Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Smart Like a Spider?

 

Ginger Snap Cupcakes with Fireball Frosting: warm Fall flavors are featured in these cupcakes topped with a Fireball whisky buttercream frosting. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert


 
Outsmarted. By a spider.
 
Forget spidey sense, spidey sense may or may not be real, but spidey smarts is definitely a thing. A bad, scary, frustrating thing. 
 
But then I guess it is October, after all. 

Let me start by saying that the family who built this house did a few things I just don't understand. For instance, the master bathroom (which is upstairs) is large, and there's a window up over the bathtub. It's the only window in the bathroom and it doesn't open. The master bathroom also has no main door (there is a door to the separate room for the toilet within the bathroom). I put up curtains to at least block the light, but still, no door and no window that opens. In a bathroom. You pickin' up what I'm puttin' down here?
 
Same thing in the stairways, both up and down, there are windows there too. Letting in light is a good thing in my book, but they don't open. Now I do understand the one in the stairway to the basement not opening, it's just above ground level outside and could be an issue if someone wanted to break in. But the one upstairs would provide a lovely cross breeze on a spring or fall day.
 
We had a little bad luck, good luck situation a few years ago. 
 
We had hired a company to work on the siding on our house (thank you, woodpeckers). I was in the kitchen trying out a new recipe when I heard the doorbell ring. 
 
 

Ginger Snap Cupcakes with Fireball Frosting: warm Fall flavors are featured in these cupcakes topped with a Fireball whisky buttercream frosting. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Ginger Snap Cupcakes with Fireball Frosting
 
 
The man working on the house was there and he was upset. While working on the siding, he'd accidentally cracked our window. The one in the upstairs stairway. They'd replace it at no cost, of course. But I had another idea and had them source a window the same size that could slide open, and had a screen. For just $100 over what they would be paying, I could have what I wanted there. I'm in!
 
You may be thinking my back story seems to be longer than my actual point. You'd be right, but stick with me, I'm finally getting there.
 
I had loved, I can't tell you how much I had loved, having a window in that stairway that opens. Had. Until the battle of wits began.
 
Smart Like a Spider? | Picture taken by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com
 
I went to open that window one beautiful fall day when I saw that a spider had gotten in between the screen and the glass and was building a web. Hubs got the spider out and puttied where he thought it may have come in. 
 
A few days later, I went to open the window and a spider had gotten inside. Hubs got it out and puttied some more. Spider, putty, spider, putty . . . my husband puttied the living daylights out of that window, but the cunning spider prevailed.
 
How can this be? How smart are spiders anyway? I mean, they're small insects, there's barely any room in there for a brain, right?
 
Smart Like a Spider? | Picture taken by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com

 
IDK, but Google did, and here's everything you (never) needed to know about spiders. They're smart. In fact, the smaller the spider, the bigger the brain. Tiny spiders' brains are so big that their organs can be forced down into their bodies. I'd be fascinated if I wasn't so busy cringing, and shuddering, and gagging, and probably gathering fodder for some major league nightmares.
 
Just to prove their intelligence as compared to at least some of our species, Google had a few suggestions for me of popular spider questions frequently asked. The first one: Do spiders fart? Asked, I assume, but some deep thinkers? Taking time out of their busy day doing brain surgery to gather important spider information?
 
Bet the spiders aren't wasting their time wondering about our digestion.

My initial query did go on to let me know that there are recent studies that have found that spiders do actually display cognition. Perhaps those lucky researchers are the people who needed to know about spiders' gaseous releases? 
 
Whatever the situation, it has become apparent, both through my research and my unfortunate real-life experiences, that spiders are capable of plotting window stealing strategy (and farting too, btw).
 
So at least I can tell Hubs that he's being outsmarted by a smart opponent. I bet that spider would even stick his tongue out at Hubs. If he had a tongue, that is.

Meanwhile, though the war of wits may go on, for right now the spider owns that window. And I, once again, have a window in the stairway that doesn't open.


Clearly Muhammad Ali didn't finish his thought. I can do that for him: float like a butterfly, sting like a bee . . . smart like a spider.


