I had a pound of ground buffalo 90/10 in my freezer, so I decided to use it for this dish. I highly recommend finding buffalo and trying it. It has a tangier, less fatty taste than beef. Any ground meat or poultry will work, but it will change the calorie count (courtesy of livestrong.com). This recipe makes only two complete layers. You can certainly make it taller by doubling the ingredients.
Eggplant and Buffalo Lasagne
3 small eggplants, sliced 1/4” lengthwise (use a mandoline if you have one) I used graffiti eggplants, which were lovely.
1# ground buffalo (or beef) 90/10 or less
1 small box cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 med onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sm call tomato sauce
2 Tbl tomato paste
1 15 oz container part skim ricotta
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
2 tsp dried basil (separated)
1 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbl worcestershire sauce
Thinly slice the eggplant longways and put on a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and s/p. Roast in a 425F oven for about 10 mins, until it gets soft. When done, set aside. Turn oven down to 375F.
Put a large skillet over med hi heat and add olive oil, onions, peppers and mushrooms. S/P to taste. Turn down heat and cook over medium until they are softened but not brown; set aside.
In the same pan, add the crumbled buffalo (or beef) over med hi. Add garlic, worcestershire, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tarragon, 1 tsp basil, marjoram and cinnamon then sautée about 4 mins. S/P to taste. Turn off heat and let it stand.
Put one 15 oz container of part skim ricotta in a bowl with 2 beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. Add 1 tsp basil and s/p to taste.
Spray a 9×12 baking dish thoroughly with nonstick spray. Line bottom with eggplant slices, meat, veggies, ricotta and mozzarella. Do this procedure again. Over the top layer of mozzarella, sprinkle on the parmesan to get a lovely color on top.
Bake at 375F for about 40 minutes until bubbly and the top is browned.
My big 5-0 has come and gone. Meh. I did have a good birthday with gifties from my bestie Sonya and my beloved. Sonya got me a Rume bag with Misangela and a PURPLE UNICORN! She also got me a hard copy of The Girls of Atomic City and a Bad Cat calendar. Oh, and some cool purple spotted kitty earrings! Nick got me the Christine Ha cookbook, the Neil Gaiman/Chris Riddell illustrated collection with Fortunately the Milk, Coraline and Ocean at the End of the Lane and best of all: CATBUS!!
So, yeah. Birthday out of the way. I’m glad of that. The weirdness was that my brother called me the night before my birthday. YES, my brother. No one died, either. Despite how badly those people treat me, I still like to hear from them every now and then. The best bit of gossip from the call was that my niece’s useless twat of a babydaddy has also moved in with my brother. Presumably to babysit while the niece goes to school. Riiight. Free ride, anyone? My brother is supporting FIVE people on his meager salary. And let’s not forget paying the niece’s huge pregnancy bills. What a clusterfuck.
I’ve been having anxiety/panic attacks pretty regularly. Not huge deals, but annoying. For me, a panic attack is feeling trapped, short of breath, crying, sitting and staring blankly or sometimes outbursts of anger. In any mix. They suck no matter how they manifest. I’d love to have some xanax or something to take the edge off when I have them, but my useless doctor won’t give me a Rx. Because she hates me. Whatever, bitch, I got Dr Alcohol to get me through.
Went to see Straight No Chaser at the Fox Friday night. It was a really great show. I’ve never been to an acapella show and WOW is it awesome! The vocal percussionist was especially incredible – he made sounds for the whole show, every song. I don’t know how he keeps his voice up for that! At the end, they did a song with no amplification, which was by far, the most intense concert experience I’ve ever had. The whole house was SILENT. After a few rednecks got their “FREEBIRD” shouting out of the way, of course. You could have heard a pin drop in that theatre when the boys did their thing. AMAZING. If you get the chance, go see Straight No Chaser. It’ll change the way you think about concerts.
We went out and about yesterday and I finally got my Red Lobster fix. Maybe it’s because I was raised with it, but every now and then, I gots to get my Red Lobster on! Those biscuits! Our lovely server brought us a bag of biscuits to bring home which we are having for breakfast! YUM!
I’m feeling just fair for the most part. I’m very run down and tired almost all the time. I think *I* might have some sort of illness, too. Nick and I think that we both have autoimmune problems and we also think they’ll never get treated. I am 90% sure I’ve got overall autoimmune problems because 1. I’ve got inflammation constantly and 2. my mother has it. I think I’m going to look into dietary changes that might help.
