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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: 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.



Monday Musings: 04.14.2014 April 14, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in Garden, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff.
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At long last – we bring you the Outside All Weekend Edition!

That’s right – the snow has melted, and our Rochester weather has been absolutely gorgeous!

Besides the endless cleaning and raking in the yard and garden, that also means my first load of sheets went out on the clothesline.  There’s just nothing like crawling into a freshly-made bed with line-dried sheets, is there?

Of course, these were flannel sheets that we’ve been using this past winter, and, hopefully, I won’t be putting them back on the bed for many, many months, but still.



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Of course, laundry’s not the only thing that got done this weekend.

We spent a bit of time in the garden – clearing the old brush and leaves leftover from last fall, and uncovering the garlic we put in back in September!

I just find it amazing that you can take a few cloves of garlic, stick them in the ground, let them  sit there for months in the sub-zero temperatures we had this winter, and then, almost as soon as the ground is thawed, it comes back to life.

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I’m a little late on the lettuce and peas this year – I’d have liked to have started planting a couple of weeks ago, but, unfortunately, we had a foot or more of snow on the ground. . .

I haven’t put any peas in since the year, several years back, that the peas were just starting to form on the vines and we had a hail storm, which took them all out.

This year, I’m going with a row of snow peas (above) and a row of mixed lettuce.  I put the lettuce between a couple of rows of what will be tomatoes – I figure that by the time the tomatoes need the space, the lettuce will be done anyway.  Pretty clever of me, huh?


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Once we were finally done working in the yard for the day, and I was showered and had a nice big glass of ice water, I just took a little time to enjoy sitting outside, on the deck, in the sunshine, knitting.

In addition to Peeps, I also had the company of my faithful companion – Jarly has certainly found those old cushions that we saved last year quite comfortable!

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Of course, he may be a bit of a drama queen – it really wasn’t THAT hot out there!



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  The weather forecast is all over the place this week – we’ve got some rain, we’ve got some snow (!), some sun, some chilly days – its just so hard to plan at this time of year!

Monday –  We almost never have ground beef lying around, but I’ve got about a pound leftover from burgers (on the grill!) the other  night – I’m thinking of trying this Moo Shu Sloppy Joes – only instead of on rolls, we’ll probably serve it on rice.

Tuesday – We found a good sized cache of chicken in the freezer last week, and Peeps mentioned that he’d really like the cinnamon-honey tenders that we haven’t had in simply AGES.  I’m not sure what we’ll have with them, though – probably some broccoli (seem to be the vegetable of convenience lately) and, I don’t know, some sort of grain or potato or something.

Wednesday –  We’d initially intended to make pork ragout with some leftovers from a pork roast, but it turned out the roast (a) was smaller than we’d have liked, and (b) had a big old bone in it.  There won’t be enough leftovers for that sauce.  However, because I always try to stay on top of things, I think I’m going to take that big old bone, throw it in the pressure cooker with some chicken stock, and then take whatever leftovers we do have and make a lovely, porky soup or stew.

Thursday – A while back, I saw this recipe for black bean burgers – we do try to eat meatless once a week, and sometimes we actually succeed!  While not exactly in keeping with our Minimal Effort Thursday policy, it just might work if I make the burgers ahead of time!

Friday – Which brings us back to pizza night – a night to park ourselves in front of the TV with our pizza and Jar with his Kong, and just sit back and relax.

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



Monday Musings: 04.07.2014 Edition April 7, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in mirth & woe, Musings.
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Well, another market week has come and gone.

We only visit the public market every two weeks – it’s just easier that way for us, I guess.  What I typically do is keep all the $1 and $5 bills I accumulate during that two weeks, and that’s what we spend.  It helps keep us from spending too much AND it doesn’t force the vendors to have to make change for us.

So anyway, it seems that, the more available cash we have on hand, the more stuff we find we “need” – have you noticed that?

Though really, citrus season is almost over – I DID need to stock up on grapefruits and oranges, and it just won’t do to let the kitty run out of her favorite treats, will  it?


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There was a lady there who was selling Ukranian hand-painted eggs.

We talked to her for a few minutes, and found out that she BLOWS THE EGGS, stains them, etches the pattern on them (using some sort of machine) and then paints it by hand.

Wow, huh?


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Now that the snow has finally melted (for real this time) (knock on wood), I got out to the garden to see if any of last year’s kale was worth harvesting.

Last year, we ended up pulling the remainder during a mid-winter thaw.  We didn’t get that this winter, unfortunately.   The best we got was when I could actually look out the window and see the kale bushes sticking out above the snow.

Yeah, I’m not about to even consider working in the garden then.

So, while we did have to compost more than I’d have liked, I did get it all cleaned, blanched and packaged up – enough for 3 meals for us.

Better than nothing, though.


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We decided to roast a chicken this weekend, and, as we usually do, first, Peeps butterflied it and seasoned it, to sit in the fridge  overnight.

And . . . he always has help when he does that!

