Procrastination

I know what I should be doing right now. I should be working on stuff for school – reading my school finance textbooks, writing my mini papers that are due each week. I could also be walking the dog or doing laundry or just playing with the cats and all of that would be productive. Instead, I’m procrastinating.

Tigger understands procrastination. He is a master of it unless it has to do with food – then he is definitely not in favor of procrastination.

I don’t know if Leia believes in procrastinating or not. She tends to find a comfortable spot and claim it. She isn’t fussy and if you think it is your spot and she happens to want that same spot, well, she will probably win because she is just that cute.

Does more need to be said? Arthas has this whole thing figured out. Lay on the couch and chill – it will all work work. … Unless there is food involved, then eat first, procrastinate after eating.

 

Mixed Drink

I’m not one for a mixed drink. I have a few issues with them, mostly the alcohol content tends to be high and I’m a lightweight when it comes to drinking. I like my wine and know how much I can have without issue. Mixed drinks can sneak up on you, especially if made really well.

So Bob and I went out to dinner in St. Pete the other weekend just to get out. We needed something a bit different and that worked. While out at dinner, Bob had a drink that was surprisingly good. So good we decided we needed to figure out how to make it at home.wp-image-883924789jpg.jpg We didn’t have any of the liqueurs at home, so the next time we went out looking for beer for Bob, we picked up the three that we needed. I’m a big fan of St. Germain, so this was not the hardest decision to make.

The question became – the ratios. Exactly how much of each should we use. I decided to try a basic 2-1-1 as a starter and surprisingly it worked.

So – our at home Menage a Trois or a French Twist as I like to call it.

  • 2 tablespoons orange vodka
  • 1 tablespoon St. Germain (or other elderflower liquor)
  • 1 tablespoon Chartreuse (green is what our store had, and it gave it the correct color, so I would not necessarily look for the white)

Pour ice into a shaker and add the three liquors. Shake really well and strain into a small glass over new ice. Sip and enjoy.

This is a sipping drink and not one that can be quickly consumed. I didn’t end up finishing mine as it was a little strong, but it is a nice change for a warm afternoon.

 

Sweet potato fajitas

The other day I thought about making sweet potato chili, then decided that I didn’t want to make that. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make, so I scoured the fridge and decided on sweet potato fajitas.

Usually I plan out meals very carefully. I buy only what I need for specific meals, and I try to make every one of those so food does not go to waste. Most of the time, I’m successful in this, but sometimes, I just really change my mind half way through the week. This was one of those times.

So  had limited ingredients on hand and no desire to go to the grocery. I made do with what I had, and cut and roasted the sweet potato while I fried up the onion and yellow pepper. I used a mix of chili powder and cumin as the main seasoning with some lime on the aromatics after they were done cooking. In the end, I thought the whole thing came together ok, but it needed a kick. I think adding some chili garlic sauce to the onions might help. Bob went with hot sauce and said it was just fine.

Sweet Potato Fajitas

  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • flour tortillas
  • cheese mix (whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 lime
  • olive or other neutral oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash and dice the sweet potato. I like small dice as it cooks faster, but larger is ok too. Slice onion and pepper thin. (If you are not crazy about peppers, peel the skin off of them – it helps with the strong taste.)

Toss potato with spices – chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper – and oil to coat. Roast for about 20 minutes in 400 degree oven. Careful – depending on how small they are diced, this may take as few as 15 and and many as 30 minutes. You want the potatoes soft, but not mushy.

While the potatoes roast, heat a little olive oil in a pan and add the onion and pepper when hot. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about ten minutes. When the vegetables are softened, but still retain a crunch, remove from heat and season with some more salt and pepper. Squeeze 1/2 lime over the vegetables and mix. When the potatoes are done roasting, add to the pan and toss to combine.

Split mixture over 6 flour tortillas and top with grated cheese of your choice.

 

 

 

Myakka River State Park

After our last visit to the vet, Bob and I have been making a concerted effort to exercise Arthas more. We have also cut back on his food, but we are trying to get him out for a really good, long walk on the weekend to help him burn some extra energy and calories. I’m not certain how much good it is doing him, but we are having a blast.

We love taking him to the rowing park near us, but with summer coming (yes, in Florida, March means summer is coming so you have to start thinking about these things) I wanted an option that might provide a little more shade and just a different experience for the boy. Val has the dog beach, but we aren’t ready for off leash yet, so Myakka it was.

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Myakka has a few hiking and nature trails, and it isn’t far, which is a bonus since Arthas is not crazy about being in the car. We can take him to the park as long as he is on a six foot leash; luckily he doesn’t pull nearly as much as Jessie did so he is pretty easy to walk. Most of the the trip was him sniffing and looking for things on the ground to eat, but it was a pretty walk. (I need to bring the good camera out there and take some pictures next time we go.)

Arthas definitely goes farther when he take him to the rowing park, but this was a nice change of pace. He got sniff a ton and we even encountered a few other dogs and didn’t have any issues. I credit this to watchfulness on our part and his interest in the smells on the ground, but I’ll take it. We are hoping that enough encounters where isn’t attacked might help him be ok with other dogs. (He is doing great with the cat, by the way – but I wouldn’t want to bring another animal into the house and upset the balance.)

Clearly, I didn’t get a lot of great shots of the puppy out and about, but that wasn’t the purpose of bringing him out there. He got a new place to sniff, some experience in the car longer than going to grandma and grandpa’s house (or the vet office) and some exercise. All in all, it was a good day.

 

Food Obsession

We took Arthas to the vet not that long ago. He was a little early for his annual check-up and shots, but we wanted to ask about a few things, mostly related to his food and weight. We have been trying, unsuccessfully, to help Arthas lose weight since we brought him home. He has exercised, had his food portion controlled and eats green beans for treats. Somehow, none of that worked.