In other news, we also now know that NuVision will be no more in 10-12 months. Walgreens has bought Rite Aid, so Rite Aid will not be a client, which means no NuVision. It’s good to have a definite deadline. But we still have no clue what we’ll do. We will continue to clean out all unneeded possessions and Nick will be selling off all the equipment at NuVision. So, this is it, kids. The end of an era. This time next year we may not even be in Atlanta. We shall see.
So, I took Missy to the vet for a checkup because she’s been reverse sneezing a bit and I wanted to get her weight checked since she’s been on the new TCFeline diet for about six weeks. (Slight wheeze was treated; reverse sneezing is probably allergy related.)
I am pleased to announce that the new diet is a smashing success! Missy has gone from 5.6# to 6.8# in six weeks! Her normal weight when she was at her prime was around 7#. She is better hydrated and overall seems much happier. She still has constipation issues, but I’m hoping those will get better as we go along.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to FEED your elderly cat as much wet food as they want. I am ashamed to say that since starting to feed Missy when she asks (about six times a day, 1 Tbl at a time; about 1/3 to 1/2 cup a day), she has really put on weight. That means it is MY FAULT that she was skinny in the first place. I was inadvertently starving my cat. That is a hard pill to swallow, but I’m just really happy that I’ve learned better and now I’ll do better.
I do still leave kibble out for her, but she generally avoids it except overnight when she gets the munchies. Other than that, she will not touch kibble. She has not liked kibble for several years and was trying to tell me to feed her more Wet Fud™ but I didn’t listen. Silly hooman. :-/
I’ve not checked her blood yet, so it’s yet to be seen if the higher protein diet has put more stress on her kidneys. I’m hoping the Kidney Gold supplement will help with that. If it is causing too much work for her kidneys, TCFeline also has a special diet mix for kidney impaired cats. We’ll be checking her numbers in the spring.
I’ve also added a digestive aid to see if that will alleviate her bowel issues.
It felt really good to see the vet’s reaction to how good Missy looks. She asked for all the info about the food and feeding, which I just sent her. I really hope that she can spread the gospel of proper homemade food, feeding freely and keeping our elderly cats – ALL our cats – happy and healthy. :)
So I made the decision to start making Missy’s food myself. At first, I thought “Eh, no big deal, I’ll whip up some chicken and rice and that’ll do it!” Um. NO. Fortunately for Missy, I had sense enough to do some research and I found out that felines, being obligate carnivores, cannot live on chicken meat and rice. Like, at all. The rice especially is horrible for cats. Too bad other pet owners don’t do their homework and starve their cats with a diet like this. :( [I am looking at YOU cat hoarder JH who doesn’t get your cats fixed or vaccinated and feeds chicken breast and rice. You should be reported for animal abuse.]
Amongst other things, I learned that the feline diet should consist of 80% protein, 10% fat and 10% carbs (at most). Cats in the wild do not eat carbs at all. Cats are completely unlike dogs when it comes to diet. Despite what the pet food industry insists, cats should not eat kibble alone (which I’ve known for a long time), or really at all. Kibble has way too much filler in the form of carbs. And despite what the pet food industry pushes, cats do NOT eat sweet potatoes, peas, beans or any sort of grain. Just because it sounds tasty to us does not mean it’s appropriate for our cats. Dogs? Sure. Feed them whatever. They are omnivores and scavengers in the wild. Cats are not dogs.
As I started to read and learn about the feline diet, I started a cart at vitacost.com with the supplements I’d need to make Missy’s food. It was complicated to decipher the various recipes and I didn’t want to buy a grinder to grind the meat with bones to make the raw food. I’m not even sure Missy would eat a totally raw diet. So I kept reading and reading and I came upon TCFeline.com. This site is a treasure trove for understanding the feline diet and learning to make a homemade food that is balanced. They also link to sellers of the premix for plain ground meat (without bones). AND the mix was the same cost as all the supplements I had in my cart. The 17oz bag is $53 plus s/h and makes about 8-10 batches of 2#. That’s a lot of food! Plus I don’t have to worry about measuring calcium and getting the calcium/phosphorus ratio right or any of that. This mix mimics the nutrients found in rodents, which is the primary food source of a wild cat. ALSO, this premix can be used in a cooked diet as easily as a raw one. Which is what I’m doing. I get 2# of ground meat (I used chicken and turkey for this first batch, next will be chicken and veal) and I cook it at low temp like this recipe suggests.
Missy’s kidney numbers have started to creep up, which is the reason I started looking into CKD dietary needs in the first place. I was surprised to find out that the standard low protein diet for cats with renal issues is actually NOT what you should do at all. There is a good study that was done to prove that low protein diets made no difference in cats with kidney disease. Knowing what I do about the feline diet, I am not surprised by this. While phosphorus is an issue, protein is not. More about chronic kidney disease in the older cat.
