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Making life better, one new skill at a time.

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    Hard (or Medium) Boiled Eggs 🥚🎬

    Hard (or Medium) Boiled Eggs 🥚🎬

    This post is 334 words, a 1 min 20 sec reading time. It is the (updated) 13th lesson of How to Boil Water. It is also part of the Breakfast Collection.

    📺 Video Demonstration (1 min 37 sec)

    📍 Introduction

    Packed with protein & speedy to make, hard (or medium)-boiled eggs are a delicious, timeless, economical treat.

    The trick to nailing boiled eggs is ensuring they cook for a precise number of minutes. If overcooked, eggs are hard to peel, tough & chewy. They can also have powdery & tasteless yolks. 😝

    For a more delicate egg with a tender & creamy interior, set a timer and let the simmering water do the rest. If you have a penchant for jammy & gooey yolks, aim for a 7-minute egg. For a little firmer, try 9-10 min. Go ahead and experiment to determine what type of eggs you like best.

    🧂 Ingredients & Equipment:

    Eggs

    Timer (optional)

    Slotted spoon (optional)

    ✅ Instructions:

    Boil water 

    Slowly lower eggs into the water

    Set timer. For medium, 7 min. For hard, 9-10 min. Soft 4-5 min.

    Slightly lower heat

    Prepare ice bath

    Remove eggs, place in the ice bath for ~1-2 min, or until they are slightly warm.

    Peel, dress, serve, eat or store! 

    📝 Notes, Tips, Tricks

    By cooking at a simmer (instead of a rolling boil), the eggs will bounce around less. This reduces the chances of cracking.

    To start eggs in cold water, make two adjustments. (1) Turn off the heat once the water is boiling. (2) Let rest covered to finish cooking. Soft is 4 min, Medium = 6 min, Hard = 8 min. 

    Shocking the eggs helps shrink the cooked egg, separating it from the shell and making for easier peeling. It also cools them, making for more comfortable handling. 

    Older eggs peel easier. Fresh ones can be nearly impossible. 

    Boiled eggs can elevate salads, soups, ramen, sandwiches & more. 

    Popular toppings include flakey sea salt (we love Maldon), olive oil, herbs, mayonnaise, hollandaise. 

    Boiled eggs last in the fridge for ~ one week. Leave the peel on for freshness. When in doubt, crack open and take a sniff. If it smells bad, toss it. 

    📓 Simmering Time Reference Guide

    🎓 Further Studies:

    Bon Appetite’s Jammy Soft-Boiled Eggs

    25 Recipes to Make with Hard-Boiled Eggs

    How to Peel an Egg in under 10 Seconds - 3 Methods

    ——————————————————

    ✏️ Did you like this lesson? Loved it! ⭐️ · Pretty good 🤷‍♂️ · Could be better 😐

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    🗝 New/Beta: Premium Member’s Corner. For access, subscribe here.

    🍳 Want to learn more about cooking? Table of Contents: Cooking Level 1.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.trylifeschool.com/subscribe

    • 2 min
    The Philosophy of MaxF 🎙⭐️🎬

    The Philosophy of MaxF 🎙⭐️🎬

    This lesson is 552 words, a 2 min 12 second reading time. It is part of the Efficiency Collection and features Claire Conly, Life School’s first guest star. 🎙⭐️ Claire is currently the VP of Analytics at Thumbtack. Prior to that, she spent eight years at the management consulting firm Bain & Company.

    📍 Introduction 

    Claire Conly’s philosophy, “MaxF,” is about making life better by being more efficient. From strategizing errands routes to optimizing downtime while cooking, Claire has a knack for making the most of getting stuff done. To learn about MaxF, check out the video interview & her note below. 👇 

    📺 Link to YouTube

    📨 Claire’s Note  

    MaxF (also spelled MaxEff) is short for Maximum Efficiency. In fact, it’s a very efficient nickname for Maximum Efficiency. I didn’t invent the term; it was passed along by a friend. But I quickly made it a lifestyle. If you can believe it, when I left my last job, my team made me a cake that said “Stay MaxF.”

