Friday, June 27, 2014

Farm Fresh Eating - Chicken Wrap Casserole

At this moment, our garden is full of leafy greens which we love, especially spinach and beet tops.

If you don't know beet tops, they are the leaves that grow above the ground while the delicious ruby red beet roots are developing underground.  You eat them just like spinach, cooked or raw.  If you are not lucky enough to have them growing in your kitchen garden, look for them and for spinach at your local Farmers' Market.

Spinach and Beets grown from non gmo seeds Photo by Tori Beveridge

Our beets and spinach are growing side by side and were grown with non-gmo seeds from Mike The Gardener's Seeds of The Month Club. (which I adore so much I am now an affiliate for them...more about that later - clicking the link will take you to them for more info) 

Needless to say, we've been eating lots of fresh from the garden salads, combining the beet tops and spinach in "Spinach Salad" and tossing with lettuces in other green salads.  I love filling a bowl full of fresh picked spinach leaves, then pouring home made beef or vegetable soup over top, the spinach wilts and shrinks and adds delightful flavor to the soup.

I also love to add spinach and beet tops to this delicious savory Chicken Wrap Casserole.

Chicken Wrap Casserole in The Pan Photo by Tori Beveridge

Chicken Wrap Casserole

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9 x 13 inch backing dish

1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup unbleached flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup cream (half and half is good) try to avoid ultra-pasteurized.
3/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 to 4 cups of shredded leftover chicken or use a rotisserie chicken

Bunch of fresh spinach or beet tops or combination of the two.  I use a 4 cup pyrex liquid measuring cup and loosely pack it with the leaves.

10 medium corn or flour tortillas ( in the photos I have used whole wheat but corn are really delicious)

Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, stirring often.
Add the flour and stir in well and cook for 2 - 3 minutes so the "floury" taste disappears, stirring constantly.
Slowly stir in the chicken broth until well combined and smooth.
Stir in the cream.
Add 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and half of the parmesan cheese, stirring until melted and well combined.
Remove 1 cup of the sauce from the pan and set aside.
Add the chicken to the pan.
Add the spinach and beet tops to the pan.
Cook until the spinach is wilted.
Remove from the heat.

I use a soup ladle (approx 1/2 to 3/4 cup) to spoon the chicken mixture into the center of each tortilla, then roll it up and place it in your prepared casserole dish.

Pour the 1 cup of reserved sauce over the wraps.
Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top, along with some freshly cracked pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with a fresh seasonal salad.


Chicken Wrap Casserole Photo by Tori Beveridge

Eat Fresh.  Eat Seasonal.  Eat Local.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


It is not growing like a tree
in bulk doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere,
A lily of a day
is fairer in May
Although it fall and die that night,
It was the plant of flower and light,
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures, life may perfect be.

– Benjamin Johnson

The Rainy Day texture was used on the photo above.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Egg Diaries - Mulberry Clafouti

The Egg Diaries - A weekly journal documenting my egg use, to help myself and others use all the beautiful eggs, our hens lay for us.  Now, a Blog Hop, so you can join in by sharing the ways in which you use your eggs.  Link up at the bottom of the page.

Last week at this time, we were in the middle of some unstable weather, which caused out internet to be very unstable.  I was unable to post last week's Egg Diaries because of it.  Our unstable internet is one of the negatives of living in the country, but is one I can overlook and live with.

Ricotta Lemon Arugula Quiche
Ricotta Lemon Arugula Quiche - Recipe by Martha Stewart linked below
All of the spring greens we planted in the garden are ready for harvesting and we've been enjoying baby spinach, red mustard, red romaine and other lettuce, endive and arugula.  I tried a Martha Stewart recipe for Ricotta Lemon and Arugula Quiche that I had pinned on Pinterest.  It was light and fresh and if you love the spicy, peppery taste of arugula, you'll enjoy it.  The recipe is linked below.

Our mulberry trees are laden with fruit.  I absolutely love mulberries!  I've been making mulberry jam and, of course baking with them to use eggs.  I used them in Pavlova last week.  If you missed my post it's linked below.

Mulberry Clafouti is a favorite recipe because it's fast and easy.  My recipe is at the bottom of the page.  Clafouti is traditionally made with cherries, so you can substite cherries or different berries in this recipe.