I also got an herbal supplement for Missy in addition to her new improved homemade food: Kidney Support Gold from PetWellbeing.com
Her new diet was started Sep 25 2015. Her Urea Nitrogen was 35 at this time. I’ll update this post with her new numbers in a few months. Hopefully, I’ll see improvement.
…for Fear and Loathing™. It’s autumn and my BIG birthday looms. Meh. I usually get a little melancholy this time of year and this year is no different.
I don’t have any big complaints, really. My family – or lack thereof – has been bothering me. I’ve been completely disowned, apparently, and although I’m better off without those people, it still bugs me that somehow I’m always the bad guy. It’s not fair and not true. It’s true that I do think they are militantly ignorant and act like uneducated hillbillies. I’ve got tons of proof of that. That does not mean I feel that I am “better” than they are, it means that I choose to live my life differently and I will not stop living my life as an intelligent, in control, educated adult to appease them. I don’t want to be like them, that doesn’t mean I am a bad person.
They choose to believe that I’m just a bad person who hates them and that’s that. Well, ok, but that’s not the truth.
I cannot do anything for them. I can’t make them get better Drs. I can’t make them take better care of themselves. I can’t make them do what’s necessary to get the care they need. I can’t make my brother listen. I can’t make any of them listen. As I’ve said, my parents could be dead for all I know. Since the big fight with my brother months ago, I’ve not heard a peep.
I guess it’s the not knowing that sucks.
Whatever. I can’t change them and they don’t want my input. I guess they can just sit in that house until they die. ::shrug::
Nick has been feeling bad again, so that’s probably part of my melancholy, too. I’m worried about him. We are pretty sure he has Lyme Disease. I bought a kit from IGenEx to get his blood tested for Lyme with the Western Blot method (the only accurate one, $500) and we are hoping that crazy Dr Erramilli will be onboard for the test and for longterm treatment. There are few Lyme literate Drs in the US and pretty much NONE in the SE US. I hope Erramilli will be willing to go on this journey with us. ::fingers crossed::
I’m just trying to stay positive until my birthday passes. I’ve got Heather coming in town in a few weeks, so that will hopefully be a diversion. I do need to start looking around for a tattoo shop to do our tattoos. They are going to be great!
Well, that’s enough of my whingeing. I’ll post a separate post about Missy Kat’s new diet.
I had this dish at a pricey restaurant downtown and decided I could replicate it at home, so I did. It’s just mac & cheese, but made with smoked gouda (I found some with BACON!!) and white cheddar. I used roasted red pepper from the jar rather than pimento.
Smoky Pimento Mac & Cheese
2 Tbl Butter
1 big Tbl flour
3 oz shredded white cheddar (about half a cup)
4 oz shredded smoked gouda, with bacon if you can find it (about 3/4 cup)
1 (1/2 pepper) roasted red pepper from a jar, diced
2/3 – 3/4 cup half n half
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1.5 cup dry pasta, cooked al dente in salty water. Hold pasta in the water. I used Kroger brand cavatappi rigate pasta, which is a large corkscrew style that is ribbed for your pleasure. You could use elbows or penne if you like.
Melt butter over med heat then add flour and stir for a couple minutes. Add the cheeses, pepper and paprika and stir until it gets all melty. Add in 2/3 cup half n half, stirring. You’ll probably need more, I did. You want this sauce thick, but loose enough to coat the pasta but not be sticky. When you get the consistency right, check salt and pepper. It should be a little saltier than you think it should be because the pasta will soak up the salt. Scoop out the pasta with a slotted spoon or spider and allow a bit of water to stay on it – this will make your sauce perfect. Check seasoning after you stir in pasta. Serve while warm.
We were sitting on the deck last night and heard a transformer blow, then another. No power! I live in a 60s era house with an all electric kitchen (that I DESPISE), so this meant: no dinner. I had already done all the mise en place, so all I needed was heat to assemble the dish… To the gas grill! The dish turned out perfectly, I’m happy to say and the recipe is pretty awesome, so I’ll share it with you! No grill required, but it is pretty fun. Apologies for the quickie phone pix!
Spicy Carne Picada
1 pack (about 1#) of carne picada, which is beef that is barely ground and chunky. Kroger has it occasionally. Or you can use large grind beef – usually labeled chili beef.
