Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Low Calorie Spinach and Onion Cheesy Crustless Quiche

My mom used to make some variation of this when I was in high school. I've never been able to relocate the exact recipe, but I've tinkered with it enough to create a close approximation. I like these because they freeze and reheat well for when I need to eat breakfast on the go (which is always, because children).

It's low calorie, low carb, and high protein. It's also simple so it's likely you already have all of the ingredients.

Ingredients

This recipe will yield 12 quiches. 
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1.5 C mozzarella
  • 1/2 C parmesan
  • 1/4 of a Vidalia onion diced
You can also add salt, pepper, cayenne, etc. if so desired. I've also swapped out the Vidalia onion for green onions before and switched up the cheeses as well. If you use parmesan, be careful about adding salt. Parm is super salty on its own.

If I don't want it as salty, I decrease the parm by 1/4 of a cup and increase the mozzarella by 1/4 of a cup.

You can add in various other vegetables or ingredients if so desired. My mom used to include sliced mushrooms in hers. 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Dice your onion then mix all ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray then spoon the mixture into each cup in even amounts. 
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes
  5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes
Seriously, the easiest breakfast prep ever. I do have to warn you, if you try to make these around toddlers, they will think you are making cupcakes. 

Nutrition Information

The information below applies to 3 muffins. 

Calories
Fat
Carbs
Protein
Sodium
Fiber
Sugar
238 14.4 6.7 22.4 523.9 2.2 0.6

Friday, September 28, 2018

September Once Again

September is always hard. It sneaks up on me, and I don't see it coming until it's already eaten half my body. It's busy and hectic, catching up on work from time off for family vacations, switching out wardrobes for the fall--life in general with two small children keeps me occupied.

And then September 24th rolls across my calendar and my heart skips a beat.

I can never understand why at the time. Something wriggles in my subconscious and comes to life. It plants a seed in the pit of my stomach and grows until it strangles my heart. I always remember then.

I have two children, but I've known of five that should be here. There is something more brutal about the first loss. They all hurt, but the first unraveled my heart the most.

13 months of trying, one round of Clomid, and one devastatingly empty ultrasound. Ectopic. Not viable. Emergency.

I remember my ultrasound tech the most. She had red hair and a kind face. She wasn't allowed to tell me what she was seeing on the screen. Some kind of protocol prohibited her from making medical interpretations. She knew, though. She reached through the chasm of grief that had boiled up and out of my crux and crushed me against her in a hug that left marks on my bones. There is a language to hugging. That hug expressed agony and heartbreak. It conveyed solidarity, too. That woman held me together at the moment I was most ready to shatter.

It's become less taboo to discuss miscarriages and loss. now. But not enough. It's as if I am only allowed to grieve the loss at the moment its happening--maybe in the few months after. How dare I be upset by the shadow of the children who live in the back of my mind and the center of my heart? How can I grieve them when I have two healthy daughters?

It's simple. There is enough room in my heart for every child I carried. Aching over the losses does not diminish my love for the living. My heart expands; it contorts.

September is hard. September requires a lot grace.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Utah Anecdotes: Beyond the Pale

My husband and I recently moved back to our hometown after 2.5 years of living in Utah for his job. His job is usually the reason we move, resulting in us living in five houses in three states over the course of six years.

Utah took us across the country and thrust us into an unfamiliar environment. For one, the people were much nicer than those in Northern Virginia. Unless, of course, they were behind the wheel of a car. Then they were exactly like NOVA drivers.

I was watching a video posted by one of my friends in Utah. It was by Sam Adams, who noted that Provo, Utah's African American population accounts for 0.0004% of the city. I thought, surely, this is hyperbole. It's not; not really anyway. In the 2010 census, Provo reported their black or African American population to be 0.7%.

Having lived about 45 minutes north of Provo, I cannot say I am surprised. One of the biggest things that shocked me about Utah was the vast amount of white people. It was unnerving coming from a much more diverse city. After seeing how nice everyone was, I was 100% convinced my husband had actually brought me to Stepford, CT and was going to turn me into a robot.

The Only Black Person in Utah


We lived down the street from a park, which was great for our young daughter. However, it was fall and one of those weird Utah days where 8:00am-11:00am and 3:00pm-6:00pm are too brisk to really enjoy being outdoors while all the time in between encompassed lunch and nap time. It was also likely way too hot during the middle of the day because fall in Utah is identical to a hot pocket. It has two temperatures: freezing cold or molten lava.