We kind of wondered if he was just stocky. He has a deep chest area and he has more energy than he did a few months ago, so maybe the weight wasn’t an issue? No, weight is definitely an issue and the vet was pretty adamant that he needed to lose a few pounds.

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So.  How to do this? Arthas isn’t a dog I can walk for multiple miles every day. He will simply refuse to go for a walk if he doesn’t want to go, so that strategy isn’t going to work. We don’t want to cut back on his food too much because then he just gets into trouble looking for more. But we have to do something.

The plan: transition Arthas to a weight loss food instead of a weight management food. Decrease the wet food he gets and up the green beans if needed. Cut back on treats for anything other than after a walk and don’t let him clean the cat plates unless they are pretty much empty. (This is where I think we will get the biggest calorie discount, personally. Leia has a habit of leaving a lot of food and between Tigger and Arthas, the boys eat a little too well when she is fussy. Both had gained weight and need to lost a few pounds.)

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To help in this endeavor, I switched Arthas to the weight loss food from Bogo Bowl. The shelter told us about this food when we adopted Arthas, and I liked the mission so we decided to try them. He loves the food; of course he loves everything except kale, but that is neither here nor there. Sarah was great when I asked about switching out food, and she specifically asked if we had enough for the transition. A good product will get me to buy from a company, but great customer service will keep me going back.

The food came late last week and I put off the switch while company was in town. (Did I mention that Arthas *loves* his Aunt Val and Uncle Bill?  Loves them.) Tonight, I set about to plot the transition, and portion out the food so there is no more sneaking a bite as I scoop out the breakfast, or overfeeding him because we feel bad for the boy. … I may have gone a little overboard.

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I have twenty-five days of food portioned out, AM and PM, with each day labeled.

This way, there is no guessing about how much of each food to give Arthas, and we won’t have any digestive issues as he moves to the new food. Digestive issues are bad and we want to avoid them at all costs. Each bag is labeled with the day and the time so it is a no thought required endeavor to feed the boy. This does still leave the afternoon snack, but Bob stocked up on canned green beans and we can give him mostly green beans with a little wet food and he seems perfectly happy. I think he really just wants something, and he doesn’t really care what it is.

I am hopeful that we can get his weight down to something the vet and we can both be happy with. We are not going for skinny, and I refuse to starve the boy (he had a rough enough start, he gets to be spoiled now), but I do want him healthy. So we will try to lose a little weight, maybe get him under 50 pounds, and going for longer walks than he does now. If this works, we may have to work on Tigger next.

 

Leia the Victorious

Ok, I’ll try this again. Apparently I did write, save and publish this once, but then it disappeared. Sigh. Technology is wonderful when it works.

So … As some may know, Leia was not enamored with Arthas when we brought him home. My sweet kitty was less than sweet with Arthas. If I’m going to anthropomorphize a bit, I’d say she was still in mourning for Jessie and was not happy about the new addition. Maybe she was worried about her place in the house, but really, I think she was just mad.

That first month was rough. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to keep Arthas and that tore me up because he is such a sweet dog. Well, he is a sweet dog with people. Given his background I get why he doesn’t like other dogs, but cats … my cats … well, he had to learn. Leia didn’t help but once she figured out he wasn’t going anywhere, and she wasn’t going anywhere, she decided he would love her. He would be her friend whether he liked it or not.

It started simply enough. Stalk the dog. Follow him from room to room, keeping a safe distance. Make him aware of you, and make sure he always knows you are there. Slowly, get closer. Just a little closer – enter the danger zone. Make noise every time you go by, but keep going by. Let him know you are there, but be there. Constantly.

Next came the toys. Leia claimed each and every toy Arthas played with as her own. Sleep on them, and play with them and make sure the next time he plays with that toy it smelled like cat.

Leia moved to hanging around the food and water bowls and Arthas started getting closer to her. Surprisingly, there was never a fight about food; they seemed to instinctively know that they would all get fed and it was not worth trying to claim more.

And finally, the other night, Leia won. Arthas does not like animals touching him. He gets a little freaked out by the cats brushing up against him, but he has learned not to respond if they pass by and brush against him. Mostly. We do still occasionally hear a growl, but that’s it. This, however, was different.

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Leia fell asleep on Arthur’s foot. This may seem like no big deal, and indeed Leia has slept on every animal and human in this house at one point or another, but Arthas was different. But he let her sleep there. There was a little growl, but Leia didn’t move and Arthas didn’t move. It was lovely.

Leia was determined that if she could not get rid of Arthas, that he would love her. He would be her best friend. She is still working on it, but I think it is safe to say, she has pretty much won at this point. And that makes me very, very happy.

 

I’m not sure what to call this except good

It has been a while since I posted anything food related. Ok, it has been a while since I posted anything (as I am writing this on the same evening that I posted the last post). Between work, school and getting sick (hazard of working with kids) the month of January passed me by. But … I have a sandwich.

Bob and I tried a new French Cafe near us last month. This cafe has been in Sarasota for years, but only recently opened a second place closer to us. We decided to stop in one day for lunch and I had the most amazing sandwich that I decided I needed to recreate at home.

This is based on the sandwich I had at the cafe, but there are plenty of differences. I don’t have a good French baguette at home, but my grocery does incredible ciabatta bread. I like pesto, but I find kale pesto much better – something about the added peppery taste. I also have no idea how they actually made the sandwich, but I think I got the basic concept.

Roasted eggplant and tomato coated in balsamic and a little olive oil. Roasted red peppers, kale pesto and a pecorino cheese. This.  This makes a perfect sandwich.

It’s not fancy and it won’t win any awards, but I could eat this for lunch as often as I eat a tomato mozzarella sandwich. For the record, that is really often.