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Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Cat Owner's Guide to TV


Our cat Pipsqueak loves watching TV. She can spend hours on her favourite seat in the back porch staring through the screen at the Big Backyard Channel. Of course, its programming is rather erratic. Sometimes there’s nothing on for hours but the station identification. Sometimes the screen shows nothing but snow. And the regular programming is frequently taken over by the Crow News Network. While the announcers sound excited, it seems to be the same old stories in rotation, a nest invasion, a knocked-over garbage can, a bun fight down at the grocery store parking lot.

The broadcast day starts with Songbird Singalong. While Pipsqueak would love to catch that live, we’re generally still in bed so she has to settle for the audio version. Rockin’ Robin Digs for the Hits comes on later but it’s shot from a distance so not that engrossing. The soap opera Squirrels of Maple Tree Place airs several times a day. I’m never sure if I should let her watch it, though, as there’s sometimes bad language.

The pirate breaking-news show Intruder Alert, which follows strange cats as they prowl through the neighbourhood, is her can’t miss. She’s evidently signed up to get messages when it’s on because she’ll leap up from a sound sleep and go trotting purposefully to the porch. If she can’t find it there she makes the rounds of the other windows to see if it’s on an alternative channel.

Bunny Theatre pops up sometimes in the early morning or late afternoon and is a particular favourite of hers and ours, though since there’s no on-screen translation we’re not sure what it’s about. Personally, I think it’s interpretive dance. My husband thinks it's a rabbit version of Benny Hill.

Pipsqueak is convinced that the best programming is on late at night and is miffed that we won’t let her stay up to watch it. She’s sometimes very, very quiet when bedtime approaches, hoping we’ll forget she’s in the back porch and she can catch an episode of The Masked Bandit of Trashcan Alley.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Lazy Woman’s Perogies


This is absolutely the easiest way to prepare them. No tedious stirring, no sticking to the pot…

1 package frozen perogies, thawed
1 jar spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a lasagna pan or similar casserole dish spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce over the bottom. Cover with perogies, adding a second layer if you still have some left. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over. Bake for 40 minutes.

You can serve with green onions, bacon, and sour cream if that’s the way you like them but they’re still delicious without.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Found and Tested: Panna Cotta


While browsing the Pretty . Simple . Sweet website for something else, I came across a recipe for Panna Cotta. That’s not a dessert I’m familiar with, but it sounded similar to custard, which I love, so I decided to give it a try.

It is SO much better than custard, and far easier to make. Since it was my first time making the recipe, I didn’t make any changes to it, other than substituting artificial vanilla extract for the real thing. I used an envelope of Knox’s gelatin powder, rather than measuring, as the box said it would set 2 cups of liquid, and it worked fine. I did decide to divide it into 6 servings rather than 4, given the high fat content of the cream.

This one’s definitely going in my recipe box. Only 5 ingredients, none of which are hard to find, and goes together, apart from setting time, in less than 15 minutes.

I think I’ll be trying a chocolate version to fill the roles of both custard and whipping cream the next time I make my chocolate trifle.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Bisquick Microwave Hot Breakfast Cereal


I was bored with all the breakfast choices in the house the other day and wondered what my favourite microwave mug cake would taste like minus the sugar and a few other tweaks. To my amazement, it came out like the best cream of wheat I’d ever tasted, and with an even better texture. Smooth, creamy, delicious, and made in under five minutes.

1/3 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil (no substitutions—this is the secret sauce that gives it that creamy, dreamy flavour)

Combine ingredients in a microwaveable bowl. Cook on high for 30 seconds and stir. Cook on high for another 2 minutes (microwaves may vary) or until it looks cooked. Sprinkle with sugar and pour milk over it.

Serves 1

You can find the original mug cake recipe here. I make it a lot, because it’s fast and delicious, though it reminds me more of pudding really than cake. I’ve made both the vanilla and the chocolate version and have even substituted peanut butter for the oil to make a peanut butter one.