Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Last week, in anticipation of my upcoming empty nest yet desire to continue blogging, I published an application in my Help Wanted post. I’m trying to find applicants with attributes similar to those of my boys to take on their ability to cause the stress that results in my inspire me to both bake and blog when they both leave for college in a month. Anyone who’s read this blog over the past two years knows that those boys are a pain in the a$$ unique in their attitudes and actions.

Congratulations to those who’ve made it through the application process. Before we sit down for an interview we have one more step. I’m conducting a test. Don’t be concerned, there’s no right or wrong, this is just to help me better understand whether your natural instincts are a good fit as a stand-in for the boys.

Testing - Baking In A Tornado

For each of the scenarios below, just pick the answer that you feel fits best with who you are. To assure that you respond with your initial instincts, you’ll only have 1 minute to complete this survey so use your time wisely. Good luck.


1) The phone is ringing. Do you:
     a) answer it
     b) mind your own business
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

2) The tornado signs are going off. Do you:
     a) bake
     b) put on your headphones
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

3) The toilet is clogged. Do you:
     a) grab the plunger
     b) keep flushing and flushing and flushing . . .
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

4) There’s only a little milk left in the fridge. Do you:
     a) ask if anyone needs it for baking
     b) drink it based on both first come, first served and finders keepers, losers weepers
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

5) You’re called to dinner. Do you:
     a) sit down and eat what you can
     b) say you don’t like it even though you don’t know what it is yet
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

6) The hand towel from the bathroom is in the wash and no one’s replaced it yet. Do you:
     a) call out to see if someone can bring you a towel
     b) air dry your hands by waving them around, flinging water all over the bathroom
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

7) The newspaper is in the driveway. Do you:
     a) bring it in the house
     b) run over it with your car
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

8) The timer goes off, the treats are done and no one’s around. Do you:
     a) pull the pan out of the oven and put it on the counter
     b) open the oven and eat the treats out of the pan so they don’t burn
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

Toasted PBJ Cups - Baking In A Tornado
Toasted PBJ Cups

 Toasted PBJ Cups - Baking In A Tornado

9) There’s a $20 bill sitting on the desk in the kitchen. Do you:
     a) leave it there, it’s there for a reason
     b) take it, it was clearly meant for you
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

10) I’ve bumped my toe on the coffee table. I’m writhing on the floor, wincing and trying not to cry. Do you:
     a) see if you can help
     b) step over me so you don’t have to ask me to move out of your way
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

11) You’ve borrowed the car and it’s almost out of gas. Do you:
     a) go to a gas station and put a little gas in
     b) rush home hoping you make it
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

12) The windows are open and it’s just started to pour. Do you:
     a) quickly get the windows closed
     b) assume that they were opened for a reason
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

13) You’re locked out of the house, you’ve forgotten your key. Do you:
     a) use the keypad outside the garage door
     b) break a window, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

14) Most of the cake is gone, there are 2 slices left. Do you:
     a) eat one slice
     b) eat them both so no one can fight over them
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

15) You come in to work in the morning. There’s no coffee and you know how I am without my coffee. Do you:
     a) quickly get the coffee maker started
     b) quietly back out of the house and call in sick from the driveway
     c) all of the above
     d) none of the above

All tests will be scored when I d@mn well get around to it immediately. For every question that you responded to with a “b”, you will be awarded one point. No other answers acquire points. Anyone scoring 15 points can expect to be granted an interview.
As I said last week, interviews will be scheduled by employer. Baked goods will be served. BYOB.

Baking In A Tornado
PS: Coming up on this blog, an adult brunch version of these Toasted PBJ Cups.

