Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lessons Learned: How NOT to get Published on BLUNTmoms

I have a post up on the website BLUNTMoms. Apparently this is not an easy thing to do. How did I get there? Well, in spite of myself, of course. I did it ass-backwards, the hard way. I did the exact opposite of everything I should have done. But that’s not really a surprise to you, is it?

Is there an easier way to get published other than through name calling and taunts and challenges? Hell yeah. If you want to get onto a well known site, pretty much just do the opposite of what I did. Follow their damn rules. How hard is that? Well, for everyone other than me anyway.

So for those of you looking to get onto a site like BLUNTmoms, here’s exactly what I did, the lessons I learned and . . . well . . . what you should not do. Because even though I did end up on the site, I’m still not sure exactly how that happened. I had a much better chance of being a quick dinner to a school of hungry sharks.

Lessons Learned: How NOT to get Published on BLUNTmoms | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I have to admit I’m out of the loop when it comes to blogging status. I don’t enter myself or my work into “best blogger” contests, hate writing guest posts and rarely submit pieces to big name web sites or book anthologies. I’m sort of in my own world and in many ways I like it. Sure, I want my blog to be successful, but on my terms which are way different from those of many bloggers I’ve come in contact with. I don’t write to become the next Bloggess. I don’t develop recipes to become the next Pioneer Woman. I keep on writing because I want the escape and the challenge and the fun and the connections.

Some of my posts go viral. Some are just plain vanilla. Works for me.
Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cake | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cake
Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cake | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

All of this to say that I’m not as cognizant of big name websites that accept submissions as most bloggers are. Yes, I’ve done my share of that and been published on some, but in general I tend to stay out of the loop. So I’m embarrassed to admit that, when I was jumping around from website to website via links in writers’ bios, I had no idea what BLUNTmoms was when I landed on their site.

LESSON LEARNED #1: Don’t be oblivious to what’s going on in the blogging world. May as well just wear a sign saying “don’t know the scoop, out of the loop.”

As I was looking around the site, trying to get a feel for it, I found a page called “Editorial Standards for Submissions” and checked it out. Yikes, these people are serious. They have strict rules about submission and they set some clear limits complete with dire consequences for noncompliance, including that aforementioned death in a tank of hungry sharks.

Well you know I tend to get my back up when people tell me what to do. Even, apparently, when it’s on their own site and I’m just a visitor. I had no intention of contacting them but when I found, just above the lengthy admonitions about spelling, grammar and punctuation, a rogue apostrophe . . . it was on.

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
Hello Magnolia, Anne, Lynn or Kristen:
I’ve been around the blogging world for a few years but just made my way to your website. I was reading through your “Editorial Standards for Submissions” page and there amongst the expectations, demands, limits and even threats on my life what did I find? Right there in the “revisions” section? An error. Yes, you.

Here it is, in this sentence, the misuse of the apostrophe:
“Requests for revisions – very few of us nail the BLUNTmoms tone and style on the first go, our regular writer’s included.”

Better be more careful. I hear you’ve got a tank of hungry sharks over there.
Karen @Baking In A Tornado

LESSON LEARNED #2: Don’t admit to the editors that you’ve never heard of their site, you idiot.

To: Baking In A Tornado
I’m sure I have NO idea what you are talking about.
(if a misused apostrophe falls and nobody can prove it was ever there, did it actually happen?)
Thanks for letting us know Smarty Pants.

So did I leave well enough alone? Please, do you even know me?

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
Funny, Magnolia, but in this day and age the answer is that it can always be proven. There’s such a thing as a screen shot. I should know, my kids taught me all about it. I can even do it now without them standing behind me giving me instructions and rolling their eyes. Yes, I’m that good.

And “Smarty Pants”? Really? That the best you got? I’ve been called far worse. By my kids. On a regular basis. And one of them has to do it long distance since he’s in college 700 miles away.

Thanks for the laugh, shark bait.

To: Baking In A Tornado
I always start off with barbs that would be gentle enough not to offend the average grade three student. You want to play? Then put your money where your mouth is and submit a post. Let’s see who is shark bait.

