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Monday Musings: 11.11.2013 Edition November 11, 2013

Posted by Toy Lady in Food, meal plan monday, Musings.
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Well, mission accomplished.

Last Friday evening, I met one of the meat suppliers (a very nice couple from Romulus, New York) (I can’t help thinking of them as The Romulans, though) and bought a 30-pound box of turkey wings and a 40-pound box of “chicken frames.”

Basically, that’s the bony part of the chicken that’s left after they cut the leg quarters, boneless breasts, and wings off.  Still plenty of meat, lots of bone, and necks.  Since he’s eating the bones and all, I’m very glad to have found a source domestic, antibiotic-free chicken parts.

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I guess I don’t need to tell you how happy Peeps was to have dug out his very heavy, very sharp meat cleaver!  We bought this several years ago, at a kitchen outlet store (that may or may not exist anymore – it was a LONG time ago, and out of town) – mainly because we didn’t have one.

We’ve almost never used it in all these years, UNTIL.

Until we suddenly had a need to start whacking up hunks of chicken, bones and all.

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I salvaged three volunteer butternut squashes from the garden last week – two were beautiful, and one was just not quite ripe.

We roasted about half of what I’d picked (guess who likes the roasted, not-quite-ripe bits?) and the other half, well some of that is going for dinner this weekend, and the rest went into a very nice, quick and easy soup, using a bunch of squash and the rest of the leeks that I keep forgetting about in the fridge.

Very simple:  Saute a bunch of sliced leeks until soft, season with a bit of salt and herbs (or herb salt).  Add the cubed squash, I don’t know, 4-6 cups? a small squash’s worth, anyway, and saute, stirring, for a couple of minutes.  Then pour in a pint of chicken stock or broth, and about a cup of half-and-half – just enough to just barely cover the squash.  Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and partially cover pot until squash is tender, then puree the whole mess into soup.  If it’s too thick (which it was) add a splash of apple cider, maybe half a cup, then add a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar to brighten.  You’re done.
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And in the meantime, if you’ve planned ahead, you can be snacking on roasted butternut squash seeds – yum.

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So do you remember last week’s nice, freshly defrosted, nearly empty freezer? Yeah, we divided up all that chicken into 2-pound containers, and that takes up a LOT of freezer space.

And underneath the pile of recycled yogurt containers (I knew they’d come in handy – eventually!) is 75 pounds of beef, in fifteen 5-pound packages.  That should be enough beef for the Jar for about 2 months, and the chicken should last a good month.  And, of course, we’ve got turkey wings in reserve, too.

I’d say I think I need a bigger freezer, but really, I just need to give over more of the one we have to the dog.

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Speaking of the dog.  I’m working very hard to understand what he’s saying sometimes.

Take this afternoon, for instance.  He seems to think that every time I go to the basement, I should be coming back with a bone in my hand, and honestly, he gets downright pesky about it sometimes.

So I brought this small bone up for him and sent him out to the back yard with it. Where he promptly went down the steps from the deck, dropped the bone, and started barking.  And he bark, bark, barked until the neighbors’ little dogs started barking, too, in that way that only little dogs do – yap yap yap yap yap yap!  And then Jar stopped barking, lay down, and started chomping on the bone.

Clearly, what was Jar saying was:  Hey, you guys!  I’ve got a bone!  You hear me?  Who’s got a bone?  I do!  That’s right!  Who’s got NO bone?  You do!  I’ve got a bone and you don’t!  Neener neener neener!

Yup.  Our dog is a jerk.

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  Even though we’ve sorted through (and defrosted!) both freezers, we’re continuing to observe No Shopping Week (which is just what it sounds like – once a month, we skip our weekly trip to the supermarket, live on what’s in the freezer/pantry/cupboards (with the exception of milk if we need it), and stash the grocery money).  I think of it as working on mending our ways – our habit of over-buying, coupled with our loathing of waste, and added to a shift in our eating habits, well, it’s just gotten a little out of hand.  This is a good way to hold myself accountable.