Toasted PBJ Cups
Printable Recipe
6 slices of bread (I removed the crust)
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup jelly of your choice
6 marshmallows
6 berries
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either spray a 6 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray or grease the cups with butter.
*Using a rolling pin, flatten the bread slices.
*Pinching the sides in, fit the bread slices into the muffin cups. Tamp down the sides and bottom.
*Mix together the peanut butter and the jelly.
*Put a dollop of the peanut butter mixture into each of the 6 bread slices. Press a marshmallow into the center of each.
*Cook for 15 minutes, until the marshmallow is browning.
*Remove from oven, run a knife gently around the sides of each cup and carefully remove from pan.
*Place a berry on the top of each marshmallow.

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 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: fireworks ~ explosion ~ happiness ~ red, white & blue ~ flag ~ jell-o
They were submitted by The Sadder But Wiser Girl

I bet you think I’m going to tell you about the 4th of July.

Here’s the thing: I’ve already written about how fireworks are legal where I live. I’ve shown you this video of the explosion that burned down my house and told how it resulted in happiness because the son who exploded my house got an “A” on the project he was working on at the time. I’ve shared my jell-o recipe and yes, it’s red, white & blue. Over the past month I’ve featured recipes decorated in the colors of the flag, like my Patriotic Pavlova.

So no, I’m not going to talk about Independence Day. And besides, being predictable in these posts is just not why I do them.

 Berry Sangria - Baking In A Tornado
Berry Sangria

Today I’ve made up some riddles for you using the words I’ve been assigned:

Q: Why is finding a spider in the house patriotic for me?
A: I turn bright red when I fall off the chair I’d been standing on trying to reach it on the ceiling.
I turn white when I get up off the floor and realize I’ve now lost sight of it.
& blue holding my breath until I find it again.

Q: Once I do find it (again) what’s the best way to get rid of a spider in the house?
A: I’m no expert, but I hear that fire works.

Q: Why does the knowledge that I’m baking with alcohol result in both of my boys shutting their doors and putting on their head phones?
A: They don’t want to be startled by the explosion.

Q: Why might you see me doing a happy dance on the kitchen counter?
A: Not all my recipe ideas work but I do love to see a good plan jell – Oh, and I don’t mind embarrassing the boys either.

Q: What comes the day after Saturday and Sunday during the school year (but not in the summer)?
A: Happiness.

Q: Why do people marching in a parade wave a flag?
A: Because carrying an empty pole would look stupid.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To avoid the red, white & blue fireworks explosion that’s causing so much happiness to the jell-o eating, flag waving drunk guy who doesn’t realize that Independence Day was two weeks ago. Sheesh, give a chicken a break, will ya?

Thanks for the words, Sarah, this was fun. Here are the links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Berry Sangria 
Printable Recipe
1 (750-ml) bottle white wine
½ cup Chambord
6 strawberries, rinsed, hulled, sliced
3 oz raspberries, rinsed and dried
3 oz blackberries, rinsed and dried
3 cups ginger ale, chilled
*Put the wine and the Chambord into a pitcher. Add the strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Put into the refrigerator and chill overnight.
*Add the ginger ale and serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Help Wanted

It’s no secret that I will be an empty-nester in just a month. I’ve talked a lot about giving thought to whether or not I should continue blogging. I started this blog for a few reasons, some (two actually, who shall remain nameless) of which are flying the coop . . . or leaving the nest . . . or something.

I’ve been encouraged by some really amazing people who read this blog and join in conversations on my FB page to continue blogging. I wasn’t really sure I could without the causes of my stress and the eaters of my baked goods here. But after much thinking and weighing and soul searching I’ve come up with a plan. Genius, really.

I need replacements. New muses. And I know just how to do it. I’m taking applications.

It’s not a live-in job. I think we have less of a chance of my head exploding if I just hire the staff on an “as needed” basis this time around.

I encourage you, if you feel as though you’re up to the challenge, to fill out the paperwork and start the process. Slackers need not apply.

