Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Dog's Day: Dog Days Poetry

The Monthly Poetry Group,
we chose,
Dog Days as the target for
our prose.

So here I go again,
I'm tryin'.
To write a poem doesn't
leave you cryin'.

If it happens I 
don't succeed.
Just read. 
With speed. 
And then recede.


Dog Days, a monthly poetry challenge based on a theme. | Graphic property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #poetry



 A Dog's Day

"Dog days" is a term we all use,
when it's hotter than hot,
You know the ones I'm talking about,
when Hades would be a cool spot.

Drink lots of fluid and eat fresh fruit,
anything to stay cool.
Lucky are those who get to spend
the day submerged in a pool.

Air conditioning runs on high,
fans all blowing too.
Dog days spent trying not to melt.
(I'd not look good as goo).

Dinner's whatever goes on the grill,
once the day is done.
Have to cook it after dark.
You know, to avoid the sun.

And {{sigh}} no baking taking place,
heating the house is foolish. 
Dessert's in the freezer where it belongs,
So I can serve it . . . cool-ish.



Layered Chocolate Pie is a no bake dessert. Layers of chocolate and white chocolate pudding are assembled with flavored whipped cream. Make ahead and no bake! | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert


Layered Chocolate Pie (make ahead, no bake)
Layered Chocolate Pie is a no bake dessert. Layers of chocolate and white chocolate pudding are assembled with flavored whipped cream. Make ahead and no bake! | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert



But . . .

A true dog's day, now what is that?
They eat and play and run.
Snooze whenever the feeling strikes,
not just when day is done.

Unconditional love for one and all,
dictates their every move.
I guess we need more true dog days,
our lives would surely improve.




Before you go, click on these links to more poetry from some of my friends:
Diane of On the Border shares DogGONE Dog Days.




Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics








Layered Chocolate Pie (make ahead, no bake)
                                               ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Ingredients:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
2 TBSP sugar
5 TBSP melted butter
1 box (about 3.5 oz) white chocolate pudding
1 box (about 3.5 oz) chocolate pudding
3 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
3 TBSP powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1 TBSP baking cocoa

OPT: shaved semisweet chocolate for garnish

Directions:
*Lightly grease a 10 inch pie plate.

*Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, chocolate graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom and partially up the sides of the pie plate.
*Whisk 1 1/2 cups of milk with the white chocolate pudding mix. Spread about 3/4 cup of the pudding onto the crust and refrigerate. Set remaining pudding aside.

*Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks hold. Whisk about 1 1/3 cups of the whipped cream into the remaining white chocolate pudding and carefully spread on top of the pudding in the pie plate. Freeze for 1/2 hour.
*While pie is setting, cover and refrigerate the remaining whipped cream and, in another bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups milk with the chocolate pudding. Cover and refrigerate.
*Remove pie from freezer. Spread about 3/4 cup of the chocolate pudding onto the pie. Whisk another 1 1/3 cups of the whipped cream into the remaining chocolate pudding, spread onto the pie and freeze for 1/2 hour. Cover and refrigerate the last 1 1/3 cups of whipped cream.
*Remove the pie from the freezer. Spread 1 cup of the remaining whipped cream onto the pie. Mix 1 TBSP baking cocoa into the final 1/3 cup and pipe onto the pie. Top with shaved semisweet chocolate if desired. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours. 
*To serve: move to refrigerator for about an hour for easier slicing. Store leftovers, covered, in the freezer.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars: Family Fun Blog With Friends

Today’s post is the next in our series of Blog With Friends themed collaborations. Each month a group of bloggers get together and each publish a project based on a theme. What I love about his 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 a recipe, sewing tutorial, crocheting, crafts project, book review, and/or technology post all related to the theme of the month.

Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme| Featured on and graphic property of www.BakingInATornado.com



This month's theme is Family Fun Month.

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 multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Family Fun | Graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com



I made Lemon Fluff Bars.

