We Did It! Our Whole30 Recap

ManagingTheEveryday

The last 30 days or so have been busy, fast, amazing and incredibly transformative to say the least. 

Among other things, we completed our Whole30!

Not surprisingly, changing how we ate for 30 days was a big challenge and also had a big payoff:

  • More consistent energy 
  • Fewer headaches & joint pain
  • Mental clarity
  • No more uncomfortable bloated feeling or intestinal distress
  • Weight Loss

I put weight loss at the bottom because it wasn’t the main goal. But was it a goal? Um, hello. Yes. 

I lost 9.6lbs and now weigh a tiny bit less than I did before I got pregnant with Javi. Juan didn’t weigh himself before starting our Whole30, but between biking to work and the Whole30, he has lost 20lbs over the last several months. We both have to wear belts now.

ManagingTheEverydayA cupcake for Javi’s birthday! (Mamá & Papá couldn’t have any of it.)

Was It Difficult?

A friend asked me this yesterday and my answer was Yes & No.

ManagingTheEverydayBlack Coffee & Herbal Tea

YES It Was Hard…

  • To Eat Out. Date Nights just weren’t the same. One night we enjoyed delicious steaks at Jak’s (no butter), but the no-butter veggies were super bland and I missed being able to have a glass of wine and order dessert. Our favorite Date Night meal was the steak salad at Cactus (no dressing, no cheese, extra limes on the side) and guacamole with sliced veggies. 
  • To Plan Meals & Cook All the Time. Some nights I just wanted to be able to pick up a frozen pizza and call it dinner. Our quick go-to meal for those nights turned out to be frozen Grass-fed Beef Burgers from Trader Joe’s. 
  • To Keep the Kitchen Clean. The number of dishes we had to wash went up significantly. This is evidence of how much we ate out before. 

ManagingTheEverydayZoodles Bolognese and Apple Slices 

NO It Wasn’t Hard…

  • To Only Eat the Allowed Foods. There are a lot of things that we couldn’t have during our Whole30, but what we could have was full of flavor & super satisfying. And when our bodies were well-fueled, saying NO to sugar & processed stuff was a lot easier.
  • To Drink Coffee without Milk & Sugar. At home, we put Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream and ground cinnamon in our coffee. When we were out, we drank it black. Now that we have finished our Whole30, I like to put a little milk in my coffee when we are eating out but I no longer need the sugar.

What Now?

ManagingTheEverydayDate Night grocery shopping! Since we have to buy food all the time now…

We’ve decided to continue eating Whole30-style at home and to not worry about it too much when we are out. 

That said, we are also making different choices when we go out to eat. I’m not sure we will ever order French toast or waffles again since we’ve noticed how grain-heavy breakfasts just leave us feeling tired & sluggish for the rest of the day.

Thinking of Doing a Whole30?

  • Get Support. Having Juan 100% on board with Whole30 was key for me getting through it with no cheats or slip-ups. Find someone to do this with you to hold you accountable, cheer you on and commiserate about how much you miss chocolate cake.
  • Find a Few Good Recipes. There are many delicious Whole30-approved recipes out there, but we ended up eating the same things a lot. (Not unlike our pre-Whole30 selves.) Keep things simple. 
  • Read the BookJuan is an engineer, so not surprisingly he is totally into understanding how systems work. I, on the other hand, get too excited about starting new things to carefully read instructions. But we both think It Starts with Food is worth reading to understand the HOW & WHY behind Whole30.

 We honestly can’t recommend it enough…Do it! You will be glad you did.

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Whole 30 (our adventures so far…)

ManagingtheEveryday

We are on Day 5 of our Whole 30. To sum it up so far…

Day 1: We can do this! Yay! Optimism! We are awesome!

Day 2: Major brain-fog and headaches. But we can still do this. We ARE doing this.

Day 3: Feeling better. Slight headache. Realize we should be eating larger meals. Juan has started dreaming of food every night.

Day 4: Stop at the grocery store. Reading labels. Why is there sugar in EVERYTHING? (Seriously, it’s crazy. Definitely eye-opening.) Notice that we are feeling a lot more energized that we usually do on weekends. Probably due to switching out our heavy carb & sugar weekend breakfasts for protein & veggies. 

Day 5: Feeling really good. My skin is having a major freak-out, but I think this is normal.

Managing the Everyday
Breakfast: Thin sliced potatoes topped with sautéed spinach and a fried egg.

Overall, it’s been going well. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping ourselves away from things we can’t eat, which definitely helps. If you can’t see it, it’s not as tempting. (I will admit that I got a little jealous watching Javi happily enjoying his graham crackers and milk.)

