Green chili, Artichoke & Egg-white Quiche

I had a craving for Quiche the other day, and since I’m the only one in the family that would eat it, and avoiding the grocery store is at the top of my list right now, I checked out some Pinterest recipes to get myself in the mood for cooking.

I actually stated looking for a recipe for a zuccini quiche as I had 1 more zuccini to use in the fridge, but from there it blossomed into using more canned items that i’ve had in my pantry for…a long time…such as artichoke hearts and green chilies. I also found a super easy pie crust from scratch on Pinterest (link & recipe below) which used only 4 ingredients – all of which I had on hand = bonus!

Lets start with the crust:

Here’s the recipe I found and followed: Super Easy Pie Crust

To make this successful, you’ll need:

  1. ice water (add very slowly until texture matches what the recipe says)
  2. flour
  3. cold, partially frozen butter
  4. food processor or blender with dough blade ( if using a blender, use a short pulse)

The recipe amounts in the link above will make 2 crusts, so I cut those in half since I only needed to make 1 quiche. I followed the rest of the directions exactly and, I’m serious – this is the BEST crust of all time. AND SOOOOO EASY TOO! Win Win Win! I do have to say, rolling it out into a “circle” was interesting, but I made it work eventually and laid it into a glass pie dish. Mine didn’t look near as pretty as the recipes author’s, but it worked well enough, and hey it looked a little more “rustic”!

Onto the filling:

I used the following:

  1. 1 zucchini
  2. 1 cup of egg whites (or 4 whole eggs)
  3. 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  4. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  5. 1 can artichoke hearts, diced
  6. 1 small can diced green peppers
  7. 1 cup milk
  8. 4 oz cream cheese (softened)
  9. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  10. 1/4 cup flour

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. grate zucchini, drain green chili
  3. saute veggies to remove excess liquid and until zucchini is soft (5 minutes or so), season with salt & pepper to taste
  4. whisk together egg, milk, cream cheese, baking powder & flour
  5. combine cheese, cooked veggies & egg mixture together
  6. pour all into raw crust-filled dish *it will be very full*
  7. Bake until eggs are set ***you’ll want only a little bit of jiggle when you move the dish, for me, this took around 60 minutes, you can test it with a knife or tooth pick to check for raw egg, if in doubt, cook it longer! The top will be dark brown and the crust will be flaky. If you use a glass dish, you can see if the crust looks wet anywhere – which would warrant a few more minutes in the oven***
  8. Let stand 15-30 minutes before cutting.

In the fridge, this quiche lasted me a full week, the crust NEVER got soggy or wet, but stayed flaky and crisp (WHAT?!) Microwave a slice for 1 minute and it tastes as fresh as the first day. No joke!

Pet food option #2

Our First “special needs” pet was our Kitty, Chloe. At 10 years old she started throwing up multiple times a day. She was still eating and drinking normally but the amount of cat puke was ridiculous. I figured, Cat’s throw up hairballs, and that’s “normal”, right? So we didn’t give it too much thought, although it was a daily occurrence and we had to spring for a carpet cleaner to take care of the ever-growing stains throughout the house.

Should have been a red-flag, but ignorance is bliss…right? It’s not as if we didn’t try to address the problem, though. We did try a couple different dry foods, we tried wet food only, and used Dr.Google to try and find some other suggestions. Nothing seemed to really “fix” the problem, and we eventually gave in to putting up with the puking.

Fast-forward to about 2 years ago – we’d recently moved to the mountains and a vet-change was in order. We had liked our old vet, but wanted a local vet. We looked for recommendations from neighbors and eventually tried out one close to home. This particular vet didn’t offer many suggestions when we brought our kitty in for throwing-up issues. They suggested a daily pill (of which was $1 per day), but that didn’t do much to change the puking issue. I asked about dietary options, but wasn’t given much feedback, and left feeling pretty defeated. I was sure there was some way out there to make Chloe’s life, and ours, easier.

Luckily, I found a Vet focused on Holistic treatments in addition to standard Vet practices. My first appointment was enlightening. I left feeling like there was hope for our poor kitty.

Enter Home-Made food! Out Vet has written articles about home-made and vegan based diets for pets. (Original post here) It seemed like such an easy answer. Less processed items, more veggies, natural proteins, and no/limited meat – which I found out can be very hard for kitties with intestinal issues to digest. Why not give it a try?! What could it hurt?!

So onward I delved into making home-made food for the Chloe and her brother, too. He wasn’t showing any signs of issues, but it sure didn’t hurt to feed him the same diet and it kept Chloe from sneaking her “old” food. We also decided to do a supplemented diet, with wet food being added to the home-made so that we were sure both kitties would be getting the vitamins & minerals that are added to commercial pet food. Our vet believes in the healing abilities of a vegan diet, but it is also important that our pets get all the nutritional value they require – and the easiest way to do that is by supplementing with a commercial food of some type. Since Chloe seemed to be specifically sensitive to dry food, we chose to add some canned wet food to the home-made for these vitamins.

