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The Microegg

The Microegg

Happy Friday, Dear Readers:

Well, I’ve been busy, as you might imagine, and I think I’m *finally* through with an important piece of marketing for my copywriting services. I’m going to email the instructor and get an opinion tonight or tomorrow.

Tomatoes are starting to show up in the HeatCageKitchen garden!

My first organic yellow tomato. Woo hoo!

My first organic yellow tomato. Woo hoo!

I’ve picked two more, and will probably get a couple more yellows tomorrow and possibly my first red. The Chocolate Cherry plant has some green ones, but no ripe ones yet. (That could be a whole blog post by itself.) The GER tells me to get my zucchini recipes ready, and I put my hands on three just this morning. He’s got a couple of whoppers growing in his garden, and if there are enough, I’ll be taking them off his hands. Just hope I can return the favor with. . .something.

And after an inconsiderate animal (probably a possum) dug up not one, but two of my Romaine lettuce re-growths, I asked Neighbor K for the stub off her lettuce when she was coming back from Kroger one evening. She did, and it’s growing nicely. I’ll get more lettuce soon, and have asked K for any subsequent lettuce stubs. They grow fast, and the celery is growing nicely too. More on the garden soon.

A couple of weeks ago I went back to Woodlands Wellness & Cosmetic Center for my six-month follow-up and a couple of blood tests. I got to see the wonderful Dr. Sakina Davis and told her about the things I’ve been doing to try to sleep. . .I think I’ve got it down. Maybe I’ll talk about that in an upcoming post. But when I head to The Woodlands, there are two stops I just have to make: Trader Joe’s and Frost Bake Shoppe.

It was afternoon, and I got THE last gluten-free cupcake in the shop. Boy was I glad, too.

Gluten-free Chocolate cupcake with Vanilla icing.

Gluten-free Chocolate cupcake with Vanilla icing.

 

Perfection. And, as always, tastes even better than it looks, just like a gourmet cupcake should.

Yum. . .come to Mama. . . .

Yum. . .come to Mama. . . .

 

I didn’t bring back a bunch this time, because, quite frankly, it’s too hot right now (and that would have been a bit expensive this time around.) Maybe one day soon I’ll be able to go back and I’ll remember to bring an ice chest to bring them back. And I don’t think I’ll be going back until the fall, so my insulin levels are safe.

I noticed this sign was new:

The new "warning" that comes with the Frost cupcakes.

The new “warning” that comes with the Frost cupcakes.

 

Oh, yeah.

Now that it’s warming up, you might be thinking about iced coffee. If you are out and about and in the vicinity of a Dunkin’ Donuts, might I suggest you try their iced coffee. Last weekend, I visited one of my writer friends, and we stopped off there after lunch. Both of us really enjoyed the iced variety, and I’ll tell you more with the restaurant review, in an upcoming blog post.

But I have to share this quick product review. I just got this product a little while ago. I was on Casabella’s website the other day, ordering replacement brushes for my 12-yo carpet sweeper; the GER insisted I get one while I was living in his beastly house because of all the thread and sewing debris on the carpet. Well, it’s about time for a new brush. And then I found something else.

Dear Readers, do you like eggs but don’t like messing around to cook them? Do you believe you “can’t cook,” but excel at microwave dinners? Do you like egg sandwiches–with cheese? Well, I have a tool for you. Casabella’s Microegg is cute, neat, and can microwave one or two eggs for you quickly. Why is this better?

Because–it’s SQUARE. And by cooking the egg square, it will fit better on a sandwich. Are you seeing the logic?

My package from Casabella arrived today, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. I was getting hungry, because I put off lunch to wait for the package. (I’m one of those people who uses FedEx, UPS and the Post Office’s tracking features to find out where my packages are and when I can expect them to show up. This helped find a lost package I’d sent to two friends in Oakland, CA earlier this year.)

I ripped open the box and tossed the replacement brushes aside. (They even included a $5 coupon for my *next* order.)  THIS is what I wanted to try:

The Microegg.

The Microegg.

 

Isn’t it cute? After I took it out of the package, read the simple instructions and washed it, I put it to work. Because it was past lunch! This is the inside:

IMG_2052[1]

And you can sit the yolk right in the middle if you want to. You can also scramble the eggs, if you like. (Maybe next time.)

Two eggs, ready to roll.

Two eggs, ready to roll.

Since I was eating lunch and trying it out, I cracked in two eggs. There is actually a molded “latch” that holds the top onto the bottom, via that little tab. If you’ve ever tried cooking eggs in a microwave before, you’ll know they explode. This contains the explosion and cooks your eggs without the mess. (Mostly.)

Now, the instructions say to add one egg and cook in the microwave for 40 to 60 seconds, but it can also handle two. I guess it all depends on your microwave. Mine is a 700-watt, plus I added two eggs, not one, and one minute gave me this:

Almost there!

Almost there!

So, back into the microwave for 1 minute it went:

Cooked!

