Protect the Pantry: Croutons

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Last week I posted an introduction to my “Protect the Pantry” series. If you didn’t have a chance to read it, please do so by CLICKING HERE!

The goal of this series is to create dialogue and conversation around food waste. There as so many ways we can grocery shop in our own kitchens and create food and meals with items we already have. I also want to encourage you to recycle or re purpose foods you might otherwise toss out.

Recently I purchased a loaf of Italian bread. I’m not sure why, but I did. By the end of the week i’d used only half the loaf, with no intention of using the rest. As I was sitting there meal planning for the week I wanted to find a way to re purpose this slightly stale bread.

Then I remembered, there’s almost no better way to re purpose bread than using it for croutons. Here are 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Tear or cut leftover bread to bite sized cubes.

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Step 2: Toss in olive oil, melted butter, or a combination of both — being sure not to saturate the bread.

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Step 3: Season — I typically use Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese but be sure to try your own flavor combination.

Step 4:Toast in a 400°F oven for 5-10 minutes until your desired crispiness! Enjoy on top your salad or as a snack! Store in an airtight container. 

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I decided to base my weekly meals around ingredients that I could use in multiple recipes and that used ingredients I already had in my pantry and fridge. I settled on a Black and Blue salad as a backdrop for my croutons.

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My salad was inspired by Creme de la Crumb. I used romaine lettuce, skirt steak, caramelized onions, tomatoes, avocado, and croutons. I topped with Honest Fare’s Guitless Blue Cheese Dressing

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Autumn is here (sort of)! Take a trip to the North Georgia State Fair

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The first day of fall was this past Thursday, September 22nd. Unfortunately it’s doesn’t seem like fall yet because the daytime temperatures are averaging in the high 80s.

I think fall means different things for different people. For some, they look forward to the pumpkin spice latte’s, flannel, boots, scarves, and bonfires. For others it’s the leaves changing, mountain road trips, and s’mores.

For me, Autumn brings so much more. Our wedding anniversary is in the fall, September 27th the be exact, I celebrate a birthday, and fall brings some of the best events, holidays, and foods.

To kick off the fall season, William and I took a trip to the 84th Annual North Georgia State Fair! I don’t think anything can kick off the season better than a fair! The lights, the sights, the rides, and of course, the food gets me excited about the coming weather change.

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There were a LOT of good food choices this year. We made two laps before deciding on a few places to try. William stuck with his traditional smoked turkey leg. For $10 you get the biggest turkey leg ever… and trust me you don’t need a side. One turkey leg is plenty.

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I settled on a massive plate of curly fries topped with bacon, cheese, jalapeños, and sour cream. William finished off the evening with a very traditional funnel cake!

They also had fresh squeezed lemonade that they sell at these giant lemon-lemonade stands. $6.00 initially and then $3.00 for refills.

Of course if you want some crazy food items there’s plenty more to pick from. Amish baking co had some massive donuts, there were a few gyro stands, a noodle stop, and of course the deep fried everything stop.

The fair has some cool attractions this year. William and I loved the Eudora Farms Exotic Petting Zoo. They had some cool animals and it was great being able to be so close to them! There were some “traditional” farm animals but there were also lamas, and zebras and a multitude of other fun mammals.

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One thing I was impressed to see this year were the baby tending stations. It’s always so great to see events that allow areas for moms to use in the case that they need to change diapers, tend to their kids, or even nurse.

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We had a blast, saw quite a few people we knew, and enjoyed ringing in fall with a Cobb Country tradition!

The fair runs from September 22nd – October 2nd at J. R. Miller Park in Marietta, GA. Admission is $7 for adults and kids 10 and under are free! The daily schedule is available online and includes information regarding concerts, contests, and admission discounts.

Sometimes breaks are needed, but I’ll be back!

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It’s been a while. I’ve had 6 drafts sitting on my site. 6 fully or partially written drafts that I just haven’t haven’t felt compelled to post.

The first is about my easy mashed potatoes. The second is a post about our Asheville trip and a restaurant that had oysters on almost every menu item (even in the beer). The third is “tales of travel” from the cruise we took last year. The fourth, a quick no recipe lunch. The 5th, a gift guide for the foodies in your life. The final, is a recipe for one of my “famous” Sweet by Lauren cakes.

They’ve all been there but for some reason I felt they haven’t been worthy of the blog.

In the last 6 months I’ve done so much: reached goals, traveled, cooked, entertained, and none of it has been documented here. I hosted Easter brunch for the second year in a row. I graduated from graduate school and became only one of two women in my immediate family to do so. My sister had her second child and I threw what I thought was one of the most fun events I’ve thrown in a while for her shower.  I’ve traveled to Florida twice, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So many great meals, events, and recipes but all still in my head or scribbled on a piece of paper somewhere.

Life has happened and for some reason I haven’t been compelled to share. I know that blogging is just an opportunity for me to share a little bit of my life with you and my goal is to do better.

A little pinch here and there can create one of the best plates you’ve ever seen! Hopefully those plates can turn into an amazing party! The purpose of this blog is to share that with you!

I hope you enjoy every step of my journey as I continue to share my life with you.

More to come soon and don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting that cake recipe!