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Monday Musings: 06.25.2012 Edition June 25, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in Garden, meal plan monday, Musings, random stuff, Rochester.
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I have got MAD crazy lavender going on in my herb garden and I have GOT to get it cut down!

I’m not even exactly sure why I planted it, other than “because I could” – I have no idea what to do with it all.

Right now, I’m thinking about a grapefruit and lavender sorbet.

Maybe some lavender shortbread, because that’s EXACTLY what I need – cookies made out of butter, flour, and more butter.  Maybe I’ll have to rethink that one. . .



Gosh, we’ve had some hot weather around here!  It’s been near or over 90 degrees most of the week, and, to be honest, nobody likes that.

Granted, the house is air-conditioned, which is good, but it’s still been pretty miserable out there, and, of course, Peeps spends his days cozied up to a bread oven, which CAN’T be pleasant.  And the dog – the poor puppy, with his thick black fur – he’s been just beyond uncomfortable outside, so we’ve been trying to get him to the beach at least once during the week.

Us and, it seems, every other dog-owner, boater, jet-ski rider, and baby-mama in the county.  Seriously, you could not shake a wet dog at the lake without hitting SOMEONE in the afternoons.  (Heh – it’s pretty funny, too, when he shakes on people!)


So we hauled out the wading pool we bought shortly after Jar came home.  We’d gotten it with the intention of bathing him, but he was having no part of that, so it got stored in the shed and, basically, forgotten.

While I’d like to see him actually get into the pool to cool off, right now, he’s treating it as the World’s Second Largest Outside Water Dish – we haven’t managed to break him of drinking out of Lake Ontario!


Apparently the weather is getting to a lot of people around here.  I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the miserable little beasts on the school bus who tormented their bus monitor to tears – and the world-wide outpouring of anger and disgust for the little monsters, as well as sympathy for the woman.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit that Greece is the town I live in – and the Greece School District is the one The Boy attended (though not that particular school).


Truly, though, upstate New York, including Greece, is a great place to live, and there are plenty of wonderful people here.

Except maybe this guy.  He apparently hit our neighbor’s car, tried to take off, and got caught.  Drunk.  And with, apparently, “a little weed” in his truck.  So. . . the Greece Police brought the K9 unit out for a little look-see, erm, smell.




Let’s talk about something more pleasant, okay?

Like, oh, how about the garden!  Hey, did you see I’ve got TOMATOES?  Woo hoo!  And not just any old tomatoes, either.  Almost all of the plants are starting to set fruit, including my beloved Jet Stars.  Those truly are the best tomatoes I’ve found so far.


And my beans are doing quite well – I’ve even got some buds there – and we know what that means -in another couple of weeks, I’ll have more beans than I know what to do with!   Right now, I’ve got a row of purple beans (I know, they turn green when they’re cooked, but who says I have to cook them?) and a row of an old standby – Provider.  I just planted another row of Providers – those should come in around mid- July, I think.

Beans all summer – yay!


Oh, and looky at my kale!   It’s about time to thin it, I think – the little plants are starting to get a bit crowded, but they’re big enough so that just maybe I’ll be able to do something with the ones I pull.  The curly little leaves are so tender and nice, I may just make a salad out of them!



Now that the weather has finally cooled off a bit, we’ve been able to open up some windows and get some fresh air in the house!

And, of course, play the “I want to go out no I want to come in no you come out here with me” game with The Jar.

Boy, that’s fun.



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  I’ve got a slightly busy week ahead – two kind of late days at work, and Peeps’s uncle will be coming through town Thursday, which means we’ll need something we can mostly do ahead of time, but we still want to feed him and his wife – into the ground, if we can!

Monday – I’ve got a small package of collard greens in the fridge, and this Linguine Frittata with Greens looked good.  It’s a nice, healthy meatless meal, plus we’ve got everything we need on hand, so it’s like bonus points!

Tuesday – We’ve got one last package of brisket in the freezer from last fall, and, since Peeps really shouldn’t smoke any more until we use up what we’ve got, well, we’re using up what we’ve got.  And he’s got a whole fresh brisket sitting in the fridge planning to be cured and/or smoked next week.  Cutting it a little close there, wouldn’t you say?

Wednesday – At this point, Wednesday is promising to be picture-perfect – not too hot, clear skies – wonderful for grilling Orange-Tarragon Chicken. Besides, the tarragon is going to take over if I don’t start cutting that back too!

