The VEB review— frozen kale update, reading, kittens.
Last summer I experimented with freezing (raw/shredded) kale in mason jars.
At the time I could not endorse my process, because I had made it up in my head, and 99.9% of the time my foolproof concepts are surprisingly riddled with failure.
I’m sure you have been waiting anxiously for my report!
It worked perfectly, I’m very happy! (especially considering how otherwise we would have had an entire chest freezer of wasted time, energy, and irritation.)
Disclaimer: once-frozen kale is NOT something you want to make a salad out of. But it is fantastic in any cooked dish or soup. (Unless you hate kale! In which case, you will still hate it!)
I personally enjoy mine cooked with a (demented) amount of ginger. And plenty of garlic (of which we grew some.)
1. When prepping to freeze, at first I was separating the kale from the stems… but by the end of the crop, I had HAD it, and eventually I just started shoving the whole leaf through the food processor… at peak season, I was shredding several laundry baskets worth of kale PER NIGHT, which got old FAST.
And guess what? After it’s frozen, and then cooked? You cannot tell which jars had stems and which didn’t. So that will save me a LOT of time this year: EVERYTHING is going through the food processor.
2. The widemouth jars are easier to pack, AND easier to unpack.
3. Take a jar out of the freezer in the morning and it will be de-thawed by afternoon.
4. Rinse the kale before cooking.
I don’t know how much money this saved us. But we ate one of the jars every night (once we ran out of fresh.) And there is a LOT of kale in one jar… way more than one bunch from the grocery store.
So we definitely saved money, but EVEN BETTER was having access to ALL THE KALE… the worst part of winter for me is feeling like we eat so much fewer greens!
What I’m reading: How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir, by Cat Marnell
It feels unfair to endorse Cat Marnell, without first acknowledging her predecessor: the one-time, depressive-child-wunderkind, (turned hated-by-everyone-narcissist) Elizabeth Wurtzell.
Maybe there is good reason everyone hates her now, but I think it’s because she has aged out of the socially-acceptable bracket of twenty-something; when women are permitted to be drug-addicted-life-ruiners and everyone will coo over their self-destructive-specialness.
I think people’s real problem with Elizabeth Wurtzel is that she no longer looks the part… society only celebrates deeply-flawed women who are young and beautiful (and white, duh!)
But if you are a man, don’t worry! There is no expiration date on your bad behavior!
See: Ernest Hemingway, Jackson Pollock, Richard Burton, et al.
Now we have a new twenty-something, drug-addicted, life-ruiner: Cat Marnell… and I was prepared to hate her.
I felt she had blatantly coopted Elizabeth Wurtzel‘s plotline without changing a single element: dyed-blonde, Adderall-snorting, obscure-music-loving, prescription-seeking, stringy-haired-with-horrible-eyeliner, and parents-who-pay-your-exorbitant-NYC-rent-so-that-you-can-spend-all-your-time-getting-high-so-you-can-write-a-memoir-about-getting-high-which-will-then-be-lauded-by-The New York Times-and-The Atlantic-and-The New Yorker-and EVERYONE ELSE.
Also, it is important to note that I was prepared to hate Cat Marnell for her greatest crime: being more proactive than me.*
*(yes Dad, I know that should be I… but it just sounds wrong and a person can actually choose to use wrong grammar. I understand that is baffling to you.)
I too have spent my existence being overwhelmed by life! But like an idiot, I failed to be enterprising and take heroin or angel dust so that I could write about it in a way that is exciting and reckless rather than boring and tedious.
Additionally, I feel strongly that you should be barred from being a New York Times bestselling author if you tried to ruin your own life, but didn’t succeed because your parents funded your survival.
Basically I’m just mad that I did not ruin my own life in a spectacular and glamorous explosion and am stuck doing it slowly and grindingly and now I am TOO OLD TO BE A WUNDERKIND.
Anyway. My point is that I was planning to really dislike Cat Marnell. And for the first 70 pages of her book I did.
It was boring!
I was smug!
But then– WOAH… without spoiling it, I’ll just say it’s intense.
Honesty—FOR NO REASON AT ALL— other than to tell your story, is my favorite… for me, an author’s decision to simply write down what happened, without shame, is the best kind of book.
SOAPBOX: help me get these babies adopted!!
