Et Tu Fluffie?

The girl was leaving us!  What were we going to do!?  The Balloon Festival was right around the corner!!!

We took some deep calming breaths….

She’s wasn’t leaving for good.   She’s wasn’t actually taking any extra time off, really…. but… well… she didn’t even ask us if we were okay with it!

She’s was leaving the whole state!  We’re not even allowed outside!  Oh, the unfairness of it all.

I guess it’s kind of a compliment… she knew that she could go away for a long weekend and that she was leaving the Balloon Festival in our capable paws.  M & I had it all under control.  We had the Sponsors all lined up (really great friends and businesses) and the Arts & Crafts Vendors were all ready to go (can’t wait to do a bit of shopping ourselves!) and don’t even get us started about the Food Vendors (mega yum!).  The Festival is going to be a huge hit!  The girl could enjoy her weekend and we’d keep everything in line….. but who would look after the girl?

We discussed it…. and we decided to send Emilee with her.  We knew the girl wouldn’t go for it…. she said she just needed some peace and quiet…. but we couldn’t let her go without someone! (her pet human, B doesn’t count….)

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While she was gone, Emilee kept in contact us with us by text and email…. good thing the girl has an iPhone as we still have not gotten the board to approve giving us our OWN phones.

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Emilee had a great time… We’re kinda jealous, but we DID have our paws full with the Balloon Festival and all…  And the girl arrived home safe and sound.  Whew!  We were happy to hand the Balloon Festival back over to her.  We needed a nap!

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Emilee came back raving about Crawfish Etouffee…. on and ON!  We googled “crawfish”  apparently they are some kind of river bug…. that’s what they look like, anyway.  Em was all wound about the etouffee and wouldn’t let us do anymore googling until we found a recipe.  Here is the original recipe we found…… Crawfish Etouffee, from NOLA Cuisine.

We convinced the girl to make us a batch…. we started out just leaving the recipe up on her screen… then we sent it to her printer 14 times…. then mostly we just danced around on her desk and threw things in the floor until she agreed to bring in a pot the next day.  Yay!  She agreed!  Subtle hints worked again!

As usual, she didn’t follow the directions…. here is what she did:

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe

1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Cup Onion, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Celery, Finely Chopped
1/2 Cup Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped
2 lbs Crawfish Tail meat
1/4 Cup Flour
1 Cup Clam Juice + 3/4 cup water
1/4 Cup Minced Garlic
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Hot Sauce
1/2 Cup Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp dried Parsley
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
Rice

Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the onions, bell pepper, celery, and 1 Tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning, saute until translucent. Add the Crawfish tail meat and saute for 3-5 minutes more. Add the flour, stirring constantly for about 3-5 minutes.

Add the water, stir well to form a paste, add the clam juice gradually, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. You may need a little more water, you are looking for a gravy consistency.
Add the garlic, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, a little salt, black pepper, green onions and parsley, simmer for 5-10 minutes more.

Stir in the 3 Tbsp butter, lemon juice.

Transfer to a crock-pot. (The crock-pot part isn’t a big deal, but I made it earlier in the day and wanted to keep it warm for dinner…. also, soups and things usually taste better after they’ve had time to simmer for a long while.  If you’re not going to put it in the crock pot, you’d better go back and read the original recipe… they let it simmer on the stove a lot longer.)  

Serve over rice.

Yum!

– M&M and Em

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Emilee the Emissary

We were so psyched!  At the last CAEE meeting our humans were talking about Twin City Days.  We’re gonna have a booth at the Arts & Crafts Fair on Saturday so we can tell people about Our Balloon Festival and our Ground School.  Of course, M & I were gonna go, right?  I mean, who better to spread the word about the airport than the heads of Hospitality!

Well, apparently NOT!  *harrump*

We’re not allowed outside!

After pouting for a bit, M & I came up with a plan… see, M & I have a new friend at the airport…. Emilee….. Em, for short…. and we’re going to send her as our emissary!

