What Is In The Bottom Of The Bucket ? - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 314185

Swampy's Kitchen

What is in the bottom of the bucket ? 
Nov. 1, 2013 9:15 am 
Updated: Nov. 5, 2013 9:48 am

Halloween has now come & gone and for the first time in two years, kids in New Jersey were back on the streets & sidewalks running from door to door. There seemed to be a certain “electricity” in the air and the excitement level could be felt everywhere you looked. At the end of the night, my son’s pumpkin bucket was so heavy that he had me carry it from door to door for him. He only took it from me for those last few steps before ringing the doorbell. When we finally got home, we dumped it all out and started to see what was there. It’s kind of like taking the “pumpkin bucket” off my shoulders and dumping it out too. So let’s see what was rattling around in there this time.

Sometimes when I sit down to write a blog I stare at the computer screen in much the same way I stare at the fridge, the pantry or the snack cake aisle in our local convenience store. So many choices but so little to choose.

I recently used a crockpot to make chili for the first time. Let me just say - Never Again. I felt disconnected from the whole process and the chili came out watery in the end. It wasn’t something to do on my bucket list but I can now go ahead and cross that experiment off of it anyway.

The food at the diner by the train station must be criminal because the local cops are parked there every morning.

Had a post-Halloween Breakfast Dilemma this morning, should I have a short stack of Nestle’s Crunch, a big bowl of M&M’s, some Scrambled Skittles or two Snickers over easy ?

Speaking of Over Easy Eggs, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, I have had some trouble flipping brown eggs and breaking the yolks. I now think it may be something in my technique. You can judge for yourself with this little video.


This past month there have been an awful lot of blogs about the simple Tater Tot. Who knew that this could be such a versatile item in the kitchen ? We threw cheese & bacon on ours and then cut them into chunks and served them with various sides. Almost like a “Po-Tater Tot Skin”. I think the most ingenious use of the Tot I saw was the Bacon Wrapped Tater Tot with flavored bacon. This is a dish that could make my Super Bowl menu.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, did you know it is going to be in the New York/New Jersey area this year ? If you worked in NYC like I do, you would know there are 93 days until kickoff from the multiple countdown clocks that are in various spots around the city.

And speaking of the Super Bowl being in NY/NJ, it means that one of the dishes I will be serving on Super Bowl Sunday will be NY/NJ inspired. I already know it won’t be bagels, dirty water dogs or cheesecake. I also have to figure out dishes to represent the two teams playing in the Super Bowl and based on the results at the halfway point of this season, I think I will be looking at possible dishes from either Denver or Kansas City from the American Conference and from Seattle or New Orleans in the National Conference. Any thoughts or suggestions over the next eight weeks leading up to the playoffs will be helpful. And just because I think it is down to those four teams doesn’t mean I’m right. Let me know what you think.

Of course if the chiefs make it to the Super Bowl over my Broncos, I will be left with a taste in my mouth that is worse than an orange juice & toothpaste breakfast combo.

And speaking of football that has nothing to do with food, I am going to the Oregon vs Stanford game next week. My mother was a CAL grad (1952) and I know that she will haunt me forever if I cheer for Stanford. Go Ducks.

It’s Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread time again and last weekend I made thirty one pound loaves. Almost all of them have been given away already. Teachers at school stand with their noses pressed against the glass hoping my son or daughters will be stopping by their room. It’s definitely not me, it’s the recipe.


Thanksgiving is at our house this year which leaves me with yet another small dilemma. In years past when cooking the Bird, I always had to start it at my house, throw the Bird in the car for an hour drive and then finish it elsewhere. The Bird has always been perfect. So this year, do I take the Bird out early and throw it in the car for an hour ? Do I actually take it for a drive ? I do get to make two small practice Birds in two weeks when I help out with the Second Grade Thanksgiving Feast so maybe they can be my guinea pigs…

I noticed that the blogs are off the front page of allrecipes.com now. I guess that just gives everyone another excuse not to read them.

Best exchange of the night last night, Me: “Do you want my flashlight ?” My Son: “Dad, I’m Batman. I own the night.”

And finally, there is a note at the bottom of my cryptic blog notes from the past couple of days that says simply “Catch & Release”. I know it has nothing to do with fish and it was written at a very early hour on the train. Other than that, I have no idea what it was supposed to allude to.

Come back next time when I write about a real topic and not just the stuff leftover in the bottom of the Halloween Pumpkin Bucket or on the back of the bottom shelf.

