Aby-a-Day – 23 November: “Who’s a pretty bird? WHO’S a pretty bird?” (Friday Fashion Flashback)

Facebook, in its infinite algorithmic wisdom, reminded me this morning of Jacoby’s invitation to be Cat of the Year at the famed https://abyaday.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/aby-a-day-november-27-glorious-plumage-friday-fashion-flashback/” target=#> Westchester Cat Show and the fashion show where Jake first wore his fabulous Turkey costume.

westchesterjakefashionE_7572

Hard to believe that it’s been FIVE YEARS since then! So much has happened since then!

westchesterjakefashionIMG_3090

Jake clearly thought he looked amazing in his festive outfit.

westchesterjakefashionIMG_2998

The beautiful cat costume, made by Golden CouturePet, was only meant to be a loaner for the fashion show…

westchesterjakefashionE_7538

…But it seemed to be custom-made for Jake. The minute he put it on, it was his. The creator agreed and gave it to Jake as a gift because it suited him so very well.

westchesterjakeCOYIMG_3004

Jake being named Cat of the Year was such an incredible honour.

westchesterjakeCOYIMG_3005

We will never forget it.

westchesterjakefashionIMG_3001

And we have this sparkly confection of a costume to remember it by. Thank you, Westchester Feline Club!

Aby-a-Day- 22 November: Happy Thanksgiving, or, as we call it in Sweden, “Thursday”

Today is Thanksgiving back in the States, but we actually had our “Thanksgiving” dinner last Thursday.

goose_5174

The reason for this is more utilitarian than anything else. Since last year, I have wanted to cook a goose. In Sweden, geese are traditionally cooked for St. Martin’s Day, celebrated on 10 November. I didn’t know this last year when I first saw whole geese in the shops last year…I wanted to get one for Christmas, but by the time I was ready to buy one, they were nowhere to be found! Because they are only available in early November.

zakroryfreddygooseC03249

This year, I was on full alert for geese, checking all the stores for geese. And I found them at two stores. I snagged a better deal than the above for the one we had for our early Thanksgiving, but Björn (who works at the same mall that the supermarket I took that photo at is in) got a second one we froze for a third of the price. But for the first one, I wanted to cook it fresh, not frozen, and the use-by date was the 15th…so, we decided to have Thanksgiving a week early.

zakroryfreddygooseC03253

I have cooked whole chickens, turkeys, pheasants and ducks, but never a goose. I followed my usual Chinese-style, boiling-water-to-tighten-the-skin trick, and I even found a kick-ass Asian-style roast goose recipe.

The thing to keep in mind, here, is that the goose weighed 5kg. Of our five cats, the one who weighs the closest to that is Alfred, who, the last time I weighed them all, came in at 4.7kg. Yep, that’s right…Freddy officially weighs more than Jacoby!

zakroryfreddyjakegooseC03272

None of the cats was the least bit intimidated by food that weighed more than they did.

freddygooseC03279

freddygooseC03288

Freddy even tried to take a bite!

rorygooseC03275

Lorelai is our smallest cat – smaller even than Izaak! She only weighed 2.4kg the last time I weighed them. She was very impressed with the goose.

gooseovenC03298

Another trick I use when cooking birds is to start cooking it breast down (upside-down from the way people usually roast a turkey). This way, the juices run DOWN into the breast and keeps it moist. Then for the last hour, the bird is flipped over so the breast can brown. Goose cooks a lot faster than turkey, though, which I was not expecting. I’ll know better next time.

zakgooseC03299

zakgooseC032312

Zak was very interested in the cooked goose.

jakegooseC03317

jakegooseC03321

jakegooseC03322

So was Jake.

jakegooseC03325

Cheeky bugger actually licked it!

goose_5180

goose_5181

I don’t cook my birds with stuffing per se, but I do stuff the inside cavity with ginger, garlic, scallions, and, for this particular recipe, orange wedges. It adds flavour to the meat from the inside. I also boil them down with the carcass when I make stock, which makes for very tasty soups.

goose_5183

The meat inside is so much richer and more flavourful than turkey…but overall, it seems there is less edible meat per kilo than a similar-sized turkey. All in all, an interesting exercise. I can’t wait to try it again!

Aby-a-Day – 11 November: On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month…(Serious Sunday)

Today is the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of the Great War To End All Wars. As I recalled a few years ago, this holiday is observed somewhat differently in Canada than it is in the United States.

Apparently, the 100th anniversary observance of this occasion is handled VERY differently by Canada and the US, as evidenced by the two countries’ respective leaders. I’ve never been prouder to hold Canadian citizenship.

