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Archive for the ‘Cats & Fosters’ Category

If you’re looking for an alternative to using a bottle of manufactured barbecue sauce, I highly recommend this recipe. Now, here is the disclaimer:

If you really like spicy foods, make the original recipe at Elly Says Opa. If you’re a wimp like me, make the version I’ve adapted below 🙂

The only other thing that we noticed was that this had a lot of liquid, even after cooking with the lid off for an hour or so. It was impossible to put on a bun, so we ended up having it over rice. Elly didn’t seem to have that problem, so maybe it had to do with the brands of ingredients we used. Who knows. If there is too much liquid, you can always strain it and reserve the extra sauce for adding back later if you like.

All of that said, I loved the flavor of this dish. JW liked it too because it wasn’t overly sweet like most bottled barbecue sauces. So we will definitely make it again … just with a little less heat next time 🙂

Crock Pot Pulled Chicken (Original recipe here)

  • 1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. honey
  • 1.5 Tbsp. smoked paprika (I used regular paprika)
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 3 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts (I used a combination)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced in half circles
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Whisk together the first 9 ingredients (through chili powder).  Spray your slowcooker lightly with oil and then place the chicken inside. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Scatter the onions and garlic evenly over the top, and then pour the barbecue sauce over the top.

Cook on low for 5-9 hours. Shred the chicken with two forks and, if desired, continue to cook for a little bit with the lid off to allow mixture to thicken (can strain liquid if necessary). Serve on buns or over rice.

We have been having lots of fun with Blade, our greyhound foster. Getting him up in the morning is sometimes like having a teenager. We practically have to drag that boy out of bed so he can go on his morning walk. I find it hilariously funny. That said, I’m sure he would come running out of bed if we so much as touched the bag of dog food 🙂

He’s becoming much more comfortable and enjoys lying on his bed with legs splayed out everywhere. I’ve begun cuddling with him in the evenings if we’re watching a movie (which is almost always). He is quick to curl up beside me on his bed and lay his head in my lap for petting. AND JW taught him to lay down on command! He is still energetic (for a greyhound, which doesn’t say much) and mischievous and loves his toys and food.

Some recent pictures:

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I haven’t cooked a whole lot this week. Sunday, as you know, was Valentine’s Day, and JW was super sweet and made dinner for me that evening – fettucini with peppers, onions, and Italian sausage. It was great.

Sunday evening I started feeling a little under the weather and woke up sick on Monday. So JW informed me he would be making dinner that evening as well, and did a fantastic job with a chile verde beef and black bean dish. I considered playing the sick card a while longer but decided he’d probably done more than enough 🙂

The rest of the week I made some pretty generic things… you know, lasagna and the like – so there hasn’t been much to post about.

Except that we have been busy with these little cuties:

In addition, guess who else is coming to visit again for a while?

That’s right…

Mr. Blade 🙂

Poor guy was adopted and brought back, and is not doing too well at the kennel so he’s going to come over and spend some time with us again. The cats are not too thrilled.

So we’re about to have a very full house!!

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JW has started a workout regime with a coworker of his who used to manage an LA Fitness. So lately he’s been asking for some healthier meals. I usually cook on the healthy side anyway, but I’ve tried to find some new things that are low in fat, sodium, and calories. This Mexican dish from Elly Says Opa (who adapted it from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless) fell perfectly into that category. It incorporates a lot of chili powder, which gives it a great flavor boost.

I highly recommend this recipe if you’re looking for something good, filling, healthy, and flavorful. It has a few steps, but is really very simple. You can eat it on its own, but we chose to make a stack-up taco salad of sorts, with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and guacamole.

Red Chile Chicken and Rice with Black Beans

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1.25-1.5 lbs. total)
  • 2.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder, divided
  • 1 medium onion, large dice
  • 1 cup rice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed before chopping (OR 1/3 cup cilantro OR 2-3 Tbsp. epazote or hoja santa)

Heat the oil in a medium-large heavy pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt and 1 Tbsp. of the ancho chili powder. Place the chicken in the hot oil and brown on each side, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible.

Add the onion and rice to the pot. Stir for several minutes, until the rice turns from translucent to opaque. Add the garlic and the remaining 1.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder. Cook one minute, and then add the broth and salt to taste. Stir well. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken breast into 1″ pieces.  Add them to the pot along with the beans. Re-cover and cook 12 minutes longer.

Sprinkle the green onions and test a kernel of rice.  It should  have no more than a hint of chalkiness at in the center, in which case you place the cover back on, remove it from the heat and let it stand 5-10 minutes.  If it’s not cooked, cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve with salsa for each person to spoon on al gusto.

