October – Fall into Halloween – Recipe – Quiche

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Apart from a hearty soup or stew, chicken or turkey pot pie, or creamy mac & cheese, I find quiche to be a really great, warm, easy to eat, easy to make comfort food. I think the common link of comfort foods is softness. Something you can savor and hold on your tongue without changing the consistency or the taste. Quiche is like that.

I’ve adapted this over the years, but the original recipe that I started with came from The Kitchen Survival Guide by Lora Brody. We bought this book when we first got married, and it was wonderful for teaching all the kitchen basics that neither of us knew anything about.

After putting either a non-stick spray or greasing the (8×8 or 9×9 square glass) pan with butter, there are different bases that can go on the bottom of the quiche. The original recipe called for bread. During Passover, I’ve used two layers of matzo, and just last week, I used two layers of Ritz crackers. So be creative, and use what you and your family enjoy.

I’ve also mixed all the ingredients and poured them over the base and I’ve layered each ingredient and then poured the egg mixture over. I think I prefer the layered version.

Put diced or chunked onions on the base. (1 onion)

Cover the onions with the cheese. I like cheddar, monterey jack, colby jack, mozarella. Any of those individually or any of them mixed with each other. (Use about 8oz. of cheese or how much you like.)

Put spinach over the cheese. If you use the frozen box of spinach, drain it well. You can use the whole box.

Combine 8 eggs (the original recipe called for six), 2 cups milk, 1 tsp. salt, 1 TB pepper. (You can add 2 tsp. garlic powder if you like that extra flavor and/or 1 TB dill weed).

Mix with a fork or whisk.

Pour over the layers.

Put the quiche in the refrigerator for one hour.

After one hour, put into an oven preheated to 325° and bake for 40 minutes. If you like the top a little more well done, you can leave it in for another five minutes or so.

Serve hot with salad or biscuits (or any bread/roll that you prefer.)

October – Fall into Halloween

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​October is my favorite month for a lot of reasons. It is also the beginning of a very stressful and anxious time for me. It’s almost every year, and once this was brought to my attention, I was able to pay attention to the signs, to be self-aware, maybe a little overly self-aware to remember to take care of myself and to enjoy what I do enjoy and push through what I find difficult.

For one thing, school is humming along. All of the back to school paperwork has been handed in, drama club has begun, my son’s birthday is in two weeks, the leaves are changing, we’re planning our applepicking day, choosing Halloween costumes, not buying candy so we don’t eat it before the 31st, and I’m kind of getting ready for Nanowrimo. For the past two Halloweens, we’ve only started buying candy on the 29th and 30th. So far, so good.

I have a lot of medical stuff getting done this month. I’m about to schedule a mammogram, and my physical and colonoscopy is near the end of the month. I’m getting hearing aids in two weeks, which is nerve-wracking, depressing from a getting older perspective, and also excited anticipation so I can hear half of the things I’ve been missing.

I was also just informed (cautiously, nicely, with as much gentleness as was possible) that my oldest child is moving out. To be honest, I know he’s ready, and he’s thought it through, and he’s good and decent and it’s time, but also to be honest, I’m devastated. I can’t think of anything else. He’s been working two or three jobs for the last year, so it’s not like I’m used to seeing him around anyway. His main job is an overnight, so he gets home in the morning while I’m still sleeping, and he’s sleeping when I get up for the day. He hasn’t eaten dinner with us in weeks (months, really), he only answers about half my texts, and so physically not much will change.

But I’m still distraught.

The depression is building.

It’s also an election year – it is the most important election year in our lifetimes. That is no exaggeration. It’s time for those of us in the majority show the rest of the country what that actually means.

We are about to seat a new Supreme Court Justice, and the nominee (without the baggage of credible allegations of sexual assault) is the least qualified, the most lacking in temperament, the most self-entitled man to be chosen by any President in modern times. I’m also still deeply pained by the disgusting partisan insulting treatment of Judge Merrick Garland, and the traitorous  behavior of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not only for that, but also for refusing to sign onto a bipartisan statement informing the American people of the Russian election interference in the 2016 election.

I am not over that election. I will never be over that election.

A foreign government put their finger on the scales of a fair and free election, and our Republican party helped.

I do apologize for this political outburst. That is not what this monthly blurb is about, but this hangs heavy over my October this year.

