Monday Musings: 02.11.2013 Edition February 11, 2013Posted by Toy Lady in Home, meal plan monday, Musings.
Wow, did we get dumped on or what?
For the first time EVER, I skipped my trip to the public market this weekend – I got up Saturday and walked the dog in . . . this.
I did try, but once I got back in the house, got my wet clothes changed, and had breakfast, I just could NOT make myself go back out, clear off the car, and go back out, to where the streets may or may not be plowed.
And then the sun came up and I got a better look – boy was I glad I’d stayed in where it was warm and dry!
It never actually stopped snowing until late afternoon. And I didn’t even move my car again until Sunday afternoon.
After all the frolicking Jar did Saturday, though (at least SOMEONE likes this weather!) boy was he sacked out that night!
He was sacked out in his dog bed SO HARD that when the kitty came out to the living room for a little prancing around with her Mama, she stopped short in surprise when she saw him. And when his snoring didn’t even skip a beat, she knew this was her chance.
I’m convinced she tried to blow up his head with her mind. . .
Okay, back to the snow!
My boss has been out of town for the past week – I ended up sending him an e-mail Friday to let him know that we were closing up early. By 11:00, I’d already heard several reports of accidents and about a dozen early school closings. I just hate doing that – deciding to leave early on a Friday because of bad weather – it’s just so, I don’t know, I mean, no one ever leave early on a Tuesday, you know?
However, it’s just as well that I did. This was around 12:30 in the afternoon – NOT a fun drive!
We decided to make some sweet potato soup this week – I wanted to use some HUGE sweet potatoes before it was too late.
We stuck them in the oven to roast, then went grocery shopping – and forgot all about them!
Fortunately, since they were SO huge, they were fine by the time we got home.
I’m going to make a confession here.
I’ve been wanting a mini pie-baker ever since I saw the King Arthur blog post about them.
Now I know I don’t NEED one. And, more than likely, I’d use it once or twice, then pack it away and forget about it.
But MAN I’ve wanted one!
Then, a while back, Woot had a little green pie baker, and I just couldn’t resist!
We made mini chicken pot pies, and they were GREAT!
Okay, one more snow thing.
Obviously, with a foot and a half of snow on the ground, it’s pretty easy to tell if someone’s been in the yard, right?
Well, imagine our surprise when we got up Sunday morning and it appears that some strange, UNSUPERVISED dog had paid us a visit during the night! It seems to just have wandered around the yard, then left.
Poor little thing. I hope he’s all right.
And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan. It’s cold and snowy, and it’s February. Plus my boss is back this week, so we’re gonna want something fun.
Monday - Have you heard Cook’s Illustrated is publishing a pressure cooker cookbook? Yes! It’s coming out March 1, I think. Some bloggers have gotten their hands on copies, and as soon as we saw it, we KNEW we had to do Pork Vindaloo.
Tuesday - Chicken was on sale this week, so we’re going to do a version of Chef Dan Eaton’s Dijon chicken – this time, I’ll brown the skin-side of the breasts, flip them and finish in the oven with the sauce. We’ll likely roast some fingerlings to go with it, and maybe some green beans.
Wednesday - I mentioned above that we wanted to use some sweet potatoes before it was too late, so we’re doing sweet potato soup.
Thursday - Since we had the pressure cooker out and we’d bought a pork shoulder for the vindaloo and all, we decided to try an experiment – I did Chinese barbecued pork – in the pressure cooker! If it works like I think it will, I’ll tell you all about it. And if not, well, we’ll never speak of it again.
Friday - I think, after the world culinary tour this week, pizza night will probably be pretty basic – after all, too much excitement in one week can’t be good for us!
Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.
Monday Musings: 02.04.2013 Edition February 4, 2013Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, Home, meal plan monday, Musings.
It’s been a quiet week around here for all of us. Cold, too. Though really, it’s February – the dog days of winter – so honestly, what do we expect?
This is hibernating season – even the Jar knows that! These days, more often than not, he spends most of his waking hours (and not-so-waking hours!) curled up in his bed, and he’s often more than happy to be tucked in, too.
Who’s his Mama’s boy?
I’ve finished my holiday knitting, so right now I’m working on some recreational knitting. Basically, that means more socks, but for myself this time!
Funny story . . .
When I was preparing to start a new pair of socks, I went through some patterns, looking for Just the Right One – like I always do
There was one pattern I almost chose – it had this fancy detail on the heel.
I pointed out the HEEL to Peeps, asked him just LOOK at the HEEL. Isn’t that HEEL pretty?
Poor Jarly – he couldn’t seem to figure why, while sitting on the couch, I kept telling him to HEEL!
To his credit, he did actually consider getting up! I’d say he’s been doing pretty well in his training, huh?
So I guess the socks with the fancy H-E-E-L-S will have to wait a bit.
I guess it’s all Jarly all the time this week!
I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned Jar’s affinity for fire trucks. He does love to sing along.
And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan. We’ve still got the winter weather advisories going on this week – gosh it just seems like this winter is dragging on, doesn’t it? However, I remind myself that February’s the shortest month. Before we know it, we’ll be running out of time for the roasts and braises and stews. . .