Thursday – This is the day Peeps’s uncle and aunt will be visiting, so of COURSE we want to make something they’ll love.  Aunt Cathy has some food allergies, so have to be careful.  Fortunately, Peeps’s favorite carnitas doesn’t have anything on the “bad” list, so we’re good.  The best part is that almost all of the work can be done ahead – including cooking it.  Then, at dinnertime, the meat should be reheated in no more time than it’ll take to set the table.  Nice, huh?

Friday – We always look forward to pizza night – and especially when there might be some leftover carnitas to top a pie. . .

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




Confession Time September 30, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Family, mirth & woe, random stuff.
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I’m gonna just admit it.

I’m really not a very social person.  I mean, I’m not a hater or anything – I’m not a misanthrope.

It’s just that for the most part, if I’m interested enough to know what someone is up to, every minute of every day, it’s more than likely that I already do.

And if my fifth grade best friend and I  cared that much, well, we’d have kept track of each other, you know?


I never have had a burning need to communicate regularly (or really, at all) with every single person I have ever met.  Or people who have met people that I’ve met.

Heck, I barely keep up with my own family.  My youngest nephew was 3 months old before I even knew he’d been born.

So I guess it should be pretty obvious that I’ve resisted all these “social networking” things that are EVERYWHERE.

For a while there, it seemed like not a week went by without someone trying to convince me that it would be a good idea to join some site or other so I could “stay connected.”

Is that really necessary?  I mean, we have The Internet, don’t we?  If I really wanted to find someone, all I’d have to do is ask The Google.

The Google knows all.

And seriously.  Is it truly that important for the kids to “network”?  Can’t they ride their bikes or go to the library or something?   What about watching some good old cartoons?


That’s what kids are supposed to be doing – watching cartoons, not “social networking.”  How else are they going to learn what happens when the anvil falls on the coyote’s head?  Besides, who’s in their network, anyway?  Suzy from math class?  The kid from the bus?

It started with AOL’s Instant Messaging, and it’s just gotten worse.

Remember those annoying IM pop-ups that would pester you every time you sat down to use the computer? You know, I pay good money for software to STOP pop-ups.

But you couldn’t get online without Everyone in the World knowing you were there.  And wanting to “chat” with you.

Talk about stalkery.

Then you know what happened?

Surly Boy didn’t respond to my e-mails. I asked him about it, and he said he didn’t check his email much, but I could send him a Facebook message.



I don’t DO Facebook, dear.

Facebook is for sad lonely people with no life.  And no people skills.

Mom, even Grandma has a Facebook account.

You’re using my mother to try to exert peer pressure?  On me?   Seriously?

So I’ve gone and done it.   I’ve opened my very own Facebook account.  If it’s what it takes to know what the heck is going on with my KID in a FOREIGN STATE, then so be it.

(Peeps, however, has so far not succumbed.)

I’ve even got a couple of  “friends” – friends that the Boy doesn’t even know!  HA!  I have not “friended” every person I ever went to school with because honestly?  I didn’t much like most of them then, and I doubt I’d like them any better now.  And truly?  I’m kind of annoyed by the verb “to friend.”  A friend is a noun, darn it.

I’ve figured out how to “follow” or “like” some businesses and organizations – it’s nice to get a heads up when Green Acre starts picking a new variety of apples, or when Victoria has a new podcast.

I do NOT feel the need to play Facebook games, or take Facebook quizzes, or send Facebook hugs, or have a  little Facebook Farm.    Above all, spare me the Facebook Farm, please!

So, gentle readers, does anyone else do the social networking thing?  Why or why not?

And more importantly, wanna be friends?

Monday Musings: 06.20.2010 Edition June 21, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff.
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I trust we all enjoyed our Father’s Days as much as is appropriate – dads, wives of dads, kids of dads, moms of dads, you know.  Whatever.  I hope you at least got a card in the mail, if nothing else.  Even I remembered that, and we know how busy I’ve been! I even remembered my sister’s birthday, too!


PhotobucketI love it when the Smiley Fries are on sale.  I always pick up at least one package!

They amuse me. No other reason.

Why no, actually I am not 5 years old.

But everyone needs an extra smile now and then, don’t you think?



I picked a few strawberries this weekend.

I’m just gonna say – I suspect I may be getting too old for this – man, am I sore!

