jump to navigation

Monday Musings: 03.17.2013 Edition March 18, 2013

Posted by Toy Lady in canning, Eating Down the Fridge, Garden, meal plan monday, Musings.
Tags:
comments closed

 photo IMG_7424_zps92bf19e5.jpg

I noticed the other day that my garlic was starting to peek up!  I was going to take a picture at the time, but then it snowed.

The snow melted, but we had time-change and it was always too dark in the morning.

Then it snowed again, but the snow melted AND I managed to scoot out to the garden with the camera, so . . . hey, look, garlic sprouts!

Photobucket

 photo IMG_7417_zpsf9725a0e.jpg

The sprouting garlic reminds me that the winter is nearly over – yay!  However, it also reminds me that, if I want to make chicken stock, I should do it sooner rather than later – it’s just foolish not to take advantage of the cold nights and chill the stock on the deck overnight.

Plus, of course, it’s always appreciated when I salvage the meat from the leg quarters and have treats for the, um, children.

Photobucket

 photo IMG_7422_zpsd37e730d.jpg

Speaking of whom. . .

We’re still continuing our tolerance training – it’s amazing how well everyone gets along when they’re being feed bits of chicken, isn’t it?  I swear, the cat practically climbs in my lap, with the dog right there watching – and waiting patiently for his turn!

By the way, please pay no attention to the red socks and purple shirt combination!  I’m not much of a fashion plate at that hour of the morning!

Photobucket

Embarrassing confession time.

You know how, around the holidays, all the supermarkets are practically giving away turkeys?  You know, a whole bird for 29 cents a pound with a $25 purchase, or some such foolishness?

Well, it’s been a couple of years since we’ve bought a turkey – there are only the two of us, after all.

Or, um, maybe it’s been more than a couple of years.   It’s amazing what you’ll find when you dig around in the bottom of the chest freezer!  Fortunately, the bird’s been safely in its original cry-o-vac packaging, so it’ll be just fine, safety-wise, anyway.

Photobucket

 photo IMG_7416_zps043c4b63.jpg

Say, Jarly’s been doing very well in his obedience class – again!

This is the “advanced” class, and the intention is to train the dogs to be SO obedient that they can perform off-leash.  In public, or, more specifically, in a room full of people and other dogs.

And, given Jar’s particular history, the “other dogs” part is the biggest challenge!

However, this week, he worked very hard – he did all of the exercises he was asked to do, AND he heeled properly – in the proper position, ignoring all distractions (like the room full of strange people and dogs), and he did it without his leash!

Our boy enjoyed his well-deserved nap!

Photobucket

Photobucket

And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  I am hoping that after this week, things will settle down for me at work for a little while.  I am SO TIRED of going in early, working late, and, worst of all, having no time at all for my normal slacking!

Monday – I picked up a few more Meyer lemons last week, and, rather than let them go to waste, we’ve been using them here and there.  We’ll finish them up in an old favorite from Cook’s IllustratedSpaghetti al Limone.

Tuesday – Since winter is winding down (really!) Peeps mentioned that we hadn’t made our favorite pork sugo in a while –  we’ll have some for the freezer when we’re done (just what I need!), and I’ll probably send some home with the Boy the next time he stops by for something.  That’s what moms do, right?

Wednesday – Since we’re kind of grooving on old favorites this week, I guess some white chili is in order.  Besides, I have GOT use some of those beans!  We’ll use some cooked turkey instead of chicken.  Obviously.

Thursday –  Of course, we can’t roast a turkey without making hot turkey sandwiches.  We’re not barbarians!

Friday – Friday night is always pizza night – I have decided that olive oil, ricotta cheese and salami, with mozzerella or provolone, is my favorite pizza of all.  At least it is at the moment.  And I’ve got just enough ricotta filling for ONE more pizza night.

