Monthly Archives: May 2013

Pretty … Moldy

Isn’t this a beautiful basket?  I love the purple flowers against the red berries!  Sadly, those berries were a HUGE disappointment.  Two for $5 was NOT a bargain.  The first half-pint was lovely, but this one was so soft – and sour, yuck – that I couldn’t even consider throwing them into a smoothie.  Same goes for the last few overripe strawberries and blackberries.  This pretty-on-the-outside fruit was only fit for compost.

Things you can see (clockwise from top):

  • Eggshells
  • Irises
  • Strawberries & blackberries – a few very soft berries way past their prime
  • Onion skins
  • Lemon half
  • More eggshells
  • Raspberries – disappointing pint that was so soft and sour – yuck -it was inedible
  • Red pepper slice
  • Blackened banana peel
  • Rose petals (white and pink)


What you can’t see:

LOTS of leftover lettuce – remember the cast party earlier in the week?  Spinach & romaine leaves sat out for about an hour after the party.  We’d eaten salad for the past several days, so these leaves just sat a few more days in the fridge.  Final fate: compost.

What I made with all of that:

Ebelskivers – tiny, fluffy filled pancakes.  These require a special pan but they are so delicious!  My little ballerina begged for this breakfast treat prior to a six-hour rehearsal day and I couldn’t NOT make them, even thought they are a multi-bowl & mixer recipe.  We made two kinds: whole-milk ricotta & homemade strawberry jam filled and sharp cheddar filled, dipped in pure maple syrup.  Worth every minute of prep & cook time!

So, the weekend was jam-packed with activities on top of ballet rehearsals, namely two days of performances, SAT’s for my boy, and the bustle of regular life.  Here’s what happens when the compost bucket sits on the counter for two more days …


Sorry it’s sideways (busy days, right?).  We did add a few banana peels (standard morning smoothie) and a sprig of old jasmine.  Anyway, MOLD is what happens when you have a lot of soft, warm organic material sitting in the sunshine with a warm, humid breeze from the open window wafting in.  Luckily, the banana covering the onion skins effectively blocked any nasty onion smell.  Just sitting on the counter this was not pretty but at least it didn’t smell bad.  Until I dumped it on the compost heap … It was a fully rotting, juicy mess perfect for the production of great new dirt!

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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in The Daily Bucket


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Cast Party

In addition to just regular old family life, I throw a lot of parties.  My favorite party is the low-pressure, no expectations, ho-hum event that I can turn into something fun and memorable.  Enter the ballet studio’s spring concert cast party.  The show was Peter & the Wolf.  The dinner plan was back to nature: a green “meadow table” featuring all the dinner items and a blue “pond” table featuring drinks and desserts.  Bluebirds and ladybugs mingled in the willow branches, cake pop topiaries in mini flowerpots decorated each place setting, the cake  was covered in flowers.  Perfect adorable, fun and memorable for everyone!  I can’t share pictures, but I love this one:


All the party prep means a party bucket.  Things  you can see (clockwise from top):

  • Pink rose petals
  • white peony petals
  • eggshells
  • tiny bunch of violets
  • lemon slices
  • blueberries
  • red pepper core


What you can’t see:

  • lettuce leaves
  • spinach leaves
  • cucumber skins
  • thyme & basil stems

What I made with all of that:

  • Ladybug greens (big green salad & veggies)
  • Pond Punch (lemonade, blueberries & sprite)
  • Ebelskivers (tasty filled pancakes, filled with sharp cheddar or ricotta & homemade strawberry jam)

Just a few more days till performance and then summer will officially start!

UPDATE:  I had a request to share the photos from the cast party and so here are a few that give you a glimpse… Since the room filled quickly with excited ballerinas I didn’t even have time to take any real shots, but hopefully these will have you smiling!

Here are the Rice Krispy Chocolate Truffle place cards:

Peter & the Wolf favors


And the gift table with cast photos decoupaged on green wooden block frames for the girls and brown frames for the boys.  A huge hit with the dancers!

Peter & The Wolf gift table

A close up of the dessert table …

Peter & the Wolf dessert table

And the “ladybug greens” … pretty sure some of these ended up in my compost pile.




Peter & the Wolf ladybug greens

Here’s a shot of the Peter & the Wolf cast …

Peter & the Wolf Cast 2013

And finally, my little ducky and her hunter daddy (yes, he was an extra!) … stage lighting is rough!