My husband and I decided to deal with the chill because our toddler was bursting with energy and doesn't mind chilly weather nearly as much as her parents do. So off we go, but, as we approach the playground, we notice a young man sitting in the center of the park's play system. Anytime a man is alone at a child's park, things can get weird fast. However, he looked distressed so we decided to see if he needed any help.

He looked really weird at first. Once we got closer, we realized he wasn't wearing a coat. Instead, he had pulled his arms inside of his button-down shirt to stay warm. The following is the most accurate memory I have of our conversation.

Me: Are you alright?
Young man: Yeah, I'm fine.
Husband: Are you sure?
YM: Well, no. My ride left me here.
H: Your ride?
YM: Yeah, how far is Provo from here?
H: At this time of day, probably an hour.
YM: Oh, that is not good. I'm from Ohio. I'm doing this program that lets me travel and sell educational books. They paid for my flight out here, but I have to work for them for six months before they will pay for my ticket back. I was working with a partner today and he left me here. My phone was in his car.
Me: Do you want to borrow my phone?
YM: I don't know his number.
H: Do you know where you were staying?
YM: Yes at [some hotel chain] in Provo.
H: *looks it up on phone* There is only one of them in Provo. Do you know your supervisor's name? You could call and ask the front desk to connect you.
YM: I do! I'll do that. *calls the hotel, asks to be connected to his supervisor's room* Hey [supervisor's name], it's [young man's name]. Your guy left me here in Riverton! *inaudible supervisor response* How was I supposed to call him? He has my phone in his car. He told me not to take it door to door. Then he left me! *supervisor talks some more* He saw me. He looked straight at me and drove away. *supervisor talks again* HE KNEW IT WAS ME. I AM THE ONLY BLACK MAN IN THIS ENTIRE STATE. HE WAS NOT CONFUSED.

They talked some more and then he hung up and handed us back the phone. He said someone was coming for him. I asked him if he was hungry or if he wanted a coat, but he declined both. I made my husband go back later to make sure he wasn't still waiting on a ride. He wasn't at the park anymore, so, hopefully, his supervisor came and picked him up.

I remember my first real opinion about Utah being, "This place is really white." Apparently, the young man concurred.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Honest Pinterest Tutorial: How to Do a Crown Braid

Read on to learn how you too can have a so-so crown braid
It's been a while since I've posted anything, mostly due to buying a house and moving across the country. Both of those things are absurdly stressful. I do not recommend house hunting when you cannot see the house in order to hunt it. It requires a lot of traveling on family members' parts and several FaceTime calls.

Fun fact: I have never met my realtor in real life. 

Back to the point of the blog post (I will post about the house later once renovations are complete), I decided to follow a Pinterest tutorial on how to do a crown braid. As is the case with most Pinterest tutorials, things Did Not Go According To Plan (I need this on a rubber stamp so I can label any aspect of my day that goes awry--spoiler alert: it's all of them). 

Since my Pinterest hairstyle was neither success nor fail, I decided to blog about the experience. I have a suspicious feeling that my experience is much like everyone else's experience. However, the internet seems to have only chronicled the immense fails or spectacular successes. I wish to document the mediocre meh. 

Without further ado, let's begin. 

1. The catalyst. Like every good attempt at a Pinterest tutorial, I had a catalyst. A fellow mommy blogger posted her tutorial on boxer braids. While I look ridiculous in boxer braids, she looked cute. She always looks put together. Which is why I hate her. Not really (just a little). But seriously, I have zero idea how she does it. I've decided it's sorcery. 

Anyway, her video inspired me to attempt a different kind of braid: a crown braid. Because I am a pretty princess and need a crown. A hair crown. We could unpack all of the crazy going on in those previous sentences, but then this blog post would be far too long and much less entertaining. So. Onward. 

2. The tutorial. I went on the hunt through my long-forgotten Hair and Beauty Pinterest board to locate the desired pin. After being sidetracked by pictures of food I can't cook and house renovation ideas I can't afford, I found the tutorial and got to work. 


It seemed simple enough given that I've been braiding hair for the vast majority of my life. However, it quickly became apparent to me that Pinterest picture tutorials leave much to be desired. For example, how are you supposed to see around the waterfall of hair you section off in the beginning? Oh. that's right. The tutorial left out the step where you hire a hair stylist to do it for you.

After much grumbling, I continued on with the tutorial. Once you begin to mimic the second picture in the tutorial, your face will likely look something like this:


Accept the fact that you look 100% ridiculous and continue onto step three.

3. Grow an extra arm. While it may seem impossible without massive amounts of radiation, you will find an extra limb to be useful here. This braid will require you to switch directions with your hands halfway through the braid. Tutorials usually try to explain how this process works, but they are liars. You just grow an extra limb. That's all. The extra limb is also useful for when your arms start to burn like fire and you need some support to make it through the rest of the braid. Fire arms usually begin 9.8 seconds after starting the braid.

