Saturday, April 16, 2016

Beauty Tip: Egg White Face Mask


Egg white face masks seem to be the rage these days with many YouTube videos and home remedy books touting the benefits of egg white treatments.  In truth, egg whites masks have been around since ancient times and were a staple of beauty books throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Egg White Face Mask Recipe

Here is a typical recipe and instructions for a typical egg white mask: 
  1. Place the white of one egg into a bowl. 
  2. Add a few drops of lemon juice
  3. Whisk until the mixture is a froth. 
  4. Then wash your face.
  5. Apply the face mask and let dry for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  6. Rinse your face with some water and pat dry.
Voila, a new and more beautiful you.

But does this home remedy really work? We did some checking and here's what we found....

Harper's Bazaar magazine article from 1919 recommends a face mask made from ground
barley, honey and a beaten egg white.


Egg Masks Work....To A Point

In 1965, two cosmetic chemists were asked to investigate the efficacy of Magic Secret, a wrinkle smoothing lotion sold by Helene Curtis, that contained albumen (a protein found in eggs, milk, and other animal and vegetable tissues) as the primary ingredient.  The researchers conducted a test on 50 women and then reported the results in the Journal of Cosmetic Chemists.* Here's what they discovered: 
  • As the albumen lotion dried, the subjects of the experiment felt a tightening sensation and that there was a noticeable reduction in wrinkles on their skin.
  • Under a microscope, the finest wrinkle lines became invisible and moderate wrinkles appeared more shallow.
  • The largest furrows around the eyes and mouth were not noticeable effected.
  • All individuals responded to the treatment, but to varying degrees.
  • The effect of the treatment lasted between 2-6 hours.
  • When the effects begin to wane, re-moistening the skin re-instated the effect. 
  • The researchers concluded that the treatment worked because the albumen contracted as it dried and caused the skin within the wrinkle to rise upward so that the furrow became shallower. 
The bottom line - albumen masks can improve the appearance of your skin, but the effects are temporary and the deepest wrinkles won't be effected.

Helene Curtis' Magic Secret was albumen. The product caused a
sensation when released in 1964.

Our Recommendations:
  • There is evidence that egg white masks can help temporarily hide small to moderate wrinkles. Since backyard chicken owners have plenty of eggs, the cost of trying an egg mask is pretty small and probably worth a try.  
  • Although backyard chickens are less likely than those that live in commercial flocks to have salmonella, it is possible for your chickens to harbor this type of bacteria. Placing contaminated egg on the open pores of your face could pose a hazard, so only use clean and freshly laid eggs for egg masks and don't get any of the yolk into the mixture as the yolk is more likely to contain salmonella than the white.
  • If you suffer from acne, you may want to pass on this treatment entirely. The egg white can clog the pores of your skin and lead to an outbreak.
Have You Tried An Egg White Mask?

If you've tried an egg white mask, please let us know about your experiences by posting a comment.




*Albert M. Kligman & Christopher M. Papa, Albumen as an Antiwrinkling Cosmetic, Journal of Cosmetic Chemists, 1965. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Three Awesome Quiche Recipes




Quiche is considered a French dish, but historically it traces its roots back to the Lothringen in medieval Germany. The original German quiche was an open pie made with a bread dough crust and filled with smoked bacon and an egg and cream custard. When the Lothringen became a French territory in 1871, the region was renamed Lorraine and hence the now very familiar quiche Lorraine.




Quiche is not hard to make and nothing is more satisfying than creating one using your own fresh-from-the-hen-house eggs. To make these recipes faster and easier, we recommend using a Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust.



Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients
  • 12 strips of bacon 
  • 2 cup whipping cream or half & half
  • 1/2 cup finely diced sweet yellow onions.
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 oz grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pre-made pie crust (Pillsbury etc.)
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook bacon in a skillet till crisp. Cut into small pieces and place into a bowl.
  • Add the cheese and onions to the bowl.
  • In a second bowl, combine whipping cream/half and half, eggs salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together ingredients.
  • Place crust into 9" glass pan.
  • Please the dry ingredients (bacon, onions, cheese) into the bottom of the pie crust.
  • Pour egg mixture into the pie pan.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes.  Depending on temperature accuracy of your oven, the cooking process could take anywhere from 35-50 minutes, so test at 35 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter.  To test, place a knife into the quiche. If the knife, comes out clean, the quiche is ready.
  • Let stand 5 minutes and serve.
  • Bon Appetite!


Bacon & Arugula Quiche

Ingredients

  • 7 strips of bacon 
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions or shallots
  • 5 ounces baby arugula or stemmed "full size" arugula
  • 1 cup whipping cream or half & half
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 oz grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Pre-made pie crust (Pillsbury etc.)
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook bacon in a skillet till crisp. Cut into small pieces and set aside.
  • Add onions or shallots to pan and saute in the bacon fat over medium heat till tender.
  • Add arugula and cook for 1-2 minutes until wilted. 
  • Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Combine whipping cream/half and half, eggs salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together ingredients.
  • Add grated cheese to egg mixture.
  • Place crust into 9" glass pan.
  • Please the contents of skillet into bottom of pie crust.
  • Sprinkle bacon on top of skillet ingredients you just placed into the pan.
  • Pour egg mixture into the pie pan.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes.  Depending on temperature accuracy of your oven, the cooking process could take anywhere from 35-50 minutes, so test at 35 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter.  To test, place a knife into the quiche. If the knife, comes out clean, the quiche is ready.
  • Let stand 5 minutes and serve.
  • Bon Appetite!


