I love Pinterest. From it's very beginnings it has just made sense to organize your thoughts, to store all your findings from across the internet. Well, for all of you interested in duck or quail eggs but perhaps unsure of how to use them, I created a board, just for you! And let's be honest, I'll be checking back on it often for myself too. Take a look for some wonderful ideas from others on using your eggs! Click below and prepare to be inspired!

Using Duck and Quail Eggs
I love houseplans. Like, seriously. I could spend hours working over a plan, getting it just right, envisioning where to put furniture and flooring and colors. I started drawing out my "Dream home" with my aunt Kristen when I was just little. At that time it was huge, with balconies and wrap around porches, lots of bedrooms and a movie-theater room, sometimes with an indoor pool. You know, dream big, right?
Now my dreams have changed a bit, perhaps they've grown up? My dream home still has character and I need space for my family, but I'm okay with small. In fact, I prefer it. I don't need extra, unused bathrooms to clean and collect dust, after all! I love country farmhouses with porches and open living space. I don't need a formal dining room but I need another room for a school room, since I am homeschooling our boys. I don't need lots of bedrooms, I think sharing is good for kids, but I'd love to have a guest bedroom/loft so that family can come to visit.
Even as my plans have evolved, I have to consider budget too. William would LOVE to pay cash for this construction. Heck, so would I! But we don't have it yet. We've bought land, we've started a business, we just barely upgraded to a 2-car, 2 cell-phone family, all while paying cash, but the money's not flowing in so much that we could buy/build a house right now in cash. But that's another story.
My houseplans keep changing, getting smaller, more economical, reminding myself that this will be our first home and doesn't have to be our last either.  This is my latest favorite design. It's 1295 sq feet of living space. We'd use the garage for our businesses and add a basement under the kitchen/livingroom for extra storage. I think it has potential to add on in the future or be a suitable house to sell to someone else. I'd simplify it a little, taking out the fancy windows and a more rustic garage, probably go for a cream or gray color with a corrugated metal roof and wood pillars. Can you see the vision?

*See the house plans and details here
We spent last week at my parents house and spent one beautiful morning picking sour pie cherries. I grew up knowing that homemade cherry pie was something special- something we usually had only a few times a year, on Thanksgiving, President's Day (you know, George Washington and the cherry tree), and on my dad's birthday, because it was his favorite with homemade ice cream. For several years this tree has had worms and we've had to bypass the pies or find some place to buy the cherries, but this year the tree is full and the fruit is beautiful. Here's to a cherry pie for the 4th? If I can convince myself to turn on the oven!
The first family reunion of the year was last weekend at a reservoir close to our home. The kids loved the marshmallow guns and playing in the water. I seriously need to get these boys into swimming lessons. I've signed them up for a two week slot in July. It should be fun.
I love spending time with family. We didn't have a lot of structured activities planned and mostly played by the lake and visited. And ate good food. That's a key part of family reunions, isn't it?
It sounds like a silly thing to address, but without a little bit of experience and the right tool, opening up a raw quail egg can be a bit frustrating. You see, the membrane just inside the shell is a bit thick and doesn't crack when you brack the egg open.  Before we got these nifty quail egg scissors, I just used my finger nails or kitchen sheers, so don't forget that that's definitely an option. We sell the quail egg scissors as well or you can find them on amazon or some hatcheries will carry them. Here are a few pictures so that you know what to look for and how to use them. Easy Peasy!

I admit, I was a bit intimidated at first at the thought of having to peel all the shells off of those little quail eggs. I haven't always had the best of luck turning out pretty hard-boiled chicken eggs. I may not have braved it if I wasn't visiting my brother and sister-in-laws home where they were using 70 quail eggs to make deviled eggs. Can you imagine the cuteness!? Believe, me, they are so fun and are such a hit for any party, barbecue or baby shower. I'll post a recipe for that later. Or you can pickle them. It's William's favorite. I think we've got 4 different jars of varying flavors and colors of pickled eggs in the fridge as we speak. Or eat them as-is with a little salt. My boys love their small size and they are great for lunches. But wait, back to getting the eggs boiled.
Right, so they weren't hard at all to peel. In fact, I would say they were actually EASIER to peel than chicken eggs. Really. That little membrane between the shell and white of a quail egg is thicker and stronger than a chicken's egg and it seems to help hold the shell together a bit more so that it actually comes off in nice big pieces. Here's our favorite method.

