Monday, October 12, 2015

Blog With Friends: Scary Stuff

Today’s post is the next in our series of Blog With Friends theme collaborations. Each month a group of bloggers get together and each publish a project based on a theme. What I love about this partnership is that it’s not bloggers with similar interests or strengths but a diverse group coming up with a variety of posts. In any given month we may have a recipe, sewing tutorial, crafts projects, book review and/or a technology post all related to the theme of the month.

Blog With Friends | | #MyGraphics

There will be individual project pictures and links to what everyone else has to offer at the end of my post, but here’s a peek at what we all came up with:

Blog With Friends, a monthly multiblogger post based on a theme. October: Scary Stuff | Collage made by Robin of | posted to

This month our theme is Scary Stuff. I made a Billy the Puppet Cake.

Blog With Friends: Scary Stuff for October | Billy the Puppet Cake: This character from Saw makes the perfect Halloween party cake | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert #Halloween
Billy the Puppet Cake

You know who Billy the Puppet is, right? He's from the movie "Saw". Haven't seen it? Go ahead, check it out, I'll wait here.

I have to admit that this is the second project I did for this post. The first one got scrapped from this post when all of my friends thought it was cute. Cute? Not really a word I associate with scary so back to the drawing board. And I had nothing. Good thing College Boy, the more local of my 2 muses was here. He suggested a Billy the Puppet cake.

And once I googled Billy the Puppet I agreed to give it a try. Worse that could happen is I'd be in the corner of the kitchen crying. Pffft, like that hasn't happened before.

So I started with my basic sheet cake. Seriously, this cake is so moist and delicious you can just eat it unfrosted. But not today!

Next I had to work out the decorations. This part of the project took a lot of thought because how it's decorated will make a huge impact on whether the cake is recognizable as the character or not.

Blog With Friends: Scary Stuff for October | Billy the Puppet Cake: This character from Saw makes the perfect Halloween party cake | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert #Halloween

I baked my cake, cut out my shapes and added a few of my design elements before sticking it in the fridge while I made and colored my frosting. I have to admit that I spent a little time in a panic when, going into the fridge, Billy looked more like Santa.

Blog With Friends: Scary Stuff for October | Billy the Puppet Cake: This character from Saw makes the perfect Halloween party cake | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert #Halloween

Blog With Friends: Scary Stuff for October | Billy the Puppet Cake: This character from Saw makes the perfect Halloween party cake | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert #Halloween

But once he was frosted and decorated, College Boy made a few recommendations and he was redecorated, he looked a lot less like Santa.

Blog With Friends: Scary Stuff for October | Billy the Puppet Cake: This character from Saw makes the perfect Halloween party cake | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert #Halloween

 So, what do you think? Cute? Scary? Billy the Puppet? Or a hot mess?

As always, any time you make one of my recipes, feel free to post a picture of it to my Baking In A Tornado Facebook Page. I'd love to see it!

Be sure to visit all of this month's other Blog With Friends projects:
Stacy of Stacy Sews and Schools shares a tutorial for a Scary Dreams Pillowcase

Blog With Friends: October theme: Scary Stuff | Scary Dreams Pillowcase tutorial by Stacy Sews and Schools |

Robin of Someone Else's Genius treats us to a scary Halloween Story. In the End: Re-Imagined

Blog With Friends: October theme: Scary Stuff | At The End, a scary Halloween story by Someone Else's Genius|

  Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares her Cheap and Easy Halloween Make-Up Tutorial.
Blog With Friends: October theme: Scary Stuff | Cheap and Easy Halloween Make-Up Tutorial by Cluttered Genius|

Rabia of The Lieber Family Blog shares how to make DIY Trick or Treat Bags.
Blog With Friends: October theme: Scary Stuff | DIY Trick or Treat Bags by The Lieber Family Blog|

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Billy the Puppet Cake
Printable Recipe
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
3 - 4 TBSP milk

4 sandwich cookies
2 red pull and peel twizzler strands
1 package chocolate or black licorice twizzlers
2 peach rings gummy candies
2 brown peanut M&Ms
4 Hot Tamale Candies
red food coloring
edible black piping gel