Help Wanted - Baking In A Tornado

Job Application

Part One: Position
______ Taste Tester
______ Back Talker
______ Eye Roller
______ Mess Creator
______ Excuse Maker
______ Any available position, I can do all of those

Part Two: Personal
Name: _________________________________________________
Aliases: ________________________________________________
Number of Penitentiaries inhabited: __________________
Hours available (check one):   ______ all       ______ none

Part Three: Health
check one:      ______ sane             ______ a little Crackers           ______total wackadoodle
                      ______passive          ______ aggressive                    ______ Passive/aggressive
                                  ______ strong stomach                  ______ I’m a puker
                                  ______ convincing liar                  ______ I’m a twitcher
                                  ______ strong moral compass        ______ lost in the woods
                    Number of times your stomach has been pumped __________________________
                    Decibel level at which you play music  ______________________________________
                    Number of minutes it takes to turn on every light in the house ____________
                    Do you have a “tell” _________________________________________________________

Part Four: Work History
Please list all previous jobs with skills pertinent to the position for which you are applying.
NOTE: Any applicants with references who will attest that you are well behaved, show up on time, maintain a clean work space, are respectful, answer phones and/or follow rules will be forced to spend time with my teenagers.
1. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
2. __________________________________________________________________________________________
3. __________________________________________________________________________________________

Part Five: Recommendations
Please list 3 people, living or dead, who will attest to your ability to roll your eyes, talk back, storm out of a room, make poor choices, eat your weight in chocolate, take two hour showers, sleep late, miss deadlines and glare someone to death.
1. ___________________________________________________________________________________________
2. __________________________________________________________________________________________
3. __________________________________________________________________________________________

Part Six: Corroborating Documentation
Attachments required:
______ Birth Certificate                ______ Death Certificate                 ______ Green Card
______ Driver’s License                ______ Credit Card                           ______ Debit Card
______ Insurance Card                 ______ blood alcohol level                 ______ arrest record
______ credit score                       ______ IQ                                           ______ birth order
______ school transcript               ______Voter Registration                 ______Will
______ mug shot                           ______ blood type                              ______ ERA

Part Eight: Wage Requirements
What are you willing to pay for this once in a lifetime experience? ____________________
Is that negotiable? ________________________________________________________________________

My signature herein serves as my word that all information provided on this application to be true based in truth somewhat true not completely fabricated. Submission of this application absolves potential employer of all responsibility for anything, any time, anywhere and under any circumstances.

_____________________________   ________                 _______________________________  ________
          Applicant                      date                                 Next of Kin                   date

Interviews will be scheduled at the whim of the prospective employer. Baked goods will be supplied. BYOB.

Berry Ricotta Cinnamon Cups - Baking In A Tornado
Berry Ricotta Cinnamon Cups
Baking In A Tornado - Berry Ricotta Cinnamon Turnover

Made a few as Turnovers, too
Watch for this cocktail recipe in an upcoming blog post

 Baking In A Tornado 
Berry Ricotta Cinnamon Cups
Printable Recipe
1 package refrigerated cinnamon rolls 8 per package)
¾ cup ricotta (I used low fat)
2 TBSP sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups mixed berries, larger ones chopped
Flour for rolling
*Grease 8 muffin tins. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Mix the ricotta with the sugar and vanilla. Mix in the berries.
*Separate the cinnamon rolls. Sprinkle some flour on a piece of wax paper. Place a cinnamon roll on the flour, sprinkle top with more flour and cover with another piece of wax paper. Using a rolling pin, flatten the roll until it is a circle about 5 inches long and wide.
*Carefully remove the top wax paper and release the roll from the bottom one. Using your finger, pinch together any spots where the roll has separated, you don’t want holes.
*Place onto a muffin tin and gently squeeze sides together while sliding the roll in. Repeat with all rolls.
*Divide the filling amongst the roll cups. With your fingers, gently fold the sides over the top as far as it goes, it won’t cover the whole top.
*Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit in the muffin tins for 10 to 15 minutes.
*Carefully run a knife around the edges to release and remove each cup.
*Store leftovers in refrigerator, bring to room temperature to serve.