Category Archives: Food

Full term

As of this past weekend, I am full term at 37 weeks!

We started off the day with another cherry blossom mini session :) This time, it took place in Besthesda in the Kenwood neighborhood where the streets are lined with cherry blossoms. There was rain this week so a lot of the blossoms were lost, but there were still a few trees still with their flowers. Hopefully the photos came out ok!

The weekend before was peak bloom at the Tidal Basin. We all got up before the sun was up to try and beat the traffic into DC since it was a weekend and the last day of the cherry blossom festival. Caleb was a big GRUMP so there had to be bribing with candy. We found free parking (woot) that was close to the Tidal Basin, but was just under a mile from the meeting spot with our first photographer. So, we basically had to BOOK IT.

After our photo session, I tried to take some photos during our walk back, but Steve wanted to get home and Caleb was tired so I didn’t take very many photos. But, I did take a few because we were there. And the scaffolding is finally gone from the Washington Monument so I needed a pic of that!

Steve & Caleb at the Tidal Basin, the Washington Monument, me & Caleb at the Jefferson Memorial

Steve & Caleb at the Tidal Basin, the Washington Monument, me & Caleb at the Jefferson Memorial

We got home and attempted to nap, but Caleb’s short nap in the car left him WIRED so no one got rest. I changed into a maternity dress for my baby shower hosted by my mother-in-law, Barbara, and Roxie! I must have pushed myself too much that morning at the Tidal Basin because my back completely gave out. I had to sit and if I tried to stand up and walk, shooting pains occurred in my lower back.

The shower was lovely! Jenna got a lot of gifts even though we told people we didn’t need gifts. And there was a lot of food. We are certainly very lucky and they always go above and beyond for us.

Steve stopped to buy me some Bengay patches for my lower back. They were a godsend and I felt SO much better the next day. Which was good because I was cooking an entire Passover spread that was paleo-friendly! I made Pioneer Woman’s brisket, roasted a chicken, roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar, roasted butternut squash with sage, made chicken broth for the matzo ball soup with both traditional matzo balls and paleo one made from almond flour, and made Steve’s nana’s fruit salad. We also had gefilte fish, pickled herring and I made charoset. For dessert, I made a coconut cake with cream cheese frosting. Nom nom nom. I spent 4 1/2 hours straight on my feet in the kitchen.

Steve’s mom bought new haggadahs for us that had a lot of pictures so it made the Sedar easier to follow especially for Caleb. I couldn’t believe it was already Caleb’s 4th Sedar!

Caleb with his yarmulke, new kid-friendly Haggadahs, paleo matzo ball soup made with almond flour, Steve and our Sedar plate

Caleb with his yarmulke, new kid-friendly Haggadahs, paleo matzo ball soup made with almond flour, Steve and our Sedar plate

The next day, we went to the synagogue for their community Sedar. Steve’s mom helped cook for the 100+ people that showed up and poor thing did not get to sit down to eat a hot meal! I told her next year to sit out on the cooking and enjoy it. Caleb could not get enough matzo.

Then this past weekend was Easter! We went over to Crina and Mounir’s house for an Easter lunch and the kids did a small Easter egg hunt. Caleb was all over that! There was sooo much food and everyone ended up falling asleep (myself included) before dessert…lol.

When we got home, I got into nesting mode and decided to clean all the bathrooms with bleach and scrub everything on my hands and knees. Steve saw me and said, “this is why we hire someone!” Ah well. I feel better now that the bathrooms are clean. The next thing on my agenda is moving some of Caleb’s toys from the main family room down to the basement playroom so I can bring some more baby items up like the swing.

I already shampooed the carpets and have the bassinet set up in our room. I still need to pack the hospital bag, but I have a mental list of items I need to pack. Sometimes I feel like I have no time and that this baby could come next week (same gestation as Caleb) and other days, I feel like I have plenty of time and I should just do one thing a day. Argh!

Caleb is 3!