Place quail eggs in a pot and cover with water, then add 2-3 Tbsp white vinegar (it helps to soften up the shells). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it's really rolling, turn off the heat, put on a lid and let it sit for 8 minutes. Drain off the hot water and put the eggs into cold ice-water (our tap water comes out very cold, so I actually usually just run cold water over them in the same pot). Peel the eggs, rinse them off and you're done! Bite-size, hard-boiled, quail eggs.
Seriously. This cake was delicious. Maybe even better than a regular chocolate cake. I haven't really jumped on the gluten-free train, we don't have any specific allergies to wheat or gluten, but I have really enjoyed that other grains (and other "not-grains" too, like quinoa. Did you know it's not a grain at all?) and recipes of how to use them are more readily available. Now, my father-in-law, does have a sensitivity to wheat. I think he'd mostly given up the idea of getting to eat cake on his birthday, so I set out to find a cake that would help him forget that he's had to give up so many of the bakery items he used to love. I mostly followed the recipe at Mel's Kitchen Café , and it turned out great. It was quite thin for the 9x13 cake pan I used, but if you use two pans to layer it like Mel did or if you used a square pan I think it'd be just right. I also insist on using duck eggs in baking, especially gluten-free baking. It holds things together and keeps it light and soft. As a note, when substituting duck eggs, it may take a bit longer to bake then the called for times, but otherwise just a 1:1 exchange works well.

Gluten-free, flourless Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa*
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4  duck eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

*Cooking quinoa: use 1/2 cups dry quinoa. Rinse in cool water, then pour in small pot with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then put on lid, turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350* F. Grease your pan of choice (2 8" round cake pans or 1 9x9 square pan is what I recommend. Line the bottom with parchment paper for easier removal)
Combine milk, eggs and vanilla in a food processor (I used my VitaMix blender). Add the cooked quinoa and butter and blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients, then add the wet ingredients from the blender and continue to whisk until smooth.
Pour batter into pan(s) and bake for 28-35 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick or knife until it comes out clean.

From there, choose a frosting. After consulting with William, we chose a basic cream-cheese frosting. To avoid pushing the frosting around the cake and catching lots of crumbs, I spooned the frosting into a gallon-size plastic bag, cut of the tip (making a 1/2 inch hole or so) and piped it on, then used a knife to simply even it out.
I'm sure this cake will be a hit at your house as well. As my almost 2 year old kept asking for more, I had a hard time deciding if I should say no, anything with quinoa is considered a health food, right?
Our journey building caskets in the Porter family began years ago, mostly providing caskets here and there for friends or family. Two weeks ago, a dear friend, Athelia Jensen, passed away. William spent his summers as well as every weekend helping her and her husband, Hal, on their cattle ranch nearby. Their children were grown and as he stepped in to help with the ranch work, they also opened their home and their hearts and he became a part of their family. We were asked to build her a red cedar casket. It was beautiful and I was reminded that Hal was buried in a matching one six years ago. At that time, my father-in-law wrote,

"When Hal passed on last week, his family asked for the red cedar pine casket. William and his wife made a fifteen hour trip, and we all went to the funeral. Athelia, Hal's widow, was so appreciative of the casket. It really reflected Hals life among the cedars and pines where he ran his cattle, grew alfalfa hay, and hunted during the season with his family. At the burial, it seemed so right that his casket was made of dark red cedar which practically glowed in the winter sunshine. It was a comfort to me that Hal's last resting place was warm wood and not cold metal. His kids shared that they felt the same."
I am grateful for Hal and Athelia's friendship, especially towards my husband in his teenage/young adult years.