The Egg Diaries

Monday June 9th

3 Eggs - Breakfast:  Sausage Cheese and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches on Toasted English Muffins, Orange Juice
0 Eggs - Lunch
0 Eggs - Dinner
2 Eggs - Cooked and fed to the dogs

5 Eggs Used


Tuesday June 10th

5 Eggs - Breakfast:  French Toast, Bacon, mulberries
0 Eggs - Lunch
8 Eggs - Dinner:  Pork Roast with roasted potatoes, carrots and onions, green beans  Pavlova ( with lemon curd, fresh strawberries and mulberries)

13 Eggs Used


Wednesday June 11th

0 Eggs - Breakfast
0 Eggs - Lunch
2 Eggs - Dinner:  Ricotta Lemon and Arugula Quiche, Spring Greens Salad
2 Eggs - Cooked and fed to the dogs

4 Eggs Used


Thursday June 12th

0 Eggs - Breakfast
4 Eggs - Lunch:  Egg Salad Sandwiches, vegetable sticks, strawberries
0 Eggs - Dinner

4 Eggs Used


Friday June 13th

0 Eggs - Breakfast
0 Eggs - Lunch
4 Eggs - Dinner:  Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole, Spring Greens Salad,  Mulberry Clafouti (Recipe is below)

4 Eggs Used


Saturday June 14th

4 Eggs - Breakfast:  Cheese Omelettes, toast, strawberries
0 Eggs - Lunch
0 Eggs - Dinner
8 Eggs - Scrambled and fed to the chickens

12 Eggs Used


Sunday June 15th

5 Eggs - Breakfast:  Steak and Fried Eggs, Toast, Cranberry Orange Juice
0 Eggs - Lunch
0 Eggs - Dinner

5 Eggs Used




Mulberry Clafouti Photo by Tori Beveridge
Mulberry Clafouti

Mulberry Clafouti

2 cups mulberries
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease an 8 x 8 square pan

Put your mulberries in the pan and arrange so they are spread evenly.

Combine your flour and salt and set aside.

Beat the eggs and the egg yolk together until light.
Add the sugar and beat.
Beat in the milk and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and beat until the mixture is well combined, light and airy.

Pour the mixture over the berries.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden and the top springs back when touched.

Cool.  ( We like it cold, others like to serve it warm)

Dust with icing sugar if you like to make a pretty presentation. (optional - we find it sweet enough without the added sugar)

Serve with whipped cream if desired.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Farm Fresh Eating - Pavlova

Eggs and berries are plentiful on our little homestead right now.

Fresh Eggs Photos by Tori Beveridge

It's our first year growing strawberries and we're getting more than I thought we would.  We eat the strawberries almost as fast as we pick them.  We pick them fresh every day.  They ripen on the plant and the taste is phenomenal.  Store bought berries have nothing on these babies.  There is no comparison.  You owe it to yourself to seek out some local strawberries and taste the difference yourself.

Strawberries Photos by Tori Beveridge

Our mulberries are incredibly plentiful.  I will be making jam again this year.  It's Mr. B's favorite, along with Mulberry Pie and Mulberry Cobbler.  The Mulberry Liquer I made last year was wonderful, so I see more of that this year also.  We're planning to dry some of our mulberry harvest to use like raisins.  Apparently they do it in Turkey and it's quite a delicious snack and very healthy.

Mulberries Photos by Tori Beveridge

If you are looking to try mulberries yourself, look for a mulberry tree in your neighborhood, or find someone like us who grows them.  You won't find them in your supermarket, because they are difficult to harvest and transport and their "shelf life" is very short.  Your Farmer's Market is probably your best bet to search for them.  If you live near Manito, Pekin, or Peoria in Illinois, contact me.

I was trying to think of a good way to use our bounty of berries and eggs and it came to me.  Pavlova!  It's the perfect early summer dessert and uses all three ingredients.

Pavlova is a meringue traditionally topped with whipped cream and fruit in season.  You can also top it with lemon curd, as I did here because I wanted to use the egg yolks, or with a pudding or custard and, of course, fruit.

Mixed Berry Pavlova Photos by Tori Beveridge


You'll want to bake the meringue early in the day as it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to bake and then you must cool the meringue in the oven with the door closed, which will take approx 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet.  On one side of the sheet parchment, using a pencil, trace around an 8 inch round cake or pie pan, dark enough so that you can see the circular outline when you flip the paper over and lay it upside down in your pan.

4 egg whites (fresh, local eggs from pastured hens) at room temperature (separate your eggs one at a time into a separate small bowl and then pour into your larger bowl, just in case you accidentally get some yolk in them - there must be NO yolk or grease in the egg whites or they won't beat up)

1 1/4 cups of sugar - I use 1 cup which is still very sweet
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream ( 1 pint of whipping cream - add 2 tablespoons of sugar, optional )
Fresh Seasonal Local Fruit

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla and put to one side.

Put your egg whites in a large bowl and add the pinch of salt.  Beat with a mixer until the egg whites become 'white' and glossy peaks form.

Add your sugar to the egg whites, 1/3 at a time, beating after each addition, until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the meringue, then, using a spatula, gently fold the mixture together, until combined.

Empty your meringue out onto the center of your circle on the parchment paper.  Using your spatula spread and shape your meringue into a circle and smooth the top.

