Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Queen Cat Answers Readers Questions

Since my interview by The Intruder Cat was posted on this blog, I have been inundated with questions by readers. I must confess, I've been flattered by all the attention. So now I, The Queen Cat, shall devote my time to answering some of the questions, that have been asked.

I had this pic taken just for fun...I, of course, have a secretary that does my blogging.

A reader from Dog Patch, TN, asks:

Dear Queen Cat:

Can a dog become Queen of a Noncat Colony? Are you born that way, or do you get voted in, or just take over one day by surprise?

Dear Dog Patch Reader:

I shall answer the second part of your questions first. You are not born, voted in, or by force, recognized as the leader of a Noncat Colony. You BECOME The Queen Cat, by virtue of BEING a Queen Cat of a Noncat Colony. The choice of which Noncat Colony to rule, is made by The Queen Cat. However, dear reader, you must first be a CAT, in order to become a Queen Cat. A dog could never lead a colony...Noncat, or otherwise. Dogs care too much about what think of them. They are people pleasers, fetching sticks, and catching balls, at the whims of their humans. All the human has to do is, in a firm voice, say, "BAD DOG," and you will tuck your tail between your hind legs and hide. Not good leadership at all...

I rest my case....

A reader from Catskill, NY, writes:

Dear Queen Cat:

How do you manage to get your Noncat Colony to feed you so much? Your figure is so full, and pleasingly plump. My Noncats do not seem to pick up on my que's for food. Any advice to share?

Dear Catskill Reader:

You must train a Noncat to feed you at YOUR request. This is done through a series, of what I call "Ritual Feedings." These are exercises that are done, not at scheduled mealtimes, but at all other available times. Noncats are easily trained, but can be forgetful. So constant reinforcement is necessary.

First, stare at the Noncat until you have their undivided attention...if training is going well, when they engage in eye contact with you, they should ask the question, "What?". You should then begin leading them to the feeding center, like a "Seeing-Eye Cat."

Secondly, while leading the Noncats to the food bowl, you may have to dart in front of them, or between their legs, in order to keep them on task. Remember Noncats are not the sharpest tacks on the corkboard...

Finally, if the Noncat fails to follow you to the feeding center...collapse in front of them, so that they trip over you. That usually gets their attention back on track.

Follow these foolproof steps, multiple times everyday, and you too, will be sitting pretty in no time.

Here is a question from a reader in Paininmytail, USA,:

Dear Queen Cat:

You are legendary in your distain for small Noncats. Couldn't you just give a small Noncat a chance, and try to forge a healthy, give and take relationship?

Ha, ha, ha...I'd rather lie on a hot, tin roof, than have a small Noncat handle me again.

I will only be comfortable when all small Noncats are kept in nice, plastic, habitrails.

The final question in this blog, is from a reader in Wilson, N.C.:

Dear Queen Cat:

I recently saw this pic on the internet, and personally, I was surprised...

Is there any truth to this pic? It looks like you are "Sleeping With The Enemy," or in this case, "Napping With The Intruder Cat?"

Dear Wilson Reader:

Give me a break!! As The Queen Cat of a Noncat Colony, I will, from time to time, have to suffer bad press. This picture, is quite obviously a very poor "Photo-Shop" cut and paste picture. My reputation of stalking, fighting, and finally, removing The Intruder Cat from my territory, speaks for itself.

I hope, dear readers, that I have answered your questions. Please remember to always give the honor and respect, that is due, to any feline in life.

Until we meet again, I remain, THE QUEEN CAT OF THE NONCAT COLONY!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It May Snow For A Night...But Baked Oatmeal Is For Breakfast

We finally got a decent snow in my neck of the woods. Too bad most of the metropolitan area didn't know it was coming. Traffic was a nightmare, cars were abandoned, and a baby was born on the American Legion Bridge. My daughter's commute home was 8 hours long, and ended with a two mile walk, after the road became impassable.

Oh yeah, it's evil out there....

Doesn't the morning light change everything? Here is the same picture, looking like a beautiful, winter morning.

This morning was a perfect time to make my son's favorite breakfast...Baked Oatmeal.
This hot cereal will warm the innards, and has been known on occasion, to heal a broken heart. (Recipe courtesy of Keepers At Home, Christmas 1994 "The Little Book of Great Granolas).

Start with 3 cups of Quick Cooking Oats.