Mushroom & Onion Quiche

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions or shallots
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme or 3/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • 1 cup whipping cream or half & half
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 oz grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Pre-made pie crust (Pillsbury etc.)
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place butter into a pan on medium heat.
  • Add onions or shallots and saute till tender.
  • Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Increase to high heat and cook mushroom till tender, stirring constantly so they don't burn. 
  • Add thyme and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Combine whipping cream/half and half, eggs salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together ingredients.
  • Add grated cheese to egg mixture.
  • Place crust into 9" glass pan.
  • Please the contents of skillet into bottom of pie crust.
  • Pour egg mixture into the pie pan.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes.  Depending on temperature accuracy of your oven, the cooking process could take anywhere from 35-50 minutes, so test at 35 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter.  To test, place a knife into the quiche. If the knife, comes out clean, the quiche is ready.
  • Let stand 5 minutes and serve.
  • Bon Appetite!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Flighty Chickens & Human Anxiety

According to a report in the Psychiatric Advisor, researchers at the University of Sweden may have identified the genes that cause some people to be more anxious than others by studying chickens. Yup, chickens!

As all chicken owners know, some chicken breeds are considered docile and others more flighty. The Swedish research team studied anxiety by crossbreeding domesticated Leghorns (less flighty) with wild Jungle Fowl (more flighty).

Red Jungle Fowl - Photo by Jason Thompson

The team then placed the resulting hybrid offspring into a field trial where the birds were introduced to an unfamiliar environment and observed their behavior.  More anxious birds tended to remain frozen with fear or darted about wildly while less anxious birds tended to explore their environment at a more measured pace. By then studying the genes of these birds they were able to identify 10 genes that appear to control anxiety in chickens. Three of the same genes in humans have been linked to schizophrenia, a disease that often overlaps with other anxiety disorders.

I suspect that the researchers chose Leghorns for the study because they are widely available and are less anxious than wild Jungle Fowl. However, it does appear an odd choice to us backyard chicken owners because Leghorns tend to be one of the more flighty of the domestic breeds.  I would have thought an Orpington or Delaware to be a better choice based on their reputations as docile birds. 


Delaware - Photo by Steven Walling

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Chicken's Christmas Carol



A Chicken's Christmas Carol Video

Saturday, November 7, 2015

unny 1 Bedroom Apt with Chickens

"Sunny 1 Bedroom Apt with Chickens!" 




This is a real Craigslist posting for a rental apartment. Only

in Berkeley, California could someone promote fast Wi-Fi

and use of a chicken coop together as features of a rental

apartment.



Here's the Listing.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why Chickens Lay Fewer Eggs In Winter

If you've had chickens for more than one season, you already know that egg production declines dramatically in Fall and Winter.  Many backyard flock owners assume that this is in response to lower temperatures but, in reality, it's a response to lower levels of light. 



In addition to their eyes, chicken's sense light thorough a gland in their brains that lies behind a thin area of bone on their skulls. The gland produces a hormone in response to light and this hormone controls egg production. 

Normally, chickens begin laying eggs in the spring when light levels exceed 14 hours per day. Producing more eggs in spring is a survival strategy; baby chicks are more likely to thrive in Spring and Summer when food is plentiful. Conversely, egg laying slows or ceases when light levels fall since this is a harbinger of leaner times to come. 

The difference in light levels between Winter and Summer will be most pronounced in northern latitudes where daylight hours vary the most.  The difference is due to the tilt of the Earth's axis.  (For a detailed explanation of how the Earth's axis impacts hours of daylight, check out the video at the end of this post.)

Below are the number of daylight hours in December and June for three cities that represent northern (Boston), central (Nashville) and southern (Austin) latitudes in the United States. As you can see, in Boston there's a 7 hour variation between Winter and Summer hours of daylight. In Austin, this variation is only 3 hours. What this means is that flock owners in the South will see a less severe change in egg production in the Fall and Winter than those who live in the North.


Man Made Sunshine For More Eggs

If you want to boost egg production in Winter, the answer is to create a little artificial sunshine to increase the total amount of daylight hours. A chicken's photo-receptors don't distinguish between the sun and and a light bulb, so running a fluorescent or incandescent light inside the coop can re-start egg laying during the winter months.

To do this, increase the total daylight hours by turning on the light in the morning so that the there are 16 hours daylight and 8 hours of darkness in any given day.


Using an incandescent light provides an additional benefit as these lights also throw off quite a bit of heat. A 40 watt bulb placed inside the coop can keep the temperature of the coop above freezing.  If you have a BriteTap poultry waterer or other chicken waterer that can freeze in the Winter, placing the waterer inside a coop with a light will also keep the waterer from freezing up.  More eggs and no frozen waterer is a double plus in our book.

The Earth's Axis & The Impact on Daylight Hours