Friday, February 27, 2015

Funny Friday: Cat Got Your Tongue?

Today’s post is February’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  graphic | | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Sanity Waiting to Happen.

Funny Friday | Cat Picture by Sanity Waiting to happen |

1. Cat to mouse: “ready or not, here I come . . .”

2. Cat to herself: “I don’t know, do I really want to go up here? Because I’m pretty sure that this is how most of those scary movies start . . .”

3. Cat to her owner: “fine, I’ll go to my room. It’s worth it for all the fun I had unraveling your sweater.”

4. Cat to herself: “now where did I put that mouse . . .”

5. Cat to herself: “that family can call me back all they want. If they want to pet me they’re going to have to shut off movies like “Cat in the Hat”. Seriously. No cat would be caught dead in a hat like that.”

And, like with birthday candles, one more for good luck:

6. Cat to herself: “cat got your tongue? Did that mom just ask her daughter if I had her tongue? Disgusting. That’s it. I’m going upstairs, packing mu bags and moving on. . .”

And now for something yummy:

Chocolate Berry Cream Cheese Hamentashen | | #recipe #cookies

Chocolate Berry Cream Cheese Hamentashen

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

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

 Chocolate Berry Cream Cheese Hamentashen
Printable Recipe
Ingredients (makes about 12 cookies):
1 stick butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup flour

1 cup mixed fresh berries
    OPT: for frozen berries, defrost and drain them, then increase the cornstarch by 1 - 2 tsp
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
14 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP brown sugar 

*Beat cream cheese and butter. Stir in flour. Form a ball with the dough, cut in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, flatten and refrigerate for at least an hour.
*Clean and dry all the berries. Chop the larger ones. Mix together the berries, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and mini chocolate chips.
*Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. NOTE: you may want to cover the bottom of your oven with tin foil as the filling in these cookies will run. 
*Sprinkle your rolling surface with powdered sugar. Place each half of the dough, separately, in the powdered sugar, cover each with the plastic wrap it had been refrigerated in and roll them out to 8 or 9 inch circles.
*Remove plastic wrap and cut out approximately 3 1/2 iinch circles using a round cookie cutter or floured rim of a glass. Wrap the excess dough in plastic wrap, refrigerate while making this batch, then use to make more cookies.
*Roll the sides in and pinch together to form  a triangle. Sprinkle a pinch of the cinnamon/sugar into the center of each cookie. Gently tamp down with your finger.
*Place some of the fruit filling into the center of each cookie. Don't mound high, it spills over the sides while cooking. Sprinkle tops with the rest of the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture.
*Bake the cookies for about 35 - 40 minutes, until they're brown and the sides start to crisp.
*Cool on the parchment paper on the cookie sheet. After they've been out of the oven for a minute, gently run a spatula under them.
*Store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature for serving.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

You’ve Been Served

Last month I wrote a serious post about a little boy in England who came home from school with a bill in his backpack from the family of a birthday boy whose party he agreed to but didn’t attend. What happened next is just as astounding as the attempt to bill. Now I’m the first to say that this situation is not funny, I think parents can either defuse a situation or escalate it. Every parent in that situation escalated. This is where bullying comes from. Figure it out.

But I also have to admit that the idea is intriguing, isn’t it? I mean, I could SO get into billing people for their rude behavior, couldn’t you?

You've Been Served | | #MyGraphics

*To the guy who sneaks up the turn lane then cuts over in heavy traffic: check your mail.

*To the doctor who’s an hour late for our appointment, then barely takes the time to hear me out: you’ve been served.

*To the lady in the 10 items or less check-out land at the grocery store with 487 items: you can pay this cashier after you’ve paid that cashier.

*While we’re on the subject of the grocery store, to the lady at the deli counter who doesn’t take a number and just jumps right in: I see you! Get out your wallet.

*To whoever bought that last bottle of Citronge I’d gone all the way to the only liquor store around that carries it to purchase. Grrrrr. Check your mail. And guard your liquor cabinet.

*To anyone who tries to tell me that I can’t serve Carrot and Pear bread as a fruit and vegetable with dinner: I reject your 2 cents worth, but I’ll take your 2 cents.
Carrot and Pear Bread | | #recipe #bread

Carrot and Pear Bread
Carrot and Pear Bread | | #recipe #bread

*To everyone within a 2 mile radius of my house who does not cover your garbage can on the windiest of days, pay up.

