Friday, August 18, 2017

Always in Your Mamories: Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 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

Let me tell you a little story about how important proofreading is.

A friend had written a heartbreaking and heartfelt post about the recent death of her husband. She talked about feeling him close and about her memories of their many years together. I was leaving her a comment about how he is still with her in her memories. Just before I hit "publish", I noticed that I was actually telling her that he is still with her in her mamories.

As typos go, that one would have been particularly unfortunate.

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

I was sitting in the den when College Boy came in, grabbed some paper out of the office and turned to me:

College Boy: Mom, I just want to warn you,
Me (interrupting him): Go back outside and fart.

Made him laugh!

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

Hubs has a giant big screen TV in his man cave in the basement. I really didn't want to hang it on the wall so we had it on an old buffet table temporarily, until I could find just the right stand. I'm all about aesthetics so I hated the old table it sat on and I really didn't feel it was safe there either. I made it my mission to find just the right stand.

I finally found exactly what I wanted and bought it. That night, Hubs was setting the TV up on the stand and I went upstairs to empty the dishwasher. I came downstairs and saw he had the TV stand pulled far away from the wall. It looked ridiculous. 

Me: Why is that so far out from the wall, we need to push it back.
Hubs: The TV is supposed to be 25 feet from the couch for optimal viewing. That's 25 feet from the couch.
Me: It looks stupid.
Hubs: It's set up for optimal viewing. 
Me: But it looks stupid.

Hubs: But it's set up for optimal viewing. 
Me: I don't like it, it looks stupid.

Hubs: I like it, it's set up for optimal viewing. 
Me: I don't want it to look stupid.

Hubs: I want it set up for optimal viewing. 
Me: It looks stupid.

Hubs: It's set up for optimal viewing . . .

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

Me (yelling down to Hubs): I think there's something wrong with the washing machine.
Hubs (yelling up from the man cave): OK.
Me: Do you want to come up and look at it?
Hubs: Not really. I'm exhausted.
Me: It's leaking.
Hubs: I'll look at it later.
Me: You know it's directly above that big screen TV down there.

. . . and Hubs comes flying up the stairs.

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

I swear my kids and their friends have a sixth sense when it comes to chocolate. They can be out anywhere, but when I'm pulling something chocolate out of the oven, boom, there they are.

I was trying a new recipe the other day, Whipped Peppermint Poke Brownies. I was making the brownies but then I had to cool them completely before I could add the frosting inside or the frosting would just melt. 

Silly me. In the door walks College Boy and some friends. They grab forks and start digging in to the hot (I mean really hot) brownies. By the time I stopped them . . . well, see the 4 brownies pictured below? Yeah, that's about all I ended up with.

Later, after finishing making the brownies I had the 4 of them on a dish. The boys came back and finished them off.

College Boy: Mom, there's only 4 of these squares here. That's not nearly enough. You should have made more. 
Me (sarcastically): Yeah, what was I thinking just making four?
College Boy (shaking his head): Really. I mean that's just a tease. Mean, really.
Me: Get out of my kitchen!!

{{I may have said that chasing after him with a rolling pin in my hand, but if so, I wouldn't admit it, of course.}}

Whipped Peppermint Poke Brownies, thick chewy brownies infused with whipped peppermint frosting and topped with crunchy cookie crumbs | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert #chocolate

Whipped Peppermint Poke Brownies

Me: Would you like to stay for dinner?
College Boy: Sure.
Me: Great, happy to have you.
College Boy: What's for dinner?
Me: Turkey Cutlets with Raspberry Sauce.
College Boy: I do like those, but I notice you have some of my favorite Baked Hot Wings left over in the fridge. Can I have those?
Me: I guess.
College Boy: What else are you serving?
Me: I made Festive Pea Casserole.
College Boy: Would you mind if I just had a salad?
Me (getting exasperated): If you make it yourself.
College Boy: What's for dessert?
Me: OUT! Love you so much but I rescind my invitation. B'bye.

