Sunday, April 22, 2012

New York State of Mind

In a mere five days I’ll be on my first trip ever to New York City. evening-view-of-manhattan-bridge

I’ve wanted to visit New York for as long as I can remember,at least since 1982 when I belted out that the “sun’ll come out tomorrow” with every other girl my age.  But I doubted that I’d ever get the opportunity. Annie

Well, the opportunity presented itself when my babies’ daddy took on a “little” job on Long Island for next week. And it was his brilliant idea for me to join him at the end of the week and for us to spend the following week together in the City. A second honeymoon of sorts.broadway-at-times-square

Yup. I’m going to New York in the springtime.

I’m beyond excited and I’ve been planning the trip for about six weeks now. I’ve got no less than three guide books including New York City for Dummies. I’m doing my film research as well – watching every Ken Burn’s Documentary I can find on Netflix (I could lead the tour group at the Brooklyn Bridge and inside Lady Liberty) and other landmark films about the City including such classics as Home Alone 2 – Lost in New York, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Enchanted and You’ve Got Mail, (which features a wonderful interactive map of the Upper West Side in the special features).You've Got Mail

I’m preparing my wardrobe, trying to pick pieces that pack well, are versatile and won’t make my conservative self stand out too much. I’ve even considered spray painting the soles of my shoes Louboutin red to blend in with the fashion forward citizens. NY Fashion Week

I’m memorizing the boroughs and bus lines (“the Bronx is up and the Battery’s down…”) pouring over the subway maps, (“the people ride in a hole in the ground…”) and rules for cab fares. I’m learning the language, (“fuh-get-abou-did”, “gid-ow-duh-he-uh”), finding out where Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys are located, (where I could pick up a cute little pair of Manolo Blahnik sandals for just a couple hundred dollars more than our hotel room cost for a week,) locating the City’s best bagel, pizza and kosher deli,  and generally annoying everyone within ear shot.Statue_of_Liberty2

So you may not hear much from me this week as I pack and practice hailing a cab and what to do in case I’m mugged. But I’ll check in when I can – maybe even from the bustling streets of the city that never sleeps…

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Keys to Quiche


As promised, I’m sharing one of my quiche recipes. The best part about this recipe, aside from the tastiness, is the fact that you end up with two DIFFERENT quiches, (or quiche… I still haven’t looked that up…) and with very little effort.

Broccoli Cheese & Mushroom Quiche Pin Photo

You can make just one flavor – just halve the recipe to make only one pie and use only spinach and swiss cheese or broccoli and jack cheese OR go ahead and make two and double up on either the broccoli and jack or spinach and swiss. (It will make more sense as you keep reading…)

Quiche Ingredients
For 16 servings (in 2 quiches) you’ll need:
  • 1 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 C chopped onion
  • 1 10 oz package frozen chopped broccoli (thaw and drain)
  • 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach (thaw and drain)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/8 t black pepper (freshly ground if possible)
  • 1/8 t nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 C Swiss cheese (shredded)
  • 1 C jack cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 C + 2 T butter
In a large skillet, sauté the sliced mushrooms and onion in the 2 tablespoons of butter. Be sure you clean the mushrooms first – some say to just wipe them but I like to fully wash them  right before I use them. (That’s not just dirt on them, you know….)

1 lb sliced mushrooms
When they’re good and sautéed, remove half of the mix to another bowl.

Divide mushrooms

Then add your thawed and drained spinach to the skillet and stir for a few minutes to heat. (You could do the broccoli first, but we’ll just go in the order of my photos… )

Add spinach

After a few minutes, remove the spinach, mushrooms and onions and place directly in your prepared pie crust. Yes, you can make it yourself… It doesn’t take that long and it’s way more delicious if you do it yourself. I showed you how yesterdayFill crust

Next, put the mushrooms and onions you set aside back into your skillet and add the thawed and drained chopped broccoli. Heat it as you did the spinach mix.

Add the broccoli

When the broccoli mixture is heated, put it into the other pie crust. Sprinkle the top of the spinach mix with Swiss cheese and the top of the broccoli mix with the jack cheese.

