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Monday Musings: 04.28.2014 Edition April 28, 2014

Posted by Jarlaxle the Wonder Dog in Big Lug, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff.
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I am Jarlaxle and I am excellent.

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I am so excellent that Mummy and Papa decided to celebrate what they called Gotcha Day by getting me a present!

No, they didn’t exactly say it was a present for me, but it was wrapped up, and they let me help open it, so that must mean it’s for me, right?
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I just knew, in that big giant box, it HAD to be the biggest bone EVER, didn’t it?

Or maybe one of those bully stick things they won’t let me sample when we go to the pet store.  Those things are HUGE!

Oh boy!

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Um, guys?

It wasn’t a bone.  Or even any kind of treat.

It wasn’t even anything to eat at all.

I’m not even sure it was for ME!

I mean . . . look at that thing.  It weighs a TON!  How’m I ever going to carry that around?

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It’s even got labels that say “STOP” and “DANGER!” and “WARNING” all over it.

And I’m pretty sure it’s not a good idea for a smart pup like me to chew on something with THAT MANY warning labels.  I suppose we could let a chihuahua try it and see what happens, if  you know what I mean!

Seriously – I’ll bet a Yorkshire terrier would fit right down in there. . . hey, there are those little beasties we see on our morning walks sometimes – the ones that try to chase me down the street – ME! – and don’t come when their papa calls them.  Hmmm, I wonder. . .

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So whatever this new toy is, it’s not something for me, I guess.  I don’t know why they let me open it, unless it was just tease me and get me all excited.

But then – wait a minute!

Papa brought out a WHOLE BUCKET full of chicken parts – the good kind, too – with the bones in them!

I know that stuff is for me, since Mummy doesn’t like what she calls “dark meat” very much, and the dark meat with the bones is just the kind of chicken I love.  It makes the most delightful crunchy noises!  I drag it into the living room, JUST LIKE THE BEAST THAT I AM and I crunch and gnaw and crunch some more!

(The only problem, though, is that when I get to have chicken, I get A SINGLE HUNK and that’s it.  It’s hard to mix my supplements into A HUNK of chicken and I end up having to eat them straight.  Blech.)

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Papa went ahead and turned on the new toy, and it was so quiet – even I, with my super-superior hearing skills, could barely hear it running.

And then – THEN – he crammed my lovely, lovely chicken in the Yorkie-hole!

And the . . . wait a minute here.

Almost before I could blink, ground-up meat came pouring out!  It’s like, well, it’s like a MEAT FOUNTAIN!

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Meat and skin and bones and, oh YUM!

I have the best parents in the world!  First, they took me off of doom nuggets and started feeding me live meat.  Well, not live meat, obviously, but real meat, anyway.

Though you’ve got to admit, it’d be pretty cool if they’d let me chase down my own squirrel or a rabbit, wouldn’t it?

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But I get super-special treats like raw liver and green tripe, too.  Dudes, I didn’t even know about green tripe before Mummy and Papa brought me home!

Not to mention big, juicy bones, too, on the weekend.  And you know, if I’m “obnoxious” enough (Mummy’s word), sometimes I get a bone on Saturday and another on Sunday!

So Papa packed the ground chicken in 5-pound tubs and stuck it in the freezer, so now they can mix and match what I’m getting for meals – a little organ meat, a little ground beef, and a little ground chicken-and-bones.

Life is good.

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And then Mummy said that she was SO pleased with how well I’m doing on this new diet (no more barfing, no more nasty stinky poos – yeah, I’m pretty happy too!) she’s so happy about it that she’s going to try to switch my sister  over to the same diet, only not homemade, at least not yet.    Which I guess will be okay, but somehow I don’t think she’s bright enough to know a good thing when she sees it!



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  Since I’m taking over today, Mummy says I’ve got to tell you what the plate are that I’ll be licking this week, so here goes!

Monday –  They say it’s going to be nice enough to grill, which means I’ll be hanging out in the yard while Papa cooks some nice lamb chops.  Of course, I won’t get the bones because they’ll be cooked, but I’ll get to lick the plates.  Plus, Mummy will probably save me a little taste.  She’s nice like that.  They’ll also grill some potatoes at the same time and probably have salad.  It’s not ground chicken, but I guess it’ll do.

