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Monday Musings: 02.25.2014 Edition February 24, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Freezer Meals, Home, Information, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff, Review.
7 comments

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Boy, there for a minute, we almost started thinking about spring!  The weather this weekend has been, well, the word that comes to mind is temperate.  Not too cold – we actually came close to 50 at one point! – and sunny, to boot!

Although we didn’t need much (which is just as well, since the selection is pretty slim this time of year), it was nice to walk around at the Public Market without freezing for a change!

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Okay, I would like to pause for a moment and congratulate myself.

For the past few years, I’ve been carrying FOUR cell phones on my account – mine and Peeps, sure, but also The Boy‘s and Peeps’s mom’s, as well.

Let me just say – that kind of thing starts to add up!    Even when three of the four of us were just using basic phones – none of that fancy smart-phone stuff.

So now. . . the other two have transferred their phones to their OWN accounts, and Peeps and I?  Well, we closed our account and went with a new(ish), no-contract carrier called Republic Wireless.

Basically, we bought the phones outright ($300 each (ouch) BUT that’s what credit cards are for), and from here on out, our service is $25 a month each, plus tax, for unlimited talk, text, AND data.  No contracts, no extra charges, no nothing.

Plus?  I’ve got the Internet in my pocket, guys!

The service has been great, we love the phones (Motorola’s Moto X), and we’ve both been extremely happy.  And it’s significantly cheaper than the basic cell service with the other company.  Where’s the bad?

If you want to check it out for yourself, click on the Republic logo above –  either for more information or even to sign up yourself.  In addition, just until the end of the month, if you do use the referral link above, Republic is offering a $19 credit on new plans.

*  Unsolicited opinions here.  The only renumeration I may (or may not) receive would be a $19 credit to me, too, if anyone signs up using that link, which they’ve offered to all their customers, so . . .

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.   I’ve got another busy week ahead at work – it’s getting to be that time of the year, I guess!   It’s still a little weird with Peeps frequently getting home later than I do, but, on the bright side, we’re not getting up before 4AM !

Monday - We have some veal shanks in the freezer, which will cook reasonably quickly in the pressure cooker!  Several years ago, I found this recipe for ossobuco bianco, and, although we’ve only made it a few times, we love it.  I may also try risotto in the rice cooker – I think that’ll be a perfect complement.

Tuesday - I’m kind of embarrassed about this, but, ever since the Ukraine thing has been in the news last week, I’ve had Chicken Kiev on my mind.  (I’m pretty sure the Ukrainian rebels would probably be less than impressed that FOOD is what I think of when their government is overthrown, but what can I say?  At least it’s lovely, garlicky-buttery chicken!)  Maybe with some barley and broccoli.

Wednesday -  I kept stumbling across two partial bags of frozen corn in the freezer – it was driving me nuts!  So . . . you know what you do with two partial bags of corn?  You make corn chowder.  I used the last of the chicken from last week’s roast chicken, along with some of last summers corn stock, and BOY is this gonna be good!

Thursday -  My most recent dog food purchase has  reminded me (again!) how important it is to keep the freezer under control – what goes in MUST come out!  As it happens, Peeps opened the freezer door the other day, and a container of pork sugo fell out.  Ha – saute the broccoli rabe we picked up at the market, and we’ve got dinner!

Friday - Friday night is always pizza night for us – the crust sits in the fridge and ferments all week, and we’ve got plenty of homemade sauce, salami, ricotta, mozzarella, provolone, basically whatever we’re in the mood for.  And, of course, Jar’s Kong!

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: 02.10.2014 Edition February 10, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff.
2 comments

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We made a quick trip to the Public Market this weekend – there really wasn’t an awful lot we NEEDED, exactly, but we do like to keep to our routine.  It just wouldn’t do to let ourselves get too far behind, would it?

Besides, it’s always good to show support for the many farmers and other vendors who brave the cold – I’d hate for them to not be there, you know?
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Besides a nice bag of bones – the meat guys know me well enough by now that they dug out the “biggest” bag with the “nicest” bones they could find! – we also scored some nice chicken feet for The Jar.  Creepy as it may be, he just loves those things!

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We headed up to bed last night, and suddenly I noticed that we had company in the bedroom.

The kitty must have slithered upstairs and into the bedroom while we were out walking the dog – and then, when we came in, either she was sleeping, or she didn’t feel she could risk coming back downstairs and past the dog.