This week on February 25, my big boy turned 3! This day sort of snuck up on us and we had his birthday party the weekend beforehand. This year, we decided to have it at a bouncy house per his request and for once, we didn’t have to clean up afterwards :) That was a big plus being 29w pregnant!

The night before his party, I stayed up late so I could bake him a special cake from scratch…a 3 layer yellow cake (it had 8 egg yolks in it) and strawberry swiss meringue buttercream frosting. I put sprinkles on the side and wrote a simple “Happy 3rd Birthday, Caleb” on it. The entire cake had 10 sticks of butter! I also made him a shirt since the one I had ordered from Etsy didn’t arrive on time. I sent Steve scrambling for materials at Walmart at 9pm, but it all worked out in the end.

Caleb with his cake and shirt made by yours truly :)

He had so much fun at his party! We had about 12 kids there and it was nice because we had the bouncy house place to ourselves (no crazy kids plowing over the little ones) and they could run around and explore everything. After 30 minutes, we moved into a second room with more bouncy options. When the full hour was up, I tried to get a group photo, but Caleb refused to smile because he was sad the bouncing was over.

Then, it was time for food and cake! I ordered cupcakes for the kids, but Caleb didn’t want any–he wanted my strawberry cake!! It melted my heart :) We had pizza and a fruit platter for the kids and pizza, baked ziti and salad for the adults. The cake was a big hit (yay for butter) and there was nothing left at the end of the party.

3yrsold

birthday boy with his mom and pops

On Tuesday was his actual birthday so when he woke up, I sang “happy birthday” to him. I made him some birthday pancakes (inspired by another March mama, Rebecca, where she posts a recipe and shares pics of her cuties). I didn’t have yellow cake mix nor Bisquick on hand so I was Googling to see if there was something I could make with the items I already had at home. It was snowing so I didn’t really want to head out to the store, but I used this recipe and it was great.

Caleb and his birthday pancakes

Caleb and his birthday pancakes

So, next we got cleaned up and I set up an area for Caleb’s 3 year interview where there are 20 questions that he answers and the idea is to ask the same questions every year. I’ve watched this video so many times because it’s just so funny! His answers, his tangents, his mannerisms (how he crosses his legs, tapping his chin while thinking), I love it so much!

1. What is your favorite color? pink & green
2. What is your favorite toy? dinosaurs
3. What is your favorite fruit? cantaloupe, pineapple, bread (ha), watermelon
4. What is your favorite tv show? Team Umizoomi
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? noodles, broccoli & chicken
6. What is your favorite outfit? shirt, pants, underwear
7. What is your favorite game? hide & seek
8. What is your favorite snack? fruit leather
9. What is your favorite animal? cow & pinkfoot (from Bubble Guppies I think)
10. What is your favorite song? ABCs
11. What is your favorite book? Frederick
12. Who is your best friend? Aidan & Aaron Patrick
13. What is your favorite cereal? banana (banana Cheerios) & elephant cereal (Wegman’s organic frosted flakes)
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play in the snow and throw snowballs at Daddy’s face
15. What is your favorite drink? water, milk & lemonade
16. What is your favorite holiday? I don’t know
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? brown doggy
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? marshmallows (?? LOL)
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? cake
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? a doctor

And then I snapped a few photos because that’s just what I do!

my 3 year old!

Caleb at 1, 2 and now 3

He’s such a little person with so much personality! I love the things that come out of his mouth now. Just the other day, I told him he talked too much and he retorted with, “No, I don’t. You talk too much. You always say ‘blah blah blah'”. It took me back and Steve just laughed his butt off.

Caleb’s currently in a parents day out program once a week, but just got accepted into their preschool program that will meet three times a week starting this fall. He’s currently taking karate and swim lessons, too. When did my lil’ guy get so big?