Monday - I’m going to confess – I am a sucker for a chicken on sale. We have whole chickens – even a turkey – in the freezer, but whenever I see them on sale, I just can’t resist. We’re roasting a chicken, along with some fingerling potatoes – take that, February! Add in some frozen green beans from the garden, and we’ll be very happy!
Tuesday - Remember how last week I roasted some brussels sprouts? Boy were they good! However, Peeps is not the sprout fan that I am, so we made up some Dijon mustard butter for him- and had some leftover. Rather than let that go to waste, we’re going to cook some salmon in it. Mmmm. . .salmon with mustard butter! I’ve got some fresh spinach which will be good, and I’m thinking some grilled corn out of the freezer.
Wednesday - Not to let soup night get away from us, Peeps has been wanting a nice, warm potato soup with a bit of ham. I think a potato soup with cheese would be nice, so I’m pretty sure we can figure out something that will please both of us, don’ you think?
Thursday - Since we’re roasting a big old chicken earlier in the week, I’m thinking little individual chicken pot pies would be fun. In fact, I’m leaning toward Moravian chicken pie – in personal size. How cute!
Friday - Peeps’s mom will be joining us for pizza night - it’s good for her to get out of the house, and, of course, it’s always nice for all of us to spend the evening in front of the TV enjoying our pizza!
Be sure to click on over to The Organizing Junkie’s Monday Menu Plan post for loads and loads of other ideas.
A taste of India January 11, 2013Posted by Peeps in Cooking, Food, Home, random stuff.
While we were planning the week’s meals, my wife found this recipe she wanted to try. It was for Indian Samosa Casserole. I said sure, why not?
Now, the first thing you need to understand is that I am not now, nor will I ever be a vegetarian. Not that I have anything against vegetarians, mind you. The more of them there are, the more meat there is for me. That is something I am always going to approve of.
But my wife and I both love Indian food, which does tend to be largely vegetarian. And, of course, having Indian food that we don’t have to go anywhere to get it is an appealing idea. Particularly when it can be made ahead, frozen and thrown into the oven during a weeknight.
Toys was painting the new bathroom Sunday, and since there is not enough room in there to help her, I helped by putting together the casserole.
It was fairly easy to do, waiting for the potatoes to cook took longer than pretty much everything else. I think my wife finished painting the trim about the time I finished.
The crust was a little difficult. We don’t have whole wheat pastry flour in the house. Seven different kinds of flour and not the one we needed. Nuts. So, I used half whole wheat and half cake flour instead.
I also added one tablespoon too much of water. On the plus side, it was still short of the minimum amount of water the recipe called for.
Oh, and I forgot the sugar called for in the filling. Not that we really missed it much.
All in all, it went smoothly. Once assembled, I covered it in plastic wrap and stuck it in the freezer for later on in the week.
The heating directions from frozen were spot on and we had dinner on the table in about an hour and a half.
It was quite good. Although, there are a couple things I might want to tweak if we ever did this again. I would use a bottom crust as well. It would be tidier and just better all around with more crust. Toys thought about adding lentils or chickpeas to the filling to give it a little more bulk. Cooked chicken would probably do the same thing and make it seem more like a complete meal.
We had thought to serve this with an IPA, an India Pale Ale. What we had in the odd beer stash in the basement was an Extra Pale Ale from a brewery in Utah. It worked. The extreme amount of hops went perfectly with the Indian blend of seasonings.
You can find the recipe here. Try it and let us know what you think.
Back in the Swing of Things January 3, 2013Posted by Toy Lady in Home, random stuff.
The holidays are over, which means a couple of things.
On the one hand, yay, the holidays are over!
On the other hand, it’s Back To Work time, which is never fun, especially after a couple of long weekends.
And on the third hand, I’ve got a new bathroom that needs painting – a bathroom that’s connected to an entry way, that’s connected to a living room. . . I’m sure you can see where this is leading!
I don’t know, I guess The New Year is something of a time for reflection. And for planning, too, especially in the “self-improvement” category. I’ve already quit smoking (7 years ago last week!), and we’ve got the dog in obedience training. Sure, I’ve still got to lose weight (I certainly haven’t done very well in that regard!), and I really am going to try harder.
Then there’s the house. We’ve been chipping away at it for years now – replacement widows and doors a few years ago, the deck, appliances, a new roof, the fence, getting rid of the gosh-awful carpeting – and now, of course, the new bathroom.
Wow, this house sure is needy!
So I’ve painted the bathroom walls walls a lovely shade of, well, the name of the color is “arrowroot” and I have no idea why.
The paint card looked kind of blue-ish. And when Peeps looked at it, he thought it was sort of gray-ish (but in a good way) (I think). And I put it on the walls, and I’ll be darned if it doesn’t look more green-ish than anything else.
I know, weird, huh?
I had plans to start painting the baseboards and the window trim this evening, or maybe tomorrow (“bone folder” and “hemp,” respectively), but, alas , it seems that there’s a tiny little leak under the sink.
The contractor came out this evening to look at it, figure out what the deal was, and it needs a new thingamabob, and he’ll be back tomorrow to fix it.
There goes my plan for painting. I guess it’ll have to wait for the weekend.
In the meantime, I think I’ll start thinking about what color to paint the front entryway, because that’s next.