Uncategorized

The anxious bakes, Part 2: Breakfast Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

When I finished baking this morning, I thought, “I should take a break from posting pictures of my cat on Facebook and post this pizza recipe on my blog.” It was surprisingly just what I needed to feed my endless pizza cravings. Which is not held back by the lunch/dinner time boundary, by the way. (I’ve stepped up the cardio and strength training these days.)

So, I bet when you were reading the title your excitement from “Breakfast Pizza” to “Cauliflower Crust” dropped like a bar graph from some 2009 recession financial presentation. But please don’t underestimate the cauliflower. The cauliflower is small but mighty and tasty.

Breakfast Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Crust Ingredients

  • 3 cups of frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp of minced garlic
  • 2 tsp of Italian seasoning
  • 3 1/2 tbsp of coconut flour (in case you end up with soggy “dough” even after wringing)

Pizza Toppings

  • Ranch dressing (or plain nonfat yogurt with Italian seasonings)
  • Avocado (sliced or mashed)
  • 2 fried eggs, cut into half inch pieces
  • 6 slices of turkey bacon, cut into half inch pieces
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Necessary Kitchen Items

  • Food processor or blender
  • Spatula for scraping sides
  • Pizza stone
  • Parchment paper (wax paper does not go in the oven!!)
  • A thin tea towel (terry cloth towel will work, but not as well)
  • Coffee for multi-tasking before breakfast
  • A cat as sous chef who naps on the job

IMG_20160110_092511464

Directions

1.Preheat the oven at 350 degrees while you get your ingredients out. Put the frozen cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl to defrost on the counter a few minutes.

2. Line your pizza stone with parchment paper and set it aside. (You can grease it with cooking spray and skip the parchment paper, but I did that and my crust stuck to the stone. So good luck with that.)

3. After the oven is pre-heated, lay out the 6 slices of turkey bacon on a small cookie sheet and cook the turkey bacon in the oven for 10-15 minutes. After it’s cooked, set it aside.

IMG_20160110_093020723

4. If your cauliflower is still frozen, put the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Microwave it 1 more minute if it’s still icy to the touch. You don’t need to cook it, but it needs to be soft.

5. Put the defrosted cauliflower in your food processor or blender. Chop on the low setting for 30 seconds. You should chop it until it looks sort of like rice.

6. Lay your tea towel out on the counter, and dump the chopped cauliflower in a pile in the center. Gather up the ends of the towel, and wring the cauliflower in the towel over the sink. (Did your bacon timer go off?)

7. Wring the cauliflower until you can’t get anymore moisture out of it. This will ensure it forms a kind of dough with the egg. (This part is why a terry cloth towel isn’t the best. The cauliflower tends to get stuck in the terry cloth.)

Cauli_dough_wrung

8. Put the now squeezed to death cauliflower back in the food processor, and add the rest of the crust ingredients, minus the coconut flour. Chop on the low setting until you see a “dough” form, about 1 minute. If your “dough” is still too wet, add the coconut flour 1 tbsp at a time and pulse blend the mixture until it seems doughy enough.

Dough_with_seasonings

9. Once your cauliflower mixture is doughy, dump it out onto the parchment paper lined pizza stone. You can be fancy and try to spread it by using another layer of parchment paper over it, but I just mushed it with my hands.

Dough_before_cooking

10. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees and put the crust in the oven for 20 minutes. You can check it at 15 minutes if you made a thinner crust.

11. While the crust is baking, slice or mash your avocado, fry your 2 eggs and cut them up into half inch pieces, and cut your cooked turkey bacon into half inch pieces. (I like to put lemon juice and salt/pepper on my avocado.) Set the toppings aside to put on top of the crust when it’s done baking.

Toppings

12. When the crust is done, spread Ranch in a thin, even layer on top. Add your avocado, eggs, turkey bacon, and parmesan cheese. Put the pizza back in the oven for 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese.

13. As long as the cheese is melted to your liking, bon appetit!

Finished_pizza_closeupfull

(Crust recipe adapted from You Won’t Believe It’s Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe.)

Standard
Uncategorized

The anxious bakes: Apple Oat Muffins

And actually, it’s one of my most peaceful routines. Sunday mornings are so happy for me. I wake up at 8 or 9am to a warm, snuggly kitty sniffing my face and mewing at me for her breakfast. We slip out of the room together quietly to not wake the sleeping bear next to us. (It’s my boyfriend. I don’t have a pet bear or something.) I pick her up and give her kisses and ear and neck scratches.

Snoozing on last night's pizza boxes while I bake.

Snoozing on last night’s pizza boxes while I bake.