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

Photobucket

Photobucket

Monday Musings: 01.21.2013 Edition January 21, 2013

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, Food, meal plan monday, Musings, Stupor Kitty.
Tags:
comments closed

Photobucket

 I don’t like to brag, but I like to think I can put together a pretty mean breakfast sandwich.  My secret?  It’s simple – I just don’t limit myself to breakfast-y things.  After all, isn’t that what Breakfast For Dinner is for?

As much as I’m a fan of a quick smoothie in the morning, I have found that, if I have a heartier breakfast before I leave for work, that keeps me satisfied for much longer – I’m not  scrounging around the office  by 10:00 looking for something – anything! – to snack on.

Photobucket

Since we had a bit of garden kale left last week, I’ve been enjoying that in the mornings – one morning, I sauteed up a bit of the green stuff (with some garlic, of course!) and added  an egg- then I put a slice of gouda cheese on my green eggs (ha!) and turned the whole thing onto some leftover baguette.  Breakfast!

My new favorite, though, is a grilled chicken sandwich!  I spread mayo  on a couple of slices of bread, then lay some leftover roasted chicken breast on top.  Put the sandwich together and brush the outside of each slice with some good olive oil, then grill.

That, together with a little more sauteed kale – a fan-freaking-tastic way to start the day!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Speaking of breakfast – remember our little experiment with the cat last week?

How Peeps didn’t set the coffee maker to turn on, so she didn’t know it was breakfast time?  And we got to sleep in until 5:30?

Well, we did that last Sunday morning, then we did it again Monday (Peeps’s day off), and it worked like a charm.

Then, this weekend, we tried it again.

Apparently, her new motto is:

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on you again.

Fool me three times, I don’t think so –  FEED ME NOW!!!

It’s a good thing I cut her nails last weekend. . .

Photobucket

Photobucket

The Jar enjoyed a nice bone this weekend – somehow he knows when it’s the weekend, so, starting around mid-morning on Saturday, every time I go to the basement for something, when I come back up, he’s waiting at the kitchen door with this expectant look on his face.

You know, just in case I’d gone in the freezer and into the Bone Stash.

Finally, Sunday afternoon, while we were in the kitchen working on the week’s dinners, Jar got his bone.

Then we played the in-and-out game for a while.  But really, how can you resist that face?  And the waggy tail?  And the cute little Gizmo ear?

Photobucket

Photobucket

And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  Winter is back this week, that’s for sure!  We’re looking forward to some cold-weather, heart-warming meals this week – slow-cooked, full of flavor, and, best of all, mostly already cooked!

Monday – One thing we haven’t had in too long is our white chili – and how fortunate that I’ve got plenty of dried beans from the bean guy at the market on hand!  I do need to get used to the fact that fresh dried beans soak up less liquid and cook faster – not that any of that is a bad thing!

Tuesday – I was listening to the America’s Test Kitchen podcast the other day, and they were talking about Cuban beans and rice.  I thought to myself “boy, that sounds good” – and so, the first opportunity that  came up to suggest a meatless meal, here it is!  Though it isn’t truly meatless, having a bit of bacon in, but I don’t think bacon counts as “meat” anyway – it’s more “seasoning.”  Yeah, that’s it.

Wednesday – I actually printed this recipe for Belgian beef, beer & onion stew back in 2007 – and we finally made it for the first time last winter.  BOY is it good!  However, apparently America’s Test Kitchen doesn’t make recipes from old episodes available for free anymore, though they do allow for a 2-week “free trial.”  We’ll serve this stew with either noodles or barley – depends on our mood,  I guess.  I’ll bet some nice green beans would be good, too.

Thursday – The only evening this week we’re actually cooking, I’m going to try Cooking Light’s Meyer lemon chicken piccata – I think it’ll be a nice, bright change after a week of braised, cold-weather dishes, don’t you?  Probably serve with rice and some sort of vegetable.

Friday – We do love our pizza night!  We picked up some hard salami (on sale) , so guess what we’re all having on our pizza this week!  Well, except the dog – he’ll stick with his Kong toy.