    To me, MaxF isn’t just about mechanical efficiency. MaxF is about improving your life by getting a lot done, easily. We all have lots of daily operations in our lives - shopping, cooking, cleaning, appointments, errands, and projects. When you get a lot done, and it’s not a big deal, you have more time and mindshare for the things you enjoy. Whether you enjoy taking on more interesting projects, spending time with family, or just enjoying some leisure time, living MaxF will help you do more of it.

    The principles of MaxF are:

    If you can do something now, do it now instead of later. That way, you have less to do later! This one is simple - don’t procrastinate.

    Make use of “dead” time. If you’re waiting for some water to come to a boil or something to bake in the oven, wash the dirty prep dishes and wipe down the counter. Then you’ll have fewer dishes to do after your meal. Often this time is wasted scrolling social media or your phone. Make these bits of time useful so you can have longer chunks of time for fun later since the work is already done.

    Do things in small batches rather than all at once. Instead of tidying up the living room once a week when you can’t bear the mess anymore, tidy it up a little bit every time you notice that it needs it, or get in the habit of taking one thing to put away every time you leave the room. Similarly, wipe up a mess right away, even if it’s just with a sponge and water. This helps keep things from getting super dirty. When done in small batches, chores don’t pile up and become a big event requiring lots of time and effort. Things just get done, easily.

    Have fun with it. Finding little ways to get stuff done quickly can become a bit addictive, like a game. Once you start, you’ll see all kinds of ways to MaxF your life. Give yourself a break from being MaxF if you need it. The point is to improve your life, not make it less fun. It’s not about being serious or extreme. Pour a glass of wine and turn on some good music if you need to.

    Make it a habit. Eventually, you don’t think about being MaxF - you just ARE MaxEff. And people will marvel at you.

    ✏️ What did you think of this lesson? 

    Loved it! ⭐️ · Pretty good 🤷‍♂️ · Could be better 😐

    ———

    🍳 Want to learn more about cooking? Check out Cooking Level 1.

    🧺 Sick of cooking? Check out Cleaning, Laundry, Efficiency & DIY

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    • 7 min
    How to Make French Toast 🍞🎬

    How to Make French Toast 🍞🎬

    This lesson is 467 words, a 1 min 52 second reading time. It is part of our Winter Collection.

    📺 Watch on YouTube.

    📍 Introduction 

    A brunchtime classic, french toast is hearty, delicious, and quite customizable. An excellent use of stale bread, french toast elevates the most basic ingredients (e.g., eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, oil) and turns them into a fluffy, scrumptious, crispy-on-the-edges treat. 

    The trick to french toast is temperature control, which makes it a great practice recipe. Once you get down the fundamentals, experiment a bit with your flavorings & toppings. You never know what you will discover! 

    🧂 Ingredients:  

    Makes one serving  

    Two slices of bread 

    One egg

    ¼ cup milk/cream 

    Kosher salt (big pinch)

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    Neutral oil (e.g., canola, safflower)

    Butter (optional)

    Sugar (optional, 1-2 teaspoons per serving) 

    Additional flavorings/toppings (optional)

    ✅ Instructions: 

    Vigorously whisk all ingredients except bread in a flat & wide dish.

    Soak bread in the custard for ~5 minutes.

    Heat a pan for medium-high for ~2 min & then add oil.  

    Fry the bread 3-4 min per side on medium heat, until golden brown.

    Serve hot with toppings. 

    📝 Notes, Tips & Tricks

    Ingredients: 

    Dry, stale bread is best as it absorbs custard more easily.  

    Thick slices of airy bread (e.g., challah, brioche) are tastiest. They have more heft and fluff up while cooking. 

    Ends, bread with crusts, & sliced bread all work fine too. 

    Too much dairy and the egg won’t cook through. 

    Half & half adds extra richness. 

    Cooking: 

    *Do not fry in butter alone* — butter burns quickly, leading to browned exteriors and goopy, undercooked interiors. 

    Instead, use a neutral oil of your choice (e.g., canola, coconut). For buttery flavor, add some towards the end of cooking. 

    If the custard seeps out under the bread while cooking, you did not pre-heat the pan sufficiently. 

    To avoid scorching, turn to a low-medium once the bread & custard are cooking.  

    Non-stick pans work best as eggs are sticky.  

    At the first scent of smoke, briefly remove the pan from heat. 