*To the pharmacy that insists on taking all of my personal information, including all of my phone numbers, then waits until I’ve driven up there and am standing at the counter to tell me that my prescription won’t be ready until tomorrow: I’ve got a bill for you. And I don’t take insurance.

*To the weather people on every local television station who convinced me, convinced us all, that there was a 100% chance of a substantial snow fall: you owe me. Not just money, but an afternoon of my life back.

*To the newspaper delivery person who, every time it pours, can’t get our paper past the very end of our driveway: check your mail.

*To the people who live on the other side of the woods behind our house who leave their dog outside to bark all day long throughout the entire summer: check your backpack. Or check your briefcase. Oh, and watch your back.

Ok, so I may never be able to implement my plan. But let me tell you that although I may not be any richer, but I sure do feel better.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Carrot and Pear Bread
Printable Recipe
1/2 cup pecans
2 tsp white vinegar
A little less than 3/4 cup milk
¾ # carrots (I used ¾ of a 1 # package of baby carrots)
2 pears
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
¼ cup maple syrup, room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp cinnamon
*Toast your pecans in a 350 degree oven for approximately 5 – 6 minutes. When you remove the pecans, leave the oven on.
*Put the vinegar into a ¾ cup measuring cup. Fill the cup the rest of the way with milk. Set aside.
*Peel the carrots if not already peeled. Add to a food processor and grate.
*Core and peel the pear.
*Cream the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, milk mixture and maple syrup. Mix in the carrots.
*Add the pear and pecans to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Mix into the butter mixture.
*In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, salt, pumpkin spice and cinnamon.
*Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Don’t over mix.
*Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Pour the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch.
*Cool for 10 minutes. Run knife around the edge and gently use it to lift bread from the bottom to loosen the bread. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

Friday, February 20, 2015

One of a Thousand, #1000Speak

#1000Speak, or “1000 voices speak for compassion” is a social initiative with the goal of getting 1000 bloggers to commit to publishing a piece about compassion, kindness, support, caring for others, the environment or being non-judgmental all on one day, today, February 20th. The objective is that amidst all that we see going on around us, all that we shake our heads at and denounce, the best course of action, the most positive thing we can do as a diverse multinational group of writers is to advance the discourse. We’ve chosen to stand together in expressing positivity.

Why February 20th? In November of 2007 the United Nations unanimously adopted a resolution that starting in 2009 (don’t ask me what they had against 2008, I haven’t a clue) February 20th would be observed as World Day of Social Justice. Making a stance of this size on this particular day makes sense.

#1000Speak | | #MyGraphics

 As I read through the UN declaration, one of the things that struck me was the distinction between upholding the principles of social justice and advancing social justice. I see the value in both. It doesn’t matter so much WHAT you do but THAT you do. Whether my words here are viewed as upholding or advancing doesn’t matter to me. The fact that I, that 1000 of us, put our words together in this way and on this day and as this group does. A lot.

When I was very little the school day would start with us all standing, placing our hands over our hearts and pledging allegiance to the flag, a symbol of our great nation. The message I want to express today is a very basic one using some of those same words. The core of global compassion can be found in these final words of the Pledge of Allegiance:

“with liberty and justice for all”

I’ve written two posts that express my feelings about he issue of compassion. One I wrote after a school shooting. It’s called Every Day. When there are atrocities such as school shootings, a marathon bombing, actions that make us feel incapable of comprehension, we’re often left feeling at a loss for adequate words. Every Day is about how, at times where there are no words, who we are can speak for us. What we choose to do in our own homes, in our neighborhoods and in our communities not just in times of crisis but every day can bridge the gap and express compassion.

