Friday, January 30, 2015

Funny Friday, Rip Van Who?

Today’s post is January’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Funny Friday | | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by me!

Funny Friday | | #humor

1) Mom to the Boy: “You know I can still see you, right?”

2) Boy to his little brother: “You go hide, I’ll count to a million and then come find you.”

3) Baby Bear: “Someone’s been sitting in my chair, someone’s been eating my porridge, someone’s been sleeping on my couch . . . and he’s still there!”

4) Boy to his Mom: “Wake me up when the school year ends.”

5) Boy to his Mom: “Have I been sleeping for 10 years or did someone shorten the couch?”

How would you caption this picture?

And now for something yummy:

Shrimp Spread Crostini | | #recipe #appetizer
Shrimp Spread Crostini

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Shrimp Spread Crostini
Printable Recipe
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 TBSP parmesan cheese

1 baguette, sliced on the bias into 1 inch pieces

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup dried onion flakes
salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
2 cans baby shrimp (about 4.25 ounce cans)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
*Arrange the baguette slices on the prepared pan.
*Mix together the olive oil, minced garlic and parmesan. Usint a pastry brush, lightly brush the mixture onto the bread slices.
*Bake for 15 minutes or until it starts to brown.
*While the bread is toasting, mash the remaining ingredients together. Once the bread starts to brown, remove from oven but leave oven on.
*Spread the shrimp mixture onto the toast slices. Return to oven and bake for another 5 - 8 minutes, just until the topping is hot.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Billable Accommodations

A 5 year old in England recently came home from school with an envelope in his backpack. “Oh no, what did my child do at school today to warrant a letter sent home?” would be my thought.

“Oh no” is right, but this child didn’t do anything at school. It was what he didn’t do, and it was outside of school.

This child’s family had accepted an invitation to a birthday party on the child’s behalf. Plans changed and little Alex spent the day with his grandparents instead. They never informed the parents of the birthday child of this change in plans.

Apparently quite angry at having paid for a child who didn’t show up, the party parents sent an invoice for the equivalent of $24 home with Alex in his backpack. The invoice was for a “Child’s Party No-Show Fee”. Making the situation worse, when Alex’s parents made it clear that they would not be paying this particular bill, the party parents threatened to sue. Alex’s parents have taken to social media to make their case. Now, supposedly, the birthday boy will no longer play with Alex at school

My head is spinning with the number of things that are wrong with this scenario.

First let me say this, I completely understand how the birthday boy’s parents feel. I’ve been in a little different situation, where guests have not responded that they were coming and just shown up. I’m not talking about a couple, I’ve always got some extra food and treat bags planned, but I’ve had as many as 10 unexpected guests at my kids’ birthday parties. It was a nightmare in terms of logistics: room size, food, guest treat bags, entertainment. I can imagine what frustration the other situation might elicit, having paid for and planned for a no-show.

Burger Sliders on Potato Crisps | | #recipe #dinner

Burger Sliders on Potato Crisps | | #recipe #dinner

Burger Sliders on Potato Crisps

Right and wrong aren’t even up for discussion in this situation. There’s no excuse for:

*Using a child’s backpack and doing it via the school to send this kind of message.

*Sending a bill, threatening to sue, whatever immature thoughtless tactic was utilized to express anger.

*Exposing the 5 year old birthday boy to enough venom to result in his decision to no longer play with the boy who didn’t attend the party.

This is not about impulse control. What this family chose to do wasn’t a momentary act, implementation took time. No matter how angry the party holders were initially, why did self control never become an option along the way? Most importantly, why did the possible resulting implications to the emotional well-being of both children involved not dissuade them from this course of action? These people had this many chances to rein in their impulse to lash out:
1. When they decided to send the bill.
2. While they were writing the invoice.
3. When they brought it to the school.
4. When it was being sent home with the other child.

Without a doubt Alex’s family is wrong as well. They’ve not only gone public, but started a social media campaign to plead their case, effectively escalating instead of taking action to defuse the situation. And they’ve put their son’s face front and center in all of it. You know and I know that using a child in this way can come to no good.

