Monday, September 26, 2016

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday - Redirected Aggression 6 Months Later

There has been a very happy "Thang" around here lately. See Exhibit A:

A Happy Thang
She has completely recovered from her redirected aggression episode 6 months ago, off all meds, and is probably even happier than before. Last month we took her to get her teeth cleaned and found out she needed 3 teeth pulled, as they had turned into cavities. She has a history of Feline Odontoclastic Resorbtive Lesions (FORLs), which can be very painful. Our vet told us that cats are like people, some have good teeth, and some don't. Brushing helps A LOT, but FORLs are hereditary and there is no known cure or prevention for them in cats.

The last time she had her teeth cleaned, they pulled 3 other teeth, so now she basically has no teeth on her bottom jaw except her canines and the small teeth in between her canines. At some point in her life, she may very well have all her teeth pulled, but no worries, as toothless kittehs can live perfectly happy and healthy lives.

After her recovery, she has actually been happier and more playful than we've seen her in at least a year or two. It was 2 years since her last cleaning, so I'm wondering if her earlier grumpiness with Leo had anything to do with it. A mouthful of painful cavities can definitely affect your disposition! Still, she showed no symptoms of having any issues, especially with eating. She continued to have a healthy, VERY food motivated appetite.

That's the thing with cats. They are very stoic and often don't show pain, so a behavioral issue may have a physiological origin. Who knows if this is/was the issue with Miss Thang.

We are back on a regular (every other day) brushing regimen. I had started with her when I had Leo, but things got pushed to the back in the aggression aftermath and then her having teeth pulled. I'm hoping this will make a difference for the future.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September in the Garden

Ooof, I'm exhausted. These past 2 weeks I've been planting and moving things around in the yard/garden, which is why I've not had any energy to blog. So far, I've planted:
  • 18 irises
  • 4 daylilys
  • 2 hucheras
  • 1 hosta
  • 6 black raspberry bushes
Under "normal" conditions, I would have been able to handle something like this in 1 weekend...maybe 2, but I have hard-ass clay soil, which makes digging a simple hole in the ground similar to prospecting for gold. 

Here in Virginia, most people bring in a dump truck of mushroom compost and build up for flower beds or veggie gardens. I did it right for the veggie garden, but not around the rest of the house. In hindsight, I should have done that, but I didn't know. So, I have to dig a "$50 hole for a $5 plant," which requires using a mattock, several types of shovels, loppers, lots of sweat, and some colorful curse words.

It may be "fall," but the temps outside still say summer and I'm over it! I still have 2 hydrandreas to move, 3 azalea bushes to plant, 1 decorative grass to move, and a few potted plants to heel in before we are done for the season. This doesn't include aerating the lawn, fertilizing, liming, and overseeding. 

See what I mean? EXHAUSTED.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Figwatch 2016 Update

It's time for another edition of...

Over the holiday weekend, look what I stumbled onto out in the garden. It's my very first ripe fig!

I can't tell you how excited I was to see this! I thought I had lost my chance for figs earlier this past month when I went away for a few days on a business trip and my husband forgot to water my potted fig plants. The poor plants had lost most of their leaves, but the figs held on.

I took it inside, cut it in half, put a couple of crumbled pieces of Stilton on each half, and then drizzled it with honey. YUMMMM!

This fig came from my "Negronne" fig tree...

Since this weekend, I've picked 5 more luscious beauties, with even one large brown fig from my "Olympian" tree. 

Here's hoping next year's harvest will be even better!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday/Wednesday...Whatever!

Whew, what a summer! What is it about August that makes you want to hide away inside and not come out until after Labor Day?

I've been slacking majorly, but I've been busy taking care of small projects in the house. The other day I was cleaning my bathroom and came across this sticking out of my bathroom rug:

Hmmm, what could it possibly be?

Why, it's a kitteh "purrito" of course!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Best Ever Crab Cakes

There's something about crab cakes that makes them seem decadent. Maybe it's because crab is expensive and like lobster, when you cook with it, you don't want to mess it up. Or maybe because it's something you don't have very often, so it seems special. Or maybe crab cakes are one of those dishes that seem to be difficult to make, but really they aren't.

All I know is they are delicious, versatile, and can go from casual to classy in a hot minute:
  • Cajun crab cake omelette for breakfast? Sure thing.
  • Crab cakes for lunch with a side-salad dressed in a lemon vinaigrette and a glass of Chardonnay? You bet!
  • Mini crab cake appetizers with a lemon aioli and a glass of Champagne? Yes please!
See what I mean? As a Florida girl who grew up eating great seafood, crab cakes are one of those things I could eat at any given time, and happily will.

I've had this recipe for years, yet I've never made it until this past week. Lump crab meat was on sale at my grocery store a while ago and I bought some (the refrigerated kind in a can) with this recipe in mind.

The truth is, my husband "proclaims" that crab cakes give him gas, so you can understand why I've never indulged. If I wanted crab cakes, I'd have to order them at a restaurant on my own. So, this past week I thought, "Farts be damned. I'm making these crab cakes!"

And you know what?  Not only were these THE BEST CRAB CAKES, hubby was sans farts afterwards. Game on!

Best Ever Crab Cakes
Recipe Source: The Cooking Forum...I don't remember from who.
Makes 6-8 cakes depending on size

1 lb crab meat (either fresh or canned. I used refrigerated, canned claw meat)
1/2 cup crushed crackers, Ritz is best
3 green onions chopped
1 small green bell pepper chopped fine (orig recipe called for 1/2 pepper, but I used a whole)
1/4 cup mayo
1 egg
1 tsp.  Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp salt
flour for dusting
vegetable oil for frying

Over medium heat, pour enough oil in a frying pan to the depth of about 1/8 inch. Really, it should just be enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the flour. Shape mixture into patties, slightly compressing them to squeeze out extra moisture. Dust with flour and place patties, 2-3 at a time, in the oil and fry 2-4 minutes. Carefully flip them over and fry the other side another 2-4 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on a plate with a paper towel. Repeat with remaining patties.

Really, these crab cakes don't need anything to go with them. No cocktail or tartar sauce, but they are yummy with a little lemon or mustard aioli.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday

This is perhaps one of my most favorite pics of Chaz. Look at that adorable snaggle-tooth smooshface!

Monday, August 08, 2016

The Sandwich That Took 5 Months To Make

Do you want what's funny? I didn't even LIKE fresh tomatoes until I was almost 30 years old. I avoided them at all costs, and now I can't get enough of them.

This past weekend, I made the holy grail of all fresh tomato meals (with the exception of tomato caprese salad) and used only the best-of-the-best of my homegrown heirlooms.

There she is... my first Sudduth's Strain Brandywine tomato of the season (next to that yellow "Kellogg's Breakfast"):

IMO, Brandywine's are the sublime epitome of what a tomato should taste like: Nice firm fleshy texture, rich tomato flavor, with just a touch of sweetness and the perfect acidity. They are my ultimate favorites.

I grew these tomatoes from seed, starting in March. They ripen later in the season, after my hybrids that I use for canning, and we eat every last one of them as the star attraction.

A BLT made with homegrown, heirloom tomatoes, to me, is a gourmet meal.

All this needed was a little salt and pepper, and this sandwich was certainly worth waiting 5 months for to make and eat! In fact, I'm going to have another tonight. :-)

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