One of my husband's favorite breakfasts - and yet one that I rarely make - is quiche. But if you, like me, have a hard time finding time in the morning to make this dish, try making it for supper! Or you can make the pie crust the night before. You can even make the crust and put it in the freezer for later! To do this, roll the crust out on a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper. Cover the entire top with another piece of plastic/wax paper. Now you can gently fold it to put in a ziploc bag for freezing. When you're ready to use it, thaw completely before unfolding!

Quiche, like most "casseroles", is quite versitile. You can make a very simple quiche with just eggs, milk and cheese. If you don't have cheese, add lots of meat and vegetables and you'll hardly miss it. As you mix and match ingredients, just be sure your total (of meat & vegetables combined) doesn't add up to more than about a cup.

Most quiche recipes call for cream (or for sour cream, cottage cheese, etc). However, I've used my trusty cream substitue of rich powdered milk quite successfully. :-) Just mix powdered milk using a 3-to-1 ratio instead of the normal 4-to-1.

Simple Quiche Recipe

One pie crust

6 eggs
1/2 c rich milk
1/2 c Cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Optional Add-ins:

Meat (1/4c to 3/4c) - ham, bacon, sausage,

Veggies (1/4c to 3/4c) - mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, onions, peppers, tomatoes,

Seasonings (don't use more than one of these at a time) - basil, rosemary, nutmeg, cayenne pepper

Bake crust 10-15 min at 375. Then fill with egg mixture and bake 35-40 minutes. For best results, let cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve with ketchup, salsa, or for a special treat, serve with maple syrup!

Do you make quiche? Anything you add that I didn't mention here?

Wow, ladies! I'm tempted to do a giveaway like this more often! Although we did not have a large number of entries, there are some great blog posts that will be coming out of this. :-) Thank you so much to those who took the time and made the effort to particpate.

And the winner is . . . ROXANNE!  (She has been notified by email.)

Thank you also for all your encouragement. There are days when I feel very inadequate and even presumptuous to be blogging about life overseas. I wish I was a seasoned vetran with 40 years of experience under my belt. Instead I'm a young mama who only lived overseas for three years, and I feel like I have so little to offer. But over and over again recently the readers of TCKmom have encouraged me to keep it up. And so I will - if I can bless just one lonely soul who is far from friends and family, then my goal has been accomplished! I do welcome your contributions, or even your ideas of how I can better use TCKmom to meet the needs of our readers. Check here if you want ideas of how you can write for TCKmom.

 

And one more thing - a peek behind the scenes here. How do we do a giveaway? At this point I am not techy enough (nor do I have a big enough participation) to use one of those fancy automatic raffle programs. SOO we do it the old-fashioned way! The morning after the deadline, I write down all the names of the participants on seperate slips of paper. If it's a giveaway that you can enter multiple times (this one was not) then I write each name as many times as they entered! Then I put all the papers into a tall plastic container and give it to my four-year-old. He gets the fun of shaking it up, and then holding it for the two-year-old, who draws a peice of paper. Once the boys have verified that it's just one paper, not two or three, they bring it to me and I read the name. They love this process, even though they have no clue what's actually happening! :-)

 

Keep your eyes open for the first "Day in the Life of a TCKmom" coming soon!

I think we're not the only ones who have experienced this, are we? You get busy, you get overwhelmed, you have babies interrupting your moments of time together, you live very different lives with your own sets of responsibilities, and before you know it, you feel disconnected from your husband. Your date nights, if they happen at all, are more like business meetings. You realize it's been a long time since you just enjoyed each other's company, laughed together about nothing, held hands and looked into each other's eyes.

I started to title this article "When Marriage is Hard". But I am not writing for those who have truly difficult marriages. Not because I don't feel for them, but because I don't have wisdom or experience to offer. This article is for the rest of us - we who really have good marriages, and yet there are times when things are hard. Seasons when we're not connecting, not romancing, maybe even not feeling in love.

There can be lots of reasons for this, but here are a few that we've found.

1) We're both sapped by other responsibilities and have no mental/emotional energy left for each other. This is especially applicable for introverts who need time alone to refuel.

2) We live in two different worlds, and have trouble connecting with each other's lives. Maybe because of lack of time, lack of interest, lack of knowledge & understanding, or all of the above.

3) One of us is sick and requiring care from the other - or if not requiring care, at least not able to give to the relationship.

4) Misunderstandings cause distance in the relationship, even if we're not "fighting" or "angry" with each other.

5) One (or both) of us are dealing with past hurts or current stresses which we take out on our spouse, even though the he/she is not responsible.

So when you find yourself in one of these situations, what do you DO? None of us want to be content with the status quo . . . we want to keep pressing on in our relationships, right? We want to keep that love alive and not grow distant from each other. How do we stay connected? How do we reconnect?

1) Remember that your marriage needs to be a priority. It just has to be! Yes, there are seasons when life is way too full, way too stressful, way too interrupted by little people, or whatever your "way too" is. But even in those seasons, we need to figure out how to squeeze in time (and energy) for our marriage. Is there something else that you can let slide a little, in order to make room for your partner? Identify what is causing you to drift apart right now, and see if it's something that can change.

2) Find out what your spouse needs most from you. Hopefully you can ask him. Talk about what is working and what isn't. Talk about what speaks love to him and what doesn't. Read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, together if you can. If you can't sit down and talk about it, then do your homework. Experiment with different ways of saying "I love you" (not just with words, but with actions) and take note of how he responds.