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

Photobucket

Photobucket

Monday Musings: 01 14 2013 Edition January 14, 2013

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Eating Down the Fridge, meal plan monday, random stuff, Stupor Kitty.
Tags: ,
comments closed

Photobucket

Another market week, another pile of produce!  (Pay no attention to those mini cheesecakes – I have no idea how they got there!)

You know, I started out with a very short list – carrots, celery, snow peas, leeks.   And I even forgot the leeks!

But one thing I’ve learned at the Public Market is to jump on a good deal when you see it, because it won’t be there next time.  Which is why I bought 3 avocados (for a buck), two freakishly huge sweet potatoes (a buck again) and even a bag of Meyer lemons (yet another dollar).

So. . . since I’ve never actually used Meyer lemons, I’ll be looking for cool, exciting things to do with them this week!
PhotobucketPhotobucket

Last week we roasted a chicken, which was, as usual, very good.  One of the best things about roast chicken, though, is chicken salad sandwiches, am I right?

However, to make chicken salad, you need mayonise, and I haven’t actually bought mayonnaise in, well, a long time. But as much as I love my homemade mayo (I scoff at Hellman’s now!),I do have to plan ahead a bit- so the other day, I pulled an egg out of the fridge so it would be room-temperature that afternoon.  And, just in case I forgot, I asked Peeps to remind me.

We communicate like this you see:  I wrote “for mayo” on the egg and set it on top of the coffee canister.  He came home from work, saw my notated egg, and probably shook his head.  Maybe he even rolled his eyes.

Then, when I got home, he said “did you seriously WRITE on an EGG?” thus reminding me to make mayonnaise.

See how that worked out?

Photobucket

Photobucket

Remember all that snow we had last week? What was it, about 3 feet of the stuff?

Yeah, that’s all gone now.  This weekend, the temperatures were, I kid you not, near 70.  In January.  In Rochester.

The perfect time to get out to my garden!  See, kale is what they call a “hardy” green – it can withstand a little cold and snow.  Or even, apparently, a LOT of cold and snow!

Photobucket

(For what it’s worth, just a couple of days ago, all those plants were buried – I couldn’t even see where they were, let alone pick anything!)

So I went out and picked my kale and stuffed it into a 5-gallon bucket.  And piled it onto the bucket.

I guess I probably should have taken care of this last fall, but in the fall, there’s so much other stuff to take care of, and the idea of leaving something in the garden to come back to in January, well, how could I not?

Photobucket

Photobucket

I know we’ve been working on emptying the freezer – and really, we are!

However, our local butcher shop had whole rib loins on sale for, well, a really, really good price – with complimentary cutting.  Since we’ve been eating mostly out of the freezer, we’ve been squirreling away part of the grocery money for large-ish meat purchases.  And hey, look, 18 very nice inch-thick ribeye steaks in the freezer for. . . just under $3 each.

Well, okay, 16 in the freezer and two for dinner this weekend.  Hey, it’s 70 degrees out – who wouldn’t fire up the grill?

Photobucket

Photobucket

Um yeah, that was a lot of kale, wasn’t it?  I almost want to think I need more bowls, but I’d need more counter, too, and that’s not going to happen any time soon!

I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon cleaning kale and, well, that was about it.

Then Peeps helped me blanch it and pack it up into little  packets to go in the freezer.

Photobucket

What started out as 5-gallons PLUS of fresh kale?

8 eight-ounce packages. Plus enough for a batch of soup this week, and about 6 ounces that wouldn’t fit in the bag.

Maybe I’ll try a kale omelet for breakfast this week.
Photobucket

Photobucket

So the cat has this Pavlovian thing going on – Peeps has the coffeemaker set to turn on and brew coffee about 20 minutes before we get up, or, for us, that would be 3:40 in the morning.

And when our alarm goes off, he gets up and feeds the cat, then pours coffee.

The cat has learned, of course, that when the coffee maker starts, she’s going to get be fed soon.

Every morning starts like this:

The coffeemaker starts brewing at 3:40.  The cat says, “OH I AM SO STARVING” and she  comes upstairs to tell Peeps.