Nov. 1, 2013 9:24 am
A 'laugh out loud' delight, as always Doug!
Nov. 1, 2013 9:43 am
Your blogs always bring a smile to my face. Great ramblings, I don't mind if there was "no topic". "Dad, I'm Batman. I own the night" cracked me up!
Nov. 1, 2013 9:46 am
"I'm Batman, I own the night"...LOL! That is just perfect for a Friday morning! No tricksters or treats at our house. We live in a place that's not conducive to foot traffic, so we never have any. So that means no candy here, either. 30 loaves of pumpkin bread? Holy cow, have you been busy! I do like that recipe, but my way of course...I always use sweet potato because...well, I'm Southern..'nuff said. :) I noticed the blogs were gone, too, from the front page. I know some people complained about the multiple blogs on sponsor products...maybe this was in reponse to that? They don't bother me now that I know to expect them. As for the super bowl...I'm not counting out the Pack yet! Despite the injuries they've suffered, they have a far more balanced offense now, and they might just pull it off. As to the Thanksgiving turkey, mine is a breast and is destined for the smoker! And the carcass will make a mean turkey stock afterwards. Have a great weekend!
Nov. 1, 2013 9:47 am
Great blog Doug! Kept me chuckling the whole time. I've got to say Go Ducks, I'd like to see you take youe turkey for a drive and while its a long shot I'm hoping those Packers can get with it. I'd prefer some cheesy goodness in my Super Bowl menu. Wait...Who am I kidding, there is ALWAYS cheesy goodness in my house! ;)
Nov. 1, 2013 9:47 am
:-) great stuff again Doug! loved the one about the food at the diner...lol thanks for sharing your thoughts....and i agree about the chili in the crockpot. i mean, mine comes out ok that way, but i rather do it the old fashioned way on the stove top. :-) have a great rest of your Friday!
Nov. 1, 2013 9:55 am
Hi sassyoldlady and thanks - hope you have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 10:16 am
Hi MochaMe & thanks, I'm glad I do. My 8 year old son was so serious too. I thought I was going to fall over. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 10:18 am
Hi wisweetp - no trick or treaters at our house either - too dark & too far off the beaten path. Sweet potato works too though I use it in a great sweet potato cake recipe I found on here that i glaze with an orange sugary syrup type glaze. Pack still look strong despite the injuries and they can never be overlooked. Glad you stopped by - have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 10:20 am
Too cute Doug "I won the night!" The things they say huh? I thought of you on Wed http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Exchange/Recipe-Request.aspx?RequestID=314008
Nov. 1, 2013 10:20 am
"not won - own" ;-)
Nov. 1, 2013 10:20 am
Hi K-Dub and thanks - sentiment is leaning toward at least a short spin around the neighborhood with the Bird. Like I said to wisweetp - can't count out the Pack just yet and yes, CHEESE will be on the Super Bowl menu no matter who is playing. My wife commands/demands it and so do the kids. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 10:22 am
Hi njmom - (shhh - it's the Morristown Diner - never seen anyone but cops there....hmmmm)...and I am glad you feel the same way about the chili. I just feel you have to "work" the chili. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 10:23 am
Lol, great blog. You might want to try not throwing the eggs in the air like a baseball. Just gently flip them, it doesn't take much.
Nov. 1, 2013 10:26 am
Hi Heather - sorry I missed that the other night. I have never had that hot sauce and I usually stay away from suaces that have waivers or things like that. Having siad that, I have tried a chicken wing with ghost pepper EXTRACT on it and it was not a pleasant experience. Whoa. All the sauces & spices on my rack are fair game for use in the kitchen and quite a few do actually come down. Some are older than my kids and even I wouldn't be "brave" enough to open them but maybe Batman would. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 10:28 am
Thanks bd - some mornings I just can't seem to find the spatula. You should have seen the splatter the day before when I tried to flip them a little earlier. My wife almost banned me from my own kitchen. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 10:32 am
Who needs a topic? You do very well without one, Doug! B.T.W., agree with bd.weld. I think your yolks break when they hit the pan on the flip. That being said, I still enjoyed the video. Next time I'd like to see those pearly whites!
Nov. 1, 2013 10:41 am
Hi Bibi & thanks - I have a feeling that this is a losing battle with the eggs until I decide to start eating them over hard. The teeth are getting there. Full temps are in now while the posts solidify. Then we move into the final stage/phase and we start eating apples again. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 12:45 pm
Great blog!
Nov. 1, 2013 1:59 pm
You have such a way with words! I enjoyed your blog, as always. Thank you. And, I say take that big bird for a ride around the block - what can it hurt?? ;)
Nov. 1, 2013 2:30 pm
Thanks Cheryl - so what's cooking now ? We have steaks & pork loins about to hit the grill pan. Have a great weekend
