Total Pageviews

random musings of a crazy cat lady

Monday, May 28, 2012

La-Z-Biddy/Magic Happy Pills

In a bit of minor irony, my new La-Z-Boy couch and loveseat arrived the same day that I got officially diagnosed with low thyroid and got a prescription for it.  They are indeed quite comfortable, but I am glad to be spending less time on them than I had expected.
I don't know when the thyroid thing started.  I've always been a big person - never hyper, but pretty energetic in my own slow and steady way.  I'm not built for speed but I had great endurance.  It was probably a slow and halting creep for at least a few years, as I noticed that I was less energetic than before.  It was subtle and I attributed it to old age and the fact that I am working more now, but it became more noticeable to me in the last two years. When Rugrat died the stress must've catalyzed something and so the rate of change was suddenly enough to make me wonder what was up,and, more importantly, cause other new symptoms which weren't so easily attributable to laziness/my imagination/blame on myself.  I won't bore you with the details.  I went to the doctor and the basic thyroid test came out borderline for low thyroid.  My doctor put in an authorization for a second, more complete set of tests if my energy didn't get back to normal in a month or two.  Things got slightly better, but part of that improvement was due to me trying to do less.  Other things got worse.  I went back in for a the second set of tests, which were more definitive than the first.  She prescribed thyroid medication and I'm supposed to come back in two months for a follow-up visit to adjust the dosage, if necessary.
It's been about a week.  I noticed an improvement almost immediately.  My legs felt lighter and my hands and feet stopped tingling.  After a rather non-stop weekend with my houseguests, I was a bit wiped out yesterday, but I was back to normal today.  I was able to run on the treadmill tonight, which is something I haven't been able to do since March.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Stewed Rhubarb with Blueberries

My rhubarb plants are massive this year!  They got a bit shredded in the hailstorm but suffered no ill effects from the late hard freeze and snowstorm.  A few weeks ago some flower buds started to sprout, but at the advice of my neighbors I cut them off so that the rhubarb wouldn't go to seed.
I gave it a good trimming the other day, but it's hardly even noticeable.  I cooked it up with some frozen blueberries, sugar, and lemon zest and juice.
It turned out really well.  I'm already planning on making another batch.  The blueberries and rhubarb are a good combination, flavor-wise.  The rhubarb adds zip and body to the blueberries, and both flavors come through.  You could use Splenda instead of sugar if you want, but the last time I tried this with rhubarb it ended up with a strange metallic flavor.  I recommend using at least part sugar.  I used one cup here - it was sweet enough when it was warm, but when cold it needed a bit more sweetness.   I've been eating it plain or with greek yogurt.  

Rhubarb with Blueberries and Lemon

2-3 lbs rhubarb, cleaned and sliced into 1" slices
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
zest and juice from 2 lemons

Combine ingredients in large pot.  Cook on medium heat until rhubarb is soft.  Cool and add more sweetener to taste if desired.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spinach, Canadian Bacon, and Cheese Frittata

I'm on an egg kick lately, and decided to make a frittata using various leftovers and other miscellaneous ingredients from my absurdly well-stocked cupboards.  I looked a recipes for general guidance in terms of oven temperature but made up my own recipe.  It came out extremely well and I enjoyed it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I recommend it highly, but don't let my recipe influence you too much - this is what I had in my fridge.  Use your favorite combinations of ingredients or whatever you have around  (I do recommend lots of cheese, though!)

Spinach, Canadian Bacon, and Cheese Frittata
makes 6-7 servings

6 oz canadian bacon
2 cups leftover rice
butter (1 tbs)
8 oz spinach
3 cloves garlic
6 eggs
1 cup milk (use a dash of cream or half and half too if you have it)
1 c. shredded Manchego cheese
a few sundried tomatoes
dash of dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.
Chop up canadian bacon.  In a large oven-safe skillet, brown the bacon and the rice in a little bit of butter.  chop up spinach and either saute with the rice mix or cook it briefly in the microwave* and then add to rice mixture.  Whisk eggs with milk, salt, pepper and oregano.  Add garlic, egg mixture, and sundried tomatoes to skillet and sprinkle cheese on top.  Bake until mixture has set (mine took 20 minutes).  Allow to cool slightly and then serve.  It is good warm or cold.

* If you microwave the spinach, add sprinkle of  water and cook it until it is just softened and then drain.