For me, this whole story boils down to this one critical issue: bullying. Children are watching adults bully each other. Even worse, children are being bullied by adults.

Many years ago my son’s close friend was having a birthday party at a time when we would be away on vacation. I responded that he couldn’t attend, but bought a gift anyway. Circumstances changed and we had to cancel our vacation and go home for a family emergency instead. The day before we’d go back to Boston was the birthday party.

I knew the family. We were not friends but we were acquaintances, as our children were friends. I called to discuss the situation with the mother. I told her that our circumstances had changed and I was aware that it was the last minute. I asked her to please be honest, let me know if my son could now attend the party. I offered to explain to my son why a treat bag wouldn’t be available for him, or even to make a guest bag for him myself.

Yes, this took chutzpah and I’m sure I put her on the spot. There’s no question in my mind that she had to scramble to accommodate my son. I also know that I would have done it for another child if the situation were reversed. She said that she was happy to have him and she’d provide the guest bag. He’d be treated like the welcome guest that he was.

This is how adults communicate with each other. Privately, respectfully and outside of the hearing of the children involved. This is how far rational adults go to see that children are happy and smiling and feel included.

Even if it’s messy. Even if it’s inconvenient.

In my situation, adults spoke to each other. No bills were sent. No real value could possibly be assessed. Why? Because this is the kind of example we show to our children if we want them to be kind, polite, accommodating adults of the future. And that is priceless.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Burger Sliders on Potato Crisps
Printable Recipe
1# ground beef
1/3 cup dried minced onion
1 tsp Seasoned salt seasoning blend
1 egg
2 large potatoes
2 TBSP butter
Salt, pepper and paprika to taste
Approximately 2/3 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
*Melt the butter. Peel the potatoes and slice into about 1/3 inch slices. Place the potato slices on the baking sheet and, using a pastry brush, brush the potato slices with butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
*Bake potatoes for 25 minutes. Flip them over, bake for 15 minutes, top with the cheddar and return to oven until the cheddar is melted. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
*Mix the ground beef, minced onion, seasoned salt and egg just until all the ingredients are incorporated into the ground beef. Don’t over mix. Form into about 1 inch balls. Flatten to look like mini burgers.
*Coat a skillet with non-stick spray and put on medium heat. Once the skillet starts to get hot, add as many burgers as will fit without touching. Cook approximately 3 minutes, flip over and cook the other side.
*Place half of the potato slices on your serving dish, cheese side up. Put a mini burger on each slice, then top with a second potato slice, cheese side down.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fly on the Wall, It's All About the Food

Welcome to a monthly 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 of 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.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

PurDude: Mom, how come every time you’re cooking in the kitchen these days I’m constantly hearing you yelp?
Me: The lower oven stopped working while you were away at school.
PurDude: Aaaaaand?
Me: I’m too short for the upper oven.
PurDude: OK, aaaaaand?
Me: Every time I open the door and try to reach in to grab the food I burn my boobs.
PurDude: {{blink,blink}}. {{eyeroll}}. Only MY Mom . . .

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

I had been reading in my “trending stories” on Facebook about a man arrested for beating his wife with a McChicken sandwich. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

But it had obviously been on my mind when this conversation occurred:
Me: I’m not going to keep doing your laundry if after I fold it you just throw it on the floor of your room.
College Boy: What do you care if they get wrinkled? I’m the one wearing them.
Me: You better watch how you talk to me or I’ll beat you with a McChicken sandwich.
College Boy: {{blink, blink}}.
Lesson learned:
If you beat someone with a McChicken sandwich you’ll get arrested.
If you threaten to beat someone with a McChicken sandwich, you may just shut them up!