ManagingtheeverydayBut he also likes our Whole 30 foods too. Veggie soup? Yes please!

Our first Date Night is coming up this week and that will be interesting. We are used to going out for dinner, grabbing coffee and dessert afterwards and basically orienting the whole evening around food.

Now that a lot of food options are off-limits, we need to switch it up. Right now we are thinking of going to a movie and maybe smuggling in some nuts & dried fruit.

But enough about what we can’t eat. Here’s what we can…

The Eats

My mum (Hi Mumsie) keeps reminding me of recipes I love that can easily be made Whole30 compliant. I’m going to work these in to this week’s menu. 

ManagingtheEverydayDinner: Grass-fed beef burgers and homemade sweet potato fries.

For starters, the best pot roast recipe I have ever tried (I’ll be using Trader Joe’s veggie broth instead of wine & beef broth) and delicious Tom Kha Gai soup (double check that your fish sauce doesn’t have sugar. We had to buy a different kind.)

I’ll also be making quick & easy Salmon en Papillote (no changes necessary!)

Zoodles!Dinner: Zoodles with Ground Turkey & Tomato Sauce

And our new favorite Zoodles! (Zucchini Noodles). Basically, julienne a zucchini into long noodle-ish strips. I like to use our Mandoline slicer, but there are also specific veggie noodle tools out there too.

Sautee in a little olive oil with salt & pepper. Serve as you would regular pasta noodles. Juan voted them “Delicious!” and I agree. So simple and so good. 

We can do this. We ARE doing this!

Any recipe recommendations?

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Hello 2015!

ManagingtheEverydayHello2015
Welcome 2015 and a fresh start!

We just got back from a fun holiday vacation visiting Juan’s family in Acapulco, Mexico. I miss the sunshine and warmth already, but I’m also super excited to finally start 2015. Let’s do this!

This year we intend to challenge our habits, simplify our everyday lives and focus on consuming less. (You know, just a few easy goals…nothing big. Ha.)

What this will look like for us:

Whole 30

ManagingtheEverydayJavi1The only member of our family allowed to eat cake for the next 30 days. 

To start off, Juan and I are going to do a Whole 30 (!) starting today, January 8th.

This means 30 days of eating whole foods and cutting out all sugar, processed foods, alcohol, grains, seed oils, soy, legumes and dairy. 

We’ve both been feeling tired and sluggish and are hopeful that changing the way we fuel our bodies will give us more energy and help us identify any foods that don’t agree with us.

I’ve been getting ready by reading It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig and collecting recipe ideas here on Pinterest. 

I’m excited to do it and also scared because I know giving up our normal isn’t going to be easy. 

KonMari-ing Our Home

ManagingtheEverydayJavi2Not to worry…Dinosaurio is safe. 

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that decluttering and living well with less are some of my favorite topics.

So it’s little wonder that I absolutely LOVED The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. She is one of “my people”.

I’ve already started tidying up our home using the KonMari method and am loving the results so far. I’m excited to share more in future posts.

Buy Nothing New Year

ManagingtheEverydayJavi’s “Buy Nothing” xylophone. 

We are also embarking on a Buy Nothing New year. Yes. I said YEAR. This means:

NO to Buying New Stuff.
YES to Borrowing, Trading, or Buying Used.

Unlike our No Spend Month, where we limited how much we spent, the focus will be HOW we acquire things. There will be some exceptions (because I know you are wondering about underwear, right?).

Buy Nothing New doesn’t apply to:

  • food & beverages
  • basic personal care items (no second-hand toothbrushes)
  • medicine
  • basic cleaning products (although I do plan on making some)
  • underwear & socks
  • services (hair cuts, mechanics, tailoring, dry cleaning, plumbers, etc.)
  • gas
  • airfare
  • recreational services (zoo & museum admissions, etc.)

Why Buy Nothing New for a Year?

To appreciate & enjoy what we have.
To consume less.
To save money.
To save time.

So there you have it – some things I’ll be writing about in 2015.

It’s going to be a good year!

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5 Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store (no coupons required!) + No Spend Month Week #4

Managing the Everyday: 5 Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store

We’re in the home stretch of No Spend Month! Only a few more days to go! (Current $ totals at the end of the post.)

The Final Shop

Yesterday, we stopped by the grocery store on our way home from church.

We knew we only had about $30 left to spend on food until the end of No Spend Month so we brainstormed a few meals in the parking lot based on what we knew we had at home.

