Aby-a-Day – November 30: Dive right in (Minature Monday)

My Thanksgiving pheasant turned out so well…and was so small…that I decided to cook an actual turkey on Thanksgiving Saturday.

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I mean, pheasants are tasty and all, but as it happens…I really missed the leftovers (Note to self re: living in Sweden).

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While I was able to keep the real Jacoby away from the turkey, I wasn’t so fortunate when it came to MiniJake.

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He was all over my turkey! I’m pretty sure he drooled on it, too (ewwwww)!

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He was ready to eat any part of the turkey…

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…even the wings!

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But of course, his most favoured part was…

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…the great white expanse of the breast meat!

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Nom nom nom…

Aby-a-Day – November 29: Boxing match (Silly Sunday)

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered something from Amazon that came in a really big box.

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Jacoby was all over that action.

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Still, uneasy rests the head of the cat that owns the box.

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You can’t help but feel that there are other cats out there who would like nothing better than to steal your box out from under you.

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“I feel like I’m being watched…”

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“…Kylie..?”

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“Must have been my imagination…”

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“Still, I can’t seem to shake this feeling.”

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“Ahhh…I’m just being paranoid.”

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Or…not.

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Always trust your gut, Jake!

Aby-a-Day – November 28: “Pets” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Pets.”

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Jacoby loves his pets.

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This is Jake at the New Hampshire Feline Fanciers’ show a couple of weeks ago. If this isn’t a kitty looking for pets, I don’t know what is!

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Luckily for Jake, there are plenty of people at a cat show who want nothing more to pet a friendly kitty.

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It’s fun for all ages!

Aby-a-Day – November 27: Glorious Plumage (Friday Fashion Flashback)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since Jacoby and I went to the Westchester Cat Show!

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And the wonderful Thanksgiving turkey outfit that Jake wore at the Fashion Show has become a part of our Thanksgiving tradition.

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The beautiful cat costume, made by Golden CouturePet, seemed to be custom-made for Jake. The minute he put it on, it was his.

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Talk about owning a look!

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Jake is definitely runway material.

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Oh, and don’t think for a second that he doesn’t know it. He’s very self-aware.

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Of course, the very best thing about the Westchester show was the fact that Jake was named Cat of the Year…that’s just such an amazing honour, I still haven’t quite gotten over it.

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Sadly, The Westchester Cat Club lost their usual venue this year and had to hold the show in August this year instead of the usual November. This was their 40th year…I hope the tradition continues!

Aby-a-Day – November 26: The bird is the word

This year for Thanksgiving, I wanted to try something different, so I cooked a Pheasant instead of the usual Turkey.

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Over the years, I have developed a marvelous and awesome technique for cooking birds of various species. It involves several secrets. The first secret is: Pour boiling water over the bird’s skin. It tightens it up and seals the meat. And do it at least a night before you cook the bird. My second secret is: Even if you aren’t planning to eat it, season the skin. The flavour leaks into the meat. These two I learned from a Chinese duck recipe.

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The third secret is to stuff the bird with onions and garlic cloves. This also flavours the meat – it makes a huge difference! The fourth secret is, start the oven at 500°F (260°C) and then put the bird in and immediately lower it to 325°F (163°C) for the actual baking. It sears the skin. And when you put the the bird into the oven, start out with the breast down, not up (natural, as if the bird was alive posture as opposed to the typical “Thanksgiving turkey” position). The juices will drip down into the breast meat while cooking instead of out into the pan. Trust me…yes, it can be a huge pain to flip the damn bird over halfway through, but it’s worth it.

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And the fifth secret is…Bacon!!! While the bird is cooking breast down, trim the fat off some good bacon, marinate it in maple syrup and garlic (plus any spices you’re in the mood for) and let it sit at room temperature (I recommend the microwave, aka the “cat proof food safe”).

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Of course, one person can do this all alone…but it’s always nice to have some help.

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Jacoby is very helpful!

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I think he’s trying to grab a fork for me here…

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Jake carefully examined the pheasant at the halfway point.

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He also supervised me while I applied the bacon.

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Once all the bacon was placed over the breast, the bird went back into the oven.

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Jake was so excited!

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He sat down next to the oven to wait and enjoy the wonderful smells.

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“Is it ready yet??”

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I think he started to get a little impatient.

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Here’s the pheasant about halfway through the breast-up cooking. I’m also baking the neck with it…this is an old and long-standing tradition of mine. When I was a kid, my mom would always cook the turkey neck and that would be my Thanksgiving preview snack. I always look forward to the neck when I cook a bird.

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“I love you, food-to-be.”

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I’m not sure what Jake’s more annoyed at: Tessie photobombing him, or Tessie stealing his bit of the pheasant neck!

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And here is the finished bird! The bacon was absolutely amazing – this was the first time I’d tried this – and the pheasant turned out wonderfully. This method will also work on a turkey or a chicken, and it should work on a duck…but bacon on a duck may be a little too much fat.

I was documenting my Thanksgiving meal for Björn because we couldn’t celebrate together this year…and it occurred to me that you might want to try my methods out with your Abys! Happy holidays!

Aby-a-Day – November 25: Wordless Wednesday (Wait…WHAT?)

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Aby-a-Day – November 24 – Breed sketches (Cartoon Tuesday)

I found these sketches I did during a therapy visit at Tufts last year with Jacoby, probably around the time some patients did portraits of Jake.

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On this one, I was explaining how different the body types and skulls of different breeds are. I also explained how ticking on an Abyssinian hair looks.

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Then I was asked if I had any other cats, so I drew Angel, Kylie and Tessie and showed how different each of them look – both when compared to Jake and when compared to each other.