Add Swiss cheese to spinach mix

In an 8 cup Pyrex (or other glass measuring cup – because it has a spout…) melt your 1/4 C butter. Add your 6 eggs and beat with a whisk. Next add the heavy cream, milk, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Freshly cracked pepper and grated nutmeg are the best when you can do it. Grated nutmeg is night and day different from the little bottle of stuff from the grocery store.

Whisk it all together and then pour evenly over each quiche. DON’T overfill your crust – you don’t want that mess spilling over in your oven. You might have a little bit of the egg mix left over – you can pour it in a ramekin or just scramble it up if you want. (Be careful – the spices will settle to the bottom of your mixing bowl – you don’t want to leave them behind – stir it just before you pour.)

Pour egg mixture
They’re now ready for the oven or the freezer. (I froze mine to bake right before serving two days later.)
To bake now, put in a 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325°and bake an additional 40 minutes. (Cover the edges of the crust with foil if you want to protect it from getting too brown.)
Ready to bake or freeze
If you decide to freeze and bake later, (for up to 1 month) lay a piece of foil over the top to keep them from getting too browned. Thaw for a couple of hours on the counter top then place them (staggered on the oven racks) in a cold oven (unless your pie plates are metal – you don’t want to crack a cold pie plate in a hot oven…)

Set the timer for 20 minutes and the oven at 425° F. Then drop the temp to 325° for an additional 90 minutes. Because my oven is so small, I set the timer and switched them around every 30 minutes.
Spinach Mushroom Quiche Pin Pix
Quiche is great with a side salad and maybe a small sandwich or in our case,

Honey Glazed Carrots
Honey Glazed Carrots Pin Pix
or Easy Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole
Easy Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole
and bunny peeps dipped it candy coating.Candy Coated Bunny Peeps Pin Pix
I got a couple of questions about my tablescape – it’s REALLY an inexpensive setting…
Easter Brunch - Red and Yellow 
These are my everyday white Corning French White dishes, some champagne flutes from Ikea (for less than a dollar each), napkins from Home Goods (as are the quiche and carrot dishes and the white pitchers), the baskets were $ .50 each on sale in the bridal department at Hobby Lobby, the champagne goblets were on a deep discount years ago at a TJMaxx store. 

Easter 4The silver is actually handed down from my husband’s grandmother, the water goblets from my grandmother and the salad/dessert plates I’ve collected for a few dollars each over the years. I love a mish-mash of things on the table – it makes it more interesting!

Today I’m linking to:

 
 
 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Brunch That Wasn’t

The best laid plans once again go awry.

We had planned to host eight guests for Easter brunch. But alas, felt it best to cancel when our two boys were running fevers the night before.

Since I had made  two quiche, (it’s not quiches, is it?) the Friday before I decided to go for it and just set a pretty table anyway, snotty noses and fevers aside. Besides, my kids were feeling a little left out as I set up for my last party, saying I never do fancy tables for them (which I actually do every. single. holiday…whatever…) Imagine my surprise when my oldest said, “why are you getting all this stuff out? It’s just us.”

Teen-aged boys. The icing on the cupcake of motherhood.Easter Brunch - Red and Yellow

DSCN4516And anyway, I promised you recipes for my quiche and crust so I had to do a photo shoot for you. Is it just me, or does it feel like this is turning into a foodie blog…? I hope not. That’s not my intention, but I do like to eat – and cook things that are easy – especially if someone else is cleaning it up. (By the way, that didn’t happen either.)

Let’s get on to that crust recipe. Spinach Mushroom Quiche

Now I have to tell you – This is about the third time I’ve made pie crust. I’ve been warming up to the idea for the last twenty some years. I did make a crust early in our marriage, and by early I mean probably in that first full week of wedded bliss – also the only time I’ve made a scratch lasagna (don’t judge).

This last summer I got a private crust lesson from two of my most favorite Aunts, both of whom happen to rock a pie crust – they can’t help it – they, like my mother, got the “amazing pie crust” gene from my Gramma.

Some of you have asked for some very specific instructions. Apparently, I’m not the only 20-something-years married woman out there that’s been buying frozen pie crusts…. NO MORE. This crust is flaky and tender and delish!

