Apparently giving birth to my second child has made me sympathetic to mothers and potential mothers everywhere.  All kinds of mothers and potential mothers.  Even chicken ones.

Let’s set the scene.

First off you should be aware that most chickens in a small flock lay eggs in the same nesting box.  So while we have three nesting boxes, all seven of our chickens lay their eggs in the same box.  Typically they lay their eggs and then leave.  Every now and then (happened twice to us in the past year) a chicken becomes “broody” and gets it into her head that she wants to be a mommy and decides to sit on the eggs.  Since we don’t have a rooster, in our case they are unfertilized eggs.

No amount of patient sitting is going to hatch those puppies.  Er, chicks.  If they hatched they would obviously be chicks.  But how cute would little puppies be hatching out of eggs amiright?  

If you don’t convince the chicken she does not in fact want to be a mommy, she will continue to sit barely moving, only get up for a few minutes every day or two to eat and drink a little.  Eggs typically hatch in 21 days, but if a mama keeps sitting and sitting and sitting on dud eggs, she can lose feathers, lose a ton of weight, and really do some damage to herself.  She lays no more eggs during this time.  Or so all of this is what The Husband tells me.  (If you want to know more about this stuff, just ask and I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to tell you about it… the hatching process, how to break a broody hen if you don’t want her to be  a Mom, etc.)

Here’s Curly.  I found her like this one evening.  Sitting on unfertilized eggs.

Curly Nest

Following is the resulting text message conversation between me and The Husband that happened over the next few days. For the record, the “Curly Removal Tool” is a soft broom we gently used to shoo her out of the nest a few times, testing to see if she was serious about wanting to be a Mama.

Eggs 0

Eggs 1 R

Eggs 2 R

Eggs 3 R

Eggs 4 R

Eggs 5 R

Eggs 6 R

Eggs 7 R

Eggs 8 R

Eggs 9 R

Eggs 10 R


Wanna know what happened next?  This.

Eggs RW


And this.

Eggs Nest RW

Oh and this.

Eggs Sit RW

The Husband bought Curly a dozen fertilized eggs and built her a private nest box.  Curly is going to be a mommy everybody!!!  The Husband is currently crafting the maternity ward sign as I blog.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Shall we start the guesses as to how many will be girls and how many will be boys??  

The new thing in the food blog world is over sharing weekly meal plans.  It takes the every popular WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) and expands it into WIAFD (What I Ate For Dinner) or WIAFDAWLAIYC (What I Ate For Dinner All Week Long As If You Care).

I have to confess . . . I care.  I like reading these posts.  Cooking dinner has become such a chore lately and I find myself preparing the same meals over and over as well as stressing all day over what I’m going to make and then tossing stuff into the oven last minute.

Trying to get dinner on the table with Sweetey Petey running around the house like a mad banshee was hard enough . . . with a new baby in the mix it’ll be nearly impossible without a plan.

So I made a plan.


I created an excel spreadsheet with spaces for meal plans, suggestions for daily protein and lists of the healthiest fruits and veggies that I think we should be eating on a regular basis.  It gives me the option of listing seven meals and crossing off food as we eat it.  As I get rolling with this system hopefully I can flip back through previous weeks to see that we haven’t eaten broccoli in a while or have been seriously carrot deficient or have eaten way too much spaghetti squash and not enough butternut.  Can one eat too much spaghetti squash???  I’m not sure they can, but you get the idea.

I’m also using this as a way to test out some of the cookbooks in my massive collection.  Most weeks I will just add a few new recipes so as not to overwhelm myself and the best recipes will be added to our family recipe binder.

This past week I tested out The Working Stiff Cookbook.

Woring Stiff Cookbook

I picked this up on clearance at a used book store many many moons ago . . . you know, back when I worked.  Out of the house that is because I clearly still work I just no longer get paid for it.

So here’s my week worth of dinners, in no particular order.  Food in purple and bold are recipes from the cookbook.

