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Monday Musings: 06.02.2014 Edition June 2, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Information, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff.
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Hello and happy June!

This week’s market trip yielded another big batch of fresh asparagus – I always make it a point to get my asparagus from the same guy – it’s fresh, local, and, after all these years, he knows me, so he gives me a break on the price!

Gosh, can you believe it’s June already?  I mean, it seems like just a few weeks ago, we were shoveling snow and . . . oh, wait a minute, I guess it was, wasn’t it?  HA!

I love spring – I love the freshness of the new produce, the greenness of the lawns, being able to leave the windows open all night – and I honestly don’t think I’d appreciate it quite so much without the cold, dark winter first, you know?

 

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan. While there’s only a slight chance of rain in the forecast for this week, we still haven’t gotten completely into “summer grilling” mode yet – so we’re going to play it safe.

Monday – Last weekend, Peeps smoked a big old brisket, and, even after several lunches, there’s still a good portion left – so we’ll enjoy that reheated with a little barbecue sauce, some mashed potatoes, and sauteed mustard greens.

Tuesday – The current Cook’s Country magazine has a recipe for Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Fingers that sounds good.  I’m not quite sure what we’ll do with it, though.  Some sort of potatoes, I guess, and a vegetable.  Maybe salad (from my garden!) or broccoli.

Wednesday – With certain factions of the herb garden threatening to take over the world, I think it’s time for the herby-tuna pasta that we love so much.  That’s pure summer food for us!

Thursday – This is it – the end of that brisket!  Again, we look to Cook’s Illustrated – sort of, anyway – for Smokey Kansas City BBQ Beans.  Only instead of finishing the beans on the smoker, we dumped the remainder of the smoked brisket right in them and we’ll finish them in the slow-cooker. It’ll be fantastic!

Friday – Our regular Friday night pizza night brings us a relaxing evening w

Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.

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I have something of a confession.  Well, not a confession so much as an admission.

See, here’s the thing.  I find that, as the weeks go by, writing this blog is becoming more of a chore than not.  As much as I’ve enjoyed writing over these last few years, I’m finding that I don’t have the time to put the effort into it that I used to.

And let’s be honest, I’m not really writing anything worth reading, am I?

In other words – it’s not you, it’s me.

So.

I don’t want to lose touch with our tens of readers – the people who’ve stuck around, left comments, and, in generally, made me feel like someone out there really is listening.

Since YOU know who you are (in real life, that is), I’m going to have to leave it to you to keep in touch.

If you’re on the Facebook, please do send me a “friend request” – oddly enough, after all the years I’ve avoided it, I find Facebook oddly . . . easy. It’s so simple to share random thoughts or links or pictures – right form my phone if need be!  So do look me up – it’ll be fun!

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Monday Musings: 05.26.2014 Edition May 26, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Musings.
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It’s Memorial Day here, so please, take a moment to remember the heroes who have fallen in service to our country.

Monday Musings: 05.18.2014 Edition May 19, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in meal plan monday, Musings.
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We’ve got another market trip behind us, and, you know, everything else aside, that bi-weekly trip to the public market reminds us, better than just about anything else, how quickly time marches on!

Two weeks ago, we brought home fresh ramps, the first of the truly local produce.  This week, we snagged some fresh asparagus and even some tomatoes (granted, they were grown in a greenhouse, but it was a local greenhouse!), as well as a pack of my Beloved Jet Star plants for the garden – regardless of what the weatherman says, spring is truly (finally) here.

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Speaking of the garden . . . I finally had to get out and do a little cleanup in the herb garden (actually, a lot of cleanup!) – besides the weeds that have been trying to masquerade as various legitimate plants (I CAN tell the difference between chives and GRASS, thank you!) – I’m seeing signs of some attempted hostile takeovers.

Chives are moving in on the tarragon’s territory, the tarragon is trying to edge in on the garlic chives, the oregano keeps trying to jump ship and take over the rest of the yard, the dill has been re-seeding itself for 2 years, and the mint. . . well, the mint seems to just do whatever it darn well pleases.

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So Peeps and I are out walking the dog, and we pass this house, in a neighborhood of houses with beautiful, well-kept yards.

This yard was no exception, except for one kind of odd thing, which I don’t know how well it shows up in this photo – behind the adorable pink tulips, this tree has multiple extension cords, tube lights, all plugged into (get this) a power strip that was hanging down out of the tree.

I mean, is that even safe?  I’m pretty sure those power strips aren’t meant to be kept and used outside, are they?

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 So . . . I’ve been working in the garden, and it’s now officially planted!

Last fall’s garlic is up and doing well as are this spring’s peas (I’m going to need a taller fence!) and lettuce.

