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10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From my Cat

16 Jan

Cats are crazy little anomalies that we hate to love, but love nonetheless.  Look into those big, round, unflinching, always-watching eyes of theirs and I’ll bet you’ll find a hint of pity along with that dash of indifference and hearty helping of mystery.  We know nothing about them.  But they know things.  Things about us.  Things about us and life that we may never fully understand.  They’ve got it figured out better than any of us, so it’s no wonder that if we pay attention,  they can teach us a lot about life.  Next time they’re strung out on catnip, or curled up cozy on your lap, stop and think about how they’ve managed to get everything they could possibly ever want in life…something most of us are still trying to figure out!

Here are a few observations I’ve made watching my fuzzy little bundle of  big, blue-eyed joy, Bailey (above), for the last 6 years! =)

   10 Life lesson I’ve learned from my cat

1.  Always make sure you enter the room first.

There’s something to be said for making a grand entrance.  You see someone  walking at a normal pace.  You are probably walking at a normal pace.  But heck if you’re going to let anyone get through that door first, so just before they enter, make sure you speed up, and not only get through first, but also cut them off in the process.  Bonus points if you trip them.  WIN.

2.  Location, location, location.  

What used to be someone else’s favorite chair/blanket/box/suitcase/pair of pants/laundry basket/clean clothing is now covered in fur.  And your furry body.  As far as ownership rules are concerned, it’s yours now.  Done and done.

3.  The squeaky mouse gets the cheese.

Say you need or want something you can’t just take.  This doesn’t happen often if you’re playing your cards right, but say you need the door opened so you can leave.  You don’t have opposable thumbs, not your fault.  One strategy would be crying at the door, but the smarter approach might be to tear up the carpet instead.  You’ll for sure get thrown out of the room.  SUCCESS!

4.  Keep your eye on the prize.

Friendly engagements and social interactions are completely unnecessary unless you want something from someone.  Namely food.  Or attention.  Or free room & board for the remainder of your furry life? – Nah.

5.  Sometimes rest is exhausting.

Even the feline-requisite 13-16 hours of sleep a day is often not enough.  Napping is tiring, after all.  Dial it back a little there, fella, you’ve had a hard day.

6.  Always have a plan B.

If you are upset and physical aggression (plan A) just doesn’t seem to be cutting it, passive aggressive actions to property (plan B) should convey your message much more accurately.  Why simply claw someone’s arm to death when you can claw their favorite chair and leave a message that will never heal instead?

7.  Make them work for it (AKA Play hard to get)

You’re really not playing here, because you could care less if someone even exists unless you want food, but the key here is to make them think you’re doing them a favor by letting them scratch your ears.  In other words, make  them work to give you what you want.  They owe you, big time.  Now you can really stick it to them by puking all over the clean floor.

8.  Only agree to learn something new as long as you can use it against someone later.

They love you already because you’re aloof and defiant, and do nothing you’re instructed to, it’s true.  You don’t give a rat’s bum if you please anyone but yourself and seem to only derive greater power from enraged, disappointed scolding, but given the chance to learn something new, take it.  Even if it means lowering yourself to the level of getting a treat for sitting up like a dog.  Once you’ve got that trick up your sleeve, you’re golden – use it to get whatever you want, whenever you want it.

9.  Say it with a single look.

You want to conserve as much energy as possible since you’ve only slept for about 13 hours on a given day, so you can’t be bothered to communicate with anyone in an extended fashion.  Opening your trap is so much work, and even if you did, a yawn would probably be the only thing to come out anyway.  Tell them you’re annoyed that you have to hear/see/smell/acknowledge them with a single look.  Make it a doozy.

10. And finally…The one you can’t have is obviously the best one.  

Sometimes you get the bird.  As soon as you do, you no longer want the bird.  Sometimes you just can’t get that d*mn bird.  That’s the bird you want the most.  You’ll sit for hours waiting for a glimpse of that bird.  That’s likely also the bird that would peck your eyes out, given the chance.  You’re probably  going to start writing an angsty, love-sick song about that bird right now.

Love from my cat! xoxo

…He’s gonna go take a nap now.

Candied Ginger & Pear Gingerbread Muffins

18 Dec

I’ve been moving non-stop the last couple days! Definitely busier today than I have been since finals ended a little over a week ago. Semi-last minute shopping, cleaning, packing, wrapping presents, and lots of baking. I spent a good 5 hours on Saturday knee-deep in flour, brown sugar, and various other baked good accoutrements, trying to make sure I can get a few gits shipped out on Monday! Nothing like hoping for the best in terms of the US Postal Service delivering before Christmas! 😉

In the midst of it all, I managed to carve out just enough time to whip up a few festive-flavored muffins. These puppies have Christmas morning written all over them! They come together quickly and the best part of all is they make your kitchen smell like fresh ginger snaps. Opening presents tree-side with the fragrance of sugary ginger pear wafting through the air? Mmhmm, magical!

