Friday, May 29, 2015

Funny Friday: All Washed Up

Today’s post is May’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’re 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 Spatulas on Parade.

Spatulas on Parade beach picture |

1. Shoe yelling to his spouse down the beach: But I don’t want a separation. I loooovvvvvveeeee you . . .

2. Shoe to himself: That’s it. It’s over. I’m all washed up . . .

3. Shoe to himself: I’ll just sit here and wait for the other shoe to drop . . .

4. Shoe, sad about his separation and drunk, singing on the beach: ♪ ♫ ♬  One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do . . . ♪ ♫ ♬

5. Shoe, starting to feel a little better, to himself: I need to put this on my bio, “enjoys long walks on the beach”.

And now for something yummy:

 Mudslide Sandwich Cookies | | #recipe #cookies
Mudslide Sandwich Cookies
Mudslide Sandwich Cookies | | #recipe #cookies

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

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics
PS: Looking for more of my work? 
My Greek Pasta Salad was featured on MSN Food and Drink: 11 Tasty BBQ Side Dishes this week. 

Mudslide Cookies 
Printable Recipe
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 stick margarine, softened
¾ cups sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 TBSP Irish Cream Liqueur
2 TBSP Kahlua
2 1/2 cups flour
1 TBSP instant coffee granules
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½  stick butter, softened
1/2 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 TBSP Irish Cream Liqueur
1 TBSP Kahlua
OPT: milk, if needed
*Cream the butter, margarine and sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg and liqueurs. Beat in the flour, coffee granules, baking soda and salt starting at the lowest speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
*Place the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Enclose in the wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets in parchment paper.
*Take the dough out of the fridge and roll into approximately ¾ inch balls.
*Bake for 13 - 15 minutes until the bottoms are browning. Remove from baking sheet to cool completely.
* Melt chocolate chips and set aside.
*Beat the butter until smooth, then beat in the melted chocolate chips. Slowly and carefully beat or mix in the powdered sugar.
*Mix in the liqueurs a little at a time until the frosting is of spreading consistency. Start with 1 TBSP of Irish Cream and 1 TBSP of Kahlua, then add more Irish Cream as needed. If it is still not thin enough, add milk 1 tsp at a time.
*Using a knife, spread about 1 TBSP of the frosting between the flat sides of two cooled cookies to form a sandwich cookie.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tie Not the Knot

I don’t believe in gay marriage.

I don’t believe in heterosexual marriage.

I don’t believe in marriage at all.

Which is a strange thing to say since I’m married.

When my husband proposed I was really unsure. In retrospect I feel bad for the guy, surprised that he married me after all.

Hubs planned a getaway. We’re from the Boston area so we went to Nantucket, stayed in a quaint Bed-and-Breakfast, had a lovely weekend culminating in dinner at a well known restaurant where we shared a sweet dessert followed by an even sweeter proposal.

To which I said “I don’t know”.

Dessert Strata | | #recipe #dessert

Dessert Strata
Dessert Strata | | #recipe #dessert

“Poor guy” you’re saying to yourself. “She doesn’t deserve him.” But I had my reasons and you know what I ultimately answered so give me a break here.

We are of two different faiths. This can be an issue in terms of the ceremony itself, how we live our lives, how we cope with what comes our way, how our families feel about our union and how our respective religions view our marriage.

We were already living together. We did each others’ laundry, drove each others’ cars and comingled our money to some degree, as any two people living together must. We laughed together and supported each other. We made decisions together.

What’s the point of marriage?

Ah, irony, you bastard.

I wanted children. At that time society was just on the cusp of moving away from the stigma attached to having children outside the confines of a marriage.

Considering this is the issue that ultimately precipitated my decision to marry, I guess the joke was on me when I later found out that I was infertile, could not have children.

Not Tying the Knot | | #MyGraphics

As a society we are inching towards outgrowing the institution of marriage.

