Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kitten in the house

Several weeks a ago, a half-grown gray kitten ran into my office, jumped up on to my desk, and started taking a bath. After a few inquiries, my coworkers determined that she didn't belong to anyone, and he was adopted by the postdoc who works next door.
Tonight the kitten came for a visit, as we'll be catsitting for the next few days. I haven't taken care of a kitten in about twenty years, and I forgot how they think. My cat, twelve years old, is still pretty active and likes to play with the laser pointer or chase geckos. But kittens think if anything might move, it should be moved. She has unearthed things from under the bed, scattered catnip over the entire surface of the kitchen floor, and jumped on to the kitchen table no less than a dozen times. (Prompt removal from said table does not seem to have an effect.) She has shimmied under the couch, behind the freezer, and even (momentarily) crawled into the refrigerator while I was putting something into it.
I am enjoying the kitten visit and I will enjoy the peace that descends at the end of the kitten visit.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Birthday fry-up

Andrew is a big fan of the full English breakfast, known around our house as a "fry-up". It's the meal he requested for his birthday, so I served him this plate:
Fried potatoes, fried eggs, fried (veggie) sausages, and fried tomatoes. Not pictured: fried bread.
He also got homemade (fried) donuts.

Then he reacted as expected: he took four antacids and lay down on the floor in misery.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cooking all at once

I'm back! I mean that figuratively and literally, because I just returned from Los Angeles. I'll spare you the boring details, but I was dreading January because of the amount of work I had scheduled. And it lived up to my expectations. This week I finished up a stretch of working 18 days in a row, and rewarded myself with a three-day weekend.
One thing that helped me through the many work days was a new menu-planning tool, Once a Month Mom, which provide menus for 30 days of cooking, to be done in one long day. (I was relieved to find that there's no official requirement that you be a mom - maybe they think childfree women have so much free time they'd never do freezer cooking? And men, don't they cook?) The most important thing for me is that they provide seasonal menus, and they tailor to diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, etc) and to family size. I have to tweak some of the recipes, because I use a bit more whole-grain flour and a bit less cheese than they usually call for. But I'm surprised to find that I can cook about 10 meals in a span of three hours.
I've made meals from the website: roasted tomato soup, zucchini fritters, veggie burgers, and muffins. Then I've tweaked my own: instead of making one pizza, I quadruple the recipe for sauce, dough, and cheese, and then freeze all those ingredients separately. I made the winter squash soup recipe from the website, but served it on top of pasta with roasted nuts, because we like pasta more than soup.
I'm not sure that I would want to have every single meal come out of the freezer. But if this shifts about 75% of the cooking (and clean-up) to the weekends, then that's about perfect right now.