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Ginger Snap Cupcakes with Fireball Frosting
                                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Ingredients (makes 18 large or 24 average sized cupcakes):
10 ginger snap cookies
3 TBSP cinnamon baking chips
1 box yellow cake mix
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup milk 
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup sour cream
4 eggs
 
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 - 4 TBSP Fireball Whiskey
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
 
NOTE: to make the frosting alcohol free, substitute milk for the Fireball Whiskey and add another 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
 
Directions: 
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 18 (or 24) paper cupcake baking cups into the wells of cupcake pans.
*In a food processor, crush the cookies and the baking chips to crumbs.
*Beat the cake mix, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, milk, orange juice, sour cream, eggs, and 1/2 cup of the crushed cookies for 2 minutes. Set the rest of the crushed cookies aside for garnish.
*Divide the batter evenly into the 18 baking cups. Bake for about 20 minutes (start checking at about 18 minutes if you're making 24 smaller cupcakes), until the center of the cupcakes spring back to the touch. Cool completely.
*Cream the butter with the remaining 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice and 3 TBSP Fireball. Carefully beat in the powdered sugar. If needed, add more Fireball 1 tsp at a time until the frosting is of spreadable consistency.
*Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle with the remaining crushed cookie crumbs.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Bowl Buddies for the Win: Fly on the Wall


Pear Mini Pies, individual sized desserts perfect for tailgating, holidays, or any celebration. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

 



 Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 3 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.





The worst part of aging, for me, is the problem I sometimes have getting the right words. I can often get it figured out, but if I somehow get the wrong words stuck in my head, it blocks the right one from coming through.
 
College Boy and I were talking about a story about the people who can't get surgeries or even emergency care because unvaccinated people are taking up all of the hospital beds.  

College Boy: They shouldn't let unvaccinated people take up all the beds. They should send them to veterinarians, that's who has the medications they want anyway.
Me: I agree, but, of course, doctors can't do that. It's against the . . . ummm . . . not pythagorean theorem.
College Boy (laughing): You mean Hippocratic Oath.
 
Yes, I did.



Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


Often, when I think of something I need to do and/or have an idea for the blog, it's at a time when I'm indisposed. Most often in the shower, and frequently more than one thought comes to mind. What I've always done is remember a key word for each thing I need to get to later, and just keep those words in my head as prompts. It always works. Well, it always did.

Me: Do the words "towel" and "temperature" mean anything to you?
Hubs: No, why?
Me: I remembered them to remind me of what I wanted to do but now I can't remember what they were supposed to remind me of.
Hubs (laughing): I think you need prompt words for your prompt words.

Oy.
 
Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

 
Hubs and College Boy both like to tease me about my forgetfulness. Normally I can take the joke because it really doesn't happen all that often (despite what you've read here so far), and when it does, I often laugh about it myself.
 
But sometimes I'm just not in the mood for it.
 
College Boy (walking in the house): Hi Mom, what's for dinner?
Me: I forget.
College Boy: You forget?
Me: Well, I'm sure I took something out to make.
College Boy: But you forgot what?
Me (sternly): Actually, I did not forget. And don't you forget it!  

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

 

Me: I'm trying to think of a dessert recipe to make.

College Boy: How about . . .
Me (interrupting): It's for the blog so it has to be something new. I have some pears I want to use . . .
College Boy: I have an idea.
Me (really excited for the help): Great, what is it.
College Boy: Make a cake . . .
Me (interrupting again): with the pears, or apricots, or?
College Boy: With whatever you want. 
Me: Okay???
College Boy: Go to the bank, take out all of your money, bake it into the cake, and give it to me.
Me (frowning): Damn, I thought you had a serious idea.
College Boy: I did.

 
Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I've frequently told you of my inability to get College Boy to write me guest posts. He's thoughtful and intelligent and has a unique perspective. No matter how many times I ask though, the answer is always "no."
 
The day after I'd asked for his suggestions for a pear recipe, I was still working through a lot of options in my mind. 
 
Me: I'm still trying to think of a new recipe, I really want to do something with pears.
College Boy: Go to the bank, take out all of your money, bake it into the cake, and give it to me.
Me: I have an idea, why don't you incorporate your recipe into a guest post.
College Boy: I'll write it if you make it.
 