Add packed brown sugar (light or dark).

Then add baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

To the dry mixture, add milk...

Melted butter or margarine...

And eggs, slightly beaten. Mix well...

Pour into a two quart casserole dish, and bake at 350 degrees, for 45 minutes...

Serve it hot from the oven...

Slice and crumble into a bowl, and serve with milk.

Baked Oatmeal

3 cups of Quick Cooking Oats
1 cup of packed brown suger
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup of butter or margarine (melted)
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Mix and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Slice and crumble, serve with milk.

This is a warm and hearty breakfast cereal. Just perfect for a cold, winter's morning.

Have a happy and safe weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yarn and Knitting...

Yesterday and today I've been sick with a terrible cold. Up until Sunday, I actually thought my supplements and green smoothies were going to make me so healthy, I would sail through this winter illness free. That has not been the case, apparently, as I slept most of the day, yesterday.

In the mail yesterday I received the new yarn that I ordered. It is called Chroma Worsted. It is 70% wool and 30% nylon. It changes color as you knit it. It feels very smooth and soft. I'm not sure yet, what I'll knit with it, but I'm excited to knit something with this beautiful yarn.

On the needles right now I'm making a scarf made of 74% Suri Alpaca, 22% Peruvian Highland Wool, and 4% nylon. I had bought this yarn last Christmas and made a reference to it in this blog, that it was like trying to knit poodle fur. Well, it still resembles poodle fur to me, but I can actually knit it now. I must be getting better with all the practice. My cat destroyed all the skeins of yarn I bought last Christmas,(alpaca drives her insane!) but I found them on sale, so I ordered enough to do a hat and scarf. It's very light, soft, and fuzzy:

I'm also knitting a lap blanket from a bulky weight yarn made of 70% Peruvian Highland Wool, and 30% Superfine Alpaca. This yarn is very thick and soft, and works up fast. I'm knitting it in seed stitch on size 15 needles:

Well, back to my sick bed, with a cup of hot tea. Hopefully tomorrow I will have my health and energy back. Have a great day!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Monday, Monday.......

The Mama's and Papa's were popular before my time :).... but I still remember these lyrics:

Monday Monday, so good to me,
Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday morning, Monday morning couldn't guarantee
That Monday evening you would still be here with me

When I think of them now, they actually seem rather depressing. Sort of how I feel on a typical Monday morning. The beginning of the week always represents chores that I never do during the weekend...laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping...the list is endless. However, it's also the beginning of the work week, and carries the possibility of: What can I accomplish this week?

I would like to start painting my family room this week. It will mean moving all the furniture, stripping off the old "Thomas Kincaid" lighthouse border (totally 1990's) and priming the burgundy paint. Can you tell I havent' paid attention to the family room for a decade??? I'll take pics as I work on it. We have a goal to list the house for sale in March, which we won't make, but perhaps by working hard, we'll hit the April deadline...

My granddaughter, Cassidy, made a surprise visit to me on Sunday, after attending a birthday party for a friend.

She was happy to discover her "lost" sunglasses were found in her toy box at grandma's house...

If one lollipop is good, two is better, and three is best!

I made another recipe from the Loveless Cafe recipe book.

It was the Ham and Egg Casserole. What can say?? It was ugly. I am disappointed so far in this cookbook. Are any of these recipes served at the Cafe? Bill and Billy called it "Hearty" and "Really good" but they were really hungry at the time. If I can't photograph it for fear of causing stomach upset, then I don't consider it a success.

Susan moved out last Saturday to live near Baltimore, MD, to attend post-graduate classes. She was fun to have back home and I miss her. She was an herbivore. If she could cook full-time for me, I'd be an herbivore too. Bill is a carnivore. He's been on the Atkins Diet for three years now. He's lost 60+ pounds and has kept it off. One of his favorite recipes for breakfast are Egg Muffins:

12 eggs
1 pound of sausage (don't drain the grease)
2 tblsp. of sour cream
2 cups of cheddar cheese
Opptional: Black pepper, red pepper flakes, or chopped onions, to taste.

Cook sausage thoroughly. In a separate bowl mix eggs, sour cream, cheese, and optional seasonings.

Combine all ingredients, and pour evenly into 12, well greased muffin tins (he uses stoneware). Place muffin tin on a cookie sheet and cook at 350 degrees, for 30 minutes. Remove promptly, and let cool. Muffins freeze well in an air tight container.

