Blue Cat’s Butterbell Secrets

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Blue Cat loves butter. He loves its creamy texture, buttery taste and the fact that it makes everything taste better. In fact, Blue Cat thinks that butter is just about the perfect condiment with one exception – it’s hard to put on things.

That’s because butter is usually kept in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. And cold butter is a solid that can’t be spread on bread, toast or English muffins. And it takes a while to coat vegetables, potatoes and other hot foods because it has to warm up to become soft and useable.

Blue Cat has found the solution is a “butterbell” – a butter container that keeps the creamy goodness fresh but also at room temperature. Here’s one that Blue Cat uses:

 

A butterbell has two parts – a curved cup/container for the butter and a water cup to keep the butter fresh. It works by keeping the surface of the butter under water, so air can’t reach the butter (which helps prevent the spoiling process). And the whole contraption sits on your table or counter, so the butter remains at a spreadable room temperature. (You might consider getting a metal and plastic one like Blue Cat’s – it’s not as fancy as the ceramic one he used to have, but it doesn’t crack when you smack it with a plate by accident.)

Fresh butter that’s easy to spread – sounds too good to be true. And it is if you aren’t careful. The first thing Blue Cat recommends is to make sure you don’t have any air pockets under your butter. If you don’t pack the butter all the way into the cup, an air pocket forms and the butter will fall into the water. Pretty messy. So Blue Cat softens the butter first by unwrapping it (so the softened butter doesn’t stick to the wrapper) and then letting it set out for an hour. Or if he’s in a real hurry, he uses the “soften” function on his microwave. But don’t let it get too soft!


Next Blue Cat packs the butter into the cup a third of a stick at a time with a tablespoon. A tablespoon is pointy at one end so it fits in the cup, and curved on the bottom so it can press the butter all the way into the cup.



When he’s done he has a cup of butter ready to keep fresh.


But even though his toast is ready, he needs to do one more thing. The bottom cup needs to be filled with cool water so the top of the butter is in the water when the butter cup is placed in the bottom cup. You can use refrigerator water if you want, but if you do you butter will harden up until the water warms to room temperature. And don’t overfill the cup – Blue Cat’s has a line that shows how much water to put in.

Don’t forget to change the water every couple of days so the butter stays fresh. Blue Cat can’t remember “every couple days” very well so he just changes the water every morning at breakfast. And you’ll need to wash the whole butterbell (by hand – they don’t do well in the dishwasher) every stick or two of butter so it doesn’t get gross.

So those are Blue Cat’s butterbell secrets. Secrets for spreadable, creamy, fresh butter whenever you want it. So go out and get a butterbell and enjoy!

(C) William P Doyle, Jr. 2017 All Rights Reserved

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Blue Cat and the Great Gingerbread House Design Challenge

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Blue Cat watches a lot of television, and one of his favorite channels is the Home and Garden Network (or HGN). Of course, they never really show very many gardens, so they should call it the Home and More Home Network, but Blue Cat guesses that HGN is easier to write than HMHN.

Anyway, Blue Cat likes the shows where people are looking for new homes and shows where people are competing to be the best remodeler/cook/swordsmith (wait – that’s the History Channel, or HC). So he decided to sponsor a competion on who could design the best home that would be both his size and tasty to eat. No sword/knife making this time since Blue Cat’s scribe had an accident with a knife the other day and isn’t too keen on things that cut.

Since it was the holidays, Blue Cat decided that the contest would be to determine who could build the best gingerbread house. He had a couple of gingerbread house decorating kits from last year – you’d be surprised how much shelf life gingerbread and icing have – and gave them to two teams from his scribe’s family. And they went to work.

The teams both had exactly the same kit, supplemented by some marshmallows because marshmallows look like snow and they’re good to eat. But the results were very different, as you can see by the pictures below:

A Traditional Gingerbread House – with lasers!


This house is more traditional. Blue Cat especially liked the snow man, and the whole setup reminded him of some houses he saw in Germany. Except for the laser cannons depicted by the toothpicks coming out of the house and the snowman. Blue Cat guesses that it was all part of the home security system. (A big seller with owners of gingerbread houses ever since those two thugs, Hansen and Gretel, broke into that poor witch’s house and stuffed her in an oven. But we digress…)

Marshmallow clouds cushion the ride!


The other team went a totally different way. In honor of the new Star Wars movie, they built a gingerbread spaceship house, including bucket seats for the pilot and copilot and marshmallow clouds and exhaust. Blue Cat thinks there are lasers on this one, too, but he was afraid to ask.

Both of the entries were so creative that Blue Cat couldn’t decide the winner. So he gave two awards – one for the best house with home security and one for the best creative use of marshmallows. And then he tried eating one of the houses and discovered that gingerbread does not have as much shelf life as he expected…

What do you think? Which is the best use of gingerbread house materials? And should there be a television show for this kind of competion on HGN?

(C) William P Doyle, Jr. 2017  All Rights Reserved

A Crochet Crèche Christmas

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Blue Cat is a fan of all things crocheted – whether they be hats, blankets or small blue cats. So when he went to his scribe’s church’s crèche exhibit last week he was really excited to see some impressive crocheting skills.

