Fuzzy Orange Time Vampire

Many of you have noticed that we’ve been unusually quite here in the domain of legume spreads.  On my side that’s mostly been due to the end of the semester.  Cammy’s had her own time vampires.  But since blogging about paper grading and paper writing is less than riveting, here’s another little Time Vampire that’s not helped add to my blogging time.

Now you all know that I adore my new kitten Wash.  He’s a little orange ball of adorable and schmoopiness.  He’s also a discount anti-depressant.  But he has one problematic idiosyncrasy:  Having been feral for part of his early life he still believes he’s responsible for hunting his own food.  He does not trust for a minute that I will continue to feed him, so he has to find other things around the apartment to eat.  In the past he’s had an obsession with peanut butter cookies.  I found this out the hard way when I had one (wrapped in plastic) hidden on a high shelf.  I didn’t think he could reach said shelf because there had been a bag of catnip sitting on it for a week and he hadn’t bothered it.  Well I got up one morning to find the partially eaten peanut butter cookie on the floor and the catnip untouched.

He has since put holes in my purse and my lunch bag because he knew there were peanut butter cookies inside.

Last Monday I came home from Cammy’s with among other things a couple of Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups.  Keep in mind they were in a ziplock bag inside a plastic grocery bag inside a cloth grocery bag.  I dropped my stuff off and ran out to a meeting.  I came back several hours later to find that someone had ripped open the Reese’s cups in order to get the peanut butter out.  It was obvious that was what he had done, as most of the chocolate part was still there, but I knew he had to have ingested some of the chocolate, which, as most people know is toxic to cats.  Also his paws and face were clean so I knew it hadn’t just happened.  Needless to say I spent the rest of the night searching for information on cats and chocolate and debating whether to drive him to the emergency vet in Indianapolis.  I decided not to because I didn’t think he had really eaten enough to be dangerous, he seemed fine, and chances were it had been more than two hours which would mean it was already in his system and too late to induce vomiting of anything.  I didn’t sleep at all I was so terrified I’d made the wrong call.  For the record, Wash slept just fine.  (and clearly is doing fine or this wouldn’t be a funny story)

The next day I was in my room grading papers (due to things related to the chocolate incident that are gross enough I’m not going to mention them) my couch was unusable.  Then I heard some plastic crinkling and went to investigate.  Apparently in my sleep deprived state I had left a package of shredded cheese on the counter and he had ripped into it.  Cheese is more an upset stomach food than a dangerous food for kitties, but still I felt awful.  And I pointed out to him, “Wash!  Your little tummy is going to be so unhappy with you!”

The next day it got even weirder when he opened a package of wasabi peas.  Now to be honest I think this was more about getting to play with the fun little rolly things than it was about eating them, but I still had to research kittens and wasabi.

I love the little guy, but he needs to stop giving me heart attacks!  There are limits to how much I can take!

Crunchy Caffiene

For some reason I’ve been craving chocolate covered coffee beans lately.  I don’t have them often as they seem too decadent and expensive to make a habit of purchasing.  And normally my cravings for them hit late at night when I have no intention of getting dressed to go out and scour the grocery store shelves.

But this evening, the craving would not be staved off by other things.  I had to do something about this.

So I decided to make my own.  After all, I had chocolate and I had coffee beans.  Really couldn’t need more than that, right?

I melted a little over 1/4 of a Hershey’s special dark bar in a double-boiler on the stove.  When it was nice a gooey, I dumped in somewhere between 1/3-1/2 cup of coffee beans I had on hand.  Stir to coat them.  Then I laid out wax paper on a cookie sheet and scooped the chocolate-bean-mush onto it and sort of smeared it about to separate the beans some.  Into the freezer, and wham, 15 minutes later I’m crunching away on a chocolate caffeine fix.  And while I waited, I got to lick the chocolate out of the pot.

Now, I’ll grant you, they don’t look all nice and smooth and shiny like store-bought versions (you know the ones that kinda look like a yogurt covered raisin?), but they taste good.  In fact, because I didn’t waste a lot of time separating the beans, what I got is kinda like chocolate-coffee-bean-brittle that I broke into chunks. After I’d completed my experiment I read up on some other methods of getting “nicer” looking beans–using candy molds and doing this one-by-one was a popular method.  Way too labor intensive for me.  But I liked another idea about adding cocoa powder or sprinkles before the whole thing dries.  Now that I could go for.

And at the rate I’m consuming these things?  Not only will I have an excuse to try again for the sake of replenishing my depleted supply, I will also be wide away to do it.

The Advent of Good Ideas

Apologies to the non-Christian readers among you, but today is the first Sunday of Advent, which is, traditionally, the beginning of the liturgical year in Western Christian churches–prep time for the Nativity, if you will.

It’s also the time of year when you get to start playing with those really cool calendars which count down to Christmas.  This is where I get interested.  I like surprises.  The idea of opening a little door and getting a tiny surprise is kind of awesome.   If you’re lucky, you’ll get one with pieces of chocolate behind each door.  Personally, I think every calendar should give chocolate for each day.  Double chocolate if it’s a crappy day like April 15.  And Election days (yes, I’m happy to vote, but I’m rarely pleased with the choices).

The only trouble is that the doors are so tiny, there’s only so much you can get back there.  Sometimes it’s just a picture (or a part of a picture).  Or that bite of candy (yeah, because I’m not eating enough over the holidays).  It would be tough to cram my own personal Mr. Darcy back there, sadly.    Sure, I know it’s only supposed to build up to Christmas (Mr. Darcy in a box under my tree?  Huzzah!), but would it kill ’em to bump those calendar’s up a bit?  Say, an iTunes download?

We thought of rigging up an Advent calendar here at MTV, MPB, but we never came up with an idea worthy of our readership (translation: we procrastinated too long to come up with a good idea).  So your Advent surprises this season?  The joy of clicking the link to see what manner of semi-entertaining crap we’ve given you for that day.

Oh, and a daily wish of virtual chocolate.