Cinnamon Whiskers

IMG_3700Our girl is on this new thing where she can’t eat wheat… something about her allergies… we don’t get it.  We think she is faking… we’ve never heard her sneeze at a cookie.

We want to be supportive, but she says we can’t have cookies or muffins or anything fun!  After about the third day of this nonsense, M & I headed to Pinterest and started searching for a wheat-free sweet treat….Crockpot Cinnamon Almonds…. yum!

BOUNS:  It makes the office smell totally pawesome… and we made it in the crockpot, so no open flame (office rule number 3#).

The girl was super pleased and we were happy to have treats in the office… M had to spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning the sugar out of her whiskers, but it was well worth it!

We have changed the recipe from what you will find on the blog… We thought it had too much extra sugar… it was just clumpy and got stuck in our whiskers.  We also used pecans instead of almonds and added more spices….

Crockpot Cinnamon Pecans

  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1 c Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg White
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1lb Pecans
  • 1/4 c Water

In a medium sized bowl, mix together sugars, spices, and salt. Set aside. In another medium sized bowl, whisk the egg white and vanilla until it’s a little frothy. Add pecans. Make sure the pecans are thoroughly coated in the egg white mixture. Add cinnamon mixture to the pecans and toss until coated.

Thoroughly coat your crock pot with cooking spray. Add the pecans and sugars to the crock pot and cook on low heat.

Cook (with the lid on) 3-4 hours stirring every 20 minutes. In the last hour, add the water and stir well. This creates the crunchy coating. Continue cooking for another 45 minutes to 1 hour… keep stirring

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil* and spread the pecans flat to cool. They will be sticky at this point, so make sure you separate them a little and have no large mounds.

*The lady on the other blog said she spread her almonds out on parchment paper, but when we did that they totally stuck to it!  We’re thinking aluminum foil instead…

— M&M

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Teddy Bear Tea

Our girl is sooo good to us!  She got us a Teddy Bear!  Not the stuffed kind…. the slurp-able kind…YUM.

The girl knows how much M & I like our coffee… helps us get going in the morning.  While the girl is just stumbling around the office, we get a couple slurps of her coffee and then we run up the stairs and check out the other offices… then we run down the stairs and get a couple more slurps of coffee.  And then we run into the back office and make sure she is cleaning our litter box and changing our water…. then we run up the stairs to make sure we didn’t forget anything…. then we run down the stairs…. then we run up the Christmas Tree to check that all the lights are working… then while she goes out to check the gas machine we jump up in the window and wave at her and check the glass for smudges… we leave paw prints on the glass so she knows where the smudges were….. When she comes back in we drink more coffee together and M & I help her check our emails…. Our typing is getting much better!  The girl should drink more coffee… then she could be as productive as M & me!

Well… this morning we took a slurp of her coffee…. OMP!  It wasn’t coffee!!!

While the girl wiped up the ‘tea’ that M had spit everywhere the girl explained that she had visited a new coffee shop over the weekend and discovered Teddy Bear Chai.  Well, M & I were reeling from this new information…. Who knew there were whole SHOPS of coffee?!  OMP!  Whole shops!!  We thought all coffee came from K-Cups!

After sampling the Teddy Bear Tea again, M & I decided it was pretty pawesome… and we didn’t need to worry about a drop in our caffeine since it was made with black tea… whew!

The girl said she is still experimenting with the exact amounts, but this is pretty close to what she’d had at the coffee shop.  The coffee shop used concentrated Oregon Chai, but the girl already had regular Chai tea bags at home, so she just made her own.

Now that we know they exist we are encouraging the girl to visit more coffee shops!  We wish Starbucks would deliver.  * sigh *

Teddy Bear Chai

Teddy Bear Chai Tea

  • 8oz Chai Tea, brewed STRONG
  • 1 tsp Vanilla (the good Mexican stuff… no imitation, yuck)
  • 1 Tbs Honey
  • 1/4 c Vanilla Cream (You could just use milk, or cream, but the Coffee Mate – Natural Bliss already has some sugar in it too…)

Warm the Vanilla Cream before adding it to the tea to take the chill off…. add the other ingredients to your own personal taste.  As it cools the honey flavor comes out more, so don’t go wild with the honey at first.  Mix and serve!

– M&M

Looking Good


Mirror

Our girl is so funny sometimes.  The other day M and I were playing with an empty bath tissue roll… batting it around the office and stuff… the girl grabs it right out of our paws and starts babbling about how it would be perfect for some silly thing or the other.  Normally, we’d have been pretty annoyed, but it was about time for our afternoon naps anyway, so we figured we’d let her play with it for a while.

When we woke up she was clicking around on Pinterest ….and hacking our toy to pieces!  Apparently she’d decided to make a new mirror for the ladies litter-box-room.  We have our own private litter-box, but the girl tries to keep the public litter-box room all pretty and stuff….  We’re not allowed in there after the incident with the sink…. Who knew the girl would have such a hissy fit about a little water on the floor!?  M & I had a “tiny” water fight… geeze!

