Quiche me and make me happy! {Recipe}

quiche-1

I don’t remember exactly when I fell in love with quiche, but we’ve had a great relationship ever since. After using my tried and true recipe for nearly 6 years, I discovered that it’s MUCH better and even easier to make with fresh spinach. There has never been a time that I’ve made this that someone hasn’t asked me for the recipe. A lot of quiche recipes I’ve found turn out watery and gross, but this one is perfect.

You can quiche me at any time of day and make me happy!

Sarah Caroline’s Quiche [adapted from a  FoodNetwork recipe]
4 eggs
1 C. half-and-half
½ C. light mayonnaise
2 T. flour
1/3 C. minced onions (or some onion powder)
Dash of Salt
Dash of Garlic Powder
Dash of Black Pepper
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 C. fresh spinach, chopped
1 (9”) deep-dish unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350o. Chop spinach and distribute evenly on the bottom of your unbaked pie crust. Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and any extras you want to include. Pour on top of spinach. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown.

Themes & Variations
You can add just about anything to a quiche. I’m usually a plain Jane kind of gal and don’t usually like to mess with a recipe if it tastes fine just the way it is–but at Christmas, I add red and yellow bell pepper for an extra pop of color and flavor. You can always switch out the type of cheese to change it up a little, too!

If you find a delicious variation, please let me know! 🙂

quiche-plated

Of Foley Forks & Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars {Recipe}

Once upon a time, there was an odd looking vintage kitchen utensil in our top kitchen drawer. It had a weathered wooden handle and short, bent, scoop-shaped tines. This apparatus had been in this drawer as long as I could remember and always looked like it was about time for it to go; however, in an interesting twist of fate, this antique gadget outlived two 21st century KitchenAid whisks.

Towards the end of September, after one or two band competitions have taken place and pumpkins have marched into my office, I feel strongly compelled to begin making all my pumpkin recipes. This year I’ve added a new one to my repertoire thanks to…drumroll, please…Pinterest. (I know you’re shocked.)

So I got my can of pumpkin out and all my favorite fall spices, the bowl, the measuring cups…you know the whole nine yards (equivalent to 14.4 8-to-5 steps in case you were wondering), and was incredibly disappointed when my mom informed me that our whisk had moved on to glory. My initial Plan B was to stir the flour/sugar mixture for my Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars with a fork, but then my mom pulled the odd looking vintage kitchen utensil from our top kitchen drawer and said, “We have this thing if you want to use it instead.”
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With a look of “really? but what do I have to lose?“, I grabbed the odd looking vintage kitchen utensil and started to stir. It was amazing how well this little gadget helped integrate the sugars so quickly (just like a good colorguard pass-through in a closer). I was hooked! And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it also allowed me to both scoop up the crumbly crust and press it into the bottom of the baking dish without getting my hands all messy.

I had to know more about this gadget. All I knew was it was my grandmother’s (or maybe even great-grandmother’s?!)and it had been around forever, but a closer look as I was stirring revealed that it was a FOLEY FORK MPLS, which was introduced by Foley Manufacturing in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the Great Depression. Apparently original Foley Forks are highly collectible items and after tonight, I could certainly see why.

I’m sorry to report that Foley Manufacturing no longer exists and it seems that no one has been able to reproduce the coveted Foley Fork to the caliber of the original. There are Granny Forks and replicas and even Fantastic Food Forks, but for now, I’m going to keep my eyes peeled at yard sales and antique stores for true Foley Forks to use as gifts and a backup.

Heaven help if our Foley Fork ever joins our whisks in glory. IMG_2216

P.S.–Those Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars? Delish. And I’ll also let you know that they leave the PERFECT amount of pumpkin to make a couple of my favorite pumpkin coffee drinks! {PSL + PS frapp}

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A Taste of Summer, Wainright Style

Taste of SummerThe last time I technically wrote on here, it was sub-zero temperatures and my toes were frozen. I had just ordered a new parka so my nose would hopefully no longer have icicles forming on the inside (seriously).

But now–oh now. It’s summer!

There is beauty in every season, but there is something extra special about the flavors that can be found in summer, yes? Peach juice running down your arm, corn silks stuck in your teeth, watermelon seeds flying out of your mouth, and that oh-so-perfect texture of the inner seeds of fresh green beans popping inside of your mouth.

So I’d like to share with you a few new favorites that I’ve discovered in this most wonderful season for food.

