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Aside

Over the summer my girl was diagnosed with vitamin D and iron deficiencies.  This came as relief because she had been feeling tired, no – exhausted, for weeks with no explainable reason.  When a 13-year old walks to the pool and is too tired to swim because of the walk you know something is definitely up.  When it happens repeatedly, you visit the pediatrician.

He prescribed 9,000 IU’s of vitamin D and 45 mg of iron daily and they he questioned our diet.  Up until that point I had been pretty proud of the fact that we were nearly vegetarian diet, leaning toward vegan (except we all love dairy so that was never going to happen).  My kids have never been completely fond of red meat so it was easy to drift to the land of grains and fruits and veggies.  It tasted clean and it felt socially virtuous.  I invented veggie cookies so, naturally, we should be vegetarians, right?

“Make sure she eats red meat,” said the doctor.  Um, okay?  That was a speeding curve ball and I’m not a baseball fan.  Other than grilling the occasional steak or burger I couldn’t even pull any meat centered menus from my brain.  Spicy Chickpeas with Broccoli?  Check.  Sauteed Kale and Baked Sweet Potatoes?  Yum.  And my daughter was momentarily horrified.  Sweet cows with big eyes provide red meat you know?  But we were on a mission.  Excellent health.

It was a process, but you know what?  It was kind of like riding a bike and we easily hopped back on the trail.  Funny how when you pair all those veggies and grains with meat (or chicken or fish) meals are appealing and satisfying and yummy.  Today, after three months of getting back to a basically “traditional” diet”, my girl has her energy back, her cheeks are pink, and she’s a happy little meat eater … at least a few days a week.  It’s actually a lot easier to plan what’s for dinner each night and everyone seems to be generally more satisfied overall.

The key is stay unprocessed!  We are blessed to be able to afford quality food, so we have focused on local grass-fed meat, pastured chicken, raw dairy and as many organic veggies and fruits as we can enjoy.

That said, here are two buckets from the last two days.  First up:  BLT Pasta or Bacon Meatballs, Kale & Orcchiette Bucket.  I’m including the recipe because it was pretty awesome if you love grass-fed beef and amazing bacon!  My kids actually preferred this pasta minus the “B” components … we are a work in progress!

bacon meatballs 9.18.13

What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • tough lacinto kale stems
  • banana peel
  • old sugar snap peas (Toss-It Tuesday!)
  • eggshells
  • yellowed kale leaf
  • very yucky old honeydew pushed to back of fridge (Toss-It Tuesday)
  • shallot skin & ends

The second bucket is the basis for a pretty classic American meal: Mashed Potatoes and Pot Roast


mashed potatoes & pot roast 9.19.13

A computer snafu means you only see half of this, sorry! (clockwise top to bottom):

  • espresso grounds
  • tangelo peel
  • peels from six russet potatoes
  • garlic skins
  • spent marigolds from window herb box
  • mushy tangerine

What you can’t see:  All the items from the bucket above.

A final note:  Meat is actually good for you, but not for your compost pile!  Not only is it the source of potential pathogens, will it turn rancid, smell horrible and attract all sorts of animal pests and flies.  Do yourself a favor.  Eat the meat.  Compost the veggies.

Eat More … Meat?

 

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The Latest Dirt!

What happens when you pile bucket upon bucket of kitchen scraps into an open bin, add grass clippings and yard waste, and let the sun beat down and the rain pour in all summer? This is what you get:

Image

Rich, black gorgeous compost!  Here’s a close up of the dirt we (actually my ever-willing husband) dug out:

Image

We figured that this pile of compost represents roughly six months of “work,” which breaks down to approximately:

  • 1,000 hours of sunshine
  • 38.64 inches of rain 
  • a whole lot of earthworms (naturally occurring)
  • lots of other beneficial bugs and microbes
  • 120 buckets of kitchen scraps which could include:
    • over 100 eggshells
    • likely 100 tea bags (no string, tag or staple)
    • scrapings from about 100 carrots
    • scrapings from about 100 potatoes
    • at least 75 onion skins
    • probably 75 banana peels
    • most likely 75 lemon, lime, and/or orange peels
    • corn husks from at least 60 ears of corn (but no cobs)
    • core/stem ends of about 30 heads of lettuce
    • skin from at least 25 avocados (not pits)
    • grounds from at least 25 pots of espresso
    • peels from about 25 cucumbers
    • tough stems from about 20 bunches of kale
    • rinds from at least 12 whole watermelons
    • rings from at least 12 cantaloupes/honeydews
    • countless odds and ends from berries, tomatoes, hot & sweet peppers, broccoli stems, brussels sprouts, celery, garlic, and more
    • a variety of past-its-prime fruit, veggies, and/or herbs from my Toss-It Tuesday fridge clean-up
  • Plus:
  • 100 lawnmower bags of grass clippings (not all used)
  • assorted hedge & veggie garden trimmings
  • at least 1,000 spent rose petals & leaves
  • lots of spent spring annuals (pansies)

Phew!  Life is complicated enough without worrying about strict combinations of “greens” and “browns” or carbon/nitrogen ratios.  Like life, compost is a balancing act.  You provide the raw materials, Mother Nature provides the sun and rain, and by the end of the season, you’ve got compost to … start all over again.  If we can find time to do, you can too.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in Compost How To

 

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My Bucket Overfloweth

And yesterday’s bucket included:Image

Things you can see (clockwise starting from top):

  • iceberg lettuce trimmings
  • corn husks & silks from five ears
  • yellow bell pepper seeds & stems
  • skin from two garlic cloves,

What you can’t see:

  • banana peels
  • strawberry tops
  • skin & stem ends from two onions
  • tomato stems & tops
  • cilantro stems
  • half of a lemon
  • two teabags

What did I make with all that?

  • Strawberry Banana  smoothies
  • Skirt Steak Fajitas with Grilled Onions, Grilled Peppers, Lettuce and Homemade Tomato Salsa
  • Two tasty cups of tea
 
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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in The Daily Bucket

 

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