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

Proud parenting moment #7846: extortion:
PurDude: I have to go take a management class tomorrow for my job this summer. It costs $60 and I was wondering if you'd pay for it.
Me: you waited until the night before the class to ask me to pay for it?
PurDude: Will you? Please? I've got another semester of school and my spending money is getting tight.
Me: OK, I'll pay the $60 if you call me every day from school when you go back.
PurDude: I'll call you at least once this semester.
Me: I'll give you $1 towards your class.
PurDude: I'll call you once a month.
Me: I'll give you $5.
PurDude: You know I call you every time I do laundry, I'll keep doing that.
Me: You're still at $5.
Silence . . . 20 minutes later . . .
Me: So . . . what's the story with the class?
PurDude: I'll call you twice a week. Final offer.
Me: Sold.

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

In the past month both boys were at school, College Boy was living at home and commuting for the semester. Finals time was stressful, but I think I was more nervous than the boys were. This was a conversation we had the night before the semester ended:
College Boy: I need to go out after dinner tonight to a play at the school. I have to write a paper on it.
Me: Really? When’s the paper due? The semester’s over already.
College Boy: We had the option of attending many events over the course of the semester and writing papers about it. I have one more paper I haven’t done yet so I have to go to this play.
Me: You’re really cutting it close with this last paper aren’t you?
College Boy: No, not at all, what do you mean, I’ve got 24 hours .  . .

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

It's not just core requirements and computer science that PurDude is learning in college. Apparently he's become an expert in "flattery will get you everywhere". 
PurDude: Mom, will you make me a Pumpkin Pie?
Me: You were just home for Thanksgiving 3 weeks ago and I made one then.
PurDude: But Mom, I love your Pumpkin Pie, I can never get enough. You make THE Best Pumpkin Pie. 
Guess what I made 3 weeks after Thanksgiving. . .

THE Best Pumpkin Pie | | #recipe #pie
THE Best Pumpkin Pie

I was making latkes one afternoon and Hubs came into the kitchen to make himself a sandwich. Before taking his sandwich down to the man-cave, he put it on a plate with a napkin over it and went to clean his knife. While he was at the sink, I snuck a latke onto his plate under the napkin.

He started to walk away and I angrily started yelling at him: “did you steal a latke? I’m making them for New Year’s Eve appetizers and I need them.”

He turned and looked at me, shocked: “no, I didn’t take any, look . . .” He took the napkin off of his sandwich, saw the latke and started to stutter: “I didn’t do it, I didn’t take it . . .”

It wasn’t till I started laughing that he stopped and thought about it: “you put that there and started yelling at me? Why would you do that? You had me reacting like a naughty kid.”

Gotta get your laughs where you can get them, folks.

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

PurDude: Mom, can I borrow your car?
Me: Sure, I’m not going anywhere right now.
So PurDude leaves in my car and College Boy comes down the stairs.
College Boy: Mom, can I borrow your car?
Me: Your brother just left in it.
College Boy: You need another car.
Me: No I don’t, I don’t have anywhere I need to go right now.
College Boy: But I do. . .

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

Me: That stupid cell phone company has started sending me an email towards the end of every month saying I’ve used 75% of my data plan and should buy a larger plan.
PurDude: How much data are you using?
Me: Almost none, I’m mostly home so I’m using our wifi.
PurDude grabs my phone, looks at it, rolls his eyes, presses a button: No, NOW you’re using our wifi.
Me: And this is why you can’t go back to school.
PurDude: Why, so I can make sure you’re always hooked up to our wifi?
Me: No, so I can make sure you’ve always got someone to roll your eyes at.
. . . and PurDude rolls his eyes yet again.

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

For years now, since the boys started driving, I've been having the same conversation almost every time I climbed into my car to go somewhere.
Me (angrily): OK, who left my car with no gas in it?
College Boy: Not me.
PurDude: Not me.
But this was the conversation I had this past month:
Me (angrily): OK, who filled my car with gas?
College Boy: Not me.
PurDude: I did. I was out last night and it was running low.
Me: Oh, honey, I didn't want you to spend your money filling my gas tank while you're here on vacation.
College Boy hums the theme song to "Night Gallery" then narrates in a deep voice: You have entered a parallel universe . . . nothing is as it seems . . .

