On the Twelft Day of Christmas…

It’s that time of year when we start receiving all sorts of holiday cheer and goofiness through our email and facebook pages. This is one that I received from an online friend this year and found it so adorable, that I absolutely had to share it with you.

     Smile and sing along with me, ready now…

 

The 12 Cats of Christmas: Sing Along!

An updated carol, so you and your feline can haz all the holiday  cheer.

 

By Brandon  Specktor

 
 
                                       

first-cat                     Matthias Zirngibl via Wikimedia Commons  

On The Twelfth Day of Christmas, My Kitten Gave to  Me…

Christmas + Cats: We combined the world’s two most beloved things  into one  carol of CATaclysmic proportions. So find a feline, and get ready to haz some holiday cheer!

Sing along here »

Read more: http://www.rd.com/slideshows/12-cats-of-christmas-carol/#ixzz2n6AUCvuB

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Herb of the Day: Horse Chestnut aka Buckeye

Horse Chestnut
   (Aesculus hippocastanum) 

also known as buckeye
HORSE CHESTNUT
Caution: Horse chestnut seeds are toxic for humans. Herbalist in Europe 
use the leaves and bark of the horse chestnut tree, as well as a 
standardized extract of the seed, as herbal medication for various 
disorders.

USES:
-treatment of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal tract disorders
-rheumatic discomfort when used as a salve, lotion or liquid poultice
-coughs
-varicose veins when used as a salve or in lotions when used in conjunction
 with support stockings
-treatment of external skin conditions
-has an anti-inflammatory effect
-diarrhea
-astringent
-fever reducer
-frostbite when used as a poultice, soak or compress
-hemorrhoids when used as a compress
-used to treat chronic venous insufficiency, lymph edema and swollen ankles

USUAL DOSAGE 
(per http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_horse_chestnut.htm )

The herbal medication has been traditionally given in daily doses of 
0.2-1.0 grams of the dried seeds per patient. At the same time, it 
must be remembered that, only the standardized extracts are safe for 
internal use by patients. The seed extracts of the horse chestnut 
which is normally standardized for aescin content at about 16-21 % 
or the isolated aescin preparations are usually suggested to be taken 
in initial doses of 90-150 mg of the aescin per day per patients. 
When the first signs of improvement become noticeable, the dosage 
is often reduced to a maintenance dose level of 35-70 mg of aescin 
daily. 

SIDE EFFECTS AND CAUTIONS
Large amounts of the extract can be toxic! Use only as directed on 
the bottle, by your physician or licensed medical herbalist or 
holistic medical practitioner before self dosing with this extract. 
Liver and kidney damage may occur when too large of amounts are taken. 
Those people with pre-existing liver or kidney disease should avoid 
using this extract altogether. Use must be constantly monitored! May 
cause allergic skin responses

DO NOT USE DURING PREGNANCY OR IF YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM LIVER OR KIDNEY DISEASE.

Baby’s 2nd Snow

Speed Star 1.0459372  00

This is my Baby Kitty. Actually, she’s one of 10 living here at the farm. Until last week, we only had 9, but we inherited someone’s cast-off kitty. I will feed that one and love it, just the same as all the others. Hopefully that little tan colored youngster will, in time, let us hold it or pet it. Right now, it’s painfully shy.

Baby is just a little over a year old. Last year, she was newborn and really didn’t care about snow, or being outside, or anything much other than her mama’s warm fur and constant flow of milk. She shared her mom with 3 siblings. We also adopted Baby’s sister, Martha.

Baby is unlike any cat we’ve ever had. She has a personality, that I swear, is half human. She is a talker. Some of ours are silent, this one is extremely vocal. She has haunting looks, piercing looks, sweet loveable looks, feed me looks, and one that there is no mistaking for anything other than sheer contempt for whatever it is that’s ailing her at the moment. She has never failed to let us know when she wants attention, or does not want us to even look at her. That’s right. There are times when we can glance in her direction and she will snarl, growl, or wag her tail in a mean manner, promptly get up and leave the room. If we laugh, there are no vocal tones, she will leave our company in a mad hurry. Do not laugh at Baby, do not tell her no she knows what that human word is and does not like it. No one puts Baby in a corner.

We have a nightly ritual. My husband will gather the two housecats, bring them into our room. I think he thinks we have our own private foot warmers on the bed. It’s gotten to be such a routine, that I actually miss them when I’m away. But, bring in Baby, she will growl, grow wide eyed like her eyes are going to pop out of her head, we do all we can not to laugh because it only enrages her more. Let her out of our arms, and she’s off and gone like a wild cat, only to return 5 minutes later, purring, looking at you with half-closed eyes, and has her happy tail wag. (those of you who are cat lovers will know what I mean). Going to bed has to be on her own terms, not ours. It doesn’t take long, it just has to be of her own free will.

