my holiday wishes

This will be my third year joining the melee of Holiday Wishes. I've granted a few wishes the past two years, and I hope this year to get some karma coming back my way! I've been very good. :)

I'm a 39-year old graphic designer and photographer in Boston, MA. I run a site dedicated to guinea pigs, and I volunteer for animal rescue organizations (numbers three and four, in particular).

My wishes:

1. If you buy stuff from Amazon this year, please use my Associates link.
I get referral credits for sending people to Amazon through one of my links, and I use those credits to get books and stuff to help me develop my photography skills. Here's my referral link. Nothing will change of hinder your privacy on your end; I just get credit for "sending" you to Amazon on my end. :) This link is also on my other sites, and

2. Visit
While you're shopping, perhaps you have a guinea pig lover on your list? It's been a slow year for my guinea pig store, and I'd love a few extra sales during the holiday season! Visit to see the fun guinea pig merch I have for sale, and see if there's something cute there to give!

3. Buy a calendar from Underdog.
I volunteer for Underdog ResQ, a New England and NYC rescue specializing in misunderstood and neglected dogs. I created a 2010 calendar for them, featuring awesome photos of pitties and other dogs in fabulous outfits and generally being adorable. If you have a dog-lover on your list, consider buying an Underdog calendar! You can buy the calendar on their website.

4. Support your local shelter.
I'm a huge advocate of adopting pets from an animal shelter or rescue. I also support the older cats and dogs, because they're the ones who just want to snuggle with you, and they have already developed their personalities (which are often loafy). Right now shelters and rescues are hurting. Please visit your local animal shelter or rescue and help out - old towels and blankets, supplies, money... or adopt if you're looking for a new family member. If you happen to be anywhere near Brattleboro, Vermont, the Windham County Humane Society has some lovely dogs and cats who have been at the shelter FAR too long: pup Sobe, cats Styles and Jazz, and so many more.

5. Red cats.
I love the colour red and cats. (I work under the name rubicat, which is cute and memorable.) I started a collection of red cats, specifically. They're pretty hard to find, so I'd love to see what some of you out there can come up with. :) -thank you to fieryredhead for the gorgeous glass cat! (photo here)

6. Nomtastic recipes.
I am the Boston Ethnic Food Examiner for I love to try new recipes and discover new area restaurants; I'm currently having a love affair with Ethiopian food (I can make injera in the blender!) and chicken hearts. I'd love to get some new recipes for exciting food. Or even cookbooks!

7. New frontiers in tea.
I am on Steepster, and I adore Lupicia teas, as well as bracing black teas with a creamy texture. I'm beyond the supermarket stuff, and I'd love to know where I should go next! I am solidly, unabashedly a black tea person. I'll snuggle up to a genmai cha, but I'm not so much into rooibos or tisanes.

8. Guinea pig haiku.
To me, cavies are
An eggplant-shaped loaf of love.
Who shares my vision?

9. Avobath Bath Bombs from LUSH.
These make me feel ridiculously happy and silky-awesome-smooth.
-thank you, ifandonlyif, for the bomb! you are awesome.

10. Bizarre socks.
I want to make some Stupid Sock Creatures, and I am in need of mismatched, strange, or otherwise errant socks and buttons. If you have one of those sock-stealing dryers, you just may have a few odd socks about. :)

I'm online as cavymadness, rubicat, and myself, so I'm pretty bare to the world anyway. So:

Tammy Raabe Rao
69 Mystic Street
Arlington, MA 02474

Thank you all for reading, and please try to spread general awesomeness this holiday season. I think we all need it just a bit more than usual!
I'd love to send you a card from me and my cavies :) Can you drop me a line at dakotawitch @ gmail dot com with "Holiday Wishes: Card from the Cavies" in the Subject and your addy in the body?

I love the guinea pig haikus, and I am a regular visitor to Cavy Madness. I've learned so much about my incredible pets from you, and I've referred many cavy parents to you.
Sweet Potato and Tamarind Curry Recipe :)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 1 lb.)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeno, chopped (about 1 Tbsp)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cup orange juice (although I use 1/2)
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cooked rice, brown goes better

1. Heat skillet with some oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, and saute 1 minute. Add ginger and jalapeno, and cook until fragrant. Stir in curry powder, and cook a little more. Add broth, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer potatoes until soft.

