Eat Me

Ham and Swiss Pie

Quiche Lorraine

This pie, from The Betty Crocker Cookbook, is an easy way to feed a lot of people. I bought a pie-crust shield awhile ago, but I lost it quickly, so now I just use tin foil to wrap the pie up over the edges of the crust to keep it from burning. It also keeps you from ending up with a mess at the bottom of your oven. This was a work-night dinner, so I used store-bought crust, but any pie crust you like will work well (except for graham-cracker crust. That would probably suck.).

Quiche Lorraine

pastry for 9-inch one-crust pie
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/3 cup chopped onion
4 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Heat oven to 425 F. Place pastry into quiche dish, 9-by-1-1/2 inches, or pie plate, 9-by-1-1/4 inches. Unfold and ease into dish, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion in pastry-lined quiche dish. Beat eggs slightly in large bowl with fork or wire whisk. Beat in remaining ingredients. Pour into quiche dish. Bake 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 F. Bake about 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

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My dad was going to throw away four overripe bananas because they were too mushy for him. (How a man with three natural teeth can find anything “too mushy” is beyond me.) His trash is my banana bread.

Banana Bread

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Move oven rack to low position so top of pan will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8-1/2-by-4-1/2-by-2-1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9-by-5-by-3 inches, with shortening or cooking spray.

Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Stir in bananas, buttermilk and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistoned. Stir in nuts. Divide batter evenly between pans.

Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaves about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire rack.

Loosen sides of loaves from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours before slicing.

— Source: Betty Crocker Cookbook

Christmas-card tray

Christmas-card tray

I got some really nice holiday cards this year, and I hated to throw them all away, so I decided to incorporate some of them into craft projects. This one is a tray I designed using red and green acrylic paints, Mod Podge, two cards, some specialty paper and beads. To make this tray, paint the tray red and the bottom rim (which you can’t see here) green. Let the paint dry, then give it a second coat of both. Round the corners of the cards if you want to, then Mod Podge them to the bottom of the tray. I stamped “peace, love and joy” to the thin specialty paper in red ink, then tore the paper’s edges gently to give it a ragged look. Then I adhered it to the tray with the Mod Podge and gave it all another two coats, letting each coat dry in between. The last step was to adhere three green beads to each side, near the handles.

I plan to make a few more like this one and incorporate them into next year’s gifts.

Handmade soaps

Handmade soaps

These soaps were part of Devon’s mother’s Christmas present. (For his birthday, his dad got the weird-ass watch-winder that Devon STILL has not blogged about. Go over to evilsoft.org and give him crap about it.) These melt-and-pour soaps were a bit of an experiment for me. I can’t find soap paint anywhere except online, and I wanted a way to add layers of color.

With the soap on the top right and bottom right, I filled the design part of the mold with soap to which I’d added liquid dye, and I let it set until hardened. Then I filled the rest of the mold with white soap for a color contrast. With the soap on the top left, I filled the mold about two-thirds full of dyed soap, let it harden, and filled the rest with white soap. The other two are solid colors.  Sadly, the one in the middle is the last soap like that I will make (at least until I make another trip to the craft store). I woefully overestimated how hot I could let the soap get and really made a mess of the mold.

For the box, I painted an ordinary cardboard box metallic plum, let it dry, and adhered ribbon around the edges of the lid. Then I added a round, beaded thing-a-ma-bob I found in the jewelry section of the craft store.

I just flew back from Italy, and boy, are my arms tired!

Shut up. I’ve been waiting months to whip out that joke.

Italy was full of too much awesome to blog about fully here. But here are the highlights:

1. Italian hot chocolate owns my soul. I need it like ghetto drunks need cheap beer.
2. Watching James argue repeatedly with the ticket clerk at the train station. The ticket clerk who didn’t speak a word of English. Supposdly. For all I know, he spoke 12 languages and was just screwing with us.
3. Chloe flashing Devon. She thinks he’s soooooo cuuuuute.
4. The fact that the Romans amassed most of the marble in Egypt, the most expensive marble in the world, and built a bathtub with it. Awesome and horrible.

I’m off to track down a recipe for Italian hot chocolate. I’ll post about it when I’ve had some time to experiment.

THis year's Christmas cards

This year's Christmas cards

This picture was taken before the eyes were added, but you get the idea. I made a lot of these, so I saved some time by buying the cards pre-cut. I cut all the individual parts out of foam and adhered them to a red foam background, then adhered that to the card. The stars are made out of diamond-jewel stickers, but when I ran out of those, I used silver-star stickers. The eyes were done with glitter glue, allowed to set before stuffing the envelopes.

When is a door not a door?

When it's a jar!

These Christmas gifts were easy and fun to make with stuff that’s easy to find. The cocoa mix in the jars is 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 cup granulated sugar and 3 cups fat-free powdered milk. Add or subtract sugar to taste. Add a couple of tablespoons to a cup of hot milk.

For the jars, I used regular canning jars (no need to sterilize — just clean them out well). The lids are painted green, with wrapping paper adhered to the removable center. Silver bows tied the candy canes to the lids.