Butternut & Red Potato Quiche

Right after we sent our resignation letter into the LDS Church in August, I tried to keep my cool, but panic set in. I’d been around other members of the Church long enough to know what a few of them would say. And chances were slim to good that they weren’t too purty.

I found myself particularly obsessed with a fear of losing “the Spirit”–the gift of Heavenly Father’s divine Holy Spirit I’d been taught was to come into my life in abundance at baptism, and would stay with me as a guide, so long as I lived worthy by following all of the commandments of God….and stayed a member of the Church.

A few months before, friends of ours had also left the Church, and my husband was approached by another member-friend who said he’d run into the wife of this family and there was “just darkness” all about her. So, yeah. I had a good idea of what was coming.

Having such a fate befall my just-resigned-from-church-soul scared the hell outta me because I’ve never looked particularly good in black or deep hunter green. But, this isn’t about fashion sense, so stop getting me all sidetracked.

In one of my most favorite LDS teachings on the gifts which flood into one’s life because of the Spirit, I memorized and oft shared this Parley P. Pratt quote:

It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections and adapts them by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to give health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.

In the presence of such persons (who have been thus affected by It), one feels to enjoy the light of their countenance, as the genial rays of a sunbeam. Their very atmosphere diffuses a thrill, a warm glow of pure gladness and sympathy of Spirit.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Well, it is as long as you are a recipient of such a gift. I wondered if that gift left immediately, or if it would just start to wane over time. Was I going to be immediately un-enlightened, or would deep wrinkles develop real quick when I turned forty? Like I’d been a lifelong smoker who’d suddenly lost eighty pounds and appeared gaunt and sullen.

When we sent our resignation letters into Church headquarters, it came after months (and I literally mean MONTHS) of the most heartwrenching, agonizing, emotionally draining period of our entire lives. And I’m the kid of a nasty divorce, y’all, so it’s not been peaches and ice cream all up in here.

But, exhaustive research and devastating realizations led both my husband and I to feel that the only way we could maintain our integrity was to stand for truth as we saw it. Which meant, in our minds, leaving a Church which we had loved more than life. And to which we had literally given our entire lives. (My husband taught full-time for the blessedly beautiful Mormon high school students in Colorado Springs. Goodness, we love those kids.) Breaking the hearts of our family members. Causing our parents to wish we we’d died as children, thus delivering ourselves to the highest degree of heaven, rather than laughing into our children’s bellybutton’s and squishing ourselves around a breakfast table of hot quiche and winter sunshine.

Oh dang you. You keep getting me off topic.

The point is. For three weeks straight after those resignation letters went in, it would take all the strength I had to walk my children out the door and kiss them safely into the schoolyard before shuffling my way back home, where I would stand in front of the mirror.

Did I have darkness? Had I, who was so seeking an abundance of God in her life, been convicted to a life without light?

I would tip my head left then right. Look into my eyes. Study the lines around my lips. Check the furrow of my brow. Look for changes. Divine any alterations.

Maybe. Maybe I was turning dark. I didn’t see it. I felt open and bright and more human than ever. I felt more capable of looking people in the eye and listening to them and learning about what made them tick and smile and sing.

But would others see dark in me? Would my friends whisper behind their glassy front doors as I drove away from their cherry-scented homes, “yep, there’s just darkness,” thus writing me off among the people of Perdition who’d live eternally in the farthest, coldest place in the Universe, hidden from the Light of God?

I asked myself this everyday for weeks, before showering or wisping on a mask of blush and Bare Escentuals over my splotchy skin. Hi there. Wrong time to reason.

Somewhere in the middle of all these weeks, I hear via radio that our infamous area Metaphysical Celebration Fair is in town.

Brilliant! I texted my husband and told him I’d be taking Saturday off. I was too embarrassed to tell him my plans.

Saturday morning arrived. I woke early, showered, stared in the mirror as per the daily ritual, tossed on a bulky sweater and comfortable shoes. Sat on my bed and breathed.

Then, I started to chicken out. Who the crazy goes for reals to a metaphysical fair, anyway?

I walked downstairs and told the Hubby that maybe I’d just stay around and hang out with the family that morning. “Well, what were the plans?” he asked.

“iwasgoingtogotothemetaphysicalfair” I coughed into a bowl of cereal.

“Really? Cool. Can I come?” he perked up.