Juan stayed in the car with our sleeping baby and I braved the store, armed with our list and the calculator on my phone. I managed to get everything we needed for $27.28! 

Here are some tips I’ve found helpful this month:

1. Check the Store Flyer.

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Find out what the weekly specials are before you get to the store.

This way, you can plan your weekly menu around what is on sale and avoid searching for the deals when you are at the store (and buying things you don’t need). 

If it’s a good deal AND is something you need, it’s on your list. Speaking of…

2. Make a List.

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This one is pretty obvious. Figure out what you need to buy for the week and buy ONLY what is on the list. Get in. Get out. 

3.Buy only what you will actually use.

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We started No Spend Month with two pot roasts in the freezer that I bought back in March on a “Buy One, Get One FREE!” promotion. 

Stocking up on an amazing deal is great, but those savings won’t do you any good if you don’t actually use what you buy. Meat freezes well so we were able to still enjoy those pot roasts, but not everything lasts that long.

Eat the food you have. Then buy more. 

And if that new recipe that calls for an exotic spice or unusual ingredient? See if your store has a bulk section where you can buy only what you need instead of a whole container. 

4. Shop the Outside Aisles. 

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Grocery stores usually put the produce, dairy & meat sections around the outer edges of the store. These are usually the only places you need to shop to get wonderful ingredients for homecooked meals. 

Instead of buying pre-made goodies, buy some basic staples and make them yourself.

Chances are, you will spend less, eat better AND your home will smell like chocolate. (We used this easy brownie recipe multiple times this month.)

5. Meet the Dirty Dozen (& the Clean Fifteen).

Peppers
We generally buy organic produce, but it’s often more expensive.

As a compromise, this month we’ve been using the EWG’s Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen lists to let us know where buying organic matters most and which conventional foods are safest from a “pesticide in your mouth” standpoint. 

The No Spend Month Numbers

Last week we spent $161.96.

$103.35 on Groceries
$35.22 on Dining Out
$23.39 on Gas

We have $68.72 left!

What are your favorite grocery shopping tips?

Easy Salmon en Papillote

Managing the Everyday: Easy Salmon en Papillote

Whenever my siblings or I go up and visit our Mum and her husband on Lummi Island, we usually come home with something: Homemade jam, garden-fresh zucchini, eggs from the chickens, etc. 

The last time my sister went to visit, she came back to Seattle with salmon & halibut from their recent fishing trip in Canada. The best part? She brought some for us too!

One of my favorite ways to cook salmon is to bake it in parchment paper. Also known as salmon en papillote, if you are feeling fancy.

It’s super easy, fast and delicious. 

Salmon en Papillote

Ingredients: 
Salmon
salt & pepper
1 lemon
1 package fresh dill

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Tear off a long piece of parchment paper. How long? About 3 times as wide as your fish, if in doubt use more. You can always trim off the extra, but you will be out of luck if it is too short. 
  3. Put the parchment paper on a baking sheet and lay the fish on top.
  4. Season the fish with salt, fresh ground pepper and lemon juice. 
  5. Add lemon slices and fresh dill. 
  6. Cover the fish with the rest of the parchment paper and roll/crimp the edges together. Be sure to seal it up well so no steam or juice can escape while cooking.
  7. Bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish.

Managing the Everyday: Easy Salmon en Papillote

This method also works well for other types of fish. You can even add veggies (zucchini, cherry tomatoes, etc.) to the packets or make additional veggie packets. 

Let’s Do Breakfast: Baked Eggs with Spinach & Ham

Managing the Everyday: Baked Eggs with Spinach & HamPart of our morning routine is having breakfast as a family. No matter what, breakfast happens. 

I love starting the day sitting across from Juan, sipping my cup of coffee and talking about our plans for the day. These days, Javi joins us at the table too – something we all enjoy. 

During the week, we try to keep things easy & quick. Often this means a slice of quiche that I’ve made earlier in the week or scrambled eggs & toast. As much as I love those things, it’s always fun to try something new.

Here is the latest breakfast recipe we’ve tried. Delicious & simple – you could even make these ahead and reheat them in the morning. They also would be great for a quick to-go breakfast option – just put on a lid and you are good to go!

