Monday, July 21, 2014

Mansion House Spinach and Feta Cheese Dish...and an announcement

Jan here, with so much to tell you I don't know where to begin!

First of all, I have a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

Yes, that's a contract! I am tickled pink every time I look at this! Three books, Amish historicals, coming out in 2016 and 2017.

Here's what the series is about:
In the middle of the 19th century, against the background of a nation wrestling with its own growing pains, the Amish church underwent what historians call “The Great Schism.” Amish communities were faced with the decision to hold to the old way of living and worshiping God, or to change with the times and embrace new ideas, while still holding fast to their Anabaptist beliefs. Follow the story of one Amish family during these turbulent times.

The first story is done, and I'm buried in research as I prepare to write the second one.

I love this writing life!!!!

But, we can't let business details distract us from what I really want to share with you today!

In the middle of Wyoming, between the Tetons and the Black Hills, lies this treasure store called the Big Horn Mountains.

If you've ever read The Virginian by Owen Wister, you've been here. The Virginian "got his man" in the streets of Buffalo, Wyoming, in front of the Occidental Saloon.

Of course, as an author, Owen Wister didn't name the town or saloon, but he did spend time writing while he stayed at the Occidental Hotel in Buffalo. And if you read the last couple chapters of the book, you can tell he had made that ride into Buffalo with the Virginian and his lady love, through the prairies that nestle up against the foothills of the Big Horns.

And if you're a fan of the Longmire books by Craig Johnson, you've been here, too!

Of course, as an author, Craig Johnson (from nearby Ucross) fictionalized Buffalo to create his much smaller town of Durant, but that doesn't stop folks from ordering Walt Longmire's "usual" at the Busy Bee Cafe - right next to the Occidental Hotel of Owen Wister fame.

In fact, there's so much literary history and history history around this town, it's easy to get the two mixed up!

You've heard of the Johnson County range wars? One local told me (with a wry grin) that some families are still fighting that war.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...the Bozeman Trail...Chief Red Cloud and his confederation of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors...the Montana Gold Rush.....  The history never ends.

A week ago, my husband and I took a few days to celebrate my birthday (I'm past my mid-50's now...well past...) and our anniversary (32 years, thank you very much!). We drove over to Buffalo (only a few hour's drive) and stayed at a beautiful B&B, The Mansion House Inn. (Be sure to click on the link so you can browse through the web site - the interior of this Inn is gorgeous!)

We spent our days exploring the mountains, after fueling up with a delicious breakfast provided by our hosts, Pam and John.

Monday morning's breakfast - now THIS is the way to live!
We enjoyed our time at the Mansion House so much, I started thinking we need to have a writer's retreat there someday. Who's up for it?

Pam and John were gracious enough to give me the recipe for our breakfast on Sunday morning - a spinach-feta quiche that makes it's own light crust. Delicious! And I get to share it with you!

Mansion House Spinach and Feta Cheese Dish


4 large eggs
1 medium onion, diced
6 oz. lightly cut fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/3 cups non-fat milk
1/2 cup feta cheese

Beat eggs in large mixing bowl at low speed, Saute diced onions and baby spinach in a sauce pan until spinach is wilted and add to eggs. Then add your flour mixed with: baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Follow up by adding your milk. Butter a 9" x 13" baking dish then evenly pour out the egg dish. Now take the feta cheese and gently sprinkle it over the top. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Bring up to room temperature and bake at 385° for roughly 30 minutes, until the center is set and the outside a beautiful golden brown. Allow dish to cool for 15 minutes and then cut and serve. Enjoy!

Of course, on Monday we had to turn our car toward the east again, saying goodbye to Wyoming.

For now.

Because "once you've caught the lure of it, you're homesick til you're back in Wyoming...."


  1. CONGRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN!!! That spinach and feta cheese dish looks wonderful too!

    1. Thanks, Tina!

      Do you have a new picture? You're lookin' good :)

  2. looks yummy - food too! got some good screen savers for work (I hope!) congrats on the book deal! now I'm hungry..this blog makes me hungry and makes Houston look even uglier!

    1. This blog whets my appetite every day, too!

      And sorry about the pictures vs. Houston. Actually, I think these pictures would make any city look bad.... ;)

  3. Oh Jan, I'm deliriously excited about your three book deal. Over the moon crazy!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm all in a dither.

    Knew nothing about your Wyoming references...guess that makes me a Western flunkie, eh? The scenery is breathtaking though. I can see how it captures your heart.

    Will definitely give this recipe a try. Feta cheese and spinach is going on my next shopping list.

    Congrats again -- happy dancing up here. (yes, even in this humidity -- your news is worth heatstroke.)

    1. Thanks, Kav! I'm super excited, too!

      But this is VBS week, so no writing last week or this week (I'm the director - ALL my time is filled with organizing a week of crazy evenings!), but the ideas are cooking away on the back of the stove. I can't wait to get started on the next book!

      We're going to have to work on your Wyoming education. I've been a fan of westerns since I could read, so playing tourist around here is tons of fun!

  4. Beautiful pics! And big congrats to you. Praying for your sanity during VBS week...:)

    1. Thanks, Piper! I love these pictures.

      And thanks for the prayers. The first night is always the most hairy, isn't it?

  5. Congratulations!!! I'm so thrilled for you! :)

    LOVE the beautiful photos. Now I want to visit! So yes, maybe a retreat sometime!

    1. You'll have to come out this way, even if we don't do a retreat!

  6. WOW! Congratulations Jan!!! Great job!! You so deserve this. You always give 110% (Who are kidding? MORE!)

    And a recipe? I love feta and spinach. I'm going to have to try this!

    1. Thanks, Virginia :)

      And yes, this egg dish was SO GOOD!

  7. First, the quiche looks amazing, Dave won't eat quiche, but he'll eat an omelette.... I don't get it. (puzzled look at no extra charge!!!!!)


    grinning.... GRINNING!!!!!

    And these pics, and exploring, and research : LOVE IT!!!!!!

    Bless you, I'm just over the top happy and excited and step-toe dancing for you!!!!!


    Have fun in San Antonio, all o' youse going! (waving goodbye and praying for a wonderful trip....)

    I will make an extra stop at Abbott's Frozen Custard to waylay any hint of moroseness for staying home... Ice cream is always a help in Ruthy-world.

    1. I'm always up for an excuse to eat ice cream!

      The quiche WAS amazing! But for Dave, don't call it quiche. Call it an egg casserole. He'll be all over it :)

      And thank you for celebrating with me! It's happy days here in the mid-west!