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

Hubs was going out to do some errands and I had a check that needed to be deposited at the bank.

Me: Want to take this check to the bank for me?
Hubs: Yeah, I actually have to go in there anyway.
Me: Oh, and you signed that check, btw, just so you know.
Hubs (looking at the check): I did?
Me: Yes you did. Don't turn me in. I don't want to go to jail.
Hubs just looks at me with a weird expression.
Me: What are you doing?
Hubs: Practicing my poker face, I'll try not to give you away.
Me: That's your poker face? We need to play poker. How much money you got?
Hubs: Depends on how much of this check that I . . .  ahem . . . signed you're giving me.
Me: Is that a threat?
Hubs: Would it work?

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

PurDude spent the summer doing an internship for Honeywell in Cleveland this summer (I may have mentioned that once or twice or two hundred times). He does all kinds of fun things but never takes pictures. Not only would I like to see them, but in the future I'm sure he'll want to have them too. 

Before he left I spoke to him once again. Told him that he'd never been to a Great Lake, he should go to Eerie. That whatever fun things he does, he should take pictures.

He went to a concert. Did he take a picture? No. He went to Quicken Loans arena when the Cavaliers were playing in the championships and did not take a picture. He went to some fireworks at his apartment complex on the 4th of July and didn't take a picture. 

I actually do have some pictures of some of his experiences. In order to have any idea of what he's doing, I check snapchat daily. If he posts something he's doing, and he often does, I try to take a picture with my camera of the snapchat on my cell.

Yes, it's come to that. I'm cyber-stalking my own child.

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

PurDude called one Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago. He happened to mention that he went to Lake Eerie the day before.

Me: Oh, did you take pictures? I'd love to see it.
PurDude: No.
Me: Why? I asked you to take pictures. I'd love to be able to see some of your new experiences.
PurDude: I just didn't think of it. 
Me: You know some day you're going to want to have these memories yourself.
PurDude: That's OK, I'll remember them.
Me: They're still with you in your mamories?
PurDude: Huh?
Me: Nothing.

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

I've talked before about Hubs and how he cannot go to a store without calling me at least once.

Last Saturday he went out to get a battery for his car remote. Of course he called. And then again. I figured we were safe so I got into the shower. I took my cell with me to the bathroom so my actual out of reach time was just the 10 minutes or so I was washing. I got out of the shower and yup, a missed call.

On Sunday he went out again. This time I jumped in the shower as soon as he left figuring this would be my best chance. I got out of the shower and nope, no missed calls.

Panicked, I called him immediately.

Me: Where are you? Are you OK? Having car trouble? Do I need to come get you.
Hubs: No, I'm fine, but as long as I have you on the phone . . .

Ah, reverse psychology. Well played, Hubs, well played.

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

Menopausal Mother 
Searching for Sanity
Spatulas on Parade
Never Ever Give Up Hope 
Bookworm in the Kitchen 
Cynful Thoughts 
Evil Joy Speaks  

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Whipped Peppermint Poke Brownies
1 box brownie mix (or your own mix)

2 cups powdered sugar
2 - 4 TBSP milk
4 TBSP butter, softened
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 - 4 drops red food coloring

5 Oreos

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8 X 8 baking dish.

*Mix your brownies as you normally would, or prepare the boxed mix according to the directions. Spread evenly into the pan and bake as directed.
*Remove from oven and cool completely. Place in the fridge.
*Crush the cookies. Set aside.
*Beat the powdered sugar, 3 TBSP milk, softened butter, peppermint extract and 2 drops red food coloring until fluffy and smooth. If needed, add the additional TBSP of milk and/or drop of red food coloring.
*Place the whipped frosting into a sandwich bag and seal.
*Remove the cooled brownies from the oven. Using the bottom of a thick wooden spoon, make about 25 holes in the brownies, don't break through to the bottom of the pan.
*Snip the corner of the sandwich bag and pipe the frosting down into each hole. Spread the remainder of the frosting over the top of the brownies. Top with the crushed cookies.
*Store, covered, in the fridge and bring to room temperature for serving.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