The DOG, meanwhile, who DOESN’T get fed right away, doesn’t want to hear it, and, when the cat comes upstairs with her Starving Kitty Act, he’ll move himself out to the hallway, effectively chasing her back downstairs.

Where she continues her piteous carrying on until Jarly will get BACK up, come into the bedroom, walk over to Peeps, and BARK! in his face to wake him up, whereupon Peeps gets up, goes downstairs, and feeds the cat — all before the alarm even goes off.

This weekend, Peeps had the bright idea to NOT set the timer on the coffeemaker.  If the coffee didn’t start at 3:40, maybe the cat wouldn’t come upstairs at 3:41, and maybe the dog wouldn’t BARK him out of bed at 3:45.

Heh.  We slept until 5:30!

Photobucket

Photobucket

And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  The tell us that January will, in fact, be back this week, so we’ve planned our meals accordingly.  Additionally, we’re always trying to cook and eat as much from the freezer (and the garden!) as we can, and, of course, keep as it healthy and budget-friendly as possible.

Monday – We absolutely love this slow-roasted pork shoulder – and it makes a TON, which means leftovers for lunches, for something next week, and maybe even a bit in the freezer!  We’ve got plenty of carrots and some parsnips that need to be used, so, rather than roast the carrots as directed, I’m going to do these roasted root vegetables – getting a head start on my Meyer lemon usage!

Tuesday – I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it or not, but we’ve got plenty of kale at the moment.  It seemed silly to just freeze it all without using some of it, so I thought a nice kale soup would be perfect.  I’ll add some chick peas, I think, and maybe I’ll even get home early enough to do some naan.

Wednesday – While I was digging chicken stock makings out of the freezer last weekend, I found a lonely container of Peeps’s Cincinnati chili.  We figured it would be very nice as the winter weather starts coming back.

Thursday – Quite a while ago, I received  in a Cuisine at Home e-newsletter this recipe for Chinese chicken & corn soup.  We made it once and really enjoyed it, and, since we had the better part of a leftover roasted chicken handy, as well as everything else (except snow peas, which I picked up at the market), we’re looking forward to revisiting that soup this week.

Friday – Gosh,pizza night makes life easier!  It’s the end of the week, and the last thing we want to do is THINK about what we’re going to do for dinner!  Peeps’s pizza rivals anything we can easily get in this area, which makes it even better.

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

Photobucket

Photobucket

Monday Musings: 11.12.2012 Edition November 12, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in canning, Musings.
Tags:
comments closed

Boy, I’ll bet you’ve been wondering what’s happened to me lately, haven’t you?

Be assured that all is well here – we’re the regular amount of busy, the time change hasn’t defeated us (yet) and, at the moment, no one is sick!

It’s that darned computer.  You’ll recall that we sent it out to be fixed, and, well, it turns out that we’re going to have to not “fix” it so much as “replace” it.

That was not in the plan.

However, I’ve ordered a new machine from Woot! and it’ll be here . . . when it gets here.  So until then, it’s me and the Fossil Laptop.

Seriously, it gets miffed if I open more than two windows. . .

Photobucket

We’ve been enjoying a bee-u-tiful weekend here in upstate New York – sunny and 70+ degrees!

You do know what that means, though, right?

Yard work.  Raking and pruning and cutting back trumpet vines.  Cleaning out flower beds.  Pulling up those STUPID things that keep trying to take over my irises.  Giving the herb garden its fall trimming.  Although there’s still one tree that just won’t give up its leaves, we managed to fill SEVERAL bags with lawn trash.

I persuaded Peeps that after a day spent outside working, we don’t want to fuss with dinner – we want to fire up the grill and throw on a couple of steaks!

For the record, though, he didn’t need a lot of convincing.

Photobucket

You know, it turns out that, when you have to just rely on WORDS to do a blog post, well, the whole thing is a lot more daunting, you know?  I mean there’s such pressure to be interesting – if I’m going to present people with a screen full of nothing but text, without even a photo of a chopped onion to break it up, well, how can I expect anyone to actually read all that?

