Things that make me smile: fluffy cats without a care

My name is Gus Gus and I do what I want.

My cats, like all cats I’m sure, are obsessed with eating. They will eat just about anything, but I think they appreciate a change in diet just as much as the next person. So this picture is an example of a fairly routine thing that happens in our house — a torn open bag of new cat food, even though there is plenty of the old food still in the dish.

I guess I understand — since we tend to buy food in the big Costco bags, they eat the same thing for extended time periods. Occasionally we’ll have to supplement with a small bag from the grocery store and when we do, it’s like keeping cookies away from children.

What I like best about this picture is the expression Gus Gus has on his face — he knows he’s been busted but, again like most cats, he just doesn’t care.

Baked lemon pasta with a side of humble pie

A couple of weeks ago I was on a Meyer lemon kick and every recipe that contained even regular lemons got pulled out of my recipe binder to be examined. I saw one from Cooking Light that caught my eye, this Baked Pasta with Spinach, Lemon and Cheese, but when I read the reviews online, everyone seemed to hate it. There were complaints about how long it took to make, coupled with numerous comments about how bland it was. This was by far my favorite comment because you really got a feel for how bitter this person was after making a dinner that sucked: “We just had the ritual burning of the recipe. Now we’re making sandwiches so we’re not hungry the rest of the night.”

Now since I’ve had years of experience cooking professionally, I have to admit my first thought was to blame the cooks and not the recipe. If you keep tasting while you cook, you should end up with something fairly decent. I have also learned to add copious amounts of salt, as well as extra cheese, to Cooking Light recipes to avoid working hard at a meal just to find it severely lacking in flavor when you sit down to eat it.

So I thought, screw it, I’m a good enough cook to make this pasta dish and have it turn out fabulous. Oh, I was so wrong…I did everything from upping the garlic and lemon tremendously to even making a little more bechamel so the final dish was creamier. Nope. It sucked. The flavor was terribly bland — it was only after squeezing two lemons over the pasta that I found it palatable. The main problem was the spinach. It turned into a gross mush. Ugh. I can’t even express my sadness over this dinner, but I will tell you my lesson in humility was also a lesson in perseverance.

Since I was still craving pasta with lemon I decided to take Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Baked Lemon Pasta out for a spin. I started with fresh pasta which I was a little nervous about, but the chive linguini I had in my fridge coupled with sour cream and lemon sounded too good to pass up. Optimistically I pushed the thought of the failure from the night before out of my head and got started.

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Things that make me happy!

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Seeing the first ladybug of spring!

I have had a thing for ladybugs ever since my college dorm room was infested with them sophomore year. It was such a weird thing to have happen but slowly, over a course of a few days, about 50 of them congregated in a corner of the room. It was fun for a couple of weeks, but finally I had to call maintenance to remove them because they were creeping me out. (I did make sure they weren’t harmed in the process.)

Even after all of that, I still get excited when I spot them in my garden. They are just irresistably cute!

Confession Time — My kitty is a peeping tomcat

Things that make me laugh: that my cat is nosier than I am

I’ve mentioned before that my neighbors are crazy, like absolutely bat-shit crazy. I have no idea what goes on over there, but every day I hope they get evicted. Until that happens, I remain glued to my windows,¬†surreptitiously spying on them.

But I’m in good company. Whenever they are outside, in the midst of a mid-day screaming match, Lucifer is right next to me. And since he’s a cat, he doesn’t have to worry about maintaining a sense of decorum.

Luckily, in my household, curiosity has never killed a cat!