Thursday, May 15, 2014

Creative Quiche

With 55 chickens, our family eats a whole lot of eggs! We sell quite a few, but we have plenty left for our family. That’s a good thing because eggs are good for you. But a few days in a row of the same scrambled eggs with muffins gets a little bit tiring. So we are always looking for good egg recipes.

A sweet friend of mine from church gave me this basic recipe for quiche along with a couple variations. I’ve added a few of my own to the bundle.

Basic Quiche
  • 12 eggs
  • 12 shakes of salt (or about a ½ teaspoon)
  • 12 shakes of pepper (or about ½ teaspoon)
  • 6 shakes of garlic powder (or about a ¼ teaspoon)
  • ½ cup of cottage cheese (you could use sour cream or plain yogurt too, but I think cottage cheese works best texture-wise)
  • Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour. It depends on how thick your quiche is.
  • This basic quiche recipe can be halved or doubled and the ratios are easy to remember. For every egg, a shake of salt, a shake of pepper, and half as much garlic... with a spoonful of something white.

Broccoli Cheddar
To the basic recipe add…
  • 1 cup of finely chopped broccoli florets
  • 2/3 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 of a medium onion, diced

Mushroom Parmesan
To the basic recipe add…
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 of a medium onion, diced

Spinach Parmesan
To the basic recipe add…
  • 1 cup cooked or frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Peppers and onions
To the basic recipe add…
  • 1/2 parmesan cheese
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • about ¾ to 1 cup of sautéed red, yellow, and orange peppers
  • 1 medium sautéed onion
  • about 8 shakes of crushed red pepper flakes, if you like spice

Yesterday, I was making up a recipe for quiche, and I came up with the peppers and onions variation. I didn’t put cheese in though, and we didn’t have cottage cheese, so the result was more like baked scrambled eggs. Very flavorful, but not very quichey. I think the cheese would make a huge difference. Actually, you could add cheese to the top of any of these variations. Cheese makes everything yummy.

I don’t use a crust for my quiches (as you can see from the picture). It may sound weird, but that’s the way my family likes it best.

Most of the time, when I use a dozen eggs, I cook the quiche in an 8” by 8” pan.

The muffins in these pictures are a successful batch of the Fabulously Funny Flop, with added craisins, coconut and almonds.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Simple Solidarity

Last week, we decided to do an experiment as a family. An experiment to relate to the millions and millions of people who have fewer resources than we do. A simple exercise in solidarity.

Solidarity…. combination or agreement of all elements or individuals, as of a group; complete unity, as of opinion, purpose, interest, feeling, etc

My family is blessed! We may not be rich in the standards of the world today, but we have an abundance.

1 Timothy 6:6-8. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

Wow! We obviously have more than just food and clothes. The computer I’m typing on right now… at least 95% of the people in the world do not have one of these amazing works of technology.

The six inch wide dictionary I used to find the definition of solidarity… people in third world countries would be shocked and amazed at the amount of paper in that one book. Their kids may not even have a single piece of paper of their own aside from paper for school. If they even can go to school!

Half of the world’s population eats only rice for at least 2 meals a day (nearly 3 billion people). Yet we in America groan with a few days of peanut butter sandwiches or a few nights of leftovers. We feel entitled to variety and expect abundance.

So, for 7 days, my family ate only seven foods and wore only seven clothes. From April 14th to April 21st (which is really 8 days, but we didn’t count Resurrection Sunday since we were out with family) we made all our meals out of: rice, beans, greens, eggs, whole wheat flour, applesauce from last fall, and ground beef, plus sparing coconut oil, salt, and pepper. No cheese, no other spices, and no chocolate! No sweeteners of any kind either.

And all eight days, even Resurrection Sunday, we wore seven clothes. Not outfits… seven clothes, including our jackets for early morning farm chores.