That’s not such a bad thing.

Not all animals are monogamous and that includes humans. If it’s not our nature, why do we have to be? In today’s culture we do not. We, most of us, enter into marriage with the best of intentions. But we grow and change and sometimes that union is more of a detriment than an advantage. Divorce is difficult and expensive and I am not an advocate of sacrificing your life because of an obligation that results in stagnation.

Gone Girl.

Many people rise to their potential only through the freedom to be emotionally transient. Cultivating an environment where that’s an option can only be good for society.

There are spiritual reasons to get married. Throughout history the premise was that a union entered into before G-d would be stronger. The commitment would mean more. The couple would think longer and fight harder to stay together. And yet the divorce rate keeps rising. Marriage isn’t harder to get out of, just messier.

It’s true that marriage affords certain protections under the law. There is no reason why, if we feel we need protection, we can’t do what we now can with simple wills, download a form and make our intentions known. A domestic partnership agreement of sorts, like a pre-nup. Without the nup. If the dissolution of the relationship needs to go to court, so be it, but all relationships do not to resolve via the legal system.

The simple fact is that these days people enter into and exit from relationships all the time. They live together, buy houses and cars together, have families. Couples break up and go their separate ways. They make the relationship work or they find a way to make the break-up work.

Add to that the fact that the institution of marriage is being further bastardized by those who feel they have the right to dictate who can and who can’t, those who use marriage to try to legalize their own personal prejudices.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt took the public stance that they would not marry until it was a right afforded to all. I commend them.

But I say do away with all the controversy and the legal battles altogether.

There should be no need to segment marriage into gay marriage or straight marriage. There should either be marriage or not.

As a society, I believe we’re headed towards not tying that knot.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphic
PS: How does my husband feel about this post? Well, I’d be a lot more worried about it if he hadn’t forgotten our anniversary last month.

Looking for more of my work? 
My Greek Pasta Salad was featured on MSN Food and Drink: 11 Tasty BBQ Side Dishes this week. 
Dessert Strata
Printable Recipe
Ingredients (6 servings):
10 8-inch tortillas
4 TBSP butter
3 TBSP sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
2 TBSP Powdered
1/2 tsp vanilla
¾ cup toffee bits
¼ cup Strawberry syrup
¾ cup chocolate syrup
*Place all of the tortillas in a pile, one on top of the other and cut into 6ths.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Melt butter. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
*Using a pastry brush, lightly brush both sides of the tortilla slices with butter. Place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
*Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until they just start to harden and crisp. Watch them closely. Remove from oven and cool completely.
*Whip ½ cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks hold.
*In a separate bowl, whip ½ cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the ¼ cup chocolate syrup and continue to whip until stiff peaks hold.
*In a third bowl, whip ½ cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the strawberry syrup and continue to whip until stiff peaks hold.
NOTE: You can reserve a little whipped cream for garnishing the top of your dessert.
*Place 6 tortilla slices on a serving plate, pushed together as one. Top evenly not quite out to the edge with 1/3 of the vanilla whipped cream. Sprinkle with ¼ cup toffee bits.
*Place 6 more tortilla slices gently on the whipped cream. Be careful to line up the cuts in the slices so that when you’re done you can separate the 6 wedges easily. Top evenly not quite out to the edge with 1/3 of the chocolate whipped cream.
*Place 6 more tortilla slices gently on the whipped cream. Be careful to line up the cuts in the slices so that when you’re done you can separate the 6 wedges easily. Top evenly not quite out to the edge with 1/3 of the strawberry whipped cream.
*Repeat all of the layers two more times. Top with the final 6 slices and garnish top with any reserved whipped cream.
*Store in refrigerator. To serve, carefully divide servings by pre-sliced wedges.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fly on the Wall: We Don’t Grab Nuts Here

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 17 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 graphic | | #MyGraphic

In the dashboard of my blog I’m able to see how people come to find my blog, including what search parameters are put into Google that bring them to my blog.