First things first–this quesadilla is pretty much life-changing. (It was inspired by leftovers from this amazing new loaded baked potato salad that gets an honorable mention.) Full confession: this past week, I had one for lunch four out of five days because they are easy to prep, quick to make, and do a great job of filling you up!

Taste of Summer Bacon Chive and Cheddar Quesadilla

Bacon, Chive, & Cheddar Quesadilla
You’ll need the following. Just eyeball it all. 
Wheat flour tortillas
Center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
Chives, diced
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

I prepare the bacon and chives in advance and keep them in the fridge until I’m ready to make my quesadilla. Then I throw all the ingredients in between two flour tortillas and pop it in the microwave for about 1:30. Fancy, I know. But trust me–it’s delish. 😉

P.S.–If you’ve never made bacon in the oven, you should really do yourself a favor and try it at least once. Just preheat the oven to 400° and lay the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake on a lower rack for 15-ish minutes, depending on the thickness of your bacon, and use tongs to transfer it to a paper-towel lined plate. Voila–throw the foil away.

Taste of Summer Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Salsa
Originally from a Kroger advertisement

2 C. seedless watermelon, diced (be kind to yourself and get this already partially cut up)
1 C. cucumber, diced and seeded
2 TBSP. sweet red onion, finely minced
1 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped
1 TBSP. fresh spearmint, finely chopped
1 TBSP. lime juice
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (our preference = Tabasco)
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients, mixing gently to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Chill covered for 1 hour.

Makes 3 cups.

Throw that on top of your bacon, chive, & cheddar quesadilla and thank me later. Careful–your tastebuds might explode with happiness. It’s really good with just chips, too.

Taste of Summer Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie
originally found on cincyshopper.com

24 Oreo cookies turned into crumbs via a food processor
4 TBSP butter, melted
1 C. peanut butter (creamy)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed (+ another tub just to eat or add on top)

Preheat oven to 350°. Place cookies in food processor and pulse until ground into small, fine crumbs. Add melted butter and stir with a fork to combine. Press into a pie pan and bake 7 minutes or until set. Allow to cool completely.

Combine peanut butter and cream cheese and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in whipped topping and blend until completely incorporated. Pour into cooled crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Chill before serving.

Serves…8? If they all want just a bite.

 

So, in between your drum corps shows, VBS’s, pool parties, and late muggy nights with friends this summer, I hope you’ll find time to get your hands a little juicy and make your tastebuds smile.

Sunflower

Ingur’s Fried Rice {Recipe}

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We’ve all done it. You’re making tacos and decide to cook some rice to go along with it. Before you know it, you have a massive pot full of rice, and therefore, a massive amount of leftover rice. What in the world are you going to do with all that starch?! Fry it up, of course!

When I was two years old, we had the privilege of having a Korean student live with us.  If not for Ingur Lee, I would probably never learned to eat with chopsticks so well– 감사합니다, Ingur! (I do not speak or write Korean, so I really hope that says “Thank you.”) Ingur Lee cooked dinner every Thursday night and this was one of our favorites!

Ingur’s Fried Rice
1 medium onion, diced
5 carrots, diced
4 red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and diced
3 good quality all-beef hot dogs (as in Smithfield or Oscar Myer…yeah, we’re persnickety), diced
3 TBSP. oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Soy Sauce to taste
3-4 C. cooked, cold rice

Spray skillet with cooking spray. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Sauté onions for 2 minutes, push to edges, add another tablespoon of oil in the middle. Add carrots and potatoes and stir fry 5-7 minutes, stirring well to keep from sticking. Add hot dogs, continuing to stir fry, about 3 minutes. Push all to edges and add another tablespoon of oil in the middle. When hot, add cold rice and stir fry about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce to taste, continuing to stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a salad.

Serves 3-4

Valentine Blondie Bars {Recipe}

So. I love Valentine’s Day. Like a lot. Towards the end of January, I start getting sucked into the hearts, the pink, the red, the lace, the sweets–all of it. What 25 year old who hates hearts buys little kid heart pencils?

Starbucks Love

Whatever. I’ve learned to embrace my love for Valentine’s Day for the benefit of others. I actually gave a friend a gift the other day in a Valentine’s Day gift bag–nevermind that it was actually a belated Christmas present.