We do get some mileage out of a roast chicken, I’ll admit.  Besides a a couple dinners for us, plus maybe a lunch or breakfast AND a couple of quarts of chicken stock, Jar also gets a meal out of it – he gets the back, the tail, and the “goody packet.”  That ends up being just about perfect for one meal for him.

I guess he likes to be sure he gets his fair share!


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Would you believe there’s STILL one blossom left on my Christmas cactus?

That starts blooming, what, around Halloween?

Crazy, huh?



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.    While we’re hoping to start seeing some actual Spring weather,well, I’m pretty much at a “I’ll believe it when I see it” point.  I’d like to to some odds and ends cleared out of the freezer.  Now that we finally got the freezer emptied and defrosted, it’s important to keep rotating things in and out.

Monday –  We’ve got some of Peeps’s porkstrami thawing – that will get steamed (just like real pastrami!) and served on rye sandwich rolls that we’ll bake fresh. I’m trying another rye bread recipe – only instead of baking as one loaf, I’ll make 6 (or 8) rolls.  We’ll also probably do some salad and fries.

Tuesday – I found this interesting-sounding recipe for tuna, white bean and kale soup – which, in case you were wondering, is WHY I had to go to the garden and salvage the kale!

Wednesday – Since we’re roasting a chicken over the weekend, Peeps suggested chicken and dumplings.  I suspect our dumpling season is nearing an end for this year, and it’s SO good, so . . . why not?

Thursday – We are supposed to see some lovely spring weather this week, and by golly, we’re going to fire up the grill and slap a couple of steaks on it!  We’ll probably have some sort of potatoes and broccoli, just to keep things healthy, though.

Friday – The end of a long week – and any week that involves going to work every day is a long week! – calls for pizza night, doesn’t it?  Fresh pizza, Kong for the dog, and an evening of catching up on TV is just a great way to end the week, I think.

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



Monday Musings: 03.31.2014 Edition March 31, 2014

Posted by Toy Lady in meal plan monday, Musings.
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Boy, has it been a week or what? I, for one, will be MORE than happy to see the end of March!

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I mean . . . for a minute there, I actually thought we were going to have spring – the snow had melted, the sun was shining, the bulbs were starting to come up, and the birds were singing!  Geese were flying overhead – heading this way!

There were people in shorts (granted, young, kind of stupid people, but still).

The Jar even took his bone out to the deck on Saturday to bask and gnaw.

It was a beautiful thing.


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That was Saturday.

Then, Sunday, we woke up to snow – not just a dusting, oh no.  Measurable snow.

Enough so we had to wait for the plow guy to come by and do his thing in our driveway.  THAT’s how much snow.

I mean, sure, we probably could have shoveled the half a foot or so in order to get out and go to the supermarket, but (a) the plowing contract goes through April 1, and it’s still March, darnit, (b) I’ve been sick, and Peeps is fighting off the same bug, and (c) it was that kind of snow known as “heart attack snow” – the kind that’s wet and heavy and, well, you’re just asking to hurt yourself when you go out and shovel it.

So here’s hoping April brings us ACTUAL spring this week, eh?

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Speaking of Jarly and his bones, he’s accumulating quite a collection in the house of old bones.

Although he’s gotten used to lying out in the snow by now, he knows that, when he gets too cold, I don’t have the heart to make him leave his bone outside, so, once he gets the initial “ick” gnawed off, he usually brings them in and finishes them in the living room.

Peeps commented the other day that he might as well be leaving Legos lying around for us to step on!

I have to periodically go around and gather up all the old bones and get rid of them – generally when The Giant Toddler isn’t looking!



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

This is such a tricky time of year to try to plan meals – it’s just starting to warm up, and we’re DYING to fire up the grill.  But if we do, more likely than not, we’ll end up grilling in the rain.  That’s no good!

However, we still need to eat, right?

Monday – Our supermarket has coho salmon on sale this week – and, since salmon’s good for us and all, we picked some up.  Not sure yet what we’ll serve with it – probably broccoli and either brown rice or quinoa.  We’ve only tried quinoa once and were . . . less than excited by it.  I’d like to give it another try.  Maybe.

Tuesday – We pulled some chicken tenders out of the freezer – we love this creamy garlic chicken  with angel hair pasta – and we haven’t had it in AGES!

Wednesday – I few week ago, we bought two heritage pork chops from a farmer at the public market.  Two HUGE pork chops.  We cooked one that week, and the other went into the freezer – we’ll enjoy that this week.  These chops were fantastic – it’s been YEARS since I’ve had farm-fresh pork, and boy, have I missed it!  Small pan-roasted potatoes and some sort of vegetable on the side – the perfect mid-week meal.

Thursday –  In a fit of “take THAT Old Man Winter” I made a pot of chili.  A big pot of it.  We had it Sunday, and there’s plenty left to reheat for Minimal Effort Thursday.

Friday – Which brings us back to pizza night – cheese and pepperoni for Peeps, ricotta and mozzarella for me, and Kong for The Jar.  Such a nice relaxing end to a long week!

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