Some of our meals were:

  • Beefy scrambled eggs in tortillas

  • Greens in scrambled eggs with beans
  • Beans in tortillas
  • Rice, greens and ground beef stir around
  • Beans, greens and ground beef stew with flatbreads
  • Rice and gravy with applesauce on the side
  • Rice and scrambled eggs

It was great for a few days, before it became monotonous. We ate to gain energy, not for the pleasure or the comfort we often seek from food.

Our tortillas are made of flour, water, salt, and oil, so they were a staple. The flatbreads are just bigger and thicker tortillas.

And my gravy was a rice-saver. (Instead of a life-saver!)  The water in the bottom of the crockpot, leftover from cooking beans all day, is thick and salty and a lot like gravy. It turned out delicious on rice and kept it from flying off toddlers’ spoons.

All in all, our experiment turned out well. We made our goal: thankfulness for our abundance, recognition of what we have taken for granted. It was hard in the beginning to go without snacks, but as time went on we didn’t notice as much.

The first day we ate “normal” again, we counted the ingredients we used during the whole day. It was a celebration day for Witzy’s birthday so we may have used more ingredients than usual, but we still used nearly fifty food items!

You may not want to do an experiment like the one my family did, but I challenge you to look for the blessings you and your family take for granted – to cultivate thankfulness. It may not be easy, but a thankful heart is something that our God loves!!


P.S. I am still learning about taking pictures. Thanks for your patience with these.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Fabulously Funny Flop

Every time I open our Southern Living Cookbook to the pineapple muffin recipe, I can't help but laugh...

These are the infamous toothpaste muffins. Once, a long, long time ago (about a year) I made this recipe accidentally substituting 3 tablespoons of baking soda for the baking powder. 

If any one of you has used baking soda for toothpaste before I’m sure you can relate. It was awful! And I mean awful! Anyway, these muffins were hardly eatable. But we don't waste food. So... we ate them. All three dozen! The funny thing is that the next time I made pineapple muffins I did it again. (On accident. Again.) And guess what! Reluctantly, slowly, we ate all those too. 

Daddy and Spiderman joked that I would need to go back to first grade because I couldn’t tell the difference between s.o.d.a. and p.o.w.d.e.r. So now the word powder in the recipe is underlined, boxed in, and surrounded by exclamation points.

When these muffins are made the right way they are delicious. (Actually, it is not the way written in the book, but with substitutions for whole food ingredients.)

By now, either you really don't want to make these or you really do.

If you do.... here is our revised recipe.

 Pineapple Muffins (with variations)
 6 cups whole wheat flour
 1 ½ cups sucanat
 3 tablespoons baking powder
 1 ½ teaspoons salt
 3 eggs
 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
 1 cup water
 1 ¼ cups orange juice
 1 twenty oz. can of crushed pineapple in its own juice
 ¾ cup grated, unsweetened coconut (optional)
 ¾ cup slivered almonds (optional)
 ¾ cup crasins (apple juice sweetened) (optional)

Mix the first four ingredients together. Make a well in the middle. Add the next four ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Spoon into 3 greased medium muffin tins. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. 

Last time I made these, I put in grated coconut, slivered almonds, and crasins. It turned out absolutely delicious! I've also made them with just almonds and coconut, and they're really good with only pineapple too. 

I've never tried this, but I think blueberry pineapple muffins would be pretty good. I may try it someday. 


P.S. Another baking soda incident... Yesterday, I was making a quiche with Superman and Curious George. I had left the baking soda on the counter to reach some seasonings behind it, and I turned around to put something on the opposite counter. 

When I turned back to the little boys, Superman had dumped a few tablespoons of baking soda into his hand. (I guess he wondered what it tasted like.) I sighed his name and I think it scared him a bit because he tried to dust off his hands into the box of baking soda.

When he couldn't get it all off, he started licking his hand.... you can imagine what happened. I don't think he will be sneaking baking soda "licks" for a while!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Blueberry Pancake Muffins

I think blueberries are one of the many tiny blessings God gives us. Which means that blueberry pancakes are medium sized blessings. But how often do you really, really want a blueberry pancake but don’t have an hour to make them? (Well, it takes our family an hour because we quadruple our recipe!)