Don’t get us wrong, we’re totally heartbroken that we won’t get to go to to Twin City Days with the girl & the man and all our other friends….. but Em needs the experience… she’s awfully shy.  So it’s probably all for the best….

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Stop by our booth at Twin City Days and say hi to our humans.  Take a photo with Em and post it on our facebook or twitter page!

Oh! And if you want to see M & me… come by the airport… our humans will be offering Discovery Flights all day!

– M & M… and Em

Pawesome Pastabilities!

The other day the girl brought her lunch to work and she wanted M & I to sample it.  She didn’t out-and-out say she wanted us to try it, but we know that is what she wanted because when the phone rang she just left her lunch sitting on the table….. she is very shy… she doesn’t like to ask for things…. we’re working with her on this.  Anyway, she’d brought some leftover spaghetti and meatballs that she’d made for dinner the night before…. It smelled pretty good, so M & I didn’t mind giving it a try.  OMP!  It was totally pawesome!  There were three meatballs, so we figured that she wanted us each to have one….  We could tell that she was really excited that we’d tried them… she was jumping up and down and waving her arms while she was still on the phone.  As soon as she hung up she came running over to see what we’d thought.

Oh, my paws!  It was totally Pawesome!

Later she told us that the meatballs came from an idea she had after making a Parmesan Meatloaf that she’d found on Pinterest.  With the Balloon Festival fast approaching the girl has been all in a tizzy.  We don’t know what she is complaining about!  We’re the ones who have to greet all the people popping in the office!  Geeze, she just plays on the computer and talks on the phone all day….. like that’s work?!  But, she says that she is very busy and is so tired when she gets home that she doesn’t feel like cooking.  She told us that she took the meatloaf recipe and made THREE different meals with it!  We were totally impressed ’cause usually we just eat kibbles for every meal…. Three DIFFERENT meal!  Wow!

The girl just has one pet human, B, and herself to cook for, and she says that the Parmesan Meatloaf recipe made too much for the two of them.  So she made the full recipe but only made a third the mix into a meatloaf.  The remainder she made into meatballs.  And then she used the meatballs to make Spaghetti & Meatballs AND Shepherd’s Pie!  Wow!  We were worn out just thinking about all that, but the girl insisted that it was pretty easy.

Day one: Make the meatloaf mix.  One third of the mix gets shaped into a loaf and stuck in the fridge for tomorrow (or frozen).  The other half gets made into meatballs.  Spaghetti & Meatballs for dinner!  Pour some of the extra spaghetti sauce over the meatloaf.

Day two (or whenever, if you froze your meatloaf): Meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner!

Day three (or the day after you ate the meatloaf & mashed potatoes…): Shepherd’s Pie for dinner!

You see how there’s an order here?  We didn’t get it at first, but the girl had taken photos…. (we don’t know why she does that, but it did come in handy)…

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Parmesan Meatloaf 
slightly adapted from Mommy I’m Hungry

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground beef
2 eggs
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mariana pasta sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix:
In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey and beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Meatballs:                                                                                                                        Shape mix into 1-2″ balls and cook in a skillet until lightly browned.  Finish cooking the meatballs in an oven heated to 350 degrees. (25-30 minutes)

Meatloaf:                                                                                                                          Place 1/3 of the mixture in the loaf pan and form into a loaf. Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce.  Place filled loaf pan on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the top with shredded cheese. Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted.

Make mashed potatoes to serve with the meatloaf.  You will need about four cups of leftover potatoes for the Shepherd’s Pie…. so make about 2-2.5lbs total (if you are making REAL mashed potatoes)

Shepherd’s Pie: Most Shepherd’s Pie recipes call for “ground” meat… so you could make 1/3 of your mix “smashed”, but meatballs are fun and easier to have cooked and frozen earlier…

Place two cups of mashed potatoes in a pie pan.  Sqhoosh it around to make a “crust”.  Fill the crust with the meatballs, and whatever veggies you like: corn, carrots, peas…. then top the whole thing with two more cups of mashed potatoes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes…. crust will start to brown.  Top with a handful (or two) of shredded cheese and bake until the cheese starts to bubble.

