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Two Day Bucket

Life is busy.  I’m sure that is not a revelation to anyone.  I am regularly surprised though by just how busy the days are and how quickly they run together.  Like yesterday.  I forgot to take a photo of my scrap bucket because we were juggling rainy weather and soccer practice and ballet and the first college acceptance letter (yay!) and life, so here are two days worth of scraps to ponder:

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • yellowish green stem of a leek
  • iceberg lettuce core
  • carrot peels
  • iceberg lettuce outer leaves
  • banana peel
  • half of a lemon
  • apple core
  • russet potato peels
  • stem end of a leek
  • stem end of a small red pepper

What you can’t see:

  • eggshells
  • extremely dirty mushroom stems
  • garlic paper
  • stem end & ribs of a cayenne pepper
  • skin & stem ends from two Vidalia onions

What I made with all of that:

  • Banana Peanut Butter Smoothies
  • Bacon, Lettuce & Muenster Sandwiches on homemade bread
  • Scrambled Eggs with Muenster and Mushrooms
  • Potato Leek Soup
  • Really unbelievably spicy Chili 

Let me tell you about the chili.  My neighbor gave me a bag of about 25 homegrown cayenne peppers.  I’ve been debating whether to dry or pickle these or turn them into hot sauce, but since I was out of jalapenos and serrano peppers, I decided to sub a cayenne for dinner.  We like spicy, so I was not concerned.  Plus, I’ve made this chili about a million times and always tweak it for what I have on hand.  Today I used fantastic local grass fed chuck steak and a single red cayenne pepper.  WOW.  Can you say S P I C Y ?  Moral of the story:  Beware of neighbors bearing peppers.  No.  Taste hot peppers before you cook recklessly with them!  And if you forget to taste, have plenty of sour cream, milk, and homemade bread around to soak up the spice.  Would you like some leftovers?

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Musings, The Daily Bucket

 

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18th Birthday Bucket

My middle boy turned eighteen a week ago (woohoo!  senior year!).  Instead of a big bash, he had a handful of friends over for one of his favorite meals, Buffalo Chicken Tacos.    Not much of that meal ends of in compost, but here’s what the bucket looked like (clockwise top to bottom):

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  • Romaine lettuce core
  • Vidalia onion ends & skins (several on bottom of bucket too)
  • carrot peels
  • rose leaf & pink petals
  • banana peel (morning smoothie)
  • garlic paper
  • apple core

No yummy taco meal would be complete in our house without watermelon.  Here’s the bucket of rind:

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And one more birthday photo …

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That boy sure loves his Krispy Kremes!  He had the option of any cake he could dream up (that I would bake). When mom’s a baker, but sometimes store bought has more appeal.  Happy Birthday G!

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in The Daily Bucket

 

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It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

This is the kind of day it was:

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Lily wanted to walk, but I preferred to stay warm and snug inside.  It was so dark all day that after a cup or two of tea and a more than a few pages of my book, even I was restless.    What to do?  Normally, rain equals baking in my book, but I was feeling more soup-y.  See if you can guess what I made from this bucket:

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You can tell how rainy it was from where I photographed my bucket: on the chaise underneath the umbrella.  Anyway, what you can see (clockwise from the top):

  • the tough end & outer leaves of two leeks
  • half of a lemon
  • scrapings from four carrots
  • a moldy raspberry
  • eggshells
  • garlic paper
  • peels from four potatoes
  • espresso grounds

What you can’t see:

  • skins from two onions
  • apple core
  • pear core
  • more eggshells
  • two banana peels
  • peel from two cucumbers
  • stems from fresh marjoram
  • two Tazo “Focus” teabags (my current fave)

What I made with all of that:

  • Potato Leek Soup
  • Lemony Italian Meatball Soup
  • Nutella Pumpkin Pound Cake
  • Hammy Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
  • Smoothie with Banana, Pear, Strawberries & Spinach
  • Pot of espresso turned into my version of Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Happy rainy days to all!

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in The Daily Bucket

 

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No Place Like Home

The scent of burgers wafted on the air all afternoon.  Hot dogs sizzled on the grills and drinks were a mere $4 a bottle, $5.50 if you wanted a souvenir cup with ice.  We were enjoying a gorgeous family afternoon at the 2014 FedEx Cup at East Lake Golf Club from a shady spot on the twelfth fairway and it was a perfect day.  But after five hours on the course (and one meal already grabbed on the run), we opted for better burgers and fries. We headed to the home grill.

What you can see (clockwise from top)

  • sweet potato skins
  • banana peels

sweet potato fries 9.22.13

What you can’t see:

  • celery trimmings
  • carrot peels from two pounds
  • l2 onion skins
  • garlic papers
  • peel from six gala apples

What I made with all of that:

  • Grass-fed Burgers with Mushrooms, Sauteed Onions & Aged Cheddar
  • Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  • Chicken Pot Pie with Homemade Crust
  • Our usual morning smoothies …
 
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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in The Daily Bucket

 

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College Essay Buckets

Hard to believe my middle boy is on the brink of college, but he’s turning 18 soon and is in the midst of college app stress.  School visits … early action deadlines … the dreaded essays … self reported grades … SAT and ACT scores … common app … writing supplements … if you’ve been there you know the variables.  It’s practically an algebraic equation.  And once you hit send on your life’s body of work, the waiting game begins.  Essentially, it’s a year of of craziness.  And it is WAY better than junior year (but that’s another story entirely).