My current batch of munchkin lunatics are ready to be adopted… and I could use your help if you are in the Philadelphia area!!
Normally, when my fosters are healthy/old enough/fixed, they can go to an adoption center at one of the area pet stores.
But I took these boys from an all-volunteer organization that does not have the same ties to PetSmart/PetCo adoption centers that the city shelter does… so getting them adopted is on me.
There are two specific challenges with these boys:
1: I don’t want to separate them!! They are brothers and they are BEST FRIENDS. They love eachother so much! (although they equally love attacking eachother and biting and flying through the house and hiding and pouncing and giving eachother rabbit feet to the head and somehow managing to pull the table cloth off the table even when it’s held down with dishes.)
2: it is KITTEN SEASON… which means there are MORE KITTENS THAN HOMES! (and also means that I need to get these guys on their way so that I can take more!!) And on top of that, these guys are older than kittens are usually adopted because the tuxedo baby was a malnourished little runt and it took him a while to get up to speed!
Incase you know someone who needs some furry love in their life, let me tell you about them!!
First, Little Mouse, the tuxedo: he is pure baby cuteness! He was the runt of the litter, and he had a rough start in life!! But now he is doing great.
LOOK AT THAT FACE!!
He has not quite mastered the art of sleeping… he is getting better but half the time he sleeps with his paws over his head!
They named him Millhouse, but I call him Little Mouse because he has the tiniest little squeak. It’s nearly inaudible! He has a little chatter/trill/squawk that does not even sound like a meow!
When he came to me he was SO SCRAWNY and scared! He did not even make any noise for two weeks… none! No purr, no nothing! It was sad to hold a little bag of bones kitten who did not purr!
The first time he did a tiny little rumble, I thought I was hallucinating!
And NOW! Now he is so good! He loves to be held and cuddled (unless it’s crazypantstime, in which case, NO YOU CANNOT HOLD ME MOM.)
He is a super lovebug! He comes when I call him, and he has superior fur, and additionally of importance: he smells extra delicious.
His brother Bart is a super chill little man– his fur is all black, with just a few white hairs at his chest.
Bart loves everyone! He loves to investigate new things and people… nothing bothers him! He is even curious about the vacuum cleaner– he has not fully decided he is on board with it, but he is open to the possibility.
Bart is particularly interactive with people! He likes to sit on the sink and watch Paul shave in the morning, and he will EVEN WEAR A HARNESS to go outside. (Little Mouse does not want anything to do with the nonsense that is a leash!)
Bart always wants to know where you are, and if Little Mouse has disappeared (maybe getting cuddles without Bart!) you will hear him downstairs doing this trilling chirp, calling to you, and you have to say– up here Bart! And he will come running.
He has the best purr– it’s rummbly, but also with a rusty squeak in the middle… like he is riding an old bike that sticks.
Bart has been a huge comfort to his brother– he absolutely knew that Little Mouse needed some extra love, and he really took care of him… (when not attacking him and trying to remove his ears.)
If you know someone who would like to adopt these boys, they can apply at City Kitties website.
These boys would do great with kids; you can basically hold them upside down and they are just like– this is fine!
I’m pretty sure they would be good with dogs too… Bart in particular! He is very curious about other animals! Neither of the boys are aggressive at ALL– both have met one of my outdoor crew of cats who is very shy and sweet, and they just wanted to sniff her and say hello… no hissing or anything!
They are wonderful company and they love a lap nap!
In closing, PLEASE REMIND YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS!
I get daily emails from multiple shelters with that day’s “timestamps.” Animals who have run out of time… there are simply TOO MANY ANIMALS AND NOT ENOUGH HOMES.
Please don’t let your animals have babies! If you’d like to experience baby animals, fostering them is a great way! You can truly be the difference between life and death for an animal living in a shelter!
ADOPT DON’T SHOP!!!
I wrote an entire post here about ways you can support your local shelter— some of which do not even require you to interact with animals.
April 20, 2017 @ 9:24 pm
I wish I could take those boys off your hands! Our resident old man cat would be VERY upset with me, and at 18 shows no signs of going anywhere just yet (he’s even decided, after a year of staying in the basement by his choice, that this new house is OK and that he’s gonna come back upstairs – to the 2nd floor- to join his family).
Marianne in Mo.