Meal 1: spaghetti (squash) with portobellos, prosciutto and cream with pan fried tilapia

Spag Squash RW

Tilapia RW

Meal 2: chicken breasts with artichokes and mushrooms over gluten free orzo pasta with steamed carrots and no sugar added apricot jelly 

Chx Artichokes RW

Meal 3: frittata rustica with Paleo coconut flour “cornbread” and roasted asparagus.

Frittata RW

Meal 4: butternut squash soup with salad topped with hard boiled egg, blackberries, parmesan cheese and leftover sliced chicken breast

Soup and salad RW

Meal 5: Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with leftover butternut squash soup

Sammy and Soup RW

Meal 6: Pulled pork and coleslaw (good friends made this meal and dropped it off to us)

Pig Title RW

Meal 7: burgers on gluten free bagels with homemade guac and GMO free corn chips and leftover steamed carrots with no sugar added jelly


There was supposed to be a salmon recipe from the cookbook as well, but I got lazy and bumped it for the easy grilled sandwich and leftover soup night.  I’ve bumped the salmon recipe to another week instead.

So . . .  what did I think of this book so far?

I give it a C+ and here’s why.

The spaghetti with cream sauce reminded me of a favorite dish my mom used to make when I was a kid.  So I will probably make mom’s dish instead of this one.  It’s simple yet decadent, although with heavy whipping cream as a main ingredient I wouldn’t suggest you make this dish every week.

The chicken breast was good . . . but I was not a fan of the artichokes.  I think it was the white wine sauce.  And the artichokes.  I don’t think I like artichokes, which stinks because they are good for you – iron rich and help ease digestion.  I have a recipe for artichoke meatloaf that I do really enjoy so for now I think I’ll stick with that to get my artichokes in.

The frittata was an excellent way to use up the eggs we’ve amassed since all seven of our chickens are now laying.  And breakfast for dinner (brinner) is always a win in my book.  This recipe is easily customizable with different veggies and cheeses as well.  But (yes, there’s a but) while it was good I recently made some omelet muffins that are a similar concept but were better.

The butternut squash soup was delightful and much easier to make than I would have thought.  The spices (ginger, coriander, cinnamon and clove) lent a sweet side to this dish which I enjoyed but I do think the soup could have used another layer.  Perhaps replacing some of the water with homemade chicken stock and maybe adding in an herb.  I think sage would be nice here.  Once I add a few things I think I’ll add this soup to our recipe binder.

My two complaints are one, while the recipes were good they were maybe a smidge “meh” and two, the recipes take longer than the book claims, especially those that need to be reduced like the artichoke and mushroom sauce (90 seconds my arse) and the soup.

We’ll see how the salmon recipe fares and for now I think the book will stay in my collection (I’ll revisit it again someday.)  There’s an interesting recipe for steak cooked in a paper bag I’m curious to try.

– Joanna

Question of the Day: How do you feel about artichokes?  Yay?  Nay?  Meh?  Do you like reading these sorts of posts?  It took too long to put together for me to make this a weekly thing right now but it was fun and I may do it again in the future.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Snaptacular Weekend post and I have some . . . interesting . . . I-Phone shots from our Labor Day weekend so I thought I’d give the series another go.

Right then.  Let’s start how every day starts.  With breakfast.  I ordered a vegetarian omelet.  I assumed the vegetarian omelet would include things like tomato, onion, cheese, green peppers and mushrooms.  I did not imagine it would be a thin crepe like egg substance stuffed with a frozen bag of veggies that included broccoli, carrots, red peppers, water chestnuts and mushrooms.  I guess at least I got the mushrooms I had been expecting.  Fortunately my side of grits saved breakfast.  Note to self: always ask for clarification on vague menu descriptions. Always.

1213 RW

After breakfast came shopping.

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Blog Reader Jen says she likes my Snaptacular Weekend posts so I’ve been motivated to keep them up.   So if you like them too, thank Jen!!