Nov. 1, 2013 2:31 pm
Thanks Mother Ann - I am leaning toward a short drive with much pomp & circumstance. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 3:42 pm
Loved it! Such a fun read... I had to chuckle at myself... found the longer I read the faster I read! Lol! I'm tired but smiling! Thanks again for a good read!
Nov. 1, 2013 3:57 pm
Hi Terry & thanks - I find the more I write the less I say but the paragraphs do seem to get longer. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 4:28 pm
K-Dub - my sincere apologies - I swore my response to you posted but it must have been during that funky period today when AR wasn't really surprising. I am thinking the turkey goes for at least a quick spin and don't worry, there will be cheese. My wife & children will demand it. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013 6:45 pm
I have always enjoyed your blogs. You can always drive your turkey here. So Doug when will it be apple time? Have a great night.
Nov. 1, 2013 11:47 pm
I have taken my children for rides in the car when they were babies to get them to sleep but I never realized it would improve a turkey. This was a fun read as usual. And yes, I feel like AR departments don't communicate with each other, we should blog but the software is really glitchy and they bury the list. Oh well!
Nov. 3, 2013 6:14 pm
I came across your blog while trying to decide, baked, fried, smothered, grilled, broiled or BBQ. Unlike your son, I do not own the night. Great blog! I'm a fan.
Nov. 4, 2013 2:48 am
Great blog, a little bit of everything going on all at once, sort of reminds me of my own mind. Take the turkey for a drive again, after all you OWN that tradition. By the way, if I flipped an egg like that it would end up in the burner. :-)
Nov. 4, 2013 4:45 am
Good morning manella - hope you had a nice weekend. Impressions are being made today for the final implants. It looks like 2014 will be apple biting time.
Nov. 4, 2013 4:48 am
Good morning BigShotsMom - I remember those car rides oh so well. The turkey drive was born out of necessity many years ago due to my mothers health at the time. I think I may just have to do it for her memory....and the blogs going off the front page really does bother me. I may have to make mention of it some more....
Nov. 4, 2013 4:49 am
Good morning Blue_Banana - I am glad that somehow my blog hit one of those marks for you and thanks for stopping by & leaving a comment. I hope you have a great week.
Nov. 4, 2013 4:51 am
Good morning *sherri* - I think we all have a little bit of this that streaming through our minds all day. My daughter strictly FORBADE me from flipping her eggs at breakfast yesterday. I wanted to mess them up on purpose in spit....but I didn't. Hope you have a great week. Thanks for stopping by.
Nov. 4, 2013 6:46 am
Hello, Doug! I love all of your breakfast options. I retired from teaching, and I loved the homemade baked goods. Some people though wouldn't share their recipe. Loved your blog which of course leads to my own rambling of thoughts. I remember the days when my kids would go trick-or treating. Usually, it would snow on Halloween. I must be on a pumpkin kick. Pumpkin bread or pumpkin donuts?
Nov. 4, 2013 6:48 am
Your blog brought back fond memories of candy sorting. I would lay out a big sheet on the floor and each child staked out a corner where the contents of their buckets were deposited. The center was reserved for anything that was considered a discard. (That pile was usually deposited into the buckets of the late teenage trick or treats, who often wore no costumes.) The sorting and trading was such fun. As for that crock pot, I will pass. I can't think of a single recipe that is better done in the slow cooker.
Nov. 4, 2013 7:06 am
LOL - I just went and watched your video! Doug, try not tossing those eggs 4 feet in the air! Thanks for the laugh.
Nov. 4, 2013 7:12 am
Hi Lela - I'll take the pumpkin donuts - I have pumpkin bread coming out of my ears. I hand that recipe out all the time. Have a great weekend.
Nov. 4, 2013 7:14 am
Hi BN - the discards come into the office and get left in the bowl by the office coffee machine. There is nothing that won't get eaten in this office, even a Zagnut. As for tossing my eggs in the air, umm I couldn't find the spatula ??? Have a great week.
Nov. 4, 2013 5:41 pm
Well, Doug, your bucket rattles have stirred some rattling in my processes. Unfortunately, when one pos inot my head, they all do and before I can sort them out, they all disappear into that chasm formerly known as memory. ... Always a pleasure to read your posts!
Nov. 4, 2013 5:42 pm
... pops into...
Nov. 5, 2013 9:48 am
Hi Mike - if I didn't have a smartphone, I don't think I would remember anything. I have forgotten more good ideas than I can remember. Thanks & have a great day.
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Doug Matthews

Home Town
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Living In
Mendham, New Jersey, USA

Member Since
Mar. 2000

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Southern, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy

Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Charity Work

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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