Saturday, January 10, 2015

Making Muffin Quiches with a two year old

My little girl is home sick today, so I'm looking for interesting ways to feed her, and also keep her out of her daddy's hair at the same time.  I kept imagining involving her in the cooking process, and even better watching the consumption of a complete protein laced with green vegetable, so we decided to make mini quiches today, from a recipe that I half made up half cobbled together from various other recipes I've read.  But who wants to mess with pie crusts with a two year old.  Here's what you need:

A regular size muffin tin.  I only have a 12 muffin pan, but you could probably adjust the recipe to fit whatever size you have.
Refrigerated biscuits in a can, the kind with the layers
Shredded cheese
Eggs, I used 7 in a 12 muffin pan, but after seeing how they turned out I think I should have only used 6
and then you have the quiche add-ins, feel free to change these if you like...
Diced ham, we had some ham left over from dinner earlier this week so I just diced it up after the little girl went to sleep last night.
Frozen broccoli florets, I like the Birdseye for this application because they're really small, the smaller the better for throwing stuff in quiche.

Gratuitous eating of grated cheese from the bag ahead!

Preheat the oven to whatever your bread in the can says it needs.  There are going to be leftovers so we're going to cook those first.
Spray your muffin cups and a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Open your biscuits and take out one biscuit.  Use the layers to pull your biscuit apart into thinner rounds, and try to get three fairly even pieces from your biscuit.  Hand each third of a biscuit to your two year old and tell him/her to put one in each muffin spot.  Once your muffin tins all have a biscuit piece the bottoms you can have your two year old put the rest of the leftover biscuits on the cookie sheet and bake them according to the directions (minimum cooking time worked for me).

Check to make sure the biscuit thirds are fairly even in the bottom of the muffin tins and have your two-year-old sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese on top of each biscuit.    Go back behind and even out the cheese where she added to much or not enough.

Add a little bit of broccoli and ham to each cup, this turned out to be about three florets per cup with the Birds Eye broccoli.  You'll have help for this too (not just eating cheese).  Then have your two-year-old add more cheese (that's were more eating cheese comes in).  Hide the cheese before the whole bag gets dumped on the muffin tin, but not before a fair bit makes it on the floor.

Break your eggs into a small mixing bowl, add a little salt and pepper, and scramble them with a fork.  My two-year-old likes to crack eggs, so I had to wrestle one out of her hand when she wanted to add an 8th egg.   While I was scrambling eggs I had the two year old add a touch more cheese to each muffin cup on top of the veggies and ham.    Then hide the cheese again.  Add a little egg to each cup.  It won't be even, but try for as even as you can.  My two-year-old wanted to add more cheese to the tops.  I thought they were done, but she didn't.  You can guess who won.  I should have hidden the cheese.

Bake for the maximum length of time recommended for your biscuits then check them every two minutes or so for jigglyness.  Yes, "jigglyness" is a word despite what spell check might say.  "Jiggles" just doesn't cut it.  Anyway, check them every two minutes.  Notice that one of them seems to look wet on top.  Keep cooking them, even though most of them look done.  After a few checks decide that maybe the wet spot isn't uncooked egg but instead could be ice that was attached to the frozen broccoli.  Cook them a little longer anyway, just to be on the safe side.  I ended up baking mine for about 20 minutes.  Try not to step on the cheese on the floor while you're checking your quiches.

When they come out of the oven they're pretty delicate, like a souffle, but after about 5 minutes cooling you can run a butter knife back first around them and they pop out pretty well.

Sweep up the cheese on the floor even though your toddler is still eating it.  Catch her raiding the pile as you're sweeping it.  If you can't see to much lint and garbage in your pile of cheese, just resign yourself to what is happening and put your swept up cheese in a bowl and give it to your two year old.  Remind yourself that the human body is designed to build up immunity to germs, which it can't do without at least some exposure.  So by allowing your child to eat off the floor you're actually giving him a stronger immune system.  You're welcome.

Now try your quiche.  Pretty good isn't it?  Now try to give one to your toddler.  Try to bribe your two year old to take it.  Break off a single bite size piece to wave under your two year old's nose.  This finally garnered a reaction.