    Other

    For ultimate efficiency, slice & freeze leftover bread whenever possible. Store in a zip bag in the freezer. Soak slices directly from frozen. 

    Jam heated in the microwave (~15 seconds) makes for a delightful warm topping. 

    For stuffed french toast, spread a layer of goat or cream cheese between two thin pieces of bread, soak & fry.

    Example soaking vessels: pie dish, baking dish or pan, wide & shallow bowl 

    Dietary Restrictions: For dairy-free use nut milk/cream & skip the butter. For gluten-free, use GF bread. 

    📓 French Toast Reference Guide

    Bread: challah, brioche, white, wheat, sourdough, rye 

    Custard flavorings: cinnamon, maple syrup, bourbon, cardamom, nutmeg, orange/lemon zest, honey, brown sugar

    Toppings: hot jam/preserves, butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, yogurt, whipped cream, fresh fruit, nutella

    🎓 Further Study

    Challah French Toast [NYTimes]

    14 French Toast Recipes [Spruce Eats]

    31 Life-Changing Ways To Eat French Toast [Tasty] 

    ——

    🗝 New/Beta: Premium Member’s Corner. For access, subscribe here.

    ✏️ What did you think of this lesson? 5 question survey.

    🧺 Need a break from cooking? Check out Cleaning, Laundry, Efficiency & DIY

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    • 4 min
    How to Poach an Egg 🥚🎬

    How to Poach an Egg 🥚🎬

    This lesson is 431 words, a 1 min 43 second reading time. It is part of our new course, Poaching, Simmering & Steaming. 

    🎬 Demonstration Video:

    📍 Introduction: 

    Poached eggs are delicious, nutritious, economical & versatile. Whether you have them for breakfast alongside a piece of toast or at dinner topping a grain bowl or bed of sautéed greens, a poached egg can add high-leverage nutrition & rich flavor to almost anything, fast. Like riding a bicycle, once you poach, you’ll know how to do it for the rest of your life. All you need is a little patience and practice. Good luck! 

    🧂 Ingredients: 

    Egg(s)

    ~ 2 tsp vinegar (e.g., white, apple cider) - (optional)

    1 tsp kosher salt (optional)

    ⚙️ Unique Gear: 

    Slotted spoon (recommended)

    ✅ Instructions: 

    Drop Method (easiest, can accommodate 2+ eggs at a time): 

    Bring water to boil in a small pot/saucepan. 

    Turn down heat & add vinegar/salt. Let the water simmer gently.

    Crack the egg into a small dish (e.g., cup, ramekin).  

    Carefully slip the egg from the dish into the water.

    When whites set (~2-3 min), remove with a slotted spoon. Cook slightly longer for set yolks.

    Pat the egg dry (gently) with a towel. Top & serve. 

    Whirl Method (intermediate, one egg at a time): 

    Boil water in a small pot/saucepan. 

    Turn down heat. Let water simmer gently.

    Crack egg into a small dish (e.g., cup, ramekin).

    Using a spoon, stir the water in a circle. 

    Once a vortex has formed, slip the egg into the center of the vortex. 

    Watch the vortex shape the egg into a lovely oval. 

    When whites set, remove with a slotted spoon. Cook longer for set yolks.

    Pat the egg dry with a towel. Top & serve. 

    📝 Notes Tips & Tricks

    Vinegar helps keep the whites together. If yours are regularly becoming stringy increase the amount of vinegar slightly. It should not negatively impact taste.

    Sample toppings: olive oil, salt (e.g., sea salt, Maldon flakes), pepper, sauce (e.g., hollandaise), crunch (e.g., seed mixture, everything bagel spice)

    Sample bases: grain bowl (e.g., quinoa, rice, grits), ramen, avocado toast, sautéed greens, salad (e.g., frisée, kale), lentils, benedict (e.g., English muffin & ham or smoked salmon).  

    An egg has 75 calories, 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat. *Note - these vary depending on the size of egg.

    Once you master the ramekin/bowl & slip technique, try cracking the eggs directly into the water. *Note - watch your fingers! 

    To poach an egg inside of the shell, you can use the sous vide technique. 

