Warm Bellies On Cold Days

I have been meaning to post about last weekend all week but I got a little distracted (as I do).

Since I was in high school St. Patrick’s Day was demonized in my household because off my Mom’s (then current) religion, so I don’t really celebrate it. She said celebrating St. Patrick was like celebrating a mass murderer even in America’s skewed version of it.  So instead of wearing green and sneaking out to have a few low-quality beers with my friends as a kid, I drew a blue snake of peace on my arm and withstood the pinches that came from not wearing green at school.  I still respect the pagan beliefs and the decision not to celebrate any version of St. Patrick’s Day but as I have  got older I stopped looking so seriously at the holiday.  And now that my Mom is Catholic…well let’s just say I don’t think she drew a blue snake on her arm this year.  This does not seem to be a religious holiday to most Americans, just a day to pretend we are all Irish (which I am, but only by a little). I just wanted to join in the American tradition of eating Irish food and drinking Guinness this year, because it was on sale everywhere.

Of course I’m still overly cautous and decided that we would just stay in for these treats because I did not like the equation of Public Drinking Holiday + SoCal drivers in the rain.  We had pretty ugly weather last weekend, rainy with gusts of wind around 30 mph and kinda cold.  Since the storm had been predicted I spent most of Friday running around town getting the food and drink supplies we would need for the entire weekend so we could just cuddle up at home and not have to go out anywhere.  If it hadn’t been for the bad onions I had bought a day earlier, I would have been successful at not leaving the house all weekend.

Most of Saturday I spent in the kitchen cooking meals and cookies.  I wanted to make warm comfort foods that would keep our bellies warm.  I made the Chipotle Chicken Soup for lunch, perhaps a little too late because we did not start to get hungry for dinner until around 8pm.  I chose to make a Shepherd’s Pie that I found on Food Network.com, when I went searching for recipes this one stood out because it had Garlic Mashed Potatoes on top.  YUM!  Here is the recipe.  It also requires a bottle of dark beer and bacon to make it, if that gives you any indication of the indulgent nature of this dish.   I told Honey it would be a once, maybe twice a year dish.  I believe he is currently lobbying for once quarterly.

This was my first Shepherd’s Pie, I hadn’t noticed how long it took to make so we ended up eating around 9:30pm on Saturday.  Oops.  But we stayed up until two am, so it worked out. Sorry for the bad quality photo, I need to stop relying on the iPhone camera, it doesn’t do well in my dark kitchen.

Overall I enjoyed the weekend, it was at a different pace than our others weekends so I will try not to compare. I cooked, snuggled with my guy, got to watch the rain and wind cause mayhem, eat some very yummy/fattening food, and play with kitties.  I will admit I feel guilt for not doing a little something for Pagan Pride on St. Patrick’s Day, I will eventually find my balance for religious observances in my own way-it just takes practice.

I think I Broke the Cats

It’s been a week since the new cats moved in.  It was our intention to have them continue their indoor/outdoor status by living the “Cat Cave” downstairs and then having access to the yard while I was there.  I wanted to wait a few days to introduce them to the backyard in case they freaked and started running.  If that happened I wanted them to trust me enough to not think that my running after them was an act of aggression.  Well that day came today, I opened up the door to let them into the yard and…

They didn’t want to go outside.

What the heck?  These are lean, mean feral machines, a week inside and now they just want to cuddle?  Those cats are the reason the bird population took a sharp nose dive in my mom’s old neighborhood.  She couldn’t open up her door in the morning without some form of small animal carcass greeting her next to the morning paper. I tried various things the coax them outside of the Cat Cave, but they were having none of that.  I took this picture just to show Rocco’s pure horror at the idea of going outside.

Rocco in the doorway from the Cat Cave to the Utility Room.

It was only later that I realized there was a rusty axe right next to him, but I’m sure it had nothing to do with why he came out, right?

I’ll try again tomorrow, but they looked very content just to sit with me.

Cuddle Kitty Terra?

Being All Social and Stuff

Last night was all kinds of fun.

There was good food and company.  I had invited Azure over a few weeks back so we could catch up and I could show off my cooking muscles.  During this last week I had a chance to see my sister and realized she could use a weekend out of Dodge, so I invited her over too.  My sister turns 16 is approximately 4 days, so it was also a chance to get some spoiling time in before she is whisked away by her friends.

The food turned out well, I made Salmon and rice with a side salad; a very healthy dinner, but I made it that way so we could have a very bad desert.  I asked my sister what her favorite kind of desert was a couple of days ago, expecting to make some kind of elaborate cake or something, but she said she liked Sundaes.  So I made some of my cookies, crumbled them put them on top of Fudge Track ice cream and covered with chocolate syrup.  Yeah, it was a hit.

The day was a little hectic, I went up to see my friend Emily in North County earlier in the morning.  Not as early as I had planned because I started playing with the “new” kitties and they were being so adorable that I didn’t want to leave.  Emily is 7 months pregnant and has a three year old toddler, I thought I should get in a few visits before the baby is born because I am guessing she will have her hands full for a few months after.  I am ashamed to admit I haven’t seen her since last summer, though usually we make plans to meet at least once quarterly-but it never works out. =(

After I visited with her I picked up Jen and went back to the house.  John had been Spring Cleaning the garage (thanks honey, because that is one thing I won’t clean).  I sent Jen down to play with cats, who were very enthusiastic to see her and I made the cookies, doing minor QC work while doing it.  Hehe.  Azure arrived a few hours later we relaxed and chatted, oh and had some yummy wine.  While I cooked Azure kept me company and was amused with the vision of me cooking and occasionally dancing around to the music playing.  John played DJ and teacher, he was showing Jen and Azure the different kinds of Blues music we had.  Bessie Smith, R.L. Burnside, Robert Johnson…the list goes on.  I was in a type of heaven having good friends, good food, and good music around.  The icing on the cake was that Azure wouldn’t let me do the dishes, she insisted on doing them herself! So sweet.

I really enjoyed having just a few people over, I think that is what I will do this year instead of big BBQs, okay maybe one big BBQ.  But I think I will start inviting just a couple of people over for dinner or brunch every couple of weeks to visit instead of rushing around to visit with everyone in a three hour time frame.

But now I have to go, I hear my “creatures” stirring.  Time to make waffles!