Friday, March 24, 2017

Skip the Pie: 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 | | #MyGraphics

College Boy was walking out the door when this little gem of a conversation took place:

College Boy: See ya. 
Me: I'll miss you.
College Boy: Wouldn't wanna be ya . . .
Me: Ha, ha.
College Boy: 'Cause you have gonorrhea . . . 
Me: Hey, that's not funny.
College Boy: And it hurts when you pee - a . . .
Me: Get out! And I take back that whole "I'll miss you" thing . . .

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

Me: It's supposed to be 70 degrees out this weekend.
College Boy: Really?
Me: Yes, you should go for a walk.
College Boy: Maybe I will.
Me: To another state.
College Boy: Ouch. That's mean.
Me: Oh, did I say that out loud?

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

Next day College Boy is leaving again.

College Boy: See ya.
Me: I'm not falling for that again.
College Boy: I feel the need to flee - a . . .
Me: B'bye . . .
College Boy: 'Cause you have diarrhea . . .
Me: That's not funny.
College Boy: Share that with North Korea . . . 
Me: Get out!

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

College Boy: I may join you for dinner tonight, what are you making?
Me: I'm trying out a new idea, Shrimp Pot Pie.
College Boy: Oh, you're experimenting with edibles. I'm proud of you, pretty brave since it's not legal here. Could you skip the pie? I'll just have some shrimp . . . and the pot. 

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

We had dinner. It was delicious if I do say so myself (and I do). I had done the laundry, dinner and everything else I'd hoped to have accomplished that day. 

Me (just sitting down on the couch): I'm tired.
College Boy: It's the pot . . . 

Shrimp Pot Pie, shrimp and vegetabless in a light sauce, cooked in a flaky crust | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner #shrimp

Shrimp Pot Pie
Shrimp Pot Pie, shrimp and vegetabless in a light sauce, cooked in a flaky crust | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner #shrimp
 getting ready to go in the oven

We have been on vacation. It's been bittersweet. I was trying not to be sad that his birthday, a big one, would be the day after we all leave to go back home. This would be the first birthday I would not spend with him, ever. And I won't see PurDude much this summer as he has an internship 5 hours further away from home so I really wanted to make the most of our time together.

Me: I'd love it if you boys would get up in the morning and walk the beach with me.
College Boy: I'll go.
PurDude: Sure.
Me: What time should we plan to leave?
PurDude: I usually wake up around 2:00 (pm) so how about 2:30?
Me: By then half the day will be over, I wanted to walk the beach in the morning, look for shells, you know like we used to when you were little.
PurDude: Fine. 2:00.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

PurDude's car registration needed to be renewed. I usually mail it in but thought that since I'd be seeing PurDude on vacation, it would be perfect timing to drive the renewal to the DMV, take care of it and have the pink paper with me to just hand to him. 

You know what they say about the best laid plans?

I made sure I had everything I needed, went to the DMV with the paperwork, proof of insurance, and a check for the exact amount. We actually have a drive up window and no one was there. The guy checked my paperwork, proof of insurance, check. Yes, everything was in order. I was so proud of myself getting this all taken care of as he sent me the new registration. And I pat myself on the back right up until he passed over the new license plates. Crap.

And that's how I came to explain to TSA why there were license plates in my carry on.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

Speaking of TSA, seems we just barely averted a disaster. 

PurDude had to renew his license. I called the DMV and they told me that he could do it online starting 10 days before his birthday. His birthday has always fallen over our vacation but, as I said, this year it would be the day after he gets back to school. We were going to renew it online while we were on vacation.

As he was leaving Indianapolis, the TSA guy happened to mention to him that it's a good thing he's flying now, as he could not fly on an expired license.

Meaning if he were going back to school one day later, as he always has in the past, they may not have let him on his plane. Yikes. He would have been stuck at the beach, poor kid . . .

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

Guess you really never are too old to learn new lessons. This vacation I learned a few things. It's possible they're lessons I've learned years ago and just forgot. At my age that's always a possibility.

Anyway . . . first lesson: When you pack up your beach bag with your towel and sunglasses case and hat and cell phone case, etc. Make sure the top is securely on your water bottle before sticking it inside.