You need just four ingredients and a little water.Pie Crust

I tripled my crust recipe since my quiche recipe makes two quiche quiches egg, cheese and vegetable pies. Plus, I don’t use a traditional pie pan for my quiche, but a straight-sided tart pan which is a little wider. (They are also glazed stoneware tart pans – not sure what kind of difference that is making with how the crusts turn out… maybe I should make a pie in my glass pie plate and compare…)

Before you start (scoot in close now – this is the BIG secret to a fantastic crust…) put all of your ingredients in the freezer. Yes, the freezer. You want them very cold (that’s what my Aunts told me.) You could even chill your mixing bowl.Pie Crust Shortning & Butter

When your ingredients are good and cold, cut the shortening (I use regular Crisco) and butter (the real thing or the Smart Balance 50/50 blend) into pieces over your flour and salt.

Work Shortning into Flour & Salt

Using your hands, work the “fat” into the flour mix. Work quickly – you want it to stay cool – don’t let your hands warm it up. Some people like to use a pastry blender for this – you could if you want to, but I think it takes less time and effort with your hands.

Coarse Crumbs

Work it until you have coarse crumbs. Those “chunks” are the shortening and butter – future “flakes” in your pie crust.

Toss water into dough

Next you’ll add just a little bit of iced water to get your ball of dough to form.

Start forming a ball of dough

Flick your dough around, adding just a little water at a time, until it starts forming large clumps.

Dough Ball Quickly press into a ball – still not overworking your dough – you’ll make it tough.

Here’s another secret… I have a dough board. It’s a plastic board with a tight cotton cover. I also have a sock for my rolling pin, but he’s not wearing it here… I found a link where it’s sold online, but out of stock right now. You can contact the company, Wood Enterprises, at 1-800-456-0851.

No Mess Dough Board

The dough board isn’t absolutely necessary by any means. In fact, I forgot that I even had it the first two times I made crust. You can do just fine on a clean counter-top dusted with flour.

Turn dough out on floured board and roll

Roll your crust to about 1/4 inch thick.

Butter flakes

See the bits of butter? The butter is easy to see, but that mottled look where it’s a little white, is the Crisco. This is going to be a flaky crust!!Trim and flute edge

Trim the excess dough from the edges, repair any tears or cracks with a water dipped finger tip, turn it under and flute the edges. There are lots of different ways to flute – I just pinch between my thumb and first two fingers.

Flaky Pie Crust Secrets

This has gotten pretty long – let’s save the quiche recipe for another day this week – stay tuned – I’m told it’s worth the wait.

Today I’m linking up to:



Saturday, April 7, 2012

Even in Death He Rested

In five and a half years I’ve never done this before, but this is a reprint from a post last year at this same time. My  hope is that you are blessed.

Sara

Many around the world are in awe of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ this weekend. It’s unfathomable that God would lay down His life for a wretched, putrid, filthy sinner like me.

One of my favorite quotes regarding Christ’s sacrifice is

He paid a debt He did not owe because I owed a debt I could not pay.

There is something I’ve noticed in the Christian community. A lot of emphasis is given to the days leading up to and including Resurrection (or Easter) Sunday except for one day. Saturday.

On Thursday there are frequently Passover suppers or communion services commemorating and remembering Jesus’ last supper with His disciples.

Friday is, of course, referred to as “Good Friday” and some businesses close, kids are let out of school and special church services are held in the evenings.

Then on Saturday we take a break from “Holy week” and move to the Easter egg hunts, bunnies, chocolate eggs and more frivolous, counterfeit, even Pagan celebrations.

Bright and early on Sunday morning we’re back to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord. The day that cements all Christianity. (See Mark 16:1 & 2)

It’s sad, but many are missing the point of that Saturday altogether.

Some have suggested that Saturday was a day of hopelessness. Jesus’ own friends we’re in hiding – denying they even knew Him, fearing for their own safety since they could easily be connected with this man that was executed just the day before. That Saturday is often seen as a very dark day.

But I see that day as a very powerful testimony from my Savior. Jesus was simply doing what He had always done – something He’d done since before He laid down His kingly crown and put on human flesh and something that scripture says will even continue in Heaven.