*Grease and flour a 15 1/2 X 10 1/2 jellyroll pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Cream the butter ans sugar. Beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla.
*Starting at your lowest speed, beat in the four, salt and baking powder just until incorporated, then increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.
*Pour evenly into prepared pan. Bake for approximately 20 - 25 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch.
*Cool for an hour on the counter.
*Cut out a large light bulb shape in the cake. From the section not used, cut out two equal sized triangles about 2 1/2 inches per side, and a 1 inch square. 
*Carefully, using a spatula, remove the triangles and square. Cut the short ends off of the triangles and arrange with the square in the center to form a bow tie. Place on a plate and store in fridge.
*Remove all of the excess cake so all that's left is the large light bulb shape. Excess cake can be used to make Cake Pops.
 *Loosen the remaining cake with a spatula, then place a large platter over it and flip. Flip one more time onto your serving platter. Press 2 cookies slightly into the cake where the cheeks will be. Cut two 1-inch pieces out of a dark twizzler and press partially into cake where the eyebrows will be.  Cut a 2 1/2-inch and a 1-inch piece of twizzler and slightly push into the cake (resembling an upside down "T") where the nose will be. Refrigerate.
*Cream the butter with the vanilla. Carefully blend in the powdered sugar. 1 TBSP at a time, add in as much of the milk as you need to bring the frosting to an easily spreadable consistency.
*Remove about 1/2 cup of frosting to a small clean bowl and color with red food coloring. 
*Remove the large cake from the refrigerator. Slice about 3 inches off of the bottom and remove this piece to a separate plate. Frost both this piece and the larger cake. Scrape a little of the frosting off of the nose and eyebrows. Put a little frosting over the cookies, "glue" a second cookie on top and frost completely.
*Cut up pieces of dark twizzlers and push into the sides of the top of the cake to resemble hair.
*Place a little of the black piping gel where the eye sockets would be and gently spread around. Put a gummy peach ring into each eye socket with a brown M&M inside.
*Twirl 2 strands of red peel and pull twizzler onto each "cheek".
*Arrange the Hot Tamales to make the mouth.
*Arrange the bow tie under the face and frost with the red frosting.
*Place the reserved bottom 3 inches of the cake below the tie. You may need to cut to make it fit.
*Using more of the black piping gel, pipe lines down from beside the mouth to where the tie starts and around the head for the hairline.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Secret Subject Swap: Overnight Sensation

Welcome to the October Secret Subject Swap. This month 15 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. Read through mine and at the bottom you’ll find links to all of today’s other Secret Subject participants.

Secret Subject Swap | | #MyGraphics

My subject is: If you were trapped in your favorite store/business overnight, what would you do?
It was submitted by: Sparkly Poetic Weirdo.

I don't know if I'd call a craft mega store my favorite store, I'm the least crafty person on the planet. But they have halloween items in each of their departments so I do wander in this time of year. Not where I'd want to be stuck overnight but just my luck that's where I was when the place somehow shut down. With me in it.

First thought, grab my cell and call the police. BUT . . . let's think this through, weigh the options. On the one hand, I can go home, make dinner, do the dishes, water my plants, do laundry, argue with College Boy. On the other hand, it's quiet and peaceful here. Hmmm.
Note to self: When they find you in the morning, make sure you hide your cell and say you left it in the car.

OK. Let's do this. First stop is the fabrics section. I have wanted to do this for so long, and here's my chance. I just need a sharp pair of scissors and all "team" fabric bolts that aren't Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Purdue Boilermakers. Mmmmm . . . boilermakers . . . 

Note to self: Start a chain of craft stores with liquor aisles.

My next stop is a public service, an act of selfless kindness. Although I don't still have toddlers, I did. And let me tell you that all moms of toddlers have been subjected to a house of horrors on a regular basis. Yes, I'm talking about store bathrooms.

So I'm headed for the candle making aisle and I am going to line those stalls with scented candles. In fact, I'm going to double up on the scents.

You're welcome.

You know what? All this work can make a girl hungry. Now that could be a problem. Let me think. Hmmm. Those ceramic pumpkins won't taste so great.

Fall Harvest Crack: Favorite fall flavories incorporated into a bark. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #candy #fruit #snack
 Fall Harvest Crack
Fall Harvest Crack: Favorite fall flavories incorporated into a bark. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #candy #fruit #snack

Oh, I know, head to the baking aisle. Candy melts and jimmies (sprinkles to you non-New England heathens) may not be nutritious but they'll boost my energy. I mean I've only got one night to accomplish all I want to do here. 

Much better.

Next stop, glue guns. This is one of my crafting downfalls. I cannot use a glue gun without burning my fingers. Here's my chance. I can practice with their supplies. I'll just glue all of those "team" fabric pieces back together. No harm, no foul, right? And if I burn off my fingerprints, they can't prove it was me so there's that.

I am really getting tired. But there is so much to do and so little time so . . . back to the halloween costume aisle. I totally think costumes have gotten cheap and boring. Freddie and Jason could use some bedazzling, don't you think? I'm sure there's a bedazzler somewhere in this place.
Secret Subject Swap: Overnight Sensation| | #funny #Halloween

Note to self: If you plan on denying that you bedazzled all of a store's costumes, don't let them wake you up with a bedazzler in your hand and rhinestones stuck to your face.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Fall Harvest Crack
Printable Recipe
12 oz Vanilla flavored almond bark
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, shelled
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup cranraisins (dried cranberries)

*Cover a baking sheet (with sides) with parchment paper.
*Melt the vanilla flavored bark in the microwave according to package directions. Mix in about 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup of the cranraisins, 1/4 cup of the apricots and 1/2 cup of the dark chocolate chips.
*Spread evenly onto prepared baking sheet.
*Mix together the rest of the dark chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, apricots and cranraisins. Immediately sprinkle over the top of the bark mixture. Very gently press down with the heel of your hand.
*Refrigerate for 1/2 hour or until completely set. Break into pieces to serve.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

University of Mom

I miss my boy. Truth is, it seems that nothing makes me happy. One son is in college 700 miles away and I can't stand how much I miss him. The other one is living at home again and I can't stand how much I miss missing him. {{Sigh}}.

