Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quiche




One of the foods I had at my birthday party were mini-quiches. They're really easy to make. Today I'll be demonstrating a standard-sized quiche, muffin-sized quiche, and mini-muffin sized (for parties).  At my party, we served 3 kinds: bacon and onion (our favorite), broccoli, and apple and brown sugar.  All were made using sharp cheddar cheese.  On this post, I'll be demonstrating three flavor combinations: bacon and onion, mushroom and onion, and spinach and onion.

Ingredients for 1 standard quiche, or about seven muffin-sized, or about a dozen mini-sized :
  • 1 pie crust (we buy the rolled, frozen kind)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of whole milk or half and half
  • 1 cup of cheese of your choice (we like the flavor of sharp cheddar)
  • Spray Pam or something to lightly grease your pie pan
  • filling of your choice (we used one package of bacon and one onion for the standard-sized)
Equipment:
  • pie pan
  • 2 cup liquid measuring cup
  • whisk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



First, prep your filling.  
To make a bacon and onion quiche, all you have to do is chop up a package of bacon,


fine dice an onion,


saute it together, and blot off grease.  
Since I was making two standard-sized bacon and onion quiches, I have two packages of bacon and two onions sauteing here.


Roll out a pie crust and lay it gently in a lightly greased pie pan. I sprayed my pan with Pam.


Fill it with the bacon and onion mixture.


Sprinkle with cheese.


To make egg mixture, crack four eggs into a 2 cup measuring cup.


Fill the rest of the way with milk and whisk.


Pour the egg mixture over the bacon and cheese and place in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.
You can also make small and extra-mini quiches by using muffin and mini-muffin tins.


                                                        First, spray your tins with Pam.


Roll out the pie crust and cut it out with a cup.  Gently place crusts into well-greased muffin cups and fill with mixture.  For these, I sauteed an entire quart of diced baby Bella mushrooms and one fine diced onion.  These needed a little salt too.  I also topped these with cheese and poured egg mixture into each cup.  These were also baked for thirty minutes at 350.

Mushroom and onion filled crust awaiting cheese and egg mixture.

We've also made spinach and onion quiches.  For mini - muffin tins, simply use a smaller cup to cut your pie crust.  For our spinach mixture, I thawed a small bag of frozen, chopped spinach
  and mixed it with sauteed onions.  I also seasoned it with some salt and a little nutmeg.  These too were topped with cheese and egg mixture.  The muffin tins (both sizes) need more spray Pam because they are a little trickier to get out of their tins.


Here are some mini ones waiting to go into the oven.  Bake these for 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven as well.



Fresh out of the oven.
After a few minutes, run a knife around the edge of each tin and then allow to cool a little longer before gently removing them.  I used a narrow, metal spatula to scoop them out one at a time.


Standard muffin-sized



Spinach on the left, mushroom on the right!
  


and the bite-sized minis! :)


For the apple and cheddar: fine dice an apple, sprinkle with brown sugar, cheese, and egg mixture; and bake the same as the others.  For the broccoli: we used our mini- food processor to grind up a frozen package of broccoli before adding the cheese, etc.  You could use practically anything that would taste good with cheese!  These are also good for breakfast.

Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit.  See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. I Samuel 17-18.


~ Emily and Jennifer

Friday, February 22, 2013

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Yummy and comforting

    Today is a gloomy Gus day (I'm not sure where this term came from, but my family has always called it this!).  The sky is gray, the air is chilly, and the rain can't decide if it wants to drizzle or pour; so the sky hangs heavily with indecision.  Early this morning, the girls and I had several errands to run.  Emily was starting schoolwork by 6:00 this morning so she could be free.  While the boys worked on schoolwork with Daddy, the girls and I ran to Target (Emmie had a gift card), Starbucks (gift card again), the fabric store, two craft stores, the mall, the library, and the grocery store. 
   We don't really go to the mall very often, but when we do, we get a little excited.  It seems that the girls always manage to steer me into "distractions".  The three of us can't seem to pass a candle or fragrance without inhaling it.  Today the girls discovered a sink in Bath and Body Works with samples of "sugar" scrubs for your hands and paraffin creams.  I was attacked with two sets of incredibly soft hands.  "Mom, you've GOT to try this stuff!"  They began rubbing their hands all over my face to convince me. Before I knew it, Emily was slathering some pink, gritty goop onto my hands with her sister's full approval.  I was then rinsed and moisturized.  Yep, the stuff is pretty awesome.  I have a new pair of softer hands. (I need a vat of the stuff to bathe in.)  
   After my beauty treatment, just when I thought we could actually leave, the girls insisted that we stroll through the food court.  No, I had no intention of spending thirty dollars for a lunch served on plastic trays.  The girls have learned, however, that vendors strategically offer samples and they were determined to graze before leaving.  We each managed to taste a bite of Philly cheese steak sub, a piece of bourbon chicken and a piece of honey chicken.  Later, at the BiLo, Hayden discovered a sample tray of donut pieces too.  Honestly!
       Needless to say, in spite of our nibbling, we were very hungry when we got home around 12:30 and the weather made us all want some soup - and fast!  The boys had leftover stuffed pasta already, but we ladies got busy A.S.A.P.!  This recipe comes from my good friend, Peggie.  

