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On Sunday I posted a photo of the quail eggs that I brought home from a recent barter.

They are so tiny and so beautiful. Each quail has its own distinct patter on the eggs that she lays – like a fingerprint. That is amazing, isn’t it?! Imagine my surprise when I started cracking them open and found some that were colored inside – a beautiful range of light blue/aqua. Nature is amazing!

Quail eggs

Quail eggs

I had no idea how many quail eggs made an omelet, so my plan was to just keep adding eggs until it looked like the amount of two chicken eggs. Well, I got a little carried away. The first omelet had 18 eggs in it. That was just too many.

Quail egg Omelet

Quail egg Omelet

We are eating a lot of things out of the garden right now. Peppers from the garden, along with beautiful onions from my neighbor, and local mushrooms from Kitchen Pride.

As I think back to the barter and all the wonderful things that I come home with, I smile when I think of the variety of eggs: Quail, Chicken, Duck, Turkey. All the eggs are beautiful.

What kind of eggs are in your refrigerator?

Sincerely, Emily

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Quail Eggs! So small. So beautiful.

Quail eggs

Quail eggs

Sincerely, Emily

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Last week I struggled with finding photos for D. I could think of a lot of “D” things, just didn’t have photos of them…

This week was a bit easier. Elder has been on my mind because I started working (with a friend) on a presentation for Herb of the Year on Elder for the local Herb Society back in September of 2012. So that “E” came easy to me and as I go through past photos, so good “E” photos popped out.

Experimentsexperiment 1aThis experiment did not go so well. I will post about it on Friday over at Sincerely, Emily.

Egg and eggplant sandwich (now I am hungry – they were so good!) I many of these from breakfast when the eggplant were growing in the garden.023What kind of “E” things come to mind for you?

Sincerely, Emily

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Last week we talked about Why you wouldn’t just eat an egg?, instead of a processed bowl of cereal full of sugar and GMO ingredients. I mentioned that we eat custard for breakfast or snacks and a few people requested recipes. The custard we eat is a bit different than what you may be used to since I make mine barely sweetened (it is breakfast after all). Most people view custard as a sweet treat, but it can be made very nourishing with a few tweaks. It is the ultimate simple nourishing breakfast, if made with eggs, milk, spices and the tiniest bit of natural sweetener. If your family members are sweet lovers, you can always give them an extra spoonful of maple syrup on top of the custard, but really do try to wean them off eating sweets for breakfast, even of the natural kind. If you simply like things sweeter, double the amount of maple syrup or honey in the recipe below.

Custard couldn’t be easier to make, it mixes up in a flash and then spends the majority of it’s time in the oven while you can do other things (like read blogs). I often mix mine up in the evening pulling it out of the oven right before bed to cool
overnight.


There are a few different options for making this custard. If you want to make it super quick, simply whisk all ingredients together, pour in dish or cups and bake. If you want extra flavor and nutrition, steep milk with vanilla beans and true or sweet cinnamon sticks*.

BASIC NOURISHING CUSTARD
(recipe is easily halved, but believe me, you’ll be wishing you hadn’t)

6 eggs, from pastured chickens (or ducks which have larger yolks & make creamier custard)
1/4 cup organic maple syrup or local raw honey (double this for sweeter custard)
2 teaspoons organic vanilla or 2 vanilla beans**
4-6 sticks of true or sweet cinnamon*
5 cups whole raw milk
dash of salt
organic ground nutmeg or cinnamon for top if desired

Preheat oven to 325 F for dish or 350 for cups.

If you want extra healthful and flavorful custard, steep milk with vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks (see below for sourcing for these). Whisk eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla if using in bowl, stir in milk. Pour into a glass baking dish or six custard cups. Sprinkle top with nutmeg or cinnamon if desired. Set the baking dish(es) in a pan of hot water, as you can see by my photo, I use 6 small Pyrex Rectangular Glass Containers nested in a rectangular glass baking dish for large single servings. Bake large dish at 325 degrees for 1 hour; bake cups at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Custard is done when a knife inserted off-center comes out clean. Serve warm or cold, add an extra drizzle of maple syrup if you want it sweeter.

You can also make this even more healthful by adding some pumpkin to make pumpkin custard. Essentially all you need to do is swap out half the milk for pureed pumpkin. What a wonderful way to get a serving of vegetables first thing in the morning.

What’s your favorite nourishing breakfast?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping and more; I also blog at Eat Outside the Bag blogging about all things food & cooking. You can also find me at Your Day Magazine, Not Dabbling in Normal, and you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

*true or sweet cinnamon is different than the regular cinnamon you buy at the store (unless you have access to a hispanic store), it’s much sweeter, less cloying, and blends so much more beautifully with sweet dishes like this one. You can buy organic true cinnamon from Mountain Rose Herbs for a great price, I always have a big bag on hand. Cinnamon is a healthy addition to your diet, containing lots of manganese, calcium and iron. It also contains trace minerals that help regulate blood sugar. Here’s some great info on the health benefits of cinnamon.