Damn. Foiled again! 
 
 
Pear Mini Pies, individual sized desserts perfect for tailgating, holidays, or any celebration. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Pear Mini Pies


We're still ordering a lot of our groceries (the staples) online. For some reason, they've been out of the diet sodas I drink. It's unusual for them to be out of both of them at all, let alone for an extended period of time.

They do, on the site, suggest similar items you can purchase, I've mentioned many of them in past Fly on the Wall posts because they make me laugh, they're frequently nothing like what I'd been attempting to order.
 
This time they got it right, they recommended an item that looked similar. 
 
 
But at that price, this stuff must be shipped directly from the sun. 

Hard pass.



Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


I've mentioned before that I have a land line. I keep it because whenever I have to give out a phone number, I give that one, which keeps the spam calls on my cell phone down to almost none.

When the land line rings, I get up and go look to see who's calling just in case it's either my mom or a prescription ready for pick up. 

Lately I've been getting a lot of calls that are just 3 rings and as I'm about to get to the phone to see who's calling, they hang up. This happened the other day when College Boy was in the kitchen eating breakfast.

Me: That's so annoying, I get up, go over to the phone to see who it is and they hang up just as I'm getting there.
College Boy: It's probably a secret exercise program.

It's not. Right?
 
 
Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics



Just like with telemarketers, I hate going into a business and being accosted by sales pitches. 

I had gone into the bank and between the door and the teller, was sidetracked by a financial advisor, trying to explain to me why it was important that I set up an appointment with him to review my financial situation.
 
Although I tried to interrupt a few times, this guy just wasn't having any, and I ended up having to listen to his whole spiel (or be rude, but I hadn't done my business there yet). 
 
He finally took a breath and asked a question:
 
Him: Do you work?
Me: No.
Him: Can I ask what your husband does?
Me: Yes, he's a financial advisor.

And just like that, Mr. Talkative becomes Mr. Dead Silent.


 Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


Hubs is an understanding-the-logistics guy. I'm a don't-care-just-make-it-work girl. We're opposites and that works in many instances.
 
Hubs bought me a new iPad for my birthday. I was really excited because my old one was really old. Getting new electronics can be frustrating too, though, I want it to just set itself up according to my needs and start working in a way I can understand the minute I get it. Of course, that doesn't happen, quite the opposite, in fact.
 
So I do what I always do, tell Hubs to make it work. He's no techie, but between the two of us, we got it going. The next morning:
 
Hubs: How do you like the new iPad?
Me: Love it.
Hubs: It's so much faster than your old one because . . .
Me (interrupting): Don't need to know.
Hubs: The color is so much better because . . .
Me (interrupting): Don't need to know.
Hubs: If you understood it a little, it might help you do some of the things you're trying to do more easily.
Me: But then what would I need to keep you for?
Hubs: Inspiration for your blog posts?
 
Touche.
 

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

 
My boys are grown, and I really enjoy interacting with them and conversing with them as the grown adults that they've become. Well, most of the time anyway.

But I'm not going to tell you that I don't miss those little boys, all the fun and laughter and learning and growing and changing and outings and playing. 

The other day I came down to the kitchen to find College Boy was here and about to have breakfast. And what I saw made my nostalgic heart smile:

Bowl Buddies for the Win | picture taken by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #humor #parenting

Bowl Buddies for the win!

 

 

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics 

Now click on the links below for a peek into some other homes:






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






Pear Mini Pies
                                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Ingredients (makes 6):
1 refrigerator pie crust
1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 pears, cored, peeled, and chopped
1/4 cup caramel baking bits
1 TBSP sugar
 
Directions:
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the wells of a 6 well muffin pan.
*Unroll the pie crust and cut out 6 circles, about 3 inches in diameter. Press the dough circles into the wells and up the sides of the muffin pan. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.
*Using a small cookie cutter (can make a cardboard template), in any shape of your choice, cut out 6 smaller pieces of the remaining dough, about 1 inch in diameter each. 
*Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pears. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the caramel bits.
*Divide the pear filling into the prepared crust in the muffin pan. 
*Using a pastry brush and water, lightly wet the top of each of the small shapes of dough and sprinkle them with the 1 TBSP sugar, then place on the top of the mini pies.
*Bake for 25 minutes, until the crust browns. Cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan before gently running a knife around the edges. Cool for another half hour before removing from the pan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Intent: Word Counters

 

Broccoli Slaw Soup (crockpot or not): full of vegetables, chicken, noodles, and bright flavors, this very thick soup is a whole meal. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #soup


 

Counting my words again. 