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

As you can tell from the stories included today, we flew PurDude home for winter break. It was great having him here.

Before he left, I had a talk with him about keeping in touch. I try really hard not to bother him, to let him initiate communication when he has the time and has something to say.
But sometimes, when I book his flights home, for instance, I need to get in touch with him. It’s easier for him if I text or email, so that’s what I do.

He, though, doesn’t always respond. Often there’s something I’ve told him that he needs to do (like print a boarding pass) and I need to know that he got my text and did what I asked. I told him that whenever he hears from me, to respond, even if it’s just an “OK” so I know he got the message.

PurDude went back to school and I texted him about some furniture we were looking at for his room. I was hoping to get his opinion.

Weeks before, when he was finishing up his first semester, he had texted me about something inconsequential and I had responded to him at the time. I texted him a second time to add to my response. So when I texted about the furniture, there were 3 texts from me in a row, the two from a month ago and then the current one about the furniture. To which he responded:
immediately followed by a second text:
and then a third:

Smart-Ass kid.

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

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

THE Best Pumpkin Pie
Printable Recipe
1 3/4 cups gingersnap crumbs (gingersnap cookies put through the food processor)
1 1/2 TBSP melted margarine
2 TBSP sugar

1 16 oz can pumpkin 
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup eggnog  NOTE: If you can't find eggnog, you can use heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP cold butter

1 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10 inch pie dish with non-stick spray.
*Combine the crust ingredients until moist and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish.
**Whisk together the next 11 ingredients and pour into crust. Bake for 25 minutes.
*While the pie is baking, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until it starts to form small balls. Sprinkle over the pie and immediately return the pie to the oven. Bake for another 40 to 50 minutes until the center is just set.
*Cool completely. Store in the refrigerator.
*When ready to serve, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
*Serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lessons Learned When School’s Out

School was out for almost 3 weeks but learning didn’t end. As the boys settled into some well deserved free time; no classes, not even a book was opened, I was getting schooled.

This was my virgin winter break with both boys in college, so I was definitely a newbie. It turns out you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I learned many:

Lessons Learned When School's Out | | #MyGraphics

1. If you can’t beat them (and you can’t) you may as well join them. Since they sleep till noon, breakfast was at 1 pm, lunch at 5 pm, and dinner at 9 pm, if they’re home for it. More than likely Mom and Dad will be eating dinner alone at a time they never wanted to be eating. Oh, and snack time is any time. Really more like all the time. 2 am is not out of the question.

2. Sleep is for moms of babies. You will not make it through a full night and I’m not talking about bathroom trips. Fall asleep and the garage door goes up. Fall back asleep and it goes up a second time. Start to fall asleep and you realize you never heard it go down after the last time it went up . . .

3. When changing the sheets on the beds, roll them up inside themselves, head straight out to the freezing cold, then unwrap them so you can shake all the food out.

4. Don’t think you’re so smart shaking the food out of the sheets outdoors. The rest of the crumbs from all the missing food can be found in your car. You can’t turn that inside out and shake it.

5. Math lesson: adding one person back to the household doubles the grocery bill. At least. And when they leave it’ll stay doubled until the pantry gets restocked.

Mushroom Stuffed Buttermilk Biscuits | | #recipe #appetizers
Mushroom Stuffed Buttermilk Biscuits

6. Apparently, no matter what your kids are learning at college, there’s also a loss of valuable information going on too. First is knowing how to put dishes into the dishwasher and how to wipe off the counter.

7. Current events: dinner conversation will never be the same. You now know every reason (rational and otherwise) why marijuana should be legal in every state.

8. Logic (or lack thereof): the front door will never be locked. No matter how many times you walk by and lock it, the next time you walk by it’ll be unlocked.

9. If you ask them to remember to do something (like sit down with you to order their books for next semester), here’s your language lesson:
“I’ll never remember” means “I’ll never remember”.
“I’ll try to remember” means “I’ll never remember”.
“OK, I’ll remember” means “I’ll never remember”.

