Friday, June 26, 2015

It's Take Your Dog To Work Day!

I used to work in an amusement park in Carolina Beach, NC. Shortly after I started, it was bought out by a rich family looking for a hobby. Among their hobbies was raising Irish Water Spaniels (which look like big poodles) and they used to bring them to work with them often. The dogs were cool, but even better than that was the fact that the new owners didn't mind the staff bringing their dogs and in fact encouraged us to! I think I was the only one who did, but my Scotty-dog loved being able to ride to the beach and go for walks when I wasn't bound to the office. He forged quite a friendship with 2 of the owner's 3 dogs- it wasn't unusual to come in and find a giant puppy pile snoozing behind my desk!

I'm pretty sure there isn't a Take Your CAT To Work day, for two reasons. A: Cats don't work, they like to watch us do it. B: Have you ever tried to jam a cat into a carrier & then listened to it sing the war songs of its people for a cross-town commute? If I did bring her to work with me, Nightshade would either spend the shift under my desk hissing mad, or disappear into the bowels of this hellhole, never to be seen again!

Foodie Friday- Dog friendly edition

I realized that it's only fair to make goodies for our beloved animal companions from time to time. So, after searching for recipes, I found this one and tried it on my friend's finicky cocker spaniels and one of our less than picky K9 units at work. It was a kit with both of them. This is also safe for humans- my friends and I all tried it, but didn't like it nearly as much as all of the pups did!

Homemade Chicken Jerky For Dogs


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce


1. Preheat your oven to 170˚ F.

2. Remove any excess fat or bits of bone from the chicken breasts and pat dry.

3. Mix together the peanut butter and soy sauce, which creates the marinade for the jerky. Stir and thin with up to 1 tablespoon of additional water to create a smooth paste. Coat the chicken with the peanut butter mixture, and place in the freezer for 1 hour.(Slightly freezing the chicken makes it easier to thinly slice.)

4. Remove the chicken from the freezer, and cut as thinly as possible.

5. Cover a sheet tray with parchment paper, and arrange the thin slices in a single layer. Place in the oven, set the timer for 2 hours, and hang out with your pup while the jerky cooks.

6. Your jerky is ready! Once cool, cut with scissors into smaller bits, or leave as is for big mouthfuls of chewiness. Store in a sealable container, and your homemade chicken jerky is good for up to 30 days — if it lasts that long. And the jerky is totally human-tasty, too. It's low in fat and sodium while being a high-in-protein pick-me-up.

Chicken is a healthy protein for pups and gives the jerky a nice chew without being too dry. For chewier jerky, cut the chicken with the grain.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Fifth and Final Listmania (for now, anyway)

Nine Things My Socks Would Say If The Could Talk

1. Not me again! Can't you wear a different pair today?!?

2. Um, hey, this isn't my mate!!!

3. Get that cat away from me! I'm not a chew toy!

4. Time to play hide and seek!

5. Cut your damned toenails already! I don't need holes poked in me.

6. Wait a minute...that shirt clashes with us.

7. Have you ever heard of odor eaters?!?

8. For god's sake, keep your shoes on at your friend's house! You want the whole world to see how many holes you've worn in us?

9. If WE'RE wet & cold, YOU'RE wet and cold!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Foodie Friday- This One's Dedicated to All the Kitties!

This is for the cats. It's a little time consuming to make, but any cat will tell you that they're worth the extra trouble.

Homemade Organic Spinach and Chicken Cat Treats


1/2 pound steamed organic boneless and skinless chicken thighs
1 cup fresh organic spinach leaves
1 cup organic quick-cooking oats
1 organic brown egg
1 tablespoon organic catnip
1/4 cup flour


1. Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Steam the boneless and skinless chicken thighs until cooked through. You can swap for boneless and skinless organic chicken breasts, salmon, or tuna with cat-loving results too. Let the chicken cool for 20 minutes before the next step.

2. Place the chicken, oats, spinach leaves, egg, and catnip in a blender or food processor, and pulse on low until the mixture blends together. It should still be a bit chunky but also smooth, similar to the texture of wet sand.

3. Pop the mixture into a bowl and add the flour. You can also add a dash of salt or sugar to mix up the flavor. Use your hands to knead the dough until it's no longer sticky, then place on a flour-dusted work surface.

4. Use a rolling pin to create a rectangle of dough around 1/2 inch thick. With the help of a pizza cutter or small cookie cutter, create small shapes for the finished treats.

5. Place the kitty treats on a parchment-lined sheet tray, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool until room temperature, and then toss to your cat.

If your cat isn't a fan of chicken, then swap with organic salmon or tuna.

