for people who break into song in real life

Category: food and cooking

Carrot Ends and Parsley Stems = Stock Money

I keep a freezer bag where we put onion skins, garlic peels, the woody parts of asparagus, bell pepper cores, celery stubs, anything that might contribute to good stock.

When the bag fills, time to get out the Instant Pot or just the pot. Either works.

Here’s my bag. And here’s the end of a roast chicken.

Put that in an Instant Pot or a big ole pot of any kind. Add water, salt, bay leaf, and anything else you want your stock to taste like.

For the Instant Pot, High Pressure for an hour and a half. For your regular pot, bring to boil and simmer for a long time until it tastes like you want it to taste.

Pour it out, and you’ve got veggie/chicken/bone broth gold.

And you can use it for all kinds of things. This day, I used it for a rice and beans bowl riff. Using what you got. Another pro tip, broth makes you fuller, so you’ll feel all cozy and ready for your afternoon.

leftover rice, beans, crushed tomato, chicken stock, cumin and salt, roast chicken, cilantro, some sour cream, and avocado.

Use-What-You-Got Picnic Salad

We had a family picnic last week, and I made this salad out of our end-of-week fridge:

For your own salad brain, these are things that dance well together: good dressing (many possibilities in the pantry), greens, some crunchy things, a protein (beans, meat, egg, etc), other textures (starches, soft things like avocado, sweet potato, goat cheese).

Here’s how this one worked out.


  • Dressing: lemon zest and juice, Dijon mustard, salt, maple syrup
  • kale
  • bell pepper
  • leftover chicken breast, brown rice, mushrooms
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sweet potato
  • Everything but the Bagel Seasoning

Start the dressing in the bottom of your bowl. You need an acid, an emulsifier, salt, and something sweet if you want that.

This is lemon zest, juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and a little maple syrup;

Then see what kind of greens you have. We had a big ole bag of untouched kale, so that’s what I grabbed. Put it in your dressing and squeeze those greens. Kale needs encouragement.

We had leftover chicken breast, brown rice, and shrooms, so I threw that on there. Leftover starches and proteins are great in sallets.

I added cherry tomato, an orange bell pepper, a leftover sweet potato, and Everything but the Bagel Seasoning from TJ’s.

And there you have picnic deliciousness. Don’t forget the forks.

This Bread Recipe Will Make You Feel Like a Competent Baker and Your House’ll Smell Great

This recipe is a riff on Alexandra’s Peasant Bread. Our friend Scotty Humphries brought us a fresh baked loaf of this stuff soon after our second son was born, and = life changed. She shared the recipe with me, and this is the way I like to do it.

Flour (4 cups) [I use 2 all purpose 2 whole wheat]
Salt (2 tsp) Go ahead and add a lil more if you want
Sugar (2 tsp)
Instant Yeast (2 1/4 tsp, pre-measured in the packet)
Lukewarm water (2 cups)

You don’t need a mixer for this. You can do it by hand in a bowl. I like using the mixer because it was my Grandma’s, and I like to let the dough hook do some kneading for this no-knead recipe.

Mix or sift the dry ingredients together then add your water and bring the dough together. Again here, I appreciate the work the dough hook does for me. I’ve done this in a bowl with a mixing spoon and bare hands as well.

Cover with a damp tea towel and set out in a warmish place for an hour and a half.

It’ll double in size.

Coat two pyrex bowls with butter, divide the dough in two, and place uncovered in the bowls. Preheat the oven to 425 and let them rise a little until the oven comes to temp.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 375. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Turn them out and let them cool. And you have delicious homemade wheat bread.

The Secret in that Languishing Dill Pickle Jar

To make a kickass salad dressing, you need acid, an emulsifier, and salt.

The other day I was outa lemons, and I needed a little somethin somethin. Then I spied the dill pickle jar in the back of the fridge. And magic ensued.

Here’s a recent lunch construction featuring my own hillbilly Tzatziki riff.

Here’s what I pulled from the quickly-emptying fridge:

Yogurt, dill pickle juice, scallion and salt. Mix that and add your chunky cucumbers. (I only had a little bit of yogurt left, so I put everything in the container together and shook.)

Chopped romaine and carrots done with the veggie peeler on top of that. There’s some chicken breast I batch cooked in the Instant Pot a couple days before.

Mix that with your hands and into some salad bowls. Thanks for the pretty bowls, Mama.

Toss the chicken in the remaining dressing.

Add hummus, whole wheat pita, use a rubber spatula to get all that dressing out of the bowl, and there’s a yummy lunch.

These Are Bananas and Eggs

A recent discovery in our house is the banana and egg pancake. They taste like crepes, and they are delicious.

What we do:
two eggs to one banana (you can experiment with this ratio)
pinch of salt/to taste
a lil bit of vanilla extract

Mix all that together (an immersion blender is very helpful)

Non-stick skillet
TJ’s Avocado spray
Make them like pancakes
The flipping part was a learning curve for me, so be patient with yourself.

Top with what looks good to you or nothing at all. These are delicious leftover right outa the fridge.

In the pic, these are topped with berries zhoozhed with some good balsamic vinegar.

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