Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Delightful Kittens!

Blogging world, meet Firestorm and Selah, the two delightful kittens that Lukas and I got this summer. Since we got married last August we have been wanting kittens... both of us grew up with cats, and we both love the cute, cuddly animals. However, our first apartment did not allow pets, so we waited in anticipation for when we would be able to get our first pets together. As soon as we put down the deposit on our new apartment this summer we started looking for options for some little kittens to add to our new home.

And we stumbled upon these two: a fluffy orange and white friendly little guy and a tortoiseshell colored, sweet and affectionate little female.  They were actually part of two separate litters, but grew up together out in Arkansas country. We found them through a posting on Craig's List. Being the cat lovers we are, we picked them up and brought them home the day after we finished moving into our new apartment. Hmm, what comes first, unpacking all those boxes or picking up our new pets? Yep, the kittens won out! 

Selah (black and tan kitten, known as a tortoiseshell) is such a sweetheart. She loves being held and will usually stay in our arms as long as we hold her. I have never had a cat who enjoys being held as much as she does.

Firestorm (the orange and white kitten), as his names implies, is a bundle of energy. He's very friendly and loves to be around people. For that matter, both cats are very much people cats.

Being kittens, they of course love to explore and get into mischief. Lukas has started trying to hide some of our plants out of their reach because they keep trying to attack and bite off the leaves! Firestorm really likes playing with wadded up paper balls. And we get a kick out of watching them chase around a little red laser that we direct all around the house.

Of course, they're kittens so they have their time of romping around, but they also sleep a lot. They're so cute when they take their naps!

They find the strangest places to sleep sometimes! As you can see, Selah thought my TOMS shoe would make a nice place to rest.

The best is when they fall asleep in your arms though. Awww! In this picture, Firestorm found a cuddly spot for a nap in Lukas' arms. Even as I write this, Firstorm has jumped up on Lukas and is laying on his chest. 

They also like high-up perches (such as Lukas' shoulder)... or the kitchen counter tops. We're working on training them to stay away from those!

What about you all? Do you have any fun pet stories? As for us, we sure are having fun with Firestorm and Selah. They brighten up our days!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Arroz Chaufa: Peruvian Fried Rice

I have been immersed into the world of Peruvian cooking... thanks to my husband's family being missionaries in Peru. And, let me tell you, Peruvian food is tasty.

I used to think Lukas was biased when he talked about how great Peruvian food was. I figured that, having grown up there, he was just partial to it. This may be true, but I have since discovered firsthand how delicious Peruvian food really is. I have had the opportunity to try a variety of Peruvian dishes made by Lukas' family and in a Peruvian restaurant we found in Tulsa. We have tried making a few of these dishes at home, and I look forward to trying more in the future!

In fact, come to find out, Peruvian food has been rated in culinary circles as one of the top countries for unique cuisine. There are hundreds of dishes unique to Peru. The recipe below is for arroz chaufa, which is a Peruvian fried rice. This particular dish has significant Chinese influence, but with a bit of a Peruvian twist.

I still remember the first time I tried arroz chaufa. Lukas and his sister, Lynea, made the dish for me when Lukas and I were dating, and I remember them huddled in the tiny dorm kitchen attempting to make a culinary masterpiece. Cooking anything as a college student is always a challenge given the lack of cooking supplies and space, but they did a great job. Now Lukas and I can make this at home (thankfully, we have a little more space to work now in an apartment than we did in a dorm kitchen)!

Arroz Chaufa

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 large onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 square inches ginger root
  • 3 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • 3 green onions
  • 1-2 small carrots
  • 1/3 bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups rice (2 cups precooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • Optional: extra onion and several limes for topping


Start cooking rice. For two cups of rice, we cooked with 2 3/4 cups water in our rice maker. If you don't have a rice maker, you can easily cook it on the stove.

Cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces. Mince garlic and ginger root. Cut up onion into small pieces. Cook chicken, garlic, ginger and onion on the stove in a large pan, along with cumin, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper. You can also add a small amount of soy sauce at this point.

Cut up green onions, carrots and bell pepper. Steam briefly with a little bit of water to soften the vegetables. We just put the vegetables in the microwave briefly.

Add onions, carrots, bell pepper and peas (if the peas are still a bit frozen they will defrost quickly on the stove) to the meat. Add cooked rice to the mixture. Stir everything together. Add a little more soy sauce to flavor. Ideally, you want some soy sauce flavor, but not too much (so that you can taste all the other distinct flavors).

Fry two eggs in a separate skillet and chop into small pieces. Mix egg pieces in with the rice, meat and veggies.

And it's all ready to eat. If desired, you can squeeze several limes and mix with chopped onions for a topping for arroz chaufa. This is the typical Peruvian way to eat it; my husband loves it, but I usually skip that part--I think it has plenty of flavor without it. If you choose to make the sauce, just keep it in a separate dish from the rice, that way you can add it as desired. A little bit of the sauce goes a long way.

Enjoy this taste of South American cuisine!