Monday –  We ate about half the black bean soup last week, so we’ve got more black bean soup up this week.  That should finish off the batch – and if it doesn’t, well, I won’t feel so bad about tossing whatever’s left.

Tuesday – Surprisingly enough, there was also about half of last week’s braciole left over, too.  Rather than think of it “leftovers” though, I prefer to think of it as re-enjoyed.  It was really good, and it’s nice to be able to have it again.

Wednesday – Of course, just because we’ve got leftover soup on Monday, that doesn’t mean we can’t have fresh, new soup on Wednesday, does it?  Squash and leek soup – with fresh bread – it’s good for the soul.

Thursday – We defrosted a chicken last week, to roast this weekend, so we’ve got some leftover cooked chicken.  We’ve also got a chunk of ham in the freezer, so Peeps suggested putting them together for a Monte Cristo casserole.  Um, sure.

Friday – Now that we’re back to our normal routine, pizza night will continue as usual!  However, I’m on the lookout for Kong-stuffing ideas for The Jar.  Now that we’ve changed his diet, the kibble mix with Might Dog I’ve been using all along seems to be a littler harder on his delicate tummy.  Any thoughts?

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. Susan - November 11, 2013

I just love your idea of “no shopping” weeks and of using what you have. I try to do that — not always as well as I’d like to, though, so keep on motivating me! How cool about the dog bones. I hope Jar appreciates how well you take care of him 😉 I have a feeling he does.

Toy Lady - November 11, 2013

I do find it’s easier to do No Shopping Week if I don’t even look at the store ads! Last week I’d plan to skip the supermarket, but then they were running butter on sale, plus a few other things we almost never pass by when on sale – so we pushed it off until this week.

And yeah, Jarly is definitely appreciating the new diet. He’s feeling so much better – I don’t think I’d realized quite how lousy he’d been feeling before. 😦 It’s really kind of heartwarming to see. 😉

2. Jean - November 11, 2013

I also like the idea of a no shopping week. May have to borrow that idea for next week to clear out some space before Thanksgiving arrives. Do you have a recipe for the squash and leek soup? It sounds good!

Toy Lady - November 11, 2013

Jean, I find No Shopping Week to be a sysematic way to stash a little cash – and that also assures that, when really good sales come up (especially around the holidays!), I can take advantage.

As far as the squash soup – I just threw it together – it’s basically all there. 🙂 I’ve found that, as long as you don’t try to get too fancy, you can pretty much wing it with most soups. 🙂

3. judy norton - November 14, 2013

I am fascinated with this new diet for Jar. I just can’t see him completely eating chicken bones. I would think they would hurt him like they would a cat. BUT the main thing is Jar is better and that was the goal all along! Works for me.

Toy Lady - November 14, 2013

Oh, it’s great – he LOVES it! The bones are fine for him – as long as they’re not cooked. He just crunches them up. 🙂 Cooked bones splinter – not good. I’ve been told that uncooked bones are even okay for cats – one of the women at the seminar I attended feeds her cat the same diet as the dogs – all raw, all the time. 🙂 And yes, with the exception of lamb, he’s doing wonderfully with this raw hippy diet. 🙂 Lamb is too . . . something, I guess. I don’t give him more than a couple of ounces in any one day now.

judy norton - November 14, 2013

Thanks for the extra info. Makes sense now that it is raw bones, not cooked fowl bones. I must admit I am disappointed that Jar does not fully appreciate how good lamb is….maybe raw is not as great as cooked. I am so hungry for some lamb chops. Maybe Santa will bring me some. 🙂

Toy Lady - November 15, 2013

Oh, Judy, he LOVES the lamb – that’s not the problem. 🙂 I’ve heard that it’s a common issue for some dogs – it’s a bit richer and/or fattier than some of the other meats, from what I understand. As long as I only give him a bit, along with other meat, he’s fine. HOWEVER, since the cost is about 4 times that of the other meats, well, it’ll be a rare treat for him – just like for us. 😉

And oh, Judy, when we can get them on sale, Peeps does these lamb chops on the grill, with a bit of fresh mint and some garlic – they’re SO GOOD. You’re definitely going to have to have a talk with Santa. 😆


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