Tag Archives: cats

Spooky Halloween Tricks and Treats

Melissa Iwai Copyright 2013

Melissa Iwai Copyright 2013

I didn’t go all out this year as I have in the past, because I’ve been so busy with work.  No haunted gingerbread houses this year!  But I did make Jamie’s costume again.  I also had fun practicing making faux flesh wounds on my hands this afternoon.

Faux Hand Wound

Faux Hand Wound

I used liquid latex and fake blood and a little makeup.

latex and vampire blood

I did a tutorial last year here.

Jamie wanted a high tech costume that incorporates a smart phone.  He saw this youtube video about Digital Dudz, which sells these cool phone holders and has free animation apps on their site which you can play and freak people out.  Jamie is too small for an adult sized one, so I made one for him using an old shirt and some latex from a Bald Head “wig”.

Latex pocket

Latex pocket

First I made a pocket out of the latex and cut a hole out on one side.

Pocket with phone inside

Pocket with phone inside

Then I glued it to an old T-shirt and cut a hole out of that.  I added a bit more latex on edges and “decorated” with fake blood.

Add Mediabeginning of shirtHere’s what it looked like when it was finished:

Striking a pose

Striking a pose

The animation here is of a beating heart with sound.  But I think he is going to go with intestines tomorrow night.  Check out all the animations here.

Enough of the tricks, now for the treats!

I made these really simple bat, ghost, and cat Rice Krispie treats by coloring part of the batch with black food coloring, and cutting the shapes out with cookie cutters:

plate of ghosts

I was going to use mini chocolate chips for the eyes, but when I consulted with my son (a.k.a. candy expert), he said Nerds would be much better, and he was right!

black cat

Halloween Rice Krispie Treats

3 tablespoons butter, divided

40 large marshmallows, divided

6 cups rice cereal, divided

black food coloring

Nerds candy in red and yellow

1.  Line two rimmed baking sheets with a Silpat mat or parchment paper or foil sprayed with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

2.  Melt 1 1/2 tablespoon butter in a large bowl in microwave for about 45 seconds.

3.  Add 20 marshmallows to bowl and stir to coat.  Then microwave for about 55 seconds, until melted.  Add 3 cups of rice cereal and stir until combined.  Dump out onto one prepared baking sheet.  Using a large piece of saran wrap, flatten evenly to about 1/2-inch thickness.  Cool completely (I put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes).

4.  Do the same with the next batch, but add a couple drops of black food coloring to the mix before dumping out onto second prepared baking sheet and flattening out.  Cool completely.

5.  Cut out ghost shapes out of the plain layer of rice treats.  Cut out bat and cat shapes out in the black layer of rice treats.  You can re-stick the extra scraps together and cut out more shapes.  Add eyes using colored Nerds candies.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween!!




Filed under Art Related, Children, Desserts

Cats and Curried Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Curried Tuna Salad in Lettuce Wrap
Recipe at end of post

Lo-o-o-ve me.

I recently finished some commissioned cat portraits.  I love cats, and I love painting them.  It’s so sad that I’m highly allergic to them, though, so we can’t live with them (I’ve tried, believe me!)   So painting is the next best option! 🙂

I often add cats to my book illustrations, even if they aren’t mentioned in the text.  I just love their presence.  I usually put in cats I know.  The white one with the black tail below is “Taxi”, my friend’s beloved cat, whom I loved too.  He makes an appearance in my first illustrated book, Night Shift Daddy.

I even devoted a whole parallel narrative to Chanukah Lights Everywhere involving cats.  On each night of Chanukah, more cats appear.  It’s fun to try and find them all.  Below is the 6th night, so hiding cats is getting tricky.  In the winter sometimes our street looks like this (minus all the cats, of course!) I won’t ask you to find all six, because one of them is cut off — a white cat is on one of the rooftops.  There are three cats in the windows, one cat being walked by a woman, and another cat in a green cat carrier in the background.

My husband always had cats before we got together.  I even tried to live with the last pair, Bogey and Misia, for five years, before we found good people to take care of them.

I think all those years of taking care of of cats has made it impossible for him to eat any kind of canned fish.  He can’t help but to associate it with cat food.

I, on the other hand, am happy to eat canned tuna, sardines, salmon, etc.  Also, it’s not like I eat it straight out of the can!  When you season everything it takes on a whole other dimension!
It’s also so good for you, filled with protein, good fats, calcium…

To eat, just roll the thin part of the leaf over and munch!

I made these Curried Tuna Lettuce Wraps for lunch today, and they were so good!  I love eating lettuce instead of bread in the summer because it’s just so darn refreshing and delicious.  You can use iceberg or butter lettuce in place of romaine.  I love the flavor and texture of romaine lettuce though.  The saltiness of the  cashews and sweetness of the golden raisins and apple are a nice complement to the curried tuna which has a bit of a kick!

Curried Tuna Lettuce Wraps

1 can of environmentally safe tuna

1/2 stalk of celery, minced (about 1/4 cup)

1/4 Fuji apple, diced (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

kosher salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped roasted salted cashews

2 tablespoons golden raisins

washed and dried Romaine or other crunchy lettuce leaves

1.  Drain canned tuna and transfer to a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients, except lettuce leaves and stir to combine.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

2.  Wrap tuna salad in lettuce leaves.  Eat!


Filed under Art Related, Books, Children, Fish, Lunch