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Monday Musings: 07.30.2012 Edition July 30, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in meal plan monday, Musings.
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I’m not sure, but I think someone may need to plan an intervention for me!  This was another market week, and, well, it’s the end of July, and here in upstate New York, that means we’re edging into to prime produce season!

How’s a girl supposed to pass by 5 homegrown cucumbers for a buck?  Or 3 huge crowns or broccoli for yet another dollar?  A bucket of new potatoes for $2?  Or, heaven forbid, am I supposed to pass by a $2 cantaloupe so perfectly ripe that I can smell it from across the aisle?  Not to mention peaches, zucchini and garlic, oh my!

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Speaking of fresh produce – thanks to near-maniacal watering, my garden is faring well, even the tomatoes.  (Did you know that a tomato is something like 90% water?  Yeah, they don’t like drought.)

Except one plant – the only beefsteak-type tomato I planted.  That plant was OUT of CONTROL – it was actually taller than I am!  So I cut off the top, hoping it would put its energy into, oh, say, producing fruit, maybe.

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After all, the tomatoes that are there are HUGE – and I want to just slice them and stick them on a burger.  A really BIG burger!

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A few years ago, we had to get a new gas grill – our old one was, well, really old, and it was time.  Unfortunately, we paid a lot of money for it, spent a ton of time setting it up, and we hated it, for a variety of reasons, the main one being that it didn’t get hot enough.

We couldn’t really justify getting rid of it right away (we’d just bought it!), but the time finally came – we picked up, on sale, another gas grill that was one of Consumer Reports‘s “best buys.”

Plus, it even matches the trim on our house.  That has got to be a good sign, right?

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Oh my gosh.  You know that the sign of a good peach is that you have to eat it standing over the sink, right?

Yeah, I got some really good peaches Saturday.

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I have a confession.  See, I got a nice bonus at work last month, and I decided that I wanted to splurge a bit on something that I’ve wanted for a long time.

I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of money on actual linen sheets.

And may I just say that if there’s anything nicer sleeping on linen sheets, it’s sleeping on line-dried linen sheets.

Just . . . wow.

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I’ve been on vacation for the past couple of days, so of course, I dragged Peeps out to pick some blueberries.  After all, isn’t that how everyone spends their vacation?

Usually, I like to put off my blueberry picking until the peaches and/or apricots are in season too so I can kill two birds in one trip, so to speak.

I didn’t dare wait much longer, though, so when I got up there, I asked, and they said they’d lost the entire apricot crop this year, and better than half of their peaches.

Yikes!  So I bought a bunch of apricots at the market, and I’ll be availing myself of peaches for the next couple of weeks, as well.

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So split chicken breasts were on sale this week.  Honestly, if you’re willing to put in maybe half an hour of time, there is no better way to stock up on chicken!

I bought two “family packs” of chicken breasts for around $10, and I ended up with reasonably-sized chicken cutlets for 5 meals, chicken tenders for another meal, and “scraps” for yet two more meals.

Plus bones and other junk for stock.

All for around $10 and half an hour.  How can you go wrong?

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So I picked blueberries last week, and, after I got a bunch of them in the freezer and had made a batch of sorbet, I still had a bunch left to use up sooner rather than later.

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And since Green Acre had lost its apricot crop, I picked up a nice basket of “seconds” apricots at the market Saturday, which meant they needed to be used as soon as possible.

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And, since I’ve been enjoying my morning yogurt with a scoop of jam stirred in, well, it only made sense to make a couple of batches of low-sugar, no-pectin preserves to store in the freezer – I made some apricot, some blueberry, and one jar of apricot-blueberry.  That’s a thing, right?

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  Do you ever have weeks when the menu practically plans itself?  Between prior plans and store sales, it’s like all we have to do is look at the weather forecast and fill in the blanks!

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Monday – Since chicken breasts were on sale, I always like to keep a meal’s worth with the skin still on – so we can do some sort of oven-roasted breasts with a pan sauce.  This week, I think I’m going to do a sort of riff of Chicken Diane – or at least the pan sauce will be a similar sauce.  It’ll be great!  We’ve got a few small potatoes that should get used, and, of course, a green vegetable to be determined by what kind of mood we’re in.

Tuesday – It’s our wedding anniversary – and Peeps has made dinner reservations at a local place that was recommended to him.   The Boy has already been warned that he’s on his own for dinner.

Wednesday – Partially to make up for our leaving the Boy to fend for himself, and partially to try it on the new charcoal grill, we’re going to grill steaks for dinner – how’s grilled strip steaks, boiled new potatoes with parsley and butter, and a vegetable to be named later sound?

Thursday – And. . . we will have had an awfully meat-heavy week at this point, so I wanted to go with something a little, well, meatless.  And since I’ve got a bunch of beets that have been crying “pick me, pick me!” every time I look for a side veggie, well, I’m going to make them the star and we’re going to have beet burgers.  Not sure yet what we’ll do with them, but I’m sure it’ll involve a vegetable of some sort – probably either green beans or salad.

Friday – And can I just say “hurray for pizza night” – that is the one night we don’t have to think about anything!  At this point, it’s a matter of WHICH fresh herbs I want to grace the tomato slices on my pizza.  .  . decisions, decisions!

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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Comments

1. The Innkeeper's Daughter - July 30, 2012

Seriously…i thought i was bad???? Where the heck are you finding the plastic lids for the canning jars? I have been looking everywhere for them, without success.

Toy Lady - July 30, 2012

Oh my gosh, a couple of years ago, there were a bunch of boxes of them in the “aisle of misfit foods” – they were marked down to something like $1.30 a box or something, so we snagged all they had. :)

They’re Ball brand, and they come in a box of 8.

2. Susan - July 31, 2012

Happy Anniversary!!

I have been following your blog for a while now (from MPM) and get some good ideas.

I like your style of writing.

Toy Lady - July 31, 2012

Aw, thanks so much, Susan!

3. sjbraun - July 31, 2012

You’ve been so busy! I love all your produce, and I can almost smell those line-dried sheets :) How did you make the pectin-free jam … is that on your blog? Sounds intriguing.
Oh, and the pb/choc chip bars were so good – I posted a pic at my place.
Have a great week!

Toy Lady - July 31, 2012

Here’s the apricot: http://darksideofthefridge.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/oh-yeah-were-jammin/ – the blueberry was essentially the same. Basically, I use about a 3/4:1 ratio of sugar to fruit, then add some citrus – mainly lemon juice, but I put some orange with the apricot too. Just let it cook down until it’s thickened. I imagine it’ll end up not quite as thick as with commercial pectin, but it’s got half the sugar, so there’s that. :)

And you have SOLD me on the PB bars. ;)

4. Judy Norton - July 31, 2012

Happy, Happy anniversary you two guys, and have a great time at dinner. I will be interested in hearing what you had eating out as your home food is so awesome. I know someone else does the prep, cooking, serving AND cleaning up though. That counts for alot.

The veggies you buy there are so beautiful. And from your own garden, A huge difference from what can be found here even at the farmers market. Loved this column!

Toy Lady - July 31, 2012

Thanks, Judy! We’re definitely looking forward to our evening out. :)

And you KNOW you are always welcome to come for a visit – we can hit farmers’ markets pretty much every day of the week here in the summer!


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