Meanwhile, as constitutional scholars testify that Trump should be impeached, fire alarms sound at the White House. pic.twitter.com/3sfCQfMnca
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) December 4, 2019
More impeachment open thread.
TaMara has been a Balloon Juice writer since 2015.
Two weeks of testimony.
— House Democrats (@HouseDemocrats) December 3, 2019
Sounds like we are going to get the impeachment inquiry report today. So buckle up, buttercup.
I shared warm wishes with my friends and family on FB yesterday and one slip of the keyboard and suddenly things went awry:
The hazard of having ducks. One slip of the finger and suddenly instead of texting someone ducks pictures, you’re sending them dick pix.
Also, my saga of Google Home adventures continues.
I’m not sure, but I think Google Home is going to go to HR about me.Me: When’s the snow going to stop? (desperation in my voice)GH John Legend voice: According to the NWS, snow showers will end by 4 pmMe: (excited and grateful) Thanks, babe!GH John Legend voice: Anytime. And you can call me google assistant.😳
Bonus Scout (she seems to have ennui):
It’s finally stopped snowing. Boulder got two feet, luckily we got a little less, but it still took me most of the day to get the driveway and sidewalks shoveled. I miss my old neighbor who would surprise me by shoveling the sidewalks, “so Bixby had a safe place to walk.” I still have to email his photos of the pups since he moved away.
On to the main attraction. WereBear has been sweet enough to share her new kittens with us once again. And at her suggestion, my cats are probably getting a ceramic water fountain for the holiday.
Take it away WereBear
We have been blessed with a couple of extraordinary kittens. I know I’m biased as a proud Pet Parent, but it’s true. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were approximately 3.5 months old when we adopted them from a feral colony rescue operation.
They are six months old now, moving into teenager territory right on schedule. For a couple of cats who are Alpha Cat Type, that is. They always put the pedal to the metal.
My system of three cat types, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, was inspired by the classic science fiction novel Brave New World. But I’m not programming people from birth to “fit” into their designated social stratum. I’m recognizing the genetic inheritance of cats from three main branches of of the different breeds. Alpha = Siamese, and all the delightful Asian continent cats who followed.
Bud and Lou
As I learned to my chagrin, Siamese and their mixes mature early. They are long, lean, high energy cats. As kittens they are pot-belled, bat-eared, gazelle hybrids. As seen in my nickname Monkey Cats, they are also paws-on. They like to act on the environment directly, and are serenely confident in their ability to do so.
We already had an Alpha Cat Type, the nine year old “failed foster,” Sir Tristan, Lord of Pickledish, Duke of Gherkin. From above, teen cat Tristan looked like a dill pickle spear, and the nicknames flowed from there. He is one wild cat, and I’m not talking about only his personality. He has stripes, spots, and ticking (the white tips) which can come and go like frost on a windowpane as fur grows out and starts over. I think Alpha Cat Types are the original issue, since they often so closely resemble their African wildcat ancestors.
Bud and Lou already love to play his favorite Cat Tree Games. This will only ramp up as the kittens grow in power. They have already made Mr WayofCats charge up his cordless drill to fix the cat tree they tipped over. The others are already screwed into the sub-flooring, through the carpet. Because Tristan grew up here, too.
I have a weakness for teen cats. They are so often misunderstood. To the casual glance, they look like already grown cats. But inside, they have the delicate feelings and mental goofiness of the babies they still are. There’s one more thing about teen cats that I wish more people knew. This is the age where they start playing Cat Poker.
Cat Poker is what I call the independence game cats play as their brains mature. As kittens, affection usually comes easily. But as adulthood starts calling, they want an egalitarian relationship. Which means they aren’t always going to come to us. They now want to take turns initiating affection.
This is often when people give up on them. As epitomized by the infamous saying, “You know the problem with kittens? They grow up to be cats.” I bristle at this. There’s nothing wrong with cats. That’s a relationship of equals, with depth and continued development. If, that is, we know how to play The Game right back.
Right now, Lou, the one with the most white, will charge at me and demand extravagant affection, with both hands petting him and mutual forehead rubbing. While he kneads and drools and makes delightful chirping and chirring noises. Bud, as the straight man, is subtle. He will insinuate himself nearer and nearer, until he gets into my lap and melts. Then I scoop up stray legs and keep him from sliding to the floor.
The next step in this most important game will likely be Bud taking even more time to drift by. He might wait for an invitation instead of leaping into my lap with such abandon he bangs his head on the bottom of the desk. (I pick him up first, now.) Lou is such a mosh pit of a kitten his Game is going to be one where he “can’t stand the suspense,” and quickly feel hurt if I don’t notice him.
If we don’t see the growing kitten as much as we used to, it might be our fault. I call this Cat Poker because we “see” their loving gestures, and then our teen cat will expect us to “raise the stakes” by seeking them out and being even more affectionate. Then, they will “see and raise” us in return.
