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Cats Archives - Kohler Created

Smelling the flowers

By | Cats, Funny | One Comment

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I had just gotten home from the gym this morning when Felix meandered in, hoping for a snack. I looked down and immediately noticed a big splotch of yellow on his back. I immediately thought “great, one of rotten pups has finally peed on Felix.” I knelt down, picked him up to carry him to the sink, but stopped when I smelled…flowers?

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It took me a few minutes to realize that he’d been smelling and rubbing his whole body in my anniversary flowers from Neil and that he had not in fact been R. Kelly’d by the dogs. Cats live such a charmed life.

White Bean and Garlic Dip and the Yucky Side of Moving…

By | Appetizers, Cats, Recipes, Relocation, Vegetarian | 6 Comments

Poor pup

Clive looks as if he’s pleading for you to take him away from us. I can’t say that I blame him. The boxes have completely taken over the house and it’s stressing poor Clive out. The cats on the other hand love it, and every box has dents in the middle where the cats have jumped and laid on them.

Felix is ready for Project Food Blog!

They also enjoy climbing into everything. Apparently Felix is ready for Project Food Blog 2011? I hope our moving help appreciate fur with their cold beverages.

Chaos

The only area that isn’t completely covered in boxes is the “office,” and it’s only because we’re working right until we have to carry the couch out. I feel like we’ve been trapped in this tiny pocket of the house, and it’s starting to get a little claustrophobic. Everything that isn’t getting packed is also collecting on the table and that’s not helping matters any.

Clutter

Here is the front room. The boxes were originally a lot higher, but it was freaking Clive out so we’ve moved most of them to the bedrooms for now. I really thought we were minimalists until I started packing. Now I’m not so sure. I feel like I should have done more purging, but I don’t know what else I would have gotten rid of?

White Bean and Garlic Dip

White Bean and Garlic Dip

Another easy weeknight meal we put together yesterday, Soup and bread with White Bean and Garlic Dip. We’ve been living mostly on our soup stock and had picked up a baguette on markdown from the grocery store. I came across this recipe a few days ago and knew that the ingredients were just hanging out in the pantry, waiting to be packed into boxes.

White Bean and Garlic Dip

It’s as easy as mashing the beans adding the other ingredients and stirring. As I’ve packed up nearly everything in the kitchen, I did it with a ladle. It’s super creamy and the perfect complement to toasty bread or crunchy veggies.

Tonight and tomorrow we’ll finish packing and tying up loose ends with work and then it’s off to move to our new (to us) home! I can’t wait to show you more pictures and I hope to post them before we lose internet for a day or two. Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Neil’s “Bun for One”

By | Cats, Clive, Neil, Recipes, Vietnamese | 2 Comments

Neil's "Bun for One"

After yesterday’s post, Neil and I decided to throw together dinner from whatever we could find in the pantry. While I came up with a salad of greens, fruit and nuts with raspberry dressing, Neil whipped up his own quickened version of Bun Cha Gio (say that ten times fast) for one, lovingly now renamed “Bun for One.”

If you missed our post on Bun Thit Nuong, you should know Bun is just about Neil’s favorite food in the world, next to hot wings and deviled eggs. Random right? To make it at home is quite a laborious, time-intensive process, but ever the culinary whiz, Neil managed to make a simplified version that you can easily have ready in about 20 minutes!

Ingredients:

For the salad:
1 cup julienned carrot and cucumber
2 cups prepared rice vermicelli noodles (directions here)
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
2 egg rolls

For the sauce (Nuoc Cham):
4 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup water
1-2tbsp chili sauce (sweet if desired, to taste)
1tsp rice vinegar (optional)

Directions:

1. Mix all Nuoc Cham ingredients into a small pot on med-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Throw in some additional chopped carrots if desired. Set aside and refrigerate. It will store for 1-2 days and can be made in advance.

2. To serve, pour Nuoc Cham over bowl of prepped salad ingredients and top with Sriracha sauce, and/or hoisin sauce to taste. Line outer ring of salad with sliced or chopped egg rolls and eat!

Sorry I didn’t snap more photos. One minute Neil was julienning carrots, and by the time I turned around again he was ready to eat. We also caught Felix and Clive co-conspiring AGAIN last night, this time for a leftover egg roll. My egg roll of course. How do they do it!?