Candied Ginger & Pear Gingerbread Muffins


* 1 1/2 Cups All-purpose flour
* 3/4 Cup Whole wheat flour
* 1/2 tsp Salt
* 1/2 tsp Baking soda
* 1 1/2 Tbsp Ground ginger

* 1/4 Cup Butter (1/2 stick, 2 oz.)
* 1/3 Cup Molasses
* 1 Cup Milk (I used regular, non-dairy would probably work, too!)
* 2 Eggs
* 1/2 Cup Brown sugar, packed

* 1/2 Cup candied ginger, roughly chopped
* 1 pear, roughly chopped
* A few Tbsp Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)


Preheat oven to 400*F. Grease or line a jumbo muffin tin with muffin cups.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter with the molasses. Set aside to cool.

Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger in a separate bowl. Stir in the brown sugar.

Once the butter and molasses mixture have cooled, make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour it in. Slightly beat the eggs, and pour them in. Add the milk, the chopped candied ginger and pear, and stir everything together until just moistened. Don’t over mix!

Spoon the batter in to the muffin tin, filling each cup almost to the top. Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350*F and bake for another 5 minutes. Check at this point, and if the tops are getting too brown, cover with foil. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool in the tin before removing muffins and setting on a cooling rack.









See, it’s like I pretty much got you all a Christmas gift…early! 🙂

Turkey Day Recap

25 Nov

I guess since you’re reading this right now you successfully made it out of your Thanksgiving induced food coma, so congratulations!  You’re probably enjoying Thanksgiving round 2 today, also, which I fully support.  Black Friday shopping?  I wasn’t brave enough, but I admire you if you braved the crowds today! 😉

Last night my family and I enjoyed turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and most of the other dishes that are traditional for us on turkey day.  My favorite, part of dinner was definitely the turkey paired with my super simple cranberry sauce.  I’ll definitely be making it again soon!

I’m sorry to tell you, but I despiseeeee potatoes!  That means mashed potatoes, too, but everyone else seemed to enjoy them.

Various fruit salads…I know, we get pretty fancy with the dishes 😉

Sparkling cider for toasting & sipping!

And last but not least, pie!  Everyone was so stuffed from dinner, though, that we waited several hours to indulge.  I didn’t snap pictures in the horrible, 10:30pm lighting, or lack there of, but the line-up included various berry pies, brought by a family friend (including a gluten-free mixed berry pie that was amazing! YES!), a bit of pumpkin, and a chocolate pecan pie.

Obviously this morning my brother’s fiancee whipped up this classic pumpkin pie!  You can never have too many pies!

Good luck digesting!

Candied Ginger Bars

21 Aug

As it turns out, it didn’t actually hit me until today that I am really moving.  For whatever reason, the last several weeks of gathering boxes, stressing, and packing weren’t enough to get me thinking about what all of it really means until now.

Most of the times I have moved in the past (there have been A LOT of those times), I knew exactly where I was going next.  I had time to mentally adjust and prepare to be in my new space, and that’s always pretty comforting to me.  You know, like preparing to hit the ground rather than  blindly stepping off the side of a cliff and not knowing what to expect.  It’s the same, for sure…

This time, not so much.  I don’t know what to expect or where I’ll be.  What hit me possibly the most is the limited time I have left in my tiny kitchen of two years, and the limited number of baked good items I can produce from said kitchen in that limited amount of time.  The countdown begins!
(And yes, I realize there are ridiculous-looking water spots on that cutty-thingy…haha!)

Oh, while I’m on the topic of moving, I wish I could say I have a bunch of tried and true, handy moving tips for you that make the whole process a breeze. But unfortunately, I still don’t have it all figured out, even with practically 10 moves in the last 10 years. I can tell you this, though:

DO NOT under any circumstances wait until the very last minute. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve underestimated the amount of stuff I have, the number of boxes I’ll need, or the amount of time it will take to actually move everything!

Also, DO NOT help anyone else move (for instance, your brother!) in hopes that they will return the favor just out of the goodness of their hearts. Get it in writing!

Last but not least, if you plan to move, I suggest you have a place to move all your stuff to. Unlike me. Learn from my mistakes, will you?

There you have it. And now, for real, the good stuff.

Candied Ginger Bars
The bars themselves aren’t as gingery as a ginger cookie, but I figured if they were, it’d probably be a little too overpowering with the spicy candied ginger in there! Think balance =)

* 3 Cups Flour (I used 1 Cup Whole Wheat Bread Flour, 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour)
* 1 tsp Baking Powder
* 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
* 1/2 tsp Salt
* 1 tsp Ground Ginger

* 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
* 1/2 Cup White Sugar
* 1/4 Cup Molasses
* 1/4 Cup Canola Oil + 1/2 Cup Margarine
* 1/4 Cup Almond Milk
* 2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
* 2 Eggs

* 1 Cup Candied Ginger, minced
* 2 Tbsp White sugar or Turbinado Sugar for sprinkling on top.

Preheat oven to 350* F and line or grease an 8×8″ square pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the oil, margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, and molasses. Add in the almond milk, vanilla extract, and the eggs, mixing well between each.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger.

Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.

Stir in the minced candied ginger by hand.

Scoop the batter into the pan and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake for 20 minutes, then check. If it’s browning too quickly, turn the oven down to 325* and bake for 10 more minutes. Otherwise, just leave it at 350* and bake for 10 more minutes. Keep your eye on it!

Oh, and I’m just throwing this out there, but if you happen to see a girl wandering around campus occasionally, and it looks like she’s living in the library’s 24 hour Study Room and showering in the locker room…it’s totally NOT me. Definitely not. At all. =D