In other news, Blade went back to the kennel and we picked up some foster puppies that we have named Melbourne and Diesel. They are about 8 weeks old now and once we’re through treating them for one or two things, they’ll be ready for adoption. The tentative bring-back date is Wednesday, but I’m skeptical that they’ll be ready by then. This is our first time puppy fostering, and although it’s a different kind of experience, it’s really not been too difficult – and not nearly as messy as I expected! Wood laminate floors help a ton 🙂

Plus these boys are super-cuddlers so they really steal your heart away. That helps a ton too.

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We say goodbye to Anzi tomorrow. We’ve loved having her in our lives for these 2 1/2 weeks. She is such a sweet, gentle girl. We wish her the best, and hope she finds an adoptive home soon!

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Yes, her eyes really glow like that.

No, not really 😉

On a different note, last night’s dinner was fantastic! Peppercorn-crusted pork tenderloin, roasted asparagus and potato slices, and – in the true spirit of Fall – these pumpkin yeast rolls, which would look stunning on a Thanksgiving table.

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We really only had pork tenderloin because as it turns out, the pork loin I thought was on sale was in fact not on sale, and I had to pick something else up quick. A little pricier per pound than I like to pay, but this time I didn’t mind.

Don’t expect pumpkin flavor in these rolls; the pumpkin is there primarily for color, and probably for moisture as well. But they’re not difficult to make, and if you’re looking for a beautiful presentation and some good dinner rolls, don’t hesitate to give these a try!

Shaping these rolls involves rolling out a few large circles of dough, slicing into 8 pieces, and rolling up into a crescent. This makes very large rolls. Next time I will either divide the dough into more circles before cutting, or cut each one into a few more pieces, so the rolls are smaller.

Pumpkin Yeast Rolls (Original here – I halved it to make 16 rolls, but I’ve included the full recipe below)

  • 2 pkgs active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (optional)

Dissolve yeast in warm water and stir in sugar, salt, 1/2 cup butter, pumpkin and eggs. Add 3 cups of the flour and beat well. Stir in enough additional flour to make dough easy to handle. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, covered, and allow to double in size.

Punch down, and divide into 4 parts, rolling each into a 12-inch circle. Spread with 1/4 cup butter if desired. Cut into 8 wedges. Roll up each wedge beginning at wide edge. Place on greased sheet and allow to rise.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15-20 minutes.

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This dough begs to be wrapped around sausage, kolache-style, which I’d like to try sometime. I’ll bet you could also make some kick-butt pumpkin cinnamon rolls from this dough. Oh yum…

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Meet Anzi!

Introducing Anzi, our newest temporary member of the family:

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Anzi is a greyhound, and as you can see from the pictures in this post, it is very difficult to get a picture of her with her eyes open 🙂

Greyhounds. Sleep. A. Lot. 16-18 hours a day, to be exact.

I fell in love with greyhounds when I was about 14 or so. JW and I were finally approved to be a foster home for Greyhound Pets of America this year, and so this is our first chance to welcome a grey into our home. And what a doll she is!

Anzi has beautiful manners in the house, and loves to be rubbed and petted. She lives for her walks and gets so excited when she sees the leash that she literally starts to prance. And of course, in her spare time (which is most of the time), she flops down on her big ol’ comfy bed and veges out.

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She follows me around the house from room to room, and if I disappear around a corner, she comes to find me. And she sleeps soundly through the night on her own bed in our room – a huge blessing!

The cats are less than thrilled, but they’re warming up to her. They don’t go crazy over her, but they don’t run from her anymore either. It’s kind of like, “let’s mutually ignore each other, k?” Works for me.

We have Anzi for two weeks (about a week and a half now), so it will be interesting to get to know her and see her personality develop! It’s been lots of fun so far.

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UPDATE: Daphne’s potential adopter canceled at the last minute, so we will have her for another couple days… this is getting dangerous. Y’all can start placing bets now on whether or not we’ll still just claim two cats as our own when this is all over.


Daphne is going to be adopted this evening, and we’re very depressed that she’ll be leaving us excited to see her going to a good home. She has been a dream kitten. She is incredibly cuddly, trusting, adorable, and sweet.

Daphne also falls asleep frequently and occasionally in odd places or positions, and she sleeps like a rock. The video below was taken last night. We were watching a movie, and JW was doing this with her legs, and I made him stop the movie and turn on the lights so I could video it. It cracks me up every time I watch it. Hilarious.

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Sweet Baby

We adopted out all five of the kittens we acquired from the gentleman and his daughter moving to New Hampshire. We have gotten several emails from the adopters telling us how great the kittens are doing, and how much they love them. It’s a wonderful feeling!

We still have Loco, the mother cat, who will be spayed and put up for adoption in mid-August, and just last week this new little baby fell into our laps:

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We’ve named her Daphne. Some friends of ours found her in their car engine, covered in grease and fleas. They cleaned her up and kept her until we could take her in. Isn’t she darling?!

Look at this gorgeous coat:

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Daphne is amazing. She plays like crazy, loves the other cats (the feeling is not quite mutual), and snores when she sleeps (not kidding). I’m going to have to force myself to get this one adopted soon before I cave.

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