 

DIY raw coconut milk, coconut flour and coconut butter

So, we’ve dabbled in the paleo world on and off for just over a year now. Steve’s never quite lost the baby weight he gained while I was pregnant with Caleb and with Jenna on the way, he’s determined to lose some weight before her arrival. He joined a gym a few months ago and is on the paleo bandwagon again.

He bought a couple of coconuts last week exactly for this project and then left them on the counter top while he flew to TX to help his mom move and drive back to MD so today, I finally decided to do something about them. In about an hour, I had  2 quarts of fresh coconut milk, a pint of coconut flour ready to be dehydrated and 4 oz of coconut cream that will be made into coconut oil.

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Grab yourself two mature coconuts. The ones here are pre-scored for easier cracking

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Whack your coconut open. I used a badass meat cleaver.

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Once your coconut cracks, you can wedge it open with a butter knife. Up to you if you want to save or toss the coconut water inside. Some people will drink it like Gatorade, though when we were in Hawaii, we were told that drinking too much of it will give you the runs.

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There you have yourself a beautiful coconut!

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I used a spoon to wedge the coconut meat from the shell. Use a veggie peeler to remove the rest of the shell.

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Add about 1/2 the coconut meat to a food processor with a cup of water. If you have a blender, you could probably do everything all at once. Add less water if you want more of a coconut cream like you’d find in a can.

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Let it go to town for a bit.

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Once you’re done blending, pour everything in a cheesecloth over a bowl.

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SQUEEEEEEZE! The liquid will be your coconut milk.

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When you’re done squeezing, save the coconut pulp.

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Spread your pulp onto the tray you’d use for fruit leather on your food dehydrator. Let it go for a few hours. Alternatively, you can do this in your oven at the lowest temp. Once it’s dried, pop it back in the food processor.

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In the end we had 2 quarts of coconut milk (we had already used some for our fruit smoothies earlier), a pint of coconut flour and coconut cream (which I’m currently making coconut oil).

So, there you have it! The coconut milk will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days to use it up! I already have plans for coconut infused rice and some butter chicken recipe that my friend Tina verbally told me how to make. Coconut flour can be used in all sorts of paleo baking, especially since Steve’s been on the quest on finding something sweet (he’s been making “cake in a cup”, brownies, cookies, etc).

As for the coconut oil, to make that you can skim the cream and let it ferment for 1-2 days. The oil and water will separate so then you can stick it in the fridge and scrape your oil. That is a work in progress and will be slathered all over my expanding belly :) [SEE BELOW FOR FASTER METHOD]

Oh and if you’re wondering what to do with the coconut shells, this is always fun!

A coconut bra for Caleb?

EDIT: For those who want their coconut oil faster and don’t want to wait for the fermentation process to take place, you can use this method that I saw on a YouTube video. You can heat up your cream on the stove and it will separate–the liquid is the oil so you just pour and strain that out. Voila! I got about 2 oz. in the end.

A faster way to make your coconut oil--heat it up! It will separate and then you can strain your oil.

A faster way to make your coconut oil–heat it up! It will separate and then you can strain your oil.

Fall is almost here!

We celebrated the the start of Labor Day with a trip to an apple orchard! I’ve been taking Caleb apple picking every year since he’s been in the womb because 1.) I LOVE mac apples 2.) they’re bigger, better and cheaper than buying at the grocery store and 3.) I have a lot of fond memories as a kid going apple picking and I hope that it is something Caleb will remember, too.

Last year, we went to Stribling Orchard 75 miles away in VA because I couldn’t find any other orchard that carried macs. Then a fellow mac lover and friend, Gloria, mentioned that Baugher’s had macs and it was also half the distance so the score was settled. 

We planned to go in the morning since it wouldn’t be as hot and humid, but got a late start. We arrived around 11am and the cloudy morning and cleared up! We took a tractor ride (which Caleb LOVED) to the orchard and they had one row of macs open. Perfect! We stuck around the same trees towards the front since they were so plentiful, the apples were huge and they had many that were low enough for Caleb to pick himself. We filled 1/2 a bushel in 10 minutes–just in time for the tractor to makes its round and come back.

