Friday, November 21, 2014

Fly on the Wall, November 2014

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 15 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Fly on the Wall  | | #MyGraphics

I had a busy day in the kitchen doing a lot of baking and spent most of the day  concentrating on what I was trying to accomplish.

I finished up, took a break and later when I went to make dinner, I couldn’t find the non-stick spray. I knew I had used it that afternoon.

I looked in the obvious places where things seem to frequently magically end up. You know, like the freezer and the trash compactor. Nope. Couldn’t find it.

The next morning I was going to clean my counters and reached under the sink to grab my antibacterial cleaner. Without really looking, I ended up spraying my counters with non-stick spray. Ah, that’s where it went.

Fly on the Wall  | | #MyGraphics

Last month I drove PurDude’s car out to him. He went off to college without it, Freshmen aren’t allowed to have them so he didn’t have a choice. But somehow he managed to be one of the Freshman winners of the ability to have (pay for) a parking spot (whatever was left over after the upperclassmen all got theirs).
Before taking the car to him, we had a recall taken care of and had 2 different places check it out for safety. The car needed a few parts.
When I went to pick it up at the mechanic’s, he handed me the rusted out coil that had to be replaced.

Car parts repurposed Fly on the Wall  |
Explaining why I now have a $700 paperweight/paperclip on my desk. Can I repurpose or what?

Fly on the Wall  | | #MyGraphics

Before I even tell you this story, let me say that we have 4 bathrooms in this house, one on each of the bottom two levels and 2 on the top floor. All are regularly equipped with toilet paper.
OK, from the “never put your cell on speaker in public no matter how busy you are” files:
My cell rings while I’m in the grocery store and I make the supreme mistake of answering it, even knowing that it’s one of my kids.
College Boy: Mom, I was in the basement and there was no toilet paper down there so I ran up to the kitchen and grabbed some paper towels. They clogged up the toilet. I’m on my way to school, when you get home can you get the plunger and take care of that basement toilet?
{{at which point we mysteriously got disconnected}}

Fly on the Wall  | | #MyGraphics

A lifetime of teaching the boys to plan ahead and not wait until the last minute and it’s come to this:
6:00 am. The house is quiet. When from the door of my room I hear:
College Boy: Mom, can you do me a favor? My laptop isn’t connected to the house printer and I have a paper due today. I emailed it to you so can you just turn on your laptop, check your email for my paper and print it for me? If you can just staple it and put it on the desk in the kitchen I’ll grab it on my way out to school.
So . . . how am I doing at this Mom thing? Winning, right?

Fly on the Wall  | | #MyGraphics

Let me start by saying that I am the undisputed Queen of Organization, so this is not like me. Last month I desperately needed a haircut. I couldn’t get an appointment at a salon and was going away for a week the next day. I went into one of those fast-food type haircut places that have sprouted up on every street corner. I mean, how hard can it be, I needed about 6 inches chopped off, not like it’s nuclear science or anything.
It cost $15. Not a good sign.

So . . . uneven layers and had to re-cut the bangs myself. Yup, pay $15 for a haircut and what do you get? A $15 haircut. I would have been better off at a barber . . . or a butcher . . . or a nuclear scientist.

Butterfingers Popcorn | | #recipe
Butterfingers Popcorn
Butterfingers Popcorn | | #recipe

One day I was doing some work on my laptop when I noticed that I had two twitter notifications. This is what I saw:

Twitter Followers | www.BakingInATornadolcom

Not sure how they found me or what made them follow me. It must mean something, but I’m at a loss.

Fly on the Wall  | | #MyGraphics

Everyone walks around with a big avocado in their purse, right?

Avocado in a purse | | #FlyOnTheWall

Fly on the Wall  | | #MyGraphics

While at Purdue, Hubs had to learn to use his new car’s GPS, we were giving our old one, which we’d gotten used to, to PurDude. I don’t know who pissed this system off but she is angry. With our old GPS, if you miss a turn it recalculates. This one gets mad at us. First we get the silent treatment, it won’t talk at all. Then finally it punishes us, taking us miles out of our way. We were in West Lafayette going to the school which is 2 miles away, also in West Lafayette. We missed a turn and the damn thing took us over the river and into Lafayette for like 4 miles, then had us take a right and another right and drive 4 miles back on a road running parallel to the one it just took us down.
Hubs says we need to name the system. I suggested “Bitch”.

Fly on the Wall  | | #MyGraphics

And the soda machine at the hotel wasn’t any better. At night I’d want a drink to take to the room with me, so we’d visit the soda machine. The first night I sent Hubs and told him to just get anything diet. He came back with a Mountain Dew and insisted it was the soda machine’s fault. Yuck.
The second night I went myself. Put money into the machine, the only diet was Pepsi so I pressed it. Out came a Mountain Dew Voltage. Never tried one but apparently that machine just gives you whatever it wants.
Text to son: Mountain Dew Voltage tastes like cough medicine.