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars (with a lower fat option) are a sweet, citrusy summer dessert. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars

Whenever I think of family fun this time of year, it brings back memories. Usually they include a day at the water, whether it's a pool or a sandy beach, cooling off is often a goal in the hot days of August. I grew up just a few hours drive from both the cool ocean waters of Cape Cod and Plum Island, as well as the fresh lakes of New Hampshire. Most weekends included trips to the beach, always ending with a cook out.

With the boys it was very different. We're land locked here with few lakes that are set up for swimming. Family fun when they were growing up included trips included vacations back home to Boston and/or New Hampshire, or, when at home, days spent at the private pool we belonged to, always ending with a cook out.

The thread running through all of these experiences was ending the day sitting on the deck with a cold drink and the grill heating up. And always, of course, there's dessert. Often I'd make something featuring either fresh fruits or citrus flavors. It was a bonus for me if the dessert were no bake, like the recipe I'm sharing today, so I could put it together in the morning and stick it in the fridge, spend the day with my family and come home knowing dessert would be ready. 

As I've been talking about pretty constantly on this blog, due to Hubs' dietary restrictions, most of my recipes are made with a lower fat content. You can make this recipe without doing that, just using the corresponding full fat ingredients you have at home or prefer to use. I would if I could.

As always, I start by pulling my ingredients together.

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars (with a lower fat option) are a sweet, citrusy summer dessert. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert


I separate the cookies from the center and beat the centers with the fluff (what we New Englanders call marshmallow creme) and cream cheese.

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars (with a lower fat option) are a sweet, citrusy summer dessert. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert


I crush the outer cookies and, reserving some for the center and the topping, use them to make the crust.

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars (with a lower fat option) are a sweet, citrusy summer dessert. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert


Once the jello and lemon juice have cooled a bit, I whisk in the evaporated milk, beat it and some of the reserved cookie crumbs into the cream cheese mixture,

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars (with a lower fat option) are a sweet, citrusy summer dessert. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert


pour into the shell, sprinkle with the rest of the reserved cookie crumbs, and it's ready for the refrigerator.

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars (with a lower fat option) are a sweet, citrusy summer dessert. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert


Once it's set, slice

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars (with a lower fat option) are a sweet, citrusy summer dessert. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert


and serve!

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars (with a lower fat option) are a sweet, citrusy summer dessert. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert


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:



Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Family Fun | Family Fun by Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com 


Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments shares Family Fun.




Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Family Fun | Family Movie Night by Lydia of Cluttered Genius | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com 



Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares Family Movie Night


 



Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Lemon Fluff Refrigerator Bars
                                                                          ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 box (.3 oz) sugar free lemon jello (can use lemon jello mix with sugar)
25 lemon sandwich cookies 
4 1/2 TBSP butter substitute (can use butter)
4 oz fat free cream cheese, softened (can use full fat cream cheese)
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme
1 can (12 oz) fat free evaporated milk (can use full fat evaporated milk)

Directions:
*Heat the lemon juice in the microwave until hot. Whisk in the lemon jello mix and set aside.
*Lightly grease an 8 X 11 baking dish. Spray your spatula and beaters with nonstick cooking spray.
*Separate the filling from the cookies, putting the cookies into a food processor and the filling into a large bowl. Process the cookies until they're crumbs. Set aside 1/2 cup for the topping.
*Melt the butter substitute, add to the cookie crumbs, then press into and slightly up the sides of the baking dish. Refrigerate.
*Place the cream cheese and the marshmallow creme in the bowl with the cookie centers. Beat until smooth.
*Whisk the evaporated milk into the jello, add to the cream cheese mixture along with half of the reserved cookie crumbs and beat together. Pour evenly into the prepared crust, sprinkle with the remainder of the reserved cookie crumbs and refrigerate for at least an hour and a half.

Friday, August 7, 2020

There's No Place Like Home for the Covid Days: Secret Subject Swap

Welcome a Secret Subject Swap. This month 5 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, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics



My subject is: What is your favorite restaurant and why?
It was submitted by Rena of Wandering Web Designer.


Everything, every single thing, minuscule or consequential, seems to break down into two camps for me: pre-covid and everything after that. Pre-covid I could have answered this question many different ways. Now? I really don't know what to say.

