Thanksgiving Leftovers Quiche.

quiche done

Thanksgiving is wonderful – full of food, family, gratitude….and leftovers. So many leftovers. No one wants to see all this delicious food go to waste, but after a few days of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and whatever else, you just can’t even pretend to want to eat it anymore.

If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s wasting food. I do everything I can to use up leftovers. I admit, there are things that occasionally wind up getting pushed to the back of the fridge, only to be discovered a few weeks later when the door is opened with a blaring “What’s that smell?!” But, alas, I do try.

We had a ton of Thanksgiving leftovers as usual. After two nights of eating them as-is with just a mere reheating, I wanted to think of something more creative to do with them. And suddenly, I did: a Thanksgiving Leftovers Quiche!

I’m sure I’m not the first person on the planet to think of this very idea, but I thought I’d share my version, in case there are others out there who have tired of turkey but can’t bear to toss it.

I started with a from scratch pie crust (10 oz AP flour, 7 oz shortening – cut in, 3 oz cold water with 1 tsp kosher salt dissolved in it) pre-baked at 375 for 10 minutes.

quiche crust

Where the magic happens.

Next, I threw in some leftovers. We had turkey, mushrooms and asparagus.

quiche filling

Insert your leftovers here.

Next, I shredded (ok, my husband did the actual shredding) some MontAmore cheese, and sprinkled it on top. By the way, MontAmore is my new favorite cheese. You need to try it. I don’t mess around when it comes to cheese.

quiche cheese

MontAmore = love.

Finally, I made a simple custard (3 eggs, 1 cup milk, a little bit of salt), and added that to the party.

quiche unbaked

Party in a crust.

Next, I baked it for about 40 minutes at 350.

quiche done

A quiche to build a dream on.

Finally, we ate it. And it was better than any Thanksgiving leftovers I’ve ever had before.

quiche eaten

Looks like Pac-Man, tastes like heaven.

Pumpkin Sweet Bread…Or Is It Cake?


Everyone knows that bread and cake are two different things. You use bread to make a sandwich. You serve cake at a birthday party. You wouldn’t use one in place of the other, right?

Yes, there are some breads and cakes that do fall squarely into each category. But sometimes, you wind up with a magical creatio that falls somewhere in between. Enter Pumpkin Sweet Bread.

I really wanted to make a pumpkin bread, but I was tired of looking at all the existing recipes on the internet (and there were oh so many). I wanted something new – something I could call my own. So I hit the old pastry school text books for some basics to start with, and built my very own pumpkin sweet bread recipe from scratch.

The dough was wonderful. I could not stop eating it. It reminded me of a thick cake batter. It was then that it hit me: this was no ordinary sweet bread. This was some sort of bread/cake hybrid that could be sliced and used on a sandwich OR frosted and jabbed with some candles as a birthday tribute.

the bread of frankenstein.

the bread of frankenstein.

I had successfully created something new. My work here is done. :)

Pumpkin Sweet Bread/Cake.

What you’ll need:

1 lb 4 oz Flour

10 oz Sugar

1.75 oz Baking Powder

.25 oz Salt

6 oz Eggs

14 oz Almond Milk

.5 oz Vanilla

8 oz Melted Butter

1 cup Pumpkin Puree

1 cup Pumpkin Chips

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, vanilla, melted butter, and pumpkin puree. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just combined. fold in the chips, but be careful not to over mix – the dough/batter should be lumpy. Grease two 9×5 loaf pans and divide evenly between the two. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. The outside should have a little bit of crust, the sides should begin to pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted should come out clean. Serve alone, with a giaze, as part of a sandwich, or frost it for a birthday. The options are endless!

a happy birthday sandwich?

a happy birthday sandwich?

Another Day…Just Breathe.

October is Healthy Lungs Month. Today, October 28, is Lung Health Day. I never gave these much thought, until this year.

Last April, I lost my Dad to a combination of many things, but the main ones being COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and ultimately, lung cancer. My Dad was a smoker for almost 50 years.

