5.03.2020

The Best Quarantine Spinach and Ham Quiche Recipe

How much cooking have you done since you have been under a stay-at-home order for COVID-19?  I feel as if I have never cooked more in my lifetime.

I have really tried to have zero waste in my cooking these days. I had leftover Easter ham and decided to throw together a "use what I have in the fridge" quiche for another meal. I used this favorite quiche recipe of mine that I originally shared in 2012 on the blog and adapted it to work for what food I had in the refrigerator.

Spinach and Ham Quiche


It turned out well. So much in fact that I made the Spinach and Ham Quiche a second time.

Quarantine Spinach and Ham Quiche

Ingredients:
1 store-bought pie crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced
Up to 10-ounces of fresh spinach, stemmed and washed
1/4 cup of diced ham
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shredded cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake the crust until it just starts to color, about 10 minutes. Remove the crust. Set aside. Lower over to 350 degrees.

While crust is in the oven, melt butter in a large pan, add onion and cook over medium heat until soft, about five minutes.  Chop the damp spinach and add it to the pan with the onions. Cover and cook occasionally, until the spinach is tender and shrinks. Drain off any liquid in the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk the eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Stir in the spinach mixture, cheese, and add the diced ham. Pour the entire mixture into the browned prebaked pie crust and slide onto a baking pan.  Bake until the pie puffs, and the top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let quiche settle for at least 10 minutes before serving.  It is even better when reheated.

Quiche on a plate.



4.12.2020

Try Color Street for EASY DIY Manicure or Pedicure

Since you can't get to the salon for a manicure or pedicure during COVID-19. I have an excellent alternative for you that is easy to do and affordable.

Instead of dying easter eggs this year,  Liza and I did our nails using the nail polish strip Glamsterdam from Color Street.

Color Street DIY Nail Strips

I hesitated to try this DIY polish application at first, but I am glad I did. Sure, my nails are not perfect, but after I do them, I feel happier and more upbeat. My nails look 100 percent better than if I had tried to use nail polish on my own.

You need to try Color Street.  Trust me. Do their special. Buy 3 and get 1 free. You will love it.

My friend, Dana, introduced me to the products in January and I've become a big fan.



A pale blue called Chilladelphia


Color Street makes 100 percent nail polish strips that are easy to apply. In fact, they are so easy to use that my own daughter does hers and mine.  It's that simple. Your nails become a canvas for wherever your creativity takes you. 

You can go pastel, bold, glittery, neutral, or mix and match.  The first time I did Color Street, I started with the palest of pinks called Himalayan Salt. It is still a favorite of mine.

DIY Nails with Color Street


The color ideas are endless.

Neutral nail polish


You can design an overlay look, mix it up, or keep it solid. The choice and your creativity are up to you. There is even Clear as Day, which is just a clear nail, and it works great over solids to give it more protection.


Plaid about you is a great plaid overlay over any color



The nail strips come in petite (great for little hands), standard size, and pedicure strips. However, you can always use the standard strips for your toes, too.  You may need to turn the largest one sideways for the big toe, but it is easy to do and works just as well.

Color Street Nail Strips






The strips can also be used to cover gels from professional salons.

I came up with my own combo for UCA in Orlando. I used Holy-Teal-edo with the Coming Up Rose Gold overlay.  The teal is now a favorite of mine, and I think I will wear it to cheer competitions since it is our primary team color. It's lovely by itself, too.





You're probably wondering how easy is Color Street to apply. It is easy.  The pedicure is more challenging, but I did it.  If this non-DIY queen can do it, then I know you can do it even better.  Once they are on your nails, they are immediately dry.


How to apply color street nail strips




For a limited time, I have a virtual ColorStreet Blog party open with Dana. Buy 3 and get 1 free. Tell me about your favorite colors.  Shop at this Color Street link.

Easy DIY Nails at Home with Color Street




Disclosure: I do not sell Color Street or earn a commission from Color Street.  As a virtual hostess, I get free gifts and discounts. Talk to Dana about hosting your own virtual Color Street Nail party to receive the same perks.  All opinions about Color Street are my own and this post is editorial content only.

3.26.2020

5 Easy Family Meals During COVID-19 Quarantine

2020 has not turned out as we all have hoped. We are only into the third month of 2020, and I'm already labeling it, "annus horribilis," however, I like to stay optimistic in my views for my own mental health. 