Imagine my surprise, this month, when I found that someone had come to my blog by googling “nut grab videos”.

What were they looking for? Believe me when I say that I don’t even want to know.

But I want to go on the record, right here and now, stating categorically that there were no nuts grabbed in the creation of this blog.

Fly on the Wall graphic | | #MyGraphic

We were in Hubs’ new car and it was finally warm out. I decided to open the window a crack but it was locked.
Me: You have my window child-locked.
Hubs clicks a button.
Me, trying the window again: That was the door lock.
Hubs clicks a button again.
Me, trying the window again: Nope, still the door lock.
Hubs: I don’t know where any other buttons are. If you get hot enough, wait till I stop at a red light and open the door.
Me: Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly what I had in mind.

Fly on the Wall graphic | | #MyGraphic

I’m sitting in the living room working online after dinner one night when I hear Hubs upstairs talking to College Boy. I can’t hear the conversation but College Boy sounds like he’s rolling his eyes (yes, I can actually tell when one of my kids is rolling his eyes just from his tone of voice).
Hubs comes downstairs putting on his glasses and I ask him what that was all about.
Hubs: I put on my glasses but they didn’t seem to be mine.
Me: OK, why?
Hubs: They just seemed different so I went up to see if maybe they were College Boy’s glasses.
Me: OK, and why was he exasperated with you?
Hubs: Turns out he doesn’t wear bifocals.
Can you all hear me rolling my eye?

Fly on the Wall graphic | | #MyGraphic

The basement toilet was clogged. I asked Hubs if he wanted me to call a plumber but he wanted to try to fix it himself.
Oy. Some people are blessed with handy Hubbies. Not me.
The first day he tried something and it didn’t work. The second day he tried something else and it didn’t work. The third day he tried again.
That same day the toilet in the master bathroom got clogged (remind me to cut down on the roughage around here). Hubs tried to unclog it with the plumbing snake and . . . well . . . it got stuck in the pipe.
I called the plumber.
The plumber goes upstairs and just takes the snake out of the toilet. Okay . . . don’t feel too stupid. He unclogged the toilet and went down to the basement. One minute later he and Hubs come up and Hubs has me write a check. It was way less than I thought it would be.
I waited until the plumber left, then talked to Hubs.
Me: Why are they charging so little for unclogging 2 toilets.
Hubs: One.
Me: One? He didn’t fix the basement toilet.
Hubs: No, he just flushed it. It works.
So . . . we had a plumber come out to remove a stuck plumbing snake that wasn’t stuck and unclog a toilet that works just fine. Perfect. 

Fly on the Wall graphic | | #MyGraphic

The first year of having my baby at college 700 miles away is finally at an end. The last few weeks, I’m sure he was very busy with finals, but I was starting to feel neglected. I miss him so much and I really wasn’t hearing from him.
I don’t want to be a nagging mom, ‘cause that’ll just make him want to call less, but I wanted to let him know that I miss him. So one day I just sent him a text:
In case you’re ever on Jeopardy and they ask, the answer is “yes, some boys do love their moms.”
Guess whether or not I heard from him Go ahead, guess. You’ve got a 50/50 chance.

Hot and Spicy Potato Casserole | | #recipe #sidedish
Hot and Spicy Potato Casserole

When I did video chat with him a few days later, the first thing he told me was that the frat got a dog yesterday.
Me: Who’s taking it home for the summer?
Eyes closed fingers crossed repeating over and over in my head “please don’t say you, please don’t say you . . .”
PurDude: I don’t know, I guess the guy who got the dog.
Me: Is he trained? Who’s taking him out?
PurDude: I don’t know, I guess the guy who got the dog.
Me: Just a little advice. . . until you have some answers . . . watch where you walk.

