Food prep hacks - buttermilk and hard-boiled eggs

We are all looking for ways to make cooking tasks easier or possible, especially when pressed for time or in need of a specific gadget or ingredient that is not readily available. 

As part of our weekly newsletter (which is FREE - you can sign up on the main page of our website), Joey has featured a few of her food prep hacks to help you out in the kitchen. Here are two of her latest hacks. If you have a food prep struggle or concern that you'd like her to figure out, just send us an email via our website. 

Homemade Buttermilk
By Joey Mock, RD, LD, CLT
Most of us have come across recipes that we would really like to try but that call for an ingredient that is not a kitchen staple that we keep on hand. For me (and likely many others), buttermilk is one of those ingredients. I don’t typically keep it on hand (and don't really like purchasing a carton for a half-cup or cup serving) but love to use it in things like pancakes, muffins, and quick breads for that extra tenderness and fluffiness. I do however typically have milk and lemons on hand and discovered and have been using this homemade buttermilk food preparation hack for some time now with great results. It can be made in about 10 minutes (usually while you are preparing the rest of your recipe ingredients). Next time that you come across buttermilk in a recipe but it's not already in your refrigerator, make your own with this easy food prep hack.

  • 4 ½ teaspoons (or 1 Tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Place the lemon juice in a glass measuring cup and add milk to the 1 cup line.
  2. Stir to combine and let stand for about 10-12 minutes (milk will thicken during this time).
  3. Use as needed in your recipes that call for buttermilk.

Oven baked hard cooked eggs 

By Joey Mock, RD, LD, CLT

Hard cooked eggs make a convenient protein addition to meals and snacks. While it is a seemingly simple process, there is definitely a technique to achieving perfect hard boiled eggs that are not over or under cooked. When I recently saw this kitchen hack posted on social media by Registered Dietitian colleague Erin Palinski-Wade, I knew that I had to try it myself. Oven baked hard cooked eggs . . . I must say that I was a little nervous of oven “egg explosion” so I tested the technique using just 6 eggs (you may want to place a baking sheet below the muffin pan the first time that you try this in your oven just in case). What I found from my kitchen experiment: 
  • It was amazingly simple-place whole eggs in the cups of a muffin tin, bake, and put in an ice bath.
  • I didn’t have to keep an eye on a boiling pot of water and remember to time multiple steps (turning off the stove, covering and removing from the heat and letting the eggs sit for a period of time in the pot, etc) to achieve the perfect hard boiled eggs.
  • I found the eggs to be easier to peel than when I boil them.
  • They turned out great!
Since oven temperatures vary and cooking time may vary with number of eggs cooked (it may take about 30 minutes to bake a dozen eggs), it may take a little trial and error in your oven but this is one kitchen hack that I will definitely be using again. 
  • 6 eggs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place 1 egg in each cup of a regular or mini muffin pan.
2. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes (be sure to set your oven timer to avoid over or under-cooking the eggs). 
3. While the eggs are baking, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water. 
4. When the eggs are done, remove from the pan with oven mitts and place in the ice bath. Let sit in the ice bath for about 10 minutes.
5.  Peel off the shell under cool running water and enjoy!


To my friend Laura

The world lost an amazing person on Tuesday. My amazing friend Laura finished her journey on Earth and is now in a more comfortable place, looking over all her friends and family members, including her husband, brothers and sisters, mom and dad and two young kids.

Laura lost her one-year battle with stage IV non-smoker lung cancer but you'd never know what she was battling as she always carried a beautiful smile, a positive attitude, helping heart and words of wisdom wherever she went.

Although I wasn't in a lot of contact with Laura since moving from Jacksonville to Greenville in May 2014, Laura was the type of friend who was always there - no matter how little we talked or saw each other, she was always there when I needed her or wanted to catch up. I am sure others can agree that Laura was a loyal friend to everyone she cared about.