I love my Dad, and I miss him everyday, but he did not take care of himself, no matter how many times we asked him to. Sometimes, with enough urging (and some yelling) he would try to do better. But he always seemed to eventually go back to his old ways. “I’ll do what I want” seemed to be his mantra. You don’t get the nickname “Wild Bill” for nothing.

Me and Wild Bill, cowboy hat and all.

Me and Wild Bill, cowboy hat and all.

My Dad was stubborn (just like his daughter) and he lived his life the way he chose to and by his own rules. In many ways, I admired that quality in him, and hope that I, too, can live my life they way I see fit, and not how anyone else tells me I should. There were some times though that I just wish he would have taken the advice of others, mainly regarding his health.

There are two major things my Dad taught me (in addition to learning how to drive): always be yourself no matter what or who says otherwise, and to take care of your body. Sadly, I had to learn the second one by watching him do the exact opposite and slowly suffering over time. Sometimes I think I didn’t try hard enough to get him to do better. Sometimes I think he must not have cared enough about me to do better. Sometimes I realize that there was nothing I could do and he did the best he could. And it had nothing to do with me.

As I mentioned, I have worked hard to take care of myself. I never smoked (ok, I did once in my best friend’s backyard in high school but that was it, I swear). I hardly drink. I watch what I eat (to a fault sometimes). I work out in some way every day and have for the past 17 years. I’ve run 6 half marathons and countless other races. I do yoga. I think about my life and how precious it is. I try not to waste a single second (I don’t always succeed, but I am forever trying). In a way, I have my Dad to thank for this. It’s not the happiest motivator – but I do believe he was very proud of me, and hopefully he knew how much that meant to me.

Thanks, Dad.

Thanks, Dad.

Although my Dad was too stubborn to accept any help, I’d like to think that there are many others out there who can still be helped, and that maybe, just maybe, I could help them. Not only do I have a passion for treating myself right, but I’m even more passionate about helping others to live better. So for National Lung Month, I’d like to tell everyone to get out there, get moving, and keep breathing. Check out some online resources (and there are many), like Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, to learn more about lesser known dangers to lungs like asbestos which is known to cause a rare cancer called mesothelioma, and most importantly, spread the word. We can all live better, if we work together.


Be excellent to each other.

For the Love of Pumpkin, Cheesecake, Whipped Cream, and Gingersnaps.

Last week, my husband sent me an email. There was no personal message, no story; there was only this link:

I read over the recipe and thought to myself, “hmmm…this sounds pretty good…maybe I should try and make that….in fact, I think I will make it!”

My husband knew exactly what he was doing. His diabolical pumpkin-cheesecake-tart-with-a-gingersnap-crust-making plan had worked out exactly as he had envisioned.

I bought the ingredients that evening, and got down to business the very next day. It baked up real nice.

Pretty in pumpkin.

Pretty in pumpkin.

The gingersnap crust was the ringer though. I never would have thought to use gingersnaps, but they made all the difference. We went to dinner at my mom’s house that next night, and brought the tart. It was the perfect compliment to my mom’s beanless chili.

A good compliment goes a long way.

A good compliment goes a long way.

We sliced it up, and topped each piece upon serving with a hefty dollop of my homemade cinnamon whipped cream. The only thing missing was my dad. He wasn’t a dessert guy, but this one he would have liked – he loved gingersnaps. I wish he could have enjoyed it with us.

For you, Dad.

For you, Dad.

As I took my first bite, I raised my fork to my Dad – a man who’s taste in desserts was as unique as he was.

And it was delicious.


Cinnamon Whipped Cream.

What you’ll need:

1 cup heavy cream

1 tblsp confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

What you’ll do:

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and cinnamon. Whip until stiff peaks form. Chill, and serve.

It’s a Cupcake Graveyard.

I love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday. Anyone who knows me, wouldn’t have a hard time figuring that out – I love dressing up and I love candy. But I also love Halloween-themed desserts. For me, they are the most fun to make. I’ve already started this year, with my first batch of sweet Halloween fun, in the form of Graveyard Cupcakes.

Rest in delicious peace.

Rest in delicious peace.

I used a chocolate cake for the cupcakes themselves, and made my soon-to-be-famous cookies and cream buttercream (a girl can dream.) I piped large uneven dollops of the icing on top of the cupcakes, making the perfect base for a cookie grave.