Ingredients: 
  •  A large, two pound bag of frozen broccoli florets. (We have tried it with the less expensive "pieces", but it really isn't as good.)  Of course, you can use fresh as well!
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 2 cups half and half (we used whole milk) -*Tip - If you remember to pour your milk into a measuring cup before you begin, it will be room temp. and thicken faster.
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I used 4 cups water and 4 teaspoons of Knorr chicken bouillon)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 large handfuls of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
optional:  a dash of nutmeg
               a diced stalk of celery




                                                          The broccoli I used.                                                          


                                                     The entire bag goes into the pot.


                                                        Rough chop 1 large onion.


Throw onion into pot and add heaping teaspoon of minced garlic.


Pour in two cups of chicken stock.  I poured in two cups of water and two teaspoons of bouillon powder.


 Get water boiling and then turn down to med-high and stir occasionally at least ten minutes until broccoli gets wilted and onions get translucent.

                                                                   
                                             Before and after.  Sorry about the steam!


Turn off heat.  In another pot, melt three to four tablespoons of butter.


Add 1/2 cup of flour to butter and whisk to make a rue.  Mine really needed that extra tablespoon of butter, but it worked anyway.


                                         Whisk in two cups of half and half (or whole milk).


Add two cups of chicken stock.  I used two cups of water and two teaspoons of bouillon instead.


Whisk while bringing to a boil and then immediately turn heat down to medium.  Whisk until thickened and then turn off heat and move to a cool burner.  You now have a mild cream of chicken soup.  (You could forget the broccoli, add a couple more teaspoons of bouillon, add some frozen veggies, chopped chicken and call it a day! ) 


Puree slightly cooled veggie mixture in other pot.  Make it as chunky or as smooth as you like.


                                                                  Broccoli mush


                                      Always happy to add cheese!  Two big handfuls here.


Pour in cream mixture from other pot and stir.


                                   I poured it into a crock pot for my family to have all day long.


                                        My first customer. Hayden is a broccoli soup monster.


                                                           And the other one, my Emily.


Another AWESOME option:
Substitute the broccoli with baby bella mushrooms and the cheddar with Mozzarella.
There are only two of us who will eat mushrooms, but I tried this and was very very happy not to have to share! :)

While the king is at his table, 
My perfume sends forth its fragrance.
The Song of Solomon 1:12

~Jennifer






Monday, February 18, 2013

Emily's Sweet Sixteen Tea Party Food


                                                          The main food table

                                                                       
                                                               Dessert Table

                                 
                                   Mini - Quiches and cheddar - filled pretzel sandwiches


Fruit Bowl (Apple bowls/umbrellas were made by Emily's good friend, Terrah)

Busy, Busy, Busy.  Words to describe the days before a major party.  When I think of the very first birthday party I threw for my daughter Hayden so many years ago; I have to laugh at how I tried to accomplish everything the morning of the party.  Seriously.  I was so clueless.  Since that time, however, I have learned to "prep" as much as possible days in advance to reduce stress and the chances of mishaps.   I have also learned to combine homemade goodies with store bought to ensure a large variety without a large amount of overwhelming work!  We were still so busy, however, that I didn't have time to snap pictures while we worked; but I have posted links to as many recipes as possible.  Click on any red item below to get the recipe.

The Menu

Lunch
  • sandwiches (turkey/provolone, roast beef/provolone, ham delights)
  • fruit salad (bought a large bag of frozen fruit from Wal-Mart and added fruit bowls made by Terrah)
  • tossed salad (Romaine hearts, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, red onion and cherry tomatoes)
  • cream cheese wrapped olives rolled in nuts
  • bacon-wrapped pretzel rods (same as olive link) These were a big hit.
  • cheddar cheese filled pretzel "sandwiches" (melt small slices of sharp cheddar in between pieces of "waffle" pretzels).
  • mini-quiches (apple/cheddar, bacon/onion/cheddar, broccoli/cheddar.  I will be posting a separate entry for these.  
Dessert
  • coffee/chocolate cheesecake I used my standard recipe on link but I added 1 cup of brewed coffee, two tablespoons of Kahlua (alcohol evaporates during baking), and two extra eggs.
  • strawberry cake - used a store-bought cake mix and frosting, but decorated with fresh strawberries.
  • scones (made by Aunt Patty) with Devonshire cream (buy from Earthfare)
  • cake pops (Hayden used a different flavor cake mix here and decorated them differently)
  • cream puffs -bought two boxes from Wal-Mart
  • shortbread cookies (brought by Emily's good friend, Avery)
  • French macarons (yes, only one "o" in this) Hayden made these.
Drinks
  • Tea (Celestial Seasons herbal and fruit variety packs and Tetley black tea)
  • sweet iced tea (brewed Lipton)
  • lemonade (bought Simply Lemonade)
  • water
  • coffee