Somewhere there has to be a happy medium, a middle ground, a compromise of some sort. 

So while I try to figure out how to get College Boy a little further away, I'm also trying to work out a way to get PurDude a little closer.

PurDude came very close to not going back to Purdue this year. He went through a devastating situation immediately followed by a heartbreaking loss last semester. It was all too much, for all of us. He applied for a transfer to our local university an hour away, where College Boy was going to school.

You'd think I'd be thrilled, right? Turned out not so much. Yes, I wanted him closer, but even though PurDude had been solicited into the honors program there, I really felt that he wouldn't get the caliber of education that he should have. Purdue is a better school for Computer Science. I was torn.

I made him an offer. One I thought he couldn't refuse. I hadn't quite figured out the dorm situation yet, but I did put together a list of class offerings. 

Welcome to the University of Mom.

University of Mom: Unique education for those who dare | | #Halloween #MyGraphics

Real Holidays in American Culture: 
Fruitcake Toss Day, I Forgot Day, Bad Poetry Day, If Pets Had Thumbs Day, how many holiday celebrations are you missing out on? But the main focus of this class is one we already celebrate and the one it's really all about: Halloween.
*This course meets a history requirement or a sociology requirement.

Goo, Guck, and Fake Blood:
Making your own goo, guck and fake blood is a skill you can use through your entire life, not just on Halloween, but to get out of any task you choose to avoid. 
*This course meets a nutrition requirement or an art requirement.
The Freshman 15, Fact or Fiction:
Most students start college not realizing that they need to watch what they eat. In this class we'll explore strategies for making through the school year without ripping your pants.
*This course meets no requirements but the snacks are to die for.

Bloody Fingers Halloween Dinner: Simple ingredients made to look like a bloody hand for a fun and entertaining Halloween dinner, for a party or at home| Recipe developed by | #recipe #Halloween

Bloody Fingers Halloween Dinner
Bloody Fingers Halloween Dinner: Simple ingredients made to look like a bloody hand for a fun and entertaining Halloween dinner, for a party or at home| Recipe developed by | #recipe #Halloween

Siestas in Everyday Life: 
You are what you eat? No, you are what you sleep. Power naps: when to take them and how they relate to your future success.
Note: this course is designed to be taken in conjunction with "The Freshman 15, Fact or Fiction".
 Also Note: For all you party animals, this is "siestas" not "fiestas".
*This course meets a foreign language or a philosophy requirement.

When and When Not to Post: 
What will that future employer think of that FB picture of you with your underwear over your head? In this class we will explore social media scenarios as they pertain to your future.
*This course meets a business or a sociology requirement.

The Art of the Selfie: 
 All your pictures show the inside of your nose or the wax in your ears? Learn the art of taking a successful selfie.
Note: this course has a prerequisite. You must first take and pass "When and When Not to Post"
*This course can meet a business or an art requirement.

Hard to believe but my offer was rejected. Before I even had a chance to work out the housing situation. Maybe I better work on a scholarship program.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Bloody Fingers Halloween Dinner

Printable Recipe
4 hot dogs and/or precooked sausage links 
1 mini hot dog
1 slice bread
black edible piping gel
6 - 8 slices deli roast beef

NOTE: you will need 5 toothpicks and a clear disposable glove

*Cut the bottoms of the hot dogs and/or sausages about 1 inch up in half and then cut each half in half. Be careful not to keep the strips attached to the hot dog.
*Make three thin shallow slices sideways on the hot dog in two separate places to resemble knuckles.
*Place the hot dogs and the mini hot dog onto a microwave safe plate and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or until the color starts to change and the bottom pieces separate.
*Cut a very small piece off of the top of the hot dog, just to create a straight edge. push a toothpick down inside, close to the top, so it's sticking out about 1/4 inch.
*Cut the crust off of the bread. Cut 5 triangles out of the bread. The bottom should be approximately the width of the top of the hot dog. For length, it should approximate a fingernail.
*Toast the bread pieces. Remove and gently push the flat portion of each piece of toast into the toothpick at the top of the hot dog to look like a fingernail.
*Garnish around the fingernail with ketchup to look like blood.
*Pipe the black gel around the fingernail for definition.
*Tape the plastic glove "fingers" to the back of the glove. Fill the glove with the roast beef slices. Place under the hot dog fingers to resemble a hand. Squeeze ketchup over the bottoms of the hot dogs and the top of the glove.
NOTE: I do not serve the roast beef slices, I use them only for decoration, then discard.