LESSON LEARNED #3: Don’t taunt the editor. She might just call your bluff. Idiot.

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
I don’t have anything not previously posted to submit. I do have a post I’m very proud of that not only did well on my blog but on Huffington Post and BlogHer as well. Don’t worry, I’m not sending it in, despite the worrisome rogue apostrophe I was able to clearly decipher your rules about UNIQUE content and all the ways I’d get punished for not following them.

And I wouldn’t send in a post even if I had one. After all, I’m so good at making first impressions I’ve already got one of the editors calling me names. Doesn’t really bode well with that whole “judged by a jury of your peers” thing. Oh, wait, I could writ a “How to Make Friends and Influence People”. Naaa, that kinda thing’s been done. Damn, clearly I would have nailed it.

So good news, I’m not going to be eaten by sharks (although I’m sure to be skewered by my boys, thank you skype)
Bad news: Looks like I may have progressed from Smarty Pants to Scaredy Cat. Looks like my bucket list for today is complete.

Sunday Bucket List:
✔ Progress from Smarty Pants to Scaredy Cat.
✔ Don’t get eaten by sharks, even those ingeniously disguised as editors.

Ha. I’m a success. If only I could convince my boys of that. Now that would take some real writing talent.

LESSON LEARNED #4: Don’t walk away.
LESSON LEARNED #4B: Don’t run away either. Very undignified.

To: Baking In A Tornado
You engaged the shark, and you made an impression. So essentially you paraded around in your speedo but you had a cucumber in it. Upon further inspection it was a disguised bottle cap in there.

I don’t give a crap about your Huff Po stuff or anything else . . . I want your soul.

I think you should write me something that I love and get on BLUNTmoms. Live brave, Chicken Girl.

LESSON LEARNED #5: Lame excuses impress no one.

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
 HOLY CRAP, you didn’t tell me you had cameras in my house.

To Do List:
1. Dispose of Speedo. In a remote location far from home. Discard all cucumbers and bottle caps too, just in case.
2. Have house checked for cameras. See if they can be reverse wired so you can watch those editors feed my fellow bloggers to the sharks.
3. Think about writing something for Magnolia. Be careful. Chances are she’s incognito and her real identity is a Dionaea Muscipuls (google it).
4. Google where to get a replacement soul. Magnolia seems to have her heart set on yours.

I’ll think about writing something. Besides writing posts and developing recipes for my own blog, I run 5 monthly blogger-participation writing challenges and am a contributor to a few different web sites. That keeps me pretty busy.

I need to go into stealth mode and check out your site and see what kinds of articles would be a good fit and then see if I’ve got something in me. I’m not a disciplined writer, I write when stressed and then my pieces sort of pour out of me. I don’t really harness it well.

But I’ve been known to have a banana or two in my speedo from time to time.

Chicken Girl (see, I’m incognito too)

LESSON LEARNED #6: Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. If you can’t write what’s needed when it’s needed, keep that banana in your speedo.

To: Baking In A Tornado
We could just turn this whole conversation into a post because we are so fucking hilarious.

Yes, read BLUNTmoms and check out some of our sharper writers and then get your fill of posts about poop. We have very few boundaries.

I have your number chicken girl, so I will harangue you until I get some BLUNTmoms gold from you.

LESSON LEARNED #7: Reread rule #5. I repeat: lame excuses impress no one.

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
Color me forewarned.

OR you could turn this whole conversation into a post after all and we could call it good. But then I suppose you’d accuse me of sneaking my banana in the back door . . .

Did I take my second chance to leave well enough alone? You know the answer to that. The only thing I hate more than being told what to do is being taunted with a challenge.

She got into my head. She was haunting me, dammit. Two days later when I wrote a piece for my blog, even though I wasn’t sure it was a fit for her site, I literally felt compelled to send it.

LESSON LEARNED #8: If you’ve been given a chance, don’t blow it on a piece you’re unsure is a good fit. And if you do, don’t admit it. 

To: editor@bluntmoms.com
Hello again Magnolia, it’s me Smarty Pants. No, that’s not right, I’d progressed to Chicken Little. Wrong again, that’s the whole “sky is falling” thing. Chicken Girl. That’s it. It’s me, Chicken Girl.

