Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I did it. Packed my baby and took him to another time zone for his freshman year in college. Older son is closer to home, a sophomore. Now all of the excitement is over and the really bad news has arrived. Yup, the bills are coming in. The plan was to hide from those bills but it turns out if you don’t pay they send your kids back. Damn, shoulda seen that coming.

Let me just say that I like Ramen Soup. Unfortunately it looks like I can no longer afford it. So we’re on to Plan B. Moms have to make sacrifices for their children, we all know that. So after much thought I’ve decided to sell certain of my beloved belongings, some of the more unique items.

There’s something here on K-Bay for everyone, but you’ll have to bid fast. These treasures will be gone before you know it. Bid strong, the futures of two boys might depend on it. No pressure, though.

Here you go, a true mother’s sacrifice. Up on the auction block:

#1 ~ Autumn lovers’ tree
Do you love nature but hate raking? This leafless tree is not only low maintenance but it’s got the added bonus of not blocking the sun. And, in case of emergency, you can just snap off a limb and use it for firewood. It’s already seasoned and ready to go.
Opening bid: $2,000
Dead Birch - Baking In A Tornado

#2 ~ No Jump Hoop
Are your young ones not yet 6 feet tall? Trip over their own feet when jumping for the net? Or just not able to master that jump shot? Have I got the hoop for you . . .
Opening bid: $500
hoop down - Baking In A Tornado

#3 ~ All Weather Picnic Table
Ignore that license plate. It only needs an $800 part if you want to drive it. But imagine the fun the whole family can have with this driveway picnic table. Raining? No problem. This picnic spot is completely enclosed and permanently placed right in your driveway. Grab your burger and come on inside.
Opening bid: $11,000
Mercedes - Baking In A Tornado

#4 ~ Lawn Mower
Concerned about rising gas prices? Not with this lawn mower. No gas, oil or maintenance required.
Opening bid: $999
Possum - Baking In A Tornado

We’re not done shopping. I have a few more items to offer.
Let’s have a snack and keep going.

Pistachio Toffee Dessert Pizza - Baking In A Tornado
Pistachio Toffee Dessert Pizza
Pistachio Toffee Dessert Pizza - Baking In A Tornado

#5 ~ Invitation Decline
Invited to an event you don’t want to attend? Asked to help with a Kindergarten field trip? I have the perfect solution; you’re unavailable because you have a house guest. Bonus: he doesn’t eat much. In fact, if you get really hungry and haven’t made it to the grocery store, there’ll always be a banana in the house.
Opening bid: $1,500
Stuffed Banana - Baking In A Tornado

#6 ~ Exotic Dinner Ingredients
Do you have guests coming over who always try to outdo everyone? You know the type, serve over-the-top dinners with ingredients you’ve never heard of. Now you can put them in their place. I’m offering you the chance to serve this one-of-a-kind mushroom guaranteed to have been grown pesticide free. And there’s the added bonus of being able to tell your dinner guests about having harvested this beautiful specimen yourself.
Opening bid: $3,000
Mushroom - Baking In A Tornado     Mushroom - Baking In A Tornado                  

#7 ~ Personality Candles
When it comes to decor, we all want unique items, those interesting things that speak to us and show who we are. So if you’re . . . well . . . a little bent . . . these are just the one-of-a-kind candles that are perfect for you. Note: for those of you just dying to make a certain comment (and you know who you are and you know what comment), do not. This is a PG-13 blog.
Opening bid: $200

 Personality Candles - Baking In A Tornado

#8 ~ Mighty Triceps Builder
Looking for a way to build those triceps? Look no further. This simple machine will do the trick. Fill the drawer circled in red with laundry detergent. Push the broken detached piece circled in blue into place over the drawer. Turn on the machine and, using both hands, hold that piece on until the machine turns itself off. The Mighty Triceps Builder will let you know if you’re doing the exercise correctly. If you end up with detergent on your shoes, try again.
This item is a two-fer. Once you’re able to master the Mighty Triceps Builder, you can actually end up with clean clothes when you’ve finished exercising.
Opening bid: $2,500
Mighty Ticeps Builder - Baking In A Tornado

#9 ~ Hair Extensions
Have you ever had a haircut that didn’t go as planned? Style not right? Or a little shorter than you’d expected? Hair extensions are the way to go. One size fits all. Guaranteed not to grow.
Opening bid: $50
Hair - Baking In A Tornado

#10 ~ Perfect Pet
Are you looking for companionship? You won’t find a more loyal pet than this Jelly Friend. Does not require feeding, grooming or bathing. Added bonus: Jelly Friend actually made some connections in his prior home under the sea. It’s possible he may, with time, choose to introduce you to his well known former neighbor. I don’t want to name drop, but I can tell you that he lives in a pineapple and his name rhymes with BlongeBlob.
Opening bid: $750
Jellyfish - Baking In A Tornado

#11 ~ Organic Ice
Forget those inconvenient ice trays. You don’t need those in-the-door ice cube dispensers that throw ice all over your kitchen. This ice is ready made and there for the picking (up). Perfect for cookouts, it literally delivers itself.
Opening bid: $650
Hail  - Baking In A Tornado

The fine print:
All items are available for pick up. If you want your item to be here when you come for it, however, there’ll be a small added fee.