Our Healthified Thanksgiving Feasties

By | Cats, Clive, Holidays, Thanksgiving | 6 Comments

We had an incredible Thanksgiving down in Springfield with Neil’s family. Three wonderful days in the country with little connection to the outside world. Even though we are active bloggers, we value the precious little time we get off  and really took the holiday as a time-out for ourselves. We made no new blog posts, took no work with us, and instead pooled our hours into some much needed self-indulgence. We read books, watched movies, played video games and spent hours warming couches and cuddling with Clive and the cats. We also walked the many trails Neil’s dad has made on the property. So while you didn’t see any last-minute Thanksgiving food posts or some early Christmas cookies out of us, know that we are refreshed and ready to hit December running!

And now, on to our holiday! We had an awesome feast, all healthy recipes we kind of made up as we went along. The turkey was local, organic  and free-range that Neil’s mom got from someone who raises them, and it was perfectly smoked by Neil’s brother Ben. We had tons of sides and lots of fresh fruits and veggies to snack on. A perfect feast with a little something for everyone.

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Neil’s cousin Austin made his first latticed Apple Pie for Thanksgiving!

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It’s a skill every teenage boy should master don’t you think?

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Ladies, Austin is single and can lattice!

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A close-up just in case you weren’t already convinced.

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Deb’s baked sweet potato balls. I’m making them this weekend to share with you!

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My cranberry-orange sauce.

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I love watching cranberries pop!

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Working on my cranberry-artichoke stuffing…

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Our Thanksgiving Turkey, perfectly smoked by Neil’s brother Ben.

Red Wine Gravy

Neil’s Red Wine Gravy, perfect as always!

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My corn and herbed mashed red potatoes, carefully atop every black-Friday ad.

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Deb’s cayenne and smoked paprika deviled eggs, Neil’s favorite.

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The guts of my cranberry-artichoke stuffing.

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Sliced Turkey.

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Fresh cold weather garden slaw. I just love the color.

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The finished cranberry-artichoke stuffing.

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Deb’s all-veggie stuffing. Mine had chicken stock.

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Freshly washed green beans in an antique collander.

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Neil’s mom does the snapping because she does it lightning fast.

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Fresh veggies for snacking.

My Plate

My heaping plate. Hey, it only happens once a year!

Ben's plate

Neil’s brother Ben ate the leg. It looked so funny on the plate I had to take a picture! I was actually kind of jealous, it looked really good.

Austin

The required picture of Austin for his dad.

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Clive wore himself out just watching us cook.

Dessert

The desserts! Apple Pie and Neil’s mom’s super special rum cake. Special meaning she puts the rum in after the cake is baked.

My Father-in-Law's first photobomb

Neil’s dad’s first photobomb.

While we were cooking and eating, it actually started snowing, so we went outside to play after dinner with our cameras. Austin took these incredible shots. I’m envious of his lens collection!

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Snow, snow SNOW!

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ice covered all the branches…

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…some with leaves still on them.

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Grass poking through the snow.

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Clive looking out over the yard. It was his first snow and he loved it, despite loving neither wet or cold. His hypocrisy knows no bounds.

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Mimi from a perch.

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A shot of Lucy taking a sun nap on the porch.

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Perfect little crystallized flakes.

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A shot of Neil from the trails.

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A view of the setting sun from the front porch.

It was a perfect holiday that like so many are gone before you realize it. Before we knew it, it was Saturday and we were driving home to a mounting pile of emails and work. Ah well, Christmas is only a few weeks away right? Thanks again to Austin for taking all the wonderful photos for us to share!

How did you spend Thanksgiving 2010? Did you succumb to the turkey sleeps? Spend time outdoors?

Grilling in the Fall: BBQ Chicken Pizza

By | BBQ, Cats, Food, Kitchen, Main Courses, Recipes | 5 Comments

BBQ Chicken Pizza

As you may have heard, we did not make it to Challenge #5 of Project Food Blog. We had a lot of fun, but we were kind of relieved to get out when we did. Our life is insanely busy enough, and the race to get a contest-worthy post done on the weekend was leaving us with very little weekend leftover and time to relax. We did however get a nifty little cooler out of the deal though, so at least we did something right–right?

