Quiche with Spinach & Feta Cheese

Today is the first day of the fall semester. Although not looking forward to the commute this semester, I'm feeling good because after this, I'll have a month off and one semester left before I'm done. Dinner can be challenging on nights I have school, and this semester Mike is back to school as well. On these days we'll often cook dinner around 3-4, and eat around 4:30 (much earlier than our usual 7-8 o'clock dinnertime) before hopping in the car to head to school.

Quiche is one of our go to easy meals on nights like those. We are crazy about eggs in this house so we always have them stocked, add whatever vegetables you have lying around, some cheese, milk, and you got a quiche. But wait, I know some people are weird about eggs. I'm weird about eggs. So I know a quiche might seem like what my brother Eric referred to as an "egg pie" but it's so much better than that. So don't be afraid to give it a go. Also, most quiches rely on butter and heavy cream, which makes it super fatty, but this recipe, which is kind of a mash of a few different recipes that have become our staple, uses olive/vegetable oil, and milk. Here is the recipe for the whole shebang including the easiest crust ever.

2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour and salt together with a fork or just shake it around a bit. Add, oil and water. Form into a ball. Spread it out around the bottom of a cake pan or quiche/tart pan. I know who has a quiche pan? But it's so, so much easier (and prettier) with a quiche pan. With a fork, poke a few holes in the crust and throw it in the oven for about 20 minutes (it makes the crust, thicker and crustier in the end).


4 eggs
1 lb spinach (it cooks way down)
1/2 large red onion or 1 small red onion, diced.
1 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup milk (I use skim, but any kind works)

Heat a large skillet/saute pan over high heat and coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil (a couple of swirls or about 2 tablespoons). Add the onions, lower the heat and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add spinach, a few pinches of salt and pepper and give it a good mix with the onion  for about 2 minutes, letting the spinach wilt. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 4 eggs. Add the milk and feta cheese. Add the spinach/onion mixture. Throw in a little more salt and pepper. Pour in crust. Bake for 40 minutes. Give it a wiggle to make sure it is cooked through. It shouldn't wiggle. It'll be a rich, creamy, cheesy little slice of egg pie (wink, wink).

Images by Amynonymous for Domestic Observances


Starved Rock

Starved Rock is an Illinois State Park. All I really know about it is that my parent's used to camp there in the 70s. Anyway, Mike and I decided to spend a day at Starved Rock, hiking, picnicking, and enjoying NATURE. It was not exactly what we expected. At first, there were paved walkways and endless amounts of stairs, not exactly what you think of when you think State Park, but eventually the paved trails led to less busy wooded trails and we felt like we were more in the wilderness.
Starved Rock. We didn't actually climb up, although we could've followed the line up like a roller coaster. We intended on hitting it up on the way back from our hike but Olive was beat.

We climbed up into the hillside, stopped at Lover's Leap (doesn't sound ominous at all) then climbed up to Eagle Point.

We started down the stairs to follow the Lake Trail and Olive stopped to take a breather. Mind you we had only been hiking for like 20 minutes but there were a lot stairs for her (and my) little legs.

Olive was so tired after the stairs that she decided to stretch out right on the trail to cool her belly. After this, we decided to let her illegally wade in the river to keep her from overheating.

Here's us in all our sweaty, bug sprayed glory.

Far and away my favorite place on the trail were these rock formations. They towered above us, and you literally felt like you were in another world.

Following the rock formations we headed way up to the Bluff Trail and traveled through Lone Tree Canyon. Pretty, though not as sexy as "Asswood Canyon"

We let Olive cool off one more time. Clearly we choose the cleanest water we could find.

After her muddy romp, Mike helped Olive out for a bit. I know you're thinking, "why would you carry a dog", but there were some treacherous grated metal steps, that Olive seriously refused to walk on. Also Boston Terriers tend to overheat very easily and this was at the end of our long hike (although, not as long as we thought). Finally, look at her face, she's clearly beat. So shut up, it's not like she's in a stroller.


