GINNA PARSONS: Kittens christen Christmas tree



I believe I’ve mentioned in this space that in May, the Parsons/Langford family adopted two yellow kittens, twin boys we call Sheldon and Leonard.Most days, they are, in my words, DLTs – Darling Little Things. But some days, they are, in my husband’s words, DTG – the Double Trouble Gang.

They’re kittens. They get into things. They chase imaginary shadows. They play in the potty. They help me make the bed every single morning.

We knew months ago the Christmas tree was going to be a problem. My husband had already decided we would tie it to the window – and possibly secure it the ceiling – and it was a given that we couldn’t hang any breakable ornaments on the bottom third of the tree.

I was prepared for all that.

We put our fresh tree in the stand Saturday morning and waited. Within 30 seconds, Sheldon had scoped it out. A minute later, he was joined by Leonard. They circled the tree, sniffed at the branches, splashed some water out of the bucket. Sheldon found a two-inch piece of a branch that had fallen off during the tree’s move inside and happily played with it, batting it around the living room.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

And then I heard it.

And saw it.

I knew no one would believe me, so I picked up my iPhone and took a video.

In it, you see the branches of the tree swaying softly and then moving violently like a palm tree in a hurricane. And then you see Sheldon, climbing the tree in circles. By the time you finally see his face peeking through the branches, he is even with my shoulder.

We now have two 50-pound bags of rocks anchoring the base of the tree. I decorated all its branches Sunday night with non-breakable ornaments and enough garland to make Santa blush. It’s not the prettiest tree we’ve ever had but, by God, it’s not going anywhere.

When dinner rolled around, I was glad I had picked a quick and easy dish to make. This saltimbocca – Italian for “jump in the mouth” – was just perfect for a cold, rainy Sunday night. I served it and its yummy sauce over basmati rice with a side of steamed broccoli.

Chicken Saltimbocca

4 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets

1⁄8 teaspoon salt

12 fresh sage leaves

2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 8 thin strips

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1⁄3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice

1⁄2 teaspoon cornstarch

Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Place 3 sage leaves on each cutlet; wrap 2 prosciutto slices around each cutlet, securing sage leaves in place.

In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. Cook chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Combine broth, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Spoon sauce over chicken. Serves 4.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

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  • Joy Hutcheson Boutwell

    We had a cat years ago we called Maverick, the cat from H***! He was the kind who would hide under the sofa and wait for someone to walk by and he’d reach out with claws exposed and swat your feet or ankles! Once, during Christmas season, with our tree all decorated. My bother just happened to make a pit stop, while hunting, and found Maverick hanging up in the tree, with lights twisted around his neck! If he hadn’t came by, I don’t think the out come would’ve been very good! Lucky for Maverick, he lived to use his other 8 lives! Please, keep a close eye on your fur-babies and the tree.