Peeps built the tomato “cage” last week, and everything else is now filled in – a row of chard, a row of carrots, a row of parsley (we use a LOT of parsley!) some broccoli,  NINE tomato plants, and a couple of basil plants.

I don’t know why I keep putting so many tomato plants in – I just can’t help myself, I guess.

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 Did I mention last week that I had also picked up flowers for my window boxes?  I ended up with an entire “flat” of the little violas – that would be 8 six-packs of mixed colors.

I’m not really a flower person – I don’t know much about them, really, but  I just love these little guys, with their little pansy faces!

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  As it happens, I’m on vacation for the entire week (can you believe it!) and, while I’ll have a bit of extra time, I do have plenty of things to do!  A meal plan, albeit a little looser than usual, should help keep me on track in that regard.

Monday – We had planned on chicken tenders last week, and I ended up getting home super-late, Peeps had had a lousy day, and he had a gift certificate to use, so, long story short, the chicken tenders are being pushed up to this week.  I’ll probably bread them and do something potato-y with them, along with some vegetable – broccoli maybe.

Tuesday – We picked up some farm-grown pork chops at the market – a bit of a splurge, but so, so good.  We’re just going to season them lightly and slap them on the grill, and we’ve got some sweet potatoes and that fresh asparagus that’ll be perfect.

Wednesday – We’ve got one bundle of ramps left from the last market trip, and I thought, since the forecast calls for rainy and chilly, a sort of leek-and-potato soup might be in order, only with ramps (wild leeks) and maybe even some green garlic (from my garden, guys!).

Thursday – Peeps’s uncle and aunt are driving through town Thursday and may be here at dinnertime.  I hope to prevail upon them to stay, but either way, we’ll roast some chicken on the grill (hopefully it won’t still be raining!) and some sort of potatoes and salad, I guess.

Friday – And as always, Friday is pizza night – I’m going to be doing some exploring in the freezer this week, and I’m pretty sure there may be a few packages of pizza toppings stuck away – something like roasted artichokes and/or caramelized onions.  We’ll see what turns up, I guess.

Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.

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Monday Musings: 05.12.2014 Edition May 12, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff.
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Yup, spring is here!

And with it comes all that Spring stuff – like yard work and gardening.

Peeps mowed the lawn for the first time this season, and it seems that we’re going to be looking for another lawnmower soon, which, yes, we knew last fall.

And we got our seed potatoes planted – we’re trying the potato cage method this year.  Last year’s potato crop was a somewhat disappointing use of my limited garden space.  I hope this works out a little better – I’ll keep you updated, for sure!

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This weekend was also the first week of the Flower City Days at the public market – you can basically get anything “outside” related that you might be in the market for – and plenty of stuff you’re not!

I did get plenty of plants:  tomatoes, broccoli, several herbs, and flowers.

Peeps did NOT get the giant pig grill, though.

But he’s mighty cool, isn’t he?

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Okay, here is where you’re going to be forced to say “that’s just wrong.”  And to be honest, I won’t blame you.

See, it’s like this.  We were walking the dog at the park, when he wanted to go over and sniff a bush.

He does that – bushes are apparently prime message-leaving spots.

So anyway, he stuck his face deep into the bush, and he pulled out . . . a rabbit!

It was dead, though fairly fresh – I suspect, based on the single neck wound,  that some cat had done it in and couldn’t be bothered to eat it.

While we have been working on “drop it” training with him, there’s a world of difference between dropping a ball or even an already-chewed bone, and dropping a fresh (ish) rabbit.

And I’ve learned my lesson about trying to take it away from him!

So . . . we marched him home, with his trophy firmly in hand mouth, and he just took his prize to the back yard where, well, we’ll just say that it did NOT come inside!

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So . . . you’re still here.  Good.

How about this for a nice dose of wrongability?

It seems that you can cook cinnamon rolls – In The Waffle Iron!

So yes, after we got home from the market, we had cinnamon rolls for lunch.

Yes, it’s wrong.

But we liked it.

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  We’re looking forward to quite a bit of rain this week – the garden can use it, but that means no grilling, so we’ll be cooking indoors this week.

Monday – Last week’s chick pea curry was quite good – and since I used dried beans instead of canned, we had a bunch left over, which will be repurposed into falafel burgers.  Since they’re “burgers” we’ll serve them on buns instead of in pitas.  We’re the boss of our food, right?

Tuesday – A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some beef tenderloin tips on sale – they’re basically the end pieces that the butcher cuts off when he’s cutting filet mignons.  So. . . I thought we’d do some kind of beef tips, maybe pepper-crusted, then a red wine pan sauce.  We’ve got some fingerling potatoes to roast and some baby spinach to saute.