If you’re worried about jumping into home-made pet food, let me put your mind at ease. This method is really easy, quick and uses items that you likely have in your house already. There’s so many options for ingredients that you likely could make up a batch with what you already have in your pantry. In our case, I make 1 batch of food for the kitties once every 8-10 days. Total cook & prep time is about 30 minutes, then I put it in a Tupperware and keep it in the fridge. Our kitties get 1 large scoop of home-made food, and 1 small scoop of wet canned food mixed together, twice a day.

Kitties Favorite Meal

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 box chicken or veggie stock (4 cups)
  • 3 cans garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 1/3 cup dry Polenta

Directions:

2. & 3.

4.

5. Allow to cool, then store in containers in the fridge for about a week. You may choose to add water to the mixture throughout the week as the liquid content will decrease as the polenta continues to absorb liquids in the fridge. We do this to increase the amount of liquid in Chloe’s diet as well, just to make sure she’s staying hydrated.

Easy, right?! And the combinations are endless. We found that our kitties prefer a blended combination, as opposed to larger chunks. Some pets may enjoy more of a “dog food” style as mentioned in my previous post with chunkier ingredients. Our kitties also prefer Polenta as opposed to oatmeal or quinoa, and they like sweet potato over peas or carrots. The beans used don’t seem to make much of a difference, although the light colored ones do make for a more pleasant appearance in the container. But really, the sky is the limit for options and combinations. If you start out with a few smaller batches – think 1 can of beans and reduce the rest to match – you’ll find your pets preferences pretty quickly.

Happy pet food making 🎉

Chilly day, chili dinner

In the last 48 hours its snowed about a jillion feet at our house. Ok, maybe not a jillion but nearly 3 feet, and its safe to say our backyard, which is north facing, wont be seeing dry land until sometime in June.

One of my favorite meals for a chilly day is Chili. Easy to make, you could put it in the croc-pot, or cook it on the stove and have it ready in 30 min if needed. I do prefer to cook it for at least an hour when possible to let the flavors meld. Luckilly, today thats exactly the kind of thing I have time for. So while the fam is out basking in the snow, I get to cook and have a few minutes of quiet!?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (beef works here, too but I prefer the leanness and flavor of turkey)
  • 2 cans beans (I almost always include kidney beans, and the other is whatever I have in the pantry)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 can corn
  • Chili spices (I have been using the brand in the photo because that’s what I have on hand, but there are lots of DIY recipes out there if you prefer)
  • 2 tbs. Olive oil
  • Garlic (to taste)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • Optional ingredients- diced tomato, green chili, etc.

{This time around I didnt have any onion in the house, so it was omitted. Theres lots of options with this recipe to gear this towards your families tastes, too. For example if you are a vegitarian group, omit the meat and add in tofu or sweet potato cubes. If you prefer more meat, double the ground turkey and use only 1 can of beans. }

Chili Directions:

  1. In med/large pot or dutch oven ( I use a medium size 4-5 L unless I’m making a double batch) add 1 tbs of olive oil and 1-2 tbs of chopped garlic. Saute for a few minutes, or until the smell makes you drool.
  2. Add thawed ground meat. Cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add tomato sauce.
  4. Mix 2 cups of water with chili seasoning (about 2 tbs per cup of water) and add to pot. (If you need dinner to be ready sooner, add less water. If you intend to simmer the chili for 30-60 min, the excess water will cook out.)
  5. Drain corn and beans. (I use this handy dandy Pampered Chef can strainer….its a fav of mine.) Add to pot. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir everything together and cover. Turn heat to low. Simmer until ready to serve.

Hand in hand with Chili, a favorite of mine is Marie Calendar Corn Bread. I remember my mom always having this stuff in the pantry. Its soo easy to whip up, you only need to add water to the mix, and 30 min later you have fresh, fluffy corn bread. Load up a slice with butter and a mouthful of chili…ahhh heaven!

CORNBREAD:

  1. Prepare per instructions on the packaging.

This time I decided to try out the “double corn” recipe. I used 1/2 of the can of corn from the chili and added it to mix before pouring into the baking dish. Im not sure how the fam will reaact…ive got a few picky eaters in the house (ahem…hubbs) so I may end up responsible for the entire tray myself 😁🤣

Garnish your Chili with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream, add fresh onion or green onions, or all of the above. Perfect chilly- weather, warm-belly meal that the entire family will eat. Win!

Home-made pet food made easy!

Have you heard wind of the newest pet food fad? Home-made, vegan, vegetarian, or raw food diets are all the rage these days…but for your PETS?! Who knew!

About 18 months ago I was introduced to the idea of home-made food for a few of our pets. Our Vet, who focuses on Holistic treatments whenever possible, has a formula for vegan (or mostly vegan) based pet food, with as few as 3 ingredients. Most of which you probably already have in your pantry or fridge.

