Friday, September 19, 2014

Fly on the Wall, September 2014

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 13 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 |

It’s dinner time and I hand Hubs a Warm Chicken Pocket I want him to try.
Me: How is it?
Hubs: It’s good.
Me: The flavors work well together?
Hubs: Yes, it’s really good. I like it and I’d eat it again. Didn’t you like it?
Me: I didn’t try it yet.
Hubs: You didn’t try it?
Me: Well, I wanted to be sure it was  . . . you know . . . edible first.
Hubs: It is. What are these, cherry tomatoes?
Me: No . . . strawberries.
Hubs: And lettuce?
Me: No . . . spinach.
Hubs: What else?
Me: Sunflower seeds.
Hubs: There are nuts in my tortilla?
Me: It’s not a tortilla, it’s a pita pocket. You know what, I don’t know what you’re eating but I think I’d better just try it myself.

Flies on the Wall - Baking In A Tornado

I was looking through some old pictures. There’s a beautiful family picture from one of our trips to Boston. My Mom and Step Father, my boys and their cousins are all in this picture and it’s a treasure. Until I look a littler closer at my younger son. Wish he were here so I could ask him what kind of a face he was making here.
Practicing to be a zombie maybe?

funny face -Baking In A Tornado

Flies on the Wall - Baking In A Tornado

I’m sure this is TMI but just so you know that it isn’t just my family that drives me nuts, sometime I can do it all by myself. Like the day that a guy was coming out to look at the house at 2:00 pm and I got “the runs” at 1:30 pm. And FYI, the anxiety of knowing someone’s due to ring the doorbell does not make the runs better. Quite the opposite.

Flies on the Wall - Baking In A Tornado

College Boy was home over the Labor Day weekend and came down to the living room on Sunday night. Here was the conversation:
College Boy: Mom, can I borrow your car?
Me: Ummm, have you looked outside lately?
College Boy: Yeah, it's raining.
Me: It's not just raining, it's pouring and the trees in the woods are bent almost in half.
College Boy: I can drive in the rain.
Me: See those flashing words at the bottom of the tv screen? What do they say?
College Boy: I'm not going far, just over to a friend's house.
Me: You DO know what the words "tornado warning" mean, right?
College Boy: You're not going to let me borrow the car, are you?
Me: I'm pretty sure that would be a "no", but thanks for playing.

Flies on the Wall - Baking In A Tornado

I talk a lot about needing my coffee but take my word for it, I NEED my coffee. One day last week I got up, put the laundry in the washing machine and went to grab my coffee.
When the washing machine was done I put the clothes in the dryer and sat back down on the couch.
Then I spent the next half hour trying to figure out whether I ever put laundry detergent in the washing machine with the clothes.

Coffee Bread | | #bake
Coffee Bread

Coffee Bread | | #bake

Speaking of needing my coffee, I set my coffee maker before I go to bed so when Hubs comes downstairs before work at about 7:15 am, the coffee has just finished dripping into the pot.

It was a tough summer for me. College Boy worked on a farm and left for work at 4:30 am as many as 6 days a week. I’m the lightest sleeper so I’d hear him from the time he got up until the time he left. Now that College Boy’s in school it seems that my body or my subconscious or something must have gotten used to being awake at 4:00 am.

I realized this the other day when I woke up and went downstairs for coffee. I turned on the lights and sat on a counter stool in a bit of a daze waiting for the coffee maker to turn itself on. I don’t know how long I was sitting there before I looked at the clock and saw that it was 4:00 am.

Flies on the Wall - Baking In A Tornado

PurDude is away at college and his car is sitting in the garage, he can’t have one at school for freshman year. I told him I’d start it up and drive it once a week. I took it out for the first time and it was bittersweet. I love that little red BMW, I did when it was mine before he got his license and took it from me. But now it’s all his and I smiled as I looked around and saw a few of his belongings: sunglasses, movie stubs. And then I caught a glimpse of the big roll of black duct tape in the side door pocket. Yes, I’m afraid to ask.

Flies on the Wall - Baking In A Tornado

I wanted to be able to see PurDude every now and then when I talked to him. The day before he left for college he downloaded something called ooVoo onto my computer and showed me how to use it. I was thrilled.
Oh, I can see him and hear him well enough. But I’m upside down. To both of us. And I DO NOT like talking to him while he talks to the under side of my chin.
I wonder if I can still do a head stand.
Better make sure my insurance is paid up.