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Kind of dorky, but it does have a bottle opener, so at least that’s added function right? For now it has been claimed as Felix’s new bed. I swear that cat has more beds than the Queen of England.

All in all we really did have a great time participating in the contest. We met lots of new people, tried a lot of new recipes, and if the contest comes around again next year, hopefully we’ll have a revamped site and more time. Okay maybe just a revamped site.

Murdered Out Grill

Our murdered out $30 cheapo grill

By the time we found out we hadn’t made it to the next round, we had already planned out our entry for Challenge #5, which was to put our own spin on pizza. I had an elaborate steak and pesto recipe worked up (Neil has been craving steak since he never gets it), but when we found out we didn’t make it, I decided to use some of our frozen organic chicken for a simple Fall BBQ Chicken Pizza on the grill, something we’ve been meaning to try forever!

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
Two batches of our dough from La Pizza Margherita Kohler

For the Pizza:
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup spicy barbecue sauce, divided
1/2 cup slivered red onion
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (we added a little leftover Colby Jack)

Directions:

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1. First, we grilled the chicken. Cook 3-5 min each side, or to 160 degrees with a meat thermometer.

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2. We then sliced the chicken into thin strips.

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We grabbed our favorite sauce…YUM!

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Artistic shot. Look how it glistens in the setting sun…

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3. Drizzle some of the sauce over the chicken and stir to coat. You’ll need the remainder of the sauce for a thin layer on your crust.

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Meanwhile you can shred your cheese and slice your red onion. Check out our leaning tower of cheese!

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This dough is ready to roll!

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4. Punch and roll out your dough and create a dipped edge to hold your toppings. We chose to use a pizza stone, but you can also grill the dough right on the grill grate. Here’s a great tutorial via

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5. Grilled the crust plain for five minutes, then start with your toppings. We started with a thin layer of BBQ sauce:

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then we added a layer of red onion…

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…then a thin layer of cheese…

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then our BBQ chicken and a little more cheese.

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6. Grill pizza for 10 minutes. Depending on the temperature of the grill this may vary, so it’s best to keep an eye on it. When it’s finished, carefully remove from grill by transferring it to another surface/dish. Do NOT attempt to remove it on the stone, it will be very HOT.

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7. Allow the pizza to cool for several minutes. Add additional seasonings of your choice and slice and eat!

We’d been meaning to try pizza on the grill all summer, and I’m happy we finally got around to it, as it’s just another cool thing for us to eat, albeit when the temperatures are warm enough and we have enough time to grill. I know for most it’s not groundbreaking, but it’s new to us, and now that we’ve tried it we of course have tons of ideas of toppings and crust flavors to try. So many of these techniques used to be so intimidating, but the possibilities really are endless and with each one you master, the floodgates seem to open up with even more things to try. Our time spent in the kitchen is starting to become like episodes of Mythbusters. Can these newbs grill pizza? YES! Will the new flavor of spring rolls we try tonight be delicious? Find out tomorrow!

National Dog Day

By | Cats, Clive | 4 Comments

Hello Sir

Souvenir T-shirt

Clive's Montana Shirt

In honor of National Dog Day, I thought I’d post pictures of Clive’s latest wardrobe addition, a t-shirt we picked up from Glacier Nat’l Park last month. It’s a toddler t-shirt, which is why it fits so funky, but he doesn’t mind. He likes wearing clothes. He struts around the house like he’s one of us cool humans (ha!) and doesn’t understand why he can’t wear them on his pee walks where everyone can see how cool he looks.

Dogs are a completely different type of pet than I’m used to. I’ve always had cats and while I love them, their fierce independence seemingly leaves you always trying to earn their respect. Libby barely acknowledged me for the first three years she lived with me and when she finally jumped into bed with me one night, I nearly burst into tears. Dogs on the other hand just want to love you from the get go, which is why I’m so hard-pressed to understand how some people treat them the way they do. Someone abandoned Clive. Took his desire just to love and be loyal and threw it away. I can’t fathom it, but I’m so happy he’s with us now and I hope we can give him an back an iota of what he’s given us.