Our 7 year old lab-mix was diagnosed with Lymphoma in January of 2019, giving us a big push into making home-made food for her to help keep her feeling her best while we treated her holistically alongside our Vet. Since we were going to be making food for her, we also supplemented our other pup (Mo) with the same diet to help keep his weight under control (more on that later).

Below is an example of a super easy recipe that we have used. This recipe follows the proportion formula our Vet recommends (and uses herself,too). You can find her Blog post on this formula here for more information and background. Here’s another post about Vegan Dog food, there’s some great additional info here as well! Of course, always talk with a Vet before changing your pets diet.

Easy peasy Home-Made Pet Food

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 box) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups dry old fashiond oats
  • 3 cans beans
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, sliced

Cooking Directions:

  1. Pour stock into large pot, add chopped veggies. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 2 cups dry oats to the pot and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Drain & rinse beans. Add to pot.
  4. Mix all ingredients together, store in air tight containers in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Total prep + cook time was about 20 minutes. And you don’t have to baby-sit it the entire time, so it’s easy to do while you’re throwing in a load of laundry, or prepping dinner for the family.

FUNNY FACT – When I made the first batch of this food, my Hubbs and both kiddos thought it looked delicious and ended up eating about 1/4 of the mix before I could get it packaged up and in the fridge for the dogs! Pretty silly, and entertaining when I told them it was actually DOG food they were raving about. They asked me to make that mix for us sometime for diner HAHA!

If you plan to feed your pet only home-made foods, consult with your Vet as you may need to add a supplement for additional minerals/vitamins etc. Since we use home-made as an addition to commercial food, we know our pets are getting all the nutrition they need. You don’t need much commercial food to get the needed value out of it, so we do a 50/50 ratio of home made/commercial food for our pets currently. When/if any of them are needing additional health support, we up that to 80 home-made/20 commercial.

Best part about this home-made formula is that it’s very wallet friendly. A box of chicken or veggie stock is under $2.00, cans of beans are under $1 each (I usually buy whichever is on sale – The Kruners we used were $0.88 each), many of us already have quick oats on hand in our pantry, and you can use any veggies you have in the fridge or freezer. Each batch of this costs me around $5. When I looked into The Farmer’s Dog – who delivers “farm fresh” meals for your pup to your door – it was going to cost an average of $40 a week for 1 meal a day for just 1 dog.

We also started both our cats on a home-made diet similar in ingredients to the one above, but I’ll do a separate post on that next time I have to whip up a batch of food for them! Until then, Happy cooking!

Mini/Grocery cramming

A few weeks ago my husband bought a Mini Cooper as his commuter car.  He loves it and we are trying to really take advantage of the great gas mileage compared to our SUV’s, so we drive it almost everywhere.  Although now that we’ve been used to having our larger cars, we’ve discovered the few hardships of having the Mini in comparison.

For instance, we have to load J through the rear hatch of the Mini because there just isn’t enough room to get the car seat loaded and buckled in from the front door.  Luckily the hubs has long monkey arms so he can reach over the rear seat to get J buckled.  Also, shopping of any kind is limited.  The first weekend we got the Mini we went to Home Depot for a few things…and forgot we had the Mini, so the large piece of dry erase board we bought had to run the full length of the car and the front corner poked me in the side of the head the whole way home.

Well we still haven’t fully adjusted to the size difference yet.  On Friday night we made our bi-weekly grocery run.  Costco and Wal-Mart for 2 full weeks of food and a few other items.

My menu board for the next 2 weeks has the following items: (all mostly homemade dishes)

Chicken Noodle Casserole
Chicken Pot Pie
Soy Garlic Fish
Artichokes
Mac & Cheese
Nachos
Chicken Fingers
Meatballs

Our grocery list:

Costco-

Chicken
Ground Beef
diapers & wipes x 2 (one set was a baby shower gift)
orange juice (individuals)
Milk

Wal-mart-

jelly
fudge bars
baby yogurt
mommy yogurt
frozen peas x 3
burner buns
butter
avocados
marinade
egg noodles
mix frozen veggies
cream of chicken soup 2 cans
pie crust
tortilla chips
artichokes
fresh berries
carrots
cereal

plus the following household items:

toothbrush
face lotion/wash
shampoo
dry & wet cat food
sponges

We hit Costco first to get the large items out of the way…after we got those few (large) items loaded we weren’t sure we’d get all the rest of our groceries in the car with J and the two of us…But the Mini surprised us – it really is larger than it looks! Not too bad for around $260.00

grocery 1 grocery 2 grocery 3

 

Also had this cutie-pie moment 🙂  J’s starting to give love via hugs and “kisses”

cutie pie

 

If the stuffed dog hadn’t cost $17 he totally would have gotten it just by sheer cuteness and obvious attachment…sorry to whomever ended up with the slightly drooly pup.