April 21, 2017 @ 10:05 am
Those kitties are so cute, I wish I lived close and that my husband would agree to getting cats. ( He’s a d.o.g. person :-/ )
We have been searching rescue groups near (and far) for a dog/puppy, but we require smallish – under 30lbs. because we need to be able to lift them if they should need it. Visited three shelters yesterday, and I was so sad to see so many large dogs, pitties and older dogs. Then I visited the kitty rooms ( to get my fix of love ) and again was sad over the thought of so many waiting for love. We were unsuccessful in finding a pet, and will continue to search, but on the drive home we talked about all the unwanted animals. Sad to think there are STILL people who can’t/won’t spay or neuter, then “dump” their babies and sometimes Mom onto society. If I were richer, I would offer free spay/neuter to anyone, no questions or judgements. I would also offer a pickup service for those who have no way to get their pet to the services. Because I believe that sometimes THAT is the big factor in stopping unwanted litters. As a kid, we were a welfare family with little funds and we had no means of transportation other than public transit, and you can’t bring an animal on a bus, cab or metro unless it’s a support animal! Soapbox over -*mic drop*.
April 22, 2017 @ 8:39 am
I make “kale cubes” and put them in my morning smoothie. So good. Little Mouse and Bart are so precious. I’m not in the Philadelphia area but will pin your post.
April 22, 2017 @ 9:24 pm
Please spay\neuter your pets- and any pets that you can (legally) get your hands on!!! It’s always kitten season in the rescue world.
April 23, 2017 @ 10:17 am
I love your dad! I think I may have mentioned this before.
I also respect your poetic license. You have to play to your crowd, right?
Kale? Eh, no thank you. But I admire you for doing all of that work. If you’d like to can and freeze a chest full of donuts for me I could hop on board.
I haven’t read any of those books. I can not abide people who think their purposeful death spiral is cute. Enough of the world have real problems. The rest of us sabotage in a boring slow-burn, which I feel is way more worthy of respect. If I am at the library and I see that book and remember what you said about it I might give it a try.
Good luck with your kitties. It’s hard for me to give anything back once it finds a spot in my heart so I don’t think I could foster without turning into That Woman. . . (Which I already likely am, but not different reasons.)
April 24, 2017 @ 2:52 am
I’m so happy to see someone use me instead of I incorrectly! It seems as though people are afraid to ever say me so they incorrectly say I! It drives me nuts! I think I’d like your dad. He sounds like my mother. Good luck with the kitties!
April 24, 2017 @ 12:58 pm
Hi. Have you ever read Confessions of a Prarie Bitch? It’s the autobiography of Nellie from Little House on the Prarie. It was fascinating.
April 24, 2017 @ 12:59 pm
Hi. Have you ever read Confessions of a Prarie Bitch? It’s the autobiography of Nellie from Little House on the Prarie. It was fascinating. Always to see a post by you!
April 25, 2017 @ 12:16 am
holy geez can you send these two furballs to canada? toronto to be exact—I seriously would take them, have vet references and whatever else needed–except a ride to philly to pick them up!!
April 25, 2017 @ 5:55 pm
Hi, I’m a cat mama (currently without cats!) and would love to adopt these kitty boys. I live in Rhode Island — would you consider an out-of-state adoption? Seriously, I will drive the 5 hours to meet and adopt these cuties! ~~Catherine~~
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
April 26, 2017 @ 6:56 am
I would, yes! Although, that’s assuming you didn’t just get carried away looking at their photos and now after sleeping on it realize that was more driving than you are up for! (Incase which, no hard feelings! I am the queen of knee-jerk reactions!)
I’m not the one who approves adoptions, but if you go to http://www.citykitties.org/adoption-application/ and fill out the form (it’s long, I know! They are more thorough than the county shelters! And they will definitely call your references.)
If it ends up being a trip you’re definilty making, I will accommodate ANY schedule that works for you… day, night, weekend, whatever. xoxo, Victoria
p.s.- let me know if you are going to apply and I will email the adoption coordinator to explain how/why you found them and why you are far.
April 28, 2017 @ 7:02 pm
Great advice to foster if one wants animal babies. We fostered a number of litters of kittens when our boys were growing up. It was great fun for everyone involved, plus we ended up adopting three of the kittens (at different times).
January 17, 2018 @ 10:51 pm
Love the kitty conversations and all your madcap craigslist GFT purchases- count me in on the crazy!