She purrs. I love to listen to her purr for a while. I lay my head on her shoulders and listen to the soft beats travel down her neck and into my ear. We have to give a little love, but by the time I’m sipping on my coffee my stomach starts to grumble. Time to feed the beast.

This morning I wanted to bake something. No biscuits or pancakes. Muffins. Apple muffins. With cinnamon. So I did a little searching and I found Apple Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins on Running With Spoons. A blog with a bit of food and a bit of health advice. I appreciate the balance.

This recipe has all the comfort and nom’yness of an apple pie, sans butter and oil. And a lot less sugar. Apple pie has its place, of course. But usually it’s not at breakfast. (Mostly because I prefer chocolate pie for breakfast, when I indulge.)

I had to modify it because I didn’t have some of the ingredients, or I was running low. I also made my own applesauce, only to discover afterward that I had a jar of apple butter in the fridge I could have used as a sub for applesauce. Oh, well. Any chance to use the food processor is not a waste.

Here is the original recipe by Amanda at Running With Spoons with my modifications in parenthesis:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain flour–(Used biscuit mix instead.)
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats–(Used 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 1 packet of maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal.)
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder–(Skipped this since it’s in the biscuit mix already.)
  • ½ tsp. baking soda–(Skipped this too for the same reason as above.)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon–(Used 2 tsp.)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt–(Used 1/2 cup of plain, non-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup of cottage cheese.)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce–(Used my own made from fresh apples.)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar–(Added 1 tsp. of agave nectar instead.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract–(Broke the glass bottle and spilled it everywhere a while ago. No vanilla today.)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated–(Used the rest of my applesauce, 1/2 cup.)
  • ½ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a muffin pan by spraying cavities with cooking spray or greasing them with oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, (if you aren’t using the biscuit mix) cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat egg in a separate bowl. Whisk in yogurt, applesauce, brown sugar (or agave nectar), vanilla (don’t break the bottle), and grated apple (or your own applesauce), stirring until well-combined.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing gently until just combined. Fold in raisins.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling almost to the top. Add a sprinkle of oats if desired.
  6. Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes, or until top is firm to the touch and toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for ~10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.”

My favorite parts of this recipe:

The smell of these while they are baking is amazing. They smell like hugs from your grandmother. Or like you stepped back into a 1950s black and white TV show. Your neighbors have an apple pie cooling on the kitchen windowsill and you can smell the hot apples and cinnamon as you walk by.

As you can see, I made quite a few changes to the recipe. Which means, 1. It’s hard to screw up, and 2. It’s a good basic recipe to keep in your books for any time you want to make muffins that are on the lighter side.

The significant other’s verdict was, “These are probably the best thing you’ve made out of all the healthy recipes you’ve experimented with.”

My least favorite parts of this recipe:

They took way longer than 20 minutes to bake. I finally had to take them out at 40 minutes so the tops wouldn’t get crispy. The middle still was a bit squishy. However, this may have been because I used a full 1 cup of applesauce, instead of 1/2 cup of applesauce and the grated apples.

Pairs nicely with,

A lack of self-control and a love of breakfast.

Thank you to Amanda at Running With Spoons for the inspiration and the delicious breakfast!

Standard
Uncategorized

Bronchitis and cat ‘roids

Ah, the sound of coughing has filled the apartment for a week now. Coughs echoing in our vaulted ceiling like the harmonies of a church piano played on an empty Tuesday evening practice. The boyfriend coughs like a 1967 Chevy pickup that won’t turn over. I cough sharp and shallow like I have something to hide. Mostly I just hate to disperse my disease upon the fresh air and out in the world. Have I expressed how much I dislike being ill? The body turns into an incubator for infectious viruses or bacteria and then proceeds to rid itself of these microbes by prompting mostly involuntary muscular reactions. You proceed to expel a gooey, brownish substance out of your nose or your lungs onto whatever unfortunate surface might be in front of you. Hope it’s tissue. God speed, my dear inanimate objects or fellow humans! Ick. How rude. And really, who has time for a common virus? Like shouldn’t we have cured this and gotten on with eradicating cancer and AIDS and whatnot? Or is Mucinex just that profitable?

It all started with a sore throat. I ignored it for four days. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I had to take my kitty to vet appointments and get to work. And do all the busy, daily, lifey things. Cook, clean the cat’s poopy box, get groceries. Clean Medea’s incision. Yes, all the running to vet appointments means her incision got infected. We left her e-collar off of her the Monday after her surgery while we were at work. She hadn’t shown much interest in the incision since we got her home, and she literally flipped out (see the barrel rolls described in my previous post) when we put the e-collar on her. She went to town on that thing, pretty much licked out all the surgical glue, while we were gone Monday.