But mmm . . . strawberries!  I guess I’m set for my morning smoothies for the rest of the year, at least in the strawberry department!



You know what’s nice after a rough morning of picking strawberries?

Well, the warm, humid evening after the rough morning, anyway.

A nice, frosty glass of sangria.  Right before I got back from the berry farm, I whipped up a batch of sangria – I used a grapefruit, some pineapple chunks, and a handful of fresh strawberries to give it a nice, rosy hue.  That, and STRAWBERRIES WERE COMING  OUT OF MY EARS!



And another thrilling installment of “Shopping With Peeps!”

So . . . what exactly does it take to make a shovel happy and giddy?

And really, do you seriously want your six-year-old digging around in the yard with a happy, giddy shovel?  I think not.


So we continue with our Sisyphean task – trying to empty the freezers so we can defrost and refill them with fresh stuff.

PhotobucketWe defrosted and smoked a turkey last weekend – and I made a batch of Dinosaur BBQ Mutha Sauce to toss in.  Now while I’m not generally fond of tomato-based BBQ sauces, I’ve just got to say – YUM!

The only thing?  We shredded the turkey, mixed it with the sauce, ate some, gave some to our neighbors, and, um, packaged the rest and shoved it in the freezer for later.

Do you suppose this is why we’re having such a problem emptying the freezer?



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  We realized that we’ve been kind of lax about cooking from our magazine subscriptions lately, and we plan to remedy that!  I had issues of Cook’s Illustrated and Food & Wine from this month, as well as last month’s Food & Wine and Cooking Light waiting to be used – I guess it’s catchup time!


Monday – Salmon was on sale – which works out perfectly for us, since F&W featured an intriguing Grilled Glazed Salmon.  That should be perfect with some rice and a tossed salad (from the garden, of course!)

Tuesday – It’s that time of the year – between my garden (mainly lettuce at this point, but just wait!) and the public market, we’re experiencing a vegetable surplus!  We still have half a bunch of broccoli rabe in the fridge from my last trip, so we’ll use that in an old favorite pasta with ricotta & greens dish.

Wednesday – Another score at the market – garlic scapes!  And snow peas!    The scapes are not going to be around much longer, so I had to grab them now, and the snow peas, well, they were nice and fresh, and I like to buy from that particular farmer whenever I can.  So this is starting to sound like stir-fry to me!

Thursday – More grilling – this time Cooking Light‘s Lemon and Sage Chicken.   The only change will be that we’re going to use boneless chicken instead of bone-in and adjust the cooking time accordingly.  We’ll do something potato-y – either grill some potato wedges, or pan-roast some baby reds – something.  Also, our old friend, tossed salad.

Friday – Woo – pizza night!  This week, I’m going to try really hard to remember the garlic scapes on my pizza!

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



Candles and the Burning Thereof June 15, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff.
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It’s that time of the year again – candle time!  And boy, that’s a lot of candles, isn’t it?   Wow – someone must be pretty old, huh?


But I’m not actually talking about birthdays – after all, everyone has one of those, and they have a disturbing way of coming back year after year.  After year.

No, I’m talking about burning that proverbial candle in general, and at both ends, in particular.

Peeps mentioned the other day that things have been a little hectic lately.  It gets like that around this time of the year – Mon Capitán‘s practice involves a lot of end-of-the-fiscal-year activity right about now, which means a lot of extra work for everyone in the office – especially me!

And poor Peeps – as the weather gets warmer, he has the singular fun of standing in front of a hot oven for the better part of a day.  And not just any oven – oh no!  A heavy-duty commercial bread oven.

Given the choice, I’ll take the attorney.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering what I’m blathering on about, aren’t you?

See, here’s the thing.  We’re not as young as we used to be, and I don’t know about you, but that whole candle thing?

Well, I find that it burns out a lot earlier than it used to.  So to speak.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not actually going anywhere – perish the thought!

I’m just warning you that, for the next couple of weeks or so, well, you may not enjoy the quality of posts that you’ve grown used to here.  (Ha!)  I’ll certainly do my very best, and it shouldn’t last too long, and, well, I’ve got plenty of great intentions, but, you know, those extra-long days, they start very early, and they do get to me after a while.

Before long, I fear I may be reduced to barely-intelligible rambling, and I just hope you’d notice.

(Heck, I hope I’d notice and post a YouTube video or something!)

So, I guess where I’m going with this is, well, um, pretty much nowhere.