“Nope. You’ll think  it’s crazy and I was going for real.” I didn’t dare look him in the eye. I was pretty sure he was smirking.

He promised he wouldn’t think it was crazy. So, I had me a partner in crime.

We kissed the kids goodbye, hopped in his Jeep, and sped down to the City Auditorium.

Just past the sign that read “Celebration Fair, Welcome” a nice man in jeans and a Polo shirt took six bucks from each of us, handed us a map, and welcomed us to the fair. He seemed normal enough. The map wasn’t printed on marijuana leaves, and the air didn’t stink of that suffocating incense I used to buy in the sixth grade to pretend I was in the know about incense and Red Hot Chili Peppers and stuff. Things were off to a comfortable start.

“I have a plan.” I told John. “I just want to walk around and watch. I want to see if there is a Healer that kinda speaks to us.”

Most everyone there was a palm reader or tarot card reader. Boo. I’m not that sort of a girl.

There was a wise-looking man wearing a turban and dreadlocks who offered past-life readings through a Britney Spears microphone that teetered on his cheek. He had kind eyes and pearly whites. But, it wasn’t my past life I was here for, it was this one I’m stuck in the middle of right now. We walked on.

A medical intuitionist. A reiki healer. A lady that could attune herself with dead pets. A psychic masseuse dressed in pirate garb. Not even authentic pirate garb. No-go. I was starting to feel silly.

Then. In the very back of the auditorium, at the very back of the stage, we reached a petite blonde lady. She was thin and pretty, dressed is khaki pants and a buttoned shirt. Her legs were crossed sideways and she was deeply engrossed in a book. PSYCHIC BODY SCANNING, was printed on a paper, stuck to the wall above her head. John and I looked at each other and nodded. We liked her. She was unassuming and totally un-showy. John paid twenty dollars for a twenty minute session and asked her how it would all go down. .

“Well, I listen to your body and the Universe they tell me what you need to hear.” Her eyes were glittery, she held John’s hand warmly between hers, waited gently for him to agree to the session, then invited him to lay down on her massage table.

Her hands went in the air. Her eyes closed. And I wept for the next twenty minutes as she told him how good he is, and how much he still has to offer, despite the fact that she felt he was deeply troubled and there was grief on his heart. It was quite tremendous.

And then it was my turn.

I laid on the table and she gently placed warm hands on my stomach. She began rubbing her hands across my belly. Softly. Back and forth. Back and forth. “There’s been a lot of change in your life, too.” I nodded, relaxed into her compassion. She moved the air around me up and away. She rubbed my shoulders and touched my hair. Talked about children and peace and buying only that which inspires.  There was silence for a minute, then she came back to my belly and stood there silently, eyes looking up at the sky as if she were looking to God. Only her eyes were closed.

“The Universe needs to to know something. You are light. Every molecule in your body just bursting with it.Every move you make blesses this world for the better. You must know this. You have to know this.”

I open my eyes and tried to find her through my tears. “You couldn’t have known. You couldn’t have possible known,” I whispered. I told her everything. Spilled my ever-lovin’ guts about how I’d been so afraid of the darkness. Feared the loss of light.

She got real still. Pressed her hand to my heart. Then giggled.

“Oh, darling. No. You are light and love with pure intent, and nothing you do will ever take that away from you.”

It’s a dang quiche, people. So why do I tell you about light when I stand here, offering up a messy-lookin’ breakfast quiche?

Because the two are inextricably connected. Sillies.

In the brokenness of our humanity, we sometimes forget. We forget that we are worthy and wonderful. We put labels on God’s love. We think that the things we do go unnoticed or aren’t enough. That the glasses of cold orange juice we pour for our little people over breakfast aren’t half so important as hours spent at PTA and church and work meetings. That bacon gravy is just a smudge on a plate. That somehow or another everyone else has got it figured out, and we are the only ones struggling like mad to fit it all in. To figure it all out. To find that blessed place of beauty and balance and belonging.

Somewhere inside our day, we forget that we are light. That every move we make in love brings more love into existence. That every bandaid placed on a papercut finger, every slice of quiche shared with a hungry husband, every email buzzed off to a friend is a connection to the Divine. And that everything. Everything. EVERYTHING we do matters. Makes a difference. Embues ourselves and our world with that breathtaking wordlessness that is spirit and soul and light.