What’s a mom to do?  Edit, proofread, and equally important, prepare healthy, nutritious meals for both physical and emotional sustenance.  (That sounds like it came from the nonexistent “Handbook for Parenting Your College Age Child ” or “How To Help Your Child Succeed WIthout Him Realizing It” but I digress.)  Scanning the fridge and pantry I made Potato Corn Chowder:

potato corn chowder 9.11.13

Then, Pasta with Bolognese Sauce (grass-fed beef too!)

bolognese bucket 9.13

And, even a preferred summer staple meal, Roasted Vegetables with DIjon Vinaigrette over Rice

roasted veggies & rice 9.17.13

 

Apparently, none of these meals was quite what my generally healthy guys was craving.  Maybe it’s because he’s a sugar fiend (yes), maybe it’s because he’s stressed (yes, and me too), maybe it’s because a shiny new showplace store opened up on the way home from school (oh my), or maybe it’s because it’s Friday the 13th (that too).  Whatever the possible cause, according to my son, THIS is the perfect college essay food:

krispy kreme bucket 9.12

 

He even left one in the box for me.  Gosh, I am going to miss him when he’s not around.  (And a side note to his grad school brother: we’ve been missing you for years too.)  Hugs all around!

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2013 in Musings, The Daily Bucket

 

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Sunday Buckets

Perfect Atlanta weather calls for a perfect Sunday schedule: Mass, soccer game, grandparents for dinner.  We were able to check the boxes for everything!  Sadly, we lost the soccer game AND the Falcons lost AND Florida lost too.  Come to think of it, Azarenka lost as well … but life is not all about sports!  It’s about food!  Here’s my Sunday lineup:

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • A rotting homegrown plum tomato (darn!)
  • Cauliflower leaves and core
  • Husks & silk from six ears of corn
  • Watermelon rind, Vidalia onion tops & skin,
  • Sunflower petals
  • Thyme stems

What I made with all of that:

  • Local grass-fed Beef Burgers with Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon, Gorgonzola Cheese and Sauteed onions on on Buttered, Toasted Egg Buns
  • Corn-on-the-cob
  • Roasted Potatoes & Cauliflower in Dijon Vinaigrette
  • Watermelon

Here’s to late yummy late summer meals!

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in The Daily Bucket

 

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Homemade Soaked Tortillas

For ages I have been wanting to make a soaked grain recipe.  (These are the kinds of things you contemplate as a trying-to-be-healthy baker.)  If you are not familiar with the concept of soaking your grains (flour) before you bake, essentially you are adding an acidic ingredient and “soaking” (basically fermenting) for 12-24 hours helps to make grains more digestible.  There is TONS of information out there (here is a good starting point) and I wanted to see if it made any difference in taste.  Added nutrients would be a bonus.  Since that 12-24 hour prep time is a deterrent in my last minute life, I was excited when the moon and stars aligned finally and I prepped my flour on Friday to make Flour Tortillas on Saturday.  Result?

Worth.  Every.  Minute.  Oh my gosh!  If you are a taco fan, run right out, get some whole wheat flour, olive oil, salt and good apple cider vinegar and make this recipe.  You know how 100% whole week is as heavy as a brick and even 100% whole wheat pastry flour feels weighed down?  You know how you eat the taco and leave the tortilla ends on your plate?  Not the case here!  These tortillas are light, airy and the perfect vehicle for a good filling.  In fact, if I hadn’t planned my filling, I’d be tempted to eat the tortillas plain dipped in salsa.  They are that good!  And I forgot to mention, they are a BREEZE to make role and nothing like their crazy cousins the corn tortilla … (another story)!

Sorry, there’s no photo of the tortillas, but here’s my bucket with all the other components of that meal:

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • Slice of red cabbage
  • Lots of wilted, yellowed green onion tops (I’ve been using the same bunch for two weeks and they were at the end of their prime)
  • Green onion root ends
  • Corn husks & silk
  • Lemon & limes
  • Red pepper core & ribs
  • Poblano pepper core & ribs

What I made with all of that:

  • Shrimp Tacos on Homemade Soaked Flour Tortillas, with Red Cabbage Slaw, and Chipotle Cream
  • Corn & Black Bean Salad with Peppers & Cilantro

You can tell the bucket is pretty full, so as a bonus, here’s what’s hiding underneath all those husks.  Early in the day I took a photo of my morning bits and pieces because they looked kind of artistic on the cutting board:

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Doesn’t that just scream breakfast?  Smoothies & fried eggs & toast.  My teens are pretty set in their breakfast ways!

 

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