The year is not over, and in my opinion, there is still time for 2020 to become "annus mirabilis." At the very beginning of the year, my family had its own personal crisis which caused me to take pause with many things in life. My focus was somewhere else and not on this blog.

And then COVID-19 quarantine came into play. Normal life as we knew it has stopped. 

I am cooking quite often, and am also taking my own mother meals and leaving it on her porch almost daily. My daughter and I traveled to Orlando via plane in mid-March as COVID-19 was approaching, so I've been self-isolating with limited contact except for my husband and children since March 15. We are fine, but each time we go to the grocery store, we put ourselves at risk. 

Easy family dinners that require few ingredients.


When I made my first grocery run, store ingredients were limited. We all need simple, easy family meals with very limited-ingredients. The following five recipes are meals that I have made my family. 


Broccoli-Tofu Pasta is very easy, and my children love it. The original recipe calls for chicken, but years ago, I switched it to tofu, and it was a hit. You could also make this with shrimp. 


  Broccoli-Tofu Pasta Recipe (Pasta, Tofu, Olive Oil, Cheese, Broccoli make an easy meal.



This Chicken Tetrazzini recipe has been in my family for close to 50-years.  Another family introduced it to my parents before I was born, and I grew up eating this dish. It is my mom's favorite meal. This recipe can also be adapted to use with tuna fish or shrimp.



Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe (Easy Casserole recipe with breadcrumbs, cooked chicken, pasta, pimentos, green peppers and cream of mushroom or chicken soup).


If you can find a fresh eggplant, then this Eggplant Parmesan recipe is super easy. My husband does not really care for eggplant, but he likes this recipe. It is one of his favorite meals. I typically serve it with pasta.

Easy Eggplant Parmesean. (Eggplant, Cheese, and Pasta).


Will does not care for regular meatloaf, but he likes my Mini Balsamic Meat Loaves.  My children prefer the ground beef without the balsamic glaze so you can do them plain as well. I typically call them indoor hamburgers without the bun and cheese. That wording seems to please them more than using the word meatloaf.


Mini Balsamic Meat Loaves ( ground beef, breadcrumbs, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, )


I bought a bag of frozen whiting (fish) before food supplies became limited with COVID-19. This easy oven-baked fish recipe could also be used with any white, mild fish such as cod, catfish, flounder or tilapia. It's a good recipe to help switch up entrees in the kitchen.


Each Oven-Baked Fish (white fish fillets, breadcrumbs, butter, lemon)


Please let me know if you try any of these recipes.

I also made some other recipes during this time. You can find these recipes online.
Easy Tortellini Bake: I used spinach and cheese tortellini. I really liked it.
Oven-Baked Chicken and Rice:  If you use boneless chicken thighs like I did, I do think you need to cook them longer than 20 minutes. The chicken thighs I used needed more time so keep that in mind when cooking.

12.31.2019

The Easiest Baked Ziti Recipe Ever

Updated: 2019

When you are a busy mom, you need to find recipes that are quick and easy.

You cannot get any easier than the baked ziti recipe that I use for my family. I served it this year for my family's post-Christmas lunch. The recipe can easily be doubled, and you can also add meatballs or ground beef to it. 

Depending on your time and preferences, you can make your own sauce or use a store-bought pasta sauce.  I tend to go for the latter.

baked ziti
Baked Ziti
The original recipe came from a friend of mine when my son was a baby. This month, he turned 14, so this recipe has been used for many years.  When I first ate this dish, I thought it was delicious. My gut told me that this delicious baked ziti recipe had to be complicated and time-consuming. 

When I asked her for the recipe, she laughed and said, “It’s just noodles, jarred sauce, and some spices if I remember to put it in the bowl when mixing.”

She really didn’t have a recipe other than what she told me, so I went with her concept and created our version.

It’s a great dish to serve, and you will not have to slave in the kitchen. I coined the recipe the easiest baked ziti ever, and it really is easy.  You can use whole wheat pasta, protein pasta, or any pasta you wish to use. 