So. . . if you’re wondering where I am over the next couple of weeks, well, just know that words are hard sometimes!

Photobucket

I’ve been wanting to mention Jar’s new dog class and how well it’s been going!

You’ll recall that our star student completed the “Basic” class three times before he was promoted to the “Advanced” class.

Keeping in mind, of course, that it’s not about the skills – he can do the work – how hard can Sit, Down, Stay, and Come all be – the third time around?  No, our boy is just uncomfortable – the point of being jerky – in a room full of strange dogs.  He hates ‘em.  In a way, I can’t blame him too much – I’m not a fan of strangers either.

However, we’ve just completed Week 5 (of the 6-week class) and he’s been doing so well that we’re going to . . . turn around and take the class again!

Photobucket

I think I mentioned last week that the Bean Guy is back at the Public Market – yay!

Next weekend, I’ll be buying more beans, and I really want to do something fantastic with fresh, dried beans. (Yes, fresh AND dried.)  So I’m trying to decide between chili or baked beans.

Rough choice, huh?  Well, which would you do?

Oh, and we did our Bean Experiment last weekend – I pressure canned three pounds of mixed dried beans – a pound each of kidney, small red, and pinto beans, all mixed together.

It worked!  Do you know what this means?  It means I’ll never buy canned beans again!

Photobucket

Photobucket

And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  We’ve got a moderately busy week ahead – and weather-wise, we’ve got a great first couple of days, followed by, well, November.

Monday –  Peeps has been wanting to make his Cincinnati chili for a while now – and believe it or not, an opened jar of tomato sauce that needs to be used before it spoils provided all the excuse we needed!

Tuesday – It’s getting back into soup season, and, since we’ve not been eating as much seafood as maybe we should be, we decided to put the two together and make that fantastic fish chowder that we liked so much.  This is why we stock up on wild Alaskan whitefish when it’s on sale!

Wednesday -A few weeks ago, I made Rick Bayless’s green enchiladas – and they were very good.  Which is darned lucky because I doubled the sauce and ended up with a TON of it in the freezer.  Well, this week, I’m going to make green PORK enchiladas using some of Peeps’s unsauced pulled pork from this summer.  Yum – smoky pork enchiladas. . .

Thursday –  You know, I’ve still got tons of kale in the garden.  I’m not too worried about it, though, because it’ll keep well even into the colder months.  But it’s not doing me any good at all if I don’t use it, right?  So I found this recipe for Rustic Squash and Kale Tart – besides the kale, I’ve been picking up random squashes at the market too.  And really, who doesn’t want pie for dinner?

Friday – Speaking of pie for dinner – Friday is always pizza night! Last week’s pile of herbs on my pizza was a nice reminder of why I love my herb garden!  This week, I’m hoping to have some leftover steak, because I do love a cheesesteak pizza!

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

Photobucket

Photobucket

Monday Musings: 08.27.2012 Edition August 27, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in meal plan monday, Musings.
Tags:
comments closed

Photobucket

Well, this was certainly a big week at the market for me!  The end of August means everything, it seems, is in season!

What didn’t make this photo were the bag of peaches, olive oil, more lettuce, and melon.

What ELSE didn’t make this photo were the grapes, apples and butternut squash I couldn’t bring myself to buy – those mean it’s nearly FALL!

Photobucket

Photobucket

So I think I’ve got The Jar pretty well trained!

Most of the summer, on either Saturday or Sunday morning, we usually take a trip to the B-E-A-C-H.  So Saturday morning, I got home from the market, and just in case I forgot, Jar followed me around, wagging his tail and smiling at me, with the occasional bark thrown in.  So I wouldn’t forget, you know!

Sadly, this was not a good beach weekend for us.  We did drive up to our regular beach – or we tried, anyway.  The entire road was closed for a footrace that day.  No swimming there!

So we thought we’d try Ontario Park Beach – and you couldn’t swing a dead cat (so to speak) without seeing a “no pets allowed in park” sign.  Sigh.