Have we not seen our teen cat lately? It might be our turn. If we need to seek out the cat, seek out the cat.
This is the Game of Cat Love.
TaMara again. Hit the comments with your own cat questions, photos and pet brags.
I can’t tell you how much I love all of this.
ETA: Somehow the tweets disappeared:
Also L O L at them talking about how every Indian persons dog eats rice and yogurt, I am on the floor laughing
— Deepa Shivaram (@deepa_shivaram) November 26, 2019
I’m scheduling this because I could be under a foot of snow by the time it posts. Send hot chocolate.
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) November 25, 2019
Potential charges under consideration: Obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the US, making false statements to feds, failure to register as a foreign agent, hiding foreign campaign donations, straw man campaign donations, mail fraud and wire fraud.
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) November 25, 2019
This may resemble my life. Narrator: Except with ducks.
We are expecting a foot of snow tomorrow…so I have boosted the pine shavings in the duck coop, as they will probably be stuck in there most of Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. Cue pissed off waterfowl in 3…2…1
A friend and I are thinking of starting a youtube channel for the ducks. They are so freakin’ entertaining most days. Would you watch? Probably some bonus dog and cat videos.
I’m off to work…so play nice.
It’s that time of year again here in the United States, when we sit around a large table, stuff our faces and argue politics and religions. Remember, the people you piss off at Thanksgiving are people you won’t need to buy Christmas gifts for in December. 😉
In anticipation of the big day, here are the links to all the Thanksgiving recipes and my still favorite way to roast a turkey. I prepped one last night, the hour-plus cooking time takes much of the stress out of turkey roasting. My Thanksgiving is going to be a bit different this year, so I wanted to make sure I had leftover turkey.
I’m also thinking this may be this year’s Christmas Eve party menu. We’ll see. And starting in December, I’ll be posting food gift recipes, just in time for your cookie platters and tins.
This is the only way I’ve been preparing turkey since my first attempt. The only thing I changed up from that first time I prepared it, I skip the metal rack and instead place the bird on a bed of carrots, celery and onion. With the shorter cooking time, the flavor needs the boost the roasting veggies add. The brown sugar not only helps brown the skin, it also adds a yummy, unexpected flavor.
Sometimes the scariest part of the Thanksgiving Dinner is the worry that the turkey will not turn out properly – undercooked, overcooked, dry, flavorless – and ruin the whole meal. I’ve cooked in bags, roasted, braised, fried, deboned – about everything but brine. I’m not a fan of brining. And still every year I worry.
This year I decided to try removing the backbone and flattening the bird, cooking it at a high temperature for a shorter cooking time. It was pretty foolproof, stress-free, and the bird turned out great.
BTW, my recommendation is to always get two smaller birds instead of one massive bird – you’ll have a much better outcome with shorter cooking times. Not to mention not having to worry about fitting a huge bird in the oven. We usually do an oven bird, then grill, smoke or fry another.
For this recipe, a good set of poultry shears makes quick work of removing the backbone. I prepped the bird yesterday, wrapped it up and refrigerated it. This gave me time to make a nice broth from the backbone, giblets and neck last night (see notes below) and make the cranberry sauce, because it’s always better the next day.
Roasted Spatchcock Turkey
Rimmed baking sheet, rack
In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, crush together pepper, salt, sage and rosemary and add to brown sugar. Set aside.
With a sharp knife or scissors, remove the backbone of the turkey, flip over and press down on the breast bone to break and flatten. I wasn’t quite strong enough, so I turned the bird over, scored the bone, flipped it back and tried again, this time it broke easily. I then trimmed off the wing tips. See my notes below on what to do with the back and wing tips.
Place the bird flat, breast side up, on the rack in the baking sheet. Make a paste with spices and olive oil. Rub with spice mix and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Roast for 15 minutes, and then reduced temperature to 375 degrees F. Cook an additional hour or until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes (during this time the bird temperature will reach 165 degrees and thighs should be 175 degrees).
Carve and serve.
NOTES: I took the back, wing tips, neck and giblets, covered them with water and simmered them for about an hour. I then used the broth for both the stuffing and gravy. I also cooked the stuffing in the oven, in a baking dish, uncovered, with the turkey after I have turned the oven down to 375. They finished up about the same time.
This is a great technique for wood grilling or smoking. I have grilled one on my wood pellet grill and it turned out great.
More Recipes: We have a bunch, a peck, a bushel, of Thanksgiving recipes, including my favorite Upside-Down Cranberry Cake (here), No-Boil Mashed Potatoes (here), and Non-Traditional Sides (here), click on this link for all the other recipes or search by name or ingredient in the search box at the bottom of the blog.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! – TaMara
Just an FYI (shameless plug) next year there will be another seasonal cookbook featuring holiday recipes. Summer to Fall Cookbook is still available with a lot of useful menus to get you through winter.
