Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crazy Cat People: The Cube Edition

Our cats, Simon and Murray, used to have a tent we bought them for $10 at Target. Until one day, when Simon got the squirts and smeared dookie on his tent, so we sent it to the big litterbox in the sky.

But, the cats really liked that stupid thing, so we went back to Target to find them another one recently. They didn't have the tent anymore, but they did have ... The Cubes.

The Cubes are made out of the same material the tent was made out of. The difference is they're cubes, not tents (duh), there were two cubes in one package and you can hook the cubes together with velcro. We could get more and more cubes and create kitty tunnels of cubes all over the house! 

But that's something a crazy person would do.

Here Murray is catty-corner in a cube, sniffing the ball in his circular ball-toy thingy. A cat bed is resting partially on the circular ball-toy thingy, which makes the ball-toy thingy irresistible -- for some reason when the ball is partially obscured, he loves it. And yes, my house is coated in a thick layer of cat hair. Why do you ask?

Simon really is the sweetest pussy.

Here's a better view of the cubes.

Here I've arranged the cubes and the ball-toy thingy so that the ball will be partially obscured by the cube, for Murray's pleasure. 

 Action shot.

His favorite way to play is when his head is completely covered by something else. He probably has mommy issues.

I definitely need more cubes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Something I read in today's newspaper:

The simplest definition of happiness is wanting what you have.

Conversely, the simplest definition of stress is wanting something to be different.

I want what I have, but I admit I want it all to be different, too. I wonder if I will ever be satisfied.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A little pre-indulgence indulgence

So the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we traveled to Vegas with a few friends. I like this whole vacation-before-a-holiday thing. We did that once by going to Hawaii right before Christmas, and loved it. The awesome thing about traveling right before a holiday is that the destinations are relatively abandoned. So it's pretty pleasant without the large crowds, plus you can get some sweet deals.

We stayed at the Wynn. I love the Wynn.

And we upgraded to the "tower suites," which normally go for between $800 and $1k a night. It cost us nowhere near that amount. 

 Here's the living room. 

Yes, there are mirrors on the ceiling.

The room comes with its own bar.

 Bed. Pretty comfy although the pillows were meh.

The coup de grace was really the bathroom. It was larger than most of the apartments I have lived in. I am not joking.

 Large tub with jacuzzi jets on one side.

Large shower with one of those overhead rainshower things in it ... I cannot tell you how glorious this shower was. I need one of these awesome overhead showerheads. Also, you can watch tv while you shower!

 View from the room on the 29th floor.

 Dining area we never used.

The MASSAGE TABLE in a SEPARATE ROOM OF ITS OWN. That we never used. Because we got awesome massages at the Mirage. I highly recommend the Mirage for this purpose. It was one of the best massages I've ever had and it didn't cost an arm and a leg.

Ham & brie crepes with scrambled eggs and hollandaise sauce for breakfast at Bouchon. It was really good although everything could have been hotter.

 Vegas was in the process of getting decked out for Christmas.

 This is a fancy water dispenser for absinthe. You drip water slowly onto a sugar cube and it disintegrates into the absinthe. Not my bag -- I had port.

 You can just barely see window washers near the edge of the building. Taken from my room.

Five cuts of wagyu beef at Craftsteak (owned by Tom Collichio) in the MGM. This restaurant is ridiculously good, and insanely expensive. It's worth it once a year or so ... Their parker house rolls are to die for. They bring about five delicious appetizers -- I even tried beef tartare and LIKED IT.

A gajillion desserts at Craftsteak. Everything is knock-you-on-your-ass good.

Another awesome meal we had that I don't have photos of was at Mario Batali's restaurant, Otto, in the Venetian. I suggest the salumi and prosciutto from the antipasti menu. Then get the ricotta fritters and some cheese from the cheese menu. Most of us ordered the specials of the day, the winner of which was the pizza. My pasta dish was delightful, although a bit salty. Still, it's hard to beat homemade pasta. My husband ordered the spaghetti and meatballs and it was delicious.

 Snow on the mountains on the ride home. So pretty. I'm ready to begin thinking about Christmas now ...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Now, listen.

I found this recipe on another blog, and that blogger said this was the best thing she'd ever made in her slow cooker. I was skeptical. I have some really bomb-ass slow-cooker recipes. And then I made this and I was like:

This is the best thing I have ever made in my slow cooker.

This ... this might be the best thing I have ever made, period. I don't say that lightly. I have a handful of recipes I turn to that I absolutely love, but this is on a whole other level.

The chicken is so tender. The spices complement each other so well ... My husband says this is the closest he's ever tasted to restaurant-style tikka masala -- except he says the homemade version seems less "harsh." Sometimes Indian food puts the hurt on him.

You do have to like Indian food, and specifically chicken tikka masala. Once you've confirmed that you do, indeed, like Indian food, you need to commit a block of time to this dish's preparation. Before the stuff is even in the pot, cooking, you've got about 45 minutes of prep in front of you.

But it ... is ... worth it.

I didn't photograph the prep on this recipe. How do you like that? One of the best things I've ever made and I didn't photograph the prep. Luckily someone else did. Go there and check her out. She obviously knows what she's talking about.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What I'm going to keep reminding myself of

The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people do things they don't feel like doing. In other words, they don't procrastinate.

