Friday, January 19, 2018

Or Maybe I'm Actually Funny: Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 3 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. At the end of my post you’ll find links to this month’s other participants’ posts.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

PurDude is in his senior year of college. He was home recently for the final winter break of his college career {{sob}}.

Many of you know of all the drama his travel day home ended up being. When he boarded his final plane home, Hubs and I headed for the airport. PurDude was 29 hours late and we'd not slept much over that trying, working to get him home. He was finally coming in, it was the night of our second day of waiting for him and we were exhausted.

Once we finally got him, we headed home. I could tell Hubs was wiped out when I had to keep telling him to switch lanes so he didn't end up on an exit ramp. But it was frustrating him too.

Me: You need to move over a lane.
Hubs: Don't be side street driver.
Me: Side street driver?
Hubs: Whatever you call them.
Me: Back seat driver?
Hubs: Yeah, but you're in the front seat.

PurDude and I giggled most of the rest of the way home. 

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

 . . . until we got just a couple of blocks from home. There was a side street ahead, followed by an intersection with a light that turned red. Hubs was stopping at the side street. About a block from the red light.

Me: What are you doing?
Hubs: Stopping. The light is red.
Me: That's a block away. Why don't you go ahead and move up to the light? 
Hubs: Oh, OK.
Me: And, just curious, does this car have a ejector seats and parachutes?
Me (whispering to PurDude): Listen, we gotta bail . . .

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

You'll be happy to hear we made it home alive. It was pretty late when we got in but PurDude saw that I had made a Peanut Butter Lover's Pie. I cut him a slice and sat with him while he ate. Hubs stood by the counter and I noticed he had his eyes closed.

Me: Are you OK?
Hubs: Yes, fine, why?
Me: Your eyes were shut. Why don't you go to bed?
Hubs: That's OK, I just slept the whole drive home.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

College Boy and I seem to have this ongoing conversation. Every once in a while, he thinks he's heard me burp.

College Boy: Nice burp, Mom.
Me: I keep telling you, I'm a girl.
College Boy: So?
Me: Girls don't burp. Everyone knows that.
College Boy: Well then you must be defective.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

Hubs: Did you know that the 23rd Purdue graduate astronaut just went into space?
PurDude: Yes, I did know that.
Me (to PurDude): I'm glad you're not going into space. I'm having enough trouble dealing with everything you do on solid ground.
PurDude: Thanks, Ma.
Me: Just sayin'. You know, in the spirit of "full disclosure" and all.

Frosted Gingerbread Bars: cinnamon, molasses and ginger flavor these bars, topped with a spiced frosting | Recipe developed by | #recipe #bake

Frosted Gingerbread Bars
Frosted Gingerbread Bars: cinnamon, molasses and ginger flavor these bars, topped with a spiced frosting | Recipe developed by | #recipe #bake

Christmas day comes and I'm excited to put a turkey into the oven. I've been prepping and making the side dishes all week. The turkey has been defrosting in the basement refrigerator for a week and I'm ready to go.

Two hours before I have to put the turkey in the oven, I ask Hubs to bring it up from downstairs. I expected to see him carrying it in 2 hands, but he comes up carrying it by the handle at the top. 

Me: Did you bring it all the way up that way? I hope it's not dripping.
Hubs: No problem, it's not leaking. It's still frozen.
Me: {{blink, blink}} No problem? A frozen turkey is the epitome of a BIG problem.

And it was semi frozen. You should have seen me scrambling for the next few hours trying to get that turkey ready for the oven.

No problem, my ass.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

So I'm up to my elbows in turkey insides and Hubs comes up the stairs.

Hubs: I've been googling what to do if your turkey doesn't defrost. It says to put it in cold water.
Me (ignoring him): Mmm, hmmm.
Hubs: For a 10# turkey it should take about a day.
Me: And for this 22# turkey? I should be able to cook it right around New Years.
Hubs: I'll be good and hungry by then.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

College Boy is going out with some friends and as he heads out the door I offer some sound parental advice:

Me: Be safe. Make good choices.
College Boy: What would be the point in that?
Me: Well, it might save your mom from a heart attack.
College Boy: No problem Mom, what you don't know can't hurt you.

 Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

I was sitting on the couch, reading blog comments when suddenly I burst out laughing. College Boy walked in and asked me what I was laughing at. I sometimes get comments where, I know they don't mean it that way, but they sort of feel like an insult. The one I was reading said "That really made me laugh. Not sure why, maybe because my blood sugar's too low. I should get something to eat." College Boy wanted to know how I was going to respond to it. I ended up saying "Or maybe I'm actually funny?"

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

I'm cruel. I know it. It normally comes out towards the boys, you know, as payback for those teenage years.

Recently though, my mean streak came out while my poor unsuspecting husband was on the phone.

First I have to tell you that my cell phone is broken. It only works on speaker. If someone calls me when I'm in public, I just make sure there isn't an emergency, then let them know I'll call them back.

I was in the grocery store the other day when my husband called. There were people all around, a few of whom know both my husband and I:

Me: Hey, I'm on speaker and I'm in the grocery store so I need to call you back. Everything OK? Did you find that package of Depends I left for you?

It's possible I have an issue with impulse control . . .

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

Bookworm in the Kitchen 
Spatulas on Parade

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Frosted Gingerbread Bars

1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar 
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cinnamon baking chips

2 cups powdered sugar
4 TBSP butter, softened
2 TBSP Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey or Goldschlager Cinnamon Schnapps (can substitute apple cider)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 - 3 TBSP apple cider

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 8 X 11 baking dish with no-stick spray.
*Beat 1 stick of butter, the margarine, sugar, brown sugar, molasses and egg until creamy.
*Mix in flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves and salt. Mix in cinnamon chips last.
*Spread evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
*Remove from oven and allow the bars to cool completely before frosting.
*Carefully at first, beat the powdered sugar with 4 TBSP butter, cinnamon flavored whiskey or schnapps (or apple cider) and the 1/2 tsp cinnamon. One TBSP at a time, beat in up to 3 TBSP apple cider until the frosting has reached a thick spreading consistency. Spread over the cooled bars.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

From A to Y, a Tribute

This is something new for me. I don't do tributes to people I don't know. Part of it is just simply because I don't know them. Famous people die all the time, many of whom through their words or their art or their politics have touched my life in a personal way. But I acknowledge that I only knew them through their public professional persona. There are those with a personal connection who are much more qualified to do them justice.

This instance is a little different. Author Sue Grafton recently died of cancer. I was saddened to hear it, not only because I have loved her books for 35 years, but because the way her daughter announced the news was so touching. 

From A to Y, a Tribute. I didn’t know Sue Grafton, but I sure will miss Kinsey Millhone | | #authors #books
Sue left her family too soon. And Sue's main character and alter ego Kinsey Millhone left my reading world all too soon. From "A is for Alibi" in 1982 through "Y is for Yesterday" published just a few months ago, I've followed Kinsey's life, both personal and professional. I've waited with anticipation the release of each new book, for the chance to jump back into Kinsey's world and follow her route to solving mystery after mystery.

There are other authors I view the same way as Sue, writers whose latest books I look forward to and enjoy every bit as much. Jonathan Kellerman, Janet Evanovich, Kathy Reichs, Harlan Coben, Sandra Brown . . . and how could I not love those mysteries where the chefs or bakers solve the crime and even share recipes in the book?

There have been losses before too, Philip R. Craig, who died in 2007 wrote mysteries based on Martha's Vineyard. I was invested in those characters as well, felt sad at the loss of that series of books too.

Taco Shrimp, full of Tex-Mex flavors, shrimp is rubbed, pan sautéed and served with Pico de Gallo and avocado slices | Recipe developed by |#recipe #shrimp #dinner
Taco Shrimp

Sue's daughter Jamie states that Sue "was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name." Although I will miss these books, this character, and though I feel that this series ends abruptly, in an unsatisfactory, unsettling way, I also see the parallel. I hear that Sue had wanted to get that "Z" book written, had even named it "Z is for Zero." But Sue's life ended suddenly. And with her goes Kinsey. that is as it should be.

