Crustless Zucchini Quiche

It’s summer. No matter what the cloudy, dreary, often rainy, North East Pennsylvania weather has been showing you, it’s still amazing summer time! And with Summer comes bucket loads of fresh zucchini out of our gardens.

Not my garden mind you. I was sadly too caught up in end of school year activities, like co-running our school play that I wrote and helping move the school to a new location, to worry about starting a creative garden. Not happy with myself. Thankfully both my parents and in-laws have thriving gardens that I can steal from. Bwahaha!

Zucchini seems to be the vegetable (or fruit, whatever) that comes to us in over abundance. So because of that I like to create different recipes that will use it up in great quantity. Enter my star ingredient for dinner! *cue music*

So, now what to make? Well, I was in the mood for the type of zucchini bake I’ve had in the past that used Bisquick in the batter. I’ve heard it called zucchini pie, zucchini squares, zucchini bake, and zucchini quiche. You decide what you want to call it! Anyway, I prefer making dishes from scratch verses using mixes so I know exactly what is going into my food.

In searching for a good recipe under these various names and conditions I came up with zero that I truly loved. So I decided to create my own. I also added a surprise ingredient that did actually come from my near empty garden (because it’s a perennial); mint!

The form of mini quiches was chosen because they look so much more decadent & encourage portion control. But who am I kidding? I didn’t eat one last night, I ate three and am not ashamed!!

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These are a few of the ingredients I used. Note the almond cheese. Andrew and I are on a “eating less dairy” kick so I decided to try out the almond cheese in the recipe. Didn’t miss the dairy AT ALL! We didn’t even notice the difference. It’s not for everyone I realize, so you can use any kind of cheese you wish.

batter

Please take notice of how full I made them. This was the perfect amount for them not spilling out all over the oven.

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Hot and so ready to get in our bellies! A delightful golden brown.

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Mmmmm! They are firm enough to stand on a plate, but soft and moist on the inside. Now it’s your turn to make them!

 

Mini Crustless Zucchini Quiches

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup White Whole Wheat Flour

1 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tbsp. Organic Sugar

1/2 tsp. Black Pepper

1 Medium Onion, Diced

2 Medium Zucchini, or 4 cups, Shredded

1 cup Cheese (Monerary Jack or Cheddar is best, I used Monterary Jack styled Almond cheese)

3 Cloves Garlic, Minced

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/4 cup Fresh Mint, Chopped (can also use Basil or Chives)

5 Eggs

Directions

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Spray 2 muffin tins with non-stick cooking oil spray. If large muffins, this recipe makes 9 – 10. If using regular sized muffins this recipe makes 18 – 24.

Stir first 5 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add onions, zucchini, cheese, garlic and herbs. Stir to combine.

In a separate small bowl whisk together eggs for 30 seconds. Add them to the rest of ingredients and stir just enough to incorporate.

Using an ice cream scooper, spoon batter into prepared tins. Fill until 1/4 of an inch from brim. Bake until the outside is golden brown. Cook time varies from 20 – 30 minutes. Just check it every 2 minutes after it has been in the oven for 20 minutes.

When done, use a butter knife to loosen the edges then flip pan over onto a plate to release the quiches. Serve warm and enjoy! 🙂

 

Edge of Oblivion

Deja vu is such a weird and belittling experience. It gives you this out of body feeling that makes you seem so small. It forces you to realize you really have no control over your own life. These have been the feelings I’ve been facing this week.

Most of you know this already, but in case you didn’t read my Facebook post I’ll repeat it. My grandmother, my dad’s mom to be exact, died on Sunday. It was a relatively sudden death, but I did learn on Thursday night that she would most likely be passing within a week’s time due to a heart attack, pneumonia, her kidneys completely shutting down, etc. So, praise God, I was able to call her that night and have one last conversation with her and let her know how much I loved her.

She lived in Nashville, TN so the drive was too great for me to make the trip down to see her. My dad though made the journey over the weekend and ended up getting there a mere two hours before she passed. She was completely unconscious by that time, but he was so incredibly thankful that him and his sister had made it in time.

The deja vu comes into place here.

You see, 8 1/2 years ago, a similar event took place. It was December 1st 2008 and it was my grandfather, my dad’s dad, that was on his death bed. He had very suddenly took a turn for the worst and my dad and aunt were en-route to see him one last time. But they were flying to Nashville instead of driving and their plane was tragically delayed. That time they had missed my grandfather’s passing by a mere hour.

Losing my grandfather brought be into a very dark and depressed state. Just 3 days after his death I crashed my car into a tree after hitting black ice (my first and only accident I’ve ever had BTW). I was extremely shaken up over this near death experience for me.