River House Bedroom Design

We have the privilege of having our own room at the family River House. We spend as much time there as possible and do our best to chip in with the housework and exterior maintenance. Now I'm working on the fun part, and began by designing a mood board for the room. It all started with the 7 dollar midcentury modern nightstand (# 10) that we scored from Goodwill (along with some sweet beer steins). From there, we tried to find a matching piece of furniture and managed to find an almost matching dresser at the antique store in town. We wanted to maintain a simple, Michigan inspired, slightly beachy vibe, so we picked out the striped nautical-ish bedding from West Elm and the streamlined white lamps. Still on the list is some Michigan inspired artwork, white drapes, pillows and DIY decor (mirror and wall hook).

  1. Mid Century Modern Dresser
  2. Milk Glass Bowl—for phones, keys, wallets and other accessories, the one we found was from Goodwill for $2.50
  3. Wood starburst mirror—We DIYed our own with craft store supplies. Still needs to be stained. Tutorial to come.
  4. Wood hook rack—Anthropologie, with a hefty price tag. We’re planning on DIYing this with some store bought hooks, scrap wood, and stain.
  5. Kulla Table Lamp—IKEA
  6. Gauzy white curtains—can be found anywhere, IKEA has some good options.
  7. Michigan Great Lakes State Print—Mandipity on Etsy
  8. ALANG Floor Lamp—IKEA
  9. Striped Duvet Cover and Shams—West Elm
  10. Mid Century Modern Nightstand
  11. Fuzzy Pillow Cover—West Elm
  12. Owl Pillow Cover—Classic by Nature on Etsy
  13. Oversized Glass Vase—Available everywhere, we grabbed one from Hobby Lobby for 50% off
P.S. Check out some of my other mood boards here and here


Weekly Meal Plan

Image via Mehan's Kitchen

Salmon Cakes

Creamy Pesto Pasta

Image via The Kitchn
Udon noodle stir fry

Sub Sandwiches

Image via Smitten Kitchen
Sour Cream Pancakes

Spinach & Feta Quiche

Spring Rolls

Image via Real Mom Kitchen
Grilled Margherita Pizza


Style Steal

Nothing better than getting a deal on a pricey pair of shoes. I feel in love with these guys when I came across them on Polyvore

These are from TOMS and runs at a pricey 70$. More than I'm willing to pay...
But, I found this pair on sale for 20$ at Famous Footwear. They are a Skechers look a like called BOBS. 

Works for me. Now to find a cheaper version of these babies.


Greek Panzanella Salad

Panzanella is an Italian bread salad that was developed as a great way to utilize stale bread and extra vegetables. Although I enjoy traditional Panzanella, I found this Greek version and thought I'd give it a go.

2 tbsp. olive oil
6 cups French bread cubes (1 inch)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 red bell pepper large diced
1 yellow bell pepper large diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
quartered½ red onion, sliced thin
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese (I just eyeballed it and added a bit too much)

2.5 oz. can sliced black olives, drained 
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over medium-low heat, tossing frequently, for 5-10 minutes, until nicely browned.  Remove from the heat.
Combine the cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onion in a large bowl. 
Vinaigrette: combine the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsion.  
Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables.  Add the feta, olives, and bread cubes.  Toss to combine.

Image by Amynonymous for Domestic Observances


Fall Fashion

I often have trouble finding clothes I like when I'm out shopping, I always have to analyze every piece of clothing and then I often buy things that I don't love just to have something to show for a 2 hour shopping trip. This also happened to be a problem when trying to find things to decorate a room. However, since I started using mood boards to help lay out a decorating scheme and set me on the right track, it has led to less frustration and more streamlined shopping. So, I thought a clothing mood board might help get the ball rolling in the fashion department. Enter Polyvore, where you can create outfits using individual pieces from thousands of retailers (it's clear I spend entirely too much time online). But it has seriously helped me get my fashion excitement back. The board below is a fall fashion mood board, yeah there's a denim shirt there, shut up about it. The point of the board was to identify pieces that could be mixed into my existing wardrobe (skinny jeans, leggings, tan knee high boots, shorts, you get the idea). So the next time I hit the mall I was able to look for specific pieces that would integrate seamlessly into what I already owned. So if you're in a fashion rut, check it out.

P.S. Is it clear that I'm obsessed with navy blue and tan?


Whole Wheat Tortillas

I've been thinking about making tortillas for awhile, but with my not very successful attempts at baking bread, I was a bit apprehensive. It turns out though, that these were really simple and fun to make. No these were not like my doughy, hard as a rock but somehow soft bricks of bread, that Mike tries to eat anyway because he loves me. This recipe is from the lovely Whole Family Fare and makes 10 tortillas, but I was low on whole wheat flour so I halved the recipe.