I’m not actually going anywhere – no “break” or “blogging vacation” or anything like that.  Just . . . a little less free time, so things – all of them – will likely be condensed a bit, that’s all.

Imagine that – me, brief and to the point.  It’ll be kind of fun.

Monday Musings: 06.14.2010 Edition June 14, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Musings.
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PhotobucketJarly got a new toy a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve been waiting for a chance to play with his new Wubba!  I’d have to say he approved, what do you think?

And after the first couple of times, where he wasn’t so sure he wanted to give it up, he was a sport about “giving” the toy – just so we could heave it back into the water.

It’s just a good thing it’s so easy for him to see the Wubba floating on top of the waves!



So Peeps and I went shopping this weekend, and we picked up some animal crackers.

Remember animal crackers?  The ones in the little box were always the best – they tasted better and their little animals were much more realistic than any of the others.

Though I’ve gotta say – while the little animals may look good, they sure don’t taste as good as they used to!



Don’t forget this week is the Third Thursday of the month!  Please feel free to join us for this month’s Third Thursday event – just “borrow” a recipe (or anything else that strikes your fancy!) from someone else’s blog and tell us about it!

Complete details are here, and remember, the more the merrier!


Oh, and speaking of merry.  Or something.

After our blender jar broke last week, Anne mentioned that she’d just broken her microwave plate.

So mine evidently took the cue and ran with it – leaping out of the microwave and into a bazillion pieces all over the kitchen (and dining room) floor.




I got a package this week!

Our poor UPS guy – he’s scared to death of the dog!  It’s all because once – ONCE! – I had him off-leash in the back yard (the dog, not the UPS guy!), and the UPS truck pulled up and Jarly went charging out to the front yard to see who was here.  Ever since then, the UPS guy just sort of drops our packages and runs!

So anyway, we got some samples from a company called Marx Foods that we’ll be telling you all about over the next few days!



I have one lone baby tomato!  This year, in addition to the six San Marzano tomatoes I planted, I also put in 3 other heirloom varieties (and one hybrid) – an early (55 days) Bloody Butcher, and even earlier (48 days) Siberian, a later (85 days) Tiffen Mennonite, and the 73-day Big Beef hybrid.  It’s the Big Beef with the baby – I don’t know what the heck those two early tomatoes are doing.



So I’m driving home from work the other day, when I noticed a new billboard.  Along with a lovely picture of grape-picking, the sign says “Turkey has 3 times as many acres of vineyards as South Africa.  Discover a world of opportunities.”

Um. . . all right, I’ll give it a guess.

A Turkish winery?  A liquor store?  A travel agency?

Nope.  It was an ad for HSBC Bank.  I’m still trying to figure that one out.



And once again, it’s time for the weekly menu plan.  While we’re still (valiantly!) trying to empty the freezer, it seems that the supermarkets are conspiring against us!  It only makes good sense to pick up some chicken when we find it on sale for $.99/lb, doesn’t it?  But as long as we’re taking out more than we’re putting in – and we’re saving a few dollars every week for re-stocking the freezer this fall, I guess we’re in good shape.


So, now that the weekend is, essentially, over, the beautiful, non-rainy weather returns!

Monday – The other day, I ran across this spiced roast chicken breast recipe that looked really . . . intriguing.  It looks like it’s cooked very similarly to the other roasted chicken breast we did a while back – this is certainly worth a try, with some jasmine rice and maybe a carrot salad.

Tuesday – We’re going to grill pork chops – we’ll do the Gascony-style grilled chops we did earlier this spring with the Miel de Poivre. (Doesn’t that sound fancy?)  We’ve also got a bunch of broccoli rabe in the fridge to use up, and maybe a potato or something.

Wednesday – Peeps has had a thought going through his mind lately for a Jamaican-flavored chicken-and-bean dish, and the acquisition of some heirloom pink beans was just what he needed.  Yay – experimenting!

Thursday – A while back, I picked up a package of flat iron steak and stuck it in the freezer to wait for grilling weather.  Well, now it’s grilling weather!  We’ve never had flat iron steak before, so this should be interesting.  We’re still harvesting lettuce from the garden, so what goes better with steak than a tossed salad and maybe some baby potatoes?

Friday – And, as always, Friday night is pizza night!  We’ve got a bunch of garlic scapes in the fridge that we keep forgetting (they’re hiding in the veggie drawer!), so those are going on at least my pie this week!

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