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Monday Musings: 06.02.2014 Edition June 2, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Information, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff.
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Hello and happy June!

This week’s market trip yielded another big batch of fresh asparagus – I always make it a point to get my asparagus from the same guy – it’s fresh, local, and, after all these years, he knows me, so he gives me a break on the price!

Gosh, can you believe it’s June already?  I mean, it seems like just a few weeks ago, we were shoveling snow and . . . oh, wait a minute, I guess it was, wasn’t it?  HA!

I love spring – I love the freshness of the new produce, the greenness of the lawns, being able to leave the windows open all night – and I honestly don’t think I’d appreciate it quite so much without the cold, dark winter first, you know?




And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan. While there’s only a slight chance of rain in the forecast for this week, we still haven’t gotten completely into “summer grilling” mode yet – so we’re going to play it safe.

Monday – Last weekend, Peeps smoked a big old brisket, and, even after several lunches, there’s still a good portion left – so we’ll enjoy that reheated with a little barbecue sauce, some mashed potatoes, and sauteed mustard greens.

Tuesday – The current Cook’s Country magazine has a recipe for Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Fingers that sounds good.  I’m not quite sure what we’ll do with it, though.  Some sort of potatoes, I guess, and a vegetable.  Maybe salad (from my garden!) or broccoli.

Wednesday – With certain factions of the herb garden threatening to take over the world, I think it’s time for the herby-tuna pasta that we love so much.  That’s pure summer food for us!

Thursday – This is it – the end of that brisket!  Again, we look to Cook’s Illustrated – sort of, anyway – for Smokey Kansas City BBQ Beans.  Only instead of finishing the beans on the smoker, we dumped the remainder of the smoked brisket right in them and we’ll finish them in the slow-cooker. It’ll be fantastic!

Friday – Our regular Friday night pizza night brings us a relaxing evening w

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


I have something of a confession.  Well, not a confession so much as an admission.

See, here’s the thing.  I find that, as the weeks go by, writing this blog is becoming more of a chore than not.  As much as I’ve enjoyed writing over these last few years, I’m finding that I don’t have the time to put the effort into it that I used to.

And let’s be honest, I’m not really writing anything worth reading, am I?

In other words – it’s not you, it’s me.


I don’t want to lose touch with our tens of readers – the people who’ve stuck around, left comments, and, in generally, made me feel like someone out there really is listening.

Since YOU know who you are (in real life, that is), I’m going to have to leave it to you to keep in touch.

If you’re on the Facebook, please do send me a “friend request” – oddly enough, after all the years I’ve avoided it, I find Facebook oddly . . . easy. It’s so simple to share random thoughts or links or pictures – right form my phone if need be!  So do look me up – it’ll be fun!

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Monday Musings: 05.26.2014 Edition May 26, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Musings.
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It’s Memorial Day here, so please, take a moment to remember the heroes who have fallen in service to our country.

Monday Musings: 05.18.2014 Edition May 19, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in meal plan monday, Musings.
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We’ve got another market trip behind us, and, you know, everything else aside, that bi-weekly trip to the public market reminds us, better than just about anything else, how quickly time marches on!

Two weeks ago, we brought home fresh ramps, the first of the truly local produce.  This week, we snagged some fresh asparagus and even some tomatoes (granted, they were grown in a greenhouse, but it was a local greenhouse!), as well as a pack of my Beloved Jet Star plants for the garden – regardless of what the weatherman says, spring is truly (finally) here.


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Speaking of the garden . . . I finally had to get out and do a little cleanup in the herb garden (actually, a lot of cleanup!) – besides the weeds that have been trying to masquerade as various legitimate plants (I CAN tell the difference between chives and GRASS, thank you!) – I’m seeing signs of some attempted hostile takeovers.

Chives are moving in on the tarragon’s territory, the tarragon is trying to edge in on the garlic chives, the oregano keeps trying to jump ship and take over the rest of the yard, the dill has been re-seeding itself for 2 years, and the mint. . . well, the mint seems to just do whatever it darn well pleases.


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So Peeps and I are out walking the dog, and we pass this house, in a neighborhood of houses with beautiful, well-kept yards.

This yard was no exception, except for one kind of odd thing, which I don’t know how well it shows up in this photo – behind the adorable pink tulips, this tree has multiple extension cords, tube lights, all plugged into (get this) a power strip that was hanging down out of the tree.

I mean, is that even safe?  I’m pretty sure those power strips aren’t meant to be kept and used outside, are they?

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 So . . . I’ve been working in the garden, and it’s now officially planted!

Last fall’s garlic is up and doing well as are this spring’s peas (I’m going to need a taller fence!) and lettuce.

Peeps built the tomato “cage” last week, and everything else is now filled in – a row of chard, a row of carrots, a row of parsley (we use a LOT of parsley!) some broccoli,  NINE tomato plants, and a couple of basil plants.

I don’t know why I keep putting so many tomato plants in – I just can’t help myself, I guess.


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 Did I mention last week that I had also picked up flowers for my window boxes?  I ended up with an entire “flat” of the little violas – that would be 8 six-packs of mixed colors.

I’m not really a flower person – I don’t know much about them, really, but  I just love these little guys, with their little pansy faces!