Flies on the Wall - Baking In A Tornado

How to give your mother heart failure in one easy lesson.
PurDude had been at school for two weeks when, over Labor Day weekend I was in the shower and had missed a text from him. The text conversation went like this:
PurDude: Are you guys home right now?
Me (later): I was in the shower. So sorry I missed your text. We're here.
PurDude: I wanted to video chat with you earlier today but now I'm busy.
Me: Call when you can.
PurDude: Will you be home tonight?
Me: Yes, bad storms coming through so we'll be home. Everything OK?
PurDude: Need to talk to you guys, I might call tonight. Please don't comment on how I look.
Me: When I get out of the cardiac unit I'm going to need more information on that last comment.

Flies on the Wall - Baking In A Tornado

From the “I should know better than to ask” files:
I made a new cookie and asked College Boy to try it. He poured a cup of milk and drowned my poor cookie.
Me: I just asked you to taste that cookie for me, why are you dunking it in milk.
College Boy: I always dunk cookies in milk.
Me: I need to know how the flavor of this cookie stacks up against others without being drenched in milk.
College Boy: This is how I taste all cookies, I’m just leveling the playing field.
Me: Can you try one for me without the milk?
College Boy: Now Mom, are you asking for special treatment? That would just be unfair. Where are your morals? Your cookie will be judged exactly as all the others are. Can you pass the milk?

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

Baking In A Tornado |

Coffee Bread
Printable Recipe
4 TBSP sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant coffee powder
3/4 cup coffee, cooled
1/4 cup French vanilla coffee creamer (can substitute milk)
½ cup oil
1 egg
1 TBSP prepared, cooled coffee
2 tsp water
½ cup powdered sugar
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan. Mix together the 4 TBSP sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Set half aside and “flour” the loaf pan with the other half of the mixture.
*Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and instant coffee powder.
*In a separate bowl, whisk together the cooled coffee, coffee creamer, oil and egg. Add the flour mixture to this bowl and mix until just incorporated.
*Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture on top and swirl into the batter. Pour the rest of the batter into the pan.
* Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch.
*Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife along the sides of the pan and turn upside down to remove the loaf.
*Allow loaf to cool.  Mix the coffee, water and powdered sugar together. Drizzle over the top of the loaf.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


What do you do when you love the food and the company and even some of the games but not so much the cold? Wimpgate, of course.

AKA: Tailgating for sissies (and proud of it).

I’m not a sports fan but I AM a team fan. Where my family will watch most any sport any time, I only watch if one of MY teams is playing.

Now I’m not going to tell you that I haven’t tailgated before. I have, just not often. I attended a college game or two but just between you and I? I slept through most of the games. I mean, Saturday morning? Bad timing, dude. Friday nights (which lasted until Saturday morning) were busy times. And Saturday morning (which lasted until Saturday afternoon, and sometimes even evening) were for sleeping.

I’ve been to a few Pro games too, but early in the season. There’s the whole “standing outside eating in the freezing cold” thing that I just don’t get. Once my nose goes numb, my ears burn and my eyes are tearing, I’m out. The only time I want to be outside in the cold is when I’m skiing down a mountain.

Wimp, I know.

WimpGating | | #humor #tailgatin

I do have a lot of really fun tailgating memories. There’s an outdoor amphitheater back home that had the best concerts throughout the summer. I went quite a bit. Now that’s a situation just screaming for tailgating, a warm summer evening being the key factor.

BUT, the other aspects of tailgating have me hooked: the food and the party. And now that I have boys in college, I have more teams to call “mine”.

Raspberry Glazed Steak Rollups with Lemon Yogurt Sauce

So bring on the weekends; the games, the food and the fun. I’ve developed some recipes that are perfect for both tailgating and wimpgating, starting with this one for my Raspberry Glazed Steak Rollups with Lemon Yogurt Sauce.

Raspberry Glazed Steak Rollups with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
finished sandwich

And if my guests want the real feel of tailgating? I’d be more than happy to send them out to the driveway to eat. I’ll be here on the couch, tv on and fire roaring in the fireplace, scanning the fans in the bleachers for a glimpse of my boys. Wonder what they’re eating . . .

And for those of you hearty people who are actually tailgating and enjoy a fun project, check out this Tote Bag Tutorial by my friend Stacy Sews and Schools. I may need to talk to her about her team choices, but I do love her work:

Go Pats!
Boiler Up!

