Monday, March 31, 2014

Individual Taco Pies

I was invited to participate with 14 other bloggers in a group of posts featuring budget friendly recipes.

I think that budget friendly is “in the eye of the beholder”. Everyone’s budget is different so there are actually many levels to the concept. The recipe I’m sharing today can be made even more budget friendly with a few tips I’d like to mention:

*Lean Ground Beef: Lean is more expensive as ground beef goes, but is necessary for this recipe. I buy it when it’s on sale and freeze it until I’m ready to make this meal.
*Taco Seasoning: You can buy this in packets, but it’s very inexpensive to make your own with a variety of seasonings most people already have on hand.
*Pico de Gallo: I serve this recipe with Pico de Gallo and make my own. Click here for my Homemade Pico de Gallo recipe.
*Mashed Potatoes: When I make mashed potatoes, as for these Individual Taco Pies, I make potato skins as a side dish the next night. I bake or microwave the potatoes and when I scoop the potato out of the skin to make the mashed potatoes, I leave some potato in the skin for stuffed potato skins the next night.
*Vegetables: Whenever I steam fresh vegetables to serve with dinner,  I wrap the leftovers in plastic wrap and freeze in baggies.
*Corn: In the summer when I steam corn I always make an extra ear, cut the kernels off of the cob, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze in baggies.
*Peppers: Whenever red or green peppers are on sale I buy extras. Some I slice and freeze in baggies, others I chop and freeze in baggies.
*Onion: Whenever a recipe calls for less than a whole onion, I chop the rest and freeze in baggies.

There are many recipes that really require the use of fresh vegetables and this is my preference. Other times; in soups, stews, sauces, quiche, certain casseroles and recipes like this one today, I use what I have in baggies in my freezer.

Individual Taco Pies | recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Individual Taco Pies going into the oven

One of the things I love about this recipe is that I make these Taco Pies in individual servings. If your family is anything like mine, we all have different size appetites. For younger children, one is plenty. Older children and adults will have more.

Individual Taco Pies | recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Individual Taco Pies

As always, if you make one of my recipes, feel free to take a picture of it and post it on my Facebook wall or on my Google + page.

Be sure to check out all the other budget friendly posts in this collection by clicking on the links below:

Budget Friendly Family Recipes | featured on

1. WriterMom's Blog's Creamy Chicken & Mashed Potato Casserole
2. Mommifried's Easy Beef Stroganoff
3. City Girl on Hicks Farm's Honey Garlic Pork Chops
4. One Tipsy Chick's Turkey Tostada with Avocado Cream
5. My Individual Taco Pies
6. From Foreclosure to Frugal's Deli Sandwich Roll Up
7. PinkWhen's Baked Pork Chops
8. Joyful Scribblings' Breakfast Pizza
9. Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy's Sweet & Sour Pork Chops and Outback Baked Potatoes
10. Working on Working Mom's Homemade Vegetable Stock
11. Foody Schmoody's Crock Pot Chicken Caesar Wraps
12. (a)Musing Foodie's Baked Ziti
13. Stop Lookin' Get Cookin's Marinated Grilled Chicken
14. A Peek Inside My Paradise's Weight Watchers Supreme Breakfast Biscuits
15. Close to Home's Stuffed Peppers

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics
 Individual Taco Pies
Printable Recipe
1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
¼ cup bread crumbs
Taco seasoning mix (one packet or 2 TBSP if you make your own)
2 cups cooked, cooled, chopped mixed vegetables of your choice
½ cup salsa
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups (approximately) mashed potatoes, prepared as you like them
1 chopped green onion
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Mix the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs and taco seasoning mix just until everything is incorporated. Roll this mixture into 12 balls, approximately the same size.
*Put the beef into 12 muffin tins and gently form it to the bottom and up the sides (so it looks like a cup).
*Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until they’re just barely cooked. Blot the meat gently with paper towels to remove any fat.
*Mix the vegetables with the salsa and shredded cheddar cheese. Fill the meat cups with this mixture.
*Mix together the mashed potatoes and green onion. Scoop a dollop of the potatoes onto the center of the top of each pie. Sprinkle with paprika.
*Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until hot all the way through.
*Gently run a knife around the edges and remove from muffin tin.
*Serve with  Homemade Pico de Gallo.