**Vanilla beans can be quite pricey in the grocery store, but if you buy in bulk from Saffron.com it’s very nicely priced. Vanilla is also a healthy addition to your diet adding a wide variety of minerals and vitamins, it’s a natural anti-depressant and it help you relax (good for nighttime beverages). Here’s a great article about the health benefits of vanilla. You can also rinse and dry vanilla beans after using them in this recipe and throw them in your sugar crock to impart flavor. Or add to a bottle of brandy, bourbon or vodka to make your own vanilla.

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I heard the new commercial for Kashi cereal the other day that claimed “More protein than an egg” and I thought to myself “why wouldn’t you just eat an egg?”. After all you’d be eating REAL food, in it’s simplest and most natural form instead of a product made who knows how long ago, in a factory from GMO ingredients (Soy & Canola) and loads of sugar (a bowl of Kashi contains a little over 3 teaspoons of sugar). An egg would be cheaper, healthier, produce less waste, use less energy and if you purchase it locally or keep your own chickens, it’s much better for your local economy.

Here are the ingredients for Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame Cereal: (Whole: Oats, Long Grain Brown Rice, Rye, Hard Red Winter Wheat, Triticale, Buckwheat, Barley, Sesame Seeds), Textured Soy Protein Concentrate, Evaporated Cane Juice, Brown Rice Syrup, Chicory Root Fiber (Inulin), Whole Grain Oats, Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame Flour (Whole: Oats, Long Grain Brown Rice, Rye, Hard Red Winter Wheat, Triticale, Buckwheat, Barley, Sesame Seeds), Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Honey, Salt, Cinnamon, Mixed Tocopherols (Natural Vitamin E) for freshness.

Ingredients in an egg: hopefully grass, insects, organic grains, and lots of sunshine. It’s worthwhile to seek out a local source of free range eggs because they’re much healthier that regular battery cage hen eggs (here’s a great article from Mother Earth News about free-range eggs). If you think about what an egg is, you’ll realize it’s really a perfect complete food. An egg contains everything needed to nourish a chick. For more in-depth information on the health of an egg, read this great article at World’s Healthiest Foods.

Eggs contain: tryptophan, selenium, iodine, vitamin B2, B5, B12, mylobdenum, phosphorus, Vitamin D, lutein and they’re a great source for choline – something 90% of Americans are deficient in. Eggs contain vitamins and minerals that help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, those that help prevent blood clots, many that are good for your heart.

Eggs are also fantastic because they are so quick to make and they can be cooked up in a variety of ways. Mr Chiots and I eat eggs every morning for breakfast and never get sick of them. Sometimes we have the traditional eggs with bacon and potatoes. Other times we enjoy them scrambled. Eggs also pair perfectly with vegetables, making it a great way to get more vegetables into your diet (something most of us should be trying to do). We paritcuarly enjoy eggs poached on a bed of kale, other sauteed vegetables, or a savory tomato sauce. Eggs can also be made sweet by being baked up into a classic plain custard or mix in some pumpkin to add even more vitamins. These little bowls of goodness are perfect for a quick breakfast or snack on the go!

Not only are eggs much healthier, at roughly 15-25 cents each for local pastured eggs here in my area, they’re also much cheaper than a bowl of cereal – especially if you pair them with homegrown vegetables. When you figure in the quality and freshness of the product you’re getting, it blows cereal out of the water!

Food is generally most healthy when it’s the least processed (with the exception of fermentation, which usually increases the availability of vitamins – think sauerkraut, yogurt, sourdough bread, etc). The protein in textured vegetable protein does not equal the protein in an egg. Maybe it does on paper, but it doesn’t take a chemist to see the nutritional superiority of an egg.


Would you rather get you protein from an egg laid by a chicken running around on a farm in the sunshine, or from soy that’s been turned into Textured Vegetable Protein: TVP is made from high (50%) soy protein soy flour or concentrate, but can also be made from cotton seeds, wheat and oats. It is extruded into various shapes (chunks, flakes, nuggets, grains, and strips) and sizes, exiting the nozzle while still hot and expanding as it does so. The defatted thermoplastic proteins are heated to 150-200°C, which denatures them into a fibrous, insoluble, porous network that can soak up as much as three times its weight in liquids. As the pressurized molten protein mixture exits the extruder, the sudden drop in pressure causes rapid expansion into a puffy solid that is then dried. As much as 50% protein when dry, TVP can be rehydrated at a 2:1 ratio, which drops the percentage of protein to an approximation of ground meat at 16%. High quality TVP can be mixed with ground meat to a ratio of up to 1:3 (rehydrated TVP to meat) without reducing the quality of the final product, sometimes improving it if the meat used is poor. TVP is primarily used as a meat substitute due to its very low cost at less than a third the price of ground beef, and when cooked together will help retain more weight from the meat by absorbing juices normally lost. (source: Wikipedia)

What’s your favorite way to enjoy an egg?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, maple sugaring, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Ethel Gloves, Grit Magazine, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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