Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

My nephew is almost 2 years old and really loves his arts and crafts. Easter is next weekend, so I thought it would be nice to dye some eggs with him. I wanted to use all-natural dyes to avoid the chemicals that are in most of the popular dye packs today. I thought it would also be fun for him to see that we made the colors by using vegetables and spices from our own kitchen! It definitely takes a bit longer to prep the dyes, but so worth it in the end. We had such a great time! Some of the colors took a lot better than others (beet, turmeric, and red cabbage were the strongest) while a few others weren’t as successful (spinach did nothing!) I did get a nice green color though when leaving the egg in the red cabbage for a bit then placing it in the turmeric for a bit after that.

If you have leftover dyes, there are a lot of other fun things you can do with it. You can easily dye some fabric, or add it to some homemade play-doh!

Ingredients:
12 white eggs, hard boiled and cooled
3 red beets, peeled and cubed
1/2 red cabbage, chopped (I had a few blueberries in the fridge that I plopped in as well)
2 black tea bags
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 cups spinach (though I find this color didn’t work as well, maybe using frozen spinach or adding fresh basil or ground sage would work better next time)

In separate pots, boil each item with 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of salt for 15 minutes. For the tea, just boil some water and steep the tea bags until dark in color. Once everything finishes boiling, turn off the heat and add a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar. Let cool completely.

Pour each color into little bowls, and make sure you have something underneath in case any spill! It’s amazing how much beets and turmeric can stain. I used glass bowls as well seeing plastic tends to absorb color.

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Pork Chops With Sautéed Red Cabbage

I haven’t had pork chops in a long time, and figured it would be a nice main dish to go with the sauteed cabbage I wanted to make. I feel like pork chops have a bad reputation for all the kids back in the day that had to eat their moms overcooked versions, but if you do it right they’re great! The cabbage was really good as well, I added chopped apples and vinegar which was the perfect balance of sweet and tang.

Ingredients- (serves 2)

Pork Chops:
2 pork chops, bone-in
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon ground pepper

Braised Cabbage:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 small purple cabbage, shredded
1 apple, chopped small
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon honey
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix together the brown sugar, cumin, smoked paprika, ginger, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture on both sides of the pork chop. Wrap back up and set aside on the counter. You want the meat to be room temperature when you cook it. Alternatively, you can put in the fridge if you’re not planning to use right away, but make sure you remove it from the fridge and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before putting in the pan.

To make the cabbage, sauté the garlic in olive oil for a minute or so then add the onions, cooking until translucent. Next add the cabbage and apple, and cook until wilted. Add the vinegar, honey, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid had been absorbed.

While the cabbage cooks, get your pork chops going. Heat a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet. When it’s nice and hot add the pork. Cook for 5-6 minutes each side over medium heat (not too hot!) then plate and cover with aluminum foil for at least 5 minutes. While it’s resting, the meat will continue to cook, which is why you remove it from the pan a little early. You want the internal temperature to be 145 degrees, otherwise it will dry out. You also do not want to cut into the meat until after it’s done resting, otherwise you’ll lose all those juices that would otherwise be redistributed into the meat while it rests. Meat can be intimidating to cook, but if you follow a few simple rules and take your time, you’ll surprise yourself!

Baked Eggs With Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato

Last night I was craving some sort of breakfast for dinner, so I made a single serving of baked eggs and had a happy little night to myself. I don’t bake eggs often, and forgot how good it was! It’s so easy too, you just saute a bunch of stuff, crack an egg or two on top, and pop it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. I think next time I might make some sort of light pesto or sriracha sauce to drizzle on top. YUM.

Ingredients (serves one)
1 small sweet potato, peeled and sliced
3 large Swiss chard leaves, washed and chopped well
1 shallot, chopped
Small handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small carrot, peeled into strips
1/4 cup feta cheese
4 tablespoons half & half
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Olive oil
1 egg (or more if you like!)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the sweet potato slices. Cook until fork tender. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan, add the shallots and Swiss chard, cooking until the greens are wilted. Toss the sweet potato back in, along with the carrots, tomatoes, paprika, and half & half. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for another minute or so. Place the mixture in a small oven safe dish and top with feta cheese. Crack an egg on top, and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the egg has cooked to your liking. Enjoy!