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Monday Musings: 07.09.2012 Edition July 9, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in meal plan monday, Musings, Work.
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Oh wow, I can’t believe we’ve passed the fourth of July!  It’s well and truly summer, isn’t it?

I took the latter half of the week off to, ideally, relax and get some stuff done around the house and yard.  It was just so warm all week, though, that mostly I just tried to “keep cool” – we took the dog to the beach a couple of times (always fun if done early in the morning), and we did a bit of shopping – the mall is always air conditioned.  Too bad I hate the mall.

By Sunday, the heat had broken, and we were finally able to get outside and stain the deck and fence.  The transformation is amazing!

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Oh, oh, and looky looky!

I picked some grape tomatoes!  Three to be precise, but it’s just the beginning!  I’ve got more of those, and I’ve got other tomatoes on other plants all starting to turn color. . . early morning watering sessions and long, sunny days are the best thing in the world for the garden!

And I’m not above putting grape tomatoes on my pizza, either.

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I guess I’ve answered last week’s question about how long it takes the actual beans to mature from itty-bitty bean to actual, pickable, edible green bean, huh?

It’s about one week.  Give me a couple of days, and I’m going to be swimming in green beans!

And not just green beans beans, either – some of my beans are PURPLE!

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Oh, this is funny – we went to see a movie, and as we were leaving, we saw a Mini Cooper in the parking lot with this sticker on the back.

I made Peeps drive AROUND the lot and come back so I could get a picture of the “actual size” Cooper!

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So, as I’ve mentioned, we’ve had some mighty warm weather this past week – temperatures in the 90’s most of the week.

Poor Jar – he spent a good deal of time stretched out as much as he could, just trying to catch as much breeze as he could.

That is a LOT of dog to step over, too.

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I finally thinned my kale and actually got enough baby kale for a meal.  Thinning vegetables is hard for me – I hate to do it too soon because it feels like such a waste of potential plants, but I can’t leave it too long, because then there’s just no point.

I think, though, that I got it right this time.  I do love kale!

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Photobucket We baked some rolls one morning for burgers, and the rolls had an egg wash.

Egg wash is all well and good – but you never use the WHOLE egg – either you separate it and just use the white (what, and throw out the yolk?), or you use the whole egg and have half of it left over.

In this case, we had half an egg left over, so, rather than just toss it, we shared it with the kitty – she’s been doing so well about hanging around, even if the dog is potentially nearby – that we wanted to make it worth her while.

She did seem to enjoy it!

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  It looks like the weather is going to be absolutely stellar most of the week, so at this point, it’s a matter of planning around our schedule and what’s on hand, I guess.

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Monday – We’ve got a bit of leftover taco meat from last week that we’d like to use up before we forget it – I’m SO TIRED of stashing stuff in the freezer (or worse, the refrigerator!) and forgetting about it!  So what I’m going to do is make some refried beans (using about half a pound of red beans I picked up at the public market), mix that with the taco meat and maybe some shredded cheddar, then top the whole mess with some sort of cornbread topping – maybe somewhat along the lines of our earlier taco bake but, you know, sort of different.

Tuesday – I picked up this absolutely fantastic cranberry balsamic vinegar this weekend – that’s so unlike me!  They were offering samples, and it was CRAZY GOOD, so I had to get some.  ANYWAY, I asked the guy what, other than drinking it from the bottle (it really was that good) he would suggest, and one of his recommendations was to drizzle it over grilled fish.  So. . . we’re going to grill some Alaskan whitefish and drizzle the cranberry vinegar on it.  We’ll also enjoy some broccoli (maybe pan-roasted, maybe steamed) and probably something basic like rice.

Wednesday – Since Wednesday is the Boy‘s day off, and since he’s been known to suggest that we save “the good stuff” for when he’s not here (a big fat lie!) we thought he might enjoy some of Peeps’s smoked brisket with some mashed potatoes and beet greens.  Who’s having good stuff now?

Thursday – I like to try to offset the couple of heavier meals this week with something a bit lighter – in this case, some grilled chicken with couscous and my own baby kale. Or maybe green beans.

Friday – This week, for pizza night, I’d like to hope we’ll have some brisket left, but I’m not going to count on it.  However, it’s entirely possible I might be able to pick a tomato or two!  There is just nothing in this world like homemade pizza with fresh tomato slices and chopped herbs!

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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Really? Grilled? June 22, 2012

Posted by Peeps in Cooking, Home, random stuff, Work.
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As you may recall, I work for The Ravioli Shop.

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Summer is our slow season. Which makes perfect sense. Who really wants to steam up the house making ravioli in this kind of weather?

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A couple years ago, my wife and I were joking around and we talked about the idea of doing ravioli on the grill. We thought the idea was pretty funny. And for the last couple years whenever it started to get hot out, we would mention slapping some ravioli on the grill.

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Until a couple weeks ago. When, just out of curiosity, we Googled “grilled ravioli”. And got a ton of hits from all kinds of people who apparently do this on a regular basis. Who knew? So we decided to try it out.

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We looked at several recipes and the basic technique was the same. You put the ravioli in a large bowl and add a couple tablespoons of oil. We used olive oil, not the good stuff though.

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You toss the ravioli with the oil, making sure they all get a nice coat of oil. Then it’s time for the grill.

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The grill should be at about medium heat. One of the recipes we had looked at had suggested one of those disposable foil grilling pans, so that you don’t lose your ravioli under the grill grates. Of course! That’s brilliant.

Cook them on the grill, shaking the pan every couple minutes to prevent sticking, until you start to see some color on the ravioli. Turn them over and continue cooking for another few minutes.

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Don’t try to get every single one a perfect golden brown. Really, it’s just not worth the effort. But once they’re spotty brown on both sides, they’re done.

