Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Surprise Photos

Geoff spends a bit of time at my apartment when I'm at work, and sometimes, if the cats do something particularly ridiculous, he'll grab my camera and snap some pictures. Usually he'll tell me he's done so, but occasionally, the pictures are a fun surprise when I upload the camera contents to my computer.

For example, these two:



I frequently find the Playstation turned on when I come home - mystery solved!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Of Pies and Christmas Cookies

[Picture inadvertently deleted] These may be my best pies ever! I decided not to use my mom's recipe, which works perfectly for her - she makes the flakiest pie crust I've ever had - but which does not work nearly as well for me. So I started completely from scratch using a different recipe, the pâte brisée (butter crust) found here, and I rolled the crust out between two pieces of parchment paper, as suggested here. The bottom crusts of both the apple and pumpkin pies turned out perfectly, and I was even able to get a lovely scalloped edge on the pumpkin pie (I killed it taking the foil off while the pie was baking, which is why there's no photo). The batch of crust I used for the lattice on the apple pie turned out a tad tough because of too much water, but it was still good.

Now that I'm a little more confident, I think I'll try a shortening crust next time and maybe will also try the old vodka trick. If you have any tried-and-true crust recipes you'd like to send my way, feel free to email them to me via the address on the sidebar.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I am gleefully enjoying the Christmas season, my absolute favorite time of year. I've been humming Christmas songs since, well, last Christmas, and singing them at the top of my lungs since the first snow early this week (Geoff's loving that), and my Christmas shopping is nearly done. Now, it's time to start planning the cookies. I usually make multiple batches of many different varieties to give as presents, most of which are recipes that my mom made every year when I was a kid - it just wouldn't be Christmas without snowballs, cranberry bars, thumbprints, magic bars... Yum.
So, ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself for some more baking posts! I'm considering some sort of holiday contest or giveaway, perhaps with cookies as the prize. Is that something you'd be interested in?

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Bath

Melly submitted to this for almost ten minutes. It was a while before I got out the camera, because I kept thinking she'd rise up and attack Scarlett at any moment.


When I finally did start taking video, I tried to be very sneaky so as not to disturb the bathing felines - thus the poor quality of the camera work. I can't believe it went on for that long! Melly came over to snuggle shortly after this video was taken, and she was sopping.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, USA readers! And happy Thursday to everyone else! I am typing this Wednesday night, in the midst of prepping for Thursday's dinner. Geoff brined the turkey and made the mashed potatoes, the stuffing was a joint effort, and I made the sweet potatoes and am working on apple and pumpkin pies. As you know, pie crust is my arch nemesis, so I'll be trying some new techniques in hopes that things turn out properly.

The cats are confused by all this kitchen activity, probably since I don't cook very often. They hung around and watched for a while, but have retired for a nap. My apartment gets a bit drafty in the winter, so this tail-to-tail sleeping position has become pretty common for the kitties.




Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Melly and the Carrier

Scarlett was supposed to have a vet appointment yesterday (just routine stuff - I ended up rescheduling due to the bad weather), and I was going to bring Melly to get weighed. I got the carriers out a couple of days early so Scarlett could get used to them - she loathes the carrier. She is always able to sense when it's time to go somewhere, and hides in the deepest, darkest corner she can find. If she is particularly upset when grabbed and brought to the carrier, she sprays.* I'm pretty sure she saves up for the occasion.

Melly does not have this problem. She loves carriers. In fact, as I'm typing this, she is asleep in hers (the soft carrier), and has been for about an hour.

The following pictures were taken over the past two days.







*Scarlett had her teeth cleaned a little less than a year ago, a process which involved full anesthesia, and the experience was extremely traumatic for her. The next time she needed to go somewhere in the carrier (I think it was the follow-up visit), she sprayed all over me when I tried to put her in it. She's done it on and off ever since.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bored

"You are boring."

"See, I yawn. That is how boring you are.
In other news, I am ferocious. Observe all my sharp pointy teeth.
Rawr."


Monday, November 22, 2010

Of Mondays and Baking

Aww, does someone have a case of the Mondays?

"Mmf."

As I mentioned Saturday, I did manage to get a bit of baking in this weekend. It's another recipe from my Aunt Nadine (she gave me the coffee cake recipe featured a while back) and one I hadn't tried before. It was for a German-style apple pancake, which smelled amazing with all the apples and cinnamon. I made this over at Geoff's and, since he doesn't have a mixer, had to whisk by hand with my scrawny T-Rex arms, so the pancake didn't puff up as much as it probably should have. Despite that, it was thoroughly delicious, and I'll definitely make it again.