My notes-
This is probably the only thing I will ever use chicken thighs for. I got lucky and scored free ones when I explained to the meat counter guy at Whole Food$ what I needed them for. He asked me to let him know how they came out because he has a cat of his own. (I took some of the treats and a copy of the recipe back to him for his cat) I might try them with breast meat just to see how it comes out and because I usually have that on hand. Also, if you're worried about the cost of organic foods, you can do this with conventional items. I doubt the cat/s will notice the difference.

Nightshade loved these, BTW. So did the feral cat colony. I'm not sure how long they're supposed to last, but I'd think they're ok for a week or two as long as you store them in a tightly sealed container.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Yum! It's National Fudge Day!

In honor of the day, here's a recipe to try. My Aunt Julie used to make this and homemade caramels for Christmas every year. She swears this is the recipe she used, but mine has NEVER turned out as good as I remember hers being! Enjoy!

HERSHEY'S Rich Cocoa Fudge Recipe


3 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Line 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.
2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)
3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss (about 7 minutes). Quickly spread in prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. About 64 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds.
NOTE: For best results, do not double this recipe. This is one of our most requested recipes, but also one of our most difficult. The directions must be followed exactly. Beat too little and the fudge is too soft. Beat too long and it becomes hard and sugary.

NUTTY RICH COCOA FUDGE: Beat cooked fudge as directed. Immediately stir in 1 cup chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts and spread quickly in prepared pan.

MARSHMALLOW-NUT COCOA FUDGE: Increase cocoa to 3/4 cup. Cook fudge as directed. Add 1 cup marshmallow creme with butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat 8 minutes; stir in
1 cup chopped nuts. Pour into prepared pan. (Fudge does not set until poured into pan.)

-- Increase milk to 1-2/3 cups
-- Use soft ball cold water test for doneness OR Test and read thermometer in boiling water, subtract
difference from 212°F. Then subtract that number from 234°F. This is the soft ball temperature for
your altitude and thermometer.

Listmania the Fourth

Seven Things I Always Lose

(I decided to skip the list of things to say after you burp in favor of this one. You're welcome.)

1. My temper. Lots of people can attest to this one

2. My lip balm. I suspect it goes off to party with this next item...

3. My pens. It never fails, if I find a good pen with an ink color I like, it will vanish shortly thereafter.

4. My keys. I bought a carabiner clip so that I can attach them to my purse or belt loops. The problem now is REMEMBERING to attach them to said items.

5. My train of thought. I'll be in the middle of doing something and suddenly there's a chocolate pie in the fridge, but I'm waiting for a break to eat it and what was this supposed to be about?

6. My place on cross stitch charts. Even when I highlight the parts I've stitched, I still get off track.

7. My heart, to pretty British boys. Like this one!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dummies of the Week

My job never fails to provide moments of hilarity, however unintentional. Here are the winners of the Blooming Idiot award for the last week:

The winner-Idiot 1: Officers are involved in a pursuit of subject on a stolen moped. Subject leaps off moped, causing it to crash in someone's yard and takes off on foot, with several officers in hot pursuit. Believe it or not, THIS isn't our winner. No, our winner jumps off the porch of the house next door to the crash and tries to take off on the already stolen moped, not realizing that 2 officers had abandoned the pursuit in order to secure the recovered stolen property. The dumbfounded officers watched him pick up the moped, sit down & start it up, and let him get about 6 feet before unceremoniously yanking him off it and arresting him. Oh, and he had a pocketful of dope on him, to boot.

Honorable Mention- Idiot 2: Officer responds to call of person in distress in fast food restaurant bathroom. Subject has come out of bathroom and is wobbling around in parking lot when officer arrives. Subject is quite clearly under the influence of something. When asked if he'd taken anything, he produced a bottle of bath salts from his pocket and asked the officer to taste them and tell him if they seemed off because he doesn't think they sold him the right thing. Officer declined and transported the idiot to the hospital, and then to jail.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

It's World Juggling Day!

I never got the hang of juggling. I'm just not coordinated enough. I do enjoy watching it though!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Foodie Friday- One-pot beef curry with spinach & cauliflower

One-pot beef curry with spinach & cauliflower (found here
Serves 4

3 onions, peeled and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced thinly
2 tsp mild curry powder
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp palm sugar
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
900g | 2lbs braising steak, cubed
450g | 1lb cauliflower florets (about 1/2 medium cauliflower)
1x400g (14oz) can coconut milk
3 heaped tbsp ground almonds
3 large handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
handful coriander (cilantro) leaves to garnish
2 tbsp flaked coconut to garnish
salt and pepper to season
coconut oil to fry (or vegetable oil)

1. Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a large casserole dish. Once the oil is hot add the onions, garlic, palm sugar and all the spices and stir together for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
2. Increase the heat and add the beef, stirring to brown all over. Season with a little salt and add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil and add the cauliflower florets (in fairly large chunks).
3. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally so the food doesn't stick (add a little hot water if it is sticking).
4. Add the ground almonds and stir them in. Add the spinach on top and cover the dish again. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Take off the heat and rest for 10 minutes.
5. Remove the cinnamon stick and check the seasoning. Serve with a scattering of fresh coriander leaves and flaked coconut.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I'm That Book!