Anyway, M & I climbed up on the desk to see what the girl had done to our toy…. apparently she’d been busy while we were napping!

  • First, she squashed the roll in half.
  • Next she took the bath-tissue roll and cut it into four 1 inch pieces (she’d collected a few other rolls and a paper towel roll or two as well)
  • Then she glued five of the pieces together near their points….

OMP it was a flower!

The next day the girl came to the office with a can of spray paint, a mirror and a hot glue gun….

  • She spray painted all the “flowers” blue (we made her do this outside, because our noses are sensitive and that stuff stinks)

After our nap the “flowers” had dried and the girl brought them inside.

  • She arranged them into a circle around the mirror and then started hot gluing them together.
  • Once they were glued into a circle she placed the mirror face down on the flowers and started gluing the mirror to the flowers.
  • Two Command Strips later the “Flower Mirror” was attached to the litter-box room wall!

Mirror

Pawesome!

While we did not approve of the destruction of our super fun toy… we do have to agree that the mirror looked pretty good…. and it made the girl awfully happy… and when she is happy she shares her coffee with us (with extra cream!) so it was a win-win after all.

– M &M

Teacher’s Pets

Good news, bad news time…. Our instructor says we didn’t do well enough in our Private Pilot Ground School classes to take the FAA’s written exam.  Totally not our fault!  The man kept locking us in the office during class!  He says it’s because we were too much of a distraction to the other students….. we say it’s because we were showing up the other students with how smart we are!

So, that’s the bad news… The good news is… we finally convinced the girl to take the Private Pilot class!  Now we can study together and if we happen to fall asleep in class …. we can borrow her notes!

M told her that she should make cookies for class… it is a proven fact that sugar and chocolate help you learn (we saw that on a candy bar commercial).  We found this recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles…. YUM!

As usual, she didn’t follow all the directions (that’s gonna bite her in the tail in class!)  and she keeps calling them Mayan Chocolate Snickerdoodles… something about her all time favorite ice cream….

Mayan Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Dough

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (the girl used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ancho chile pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons  milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Sugar Coating

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ancho chile pepper and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, maple syrup, milk and vanilla. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients, combine.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Shape dough into 1″ balls. Roll dough in the cinnamon/sugar mix.  Place dough 2″ apart on a greased baking sheet.

Bake until the cookies have spread and are crackly on top, about 9 to 12 minutes.

Makes about 24 cookies.

Note: the original recipe called for cayenne pepper, but the girl replaced it with ancho chile powder…. Too much cayenne will make your whiskers tingle…. like that Crawfish Etoufee she made… meow-za!  The girl says that the  ancho has a “smoother heat”.  She has promised to make us the Mayan Chocolate Pecan Pie where she first learned about ancho chile for Thanksgiving… we can’t wait!

Wish us luck in our Private Pilot class!

– M&M

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

Whatever the Weather

I gotta tell you, we’re not laughing anymore.  It wasn’t funny the first time, but it did kind of make us scratch our ears.

“Hot enough to fry a cat on the sidewalk.”

Yeah, its hot.  Not THAT hot!  And we’re not allowed outside anyway, so we don’t know why every third human who walks through the door tells us that!  Aaarrrggg!  One little record-breaking heat wave and our humans go all goofy.

We’ve been learning about weather in our Private Pilot Ground School Class.  One of our human friends, Terrible (don’t ask me, I didn’t name him), teaches the weather chapter of our class.  We learned that even airplanes don’t like these temperatures.  When it is hot the air is less dense and doesn’t allow an aircraft to generate enough “lift.”  M and I totally get that… when it is hot it is hard to generate enough lift to drag our tails off the chair.

Since it’s been so nasty out we decided we should make something nice for our class mates, but we didn’t want to make anything that took a lot of effort.  And we certainly didn’t want to make anything that required turning on the oven, so cookies were out…..

So we checked out our Pinterest board of ‘Crafty Ideas‘ and found these super cute notebooks that we’d pinned a while back.  We are always writing notes in class (since the Board turned us down for our own iPads) and we thought these would be fun to share!

Since it’s ‘back to school’ time the girl was able to find these little bitty note books… perfect sized for us and perfect for the humans to tuck into their pockets!

We liked THIS idea, but pretty soon we had strips of paper all over the office (it was kind of distracting…. M kept running off and chasing them!) and the girl was mad that we’d dumped the Mod Podge in one of her desk drawers….  oops!

So we decided to scale it back a bit….

You will need:

  • Mod Podge (or you could use glue)
  • Paint Brush
  • Sectional Chart (or other pretty paper, but really… charts are awfully pretty)
  • Notebook
  • Paper Cutter

Get your supplies together

We cut our so that it fit exactaly at the top and bottom edges, but overlapped into the front and back covers…. like a book jacket.  ‘Paint’ the front cover with the ModPodge. Go slow with the ModPodge.. make sure you have everything lined up before you glue down the back cover.

Glue down the front and back inside flaps last.

Ta-dah!

Meow-out to our Instructor Terrible! I read the chapter…. M didn’t… she took a nap!  I’m ready for the next class, ask me anything!

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