ever way you like it, since I've had friends taken a back at my method, I thought I'd share the secret to the perfect egg!

Basting an Egg

First off, use an organic, free range egg that the mama chicken has not been treated with hormones. Trader Joe's sells reasonably affordable organic eggs, or buy them from a local farmers market.

Start with a small pan, pre-heated just under medium on the burner. Once hot, but not too hot, (a drop of water should evaporate on it), spray it with a natural non-stick spray. Crack the egg into the pan and let it cook for about 30 seconds. Wait till the white starts to set, then slowly pour water into the pan so that it covers the egg about half way. Place a lid over the pan, and let it cook for about a minute. Keep checking the egg about every 45 seconds to a minute to monitor it's progress. Depending on how runny you like your yolks, you can generally gauge it's progress by tilting the pan a bit and shaking it slightly so that the yolk gives a little shimmey.

When it's reached it's level of "done" for you, be careful with picking it up with a spatula. It can be pretty slippery, and make sure to let the water drain well or your plate will turn into a pool. Good luck! Hope you like it! Yay for good, healthy weekend breakfast! (that is a veggie sausage, I assure you!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Biz's Doing Their Part

In the last month or so I've really noticed a great amount of local businesses pitching in, in more ways than just providing a recycle bin. So I wanted to point them out and provide a huge THANK YOU to them and hopefully in the near future more businesses will be inspired by their actions .

Ballard Bros.- 15th Ave, Ballard, WA.
Not only is their food delicious, but almost every bit of "waste" that comes out of there is compostable. They use compostable corn plastics in their cups, straws, utensils, etc, so instead of a garbage bin in the restaurant, they have a compost bin. You can put dirty napkins and food wrappers in it as well. THANK YOU BALLARD BROS.!

Cupcake Royale- Ballard, West Seattle, Capitol Hill.
They also provide compost bins that you can put your cupcake wrappers, napkins and latte cups in. Ceramic plates and bowls are provided if you are eating "in", so that cuts down on waste as well. THANK YOU CUPCAKE ROYALE!

Old School Frozen Yogurt- Capitol Hill.
I was recently there for my birthday "cake", and the cup they give you not only states that it is compostable, as well as bins provided in the store after you're done with it, but on it is a wonderful paragraph about the Eco-Products they use:

"In one year Eco-Products customers make a difference by saving: 150,000 gallons of gas- enough to five around the earth 181 times; 7,380 pounds of greenhouse gases; 504,326 kW hours of energy- enough to power the average American household for 10 years.

And the surprise eco-warrior of them all....

Mrs. Cooks- U Village.
I made a Christmas purchase there recently, and to my delight, on the bag in big letters it states that the "plastic" bag that my item was in is 100% BIODEGRADABLE. Holy crud! Way to go, Mrs. Cooks!

I'm so proud of many of these businesses taking a stand (Whole Foods also provides a compost bin inside). I believe that recycling and composting are one of the easiest and most effective steps we can take to help clean up the earth. Next time you go to throw away something, stop and wonder, is this recyclable? If not, is it compostable? Your latte cups, dirty napkins, paper take out containers, food scraps, and in many areas (Seattle!) even meat! If you have a yard waste bin then you can put all this in it (keep it in a compostable bag- like paper). You might be surprised at how much it will decrease your garbage!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Tipping

I have had a few jobs that collect tips, and my cleaning job was definitely one of them. We didn't usually get tipped at every job, it was typically at the end of the year at Christmas. This was something that we all really depended on; for myself, it would help pay for my college books and tuition so it definitely was a bit of an income supplement. So just in case you have a house cleaner, a nice Christmas bonus is at least the amount of what you usually pay for the service. So if your bill is $50, give $50. The better you treat a cleaner, they better they will treat you! (As with most philosophy in life should be!). I had a lot of great clients that I would bust my butt for, but every now and then a gem would come along......

Which brings me to the real story of this post. It's the holiday season, and I thought I would share a little story of my cleaning past (I seriously could write a book).

We had a client that was quite wealthy and lived in a penthouse in one of the high rises in Belltown. It was the day after Christmas, and I was cleaning their home. The husband came towards me, walking from far down the hallway holding a dollar bill up in the air crinkling it. "Patty! Patty! Have you ever heard the story of King Midas?" "Yes", I replied. "Well, I'm going to be King Midas and give this to you." I couldn't quite tell what kind of a bill it was, for he was a distance away. I thought, hey I'm going to get my bonus for being a great cleaner for them, and for putting up with cleaning his pee trails, for he apparently had prostate problems and would dribble from his gym to the bathroom. Gross, huh? I've dealt with worse. Seriously.
Anyways.... He got to me, and handed me a crisp new $2 bill. That was my bonus- the moral of the story was that he wasn't just going to give me a free bonus- I had to go earn it on my own. It was a horrible slap in the face, for I couldn't even go downstairs to Tully's and buy a holiday latte with it. He just assumed that I was stuck cleaning toilets for I had no motivation to make life better for myself. What he didn't know was that I was also in school, working towards my Bachelors degree in Finance. I got up every morning at 3am, got off work at around 3 pm, then had about 2 hours to shower and to homework, then go to night school, where I would then get home around 9:30pm. I also wasn't poor- I come from a modest, middle class family, I lived on my own in a cute apartment in Green Lake and owned a new car. I took the bill, smiled and said "thank you". I then requested to my boss that I do not clean their place again unless absolutely necessary.

So don't always assume that just because someone has a shitty job that they don't work hard and/or aren't educated! Hope you enjoyed the story!

Un- what?

"Un-shit your life"- to rid your life of useless shit. This blog is a collection of hints, tips, ideas and stories that I have gathered from my family, friends, articles, the internet, rumors and life experiences. Please share your own!

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