Friday, December 30, 2016

Funny Friday: Excuses, Excuses

Today’s post is this month’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: One picture, Five Captions | | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Candice of Measurements of Merriment:

Funny Friday, a picture captioning blog challenge | picture submitted by Candice of Measurements of Merriment | Presented on | #funny #laugh

1. Mom to little girl: What do you mean you forgot to put on underwear?

2. Mom to Dad: Sorry, I know we were excited to take her sledding, but apparently having all this snow gear put on you is exhausting.

3. Dad to Mom: Are you sure she's supposed to bend that way?

4. Little girl to her mom: I've had enough of the cold weather. Wake me up when its spring.

5. Mom to little girl: OK, that's it, you're out of excuses, time to go out and play.
Little girl to mom: I can't go, Mom, my belly will get cold. See . . .

And now for a simple side dish recipe: 

Easy Rice with Vegetables Casserole, a simple side dish put together in minute with cooked rice and chopped vegetables. A great compliment to any meal | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Easy Rice with Vegetables Casserole
Easy Rice with Vegetables Casserole, a simple side dish put together in minute with cooked rice and chopped vegetables. A great compliment to any meal | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

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

Measurements of Merriment 
 Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
Not That Sarah Michelle 
Southern Belle Charm 
 Spatulas on Parade
The Bergham Chronicles  


Baking In A Tornado signature/logo | www. Baking In A | #MyGraphics

Easy Rice with Vegetables Casserole
2 cups cooked rice
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup french onion dip
1/4 cup shredded provolone cheese
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar, divided
1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup cooked broccoli florets, chopped

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish.
*Mix all ingredients except 1/4 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese together and transfer to prepared dish.
*Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese, bake another 10 minutes. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


It's not all about winning. Ask Charlie Sheen. OK, maybe not.

My son met Bernie Sanders. They only said a couple of sentences, face to face, but it was important. You might know that Bernie didn't win the election. He didn't even win the primary. What he did do is bring perspective to the term "winning."

I'm grateful to Bernie. He brought out a level of maturity in College Boy that, although lurking beneath the surface, was masked by idealism and the sharp "right vs wrong" lines often drawn by youth.

At the point at which College Boy went to hear Bernie speak, the primaries were long over. In fact, it was a week until the election. College Boy was furious with the DNC for their manipulation, distrustful of Hillary and of Trump. He wasn't sure he could vote at all and I understood. 

Bernie, despite his loss, is a man of principles, morals and values. It is about his message, his vision. Still. He is not only able to relate to young adults who are generations younger than him, but to get them to look past their frustration with the system and see the bigger picture. And he does it himself. Undeterred by being undermined by the DNC, on that day he was speaking for their candidate. He engaged our youth and brought them into the process. More than that, he got them to understand that participation matters, even when you don't like the options. Especially when you don't like the options.

Bernie Sanders talking with people at a rally | | #politics #FeelTheBern

Many, many years before, College Boy was in my belly and I was in a hospital bed. His twin was about to burst my Fallopian Tube and I had been rushed into emergency surgery. Yes, the bleeding and pain started in the middle of the night while my husband was out of state on business and the tornado sirens were going off. Yes, I was lucky to have lived, waiting till morning to drive myself to the hospital and yes, I had every right to feel sorry for myself. I had suffered a loss.

This was actually my third IVF attempt and third pregnancy with only losses to show for it. Maud, my Reproductive Endocrinologist is an amazing woman. Not just doctor, but human being. 

I woke up in that hospital bed with tears streaming down my face. I'd only carried this fetus for about 8 weeks but I was alone in the hospital having lost a baby in a difficult surgery.

It was Sunday, my husband was heading back from the East Coast so I'd expected to be alone. Not so. In walked Maud carrying her daughter. She saw my tears and gently put her daughter into my arms. "I came to remind you not of what you lost, but what you still have."

You see, it's not all about winning, not according to the dictionary definition anyway. It's about what you perceive as a win, even despite a crushing loss.

Provolone Chicken with Mushrooms and Asparagus, a delicious dinner any night of the week. Easily prepared in one saucepan then baked in the oven. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner #chicken

Provolone Chicken with Mushrooms and Asparagus
Provolone Chicken with Mushrooms and Asparagus, a delicious dinner any night of the week. Easily prepared in one saucepan then baked in the oven. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner #chicken

Which brings us to today. No lobster for us for dinner, we're having chicken. Because here I sit with some mighty huge college tuition bills in my hands. And you know what I'm thinking?

Yup . . . winning!