The solution… Blueberry Pancake Muffins! They keep for days in an airtight container. They freeze and thaw well. And they taste just as good a couple of days old as fresh from the oven, whereas pancakes are best just off the griddle. How much better can it get?

Every July for the past several years, my family has gone blueberry picking. For the first few days after that, we have blueberries with our breakfasts, blueberries with our lunch and blueberry desserts.

The rest of the berries we freeze in gallon bags to have in smoothies... or, in this case, in muffins. Here's the recipe:

Blueberry Pancake Muffins
(Makes 3 Dozen)

  • 6 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sucanat
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)

First mix together the whole wheat flour, sucanat, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, orange juice, water, and butter or coconut oil... and stir until fully combined. Fold in the blueberries. At this point you could add 3/4 cup of slivered almonds for a heartier muffin. Spoon into 3 dozen medium muffin tins, filling 2/3 full. (The batter will be very thick, more like dough than batter... as you can see from the above picture.) Bake at 400 for 20 to 25 minutes.

Note: the longer you cook these, the less like a pancake in texture they will be. You don’t want to under cook them though. They should be done when the tops are browning a bit and the blueberries are bubbly.

All my siblings love this recipe... even Tickle, who doesn't like blueberries. I guess that makes them really good!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

For my 14th birthday a couple weeks ago, Mamma made me a Mochaccino Cheesecake, Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, and a garden salad. But my grandmother wasn’t able to come down at that point so last weekend, when she came to visit, I made a cookie cake to celebrate with her.

In fact, I made a chocolate chip cookie cake… to have with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious in every way. It looked delicious, smelled delicious, tasted delicious. (It felt and sounded delicious too… Just kidding.)

Looks good doesn’t it? (Sorry this pic isn’t professional. I’m still practicing.)

I just used an old fashioned chocolate chip cookie recipe, made a few substitutions, and baked it for 25 minutes instead of 12. (I did keep a good eye on it.)

I ended up substituting honey into the recipe because our sucanat is running low. I used 3/4 cup of sucanat and 1/2 cup of honey instead of 3/4 of each since honey is so much more intense than sucanat. That made me a bit apprehensive about the results.

The final result was great though, much to my relief. The honey gave it just the right richness, and it was neither too sweet nor too plain. Here’s the recipe/what I did.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
3/4 cup butter or coconut oil (or half butter, half coconut oil like I did)
1 1/2 cups sucanat or other unrefined sweetener
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Combine butter and sucanat in a mixer bowl. Blend until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and mix again. Slowly add baking soda, salt and flour mixing until thoroughly blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

Press into a lightly greased 14 inch pizza pan. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. You will want to watch this pretty carefully as it will burn quickly.

This was another simple recipe. It took so little time to mix it up and stick in the oven. Recently, my little brothers, Superman and Curious George, have wanted to help me with my baking so these easier recipes make it more fun for them and easier for me. 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Choose Your Own Granola Bars

Hi, my name is Rainbow, the eldest daughter of the mamma of this blog. 

I am fourteen years old and working through my freshman year of high school. I’ve been homeschooled from the very beginning, and I am so glad my Mamma and Daddy decided to keep their children at home. 

Mamma started teaching me to cook a couple of years ago, and now I am in charge of all our breakfasts and most of the baked goods our family of eight eats. 

Describing me would be pretty hard because I take pleasure in a lot of different things. First of all, I love dresses, heels, jewelry, and shopping (the girly kind, for clothes and accessories)… 

Secondly, I love the outdoors: gardening, hiking, boating, camping, doing farmwork, and just exploring on our property with a brother who was born for it… 

Thirdly, I love anything creative: knitting, sewing, cooking, designing outfits, making beaded jewelry, etc… 

Fourthly, I love school (currently my favorite subjects are Cultural Geography and Algebra 2)… 

And fifthly, I love Jesus. He’s my role model, my comforter, my strength, the one I can tell secrets to. He’s always there helping me along my walk with Him, catching me when I stumble, and whispering encouragement in my ear when I am discouraged.