I haven’t made any apple butter yet, but half our bag is gone already. We’ve been chomping on them like crazy especially since I made some honey caramel! I also made a paleo apple pie, but I swear if I want an apple pie next time, I’m making it the old fashioned way because the crust was SUCH a pain to work with. I’m just glad Steve likes it.

As for the rest of Labor Day weekend, we cleaned up the basement, added a counter height table and stools, and brought Caleb’s train table down so now he can play down there. Steve hosted his fantasy football draft on Sunday followed by a BBQ with some friends where everything was grilled by yours truly :) Corn, marinated drumsticks, baby-back ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs. The big hit was surprisingly the broccoli/cauliflower salad with feta cheese! Oh, and even though my caramel filled apples never fully set, they were still soooo good!

Tomorrow, we’re going peach picking one more time before the season is over with some friends. I’m hoping we can get some white peaches this time–yum!

 

paleo blackberry cobbler, paleo peach cobbler and conventional peaches & cream cobbler

Cobbler, cobbler, cobbler!

That seems to be the “thing” to make whenever we pick fruits. A few weeks back on a hot, sunny morning, my friend Kelly and her son (Caleb’s BFF), came up to go blackberry picking at the farm around the corner from our house. The blackberries were HUGE and we all filled our buckets with the sweet, juicy fruits while the boys sampled every other berry.


Our berry stash! Each bucket weighed ~8lbs.

With so many blackberries, the first thing I did was split my batch in half, wash them and freeze them. Then, from the remaining stash, I decided to make a paleo blackberry cobbler, a conventional blackberry cobbler and leave the rest to munch on.

If you’re looking for a simple and delicious conventional blackberry cobbler recipe, I always make the one by Pioneer Woman. This what what I made for my mother-in-law after my father-in-law passed when she had guests in the house.

Paleo Blackberry Cobbler (or Crumble)

enough blackberries to fill a 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish (~3 cups)
1 1/2c almond meal
1 egg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2Tbsp coconut oil
honey (optional, not needed if your fruit is really ripe)

Preheat your oven to 35-*f. Wash your blackberries by putting them in a big bowl filled with water and using your fingers as a colander to scoop them up. Pat them dry and place them in your casserole dish.

Mix the almond meal, egg, cinnamon and coconut oil until it almost looks like dough. Using your hands, you can form the “cobbler” dollaps over the blackberries or crumble it over them (like I did below).

Bake for 30-45 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

You can do this with almost any fruit to make a nice cobbler. I used the same recipe for a paleo peach cobbler since we went peach picking earlier on in the week and had sooo many left after I had made peach butters and fruit leathers. The topping was slightly different than the one I made with the blackberry cobbler because I ran out of almond meal and used coconut flour, but it was still very tasty.

Paleo Peach Cobbler

6-7 peaches, peeled, sliced & de-pitted
juice from 1/2 lemon
honey (optional, not needed if your fruit is really ripe)
1c coconut flour
1/2c almond meal
1 egg
2Tbsp coconut oil
1tsp cinnamon
1Tbsp arrowroot starch 

Preheat your oven to 350*f. Over medium heat, cook your peaches until they turn liquid-y. Mix the arrowroot starch with the lemon juice until it’s completely dissolved and add it to the peaches to thicken up the juices. Place them in a 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish and then mix the remaining ingredients together to make your dough. I formed a ball and squashed them in the palm of my hand and placed them on top of the peaches until the dish was covered. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and then you’re ready to eat!