Cooked!

Well, OK, over-cooked a bit, but this was operator error–NOT the fault of the tool. Although Casabella has an easy return process, I will NOT be returning this baby. Ever. I’ll just cook the eggs for a shorter period of time, that’s all.

They suggest a slice of cheese if you like, put on top the egg before you cook it. Then you’ve got your egg and cheese ready for your toasted, buttered bread. But of course, I was in such a hurry that I plum forgot. So I got some shredded Colby Jack cheese out of the freezer and topped it when it was cooked:

Cheese and egg. . .yum.

Cheese and egg. . .yum.

For a quick breakfast, lunch, dinner, or “I just got home and I’m starving” meal, this is a pretty good thing to have around. It just couldn’t be simpler, you know? Add some iced coffee and you’re good to go.

Oh, yeah. Anytime.

Oh, yeah. Anytime.

 

See that little bottle to the left of my glass of iced coffee? Um. . .when I made my last batch of iced coffee, I might have accidentally put it into the 19-year-old pitcher I got as a wedding present. . .and then I heard a loud CRACK, and saw coffee seeping onto the stove. And I had a mess to clean and a pitcher to toss out.

I went to Target later and bought that one and a bigger one. So the lesson there is to put the hot coffee into a BIG mixing bowl and let it COOL before putting it into a refrigerator vessel. And it helps that both Anchor Hocking pitchers have “NO HOT LIQUIDS” etched on the bottom. At least they have lids.

Now, if you’re thinking about bacon too, what next? Well, if you have a toaster oven, you could put some bacon on a rack in a baking sheet and bake it at 400F until it’s crisp. (Drain on paper towels, of course.) You could try one of those microwave bacon cookers; I don’t have one anymore. Or you could use an antique method of cooking just a little bacon, or even sausage links or a patty:

The Suzy Homemaker Super Grill

The Suzy Homemaker Super Grill

 

This one is currently listed on eBay for $149. No, I am not bidding on it. It’s not even on my watch list. There are other listings for a lot less, but this one apparently has never been used, or just used once for the seller to ask that much for it.

A few months ago, I did purchase a Suzy Homemaker Super Grill, with the griddle and drip pan, but it was MUCH less expensive! No box, and I copied the instructions from another listing to print. I cleaned it–very carefully–and did indeed cook a few pieces of bacon on it. I unplugged it, let it cool, cleaned it again very carefully and packed it back in the box. It works with a little heating element that heats up the little pan. Takes a while, too–but that little space on the left allows you to warm buns while the burger or hot dog is cooking. Not bad for a 50-year-old toy appliance.

When I get to my country house, I’ll have the entire collection on display. And, I will use them occasionally, too.

Casabella’s website has lots of neat little kitchen things like The Microegg, as well as high-quality cleaning products like the sweeper I mentioned (and the GER insisted I buy!)  Bed, Bath and Beyond has a selection of Casabella’s cleaning and storage products, but almost none of their kitchen stuff. What a shame.

So, Dear Readers, you have a little weekend tip (if you’re reading this on Friday.) This is especially useful if you live alone, or with one other person–especially if the other person doesn’t eat eggs. Another tool to pack up in a gift box for the graduate going off to college, too.

Make it a good weekend, and Happy Dining!

 

 

 

 

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Breakfast and sad news

Breakfast and sad news

Good afternoon, Dear Readers:

Are you warm? If you’re snowed in, I envy you. But that’s just me, OK?

Neighbor K knocked on my door Sunday and handed me a little plastic container and said, “you have got to try this!” She found a breakfast, um, casserole (I hate that word) that had all kinds of things in it, and the crust is chopped up cauliflower. She put some mushrooms and chopped bell pepper in it, and it was pretty darn good.

K and I have been going walking very early for the better part of 2 months now. I say better part because we’ve missed a few days–me a week when I was ill, and later, she was hurt and didn’t walk for about ten days. I myself missed two days this week, but I’ll tell you why in a minute.

I still have my habit of cooking for a week, and K got the idea to do the same, since after we walk, she takes out Daft Pug for a walk, gets cleaned up and goes to work. So, this weekend she hit on a really tasty breakfast. Of course it’s good! From the page Low Carbing With Friends on Facebook, the Cauli-Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole is full of good things, low carb, gluten free, and just delish.

You make a crust of the chopped cauliflower and butter, bake that for 30 minutes, and while that bakes, prep the other stuff. It does call for coconut milk, although I’m not sure why. It takes a while to make, but on a Sunday, bake one of these up and you’ll have it all week and not have to fuss. (As long as you’re single, that is.) If you’re part of a family. . .make two.

The deep freeze that gripped Houston last week has eased, and I once again have the patio doors open and the doorstops in place and a nice breeze blowing through the HeatCageKitchen headquarters. I burned fire logs for three days and nights last week, and set up my computer in front of it. Actually, it was just me and the Jezebel the Step Kitty, parked on the futon with my feet up and my little laptop running. I made cappuccino, then made regular decaf and put it in that tall black pipe of a travel mug and camped out there for three days.