You, Woman Who Will Not Be Denied, really got into my head. I don’t really know if I love you or hate you for pushing and mocking and challenging me to write something but I guess that remains to be seen.

I’ve attached a post that I wrote today. You said you wanted my soul. I don’t know about my soul, but this one has my heart. And, as it turns out, my blood. It may not be a good fit, but I have less control over what comes out of my head than I’d like to admit. Anyway, I have no fear that you’ll be the first to tell me. Probably graphically and with a new nickname for me to live down. I’d like to say “be gentle” but we both know that’s not gonna happen.

Putting on kevlar. That works for sharks as well as bullets, right?
 Chicken Girl

Did it get published? Actually. . . yes! Would I do it again? Nope (liar, liar, pants on fire). Well, not that way anyway because, honestly, that could have gone all kinds of bad in so many ways. But I said that I continue to write for the escape and the challenge and the fun and the connections and I sure got all of those. And 8 valuable lessons too.

So there you have it. What not to do when you want to get published.

You’re welcome.
 Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics


PS: Thank you, Magnolia, for a fun Sunday afternoon of taunts, barbs and laughs. And for giving me permission to use your emails in this post. I owe you one. ❤

PPS: Go read my post Ancestry: Do you Really Want to Know who you are? on BLUNTmoms. And you’d best leave me a comment over there or I may have to feed you to the sharks. And they’re way hungrier now that I escaped.

Not-So-Plain Vanilla Cake
Printable Recipe
1 ½ stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 (3 oz ) box of vanilla pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ stick butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 – 5 TBSP half and half
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 baking pan.
*Beat the 1 ½ sticks of butter with the sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla and last the flour, pudding mix, salt and baking powder.
*Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch.
*Cool completely.
*Beat the remaining ¾ stick of butter and cream cheese until smooth. On the lowest setting at first, beat in 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar. Once well incorporated, beat in the vanilla and 2 TBSP half and half.
*Again on the lowest setting until incorporated, beat in the other 1 ½ cups powdered sugar. Once smooth, adjust the consistency by beating in up to another 3 TBSP of half and half a little at a time.
*Spread frosting onto completely cooled cake.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Funny Friday: The Squashed Squash Edition

Today’s post is April’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 | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by The Bergham's Life Chronicles.

Funny Friday | pic by The Bergham's Life Chronicles | www.BakingInATornado.com | #funny

1. Little pumpkins to the big guy: we’re going to have to ban you from participation in al sports pending the results of your steroid test.

2. Little pumpkins singing to the big one:  ♪ ♫ ♬ And in the name of the Lollipop Guild . . . we’d like to welcome you to Munchkin Land  ♪ ♫ ♬

3. Large pumpkin to his shrink: I’ve been so depressed since they ripped me from the vine. It’s sad, I just feel so . . . deflated.

4. One little pumpkin to the others: OK, who squashed the squash?

5. Big pumpkin on his cell phone to 911: Send an ambulance. And the police. And CSI too. Tell them to bring stun guns and a big net. Big Foot is real. AND HE STEPPED ON MY FACE.

And now for something yummy:

Caesar Salad with Eggless Dressing | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Caesar Salad with Eggless Dressing
Caesar Salad with Steak
Caesar Salad with Eggless Dressing | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

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

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

Caesar Salad with Eggless Dressing
Printable Recipe
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1  stone ground mustard
3/4 tsp anchovy paste
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 TBSP olive oil
OPT: Sprinkle of salt

1 head romaine lettuce, cleaned and dried
1 1/2 cups croutons
4 oz block of parmesan cheese
ground black pepper

OPT: To make this a meal, top with cooked meat, chicken or fish
*In a small bowl, mix the balsamic, garlic, mustard, anchovy paste, lemon juice, black pepper, sugar and red pepper flakes. Slowly but vigorously whisk in the olive oil. Taste to see if it needs a sprinkle of salt.
*Using a vegetable peeler, peel about 1 cup of parmesan cheese shavings.
*Tear the romaine into pieces and place into a large bowl. Toss with the dressing,  adding a little at a time, just until salad is dressed but not soaked. Store any unused dressing in the fridge.
*Add the croutons and parmesan shavings and toss again. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

By Any Other Name

Let me just start by saying that I did not see the recent prime time television interview of the 53 year old former teacher and her 31 year old former student. I have better things to do with my prime time viewing hours.