Then, Sunday, we headed back to Durand bright and early, only to be confronted by what appeared to be a . . . baptismal service!   And a rather large one at that.  Somehow, we didn’t think Mr. Excitement and his splashing would be quite appropriate for that occasion.

So we turned around and went to the “people” beach – where Jar immediately lost track of his ball the first time Peeps threw it for him.  We threw a stick for him a few times, and he did go get it and bring it back – pretty much – but I’m pretty sure he was convinced we had his ball, and his little heart just wasn’t in the stick-fetching thing.   So, after a good sniff around the place, we headed back home.

He’ll get a proper trip to the beach later on this week, though, fear not!

Photobucket

Photobucket

So the garden is right at that awkward stage – too many tomatoes to just eat them all fresh, but not quite enough to do anything significant with.  Know what I mean?  Not enough to can, or to make puree, or, really, much of anything, really.

One thing we have done, though, make a micro-batch of sauce.  I take all the Juliet tomatoes I have lying around – usually a good bowl full – quarter them, along with a couple of peeled bulbs of garlic (also from the garden!) and toss them with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on a sheet pan and into a low LOW oven (about 200) and leave them until Peeps gets home, usually about 5 hours later.  Then he pulls them out of the oven and purees them, adding a splash of white wine.  When we’re ready to use it, we just reheat it, check for seasoning, and toss some fresh basil and parsley in.

It’s quite nice – and super-simple!

Photobucket

Photobucket

So after the whole not-getting to swim thing on Saturday, of course I had to give the poor puppy his Saturday bone, didn’t I?

He’s such a good boy!   He sat for it, took it politely when I handed it to him, then he just went out to the back yard to a nice, shady spot near the garden to enjoy it in peace.

He must not have been in the mood to bake – once the shade moved away from him, he was ready to come in!

Photobucket

Photobucket

And, of course, Kitty enjoyed some “mama time”  while her nemesis was outside.

And by “mama time” I mean walk around under my feet and meow at me until I stopped to pet her, at which time she took a swipe at me.

She’s past due for her nails to be trimmed.  I hate doing that.  But I think she hates it more, which is one of the reasons I put it off.

Photobucket

Photobucket

We LOVE freshly grilled corn!  Every year, I buy corn every time I got to the market, and we eat some and freeze the rest.

It’s great!  We just cut the slightly-charred corn off the cobs, spread the kernals out on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and shove them in the freezer.  Once we remember it the corn is frozen, we just pour it into a gallon freezer bag, and bazinga! Corn for the winter!

Photobucket

Photobucket

And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  Wow, I still can’t believe we’re at the tail end of August, can you?

The forecast is looking mighty sweet for the week, so, for the most part, we’re going to be doing all grilling all the time!  After all, there aren’t that many more grilling days left, really, are there?

Photobucket

Monday –  Well, except Monday.  I just got an email reminding me that I have a Groupon about to expire, so I’ve got to use that before the end of the week.  Therefore, we’ll be enjoying calzones for dinner.  And possibly for breakfast the next day too!

Tuesday – Okay, back to our scheduled grilling!  We’re going to grill some of our special burgers – a mix of half beef and half pork – seasoned, then ground – it’s the best, I’m telling you!  I’m making a batch of potato salad that should go nicely, along with some tossed salad.

Wednesday – Lime and chili-rubbed chicken breasts – the rub intrigues me with a bit of brown sugar. . . it should go well with, oh, some roasted green beans, say, and some brown rice.

Thursday – The last (I think) of our pork and leek sausage is going on the grill this week – gosh we love that stuff!  Not sure what we’ll do with it – probably potatoes in some form, and, of course, a vegetable.  I’d love some fried zucchini, but somehow, I don’t think that’ll fly. . .

Friday – And again it’s Kong and pizza night!   Last week, we had some leftover breakfast sausage (from an earlier breakfast pizza, I think), so that went on my pizza, along with (of course) some sliced tomatoes and  chopped herbs, including sage and garlic.  Boy was that good, too!

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

Photobucket

Photobucket

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 101 other followers