The other post is called I Apologize and I wrote it in my very first month of blogging. In it I talk about bullying: where I think it comes from, why I believe it continues and one simple step we can all take to impact it. I end with this quote by Eminem. I love the straightforward simplicity of this message:

Do Unto Others quote | | #MyGraphics

The challenge, though, is to take it just one step further. I acknowledge that this is an admirable example of UPHOLDING social justice, but what would it take to ADVANCE it? One minor change in the thought process:

Compassion quote | | #MyGraphics #1000Speak

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

PS: I include a recipe in my posts. Here’s today’s:

Recipe for Compassion


*Put a filter in a sieve and place the sieve over a bowl.
*Add thoughts, words, actions and mix well.
*Allow time for the impurities to collect in the sieve and the positivity to trickle down into the bowl.
*Remove and discard the filter of pollutants.
*Keep what's left in the bowl in a safe environment and allow compassion to rise until it’s doubled in size.
*Like a starter dough, keep a piece for yourself and pass the rest down to future generations.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fly on the Wall: Ten Seconds of Fame

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 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.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

I was watching HGTV and they had a show on that takes place in my home state of Massachusetts, on the island of Nantucket, where I got engaged. I tweeted about it and HGTV put my tweet up on the show. When I saw it, I grabbed my cell phone but by the time I got it on, tapped the camera, pointed it at the TV and clicked, all I got was this:

My tweet on HGTV |

So my 15 minutes (OK, 10 seconds) of fame is unprovable. Perfect.

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

Speaking of my 15 seconds of fame, I had a piece published in the Huffington Post last month. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Arianna Huffington tagged me in a tweet about my article.

Because it seems that whatever can go wrong WILL go wrong (for me, anyway), I went to answer her and I broke twitter. Yup, no matter what I did, this was what I got:

I broke twitter |

Fortunately when twitter finally came back up, I hadn’t been banned for life, and this was still in my feed.

Arianna Huffington tweet  |

Since you don’t need your cell phone to take a screen shot, I actually have proof this time!

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

A more dubious run-in with fame:
I run a few writing challenges for bloggers and one of them is called Use Your Words. Bloggers send in random words which are assigned to another blogger to use in a post. In January I had a hard time using "Grumpy Cat", one of my assigned words, in a post. In February I coincidentally got "grumpy" and again struggled, stating I was never using "grumpy" or "grumpy cat" in a post against my will again.
That night I popped over to my twitter account and guess who had followed me . . .

Grumpy Cat twitter follow |

 . . . yup, Grumpy Cat. Maybe his ears were ringing with all the talking I'd been doing about him.
As if that wasn't funny enough, guess who followed me the next day . . . 

Grumpy Cats twitter follow |

. . . Grumpy CatS. Is this maybe the account of the other 8 lives?

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

As you can see, I've had some fun people follow me on twitter, I've had some interesting people follow me too. Sometimes I'm surprised and other times, like this one, I think "what took you so long?":

Twitter followers | | #SocialMedia

Apparently these companies roll in packs (Yay) because the very next week I was followed by Cambria and then by La Crema.

And since you don't always drink straight from the bottle, it seemed fitting that the next day Luxury Glassware followed me.

Crockpot Mushroom Beef | | #recipe #crockpot

Crockpot Mushroom Beef

I was watching the Grammys a few weeks ago. Hubs was in the office working on our taxes but would walk by now and then. He stopped when he saw Tom Jones, who is in his 70s, singing "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" with Jessie J, who is in her 20s.
Hubs: Is that his wife?
Me: No, they're not related, they're just singing a duet together.
Hubs went back to what he was doing. A few minutes later he was walking by again and the song was just about to end.
Hubs: Is that his daughter?
Me: Nope, still not related. 

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

For Valentine's Day I planned a special dinner. Hubs bought the flowers and champagne.
Dinner was served, all went really well and later I brought out dessert, my Creme de Menthe Shamrock Cake.
Hubs: Ummm, I don't want to criticize, but I think you have the wrong holiday.
Me: But I needed to work out this recipe and get a picture for a March blog post. You know you already had your Valentine's Day desserts back in January.
Hubs: And people wonder why I never know what day it is.

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

College Boy walked into the kitchen just as I, standing at the slider, raised the binoculars to my eyes, screeched and jumped backwards.
College Boy: You OK, Mom?
Me: Yes, I just wanted to get a closer look at this hawk out back. It scared me to see him looking right at me.

Hawk in the back yard | www.BakingInATornado | #birds #nature

College Boy: Oh, I thought maybe you saw your own reflection in the glass.
Smart-ass kid.