10. Time will fly. One day you’re picking him up at the airport and the next you’re watching him walk back towards that plane. There will be tears. Lots and lots of tears.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Mushroom Stuffed Buttermilk Biscuits
Printable Recipe
2 cans of jr sized buttermilk biscuits
1 TBSP butter
1/2 # mushrooms
2 green onions
1 clove minced garlic
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 TBSP flour
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
*Open the cans of biscuits. Peel the top off of each biscuit and set the tops aside. Place the bottoms on the baking sheet.
*Clean and slice the mushrooms. Clean and chop the green onions.
*Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, green onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the mushrooms are soft and completely cooked. 
*Turn the heat down one notch, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
*Turn the heat down to warm and add the cream cheese. Cook and stir until the cream cheese is completely melted.
*Place about ¾ of a tsp of the mushroom filling into the center of each biscuit bottom on the baking sheet. Top with the biscuit tops you’d set aside.
*Place in oven and bake for 11 minutes.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Use Your Words, the Grumpy Cat edition

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 | | #MyGraphics

At the 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: game show ~ money ~ genius ~ Grumpy Cat
They were submitted by: Stacy Sews and Schools

It’s funny, when I first look at the words I’ve been assigned, something always pops into my head. A tiny little idea inspired by one of the words that can lead me in a direction for the post.

With these words, two somethings popped into my head. I read game show, money and genius and went immediately to the only game show I watch: Jeopardy.

Then I saw grumpy cat and another word popped into my head: Oy.

Really, Stacy? I was doing so well. I could have given birth to a post faster than any anesthesiologist could insert an epidural . . . BUT NOOOO, you had to add grumpy cat. Oy.

I think you have me stumped. I wrote a whole post about Grumpy Cat competing on a game show. First I tried to write a round of Jeopardy, but Grumpy Cat answered “tuna” to every question. Scratch that idea.

Then I tried to write about Grumpy Cat playing a few rounds of Family Feud. But again Grumpy Cat answered “tuna” to every category. He’s no genius, that Grumpy Cat. Maybe that’s why he’s so grumpy.

Seems there’s not much incentive for a cat to win money since obviously they can’t spend it. Maybe we need a game show that pays in tuna?

Coincidentally, as I sit here wrestling with this post, there’s a game show on TV. It’s late afternoon and I have Jeopardy on. I’m semi paying attention.

I head off to the kitchen to start making the Individual Delmonica Dinner Stacks for tonight. PurDude has been home from College and I look up as I hear his voice. He’s in the den, sitting on the couch and has just answered Final Jeopardy correctly.

Cancel all the Grumpy Cat playing for tuna stuff. Jeopardy for money is the way to go. I’m signing PurDude up. I’m sure he won’t mind.


 Individual Delmonico Dinner Stacks | | #recipe #dinner
Individual Delmonico Dinner Stacks

Links to the other Use Your Words posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Individual Delmonico Dinner Stacks
Printable Recipe
Ingredients (per person):
1 – 2 new potatoes (depending on size)
salt and pepper
2 TBSP melted butter
½ cup shredded cheddar, divided
1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ cup cooked chicken, turkey or ham (can be a breaded chicken if desired)
½ cup cooked broccoli
4 tsp olive oil
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp dried tarragon
*Grease a cookie sheet well. Be sure to use a cookie sheet with a rim. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Slice the new potatoes into approximately ¼ inch rounds. Toss with melted butter. Arrange on the cookie sheet (should be able to get about 3 stacks to a sheet) by forming about a 6 inch circle with overlapping potato slices and filling in the center with the rest of the slices. Try not to leave any of the cookie sheet within that circle showing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
*Bake the potato slices for 30 minutes.
*Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Top the potato rounds with half of the cheddar, then bacon, then chicken, broccoli, and the rest of the cheddar. Return to oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until all the components are hot.
*While the stacks cook, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and tarragon together.
*Serve with the lemon sauce drizzled over the stacks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Blog With Friends, The Brrrr Brigade

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, crocheting, crafts projects, book review and/or a technology post all related to the theme of the month.