Fly on the Wall  | | #MyGraphics

While visiting him, we took PurDude clothes shopping. He bought a bunch of new clothes including 2 ties. While he’s a pledge, he has to go to dinner at the Frat every Friday night and has to wear a tie.
Driving from the department store to a discount store my son put on one of his new ties. Later that night when we went to dinner, he had taken the tie off. So apparently you wear a tie to a discount store on a Sunday afternoon, but take it off for a Sunday dinner out.
So I guess I learned a little something about style while at college last month.

Now click on the links below for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado | | #MyGraphics

Butterfingers Popcorn
Printable Recipe
2 bags of microwave popcorn, popped (about 16 cups popped)
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP baking cocoa
5 (1.9 oz) Butterfingers bars
1/2 tsp baking soda
*Crush the butterfingers bars in a food processor. Measure 2/3 cup of the candy crumbs and set aside.
*Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Grease 2 baking sheets. I use the disposable ones.
*Divide the popcorn amongst the baking sheets. Remove unpopped kernels. Put into oven to keep the popcorn warm while making the topping.
*In a heavy medium sized pan at medium heat melt the butter, add the brown sugar and cocoa. Stir and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for one minute.
*Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Last, quickly mix what’s left of the crushed candy.
*Take popcorn from oven and dollop the candy mixture over all the popcorn. Mix it as best you can on each baking sheet, spread the popcorn evenly over the sheet and return to oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
*Remove from oven and stir, moving the candy mixture from the bottom of the pans onto the top of the popcorn again.
*Return to oven, cook 15 minutes, stir, return to oven cook 15 minutes, stir etc. until you’ve done this 4 times and it’s been in the oven an hour total.
*Mix one last time, sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup candy, cool on the counter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Blog With Friends: Thankful

Today’s post is our monthly Blog With Friends project. Each month a group of bloggers get together and each publish a project based on a theme. What’s so much fun about these monthly projects is the diversity of the strengths of the bloggers involved. There’s something for everyone. We have recipes, crafts, sewing, technology, book reviews and more.

This month’s theme is Thanksgiving and here’s a peek at what we all came up with:

Thanksgiving Blog With Friends group projects |

I’m the recipe portion of our program, I bet you’re not surprised.

For Thanksgiving I wanted to come up with something a little different as well as special. So I came up with a dessert. Hold onto your hats (do people still say that?) because look what I’ve done now: I’ve fried cake.

Oh, yes I did. And if I do say so myself, it’s genius.

 Fried Walnut Crusted Spice Cake with Caramel Sauce | | #recipe #dessert
Fried Walnut-Crusted Spice Cake with Caramel Sauce

I chose to make a spice cake because I knew I’d want a sauce on my warm cake, the sauce would be sweet and I didn’t want to cause an epidemic of diabetes. I chose a caramel sauce because it just seemed to go with the spice cake.

I developed a spice cake recipe with a less pronounced spice flavor because it not only would be the choice of my family, but because I didn’t want the other flavors in the dish to be overwhelmed.

HINT: You can make the cake a day in advance and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to fry, dip each piece in orange juice, then coat with chopped walnuts:

 Fried Walnut Crusted Spice Cake with Caramel Sauce | | #recipe #dessert

Fry in melted butter until the walnuts start to brown:

 Fried Walnut Crusted Spice Cake with Caramel Sauce | | #recipe #dessert

The depth of the flavor added by the toasted nuts is not only a delicious addition to the flavor profile, but also serves to balance the sweetness of the caramel sauce.

I served with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:

 Fried Walnut Crusted Spice Cake with Caramel Sauce | | #recipe #dessert

It was absolutely amazing. A perfect special occasion dessert.

Be sure to click on the links below to visit all of our Thanksgiving projects. And if you have a Thanksgiving project on your blog, feel free to add it to the blog hop down at the bottom.
Autumn Harvest Wreath | Someone Else's Genius

Robin of Someone Else's Genius shows us how to make this Autumn Harvest Wreath

Fun and Reversible Table Decor | Stacy Sews and Schools
Stacy of Stacy Sews and Schools has a sewing tutorial for a Fun and Reversible Table Decor.
Thankful Tree | Follow me home Shellybean
Shellybean of Follow me home shares a craft to make and use throughout the holiday season, a Thankful Tree.

Technology Tips for Turkey Day | Home on Deranged
 Melissa of Home on Deranged tells us about some Technology Tips for Turkey Day

Kid-Friendly and Kid-Created "Fancy" Thanksgiving Table Decorations | Cluttered Genius
Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares some Kid-Friendly and Kid-Created "Fancy" Thanksgiving Table Decorations.

Thanksgiving Textured Leaf Cards | Uplifting Families
Christy of Uplifting Families takes us through her children's DIY Thanksgiving Textured Leaf Cards.