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

I’m going to come clean and admit a complete parenting fail.
I had a splitting headache in the middle of the afternoon and went to my room, shut the shades and climbed into bed.
College Boy: Are you OK?
Me: No.
College Boy: Did you take aspirin?
Me: Yes, just now.
College Boy: Do you need anything?
Me: Yes, sing me “Soft Kitty”.
And he had no idea what I was talking about. NO IDEA! Where did I go wrong?

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

I never claimed to be a genius, especially in the kitchen. And it’s well known that I’m quite familiar with a number of swear words.
Using pretty much all of those words is what I was doing at dinner time one night when I realized that earlier, when I’d turned on the oven light to check on dinner, instead of turning the light back off, I’d left the light on but turned the oven off and walked away for an hour.
Seems my family are not good sports either. Not one of them would agree to eat raw chicken . . .

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

We still have a home phone. Sometimes my mom calls, and it’s the number I give out to anyone I don’t want having my cell phone number.
The other night it rang at dinner time, as it often does.
College Boy: Why do we keep this thing? No one uses them any more, we rarely even use it.
Me: We have to keep it or we’ll be putting thousands of people out of work. We’re the only ones the telemarketers have left to call.

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

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Crockpot Mushroom Beef
Printable Recipe
¾ cup frozen chopped onion
2 cans condensed GOLDEN mushroom soup
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup cooking sherry
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2# stir fry beef (very lean, very thinly sliced)
8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 green onions, cleaned and chopped
12 ounces frozen peas
4 ounces cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
16 oz wide noodles
¼ cup parsley
*In a crockpot, mix together the chopped onion, condensed soup, dry soup mix, water, sherry, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add in the stir fry beef. Turn the crockpot on to low and cook for 4 hours.
*Mix in the mushrooms and green onions and cook one more hour.
*Mix in the peas, cream cheese and sour cream. Cook ½ hour, stir well and cook another half an hour.
*Cook the wide noodles according to package directions. Serve the beef over the noodles. Sprinkle with parsley.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tin Can List

The bucket list. Who hasn’t heard of, maybe even taken the time to start their own bucket list? You know, that well thought out record of things you want to do before you die. Some are accomplishments, many are just experiences. It seems like everyone’s talking about them.

Honestly, I try not to think about how long I may have and what I want to do here before I go. It could be the stress I’m under, who knows. What I do know is that most days I’m just trying to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other without having a heart attack or a stroke. Lofty ambitions, I know.

So I’ve come up with my own, short-term version of the bucket list. Less “bucket” and more “tin can”, really. Here it is, my hopes and dreams, what I aspire to. For now, anyway:

* To only need to go to one grocery store in a single week. Just one. No having to go to a second or third store to find everything on my list. No having to run out the door in the middle of a recipe because I don’t have an ingredient. One and done. That’s all I want. Just once.

* To get carded again. I don’t care if the checker is wearing coke-bottle glasses. I don’t care if he’s legally blind or drunk or even both. I just want someone to check my license when I buy a bottle of wine. Is that too much to ask?

Tin Can List | | #MyGraphics

* To finish an e-book before the library loan expires and it deletes itself from my Kindle, resulting in “who done it” remaining forever a mystery. Honestly, I’ve got enough things keeping me up at night.

* To have more toothpaste in the linen closet when I need it. I can buy a tube a week. I can buy 2 or 3 tubes a week, but whenever I run out . . . nada.

* To cook a big dinner on the same night that my family is actually here for dinner. Either I make it and put it away, or they’re all here and I got nothin’. 

Festive Pea Casserole | | #recipe #sidedish

Festive Pea Casserole
Festive Pea Casserole | | #recipe #sidedish

* To go to the bathroom without hearing my ring tone.

* To make it through a night without doing the covers dance: throw them off, pull them up to my chin, throw them off, pull them up to my chin, throw them off . . .

* To have all the laundry done. Why is it that every time I move the last load into the dryer I remember 3 more things that I need to wash?

* To be the first one into the shower. Maybe not even the first, just not the last. You know, when there’s still shampoo, soap, maybe even a smidgeon of hot water.

* To be published in the Huffington Post.

