This post is in homage to the "girlies" that make me laugh everyday and who feed me with their wonderful, nutrient dense eggs. The raising of chickens has been a wonderful experience that I would encourage everyone to do at some time in your life. I have always had dogs, but these little girls have taught me a ton about what it takes to raise an animal that you get something from other then love. Dogs are our companion animals but there is a lot to say about these girls who not only give me food but that also gives me a source of togetherness and affection. While my chickens are not the cuddly type that come and sit in my lap (I wish they were,) they do depend on me for their daily needs and in turn they give me a lot of love and great eggs.
Upon meeting me, most people would not think that I am a chicken person or that is what I have been told. (I have never really been sure what a "Chicken Person" is.) When I talk to my anatomy students about "my girls," they are taken aback. One class even requested pictures to be sure I was not pulling one over on them. Recently, in a cab ride when I was all dressed up, I mentioned having to take care of the chickens before I left home and got the strangest look in the rear view mirror. Fortunately, that led to a really enlightening discussion. And to top off all of the "chicken shock", I think my family thought I lost my mind when I told them I got chickens.
While all of these chicken discussions, have been somewhat humorous, most people don't get it till they see the girls. Several of my friends have shown up at my house and have seen these funny girls waddling behind me, chattering the whole way, as we water the flowers in the back yard or patiently waiting while I pick them a tomato from my summer garden. They are always there to tell me their funny little stories and to see what we are going to do next. They have become the #1 attraction at my house. Some bring them an apple, most want to check for eggs and even my Dad (who I am sure thought I really lost it) has had a few laughs due to these girls. Even though he might not admit it, he enjoys checking their nest when he visits.
A lot of people say, "they are just chickens." And I can't argue with that, but what makes anything a "just?" We are JUST people! I will admit that chickens are not the most intelligent creatures but that doesn't mean they don't deserve kindness and a happy life. These girls are a perfect of example that if you value something, respect it for what it is, give it a happy place and show it love, that all of those feelings will be reciprocated. It is an everyday confirmation of the good in life and in others,; no matter how small.
Veggie Sausage Omelet MuffinsThis is a recipe that I have been using as my go to breakfast. I have greatly changed my eating habits in the past few years and eating protein in the form of eggs is almost a must with 3 new eggs a day. This is my newest way to get that protein breakfast in. And the best thing about it is you can put what ever you like into it! Veggies, meat, cheese of your choice! Also this makes about 12 muffins and they are great to refrigerate for those early morning when you are on the go.
Suggestions for fillings:
4 oz. loose sausage (southerners would tell you there is no other kind)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 one red bell pepper, chopped
1 handful of spinach, chopped
Fresh herbs of your choice- I used about 1 1/2 tsp. of fresh oregano because it was fresh on the porch
1/8 cup grated parmesean cheese
Feel free to add anything else you like. Experiment- It is fun!
9 whole eggs
1/4 cup whole milk or heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 12 cupcake tin or spray with your choice of nonstick spray.
Begin by sauteing the sausage, onion and pepper in a pan until the sausage is cooked through and slightly brown. Let cool slightly before adding to the egg mixture.
While it is cooking, crack your eggs in a large batter bowl and and whip with the milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the eggs and milk are incorporated, add the spinach, herbs and cheese to the egg mixture. Make sure to incorporate these ingredients fully. Add the sausage mixture also stirring until incorporated.
Pour this total mixture into 12 muffin pans making sure to only fill them 3/4 full. These will puff up and you don't want them all sticking together. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are firm and they are slightly browned.
Remove from pan and either serve immediately with some fruit or breakfast sides or place in a container for breakfast throughout the week. If you choose to reheat these, it only takes about 30 seconds in the microwave. I make a big batch like this and then have breakfast for the week.