Lesson number two: On a really windy day at the beach when the sand is flying, a mesh beach bag is not a good idea. Unless you actually have some special need of a bag full of sand.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

It was great to see mom, but I felt the need to pull her aside right away and give her a bit of a warning. 

Me: If College Boy walks out the door and says "see ya", don't answer him.
Mom: What do you mean, why would I ignore my grandson?
Me: Do you trust me?
Mom: Of course.

In the other room I hear the front door open and:

College Boy: See ya . . .
Me (whispering to Mom): Don't do it . . .

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Shrimp Pot Pie

Printable Recipe
2 pie crusts (top and bottom)
2 tsp flour
3 TBSP olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2# large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP fresh chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooked, chopped asparagus
1/2 cup shaved carrots

2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
3/4 cup half and half 

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
*Spread the 2 tsp of flour over one of the pie crusts. Carefully turn the crust over and fit into your pie pan, flour side down. Set aside.
*Mix together 1 TBSP olive oil and the garlic powder. Set aside.
*In a large saute pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, green onion, and garlic. Cook 1 minute.
*Add the shrimp and cook until they are pink and no longer translucent. Add the sherry, chicken broth, lemon juice, dill, salt, pepper, asparagus and carrots. Bring to a boil. Boil one minute then remove from the stove and keep warm.
*In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook and stir for two minutes. Whisk in the half and half. Continue to whisk until it thickens. Remove from heat.
*Move the pan with the shrimp back to the heat. Stir in the half and half mixture. Cook and stir for one minute, then carefully pour into the prepared crust.
*Top with the second crust and crimp the edges. Brush the top with the reserved olive oil/garlic powder. Cut a few slits into the center of the crust for venting.
*Bake for 35 minutes or until the top has browned.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Storms Bring in the Prettiest Shells

I have walked the beach on this island for years. More years than I'd like to admit. And you know what? It never gets old. Up to the left, past Resident's Beach and the Marriott. To the right all the way to the tip of Tigertail Beach. The sand that once was shells crunching beneath my bare feet, the morning sun warming my arms, the gulf breeze sighing gently with me. The sheer beauty. The peace. Nature's wonder on display as I search for the most colorful shells or that rare find, a whole sand dollar.  

Shells collected on Marco Island | | #nature #beach #shells

I talk all the time about how I bake to relieve stress. And lets face it, there's been a lot of it lately. The best way I can generally find to just take a break from it all is to grab some chocolate and hit the kitchen. Baking not only requires concentration and therefore the respite my mind needs, but it invariably culminates in sweet results and the appreciation of friends and family.

Mocha Toffee Bars, chocolate, coffee and toffee flavors in this dessert treat. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #chocolate #dessert

Mocha Toffee Bars
Mocha Toffee Bars, chocolate, coffee and toffee flavors in this dessert treat. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #chocolate #dessert

But there has never been, in my life anyway, anything that clears my mind and nourishes my soul like walking the beach. No, it never gets old.

The beach on Marco Island | | #nature #beach #shells

It does get new though. Just after a storm.

I don't want to get all warm-and-fuzzy and feel-goody here. A storm is by no means a cleansing. It is undoubtedly the result of an ugly, harmful, churning, upheaval. A disruption of the peace that had become the daily norm. There is fall out, even some destruction in it's wake. But we do not have to look below the surface to find what is there in the aftermath. 

We just have to let go of our anger at the storm itself. At its disturbance of our stagnant complacency.

Shells collected on Marco Island | | #nature #beach #shells

Shells collected on Marco Island | | #nature #beach #shells

We have, many of us, railed against the whipping winds that signaled the incoming storm. We have convinced ourselves that it would diminish, not make landfall. We shook our collective fists at the heavens as the sky opened up and dumped on us.

It is now the day after. We can no longer deny that the storm has hit. It does us no good to continue to shake our fists. The time has come to walk the beach. Not with an air of naivete though, be vigilant about where you step. There will be an occasional man-of-war. 

But there is also beauty. Not hiding, right there in plain sight. All we really need to do is stop seeking and start seeing. 

Because storms bring in the prettiest shells.