The Blog Hop:

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Baking In A Tornado |

Fried Walnut-Crusted Spice Cake with Caramel Sauce
Printable Recipe
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 ½ tsp lemon juice
1 ¼ cup milk, minus 2 ½ tsp
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
¾ cup cinnamon baking chips
1/2 stick butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
1 tsp vanilla
4 TBSP butter
½ cup of Orange Juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 pan.
*In a 2 cup measuring cup, place 2 ½ tsp lemon juice. Use milk to fill the cup up to the 1 ¼ mark.
*Cream butter, margarine and sugars. Beat in the eggs. Mix in 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
*Beat in the milk mixture, then mix in the rest of the flour. Mix the cinnamon chips in last.
*Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the center springs back to the touch. Cool for ½ hour on counter, then move to fridge and cool completely. Cut into 24 squares. Keep in fridge until you’re ready to fry the cake.
*Whisk ½ stick of butter with ¾ cup of brown sugar and the salt in a medium sized pot over medium heat until the brown sugar is melted and the mixture is smooth. Wisk in ¼ cup of heavy cream and continue whisking while it comes to a boil. Allow to boil for 3 minutes undisturbed. Remove from heat.
*Carefully whisk in the vanilla and the rest of the heavy cream. Allow to cool slightly.
*Fry the cake, approximately 6 slices at a time.
*Place orange juice in a bowl, place chopped walnuts on a plate.
*Melt 1 TBSP butter in a large fry pan on medium heat until hot and sizzling.
*Individually, do not immerse, dip just the bottom of 6 pieces of cake in the juice, then press into the nuts, turn the cake pieces over and dip the other side. Place into frying pan, reduce heat one notch.
*Once the nuts begin to brown, carefully flip them over and brown the other side. Remove to a plate and drizzle with caramel sauce. OPT: Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Use Your Words: Speak Softly and Carry What?

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words | | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. I’m using:  thanked ~ quills ~ acorn ~ sure as sugar  cranberry ~ dominoes
They were submitted by:  The Bergham's Life Chronicles.

This is the story of Teddy Roosevelt’s style of diplomacy and how a man named Jeremiah (accidentally) found it to still hold true.

Jeremiah was an avid animal lover, always taking in strays and any animal in need of care. In fact, he was known in his city as a man to whom people, even Veterinarians, could bring animals in need; wild or tame. Once healthy, he’d release those able to survive on their own and keep the others safe.

Jeremiah was a happy man, but he knew that he and his entourage of unique pets needed open space. He also knew that he couldn’t leave his aging mother, so he stayed put.

Many months and much thought after the death of his mom, Jeremiah made a critical decision. He used part of his inheritance to purchase a home and acreage far away in the Northwest. He moved his charges to a place where he knew they would thrive and he could continue his passion for nursing wildlife.

Jeremiah wanted not only to have a new home conducive to his needs, but he wanted to fit in too. This would not be easy in a small rural town of long-time residents.

Each Friday evening there was a Pot Luck dinner at the local town hall. On his first Friday in town, Jeremiah took his best acorn squash recipe and attended the meal. Never without one of his patients, he took a rabbit with a broken leg along with him.

He placed his offering on the table, filled a plate and sat with some of the women. Conversation stopped. Jeremiah introduced himself and explained why he had moved there. Everyone was polite, but when the conversations started up again at his table, it revolved around people and places he knew nothing about. It was like they were talking around him.

Across the room were a group of men playing dominoes. Jeremiah observed them carefully. He knew, sure as sugar, that the key to acceptance was to join in those games. He approached the men and asked if he could play. They looked at him and his rabbit and made it clear that they had no room for another player. Jeremiah softly thanked them anyway and walked away.

Through the week Jeremiah could be seen walking around town, always with a different animal. He’d smile and wave but was consistently met with polite but reserved responses.

The following Friday he made his favorite Orange Liqueur Holiday Cookies with dried cranberry, walnuts and white chocolate chips. He grabbed another animal he was nursing back to health and headed to town hall. Jeremiah placed his cookies on the table and approached the men. Once again he was turned away. Jeremiah thanked them anyway, ate with some of the women, made polite conversation as best he could and headed home.

Orange Liqueur Holiday Cookies | | #recipe #cookies
Orange Liqueur Holiday Cookies
Orange Liqueur Holiday Cookies | | #recipe #cookies

On the third Friday, Jeremiah went through the same routine. This time when he approached the men, they all froze. They looked at Jeremiah, then looked at his porcupine. They looked at Jeremiah again and then very slowly, very quietly and very calmly made room for him at their table.

Moral of the story:
In the famed words of Theodore Roosevelt: “speak softly and carry a big-quilled pet.”
{{OK, I might be paraphrasing just a skosh}}.

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado | | #MyGraphics

Orange Liqueur Holiday Cookies
Printable Recipe
1 tsp orange juice
3/4 cup (minus 1 tsp) milk
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup orange Liqueur
4 cups flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
¾ cup white chocolate chips
*Place 1 tsp orange juice in a 3/4 cup measuring cup. Fill the cup the rest of the way with milk. Allow to sit.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Cream the butter, margarine and sugars. Beat in the eggs and orange/milk mixture. Mix in the orange juice and orange liqueur, then the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Add the cranberries, walnuts and white chocolate chips last.
*Drop by tablespoons onto the parchment paper. Leave space, they spread. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
*Remove from oven and slide the parchment paper carefully off of the baking sheets. Allow cookies to cool completely.