Since we had her spayed (we have all our cats spayed or neutered as soon as possible), we have 2 younger cats whom Baby has adopted as her own. When their mother first gave birth to the boys, Baby couldn’t stand the sight of them. Hiss, spit, snarl. It didn’t take long until she decided that since they were going to stay, she might as well use them for play toys. And that, she’s done. She is the one who taught them to bypass the couch in 1 leaping bounce or how to hide behind curtains. She’s taught them to hunt feathers that mysteriously appear from the bottom of the bird’s cages. She taught them to roll with her in a huge fur ball around the front room floor. Now, that she is Aunt Baby, she loves and protects the boys from the other cats. Funny how time changes the most hardened feline into one of a gentle nature.

Don’t get me wrong, Baby isn’t a monster baby, she’s mama’s baby. She wouldn’t mind being an only cat, but that probably won’t happen in her lifetime. We’ve learned to give her special moments and that keeps her satisfied. She loves looking out of the windows. Tonight, she actually saw her first snow (at least one that she recognized as being something different). I caught her behind the aloe plant, couldn’t get a clearer shot of her, but the one above speaks for itself. I almost wish I’d had the camera on video because she was turning her head from side to side, had a soft cooing type of meow, kept looking at us as if to tell us that something different was outside.

I love watching our animals. Every cat, every creature here at Dusty Rose Farms has it’s own special, very unique personality. In time, I hope to introduce them all to you. Tonight is Baby’s night. She’d love it if she only understood.Speed Star 1.0505326  00 This is Martha, Baby’s sister

Turkey Pot Pie

Aha!!  You only thought the recipes were over. I have another one for you. Actually, we’re having it tonight just so I can get rid of that turkey.

 

                                     Candy’s Turkey Pot Pie

This is a quick and easy way to get rid of leftovers, including those bits and pieces of leftover veggies that you have hiding in your freezer door space.

Speed Star 1.0318636  002 cups turkey cut into bite sized pieces

2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 cups water, chicken or turkey broth

Speed Star 1.0410454  002 cups of any leftover veggies you have in your fridge, freezer or both. Or, if you don’t have or save leftover vegetables, use 1 can of mixed vegetables

1/2 cup celery chopped into 1/2 inch chunks

1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion

2 potatoes, scrubbed well, peelings left on, chopped into bite sized pieces

2-3 carrots, scrubbed well, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch coins

1/2 teaspoon sage or less, depending on taste

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried celery leaves or celery seed, or less, depending on taste

Pie Crust as below.

To prepare filling:

1. Add chicken bouillon cubes to turkey broth, gravy, or water in a large saucepan. Stir until bouillon cubes dissolve.

2. After bouillon cubes have dissolved, add turkey and all the vegetables.

3. Bring to a boil again.

4. Speed Star 1.0380539  00Add 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch to water, stir until cornstarch has dissolved and add to meat/vegetable mixture.

5. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring constantly, until liquid has thickened to your liking.

6. Remove from heat, stir occasionally until mixture is no longer boiling hot.

In the meantime, prepare your pastry crust as follows: (this fits a 13″ x 9″ cake pan)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2-3/4 cup shortening

enough ice cold water to make a pastry dough

Speed Star 1.0417452  001. Add dry ingredients and mix well

Speed Star 1.0404522  002. Blend in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Don’t worry about having too much shortening. The more shortening, the flakier your crust will be.

3. Add ice cold water, by tablespoonful’s until pastry dough forms into a ball. If you accidentally add too much water, sprinkle flour over the dough and knead in until pastry dough is dry enough to roll out with a rolling pin.

Speed Star 1.0396524  004. Divide dough in half

5. Roll dough out to 1/8th inch thick and long enough and wide enough to fill a 13′ x 9″ cake pan

Speed Star 1.0393545  006. Fill with slightly cooled turkey pot pie filling.

7. Place a 2nd crust on top and seal edges. Cut slits in the top for steam to escape.

8. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until crust is brown.

9. For a softer top crust, brush with butter after baking. For a flaky, shiny, brown crust, brush with milk and return to oven for 5 minutes or so.

10. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

In just a little while, I’ll show you the finished product. Check back for a mouth watering photo.

What do you do with your holiday leftovers?

If you’re like we are, holidays are fun, have too much food left over, full tummies that are so tired of turkey, that we wind up feeling like stuffed turkey ourselves. The last few years have had our imaginations running wild, trying to figure out ways to repurpose that turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and other fixin’s into something palatable and exciting. This year, I think we hit upon a winner. While I didn’t take pictures of it, this is a recipe that I expanded upon at a place of employment many years ago. What do you do with your leftovers?

Cranberry Spread

1 can jellied or whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup super finely chopped celery
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon honey-Dijon mustard

With a wire whisk, whisk all ingredients together, spread on whole wheat or other whole grain bread, add a layer of salad greens of your choice, thinly sliced turkey, maybe provolone, cheddar or Swiss cheese, sit back and enjoy the tangy tartness of the spread, the creaminess of the cheese, and the delicious wholesomeness of the turkey and bread.