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And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  As it happens, I’m on vacation for the entire week (can you believe it!) and, while I’ll have a bit of extra time, I do have plenty of things to do!  A meal plan, albeit a little looser than usual, should help keep me on track in that regard.

Monday – We had planned on chicken tenders last week, and I ended up getting home super-late, Peeps had had a lousy day, and he had a gift certificate to use, so, long story short, the chicken tenders are being pushed up to this week.  I’ll probably bread them and do something potato-y with them, along with some vegetable – broccoli maybe.

Tuesday – We picked up some farm-grown pork chops at the market – a bit of a splurge, but so, so good.  We’re just going to season them lightly and slap them on the grill, and we’ve got some sweet potatoes and that fresh asparagus that’ll be perfect.

Wednesday – We’ve got one bundle of ramps left from the last market trip, and I thought, since the forecast calls for rainy and chilly, a sort of leek-and-potato soup might be in order, only with ramps (wild leeks) and maybe even some green garlic (from my garden, guys!).

Thursday – Peeps’s uncle and aunt are driving through town Thursday and may be here at dinnertime.  I hope to prevail upon them to stay, but either way, we’ll roast some chicken on the grill (hopefully it won’t still be raining!) and some sort of potatoes and salad, I guess.

Friday – And as always, Friday is pizza night – I’m going to be doing some exploring in the freezer this week, and I’m pretty sure there may be a few packages of pizza toppings stuck away – something like roasted artichokes and/or caramelized onions.  We’ll see what turns up, I guess.

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



Monday Musings: 05.05.2014 Edition May 5, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Food, Giveaway, meal plan monday, mirth & woe, Musings, random stuff.
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I trust everyone out there in Computer Land enjoyed a nice weekend!  This was a market week for us, and boy, was it nice to just get out and do a little outside shopping!  It’s still a little early in the season for anything really “fresh” – with the exception of ramps (yay!) and, of course, eggs, but we’re still happy to enjoy some of the last of the fall’s winter crops – before long, the fingerling potatoes will be making way for new potatoes, and the broccoli will yield  to asparagus and peas.

I’ve got to admit – I’ll be mighty glad to see some new onions!  It’s so hard to buy onions right now – anything that’s local has been stored all winter and wants to either sprout or rot – or both!


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You know, the crazy thing about Rochester is that the sun comes out, and people just start going nuts!  You would not BELIEVE the number of vendors at the market with plants this week!  I mean, it’s great to see, but really, nobody really believes they can put tomatoes in yet, do they?

Sure, you can bring them home and put them in a sunny window, but . . . well, I guess it’s a reminder that YES SPRING IS REALLY COMING!

And I’ll admit – I succumbed to the siren song of a couple of fresh rosemary plants.  And since there was a discount when I bought four plants, well, I was thinking about replacing some sage and some thyme this year anyway. . .

Spring truly is here!


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Speaking of spring . . . remember a couple of weeks ago (the last time we had a sunny weekend) when I planted peas?

That’s right, they’re UP and even growing!  How awesome is that?  (I need to get a fence up for them, though – soon!)  Almost before we know it, we’ll be planning stir-fry with my very own snow peas for dinner!

Oh, and just beyond the snow peas?  That’s my garlic – how awesome is THAT?  I planted extra last fall with the intention of pulling some very young as “green garlic” – I’m not sure exactly when to pull it, so I guess I’ll take my cue from the public market – when I see it there, I’ll come home and pull a bulb or two and see what I get.



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  We’re just starting to see some warmer temperatures here, though we’ve still got a bit of off-and-on rain going on.  So we work around it, right?  This week, our menu is sort of looking like a world tour. . .

Monday –  Given that it’s Cinco de Mayo, we couldn’t miss a ready-made opportunity to enjoy some tacos!  I’ll be the first to admit – I don’t think we’ll ever go back the ground-beef-and-taco-mix tacos again.  Carnitas are just so good – and easy too!

Tuesday – Two things happened this weekend – we made some Italian sausage, and I picked up a nice bunch of rapini at the public market.  Put those things together, and, well, our world tour continue in Southern Italy.  Initially I’d planned to do the basic pasta, sausage and broccoli rabe dish that we definitely like.  Then I said to myself, “self, why not mix it up a little?” and I think maybe we’ll try something like this rapini and polenta dish.

Wednesday – And off we head to Morocco – sort of.  We’re finally going to see a sunny, not-cold evening, which means we’re firing up the grill!  I’ve got some chicken marinating with oregano, cinnamon and paprika – I think we’ll serve some cousous on the side, along with a veggie of some sort – probably broccoli.

Thursday – Minimal Effort Thursday will bring us to India – I’ve been intrigued by this spicy chick pea and sour tomato curry since I first saw the recipe!  This qualifies for our Minimal Effort Thursday – I made the curry ahead of time, and the “simmering” step will coincide with Thursday’s “reheating” – how clever is that?  I hope we like it – we always have everything on hand for it – except tamarind concentrate.  Does anyone know WHERE one would find tamarind concentrate?  I finally ended up ordering it from Amazon, so I’ve got it now, but still.  I’m also not completely sold on the pasta idea – do they actually use pasta in India?

Friday – And so Friday brings us back to Italy (or New Jersey, anyway) for pizza night!  I mentioned above that we made some Italian sausage over the weekend – guess what’s topping our pies this week?  That’s right – homemade sausage!

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



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.