Delivery is also available for a more substantial fee. Delivery dates will depend on how fast my kids can drive to your house.

To bid: include the number of the item you’re bidding on and state the amount you’re willing to pay. Winners wishing to be notified will be subject to a notification fee of not less than the purchase price.

Let the bidding begin . . .

Baking In A Tornado

Pistachio Toffee Dessert Pizza
Printable Recipe
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 sticks margarine, softened
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 2/3 cups flour
6 ounces of pistachios, shelled and as much as possible remove skin
1/2 cup corn syrup (any)
4 TBSP  stick butter, softened
4 TBSP brown sugar
4 TBSP liquid hazelnut creamer
8 oz unsalted pistachios, shelled and coarsely chopped
½ cup white chocolate chips, melted
*Place the 6 ounces of pistachios in a food processor and process until fine.
*Beat the butter, margarine and cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the flour and pistachios to form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for an hour.
*Line the lower shelf of your oven with tin foil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pizza pan (not one with holes in the bottom).
*With your hands, spread the dough evenly all over and up the sides of the pizza pan.
*Bake for about 30 minutes. It should be browning but don’t let it get too brown. Remove from oven and let sit on the counter.
*Microwave corn syrup, butter, brown sugar, and creamer for 1 1/2 minutes, stir, then another 2 minutes.
*Gently pour over the center of the crust. Don’t pour all the way out to the edges. Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes.
*Remove from oven. Sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the top and gently press into the toffee.
*Run a knife around and barely under the edges of the crust to loosen from pan.
*Cool on counter for an hour, drizzle the melted white chocolate over the top. Refrigerate to set.

Friday, August 15, 2014

August Use Your Words

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 the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s the 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 - Baking In A Tornado

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: stage lights ~ tacos ~ teeth ~ magic ~ “I told you so!” They were submitted by Follow me home . . .

I wrote last month’s Use Your Words post with some riddles I’d made up including, of course, an obligatory “why did the chicken cross the road” one.

My friend Tamara left me a comment saying “Love me some chicken crossing the road jokes! Did you know they exist featuring other animals too?”

You know how someone can say something and it just gets into your head? Well I didn’t really want to write the same kind of post twice but once the thought of the chicken jokes with other animals got into my head I knew I was gonna have to at least start there.

So hold onto your teeth folks, here we go again:

On stage - Baking In A Tornado

Hey, open the curtains, turn down the music, cue the stage lights. It’s show time.

Hello and welcome. I’m Karen and I’ll be your entertainment this evening. Let me just say that you are in for a whole lot of fun. My teenager, who was treated to my practicing of this routine, thinks you’re in for a whole lot of eye rolling, but what does he know? Grab a cocktail and see who you think is right, me or the dreaded teenager (it’s me).

Why did the horse cross the road?
          He thought he heard someone yell “hey”.

Why did the hyena cross the road?
          Just for a laugh.

Why did the bat cross the road?
          Hard to say, he was flying blind.

Why did the cow cross the road?
          His wife told him to moooooove.

Why did the little boy cross the road?
          His mom told him not to.

Why did the clock cross the road?
          It had a little extra time.

Why did the rock cross the road?
          It wasn’t trying to but it was on a roll.

Why did the teenager cross the road?
         Who knows, it’s not like he’ll ever tell.

What did the chef say to the chicken?
          Get out of my coat. Those aren’t the pockets I’m putting you in:

Warm Chicken Pockets - Baking In A Tornado
Warm Chicken Pockets
Warm Chicken Pockets - Baking In A Tornado

What did the assistant say to the magician?
          Magic my a$$, how about I cut YOU in half?

What did the tutu say to the ballerina?
          Lay off the tacos or I’m gonna split.

What did the jester say to the king?
          If you’re taking me to court I demand an attorney.

What did the angry knife say to the spoon?
          Who the fork invited you?

What did the blender say to the ice?
          Come on honey, let me take you for a spin. What could it hurt?

Why wouldn’t the pretty baguette go out with the handsome cake?
          He didn’t have any dough.

What did the tornado say to the baker?
          Do you know how to make Funnel Cakes?

Curtain Call - Baking In A Tornado

That’s the show, friends. Fun wasn’t it?

I told you so!