Poor Jar, he’d had such a long day that she probably could have snuck by him while he was snoozing, and he’d never have noticed.  He certainly had no idea that she was on top of the dresser, watching him while he slept there with his Wubba.

They’re such idiots sometimes.

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  Boy,  even  though we may be thoroughly sick and tired of cold and snow, it’s so nice to have warm, comforting dinners to look forward to, isn’t it?  I mean, a nice bowl of soup with fresh bread kind of makes the winter worthwhile, doesn’t it?  Well, okay, if not worthwhile, at least bearable.

Monday - I realized the other day that I can’t remember the last time we made white chili, so we decided it was high time to remedy that.  I did make one small change – I had picked up some dried lima beans, which I’d never had, and I’m going to try those instead of my normal great northerns.  Heck, they’re beans and they’re white, they should be fine, right?

Tuesday -  While we were at the market Saturday, Peeps pointed out that we haven’t had pierogies in AGES!  A dish of nice roasted garlic and potato-stuffed dumplings – that will certainly fill the role of “winter comfort food”very nicely!

Wednesday -  We’re going to enjoy the last of the roast pork that we stashed in the freezer last fall.  I’ll probably do some sort of potato and celery root puree to go with it.  And any leftovers will be somehow incorporated into a breakfast later in the week – after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, is it not?

Thursday - We ran into the bean guy at the market this weekend, which reminded me that we have a PILE of dried beans that we should be eating.  We haven’t had black bean soup in simply ages, so . . . So it looks like we’ve got some darned good leftovers in our future for breakfasts and lunches, huh?

Friday - pizza night

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: 02.03.2014 Edition February 3, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff, Stupor Kitty.
6 comments

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Boy, it’s been a long, cold week, hasn’t it?

And clearly, The Jar is suffering from cabin fever, just like the rest of us!

Poor thing – he wants to go out and WALK and even RUN!  Then we get outside, and before we know it, his little (big) feet are cold and he’s walking funny and he’s ready to come IN.

He’s spent a good portion of a couple of evenings trying to get us to play ball with him – in the living room.  Now I don’t know about your house, but mine is far too small to have a 115-pound beast gallumping around chasing a tennis ball. That’s how houses get broken!  So he eventually settled for picking the yellow fuzz off the tennis ball instead.

I keep saying – it’s just like having a giant furry toddler in the house.

(And yes, we took him out to get weighed last week - someone is going to need to drop a few pounds, I think.  Someone else, that is.)

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And the kitty has finally done it – she’s broken the Kitty Code.

When we finally got a couple of hours of above-freezing temperatures Saturday, I took the opportunity to fill Kongs – it’s amazing how much easier that is when you don’t have someone trying to shove his big furry nose on the counter and barking his fool head off at you because he WANTS SOME RIGHT NOW.

Of course, I’ve got furry little meowing going on instead.  So. . . I let her lick the can.  That would be the Mighty Dog can.  Then I took a picture of her with her face in the dog food can.  Ha.

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It’s been just about 3 months since we’ve switched Jarly to a raw diet, and, overall, I have to say, we’re very happy with it.

We haven’t seen any sign of any of the stomach issues he’s suffered in the past, which is great.  And he’s pretty much always had a rash on his stomach, which got a little better when we changed kibble, and better yet when we cut out peanut butter, but it’s always still been there.  Now it’s completely gone.

Now that we’ve found several decent sources of meat, it’s actually much cheaper than kibble too – and, additionally, kibble itself has become something of a treat!

The only downside?  Raw liver.  (Actually, organ meat in general.)  Do you have any idea how awkward (and disgusting) it is to cut up a 20-pound beef liver?

The things we do for our pets, eh?

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.   We seem to have fallen in a bit of a rut when it comes to dinner – I don’t know what’s going on.  Winter blues, maybe.  Some days, if I didn’t already have the meal plan, I swear, I’d just scramble a couple of eggs and call it dinner.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that . . . but then what would we do for breakfast?

Monday -Our local supermarket had Alaskan cod on sale, AND I have fennel in the fridge, so we’re going to try cod with fennel and potatoes.  Should be interesting, no?

Tuesday - Since we made a big old pot of sauce last weekend, it was a no-brainer to make a big old pan of lasagna this weekend, right?  That’s all made and ready to just pop in the oven when I get home.  Then it’s leftovers for breakfast, too!