Peter & the Wolf duck & hunter




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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in The Daily Bucket


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School’s Out … Still Busy

Not very much in the bucket for the past few days … graduation parties, sick child, and some quick grilling means not a lot of “real” cooking going on.   More like grilling burgers and dogs, lots of fruit for snacks and not much else.  Oh yes, cookies, we’ve gotta have cookies!

Things you can see (clockwise from top):

  • Cucumber skins & ends
  • Eggshells
  • Peony petals
  • Banana peel
  • Strawberry tops


What you can’t see:

  • Lots more strawberry tops
  • Romaine lettuce leaves & core
  • Carrot scrapings
  • Cantaloupe chunks past their prime

What did I make with all of that?

  • A big salad with cucumbers, olives, cherry tomatoes, carrots & vinaigrette
  • Chocolate chip cookies (eggs)
  • Soft boiled eggs & toast

Looking forward to quiet summer …

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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in The Daily Bucket


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Memorial Weekend Cookout

Time to celebrate the good old US of A with a classic weekend cookout.


Things you can see (clockwise from top):

  • Charred corn husks
  • Watermelon rind
  • Rose petals

Things you can’t see:

  • More corn husks
  • Tomato tops
  • More rose petals & leaves
  • Chive tops & spent flowers

What I made with all of this:

  • Roasted Corn
  • Gouda Stuffed Grass-fed Burgers with Tomato
  • Chive & Buttered Fingerling Potatoes
  • Watermelon

You might have noticed that nearly every compost bucket has old rose petals.  Well, they come from the plentiful new bouquets that we pick fresh each day, just like these:


They are my daily happiness!  The top giant pink flower is a “Sarah Bernhardt” peony, next to a deep purple german iris, the two nodding pink roses are “Abraham Darby”, a David Austin English rose, and the last pink side view rose is “Gertrude Jekyll”, another David Austin English rose.  Separately, these flowers have exquisite fragrance.  Together, it’s a heady perfume that scents the entire room.  Can you smell them?  Guess what the secret is to these beautiful blooms?  You guessed it: COMPOST.

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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in The Daily Bucket


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Just Veggies Thanks

What do you make for dinner when you’ve been to a graduation party grill out?  Certainly not burgers on the grill!  We needed something clean and veggies always fit the bill.

compost cauliflower

Things you can see (clockwise from top):

  • Cauliflower leaves & core
  • Lemon half
  • Red onion ends & skin
  • Corn silks & husks
  • Zested & juiced lime
  • Moldy strawberry

What did I make with that?  A veggie extravaganza including Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon, Roasted Red Onions, Corn on the Cob with Lime Chipotle Butter, Arugula & Spinach Salad with Parmigiano Reggiano & Lemon Vinaigrette.

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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in The Daily Bucket


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Not Your Ordinary Fruit Basket

Blue skies, soaring temps, and lots of sunshine means that no one feels much like eating.  Hence the fruit basket … grapefruit for breakfast (no smoothies today!), cantaloupe for lunch, and lots of berries for snacking.  You can tell spring is quickly turning to summer!


Things you can see (clockwise from top):

  • cantaloupe skins (chopped for quicker composting)
  • strawberry tops
  • grapefruit skins (chopped for quicker composting

What you can’t see:

  • woody stems of broccoli
  • carrot peels
  • spent peony petals (they never last long enough!)

What I made with all of that:

  • Steamed broccoli & carrots with Asian marinated pork tenderloin & soba noodles

Sunny skies tomorrow too!

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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in The Daily Bucket


Spring Strawberry Bliss

Gorgeous blue skies + seventy degrees + next to last day of school = perfect day for strawberry picking!  I honestly think that in a previous life I might have been a fruit picker.  It’s such a mindless  and yet mindful task and it’s one of my yearly must-do excursions.  We discovered a little farm nearby that, while in business for 35 years, was new to us.  We invited our besties, sugar fortified at our favorite doughnut spot, and headed north to berry bliss.  Here’s half of what we picked:


And here’s my girl picking… can you smell the heady, fruity berriness?


We froze most of these beauties for fresh strawberry smoothies even in the dead of winter, and enjoyed the rest with freshly whipped cream.  Since I already made jam a few weeks ago, I’m saving a small bowl to turn into strawberry hand pies.  Total spring yum.

Needless to say, my compost bucket was purely strawberry tops!  For dinner we had, in the grand tradition of Beatrix Potter and he darling Peter Rabbit, bread and milk and strawberries.

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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Musings


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