Tuesday – And it’s gonna be raining again, I guess. No deck time for me.  Mummy likes to do something “meatless” every week (can you IMAGINE?) and this week it’s lentil risotto.  I guess it’s not bad.  You know, if you’re human.

Wednesday – Can you BELIEVE this?  They’re going to leave me alone for an evening!  And why?  So they can go to some Food Truck Rodeo – which means I’ll get fed early, they’ll dash out, then come home LATE for my evening walk!  The neglect I put up with.

Thursday – Well, at least, if they had to abandon me one night, they’re making up for the next with their beef, beer and onion stew.  Even though they make sure I don’t get any onions, and, obviously, the beer is cooked out, it’s still a bowl I’m happy to lick!

Friday – We puppsters to love our routine – and that means Friday is Kong and pizza night – I stretch out on the living room floor with my Kong, and they have pizza.  Then, the next morning, I get the pizza crusts!

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



Monday Musings: 02.03.2014 Edition February 3, 2014

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



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.



Monday Musings: 01.06.2013 Edition January 6, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, Cooking, Home, meal plan monday, Musings.
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Wow, has it been a week, or what?

Oh, by the way, happy New Year!  Sorry about that, but, well, what a week!

We, uh, got a bit of snow in these parts – I declared last Friday to be a snow day – I don’t know if my office was open or not, but I didn’t go in!  When the snow is in double digits (20+ inches) and the temperature is single digits (5), well, I’m not going anywhere.

Though I did take pity on The Jar and shovel a path across the deck for him.  The poor thing NEEDED to go out – and it was better than walking him around the block!


I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve misplaced my camera.

I have no idea where it is – I mean, it’s not like this house is THAT big, that things can just get LOST, but, well, there you have it.  I’ve been feeling a little under the weather this weekend, and you know how, when you’re sick, your brain doesn’t work right?

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I stuck the camera somewhere “safe” while I was in that foggy state.  Hopefully it’ll turn up soon.  Until then, I guess I’ll be taking pictures with the cell phone.

Cool, huh?

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Jar is obviously undecided as to what he wants to do when it snows.

On the one hand, he’s DYING to go outside.  Right. This.  Minute.

Then he gets out there, dashes across the deck, down the steps, and . . . ends up plowing through snow up to his chest.

At which point he MUST come back inside.  Right. This.  Minute.

Which wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t play out several times a day.

Like what, the snow situation is going to change in the space of a couple of hours?


Did I mention I haven’t been feeling so hot?  There’s this nasty bug going around, and it finally caught up with me – folks, please, if you’re sick, STAY HOME!  Nobody wants your germs!

So yeah, the past few days have been pretty miserable.

However, on the bright side, Peeps took the dog for his morning walk and let me sleep in on Saturday morning until nearly NINE O’CLOCK.  Do you KNOW when the last time I slept that late was?   Me neither.  Just wow.

On top of that, he very kindly went out and got me a pint of hot-and-sour soup for dinner, too – as far as I’m concerned, there is very little in this world better for a cold than good hot-and-sour soup.


Speaking of my darling husband.  After six months of unemployment, a couple of weeks of background checks and a couple of physicals, he’s landed a job with an armored car company.

I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say about it – they’ve got rules about that sort of thing, I guess – so basically, he wears a uniform, goes to work, carries his pistol, and brings cash to the places that need it.

So far, he doesn’t hate it, so I guess that’s a good sign, right?

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Now for the continuing saga of the car situation.

You’ll recall that last week, my mechanic boycotted my Volvo – yeah, I know, nothing says I have to listen to him, but Jim’s been looking out for me and taking care of my cars almost since I moved to Rochester – I trust him as much as I trust my father when it comes to automotive things.

So. . . when I called my father and told him about the situation, he said that, well, he still had my mother’s Caravan which she no longer drives and which he’d like to get out of his driveway – he’d bought it new, and it has fairly low mileage, and I could buy it for, as it happens, almost exactly what I have in my “car repair fund” – which, to be honest, is kind of a steal.

So. . . more later about the new Mutt Mobile.



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  I’m still not feeling 100 percent, so, while the last thing I want to think about is meals for the rest of the week, I know how much easier it will be later if I’ve taken the 10 minutes to plan now!

Monday – After a couple of weeks of holiday fare, it’s about time we lighten up a bit!  Our local supermarket has Alaskan cod on special this week, so we picked up some lima beans and will bake them together like we did a while back with the tilapia – I’m already looking forward to it!