I asked the GER recently about when he was planning to take Jezebel home, but he felt like she was bonded with me and maybe taking her home might not be a good idea. I enjoyed having her, even if she did get on my nerves once in a while, and always figured she would go back to live with the GER. (I’ve jokingly told people that we were “cat co-parents.”)

Not everything I have is hot wings, but she didn’t care, she wanted some.

JezebelreadyforBed

I didn’t close the fireplace damper a couple of times, because the embers were still bright red, and I was afraid of not having any oxygen in the middle of the night.

Now, Sunday morning, the weather eased a bit, and I hadn’t lit the fireplace in a couple of days. What I didn’t know is during that cold snap, we got a visitor. He apparently arrived during the night when I left the damper open, and he found his way down the chimney. But he didn’t get far.

Jezebel the Step-Kitty was on the prowl. I was watching TV and doing something else when I looked over and saw she was hanging onto something small and grey that looked like a piece of fabric that I tossed aside. (I do that and throw them all away at once.) Irony: I actually WAS cutting grey fabric, no kidding, so I didn’t realize that it wasn’t fabric. She was acting a bit funny, so I got a little closer and realized. . .fabric scraps don’t have tails. This did.

EEEEEEEEEK!! A MOUSE!!!!!

Yes, Jezebel earned her keep that day, and became my little mouser. I don’t know how Neighbor K didn’t hear me scream and kvetch at the top of my lungs.

I had to chase Jezebel away from the mouse, because she looked like she was going to take it and head under the bed. She gave me a look that said, “Hey–this is mine, go get your own!” When I finally caught my breath (read: quit yelling), I got a small whisk broom and dustpan and put the thing in a bag and set it outside. I did apologize to the mouse for the way his visit went, but I don’t want any mouse visitors, either. K took it out to the dumpster when she walked the Daft Pug.

I was so proud of that cat! The GER said she chased a dog out of his house once, too. Good kitty!

Our good news didn’t last for long. Jezebel also had problems keeping food down. She was eating, but it wasn’t sticking with her, and in addition to cleaning up the carpet, I noticed she was getting bony besides the big belly on her. I knew she was fixed, so pregnancy wasn’t an option, so off to the vet we went. It was a beautiful day, we hopped in my ride and drove to a great vet clinic in Pearland. I told her that they were going to take care of that super-duper hairball she had, and it was all going to be OK.

Well. . .she was carrying something–a “huge mass” on her left side that was pushing her organs over to the right. The vet mentioned “lymphoma,” and it took up her entire left side. The vet showed me the X-rays, and could not believe what I was seeing. That’s why she couldn’t hold food down, and she was actually starving. Frantic calls to the GER voice mail went unanswered, until finally, he called back, and drove to Pearland to meet me at the clinic.

The prognosis was not good, and on that day, (11/17/2014) our little mouser went to the Rainbow Bridge. The GER and I said goodbye to a fussy, independent little tabby cat that suddenly was the only cat in the world. And for the first time in 21 years, I am living alone, without a cat.

She was gone, just like that.

And that’s why I didn’t sleep for two nights and skipped walking for two days. (K understood.)

We will have cats again one day, but both me and the GER are heartbroken right now and are grieving. No more cats for a while (and please don’t bring us any.) He took her home, and she’s buried in his backyard with three other beloved felines that already went to the Rainbow Bridge, along with Catmandu and Kismet (who are cremated and in little boxes in my living room.)

I feel bad that I didn’t give her more roast chicken, turkey and little bowls of milk. She got to be a little bit pushy after the hot wings, and I figured she was just being a chow hound. No. . .she wasn’t well. I thought she was just pudgy with a big hairball.

Goodbye, Jezebel. See you again at the Rainbow Bridge. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of delicious food there for you, too. Your Cat Daddy and I miss you very, very much. We know you are out of pain, and happy with new friends there.

Jezebel the Step Kitty. Independent, but wanted attention on her own terms. And, whatever you're having, please.

Jezebel the Step Kitty. Independent, but wanted attention on her own terms. And, whatever you’re having, please.

I’ve washed up her food dishes and put them away, but I just don’t have the heart to get rid of her litterbox or kitty bed, nor that little scratch pad on the floor on the left of that picture. I took down the little tin sign outside that says “Mind the Cat.”  I’ve also gathered up as many pictures as I could find of her and put them in a DropBox file to share with the GER. I’ll go look for more this weekend, but I fear I’ve lost more because I didn’t realize my photos weren’t being backed up to my iCloud. I’m hoping GER has some at home that I sent him previously. We’ll get some prints made soon, too.

Please remember to be nice to your pets, and always, always bring them in when it’s cold. They’re our pets, they love us and trust us, and they can’t help themselves.

Thank you.

 

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