4. Self-doubt. This step is a vital part of the mediocre hairstyle process. You will follow the instructions exactly but have the sneaking suspicion that the model is, in fact, a unicorn and that your hair may as well be the bristles that protrude from moles in comparison.

I had my doubts well before I got to the end of the braiding process, yet I still found myself baffled. Thus far, it looked nothing like the tutorial:


As I stared in perplexed wonder at the frizzy rat tail protruding from the side of my head, I was not yet ready to admit defeat. This was in large part because I was distracted by the odd tendril sticking straight out by my ear.


While many beauty bloggers recommend pulling this tendril down and curling it, mine has this magic ability to defy gravity. Even if I take a curling iron to it, I have the unfortunate luck of looking 100% like an Orthodox Jewish male. Not saying it's a bad look, but I am neither Jewish nor am I a male. So, there is that. It kind of ends up like this:


The tendril thing never works out for me because I have naturally curly hair. It has a weird texture and it's own pattern so it doesn't care much for when I try to make it curl in a different way than it decided it wanted to be that day.

5. Tug on the braid. For whatever reason, all braiding woes can be solved by tugging on them. Some people refer to this process as pancaking. I prefer to call it tugging because that is a more accurate description of what you will be doing. Also, pancaking tutorials lead you to believe you can just lightly tug and you will have a fuller braid. Lies. You have to grab the outer half of each individual plait and pull until you feel it give. Otherwise, it will suck right back inside that braid and all the tugging will be for naught (and your arms will reach their melting point and fall off your body from having been held up for so long).

The final result was a glorious, mediocre braid. Nothing to brag about on social media, but not so hideous that you have to go take a shower to wash away your hair shame undo the damage. If you're anything like me, the tutorial will produce the following:


6. Reward your efforts. My braid may be of eh quality, but I put a lot of effort into it. My arms burn and it took up way too much of the girls' nap time, so I required sustenance. I opted for a Dorito and turkey sandwich. If you've never put Doritos directly onto your sandwich, there is something wrong with you and we can't be friends.


If your attempts at Pinterest hair tutorials don't work out very often, don't fret. Neither does anyone else's unless they buy hair extensions, grow another arm, and/or hire a hair stylist to do it for them.

In summary: there is a braid on my head, I ate a sandwich, and Pinterest is full of lies. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cranberry Chicken Quinoa + Green Beans

My mother in law made a version of this over the summer, and I've been meaning to try and recreate it ever since. I finally got around to buying cranberries and decided to give it a whirl. While it isn't complicated, it is the first time I've made something entirely without a Pinterest recipe as a basis or without falling back on a meal my mother taught me how to make. As a result, it is fairly simple, but still delicious.

I have a feeling I will be tweaking this one over time, adding in spices as they suit me and whatnot. For now, I like it as it is. It only takes about half an hour (provided that your chicken breasts are already thawed) so it is great for nights you are strapped for time.

My toddler has become suspicious of all new foods, but I got her to at least try the cranberries. She calls them her "new berries."

Ingredients 

  • 2 thin sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 bag of cranberries (3.5 cups)
  • 1.5 C water
  • 3/4 C dried quinoa
  • 1/4-1/3 C sugar
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bouillon cube
Optional:
  • 1 can of green beans
  • 1 bouillon cube

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with tin foil and arrange your cranberries on top in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 
  2. While the cranberries are baking, pour the olive oil into a large pan and heat on medium-high. Cook your chicken breasts for 2 minutes on each side. 
  3. Pour in your water and quinoa around the chicken breasts and add a bouillon cube. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa absorbs all the liquid. 
  4. When the cranberries are done, pull them out and transfer them to a saucepan. Add your sugar and stir to coat. When there is about one minute left for the quinoa, add in your cranberries and recover. 
Optional:

I chose to serve this with green beans, but it would go well with several other vegetables (e.g. squash, sweet potatoes, asparagus, etc.). If you decide to go with green beans, heat them in a small saucepan over medium heat along with a bouillon cube for 5-10 minutes. If you are using fresh green beans, add water to simmer with the bouillon cube or use chicken stock. 

Nutrition Information

The nutrition information below is for 1/3 of the quinoa, green beans, and cranberries (using 1/4 C sugar) as well as 2/3 of a chicken breast. 

Calories
Fat
Carbs
Protein
Sodium
Sugar
Fiber
403
8
61
20
203
22
6