Gail Carriger strikes again! I saw this and *had* to post my version.

I'm that Book

1. ___________ Are My Weakness


2. Their Eyes Were Watching ___________
Tom Hiddleston

3. Have ___________ Will Travel

4. Wuthering ___________
Cross Stitch

5. The Scarlet ___________

6. The Portrait of a ___________
Caffeine Junkie

7. Three ___________ in a Boat

8. The Strange Case of ___________
The Grouch and Her Cat

9. The Call of the ___________
Gibbering Idiot

10. Journey to the Center of the ___________
Tootsie Roll Pop

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Third Listmania

3 Strange Things About My Toenails

1. They grow REALLY fast. I usually have to trim them every week.

2. The 3rd nail on my left foot was damaged in a car wreck when I was 21. Now it's permanently cracked down the center, but grows in 2 pieces and they grow at the same rate.

3. Nail polish doesn't adhere well to them at all. The few times I've bothered to do polish them, it has worn off in less than 3 days.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Foodie Friday Bonus! Happy National Doughnut Day!

National Doughnut Day is on Friday, June 5 and Dunkin' Donuts wants you to have FREE DOUGHNUTS to celebrate.

The offer applies to participating Dunkin' Donuts locations across the nation, the company said in a press release. Even better, lucky patrons will be able to pick out the free doughnut of their choosing -- about 70 options -- instead of being confined to limited options. Dunkin' cites Boston kreme, glazed, chocolate glazed cake and chocolate frosted as the most "beloved" varieties.

I'm so glad I found this! Guess where I'm stopping on my way home from work? LOL. There are advantages to working on the late shift now...

Foodie Friday- Crockpot Sunday Sauce

I adore a good, meaty pasta sauce. This fits the bill quite nicely!

Crockpot Sunday Sauce.

*If you do not have time, you can skip browning the short ribs and just add the ribs right to the crockpot completely raw, but I find it is best to sear the ribs first for the most flavor.

**If you do not want to brown the butter on the stove, just add it directly to the crockpot


2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 pounds bone in short ribs*
salt + pepper
6 tablespoon butter*
1/2 cup red wine
2 (28 ounce) cans whole, peeled, san marzano tomatoes, crushed with your hands
3/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained of the oil
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, skin removed and crushed
1 carrot, cut into large pieces
6-8 pickled jalapeños (optional, but it gives it just a a little kick)
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less to you taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper + salt
2-4 tablespoon fresh parmesan cheese + the parmesan rind (optional)
fresh basil, sliced, for serving
fresh hot past, for serving

The night before or the morning of, heat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium high-heat and add the olive oil. Add the ribs to the skillet and sprinkle with salt + pepper. Sear the ribs on all sides for about 1 minute per side. Remove the ribs and place them in the crockpot bowl.

In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, preferably lighter in color (to better observe the color of the butter so it doesn't burn) add the butter, melt butter over medium heat until just browned. Butter will melt, foam, and froth, then begin to brown along the bottom. Whisk browned bits off of the bottom of the pan and pour all the butter over the ribs.

To the crockpot, add the red wine, tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrot, jalapeños (if using), basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. If you have a parmesan rind on hand, toss that in the crockpot as well. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours (or 4-6 hours on high) stirring once or twice if possible. After 8 hours remove the short ribs, carrot and parmesan rind from the sauce, discard the carrot + rind and try to get all the short rib pieces out of the crockpot.

Shred the short ribs with your hands or two forks.

If you like a smooth sauce use an immersion blender to puree the sauce or transfer to a blender or food processor and then return the sauce to the crockpot. Stir the shredded short ribs, parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons fresh basil. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. If the sauce seems too thin allow it to cook with the lid off while you boil your pasta, if the sauce seems just right, keep it covered.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta well.

Serve the warm sauce over a hot a bed of pasta, on a sandwich or use in lasagnas, pasta dishes, or as a pizza topper

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Listmania the Second

5 Superpowers I Wish I Had

1. Flight! I want to be able to swoop and soar through the breeze!

2. Invisibility. Although as a middle aged woman, I seem to be invisible already. Neat trick for a purple haired 6ft Amazon!

3. Telepathy. I have been told I can communicate quite effectively with my death glare. It might be nice to be able to communicate OTHER things though.

4. Telekinesis. Being able to move things without having to touch them would be great. Especially heavy loads that do my back in!

5. Shape-shifting could be fun.