Place your pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature of the oven to 250 degrees.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Turn off the oven and let the meringue cool completely in the oven, about 3 to 4 hours.

Top with whipped cream and seasonal local fruits.


Eat Fresh.  Eat Seasonal.  Eat Local.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Egg Diaries - May 26th to June 1st

The Egg Diaries - A weekly journal documenting my egg use, to help myself and others use all the beautiful eggs, our hens lay for us.  Now, a Blog Hop, so you can join in by sharing the ways in which you use your eggs.  Link up at the bottom of the page.

Happy June!  Summer is here in Central Illinois.  The temperatures are in the eighties and the sun pushes that over the 90 degree mark.  Add to that the humidity and it makes me understand afternoon siestas.  We try to get all of our outdoor work done by ten o'clock, so we can retreat indoors to escape the heat and the buffalo gnats (which are still swarming, much to our, and our chickens' dismay - see my post on them here).

We've been eating food that both uses eggs and scream summertime, like potato salad and deviled eggs.  Memorial Day morning I baked my favorite Banana Cake.

Banana Cake Dreamy Photo by Tori Beveridge
The stuff Banana Cake dreams are made of.
It's not a fancy cake, but it's moist and so banana-ey ( new word!).  This is a large cake and will serve a crowd, so it's wonderful for summertime gatherings.  If you can bake a banana bread, you can bake this cake.  It's so good, that I have to share the recipe with you as as an 'Eggs in Disguise'* recipe.  You'll find it below.

The Egg Diaries

Mon May 26th

5 Eggs - Breakfast:  French Toast, Bacon, Cantaloupe
0 Eggs - Lunch
4 Eggs - Dinner:  Potato Salad, Brats, Spring Greens Salad, Banana Cake (recipe below)

9 Eggs Used


Tues May 27th

4 Eggs - Breakfast:  Toasted Western Sandwiches, Orange Juice
0 Eggs - Lunch
0 Eggs - Dinner
2 Eggs - Fed to the dogs

6 Eggs Used


Wed May 28th

0 Eggs - Breakfast
6 Eggs - Lunch:  Deviled Eggs, Homemade Dill Crackers, Vegetable Sticks, Tomatoes
3 Eggs - Dinner:  Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, Green Beans, Mushroom and Onion Gravy

9 Eggs Used


Thurs May 29th

4 Eggs - Breakfast:  Poached Eggs on Broiled Cheddar Cheese Toasts, Grapefruit
0 Eggs - Lunch
0 Eggs - Dinner
2 Eggs - Fed to the dogs

6 Eggs Used


Fri May 30th

0 Eggs - Breakfast
3 Eggs - Lunch:  Egg Wrap (Hard boiled eggs, genoa salami, cream cheese, tomato and lettuce wrapped in a large spinach herb tortilla.  Cut in half, it serves two.  Make up your own wrap combo!)

Egg Wrap Photo by Tori Beveridge

0 Eggs - Dinner

3 Eggs Used


Sat May 31st

5 Eggs - Breakfast:  Cheese and ham omelettes, toast, cranberry juice
0 Eggs - Lunch
0 Eggs - Dinner

5 Eggs Used


Sun June 1st

0 Eggs - Breakfast
1 Egg  - Toasty Tuna Sandwiches (Recipe is here), vegetable sticks, apples
0 Eggs - Dinner
2 Eggs - Fed to the dogs
8 Eggs - Scrambled and fed to the chickens

11 Eggs Used

Total:  49 Eggs Used


Banana Cake Close Up Photo by Tori Beveridge

Banana Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan.


3 large ripe bananas
2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups of milk soured with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice (combine in a small bowl and let stand while you mix the other ingredients)   OR   1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

In a small bowl mash the bananas and stir in the lemon juice.  Set to one side.

If souring your milk, do it now and set to one side to let it sour.  OR  measure out your buttermilk and set to one side.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl cream the butter and the sugar together until well combined, light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well.

Alternately, add and beat into the creamed mixture, the flour mix and the milk.  Always start and end with the dry ingredients.  (Confused?  It goes like this:  add about 1/3 of the flour mix, beat.  Then 1/2 of the milk, beat.  Then 1/3 of the flour mix, beat.  Then 1/2 of the milk, beat.  Then the last 1/3 of the flour mix, beat.)

Stir in the mashed bananas.

Pour into your prepared pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups icing sugar

Cream the butter and cream cheese together.
Add the vanilla and stir or beat in.
Add the sugar one cup at a time, beating well each time until the sugar is all combined and the frosting is smooth.

Let the cake cool completely before frosting it.  Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Store in the fridge.
Makes 16 or more servings.  

This cake can also be frozen.  I usually freeze it in individually wrapped serving sizes.



*Use 'Eggs in Disguise' Recipes to use up your eggs.  These are recipes that call for eggs as an ingredient but not as the main star of the dish.