In a poignant end to her announcement Jamie says "Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y." Me too, Jamie, me too.

I didn't know Sue of course, but I feel as though I knew Kinsey. And I will miss her. 

When it comes to authors, I think that's a pretty great tribute.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Taco Shrimp       

Printable Recipe

3 TBSP taco seasoning
1 1/2 # large raw shrimp
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter
1 tsp minced garlic
4 - 6 tortillas
3 cups rice
1 lime
1 cup Pico de Gallo, my homemade recipe HERE
1 TBSP chopped cilantro
1 ripe avocado, sliced

*Peel and devein shrimp, leaving the tail on. Pat dry, place in a bowl, sprinkle with the taco seasoning and mix well so all the shrimp is coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours.
*Cook the rice.
*Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and the shrimp. Cook shrimp for about 2 minutes, turn over and cook the other side until the shrimp is fully cooked.
*Place a tortilla on each plate and divide the rice onto the center of each one. Add the shrimp, drizzle with lime juice, top with Pico de Gallo and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with the avocado slices.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Voluntarily Housebound: 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. 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 recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | | #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: dark ~ cold ~ snowy ~ housebound ~ fire
They were submitted by Diane of On the Border.
Are these the perfect words for this time of year or what? I wrote recently about how much I hate the January doldrums, the whole let down from the holidays. These words Diane gave me could easily have been used in that post. When it's dark, cold and snowy out, I tend to be voluntarily housebound, preferring sitting by the fire to venturing out. Winter clothes, winter foods, nothing to do but wait it out.

Winter Breakfast Casserole, a breakfast casserole highlighting the flavors of the season including orange, cranberry and eggnog | Recipe developed by | #recipe #breakfast

Winter Breakfast Casserole

Maybe it's just my age. Back when I was in college, winter didn't bother me as much, I was always up for anything. I lived just a few hours from some great ski mountains and could often be found in a lift line. But college is a time for making plans and getting out there. 

Or not making plans but getting out there anyway, like these fictional young men:

Winter camping was the plan,
ill advised though it may be.
More than just a little drunk,
plan made by college three.

Long johns, hats and triple socks
to protect them from the cold.
Out into the woods they went,
drunk can make you bold.

The dark of night may not have been
the best choice for these three.
Figured out the third time that
they smacked into a tree.

Build a fire was the plan,
smart they thought they were.
Turns out the only firewood
still attached to Pine and Fir.

And then the first one had to pee,
easier said than done.
Wobbling in a snowy bank,
turns out it wasn't fun.

Home next day some friends stopped by,
"Come with us, snowboard and ski".
"Enjoy yourselves", still cold boys said,
Housebound is where we'll be.

Happy winter, everyone. Stay warm out there!

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Bookworm in the Kitchen
On the Border
Cognitive Script
 Part-time Working Hockey Mom
The Bergham Chronicles
Southern Belle Charm 
The Blogging 911 

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Winter Breakfast Casserole

8 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup eggnog
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup orange liqueur (can skip, if desired)
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
1 box (16 oz) frozen french toast sticks
3 oz cream cheese
1 box (16 oz) frozen cinnamon french toast sticks
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup cranraisins
1 cup frozen blueberries
OPT: powdered sugar for serving

*Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
*In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, eggnog, maple syrup, orange liqueur (if using), orange zest and salt. 
*Spread the cream cheese onto one side of each of the frozen french toast sticks. Cut into quarters.
*Cut the frozen cinnamon french toast sticks into quarters.
*Add all of the chopped french toast sticks, bacon, cranraisins and blueberries to the bowl. Mix well. Pour into the prepared baking dish, cover with tin foil and refrigerate overnight.
*Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator one hour before baking.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 55 minutes covered. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes. 
*OPT: Sprinkle with powdered sugar.