Since we moved to a farm with nearly 40 acres last summer, Spiderman has taken on a lot of responsibility outside with our animals. He comes in extra hungry most afternoons, so for Christmas I made him a batch of granola bars crammed full of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. He loved them. But what’s funny is that he can’t decide whether to eat the last one or to leave it in the freezer for a while.

Anyway… the thing I love about this recipe is that you can tweak it to your heart's content (a thing I LOVE doing). We’ve made this recipe nearly a dozen times and I doubt we’ve done it the same way twice. I think my favorite was when we made cherry chocolate bars. I think that was Mamma’s favorite too. In case you haven’t noticed, her absolute favorite food is chocolate and her favorite fruit is a cherry. 

Spiderman’s bars had dried apricots (from Costco), dates (from Costco), cashews (from Costco), slivered almonds (from Costco), and dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut (from Frontier). Here's the recipe:

Choose Your Own Granola Bars
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups sucanat, or other unrefined sweetener
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 ½ cups nuts and/or seeds
  • 1 ½ cups dried fruit
  • 1 cup melted butter, coconut oil, or combination
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Orange juice (if needed)

First mix together whole wheat flour, whole rolled oats, sucanat, baking soda, and salt. Here’s where the fun comes in! Coarsely chop 1 ½ cups nuts of your choice, and 1 ½ cups dried fruit of your choice. Feel free to mix and match. You could put in a half cup of six different things! You could put seeds in with the nuts. You could put dried blueberries, cherries, apricots, anything really … just be sure not to exceed 3 cups total. Mix that with the coconut into the other dry ingredients.

Add melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Finally, mix it all together. You may need to use your hands to get it fully mixed. If it is too dry you can add a bit (maybe 2 tablespoons to a ¼ cup) of orange juice.

Press into a 9x13 pan. Put it in a 350 degree oven for around 30 minutes. It should be lightly browned. Let it cool completely before cutting. If not, it may crumble up or stick to the knife.

I love making these because they are so simple and easy… Well, unless you’re trying to make them as a surprise for a brother who’s always curious to know what food you will be setting on the table later. That was an adventure!

Sorry there are no pictures with this recipe,  but in my next post I will include a few to show you the yumminess.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

There is no good title for this post. Really.

I have thought about this post for the last two weeks. And I still couldn't come up with a decent title. So, there it is.

This is my last post on Health Begins With Mom. At least for my foreseeable future. I have really enjoyed writing this blog, and I hope that you have been inspired by it... Inspired to be the voice of support, the source of joyful energy in your home. I hope I have encouraged you to embrace your nurturing role as mom... and to do your very best in keeping your loved ones healthy... to give it your all... and to give yourself grace when you can't do it all.

It's not that blogging is time-consuming. It is possible for me to order my day so that I have thirty minutes to an hour of computer time while my children "rest."

It is that blogging is thought-consuming. I find that I'm frequently thinking of the next post, of a series I am working on, of recipes I'd like to share, of photos that I need to snap while I'm cooking. I am privileged to have had the extra thinking time to blog over the last year and a half. But now, I need to direct those extra thoughts elsewhere.

I am not going to close up Health Begins With Mom though.

First, I would like all of these posts to still benefit others. So I am keeping all of this information (and these recipes) available for you and for those who will stumble upon this blog in time to come.

Second, I would like the option to come back to blogging at Health Begins With Mom if things work out that way in the future. It would be great to just pick up where I left off. Interestingly, this is my 300th post. So, I would pick up at 301...

I am still continuing as an Independent Shaklee Distributor and as a woman eager to serve other women -- so please continue to email me. I would love to hear your story. And I will still do my best to answer your questions.

For your health,