Caturday & A Mini Break

Saturday, April 4, 2015

caturday through the thicket siamese cat

Hello friends! Happy Caturday and Happy Easter! I hope that whether or not you're celebrating with family and friends, you're enjoying the long weekend and eating some delicious food.

Some of you may have noticed that it's been a little bit quieter around here than usual. And that I haven't been visiting your blogs and commenting as much as I usually do. But let me just say - it's not you, it's me. I still love you all dearly and I still love blogging. But I've been in a bit of a slump and feeling overwhelmed with "real life stuff", so I've decided to take a bit of a mini break from posting on here.

I'll be back soon - and with a refreshed, more inspired outlook so I can continue cranking out content that you enjoy and I love writing and photographing. Sometimes taking a step back can be the best thing to refocus, you know?

caturday through the thicket siamese cat

And I'll end off with a note about these pictures: we sometimes lovingly refer to Achio the Little Hunchback of Our House - and I think that these shots demonstrate quite clearly his little old man slouch.

I hope you all eat enough chocolate this weekend to end up in some form of a sugar induced coma. That's my plan at least. And I'll see you soon!




Recipe: Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms (vegan + gf)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


I have a confession to make. I didn't eat mushrooms until I was 16 years old. And maybe that isn't so weird, but how my 'shroom aversion got started is a bit of a story.

When I was first learning to read, my grandparents gifted me an encyclopedia style book about plants (obvy I had the coolest childhood ever), and in it I read that some mushrooms are poisonous. Keyword: some. But I decided I wasn't taking any chances and refused to eat anything that even resembled a mushroom for many years. Beyond that, I also decided I wasn't letting anyone I cared about risk it, and it didn't take long for my parents to realize that they weren't going to be able to buy or eat mushrooms in front of me without a big fuss.

I later learned that my parents were actually purchasing and preparing mushrooms covertly for many years. (Mom, I'm really sorry about forcing your love of mushrooms into the closet.)

Anyways, it's safe to say that I've had a change of heart about these fungi. And lately, I've been all about roasting them. There's just something about the way it brings out the flavors and the juices that make them extra irresistible. When I finally figured out the perfect creamy (but dairy free) filling to stuff them with, there was no doubt in my mind that this was the recipe I wanted to end off Mini Bites March with.


For this recipe, I opted to use cremini mushrooms. They have a slightly nutty undertone, but you could just as easily use another variety like plain white if you prefer. I was (happily) surprised at how easily the stems twisted out, as well as how fancy these little bites can end up looking with such minimal effort.

This dish has a bit of a kick to it - depending on how many red pepper flakes you put in - and is best served hot. I've been popping these as snacks and a side dish all week, but they'd also work well as hors-d'oeuvres if you were having some people over.

Red Pepper Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms

Prep time: 25 minutes || Cook time: 20 minutes || Makes: ~15 mushrooms

Ingredients:


1 cup cooked green lentils
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
4 tbsp milk of choice
Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 red pepper
1 tsp olive oil
Cremini mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Cook lentils according to package directions with a clove of garlic.
  3. Remove the stem and cut the red pepper into quarters. Cover in 1 tsp of olive oil and bake at
    350° for 15 minutes.
  4. Once the pepper has finished roasting, put all of the ingredients (except the mushrooms) in a food processor and pulse until well combined.
  5. Twist the stems out of the mushrooms and fill each with some of the red pepper and lentil paste. I used a piping bag to do this but a spoon would work just as well. Place in an oven safe dish and cook for 20 minutes at 350°.
  6. Top with a fresh sprig of basil and serve warm.

Notes:


You can make the red pepper and lentil paste several days before and keep it in a covered container in the fridge. It's best to bake the mushrooms right before serving.



Do you have any really strong aversions to specific foods? Or have you found that like me, your tastes change over time? 


I'm still feeling quite under the weather, but thank you to everyone for your get well wishes on Friday! I hope your week is off to a great start.



Caturday: March 28th, 2015 (Panda from Oddly Lovely)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Happy Caturday!! I hope this is the start of a great weekend for you. Today we have Cat from Oddly Lovely sharing pictures of her pretty lady Panda. I have never met this cat before, but I think it's safe to say that I'm already in love with her. There's something about that lil nose and perpetually soulful look in her eyes that just make me want to smoosh her face through the computer screen.

Cat writes about a vast variety of topics on her lifestyle blog - it's one of those places where you can never get bored because there is always something new and different. But she also writes about pets and cats! So if you'd like to see more of this purrfect little creature Panda, head on over to Oddly Lovely - and keep scrolling!

oddly lovely blog caturday

"Despite growing up in a 'dog family,' I was always obsessed with cats. Every year for my birthday and Christmas, I would beg my mom for a kitten. Once “Santa” even wrote me back saying a kitty was too big of a responsibility, and I cried my eyes out when I received it. Then, when I was 11 years old, my mom finally gifted me a litter box and a stuffed kitty and said we were going to the shelter to pick out a real one. Shadow the Kitten came home with us later that day, but as he grew, he became a giant tom who really preferred to hunt outside than spend time with me.

When I moved out of the college dorms 8 years later, I knew I wanted to adopt a cat who loved humans. I discovered Panda through a rescue on Petfinder.com. She was a year old at the time and her profile explicitly said she adored people and was a bit of a pig. Now that I’ve had her for six years, I can absolutely confirm both of those statements."

oddly lovely blog caturday
oddly lovely blog caturday

"The first two years after I brought her home, we lived in a loud, busy college house filled with 8 roommates and a rotating cast of visitors. Princess Panda would proudly march around the mansion, bossing us around with her demanding meows. She was never the sort of cat who would hide under the couch and was always  most happy being held like a baby or being cooed over by adoring admirers.

When I graduated, we moved up to Berkeley together and into an apartment with two other 20-somethings who completely doted on her. She was always the star of the Panda Show, and since we had a wide variety of schedules, someone was always home to pay attention to her."

oddly lovely blog caturday
oddly lovely blog caturday

"But now that those roommates have left, our house is much quieter. My boyfriend and I added a dog to the family, Ru, and although Ru worships the ground on which Panda walks, Panda is indifferent to the spastic pup. She's developed some weird neuroses, like over-grooming and peeing in strange places, and I’m fairly certain that it’s the result of separation anxiety and the stress of regularly being home alone for 10 hour stretches. I’d consider adopting a second cat, but we’ve lived with another one before and Panda was never a big fan of needing to share the spotlight.

It’s tough. I worry that I’m a bad cat mama. I buy her new cat trees and ThunderShirts and shower her with attention when I’m home. Whoever said “oh, cats are so easy” is crazy. But I love my neurotic nut-job. She’s talkative, soft like a baby bunny, and a rockstar cuddler. She knows how to work a crowd whenever guests come over. And she would be happy never leaving my lap."

oddly lovely blog caturday 

Anyone who loves their animals wants to do the best for them, but I know that there are often times that I worry I could be doing something better. At the end of the day, I know that I'm doing the best I can and my cats have it so much better than most other animals out there - and as I look at them sunbathing on the couch beside me right now, they're not complaining.

I know Panda is really lucky to have Cat. Have you ever had a neurotic animal or worried that you're not the best pet parent?


 



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