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Compost is Messy, Just Like Life

Is it too late to say Happy New Year?  Even though it’s already late January it feels like Christmas was just a few minutes ago.  I’ve been meaning to post for days … well, actually for six months now …

Where have I been?  It’s a simple answer but a complicated response.  One week last July I received two passing comments along the lines of “no one reads this blog anyway” and “if you had a different format you might attract more readers.”  Those criticisms stung.  I wasn’t writing for readership.  I loved the colorful melange of scraps in those buckets, the meals that had created those scraps, the satisfaction of words on paper (or screen) and the resultant memories.  Was I really just wasting my time?

Instead of ignoring those thoughtless words and carrying on, I buried them.  I pushed them deep inside but rationalized that other people always see things more clearly.  I argued (with myself) that I had nothing to offer and it probably WAS a waste of time.  I heaped self-criticism upon self criticism and aired those harsh words (to myself) regularly.  Along the way I kept composting and photographing but the only writing I did was in my head. Eventually I stopped taking photos. I tossed my kitchen scraps in the trash. I put the entire endeavor asleep for the winter.  I was done.

But on a bitter cold walk earlier this month I realized I missed it all.  I was struck by how similar my actions were to real composting.  The thoughtless words I buried were much like the scraps I threw on the compost pile.  Insignificant individually, but after several months they resulted in something new and worthwhile.  I had – have – something unique to produce and to say.  My quirky idea of beauty or taste or style might not be yours, but it is wholly my own.

So, here’s to a new year of new ideas, new insights, and the latest dirt, um, compost.

frozen compost 2015

This frozen compost is from early January.  All that old stuff … I’m letting it go…. get it?  Frozen.  

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Cast Party

Cast Party

Had a request to share some photos from this party. Your wish is granted!

my daily compost

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:

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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

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What you can’t see:

  • lettuce…

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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Snow Buckets

Wow!  A second snowstorm swept the city this week and unlike two weeks ago, I was totally prepared with wood, water and a whole lot of food.  There’s nothing like the winter wonderland of a white landscape to lift the spirits and kick the nesting instinct into high gear.  Luckily, we were all snug and safe and sound (again) and could simply enjoy the snowy fun.  Four inches in our neck of the woods is cause for celebration!

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Here’s what we were up to (other than sledding, snow hiking, snowball fighting, and snow fort building)…

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • potato peels
  • lemon half
  • carrot peels & stem ends
  • eggshells
  • onion skins & stem ends

What I made with all of that:  Roast Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Ginger Chili Carrots, homemade toaster pastries with blueberry lime jam made from a summer berry picking excursion.

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The next day my bucket  looked like this:

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • garlic skins
  • orange peel
  • lemons peels
  • egg shells
  • red onion skins & stem ends
  • dried out thyme stems

What I made with all of that:  Soft Boiled Eggs & Toast, Mujadara (basmati rice with pink lentils & crispy fried onions), Sautéed Spinach with Shallots, Roasted Cod.

And finally, the last two-day bucket looked like this (I remembered to set the bucket in the snow to photograph):

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • eggshells
  • oranges skins (the most popular winter snack in my house)
  • onion skins
  • spent spider mums
  • tough spinach leaves
  • more eggshells
  • celery stem end
  • carrot stem ends & peels (underneath)

What I made with all of that:  Chicken Stock (from the roast chicken carcass), part of which I turned into Chicken Pot Pie with Rye Pastry Crust, Spinach & Weird Greens Salad (a French blend that one child loved because the lettuce looked like flowers and one child hated because the lettuce looked like weeds in the veggie garden) and Baked Cheesy Shells with Vodka Sauce.  Plus, Brownies AND Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies.  For the neighbors.  Really.

 

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My Compost Still Overfloweth

Can I tell you how many blog posts I’ve written since mid-December?  Sadly, they have all been in my head.  Through the winter we’ve been eating (feasting actually) faithfully composting, and even taking photos of said compost … what I have not had time to do is write about it (except in my head).

First it was the holidays, then the holiday hangovers, then New Year’s with all its resultant resolutions (which I have obviously broken), then it was a huge original ballet that we were involved in with yours truly working on sets and costumes and a pretty darn fabulous cast party, and now it’s my husband’s semi-surprise “speed limit” birthday party.  Plus, it’s been really cold.

Phew.  It’s been a wonderful, memorable two months.  And I promise to share the highlights … soon!

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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving!

Gosh, it’s been a busy day of baking and prepping!  I’ve got so many lovely scraps to show for all my efforts … but even though I was writing witty posts in my head while I rolled piecrust and peeled apples, that is where they’ll have to stay because I’ve run out of time.  

Look for a Black Friday recap because I will NOT be out shopping (well, I hear J. Crew outlet is fifty percent off, so maybe…) but I will be sharing our feast.

Thankful for family, friends, and the ability to do all the things I love surround by the people I most love.  Wonderful wishes for a most excellent Thanksgiving holiday!

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Not My Typical TGIF

When I think of what’s for dinner on Friday night, I immediately think of pizza eaten out with the kids (it was a routine about 15 years ago and is a fond memory) or fish (which is required during Lent and often a feature in ordinary time).  Quite often our meal is burgers on the grill paired with roasted little potatoes, corn on the cob, and watermelon.  I guess those are summer food thoughts…  but they all go so well together that we almost can’t have one without the other.  It feels carefree and comfortable and with a cocktail of some sort,, a lovely celebratory end to the week.  Anyway, this was not a typical Friday bucket:

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What you can see (clockwise from top):

  • Watermelon rind
  • Avocado peel from two perfect fruits
  • Vidalia onion skins
  • Rind from an orange
  • Tough stems from a bunch of kale

What you can’t see:

  • Lots more watermelon rind
  • More orange peels
  • Eggshells (of course!)
  • Teabags

What I made with all of that:

  • Strawberry Orange Banana Smoothies for breakfast (and eggs)
  • Black Forest Ham & Avocado with Lime on Whole Wheat Seeded Bread for lunch (one half  stolen right off the outside table by my perpetually hungry foxhound)
  • Kale Sauteed with Pancetta and Garlic (a little pre-dinner appetizer since my middle boy was hanging with friends after school and dinner was planned at eight)
  • Linguine with White Clam Sauce (very garlicky and easy and yummy and eaten in the dining room at 8:30 happily as a family)

Cheers to your celebratory weekend!

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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