Tag Archives: Cookie Underground

Composting Right Along …

In the past two months we’ve survived an eighth grade graduation, a high school graduation, and a master’s degree graduation.  I didn’t plan a prolonged absence from the blog but all that studying, stressing, prepping, playing, traveling, and celebrating took a lot of time and energy.  At least during those busy days we’ve been composting and spring gardening right along.   Planning meals and gardens, eating together at the end of the day – these were necessary ways to connect and nourish mind and body at the end of every long day.

Instead of playing catch up I’ll share the buckets and bag from our great graduation celebration.  My husband was kind enough to compost (in my house it’s a noun AND a verb) in the early morning rain before guests arrived.


Can you believe I did not take a single photo of this party?  It might have something to do with a hundred people convening in my house early on a Sunday afternoon but it remains in my memory as one of the most enjoyable, celebratory, crowded, RAINY parties we have ever thrown.  Nearly everyone came to share in the fun and, yes, we had a LOT of fun!  Of all the many, many parties they attended, my boys said theirs was the best, so I accept the compliment and I’ll share the brunch menu with you.  It was filled with some of my high school grad’s favorite foods.

It all started at the front door with drinks in the dining room …

  • Cucumber Water
  • Sweet Tea
  • Sweet Lemonade
  • Iced Vanilla Latte
  • Mimosas
  • Bloody Mary’s

Now that you have a drink in your hand, follow me to the kitchen where you’ll find silver chafing dishes, trays and crystal bowls filled with:

  • The most amazing shrimp & grits (truly, I could eat a bowl right now)
  • Brown sugar bacon
  • Butter-fried chicken tenders to top fresh waffles (more in a minute)
  • Mini quiches filled with raw milk cheddar & shallots
  • Lots of fresh melon, pineapple and berries
  • Tortellini skewers with cherry tomatoes, sugars snap peas in a dill-mustard vinaigrette

Since it was just after twelve on a Sunday morning, we set up the kitchen island as a make-your-own waffle bar with four irons, bowls of batter and lots of mix-ins and toppings.  I’m sorry but you might have to wait in line …

  • Mix-Ins: pecans, chocolate chips, grated sharp cheddar, blueberries
  • Toppings: whipped butter, whipped cream, real maple syrup, berries, bananas and that tasty fried chicken for my son’s favorite Chicken & Waffles

And what’s a party without dessert?  I could serve a twelve course dessert-only meal, but I showed restraint and kept it to three choices:

  • A giant graduation “cake” composed of ten dozen (yes, one hundred twenty) Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts stacked high.  The grads, especially my son, are HUGE KK fans.
  • With a nod to school colors, mini green velvet cupcakes with Bailey’s cream cheese frosting topped with mini fondant “parchment” diplomas and gold “cords”.
  • Espresso parsnip cookie thins filled sandwich style with dark chocolate ganache.  

Are you stuffed?  We were.  There was virtually nothing left to snack on at the end of the day (except cocktails, so we enjoyed them … and that’s an entirely different story)  When we woke up the next morning, we realized this punch bowl was left out all night and fit only for compost… Clearly cantaloupe is the least favored fruit.

punchbowl fruit

Next up: spring garden shots!  And back to the DAILY bucket!  Cheers!


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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Musings, The Daily Bucket


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Still Life With Scraps

Call me odd, but it’s compositions like this that first inspired me to start photographing food meant for the compost pile.


Look at all those colors!  And textures!  Can’t you taste the cool, juicy orange segments and the creamy soft banana?  The sweet syrupy strawberries?  And the brilliant beets … wait, they don’t match right?  It reminds me of the old Sesame Street song, “one of these things doesn’t belong here, one of these things is not the same…” song.  But the beets are just as sweet as all the fruits if you roast them in their skins or if you bake them into Almond Beet cookies, which I did for a soccer dessert tailgate.  Love spring, love soccer, love cookies, love life.

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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Musings, The Daily Bucket


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Always Time For Pasta

What is your go-to meal when you want something tasty and wholesome but don’t have lots of time to spare?  I know there are countless cookbooks and television shows written on just this topic, so clearly is it everyone’s top question too.  One of our favorite choices for a quick meal is pasta.  It’s just too easy to pick a shape, choose a veggie, decide on tomato-y, creamy, or olive oily, and then start the water boiling.

This contents of this bucket in no way reflect the pasta we chose!

linguini clam & cookie cake

What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • banana peel
  • onion stem ends & skin
  • parsnip stem ends & peel
  • sweet potato stem ends & peel
  • eggshells
  • persimmon peel
  • lemon half

Today, linguine with clam sauce was on the menu.  The lemon was the only clue here!  It was also a busy baking day and I also made Vanilla Parsnip Cookies as well as Chocolate Cinnamon Sweet Potato Cookies.  By the way, those sweet potatoes were from my local farm and they were divine!

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Posted by on November 22, 2013 in The Daily Bucket


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Almond Beets & Roasted Figs

Two of my favorite things in the world are beets and figs and this bucket has both.  Now, I’ve never had them together, but they are the ingredients in two killer recipes, one of which I can share.  But first, the bucket …


What you can see (clockwise from left to right):

  • Eggshells
  • Tops of brown turkey figs
  • Peel from red beets
  • Basil flower & tip
  • Orange peel & leftover orange section
  • Rosemary sticks (minus leaves)

What I made with all of that:


  • Almond Beet cookies (I am also the baker behind Cookie Underground.)
  • Bacon Wrapped Roasted Figs (I’ve made these many times and here is my recipe tweak: To make these more bite size, I cut the figs in half, put the honey dipped rosemary sprigs on the cut side, wrapped in a half piece of good bacon, & baked at 325 for 30 minutes.  Run under broiler for a minute if bacon is not crisped to perfection.  Don’t skip the orange balsamic glaze!  The recipe is too sweet without the acidity of the vinegar – but I skip the oil.)  Even fig skeptics enjoyed these!
  • Soft-boiled eggs & oranges for breakfast

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