Aby-a-Day – 1 November: Happy Halloween 2018

Yesterday, of course, was Halloween. We haven’t had a Halloween dress-up party Chez Hellqvist since…well, since before we were Chez Hellqvist.

zakhalloweenC02962<

So we dressed up this year. First up was Izaak, wearing the infamous “Honey Pie” costume. Let’s just say…he’s not a natural.

zakhalloweenC02993

zakhalloweenC02963

He had a hard time with the hat in particular.

zakhalloweenC02987

And then he was very distracted by his hair.

zakhalloweenC03005

…Almost…

zakhalloweenC03017

In the end, he managed to get a couple of awesome shots, though.

roryhalloweenC02894

Next up was Lorelai. No real costume for her, just a pretty dress and a blonde wig.

roryhalloweenC02910

Rory had as hard a time with her wig as Zak did with his hat/wig combo.

roryhalloweenC02921

It would have looked cuter on her if she’d have stopped making faces.

roryhalloweenC02901

She didn’t mind the dress, though. Just the wig.

freddyhalloweenC02855

Next we had Alfred, wearing Jacoby’s cowboy outfit.

freddyhalloweenC02867

Given how hard it was to get him to wear his Red Sox outfit, I was pleasantly surprised at how well he wore this costume.

freddyhalloweenC02860

He had a little trouble with the hat at first, but ended up rocking the western look.

jakehalloweenC02883

Jake, of course, has so many outfits to choose from; apart from the dresses, they’re basically all his. After going through them, I thought it would be fun to reprise his doctor’s scrubs outfit.

jakehalloweenC02876

It took him a second to remember how to wear the cap.

jakehalloweenC02872

His ears aren’t really airplane-angry. It’s just the hat’s elastic that makes them look like that.

angelhalloweenC02930

Last, but not least, we have Angel. Who, of course, wore her pirate’s costume.

angelhalloweenC02926

Which she wore like a boss. Of course, she pretty much only ever wears this costume and no other, while Jake wore one he han’t done in years, and the younger cats had never worn a costume at all.

angelhalloweenC02947

It’s not often that Angel is the best poser of the bunch…but there’s a first time for everything!

Aby-a-Day – 31 October: Wordless Wednesday (Jacoby and Os-car)

jakeoscarC03068

jakeoscarC03081

jakeoscarC03047

jakeoscarC03041

Aby-a-Day – 29 October: National Cat Day (Hipstamatic Monday)

Today is National Cat Day in the States…and, having no ideas for a post today, I thought I’d just go round and take photos of the cats being themselves, with the Hipstamatic camera.

hipstafreddy2762

Alfred, napping on the sofa next to me, was the first.

hipstafreddy9171

Start with what’s close at hand, right?

hipstafreddy2180

Freddy was cool with whatever…

hipstajake9474

Next we have Jacoby, sleeping on our bed.

hipstajake8699

Hipstamatic makes that fun.

hipstajake0450

A lot of fun.

hipstazak3159

Next, we have Izaak in the kitchen.

hipstazak2561

He’s so much more food-oriented than Logan…

hipstafreddyrory1608

Freddy and Lorelai joined us in the kitchen.

hipstarory0752

Rory was so cute today…

hipstarory7842

She is so pretty.

hipstarory1198

And…just a little bit goofy.

hipsta-angel7305

Angel, meanwhile, was up in the cubby part of the cat tree.

hipsta-angel0081

She really loves it in there.

hipsta-angel6255

But it’s one of the few places in the world where she feels safe and secure.

hipsta-angel4533

Angel is an amazingly strong girlcat.

Aby-a-Day – 4 October: Glad Kanelbullensdag! (Thursday Things)

Today is a special holiday in Sweden: Cinnamon Bun Day.

jakeangelkanelbullarC03964

jakeangelkanelbullarC03966

Of course, longtime readers of this blog Jacoby has a long history of loving to snack on baked goods.

jakekanelbullarC04090

So when Cinnamon Bun Day came around our first year in Sweden, I had to at least offer Jake a cinnamon bun.

jakekanelbullarC04070

jakekanelbullarC04093

jakekanelbullarC04095

He attacked that bun like it was his last supper.

jakeangelkanelbullarC04025

jakeangelkanelbullarC04012

Angel can’t even with Jake’s baked good obsession.

jakekanelbullarC03956

I mean, look at him! Could you even with that?

kanelbullarC04155

In the end, Jake ate a good amount of his first Swedish cinnamon snail.

jakekanelbullarC04166

jakekanelbullarC04167

jakekanelbullarC04168

jakekanelbullarC04169

Obviously, Jake is a big fan of Kanelbullens dagen!