Friday, March 27

Basic Hearty Quiche

So, we have a million (18) chickens, and we get a billion (3-4 dozen) eggs each week, so we love getting creative with egg dishes. Like quiche! It's one of my favorites, we eat it at least once a week. Everyone in my family chows on it, and I've had several requests lately for the recipe. Here's my basic recipe, and I'll explain at the end how I modify it. This recipe feeds my family of five until we're stuffed, with just enough leftover for me to have it for breakfast the next morning.

Basic Hearty Quiche
by Brea!

9 eggs
3/4 c dairy (I usually go with 1/2 c milk, 1/4 c cream or half and half)
1 pk frozen spinach, defrosted, liquid squeezed out, and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced
olive oil, pepper, salt, other herbs and spices
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
pie crust (optional)

Heat oven to 350. If using a pie crust, fit it to the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan and pre-bake for 20 minutes.

Beat eggs, dairy, herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper in bowl and set aside. In a small skillet, sweat the onion in olive oil until they just start to turn brown. Turn heat off and let the onion start to cool.

By small pinches, spread the spinach evenly over the bottom of the pan (or on the crust). Spoon the onion and oil evenly over the spinach, and sprinkle the cheese over that. Slowly pour the egg and dairy mix over everything, and use your finger or the back of a spoon to poke as much of the spinach and cheese back under the liquid.

Put it in the oven and back for 20-30 minutes, or until the center of the quiche is no longer liquid. Enjoy!!

I am extremely lazy, and I usually don't make a crust. So just spray your pan with non-stick spray before you add the spinach.

I almost always add bacon: Dice up three uncooked slices and start them in the small skillet just before onions. Cook 2-3 minutes over medium heat, then add onion and oil and follow directions from there.

I also love to add pepper, red, green (when John isn't going to eat it), yellow, orange, whatever. Add and cook with the onions.

Becky and Alex added leftover roasted veggies, layering them with the spinach, and said it turned out very well. My mom likes to add broccoli.

Use more or less cheese and veggies by taste. If you like a thicker, heartier quiche, add a few more eggs or use a little less milk. If you like a lighter quiche, use more milk or less eggs. Play with this recipe and make it your own, and most of all, have fun and enjoy it!!

Monday, March 23

Oh. My. Goodness!

We're finally a two-vehicle household again! After a year and a half with only one vehicle, we bought a truck on Saturday!!! YAY!!!!!!

But there is a slight problem. Here it is: I love my new truck. Love it. LOVE IT. If I had to choose between my new truck, and John, I would probably choose John. But I'd really have to think about it for a while.

What's that? Yes, of course I'll tell you more about my truck. I'm so glad you asked! It's a '94 F150, v6 (something surprisingly difficult to find), it holds all of us comfortably, and it's loud. And big. And mostly white. And has a killer toolbox. With relatively low mileage, considering it's 15 years old. And have I mentioned yet that I LOVE it? Because I do. I really, really do. All I need it a gun rack and a big dog in the back, and possibly a pair of upside down work boots behind the toolbox, and transformation as a backwoods redneck country mama will be complete.

So if I don't post much for a while (something I'm trying to be better about, sorry Sarah!), it's because the kids and I (and maybe John, if he can be nice) are out driving in my awesome truck.

I really love my truck. (But not as much as I love Sarah!!)

Friday, March 20

Things I Do When My Kids Aren't Here

Sorry for the lack of posts. I'm still here, still kicking. It's Spring, and we try to avoid being in the house as much as possible. I have no laptop (Brea pouts), so that kind of equates to no blogging.

Anyway. My kids are in Katy this weekend with my mom. I'm totally doing my happy dance. John is working tonight and tomorrow night, so we get to hang out together during the day (we'll be in Austin tomorrow, looking at trucks and going on a lunch date) and I get to watch Girl Movies while he's not home to make fun of me. YYAAAYYYYY!!