Years ago when Steve and I purchased our first house in TX, it had a peach tree in the front yard. That summer, it yielded soooo much fruit that I met many of my neighbors who quickly introduced themselves and then then asked if they could pick from peaches. One of the things I made that summer was a peach cobbler with cream cheese in it. I didn’t remember the exact recipe and when I Googled, I didn’t find exactly what I wanted so I ended up combining a few recipes to make my own. I brought it to a birthday party that night and left with an empty casserole dish :)

Peaches and Cream Cobbler

6-7 peaches, peeled, sliced and de-pitted
juice from 1/2 a lemon
honey (optional, not needed if your fruit is really ripe)
8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/4c sugar for the cream cheese, 1c sugar for the batter, 1Tbsp for sprinkling
1c all purpose flour
1c milk for batter and 1/4c for the cream cheese
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350*f. Just like the other cobbler recipe, over medium heat, cook the peaches, juice from 1/2 a lemon and honey if you’re using any. Once the peaches have cooked, put them in a 3 qt casserole dish.

Mix the cream cheese, 1/4c sugar and 1/4c milk with a mixer until everything’s blended and smooth. Dollop the cream cheese mixture into your casserole dish.

Mix 1c flour, 1c sugar, 1 cup milk, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Pour the batter over the peaches and cream cheese mixture. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes before sprinkling on a sugar topping. Continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes.

The cake will sop up the oozy peach juices. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

Peach picking! And all the goodies made from them {vanilla peach butter, lavender peach butter, peach fruit leather}

We’re back from MA! We’ve been home for about a week now and finally got to go peach picking–our third year in a row :) I had planned to go peach picking in MA, but it rained. So, we did it here in good ol’ MD instead. We went to Larriland Farm which is the farm when we first went peach picking back when Caleb was a wee one.

I invited Steve’s mom to join us and we met at the orchard. The peaches were HUGE and plentiful that we barely had to move from the 1-2 trees we started at. You never seen peaches this big at the grocery store. We ended up filling our 1/2 bushel box within 15 minutes with 26 lbs of delicious peaches! I went to take some pictures and realized I forgot the memory card to my SLR! Grr…so point & shoot pictures will do.

me and my lil’ guy

Caleb going to work and him and Bubbie showing off the fruit of our labor

When we got home and I put Caleb down for a nap, I went to work! I had visions of peach butter, fruit leather and cobblers in my future. I first started off with a vanilla peach butter recipe that I could make in the crock pot. We ended up using it on our toast the next morning and Caleb was a big fan!

Crock Pot vanilla peach butter–I used honey as a sweetener so it’d be paleo friendly (pretend the bread isnt there…)

Then, I stumbled on a recipe for lavender peach butter. I was first introduced to lavender in food back when we lived in TX and LOVED it so when I saw it, I knew I had to try it. This one I made on the stove top since my Crock Pot was soaking in the sink–the sugar content had caramelized so it was really on there!

lavender peach butter–buds and all. I’m enjoying this on a piece of toast now as I type :)

My next project was peach fruit leather. I didn’t have a dehydrator so I used my oven by lining a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. It did take a LONG time. I started at 5pm, but by the time we went to bed, it wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t brave enough to leave the oven on all night so I had Steve shut it off and I started it back up in the morning when we all woke up. After a few hours, it was finally ready!

Select five peaches. This will make enough for a 17×11 jelly roll pan.

Peel & de-pit your peaches and place them in a pot on medium heat on the stove


After a few minutes, your peaches should cook and look liquidy like this. Add a sweetener if you’d like though if your peaches are super ripe, it won’t be necessary. I added some honey to ours.


Once your peaches have cooked and any sweetener you’ve added has melted, take an immersion blender and puree everything until it’s smooth. You can put everything in a food processor, but I love the immersion blender because clean up is easy and I can do everything in the pot.


Pour  your peach puree onto your lined jelly roll pan. Tap the edges to make sure everything is even. You’ll want it to be about 1/4″ thick.


Place in the oven at the lowest setting (150-200*f) for 6-8 hours depending on your oven. Your fruit leather will be ready when the center is no longer tacky. Often times, the sides will be ready before the center so I usually start cutting the edges off first and put the center back in the oven.


Cut along the shorter edge of the fruit leather for “Fruit Roll Up” style leathers. The fruit will peel easily from the parchment paper.