There are people who would legitimately say that I have no right commenting without being open to the perspective of those involved in the controversy. Luckily  for me they are neither the boss of me nor the editor of this blog.

I’ve seen the story off and on over the past 17 years, of course. A 34 year old married mother of four employed as a teacher is caught having an affair with her 12 year old student. I cringe even typing that. Twelve.

By the time the boy was 14 she had produced a child with him. She was charged with child rape, went to trial and in lieu of serving her entire sentence was allowed to serve just a short portion as long as she stayed away from the student for life.

Wow, what a gift.

By Any Other Name | graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Two weeks after getting out of jail she was once again pregnant by the same young man and went back to prison for the rest of her term, 7 years. After her release and once the boy was of age they were married. They have now been married for 10 years and those two children are teenagers.

I did see a clip from the recent interview in which the teacher states that the media somehow misrepresented them and that what we’ve all seen of their relationship is not their story.

THEIR story? There is no THEIR story. That young boy, now a grown man, didn’t get a story. We’ll never know what his life could have been, would have been, had he not fallen prey to a pedophile at the age of twelve. He has no story, just an assigned roll in the story of a naive, narcissistic, delusional person trying to justify her behavior.

I have read that she wants to return to teaching and wants her name removed from the sex offender registry.


And I want to live in a world without pedophiles.

The premise of her argument, from all I have read, is that the marriage proves that this was not wrong after all. This was true love. The ten year marriage is proof.

In order for me to believe that this was true love not a predator and her victim, there are some very simple, dare I say logical, ways I think this should have played out.

It is possible, and not unheard of, no matter what the age and/or age difference, to build a relationship, a connection, a love, without taking it to a physical level. There are many couples who choose this option, strengthen their bond and save the physical intimacy for marriage. Sex can be a part of love but love does not have to include sex. She could have acted out of maturity and respect for all involved if she had chosen to show some restraint. If she had been able to exercise some basic impulse control. If this truly was love, sex could at the very least wait until he was of age, no longer a child.

In the meantime she could have spent time getting a divorce from the husband she did not love, setting him free, and building a relationship with those four children instead of embarrassing the crap out of them and ripping their world apart. Children can survive the divorce of parents far easier than coping with a parent being incarcerated for rape.

But then I don’t think she really gave any thought to those children. She had another child on her mind.

Nothing, no number of years of marriage, can serve as an excuse for, a vindication of, having raped a child.

You may fool you but you are not fooling me.

By Any Other Name | graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

OK, lets lighten the mood with something sweet and yummy and not at all controversial. Pie, of course.
No Bake Yogurt Pie | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #pie

No Bake Yogurt Pie
No Bake Yogurt Pie | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #pie

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

No Bake Yogurt Pie
Printable Recipe
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 TBSP sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
6 TBSP powdered sugar, divided
5 – 6 oz lemon greek yogurt
¼ tsp lemon zest
OPT: yellow food coloring
5 – 6 oz vanilla greek yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 – 6 oz raspberry greek yogurt
6 oz clean fresh raspberries
OPT: red food coloring
*Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Remove ¼ cup of this mixture and set aside. To the rest, add the melted butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom and up the sides of a 10 inch pie plate. Refrigerate.
*Beat ½ cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 TBSP powdered sugar, lemon zest and yellow food coloring until stiff peaks hold. Fold in the lemon yogurt.
*Spread the mixture into the pie shell and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
*Just before an hour is up, beat another ½ cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 TBSP powdered sugar and the vanilla extract until stiff peaks hold. Fold in the vanilla yogurt and reserved graham cracker crumb mixture.
*Spread the mixture onto the lemon layer and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
*Chop 1/3 of the raspberries. Leave the rest whole for garnishing the pie.
*Just before an hour is up, beat another ½ cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 TBSP powdered sugar and the red food coloring until stiff peaks hold. Fold in the raspberry yogurt and chopped fresh raspberries.
*Spread onto the vanilla layer, decorate with reserved raspberries and refrigerate.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fly on the Wall: Technologically Challenged