Things I do when my kids are with my mother and John is at work:

Watch Girl Movies whenever I want to. If I feel the need to start my movie at 6:30, I can. Just because.

Eat cookie dough. And not have to justify or share it.

Take a bath. Or three.

Read on my front porch for an hour.

Walk down the trail through the back of our property. For no apparent reason.

Read in the tree house (really just a glorified yet wonderfully placed platform) for an hour.

Have a beer without worrying that the beer-stealing baby is going to get it if I leave it on the coffee table.

Change clothes, realize the shirt I want is in the laundry room, and walk across the house in jeans and a bra to get it.

Clean out my daughter's room and throw lots of things away without worrying that she'll see something and shriek, 'But that one is my favorite!!!!!!!!!!' even though it's something that's been hidden in the back of her closet since the day we moved into this house.

Obsessively check my email.

Go back and read the archives on my all-time favorite guilty pleasure website, Go Fug Yourself, for an hour.

Make bread without any interruptions.

Make XanGo calls without having to say, 'Would you mind holding on for a sec while I get my kids some juice?' a single time.

Did I mention the part about unlimited Girl Movies? This evening, it's P. S., I Love You (for the 28th time) and The Holiday (for the first time). Tomorrow, Garden State (for the 98th time), and Before Sunset (for the 2nd time). I know what I like, ok? And I trust my dear Sarah's movie recommendations.

Go to bed early, should the mood strike me.

Stay up late, should the mood strike me.

Have a third rum & coke, should the mood strike me, because I can sleep late in the morning. Wait, who said that? I wouldn't do something like that.

Ok, yes I would. Third rum & coke, here I come!

Have my quiet time, and know that, since my phone is on vibrate, it will actually be quiet time for one!



Mop with no footprints other than my own on the floor afterwards.

Seriously, is this how the other half lives? This is a nice break. But I know by Sunday morning, I'll be very excited to have the kids back. We've been planning this for over a month, so I've been looking forward to it, but I'll be glad to have them back.



Monday, March 9

rain, and something to think about

I don't think I ever wrote about our wildfire a week and a half ago, but it was really bad. Over 1300 acres, that kind of bad. My family was very very blessed, because while the fire was extremely close to us, distance-wise, the 25- to 30-mph winds were blowing away from us. Had the winds shifted, we would have been evacuated, and our house (more than likely) wouldn't be here right now. We've had fires closer than this (my next door neighbor burned down 10 acres a few summers ago, but it was on the other side of her property from us) several times, but I don't know that any have been this scary.

My part of Texas is the driest area in the country right now. I can totally prove it:

See that big, dark brown bubble? I live right smack-dab in the middle of it. Texas is the only state out of 50 that had the dark brown right now. If we don't get rain soon ... well, things sure aren't going to get any better. And they're not so good right now, know what I mean? (The US Drought Map can be found here.)

The kids and I are about to sit down at the table and get our indoor seeds started. I'd love to direct sow everything right now, but I just know we've got one more freeze lurking somewhere around the corner. It won't kill me to wait a week or two. I never did get my onions and potatoes in ... I didn't want to water them. And everyone at the Farmers' Market will have them, so I don't feel too bad. :)

So. Back to the fire. It really got me thinking. God forbid something were to happen and you were evacuated from your house, do you know what you would take? If you had five minutes to get out, what would make it with you in the car? If you had an hour, what would you take?

We have a three-tiered list.

the Stewart Bug-Out List
Stage One (aka, stage 'holy crap, the backyard is on fire!!')
*BOBs (bug-out bags, we have two, and each has a change of clothes and jammies for each of us, some cash that is NEVER allowed to be touched, munchies like granola bars and raisins, a few new goodies for the kids, and copies of insurance papers and vital numbers. These bags live where they can always be easliy reached, and are ready to go at all times.)
*cell phones
*computer hard drive and cameras, if time allows (we monthly back up all pics, music, etc to CDs, and the CDs live at Chili's, so if we lose the computer, we don't lose everything)