"I don't like quiche."
"You've never had it before."
"I don't like it."
Taking a bite yourself, "It's really good.  It's eggs, you asked for eggs this morning."

Waving tiny bite under toddler's nose, "It's eggs with cheese and other stuff you like.  Just try a little."

"You can't have any Skittles until you eat breakfast.  Just take one bite."
Watch hopefully as she takes the small bite your holding, looks at it, holds it up to her mouth, he teeth meet and she consumes maybe three molecules of quiche... and spits them out.  Seriously, there wasn't anything to spit out, so it was just spit!  Then go take a bubble bath with your two year old.

I refrigerated my leftovers (seriously, nobody but me is eating these things) and they heat up well in the toaster oven.  They're pretty good cold too.  If you're going to eat your feelings they might as well be a complete protein with a green vegetable embedded.  And cheese is comfort food... so are biscuits for that matter.  Feel comforted.

Recipe alternatives:
A lot of the quiche recipes I ran across call for onion that you've cooked before you add it to the quiche.  I was going to do this the night before when I diced the ham, but it turns out we're out of onion (grocery list, check).  I think scallions would be great in these, and you wouldn't have to pre-cook them.  You could experiment with other types of vegetables, I think frozen spinach would be good if you broke it up quite a bit.  I might try mushrooms some day, but I'd want to pre-cook those too and I'm not generally a huge fan of canned mushrooms.  Anyway, feel free to add whatever leftovers you have.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Living with myself, in the present

I'm never here.  Oh, I look like I'm present; I've learned to smile and nod with the best of them.  But while the world passes me by I live an alternate reality inside my head.  I'm always thinking about what I should be doing, or what I could be doing, or what I'm going to do, but very VERY rarely am I focused on where I am.

I also spend a lot of time thinking on what I'll do WHEN.  When I loose the weight, when I have time to exercise, when my little girl is old enough to do whatever it is for me, and how I'll implement this project I have in mind to start 6 weeks from now (when I've already got 6 projects in various stages of incomplete).  And I live in various fantasy worlds, how I would live my life if my American Idol/America's Got Talent auditions had gone differently, or what if I got around to writing one or more of the books in my head and got it published, or what if I was an artist who actually made a living creating... ANYTHING!

I wonder if it's part and parcel of the ADD.  I've noticed this is particularly bad when I WANT to do something (usually want to make something, some project I've started) but I'm doing family things instead, and you know what?  It's causing me to miss out on what's REALLY important.  Ok, so potty training isn't glamorous, but if I let it be it can be plenty exiting!

When I can manage to focus on the present I realize, it's pretty good.  I have a fantastic husband, an amazing daughter, and a job that leaves me enough free time to occasionally create things on the side (and it's a pretty interesting job too).  Why can't I manage to be fully HERE more often?  When I do manage it I find I'm more satisfied with the way things go and my evenings move smoother, perhaps because I'm enjoying time with my wonderful husband and fantabulous daughter instead of getting frustrated at all the things I'm not doing.  But when I let my mind wander all I see is wasted time, wasted tasks, wasted effort.

I need to find a way to keep myself present, to keep from thinking that I'm wasting time at the very times I should be enjoying the most.  So in an effort to focus on the here and now I've made a few resolutions (I would call them New Year, but I've actually been working on these for several months now).