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 15 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 | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Hubs has finally decided to join the 21st century. Yes, he’s officially retired his razor phone that holds a charge for a whole 15 minutes.
The day he got his new phone activated, I showed him one or two things about how to use it. I'm not terribly successful with mine but at least I was able to get Hubs started.
He found his apps store and retired to the man cave. A while later he comes upstairs.
Hubs: Look what I got!
Me: What?
Suddenly I’m completely blinded.
Hubs: It’s a flashlight app.
Me, squinting: I can see that. In fact, that light you’re shining in my eyes is all I can see.
Hubs: It really works well, just like a flashlight you’d buy at the store.
Me, eyes tearing: Remember we taught the kids not to point flashlights in people’s eyes? That goes for flashlight apps too.
He removes the light from my eyeballs and starts to walk away.
Hubs, like a kid with a new toy: And it’s FREE!
I’m just hoping that tomorrow he doesn’t find an air-horn app.

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

The next day Hubs told me that he was able to turn off cell phone notifications for his email without turning off other notifications, something I haven’t been able to do.
Me: How did you do it? I’ve wanted to do that for a year now.
Hubs: It was easy, the thing kept dinging and it started annoying a friend I work with.
Me: Aaaaand?
Hubs: So I told him it was my damn email but I don’t know how to shut off notifications just for the email.
Me: Aaaaand?
Hubs: He grabbed my phone, pressed a few buttons and now I don’t get email notifications any more.
Me: Thank you so much for all of your help.

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

The following day I was at home and Hubs was at work. We were having our new dishwasher installed and when the installer went to open the box, the dishwasher was damaged. I called Hubs on his cell phone but there was no answer. Two seconds later my cell rang and it was Hubs.
Me: I just called you two seconds ago and you didn’t answer.
Hubs: Ummmm
Me: Ummmm?
Hubs: Well . .  .
Me: Well . . . ?
Hubs: The thing is . . .
Me: What? Just tell me already.
Hubs: I don’t seem to be able to answer my new phone.

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

The next day Hubs was at work and I was doing laundry. I went down to the man cave to grab the towels out of the bathroom down there and I looked over at the table and there was Hubs' new phone, still plugged in from the night before. He'd gone to work and forgotten it.
Which, I guess, isn't all that bad since he can't answer it yet anyway.

On a similar note, Hubs found out that our phone company offers lessons on how to use smart phones. Now I can't stop giggling. I keep picturing him sitting at a little school desk with a bunch of 2nd graders learning how to use a phone. Better remind him, no cheating on the final.

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

PurDude is someone who is not technically challenged. I do, however, sometimes question his common sense. He was home last month for Spring Break and with all that’s going on with him, it was great to have him home.
I was a little concerned about him because he had Mono for well over a year in High School and he’s often tired still. His first day home he complained about being tired and fell asleep on the couch in the afternoon. The second day, same thing.
That night he went out with his friends and came home at around midnight. At 3:00 am I went into his room to find him still fully dressed and on his laptop.
Me: Ummm, I think I may have solved the mystery of why you’re always tired during the day . . .

Frosted Mocha Cookie Bars | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake

Frosted Mocha Cookie Bars
Frosted Mocha Cookie Bars | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake

Last month I wrote about a number of funny typos I’d made. Here’s one I made this month:
PurDude had a long day when he returned to school. His first flight left at 7am so we had to get up really early to drive to the airport. He had two flights, then an hour and a half drive back to school. I was worried about the drive when I knew he’d be pretty tired by then. I had him text me when he got to his destination airport, then when he finally got back to his frat.
PurDude (text): Home
Me (text): I feel butter.
PurDude (text): You need help. See if there’s a support group for that.