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We threw ours back into a large bowl and gave them a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkling of Romano cheese. Every one of the recipes we looked at used a different kind of sauce, but we just went with Boss’s marinara. It’s quite good, and it worked very well with this application.

And that’s it. You can probably use frozen supermarket ravioli just as easily, the cooking time will be a little longer. I would not suggest you use Chef Boyardee. Doing that would not end well.

So, hopefully you’ll run right out and give this a try. If you’re local, stop by the store for a box or two. While I’d rather not spend any more time in the 100 plus degree shop than I have to, and while my co-worker Liz has way more important things to do, it would make Boss happy if business picked up a little.

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I can hardly believe it myself! April 25, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Cuisine at Home, random stuff, soupe du semaine, Work.
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Well hello there.

It is I.

Things seem to be starting to settle down around here, at least for the moment – which, honestly?  It’s just a good thing!  Those moments that I haven’t been too exhausted to think a coherent thought?  I’ve been Mrs. Cranky Pants.

When I get busy,  I don’t have time for a lot of fiddle-faddle, yet some days that seems to be all I get – a lot of fiddle-faddle.

Sometimes I just want to smack someone.  Who that someone may be varies from day to day, but there’s always someone around who needs a good SMACK lately.

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There are those evenings when I’m too tired to care about anything like eating.

Or the days when I’ve had to explain for the eleventy-thousandth time that, yes, it really is okay to have your board president pre-sign this purchase agreement, and that my office, acting as  YOUR COUNSEL, will HOLD IT IN ESCROW and NOT RELEASE it to ANYONE until everyone has agreed to all of the terms of the sale AND the agreement has been finalized AND the figures have been independently verified by an outside accounting firm.  Either that, or the board president can sit around and wait for all that to happen (and no, there’s no way to know exactly when that may be), and if the agreement’s not signed by the end of the day, the deal’s off and we try again the next day.  And let’s hope the rates don’t go up.

Fortunately, I’ve got Peeps here to help hold down the fort.

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And so, while the rest of the world was enjoying 70- and 80-degree afternoons, I was cooped up in my office, juggling multiple bond sales, holding dozens of nervous clients’ hands, tracking down documents that should have been here yesterday, or getting seals on bonds that need to close in a couple of days, packaging random documents to go to random people, missing out on all that gorgeous weather.

And now, when it starts to settle down a bit, and I can consider less than a 10-hour day, well, you know what I get?

Snow.

Let me say that again.

It’s been SNOWING.  IN APRIL.  Oh, not a lot of accumulation or anything, and it’s not even really that cold (except in the sense that it’s not 80 degrees anymore).  But still.

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So I kind of thought it might be nice to share one more soup before soup season ends and salad season starts.

That, and I’d fully intended to post this a couple of weeks ago, but I only got as far as uploading the photos before Duty called.

I’m managed to put a gag on Duty for the time being, and here I am, with one of the most surprisingly tasty soups we’ve had in a long time.

I still get the Cuisine at Home e-newsletter, and about a month ago, there was this Chinese Chicken & Corn Soup.

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Although I did kind of wonder if “Chinese” was politically correct – shouldn’t it be be “Asian” Chicken & Corn Soup?

Well, I don’t know.  But I do know that we had some leftover roasted chicken, and I picked up some nice snow peas at the market, and we still have most of a quart of Peeps’s sriracha in the fridge. . .

And it’s cold and vile out.  Perfect soup weather, if you ask me.

And I’m busy and tired.  Perfect opportunity for a quick, hearty soup, wouldn’t you say?

Here’s a printable version, just in case you’re interested.  Which of course you are.

Keep your fingers crossed April 13, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in Work.
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I think the worst is over.

Today (Thursday) I sent out five (FIVE!) sets of documents for signatures.

That’s five “Large” FedEx boxes, each stuffed with closing transcripts, bonds, agreements, contracts, and each going to a different part of the state.

To put it in lay terms, that’s a TON of work.

Okay, not really a ton.  About 75 pounds, though, all told.

And about $40 million, but that’s neither here nor there – it’s the same amount of work whether it’s $20 million or just $2 million.

So anyway, I’m thinking the worst of it is over – I went from averaging 10 bond sales a week to . . . let’s see, just three this week, and four next.

I may get my life back soon. . .

For what it’s worth… March 23, 2012

Posted by Peeps in Home, random stuff, Work.
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The last few days have been incredible.  Temperatures in Rochester have been topping out close to 80 degrees most of the week.

The trees are budding, grass is starting to come back.  I’ve seen daffodils that have come up already.

The slow season seems to be starting at work.  Because, really.  Who wants to cook pasta when it’s so nice outside?

The attic fan has even come on, for crying out loud.

It’s still only the middle of March.  There is something not quite right going on.

You may remember last Summer, when we had a nasty hot spell.  That was in July.  When it’s supposed to be that hot.

Not only is work starting to slow down, it’s starting to heat up.  So far, it’s not too bad.  Indoor temperatures in the low 90s aren’t too bad.  Besides, I could probably stand to drop another couple pounds.  Okay, more than a couple.

Did I mention that it’s only March?

I’m a little worried.

We had a very mild Winter.  And the seriously nice weather started happening a couple weeks ago.  I was predicting late March snow that wouldn’t go away until the middle of May.  Now, I’m not so sure.

I’m starting to wonder just how hot it’s going to be this Summer.  And whether I’m going to want to leave the house at all.

It looks as though we might be doing a lot more cooking outdoors this Summer than we had planned on.  Not to mention salad.  Probably lots of salad.  Assuming that we can keep the garden in good shape.

I would not be surprised if this is the biggest song of the Summer.  Just because of the weather.  Remember, you heard it here first.

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