Friday, March 28, 2014


One of College Boy’s closest friends’ father is our local Congressman. It’s a very weird position for me to be in, come election time, because the Congressman and I are on completely different ends of the spectrum in terms of our politics. I like him well enough, his wife too. His son has spent quite a bit of time in our house over the years and he’s a good kid.

But when it’s a year when his dad is running for re-election I always feel conflicted. I can’t vote for someone whose politics I don’t agree with, but I also don’t wish unemployment on this young man’s dad.

So here we are again, election time, and I’ve actually made an important decision. I think I should run. I mean why not, right? I need some posters, I can do that. I need a slogan, got that covered too. I don’t have a war chest but once people become familiar with my candidacy they’ll be standing in line to fill my chest with money (yeah, I probably could have worded that better).

Represent | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

OK, lets see where we stand:
Posters:  ✔
Slogan:  ✔
Now for my platform:

*Education: There will be no more school “snow days”. If it’s a weekday those kids are the teachers’ responsibility. I know I take a risk saying this but kids can’t vote so I’m going with it. Might have just lost the teacher contingent, though.

*Crime: I’m against it.

*Taxes: Here’s the deal, if you tax everything coming in and going out there’s not much left to stimulate the economy.

*Budget: I’m for accountability. Being from a family of accountants I know just how it’s done, we end government overspending. A broom does not cost $700 ~ denied. A toilet seat does not cost $2000 ~ denied. Go to BrawlMart.

*Political Reform: I believe in baked goods for all. No, this is not a bribe, that’s illegal. It’s a human right protected by the constitution. Look it up. If you find it, let me know.

Confetti Cookie Bars with Berry Frosting | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Confetti Cookie Bars with Berry Frosting

*Free Speech: If you have something nice to say, you should say it. If not, shut the he!! up.

*Bullying: The best way to stop bullying is by example. I’m prepared to introduce legislation distinguishing between religious entities and “churches” whose actions include public bullying of targeted segments of the population. You’re a church or a bully, not both. Pick one.

*Immigration: We need a do-over. Everyone who has or whose ancestors have immigrated to the US needs to go back to where their families came from. Whoever’s left can decide who comes back in. Hope the Native Americans let me back in. Until then I’ll be in Russia if you need me. 

*Women’s rights: Moms of teens will be provided anti-depressants. They will be free, will not require doctor’s visits and will be delivered to their homes.

*Energy: We are totally missing the boat here. We have all the energy we’ll ever need and it’s free. I pledge to put my efforts into funding research into whatever is necessary to bottle what every 2 year old has in excess.

*Hunger: There will be state financed food pantries on every main street. How will we pay for this? I really don’t care. No one goes hungry on my watch. No one.

I’ll let you know where to send your campaign contributions, OK?

My name is Tornado and I approve this message.
Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Confetti Cookie Bars with Berry Frosting

Ingredients, bars:
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
¾ cups sugar
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
¼ tsp lemon extract
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt     
3/4 cup multicolored jimmies (sprinkles)
1/2 cup multicolored nonpareils
Ingredients, frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
5 TBSP butter, softenend
4 cups powdered sugar
6 TBSP heavy cream
1 Packet (.22 oz) Berry Blue Kool-Aid
Multicolored nonpareils for decorating
Directions, bars:
*Grease a jellyroll pan. If you don’t have one, you can use a 9 X 13 pan but your bars will be thicker and you’ll have to bake them longer.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Beat the butter and margarine until smooth.
*Beat in the sugar, powdered sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon extract and almond extract.
*Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until completely incorporated.
*Last, just barely mix in the nonpareils and sprinkles. You don’t want to break up the sprinkles or mix the nonpareils too much or they’ll color the dough.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes (longer for a 9 X 13 pan). Watch them, you don’t want them to brown.
*Cool completely before frosting.
Directions, frosting:
*Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar just until incorporated.
*Beat in the heavy cream until incorporated.
*Beat in approximately ½ of the Kool-Aid packet. Taste the frosting and add more of the Kool-Aid, up to the whole packet, based on the amount of flavor that works for you. * Beat until spreading consistency.
*NOTE: if your frosting is too thick to spread, you can thin it by adding more cream. If it’s too thin, thicken it by adding more powdered sugar.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It’s Me

Both of my boys are smart kids. They’re also very different kids. My older son is a freshman in college and really thriving. I talk about him a lot, but today’s post is about my younger son.