Today my fellow Word Counters and I are sharing our monthly group post. Each month one group member picks  a number between 12 and 50. All participating bloggers are then challenged to write something (or a few somethings, as the case may be) using that exact number of words. Today we all share what we came up with. 




 This month's number is 50. 
It was chosen by Diane of On the Border.

As I've been doing in these Word Counters posts, I've chosen a theme and am using my word count multiple times in keeping with the theme. This month I've chosen the theme Intent.

~ "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States." 
 
~ The preamble to the Constitution, it's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. The words of the preamble succinctly articulate the intent of the forefathers of this country. I have always believed in the principals they'd tried to espouse, the thought, debate, intent, effort and foresight required of them.
 
~ "form a more perfect Union": perfection is a concept of aspiration. Their "more perfect" implies intent to strive for better, while (I believe) acknowledging that it's a process. The "more perfect" conceptualization leaves room for their posterity. And ours. The most important word though, is "union." Requiring that we unite.
 
~ "establish Justice": I think this concept was clearer in colonial times, when the goal was that required societal parameters be delineated and be equitable. Currently justice is not (the required) "blind," it's full sighted and intentional, partisan, economic, and racially motivated. It's not nationally cohesive but sporadic, individualized, and manipulated.
 
~ "ensure domestic Tranquility": domestic tranquility has scant presence here currently. That's not all bad. A free country fosters some turmoil, room for conflicting visions, it's where the seeds for growth lie. Two parties, even heated discourse doesn't need to be antithetical to tranquility. Tranquility, however, requires respect. We've lost ours. 
 
~ "provide for the common defense": the military was designed as answerable to two branches of government, not one leader. trump's misuse of troops for political purposes, his personal agenda, and monetary gain has undermined and weakened an institution vital to our protection. "Common defense" must refocus solely on common protection.
 
~ "promote the general Welfare": to call it socialism is to call the forefathers socialists, but getting caught up in terminology just distracts from intent. Students shouldn't be deprived of higher education due to economics. It harms the society. And humanitarianism demands that no member of our society go hungry. Ever.


Broccoli Slaw Soup (crockpot or not): full of vegetables, chicken, noodles, and bright flavors, this very thick soup is a whole meal. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #soup
Broccoli Slaw Soup


~ "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity": Liberty is a blessing, one our forefathers fought for, and not just for themselves. It was their vision to create a fair, free, functioning society, not just or all, but for always. We know the forefathers' intent. What is ours?


Word Counters, a monthly multiblogger writing challenge | run by and graphic property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #bloggingchallenge #MyGraphics

 
Here are links to the other Word Counters posts:



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Broccoli Slaw Soup (Crockpot or Not)        
                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com


Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 packages ramen noodle soup, soy sauce flavor
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce 
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger paste
1 package (16 oz) broccoli slaw
3 green onions, chopped 
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
 
NOTE: this is a very thick soup
 
Directions:
*FOR SLOW COOKER: Open the ramen soup packages and remove the flavor packets. Set aside the noodles for later.
*In the bowl of your slow cooker, whisk together the chicken broth, sesame oil, soy sauce, flavor packets from the soup, garlic, and ginger. Mix in the broccoli slaw and green onions, cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
*Reduce heat to low, add the cooked chicken and cook for 2 hours.
*Add the noodles from the ramen soup packages and 1 cup of water. Cook for up to another 10 minutes, until the noodles are soft. Remove from heat immediately, stir and serve.
*FOR STOVE TOP: bring the chicken broth, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and flavor packets to a boil. Reduce heat and add the broccoli slaw, green onions, and chicken, and simmer for 1/2 hour. Bring back to a boil, add the noodles and 1 cup of water. Cook for 2 minutes until the noodles are soft, then remove from the heat immediately and serve.