Stage Two (aka, stage 'the backyard isn't on fire yet, but we see the firemen knocking on doors up the street headed our way')
*all of theStage One stuff
*my jewelrey box (I'm a vain person, ok? I like my stuff)
*photo albums
*comfort stuff for the kids (stuffed animals or blankets)
*heirloom stuff (I've got some very sentimentally valuable old quilts, etc)
*our guns and any ammo on hand (no because I think we'd need it on the road, I just like my guns and would rather not replace them if I have a chance to grab them)

Stage Three (aka, stage 'we're gettting word that we need to leave if the winds don't die down soon, but the fire or whatever disaster is still a ways off)
*all Stage One and Two stuff
*a few more bags of clothes
*anything the kids have time to grab, if reasonable
*my seed collection
*special books
*whatever else we feel we safely have time for

Now, that being said ... there is nothing in this house worth risking my life. If we need to get out, we're out. Period. We have insurance, and frankly, it's all just stuff. Yes, some of it is stuff I really like, but still. Stuff.

I know some of my list might seem silly to you, like the seeds and books in stage three. But I love my seeds, especially now that I've started collecting my own. And we have some books that almost can't be replaced. And I know that I don't need a change of clothes, because I can always buy another set of jammies, but if I'm being evacuated from my house, and I'm going to have to sleep in a strange bed (even if it's at a friend or relative's house), I want my own jammies. So there. :)

Anyway. I just wanted to give you something to think about. What would you do if you had to leave at a moment's notice, not just because of fire danger? Do you have at least two evacuation routes? What if it's something far less complex than that; do your kids and husband know where to meet if there's a fire in your house? Do they know not to go back in any burning building? I pray that I will never need to use any of this information, but seriously, people. Does it hurt so much to plan ahead?

And please pray that we get some of the rain they're forecasting this weekend, and that this will be a totally moot post. :)

Monday, March 2




OH MY GOOD HEAVENS!!!! I just love the interweb!

Just think. You can wake up on a lovely Monday, make your coffee, drink 16 cups while you're reading the Bible and waiting for the rest of your family to wake up, feed everyone breakfast, start some laundry, feel mildly accomplished, because, ya know, you just love Mondays. You are that freak of nature who doesn't really like the weekends, but absolutely thinks Monday is the greatest day of the week.

You've come to grips with your strangeness. It's ok with you now. It's who you are, and you embrace it.

You have lunch. Make some more coffee. Get your husband's clothes ready for work. Do other stuff, accomplish other things. Put the kids down for a nap. Kiss above-mentioned husband goodbye for the evening as he leaves for work.

It's been a good day.

So you decide to reward yourself with a 86th cup of coffee, and a little bit of web surfing.

Next thing you know, you're a super hero.

Yeah, you read that correctly. Confused? Let me show you what I mean:

Oh, yeah. I made me into a super hero. Now, my hair would be much longer (it's almost down to my waist, despite the 4 inches we took off last month), my boots would have some major heels on them, and (sorry, Mom, I have to say it) well, I've had three kids. My rack just isn't that great. And I don't consider myself lumbering, even if I am fairly incredible.

However, I'm all for hitting people with a club. Honestly. Anyone can shoot anyone else. Me included. I have and love guns. But it takes real finesse to beat someone down with a club. I'm just saying.
But that wasn't enough for me. No. I was not finished.

'What more could there be?' you ask. 'This chick is already such a freak. What more could she find?'

Everyone knows you can't fight crime, with a club, alone.

You had to have seen that one coming. It looks JUST LIKE JOHN. He's even ancient!! Doesn't that picture look just like Leonidas from 300? It totally does, doesn't it? I know!! People at work call him Leonidas. This looks JUST LIKE HIM. I'm not kidding.

Well, his head's not that small compared to his body. And he told me one time when we were talking about super heroes (because we don't have three kids and land and chickens and things to do. We have all the time in the world to debate DC v Marvel, and who would win in a fight between hero A and hero B, and then he tells me I can't make up super heroes, and I think I can. He's wrong. But I digress.) that even if he was a super hero, he would never wear tights. But he sometimes looks like he wants to hit people with a big, wooden club.