When I moved to Jacksonville with Karel in 2008, I didn't know anyone in the area. Laura was my very first friend. We met (appropriately) at the YMCA pool and if I remember correctly, we were both wearing fruit/vegetable themed shirts.....and instant match. Laura was a RD and I was becoming a RD. Laura had a dog (Beethoven) that had a similar look and personality of Campy. We traded dog babysitting whenever needed and we loved talking food, triathlon and health. For my birthday one year, Laura made me Carrot Cake and every year thereafter she continued to make me carrot cake on my birthday. I still keep this tradition up today with store-bought carrot cake in her honor.  Although Laura had Lupus, it never affected our relationship. She was always energetic, active and courageous.I had the honor of coaching Laura to many finishing lines - including a half ironman distance triathlon! Last year, I featured Laura on my blog as a way to raise money for her cancer and to shine the spotlight on this amazing human being.

Although I try to keep this blog educational, inspirational and motivational, I wanted to take the time to shine the light on my amazing friend Laura. I find myself thinking of her a lot, every day since her passing and feeling lucky that I had the chance to call Laura my friend. On Laura's Facebook page, her background picture read: BE POSITIVE (featured above). This was Laura All. The. Time. I don't know how it happens but somehow I find myself gravitating toward energy givers and avoiding the energy suckers. While it doesn't always happen this way, Laura was one of those energy givers that you just wanted to be around All. The. Time.

Laura accomplished so much in her short life. She wrote a book, crossed many athletic finish lines, adopted two amazing kids, started her own business, volunteered, worked PRN as a clinical RD and was always pursuing the next challenge with grit, determination and a big smile.

Positivity is choosing to see the bright side of situations. Laura did a remarkable job at this, even during her fight with cancer. She believed in the power of a positive attitude and having hope that things will always get better. Laura always chose a positive, cheerful, can-do, confident attitude and I admired her so much.

To my friend Laura - thank you for being YOU. You will be missed deeply but your bright light will always shine over me, making me smile as I think of you.


Sport Nutrition product review - Base Real Bars

Base Performance
Boulder, CO
About the Company from the website:

Base Performance provides premiere nutritional supplements for endurance athletes. They have developed a unique and simple system with a variety of products for endurance athletes to improve performance, gain lean muscle, increase endurance and enhance recovery. Athletes know the value and importance of base training. The theory behind BASE Performance is no different.

Having a strong base nutritionally will allow athletes to maintain a healthy body so that they can train, adapt and get stronger so that they can perform at their best.

BASE Performance is nutrition for athletes of all abilities striving to accomplish their goals, live healthy lives, and achieve greatness.

Product Reviewed:
Base Energy Bars Real Bars (5 flavors)
  • Fudge Brownie -Cocoa / Chia / Dates / Quinoa / Honey
  • Almond Peanut - Peanuts / Almonds / Honey / Oats
  • Peanut Butter / Dates / Quinoa / Honey
  • Sweet Apple Crisp - Apples / Dates / Quinoa / Honey / Chia
  • Lime Berry - Cranberry / Lime / Apple / Almond / Honey

Other Base Products:
Electrolyte Salt
Recovery Activator

Label Claims:
  • Certified Organic
  • Certified Non-GMO
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Soy Free
  • Zero Artificial Ingredients
  • No Added Sugar
Nutrition Facts Example:  

Serving Size: 1 bar         
Calories: 180
Total Fat: 7g
Sodium: 55mg
Total Carb: 27g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 15g
Protein: 4g  

Organic almonds, organic honey, organic rice syrup, organic oats, organic dried cranberries (organic dried cranberries, organic apple juice concentrate, organic sunflower oil), organic apples, organic chia, organic sorghum, organic lime juice, organic glycerine, organic cherry flavor, Himalayan pink salt, organic cinnamon

  • Tasty flavors
  • 2 different distinct textures
  • Nutrient-dense on-the-go snack
  • Savory compliment to sweet sport drinks when cycling