Tuesday – When I made the cannoli cheesecake for Christmas, I needed to buy a tub of ricotta, of which I only used half.  It only makes sense to use the other half in lemon-ricotta pancakes, maybe even along with some homemade bacon.  Who doesn’t love pancakes for supper?

Wednesday – We’re still getting used to the whole Peeps getting home after I do thing, so we’re going to try cooking a chicken in the slow cooker – I don’t think I’ve ever really done that before.  I’m basically going to try this rotisserie-style version.  I may even add some potatoes, just to see how that works.

Thursday – We spent some time this weekend (when we weren’t looking for the camera!) making a big old pot of pork sugo – the sauce is done, so we just need to cook some pasta, stir it all together, and cheese it, baby!  Since this recipe makes a TON, there will be plenty to share with The Boy and his young lady (they love this stuff too!) plus probably another dinner next week.

Friday – And back to Friday night pizza night – I’ve been very much enjoying the roasted eggplant sauce I made at the end of the summer – and Peeps has been enjoying the roasted tomato sauce.  We froze it in muffin cups, then popped the sauce out of the cups into freezer bags.  Each portion is the perfect size for an individual pizza – it’s perfect 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: 08.19.2013 Edition August 19, 2013

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, Food, Home, meal plan monday, Stupor Kitty.
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Holy cow it’s peach season!  Where has the summer gone?

And how do we know that, you ask?  Well, besides fantastic local Red Haven peaches I picked up at the public market last week (and they were spectacular!), I received an email on Saturday from my local pick-your-own farm  letting me know that peaches are ripe and ready.

What’s a gal to do but pack up her husband and drag him out to the farm first thing Sunday?

I was very restrained, though, I think.  I only ended up with 17 and a half pounds  – which took about 10 minutes to pick.

They are SO good, too!


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Peaches aren’t the only fresh fruit we’re enjoying – oh no!

We were home Saturday afternoon, and I took the opportunity to enjoy my all-time favorite lunch in the whole world – a BLT!  Peeps has been baking some fantastic bread lately -which, as it happens, toasts up beautifully, and there’s  not much that can beat his homemade bacon.  Add some nice bibb lettuce, homemade mayo and of course, the star of the show, a couple of slices of fresh Jetstar tomato, and I have a happy, happy lunch!


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Old Jarly is having a bit of trouble deciding whether he wants to chew on his bone, or if he wants to come inside.  He can’t do both – bones are outside toys.

We spent half of Sunday afternoon trying to get that through to him – he’ll bark to come in, so one of us opens the door for him, then he picks up the bone and we tell him “no bone” and shut the door.  So he drops the bone, we open the door again, and he picks it up again.

That game gets old really quick, let me tell you!

Meanwhile, the cat is out prancing around the house, and every time it looks like the dog may come in (that would be something like every five minutes), she makes herself scarce, only to come back out and pester me as soon as he’s out of sight and earshot.

No wonder I never get anything done!



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  It looks like “Hey! Summer’s back!” around here – temperatures and humidity increasing through the end of the week.  We don’t mind that too much – both my office and the house are air-conditioned, and we’ll probably plan a quick morning beach trip to keep Jar well-exercised.

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Monday – We roasted that chicken last week (and it was very good!) – some of the breast meat is going to go nicely with a grilled caesar salad – basically, you take a romaine heart, cut it in half, brush it with dressing and slap it on the grill, cut-side down.   We also like to slice already-cooked chicken and grill that the same way to gently reheat it.  A perfect light dinner!

Tuesday – We got the September issue of Cooking Light last week, and there’s this big section on short-cut meals – healthy meals using prepared foods.  At first, I sort of flipped past that section (Prepared foods?  Really?) but then Peeps pointed out this hummus and rice fritter recipe.  We would certainly try that!

Wednesday – We picked up a sirloin tip last week – that got divided and stuck in the freezer for future burgers and the like.  Well, it’s the future, and we’re doing burgers.  We’re going to finish up some baked beans, too, and I think I want to make this beet salad to go with it – if I get to it.  Or maybe we’ll have peaches and tomatoes.

Thursday – Peeps made tacos for last weekend – so what’s better for Minimal Effort Thursday than more tacos – when everything’s already done?