That left a gaping slice in her underside and it didn’t take but 24 hours to get infected. I was relieved to hear from the vet on Tuesday that the stitches in her muscles were intact and the surrounding tissue was healthy. It was just a skin and fat layer infection. She got an antibiotic shot and cherry-flavored prednisolone syrup to be fed to her twice a day. And I had to clean the oozies. Oof. The oozies. With gauze or a soft towel and diluted hydrogen peroxide. She did not like. I did not like.

Meanwhile, I developed such anxiety and guilt–I had neglected to follow simple post-surgery directions and caused my cat’s infection–that I lost my appetite and ran on adrenaline and self-loathing all week. I existed on the inertia of riding down the slippery slope. I cried myself to sleep for several nights. Cats can die from infections, you know. I don’t want to wake up to see her muscles and organs spilling out on the floor. I did this to her. We should have just made her wear the cone. Just held her or distracted her until she got used to it.

All I did was make myself tired and vulnerable to sickness. And I gave it four days to get me. And it did. For about a week, I effused mucus. Trying not to cough on my cat’s belly while I cleaned the pus and dried blood off of her at 5:45 in the morning before the three days of work I managed to complete this week. Cleaning litter stuck to her incision at the end of the day, laying her across my lap and telling her how good she was being after I dragged my ass through a half-productive 8 hours of scanning disorganized and neglected paperwork. She really has handled the infection well. She gave me time to clean her when I know she was in pain, and stopped squirming when I had to restrain her between my knees to squirt kitty ‘roids in her mouth.

She handled it all better than I did. I fell apart this past week on Thursday. I came home with some ridiculous degree of fever and barely made it through a shower. The boyfriend had to make my dinner. I downed some ibuprofen and hugged a pillow. Medea napped on the floor across from me and let me give her some snuggles before bed.

I slept for 12 hours on Friday. Medea’s incision finally scabbed closed this weekend. I looked at it this morning and told her she had healed so well. Her last dose of kitty ‘roids is set for tomorrow morning. She gets her staples out this week. (She had to have part of her incision stapled. She made a little noise and that was it. I cried when we got to the car at the end of the appointment.)

Oh so glad for a long weekend and the break for Labor Day. And now I’m dried up and stir crazy. Back to scanning neglected paperwork. A lot less mucus and pus and kitty ‘roids this week.

Standard
Uncategorized

What to expect when you spay your cat…

This guide for you was inspired by all the wise and well-meaning guidance I received before Medea was spayed. I hope this guide ends any unease you may have about the procedure and its effects on your pet.

  • Your cat will undergo general anesthesia. After the surgery she may be tired and lethargic.

What really happens: Or she may go completely psycho. She will probably be so freaked out about feeling drugged and being unable to walk straight that she will stagger about the apartment for hours and look at you like you’ve completely betrayed her. She will probably be so freaked out about being unable to eat without drooling that she will latch onto your arm when you try to help her and bite and scratch the shit out of you. She will probably be so scared that your every movement is another effort to take her away and remove more organs that she will dart from corner to corner and attempt to climb the walls. And the refrigerator door.

  • To prevent your cat from licking her incisions, fasten an e-collar around her neck where her collar sits. 

What really happens: You tie it onto her neck with some gauze because it’s soft and friendly. She immediately sprints off, does barrel rolls into the laundry closet door and starts kicking the cone of shame with her back legs. She bites and scratches you when you try to untie it, so you and your significant other have to tag team it to restrain her and untie the thing.

  • Your cat will want your companionship while she recovers.

What really happens: She will attempt to climb up your back when you sit down to pet her while she lays on the floor. When you remove her, she will run off and find something else to destroy. Like the comfy bed you got her. She will slowly chew and tear pieces of it apart. She will attempt to eat the stuffing after she has gutted it. She will do this while refusing to acknowledge you when you try to distract her.

  • It is normal for her to want to sleep a lot when you bring her home after the surgery.

What really happens: She will act invincible. She will attempt to jump on the kitchen counter. When you hiss at her, she will stare at you like you’ve lost your mind. She will attempt to jump on the kitchen counter on your other side. You will remove all of her toys from the living room. She will squeeze under the couch and find the one jingly ball you lost weeks ago and bat it around under your feet.

  • Only give your cat small amounts of food or water after the surgery as she may feel sick from anesthesia.

What really happens: You put out a shallow bowl of water. She sticks her nose in it and sneezes. Then she bats the bowl around looking for bits of food she spilled when she woke you up at 5AM to feed her before her surgery. She finds the bits of food, spills water on them and smashes them in the carpet.