Call it Life Essence, Enlightenment, Christ, or the Holy Spirit. It is us. And we are it. And every ounce of good we do–no matter how small, no matter how scary, no matter how contrary to every else’s rigid rules–is a gift of light come through us.

That is my long answer to your short question, Jaimee. You are light. We all are.

Let it shine. Shamelessly. Undoubtedly. Imperfectly.



Butternut & Red Potato Quiche


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup onions, diced
3 cups fresh spinach
2 red potatoes, zapped in microwave until soft
1 cup butternut squash, cubed
7 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 ounces fat free cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1/4 flour
5 ounces parmesan cheese, shredded
salt & pepper to taste
1 prepared deep-dish pie crust

For the (optional) CREAMY BACON GRAVY:
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup bacon bits
fresh-cracked pepper


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then toss in the garlic and onions. Cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and toss in the spinach, potatoes, and cubed butternut squash. Mix together.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. Toss is the cream cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top of the eggs, sprinkle the flour over the top of the parmesan cheese, then stir it all together. Add salt and pepper to taste (about a teaspoon of salt, for nice even flavor).

Pour a small amount of the egg mixture into the bottom of the pie crust. Add a layer of the spinach & butternut squash layer, a little more egg, a little more veggie mixture, and back then forth, until the you've filled the crust and used all of your ingredients.

Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until the center of the quiche is set. Cool before serving.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk together the milk and cornstarch then pour into the melted butter. Add the Italian Seasoning and bacon bits. Pepper generously. Heat just until thickened over medium-high heat, whisking constantly to avoid burning. Spoon over Quiche if you so desire. Enjoy!

45 Responses to “Butternut & Red Potato Quiche”

  1. Anne says:

    Some people go through life going through the motions because they are too afraid that the people they care about most would be disappointed if they found out the truth (I should know, that was me once upon a time). So, I say, good for you! I think you are brave and strong for making the hard decision to do what you felt was best for you and your family.

  2. Katrina says:

    This was a really interesting story to read. I don’t go to church, but I left a Pentecostal church a while back. It’s hard to have people who once loved you push you aside, but you have to do what’s right for you! Also, this quiche sounds lovely!

  3. Oh Brooke, I so admire you for being you and standing up for what you believe in, regardless of the cost. How could you be ANYTHING other than bright, beautiful light?

    I always love reading your posts!!

  4. Jacqi says:

    Thank you, thank you! I needed that this morning. And good for you, standing up for what you believe :)

  5. Carrie says:

    You are precious.

  6. Emily Hollingshead says:

    Very nice blog. I agree. Let it shine baby: )

  7. Courtney says:


    I have been reading your blog for a few months and following your journey leaving your church. Your story runs so similarily to mine. Mine has been going on for a few years though. My father was a minister and I just felt that something was off. I couldn’t quite buy into things that were being sold to me. However, I have been craving the tradition and feeling close to a God, whichever one is correct. I visited other churches, a Muslim temple, spoken to devout Jewish friends, and an Indian spiritual leader. It wasn’t until I visited a metaphysical healer (funny, I went to see her for hypnosis for a sleeping problem that I was having) that she hit on everything that I was going through. I left her office with a sense of excitment and completeness. My father may be very dissapointed and praying for my soul on a daily basis, but this is the first time that I actually feel whole. The little voice thats telling me that something isn’t right isn’t gnawing at me anymore. You are light Brooke! Keep reaching out and looking at other faiths – answers will come to you and you will feel complete – and you will always be light!!

  8. Kendra says:

    Oh, thank you so much for sharing that! I love it. And it’s so true – every little thing matters.How often do we long for something grand and glorious, when really, the most important stuff is already right in front of us. And sometimes it looks like quiche! (Very yummy looking quiche, I might add…)

  9. Bev Weidner says:

    You’re awesome.

    And this quiche? MOMMY.

  10. Laura Mojica says:

    Bless you for sharing your struggles. I can’t imagine how hard this has been for your family. I just love reading your posts, your humor always lightens my day. You ARE light. Shine on :)

  11. John 8:11-13
    New International

       “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

    Dispute Over Jesus’ Testimony

     12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

  12. Jamica WIlcox says:

    You are certainly a light in my life! Hang in there, Brooke and know you are loved!

