Friday, July 13, 2018

Aloe and Snowflakes: 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:  swim ~ towel ~ aloe ~ snowflake ~ hot dog ~ Kool-aid  They were submitted by Dawn of Cognitive Script.

We recently brought my younger son home from college. I'm still traumatized. Don't get me wrong, I love having him home. In my nice, neat, clean home. But what I saw up there, and especially when we unpacked back here, well, I can never un-see. I mentioned in an earlier post that I thought he was living in a house with a few friends. It wasn't until I got there that I realized he was living in a cave. A dark, disorganized, dilapidated cave. 

I know he's a boy, and I know boys will be boys, but I cannot believe the way he had been living. I am the most organized person on the planet. Apparently he is the least organized person on the planet. 

Somehow he had decided that he would only pack up what he needed or wanted at home for the next few months, then when his lease ran out in July he'd drive 10 hours back, pack up his 2nd floor room, and move it all down a thin staircase and out of the house by himself. So he was partially packed. Or so he said. 

In his bedroom upstairs were a half filled trunk, a half filled suitcase, and a body sized duffel bag I was too afraid to open. In his outer room were about 40 partially filled bags and 6 boxes completely covered in white dust and plaster (management had replaced his door at some point, who knows how long ago). It took me two days to convince him that he had to move his furniture out while we were there to help him, and that it made no sense to move partially out, then drive back for the rest of his belongings.

I did consolidate his trunk, suitcase, and bags before we left so we could fit everything into our cars. I didn't have a chance to go through anything, just noting that there was no rhyme or reason to what was where. Unfolded clothes were packed with toiletries, papers, whatever.

Once home (and after spending 2 days explaining that we would not be leaving everything in his unpacked until he moved out again), I worked with him to be sure he had everything organized. I still cannot believe what we'd transported home. 

I threw out about 10 pounds of trash. There were old receipts, plastic silverware, empty packaging. He had 3 bottles of aloe (which had apparently moved with him twice) from when he got a sunburn freshman year at a football game ("I'll skype with you, Mom, but don't freak out when you see me", just what every mom wants to hear). There were 14 sticks of deodorant, 10 bottles of hand lotion. Apparently the way toiletries work is that you use them once, misplace them in the morass and just buy another. Who knew?

There were about 50 batteries, a can of lighter fluid for the lighters he didn't have, and 3 packets of Kool-aid, which he does not drink. Had I found a half-eaten hot dog, I would not have been surprised. The body bag, I'm relieved (but bewildered) to say, was completely full of cords.

He had almost all of my missing beach towels, though I don't know why. And he had a new beach towel as well. Seems the one time he had an opportunity to swim, when he went with friends to Vegas for the weekend, he'd forgotten to pack a bathing suit and towel so bought new ones there. 

It wasn't until we got to the boxes that I realized he had packed them covered in dust, drove them home covered in dust and moved them into his room (yes, you guessed it) covered in dust. My turn to roll my eyes at one of my kids. I told him to take them outside and wipe the dust off of them so we could find what treasures lay inside. 

Later that morning College Boy and I were taking breakfast out to the deck. The outdoor dining table was covered in white. "What is all over the table?" College Boy asked. "Looks like snowflakes".

Loaded Egg in a Bagel Basket, an egg cooked in a bagel slice topped with salmon and green onion | Recipe developed by | #recipe #breakfast
Loaded Egg in a Bagel Basket

Yes, it was plaster and dust. Guess I should have been specific, pretty much the only place I didn't want him to clean off those boxes in all of the outdoors would have been on my table. {{sigh}}.

If I ever, ever, am in the position to move this kid out of anywhere again (other than my house), the process will be simplified. Everything goes straight to the trash {{claps hands back and forth with finality}}. Done.