If You Cook It, They Will Come

Five years ago, to the day as a matter of fact, when I had been blogging for just 2 months, I posted a piece about my favorite holiday, B-T-S (back to school). At the time I was a young(er) stay-at-home mom frazzled by having just (barely) survived another school-less summer of amusing my two sons. They were both in high school, too old for summer camp, dammit. One had his driver's license just for a year and the other just barely had his learner's permit. Curfews were broken, the house was always full of kids coming and going through the front door and sneaking in and out of the basement slider. You see where I'm going here? Yes, back to school was a holiday in my book. In fact, it was a favorite.

School Starts picture used with the permission of | Presented on |
 I found this picture used in my B-T-S post on I contacted them and was given permission to use it with attribution.

During those years back to school was a whole big production. New wardrobes were bought, backpacks chosen, lunches paid for, supplies purchased. Through it all, anything I picked out was summarily rejected, as far as I could tell just because I'd picked it. And, of course, cars were fought over. It was pretty clear I was about to stop sharing mine and just plain lose it. I'd have to go shopping for me, if there were ever a spare minute. You and I both know there wouldn't be until school started again.

Just before school started as the level of excitement (me) and dread (them) grew, we also continued a long standing family tradition, something we've been doing since the boys started school. The entire week leading up to their first day, I'd cook all their favorite dinners and bake all their favorite treats. The last night would be saved for their number one favorite meal.

From the time they were little there was always a bit of an argument about what that last supper (so to speak) would be. They were kids so their favorites were pretty basic. College Boy always loved spaghetti with homemade sauce. PurDude generally just wanted a grilled sirloin burger. We'd have to take turns, burger one year and spaghetti another.

I need to mention here that College Boy is my favorite recipe muse. He gives me lots of ideas and even, when I only have a partial recipe in my head, comes up with what it's missing. Which is actually pretty amazing since the only thing he knows how to cook is frozen pizza. And he doesn't even do that right. Don't ask.

Anyway, my muse has been stuck lately. Every time I ask him for an idea for a new recipe, his answer is "spaghetti burgers". Spaghetti burgers? What is that? A burger with spaghetti in the middle? He says a burger with spaghetti as the bun. That wouldn't work, it would fall apart. But the details are my problem, he's stuck asking for a spaghetti burger. I'm stuck on who the hell would eat that (well, my kid would, but besides him)?

Yesterday was the first day of school. And although my boys are older and one of them isn't even here {{sob}}, old habits die hard, I decided to make their favorite dinner. But which one? Spaghetti? Or burger?

College Boy: "Spaghetti Burger!"

And that's when it hit me. A bit (OK quite a bit) of a crazy idea, but I was actually going to make a spaghetti burger. Well, spaghetti and meatball sliders, but I called them spaghetti burgers when I served them so shhhh don't tell. Challenge met, I did my part, I figured it out, the question is whether the family would actually eat them.

Spaghetti and Meatball Sliders, for an appetizer or a meal, these little hand held sandwiches have all the flavors of a spaghetti and meatball dinner | Recipe developed by | #recipe #appetizer #sliders

Spaghetti and Meatball Sliders
Spaghetti and Meatball Sliders, for an appetizer or a meal, these little hand held sandwiches have all the flavors of a spaghetti and meatball dinner | Recipe developed by | #recipe #appetizer #sliders

Turns out, when it comes to spaghetti and burgers, if you cook it, they will come.