Wait, I did that last one. Three times even. I am so winning at this tin can thing.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Festive Pea Casserole
Printable Recipe
1 can condensed cream of potato soup
1 TBSP worcestershire sauce
½ cup sour cream
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1 jar (2 oz) pimentos, drained
1 can mushrooms (4 oz), drained
1 bag (16 oz) frozen peas
1 can (2.8 oz) french fried onions
*Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
*Mix together the soup, worcestershire sauce, sour cream, salt and pepper. Add the scallions, pimemtos, mushrooms and peas. Mix well.
*Bake, covered for 30 minutes.
*Uncover, sprinkle the French fried onions over the top and bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Use Your Words: Grumpy but no Cat

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 writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using: grumpy ~ treasure ~ eternal
They were submitted by: The Bergham's Life Chronicles

 I’m totally having a panic attack. Or suffering from PTSD or something. Last month when I got my words for this challenge, I sat down to happily write my post when I looked at my last words, Grumpy Cat. Suddenly I had no idea what to write. All the other words went together but Grumpy Cat? Yikes.

I finally wrote my post and, I thought, moved on.

Now this month I look at that first word I’ve been assigned and I immediately start to hyperventilate. Nooooo . . . what is this, deja vu?

Jules must have decided to have pity on me because she actually only gave me half of Grumpy Cat, the “grumpy” half. I’m thinking next month I’ll get “cat”?

But I’m a good sport, I can do this {{breathes into paper bag}}.

OK, five things I treasure:

*Finding whatever it is I’ve lost this time {{insert item here}} BEFORE I buy another one.

*The few times I can get pictures of my boys these days. Mostly when they’re not looking, but a mama’s gotta do what a mama’s gotta do. No, taking pictures of your boys when they're sleeping is not creepy.

*When I have the house to myself. Even if it’s just for a few minutes. Even if I have to send Hubs out to get milk when we’ve got plenty and College Boy out to get the mail I already brought in.

*Feeling like I got a really great bargain. We just got College Boy a thick, fleece lined hoodie. Between the sale price and the discount coupon it cost $6. Winning! Especially since he’ll probably leave it somewhere within the next week.

*When a recipe comes out just like, or even close to, how I’d imagined it.

Five things that make me grumpy:
*When a recipe just doesn’t come at all and even bribes won’t even get Hubs to eat it.

*When I’m in the grocery store when I realize that one contact is in inside out and I have to do the rest of my shopping with one eye closed. Happens more often than you’d think and THAT doesn’t make me look just ridiculous .  . .

*When my cell dings and bings and rings and sings all day long, but (I later see) the one time PurDude texts me . . . silence.

*When it’s winter but we have one sunny semi-warm day and I’m going to take advantage of it while I get some writing done. I go out to the back deck. I’ve brought out a cushion for the chair, a drink, my phone and my laptop. I finally get settled in and THEN I remember that I can’t see the screen of my laptop in the glare of the sun.

*When dinner’s a hit and I realize that I should have made enough for leftovers.

Smoky Orange Cornish Hen | | #recipe #dinner
Smoky Orange Cornish Hens

And eternal? Just one thing:
*I hereby officially put you all on notice that I, from now on, intend to treasure my eternal right to never use grumpy, cat, or grumpy cat in a sentence against my will again.

Links to the other Use Your Words posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Smoky Orange Cornish Hens
Printable Recipe
2 package Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice
2 mandarin oranges, peeled, or 1 small can mandarin oranges
Garlic powder
4 cornish hens, approximately 1 ½ pounds, each
Garlic powder, paprika
1 jar (12 ounces) Orange marmalade
2 TBSP butter
1 tsp cumin
* Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking pan with tin foil. If you don’t have a baking pan large enough for the hens to sit without touching, use two or they won’t crisp properly.
*Cook the packages of long grain and wild rice according to package directions. Set aside.
*In a saucepan, heat the marmalade, butter and cumin until it all melts together.
*Rinse and dry the Cornish hens. Sprinkle the back with garlic powder and paprika. Place them in the prepared baking pans, breast side up.
*Drain the mandarin oranges of all liquid and gently mix into the wild rice. Stuff the hen cavities, loosely, with the rice/orange mixture. If you have any rice leftover, you can warm it in the microwave for serving.
*Using a pastry brush, liberally brush the hens all over with half of the marmalade mixture.
*Bake about 45 minutes. Baste with the rest of the marmalade mixture.
*Bake another 15 to 30 minutes or until the juices run clear. Be sure they are cooked thoroughly, poultry should not be red at all. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blog With Friends: Love You

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 a given month we may have a recipe, sewing tutorial, crocheting, crafts projects, book review, technology post and/or a short story, all related to the theme of the month.