With no unified federal response before or during this medical catastrophe, it's been a free-for-all, resulting in an unnecessarily unchecked spread. Like Cuomo or hate him, he did the right thing. The proof is in the pudding (yeah, food reference). He shut that state down tight, kept a daily flow of encouragement and verifiable factual information, procured the medical equipment without the federal back-up we all deserve, broke the back of the pandemic in his state and only then did he plan a careful reopening. Residents of New York have been slowly and safely returning to restaurants. 

I would love to be living in a state where logic and science combine to prioritize health and life, but I don't. Quite the opposite. Our covid numbers were low because we weren't testing. And NO, our cases weren't low. Following rational logic I can tell you that not testing only provided a false sense of security, a stick-your-head-in-the-sand dangerous lack of knowledge, and the inevitable spike in the spread of this disease that we are now seeing. And NO, not just in older people in nursing homes (who are NOT, to my thinking, an inconsequential or expendable group of people anyway), but 62% of the cases we currently know about (as we FINALLY start testing more, thanks to private clinics) are under the age of 30. The governor being the moron who is responsible for the lack of testing to start with, never initiated a close down or stay at home order of any kind, nor a mask mandate. Ditto the mayor (gee, I wonder why cases are so high . . . hmmm . . .). In fact, the CDC just named us specifically as "not getting the message," the White House task force mentioned us as a city on an alarming rise, and our Director of Public Health just refused to issue a mask mandate this week stating that it was because the governor and attorney general were threatening to sue her if she did.

So yeah, restaurants, I'm getting there . . .

Needless to say, those of us who understand that we need to be lead by science have not been eating out. Not even take out. It's not safe. Mostly because every restaurant has had the option of remaining fully open, have been able to set their own standards and implement their own safety practices (or lack thereof). And I have no way of knowing what that is from one place to another.

Here's where it stands right now for me:

I grew up eating some pretty fresh seafood and shellfish and it remains a love of mine. Back home in Boston I'd say that my favorite restaurant is one that served a weekly twin lobster special. No such thing here in the Midwest. In fact, fresh seafood of any kind is a rarity so pre-covid my favorite restaurant was one that served a planked salmon that warmed this New Englander's heart. I don't even know if that restaurant has survived, whether it'll still be there when it's safe to eat out again.

Two weeks ago a grocery store in another town west of here got some fresh lobsters in. They had a very limited supply, were only allowing 4 per customer and it was on a first come, first served basis. They were taking precautions and social distancing (you even had to wait in line with six feet between customers), so Hubs went down there. He arrived about an hour before the sale started and stood on his little assigned "X" on the floor awaiting his turn. Ends up the store was short shipped, but Hubs brought home the bacon (so to speak) and I made lobster that night. It was heaven.

So right now, at this very moment, my favorite place to eat (not really a restaurant, if you want to be literal) is my home. It's comfortable, it's safe, and the food's not half bad. Best of all, I know the chef, and she takes requests.

Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken is a little sweet and a little spicy. Serve right off the grill, or over a salad either hot or cold. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken
Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken is a little sweet and a little spicy. Serve right off the grill, or over a salad either hot or cold. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner


I hope you are all safe. I hope your loved ones are healthy. And whether you live in a state that is closed, closed again, open, or opening, that you take the time to assess your personal situation and realize that you alone are your best advocate. As much as we all want to follow our hearts, do the things we love and see the people we love, now is the time to put that aside and let our heads take the lead. 


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 | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics





Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken
                                                              ©www.BakingInATornado.com



Printable Recipe


NOTE: This chicken can be served for dinner, or topping a salad, either hot or cold, utilizing the leftovers.

Ingredients:
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
2 TBSP French salad dressing
2 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ginger paste 

Directions:
*Trim the chicken breast, cut them in half and place them in a shallow baking dish or resealable bag.
*Whisk together the sweet chili sauce, French salad dressing, soy sauce, minced garlic and ginger paste. Pour over the chicken. Cover the baking dish or seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, turning now and then.
*Preheat grill to medium high. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, place on the hot grill, cover the grill and lower the heat to medium. Grill for about 10 - 12 minutes per side, until the chicken is completely cooked through.