Our Fourth of July Weekend

By | Cats, Clive, Crafts, DIY, Holiday | No Comments

Yellow Paint

Paint!? Okay, let me explain. This weekend we got a lesson in making plans. Sometimes the plans you make are not the plans that happen. Sometimes what you think is cement is water, and all you can do is make the best with what you’ve got. Our original plans to head south to Springfield for the fourth were dashed sometime Friday morning, and while initially we were bummed and a little disappointed, it didn’t take us long to be totally alright with the idea of staying home and getting a few things done. I mean, we did just go to MN, and camping the weekend before, and have one of our best friends get married the weekend before that.  It’s hard trying to get it all done during the week, and we have more than a few projects that have been shoved aside because we just haven’t been able to fit them all in.

Yellow Paint

The first project we tackled was repainting the front door for the landlord. A few weeks ago, in the middle of Anja’s wedding weekend actually, the original hardware (the house was built in ’56) broke, locking us out of the house. Neil had to bravely kick it in ninja-style. It was actually pretty hot, won’t lie. The new handle is smaller, and the door needed a new coat of paint to cover up the gaps and just give it an overall facelift. I kept the yellow but warmed it up to a shade that matches the beautiful coneflowers on the side of our house. Isn’t that an awesome taping job?

Clive behind baby bars

Clive wasn’t so keen on being behind the baby gate while something was going on at the front door. The cats weren’t either and were more than pests trying to get at the paint. Felix walked into the kitchen an hour after I finished with a bright yellow streak on his back, a la Looney Tunes, and I had to go back and scrape and repaint.

Our sawhorse table progress

Our sawhorse table progress

Our sawhorse table progress

Another project we’ve been talking about for ages is building a portable table for freelance and crafting. With all the freelance we’ve had lately, we needed a war room-like table to work through project details and collaborate more closely where we could have multiple computers close together. We’d been lusting after sawhorse tables because they are portable and easy to assemble without being an unsightly plastic fold-up. Like total pros we marched into Lowe’s and spent the next hour and a half measuring, second-guessing, and having all the wood cut. Hey, we’re still learning! Needless to say, we ended up buying a table saw too. The whole project was fairly inexpensive though, and the table is awesome (I’ll get some finished living room shots today).

All this hard work, definitely necessitated some reward:

Neil's Brew

One of our local grocery store has a fairly decent “Pick 6” option on beers. Sure, it’ll cost you more than buying a full 6 or 12 (or 24 pack) of the other stuff, but having a little variety is nice. I have a feeling this will become a regular treat of ours. I think Leinenkugel Berry Weiss is a new love of mine.

Speaking of love, isn’t summer produce season awesome!? Check out my booty from our Ag research farm:

Zucchini and Squash

HUGE zucchini and squash. Knowing the zucchini would be enough to handle, I gave the squash to my parents. You’ll have to see the bounty of the zucchini harvest this afternoon in my next post. It’s ongoing too, still have 1/3 of the zucchini left! We also harvested the first half of the carrots:

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All in all a great weekend. We got a lot done and did have some good fun. I love my new table and the door looks 10x better with a fresh new coat of paint and new doormat. We were able to make it Anja and Steve’s “Screamin’ Eagle Fourth of July BBQ” and had a near front row seat on the fireworks. It feels weird going to parties and having most if not all of the girls your age bringing babies. It’s a weird new time, and I’m not probably as graceful adjusting to it as I should be, but I’m going to make a better effort to be graceful about it so I don’t drive Neil bananas. I just thought there’d be more time (read: fun) before all this started?

Did you have a jawsome Fourth of July?

Clive + Lifejacket

By | Camping, Cats, Clive, Dogs | 2 Comments

Clive + Lifejacket

Clive + Lifejacket

Clive + Lifejacket

Clive is going on his first camping trip this weekend. We’re headed to Truman Lake near Lake of the Ozarks for a weekend with the family. Since we haven’t seen him swim yet, we’re erring on the side of caution and making him wear a life jacket we picked up from our favorite pet haven Lizzi & Rocco’s. While we were snapping pics, Felix got curious and decided to check out his brother’s new wares. It took two months, but Felix is finally starting to warm up to Clive.