My family had left to attend my grandpop’s funeral. No, I did not go to it. I couldn’t. I was physically incapable of coming to the realization that he was actually gone. Part of me will always mourn his passing. Just like my grandmom’s passing will always stay with me now.

For 3 whole days I laid alone in my house, unable to go anywhere because of my wrecked car, and just prayed and thought about what I’m doing with my life. My heart was set on finding a guy, getting a married, and having kids. But what if it wasn’t what God had for me? I was in my Catering/Baking business, but it had barely taken off the ground, should I grow it more? I was in debt to my dad because of school payments and lack of funds coming in through my business, was there anything I could do about it? I’m going to be 22 and still living at home, is this going to be my forever life?

These were the questions going through my head not just those 3 days, but for the next 3 months. During January 2009 I cried out to God like I have never cried out before. I yearned and sought after Him like my life depended on it, because it did. Most people see me as this over joyous and positive person. And for the majority of my days (especially the last few years) this is a true assumption. But what you may not know is I have, and still sometimes, struggle deeply with depression. God has delivered me from about 99% of it, but before that there have been 3 major times in my life where it hit me hard; the ages of 14, 18, and 21. I won’t get into extreme details because it’s just too personal, but I do want to share with you a glimpse into my mind during that latest time.

I wrote a poem on the brink of my breakthrough out of the dark oblivion. I’ve shared this poem on Facebook a few years ago, but I’ve never shared the circumstances surrounding this writing. I hope you find encouragement in it:

 

“Edge of Oblivion”
by Laura Gibson January 2009

An unseen wind whips the skirt around her,
The blinding sun turns the rock a gentle amber,
A runaway tear drop quickly dries in the breeze,
Out of her lips sputter fervent pleas,
Lord, have you forgotten me?

Her feet are balanced on the edge of oblivion,
This sinner deserved to be thrown into this empty canyon,
Her mind releases all the many reasons why,
Each breath felt like a consuming lie,
Lord, have you deserted me?

In a silent blink ballet slippers caress tiny feet,
Wandering young eyes behold the vacant front seat,
Longing to be wanted and wanting to feel love,
Her eyes turn inward rather than above,
Lord, have you abandoned me?

Clouds of white linen surround her delicate frame,
There’s a ring less finger and an unchanged last name,
The missing soul stands out in the crowded hall,
Life joys have become a dreary rainfall.
Lord, have you left me alone?

Darkness engulfs the lone figure on the cliff,
Cold faced she stands tall and stiff,
Unloved and rejected by mankind,
Masks and shackles will no longer spellbind.
Lord, have you forsaken me?

Before her feet slip into the dark chasm,
A warm light blushes her cheek as a cherry blossom,
A gentle breeze sends peace into her soul,
Tears of a different kind fall in ways she can’t control.
My daughter, I will never forget you.

Her feet fall back as a dove-like voice speaks her name,
Extraordinary, special, and loved he says she may claim,
For no child of His will be abandoned or left alone,
Instead she is a precious gem to enthrone.
My bride, I will never forsake you.

To her knees she falls on the brink of eternity,
She had come as a child and left with maturity,
Trials and strife made her extraordinary and lovely inside,
In His loving arms she is His daughter and bride!

 

After I wrote that poem God brought me to the book of Psalms. I had never before read this verse prior to this date in late January 2009. It is now my favorite verse and I quote it often: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

I finally got clarity. I FINALLY saw hope. I FINALLY understood. Joy overwhelmed my soul. I realized then that I didn’t need to worry. I didn’t need to doubt God’s plan. This was because the more joy that ran through my veins and the more I just consumed myself in Jesus; the more my desires would match His and that He would grant me these desires. God gives us these desires in our hearts for a reason; it’s because He wants the best for us.

It’s so hard to explain the revelation I had in words, but the bottom line was that I experienced pure joy for the first time in my life. I put EVERYTHING into God’s hands; my desires for a Husband (including a list of things I was looking for in my husband), the desire to have a successful business, and to have a family one day.

One month later. Count it! One. Month. Later. I met Andrew. BTW He met all but one thing on my list, lol.

My business doubled that year as well.

A year and a half later we were married. Just under 3 years later we welcomed little Riker Gabriel into the world.

My life is a continual work in progress. I have had so many countless trials since that date as well. But if you want to know why I stay positive no matter what; that is why. I have seen miracles, I have seen what God can do when we put a mess of clay onto his potter’s wheel; He makes masterpieces!

So as I sit here in the midst of this deja vu moment, in a mess of questions contaminating my every thought. I can’t help what wonder…

What does God desire next for my life?