Don't tell him I told you that. Wouldn't want him to take out the clubby anger on me. Because did you SEE me? I could totally kick his ass.

But seriously! We have matching capes!!! How freaking awesome is that? We're like the hottest crime fighting husband-and-wife duo ever. I wonder what cool powers our kids will inherit from us? (No, David, falling down is not a super power. You do recover surprisingly quickly, though. I'll have to think about that one. "Look, in the sky! It's ... Healing Boy!" Nah. Just doesn't have that ring to it. Sorry.)

So I love the internet. Because you can go to the website The Hero Factory. And suddenly, your average nice day becomes utterly amazing and fantastic, because know you know that when someone messes with you on the phone, or cuts you off in traffic, or is really rude to you in the line at the HEB, you're just being benevolent by not responding. Because you're a super hero.

They'd best learn to respect, if they know what's good for them. I'm just saying.

Because you could totally kick their ass.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

My Daybook ~ March 2, 2009


Outside my window ... the sun is shining, the sky is clear, the trees are putting on their leaves, and wildflower are popping up, despite the frightening lack of rain this winter.


I am thinking ... how thankful I am that the fire in our county, which burned almost 1300 acres, didn't head our direction. We weren't too far from it, but the wind was in our favor. And that I wish Sarah didn't live so stinkin' far away from me.


I am thankful for ... my church, the retreat from which I just came home, the God who forgives me no matter how many times I royally mess up everything, and good friends and family who always love me.


From the learning rooms ... who knows. Lots of life lessons today, probably not a lot of hard-core formal school.


From the kitchen ... bread (if I can get John to get me honey from the store), beignets, and Mexican Rice Casserole for lunch.


I am wearing ... one of John's old sweaters, old comfy holey jeans, and flip-flops.


I am creating ... a pleasant atmosphere in my home, theoretically. Well, I'm working on it, at least.


I am reading ... Oliver Twist, The Shaping of a Christian Family, and Jane Eyre. And headed to the bookstore later this morning.


I am hoping ... to learn 'What Wondrous Love Is This' by this afternoon. I'm getting there, slowly but surely ... I think.


I am hearing ... Over The Rhine's Snow Angel on my computer, Sam chasing the dog outside, lots of birds in the trees, and an angry rooster who is getting his ass kicked by an even more angry hen.


Around the house ... I really need to mop my floors, but beignets sound more fun. We've got the upstairs under control, things are fairly well organized downstairs, and the kitchen doesn't frighten me at the moment. My yard, however ... Yeah. Gotta get that done today.


One of my favorite things ... holding Baby Lewis at church yesterday, and learning that Kristie told my husband that I'm a baby hog. Well, yeah. Helloooooo! Have you not met me?? :)


A few plans for the rest of the week ... lots of XanGo call backs and follow-ups, need to get more chicken scratch, library and bookstore, hanging out with the family, and George Washington Day at Camp Winchester on Saturday.

Happy Monday!!

Sunday, March 1

"this one's my favorite!"

We had our annual Ladies' Retreat this weekend at Camp Tejas. My dear friend Kristie's sister, Kim, came up to do the music. Kim is a hard person to be around. Not because she's not awesome. She's too awesome! She has beautiful dark eyes, and lovely thick long dark hair, and she's got curves in all the right places, and she has this voice. Oh, does she have a voice. I positively despise her.

Well, except for the fact that I totally wish she was my little sister. And ... she's younger than I. So I wasn't the youngest person at the retreat, and that was a first.

Ok. I love Kim. I admit it. But all that is a digression. What I'm getting at is this. Kim did a wonderful job with the music. She and Kristie and our speaker coordinated on lovely songs with beautiful lyrics that dovetailed with the message. And Melissa, who was sitting beside me the whole time, could not stop laughing at me. Because every time Kristie or Kim announced the next song, I would just about start bouncing out of my chair, loudly whispering to Melissa, 'This one's my favorite!!'