    🎓 Further Study

    How to Boil Water [Life School]

    How to Poach an Egg Perfectly [Downshiftology]

    Poaching an Egg [NY Times]

    20 Great Ways to Eat Fried or Poached Eggs [Serious Eats]

    22 Poached Egg Recipes for Any Meal [Bon Appetite]

    What did you think of this lesson? 

    Loved it! ⭐️ · Pretty good 🤷‍♂️ · Could be better 😐

    ———

    📚 Want to learn more? Check out the Table of Contents or Collections.

    🎧 Prefer to listen? Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or Overcast.

    ✏️ What do you want to learn? Fill out this 1-question form.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.trylifeschool.com/subscribe

    • 3 min
    Hot Cocoa & Hot Chocolate ♨️🍫🎬

    Hot Cocoa & Hot Chocolate ♨️🍫🎬

    This lesson is 515 words, a 2 min 3 second reading time. It is part of the ❄️ Winter Collection ❄️.

    📍 Introduction

    Hot cocoa is sweet, warm, and chocolaty, making it a lovely treat after a meal. Easy and fast, this dessert beverage is also economical and endlessly variable. While the base recipe requires only a few ingredients, you can get creative with your add-ins, flavorings & toppings. 

    For a thicker, creamier version, we add chocolate - which yields… Hot Chocolate! What a trick. 

    ⚙️ Unique Gear: 

    Whisk

    🧂 Ingredients: 

    Makes 1 serving

    2 tbsp cocoa  

    1 tbsp sugar (or more to taste)

    1 cup (8 oz) milk 

    Pinch of salt (optional)

    Semisweet/Dark Chocolate (optional)

    Toppings & Additions (optional)

    📓 Hot Cocoa & Chocolate Reference Guide

    Sweetener: sugar (white, brown, crystals), honey, maple syrup, artificial  

    Milk: whole, 2%, half & half, coconut, nut (e.g., cashew, almond), oat

    Chocolate: dark, semisweet, milk, white 

    Toppings: marshmallow, shaved chocolate, cocoa powder, melted caramel, toasted coconut, whipped cream 

    Additions: extracts (e.g., vanilla, peppermint), spices (e.g., cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, chili powder), coffee (e.g., drip, instant), salt (e.g., kosher, sea, fleur de sel) 

    Liquor: kahlua, irish cream, chocolate/raspberry liquer, peppermint schnapps, bailey’s, bourbon

    ⏲ Instructions: 

    Hot Cocoa: 5-10 min

    Heat milk in a saucepan over medium. *Do not boil* 

    Blend cocoa powder & sugar/sweetener. Add a dash of milk or water. Blend into a thick paste. 

    When milk is hot (~165-185°F), remove from heat. 

    Whisk paste & milk together (in mug or saucepan). 

    Add toppings/flavorings, taste, adjust & serve. 

    Hot Chocolate: 10 min

    Make hot cocoa in a saucepan (see above).

    Separately, chop up chocolate. Add to cocoa & remove from heat. 

    Whisk until melted, dark & velvety. A bit longer for extra thick. 

    Add toppings/flavors, taste, adjust & serve. 

    📝 Notes, Tips & Tricks: 

    There are two main types of Cocoa Powder: Dutch (e.g., Droste), which offers a neutral flavor, and Natural (more acidic & more robust flavor). Both work well for hot cocoa. 

    The ratios of cocoa and sweetener to milk are highly customizable. For a more intense flavor, reduce sweetener & increase cocoa. For a sweeter beverage, do the inverse. 

    Milk is an emulsion of butterfat, proteins, and water. When boiled, those components break apart. The milk coagulates and separates from the water, creating curdled milk. Curdled milk is lumpy and can ruin the texture of hot cocoa. 

    Milk boils at 203°F. Pull the milk long before it reaches that point (e.g., 160-185°F) 

    To make chocolate milk, chill the hot cocoa/chocolate.

    To reheat, microwave (& check) in 30-second increments. 

    Premium bittersweet or dark chocolate adds next-level complex flavor.  

    For traditional hot cocoa, leave out the chocolate. 

    For Parisian-style hot chocolate (aka Chocolat Chaud), reduce milk and increase the chocolate (about 1.25 oz of chocolate, ½ cup milk, cocoa optional). To thicken, simmer for a few minutes after the chocolate has melted. 