Then, I wrote on the cookie tombstones, and put them into place on the tops of the cupcakes.

Death by Chocolate?

Death by Chocolate?

The result was a Halloween treat to die for.


Jeanine’s Soon-To-Be-Famous Cookies and Cream Buttercream.

What you’ll need:

8 oz butter

5 oz shortening

1 lb 4oz confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tblsp water

8 crushed oreos (or faux-reos)

What you’ll do:

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the sugar, vanilla, water, and crushed cookies. Beat until smooth, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

I Think Time’s Running Out To Do Something Bizarre.

I still remember in high school when I saw that movie, Singles, in the theater. Bridget Fonda’s character uttered those words, however she was complaining about being 23. She claimed that at the age of 23, time was running out to do something bizarre. I was 16 when I saw that, and thought about it often up until I turned 23, and long after, not once thinking time has run out to do something bizarre.

Untli now. Turns out, at least for me, 39 is the age in which time is running out to do something bizarre. I hope that’s not true, but I’m finding it very hard lately to convince myself otherwise. With 40 being right around the corner, I will officially no longer be young. I will look the same as the day before. I will physically feel the same as the day before. But I will no longer be the same. I’ll be 40. And this is making me very, very, very depressed. Did I mention very?

I’m not really sure what “bizarre” something I’d even like to do. I always wanted to color my hair pink. I also miss wearing pigtails. And crazy sunglasses. And wildly bright clothing. And really really tall shoes.

Hello, old friends.

Hello, old friends.

This leads me to wonder, is it really possible to be 40 AND fabulous?

I’m not sure. Right now, I don’t feel half as fabulous as I once did. Am i letting the lack of feather boas and sunglasses define my level of fabulousity? Maybe. But at this point in my life, I’m not sure where else to turn. I don’t want to lose touch with my inner fabulous, but I feel it slowly getting farther and farther out of reach, with every passing day. I’ve never been a traditional person. I got married for the first time at 39. I bought a house by myself 6 years before that. I went back to school at 34, and started a brand new career at 37. I sang with bands throughout my 20s, and played shows up and down the east coast. I traveled everywhere. I don’t regret any of it. I don’t live the traditional “American Dream” and I never have. At almost 40 though, I’m wondering if it’s time to reconsider.

It seems that everywhere I turn and everywhere I look, I’m being told that if I don’t do certain things like “settle down” and “have children” before it’s too late, I’ll wind up old, alone and full of regrets. Of course I don’t want that. But I don’t want to force myself into making wrong decisions because some imaginary guidelines for being “normal” are telling me to. Time IS running out – it never stops running out. But I wonder sometimes if I’m running out on time, instead of facing it and doing what I’m supposed to be doing at 40.

In the word’s of one of my all time favorite singers and story tellers, Gillian Welch:

“Yeah I wanna do right, but not right now.”

I’ve got a little over 5 months to figure it out.

By the way, I met Gillian Welch when my band played the Newport Folk Festival. Right after I turned 30, and had been wondering if maybe time was running out to do something bizarre.

One of my heroes.

One of my heroes.

Maybe there is hope yet.

The Easiest Pumpkin Cake in the Universe.

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to bake a pumpkin cake, because I can. so I did. It was a pumpkin-shaped pumpkin cake, to be precise. It ended up looking like this:

Pumpkin shape; pumpkin cake.

Pumpkin shape; pumpkin cake.

It started off looking like this:

It's a cake in a box.

It’s a cake in a box.

Yes, that’s a boxed carrot cake mix. I told you this was easy. You open the box, pour the mix into a bowl, and blend in the three ingredients on the back of the box:

Mix as directed.

Mix as directed.

In addition to these, all you need is 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, so add that in, too, and mix well. Pour the batter into two greased 8″ pans, and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. While the cakes are cooling, make the pumpkin frosting, which is also super easy:

2# conf sugar

1 cup shortening

1/2 cup pumkpin puree

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tblsp water

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, until smooth and creamy. The frosting will be the perfect orange color as is.