Enjoy!

Meow-Out to the girl’s pet human, B!  Thanks for saving some for us, pal!

-M&M

S’more Adventures

So M & I have been doing a lot of reading lately.  See, our humans have this big festival that they host in the fall and this year M & I are lending a paw.  We’re really excited, we’ve invited all our friends…. But we’ve never hosted a big event like this and we want to make our humans proud… so we turned to the Source of All Knowledge, Google, for advice.  A quick internet search for: “cats + hot air balloons” returned the book ‘Hot Air Henry’ by Mary Calhoun.  Totally pawsome book!  You should read it if you haven’t already.

‘Hot Air Henry’ didn’t offer a lot of help on planning our Balloon Festival, but we now know what to do if one of the balloons should escape.

When we ordered Hot Air Henry from Amazon.com we went ahead and took advantage of the Super Shipper Savings and ordered the second book.  Cross Country Cat, the sequel to Hot Air Henry, didn’t offer us much insight into planning a Balloon Festival.   Oh well, it was a great book anyway and it got me and M hooked on the idea of cross country travel and camping out.

Since we are not allowed outside we’ve been forced to practice our camping skills in the office.  M & I have been turning our kitty tower on its side and using it as a tent.  The Man has been a real pain in the tail about this… he keeps turning it back upright and returning it to the corner.  M suggested that we pretend he is a bear and see how well the bear spray we ordered works.

During our research we discovered that s’mores are a staple of the campers diet.  Other than buying us the marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers, the girl has not been very supportive of our camping efforts.  She totally flew off the handle when she found us using one of her candles and her scissors to roast the marshmallows.  Perhaps it was the defective marshmallows that we left of her desk that was the issue?  I’m not eating them if they’re burnt… I’m just not!

Of course, when she discovered that we’d tried to make s’mores in the toaster oven she wasn’t any happier.  Frankly, it’s not our fault that the toaster oven doesn’t come with a s’more setting.  M just cranked it up to ‘broil’ and we curled up for a nice nap expecting to wake to a batch of delicious s’mores.  An hour later the smoke alarm and the girl were both making a ton of racket and M & I had to abandon our nap and the hope of getting any s’mores.

M & I spent the next day pouting and sulking… we were grounded.  Totally not fair!  I mean, we did get one of the nice firemen to sign up for flying lessons, so it wasn’t a total disaster.

Finally the girl took pity on us (M kept giving her Sad Kitten Eyes) and she found us a kitten/office safe recipe for s’mores.

Crockpot S’mores

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You will need:

  • 1 (18.25-oz.) package Devils Food cake mix
  • 1 (3.9-oz.) package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups milk, divided
  • 1 (3.4-oz.) package chocolate cook-and-serve pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Directions:

Beat cake mix, instant pudding, eggs, sour cream, butter, vanilla and 1 1/4 cups milk at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.

Pour batter into a lightly greased 4-qt. slow cooker.

Cook remaining 2 cups milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, just until bubbles appear; remove from heat and add the chocolate cook-and-serve pudding mix.

Pour pudding over the cake batter.  Cover and cook on LOW 3 1/2 hours.

Turn off slow cooker. Sprinkle cake with marshmallows, and chocolate morsels. Let stand 15 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly melted.  Top with crushed graham crackers just before serving.

So, not exactly the same thing as roasting marshmallows over a campfire…. but we did appreciate the girl’s effort.   The office smelled pawsome all day and the scent lured a number of our pilot friends into the office. Hanging out with our friends in the nice air-conditioned office…. M & I realized we really are two very lucky kitties.

– M&M