Light and cheesy, right from the oven.

It's hard to believe these egg muffins are part of a weight loss plan. (Just for the record, his cholesterol count is in the excellent range!!!)

On Friday I made a meatball calzone. It was filled with Italian meatballs, ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and seasonings.

Yummy, hot, Italian goodness!

Have a Happy Monday!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Intruder Cat Has Left The Territory...

My relentless stalking and chasing of the Intruder Cat these last six months has paid off...big time.

On Saturday, I watched as the Intruder Cat was carted away in her little "Kitty-Carrier."

Once again, peace reigns across the upstairs AND downstairs territories.

No longer do I have to stalk my prey...

Stare for hours on end, waiting for that right moment to pounce...

Wear my ears like the "Flying Nun"....

Or resort to attack mode.....

My days are now spent in uncontested, full-command, of the Noncat Colony.

I can now relax anywhere I want...

Sit anywhere I want...

And even indulge in a little "Cat" play if I choose, because my time and energy is no longer used in pursuit of the Intruder Cat.

So idyllic my week has been, that when the small Noncat came to visit...

I had a momentary lapse in judgement, and let the little peasant pet me.

Meow!!! That will not happen again!! I am THE QUEEN CAT...I will not be handled by a small Noncat.

From now on, when she sees this face....

She may as well be looking into this face...

The power and might we both possess are the same...

I can see it...the Intruder Cat saw it...the small Noncat shall see it too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cooking on a Winter's Day....

Snow is beautiful, but ice is majestic. Snow covers everything so that nature is hidden beneath a layer of pristine, white. Ice says that nature is beautiful, just as it is, so it freezes the image into a sculpture, no artist could recreate.

This morning, my honeysuckle bush was covered with a layer of ice.

This branch may be more excited for Springtime than me....

All of Bill's hard work on the deck this past summer...

Is now encased in ice, waiting for the Spring thaw...

Last night I couldn't sleep, so at 1:30am, I decided to learn how to poach an egg. I know that sounds strange, but I wanted to make Eggs Benedict, but I have never poached an egg before. First I tried the method in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" but it just became a gooey mess. So I turned to old faithful, my "Betty Crocker" cookbook, circa 1978, that I received as a wedding gift. That method was so much easier! I discovered I really like poached eggs! They taste so much more delicate than fried, or boiled eggs. How have I lived 50 years without ever making or eating a poached egg???

How easy is that? I can't believe I've never tried this before.

By breakfast time I was a pro, and I even poached three eggs at the same time.

My son was off school today because of the ice, so all three of us had Eggs Benedict for breakfast.

I had my daughter Melissa, and her husband Tommy over for dinner this evening. Being such a cold, wintry evening, I thought that making a hearty, taco soup would be nice.

It is such an easy soup to make: Just use some of your favorite beans, tomato sauce, hamburger, taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, onions, and a can of rotel tomatoes. I cooked the whole thing in the crockpot for six hours. Just brown your ground beef first. Then serve with crushed tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream.

As a side dish, I made Sagaponack Corn Pudding, from my Barefoot Contessa cookbook.

First, cook butter, 5 cups of corn, and 1 onion together for a few minutes until thoroughly warmed.

Whisk together remaining ingredients: Ricotta cheese, eggs, cornmeal, milk and half & half, basil, seasonings, and cheddar cheese.

Then top with cheddar cheese, and pour into a greased baking dish. However, that baking dish has to fit into another deep baking dish, which you fill halfway with hot water, and bake at 375 degrees until set (a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean). I didn't have a larger baking dish to set my dish in, so I divided my corn pudding into two baking dishes, and placed them into the stoneware bowl I cooked my chicken in last week. Until last week, this stoneware bowl has never done anything but serve as a lid to my 9x13 stoneware baking pan. Now it is employed regularly....

Yummm....what a delicious casserole. One of the things I love about being a homemaker, is having the time to create something. Whether it is a new recipe in the kitchen, or creating something beautiful by crafting, decorating, or gardening, it is such a privilege to exercise this ability.

It served up beautifully. That, plus the salad Melissa provided, and dinner was complete!

We finished the meal with a chocolate mousse, with whipped topping. It was layered and garnished with chocolate cookie crumbles.

I was thankful today for a busy day in the kitchen, a cozy home on a cold, winter's eve, and the warm company of family.