My younger son is really, really smart. I mean sometimes-he-scares-me smart. He also has a great work ethic, really applies himself. Now I know it seems like I’m boasting and believe me I do my share, but for the purposes of this post, it’s just a fact.

This son is a senior in high school and we’re holding our breath waiting, within the next week, to see which colleges he’s gotten into. We’ve heard from some and been offered some scholarships, but the last few promise word by April first. The whole April Fools thing isn’t lost on me.

As I sit here biting my nails and twitching as I wait to see what our options are, I’ve had some time to think about this intelligence my son exhibits and I’m trying to figure out where it came from. OK, I’m trying to take credit. Whatever, it’s just semantics.

Initially it was pretty clear that he inherited his brains from me. After all, science and math are his areas of expertise and I did really well in both. I mean I know that pi is 3.1459265358979323846264333279502884197169 . . .
I just don’t know why. It’s certainly never come up whenever I’ve made pie:


Mixed Berry Pie | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

 Mixed Berry Pie              

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie     


Chocolate Mint Pie | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Chocolate Mint Pie

OK, I’m not making a very good case for myself, am I? So maybe it’s not me?

And yet, it’s true that I’m responsible for the deduction of multiple scientific mathematical theorems that serve to quantify many of the variables of daily life.

For instance, I’ve developed a calculation of the probability of spring-like temperatures in the middle of January based on specific identifiable factors:

wearing a sweatshirt = temperatures below zero
wearing a coat = temperature will reach 60 degrees
wearing a coat + hat = temperature will reach 65 degrees
wearing a coat + hat + scarf = temperatures will reach 70 degrees
wearing a coat + hat + scarf + gloves = temperature will reach 75 degrees
wearing a coat + hat + scarf + gloves + boots = you could boil water on the pavement

Spring Fever Cookies | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Spring Fever Cookies

There is a quantifiable correlation between how many items I send my husband to the grocery store for and how many phone calls I have to wait for before it’s safe to get in the shower:

phone calls home ÷ 2 = number of items purchased

There’s a calculable relationship between how much gas each of the parents’ cars have in them and which parent a teen will ask to borrow their car:

full tank = 100% probability
half tank = 50% probability
low gas = 0% probability

I have come up with a mathematical equation to calculate the number of times you’ll have to go to the store for forgotten dinner ingredients in a snowstorm:

1 inch of snow = forgetting an item x 1
2 inches of snow = forgetting and item x 2
sleet + ice = forgetting an item x

There’s a simple logical formula for the probability of burning my fingers taking the bay leaves out of the sauce that’s been cooking all day:

boiling liquid + bare fingers = owie, every time

Glow in the Dark | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

Oh yeah, it’s definitely me!

 Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Spring Fever Cookies
 Printable Recipe
Ingredients, Cookies:
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
4 food colorings of your choice
½ cup sugar
OPT:Ingredients, Frosting:
2 TBSP butter, softened
4 oz Fluff (Marshmallow Creme)
2 cups powdered sugar (minus 2 TBSP if using sweetened Kool-Aid)
2 -3 TBSP heavy cream
1 TBSP Kool-Aid powder, flavor of your choice
Directions, Cookies:
*Cream the butter, margarine and sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the flour and baking soda.
*Divide the dough into four equal parts. Mix a different color of food coloring into each one.
*Flatten each dough, you can just use your hands, into an approximately 8 inch X 5 inch rectangle. It doesn’t have to be exact and they don’t have to all be the same size. Pile them one on top of the other, gently roll them into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and a half.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.
*Remove doughs from the fridge and either slice into ¼ inch thick rounds or, using about 1 tsp at a time roll the dough into balls. Be sure to get all of the colors in each ball and don’t over roll or the colors will blend too much.
*Place on cookie sheets.
*Grease the bottom of a glass with non-stick cooking spray and dip the glass in the ½ cup sugar. Use the sugar coated glass to gently flatten the cookies. You’ll need to keep dipping the glass in more sugar as you go.
*You can leave these round or if you want to make these egg shaped, shape them with your fingers before baking.
*Bake for about 10 minutes. Don’t let them brown. Remove and cool completely.
*These are delicious filled or, for a less sweet version, just as they are.
OPT: Directions, Frosting:
*Beat the butter, fluff and 2 TBSP of cream.
*Mix in the powdered sugar and Kool-Aid until just blended.
*Beat until spreadable (should be thick so it doesn’t drip out of the cookie). If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar, if it’s too thick, add the other TBSP of cream in small increments as needed.
*Spread desired amount of frosting onto the flat side of a cookie and make into a sandwich using the flat side of a similar sized and shaped cookie.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fly on the Wall, March 2014

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 14 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.

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

On Tuesday and Thursday evenings hubs works late. I leave him a plate of leftovers that he microwaves and my son and I fend for ourselves for dinner. One Tuesday, High School Senior and I were sitting in the den and my son was trying to figure out what to make himself for dinner.
High School Senior: I think I’ll have scrambled eggs with scallions, spinach and cheese with an English Muffin.
Me: Sounds great, honey, go ahead.
He gets up, comes over and starts to pull me up from the couch.
Me: What are you doing? How many people does it take to make scrambled eggs?
High School Senior: One . . . and it’s not me.

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

It’s taken quite a few years, but I’ve finally stated to figure a few things out.

The following Thursday when High School Senior and I are home, I tell him I’m going to make a grilled cheese for my dinner and ask if he wants one or wants to figure out something else to make for himself. He says he doesn’t want grilled cheese.
I go into the kitchen, make grilled cheese and sit down with my sandwich.
High School Senior walks over and starts eyeing my sandwich: You know, Mom, that actually looks really good.
Me: There are two grilled cheeses for you on that plate by the stove.
Got that one right.

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

I had just finished baking and my son came into the kitchen to try a cookie. I told him to please shut the light off in the kitchen when he left. He said he would.

Twenty seconds later he was on his way up the stairs and the kitchen light was still on.
Me: The light’s still on in the kitchen.
Son: I forgot
Me: It was twenty seconds ago. How long CAN you remember something?
Son: I guess about 19 seconds.

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

Hershey’s sent me a gift box for Valentine’s Day. I opened the box and there were two large packages of candy and one giant package of Reese’s pieces.
Me: I guess I’ve got some baking to do. I’ll have to think about what I want to make.
Son (walking away with the giant Reese’s bag): Well, I’m going to make these my snack.

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

College Boy pocket dialed me twice this past month. The first time I could hear a bunch of kids but couldn’t make out anything specific (damn), and eventually hung up. I don’t think he even knew it happened.
The second time he must have been about to use his phone because he noticed.
College Boy: Hello?
Me: Hi, honey.
College Boy: Oh, hi, Mom. Ummmm, listen, I hate to ask, but did you call me or did I call you?

Brussels Sprouts with Pignolis and Prosciutto | recipe developed by | #recipe #vegetables

Brussels Sprouts with Pignolis and Prosciutto

You know things are heading in the wrong direction if you place the dinner dishes on the table and immediately have to answer a question (asked with a mortified look) with: Yes, it IS food, they’re called Brussels Sprouts and yes, you’re going to live.

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

I made a new cupcake recipe while High School Senior was at school and left one out on the counter for him. I was anxious to see what he thought of it.

So he came home from school and I told him that the cupcake was for him to try. I stood directly across from where he was sitting at the counter and waited anxiously while he took a bite. We looked each other in the eye as he chewed, swallowed, took another bite, chewed, swallowed and proceeded to eat the whole cupcake. While i stood there looking him right in the face.
Me: Why do you think I’m standing here staring at you while you eat?
Son: I don’t know Mom, why?
Me: I’m waiting to hear what you think of the new cupcake, do you like it?
Son: Yes.
Me (rolling my eyes and walking away): Next time try not to be so overly enthusiastic with your praise, it’s embarrassing.

