Meet Avon (Warning: Kitten Overload)

Meet AvonIn non-food news, we added to our family! Yes, I know I told you in my pickles & ice cream post that I wasn’t pregnant. And that’s true. We adopted this red haired guy – Avon!

We weren’t looking to add another cat to our brood; however, fate had other plans. My parents were out on a long drive in the country along a busy road when my mom thought she saw a little kitten out of the corner of her eye. They drove back and parked the car. As my dad walked toward the kitten, the little kitty ran away, and my dad was afraid he wouldn’t be able to reach her. As he was walking back towards the car he heard one little meow and then a second. He turned around and there were two little kittens instead of one – a pale taupe kitten and an orange one. My dad noticed that there was a box a few feet away, where a person had apparently dumped the kittens without food, water, a sign, or anything. Next to a busy road and with the closest house at least a half a mile away, the cats surely wouldn’t have lasted long.

Meet little AvonAt that point the kittens appeared to be just a few weeks old, and they were both starving. My parents brought them home, and the kittens ate and ate. Separated from their mother too soon, they pawed at their food while they ate as if they were nursing. My parents watched over the kittens and nursed them back to health.

Throughout the time that my parents had them, I received regular updates and pictures of the kittens. Immediately David and I noticed how much the little redhead reminded us of our cat, Spike. He was talkative, liked to sleep in a Superman-style pose, and was often pushed around by his sister.

Sweet little AvonThe sister got adopted, and then there was one. David and I were won over by that little kitten face and knew he needed to be a member of our home. We named him Purr Avon (Avon for short) after the British sci-fi character from Blakes 7, Kerr Avon. The day before my birthday, my parents drove little Avon to his new home to live with us.

Cadry & Avon

Sleepy AvonSleepy Avon in lapAvon is terrifically sweet. I have never met a kitten who loves licking your face and chin so much. He actually tries to hold your face with both paws, so that he can get a good grip while he grooms. He is a purring machine, and as soon as you touch him, he’s purring with abandon. My laughing quotient for the day has at least tripled since his arrival. He has that kitten-style awkwardness that keeps him from having any catlike grace for which felines are known. As a callback to his time in a box without food, he eats anything that he can find, and he eats until the bowl is empty.

Avon drinking waterIn addition to licking, he also likes to bite a little on your fingers. I’m trying to break him of the habit, because while it doesn’t hurt in the slightest right now, I like having adult cats who never bite. I’ve been looking up advice on the internet and trying different things, but if you have any tricks that worked for you, please share!

Spike and AvonWe’ve been slowly introducing him to our cats, Spike and Jezebel, who are admittedly much less excited about the new arrival than we are. Considering they’ve spent fourteen years as a household of two cats, I can understand their trepidation and territorial feelings. Outside of an occasional lapse of pouncing, Avon is doing a pretty good job of being slow with them and heeding their hissing when the time comes.

CU sleepy AvonAvon takes a snoozeTo see more pictures of Avon (and Spike and Jezebel too, of course), check out my feed on Instagram, where I don’t fight my urges to post adorable kittens doing adorable kitten-type things.

My birthday weekend: The food edition

Salad with edible flowers, coconut bacon & roasted chickpeasMy birthday was last weekend, and it was pitch perfect. Usually we go out of town for my birthday, but this year we stayed closer to home. (More details on the whys of that later!) However, there were still many highlights.

On the day before my birthday, a package arrived from Los Angeles from my friend, Kristy. She shipped me some vegan treats – coconut bacon, Cocomels, and best of all, injera from my all-time favorite restaurant, Rahel.

Farmers market haulSalad with roasted chickpeas, coconut bacon & edible flowersAt the farmers market the next day, I couldn’t resist these edible flowers, and I had a big salad with roasted chickpeas, cashew dressing, and handfuls of coconut bacon. (FYI: The flowers don’t have much of a flavor, but they sure are pretty!) I’d been out of coconut bacon for months, and I was happy for it to reunite with my tongue once again. We broke into the injera a day or two later for a homemade Ethiopian feast. Rahel’s injera is noticeably tangier and more pronounced in flavor than other injera I’ve tried. David and I were mmm-ing a little extra with every bite. It was so terrifically sweet of Kristy and Chris to think of me on my birthday.

Our friends, Ashley and Adam, came over for a bit, and I was talking about how before I went vegan, I’d always get pink champagne cake on my birthday. In Des Moines, Barbara’s Bake Shop specialized in it, and it was something I looked forward to having every year. The champagne flavor adds a really lovely background to the lightly sweet cake. But since I went vegan 7 years ago, I hadn’t had it.

Pink Champagne CupcakeThe next day (on my actual birthday) we had a surprise visitor – Ashley with homemade pink champagne cupcakes! She looked up this recipe on Vegan Fling.   The cupcakes were frosted with a delicious strawberry buttercream frosting and had those wonderful undertones of champagne that I have missed all these years. Plus, the next morning I got to have coffee & champagne cake for breakfast! It doesn’t get much better than that.

For my birthday dinner, we ventured to Davenport to eat at Exotic Thai. I’ve written about Exotic Thai before in my post on my favorite Vegan Options in the Quad Cities. The weather was pleasant, and the patio was open. So we sat outside next to their miniature herb garden, which they use for their dishes. (It doesn’t get much more local than that!)

Tsing Tao BeerDavid ordered a beer.

Strawberry Basil MojitoI had a strawberry basil mojito.

Spicy Basil Noodles - Exotic Thai - Davenport, IowaFor dinner, I almost always get the exact same thing – Spicy Basil Noodles with veggie chicken. (You have to ask them to omit the egg to make it vegan.) The portions are really generous, and so this was 2 ½ meals. It was particularly spicy this night, and so I wasn’t able to use the hot sauce tray. I really should start asking them to make it mild, just so that I can pile on lots of crunchy, house-made jalapeno slices once it arrives.

Curry - Exotic Thai - Davenport, IowaDavid had their curry special with coconut milk, summer squash, zucchini, and eggplant made with tofu instead of chicken.

After dinner, we walked along the Mississippi River and relaxed on a bench while the sun went down. A lovely end to the day!