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

It was Passover this month and I just hate this holiday. There are so many dietary restrictions that instead of my family helping themselves to cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch, I'm force to make them something allowable for breakfast and for lunch  and for dessert and all snacks on top of dinner and what I'd normally make.
We were discussing the start of the holiday, which would be a seder on Friday night. The first day of Passover is Saturday, but holidays always start at sundown the night before.
Me (sort of kidding): You know, with daylight savings time, we could actually eat a normal dinner early and be done before sundown. We'd still have to do the seder after sundown, after we've had dinner. But that would be so wrong.
Hubs (jumping on that): If you want, I'll come home for dinner early. Any time you want me here I'll be here.
Me (laughing): Aren't you accommodating . . . you know it's wrong, though.
Hubs (who's not Jewish): Well, I don't want to do it if we'll end up going to hell.
Me: We don't believe in hell.
Hubs, smiling: No hell?
Me: Sheesh, nothing like taking hell off the table, huh?
So . . . just on the slight chance that my mom or son are reading this . . . I'm not saying that we DID cheat or anything . . .

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

One of my wall ovens wasn't working and not worth fixing. We finally got new ones installed. The top oven has a convection option which I've heard people rave about but I've never used. I'm uncomfortable because you have to adjust cooking times on all your recipes and until I have it worked out, I'm worried that whatever I'm cooking in the oven will either be ready way before or way after the veggies and sides I'm making in the microwave or on the stove.
First night:
Hubs: Dinner's good, did you use convection?
Me: No, I was afraid I'd screw up the timing.
Second night:
Hubs: Dinner's good, did you use convection?
Me: No, I was afraid I'd screw up the timing.
Third night:
Hubs: Dinner's good, did you use convection?
Me: No, I was afraid I'd screw up the timing.
Hubs: So let me get this straight. We got these great new ovens with this feature everyone loves and you're afraid of it.
Me: Yup, pretty much.

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

College Boy likes to toast bread in the oven, not in the toaster oven. Don't ask me why, maybe to boost my electric bill.
With the old ovens, the temperature can be set in increments of 5 degrees. This oven can be set to any number.
The first day that we have the ovens, College Boy takes out a roll and sets the oven to 372 degrees. OK.
The second day he sets the oven to 403 degrees. OK.
The third day he sets the oven to 358 degrees.
Me: Are you on some kind of a mission to figure out the exact temperature for optimal roll toasting or something?
College Boy: No.
Me: Then why are you setting the oven to all of these obscure temperatures?
College Boy: Because I can.
Me: Ah, should have known.

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

College Boy: I've been thinking about how uncomfortable you are with the convection oven and I think I know how to help you.
Me: Really? That's great.
College Boy: You know how you always said that the best way to get over a fear of something is to just keep doing it?
Me: Yes.
College Boy: Here's what you do. Get out your cake and cookie recipes and just make them all. One after another. Just start baking and don't stop until you're comfortable.
Me: That sounds like a lot of work. And a lot of food.
College Boy: Oh, and btw, did I tell you my friends and I are hanging out here in the basement tonight?

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

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


PS: I have been selected as one of the 100 nominees in Dedicated2Life's Passionate People of 2015 awards. If you'd like to vote for me, you can do that HERE.

Frosted Mocha Cookie Bars
Printable Recipe
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 TBSP unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 cups powdered sugar
4 TBSP butter, softened
2 – 4 TBSP brewed coffee
2 TBSP softened butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 baking dish.
*Cream the butter, margarine and sugars until smooth. Beat in the vanilla, chocolate syrup and eggs. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
*Spread into prepared backing dish, making the corners and edges a little thicker than the center.
*Bake approximately 30 minutes or until the center is completely set and browned like the rest of the cookie. Allow to cool completely.
*Carefully at first, beat the powdered sugar with 4 TBSP butter. One TBSP at a time, add the brewed coffee just until the frosting is of spreading consistency. Spread over the cooled cookie bar and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
*In a microwave safe bowl, melt the softened butter and the chocolate chips approximately 30 seconds. Stir until completely smooth. Spread over the frosting. Return cookie bars to the fridge until the top is set, then cut into bars.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blog With Friends: Earth Day

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

Blog With Friends | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

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 there for you to link up your blog posts.

