Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Rules of Holiday Shopping

It's the holiday season. Yeah, I know you know. But stick with me, I've got some sage words to share. Strategies to get you through the season unscathed. Well, maybe minimally scathed. And if you don't want to take my advice, that's fine. Stick around. There's chocolate . . .

Mile High Triple Chocolate Pie for the ultimate chocolate lover, a no bake rich chocolate pie | Recipe developed by www.BakingInaTornado.com | #recipe #dessert #pie

Mile High Triple Chocolate Pie
Mile High Triple Chocolate Pie for the ultimate chocolate lover, a no bake rich chocolate pie | Recipe developed by www.BakingInaTornado.com | #recipe #dessert #pie

I know we all most of us try to be civil. Considerate even. And in general that is the way to go, especially if we want to look ourselves in the mirror or set good examples for our children. Well pay attention kids, this is a life lesson you may as well learn early. 

This time of year, all bets are off. You heard me. Anarchy. Every woman for herself. Shopping is not a luxury it's a blood sport and you may as well be ready.

I'm not talking about the online portion of the shopping experience, I'm referring to people like me who like to touch and hold and inspect an item before committing.

For those of you, like me, in the stores this time of year, here are the rules of defensive shopping, tried and true. They are in effect from the day after Thanksgiving through the day after Christmas.

The Rules of Holiday Shopping. We're all civil 11 months of the year, but at holiday shopping time, all bets are off | www.BakingInATornado.com | #funny #laugh #MyGraphics

1) Red lights are for whimps. Do you want to get to the store or not?

2) If someone is heading to a parking space with their blinker on, that space is not theirs. Possession is 9/10 of the law. The space belongs to he who takes possession of it first.

3) No carts left in the store? No problem. Find one that's sitting by someone engrossed in examining an item. Don't make any quick moves, walk up to that thing like a boss and smoothly push it away.

     3B) Do not empty that cart first, this is a big mistake and could, in some instances, cause you bodily harm. Wait until you are out of sight, then one by one nonchalantly place items on shelves as you walk through the store.

4) Wear an entire bottle of Axe cologne. Use the body spray too. Crowds will part for you like the Red Sea.

5) An item, especially if it's on sale and/or the last one, does not belong to the person holding it, it belongs to the person who pays for it. Grab and run, my friends, grab and run.

6) Cut in line. Be smart about it. Slip gently between two people saying to no one in particular: "there you are, thanks for holding a spot for me." Immediately start chatting to the person behind you. Don't stop, don't even take a breath, until you're at the head of the line. They can't say anything if they can't get a word in.

     6B) Another option for cutting in line: crawl to a spot near the front of the line between two people with a small item cupped in your hand. Pat the floor and look around then, while standing, say "there it is, phew, thought I'd lost it". Voila, there you are.  

     6C) This one's my favorite: bump your cart firmly into the last person in line. As they all fall like dominoes, shake your head and "tsk, tsk" your way past them all to the head of the line.

7) Whatever you do, do not allow the person waiting on you at the register or answering your question at the courtesy desk to answer the store phone. They will be on there helping someone else for hours. Accidentally hit that phone out of their hand with the unwieldy pile of items you're holding.

8) Wear a baseball cap and pay for your purchases with cash. It's harder to put up posters banning you from the store without your security picture and name.

Good luck with your shopping, everyone.

Oh, and just as an added suggestion, an aside if you will, for those of you who follow my rules, if you happen to find yourself in the post office this holiday season, do not look at the "wanted" posters. Turns out it's true that what you don't know won't hurt you.

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Mile High Triple Chocolate Pie
Printable Recipe
1 package chocolate filled Oreo cookies, finely crushed
4 TBSP butter, melted

3 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 bag (12 oz) Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
1 pkg (9 oz) chocolate wafer cookies, finely crushed

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup white chocolate liqueur

OPT: chocolate syrup and whipped cream for garnish

*Mix together the Oreo crumbs and the melted butter.
*Grease a 9 inch springform pan. Press the oreo crumb and butter mixture into the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan.
*Place the Hershey's Kisses in a microwave safe bowl with 1 cup of the heavy cream. Melt in the microwave until completely smooth. Mix in the crushed wafer cookies.
*In a separate bowl whip the remaining heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and the liqueur. Continue to whip until stiff peaks hold.
*Fold into the Hershey's Kisses/crushed cookie mixture. Pour this filling into the prepared crust. Refrigerate until completely set, at least 4 hours.
*To serve, release the pie from the springform pan. OPT: garnish with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Intolerant of Tolerance

I hate the word "tolerance". No, it's not lost on me the irony of using "hate" to describe my feelings toward "tolerance." But despite the word being used as a positive attribute, something to aspire to, there is, hiding there beneath the surface, a level of hate. Dislike or disapproval at the very least.

We hear a lot about tolerance these days. Always in the context of how we view each other, react to each other, negotiate our lives in our neighborhoods, cities, states, country, globally. We're all here together, the same and different. What are we going to do about it? Accept? Reject? Tolerate?

Quote of acceptance by Eminem | www.BakingInATornado.com | #acceptance #compassion

To me, "tolerance" is just such a condescending word. Arrogant. It implies the right to judge, find distasteful or subpar, but allow anyway. Subpar? Distasteful? These are sentiments appropriate to a different kind of experience or a new flavor, but not to the core beliefs or lifestyles of other human beings.

Don't like chocolate {{gasp}}, pistachios {{double gasp}}, we have every right to decide to tolerate these flavors or avoid them.

Don't like Jews? Gays? Hispanics? Do we really think we have the right to decide whether or not we are "willing to allow"? Not so much. At least I hope not.

