i recently read about how effed up food-coloring additives are and it was pretty scary. the current regulations allow for seven main dyeing agents: blue #1, blue #2, green #3, red #40, red #3, yellow #5 and yellow #6. many of these colorings were actually banned in austria, belgium, denmark, france, germany, greece, italy, norway, spain, sweden, and switzerland. most dyes are made with coal tar as one of its components. only 50% of coal tar’s components have been identified and is a known carcinogenic in large quantities. in addition to that, 'food-grade dyes' are capable of causing allergic reactions and a range of other physical and developmental problems such as early childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder, abdominal pain, hyperactivity, hives, sensitivity to light, learning difficulties, hyperthyroidism, nasal congestion and bronchoconstriction, as well as kidney tumours, chromosomal damage, and distaste for food. ooh a distaste for food in my food! yum.

anyway, i was thinking about all that in relation to dyeing easter eggs which i thought could be a fun weekend activity since it will probably still be too cold to do anything outside. i haven't dyed easter eggs in years. and the last time i did i undoubtedly used paas {where else you gonna go?!}. i couldn't find an ingredients list online of all of the stuff in those little tablets, but i'm going to have to assume color #number is involved at least somewhat. curbly posted a recipe and video about how to use plants and herbs to color your {free-range} eggs.

• Free-range eggs
• Alum powder (available at the supermarket in the spice aisle)
• White Vinegar
• Vegetables and spices, see step one
• Cooktop
• Saucepan
• Measuring spoons
• Wooden spoon and slotted spoon
• Vegetable oil, wax, electrical tape, leaves, stickers, etc (optional)

1). Choose which colors you’d like to dye your eggs.
• For blue, use red cabbage
• For red, try whole beets (not canned), cherries, or cranberries
• For light green, use spinach or fresh green herbs
• For tan, brew some strong coffee, tea, or a handful of cumin seeds
• For yellow, try turmeric (a spice) and yellow onion skins
• For olive green, use red onion skins (the color is produced by a reaction with the vinegar)
• For purple, grape juice or frozen blueberrie

2). For each color, fill a saucepan with at least three inches of water. Add in your vegetables or spices. It’ll take a lot…around two cups, packed.

3). Bring the water to a boil, and add two teaspoons of alum powder – UNLESS you’re using onion skins, as it creates a funky reaction.

4.) Boil for thirty minutes.

5). Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool slightly. You don’t want to add the eggs to boiling water, because the shells will likely crack.

6). Return to heat, and stir in two tablespoons of white vinegar. Add the eggs, and bring the mixture back to a full boil. Reduce the heat slightly, and cook for 10-12 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, and let the eggs cool in the dye.

7). Remove the eggs from the dye. If you’re satisfied with the color, then allow them to dry. For deeper, richer colors, strain the liquid, and allow the egg to continue to soak for up to eight hours. (Any longer, and the vinegar will start to disintegrate the shell.) If you plan to eat the eggs, put them into the refrigerator.

i think that this marbled one is my favorite. little blue speckled eggs are perfect!


birthday boy.

today my cat, twenty-twenty, turns 5 years old!

about two and a half years ago he got very, very sick with a urinary infection/torn urethra and had to spend 2 weeks in the hospital on drugs and full of tubes. he had a bunch of surgeries and it was a very, very scary and sad time. but he made it and is healthy now. i think that he's so thankful to me for spending my life savings on him and that's the reason why i can't take two steps into the house without him following me around like a little puppy. it's true love!

one year old and tiny.

after the first round of surgeries. cone-headed and stoned.

belly rolls, catheter tubes and pee bags.

favorite t-shirt, which he actually hates.

first cat-bath.

it's my party and i'll bite if i want to.



the livin' is easy.

i can't wait for summer!!!!!

this image from the toast catalog pretty much sums it up. just add a pitcher of lemonade i'm there.

marshall for president!

this is one of my favorite youtubes of all time.


hrairoo jumps.

for my 12th birthday i really wanted a rabbit. really wanted. but since we had two predatory cats, it was deemed un-wise to bring something cute and cuddly and maul-able into the house. so instead i got a turtle, which i named sheldon. 13 years later sheldon is still with me, swimming happily as a turtle can in his 55 gallon tank and getting really excited when you walk by. but still...i want a bunny!!!! maybe not at this point in my life, but some day. in the meantime i'll satisfy my longing with pictures of bunnies caught mid-jump.

{pictures from janneke on flickr}

of walking in ice.

so i finally broke down and purchased "of walking in ice" from amazon. it's really short {95 pages}, simply presented, and is full of so, so many editing and spelling errors. it's ridiculous. 3 weeks worth of talking about snow and rain and more rain and blisters and breaking into summer homes and how much he stinks and the overwhelming loneliness of the road and the landscape. the writing is in a disjointed, stream-of-conscious style. less prose than just a series of thoughts. gems like...

"no one has any idea just how many mice there are in the world, it's unimaginable."

"the tangerines make me completely euphoric."

"as i walk the word 'millet', which i've always liked so much, just wont leave my mind."

all of these might sounds like criticisms, but i love it. it's especially great if you read it in werner's voice. here he is talking about the obscenity of the jungle, just in case you're not familiar.