Wednesday – I pulled some chicken “cutlets” from the freezer – they’re basically the hunk of chicken I trim off the breasts to make them a reasonable size.  I usually treat them like chicken tenders.  This time I’ll bread and bake them.  Who doesn’t like breaded chicken tenders?  I think we’ve got broccoli left from last week, too.

Thursday – For Minimal Effort Thursday, we’ve got some sausage that will go beautifully in risotto.  Before you ask, yes, risotto certainly is minimal effort – and it takes less than 10 minutes in the pressure cooker!

Friday – And here it is, pizza night already!  I’ve still got plenty of the eggplant sauce I made last summer – it’s so good!  We’ve also got roasted sausage in the freezer, and I’m not positive, but I think there are even some roasted artichokes somewhere, too.

Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.

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Monday Musings: 05.05.2014 Edition May 5, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Food, Giveaway, meal plan monday, mirth & woe, Musings, random stuff.
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I trust everyone out there in Computer Land enjoyed a nice weekend!  This was a market week for us, and boy, was it nice to just get out and do a little outside shopping!  It’s still a little early in the season for anything really “fresh” – with the exception of ramps (yay!) and, of course, eggs, but we’re still happy to enjoy some of the last of the fall’s winter crops – before long, the fingerling potatoes will be making way for new potatoes, and the broccoli will yield  to asparagus and peas.

I’ve got to admit – I’ll be mighty glad to see some new onions!  It’s so hard to buy onions right now – anything that’s local has been stored all winter and wants to either sprout or rot – or both!

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You know, the crazy thing about Rochester is that the sun comes out, and people just start going nuts!  You would not BELIEVE the number of vendors at the market with plants this week!  I mean, it’s great to see, but really, nobody really believes they can put tomatoes in yet, do they?

Sure, you can bring them home and put them in a sunny window, but . . . well, I guess it’s a reminder that YES SPRING IS REALLY COMING!

And I’ll admit – I succumbed to the siren song of a couple of fresh rosemary plants.  And since there was a discount when I bought four plants, well, I was thinking about replacing some sage and some thyme this year anyway. . .

Spring truly is here!

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Speaking of spring . . . remember a couple of weeks ago (the last time we had a sunny weekend) when I planted peas?

That’s right, they’re UP and even growing!  How awesome is that?  (I need to get a fence up for them, though – soon!)  Almost before we know it, we’ll be planning stir-fry with my very own snow peas for dinner!

Oh, and just beyond the snow peas?  That’s my garlic – how awesome is THAT?  I planted extra last fall with the intention of pulling some very young as “green garlic” – I’m not sure exactly when to pull it, so I guess I’ll take my cue from the public market – when I see it there, I’ll come home and pull a bulb or two and see what I get.

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  We’re just starting to see some warmer temperatures here, though we’ve still got a bit of off-and-on rain going on.  So we work around it, right?  This week, our menu is sort of looking like a world tour. . .

Monday –  Given that it’s Cinco de Mayo, we couldn’t miss a ready-made opportunity to enjoy some tacos!  I’ll be the first to admit – I don’t think we’ll ever go back the ground-beef-and-taco-mix tacos again.  Carnitas are just so good – and easy too!

Tuesday – Two things happened this weekend – we made some Italian sausage, and I picked up a nice bunch of rapini at the public market.  Put those things together, and, well, our world tour continue in Southern Italy.  Initially I’d planned to do the basic pasta, sausage and broccoli rabe dish that we definitely like.  Then I said to myself, “self, why not mix it up a little?” and I think maybe we’ll try something like this rapini and polenta dish.

Wednesday – And off we head to Morocco – sort of.  We’re finally going to see a sunny, not-cold evening, which means we’re firing up the grill!  I’ve got some chicken marinating with oregano, cinnamon and paprika – I think we’ll serve some cousous on the side, along with a veggie of some sort – probably broccoli.

Thursday – Minimal Effort Thursday will bring us to India – I’ve been intrigued by this spicy chick pea and sour tomato curry since I first saw the recipe!  This qualifies for our Minimal Effort Thursday – I made the curry ahead of time, and the “simmering” step will coincide with Thursday’s “reheating” – how clever is that?  I hope we like it – we always have everything on hand for it – except tamarind concentrate.  Does anyone know WHERE one would find tamarind concentrate?  I finally ended up ordering it from Amazon, so I’ve got it now, but still.  I’m also not completely sold on the pasta idea – do they actually use pasta in India?

Friday – And so Friday brings us back to Italy (or New Jersey, anyway) for pizza night!  I mentioned above that we made some Italian sausage over the weekend – guess what’s topping our pies this week?  That’s right – homemade sausage!

Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.

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