Baked Eggs with Spinach & Ham
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Ingredients
  1. 1 T butter (extra to grease)
  2. 1 C spinach
  3. 1/4 C ham or Canadian bacon (diced)
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 4 T cream or half & half
  6. 4 T Cheddar cheese (grated)
  7. Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease 4 ramekins or small mason jars with butter.
  3. In a small pan, sauté the spinach in butter until wilted.
  4. Divide the spinach among the ramekins. Add the ham.
  5. Crack one egg in each ramekin and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon cream or half & half to each ramekin and sprinkle the cheese on top.
  7. Place the ramekins in an oven safe dish and fill the dish with boiling water until the water reaches halfway up each ramekin.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the yolks are still a little runny. Add more time if you want fully cooked yolks.
Notes
  1. This is a very versatile recipe. Feel free to add/change the veggies/meat/cheese: tomatoes, caramelized onions, bacon, diced zucchini, feta, etc. The flavor options are endless!
Adapted from Donal Skehan
Adapted from Donal Skehan
Managing the Everyday http://www.managingtheeveryday.com/

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean + Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean + Goat Cheese Enchiladas

It’s almost that time of year when everyone and their mother (or maybe it’s just my mum?) will be eagerly sharing (pushing?) their overabundance of garden-fresh zucchini on family, friends & coworkers. 

This year, I’m ready. (Bring it on, Mumsie). 

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean + Goat Cheese Enchiladas

I found this recipe for Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Enchiladas from Sprouted Kitchen on a friend’s Pinterest board and decided to give it a shot. Creamy, a little spicy and packed full of flavor, these enchiladas are now one of our new favorites. 

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean + Goat Cheese Enchiladas

 

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Enchiladas
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Ingredients
  1. 3 large zucchini, diced (about 4 cups chopped)
  2. 3 tsp olive oil, divided
  3. 1 1/4 tsp lemon pepper
  4. 4 green onions, finely chopped
  5. 1 15oz can / 2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
  6. 5 oz soft goat cheese
  7. 10 corn tortillas (more or less, depending on how full you fill them)
  8. 12 oz red enchilada sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the chopped zucchini on a baking tray and toss with 2 tsp olive oil and lemon pepper to coat. (Using your hands is easiest).
  2. Spread the zucchini out on the tray and roast for 30 minutes, or until it is looking nice and browned around the edges. Remove & cool. Turn the oven down to 375F.
  3. Combine the green onion, black beans & crumbled goat cheese. Add the cooled zucchini & carefully toss together.
  4. Cover the bottom of an oven proof dish with about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce.
  5. Fill a tortilla with approximately 1/4 cup of the filling, Fold/roll the rest of the tortilla around the filling and place it seam-side down in the pan.
  6. Continue with the rest of the tortillas, setting them in the pan in a cozy row.
  7. Brush the tops of the tortillas with the remaining olive oil and pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
  9. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Serve with cilantro, avocado, sour cream and/or freshly squeezed lime juice.
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Managing the Everyday http://www.managingtheeveryday.com/

These enchiladas were the perfect summertime dish for our impromptu indoor picnic. I can even imagine them in the fall with yams or butternut squash instead of zucchini. 

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean + Goat Cheese Enchiladas

p.s. I roasted the zucchini on a Silpat. Have you tried these yet? They are amazing. 

Note: This post contains affiliate links

Potato Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

How about you bring a potato salad?

Potato salad is a classic picnic side dish. Usually full of mayonnaise and eggs, it is something that I don’t usually like. (Juan, however, LOVES the stuff.)

When we were asked to bring potato salad for our family 4th of July picnic, I went searching for a fresh take on this traditional favorite. I found a few (see them here) and decided on a recipe by Emily Hasselbrink.

The recipe called for a colorful assortment of little potatoes, but I was only able to find regular-sized red potatoes. They worked great. 

Potato Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

The green beans give this salad a nice almost-crunch and the cherry tomatoes are a wonderful burst of summer flavor – not to mention beautiful color. I love beautiful colorful food – don’t you?

Potato Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

The sweet & tangy vinaigrette brings it all together. It’s my kind of potato salad. 

Potato Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
A delicious and colorful spin on the traditional potato salad.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds potatoes (if using large potatoes, half or quarter them for shorter cooking time).
  2. 1 small red onion, diced
  3. 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided
  4. 1 1/2 cups green beans, chopped
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil
  6. 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  7. 2 tablespoons honey
  8. 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  9. 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  10. 3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
  11. 3 tablespoons minced chives
  12. Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes or until they are cooked through, but still firm. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Bring another pot of water to boil for green beans. Blanch for one minute, drain & rinse under cold water.
  3. Toss the diced red onion with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
  4. Whisk together the olive oil, mustard, honey and 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  5. Slice the cooled potatoes into 1-2 inch pieces and put them in a large bowl.
  6. Add onions, green beans, cherry tomatoes, parsley, chives, pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  7. Carefully toss with the honey mustard vinaigrette.
  8. Add more salt to taste, if desired.
Adapted from Red, White & Blue Potato Salad
Managing the Everyday http://www.managingtheeveryday.com/

p.s. Do you know the difference between vinegarette and vinaigrette?