1 Tbl cumin
1 Tbl ancho chile powder
1 Tbl chipotle powder (less if you don’t like spicy)
1 tsp dry mustard powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbl garlic paste (find at Indian store)
2 Tbl olive oil
half a small can of tomato sauce
1 bell pepper, large dice
1 onion, large dice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup chicken stock
.5 cup water
1 tsp salt
half a small can of tomato sauce
2 cans seasoned black beans, drained
1 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbl minced onion
1 clove minced garlic (or use 1 Tbl garlic paste)
Slice one green onion for garnish.
Break up the carne in a large bowl and add in all the spices and oil. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Prep the veg.
Rinse the basmati rice three times to remove the excess starch. You can skip this, but you’ll have fairly sticky rice if you do. Put rice, stock, water and seasonings into a 2 qt pan then bring to boil, reduce to simmer. It takes about 15 mins for basmati rice to cook. Follow package instructions. Spicy yellow rice is awesome with this, too.
Put the drained black beans in a pan and add seasonings. Heat up over medium heat and simmer until onions and garlic are cooked. About 10 mins.
Heat a large skillet over med hi heat and saute the onions, peppers and garlic for about 5-7 mins in olive oil. When they soften, push to the sides and add beef. Saute beef and veg until beef is cooked, about 10 mins. You can drain this if there is a lot of fat.
In a large bowl, put rice and beans side by side and add beef on top. Garnish with green onion and enjoy!
It’s fig season! I love this recipe! I’ve made it a couple of times with great success. Enjoy!
Spicy Figgy Jam
Spicy Figgy Jam
2 pt figs, chopped (yield about 6 cups) I cut into quarters because I like big chunks. You can go smaller if you like.
4 cups sugar
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp black pepper (another 1/4 tsp if you really want to taste it!)
1 Tbl pectin
Put everything but pectin in a large dutch oven and bring to boil for about 15 minutes stirring every few minutes. Mixture should be thick. Pull off heat and add pectin (just some extra insurance that it sets properly). Prepare pint jars, lids and rings. Fill jars with about 1/2″ head room. Process in boiling bath for 10 minutes. Yield: about 3 pints **You can make this and keep it in the fridge if you don’t want to do the full canning process.**
I use the standard biscuit recipe on the White Lily bag, slightly modified, but my gravy recipe is unusual so I figured I’d post it for y’all.
White Lily Recipe
My version, due to my never having Crisco or buttermilk on hand:
Angela’s Southern Biscuits
2 cups White Lily SR flour (The BRAND is important here, for those living outside of the South. FIND White Lily. Trust me.)
1/4 cup butter [half a stick], cold, cut into cubes (I never keep shortening.)
about 2/3 cup half n half w/ 1 Tbl white vinegar in it as a homemade buttermilk substitute (I never keep buttermilk on hand.)
Preheat oven to 450F (I have never cooked them at 500F!) Cut in the fat with a dough cutter until flour and fat are about pea sized. Add in the milk in thirds – you may or may not use all of it, it depends on the weather. [I used about a half cup today since the humidity is 100%.] Stir dough together with a spatula just until it’s combined. You want it pretty wet and sticky. Don’t overmix. Plop on a well floured surface then generously flour the top of the dough. Turn dough over to make sure it’s not sticking (use more flour if you need to) then pat into a disk at least 1″ thick. Use a cutter or a glass and cut out biscuits. Place biscuits on an ungreased sheet pan – I do not like mine to touch, but if you do, fine. I’m not the boss of you. Bake on middle rack for about 12-15 mins depending on your thickness. They should be golden on top.
This recipe makes about 8 – 10 biscuits.
Southern Gravy for Biscuits
This recipe has evolved due to my never having milk on hand, only half n half, which makes gravy THICK. I also sometimes run out of bacon fat, so I use schmaltz (chicken fat) or both, which is fantastic. Duck fat would be awesome as well. The choice of fat is pretty flexible, actually, as long as you use the right amount. You can do this with pancetta, bacon, sausage or no meat at all.
Angela’s Southern Gravy
1 Tbl bacon fat
1 Tbl schmaltz
1-2 Tbl cubed pancetta
2 Tbl flour (AP or SR, doesn’t matter)
3/4 cup half n half
1/2-2/3 cup chicken stock
Put the fats and pancetta in a nonstick skillet on med heat. When the pancetta has rendered (about 5 mins), turn up the heat to med hi and add flour. Stir flour into fat until smooth and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in half n half and stir until smooth. This will be thick! Add in about 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp black pepper. Start adding chicken stock until the gravy is the consistency you want. I like mine thick for biscuits! When you get the consistency you want, kill the heat and check your seasoning – it should be a little salty if you’re using it on biscuits. Use immediately, gravy does not hold well.
