Who Shrunk My Cats?


I’ve been a cat person my whole life. I never had a desire to get a dog, I didn’t even like dogs. In fact, I used to be pretty afraid of dogs. One of the first dogs I ever encountered in life lived at my grandparents’ house and had been my mom’s family pet. His name was Coffee, and he didn’t like kids. No worries, I didn’t like him much either. Although I did find it amusing when he once had diarrhea in the house and made a poop shaped like a tuna can.  Apologies to everyone else who really loved him.

Anyway, I’m convinced that I didn’t like dogs for the majority of my life because of my early experiences with Coffee. But I LOVED my cats. One of them used to sleep in my crib when I was a baby, and I have early memories of waking up early with my sister, stealing bagels from the freezer, and letting our cats lick them along with us as we watched TV in the basement.


I also have great memories of the current family cats. After being away from them and my home for so long, I had big plans to get a little kitty of my own. But then my boyfriend, David, started talking about dogs. Oh no. And we babysat a devilish cat that bit our faces when we were trying to sleep. And David’s family members started giving me cards with dogs on them for every holiday and occasion for at least a year.


And then I agreed to get a dog. I’m so lucky it turned out to be Stella! But the first time I visited Muffin (my true love), Mango, and Greasey (meh) after spending so much time with Stella, seeing them again was totally jarring.

I ran into the house and up the stairs to find my beloved Muffin, but I stopped short when I saw her. I stared at her for a few seconds as she looked back at me before I screamed, “What did you do to Muffin?” No one had any idea what I was talking about. “Muffin’s head,” I yelled, “her head is smaller, and her ears!”

Everyone asserts that the cats are exactly the same as they’ve always been. And they do have the same personalities. But every time I’ve seen them since, my first reaction is that they have such tiny ears. The most likely theory about their change is one that I like to call the Stella effect. Because Stella’s head is so much bigger than theirs, especially her nose and ears, it’s possible that the cats just look abnormally small by comparison. Strangely, other people’s cats still look totally normal.

stella looking like a donkey

Still, perception is reality, and it’s amazing how quickly my perspective has changed.

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This Ice Cream Is Totally Bananas- and Nothing Else!

One of my most exciting recent discoveries is that it’s possible to make ice cream out of bananas and nothing else. It’s such a fun and healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Trust me, my sweet tooth is ravenous! I’ve experimented with a few different ways to make this ice cream, and I’ve come up with two methods that work well depending on your kitchen equipment, ability to plan ahead, and desire for instant gratification.

If you want instant gratification and are able to plan ahead by keeping peeled, frozen bananas on hand, then you can make the ice cream pictured above. Just put four parts frozen banana and one part fresh banana in a blender and turn it on. Ta da…banana ice cream! You can make this version in a food processor, but it ends up full of air bubbles and takes on a whipped consistency that will make you burp unattractively.

The second method for making banana ice cream involves blending fresh bananas and then freezing them. This technique works well in a food processor (and I’m sure it would work well in a blender too) because the bananas don’t hold any air.

Whatever method you choose, you should experiment by flavoring your ice cream. I’m a big fan of adding cocoa powder because chocolate and bananas are a match made in heaven. Peanut butter would also be delicious. Or peanut butter and chocolate! Drool…

Pour your mixture into a freezer-safe container and put it in the freezer until it solidifies.

This version of banana ice cream turns out more like a frozen water ice. It’s not as pretty, but it’s as equally satisfying. I also bet that if you stir the bananas around every hour as they freeze like you would with a granita, they would take on a really nice, flaky, snow cone-like quality. Keep a stash of this special treat in your freezer for the sweltering summer days that are sure to sneak up on us soon.

I referred to this recipe while perfecting my banana ice cream: Whole Foods

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Homemade Peanut Butter- Updated

Ever since I saw stations to make your own nut butters start popping up in supermarkets like Safeway and Whole Foods, I knew it was something I had to try at home. And you should try it too because nut butters are really fun to make! Making nut butter at home gives you control over the ingredients that are added, and it gives you the freedom to experiment with different types of nuts and flavors. But this post focuses on making plain, all-natural peanut butter. And you only need one ingredient…PEANUTS!

The first step to making any nut butter is to toast your nuts in a pan over medium heat or in the oven. This step brings out their oils and makes your butter extra flavorful. Be sure to toss the nuts frequently so they don’t burn. Your peanuts are toasted when they take on a golden color and you can smell their nutty goodness. I have a fool-proof rule for knowing when food is done cooking: The Nose Knows! And my nose knew when my nuts were toasted because my apartment started smelling like a circus, minus the elephant poo. Then, put your nuts in a food processor, and turn it on.

It takes a while for the food processor to turn peanuts into peanut butter.  After about 30 seconds, your peanuts should be broken into small crumbs.

After about 30 more seconds, your nut crumbs should start clumping together. If your nuts are still warm from being toasted, then you’ll get the most wonderful wafting scent whenever you open the food processor to check on their progress. You should also take the time to scrape the sides and bottom of your food processor to make sure all the nut crumbs are exposed to the blade.

30 more seconds and your nuts should start forming a ball. It’s taking an amazing amount of restraint to keep from blurting out the joke that is begging to be written.

Finally, after all that processing, your nut ball should melt into creamy peanut butter without oil or anything else added! I’ve made cashew and almond butters before, but I found that those nuts don’t contain enough natural oil to form butters on their own. To get the desired consistency, you have to slowly drizzle in some neutral tasting oil until the butter takes the form you want. You can also use this method to make cashew, almond, and other nut butters, but because they contain less oil than peanuts, you have to process them for a longer time. For example, it took about 5 minutes of processing to make a recent batch of almond butter- SO DELICIOUS! With all nut butters, however, you should experiment with adding different flavor components like salt, cocoa powder, or jam. I made a particularly good batch of cashew butter with a dollop of orange marmalade.

After your nut butter is finished processing, transfer it to an air-tight container and store it in the fridge. Last but not least, let your favorite pup lick your spatula clean…

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