Apple Pancake

Preheat oven to 400F

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), divided
4 eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium baking apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I used three apples since I could decide how big medium should be. I ended up with enough to make an extra-thick apple layer, which was very tasty.)
3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar, divided (I didn't have any pre-mixed, so I just used half sugar and half cinnamon. And then a bunch of extra cinnamon because I like things spicy.)

Divide butter between 2 9" pie plates and put them in the oven to melt the butter. Rotate the pie plates until the butter coats the bottom and sides of the dish.

Beat eggs, vanilla, flour, milk, and salt on medium speed for about 1 minute. (I mixed with a whisk until it was foamy.)

Toss sliced apples with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar

Arrange 1/2 of the apple slices in each pie pan to cover the bottom in a single layer.

Pour 1/2 egg mixture over apple slices in each pan.

Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the batter in each pan.

Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve right away while still puffy with warm maple syrup. (I tried it with and without syrup and actually liked it better without - with the sugar and the extra apples, it was plenty sweet.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mellybean



Sometimes it seems like Melly finds all my snuggles and snorgles annoying, which is really too bad since she is even more adorable when grumpy.

Happy weekend, everyone! At long last, I'll be doing a bit of baking - and a post on that baking, if all goes according to plan. I am also going to see the new Harry Potter movie. As the many reviews and spoilers I've read (I can't help it) have been favorable, I'm very excited!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I wanna hold your hand

"O Geoffrey, I love you so."

"You are so nice and warm."

"You let me sit on your lap whenever I want to."

"You are a good human."



As I am typing this, Melly is curled up on the couch next to me, sound asleep. Her toes and tail are twitching wildly and she is smacking her lips and blowing little spit bubbles. (And of course I can't reach the camera.) Scarlett, also asleep, is curled up on my other side, purring loudly. I wonder what they're dreaming about.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Popular Spot



Observe Scarlett's paw on my leg. She is an avid biscuit maker, but when she's really happy, she just clamps on. If offered a finger, she'll curl her paw around it like a baby. Pretty darn cute.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Melly and the Wand

This one is much less athletic, but still very cute.

As I'm typing this, Melly is throwing her green crinkle ball around the room and wildly chasing after it. She just slid under the couch on her belly and I can hear her thumping around in pursuit of the elusive ball. Scarlett is sitting primly on the windowsill, observing the action.

Life with these two is never, ever dull.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Leaping Kitty

The fuzzy teaser wand came in our Paw it Forward package from Cat, and Melly absolutely loves it. The giant leaps are a recent development.


I have another video of Melly playing with the teaser, which I'll post in a day or two.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Present

"I left you a present. And for once it's not something gross to clean up.
You're welcome."


Thanks to those who left caption ideas on Saturday's post! I always love reading those. You all are so funny and creative.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Silly Kitty

Scarlett was hanging out with me on the couch and being so adorable that I had to take pictures. But as soon as the camera came out, she started goofing off.



Caption ideas for the second photo?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grumpy Faces

Scarlett is very vocal when she disapproves of Melly. Every morning, she comes into the bathroom while I'm getting ready for work, jumps up next to the sink, and rattles off what sounds like a very long list of complaints.

At other times, Scarlett keeps her opinions to herself, but her facial expressions are a dead giveaway.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Spat

I was sitting on the couch, reading a book and minding my own business, when a disagreement sprang up between the kitties.






While these little arguments are pretty normal, it's very disconcerting when they happen practically on top of me!

And I have to share a story from yesterday morning. When I take a shower, Melly usually sits on the edge of the tub between the shower curtain and the clear liner curtain, watching the water. Yesterday, Melly tumbled into the tub, recovered her balance, then sat in the tub with her front half behind the liner curtain and her back half exposed to the shower spray. Of course, being so floofy, she had no idea she was getting wet until her entire derrière and tail were soaked. When she discovered her soggy back half, she squeaked indignantly and leaped out of the tub, then proceeded to alternately shake and bathe herself for the next 45 minutes. She was still a little disheveled when I got home from work.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Snuggles

As snuggles go, these aren't all that snuggly, but I'll take 'em! As usual, this started with Scarlett sound asleep and Melly slowly sneaking up on her.





This morning when I was getting ready for work, Scarlett and Melly were sitting side by side under the bathroom sink starting at the wall. After a few minutes, Scarlett put one arm around Melly and gave Melly's entire side a very thorough bath. Melly didn't mind a bit and gave Scarlett a couple of slurps back. Even if it is a show of dominance, it's pretty darn adorable!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sitting Pretty

I love how she sits there with her little white paws crossed, fully aware of her adorableness.


"You may worship me now."

Happy weekend!