{{damn teenagers}}

Links to the other Use Your Words posts:

PS: My friend Stacy Sews and Schools has been a member of all 4 of the blog challenge communities I run since the beginning. She was supposed to participate in this challenge today but she lost her father this week. My goes out to her.
Baking In A Tornado

Warm Chicken Pockets
Printable Recipe
NOTE: I often marinate and cook the chicken and serve it for dinner. I’ll warm up the leftover chicken cubes another night to make these Warm Chicken Pockets
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 cup Karen’s Poppy Dressing (recipe is here: Karen's Poppy Dressing)
2 cups spinach leaves
¾ cup fruit of your choice (preferably fresh but drained canned mandarin orange slices work too)
2 scallions, sliced
½ red pepper, chopped
¼ cup shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup mayonnaise
6 - 8 Pita pocket halves
*Marinate the chicken cubes in the dressing in the fridge for 2 hours (or up to a day).
*Thread the chicken onto metal skewers (or wood skewers that have been soaked in water so they don’t burn) and cook on your grill (or in your broiler), turning a few times, until chicken is cooked through.
*Remove the chicken from the skewers into a bowl.
*Slice or chop fruit if needed and add, along with the scallions, red pepper, sunflower seeds and mayonnaise to the bowl with the chicken. Mix gently.
*Wrap each Pita pocket half in a paper towel and microwave for 15 seconds or until just warm.
*Gently open the pockets and place a handful of spinach inside. Fill the rest of the pocket with the chicken mixture. Drizzle with more Karen’s Poppy Dressing, if desired.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Say What?

It happened on a dark stormy afternoon. Hubs was at work and the boys and I were stuck in the house. There was the possibility of severe weather, including hail. My younger sons’ beloved BMW had already been pummeled in the last storm. Lesson learned, all the cars currently at home were staying in the garage.

In retrospect I should have known. Honestly, when the boys have all the freedom in the world, PurDude will often spend hours on his gigantic computer with the 3 (not a typo, he has 3) screens. Yes, the kid who always walked into walls and fell down stairs is quite a multi-tasker when it comes to computers. College Boy has a turntable, old records, a laptop and all kinds of recording and mixing thing-a-ma-jiggies and he will play with music for hours.

But all that is when they CAN leave, when they’re able to make a choice. But if boxed in, unable to leave and left to their own devices, the boys were bound to amuse themselves by doing what they do best; thinking up devious ways to torture me.

I know I tend to be wordy. I’m the one who always makes a short story long. I got to wondering if the challenge was just their way of saying “shut up” without actually saying the words. Either way, challenge issued, challenge grudgingly (very grudgingly) accepted: could I last the day without saying a word?

 Say What? - Baking In A Tornado

Sure I could.
I know some sign language.
I can write notes.
I can work on my blog and my recipes and my graphics.
Easy Peasy.

 White Chocolate Pistachio Brownies

Not so much.

There were times during the day when they deliberately bated me. I swear I don’t know how I raised such sadistic devious kids. They’d ask me questions and then stand there and smile evilly as I opened my mouth, closed my mouth and stood there blinking rapidly.

They’d play music so loud my ears were almost bleeding and smile evilly as I opened my mouth, closed my mouth and stood there blinking rapidly.

I couldn’t answer any phones. Of course, as usual, neither did anyone else. When their dad called and I held up the phone gesturing manically at the called ID, they smiled evilly as I opened my mouth, closed my mouth and stood there blinking rapidly.

There may have been a little gesturing of another kind going on as well. And some foot stomping and door banging.

No, I’m not talking about the boys. That was me.

But don’t worry about me. I always get even.

True story: The young boys next door once pulled a prank on us. We had mowed our lawn and put the grass clippings into the woods. The neighbors took the grass clippings out of the woods and spread them back over our lawn. Their mom actually found out and brought them over to apologize and clean it up. No harm done but, as you can tell from the whole silence thing, I can’t pass up a challenge. And that grass prank seemed like a challenge to me.

Somehow that night, in the middle of the night, their house ended up on the market. “For Sale” sign with their phone number on it right there in the middle of their front yard. The attached acrylic box even held little professional looking (if I do say so myself) pamphlets with a picture of their house, a description of their property, an absurdly low asking price, agreement by the sellers to continue paying taxes on the property for the next ten years and a special request that all inquiries be made to the home by phone after 2:00 am only.

So I may not have done much (any) talking that stormy afternoon. I have to admit that I didn’t get any baking or blogging or graphics done either. But I sure did have a lot of time to plot my revenge . . .

Baking In A Tornado

White Chocolate Pistachio Brownies
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 sticks margarine
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
2/3 cup unsalted pistachios: shelled, skins removed as much as possible, processed to a fairly fine consistency. 

*Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a glass 9 X 13 pan.
*Melt the margarine in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Stir to be sure it's completely melted.
*Add the white chocolate chips. Stir until completely smooth. If the white chocolate chips don't melt completely you may need to return the bowl to the microwave for 20 seconds.
*Whisk in the sugar. Once incorporated, whisk in the eggs and vanilla and finally the flour. Mix in the pistachios.
*Pour into prepared pan. Bake for approximately 35 minutes. Cool before cutting.
*Note: I like my brownies thin and chewy, which is what this one is. It's not a thick cake-like brownie.