Save the Basil!

Save the Basil
We have killed more basil plants than I can count.

I love fresh basil and buying plants always seems like a good idea, but they don’t survive more than a few months at our home.

So instead I now buy packages of basil.

The only problem with the packages is that they always contain more basil than I need and some of it ends up going bad before I have a chance to use it.

To solve that problem, I’ve started making fresh basil & olive oil ice cubes. They are super easy and mean that I always have “fresh” basil on hand for making delicious tomato sauce.

  1. Remove the basil leaves from the stem.
  2. Rinse & dry the leaves.
  3. Chop the basil into small pieces. Tip: Stack several leaves together and roll them up like a jelly-roll before cutting them. It’s much faster.
  4. Fill each section of an ice cube tray with the chopped basil.
  5. Add olive oil. (I like to add a little water too, but this isn’t necessary).
  6. Freeze.
  7. When they are frozen, pop the cubes out of the tray and store them in the freezer in a mason jar or zip-lock bag.

To use: Put a cube or two in a hot pan. The pan will slowly melt the cube and soon your kitchen will smell like wonderful, fresh basil.

Quiche Me Baby

Quiche Me Baby

When we came back from Paris, I was inspired to make quiche. That first quiche turned into a weekly ritual.

Each Monday night, I made that week’s quiche and for the rest of the week, we started the day with a warm slice of homemade quiche and fresh fruit. A definite upgrade from our usual cold cereal breakfast and just as easy on rushed mornings.

Then I got pregnant.

Even the idea of food made me feel gross and I was so exhausted that I pretty much stopped cooking.

Thankfully, I’m feeling much better and that means…

Quiche!

Olive Oil Quiche Crust

When I first started making quiche, I tried making all-butter pastry crusts. These have the potential to be awesome (mine often weren’t that great), but they also took a long time. I tried the pre-made pastry route, which was definitely faster but could get pricey and I didn’t always like the flavor.

The solution? Olive Oil Quiche Crust

When I first found this recipe, I wasn’t sure if it would really work. I’m happy to say it is by far the easiest, fastest quiche crust I’ve made. Seriously, 10 minutes and you’re done:

Olive Oil Quiche Crust

1 cup flour
1/2t salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup very cold water

  1. Measure the water into a large liquid measuring cup or bowl. Put it in the freezer to chill (but not to freeze, you want it cold. Not frozen.)
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour & salt with a fork.
  3. Take the water out of the freezer and add the olive oil.
  4. Mix the water & olive oil together with a fork until they start to thicken.
  5. Add the water/olive oil mix to the flour and mix until well blended.
  6. Press the mixture into the pie plate.
  7. Add the quiche mix (see below).
  8. Bake at 400F until the middle of the quiche looks set (Usually about 35 minutes, depending on your quiche filling. Give the quiche a little shake and see if the middle wiggles or looks soppy. If it does, it needs more time).

Basic Quiche

This is the first quiche recipe I used and it is awesome. I’ve adapted it a little (don’t you love how everyone leaves comments on recipes saying “this recipe is great, the only thing I changed was…” ?).

The original recipe calls for 2 cups half & half. I’ve played around with the dairy fat percentages and 1 cup 2% milk & 1 cup half & half is my favorite.

The result isn’t as rich as 2 cups half & half, so I eat more quiche to compensate for the lost calories. I tried all 2% milk, but I felt the texture wasn’t “quiche-y” enough. Gotta have some fat.

I also adjusted the cooking temp from 425F to 400F because of the olive oil crust.

Basic Quiche

4 eggs
1 cup Half & Half
1 cup milk (I use 2%)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Your choice of Additions: Cheese, Veggies, Meat (Some favorites: Ham & Cheese, Spinach, Tomato & Feta, Leek, Chard & Whatever Else is in the Fridge)

  1. Put your additions in the quiche shell. (Tips: Cubed cheese works better than shredded. Tear or chop spinach and other greens into smaller pieces. If you are using tomato and feeling fancy, save some slices to arrange on top after you add the liquid mixture in Step #3)
  2. Whisk together the eggs, half & half and milk. Season with the salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture over everything else.
  4. Bake at 400F until the middle of the quiche looks set (Usually about 35 minutes, depending on your quiche filling. Give the quiche a little shake and see if the middle wiggles or looks soppy. If it does, it needs more time).