Thursday, June 23, 2011

Queen Bea & Lady Lucy

Great news on Harry and Pippa.  I know there are a lot of reports that the two have started a love affair, but in fact, they were adopted within the first week of them being at the humane society and have gone to separate families.

Last you heard from Bea and Lucy, they were significantly underweight and having many problems eating.  Now they're both well over 1 lb (almost two weeks ago they were a few ounces under) and have big fat bellies.  Because they have such small frames, we think they may have misjudged their initial age or they will be very small cats.  They should be 2 1/2 months by now, but Harry and Pippa were significantly bigger than they are and they came to us at about that age.

They had some issues with using the litter box--they were instead using our carpet or just peeing on the tile in the bathroom, but that seems to have gotten better as well.  They're the first kittens that I let roam free in my room and bathroom at night, so sometimes they sleep on my bed with me.  Although they still struggle with getting up on it.

Most of the time, they keep close to me.  If I'm upstairs, so are they.  If I'm downstairs, so are they.  They'll go off and do their own thing, and they're certainly more playful than before, but they like to know where I am at all times.  If they lose track of me, they quickly find me!  It's what I've always wanted in a kitten!

This weekend, they're getting another bath, because they're still not too into grooming themselves.  A while ago, I had to cut a clump of poop out of Bea's fur, and that still hasn't grown in, so she has a small bald spot on her back.

The duo still has a ways to go before they'll be ready for surgery, so I imagine we'll keep them until mid-July or even later. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lemon Cake with Lemon Frosting

Lemon Cake:

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper; butter and dust with flour. In a bowl, mix the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. In a cup, mix the milk with the vanilla.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until light and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk mixture and scraping down the bowl. Beat in the grated lemon zest.

Scrape the batter into the pans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 35 minutes, until springy. Let cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack. Peel off the paper, turn the cakes upright and cool completely. 

Lemon Frosting:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk (optional)
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the butter and egg yolk at medium-high speed until creamy. Beat in the sugar at low speed. Beat in the cream, vanilla and salt, then beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes longer. Beat in the lemon zest and juice.

Spread 1 cup of frosting over a cake layer and top with the second layer; frost the top and sides. Let stand 1 hour; serve.

We obviously made cupcakes instead of a layer cake.  We baked them for about 20 minutes, but you definitely need to keep an eye on them.  They were really yummy too!  We had enough for about 20-22 cupcakes, I don't remember.  I just know it was fewer than 24.  I had a lot of fun frosting these too, by the way.

Does anyone have any good appetizer recipes for me?  I need one STAT!

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Amazing Pippa

The amazing Pippa is departing today.  She's reached young adulthood in recent weeks and topping out at nearly 4 pounds.  That means is time for her to go back to the humane society to find a new home--a permanent home.

We're all sad to see her go.  Watching those brown, black, and white patches flash across the room is something we've all grown accustom to in the last few weeks.  But we're especially sad to see her go alone.

Harry is preparing for surgery soon (probably this week), so he might be on his way back to the humane society soon as well.  Bea and Lucy are still struggling to gain weight, so we'll probably have these two for at least another month.

She basically plays nonstop.  She's always looking for something to do, something to climb, something to bat around with her paws.  She loves the toy we have tied to a fishing pole and will jump two feet in the air to grab it!  In fact, I don't think I've ever seen her sleep, because she's jump up at any noise.

While she was here she also got her first bath!  And I quickly discovered that she absolutely hates water!

This is my favorite picture of her.  It sums up her three week stay at my house better than anything else.

So good luck, dear friend.  I hope you find a happy home with lots of things to climb on.  We shall miss you!

-Hannah, Harry, Bea, & Lucy

Update: Yesterday when we took the kittens to the humane society, they decided to keep Harry as well.  He's doing great weight-wise and they want to just get him out on the adoption floor and he'll have surgery on Tuesday whether he's adopted or not.  Bea and Lucy are significantly underweight right now, so we've got to keep an eye on them this weekend, otherwise they'll have to go back to the humane society as well to be more closely monitored.  We're trying a number of things including yogurt, probiotics, baby food, oatmeal, and wet food.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ten on Ten :: June 2011

For this month's Ten on Ten I had to work (again).  I also took one extra picture!

 Link up here.

I know the general idea of Ten on Ten is defeated by having 11 pictures, but I miscounted my hours.  It was a very long day.

But I had a wonderful morning, even though I had to be at work 2 hours before normal.
And yes, I work at a day care center, I don't actually have 9 children (6 months - 1 year).

Also, I just had to add that I've totally been loving this song by Robyn "Stars 4Ever".  Listen to it!  Cady and I were totally jamming the other night making dinner & dessert.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Bananas Foster from Disney's Port Orleans Resort

After a delicious dinner of burgers and (homemade) baked beans, Cady and I tried our hand at Banana Foster (with Angel Food Cake & Vanilla Ice Cream) from Disney's Port Orlean's Resort - Riverside.  This yummy dish is served in Boatwright's Dining Hall.  (From Resort of the Week post: "[Riverside & French Quarter] share a table-service restaurant, Boatwright's Dining Hall, which is located at Riverside.  It features American southern cuisine and is modeled after a wooden shipyard.  It is only open for dinner from 5:00 to 10:00.")

It's pretty easy to make if you buy Angel Food Cake, which we did and which the recipe suggests.  (Although I know Disney does not do that!)  I messed up on the first round of the Foster sauce, burning the brown sugar because it wasn't hot enough.  But the second round was a success.  I did make candy in round one, though!

I found this recipe in Delicous Disney Desserts, of course.  I need to try something from my other Disney cookbook!

  • Angel food cake, for serving
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  • 6 fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Bananas Foster Sauce

  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons banana liqueur
  • 1/4 cup dark rum

Cut bananas in 1-inch pieces.  Top with 2 tablespoons water and set aside.  Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add sugar and cinnamon and cook, stirring until sugar is almost dissolved, about 2 minutes.  Add banana liqueur (mixture will bubble).  Carefully add the rum; the alcohol will flame on its own, then die down.  Add bananas and water to skillet, turning bananas with a spoon as the liquid caramelizes.  Remove from heat and keep warm.

For mint simple syrup:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Puree the mint in the blender.  Bring water to a boil in a small, heavy-bottomed pot.  Add mint and steep for 10 minutes.  Pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer.  Keep the water, discard the mint.  Bring the mint water back to a boil and add the sugar, boiling about 3 minutes until clear and reduced to a thin syrup.

To serve: 

Place 2 slices of angel food cake in a generous serving bowl.  Add a scoop of wanilla ice cream to the side.  Pour bananas Foster sauce over the angel food cake.  Drizzle mint syrup over ice cream; garnish ice cream with a sprig of mint.

Cook's Note: Store-bought angel food cake makes this a super-easy way to impress dinner guests.  The hot, sugary bananas Foster gets an extra kick from the fresh mint simple syrup that is drizzled on the ice cream.

Cady and I cheated on the mint simple syrup.  We used 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar and made the syrup and then added chopped mint leaves and let it steep for 10 minutes. 

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