Baking In A Tornado | | #blogging

Raspberry Glazed Steak Rollups with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
Printable Recipe
2# flank steak
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 TBSP raspberry flavored hard lemonade
1 tsp minced garlic
2 TBSP soy sauce

1 cup Lemon flavored Greek Yogurt
3 TBSP honey
1/2 tsp lemon zest

8 tortillas
OPT garnishes: I chose shaved carrots and roasted red pepper
*In a microwave safe bowl, heat the raspberry jam for 1 minute. Whisk in the hard lemonade, garlic and soy sauce. Set aside to cool.
*Slice the flank steak, against the grain, into thin slices. Place into a gallon sized re-sealable bag.
*Pour the sauce into the bag and manipulate to be sure all of the meat is coated. Place in fridge for a few hours up to a day. Turn the bag every now and then.
NOTE: An optional way to cook this without skewers is to place the flank steak into the gallon bag with the marinade without slicing it. Cook the steak (it'll take more than 2 - 5 minutes per side) on the grill, let rest, slice and place into tortilla shells.

*Whisk the yogurt, honey and lemon zest and put into a container.
NOTE: I wash out empty ketchup bottles and save them for this purpose. I put the sauce in them and put them into a fridge or cooler, making it easy to drizzle the sauce.
*If you're using wood skewers, soak them in cold water for 2 hours. For tailgating you can place them into a re-sealable bag with water and place them in your cooler.
*Grease your grill grate with non-stick spray while the grill is still cold and turned off.
*Heat your grill to medium heat.
*Thread the meat onto skewers, if you're using this method.
*Grill the skewers for about 2 - 5 minutes, turn and grill another 2 - 5 minutes. Don't touch the skewer, carefully remove meat with a utensil.
*Place onto tortilla shells with your favorite garnish. Drizzle with the lemon yogurt sauce, roll up and slice to serve.

Friday, September 12, 2014

September 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 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 - 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: confident ~ regained ~ imagination ~ future
They were submitted by: Sparkly Poetic Weirdo 
Whenever I do these posts I always try to start off getting the words into a sentence or two. It doesn’t qualify as a full post, of course, but it makes me feel a little more comfortable taking on the challenge, like I have a fall-back of sorts.                

So . . .

I am confident that if I’ve truly regained my imagination I can craft these words into a post sometime in the near future.   

Phew, now that the pressure’s off . . .

Imagination is an interesting thing. I often wonder if, in my grandmother’s day, she ever could have even guessed at the way we live now. Could she possibly believe that the things that are so much a part of our life that we take them for granted could  exist?

When I was growing up I used to watch a cartoon called The Jetsons. It was a humorous look into the future with flying cars and food dispensing machines in every home. At the time it all seemed absurd, but then I would never have expected in my adult life to have a phone that went places with me, an internet to look up. . . well, basically anything and everything and now even cars that park themselves.

So what does the future hold for my children? And for their children?

* No more washing, drying and folding laundry. Each bedroom will have a clothes box. Put clothes in at the end of the day and in the morning take them out clean and folded.

* Pet poop-bots come with all pooping pets. These robots will walk your pet, scoop the poop and dispose of it in chutes similar to the drains currently on our streets where it is immediately deodorized and recycled into . . . well, you don’t want to know.

* Snail mail is out. Email is out. Brain mail is in. Approved parties can send their thoughts directly into a file in our brains. Any attempt at spam is repelled, immediately bounced back to the sender where it quite literally bites them on the butt.

* Fatal diseases are all eradicated. Old age and accident are the only causes of death.

* Mode of travel is by Hover Chair. Picture an oversized chair enclosed in a bubble. You can attach others to the back or sides of yours for family members similar to how a trailer is attached to a car. They move through the air so you can go wherever you want AND there are no rude stewardesses.


Fiery Apple Cookie Bars

* We have regained control of education. School can be attended physically in groups, through video chat or via traveling teachers who come to your home. College is free, you meet the requirements to attend or you don’t. If you don’t and want to go, try the traveling teachers, they’ll help you get there.
* Money is no longer required. Everything is bartered. We all have a service that we can provide or products we can trade. Of course with no money there’s no need for politicains.
*Fermentation is now achievable in minutes. Oh come on, you knew I’d go there.
* We have found a way to maintain the natural order of the food chain without spiders.
* Kids are respectful. All of them. The disrespectful gene has been removed from the pool. Can I get an “amen”?
I’m confident that all of these will become a part of future lives, aren’t you?

Links to the other Use Your Words posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Fiery Apple Cookie Bars
Printable Recipe
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp apple pie seasoning
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 small apple, finely chopped
5 oz Hot Tamale candies, chopped
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 11 pan.
*Cream together the butter, margarine, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
*Add in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, apple pie seasoning and mix well to form a dough.
*Mix in the apple and candies last.
*Spread into the prepared pan.
*Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
*Remove from oven and cool before slicing.