See our caskets at "Just Put Me in a Pine Box Caskets"
We are just starting our business in building caskets ( "Just Put Me in a Pine Box Caskets" ). It's a different kind of business to be in and I have wondered how to properly give respect to the deceased person and their family while still carrying out a business transaction. I hope to always conduct myself in such a way that honors the life and example and memory of those who have gone before us.
At the same time that I was very caught up in the details of construction and inventory, websites and business cards, my grandpa, who has been on the decline for awhile, had a stroke. We arranged to build him a casket. Some years ago, my father, who always seems to have unique connections and ideas, saved the trunk of a black walnut tree that was cut down from the Manti Temple Hill. With the special story behind the wood itself, a beautiful black-walnut casket was built. It was stunning. As I worked on the lining and sewed the pillow I thought about Grandpa. And then it happened and my grandpa died on May 8th. His funeral was held this last weekend. It was such a privilege to be a part of the creation of this final resting place for his body, at the foot of the Manti temple.
I know a funeral isn't a place that many people want to ever be. And I can't say I want to be there often, but his funeral was amazing. I loved seeing so much family after so many years. I loved sharing memories about Grandpa and laughing together at just how much my own boys resemble those old pictures of Grandpa and his young family. I felt so strongly the love of a Heavenly Father who is watching over all of us and who promises that families have the potential to be reunited again after this life. I will miss my grandpa, but I left the funeral services with a new determination to live life fully, to love wholly, to work hard and to find joy in the small moments.
Grandpa's posterity, minus one missionary.
Running or starting a business isn't something I ever thought I'd actually do. Of course, I always liked the idea though. When I was 8 years old, my dad took the leap, quit his job and started his own business as a mechanical engineer doing consulting. I know, I know, I don't REALLY know what that means either, but I do know that it gave him freedom to more or less set his own schedule, get paid for his work without going through the company middle-man, and work from a home office. He traveled here and there, but he was also at home and available when I needed him. My parents always encouraged me to work and earn the money I needed for the things I wanted. I did some odd jobs for my dad and his new business, but my first real venture was baking bread and selling it around the neighborhood. I did it consistently, paid my mom for supplies and knew that every Thursday morning, that's what I would be doing. (Did I mention that I was home-schooled? It certainly opened up some time to be able to do this kind of thing).
Fast-forward 10 years and I found myself marrying a man who also had a dream of being his own boss and having the freedom to do the things he wanted to do. We spent 5 years working hard, saving up, and learning what we could about entrepreneurship. I highly recommend podcasts with Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership, 48 Days to the Work You Love (Dan Miller), This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt.
And then, the opportunity came up and we jumped. We bought some land, moved in with my in-laws, and started our own businesses. They are still young and we are figuring things out as we go, but there are a few things that I've learned along the way.
First, have confidence in your product. Do the research and know where your market will be, but then do your job with pride. At first I found myself saying, "Well, we have some ducks and are trying to sell eggs...." or "It's kinda strange, but my husband has an uncle who's a cabinet-maker and he's building caskets for us that we finish and line....". It makes conversation, but it doesn't show anyone that you are excited about what you are doing or that you have something that they might want. Be confident.
Second, just jump in. I don't know how you would ever measure the moment when you are truly "ready" and there's no reason to lose time trying to get there. In fact, being in the middle of it is where you'll learn the quickest. So start. Start small and you'll figure things out. For example, this website. It's not fancy, it's not perfect and I go through and change things around a bit sometimes, but if I had doubted that I was ready, I'd still be watching you-tube videos or visiting other's websites or wishing we could just hire somebody to do it for us.
Third, stay inspired. If I find myself feeling down about it or not sure what I'm doing, I turn on a podcast or read a blog. Sometimes I find specific things I can do better, sometimes I just get excited that there are other people out there who are finding success and that I can too.
Fourth, sit down and get to work. For a long time I kept putting off the actual business licensing. I mean, how are you supposed to know how to do all that? I'm still hoping it's all been done correctly, but at least in Utah, they have a One Stop Business Resource ( osbr.utah.gov )where you can apply for licenses and find out what you need to to legally get started.

So there you go. Have an idea and get started. Get your website and licensing in order. And then you can focus on production and marketing and improving from there. If you are a business owner, what advice do you have for someone just getting started? I'll keep you posted as I continue to learn.