When icing the cake, keep the layers rounded, and keep the rounder one on top.

waiting to turn into a pumpkin.

waiting to turn into a pumpkin.

Add your decorations (stem, leaves, whatever you desire) and there you have it. A pumpkin-shaped pumpkin cake.

Easy and delicious.

Easy, festive, and delicious.

I love fall baking. So much pumpkin, so little time…

Think of All the Things You CAN Do.

The other day, I was complaining (again) about not being able to run. The whole tendonitis thing was really getting to me, and I was wallowing in a sea of “why me?”, until a friend said these words to me:

Think of all the things you CAN do.

So, I did.

I can take a cycling class. So the next morning, I took one at the gym. I can use the good old elliptical machine. So, I rocked out a 7 miler. I can do do yoga. I can swim. I can still ride my bike. I was already doing these things, but for some reason it didn’t matter. I was stuck on the one thing I couldn’t do.



Getting stuck is the worst. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re stuck until you become unstuck. And more often than not, it’s the words of an outside observer that gives you that push to unstick yourself.

Besides all these things things, I began thinking about all of the things that I CAN do that I don’t spend nearly enough time appreciating: I can see; I can hear: I can smell, touch, and taste. I can work. I can think. I can write. I can dream. I can love.


Wedding bliss.

Wow. There are a ton of truly amazing things I CAN do. Not only am I thankful for all of these things, I’m thankful to the wonderful friend who pointed it out to me.



Gratitude really can make all the difference. No more wallowing. I have absolutely no reason to. The world is too good for it.

With that being said, I think I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon doing one other thing that I can do, and pretty well at that – bake a pumpkin spice cake. :)

You do what you must do, and you do it well.

You do what you must do, and you do it well.

This is What Happens When You Stop Running.

This is post is not going to inspire you to live a more fulfilling life.

This post is not going to tell you what you can do to stay positive.

This post is not going to teach you how to bake a delicious new dessert.

Some days, even the most positive person in the world feels like it’s all a bunch of B.S.

This post IS going to tell you that it’s OK to feel that way. And that it’s OK to talk about it. Its happens. It doesn’t make us bad people. We shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about it. Or write about it. So that’s what I’m going to do today.

I have been running now for about 5 years. I was always into fitness, but I started running around the loop in this park which was within walking distance from where I used to live. I found myself slowly doing it more and more, and decided in 2011 to sign up for some official races. I ran two that year, and then in 2012 I ran about 10, and kept that up every year since. Last year, dare I even say I started to actually become a “good” runner. I set a new 5k PR at three consecutive races, and even won my age group, I set a new 10k PR, and I set a new half marathon PR, all within one calendar year.

My 1st place trophy.

My 1st place trophy.

I was running almost everyday, and had never been in better shape, so I decided that 2015 would be my year to run a full marathon. I carefully selected one based on time (October) and elevation (good for first time-marathoners) and registered for it in the spring, planning on training through the summer, starting right after I got back from my honeymoon.

I even got some brand new kicks.

I even got some brand new kicks.

On  or about July 8th, I started my marathon training plan. The goal was to run 8 miles that day, adding one mile to my long run every week, up until two weeks prior to the marathon, when I would wind down until race day. Feeling good, I headed over to the park to begin.

Five miles in, and things were going really well – the run felt great, and I was keeping pretty good time. I knew I’d easily hit the 8 mile mark. At some point before mile 6, I felt a weird twitch or pop or something in my left ankle. I figured it was one of those annoying little running pains that come and go, so I kept on going, and it felt fine.

The next day, it did not feel fine. It hurt. It hurt on the top and side of my foot. It hurt at the back of my heel. It especially hurt when I walked down the stairs. It did not hurt when I just stood still, and it did not hurt all that much when I walked a normal pace. It mainly hurt when walking down stairs as I mentioned, or when I pointed my toes, which was when it actually hurt the most. I assumed it was a sprain or strain. I feared it was a stress fracture, but a quick googling of that caused me to rule it out. So I went with sprain or strain.

I stopped running for the next week. It started to feel a little better, so I decided to go out for a short run.

I realized that was a bad idea. So I waited another week. It again started to feel a little better, so I tried a short run again.