Cannoli Wontons, all the delicious flavors of a cannoli in an oven baked, sugared wonton shell. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Cannoli Wontons
Cannoli Wontons, all the delicious flavors of a cannoli in an oven baked, sugared wonton shell. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

It's not enough to be tolerant. It's not enough to begrudgingly accept each other with an attitude of indulgence. We cannot just abide differences from the lofty stance of giving permission. It does not move humanity forward, it's actually insidious. It allows us to hide under the veil of complacency.

It would be wonderful if we could truly embrace each other, respect each other, learn from each other, utopian and idealistic as that may be. Clearly as a society we are clearly not there yet. Maybe never. Ultimately we must come to accept each others' inalienable right to breathe. Can we just start there? I'm disheartened to have to say that it seems to be coming down to just that. The future of our country depends on it. The future of our planet depends on it. Dire? Overly dramatic? I'm going to have to let you be the judge.

And yet, despite my distaste for both the word and the sentiment, given the direction in which I see our society currently heading, I would gratefully accept a climate of tolerance. 

Because the only thing worse is intolerance.

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Cannoli Wontons
Printable Recipe
2 TBSP sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP butter
24 wonton shells
1 1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP Egg Nog
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped unsalted pistachios

*Grease two 12 cup muffin tins. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Mix together the 2 TBSP sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon and set aside. Melt the butter.
*Gently press the wonton shells into the muffin tin cups. Lightly brush the melted butter into the shells. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
*Bake for 8 minutes until the cups start to brown. Remove from oven, cool completely, remove cups from the pan. You can store these in a sealed container.
*Whisk together the ricotta, powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and Egg Nog. Mix in the mini chocolate chips. Place into a pastry bag and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*To serve, pipe the filling evenly into the shells. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rounding out the Cabinet

I don't know why just Presidents have Cabinets. We all need to surround ourselves with experts, people who help us to navigate our daily lives, guide us as we make decisions, provide a much needed sounding board. In fact, we all do have these people in our lives, but do they know it? Do we tell them how much their council means on a daily basis? 

Well, truth is, some of the people we look to for guidance might take out a restraining order. But maybe that's just me.

No matter the consequences, I'm going to lay it all out. Loud and proud. Here are the people I look to on a daily basis. Or will. Once I'm President.

Rounding out the Cabinet. Everyone needs trusted advisors, whether they are president or not | www.BakingInATornado.com | #humor #funny #MyGraphics

Vice President (President of Vice): This has to be College Boy. He'll have marijuana decriminalized in a hot second.

Secretary of the Exterior: Hubs. And that to-do list is growing so he better hit the ground running.

Secretary of Steak: PurDude will do the honors. And nothing will go to waste.

Attorney General: My mom. A clear sense of right and wrong (and the patience of a saint). I'm telling you right now you all better behave or she'll put you in a time out. Although, knowing mom, she'll probably feed you while you're there.

And now that the blatant nepotism is out of the way, lets round out the cabinet:

Secretary of Energy: Every mama knows that nobody has more energy than a toddler. Any toddler. I don't have toddlers any more so I'll just draft that little cutie up the street. I'm sure her parents won't mind. After all, it's an honor.

And I'll feed her plenty of sugar. That energy will be boundless. I'll start baking now.
Holiday Chocolate Mint Cookie Cups, an impressive holiday treat made with just 3 store bought ingredients | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #holiday #dessert

Holiday Chocolate Mint Cookie Cups
Holiday Chocolate Mint Cookie Cups, an impressive holiday treat made with just 3 store bought ingredients | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #holiday #dessert

Chief of Staph: Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd. Or Dr. Jack Shephard. I'll take either Patrick Dempsey or Matthew Fox. Either way, send all infections to them. 

Secretary of Treasury: This one's a no-brainer, I select Jed Clampett. Start digging, Jed. We're all waiting for our gusher.

Secretary of transportation: Captain Montgomery Scott. Because we all want to be able to say "beam me up, Scotty." 

Secretary of Labor: Michelle Duggar. Hasn't she had like about a bazillion kids? Seems to me that no one has more experience with labor than Michelle.

Secretary of Defense: Chuck Norris. 'Nuff said.

Secretary of Education: Welcome back, Kotter.

Homeland Security: I was thinking The Cowardly Lion because lions are the king of the forest, but that whole "cowardly" thing has me feeling worried so I think I'll go with King Kong.

Secretary of Agriculture: I wonder if I can have one person run two departments. Because I think College Boy can do both Vice and Agriculture. They're closely related after all. I mean, once he legalizes marijuana, I'm sure he'll be happy to be sure there are amber waves of grain above the fruited plain.

I better warn PurDude, with all that legal pot, we're gonna need a lot more steak. And cheetos.

Did I forget anyone?

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Holiday Chocolate Mint Cookie Cups
Printable Recipe
1 (16.5 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie roll
1/2 package (16 oz) Nestle Toll House refrigerated dark chocolate peppermint cookie dough 
12 Andes or 12 Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 cup cupcake pan.
*Open sugar cookie roll and cut into 12 even slices. With your finger, press one slice into and up the sides of each well in the prepared cupcake pan.
*Take 12 squares of the chocolate peppermint cookie dough and form each into a ball, then flatten slightly and place each into one of the sugar cookie cups.
*Bake for 20 minutes.
*Remove from oven. 
*Immediately put a mint candy into the center of each cookie cup.
*If using an Andes, once it melts, use a knife to spread the melted candy around the center of the cookie cup. 
*If using the kisses, you can spread them around with a knife once melted or leave as is.
*Gently run a knife around the edge of each cookie cup, then allow to set until cool until removing from the pan.