Pussy Voyeur

OK, now that I have guaranteed that my blog traffic will increase a thousandfold this weekend, I'm talking about felines.  Get your minds out of the gutter!
The cats and I have adjusted to Rugrat's absence, but it still seems quiet without her.  Now that enough time has passed, I would like to get a kitten or young cat.  Ostensibly, this is so Lucy has an energetic buddy to play with, but of course, it's for me too.
There's a part of me that wants one just like Rugrat.   She was a Maine Coon mix.  I didn't know much about them when I got her.  I'd only ever seen pictures of the really big purebred males.  Rugrat was small and hated the cold.  We called her the California Coon cat.  It took her a few years to get to full size, and she seemed like she got shaggier every year.   Even so, she never topped 8 lbs.  (for comparison, Luna topped out at 12 lbs and Lucy, though petite, is a muscular 9 1/2 lbs)   After I had her for a few years, my brother  pointed out that she was part Maine Coon and had a lot of the personality traits and habits.  I also realized that there a lot of people are crazy about Maine Coons, but as often as not they are talking about the mixes and not just the purebred ones.  Like Siamese, it seems like a Maine Coon is a bunch of personality traits wrapped up in a certain package.  The personality traits can be very dominant even in the mixes. 
I'm kind of tempted to get a purebred one, not because I really care about breeding, but because I want to get one like Rugrat - a lovey lap cat.  This urge is at odds with my usual inclination to go for mixed breed cats who need a home.  At the moment I've been having trouble finding female kittens at all.  I've been obsessively checking the listings at the local humane societies - at the Ithaca one the kittens are adopted almost instantly.  It's not much better on Craigslist - I've inquired about a few but they had already found homes.  There was a rather chilling post telling people to be careful who they adopt their kittens to (and preferably take them to the SPCA), since some people use them as bait for dog fights.  This made me really sad. 
There's also a part of me that really wants a kitten, not an adult or adolescent cat.  This is at odds with my special fondness for gawky 'teenaged' cats.  When I adopted Lucy, I thought a kitten would be best, but Lucy picked me out and that was that. She is a really sweet, funny cat and I couldn't possibly love her more than I do already.  This time around I'm still tempted by the young adult cats, and have pangs of guilt for being fixated on a kitten. I am using Luna's old age, Lucy's extremely high energy level, and a desire for a faster adjustment period to justify wanting a kitten. 
You and I know that I will end up adopting a mixed breed, possibly a kitten but also possibly a teen or adult, and in all likelihood it will resemble Luna, Max or Lucy physically (torties, tuxedo and black cats are very common here).  Anyway, I'll keep on being the internet kitty voyeur since it's a good counterbalance to spending too much time reading about all the myriad ways that women's reproductive rights are being threatened.
For some true kitten voyeurism, see the kitty webcam.  For an overdose of Maine Coon kitten cuteness (and a few baby Rugrat clones), the following picture makes me want to shell out the big bucks for a purebred one and ignore all my liberal cat lady inclinations.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Craiglist WTF?!?!? of the Day

I've been lurking on Craigslist looking for kittens, since there aren't many to be had at the local SPCA.  For amusement, I looked at the personal ads and ran across the following one.  Somehow the first half of the post does not exactly jibe with the second half.  So hat do you think, faithful readers?  Is the poster being ironic, or is he completely clueless?  Or is he one of those annoying liberal dudes who is actually a total sexist?  Or, perhaps, it's a fake post.  Either way, it does not exactly make me want to write back.  I'll stick to the kitten ads for now.

Seeking an enlightened, loving woman with a sense of humor and values (Ithaca)

Looking for some romance now that spring is in the air. You should be liberal, loving, and lovely. I have an incredible sense of humor that you will be sure to appreciate. For instance...

What's worse than a male chauvinist?
A woman who doesn't do what she's told.

Why can't women drive?
There's not enough room to build a proper road between the bedroom and the kitchen.

What do you call a woman who has lost 95% of her intelligence?

If you want to laugh and love, drop me a note.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kale with green curry sauce

When I was at Wegman's last week, they had kale with a red curry sauce on one of their steam tables. I was intrigued but didn't want to pay $8.49/lb for it. I bought some kale and did some internet searching. It's pretty simple. Blanch some kale and add your favorite curry sauce, along with any other ingredients like tofu or meat. I made some pseudo-homemade curry sauce and added it to some blanched kale. Although kale is not a traditional ingredient in Thai cuisine, it worked well. The creaminess of the sauce balanced out some of the bitterness of the kale. I just ate it by itself tonight, but packaged up the rest with some leftover pork roast and rice. I expect it will be quite tasty as leftover.

Kale with green curry sauce

1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp green curry paste, or more to taste
1 tsp red chili paste
1 tsp brown sugar
1 lb kale, torn into small pieces

 Mix curry ingredients until blended. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil and blanch kale. Use tongs to push all kale under the water. Blanch the kale for 3 minutes or so and then drain. Mix in sauce and enjoy.