Of course realizing this and putting it into action are two different things. Just as I realize that eating low-calorie meals and exercising results in weight loss. Surfing the internet and eating pumpkin cream cheese cupcakes are just such enjoyable activities.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crazy Cat People: Finger Puppet Edition

So you surely remember the "Crafting with Cat Hair" book I included in a recent "Crazy Cat People" post, only because it's probably the most awesomely strange thing to ever have appeared here. Well, a funny thing happened after I published that post -- the social media marketing dude from Quirk Books contacted me to see if I wanted a copy of the book!

And what do you think I said? I said yes, of course.

Proud owner of "Crafting with Cat Hair."

I got the crafting bug yesterday, so busted out a couple supplies and spotted my first victim.

 Simon. So innocent. So unaware.

 Me. So strange. So FURminating.

I furminated Simon, and then I furminated him some more. Then he ran away. Then I furminated Murray. Then he ran away. Then I had two disgusting piles of cat hair. 

 Ew. Ewwwwwwwww. Thankfully this project calls for washing the cat hair as well.

Before I could create a finger puppet, I had to create a "waterproof" template. I put waterproof in quotes because my particular template was not waterproof. Me not be so patient.

In other news, my template was stupid. I made it too big.

In further developments, wrapping the template in cat hair turned out to be not as easy as I expected. It required a bit more patience than I usually reserve for projects of any sort. 

But I finally got it into a cat-like shape. And then I washed it. And then I IRONED it. Yes, I got the ironing board out for this project. In this photo I am perturbed that this project is taking so long.

I am almost certain this "finger puppet" is not what the author had in mind. For starters, it's on two of my fingers. And you can kind of see my fingers through the puppet hair. Additionally, it looks like .... a dead rat or something. Still, I am highly amused. Let's see what the cats think.

 Murray's intrigued.

He was really getting into it, burying his nose in the fur, trying to figure out what the deal was. Murray, if you're reading this, the deal is that Mommy has too much time on her hands.

I finally found the perfect use for the puppet. I turned it into a cat hair roller cozy!! So appropriate and ironic, right? Heh.

I chased Simon around the house so he could sniff it. He acted like I was trying to kill him. I finally cornered him.

 He's skeptical.

 Now he's into it.

Now they're both into it. I took it away when they started licking it.


1) That was hilarious. Maybe not for you, but it was for me.

2) I should probably be ashamed of myself.

3) This might be a fun craft book to have on hand if you have cats AND kids and it's raining outside or something. Or if you're basically an insane cat lady.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chinese White Cut Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil

Or, as it's said in Cantonese: bok cheet gai.

Look at me! I am so ethnic. Word to your moms.

So I know this doesn't look super impressive, but it's about as close as I can come to cooking authentic Chinese food. It's got a flavor you will recognize if you've ever been to a Chinese banquet. And that flavor is: awesomeness.

My friend Kem sent me the link to this recipe. Seeing as how her family actually used to own and operate a Chinese restaurant, I'm absolutely going to take her word for it any time she tells me a certain Chinese recipe tastes good. I was not disappointed.

What really sells me on this recipe is how easy it is. Look how few ingredients it calls for! Chicken, scallions, garlic, ginger, and some oil.

Disclaimer: This recipe actually calls for a whole chicken. I used two chicken breasts instead, poaching them for ... I dunno. Less than 30 minutes. Turned out great.

You poach your chicken in water with salt and ginger and garlic. Then you take the chicken out and put a little sesame seed oil on it (be sparing! This stuff knows how to come back to haunt you later).

Then you make your sauce, which is just sliced scallions, ginger, and some salt, with hot ass vegetable oil poured over it.
This is the "sauce," pre-oiled. Word to the wise: Put the scallions, etc., in a deeper bowl than they really need. When you pour hot oil over it, the onions and ginger sizzle something fierce, and can cause a mighty unpleasant mess.

End product. I'm sure this photo is going to win me some kind of award. I sauteed a little baby bok choy as a side, and what I should have done was sauteed twice as much bok choy and eaten half as much chicken. Half a chicken breast is more than enough. I know this, and yet when I'm really hungry I just go in for the kill, only to regret it later.

In any case, you should make this. It's yummy. Probably not low fat, considering the oil. But tis the season to become big fatties, eh? Here's the link.

Monday, November 14, 2011

She of the Big Hair

Last week my sister posted a couple photos of my brother-in-law on Facebook from his days as a young Okie. He sported a pretty impressive afro, and at times a pinky ring, but we won't get into that here. I'll save that conversation for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm not going to show you those embarrassing photos (but trust me -- hilarity ensued after I saw them), but that information is relevant because as it happens, my sister also had a really impressive afro as a child. It was a halo of curly blonde hair that basically grew in a circle around her head. It didn't grow down -- it grew out. You get the picture.

This picture really does not do the 'fro justice. I'll have to work on finding another one. Related: In this picture she appears to be pointing and speaking. I'm guessing she's saying: "Bring me the cookies. ALL OF THEM." I'm told no one could understand her except for me when she was a toddler, so I interpreted. I hope I was smart enough to use that to my advantage, ie.: "She said to bring her a cookie, and to bring one to me, too."

In any case, my sister is 34 weeks pregnant and, if the most recent ultrasound is any indication, on track to birth a girl with some serious hair growing out of her head.

I'm not exactly schooled in this area, but this is the only ultrasound I've personally seen that shows hair. By the way, Thank you, helpful ultrasound tech, for the word "hair" next to the hair.

I seriously cannot wait for my little 'fro-headed niece to get here.