Store your goods in an airtight container and enjoy!

Next on my agenda is peach cobbler! I ended up making on for my family with store bought peaches despite the weather foiling my plans. It was delicious and a big hit. I used the Food Network’s recipe for buttermilk biscuit peach cobbler (without the plums). Still turned out great.

 

ch-ch-ch-chia! Paleo vanilla chia seed pudding

If you can get over the look of chia seeds once it absorbs the coconut milk, then this pudding is actually pretty good and not to mention packed with omega-3, anti-oxidants, fiber and protein. It’s got the consistency of tapioca (which used to be my favorite as a kid). Since buying a huge back from Costco, I’ve been trying to figure out ways of using it short of just adding them to water and chugging them (I’ve added them to smoothies, baking in muffins and stuffed cabbage).

Paleo Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

2c coconut or almond milk
1/4c honey, maple syrup or agave syrup
1/2c chia seeds
2tspn vanilla extract

Mix everything together and let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours in a covered bowl. Give it a good stir about half-way through. Top of fruit, add cinnamon or cocoa to jazz it up though I’m a Plain Jane and like it simple like this.

We’re back from our cruise! Paleo blueberry-lemon mini muffins…

We’re baaaaaaaack! After taking almost a month off for traveling, and cruising, we’re slowly getting back into the swing of things. Our Mediterranean cruise was AMAZING and we ended up going to seven countries during our trip. And as much as I enjoyed not having to cook or clean for that long, I missed Caleb like CRAZY and couldn’t wait to get back home to him. More cruise details in a later post…

After eating like gluttonous pigs on the cruise (four course meals every.single.day), we’re set on a healthier life style. Steve is really set on being paleo and sticking to it this time so I’m going along with it for the ride.

I took Caleb blueberry picking for the first time to catch the tail end of the season. It was sooo hot even in the morning that we ended up quitting after 30 minutes. Caleb really enjoyed the tractor ride and the novelty of picking blueberries faded in 5 minutes though he did like seeing all the beetles that were eating the berries. We (or I) picked just under a pound of blueberries so today, I decided to make…


Paleo Blueberry-Lemon Mini Muffins

1c almond flour
1/2c coconut flour
1/2c flaxseed meal
2Tbsp chia seeds
1/4 honey, maple syrup, agave syrup or sweetener of your choice
1ts baking soda
1/2ts kosher salt
2 eggs
1/4c coconut or almond milk
juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/2c of blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350*f. Line or grease your mini muffin pan (this recipe is perfect for one that is for 24 mini muffins). Mix dry and wet ingredients before gently folding in blueberries. Drop in a tablespoon of dough for each muffin (I found it easier to do this by hand). Bake for 20-30 minutes and you’ll have yourself a tasty treat!

I’m sure you could make them into regular sized muffins or even a loaf. I went with the mini muffin option since Caleb tends to eat more of things that are bite sized. And feel free to use just almond flour or coconut flour. I just happened to have a bunch of stuff and wanted to use the last of my coconut flour and flaxseed meal so I could reclaim some of my fridge space back. Lemons and blueberries go so well together (I made some blueberry-lemon ricotta pancakes back in the day that were soooo good). 

Enjoy!!

 

 

Long time, no post. Salad in a Mason Jar.

I have a Pintrest account, but I’m not on there very much. Every once in a while though, something will intrigue me and catch my eye and the salad in the mason jar was exactly that! The concept is pretty simple–you basically layer salad items in a quart sized mason jar so that the dressing and things that would make lettuce wilty in a day on the bottom and build your way up leaving the lettuce last. You can make these ahead of time so you have a salad ready to go for a meal.

This seemed like a great idea especially since I often make huge salads, but then they just sit in the fridge for days because after the first day, no one feels like assembling it. I decided to make them for Steve since he’s always trying to figure out what to bring (which is usually leftovers from the night before) and then forget. This way, he can bring a few to leave at the fridge at work and have it on hand.