Add in some homemade figgy jam and you’ve got Sunday breakfast! Bon Appétit!
I think pets are on my mind because I had dead pet dreams last night (horrible ones about Missy) and I worked on the Friends of Dekalb Animals website this morning. I’ve bitched about this issue before, but it bears repeating. And this is about NO ONE in particular. I’ve had this exact convo with MANY crazy cat ladies and/or pet hoarders. True facts.
It disturbs me when people who can’t take care of themselves have pets. Typically, not one or two, but a HERD of pets. They take in every stray. They foster. They have so many pets that it’s borderline hoarding. I assume they do this because they have a shitty life and pets make them feel better or something. I don’t know. All I know is: if you can’t take care of yourself, then why would you even entertain the notion of taking care of pets? Pets are expensive! It’s also relevant to note that people who do this type of thing typically do NOT take care of the pets in even the most basic ways (spay/neuter for instance) and the problem becomes exponential.
A conversation with one of these people (it’s women, always women) usually goes like this:
Me: How many pets do you have?
Hoarder: Well, I only have 3 cats and a dog, but I foster 25 cats and 10 dogs. ::happily::
Me: How do you afford to take care of all those pets? (Knowing that this person is broke as shit.)
Hoarder: It’s hard! I barely have money to feed myself, but I manage. A few of the cats are pregnant and several dogs need heartworm meds, but they are all doing OK, well, except for Fred, who really needs to see the vet. And Olly, who stopped eating a week ago. Oh and I think Shadrick has worms again…
Me: Really? Aren’t your pets fixed? Don’t you get them vaccinated?
Hoarder: Uh, no, I can’t afford to get them fixed or go to the vet. If I only had the money to… ::drifts off into a wistful haze of IF ONLY::
Me: Well, don’t you see that having unfixed pets will just make this issue worse? And don’t you think you should help the sick ones?
Hoarder: Ummm, well, yeah, I guess so… ::now looking uncomfortable:: But I have to HELP ALL OF THE POOR HOMELESS PETS! ::getting indignant::
Me: Hmm. Well, I appreciate your generous heart, but you really need to get these animals fixed, medicated and adopted out.
Hoarder: ::goes into a long explanation of why that can’t happen:: Blah, blah, animal control is evil, blah, it’s better than the shelter, blah, blah, blah.
Me: Oh! Look at the time! I really need to get going! Nice talking to you! ::runs away before I start expressing my real opinion and/or punch the crazy person in the face::
This has happened to me SO MANY times!! And every single time I’ve met someone like this, they also admit to dumping pets at shelters when their roommates/parents/big foot tells them that they can’t have pets. Probably because people who can’t afford to take care of themselves are also moving a lot and having to depend on others for shelter since they are broke motherfuckers.
Look, it’s simple. If you can’t feed/clothe/shelter YOURSELF, then it’s a pretty good bet that you can’t take care of a pet. ANY pet. Well, maybe a betta fish. And it’s also a pretty good bet that you will do more harm than good by taking on tons of pets and then not caring for them properly and dumping them when you can’t take them to your next couch surf location.
A simple guide to deciding whether you should have a dog or cat:
– Are you so broke you can’t buy food at times?
– Are you dependent on other people for shelter? (ie: Are you NOT on the lease? Are you living with your parents? Can someone tell you to dump your pets and you must comply?)
If you answered YES to either or both of these, then NO YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE A PET! AT ALL. NOT ONE.
It’s that simple. Having a herd of unfixed cats and dogs that you “rescued” from the street is no better than leaving them on the street. That is a fact. It is also a fact that you can’t save them all. Another fact is that by “fostering” a herd of unfixed, unvaccinated, neglected animals is actually making a bad situation worse. For every unwanted kitten YOU allow to be born, there are 100 being euthanised.
If these people (women, let’s just say women) really loved animals as much as they claim to, then they’d stop compounding the problem of unfixed pets breeding continuously, which is the DIRECT CAUSE of millions of pets being destroyed in this country every year. They’d FIND a no kill shelter to come get the animals. They’d FIND a way to actually help the animals rather than perpetuate the problem.
And it goes without saying that homeless people with pets make me apoplectic with rage. You’re HOMELESS? Why, YES, by all means drag a dog or cat around with you. Seems legit.
Really, this is just another BE RESPONSIBLE post. I have lots of them. It’s a shame that this theme keeps coming up so often, isn’t it?