Friday – We do love pizza night around here – ESPECIALLY during tomato season! Last week’s eggplant sauce was mostly a success – though next time I’ll double the amount of eggplant.  However, the remainder of the sauce is now in the freezer – we’ll use that when we don’t have fresh tomatoes to slice up.  I may sacrifice some of the pathetic basil for pizza – I don’t know what’s wrong with it this year, but it’s not doing well.  Probably should just use it up, huh?

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


Monday Musings: 07.01.2013 Edition July 1, 2013

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff.
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The public market is starting to really hop!

It seems that every week, I come home with more and more fresh produce – it’s a good thing Peeps is home on Saturdays now to help me carry all the bags in!

(AND it’s a good thing I keep buying all these re-usable bags, even though I know full well that I need the plastic bags for walking the dog!)

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I’m the first to admit that sometimes I may get a little carried away – but really, how can I resist fresh lettuce, the first of the mustard greens, or a bunch of beautiful beets?

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I got a call the other day at work from the Boy – he was on his way to work, and his car was hit by someone who was speeding.

Fortunately he’s fine, but that car?

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I don’t think he’ll be driving that anymore.  And honestly, I really didn’t need to see it – it’s actually worse than the photos look.  And my little boy was in there!

Fortunately, his new job is about a mile from my office, so he’ll be riding to work with me for a few days, until he gets his car situation sorted out.

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We were finally able to pick up a bag of “big dog” bones this week at the market – yay!  Usually, the butcher has either not had any, or we’ve gotten there too late, and he’s been sold out.

Not so this week, though!  Boy, we no sooner walked in the door than old Jarly had his big old nose planted in one of the bags, and he wouldn’t go away until he got what he was looking for!
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I dragged Peeps out with me one morning this week to pick strawberries.

I’ll say one thing about strawberry picking, and it’s the same thing I say every year — I am getting TOO OLD for this!

We had SUCH a busy morning that day – I walked the dog, piled him in the car and we took him to the beach for a quick swim, then we came home and fed both beasties, then we went out and picked strawberries, came home, and I showered and was at work by 10.

It helped that we picked 9 quarts in the space of about half an hour!


Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

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The herb garden is mostly out of control – as usual!  Lavendar is blooming, and the mint, oregano and tarragon are all trying take over. The rosemary is doing all right, and last year’s parsley has bolted.  The basil, though, is pitiful.  I don’t know what’s up with that.

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I not only have blossoms, I have baby green beans!  It’s only a matter of days, now, before I’m out there picking beans, isn’t it?  I’m still trying to decide whether or not to put another row of beans in once the lettuce is done. . .

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Oh, but wait – not just baby beans, but baby TOMATOES!!!  There are wee little green cherry tomatoes, JetStars, romas  almost all of the plants have babies!  BLTs, here I come!

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And then there’s the one (going on two!) wee little green pepper.  There was another, on another plant, but it sort of shriveled up and fell off.  I don’t know – I’ve not grown many green peppers.



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan. The weather forecast calls for, basically, warm and humid in the mornings, with possible random pop-up showers in the afternoons.

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Whenever they forecast “popup showers” I always think of “popup videos.”  Does anyone else ever do that?

Monday – Our fried rice last week we quite good, but we only used half the package of Chinese pork.  Rather than let it go to waste, I’m going to do some sort of Asian-esque frittata-type thing.  I’m thinking a few eggs, scrambled, maybe with some sliced potatoes (or hey, maybe even cooked noodles!) and the Chinese pork, some peas, scallions, and then bake the whole mess.   Thoughts?

Tuesday – We made this split pea curry a while back and were very happy with it – it really was delightful!  And since we only used half the package of peas, we decided to use the other half and make it again.

Wednesday – When we were at the public market Saturday, we saw the bean guy – he’s starting to wind up for the season, I guess, but I’m going to have to restrain myself this year – I went WAY overboard on beans last year!  However, it was chilly and rainy that morning, and he did suggest that it might be a good day to make some chili, and you know, he was right!  We made a big old pot of chili Saturday, and we’ll be enjoying that again Wednesday.

Thursday –  Thursday is the 4th – which means picnic and family.  I assume it does, anyway  – if my mother’s not expecting us, either we’ll surprise her (ha!) or we’ll grill some hot dogs or something.

Friday – And once again, pizza night rolls around!  Peeps tried some Italian  00 flour for the crust last week (he picked up one package on quick sale the other day), and it was phenomenal.  We may have to see if we can source that a little more inexpensively than (ahem) $3 a kilo. . . but still.

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