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

Loaded Egg in a Bagel Basket

1 bagel
2 TBSP butter
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cooked salmon, chopped
1 green onion, sliced

*Slice the bagel lengthwise into thirds so you have 3 round slices with a hole in the center.
*Melt 1 TBSP butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bagel slices and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from pan.
*Melt the remaining butter in the skillet. Put the bagel slices back in the pan, cooked side up. Crack one egg into the center of each slice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. 
*Carefully flip the bagel slices over. Cook for 1 - 2 more minutes or until the egg is done to your liking. 
*Remove bagels from pan. Serve topped with salmon and green onion.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Just One Kiss: International Kissing Day Poetry

There's an app for that. What, you ask? Everything. Pretty much everything. Well long before apps there were holidays (or fake holidays) and celebrations and yes, it seems as though there's one for everything. Anything. 

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate it. The humor, anyway. Whenever I need a laugh I know I can just google what holiday there is this day or week or month and I'm in for a good chuckle. In fact, I don't even have to look them up any more, just remind myself that there's a World Garden Naked Day and as laughs go, I'm good.

Today the Monthly Poetry Group has chosen to celebrate International Kissing Day. It was actually a little over a week ago, on July 6th. Hope you took full advantage of the occasion. I know I did. So did Julie:

Monthly Poetry Group, poems based on a theme. This month's theme, International Kissing Day | Presented by | #poem #poetry #MyGraphics

 Just One Kiss

"I love you more than words can say",
star struck Johnny looked her way.
Julie blushed and looked away,
ran off with the girls to play.

Never one to just give up,
approaches her each day: "wassup?".
Never touching his little buttercup,
'cause "no" means no, only "yes" means yup.

"Let me give you just one kiss,
on the cheek, I will not miss.
Then for life I'll be in bliss,
when on this day I reminisce".

On and on it went like that,
striking out with each at bat.
Buzzing around her like a gnat,
All through kindergarten turned down flat.

True love calls for monumental feats
Saved allowance, brought her treats,
"Just one kiss? For all these eats?"
Then took in stride all his defeats.

Rustic Butterscotch M&M bars, a cake like bar with a hint of banana, studded with mini M&Ms, topped with melted butterscotch. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Rustic Butterscotch M&M Bars

The day came as he knew it would,
summer vacation, no Julie, no good.
Then at the pool, right in his hood.
He looked up and there she stood.

"Do you know what day it is?"
"Friday" he answered, "is this a pop quiz?"
"International Kissing Day I hear 'tis",
she said as her eyes locked on his.
She puckered up and leaned his way.
His feet were mush, his eyes saw grey.
His breath got caught in his airway.
All saw him faint then, clear as day.

Before you go, click on these links to more poetry from some of my friends: 
Dawn of Cognitive Script shares Finding Her Prince
Kim of That Writer Junkie Writes shares 슬픈 사랑 or This Sad Love
Diane of On The Border shares Just Kiss Him!
Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares The Kiss That Shook Me

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Rustic Butterscotch M&M Bars

2/3 cup butterscotch baking chips
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP mini M&Ms

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan.
*Microwave and stir the butterscotch chips until completely melted and smooth. Set aside.
*Beat the butter or margarine, bananas, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and carefully beat in. Mix in 1/2 cup of the mini M&Ms.
*Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Drizzle the melted butterscotch chips over the top and swirl into the batter. Top with the remaining mini M&Ms.
*Bake for about 30 minutes or until the sides are brown and the center completely cooked. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Layered Thai Shrimp Salad: Anti-Boredom Month Blog With Friends

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, a monthly project based blogging collaboration | | #MyGraphics

This month's theme is Anti-Boredom 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, Anti-Boredom Month | Featured on

I made Layered Thai Shrimp Salad.

Layered Thai Shrimp Salad uses leftover Thai marinated shrimp, mixed with cool crisp vegetables topped with a parmesan dressing for a flavorful summer meal. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #shrimp #dinner

Let me tell you why. Anti-boredom to me means thinking up new recipes. It's my way of being creative and of keeping occupied. It's fun for me, especially when the meal is a success. When it's not, well, it ends up being a joke that just keeps on giving. "Remember that time . . ."

There's another reason I chose this recipe for my anti-boredom post. It's because in my world, in the summer, anti-boredom means a day at the beach or a pool. It means getting out there with a family and enjoying cooling off together on a hot day. And since, once at home, showered off and sitting down to relax we need to eat, this meal is both make ahead and served cold, the perfect ending to a hot day.