Shells collected on Marco Island | | #nature #beach #shells

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Mocha Toffee Bars         
Printable Recipe
1 stick margarine
1 stick butter, divided
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules, divided
1 cup brown sugar, divided
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup toffee chips

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
*Melt margarine and 1/2 stick of the butter. Mix in 1 tsp of the coffee granules. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool a bit.
*Beat in 3/4 cup of the brown sugar, then the egg. Carefully beat in the flour, baking cocoa and salt. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes.
*In a microwave safe bowl, heat the corn syrup, remaining 1/2 stick butter, heavy cream, vanilla and 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/2 tsp coffee granules and microwave 2 more minutes.
*Mix and pour over the crust. Return to oven for 25 minutes.
*Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/4 dark chocolate chips over the top of your bars and return to the oven for 1 minute. 
*Spread the melted chocolate over the top of the bars, sprinkle with the toffee chips and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hello From the Land of the Orange: 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 multi-blogger 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: orange ~ soup ~ sneakers ~ heirloom ~ group 
They were submitted by Minette of Southern Belle Charm.

Hello from the land of milk and honey. Make that the land of the orange.

Crockpot Orange Teriyaki Turkey, a quick and simple slow cooker dinner. Turkey tenderloin infused with citrus and teriyaki flavors | Recipe developed by | #recipe #crockpot #dinner #turkey

Crockpot Orange Teriyaki Turkey Tenderloins

Although I'm thoroughly enjoying gorging myself on oranges and grapefruits, I have to admit that I'm not eating dinners made in crockpots. No hearty soups and stews and heavy pasta meals for me. I'm visiting my mom. Reveling in lots of fresh fish, mostly grouper, giant prawns and snow crab. Biting into warm fresh heirloom tomatoes like apples right off the table at the farmer's market.

I'm wearing flip flops and sneakers. Going barefoot and relishing the feel of the sand between my toes, the salty gulf washing up my calves as the tide comes in. I'm walking the beach in the mornings smiling whenever a pod of dolphins swim by. I'm sitting out on the back deck watching the sun gently sink into the gulf with a glass of wine in my hand with my mom and my two boys by my side. Inhaling the scent of the gardenias each time I walk in and out the front door. Waking up each morning to the sound of the surf.

It was not easy getting my little group all to the island at the same time. It was logistical nightmare in fact. Well, Mom's already here, of course. But for us? I had to work around spring break so the travel days were not flexible. I was desperately trying to get the boys and I both to arrive and to leave not only on the same day but at the same approximate time. PurDude had an hour and a half drive to where he parks his car to take a shuttle to the airport so we couldn't leave too early in the morning. In order to work out the schedule I had to have 2 windows open on my laptop to compare the flight availability for him and the one for College Boy and I. 

It was an overwhelming process. At one point I almost booked us on different days. Good thing I caught that. After I booked both tickets I had a niggling thought bouncing around in my brain that I had put PurDude's birthday on College Boy's ticket. Chances are TSA would not look kindly on that discrepancy. Although, at the time I was booking I was conflicted. Maybe I should just let TSA hold onto him for a while. I bet by the time I swing back through the airport on the way home they'd be ready to let me have him back.

Lucky for him I pushed those thoughts aside. Unlucky for me I had to figure out how to get his ticket changed to reflect his actual birthday. But then a vacation is never appreciated more than when you're stressed to the limits, right?

Which brings me to today. Here I sit on St. Patrick's Day, just days before my youngest's birthday. And not just any birthday either, a big one. Yuuuuge, in fact. Trying desperately to enjoy the hell out of every single minute we're all spending together. And succeeding.

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

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Crockpot Orange Teriyaki Turkey Tenderloins

1 package (about 1 3/4#) turkey tenderloins
salt, pepper, paprika 
2 cups orange juice
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp orange zest 
2 green onion, chopped
3 mandarin oranges, peeled and separated into sections

*Spray the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick spray.
*Rinse turkey tenderloins and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
*Whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, hot pepper flakes, orange zest and green onion. Pour into crockpot.
*Place the tenderloins into the crockpot and turn onto high. Cook for one hour. Turn the meat, then switch the temperature and cook for 2 hours. 
*Add the mandarin orange slices and cook for one more hour. Be sure your turkey is completely cooked (165 degrees).
*Remove the turkey from the crockpot, slice and drizzle with the sauce.