Tips:  
  • Have large pots of water bubbling on stove before guests arrive and large ladle for hostess to fill/refill teapots on tables as needed.
  •  Have mayo, mustard, and pickles out for ladies to add to sandwiches.
  •  Pour salad dressing from store bought bottles into prettier glass dispensers/containers.
  •  Stick cake pops into floral foam in the bottoms of pretty teapots or vases.
  •  Warm up pre-made sandwiches, quiches, and scones right before arrival of your guests.
  •  Don't prep foods too soon or they won't taste fresh.  I usually start no more than two days in advance.
  • Light pretty candle in main restroom and any others an hour before guests arrive to circulate fragrance. 
  • Replace all burned out light bulbs (especially in chandelier/main areas).
  • Make sure kitchen cabinets, drawers, trash area, fridge, etc. are clean.  Some guests insist on helping you clean up afterward and you don't want tupperware falling on their heads or any other embarrassing discoveries!
  • Hayden created a wonderful slide show of photos of Emily over the years to play on her laptop in our "dining room".
  • Play classical music softly so guests can hear their conversations.
           
Homeschooling Moms:
  • Plan simple meals (pizza, anyone?) and more independent homeschooling activities (workbooks/educational videos) the week of an event to keep your sanity.
  • Let the kids help clean and cook.  My younger ones help more with cleaning when it comes to parties, holidays, etc.  They like to cook too - but I usually save those opportunities for a less stressful time so we can focus on getting the job done more quickly.


Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19

~Jennifer




The Party

                                                           
                    The guests begin to arrive and gather in the den, or rather, "dining room".


Emily's sweet sixteen tea party was truly a special, special day.  We had a total of about thirty-five ladies of all ages sipping tea, laughing, and having an all around good time.


                                                        Waiting for our guests........


 My sister-in-law, Patty, brought numerous teacups, teapots, platters, scones, clotted cream, and even sugar cubes she hand decorated with "E"'s, "16"'s, and flowers.  She brought all these things the night before on an almost two hour drive down from Columbia, SC.  She spent Friday night running around doing last minute errands with me before the big day (like, uh, actually buying TEA for the tea party) :)


Hayden was a busy big sister.  Here she and Miss Amy are getting the quiches out of the oven.

                                    Running food to the dining room from the kitchen..........
I love this picture of Hayden in the fridge!  You can't keep our friends from helping:)  The kitchen was a busy place minutes before we were seated!

                                                                   
                                                                    A full house


 See these more "mature" ladies?  Don't let this picture fool you.  This turned out to be the rowdiest table at the party!  (Apparently, Miss Harriett is quite the riot.)



                                                     
                                                   Some of Emily's lovely friends.


                                               I actually got to sit near my birthday girl.


                                                Hayden and good friend, Rebekah.


 The amazing Aunt Patty and my mother-in-law, Pat.  My mom, Carol, is sitting next to me in the background.  My stepmother, Shirley, also attended, so we had lots of Grandmas!

                                                             
                                                               More lovely friends.


        Miss Karen, Miss Linda, and Miss Betsy sit near Emmie while she opens her presents.

Order of events:
  • Ladies arrive, put on name tags, and drop off gifts at entryway table.
  • Introduction to Patty, our special hostess
  • Patty explains tea table options - tea table had boxes of tea bags, lemonade, ice water, and coffee and was located in our converted "dining room".  Dining tables had two sets of sugar cubes, cream, and teapots of hot water (one for each end).
  • I explain food tables (served in our actual dining room)
  • We brought in Emmie's cake and sang Happy Birthday right away so the ladies could have dessert as soon as they were ready!
  • The blessing.
  • Everyone eats, talks, and giggles.  Eat some more, talk some more, laugh some more.  While ladies eat, men and boys (Daddy, Poppa, and brothers) sneak downstairs, fix their plates, and sneak back upstairs to finish playing "Risk".
  • Ladies gather in the living room where three, lovely Titus II ladies take turns praying for and blessing Emily while ministering to us all.  I cannot say enough about this time.  It was my favorite part.  To see young ladies literally sitting at the feet of and listening intently to such worthy mentors was so incredibly moving. I made sure I had a box of tissue on a nearby table because I knew I was going to need it!  Each lady prepared some special words of wisdom, her personal experiences, and verses to share; then asked for something very specific from the Lord for my daughter.  Emily's gifts and talents, submission to the Lord, her parents, and future husband (if the Lord so chooses), and her prayer life were prayed for. Thank you Miss Karen, Miss Betsy, and Miss Linda!
  • Emily opens presents while her sister, Hayden, records names and gifts for thank you notes.
  • More fellowship
  • Saying good-bye
  • Clean up!

What is a Titus II lady?  She personifies the Scriptures below.  Prayerfully surround yourself and your daughters with them!  Seek to be one yourself someday!  It seems that so few women in the church today encourage our young women to be busy at home and obedient - but that is what the Scriptures command!

Titus 2:3-5
...the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things - that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Thank you, Dear Lord, for surrounding my daughters and me with Your amazing and wonderful women!

~Jennifer