Fly on the Wall graphic | | #MyGraphic

We talked about what he’s been doing. Apparently his classes are getting more difficult and he’s needing to spend more time studying. He worked 2 different charity functions, one overnight, and went to a frat party after the second one.
Me: When do you sleep?
PurDude: I haven’t really figured a way to fit that into my schedule.
Me: You need to sleep or you’ll get sick.
PurDude: No, I can’t fit that into my schedule either.

Fly on the Wall graphic | | #MyGraphic

I had bought flowers for my outdoor pots and was planning on planting them the next day. It just so happened that my “trending news” on facebook was kind enough to tell me that the following day was “World Naked Gardening Day.” Hmmm, coincidence? I think not.
Now I did not garden in the nude. But I had SO much fun torturing telling my kids that I would.
Yeah, yeah, I need to get a life. I know.

Fly on the Wall graphic | | #MyGraphic

The last few months I’ve been including my typos in this post and one thing I’m realizing is that I make a ton of them. Here’s this month’s:
A friend was talking, on FB about a project she was going to work on. Now I don’t know about you, but projects of any kind take me most of a day and often many days.
Just an hour or so later she posted in her status that she was done. Done? I was pretty impressed with how quickly she works and left her a comment on her post. Sadly, I didn’t use the word “quick” and went with “fast”. Unfortunately that’s the word that ended up being a typo.
So my response to her FB status was “Wow, you’re fat.”

Fly on the Wall graphic | | #MyGraphic
I asked College Boy to write me a Guest Post. This happens often with both of my boys. They’re both intelligent and interesting. College Boy has a number of subjects that he’s really passionate about and I’m constantly trying to get him to write about one of them. The other day we had the conversation again.
Me: You should write me a Guest Post.
College Boy: No.
Me: Why not? You really care about so many topics, you argue your point well, write about something.
College Boy: I’ll write about me not writing you a Guest Post.
Me: OK. Write about that. I want to know why anyway.
College Boy goes upstairs and I am so excited. It’s not the topic I wanted but he was finally writing me something.
A few hours later I get an email from him. Yes he’s just upstairs, don’t judge.
The email had a document attachment and said that he was attaching what he had promised. The document said this:

I’m not writing you a guest post.

That was it, the whole document.
Me (via return email): You just said you’d write me something to shut me up.
College Boy (response email): No, I wrote exactly what I said I would.
Me: What if I said I wasn’t making you anything for dinner?
College Boy: I’ll have a bowl of ice cream. Anything else you want to talk about?
Me: No, I’m good.

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


Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphic

Hot & Spicy Potato Casserole
Printable Recipe
1 package Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup jalapeno sour cream dip
¾ cup shredded cheddar, divided
½ cup shredded pepper jack
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp cumin
1 can (2.8 oz) french fried onions
*Prepare an 8 X 11 baking dish with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Mix the potatoes, soup, dip ½ cup shredded cheddar, pepper jack, salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin in a large bowl. Pour into prepared baking dish.
*Top with the reserved ¼ cup shredded cheddar, followed by the canned French fried onions. Sprinkle with paprika.
*Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Silent No More

I have a friend who came out recently.

I was deeply offended.

She came out to many of her online friends in a private facebook community that I administer. Following a lengthy introspection she wanted us all to know what her reality is now that she’s made the decision to finally start to live it.

I was offended by her angst as she struggled to tell us all her truth.

I was offended by her need to suppress that truth for so long.

I was offended by the fear of rejection she articulated. I could hear her pain in her written words.

I was offended by her feeling the need to beg her friends to continue to like her for the person that she still is.

Silent No More | | #MyGraphics

I was offended by her willingness to leave the community she loves if that was the consensus of opinion. That she felt others had the right to judge her and that her fate was not in her own hands, but those with whom she’s invested much of her time and energy.

And I was initially offended by the fact that she even had to come out. After all, I am not obliged to publicly announce that I’m straight. Why should she have to say anything, to anyone, at anytime?