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Provolone Chicken with Mushrooms and Asparagus
Printable Recipe
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, each cut into thirds
1 egg
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
3 TBSP butter, separated
1/4 cup TBSP olive oil
9 slices provolone cheese
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 small bunch asparagus, rinsed and 1 - 1 1/2 inches cut off bottoms

*Grease a 9 X 13 glass baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Beat the egg with 2 TBSP water. Place the bread crumbs on a dish.
*Heat the olive oil and 1 TBSP of the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat.
*Dip each piece of chicken in the egg wash, then coat all sides with bread crumbs. 
*Place about half of the chicken pieces into saucepan. Cook on both sides until the chicken is well browned. Remove to paper towels.
*Add another TBSP butter to the pan and repeat with the rest of the chicken.
*Place all of the chicken into the prepared baking dish. Cover each piece with a slice of provolone.
*In the same saucepan, melt the last TBSP butter. Add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring until the mushrooms are soft. 
*Add the white wine to the pan. Bring to a boil and add the asparagus. Cook just until the asparagus barely starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice.
*Pour the vegetables and sauce over the chicken. Cover tightly with tin foil. Bake for about 1/2 hour until bubbly hot and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Fly on the Wall: Cooking All the Bad Stuff?

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 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

Hubs hands me a piece of paper with a log-in and password for our health insurance web site.
Hubs: Here's the new password. I had to change it because I forgot the old one.
Me: You know I keep all of these in a document. Why didn't you just call and ask me?
Hubs: It was easier to just change it.
Me: okkkaaayyy. Ummm, this isn't a change, this is what the password was.
Hubs: That's the new one. 
Me: It's the old one.
Hubs: Well that's what I changed it to.
Me: So you changed the password to what it was.
Hubs: I didn't know what it was.
Me: Who's on first?
Hubs: What?
Me: What's on second.
Hubs: {{silence}}.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

I'm in the den and I hear College Boy in the kitchen. What the hell?

College Boy: No.
{{ silence }}
College Boy: I can't.
{{ silence }}
College Boy: It's morning, I'm eating breakfast.
{{ silence }}
College Boy: Stop it.
{{ silence }}

I look into the kitchen. No one else is there (good thing since he's only wearing a towel). He's not on a blue tooth either. Who the heck is he talking to?

College Boy: I can't.
Me: Who are you talking to?
College Boy points. On the counter is a plate of my Holiday Chocolate Mint Cookie Cups.
College Boy: They're calling to me. It's breakfast time, but they're very insistent.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

In last month's Fly on the Wall I told the story of texting and how one of the phone's predictions of what my next word would be was pretty amusing.
Two of the suggestions made sense but the third, not at all. Must have been there for amusement.

I guess my phone is choosing to continue to amuse me because it happened again.

This time I was texting a friend who has been through a lot but was finally having a good day. I texted "hope the day continues to be a good" and the phone's three suggestions were "time", "day", and "pie" .

Hope the day continues to be a good pie?

Either I'm really unpredictable, or this phone sucks at suggestions.

Does keep me laughing though.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

PurDude was here for just five days last month for Thanksgiving (and he's back now for winter break too, yay).

I love when he comes home but I hate when he leaves again, especially over Thanksgiving because it's such a short stay.

This conversation took place the day before he headed back to school.

Me: I don't want you to go back.

PurDude: Gotta go, Mom.
Me: Your brother doesn't want you to go back either.
College Boy: Yeah, when you go she'll stop making all our favorites and go back to cooking the bad stuff.

Sometimes you just can't win.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

That same day we were discussing what time to leave for the airport the next morning.

Hubs: What time does his flight leave?
Me: 12:30 pm.
Hubs: So we should leave at 11:30. 
Me: No way, he'll be late. He has to check in, go through security, we can't get him to the airport at boarding time.
Hubs: We left a half hour before he came in to pick him up and we were on time.
Me: Is that the stupidest thing you've ever said?
Hubs: No, I've said stupider.

Zesty Avocado Queso Dip, a flavor packed zesty take on Pico de Gallo. Fresh flavors make this dip a hit. Also delicious on tacos or enchiladas. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #appetizer #dip

Zesty Avocado Queso Dip
Zesty Avocado Queso Dip, a flavor packed zesty take on Pico de Gallo. Fresh flavors make this dip a hit. Also delicious on tacos or enchiladas. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #appetizer #dip

College Boy and I were having a cocktail one afternoon. I was asking him to look at my fingernail, which has a weird groove in it. I didn't realize I was "giving him the finger" until he gave me the finger back.