Now it’s your turn. What are your Thanksgiving plans? What food must absolutely be on the table for your Thanksgiving dinner? What is your least favorite? And of course, share some of your favorite, super-secret family recipes!
They also had a piece on Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul pay-what-you-can restaurants. Denver has three pay-what-you-can cafes and Fort Colins has one. I believe, SAME Cafe was the first successful model.
Speaking of food… I have a Thanksgiving recipe exchange planned for this evening. So stop by and bring your favorite family secret recipes.
Respite open thread
Just a reminder there are good people out there:
Everyone, go wish Coffee well. And if you need a bump of joy, turn the sound on. https://t.co/rNaFfvZWwD
— Nibbled to Death by Cats 🔜 Pax Unplugged (@NomeDaBarbarian) November 23, 2019
because I get the insane privilege to make a living by a) getting dogs to love me and b) watching miracles happen that I helped set up.
Go wish @coffeespoonie the best. She fucking deserves it.
— Nibbled to Death by Cats 🔜 Pax Unplugged (@NomeDaBarbarian) November 23, 2019
I hope your Saturday is relaxing as Clover’s:
this is clover, she has her own disney plus account and it's the cutest thing
(four.legged.clover IG) pic.twitter.com/WRCKDNhY4R
— Humor And Animals (@humorandanimals) November 17, 2019
In other news – if you didn’t see it last night, this Great Dane pup found a new home. Not only a good home, but a very special home, not far from where he lives now. Very happy for him and his new family.
Respite open thread
Okay, here are the steps for embedding a tweet, in screenshots. Because I’ve seen at least three different directions. If this doesn’t work for you, it may be a bug.
Choose your tweet. The embed code is in the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner.
Click on the drop-down menu, choose embed tweet
Copy the embed code
In the Balloon-Juice comment box, chose TEXT tab
Copy PASTE embed code into TEXT box
You can click on the visual tab to see that it embedded correctly and then add your own comment above or below it.
I hope that helps. You can use this thread to practice, report bugs and or Open Thread.
Other notes: There will be no recipe post tonight and also, our beautiful Silver Merle Great Dane has been adopted by a family filled with kids and critters. He should be very happy.
(I’m going to sneak this in here, something to read when you get tired of debates and impeachment.)
If you’ve been wanting a Great Dane…and think you can handle a Great Dane…this might be your opportunity. This is near my extended family, so I can probably help with transport if we need to relocate him a state or two.
This is a beautiful Merle who needs a new home. Please email me if you’re interested. He’s located near Lincoln, NE. As always transport can be discussed.
He turned a year old on May 11. He’s been around young children. He has been around other dogs, geese, horses, chickens, and goats. He is still intact and will need to be neutered by 2.
For the most part, he is super well behaved. They are sad to have to put him up for adoption, but they just don’t think it’s fair to him with how busy they are and how much they are gone every day.
He’s housebroken, has had some training and has been easy to train, so expecting with more attention he’ll be a sweet family dog.
I’m going to be very picky to make sure he has the right home.
— Lisa Dickey (@LisaWritesBooks) November 18, 2019
@senatemajldr #MoscowMitch had to have a security detail to eat in a Louisville restaurant tonight. Of course, he could just meet with his constituents, rather than hide. Or he could do the work he swore he would do. Instead, the traitor spends tax money on security to hide.
— E. Wayne Schwertley (@EWayneS) November 18, 2019
We are there.
‘If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.’ Voltaire
— Harley Jean Matta (@HarleyMatta) November 16, 2019
Craig Silverman, a former chief deputy district attorney in Denver and talk-show host on the conservative 710 KNUS radio station, said he was fired mid-show Saturday after criticizing President Donald Trump.
Silverman was in the middle of a segment about Roy Cohn, Trump’s former personal attorney, when he suddenly was interrupted by network news, he told The Denver Post.
Silverman’s producer threw his hands up in the air, indicating it wasn’t him.
Instead, program director Kelly Michaels came through the door. “You’re done,” Silverman recounted Michaels as saying.
— Craig Silverman (@CraigSilverman) November 16, 2019
As predicted, yesterday was too, too crazy for a recipe thread. Trying tonight instead. It’s never too early to start thinking about holiday food trays, boxes, and bags. I have an entire section dedicated to making sweet and salty treats here.
I had to go to a funeral and wanted to take something sweet. I find chocolate helps. Lots of chocolate.
I don’t make these very often, because they are super rich and my Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies are usually enough.
They’re easy and just a touch above regular chocolate chip cookies. This is a full batch, makes about 4 dozen cookies. Great for your holiday cookie boxes.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
mixing bowl and cookie sheet
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (the lower temperature is because dark cookies can burn easily)
Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together salt, soda, flour and cocoa, then add to butter mixture, blending well. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Cool on the cooling rack.
What’s on your menu this weekend? Anyone have special requests for the Thanksgiving recipe exchange? Hit the comments to share your recipes, gift ideas, holiday requests or whatevah…