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that this is a positive. A rite of passage. She is announcing herself not because she’s obliged to let us know, but because she’s done hiding her truth.

Besides being offended, I am also really proud and I’m not just talking about her. What she did was brave and I’m honored that she chose to speak up in this particular community of writers.

And I’m not just talking about those who expressed support in this group either. Our group is a diverse community, a microcosm of society, if you will. We are made up of those living in different states and countries, different faiths, a wide range of ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, those who are married, divorced, single. As it turns out, a few of whom are not straight either.

That FB thread is comfort food for the heart and soul.

Cordon Bleu Casserole | | #recipe #dinner
Cordon Bleu Casserole
Cordon Bleu Casserole | | #recipe #dinner

Again, that’s not all I’m talking about here.

Of equal importance to me is the pride I feel in my association with those who DID NOT comment. My friends who, because of their own personal deep-seated beliefs just could not offer words of encouragement.

I’m humbled by the fact that these people did not say a word. By their choice to show the restraint, maturity and compassion to keep their personal beliefs about this woman’s new and very raw struggle to themselves. I respect and admire these people as well. They are every bit a part of the solution to what’s wrong with are society as those who embrace diversity.

At this time, as I see my friend start her new journey, my thoughts logically go to the whole concept of gay marriage. If she were to choose to, would she be able to affirm a relationship in the same way afforded me?

I wrote a piece about what I think about gay marriage, I pretty much guarantee that what I say will surprise you.

Don’t believe me? What if I say that my piece starts with “I don’t believe in gay marriage”?

Read it here: Tie Not the Knot.
Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics 

PS: Looking for more of my work? 
* Please vote: the letter to my sons, The Whole Truth, is featured on the The TODAY Show Parenting Site. To vote, all you have to do is click "vote" at the top of the page.

*I'm also on the Huffington Post talking about Lightning Strikes: What the Weather Taught me About Infertility

*My recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Nacho Style is featured in Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipes on MSN: Food and Drink

*And the voting is in for the Dedicated2Life's top 100 Passionate People of 2015 and I came in at #5

Cordon Bleu Casserole
Printable Recipe
2 ½ # thin sliced boneless skinless chicken breast
Salt and pepper to taste
½ # cooked ham (can use deli slices)
6 slices smoky provolone
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 TBSP melted butter
2 TBSP mayonnaise
½ cup honey
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 TBSP sweet hot mustard
*Spray a 8 X 11 baking pan with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Melt the butter. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
*Whisk together the butter, mayonnaise, honey, Dijon and sweet hot mustard.
*Lay half of the chicken breasts on the bottom of the prepared pan.
*Spread about ¼ of the sauce over the chicken. Layer with all of the ham, followed by the cheese, then the rest of the chicken.
*Spread the remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs.
*Bake, uncovered, for about 50 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Use Your Words: The Sounds of Hope

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 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: business ~ steady ~ bankrupt ~ unstable ~ security
They were submitted by Battered Hope.

I try not to take these assigned words in the obvious direction. Sometimes the words are random enough that there is no obvious direction, but when there seems to be, I like the added challenge of just not going there.

In honor of my friend whose word prompts I'm using, today I’m going to tell you about sounds that give me hope.

I’m not one of those people who feel that change is detrimental. I know that as a society we grow and evolve. The result is that a lot of what we considered right or normal evolves too. I see that as progress, not to be feared but to be embraced. We’re now able to talk about more: bullying, gay rights, religious freedom, legalization of marijuana, diversity of all kinds.

So when I say that I see a steady decline in our way of life, it’s not the changes in terms of morals and values that I’m referring to.

I’m talking about the depersonalization of business. The fact that I cannot depend on customer service at any level. That I have to press numbers until my fingers are numb to try to talk to a representative of a business to whom I’ve already given my money. When all I really want is what I’ve paid for, and the opportunity to discuss my needs or dissatisfaction, or possibly just to ask a question. Knowing that it’s futile, that they’ve set up this system deliberately so I cannot get through to them.