Blog With Friends |

This month’s theme is “winter”. 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: The Brrrr Brigade |

I grew up in New England and when I was in high school, our family went on a ski vacation. We stayed in a house on a mountain in Vermont and spent the week really learning to ski. Surgarbush remains, to this day, one of my favorite places to ski.

I lived within a day’s drive of many ski mountains, mostly in Vermont and New Hampshire and often on weekends would take ski day trips with friends. Later, when I was working in Connecticut, I met my (now) husband who owned a ski house with his dad in New Hampshire.

Part of the whole ski experience was sitting by the fire after a long day of working the slopes; muscles aching, ears numb, chatting and laughing and always sipping a hot cocktail.

Spiked Raspberry Cocoa with Orange Whipped Cream | | #recipe #cocktail

Spiked Raspberry Cocoa with Orange Whipped Cream

I haven’t skied much since I moved to the Midwest. I did have a friend with a ski house in Breckenridge, Colorado and we taught our kids to ski there when they were young, but it’s been years.

With those memories in mind I decided to develop a recipe for a new hot drink. And in honor of the love of the raspberry and chocolate flavor profile that started with my mom and continues not only with me but my younger son as well, I’ve come up with a Spiked Raspberry Cocoa with Orange Whipped Cream. Now this is gonna warm you from the inside out.

I started off making the whipped cream and sticking it in the fridge so it would be ready when the cocoa was hot. Contrary to what my close friends will think, I didn’t choose the touch of orange flavoring for the whipped cream just because Grand Marnier is my favorite liqueur, but also because I didn’t want to alter the chocolate/raspberry balance I’d achieved in the drink and felt that the touch of orange would be a nice compliment.

Spiked Raspberry Cocoa with Orange Whipped Cream | | #recipe #cocktail

The chocolate part starts with a basic hot cocoa recipe: unsweetened cocoa, sugar, salt and milk. I just added a few ingredients to . . . you know . . . make it mine.

Spiked Raspberry Cocoa with Orange Whipped Cream | | #recipe #cocktail

The result will be a staple in my home on cold snowy days this winter.

Spiked Raspberry Cocoa with Orange Whipped Cream | | #recipe #cocktail

Be sure to visit all of this month’s other Blog With Friends projects:

Eileen of Eileen’s Perpetually Busy shares her I Love Minions crocheted hat with ear flaps.

 Robin of Someone Else’s Genius posted a jewelry making tutorial, DIY Charmed Snow Globe Necklaces.

  Stacy of Stacy Sews and Schools shares a sewing project, her Minecraft Creeper Hoodie tutorial.

Sarah of The Momisodes bring us Story Time.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Spiked Raspberry Cocoa with Orange Whipped Cream
Printable Recipe
Ingredients (4 servings):
½ cup heavy cream
2 TBSP orange liqueur
3 TBSP powdered sugar
½ tsp orange zest
4 cups milk
2 squares (approx. ½ oz each) Ghiradelli Dark and Raspberry (candy) Square
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 sugar
Dash salt
3 TBSP raspberry liqueur
1 TBSP whipped cream flavored vodka
*Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Beat in the orange liqueur, orange zest, and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Place in the refrigerator while making the cocoa.
*Heat the milk and chocolate squares in a saucepan until warm, whisking as it heats. Whisk in the unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar and salt.
*Watch the pot carefully, continue to heat, whisking now and then, until the mixture is hot but do not allow it to boil. The best way to check temperature is to stick a spoon in the hot cocoa and taste it.
*Remove from heat. Wisk in the raspberry liqueur and the whipped cream flavored vodka. Top with a dollop of the orange whipped cream.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Secret Subject Swap: You Found that Where?

Welcome to the first Secret Subject Swap of the new year. This month 14 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 Swap participants.