  13. Betsy says:

    Well, Miss Brooke. I am sitting at my desk crying my fool head off, hoping my cube-mate doesn’t return anytime soon and see my tears. I’ve spent so much time lately wondering if I matter, if anybody even notices me, if I’m doing the right thing…and this just spoke to me SO much. Thank you, lovely – you are most assuredly light and beauty.

  14. annonymous says:

    I have been reading your blog for a while and as an LDS member I am proud of you. My husband and I discuss it often but continue to pay our 10% and give our time because of the fear of our famillies reactions. It makes me smile to know you could do it.

  15. Colleen says:

    This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine!!!! When I sing this with my Sunday school kids this week I’ll think of you and send light and love your way! LOVE the Pratt quote. I’m going to print it and put it up where I can see it daily.

  16. Jill says:

    Bless you and your sweet family through the road ahead in life. Just remember that you are loved and prayed for each and every day. I am an active member of the LDS church and know that in the end, it’s your heart and works that matter. May your works continue to shine and bless lives.

    On a different note…I’m wondering if you happened to read Elder Uchtdorf’s talk at the General RS Meeting this past October. It’s fabulous and I think it can touch your soul. He will not forget you, no matter where you are.


    Please, if you get a chance, read his talk. Nothing but love for you and your family.

  17. N.H. says:

    You have so much light I have to wear sunglasses when I read your blog.

  18. STH says:

    There is such a good cop/bad cop aspect to many religions. The priests or ministers spend so much time and effort convincing you that you are inherently bad, weak, in need of salvation, etc. That whatever you feel in your heart is evil and not to be trusted, whether it’s loving the “wrong” person or enjoying the pleasures of your body. Then they offer you the “cure” to all this evil in the form of their religion. In order to walk away from religion–especially one you’ve been raised in–you have to face the fear that you really are as bad as they said.

    But I don’t accept that people are evil. They can certainly behave in evil ways, but every time I’ve seen evil behavior, it has obviously sprung from unresolved pain. And I don’t think that you get people to act lovingly toward each other by convincing them that what they feel in their hearts is wrong and that they are irrevocably flawed. I think what you’re more lively to get is exactly what you’ve written about before: shame, guilt, and being judgmental toward others to prove you’re “holier” than they are.

    You never needed a church to give you light, Brooke; it was always within you.

  19. Susan says:

    Brooke, I’m a long-time reader of your blog and love your recipes and wonderful writing. Like a previous commenter, I am a practicing Mormon and I believe truth and light exists all over. It’s clear your journey has not been an easy or flippant one (that’s probably an understatement). In all sincerity, I wish you happiness and peace as you continue to to ask and search for life’s most important questions and answers.

  20. Becki Madsen says:

    Love ya Brooke. Remember people see what they want to see. I have been told I look ‘dark’ and ‘spiritless’ and ‘so bright and full of life’ all in the same day. I don’t think God works that way. He puts light into people who are being true to themselves, taking care of others and enjoying all that this beautiful earth has to offer, no matter what religion you do or don’t belong to. Therefore my darling friend, I have never seen you shine so bright!

  21. Pam says:

    I am LDS with a brother that is atheist who married a Mennonite and another spiritual brother whom does not believe in organized religion and he married an atheist. You lived the extreme of the LDS married to some of the few of our ‘paid ministries’. I am guessing the LDS people that were co-workers and friends of your social stature may judge but not all of the sisters of this faith do so. Some of us have understand that harsh judgment cast on those of different faiths is closed minded and hurtful. I am hoping you find peace in your decision so that you don’t feel the need to generally cast stones at all women or men of my faith. You are a talented writer with an increasing audience, remember those of all faiths including the one you have left deserve tolerance. I love that my family is diverse and living the life they have chose, they are happy wonderful people. We are all on a journey, I’m happy that your making my journey taste wonderful!

  22. Heather Morrison says:

    Its amazing how well Satan can manufactur “the truth.”

  23. STH says:

    So, was there any point to your comment, Heather, except to be hurtful and show how far superior you are in your understanding?

  24. Heather Morrison says:

    Nope, just want to come here and find good recipes, not more bashing of the Mormon faith, but alas, I am done.

  25. Gerrie says:

    @heather….Goodness! If this gentle little reminder that we all have light within us is a bashing of the Mormon faith, perhaps you already are done. I see no bashing whatsoever. Just storytelling. What a pity you’ve taken it so poorly.