2. Whisk together juice, peanut butter, brown sugar, tamarind paste and salt in bowl. Add to sweet potato mixture, and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.
Re: Sweet Potato and Tamarind Curry Recipe :)
I love sweet potato, and this sounds yummy. Thanks!
How do you feel about a) flavoured tea and b) bagged tea? (Bagged tea is so much easier to send than loose-leaf, especially since I ran out of fillable bags.)
Aw, thank you! And I do enjoy bagged tea - I love PG Tips and Lupicia's bagged teas, and I even have a stash of Stash. :) I'm going to find your list to see if I can reciprocate the love! :)
i have a list running for people who are looking for recipes. not sure if they will be exotic or anything, but if your interested drop me a pm with your email and ill add you to the list. :)
Have you seen Susan Wrisley's cat jewelry? She makes baked clay cat earrings and pins and sometimes necklaces. I've got five pairs of earrings and three pins so far. She lists her stuff on ebay with SWRIS in title; if you search for that it will bring all her stuff up, and she posts a new batch every week. I've seen some red cats, so if you're patient some should show up!
8 - Not a haiku, but...
There was once a cute young cavie,
Who went by the name of Davy.
He enjoyed munching carrots,
Disliked playing with ferrets,
And had fur that was almost quite wavy.
Re: 8 - Not a haiku, but...

Heee! Thanks!

And thank you a gazillion for Susan's link on eBay. I LOVE her kitties! I've added her to my favourite sellers and plan to stalk her listings. :)
I'll send you some samples of the tea I have on hand...

I love Indian tea more than China tea, so I often have Assam and Darjeeling, from various sources:

Good Earth teas are okay, but not fantastic. They have a chocolate chai black tea that is interesting.

I really like Dilmah black teas. They are pure Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka. I've tried the 100% Ceylon and the English Breakfast, and they both have a wonderful flavour. Their flavoured teas are quite nice too.

Mighty Leaf has some excellent tea blends as well and they carry bags and loose tea.

There's also a local tea store here in Winnipeg that carries all kinds of loose tea blends.
Thank you! I'd love to try some new teas, and I've sent you two songs via

Mighty Leaf's Earl Grey is good - I do like their teas, though I often have to double-bag them... I'll check out cornelia bean! :)
Hey, I got your package today with the cloth bag - thank you so much! That was very sweet of you! If I buy anything on Amazon this holiday season, I'll make sure to go through your link :)

Happy Holidays!
Seasonal Recipes:
Ginger and butternut squash soup
Butternut squash is a well-balanced dish that is rich in complex carbohydrates and low in saturated fat and sodium. It’s a very good source of vitamins A and C and a good source of beta-carotene, magnesium, manganese, calcium and potassium.

• 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1½ lb butternut squash, peeled and chopped
• 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root juice
• salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1½ pts. light vegetable stock
• 4 tbsp concentrated soy milk
• a few fresh chives
• a pinch freshly grated nutmeg

What’s next:
Saute the onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes covered. Add the butternut squash, ginger juice, nutmeg and a little seasoning. Cover and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent browning. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Purée the soup in a blender or processor. Reheat to serve and garnish with a swirl of soya milk and sprinkle with nutmeg and chives.
I just ordered an underdog calendar - I can't wait to see it! It's for a gift. :)

I tried a new tea from Upton recently at a friend's house, "East Frisian Blend". It has vanilla overtones but not too strong like vanilla teas can sometimes be. I'll bring some over for you the next time I come by. :)
Thank you for ordering from Underdog! What did you think of the calendar? If you know anyone who has their own Underdog (adopted dog who overcame adversity), let me know - I plan to create a book focusing on proverbial (and literal) Underdogs.

Have you tried Bigelow's Eggnoggin Tea? Holy cow, it's awesome. I love milk tea, and this stuff is yummy! I look forward to trying East Frisian Blend. I like vanilla overtones.