Me: That's not nice.
College Boy: Well, you were giving me the finger first.
Me: I wanted you to see that my fingernail was growing weird.
College Boy: I wanted you to see that mine is not.

Smart A$$.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

My Mama is mean
She looks like a bean
and she's more crazy
than Charlie Sheen.

Yeah, I don't think I'll ask College Boy to write me a poem ever again.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

Let me just preface this conversation by reminding you that my kids are grown, old enough to vote. I would not have spoken to either of them like this when they were younger but at this point, all bets are off.

I'm in the kitchen getting dinner ready when College Boy walks in.

College Boy: Do you have any of the Enchiladas you made the other night left over?
Me: Sorry, they're in the freezer.
College Boy: Well, you could heat one up for me in the microwave.
Me: They are all packaged and frozen together.
College Boy: You can get one separated out with a knife.
Me: You can kiss my a$$.

That shut him up for about 5 seconds.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

I was filling out some paperwork to make some changes to my life insurance. Somehow we ended up talking about how expensive funerals are.

College Boy: Won't cost nothing, I'll just bury you in the back yard.
Me: You'll probably bury me in a coffee can.
Hubs: Well, if you're cremated he could.
Me: Even if I'm not cremated, he'll just shove me in.
{{everyone laughs}}

College Boy: I'll scatter your ashes on Cape Cod, Mom. I know you love it there.
Me (smiling): Thank you, honey.
Hubs: Yeah, we'll take your ashes
Me (interrupting) What do you me "we"? You're expecting to still be around?
Hubs: Well, yeah, I hope so.
Me: You hope I go first?
{{College Boy sees where this is going and his eyes get big}}
Hubs: Ummm, ooops, did I say that?

I'm kinda thinking he did. And that he may need to get himself a taste tester before the next time I serve him a meal . . .

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

An hour later College Boy comes downstairs. 

College Boy: Mom, you're a great multitasker.
Me: Don't torture me now, I'm still trying to get over your father wanting me to die first.
College Boy: I'm not here to torture you, I'm trying to pay you a compliment.
Me (doubtful . . . well, I do know this kid): OK . . .
College Boy: I just came to tell you that you make doing more than one thing at once look effortless.
Me: Yeah, why do you say that.
College Boy: Well there you are . . . mean AND ugly.

Gee, how did I know that was coming?  

So . . . one wants me dead and the other wants to torture me first.

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

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Zesty Avocado Queso Dip
Printable Recipe
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp cumin 
2 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup frozen chopped onion, defrosted and drained
4 oz Queso Fresco cheese, chopped 
1/2 (4 oz can) chopped jalapenos
1 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe avocados
2 TBSP lime juice

*Mix together the salad dressing, garlic and cumin in a bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion, cheese, jalapenos and cilantro. Mix well.
*Chop the avocados and sprinkle with lime juice. Gently mix with the rest of the dip. 
*Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, carefully mixing now and then. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Be My Guest: Gourmet Feast on a Budget by The Angrivated Mom

I spoke, one year ago, in my post Moving Forward and Be My Guest about the friends who so generously offered to write guest posts for my blog as I dealt with the loss of my Dad. I remain grateful to and for every one of those writers.

Be My Guest, a series of guest posts by multiple bloggers | Presented by | #MyGraphics #blogging

The mental paralysis took me by surprise though, a few weeks ago. I hadn't even considered what impact this first anniversary might have on me.

And then suddenly there it was, the ping of an incoming email.

A guest post from another friend. Obviously a clairvoyant one.

Not just any guest post either, it's the perfect companion to the piece to the one I'd just published about The Work of Angels, providing food to struggling families in our area. In this post, Kristina shares recipes and strategies for preparing a holiday meal on a budget, proving that we don't need to spend a lot to serve a gourmet holiday feast.

I'm honored to introduce you to Kristina of The Angrivated Mom. I've known for some time that Steena is a talented writer. As well as her own blog, she's regularly been published on a multitude of well-known web sited. So it should come as no surprise that the same creativity that comes through in her writing presents itself as a resourceful and innovative approach to cooking.

Gourmet Feast on a Budget, Semi-Homemade Style

Many of us have found ourselves living from paycheck to paycheck with no wiggle room for extravagance at some point or another. The Holidays can turn into a stressful time of year when money is short. While some people luck out and are able to avoid hosting the customary get-togethers with relatives and friends, for whatever reason others are left to pull off the makings of a feast with little means to do so. Sometimes you are the only family member with enough space or are welcoming enough to invite guests over. You might not have the kind of situation where relatives want to gather either, leaving you to celebrate with your immediate family alone.