This month our theme is Earth Day. Here’s a peek at what we all came up with:

Blog With Friends Earth Day | BakingInATornado.com

Thank you Sarah of The Momisodes for this month's collage

Here’s my project:

Celebration Dessert Pizza | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #EarthDay

Celebration Dessert Pizza

I have to admit that I had a really hard time with this one. Don’t get me wrong, I love the theme but it’s a difficult one to bake for. I thought about maybe doing a vegetable dish instead, perfect for earth day, but this is way too early in the season for good fresh veggies around here. Gardens aren’t even planted yet and farmer’s markets haven’t started up yet and won’t for a few months.

And although I may have made cakes that look like dirt now and then, I certainly didn’t make them using dirt.

So on to Plan B. I decided to do more of an homage to Earth Day. I made a giant Earth Day cookie, perfect for any celebration. I started just with a sugar cookie base and baked it in a large pizza round (not the ones with holes in the bottom, that would not have ended well).

Celebration Dessert Pizza | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #EarthDay

I used parchment paper and traced my shapes from a book, then cut them out to use as templates on the cookie.
NOTE: Although I used countries for my design, you can easily adapt this for any occasion or celebration.

Celebration Dessert Pizza | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #EarthDay

For the ocean I used whipped cream and yogurt. Using fruits and nuts my son PurDude and I decorated the countries: USA, Canada, Greenland, Mexico and South America. Yes, the shapes are not exact once I laid in the fruits and nuts. Let’s just say I was going for less Classicist Art and more for an Abstract approach. Or we could say that I was going for Classicism but ended up with Abstract. Whatever happened, I’ll never tell.

Anyway, what it does not have in artistic merit, it does have in taste, so there’s that.

Celebration Dessert Pizza | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #EarthDay

A word about Earth Day: Earth Day is about showing respect for our environment. It’s about acknowledging that we need to take steps to protect our resources for future generations. Although we set one day aside to celebrate Earth Day, a meaningful impact cannot be made on just one day a year, but in the choices we make every day.

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

Jennifer of Sparkly Poetic Weirdo shares Stretching Your Cluck, how to make a week’s worth of meals starting with one main item:
Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares her environmentally friendly DIY No-Sew Shopping Bag:

Eileen of Eileen’s Perpetually Busy has a tutorial for Upcycling Boxes and Other Containers into Storage Solutions.

Robin of Someone Else’s Genius shares a jewelry making tutorial for her Celebrating Nature Bracelet.

Melissa of Home on Deranged shares Ten Best Uses for Technology on Earth Day.

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


PS: I have been selected as one of the nominees in Dedicated2Life's Passionate People of 2015 awards. If you'd like to vote for me, you can do that HERE.

Celebration Dessert Pizza
Printable Recipe
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP powdered sugar
1 cup blueberry yogurt
Assorted fruits and nuts for decoration. I used: Blueberries, strawberries, plums, kiwi, sliced almonds, pecans
½ cup apricot preserves
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees if baking immediately. 
*Spray a pizza pan (without holes in the bottom) with non-stick spray.
*Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Carefully beat or mix in the flour, baking soda and salt.
*Spread the dough evenly onto your prepared pizza pan. 
NOTE: The dough will spread onto your pan once prepared, but is easier to spread if you refrigerate for an hour.
*Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookie is browned. My pan is 16 inches, if yours is a different size you may need to adjust baking times.
*While cookie is baking, trace or draw your design onto parchment paper. Cut out.
*Remove cookie from oven and allow to cool completely.
*Slice any thicker fruits into thinner pieces.
*Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks hold. Beat in the powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks hold. Fold in the yogurt. Spread over crust.
*Place your parchment paper cut-outs gently onto the cookie where you want the design to be. Make sure the side that you wrote on is facing up, not onto the food.
*Using a knife, gently trace the design, then remove the parchment paper. Fill in the design with fruits and nuts.
*Barely melt the apricot preserves. Using a pastry brush, “paint” the melted preserves over the fresh fruits.
*Keep in refrigerator and bring to room temperature only when serving.