Blog With Friends | | #MyGraphics

This month’s theme is Love. In honor of VD, of course. Ummm . . . Valentine’s Day, that is. There will be individual project pictures and links to what everyone else has to offer at the end of my post. There's also a blog hop for bloggers to link up any of your Love themed posts.

Here’s a peek at what we all came up with:

Blog With Friends: The Creative Cupids |

As usual, my addition to the group is a recipe. And since we all know that time honored equation: Valentine’s Day = Chocolate = Love,  a Valentine’s Day post was right up my alley, my cup of tea, in my bailiwick and just what the doctor ordered. Did I miss any cliches?

 Hugs and Kisses Cookies | | #recipe #cookies

I developed the recipe for these Hugs and Kisses Cookies one morning while dipping my Chocolate Almond Biscotti in my coffee. I thought it would be a great idea to create a recipe for a cookie that kids might like to dip in their cocoa. These Hugs and Cookies stand up perfectly to dipping in a hot drink. They’re easy to make but they do take some down time. The dough needs to sit in the fridge before you form the shapes, and again before you bake. If you wan to do it in steps, you can make the doughs a day in advance, they’re fine to chill overnight, and then make the cookies the next day.

 Hugs and Kisses Cookies | | #recipe #cookies
Hugs and Kisses Cookies
going into the oven

I made these cookies giant because bigger is better when it comes to baked goods (or so my kids tell me), but you can certainly make them smaller too. You’ll just need to make the rolls thinner and adjust your baking times. No matter how you choose to make them, bet you get rewarded with hugs and kisses!

 Hugs and Kisses Cookies | | #recipe #cookies

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

Stacy, of Stacy Sews and Schools shares King and Queen of Hearts Crowns, a sewing tutorial for Felt Crowns for Kids.

Robin of Someone Else’s Genius shares a Love Cage Captured Chainmaille Bracelet tutorial.

Christy of Uplifting Families shares how to make Sweet 'n Salty Valentine's Day Popcorn. This would even make a great centerpiece for a Valentine’s Day party.

Lydia of Cluttered Genius shows us Repurposing Wedding Flower Pedals and turn them into a beautiful piece of memorabilia.

Sarah of The Momisodes amuses us with a funny Love Poem.

Baking In A Tornado | | #MyGraphics

Hugs and Kisses Cookies
Printable Recipe
1 stick butter, softened                             
1 stick margarine, softened                              
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar                                         
2 eggs                                                                   
1 tsp vanilla                                             
3 cups flour                                              
1 tsp baking powder                                 
1 tsp salt 
5 TBSP baking cocoa
1 1/2 tsp strawberry extract
1/3 cup flour
red food coloring
Opt: Hot cocoa for dunking 
*Beat butter, margarine and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder and salt.
*Divide dough in half.
*To one half, add the baking cocoa.  To the other, add the strawberry extract, 1/3 cup flour and red food coloring.
*Wrap both halves of dough, separately, in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
*Put parchment paper onto baking sheet.
*For the “X”: separately take about 1 tsp of each dough and roll until it’s about 7 inches long. Place the strawberry roll on your parchment paper at a slant. Place a chocolate roll so that it forms an “X” with the strawberry roll. Press lightly in the center. Crimp the ends so the pieces are the same size, turn each end sideways slightly.
*For the “O”: separately take about 1/2 tsp of each dough and roll until it’s about 7 inches long. It should be thinner than the pieces you used for the “X”. Put the 2 colors of rolled dough side by side and, starting in the center and working out,  twist them together to form a circle. Place on the baking sheet and press the top gently to be sure the circle stays closed.
*Put the baking sheet into the fridge for 20 minutes.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Bake cookies for approx. 10 - 12 minutes.  Let sit on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes before removing to cool completely.
*Opt: dunk in hot cocoa