 

Have you experienced similar situations? What miracles have you seen? Please let me know in the comments!

 

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Sunshine Lemon Cake

Sunday = my favorite day of the week! A time to get dressed up and come to worship boldly with other people of like minds and get fueled up for the week ahead. Today was no different with an exhilarating spirit filled worship followed by a sermon that brought a dozen people to salvation. God is so good!

Following the service today my church, Clarks Green Assembly of God, held a “pig roast” free for the community.  I believe it’s a sign of a healthy church when they are big on outreach, and giving. Jesus gave us the free gift of salvation & eternal life, so it’s a natural instinct to want to give all we can to better His kingdom! Ah, my heart is just over flowing right now!! And my stomach is full from such great food! 🙂

I contributed a little bit to this event by making a lemon cake to share. I thought I’d continue to give by sharing the recipe I created for all of you to now make! Now, please feel free to create this delicious piece of sunshine & share it with your family, friends, or just a random stranger you happen to meet!

First, I’m gonna apologize that I don’t have a very pretty finished picture because the cake was simply made in an aluminum pan to be immediately cut to give out so I didn’t worry about decorating it too much. It’s not my usual style, so I’m gonna include a picture of another lemon cake I made before so you can picture that this can be your end result with this one as well! LOL

I realized after the cake was in the oven last night, that I wanted to take pictures. So the pics start during the frosting making process.

My buttercream frosting is simple, but tried and true! Just salted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and your choice of liquid. I did a mixture of lemon juice and distilled water to give it a slight zing. I’d also recommend lemon zest to give it an extra umph!

Whip until perfection is made!

Next, I decided to make some candied lemon slices to place on top. So easy and they create a perfect touch! It’s just sugar, water, and one sliced lemon, simmered for 15 minutes.

Here’s my finished lemon cake:

And my finished product! Aren’t those lemons a thing a beauty nestled in the perfect white cloud of frosting? Yum!

Now it’s your turn to make this taste of summer…

 

Lemon Sunshine Cake with Candied Lemons

Author: Laura Kudey
Makes One 9 X 13″ Cake or Two 9″ Round Cakes
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Salted Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tsp. Lemon Zest
  • 4 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Milk, or Milk substitute (I used Unsweetened Almond Milk)
  • 1/4 Cup Applesauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9X13 cake pan, or two 9″ cake pans.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer whip the sugar and the butter until fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix for 30 seconds after each egg addition.
  4. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and mix for 30 seconds more.
  5. Add the baking powder, salt, and half of the flour and mix. Add the milk, applesauce and continue mixing.
  6. Incorporate the rest of the flour and mix for 1 minute longer.
  7. Pour the batter in the cake pan and place in the middle of the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While cooling, create the frosting and candied lemons:

Candied Lemon Slices

Ingredients

  • 1 Ripe Lemon
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Water

Instructions

  1. Slice lemon into very thin wheels & set aside.
  2. Combine water & sugar in a small saucepan & cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved & it’s simmering.
  3. Place lemon slices in pan & simmer about 15 minutes or until rinds are soft & translucent.
  4. Remove and allow to cool. These will remain sticky.
  5. Can be stored in refrigerator for several days or used once cooled to decorate cake.

Perfect Buttermilk Frosting

Ingredients
  • 1 Stick Salted Butter (1/2 Cup)
  • 2 Pounds Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 3 – 6 Tbsp. Liquid of choice: Water, Milk, Milk Substitute, Lemon Juice, or Orange Juice
  • Optional: Lemon or Orange Zest

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients except the liquid into a glass or metal bowl.
  2. Using a handheld mixer slowly whip ingredients together.
  3. Gradually add liquid while mixing until  desired consistency is made.

Now you can frost and decorate your cake as desired!

 

Below is a picture of a lemon cake I made for a wedding. I used 1 1/2 recipes. The bottom is two 9″ cakes and the top is two 6″ cakes. I also made the below cake VEGAN! In order to convert to vegan substitute butter for soy butter, and for each egg use 1 Tbsp ground flax seed and 3 Tbsp. milk substitute.

Enjoy!!

 

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Peaceful Trance

Who doesn’t love a lazy Saturday? It’s the perfect day to MAYBE catch up on a bit of sleep (If your little one doesn’t get up too early that is), spend some quality time with the Hubby, do some odds and ends around the house, and not feel guilty at all about sitting on the couch for a few minutes eating some ice cream.  Ice cream is a huge guilty pleasure of mine and I could easily indulge in gallons if I knew I wouldn’t gain a pound!