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

In the midst of a horrendously cold winter we had 2 warm days last month before we were expecting more snow. High School Senior’s car was filthy so when he came home from school for lunch on the second warm day, I thought I’d suggest that after school he fill his gas tank and get the free car wash that comes with it.
Me: How much gas do you have in your car?
Son: Full tank.
Me: Oh, OK, darn, oh well.
Conversation ends.
Would I have asked the other person what they were thinking? Yes.
Would you? Probably.
Would he? Never. Wouldn’t dawn on him.

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

Every night while the Olympics were on, I’d watch and either hubs or son would ruin whatever I was watching by telling me the outcome. Obviously I asked them to stop.
At dinner on the last day, I was talking about wanting to see if the US got the bronze medal in hockey but there was something else on at the same time that I wanted to see. I decided that I’d watch the hockey.
Son: You’re gonna want to watch the other show, Mom.
Me: Thanks Son, I’m sure that didn’t give anything away.

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

If you were in my house you’d roll your eyes like my kids do at the level of technical (dis)ability my husband and I have.
Hubs: Do we have a log-in for the website for our mortgage company?
Me: No, I’ve never needed to go in there online.
Hubs: OK, I’ll set one up then.
Me: When you do, I need the url and the user name and login you choose. I keep them all in a file so we can get back in again.
Hubs: I just googled the bank and clicked on the link that came up, I don’t know the url.
Me: See if you can figure it out, OK?

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

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Brussels Sprouts with Pignolis and Prosciutto

1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP pignolis
1 TBSP olive oil
1 lb Brussels Sprouts, rinsed, white end trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP orange juice
1.5 oz Prosciutto, coarsely chopped
*Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add pignolis. Cook, stirring constantly until they start to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan.
*Add the olive oil to the pan. Place the Brussels Sprouts, cut side down in a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt and/or pepper. You may want to skip the salt as the prosciutto is salty.
*Cook until bottoms have browned, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
*Use tongs to flip over. Lower heat a little and add 1 TBSP orange juice. Cook until they start to brown.
*Sprinkle with the prosciutto, mix and cook 1 to 2 more minutes, sprinkle the pignolis over the top and serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

To My Boy

To my son in the month of a very special birthday:

I wrote this same type of letter to your brother a year ago.  It was difficult to write, typing through the tears. You are a completely different person, so this letter will not mirror that one except for this; I’m going to start with the exact same sentence:

I don’t know what to say to you. I know what I feel, but I’m not sure words do the depth of these feelings justice.

The road to where you stand today was not an easy one.

You know that you were an InVitro baby and that when I was 10 weeks pregnant with you I woke up in a pool of blood. For weeks it looked like I would lose you. But we fought, you and I. It was a sign of things to come.

When you were little you had trouble keeping anything down. There were times when I questioned your ability to hear. You loved to rock. You were the only one-year-old I know of who had a baby swing in every room and would pump it like you were on a swing set, rocking the legs right off the ground.

As a toddler you fought for coordination. You would orient yourself by coming to me and standing with your heels on my toes. You walked into walls and fell down stairs. Regularly. More often than not.

At some point I realized that the pediatrician was not giving credence to my concerns. Against his advice, I took you to an ENT. I thought I was there about frequent ear infections but one look and he knew you had issues with swallowing and with balance. You needed your tonsils and adenoids out, sinuses drained and tubes in your ears (the first of about 5 sets).

When they rolled you into surgery, my heart broke. We spent that night, you and I, in your hospital room. Me in the chair, you in my arms.

And then you were like an infant again. What little sense of balance you had was skewed, you finally were able to gain weight, you literally had to learn to negotiate your body through space all over again. Or really for the first time.

Through determination and perseverance you learned to swim, to ski, to sometimes walk through doorways instead of into walls.

Yet still you fought for coordination, orientation, didn’t cross the mid-line, couldn’t read cues, had frequent ear infections, a hyperactive gag reflex, unrelenting eczema on your palms, a tremor.

