Monday, February 28, 2011

Another Pensive Kitty

Scarlett would like you to know that she can also be quietly contemplative.




Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mugging for the Camera

I got this cat tree for Scarlett when we moved to this apartment since she seemed a little bored. She would snooze on the various levels and in the little house, and she loved the scratching posts. Scarlett still uses the posts and she sometimes climbs around on the tree, but Melly seems to be the only one who ever really spends time on it these days. When she wants to get in some serious napping, she goes to the top level. When she wants to show off how adorable she is, she goes to this level:






Friday, February 25, 2011

Flashback Friday: Firsts

I've been working on organizing the pictures on my computer, and I found a bunch of pictures of Scarlett from her first couple of years with me. They're pretty cute, so I'll share them on the next few Fridays.

This is the first photo I ever took of Scarlett.


This is the first picture I ever took of a sleeping Scarlett. Note that her back half is falling off the bed.


This is the first time Scarlett went into heat (in the time I've had her). It is also the only time Scarlett went into heat (in the time I've had her).


On a related subject, this is the first picture of Scarlett after her ladygardenectomy.


This is the first picture of Scarlett in a feather boa. It is also the only picture of Scarlett in a feather boa.


I think it was Carnevale.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Window Kitty

Melly is not as much of a busybody as Scarlett, but she does like to keep an eye on what's going on outside.

Also, I think she knows how pretty she looks in the sunlight.




Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Tale of Persistence

Does she have bones?! I mean, seriously.

Melly's favorite treat is freeze-dried chicken. I believe the bag came in the Paw it Forward package from Cat - we've been rationing. Originally, the bag of chicken was kept on a low shelf with the rest of the treats, but when Melly pulled it out and almost gnawed through the bag, it was moved to the top of the shelf. A while ago, Melly jumped on top of the shelf and knocked everything off it, scaring herself half to death, and she left the treats alone after that.

That is, until today. While I was at work, Geoff heard a crash and found Melly on the floor surrounded by the contents of the shelf and gnawing on the bag of freeze-dried chicken. I advised him to move the chicken to the drawer of the coffee table, reasoning that she couldn't possibly get it there. Well, she couldn't, but she could pull out much of the rest of the drawer's contents by reaching into the back of the drawer from under the table.

The bag of chicken then went on a shelf that's about six feet off the ground inside the walk-in closet. I figured she couldn't possibly get it down from where it was wedged between two plastic bins. In hindsight, I really shouldn't have been surprised: I was on the phone with my mom when out of the closet trotted Melly, dragging the bag of freeze-dried chicken.

The chicken is now on a higher shelf, inside a bin. Let's see how long it takes her to get it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pensive Kitty

I caught Melly in a rare moment of quiet contemplation:




These pictures reminded me a lot of one of the first photos I took when Melly arrived:




She was such a tiny little fluffball then!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Nap

I was sitting on the end of my bed, talking on the phone and watching the cats on the windowsill, when the warmth of the sun (and probably also the lack of coffee) finally got to me. I got off the phone, flopped backward on the bed, and dozed for a bit.

Of course, a horizontal human is an open invitation.






Saturday, February 19, 2011

Creepy Little Creatures

One staring cat is creepy enough, but it is really quite disconcerting when there are two doing it in unison.




Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake

Ladies and gentlemen, I have successfully made a cheesecake. [cue fanfare]


All previous cheesecake attempts have ended tragically, but this, this fluffy lemony creation, turned out wonderfully. Which is fortunate, since it was our Valentine's Day dessert. (Geoff was in charge of dinner: osso buco and risotto milanese, yum!)


Note the enormous plate for the wee slice of cheesecake.
We were feeling fancy.

I found the recipe on epicurious.com and made a couple of modifications based on the user reviews. I also made a raspberry sauce and some lemon curd for topping. The lemon curd is definitely optional - I love all things lemon so I thought it was great, but the cake would be delicious with just the raspberry sauce.