It's even pretty enough to serve to company, if you want to invite friends over.

As I often do, I used leftovers for the base of this recipe. I had made my Thai Shrimp Skewers earlier in the week and deliberately created the leftovers for this dish by doubling the recipe.

Thai Shrimp Skewers, a quick, light and flavorful summer meal | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

I made my dressing and popped it in the fridge until I was ready for assembly if serving right away or to pour over the salad if serving later.

Layered Thai Shrimp Salad uses leftover Thai marinated shrimp, mixed with cool crisp vegetables topped with a parmesan dressing for a flavorful summer meal. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #shrimp #dinner

Then I prepped the rest of my salad ingredients, washing and chopping the lettuce, shredding the carrots, slicing the green onions, stemming the spinach, halving the tomatoes, clipping the chives and shaving the parmesan.

Layered Thai Shrimp Salad uses leftover Thai marinated shrimp, mixed with cool crisp vegetables topped with a parmesan dressing for a flavorful summer meal. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #shrimp #dinner

Once that was done, it was a simple matter of layering the salad. If you're serving it right away, include the dressing in the layers. If, you're serving later, don't add the dressing to the layers or it will wilt the lettuce and spinach. Just layer the vegetables, cheese and shrimp, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until meal time.

Layered Thai Shrimp Salad uses leftover Thai marinated shrimp, mixed with cool crisp vegetables topped with a parmesan dressing for a flavorful summer meal. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #shrimp #dinner

I recommend rounding out the dinner (or lunch) with a homemade quick bread, a favorite is my Cinnamon Nectarine Quick Bread, also made in advance.

Cinnamon Nectarine Quick Bread, a moist quick cinnamon crusted bread filled with cinnamon flavor and chunks of nectarines. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #bread #fruit

And as a special treat, end the evening with a slice of my Lemon Raspberry Ice Cream Cake

Lemon Raspberry Ice Cream Cake, a cool summer treat | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

You guessed it, made this ahead too. 

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:

Dawn of Spatulas on Parade shares her recipe for Buffalo Chicken Celery:

Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Anti-Boredom Month | Buffalo Chicken Celery by Dawn of Spatulas on Parade | Featured on

Jules of The Bergham Chronicles shares Boredom, Boredom, Go Away, a list of simple ways to beat boredom:
Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Anti-Boredom Month | Boredom, Boredom, Go Away by Jules of The Bergham Chronicles | Featured on

Kim of Georgia Vegan Peach shares 5 Fun Vegan Recipes to Cure Mid-Summer Boredom:

Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Anti-Boredom Month | Five Fun Vegan Recipes to Cure Mid-Summer Boredom by Kim of Georgia Vegan Peach | Featured on

Tamara of Part-Time Working Hockey Mom shares The "Hockey Mom, I'm bored" Bottle:

Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Anti-Boredom Month | "Hockey Mom, I'm bored" Bottle by Tamara of Part-Time Working Hockey Mom | Featured on

Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares how to make the Easiest Scrapbook Ever:
Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Anti-Boredom Month | Easiest Scrapbook Ever by Lydia of Cluttered Genius | Featured on

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Layered Thai Shrimp Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp black pepper

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cleaned and chopped
4 carrots, shredded
2 cups uncooked spinach, stems removed
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 
1 1/2# cooked shrimp from Thai Shrimp Skewers
1 TBSP chopped fresh chives

*Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, sweet chili sauce, grated Parmesan and black pepper. You can make this ahead of time, cover and refrigerate.
*NOTE: If serving right away, layer with the dressing. If refrigerating the salad to serve later, layer without the dressing so the lettuce and spinach don't wilt, then serve when ready with the dressing on the side.
*In a large glass bowl, layer the lettuce, 1/3 of the dressing, then the carrots and spinach followed by another 1/3 of the dressing. Top with the green onions, Parmesan and tomatoes. End with the rest of the dressing, the shrimp and the chives.
*When serving, use long serving utensils to be sure each serving includes all of the ingredients.