I’ll have to ask him how the salads fare after a few days. I read online you could make a week’s worth and they’d still be good, but someone else said ideally, you’ll want to eat them within 3-4 days.


I bought a 12 pack of quart sized mason jars for $9.99 at Target. I ran them through the dishwasher while prepping the salad goodies. Once they were ready, I set up an assembly line.


I made my own balsamic vinegrette for the dressing. Super easy: a 1:1 ratio of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I also minced some garlic and rosemary for some extra nom.

Then, I started layering! Dressing, beets, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, mandarin oranges….

…chopped eggs and then romaine lettuce! I chopped four heads to fill six jars.


I really packed everything tightly to make sure it was an adequate amount of food for Steve. And now he’s set for lunch for the week (and there’s even a few extra for me).

Next week, I might jazz things up with some quinoa and varying the flavors and veggies up a bit.

Does anyone else make salad in a jar? Or have been suckered into a Pintrest meal? Please share!

Project 365, Day 88: veggies and compost

Yesterday, we got a box delivered to our door in the morning. I had totally forgotten that our delivery date for our produce box was Thursday so it was a pleasant surprise. I had bought a Groupon for this box just to try it out since I’ve always wanted to join a CSA share of veggies. It was $20 for this box which is said to feed a family of 3-4 for a week. It was well worth the money!

The list of goodies in our box


The green stuff: 3 bunches of broccoli, 4 leeks, a head of lettuce and a bunch of mint

tomatoes, mushrooms, pears and gala apples


potatoes and red onions

 

What I made today is my photo for Project 365 – potato leek soup with the goodies from our box

A lil’ fun with the macro lens of the onion


One thing I always wanted to do was start a compost.  When we lived in TX, I bought a countertop compost collector with a carbon filter so it’d cut the smell, but I never used it because I never got around to setting up an actual compost out in our yard. We have three dogs and I needed something that they wouldn’t get into. I didn’t know about the tumbling composter back then because the only people that I knew who compost built their own or just use some pallette to section an area off.

Anyway, now we’re more conscious about our food. We bought a cow share. I shop organically when I can. And now I want to join a CSA share for produce. Composting just seem natural that it was going to happen. We go through so many fruits and veggies that their peelings alone could fill up an entire garbage can within a month. Add to that at least a dozen eggs that Steve goes through each week and the coffee grinds.

I did a bit of research as to how to compost. Basically, we need a 4:1 ratio of “brown” matter (newspapers, dried leaves/grass, etc) to “green” matter (the stuff from the kitchen). No meat or animal products.

All this week, I started collecting items for my compost and since I cooked such a large meal for Passover,   my counterspace for compost was quickly filling up! I have a plastic bucket that we bought from the farm around the corner that we used for our berries (it’s about a gallon) that I use for my kitchen scraps that was overfilling in addition to an empty matzo box filled with stuff and another plastic container.

So yesterday, I had to buy the tumbling composter. I went to Home Depot and bought this one that was 5 cubic feet and had two chambers for $90 with the military discount. I went home and put it together in less than 45 minutes after I had peeled and de-seeded the tomatoes from the produce box to make a pasta sauce. Caleb wanted to help so it took a bit longer, but still made pretty good timing especially with the help of an electric screwdriving and universal socket wrench. There are a LOT of nuts and bolts.

And if anyone is going to purchase the same composter, you will note that the instructions are HORRIBLE. I didn’t even use them because I found this picture tutorial that was really helpful over here.


Ta-da! The composter on our deck though I will probably move it off.


With the goodies from our kitchen with some newspaper and brown leaves.

It’s only been a day, but so far I’m pleased with my purchase. It’s easy to turn and I think we’ll probably fill the left side in a month. Then, we can start on the right side and hopefully by the time that’s filled, the left will have turned into some awesome soil! Plus, the dogs haven’t been interested in it so that’s another bonus!