He rested.

His work – the hardest work ever done – was finished and He rested.

I challenge you this weekend, as you’re in the Scriptures reading the greatest story ever told, that you don’t skip over the powerful message of that hope filled Saturday (in your Bible it’s called “the Sabbath”).

Grab your dictionary and look up Saturday.

Sat·ur·day

 /ˈsætərˌdeɪ, -di/ [sat-er-dey, -dee] 

noun

the seventh day of the week, following Friday.

Then look up Sunday.

Sun·day

 ˈsʌndeɪ, -di/ [suhn-dey, -dee] 

–noun

1.the first day of the week, observed as the Sabbath by most Christian sects. (Note: just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s biblical…)

Then do a little Google search on translating the word Saturday to other languages besides English. In 105 different languages it translates to “Sabbath” which means “rest”. (Ever heard of a sabbatical?)

In Spanish it’s sábado

In Italian it’s sabato

Then ask yourself, “what day did Jesus Himself keep holy for worship?”

“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read” (Luke 4:16).

Let’s make this interesting, shall we?

Look through your bible and find me just ONE text that changes God’s chosen day of worship from Saturday (the seventh day of the week) to Sunday (the first day of the week.) If you can find just one text that changes the day of worship that:

  1. God set up at the end of the Creation week (Gen 1:1, 2:2, 3)
  2. God reiterated by blessing Israel in the desert with a double portion of manna on Friday and none on the Sabbath (Ex 16:14-30)
  3. God established in His unchanging law written in stone with His own finger (Luke 16:17, Ex 20:8-11, Deut 9:10)
  4. Jesus kept while He was on Earth (Luke 4:16) and said He was the Lord of (Mark 2:28)
  5. Jesus expected His followers would still be keeping 40 years after His death and resurrection (AD 70) when Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome. (Matt 24:20)
  6. We are told we will keep holy for worship of God even when we live in Heaven (Is 66:22 & 23)

Just ONE text… Then you can have this:DSCN0316

Yes – I’m wagering my home. No, it’s not paid off, but a good chunk of it is. It’s a lovely home with 4 huge bedrooms, beautiful oak floors throughout, a big fire place, a giant yard in a very nice part of town.

How can I risk my home? Because I know that there isn’t ONE command in Scripture that changes God’s law regarding keeping the seventh day Sabbath holy to now keeping the first day, Sunday.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, it’s a life and death kind of thing.

If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).

For a complete study with questions and answers click on the “Sabbath Study” tab at the top of this page. And for even MORE information check out www.SabbathTruth.com.

Have a blessed Resurrection (Easter) Sunday. What a wonderful way to start a week!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Round Top Bound

It’s time once again to trek across the state (I’m really not even sure where it is I’m going…) to one of the most fabulous flea markets on the planet. Round Top!

This will be my third trip to Round Top. I wrote about it last spring, but didn’t tell you all about our trip last fall. I’m almost recovered from our fall trip and have vowed not to ever try it again in the “fall”. There was nothing crisp or brisk about it – it was pure Texas heat and I about croaked from heat stroke. (But I did get lots of good stuff, including most of the trays for my dining room wall… So nearly dying was worth it, don’t you think?)DSCN4316

Who knows what adventures await this day – I can tell you I’ve got a “press pass” again, (which I pretty much wasted last fall since I’ve been recovering all of this time…) and will receive a swag bag (though, I’m still not exactly sure just what that means beyond a free T-shirt that I will probably never wear unless my good painting clothes are dirty…)

I might even try my hand at Tweeting (@SaraKKendrick) a bit during the day (if I can get Lisa to explain to me how that works… She’s sooo techie. (insert snort laugh here.)

Until I return with adventure stories galore, feast your eyes on what our countryside looks like these days. It’s a GORGEOUS spring here in the Hill Country and the blue bonnets are in full glorious, bloom.DSCN4395

DSCN4406

DSCN4426

DSCN4420

No. (sigh). None of these were taken in my back yard. It’s an hour away (which delights my children every single year.) But every highway and byway is lined with blue bonnets and wild flowers. Thanks, Mrs. Johnson.

I’ll be back soon with a full junque and funnel cake report.

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