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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: 05.12.2014 Edition May 12, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff.
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Yup, spring is here!

And with it comes all that Spring stuff – like yard work and gardening.

Peeps mowed the lawn for the first time this season, and it seems that we’re going to be looking for another lawnmower soon, which, yes, we knew last fall.

And we got our seed potatoes planted – we’re trying the potato cage method this year.  Last year’s potato crop was a somewhat disappointing use of my limited garden space.  I hope this works out a little better – I’ll keep you updated, for sure!


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This weekend was also the first week of the Flower City Days at the public market – you can basically get anything “outside” related that you might be in the market for – and plenty of stuff you’re not!

I did get plenty of plants:  tomatoes, broccoli, several herbs, and flowers.

Peeps did NOT get the giant pig grill, though.

But he’s mighty cool, isn’t he?


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Okay, here is where you’re going to be forced to say “that’s just wrong.”  And to be honest, I won’t blame you.

See, it’s like this.  We were walking the dog at the park, when he wanted to go over and sniff a bush.

He does that – bushes are apparently prime message-leaving spots.

So anyway, he stuck his face deep into the bush, and he pulled out . . . a rabbit!

It was dead, though fairly fresh – I suspect, based on the single neck wound,  that some cat had done it in and couldn’t be bothered to eat it.

While we have been working on “drop it” training with him, there’s a world of difference between dropping a ball or even an already-chewed bone, and dropping a fresh (ish) rabbit.

And I’ve learned my lesson about trying to take it away from him!

So . . . we marched him home, with his trophy firmly in hand mouth, and he just took his prize to the back yard where, well, we’ll just say that it did NOT come inside!


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So . . . you’re still here.  Good.

How about this for a nice dose of wrongability?

It seems that you can cook cinnamon rolls – In The Waffle Iron!

So yes, after we got home from the market, we had cinnamon rolls for lunch.

Yes, it’s wrong.

But we liked it.



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  We’re looking forward to quite a bit of rain this week – the garden can use it, but that means no grilling, so we’ll be cooking indoors this week.

Monday – Last week’s chick pea curry was quite good – and since I used dried beans instead of canned, we had a bunch left over, which will be repurposed into falafel burgers.  Since they’re “burgers” we’ll serve them on buns instead of in pitas.  We’re the boss of our food, right?

Tuesday – A couple of weeks ago, I picked up some beef tenderloin tips on sale – they’re basically the end pieces that the butcher cuts off when he’s cutting filet mignons.  So. . . I thought we’d do some kind of beef tips, maybe pepper-crusted, then a red wine pan sauce.  We’ve got some fingerling potatoes to roast and some baby spinach to saute.

Wednesday – I pulled some chicken “cutlets” from the freezer – they’re basically the hunk of chicken I trim off the breasts to make them a reasonable size.  I usually treat them like chicken tenders.  This time I’ll bread and bake them.  Who doesn’t like breaded chicken tenders?  I think we’ve got broccoli left from last week, too.

Thursday – For Minimal Effort Thursday, we’ve got some sausage that will go beautifully in risotto.  Before you ask, yes, risotto certainly is minimal effort – and it takes less than 10 minutes in the pressure cooker!

Friday – And here it is, pizza night already!  I’ve still got plenty of the eggplant sauce I made last summer – it’s so good!  We’ve also got roasted sausage in the freezer, and I’m not positive, but I think there are even some roasted artichokes somewhere, too.

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.



Monday Musings: 04.21.2014 Edition April 21, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff.
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What a weekend!  I trust we all enjoyed a wonderful weekend – in whatever way you observe, whether a traditional Easter holiday, Passover, or even just a sunny spring weekend.

We spent the holiday with my family – we had a nice visit with the parents, and siblings, along with their offspring, and, of course, got home later than anticipated!  So, by necessity, this is going to be something in the line of an abbreviated musing!

 photo IMG_20140419_075120566_zpsnvigiqwp.jpgThis was a market week for us, and, I’m happy to finally state – Spring has arrived in Rochester!  We were thrilled – more than thrilled, actually – to see that the ramps have finally made an appearance!

And, of course, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to snap a quick photo of the baby goats – how adorable are they?  And boy, do they go nuts for apples!



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.

You know that we’ll be enjoying our fresh ramps this week, as well as the not-local (California) but still welcome asparagus.  Gosh, it’s just good to see fresh vegetables at the market!

Monday – Peeps mentioned that he wanted to grill some salmon – I’m fine with that!  We’ve got some stashed in the freezer (of course!) that we need to finish, and I’ll either grill or oven-roast that nice asparagus.  We’ll finish up some baby potatoes that we’ve got – it’ll be a nice, light spring dinner.

Tuesday –  Not wanting to let the ramps wait too long,  we’re very much looking forward to our knock-off ramp carbonara!  That’ll also give us a nudge to check the freezer for bacon – it’s getting close to time to think about curing some bacon again!

Wednesday –  It’s still supposed to be chilly Wednesday, AND, since I scored some Swiss chard at the market, I grabbed the chance to put together some barley and chard soup before soup season is over.

Thursday – As soon as the sun comes back out, we’re thinking of grilling some chicken.  Nothing fancy – we stashed some apple cider glaze in the freezer a while back, and that should be a nice change.  Maybe with some rice and something green – salad?  Something.

Friday – Friday night pizza night is always so welcome!  It’s one thing we don’t have to think too hard about, and it’s the chance to just sit back and decompress after a long week – especially a long week after a long weekend!

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