I realized that again was a bad idea. At this point, I was starting to worry. What on earth could be wrong? It would start to feel better, then as soon I as did any kind of running, it started hurting all over again. I googled “pain walking down the stairs” and a bunch of results came up, all with one word in common: tendonitis.

“That’s not possible,” I thought. I’ve been running for years. Why and how would I suddenly get tendonitis??? After a couple more weeks of feeling better/running/feeling worse, I decided to see my doctor.

“You have tendonitis. I recommend not running on it, wearing a brace when you do start running again, and taking an anti-inflammatory. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.”

Ok, so I imagined that last part. But isn’t tendonitis forever? The doctor actually made it sound like it would heal, but the people I know who have it, have had it for pretty much ever. Did this mean I would never actually run again??? Honestly, I still don’t know. It’s been a little over two weeks now with not a single run at all (except to cross the street once), and it’s still not healed. Yesterday it felt great, so I decided to try a 25 minute long cardio workout, to get my sweat on. I’d been biking and swimming to try and make up for the lack or running, but I’m just not getting the same results a good run gives me, both physically and mentally. I was also afraid to go to yoga, but I’ve since bagged that fear, and found that yoga is the one thing that actually helps. Anyway, riding high on the positive effects of gentle yoga, I busted out the 25 minute cardio workout and felt great. It was tough, and it was sweaty. It challenged me physically and mentally.

“I can do this every day until I can run again!” I shouted to myself with joy.

An hour later, my ankle hurt almost as bad as it did the day of my initial doctor’s appointment. WTF.

Confined to the bike. FOREVER.

Confined to the bike. FOREVER.

Today, it hurts only slightly less.

Today, I woke up frustrated, devastated, and just plain sad.

Today, I’m starting to wonder if it really will ever heal. I’m starting to think that staying positive about it is a bunch of BS. But I’m still secretly hoping that maybe writing about it will help shake off some of the frustration.

Maybe not.

Maybe it’s time to learn to dance.

When Life Gives You Lemons.

Last week was a full moon. Last week, I was very emotional. Maybe the two are related, maybe not. But either way, I was feeling a little “life is giving me lemons-ish” all week. I tried talking to people about it, and although that helped in the moment, as soon as I was alone again, the lemons returned. Usually, I’d go for a run when I can’t shake that feeling, but I recently was diagnosed with Tendonitis in my left ankle. That means no running. For a while. This might have been the biggest lemon of all. Not being able to run is the most frustrating thing that has ever happened to me. So, what did I do? I started riding my bike and swimming.

A whole new world.

A whole new world.

These things are great, but the problem is that I’m not very good at them, and I was pretty good at running. So it’s like starting all over again. After a few bike rides though, I am really starting to enjoy it. So much so, that I want a new bike now. So maybe this particular lemon can become lemonade after all.

Even so, I still had the full moon blues, as I like to call them. I needed something else to help me break out of this funk. So, I turned to the only other thing I could think of that always helps me feel better – baking. And not just random baking for the sake of baking; this called for the big guns – baking with purpose.

I thought about who might want/need some baking in their life. I immediately thought of two people, and went to work. The first project was a Pink Lemonade Cake. I found the recipe here, however I made a few changes, as usual. I used pink lemonade concentrate, I omitted the lemon juice, and I had no milk in the house whatsoever, so I used the one cream-based product I always have on-hand without a doubt – vanilla ice cream. I used 1/3 cup ice cream blended with 1 cup of water. It worked perfectly.

An experiment in pink.

An experiment in pink.

The cake was well-received and devoured by all. I was feeling happy because others were happy. This was helping.

All that remained.

All that remained.

Baking project #2 was a beer bread. I’ve made beer bread before, and it has yet to turn out anything other than delicious, so I picked up some beer (Chocolate Pumpkin Porter by Evil Genius Beer Company, to be exact), and made yet another good-lookin’ and equally good-tastin’ Beer Bread.

The beer makes the bread.

The beer makes the bread.

The bread was a hit, too, and I was then able to surf the emotional wave right out of the end of the week and safely back to shore.

For now.