Wednesday - We managed to separate those two pork chops I got at the market last weekend, so we’re going to split one of them between us – the other went back in the freezer.  The chop is about 2 inches thick, and I’m going to cook them basically the way Alton Brown did rib-eye steaks on Good Eats – pan-seared, then finished in the oven.  We’ll do baby potatoes and beet rösti, which I LOVE.

Thursday - For Minimal Effort Thursday, we’ve got some beef and barley soup up.  I used a couple of boneless short ribs in the soup, and I kind of (ahem) beefed up the flavor with some chopped mushrooms.  While neither of us is a fan of mushrooms on their own (the texture is weird), I chopped them chopped fine and cooked them until they all but disappeared – they add the hearty flavor without the icky texture.

Friday - And again, it’s pizza night.  You’ll recall that we had lasagna earlier in the week, which means leftover ricotta filling.  I just can’t seem to get it even!  Either I have too much sauce and run out of filling, or too much filling and run out of sauce, or, as in this case, too much lasagna and ran out of pan!  Anyway, we already know that ricotta filling on pizza is delicious, so it’s not such a bad thing to have some left over!

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: 01.20.2014 Edition January 20, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff.
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Is it just me, or has it been a long week?

I mean . . . I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because I’ve not been feeling 100 percent lately, but I will tell you – Peeps and I sat down to watch some TV last night, and within 10 minutes, I could not keep my eyes open!  So . . . it was an early to bed night for me!

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You’ll notice that there are no photos again this week – the camera is just fine, fear not!  I have learned my lesson and am keeping it WELL out of reach of certainly furry teenagers!

By the way, I’ve frequently found myself referring to Miss Minerva Kitty as the “furry little teenager,” which only makes sense, since we’ve also got the Giant Furry Toddler, right?

So yeah, no pictures, but this week it’s because I realized that I didn’t have any – it’s just been a slow week around here, I guess.

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Have I mentioned that I’ve been listening to audiobooks in the mornings when I walk the dog?  Yeah, that’s become my best time to get any “reading” in – at night, I just seem to fall asleep!

So our local library has hundreds of books available – both audiobooks and e-books – and both Peeps and I have been able to take advantage of the wide selection, right from our living room!

Lately, I’ve been listening to The Help, which I’m enjoying a lot.  I know it’s been out there a while and it’s fairly recently been made into a movie – I’m finding it very well-written and thought-provoking.

So is anyone reading anything good lately?

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.   The forecast I heard for the next few days calls for “high temperatures in the single digits.”  You know, I can deal with the snow (within reason), and I can deal with the cold (again, within reason), but that’s just too cold.  BUT I choose to live in upstate New York, so I guess I get what I get, weather-wise, huh?  

Monday - The current issue of Cooking Light is here, and right away Peeps dog-eared the page with  Stuffed Chicken and Herb Gravy.  Since we’re both off work Monday (yay!) and have time to fiddle around as necessary, AND since chicken was on sale this week, we’re going to try that with some mashed potatoes instead of polenta and probably green beans.

Tuesday - Last week, Laura over at Hip Pressure Cooking published a recipe for Lentil Risotto which sounds . . . intriguing.   Actually, it sounds very good, doesn’t it?  I’m going to try it with French green lentils which, in my experience, take FOREVER to cook, which makes them a perfect candidate for the pressure cooker, I’d say!

Wednesday - I realized that I still had a pumpkin from last fall languishing away downstairs!  I so hate buying fresh, seasonal produce, then forgetting it’s there!  Fortunately, winter squash (of which pumpkin is one) is fairly forgiving, and the pumpkin was just fine for this interesting pork and pumpkin stew – I left the turnips out, since the one time I had them, I didn’t care for them.

Thursday - I had planned to make a pot of sauce this weekend.   So I took a package of short ribs out of the freezer, and once thawed, I realized they weren’t boneless, so that’s on hold for next week.    This week, those not-boneless short ribs are going to be braised and Balsamic Glazed.  They should do better in the slow cooker than that chicken did  couple of weeks ago.  I’ll probably serve that with some of the homely veggies that we love so much.