Peanut Butter Cup squares | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Chocolate and peanut butter, your favorite. This one’s for you:
Peanut Butter Cup Squares

Where most kids do well because of their education, you excelled despite yours. I believe a school system should address a student’s ability to work at the highest level of their own individual capacity. That actually is the mission statement, apparently they didn’t read it. They repeatedly made it clear that facilitating your ability to function at a personal optimal level is not required by law if they can document that all students meet the bare minimum of district requirements. And they can document anything they want. You were at the top of your class year after year yet to this day your handwriting is the same as it was in kindergarten, you still cannot take legible notes. PT was denied. OT was denied. The OT did put a big sign on your desk telling you to write neatly. I had it removed. That sign would not diminish your tremor, impact fine motor control or visual/spatial issues. Why embarrass a child you refuse to work with? A laptop for note taking? Denied as well. I fought that battle for years and years. I lost. I'm sorry.

Once I realized that their agenda was in conflict with yours, I took you to Boston for an honest evaluation. One of the issues the doctors identified was that you have a disorganized mind; meaning that it takes you that much more effort to do the work of others as you approach tasks in a haphazard, hit or miss fashion.

I found you a private OT for the fine and gross motor, tremor, nystagmus, visual/spatial and mid-line issues. Your third grade teacher worked with you after school on his own time. He saw what I saw, he just wasn’t in a position to publicly say so.

You and I became a team; the concrete and literal son and the sarcastic mom. We worked together developing strategies that would impact organization, interpreting cues, identifying sarcasm, prioritizing tasks, distinguishing what’s salient and keeping you on track in school. You worked hard, adopted the strategies and became . . . you.

Now not only can you do anything you need to, but you kill it. Despite challenges in the way you approach tasks and over a year of suffering from mono, you are in the top 4% in a high school class of 600 students, you're the president of a club, have a great group of friends, work year round as a lifeguard, teach swim lessons, belong to a gym, and participate in volunteer work.

Yes son, through it all, here you are an independent (sometimes to a fault) self-sufficient (ditto), honest, hard-working young man. In our family you have always been the peacemaker and the keeper of confidences.

You are, you always have been, a person of honor. I cannot think of a single thing I would want you to be more than that.

I was recently challenged with putting my feelings about you into 20 words or less. Dissertations would not be accepted. This is what I wrote:

Your intelligence will take you part way.
Your character will take you the rest.
Watching with pride.
Mom, Dad, Brother

Happy Birthday, Son.
I love you like crazy.
Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Peanut Butter Cup Squares
Printable Recipe
Ingredients, cake:
1 stick butter
1 stick margarine
¾ cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 cups flour
24 mini Reese’s cups
Ingredients, frosting:
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Directions, cake:
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with non-stick spray.
*Melt butter and margarine in the microwave. Wisk in the peanut butter. You may need to microwave 15 seconds more to be sure it’s smooth.
*Mix in the sugar and brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Wisk in the eggs, then mix in the flour.
*Spread evenly into prepared pan. Place the mini candies evenly spaced over the top of the batter, gently push them partially into the batter.
*Bake approximately 35 minutes or until the top springs back to the touch. Cool completely.
Directions, frosting:
*Melt butter and chocolate chips in microwave until smooth, mix in the vanilla.
*Carefully mix in the powdered sugar. You don’t need it to be completely incorporated, just enough so it won’t fly out on you when you beat the mixture.
*Beat in the heavy cream. You can adjust the consistency with more cream if too thick or more powdered sugar if too thin.
*Spread on cooled cake.

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 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 and all 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 writer will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words | graphic desigened by and property of | #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.

Actually, this post was a double challenge. I had assigned all the words, sent out the emails and written my post. Then a friend who had signed up had to back out. I had the words she had sent in. I ended up having to delete my post and start over with the words she had been assigned. So here's my second incarnation of this week's Use Your words post.

 I’m using: rainbow ~ trap ~ catch ~ gold ~ 17 ~ green. They were submitted by: Confessions of a part-time working mom.