  • Check your cat’s incisions a few times a day after surgery. A small amount of bleeding after surgery is normal.

What really happens: You will stare at your cat while she licks all of the iodine off her belly. You will freak out because her incisions look swollen. You will then consult the internet for pictures of normal healing incisions. You will almost make yourself sick. Then you will run off and get tapioca tea 30 minutes before the shop closes just so you have something else to think about for a while.

  • Don’t give your cat over the counter pain medication. Tylenol and aspirin are toxic to animals.

What really happens: Pain is clearly not an issue. Getting her to calm the fuck down four hours after coming home is the problem. You resort to further drugging your cat. Children’s Benadryl liquid, generic Benadryl and pill pockets. She refuses the pill pocket, even after it is disguised in her regular food. You pour a few drops of liquid Benadryl in a cup and smear it on her lips and nose. An hour later, she still isn’t calm.

  • Lastly, provide your cat with a quiet, comfortable place to heal after surgery.

What really happens: No problem. By the end of the day, you are crying in your bathroom pleading with your significant other to bring back your sweet kitty who didn’t act like the spawn of satan. Chewing on guitar strings. Intent on sniffing a hot soldering tool. Trying to bite your friend’s butt while he calculates his turn in chess.

I think this covers the most important points. I hope you know what to expect now.

By the way, thank you for being a caring and responsible pet human.

I’m so glad I scheduled the surgery for Saturday. She slept all day today. I binged on the entire 8th season of Doctor Who. And cleaned the apartment. Ah, lofty Sunday goals.

Standard
Uncategorized

2 things that are saving me from myself: Part 1

On Friday, I came home in the mood I’m usually in at the end of the week. Tired, unsettled, and mentally worn. And so much so that my mind runs, but generates almost no focused or sensible thoughts. Tired, but grateful for the two days I have ahead of me to make eggs and cinnamon rolls for breakfast and to sleep a little later in the morning.

My dearest love had been hyping up a “weekend surprise” since last weekend. I get anxious about surprises and if I try to guess what he’s going to give me, I will usually figure it out and ruin it. If I guess it early enough, I won’t spend too much time fantasizing the numerous catastrophes it could turn in to. Or I just won’t get a stomachache from the apprehension–a little worry, with a little giddy excitement, with a little crippling sense of impending doom.

Naturally, I guessed what it was by Tuesday. So he had to just lie to me.

“Well, I know it’s not a cat, because I already said I’m not ready for a cat. This apartment is too small and I don’t think we could afford one yet. So, it’s not a cat, right?”

“No.”

It was a cat. Well, a kitten to be more specific. A two-month old, rescued gray tabby. This cat. I adore this cat. This cat stalking my fingers as I type, wiggling her butt to steady herself before she leaps over my tablet and onto my keyboard. Vicious, fluffy, domesticated human-appendage hunter! It’s just too much. I have to snuggle her. I grab her and lean back and she lays on my collar bone and purrs in my ear.

This is one of many things I can say for certain that Daniel gets right about me. Sometimes I need to not listen to myself. Sometimes he has to ignore me, and do what both of us know would be good for me. Even if only one of us can see at the time that it would be good for me. I get lost in what could be this or that, and forget to actually live what is.

So he ignored me and got me a cat.

In just the weekend we’ve had her, I’m beginning to see how she’s going to change me.

Instead of worrying about money or stressing about something rude someone said on the phone to me at work, I’ve been giggling and snuggling with her all weekend. She makes me giggle when she’s running from the kitchen to the porch door and she skids to a stop, surprised when she kicks her mouse toy. She looks me in the eyes when we snuggle, and I know she feels care and love from me. She sleeps next to me all night, curled up and purring on my shoulder at the bottom of my pillow. She is a distraction from the outside world, the world which I distort as I allow it into my mind, my memories, and my consciousness. Her affection, her clumsy, adventurous spirit will give me a break from my equivocal inner-world. And if I’m smart, I will take what she gives me and go out into the world a little better prepared to reconcile what I see with what I think I see.

And she has improved my relationship with Daniel just a little bit already. I’ve been more grateful this weekend. More affectionate and less on edge. He’s been tempering well the transfer of some of my much-wanted affection to the cat. But when I hug or kiss him, I hold longer and kiss sweeter.

Hell, I even dusted this weekend! And vacuumed. And cleaned the kitchen.

Now I have to figure out how the heck I’m going to leave her to go to work tomorrow. I’m already imaging her sitting at the door waiting for us to come home. She’ll probably just run around, knock over some stuff on my bookcase, jump into the trash can and knock it over, and take a lot of naps.

Part 2 is later this week. Something you will probably have seen coming, but not in the way you expect.

Standard