    Store-bought mix/powder is convenient but often overly sweet & watery. Additionally, it contains additives & preservatives. (Here are the Swiss Miss ingredients.) 

    🎓 Further Study

    What’s the Difference Between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate?

    Dutch-process vs. Natural Cocoa Powder

    Parisian Hot Chocolate Recipe: Le Chocolat Chaud

    13 Alcoholic Hot Chocolate Recipes for a Cold Winter Night

    ———

    📚 Want to learn more? Check out the Table of Contents or Collections.

    🎧 Prefer to listen? Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or Overcast.

    ✏️ What do you want to learn? Fill out this 1-question form.

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.trylifeschool.com/subscribe

    • 4 min
    Taco Tuesday (or Every Day) 🌮🎬

    Taco Tuesday (or Every Day) 🌮🎬

    This lesson is 356 words, a 1 min 25 second reading time. It is the eighth lesson of Lunch 2.0.

    Crispy tacos with jack cheese, leftover sautéed onions, & ground chicken. Garnished with cilantro & sour cream.

    📍 Introduction: 

    Pre-dating the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico, tacos are now beloved globally. Consisting of a corn or wheat tortilla heaped with fillings and garnish, tacos are nutritious, tasty, and versatile. 

    Additionally, they are fun to experiment with. Traditional varieties consist primarily of meat & garnish, but chefs have embraced the taco as a palate for broad creative expression. Give yourself license to experiment. You might discover something divine. 

    🧂 Ingredients: 

    Tortillas (e.g., corn, wheat) 

    Fillings 

    Garnish 

    ✅ Instructions: 

    Stovetop-warmed: 

    Heat large pan (cast iron recommended)

    Add tortillas. Don't crowd. 

    Warm ~15-30 sec on each side. 

    Keep warm by wrapping in a kitchen towel. 

    Oven-warmed: 

    Preheat the oven to 350-400°F.

    Wrap tortillas in foil. 

    Heat 5-10 min, depending on the stack's size.

    Crispy w/ cheese:

    Heat pan & add oil. 

    Add tortillas. Flip after ~1 min. 

    Add thinly sliced cheese. 

    Top with a lid (optional, cover loosely to speed up melting)  

    Remove when crisp/melted to your preference. 

    📝 Notes Tips & Tricks

    Microwave warming is okay in a pinch but not recommended. It can lead to rips & odd texture. 

    Tortillas freeze well. Defrost them individually or together.  

    To make a quesadilla, use a larger, flour-based tortilla. Fold it over, or top with a second. 

    If using leftovers, dice & reheat before using as filling. 

    📓 Taco Inspiration Reference Guide: 

    Crunch: cabbage, lettuce, onion, slaw

    Sweet: salsa, pico de gallo, pickled red onion, corn

    Creamy: cheese (e.g., jack, cotija), sliced avocado, guacamole, sour cream, queso

    Seasoning: herbs (e.g., cilantro), chiles/jalapenos, lime juice, hot sauce

    Protein: meat, poultry, fish, seafood, deli meat, beans, scrambled eggs

    Leftovers: roasted vegetables, roasted chicken, boiled/blanched vegetables

    🗂 Recipe: Breakfast Tacos 🍳

    Ingredients: corn tortillas, eggs, olive oil, salt, cheese (optional), toppings/garnish (optional) 

    Instructions: (1) make crispy tacos, (2) make scrambled eggs (🎬 demo), (3) top tacos with eggs & garnish as desired.

    Video recipes/demos 🎬 : 20-sec version, IG step-by-step

    🎓 Further Study

    Taco [Wikipedia]

    Our Best Tacos (44 recipes) [NYTimes]

    40+ Recipes for Taco Tuesday

    Breakfast Tacos 🎬 [Life School, Instagram]

    Breakfast Tacos 🎬 [Life School, TikTok version]

    How to Scramble an Egg 🎬 [Life School]

    ———

    📚 Want to learn more? Check out the Table of Contents or Collections.

    🎧 Prefer to listen? Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or Overcast.

    🎳 Team for this lesson: Michelle Tandler & April Word

    This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at www.trylifeschool.com/subscribe

    • 3 min

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