This is the story of Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue. 

Actually, it's not. It's the story of Happy-Go-Lucky and Suzie Tornado.

Well, in truth it's the ongoing story of Happy and Suzie. I started telling you this saga last Friday in my Secret Subject Swap, Lucky Leprechaun post.  Since I'm sure you've already read the post, you may want to click on the link just to refresh your memory.

OK, so you're up to date? When we last saw Suzie she was half dressed chasing cookie-clad Happy Leprechaun with a spatula. When she sees men in white coats carrying straightjackets chasing her, Suzie starts to realize that she might just want to rethink her strategy.

It isn't as though she's going to be able to serve those cookies to her guests anyway. I mean oven to table is one thing. Butt to table, not so much.

Lucky Leprechaun |

It's the principal of the thing though. She's gonna catch that cookie stealing green-wearing imp if it's the last thing she does. But she's going to have to be smart about it. Oh, and clothed; she's probably going to attract less attention if she covered her own butt (literally) and wearing a straightjacket in a rubber room is not what she had in mind. She had until St. Patrick's Day to find him. She needed a plan.

Suzie went home furious but not defeated. She tried to recapture her sanity life but she was haunted, tortured by the need to show Happy that he could not get away with stealing her cookies. As March 17 drew near, Suzie had to face the fact that she was a woman obsessed. And she just didn't know what to do about it.

The Friday before St. Patrick's Day, Suzie went to the kitchen. Baking was not only her stress relief, but was also when she did her best thinking. She got to work on her Dark Chocolate Chip Bread and as she baked a plan began to form.

Dark Chocolate Chip Bread with Orange Cream Cheese | recipe developed by | #recipe #bread

Dark Chocolate Chip Bread
with Orange Cream Cheese

She didn't need to chase him, she needed to trap him. How?

And then it came to her. Happy had taken her Lucky Rainbow Cookies; that's what had drawn him, and what goes with a rainbow that could lure him back? Gold. Of course, a pot of gold. 

 She found a pot, filled it with gold, placed it on a table on her back deck and went upstairs to wait.

The story of Lucky Leprechaun |

And wait.

And wait.

Then suddenly it happened, from downstairs she heard that familiar skittering sound.

She raced downstairs, flew out onto the deck, "aha" she yelled. She looked over and  to her surprise, sitting in the exact spot where she left it was the pot of gold. Slowly she turned and there in the back yard was Happy. He stopped mid-stride, turned and gave Suzie a wink. It was then that she saw what he was carrying.  In one hand was her Dark Chocolate Chip Bread. In the other, her Orange Cream Cheese.

With murder once again on her mind, Suzie grabbed the closest thing she could find, jumped off the deck and ran after him yelling "I'll get you this time, Leprechaun".

So, yet again, if you happen to see a woman running down the street chasing a Leprechaun, this time pitching gold coins at him, rest assured you're not hallucinating. Although you may want to consider getting out of the way of those men in the white coats chasing after her carrying straightjackets . . .
Follow these links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Dark Chocolate Chip Bread with Orange Cream Cheese
Printable Recipe
Ingredients, Bread:
1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup milk
2 TBSP chocolate syrup, bring to room temperature
1 egg, bring to room temperature
1 3/4 cups flour
2 TBSP unsweetened baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Ingredients, Cream Cheese:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 TBSP powdered sugar
3 TBSP orange juice
¼ tsp orange zest
Directions, Bread:
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
*Beat the butter and sugar. Beat in the milk, syrup and egg until smooth.
*Mix in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Last, flour the dark chocolate chips and gently mix them into the batter.
*Pour into the prepared loaf pan. I like to make sure the mixture is just a little thicker in the corners as they cook first.
*Bake for approximately one hour. Start checking the bread after 50 minutes. At this point, if the bread isn’t done but the top is getting very brown, you can tent a piece of tin foil loosely over the top. When done, the center should spring back to the touch.
*Allow to sit in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing.
Directions, Cream Cheese:
*Beat cream cheese until smooth.
*Beat in the powdered sugar, orange juice and orange zest until smooth.
*Cover and store in refrigerator.