I’m talking about being bombarded daily with proof that so many of those we’ve elected to represent us are morally bankrupt. Egos gone wild.

I’m talking about how unstable the relationship has become between those we pay to protect and serve and those they’re paid to protect and serve. How many of our citizens are no longer coming home to dinner with their loved ones for reasons that are just beyond comprehension. And how those actions have steadily undermined our ability to feel safe.

Creamy Orzo Dinner | | #recipe #dinner
Creamy Orzo Dinner

My house backs up to woods. If you were to head back into the woods, turn right and walk for just a few minutes, you’d end up at an elementary school. This is the school that my boys attended.

All year round, but especially in the spring when the windows are open or when I’m out on the back deck I can hear, but not see, recess. It is a joyous, carefree sound. Kids laughing and screaming right up until that whistle blows and silence is once again restored to the neighborhood.

But those few times a day when the sounds of recess carry to my home, I find myself smiling. There is a sense of security that comes from that playground. Because although many may hear shrieks and squeals, I hear hope. And I get to hear it almost every day.
Links to the other Use Your Words posts:

Looking for more of my work? 
* Please vote: the letter to my sons, The Whole Truth, is featured on the The TODAY Show Parenting Site. To vote, all you have to do is click "vote" at the top of the page.

*I'm also on the Huffington Post talking about Lightning Strikes: What the Weather Taught me About Infertility

*My recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Nacho Style is featured in Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipes on MSN: Food and Drink

*And the voting is in for the Dedicated2Life's top 100 Passionate People of 2015 and I came in at #5
Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Creamy Orzo Dinner
Printable Recipe
1 cup orzo
2 tsp chicken bouillon
3/4 # asparagus, ends removed and chopped into approx. 1 ¼ inch pieces
8 oz portobello caps, sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 green onions, chopped
1 ½ # boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
Approx. 1 tsp garlic powder
4 TBSP butter, divided
2 TBSP flour
1 cup milk
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 TBSP chopped chives
Cracked pepper for serving
*In a large pot, cook orzo according to package directions with the chicken bouillon added to the cooking water. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the asparagus. Drain but cover the pot to keep warm.
*Place the cup of milk on the counter to warm up a bit.
*Melt 1 TBSP of butter in a sauté pan set on medium heat. Add the portobellos, garlic and green onion. Stir and cook until the portobellos just start to get soft. Add to the pot with the orzo.
*In the same sauté pan, melt 1 TBSP of butter. Add the chicken and sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook and stir until the chicken is completely cooked. Drain and add to the pot with the orzo and vegetables.
*In the same sauté pan, melt the last 2 TBSP butter. Stir in the flour. Cook and stir for one minute. Whisk in the milk. Add the cream cheese, salt, pepper and chives and whisk until the cream cheese is completely melted.
*Add the sauce to the pot with the orzo, chicken and veggies. Gently mix well. Serve with cracked pepper.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blog With Friends: Flour Flowers

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 recipes, sewing tutorials, crocheting, crafts projects, book reviews and/or a technology post all related to the theme of the month.

Blog With Friends | | #MyGraphics

There will be individual project pictures and links to what everyone else has to offer at the end of my post.

May's a pretty busy month, but three of us were able to put together theme projects. Here’s a peek at what we all came up with:

Blog With Friends | May Flowers projects |

This month our theme is May Flowers. Here’s my project:

Spring Flower Cookies | | #recipe #cookies
Spring Flower Cookies

What kind of flowers come to mind for me? Flour Flowers, of course. So for today’s post I set out to make a cookie that looks like a flower. Easy peasy, right? Maybe for you. Not so much for me.

Once I figured out the configuration I was going for, and how I’d make the shape, I had to decide whether to color the dough or to try to use icing to add the color. No question that icing would be the prettiest, but every previous attempt I’d made at decorating with icing turned out looking like it’d been done by a kindergartener.