3) Let your husband know what you need from him. I don't mean that you should give him a big list of dos and don'ts, or demand your rights from him. But if there is something that just really isn't working for you, or something he's doing that is especially hard or hurtful for you, TELL HIM. Of course there are marriages and situations where you can't do that. But most men would be really glad to hear this from their wife. Usually, they don't have a clue that what they're doing is a problem for you. Talking about it is SO much more productive than trying to ignore or suppress it, and struggling with resentment or frustration. HOWEVER, make sure that you approach him in the right time and the right way. Throwing out hints as you storm around the kitchen isn't going to help anyone. Make sure you have his attention, he knows you want to talk about something that's important to you, and that you speak in a respectful, gracious way.

4) Realize that you have different ways of connecting, and by pushing your way you can cause hurts and resentment. This is tied in to the last two points, but it's important. You may be in a situation where one of you feels that your marriage is great, while the other one is feeling disconnected and unloved. Our personalities and cultural expectations determine how we express love and what we need out of relationships. But here's the good news - we can learn to adjust our expectations. If you are married to an introvert and you're always nagging him to spend more time together, you're hurting the relationship instead of helping! He needs quiet space to "decompress", and when you nag and make him feel guilty for not being with you, it makes him resent you. Ideally you can both learn to express your love in a way that helps the other, and both of your needs will be met. But if "ideal" isn't happening, at least make sure that you're not making the situation worse by rejecting the ways he is trying to love you, or demanding things that he can't give you.

5) Be interested in your husband's world. There are times I listen to "lectures" on topics I care nothing about, simply because it means a lot to my husband. He wants to share his interests with me - whether it's work or hobbies. If I think, "Why am I wasting my time listening to this?" I will be resentful. If I think, "This is a chance to connect more deeply to my husband's world" I will realize that it really is worth it! And most likely it will mean a LOT to your husband . . . unless he's in a situation where he doesn't want to talk about it. If he needs to leave the stress behind and forget about it when he walks in the door, respect that too!

6) If your husband is sick, make sure you take care of yourself. I'm not talking about a week of the flu or a bout of malaria. I'm talking about prolonged illness. It might be a physical illness and you are his primary caregiver. That can give you so many special bonding opportunities, but it can also exhaust you and put a strain on your relationship. Make sure you're getting the rest you need, and taking breaks to replenish. Maybe it's not a physical illness, but depression, anxiety, or a mental illness that's making him unable to hold up "his end of the deal." In this case, you may not actually be taking care of him, but may be shouldering some or all of his responsibility. In either case, it is easy for you to become exhausted. With exhaustion comes feelings of resentment, and then guilt that you're having those feelings. You HAVE to get the rest that you need and take care of yourself or your relationship will suffer.

7) If you're dealing with past hurts or major stresses, make sure you take care of yourself. Get help to work through your emotional issues so that they're not damaging your marriage. Implement whatever self-care routines need to happen so that you can manage your stress instead of taking it out on your partner. I know these things are easy to say and much harder to do. But consider our first point - your marriage needs to be a priority. Which means you need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your marriage.

8) Don't overlook the everyday love. Of course the romance is wonderful, and we all want to have those heart-flutters and gushy feelings sometimes. But seriously, ladies, doesn't changing messy diapers and dealing with beggars at the door and taking out the trash and getting up with the baby SHOUT "I love you" louder than any chocolate or roses ever could? When a man sacrifices himself over and over and over for his family, that is true love. Look for the little everyday ways your husband is saying "I love you" by taking care of you.

9) Don't give up. Some seasons are just hard, and there's no way to change that. Keep trying anyway. Read an inspirational book about marriage. Search for free date ideas (although this might be depressing if you live overseas). Think of a new way to say "I love you" this week. Don't wait for the feelings, just keep on keeping on. Seasons will pass, and when they do, we want to make sure our relationship is stronger than ever.

When we were first married, I put together an album of our wedding pictures. I included a quote which I loved at the time, 'TRUE LOVE is when you can't sleep at night because reality is better than your dreams.'  So romantic . . . and true when you're on your honeymoon. But you can't live life that way. My favorite quote now? "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

 

What do you do to "keep the love alive"? What has brought you through a challenging time in your marriage? OR what do you do to prevent those hard times from bringing distance in your relationship?

Recently, ancient grains like millet have become quite popular in the United States. But they are also pricey, to be found in health food stores and the like. I always get a thrill when I can buy foods like that very cheaply in the village markets where I live. For about five pounds of millet I pay about $1. :-) Millet is nutritious, supplying you with potassium, iron, vitamin B6 and magnesium. 100 grams of millet contains 11grams of protein - that's almost as much as two eggs. It is also gluten free.

If you buy grains or seeds in a village market, they will need to be washed and sorted. The women in my West African location have a very nifty and efficient technique for this, which is quite impossible to explain. But if you live in a place where millet is grown, I would guess the women will be able to show you how they do this.

Here's three of our favorite millet recipes.

1. Breakfast cereal
For this I toast the millet in a dry pot until it is golden. Then I grind it coarsely. (I use a small metal hand grinder). In the morning, I will cook about two cups of meal with about six cups of water and a bit of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes. Serve with milk and sweetener of choice.

2. Millet pancakes
For this, I use raw, finely ground millet flour. Replace all purpose flour with millet flour in any pancake recipe. Even better if you substitute yogurt or sour milk for the milk.

3. Curry over millet
My favorite! Reminds me of bulghur wheat and couscous.


Toast 2 cups of millet in a bit of oil until slightly browned. Add about 6 cups of water and some salt and simmer for about an hour, adding more water if necessary. Remove from heat and let steam for about 30 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve with curry of your choice.

I have also made banana bread using millet flour, I have sprouted millet, and I have read that millet will pop like popcorn but I have not had success with that for some reason. Have you used millet? Let us know if you have any creative ideas!

 

Meet Lysanne: I am a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mommy to two little girls aged 4 and 1.5, and I am currently living in rural West Africa. Language and culture learning has us immersed in small village life right now, and that means some unique challenges and lots of wonderful times.