Lemon Cheesecake
Original recipe found here

Yield: Makes one 9-inch cheesecake

Ingredients
For shortbread crust:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup finely ground pecan sandies cookies

For cheesecake:
2 pounds cream cheese
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspooons lemon zest
2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preparation
Make crust:
Note: you may need to add some extra flour or cookie crumbs if your crust mixture seems too buttery. I added a couple tablespoons of extra cookie crumbs and also baked the crust a bit longer until it looked really crispy.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium high speed for 3-4 minutes. Add flour and ground cookies to the mixture and blend for 3-4 seconds until fully incorporated. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust at 350° F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the crust to cool completely.

Make cheesecake:
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and smooth. Add the mascarpone cheese and sugar and continue to beat on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time. Blend in the lemon zest and juice. Pour mixture into the cooled crust.

If your springform pan doesn't have a tight seal, wrap it 3/4 of the way up the sides with aluminum foil. Set the cheesecake pan into a roasting pan, and add enough water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of the cheesecake pan. Place in a 350° F oven for approximately one hour or until the cake is set and the top is golden brown. Remove the cake from the roasting pan and place on a wire rack. Allow cake to cool slightly, then place the cake in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.


Raspberry Sauce
Source unknown - I've had the recipe for years and never wrote down where I got it

Ingredients
~2 cups of fresh raspberries (I use two of those small containers from the grocery store, which is a little more than two cups)
¼ cup Chambord
1 cup confectionary sugar
3 T fresh lemon juice

Note: next time I make this, I will try leaving out the confectionary sugar and cutting the lemon juice - I thought the sauce was a bit sweet when paired with the lemon curd. I don't want to lose the thickening effect of the corn starch in the powdered sugar, so I'll add a couple tablespoons a teaspoon of corn starch instead. If anyone is brave and wants to try this, let me know how it turns out!

Directions
Puree all ingredients in food processor; strain sauce to remove seeds. Refrigerate.

Lemon Curd
This is my usual recipe cut in half - it makes just enough for about a tablespoon of curd on top of each piece of cheesecake
Ingredients
1.5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions
Beat the butter with the sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the egg and yolk. Beat for 1 minute more, then stir in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled. Do not panic.

Cook the mixture over low heat until it becomes smooth, then increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, without letting it boil, until it thickens enough to leave a path on the back of the spoon when you drag your finger through it. If you want to go by temperature, you’re looking for 170 F.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Press plastic wrap on surface to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Modesty? What modesty?

I love that she has her tail flipped up around her paw.



In other news...

Every morning when I'm eating breakfast, Scarlett puts her front paws on my thigh and chirrups for attention (it's our little routine). I pet her and rub her head, usually trying to keep her off my lap to minimize damage to my work clothes, but sometimes she hops up anyway. The other day, I noticed that she left much, much less hair than usual on my clothes - normally I am completely covered with a thick layer of hair that takes several lint roller sheets to remove, but there was hardly anything there. It was great to have some more evidence that the furminator is really working!

Also, Scarlett's coat was incredibly soft, much more so than it's ever been. As Geoff suggested, this is probably partially due to the recent change in diet: we recently switched to a grain-free diet with a higher percentage of canned food than before. The goal is to help Scarlett lose a little weight, but for now, I'll settle for a nice healthy coat!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Strike a Pose




"Is this side better..."

"...or is this side?"

"Straight ahead is also quite lovely."

"I think this way is best."

"Hey, you over-dressed fuzzy interloper, what do you think you're doing with my crinkle mouse?!"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Clowning Around







She sure knows how to work it for the camera, eh?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

In honor of today's holiday, here are some pictures of the kitties being sweet and affectionate:



Melly mounted a snuggle sneak attack on Scarlett, hopping up on the back of the couch and smooshing her cheek into Scarlett's backside. As you can see by Scarlett's facial expression and blurry tail in the second photo, she did not approve of Melly's impudence. She tolerated it for a few minutes, though, before jumping down and sitting in my lap.

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cuddling

Geoff and I were sitting on the couch with Scarlett between us when Melly jumped down off the back of the couch to join us:




While sleeping near each other or just barely touching has become pretty routine for these two, actual snuggling is still extremely rare. Melly is a little pill to Scarlett much of the time, so it makes me really happy when she does something sweet like this. Plus, it's awfully adorable!