But it's true. I cannot pick a favorite hymn, anymore than I can pick a favorite child. I love them all so much. I love the different styles of music. I love the lyrics. I love finding out who wrote each, and why and when it was written. I love old hymns (Martin Luther wrote 'A Mighty Fortress is Our God') and I love the new Maranatha hymns like 'Father, I Adore You.' (And, that last one is a round. And I loves me a good round.)

Today, our Communion hymn was 'What Wondrous Love Is This,' (that link is totally kid safe, btw) one that I've heard before, but I always forget how much I love it. I was sad for a second that Melissa didn't sit by me in church, because at this point John is immune to, 'Hey baby, guess what! This one's my favorite!!'

I'm not a great piano player, but with lots of practice, I can master a song. I take it measure by measure, over and over again, and I eventually get it. I can play the theme to Forrest Gump, and the opening lines of Moonlight Sonata. My hands are small (I can stretch to have an ovtice plus on reach), so Claire de Lune has been frustrating me for a while, but I'm slowly but surely getting there. Stupid crazy-ass Debussey chords. What was that man thinking? Mere mortals have a tough time when they have small hands. I need a mini-piano, that's what I need.

Sorry. I digress, yet again.

At the retreat, we sang 'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,' one of my favorites. I can play that one from beginning to end and have all the words memorized. 'Be Thou My Vision,' another favorite. I'm learning this one. 'Open Our Eyes, Lord,' can't play is but I do love it.

My favorite Christmas hymns are ... all of them, except 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.' I just don't like that one.

We sang 'O Love That Will Not Let Me Go' a few weeks ago, and by Tuesday evening I could play it without completely butchering it, quite a feat for me. I can play 'There's Something About the Name of Jesus,' and 'In My Life, Lord.' I do seem to be drawn to the slightly slower and more melancholy songs, but maybe that's just because I know there's no hope that I have the talent to play the Hallelujah Chorus. After John's grandfather's funeral, I learned to play 'How Great Thou Art,' which I used to this was just ok, but it's also a favorite now.

But really, the music is secondary to the lyrics in my mind. I really didn't like 'O Love That Will Not Let Me Go' the first few times we sang it. But then one Sunday, the third verse really sank in.

'O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my eyes to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.'

I think anyone who has gone through times of suffering or sorrow, and has turned to the Lord for comfort, can understand that stanza. The promise of a tearless morning ... the thought that joy actually seeks us, though we often try to hide from it in our pain and suffering ... it's a powerful thing, the love of God.

There are so many hymns I hear that take me back to my childhood. I grew up in a music lovin' alcohol shunnin' can I get an AMEN? goog ole' Southern Baptist church. And boy, did we love to sing. I'm still known to wander around our house singing 'This Is the Day (That the Lord has Made' in a rather loud voice, far too early n the morning.

What? Stop looking at me like that. I have to wake up my family somehow, don't I? Better than an alarm clock ...

Music just makes me happy. And not just hymns, though they seem to be ... well, my favorite. I love Led Zeppelin. I listen to the old classics of the Big Band Era. Hey, Benny Goodman! Glen Miller, how ya' doing? I love Metallica. I love love love bluegrass music. I'm a huge fan of punk, old school and new school alike. When I start feeling too much like a mom, and worry that I'm losing that crazy, wild side of me that I used to love and sometimes forget about, I always put on The Offspring or some Less Than Jake. Yay, ska!! Loves me some bubblegum pop, too. And let's not forget my extreme and embarrassing love for bad music. Oh, man. Me and bad music? We're, like, thisclose. Brea + bad music = BFF. One might even say, BF4E. Seriously!

So there you have it. The ramblings that have been running around in my head for the last few days. What about you? Do you have a favorite song? What about a favorite hymn, should you be so inclined? What kind of music makes you happy? What do you listen to when you're blue?

Which one is your favorite?