  • I will medicate my ADD, not with sugar or with caffeine, but with actually ADD medications.  I will find a schedule for these medications that works for me, a way that doesn't interfere with my sleep schedule (to often, occasional insomnia comes with the territory), and will manage those awake hours in a way that makes good use of the time (not in reading the entire WOT wikia yet again).  If my current medication doesn't work for me then I will find a doctor who will work with me to find one that does.
  • I will get up and move more.  I may make use of my treadmill desk, I may go for a walk, I may take up running, or I may do something drastic and try to catch up on the yard work that needs doing around here!  But I'll try to do something active starting maybe 2-3 times a week.
  • I will no longer waste time shopping for stuff that doesn't make sense for me to buy.  They're very pretty, but I already know way more than I ever needed to know about diamonds.  There is no need for me to spend time browsing in stores that don't sell clothes in my size, so if you don't make an XXL or 16 you can expect me to cancel your store credit card, and just because I like your handbags doesn't mean I want to see all the cute outfits that I'll never fit in to so you can expect me to unsubscribe from your newsletter (I'll buy my handbags somewhere else, or better yet, make them).
  • I've got to cut way back on sugar.  Oh, I know I can't cut it completely out (my husband's cookies and cakes and bread are WAY to good), but I can cut out the Skittles and the M&M's (even the dark chocolate peanut ones) and try to pair my sugar with whole grain flour whenever I have to bake.  I know I'm going to have some sugar, but I'd rather have one truffle from Godiva than a whole bag of Starbursts.  
  • And while I'm at it, I'm gonna eat more green.  Not that I'm gonna eat a salad every day, but lately I've been so focused on making more room in the freezer that I've lost sight of what I should be eating.  Don't get me wrong, it's nice that I've cleaned out a couple of ice cream containers, but I KNOW I'm just going to go out and buy more ice cream.  It's satisfying to see more room for stews and meatballs and chili, but I've got to stop eating things just because they're there.
  • And on that note, I've got to pay attention to what's just there.  I've always been bad about mindless eating, so I have to find ways to clear stuff out, put it aside, make it plain that the bad stuff is not for me.  Oh it'll still be in the house (I need the Skittles to bribe Talia), but it'll be somewhere that's designated for other people and NEVER in my office!  I need to clear out my office snack drawer of everything except healthy snacks, really only nuts.  I don't need chips or crackers or pretzels, and if I do need chocolate I need to make the effort to go get it from some other part of the house.  
  • So I suppose I need to create a stash of high quality chocolate that's not in everybody else's way (boy, this to-do list is growing).
I need to be the wife I want my husband to be married to, and the mother I want my daughter to see.  That means more than my relationship to food by-the-way.  It also means I need to act like I care about myself.
  • I need to wear REAL shoes when I go out, not just house slippers that I tell myself look almost like real shoes.  I should probably not even wear tennis shoes most days, but I'm still working on that.
  • I need to wear makeup.  It makes me feel better about myself.  I may have the most pared down makeup routine on earth (OK, I know I don't, that honor belongs to my mother), but that routine needs to exist (it hasn't for a long time).  It needs to be something workable that I can maintain and do every day, or at least almost every day.  
  • I need to wear clothes that are right for me.  Not that I'm going out and buying an entirely new wardrobe, but I need to stop falling in love with something just because it fits.  I need to learn what colors work for me (after years of wondering I think I've finally figured out that I'm a "soft summer" though I have yet to really figure out what that means I should wear), and yes that means no more black.  It doesn't matter that it's slimming, and worn by ninjas (can ninjas wear brown? purple?), and it's EVERYWHERE.  Black doesn't work with my skin.  I've known this for nearly 20 years (since prom dress shopping) and yet I still have black in my wardrobe.  It's gonna have to go.  
  • So are the socks and underwear (and anything else) that have holes in them.  It's not like I don't have enough socks and underwear (if I ever get around to folding laundry so I can find it).  If it's holy and worn out and I can't mend it then it needs to go.
  • And to top it all off, if I live in the present then instead of having my mind wandering, maybe I can use all that extra brain power to be more understanding of others.  Starting with my husband and daughter of course, but I look back over the years at conversations I've had (or only had in my head) and way to many of them were me spouting off about stuff I thought I knew.  I'm sure I've lost friends for it.  Maybe instead of trying to convince everyone (mainly myself) that I know everything, I should be more accepting of what other people know, or need.  Maybe I should recognize that I don't know it all, indeed as I get older I start to realize just how much I don't know, and maybe if I'm here, REALLY HERE, I'll start learning from other people what they know so much better than I do, about EVERYTHING.
Is that enough?  I don't normally make resolution lists, certainly not around New Years.  In the past I've laughed about New Years resolutions (even if I secretly made one or two to not keep on my own).  Maybe that's another thing I need to change, but this list is long enough already.  I tried not to put any absolutes in there.  I know I'll fail (there will be dark chocolate peanut M&M's) but if I don't cut things out completely, if I only do as I should part of the time, it will still be an improvement over what was before.  But then, I'm not thinking about what was before anymore.