I’m going to take a deep breath, and make a few suggestions to you, and to myself while I try to keep October on an even, mindful, centered keel. As the campaign season winds down to Election Day (in thirty-four days), more than likely we will all need some form of self-care, and October actually lends itself really well to some unique ways to bring ourselves back to the center.

1. Take a drive to see the fall foliage. Many regions of the US have a beautiful change of season. I am very lucky to live in the Northeast, so it goes from green to bright oranges, reds, and yellows, sometimes in a matter of days.

2. Go applepicking. While you’re there, definitely eat one apple from the tree. Clean it on your shirt, and listen to the sound of the crisp, juicy snap of that first bite of the apple, its stem still attached, the leaf brushing against your nose. My favorite variety is the snapdragon, a relatively new hybrid.

3. Cook something comforting. Stew, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, mac&cheese, apple bread, apple pie.

4. Have a cup of tea. Or better yet, a mug. And keep them coming.

5. Light a scented candle. I like lilac.

What would you add to this list?

September – Back to School – Reflection

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​It’s not so much the month of September that I love but what it brings combined with the back to school season. While October is my favorite month (more on that tomorrow), ultimately this is my favorite time of the year from September and Back to School until the end of the year. I find it more of a renewal time of year than the January new year or spring when we all come out of our winter cocoons and spring clean.

We have a much more focused energy on fall cleaning, getting ready for the rest of the year. Clearing out the clutter for homework spaces and new school supplies (one of my weaknesses), earlier dinner and groceries in the house, bath schedules, physical, but also mental space.

It’s time to settle down and ease into our semi-hibernation.

We’re also getting ready for the holidays. Getting it clean and straightened and maintaining it for the myriad of family gatherings that are happening between now and the end of the year. Our outside gets decorated for Halloween with pumpkins and caution tape, spiders and witches. We move our decorating talents inside for Thanksgiving. Cornucopias, squashes, oranges and browns, table runners and lap blankets. Fall is applepicking, apple pie, chutney, tarts, or just a cold, crispy snap of an apple in the orchard.

I always find the Jewish New Year a time to reflect, think, and read. No work means settling down with a cup of tea, a buttered slice of challah and a pile of books. Yom Kippur brings the fasting and the prayer; time to atone and forgive; asking for forgiveness and offering it. Forgiving ourselves.

For us politicos, especially this year, we’re gearing up for an election, getting out the vote, promoting our candidates and our values.

School supplies, the Hogwarts Express, leaves changing colors and falling gently to the browning grass, Christmas card lists, buying stamps, printing return address labels, designing Halloween costumes and cosplays, Thanksgiving shopping and organizing recipe cards.

If we could carry fall with us all year, the world (and our worlds) would be a better place.

September – Back to School – Recipe

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Lunch Box Snacks

It’s hard to believe that packing a lunch is the easy part. A leftover to microwave. A sandwich to cut – rectangles or triangles? Peanut butter or turkey? Jam or cheese?

Snacks.

Many schools have rules on snacks. Some depend on allergies if the snack will be eaten in the lunchroom or the classroom. Some list “healthy snacks”, which I always find something on the list or prohibited from the the list that I object to. One example is they’ll include raisins, but exclude pretzels. Not sure the reasoning behind that. Raisins are great, and healthy, but not good for your teeth if you don’t have the opporutnity to brush them.

Here is my top ten list (not in preference orderr) for lunch box snacks!

1. Raisins or Craisins

2. Pretzels (my favorite)

3. Baby carrots or carrot sticks. Celery. Broccoli. With or without dip.

4. Granola bars (read the packaging for allergies, though. Same with pretzels. You’d be amazed how many pretzels are made on machines that also manufacture peanut snacks.)

5. Baggie of cereal. Cheerios, Kix, Lucky Charms, whatever your favorite is really.

6. String Cheese

7. Crackers and cheese or peanut butter.

8. Graham crackers with cream cheese

9. Applesauce. (This also goes well with graham crackers.)

10. Apples, oranges, bananas. Fresh fruit is always a good option.

September – Back to School

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Fall Leaves. Colored pencils. (c)2018

September is back to school,

and not a moment too soon.

September is cool nights,

but the annual Indian summer will still surprise us when it comes.

September is falling leaves, 

and the inevitability of raking the neighbor’s leaves (since our pine trees don’t need raking)

September is bright skies,

and family dinners, afterschool snacks, and homework.

September is just like spring, 

but in its beginning, it is also ending.