Secret Subject Swap | | #MyGraphics

My subject is: Write a post that starts with the line “Where did you find that?”
It was submitted by: Someone Else's Genius.

 “Where did you find that?” I asked. Not for the first time. I’m guessing not for the last time either.

Who did I say it to? Bet you can’t guess.
PurDude? No.
College Boy? Not this time.
Hubs? Nope.
The plumber.
Yes, I said the plumber. And not only did I say it to him, but I had the honor of paying him to get to say it. Great.

When Hubs and I first moved to the Midwest we rented one half of a two family home. We weren’t familiar with the city and decided to rent while we figured out where we wanted to live.

We had spoken with a close friend who happened to have cousins here and one of them was a teacher in one of the multiple school systems. Although we didn’t have children yet, having moved here just weeks after getting married, we knew that we wanted a family. My friend’s cousin gave us a good start figuring out what area we’d be most interested in. It’s the same part of town in which we were renting and it became clear that we were comfortable with the amenities available in the area.

Once we settled on where we wanted to be, we worked out a budget and started to build our with list.

We wanted a decent sized kitchen because, well, you know I head there when stressed. And I didn’t know it yet, but trying to have children was about to cause a whole lot of stress.

Cornbread Cranberry Chicken | | #recipe #dinner

Cornbread Cranberry Chicken | | #recipe #dinner

Cornbreaded Cranberry Chicken
also known as
Every Day’s Thanksgiving Chicken

We worked with a realtor and eventually found a house with pretty much everything we wanted. The house was owned by a couple with two very young children. They’d already moved out of state and the house was empty, the sellers were motivated.

We agreed on a price and, within months of marrying had bought our first home together.

We moved in, settled in and were happily decorating when, one day, I looked up at the kitchen ceiling and saw a water stain. Worse, it was still wet. It was directly below the upstairs guest bathroom. Crap. Hopefully not literally.

We don’t know anything about plumbing and, unfortunately, didn’t know any local plumbers. We picked one out using the old tried-and-true scientific eeny-meeny-miney-moe method. Everyone knows that works.

The plumber checked out the situation, let me know he had to replace the beeswax seal, quoted me enough to buy the hives, honeycombs and the whole damn bee farm, and got down to business playing in my toilet.

I was in the kitchen wondering how that whole leak happened in the first place when the plumber came down the stairs.
Plumber: “Do you have young kids?”
Me: “No, but we haven’t lived here very long, the previous owners did. Why?”
He reached into his tool box and pulled out a snow globe.
“Where did you find that?” I asked . . .

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

Cornbreaded Cranberry Chicken
(or “Every Day’s Thanksgiving” Chicken)
Printable Recipe
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (OPT: can use chicken cutlets or turkey cutlets)
3 cups bagged cornbread stuffing, processed to bread crumb consistency
1 ½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 can (14 oz) jellied cranberry sauce
½ cup apricot jam
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ stick butter, melted (OPT: can use non-stick spray)
*Place cranberry sauce, jam and juice in a pan and, over medium heat, bring to a boil stirring occasionally to mostly break up the cranberry sauce. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat.
*Pour ¾ cup of the sauce into a bowl and set aside to cool a little.
*To the remaining sauce, add the pecans and dried cranberries.
*If using chicken breasts and not cutlets, cut each breast into 3 pieces and pound gently so all pieces are approximately the same thickness.
*Mix together the cornbread stuffing, thyme and tarragon in a bowl.
*Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Dip the chicken or turkey pieces into the ¾ cup of sauce you had set aside earlier. Bread the chicken completely with the cornbread breading mixture. Place into prepared baking dish.
*Melt the ½ stick of butter and pour evenly over the chicken in the dish. OPT: you can spray the chicken with non-stick spray.
*Bake the chicken for approximately 45 minutes or until completely cooked. The amount of cooking time will depend on the thickness of the meat.
*The last 10 minutes of cooking, return the rest of the sauce to the stove and heat over medium low until hot.
*Serve the chicken with the sauce drizzled over the top.