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Writing a Cookbook for HarperCollins

The experience of writing my first cookbook for HarperCollins was a mix of excitement and low-level panic. I had wanted to write a cookbook for years - and finally that dream was coming true! I would be lying if I didn't admit that along with the excitement, I felt a bit of low-key panic as well. This was really happening! I had barely reconciled the fact that I had just signed a cookbook deal with the Harper Horizon imprint of HarperCollins in the spring of 2020 when an initial zoom call was set up between myself, my agent and the Harper Horizon editorial team.  I believe there were six people on that first call and I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed. I felt as though I had been thrust into a bit of an alternate universe!


How I Got a Cookbook Deal with HarperCollins

Writing a cookbook was only a dream, until it became a reality. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write a cookbook .  I remember as a little girl, I would sit with my mom looking through Redbook and Better Homes & Gardens, ripping out recipes I liked the looks of and then carefully cutting out the photo and instructions and gluing them on index cards I kept organized in a little recipe box. 


Cage-Free Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be

Do the various terms on egg cartons confuse you? What does cage-free or free range really mean? What about natural or antibiotic- and hormone-free? What should you be looking for on an egg carton label? Most likely when you hear someone talking about cage-free or free-range chickens, you picture a flock of hens happily roaming a grassy pasture searching for bugs and weeds. You might even refer to your own chickens as "free-range" even though technically they are confined inside your fenced-in backyard. Either way, those are some darned happy chickens! 


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The shelf life of eggs varies depending on whether or not the eggs have been washed, cooked and how they are stored.  What is the Shelf Life of Eggs? The shelf life of eggs  is going to vary greatly depending on whether the eggs are "farm fresh" or from your backyard flock versus those purchased commercially.  The shelf life will also vary depending on whether the eggs are raw in the shell, out of the shell or cooked. The Shelf Life of Store Bought Eggs Since store bought eggs in the United States have been cleaned before being cartoned and sold, they must be refrigerated, preferably at a temperature around 40 degrees F.  Store bought eggs should always be stored pointed end down in the original carton to help keep the eggs free from odors from other foods that can seep through the pores in the eggshell.  They should never be stored on the fridge door, but on a shelf, preferably towards the back so they won't be affected by temperature changes each time the door is opene


Common Egg Cooking Mistakes You Might be Making

Learn how to avoid the most common mistakes made when cooking eggs. Before you fry, poach, scramble or bake with eggs, be sure you're not making one of these common mistakes. While cooking eggs isn't difficult, there are some basic things to keep in mind so you don't ruin them.  Common Egg Cooking Mistakes You Might be Making  Not Using Fresh Eggs Fresh really does matter when in comes to cooking eggs. Not only do fresh eggs just taste "fresher", it’s especially  important to use fresh eggs for hard-boiling, frying or poaching.  There's a big difference between a "fresh" eggs that's less than 2 or 3 weeks old - and an egg that's several months old. Still perfectly good to eat, an old egg just isn't as good. Boiling Old Eggs If you boil old eggs into which air has had time to seep into, you’ll end up with a dip in one end which definitely doesn’t make pretty hard-boiled or deviled eggs.  But if you’re having trouble peeling fresh eggs , yo


Scratch Grains | Winter Treat for Chickens

Beneficial winter treats for chickens include high energy foods with some healthy fats like scratch grains and nuts to keep them warm in the cold weather. If you have ever fed your chickens scratch grains then you know that they go absolutely nuts for it (pun intended...) They scramble around pecking at the various grains and seeds as fast as they can, fighting and scratching for each last piece (hence the name "scratch"!).


Pumpkin Spice Swirl Cheesecake with Candied Walnuts

Wow your guests this Thanksgiving season with my swirled pumpkin spice cheesecake. Far easier to make than it looks, this elegant pumpkin spice cheesecake is perfect for the holidays. I originally found the recipe in a magazine (for the life of me I can't remember which one) about fifteen years ago. After it was a big hit one Thanksgiving, I started making it a holiday tradition. It's nice because you can make it up to two days in advance and keep it refrigerated until you're ready to serve. And the swirls on top even look like autumn leaves!


How to Beat Egg Whites Perfectly Every Time

Beat perfect egg whites every time with these simple tips. There are lots of reasons why you might need to beat egg whites. Beating egg whites isn't difficult, but they can fail to whip up into nice peaks for several reasons.  Similar to whipping heavy cream, one misstep and you'll have ruined your recipe, but I'll show you how to achieve perfect soft or stiff egg white peaks every time with these few simple tips.


How to Grill Eggs

Next time you're grilling a couple of steaks or burgers, toss some eggs on the grill and you'll have hard-cooked eggs all week for snacking or to use in a savory, smoky egg salad. There's nothing better than the smell of burgers sizzling on a grill in the backyard.  Here in Maine, we're pretty much limited to grilling during the few months of the year when there's not snow on the ground, but in many parts of the country, I know grilling is a year-round "sport".


How to Keep Your Chickens Laying Eggs Through the Winter

Chickens naturally slow down or stop laying eggs as the days get shorter, but using these few simple tricks, you can keep the eggs coming all winter long. One of the things about raising backyard chickens that surprises those just getting started with their flock is that chickens don't generally lay all year long.  We get so used to seeing eggs in cartons piled in stacks at the grocery store year round, that we forget that technically eggs are a "seasonal" crop just like the fruits and vegetables we grow in our gardens.


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How do duck eggs compare to chicken eggs? Well they're surprisingly similar - with a few glaring differences. We've raised ducks alongside our chickens for more than ten years. Ducks are a lot of fun to raise, but what we love best about them is their eggs. I had never even SEEN a duck egg before our ducks started laying them for us, so I didn't know what to expect.


One-Pot Cacio e Pepe

Whip up this deliciously comforting, classic pasta dinner in just one pot with just four basic ingredients: pasta, Parmesan cheese, butter and black pepper. Cacio e Pepe is a classic Italian pasta dish that translates literally to "cheese and pepper" and if you have both of those ingredients plus some pasta and butter, you've got the makings of this delicious, but deceptively simple, classic pasta dinner.


Can Chickens Recognize Each Other?

Have you ever wondered if your chickens recognize you? Or can recognize other flocks members? It turns out that they can. Have you ever wondered whether or not your chickens recognize each other? Or recognize you?  Could a chicken, say, pick you out of a lineup? Or do you ever wonder if - treats notwithstanding - they are actually happy to see you when you come home from work?


Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

Make your own homemade pumpkin pie spice blend with some familiar warm fall spices you most likely  already have on hand. There's a chill in the air and that means its time for pumpkin EVERYTHING!  Like it or not, fall is right around the corner and that calls for comfort food and warming spices and scents. Namely, pumpkin pie spice.