One of my favorite expressions of love is food, so when I saw these cute treats on Pinterest, I just had to make them–and who better to share them with than my LCA Band kids? They’re the guinea pigs for all my new sweets. Conveniently, my little cousin came over on Friday night and this gave us a fun, interactive project to do together. (No worries, I shared some with her, too.)

These little blondie brownie bites are super easy to make and are oh-so-festive for any occasion! You can simply change out the color of the m&ms to match the current season.

Valentine Blondie Bars
adapted from BakedPerfection.com

1 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 C. butter
1 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla extract
2/3 C. + 1/3 C. m&m’s (1 C. total)

Preheat oven to 350o.

Melt 1/3 cup butter. Add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and mix well. Cool slightly.

While waiting for this mixture to cool, in a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

Add one beaten egg and vanilla to the butter/brown sugar mixture and blend well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well. Mix in 2/3 cup m&m’s. Spread in well-greased 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup m&m’s on top. Bake at 350o for 20-25 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

My parents thought these should have nuts in them, but they think that about every kind of dessert. If you have similar taste buds (really I think it’s all about the texture here…so similar texture buds?), throw in some walnuts.

Valentine Blondie BarsI also made some of Anita Stanton’s Better-than-Boxed Brownies.
{Recipe}

Lastly, if you’re wondering where I found the Valentine Blondie Brownies recipe, of course I found it on Pinterest. I even have a whole board dedicated to Valentine’s Day. You can check it out by clicking here.

Almond Roca {Recipe}

Almond Roca is one of our Christmas traditions.  Originally introduced to us by my Aunt Lee Ann Sewell, both sides of my family have fallen in love with this delicious candy.  It’s Papa’s favorite.

Almond Roca

2 sticks butter minus 2 T.
3 T. water
1 C. sugar
1 (6 oz.) package sliced almonds
1 (7 oz.) Hershey plain milk chocolate bar, broken in pieces
1 jar peanut butter (not to add, but for reference!)

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up.  Spread almonds evenly over foil.  Toast almonds by placing under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until light brown (watch carefully so they don’t burn).  Place butter, water, and sugar in a heavy iron skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the color of peanut butter (about 10-15 minutes).  Pour over almonds and spread gently so almonds are covered.  Place Hershey bar pieces over hot mixture.  When chocolate begins to melt, spread evenly over mixture.  Cool completely.  Break into pieces.  Can be placed in refrigerator for chocolate to set more quickly.

Absolutely will not work if it’s raining.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but seriously…don’t even try it!

And…if you can’t use butter, we’ve discovered this works well with “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” baking sticks.

Almond Roca

 

Peanut Butter Balls {Recipe}

Kerry Peanut Butter Balls

Buckeyes, peanut butter balls, chocolate-covered protein. Whatever you want to call them, they’ve always been my favorite Christmas candy. Every Christmas that we’ve visited my grandparents in South Carolina, my Mema has had a tin full of peanut butter balls resting in carefully layered wax paper waiting for us in the fridge. They are the perfect pop of holiday happiness in your mouth.

Recently, I learned that my friend Kerry had never eaten a peanut butter ball. I decided to remedy this pitiful situation by teaching her how to make them. Give a girl a peanut butter ball and make her happy for a moment. Teach a girl to make peanut butter balls and make her happy every Christmas for the rest of her life.

 

Peanut Butter Balls (I ain’t a Buckeye–I’m from the South.)
adapted from JoyofBaking.com

Filling:
2 C. creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, room temperature (we used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! baking sticks)
2-1/2 C. confectioners sugar

Coating:
10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (we used Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips)
1/2 block paraffin wax

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Mix the peanut butter, butter, and confectioners sugar with an electric mixer until it has the consistency of a stiff dough.

Roll the dough into 1″ round balls and place on the cookie sheet. If you’re patient, refrigerate until firm (several hours or even overnight). Or if you’re impatient like us, place the cookie sheet in the freezer and freeze until firm (about an hour).

Melt the chocolate and paraffin wax in a double boiler (or make-shift double boiler). Dip the balls, one at a time, in the melted chocolate. Toothpicks or skewers are really handy during this part of the shindig. Use your creative liberties here–you can either dip the whole ball in chocolate or leave the top quarter undipped to make the traditional “buckeye.” Place dipped balls back on the baking sheet. Once you’ve dipped all the balls in chocolate, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set (about 15-20 minutes). Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Makes about 60 pieces.

Peanut Butter Balls Buckeyes