Friday - And again, pizza night.  I may have bought a little extra prosciutto for Monday’s chicken – which may or may not be enough to top pizzas with.  Either way, we’ve still got plenty of the sauce we put up over the summer, and that definitely jazzes up a pie!  Jar’s got his Kong, so a peaceful, relaxed evening will be had by all.

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: 01 13 2014 Edition January 13, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff.
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We had a decent trip to the Public Market this weekend – citrus is in season, which means my new favorite (new in the past few years, anyway) orange – the Minneola – is in season!

And I realized that we haven’t had beets in quite a while!  Fortunately, the lady from whom we normally buy potatoes also had some nice-looking beets, and, since we didn’t really need potatoes this week, well, why not?

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One of the local butchers, Joe’s Meat Market, has a shop inside the Public Market.  These are the guys Peeps buys the pork belly from for bacon – we love these guys!  I found out, a few month ago, that they also have, by request, what they call their Kennel Grind for dogs.  While it’s certainly not something I’d ever want to eat (ever!), our Jarly absolutely goes nuts for it!

About once a month, I call their store and place my order for 10 pounds, then, when I get to the market, they pull a bag with my name out of the back (the “back,” in this case, being the guy’s truck!).

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You may notice that we’ve got photos back – I found the camera.

Where, you ask?

Well, see, it’s like this.

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Back in the corner of my basement is the area where, I guess, in the olden days they used to pipe oil into the furnace, and several years ago, we put wine racks back in that dark, cool corner.   So the other evening, I went down to the wine cellar to get a bottle of wine, and there, way back in the corner, showing very decided signs of having been batted down the stairs and across the basement, was my CAMERA.

I know I didn’t leave it there, and I’m certain  Peeps didn’t.  I can be pretty sure Jar didn’t either, since (a) he’s not allowed in the basement, and (b) he doesn’t fit through the kitty door anyway.  I don’t know how she did it, or how she got it down the stairs without breaking it, but, well, there it was.

It’s just a good thing she deleted her kitty selfies, because . . . I just don’t want to know.

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Remember all that snow we had last week?

Gone.  Almost all of it.  Which is good, I guess.

However, once the snow started melting, we had a bit of a cold snap  and by “cold snap” I mean, I walked the dog in below-zero temperatures, when that melted snow had suddenly frozen.

I did not go to work that day.  Heck no.

I stayed home and tried out the donut pan Peeps gave me for Christmas instead.

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Jarly is starting to settle into his new ride – there’s certainly plenty of room for him in the back of the van!

Plus, he can stand up without rubbing on the ceiling, which is definitely a good thing – it’s harder than you’d think to vacuum dog hair from the headliner of a car!

I wonder, though, if we should put the crate back there – he’s never been crated, so he’ll probably hate it.  But I suspect, if, heaven forbid, we were in an accident, he’d hate bouncing around the back of the van even more.

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  I guess we can pretty much tell what the season is by how we eat, can’t we?  It’s just been so chilly lately (I guess I can safely say -6° is chilly, right?) that we just crave those warming soups and stews.  And although it’s not supposed to be quite as cold this week, well, now I’m in the mood for winter food!

Monday - First up is grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.  I came across a recipe for roasted tomato soup that includes roasted cauliflower and potatoes – I used this recipe right here, though I’ll warn you up front – Thug Kitchen is full of Potty Mouth.  But the recipe looks good.

Tuesday - We roasted our chicken in the crockpot last week, and,while it tasted great, the white meat was a little dry.  Okay, a LOT dry.  So about the only thing I can think of to redeem dry meat is to smother it in gravy of some sort – so I’m going to make a quick batch of chicken and biscuits (or noodles or something) – basically chicken and gravy,ladled over something nicely starchy.

Wednesday - I picked up some escarole at the market and made a quick batch of pressure cooker chicken stock (no point in wasting that chicken rack – and there’s no room in the freezer for it).   Peeps whipped up some Italian sausage, and we are going to enjoy the heck out of some beans and greens, with delightful sausage.

Thursday - The last time Peeps roasted a pork shoulder, we divvied it up and put it in the freezer in meal-sized packages.  In the interest of rotating stuff in and out of the freezer, the time has come to enjoy some of that lovely roasted pork, along with some of the veggie mash that we stashed specifically for this purpose.

Friday - This week on  pizza night, I think we’ll both be enjoying some roasted Italian sausage on our pies.  Jar, in the meantime, will enjoy his Kong.

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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