Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Perfect onion quiche

I have tried making onion quiche several times, and every time, the results just weren't enough to justify the effort. Either the onions were not sufficiently done, or the whole thing would fall apart, or the taste was simply off. Finally, not long ago I finally stumbled upon the perfect way to make simple, crustless onion quiche.

The problem is that this isn't really a recipe. Around here, quiches, like soups, are a take-what-you've-got-and-throw-it-together kind of dish.

Here's the secret: if you don't wish to cook the onions before baking (and I don't, because it's a hassle), they need to be very finely chopped. I now use my nifty little hand-chopper: I peel the onions and cut them into quarters, throw them in, and keep turning the handle until I got my desired tiny pieces of onion.

So, you'll need:

3 middle-to-large onions or 2 very large ones;
3-4 eggs;
a little butter - about 25 gr or a bit more (an ounce);
1\4 cup of cooking oil;
1\2 cup or more of shredded cheese;
about 1 1\2 cups flour + a pinch of baking powder/soda
salt and pepper to taste

* You can omit the oil entirely and add more butter. I just never have enough butter on hand, so I had to be stingy.

Take a large bowl and tip the chopped onions into it; add the eggs, oil and cheese; finely slice the butter and add it as well. Lastly, add the salt and flour and season to taste.

Transfer mixture into baking pan and bake at medium heat until the top is a nice golden-brown color. Take out of the oven, let it cool a little and enjoy. You can serve it hot, at room temperature or even eat it straight out of the fridge (if you have leftovers the next day, which you probably won't).

quiches lorraines - stock photo
Unfortunately, I have no picture on hand, so I'm using this image from Shutterstock.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

More thoughts about learning

I got some pretty insightful responses to my previous post on homeschooling, and I do have to say I'm learning so much along the way and truly enjoying reading everyone's different perspective.

An experienced homeschooling mother writes:

"I would never allow my 6 year old to drive a car, never allow him to choose an adult book to read, never allow him to see inappropriate movies. These are things which require not only restriction when they are young but teaching them discernment as they grow into adulthood. At the same time I will happily direct my child in how to drive a car when he attains the proper age and skills. After years of properly directing and shepherding his character, he may chose to read more adult books and watch more adult movies."

Betty Tracy writes:

"God commands children to obey their parents. Period. Not "obey when they are right or when you feel like it" but just "Obey."

Alycia writes:

"I can also tell you that my need to prove that homeschooling is "working" is waning with each child. I think mothers who have several children with many different personalities, gifts, and temperaments probably lose this need fairly quickly. While society might point to one child as being strange in some way (shy, slow to read, etc.), there will almost always be others in the same family who are exactly the opposite!"

Reading all your personal experiences made me come to the following conclusions:

- Human beings, children included, are flexible and can thrive with different learning approaches.
- I don't need to fear that I'm being inflexible or damage my children's creative spirit when I set a simple task (be it reading, math or whatever). They still have plenty of room for initiative. 
- I don't need to feel guilty every time I set a task a child might not be exactly thrilled about; after all, we do have so much time for free play - most of the day, truly - that my children are a lot better off in this respect than most children. 
- I don't need to re-invent the wheel; there's nothing wrong with using workbooks. 
- Actually, I don't need to fret or feel guilty at all, because as long as we're doing our best and trying out one thing or another, most likely we won't make any irreversible mistakes - if something isn't working, we'll just try something different. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Nothing Special

I was always one of the top students in my class; I grew up hearing how talented I am, how I’m capable of doing anything I put my mind to. While I was studying for my degree, it was the same – I kept hearing how intelligent I am and how much is expected of me. Yet even then, I already felt the pull of my heart to be a wife and mother, and shortly after getting out of university I was blessed to meet a man who appreciated a wife who works in her home and cares for the children.

The few years that followed were some of the most intense of my life. I’ve had two children spaced close together, and many months were a blur of sleep-deprivation and constantly changing diapers. I’ve mostly gotten into stride now, so much that the addition of a third baby to our family went relatively smoothly, and I’m able to enjoy my life with my children, however…

… I had to step down and confess that I’m nothing special after all.

It was a humbling realization.

Am I doing important work? Yes. I’m raising my children and providing a safe haven for my family. Am I spending my days in a worthwhile, productive way? Yes (well, at least I try). Am I irreplaceable for my children? Yes. Flawed and imperfect as I am, I am the only mother they have. Would I trade what I do for anything else? No.

But still, I do just what women all over the world do. I take care of my children and the house, I clean, I cook, I do the laundry… I’m doing the same work countless generations of women always did. I can no longer pride myself on some very expertly written paper that got top grades, or on a lecture I gave in front of a professional, interested audience. There's no applause, no impressed audience, and no financial benefits. Today’s achievements consist of cleaning the stove, mopping the floor and reading a chapter of Pippi Longstocking to my children.

This led me to re-evaluating my worth, based not on what I managed to do (which someone somewhere can do better, no matter how hard I try), but on my being what I am… a wife and a mother. Like any woman, in the sense of what I do, but uniquely important from the perspective of my family and precious as a child of G-d.

Mostly this has been a process of shedding layers of pride. This is no longer about my talents, my expectations, my ambitions, my capabilities… it is about taking care of others, humility, and lots and lots of prayer. This may sound like sacrifice, but it isn’t really, because my journey is shaping me into a different person, one I like a lot better, and also one who is a lot happier and has a much truer sense of self-worth and dignity.