This post is a few days late due to my latest Foodie Pen Pals post I’ve left up as long as possible because, well, it was awesome.  Yes, I am tooting my own horn.  Toot toot. 

But it’s time to move on to other things.  Like eggs.

Egg Carton RW

Pretty pretty eggs.

Egg in Clover RW

We dyed brown eggs this year because that’s what the egg lady Marsha brings us.  I think they turned out beautifully!

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If you liked the Chocolate Coconut Nests but want more chocolate and less coconut, then these nests are for you.

Double Chocolate Nests.

White Chocolate Nests RW

Easy peasy.

White Chocolate Nests Recipe RW

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Whenever I attempt to bring a chocolate-free dessert into our home,

DSC_0233 enh RW

The Husband only has one thing to say.

Were they out of chocolate?

Lemon bars.  Were they out of chocolate?

Oatmeal cookies.  Were they out of chocolate?

Banana Cajeta ice cream that was ten bucks a freaking pint.  Were they out of chocolate?

Momofuku’s super fun funfetti Birthday Cake that cost sixty bucks for the Cookbook and specialty supplies alone not to mention the time it takes to meld the four recipes together into one cake.  Were they out of chocolate?

So you can imagine The Husband’s response when I informed him I was making Sour Cream Raisin Pie for some new friends we were having over for dinner one Saturday night.

Were they out of chocolate?

The Husband went as far as to tweet an apology to our friends and promise he would have Oreos in reserve as a proper dessert.

For the record, “they” were not out of chocolate.  Sometimes I just like to mix things up.  I don’t make the exact same recipes every holiday like grandma did.  I don’t eat vegetarian every Monday for “Meatless Monday” and I don’t always like chocolate in my dessert.

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I was all set to write up a blog post entitled Playing It Safe when an incident I witnessed over a month ago that has been nagging at me finally clawed its way to the surface and demanded attention.  An incident involving eggs.

Midwestern Bite Eggs

Before I go further I’d like to ask, no beg, all of my readers to comment on this post with their thoughts.  Google Analytics will tell me how many of you there are so I’ll know if some of you are holding out on me.  I won’t know who you are, but I imagine your guilt will consume you as punishment if you don’t comment.  I must know the truth about the egg incident before not knowing drives me batty.

While I wouldn’t consider myself “naive” there are some things I know zilch about.  Namely the seedier side of life.  I’m happy to report that other than a few crappy apartments, I’ve lived a fairly sheltered life.  If it wasn’t a crime featured on CSI (up until two years ago that is because I’m boycotting the addition of Ted Danson) I probably know nothing about it.

Let’s set the stage, shall we?

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I’m back again today.  Blogging from the closet.  For the record not a one of you tweeted to The Husband pushing for my new laptop battery.  I’m hurt.  Deeply.

It may be the odd hour or the stale closet air, but I’m going off the usual today and talking about books.  Kids books.

Supermom has decided to add a Kids’ Reads page to her blog and asked for support to link up posts on book recommendations.

I know what you’re all thinking.  Midwestern Bite isn’t a Mommy Blogger.  That may be true, but not only am I a good blog friend, I also appreciate every opportunity to prove I can relate just about anything to “food blogging.”

So without further adieu, I present to you “food” related books The Pete enjoyed as an infant. This is not to say he ate them, because that is a different post entirely.

When The Pete was very small, before the whirlwind rolling, crawling, standing and walking began I used to prop him up in his boppy and read to him.  As he couldn’t yet move he was quite the captive audience and the pressure was on to entertain him to the best of my ability.

Kate Toms books were the perfect solution.  Kate writes a slight twist into classic kids reads so bonus points for not jipping the boy out of a traditional childhood experience.  The illustrations are fun felted and whimsical creations.  Best of all the stories are completely singable and act-outable.  That’s right, not only did I sing these books to my immovable child unable to run far, far away from my terrible singing voice, I also had lovely hand gestures to keep him interested.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Better known as the book about cheese.

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