2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. sea salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the olive oil and mix until it starts to come together. Add the warm water and mix until dough forms, adding a little more if necessary. Transfer dough to a smooth surface and knead for 3 minutes. Divide into 10 equal portions. Using your hand, roll each portion into a ball. With a rolling pin, roll the balls into a very thin circle (about 8-inch diameter).

Heat a cast iron skillet or comal ( I used a large nonstick skillet) to medium heat and cook the tortillas, about 2 minutes on each side. I cooked them until they developed those brown tortilla spots, which seemed to work for me.

Yields 10 tortillas.

They were delicious and chewy, especially when warm, but they were definitely thicker than store bought, maybe a tortilla press would help with that. Also I'm guessing if you're not a whole wheat fan (hi, mom!) you could probably replace the whole wheat flour with regular white flour.

Images by Amynonymous for Domestic Observances


Raspberry Lemonade

Since I'm a huge Diet Coke fan, but I try to avoid it as much as possible (tummy troubles), I occasionally try to come up with other refreshing drinks to break up the water monopoly. Recently, I made this strawberry limeade, and since I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd try another combination. Raspberries are by far my favorite fruit and I love lemon in everything, so I threw together the two to make this sweet, tart drink.

Juice of 2 lemons
1 4 oz container of raspberries
2 Tablespoons agave
2 cups water

Through ingredients in a food processor, strain through a fine mesh strainer, and serve over ice. Again, feel free to adjust to taste.  Less lemon juice, more raspberries, more agave or water. Play with it until it tastes the way you like it. Enjoy.

Image by Amynonymous for Domestic Observances




No Bake Cookies

Happy Friday Friends! With the weather staying steady in the 90s-100s, I thought I'd share an easy recipe that doesn't require turning on the oven. These no bake cookies are the perfect way to have some sweet, chocolatey cookies without having to lower the AC.

6 tablespoons skim milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4  cup quick oatmeal
In a small saucepan, heat milk, sugar, and cocoa powder, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and all the ingredients are combined.
Lower heat, add vanilla and peanut butter and stir until smooth and creamy

Take off heat and pour into a bowl with the oatmeal. Stir to combine. 
Drop teaspoon sized balls onto wax paper and refrigerate. After about 4 hours, they will set enough to be taken out and stored, but we just eat them right out of the fridge. Enjoy.

Image by Amynonymous for Domestic Observances


Roasted Chickpeas

I am loving these roasted chickpeas. It's the perfect salty, crunchy snack without the guilt. For this super simple recipe:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)

Dry beans with clean towel or paper towel, and discard any loose, cloudy skins

Put chickpeas in a bowel, pour in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, and toss to coat

Spread chickpeas out on baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes

Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with spices of your choice. I used garlic powder and fancy grey sea salt. Delicious. And addicting. I can eat a whole can in one sitting.

Please feel free to share any other spices/flavor combinations. I'm sure there are so many delicious options...

Image by Amynonymous for Domestic Observances


Baby P Nursery

My brother A.J. and his wife Kristin, are expecting their first little one! Kristin loved the green and brown elephant bedding, so I thought I'd throw together a little design board around that theme. This was just for fun, (no obligations here guys), I just wanted to see what kind of fun things were out there to style their nursery. I kept everything budget friendly for new parents and tried to stay pretty basic and simple. Below I included links for most items if you're interested. Happy nursery decorating! 1. Elephant Mobile - All Modern.com
2. Green Counting Elephants Artwork - Art.com
3. White Paper Lantern - IKEA or World Market
4. White Changing Pad - Target
5. Malm 6 Drawer Dresser - IKEA
6. Babyletto Mod 3 in 1 crib in Espresso
7. Glider - Babies R Us
8. Carters Green Elephant Crib Bedding
9. The white elephant lamp is ridiculously overpriced and is shown as inspiration
10. Moss Green Chenille Rug - Overstock 
11. Green and White "Wishing Star" swaddling blankets - Aden & Anais - (I hear these are wonderful)
12. Brown Fabric Floor Pillow - Amazon
13. Bumbo Babysitter - Amazon 
14. White Osiris Curtain - World Market 

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