And when dinner was over there was nary a leftover crumb.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Spaghetti and Meatball Sliders         
Printable Recipe
1 package slider rolls
1#lean ground beef
1/2# sausage (I use hot sausage)
1 egg
2 TBSP seasoned bread crumbs
3 TBSP grated parmesan, divided
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 TBSP minced dried onion
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
6 oz spaghetti
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup Homemade Marinara, divided
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 TBSP melted butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 glass baking dish.
*Add together the ground beef, sausage, egg, bread crumbs, 2 TBSP parmesan, minced garlic, dried onion and seasoned salt and mix just until incorporated. Place into prepared dish and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven but leave oven on.
*While the meat is cooking, break the spaghetti into about 2 inch pieces. Cook al dente. Mix with 1/2 cup of the marinara and the remaining parmesan. Set aside.
*Using a large spatula, lift one corner of the meat, slide a long platter or a long thin cutting board underneath and remove. Try to keep it in one piece. Carefully, using paper towels, remove the grease from the baking pan and grease with non-stick spray. Blot the meat well.
*Slice the rolls, keeping them attached. Place the bottoms into the baking dish. Keep attached where you can but detach to cover the bottom of the dish. Top with the meat, the remaining marinara and the spaghetti. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, press the tops of the buns onto the cheese.
*Mix together the melted butter, garlic powder and parsley. Brush onto the tops of the rolls. 
*Bake for about 25 minutes until hot and the cheese has melted. Cut into individual sandwiches and serve.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Stinger-Free Life: 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: family ~ catfish ~ golf ~ girlfriend ~ underwear ~ wiggle
They were submitted by Dawn of Cognitive Script.

I wear underwear. My family prefers that I do. I'm not going to show you a picture as proof, because girlfriend, no one needs to see that. Now I don't wear underwear to golf, but that's only because I don't golf. If I wanted to go for a walk, I don't need to hit a ball every 15 minutes to do it, I'll just walk.

Now if I fished, I'd probably wear plastic underwear or maybe one of those bee keeper suits just to protect myself from catfish. Anything with a stinger, well, count me out. I'm running away from, not running towards and trying to catch. Duh.

I actually learned this lesson about fish and stingers long ago. I'm guessing I was in my teens and my whole extended family was in Florida for an uncle's wedding. We were spending an afternoon on the beach when I saw something truly beautiful in the water. I remember swimming towards it and getting fairly close before my older cousin started screaming something at me about a Man-of-War and to get out of the water. That was the first and last time I went towards anything that stings. From then on, I've done my best to make my life a stinger-free zone.

Now shrimp, that's a whole other story. 

Raspberry Broccoli Salad with Shrimp is a light, cold lunch or dinner perfect for a hot summer day. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #lunch #dinner

Raspberry Broccoli Salad with Shrimp
Raspberry Broccoli Salad with Shrimp is a light, cold lunch or dinner perfect for a hot summer day. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #lunch #dinner

Shrimp are not threatening, don't have any stingers that I know of (at least they don't in the grocery store) and are, without a doubt, delish. Of course the grocery store or fish market is the only place I plan to go to catch them. Throwing a net, letting it sink then dragging it up full of muck? Nope, not for me. I might break a nail. 

So here's the plan. I'm going to wiggle into my undies, go for a nice long walk (without spending thousands of dollars on clubs and plaid clothes and greens fees, thank you very much), then I'm going to the grocery store to cast my net for some lovely fresh (peeled and deveined) stinger-free shrimp. It's a hot summer day and I'm in the mood for a nice cold Raspberry Broccoli Salad with Shrimp for dinner.

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

Raspberry Broccoli Salad with Shrimp         

Printable Recipe

8 oz fresh snap peas

12 oz large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined 
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 TBSP honey
2 TBSP oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper

1 bag (1#) broccoli slaw
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cranraisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

*Par cook the snap peas, about 2 minutes in the microwave then immediately immerse in ice water to stop the cooking.
*Heat the butter and olive oil and 1 clove garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until shrimp are completely pink and no longer translucent. Cool completely.
*Whisk together the apple cider vinegar, raspberry jam, honey, oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. 
*Drain the snap peas. Mix them with the broccoli slaw, green onions and red pepper.
*Pour the dressing over the salad, mix, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, mixing well now and then. Once the shrimp has cooled, add to the salad.
*When ready to serve, mix in the cranraisins and sunflower seeds.