For those of you who don’t know, a crèche is a representation of the Christmas manger scene – usually with a stable, Mary and Joseph, and the Christ child. Blue Cat has seen them done in lots of materials – wood, stone, glass, ceramic and even marshmallows. But never like this time, when there were some beautiful crèches made from yarn.

This one was probably the most detailed; note the faces on the people and the kneeling donkey:

This one is more child-like, with the happiest baby Jesus Blue Cat has ever seen:

But this one is Blue Cat’s favorite, mostly because of the angel in the upper portion of the stable and how everyone is facing the baby Jesus:


This display really got Blue Cat and his family in the Christmas spirit and ready to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. And Blue Cat hopes you’re having a great holiday as well!

(C) William P Doyle, Jr. 2016 All Rights Reserved

Blue Cat and the Christmas List

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Blue Cat is feeling much better – not only did he get a some more readers and a couple of comments on Facebook, but he learned a really important lesson. And that lesson is that part of getting what you want is letting people know what it is you want.

It might seem like it’s rude to ask for things, but think about it – if you don’t tell people what you want or need, they won’t know how to help you. Blue Cat wanted more people to read his blog, but his friends couldn’t help him reach that goal if they didn’t know it’s something he wanted. Most folks are willing to help, but they’re not mind readers. They need some clues.

So Blue Cat is asking everyone to do one thing this holiday season – make sure your gift-giving friends know what you want so they don’t have to guess. Make a list, just like Blue Cat is going to…


And have a really great holiday!

(C) William P Doyle, Jr 2016 All Rights Reserved

Pipe Cleaners for Bones

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Blue Cat has a problem – very few people read his blog and almost no one comments on what he says. He’s thinking that it’s because he has pipecleaners for bones. And he’s getting very sensitive about it.


Or perhaps it’s because his head is full of fiberfill. It’s just so depressing…

So let’s make this “show Blue Cat that it’s ok to have pipe cleaners for bones and fiberfill for brains” week. Share this post with your friends and everyone comment to show him your support. Please – there’s nothing worse than a depressed crocheted cat. (Except for war, famine, pestilence and most everything else that’s bad.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

(C) William P Doyle 2014 All rights reserved.

Blue Cat Takes a Flight

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Hi! Blue Cat here. In my last post I shared my impressions of New Hampshire, but the story does not end there. I needed to get home to Colorado, so I made a reservation to fly Carry-On Class on United Airlines. For those of you who don’t know, Carry-On Class is just like First Class, except there are no free drinks, no food, and you travel stuffed in a bag in the overhead. Or at someone’s feet if you’re particularly unlucky and are in Boarding Group 3 or 4. Which I was…

 

As it turned out, I was extremely lucky. There was one seat left open on the flight, so I was able to fly Small Cat Class. Not only are there free drinks and free food, but I had a spacious seat all to myself. As you can see, Small Cat Class includes an enourmous amount of leg room – if you’re a small, crocheted cat.



In comparison, here’s what the legroom looks like for someone flying Economy Class:



United Airlines is one of the few airlines that provides you with a choice of food – a cookie or some pretzels – but on this flight they had a special snack mix that was more than a meal for someone who watches his weight like I do. Here I am with my meal, served in a special fold-out dining room that you only get in Small Cat Class.

After that I was treated to a big screen music video. Can you guess who my favorite artist is?

All in all it was a great trip, although I did have to go back into the bag at the end of the flight. (Scribe’s Note: the seat belts on airplane seats can’t restrain Blue Cat’s awesomeness in the case of a rough landing.) Next stop – Chicago!

I’d love to hear about how you’ve traveled lately – car, boat, train or rocket? Drop me a line and let me know.

Your traveling friend,

Blue Cat

(C) William P Doyle, Jr. 2016. All Rights Reserved

Blue Cat Visits New Hampshire

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It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes Blue Cat gets to travel. Usually it’s to someplace in Colorado or Utah, but this week it was to the far off land of New Hampshire. Given that he’s never been to New England, Blue Cat jumped at the chance to see somewhere new. And new it was!


No – the trees aren’t really small in New Hampshire, nor has Blue Cat put on a few inches of height. He just happened to get really close to the camera since he wanted everyone to see how excited he was to be there.

New Hampshire is a beautiful place, especially when the leaves on the trees are changing color (which they are now). Blue Cat’s friends tell him that this part of New Hampshire was mostly farmland in the 1700’s, but that people moved west because the soil here is mostly rocks. (You see a lot of rock walls in New Hampshire.) So the forests reclaimed the farmland, and today the whole state is mostly trees. That’s a lot of trees with leaves that change color!

New Hampshire is also very rural – the towns aren’t very big and there’s lots of space between them. That’s not to say that there aren’t restaurants, shops and other businesses – it’s just that they’re a lot more spread out than in Blue Cat’s Colorado. His scribe even found a mall  – The Mall of New Hampshire – that had a Macy’s, a Penney’s and a Sears. Plus an Apple Store just to prove that New Hampshire-ites (or is it New Hampshire-ers?) are up with the times. One of the stores still had a big sign for Galaxy Note 7’s, though, so they might be a bit behind the times here.

Blue Cat thinks New Hampshire is a great place, although he has heard that it snows a lot here. He’s looking forward to another visit soon.

Where have you been lately that’s new and exciting? Blue Cat really wants to know.

(C) William P Doyle, 2016, All Rights Reserved