  26. Amy says:

    You are so brave. Your light is blinding. You have grace and class and show true Christian love to both those that applaud your life direction and those who have abandoned you. But next time you are bearing your heart, make something like Lima beans or dehydrated alphalfa sprouts because butternut squash+quiche= 2 of my most favoritest things and I kept getting distracted by my gluttony.

    Thanks for being a great example in the kitchen and out. And wherever this journey takes you, we’re in it with ya!

  27. Heather Morrison says:

    My ability to be judgmental and tactless caught me at a low moment and I have no words to say but I am sorry. I do not agree with the path Brooke has taken but that does not give me the right to bash her for it. She has her agency, a gift we have been given and I would never take that away from her. Let the light of Christ, which is given to all men, shine from each of us.

  28. STH says:

    I hope the next time I am tactless I apologize for it as graciously as you have, Heather.

  29. Lynnie Rudner says:

    Brooke, I just started reading your blog, and I love the recipes. This one, though, made me tear up. Im not LDS, but I live in Utah and have many LDS friends. I just want you to know that ANY religion that can threaten you with “darkness” and the “loss of light” if you leave, does not deserve your loving membership. I applaud your family’s choice to do what you felt you need to do to maintain your integrity (and I dont even know why you resigned). But thats the gift of G-d right there — you learned to stand tall and represent what you truly believe. Best of luck.

  30. Kathy says:

    “In the presence of such persons (who have been thus affected by It), one feels to enjoy the light of their countenance, as the genial rays of a sunbeam. Their very atmosphere diffuses a thrill, a warm glow of pure gladness and sympathy of Spirit.”

    <—— Miss B! This person is YOU! Sunbeams galore. No matter where your spiritual journey takes you in life – you will always be spouting sun-rays my dear. ~K

  31. This looks and sounds delicious. I can’t wait to make it. I featured it on my What to Cook Wednesday post yesterday. I hope you will stop by to check it out {and maybe consider grabbing a button}.

  32. Holly says:

    Dear Brooke-
    I understand your pain and empathize with you. My family and I left the church that I was raised in 3 years ago. My husband finally spoke to me and said, “I don’t think we are supposed to come home from church services and meetings and be mad! Our pastor was unwilling to grow the youth program and no one ever seemed happy about Jesus.It took much talking with our pastor and my mom. She finally said to me to go to any church-just make sure we took our kids to church! And so we did.
    It was very hard but we are so much happier. Our church was just not meting our families spiritual needs. My dear friend from bible study gave me wise advice: “Go where you are spiritually fed.” It has been a huge period of growth for us and also sometimes awkward and uncomfortable. We still long for the routines of our old church but know that we are in the right place. Keep shining!

  33. Jessica says:

    Thank you for sharing this difficult and inspiring story. My thoughts are with you and your family. Please know that you have much support out here.

  34. Erin says:

    how crazy is it that i came across your “quiche recipe” today? last night, my husband stayed up with me till 1am talking about his frustrations with our religion. he has been thru several bishoprics in our backwoods country LDS ward during our 8 year marriage and it has shined (shone?) a light on the many “human aspects” of our church. it is difficult for him to see our little family struggling so badly and then cut checks to members who live VERY comfortably off our tithing. this point and many others he made can be seen in so many areas of our society. holier-than-thou politicians, people mooching off welfare, group-think, etc… i listened to him with a loving and open heart; without fear. he is the type of person who sees truth for truth and has little tolerance for decite (sp?). i am comfortable with decisions i have made on how i want to conduct my life, but i know he needs to walk this path of “seeking” and find his own reconciliation. he was so afraid to tell me and was surprised by my understanding. reading your “recipe” above and the comments of other gives me encouragement to walk with him while maintaining my own beliefs. i always tell him that i didnt marry him his good looks; i married him for his wisdom. truth to all…

  35. Ellie brown. Cliffs mum says:

    Dear Brooke
    It was very moving to read your story. You have so much courage to do what is best for you and your family. Follow your heart always

  36. Amber Price says:

    Thank you Brooke. This was beautifully written. I feel your light in everything you touch. :)

  37. Charlotte says:

    and this had to do with food how….?

    Sorry, Brooke. Seems a bit self-serving to post a “fishing for support” blog when I am on here to see recipes.

  38. Charlotte says:


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  40. Ellen says:

    “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.”

    You’re better off without it. Please know and understand this.

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