So although I had a beautifully iced cookie in my head, and I knew I was going to try it, I also colored some of the dough just in case. Well, not really just in case, more like ‘cause I was pretty sure that for me practice does not always make perfect. Or anything close. So instead I went for covering all the bases. I’m smarter than I look.

So I made up a batch of dough and divided it in half. One half I wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated. The other half I divided into thirds, colored each third a different color, wrapped and refrigerated.

Spring Flower Cookies | | #recipe #cookies
 Spring Flower Cookie Doughs

Once chilled, I rolled and cut the dough. I used my small heart shaped cookie cutter for the petals and a circle for the center. Once I had the shapes done, I added my craft stick, refrigerated again and then baked.
Spring Flower Cookies | | #recipe #cookies

 Spring Flower Cookies going in the oven
Spring Flower Cookies | | #recipe #cookies

While the cookies were cooling, I made the icing. And that’s where the crying began. So here’s the deal: my recipe is solid, it’s my artistic skills which are lacking so I’m providing the recipe. Don’t let my results deter you from trying it yourself. But if you’re anything like me, you may want to set some of your dough aside and color the dough like I did.

Whichever way you choose to make them, the flavor is the same. And these Spring Flower Cookies are delsih.

Spring Flower Cookies | | #recipe #cookies

Be sure to visit this month’s other Blog With Friends Projects:
Stacy of Stacy Sews and Schools shares her tutorial for a May Flowers Table Runner.

Robin of Someone Else’s Genius shares her tutorial for Beaded Barefoot Sandals.

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Spring Flower Cookies
Printable Recipe
NOTE: I used craft sticks for flower stems in this recipe, these are optional.
Ingredients, Cookie:                                                         
1 stick butter, softened                        
1 stick margarine, softened  
1 cup sugar                                                
1 egg                                                      
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp lemon extract                                              
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
OPT: food coloring of your choice
Baking candy pearls
Ingredients, Icing (if you’re not coloring the dough but icing the cookies):
3 cups powdered sugar
3 - 5 TBSP milk
3 TBSP corn syrup
1/2 tsp of lemon extract
½ tsp almond extract
food coloring of your choice
Directions, Cookie:
*Cream the butter, margarine and sugar.  Beat in egg and vanilla and lemon extract.  Mix in the flour and baking powder until it forms a dough.
*Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
NOTE: If you’re coloring your dough, divide into separate bowls and add food coloring before wrapping and refrigerating.
*When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
*Roll out the dough to a little over ¼ inch thickness and cut out using a small heart shaped cookie cutter and a small circular cookie cutter. You need 3 hearts per circle.
*Arrange 3 heart shapes, touching each other. Gently place a craft stick over the flower to about 1/4 of the way up the top petal. Press a circular dough piece into the center, making sure it covers the top of the craft stick. Press down gently with the heel of your hand.
*Place one candy pearl in the center of each circle of the cookies being made with the pre-colored dough.
*Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
*Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes, then carefully remove the parchment paper from the cookie sheets and allow the cookies to cool completely.
Directions, Icing:
*Mix all icing ingredients using just 2 TBSP of the milk. Continue to add more milk, 1 tsp at a time, until your icing is of piping consistency. I used 4 TBSP.
*Separate the icing into bowls and add food colorings of your choice.
*Place about ¼ of each color into a piping bag with a #3 piping tip. Pipe outlines onto the flower petals and the center.
*Using more milk, thin the icings to cookie flooding consistency (I used about another 1/2 tsp of milk per half cup of icing) and place into either squeeze bottles or piping bags with a #5 tip. Fill in the pedals and the centers. Use a toothpick to even out the filling. Place a baking pearl in the center of each circle.
*Allow to set completely.
NOTE: When piping and filling, it works best to have each cookie on an individual piece of parchment paper so it can easily be turned while you work your way around the cookie.