The Easiest Baked Ziti Ever

Ingredients:
16 oz. ziti pasta
A large container of ricotta cheese ---use at least 12 to 16 ounces. Use more if you need it. 
2 cups of parmesan cheese
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
45 ounces of spaghetti sauce (store-bought or homemade)
½ tsp of basil
½ tsp of oregano
½ tsp of garlic

Cook ziti as directed.  Mix four cups of sauce with ricotta cheese (save some sauce for later use) in a large bowl.  Add spices. Add 1 and ½ cups of each cheese to cheese/sauce mixture.  Add baked ziti to bowl.  Mix together and spread in a casserole dish.  Spread remaining sauce on top of ziti.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover with tinfoil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

*This can be refrigerated before baking, but increase your cooking time to ensure that the dish gets hot.

Baked ziti: Easy casserole for a crowd: Pasta, Cheese and Sauce #pastarecipes


I wish you all a great new year.


My thanks to DentalHQ,  who NC-based business who specializes in making your dental membership plan better. My blog sponsors keep me at my desk writing editorial content like this post and OutaboutNC.

12.24.2019

8 Items You Should Purchase Because You Need Them in Your Life

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links and other affiliate links that are no extra cost to the consumer to purchase.

I do not write a lot of gift guides on the blog because of the way I see it, I am not an expert in gift-giving.  But, I do consider myself an expert in buying items for myself. As we end December, here are some products that you may want to buy for yourself after you get your Christmas money.  Some of these items are already in my home. And while we are confessing, some of these items are sitting in my stocking as we speak, waiting for me to be surprised on Christmas Day.


8 Items You Should Purchase in 2020


No more bad hair days!  Now that Liza is on a cheer team, we spend a lot of time with other people. You can learn a lot from other moms. I was introduced to this Ion Steam Pro Straightening Brush Iron while at a competition early on in the cheer season. Liza begged for it, so I bought it for her birthday. Guess who uses it more than her?  It's fabulous, and I highly recommend it.

The meat-shredding utensil. I have both a slow cooker and an instant pot. I prefer the slow cooker over the instant pot when it comes to meats. The instant pot is not as immediate as its name suggests, so I get my timing wrong a lot (meaning it takes me a lot longer to cook something in the instant pot than I realize ), and dinner ends up being way later than I hoped. Being a southerner, I use a lot of recipes that say "shred the meat."  I suck at shredding meat, but this bear paws shredder claws will turn you into a meat shredding pro. In 2020, I will share a southwestern beef recipe from one of my favorite NC cookbooks.

The tool for creamy soups! It's no secret that I love soup. I also like creamy soups, but I do not make those soups often because I do not own a hand blender to turn the soups creamy.  I have decided that 2020 will be my year for creamy soups for every season.

No more fuzzy sweaters or coats! The other day I looked in my closet and realized that some of my shirts are not looking its best. I had my photo taken with celebrity chef Vivian Howard at an event, and my mom commented on my sweater having lint balls. Jack made fun of my coat that I wore out this week, saying it was covered in lint. I have come to realize that I do not have the proper equipment to take care of these clothes. Oprah has a favorite fabric shave that is pricey, but I think I'm going to get this fabric shaver/lint remover for under $15. The reviews are stellar, and the price is right.

Hot water in an instant. A few years ago, I purchased an electric tea kettle. I love it.  My brand is Capresso, but now they've come up with designs that look beautiful on countertops and for half the price. I love the blue and white design of this electric tea kettle.  Electric tea kettles are great for hot chocolate, too.

Food Huggers are a lifesaver. I adore food huggers. I use them for my dog's canned food, but I feel as if I need more in my life. They also have food huggers for an avocado now. I do not own one of those, but I need one. If you do not have a food hugger and if you have a pet that eats canned food, then you need this now.

Sustainable Olive Oil Mister. One of my family members will receive an olive oil mister by Misto for the holidays. I saw it and was impressed. I want one, too.

His and Hers Electric Toothbrushes: Several years ago, my dentist's office recommended an electric toothbrush because I have receding gums.  I was told that an electric toothbrush would help keep them from receding more because when we brush our teeth, we are guilty of brushing too hard. This Fairywell dual electric toothbrush travel set in pink and black are perfect for those family members you know who are taking out all of their aggression on their teeth when they brush.

My thanks to Moore Family Dentistry, a Garner, NC Family Dentist for being a December blog sponsor. My sponsors keep me at my desk writing and outaboutNC. 

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