Sunday Gravy (Open Thread)

Sauce is always better the next day, so I made tomorrow’s gravy today:

It’s made with 4 28-oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes, half a can of tomato paste, 2 cups of tomato juice, 5 cloves of garlic, 6 basil leaves, a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, some crushed fennel seed, a few glugs of red wine, 4 boneless spare ribs, a pound of beef short ribs and 20 meatballs.

The secret, IMO, is browning all the meat first before adding it to the sauce. It’s pretty good, if I say so myself. I married into a family with Italian-Americans on one side, and I do not have to be ashamed in their mighty company.

That’s about all I’ve done today. You?

Summer Menu: June Week Three

All this week’s photos are from JeffreyW’s library

This week, at the bottom of the menus is a list of substitutions and ideas, save that for future weeks.

As we finish up June, there are more grilling recipes and a couple of quick and simple meals for those busy days when being in the kitchen needs to be kept to the minimum.

Here are June’s menus and recipes: June Week Four Menu (click for printable PDF)

Monday features Chicken Carbonara.  Along with a Sautéed Mushroom Salad

Thursday, Toasted Tuna Sandwiches are paired with a tasty chilled Wild Rice Salad, that can be prepared ahead of time for an easy dinner.

And Friday’s Kid Friendly recipes include Quesadillas and a sweet summer salad.

Click here for the shopping lists: June Week Four Shopping List. Remember they are color coordinated to the menus, so easy to eliminate any ingredients when you skip a recipe. (You skipped a recipe?!? :-) )

What’s on your menu this week? Let me know in the comments if you have a question about any of the meals.


Summer Menu Series: June Week Two

These two were absolutely no help with this project yesterday.Wednesday is Tomato-Pasta Salad

Sorry for the delay on the recipe exchange, as you can see above, I had a big project yesterday. That’s my sectional, assembly required. Nothing major, but damn putting the very fitted fabric on the very firm cushions was a workout.

Continuing with our summer menu project, here are this week’s menus, recipes and shopping lists. Lots of garden fresh ingredients and grilling as summer kicks into gear.

JeffreyW has a great blueberry harvest. Perfect for Wednesday’s Blueberry-Lemon Parfait

For  the PDF of week two menus and recipes, click here: June Week Two Menus

Shopping lists are here: June Week Two Shopping List

Don’t forget the staples, here.

Monday is Cranberry Grilled Chicken and Minted Cucumbers

That’s it for this week’s menus. You can find last week’s menu, recipes and shopping list here.

What’s on your menu this week? Anyone harvesting anything right now? I got a surprise when I went to water my strawberries this week – several bowls of big berries.

Those are the June berries – if I remember correctly from last summer, there were berries all the way until late September, so if I didn’t manage to pull out all of any one variety when I thinned them, I should expect the same this summer.

Hit the comments with some of your favorite recipes for this time of year…. TaMara

Something New For Summer: Weekly Menus

Hi everyone – I’m going to try and keep this up for the summer. I thought it was time to get back to some fun, everyday things. Hit the comments with any questions, share your weekend menu and anything else that makes you happy. The menus and shopping lists are PDFs, so you’ll have to click on them to see – and they should be easy to print out. Let’s keep it a politics/apocalypse free thread.

From the cooking blog:

Shrimp and Pasta by JeffreyW

Wednesday’s recipe: Shrimp and Pasta

So a long time ago, before I started my blog, I ran a little business creating weekly menus for subscribers, called…you guessed it…What’s 4 Dinner Solutions. It included simple 30-minute recipes and complete shopping lists for weekday dinners. I found the past few months, as life got busier, I began relying on my library of menus and recipes.

With that in mind, I decided that I should begin sharing them with you.

Click here for the menu and recipes for the the first week:  June Menu Week One

Jeffrey W makes the most delicious looking sandwiches.

Friday’s recipe: Spicy Club Sandwiches

I’ll post on Fridays so if you want to use them, you’ll have them for the weekend shopping excursions. The shopping lists are actually color coordinated with the menus so if you don’t use a menu, just cross out anything that is the same color.

Click here for the shopping lists: June Week One Shopping List

Both the menus and shopping lists are PDFs you should be able to print out easily.

The shopping lists do not include pantry staples, those are here:


I hope you enjoy! – TaMara

Writing Group Note:  I will be posting an open writing thread at our usual time on Sunday. We’ll keep it simple for the summer and get back to it in late August/early Sept.

UPDATED: Fancy Grub + Lost Dog (Open Thread)

Had breakfast at a place we’ve wanted to try forever, but it was always too crowded until today. I had the shrimp and grits:

So good! The shrimp were on the shrimpy side but fresh, well-seasoned and not overdone. They’d cut the grits up into wedges and fried them as if they were polenta (which grits are a cousin of, I suppose). Never seen anyone treat grits that way, but it was GOOD!

Then we went walking in the woods until it got too hot. On the way home now. What are y’all up to today?

Open thread!

UPDATE: Faithful reader “bl” has found an old dog that needs to be reunited with its owner. Here’s his message:

I have a lost dog that I am trying to get home… I live in the Maryland suburbs of DC, and have notified the county animal shelter and posted on various lost and found pet sites, but no response.

The dog is an old black lab mix that only had a invisible fence collar and no tags. I took the dog to the vet and he is not microchipped.

He is very stiff and doesnt walk well so I thought his owner would be easy to find since he must live close by, but so far no luck. I tried to walk him around the neighborhood but we couldn’t get very far.

I travel for my job every week and leave Tuesday morning. I need to do something with him, at least while I am gone, by Monday evening. I am hoping someone in the DC area has a contact with a rescue group that I can work with.

He is very good with people and dogs, but not cats. I have a call into one local rescue group, but they havent gotten back to me.

Thanks for any help.

Anyone have ideas on how to help this dog?

UPDATE II: Here’s a photo:

He looks like a sweet fellow.

Butter Lamb (Open Thread)

Well, this year’s butter lamb* was a bit more…bovine than I intended:

I considered some reconstructive surgery, but my husband said it’s FINE, and in a few hours, it’ll be hacked to bits and consumed on pieces of rye bread anyway, so quit obsessing! (He was right.)

This is our first Easter without the kiddo living at home, but I made an Easter basket anyway, which we delivered to her on the way to the in-laws’ Easter feast. (Poor kiddo had to work, so she couldn’t come with us.)

My husband scoffed at my insistence on doing an Easter basket for an adult child, but as he knows, my mom delivered Easter baskets to her kids until we were well into our 40s.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate it!

*If you’re wondering what the hell a “butter lamb” is, there’s a good primer here. I had no clue either until I married into a Polish-American family from Buffalo 20 years ago and started spending Easter with my snowbird in-laws.

My sister-in-law used to bring a store-bought butter lamb down to Florida in a cooler for Easter every year. Then one year, she couldn’t make it down, and since they don’t sell butter lambs in Florida, I made one so that year’s feast table wouldn’t be bereft of the traditional symbol. It’s been my job ever since.

Nailed It!

Well, kinda:

Sorry about the censorship; I’ve picked up a half-assed stalker or two over the years. 🙄

Now, my project done for the day, it’s time to kick back with a cocktail and read while the mister watches the Masters. I’ve just started “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson. Maybe I’ll pick up a few tips. You?

Open thread!