Today though I treated myself to a vegan version and am completely in love! A few months ago I first saw an advertisement for this So Delicious Cashew Ice Cream and I had a feeling it’d be good (Cashews are my favorite nut!), and I’m so glad that it even exceeded my expectations! Honestly though, anything with chocolate has to be a winner…

Please don’t mind the paint on my hands. I had just gotten done painting the first coat in our sun room. I’m so EXTREMELY excited that we are making leaps and bounds this year in our renovations of our house!

We bought a fixer upper in 2015 and we are slowly sculpting it into a treasured home. The first year we painted the entire interior, updated the electric, fixed a water saturated wall in the basement, replaced the front door, and started landscaping. The next year (last year), we made leaps and bounds in the landscaping, and I painted the cabinets, but we did little else.

Now this year we completely updated the bathroom,

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I tour down the dropped ceiling in the kitchen and replaced the florescent lights to track lighting,

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we are getting the outside of our house painted next week, and we have now been hard at work to make the sun room enjoyable to be in!

House updates make me so extremely happy and satisfied, you have no idea! I especially get such a wave of joy and pride when I do an update myself. Who says women can’t do house repairs using power tools, and be just as handy as men?! I get such a kick out of surprising the older guys at Lowes or Home Depot when I’m explaining a project to them and they get all wide eyed and exclaim “You are doing that all by yourself, not your husband?” This usually comes after they say that a simple tool is enough for me; if it was for my husband they would recommend a heavy duty one. Sexism is still alive my friends.

Yup, I might not be as strong as my husband, but I really enjoy being the handy one that does the bulk of the DIY projects. Call me the perfect mix of Joanna and Chip Gains! lol Well, one can dream…

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This afternoon I plan on doing a ton of writing for my novel, The Judas Killer. I set a goal for myself to be finished writing it by the end of this year. Once I’m done, the real fun will begin in trying to get it published! Super psyched yet extremely nervous about that next step. First things first though, I need to be more than half done. 😛

It really is so nice to have a Saturday at home sometimes without anywhere to go. Between graduation parties, camping trips, family visits across the state, working golf tournament fundraisers, etc., it is a treat to be home in lounge wear.

So tell me, what are you doing on this humid Saturday? Big plans on the town or are you sporting the messy due and yoga pants like me?

I asked my son, Riker, what he wants to do after his nap this afternoon. He said he wants to see the Batman Movie (Lego Batman), have a big bowl of popcorn, and get a huge big TV at the batman TV store. I asked him what store that is and he said “The TJ Maxx Store“. hahaha Sounds like a perfect end to a lazy Saturday to me! 😉

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Searching for the Right Shade

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Tell me I’m not the only 30 year old woman who has woken up from a restless night and just laid there thinking “What am I supposed to do with my life”?

I’m a strong christian, happily married, have an adorable almost 4-year-old, I’m a positive joyful person, seem to have my life completely together, yet I am the first person to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing. Sure I have countless hopes and dreams, zillions of ideas, and several paths I could possibly take, but… I’m having a 3rd decade crisis realizing I don’t know which next step I’m supposed to take in life.

God spells it out saying “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you”. Praise God they are fantastic plans! But Lord, can you just spell out for me what they are? I have a whole palette of beautiful colors to choose from; which do I use?! Do I mix and blend or go bold and simple?

I’m a planner, I love knowing what is next, at what time and how long. So when God says to “walk by faith and not by sight” I get over come with my fear of the dark and start envisioning the vashta narada are there waiting to pick my bones dry! (Doctor Who reference)

I had the opportunity this week to be a part of a christian writer’s conference in Montrose the past couple of days. It was an enlightening experience of learning what it would be like to have a book or other writings of mine published. I met with prospect editors, agents, publishers, and talked with fellow writers getting their input on my works and picking their brains for advice in this new world for me.

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I got a mix of pessimistic, optimistic, detailed, and vague responses. On a positive note all of then loved my works and thought I had great potential, but the conflict ran in what I should do next.

One lady strongly suggested I needed a bachelors or masters degree to be taken seriously and to get more connections. (goodbye 4 or 6 years of my life) One man said christian fiction no longer sells in this market, non fiction was the way to go. One lady said self publishing all the way, another said strive for a small publisher, while yet another said go for the big publishers. Some said no agent needed, while others strongly encouraged it. Even the right word length for a novel was debated.

I learned so much yet feel I have more questions than ever before!

My whole life is full of questions right now. Questions on career, to adopt or not, playwright or novels, where is God leading us, lose weight or be happy, and what in the world am I supposed to be doing next?!

I’m relying so heavily on the One who holds all the answers right now.

My favorite verse is “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” As I continue to strive more to be connected into His delight, I’m believing that answers will soon come…stay tuned!

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