I, myself, have been found scrambling to make miracles happen for Thanksgiving and Christmas: on more than one occasion, in fact. Being stuck in a rut so many times before has enabled me to learn how to make magic happen out of what I commonly keep in my kitchen and what I can buy on a small budget. Not everything has to be homemade from scratch to blow your guests out of the water. A few key focus dishes that look amazing paired with a juicy, flavorful turkey make it easy to chat with other items on the menu and save your pocketbook. Below are my go-to recipes for a holiday meal that will surely impress, and a list of items you can get away with going the store-bought route in order to complete the menu. Recipes are enough to feed roughly 6 - 10 people.

Gourmet Feast on a Budget, Semi-homemade Style, a guest post by Kristina of The Angrivated Mom | Presented on | #GuestPost #recipe


Marinade Ingredients:
6 chicken bouillon cubes, dissolved
4 beef bouillon cubes, dissolved
1/2 bottle Worcestershire sauce
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 cups cheap white wine
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 container seasoned meat tenderizer
2 capfuls poultry seasoning
2 capfuls dry mustard seasoning
1 capful paprika
1 capful garlic powder

1 turkey, defrosted

Marinade Preparation:
*Mix ingredients well. Brine turkey at least 4 hours prior to cooking, preferably overnight. 
*Pat dry. Reserve 4 - 6 cups marinade, depending on bird size.
Seasoned Butter Rub Ingredients:
2 - 3 cups margarine or butter spread, slightly softened
2 capfuls seasoned meat tenderizer of seasoning salt
1/2 bottle of Mrs. Dash (salt-free) onion and herb seasoning
1 capful garlic powder
1 capful lemon pepper seasoning
1 capful onion powder
1/2 capful of poultry seasoning
2 TBSP ground black pepper
2 TBSP dried basil
2 TBSP oregano
2 TBSP dried parsley

Seasoned Butter Rub Preparation:
*Mix ingredients together. Rub all over the turkey, leaving as thick a layer as possible to drip during the browning period.

Stuffing Ingredients:
1 medium apple cut into quarters
1 medium white onion cut into quarters
1 small lemon cut into quarters
1 small orange, cut into quarters
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
reserved turkey marinade

Stuffing Preparation:
*Pour marinade into the cavity of the turkey. Arrange the rest of the ingredients inside however they will fit.
*Put into a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
*Cover with tin foil and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
*Baste turkey with juices 30 - 45 minutes.
*Cook according to recommended time limits for a stuffed turkey. Mine was 15.8 lbs and it took 4 hours and 45 minutes.
*NOTE: Reserve a cup of the drippings for use in the gravy.

Gourmet Feast on a Budget, Semi-homemade Style, a guest post by Kristina of The Angrivated Mom | Presented on | #GuestPost #recipe

Cheddar Green Bean Casserole

1 cans no salt added cut green beans, drained
1 can french style green beans, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 oz block of cheddar cheese, cut into tiny cubes
1/2 cup evaporated milk (reserve the rest of the can for the mashed potatoes)
1 TBSP plus 1 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp paprika
2 tsp pepper
1 cup Fried Onions for mixture
1 cup Fried Onions for topping

*Mix soup, milk, seasonings and cheese in a greased 8" or 9" baking dish, round or square.
*Mix in green beans and 1 cup of the Fried Onions until well coated.
*Put into a 350 degree oven uncovered, for 25 minutes.
*Top with remaining Fried Onions and continue baking until golden brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

2 boxes Country Cheddar Rice-A-Roni
milk and butter as the packages of rice call for
1 bag frozen broccoli cuts
1 bag frozen corn
2 cups crushed crackers or corn flakes
1 individual use packet of Velveeta Cheese Sauce

*Make rice according to package directions.
*Microwave broccoli with 2 TBSP water in a lidded container for 5 minutes. Add the corn, mix and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Container will be hot, be careful lifting the lid as the steam will rush out.
*Once it cools slightly, drain any remaining water.
*Mix finished rice and vegetables together in a large greased baking dish. Add Velveeta Cheese Sauce and mix well. Pat mixture down and top with crushed crackers.
*Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until thoroughly hot.

Candied Yams

2 cans Yams in syrup, drained and rinsed
1 cup Toffee Peanuts, crushed
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 TBSP cinnamon
2 tsp salt
1 bag miniature marshmallows

*In a small saucepot, cook yams and butter on medium heat until they begin to break down into mush.
*Add cinnamon, salt and brown sugar. Continue cooking while mashing with a fork until only small lumps remain. Stir in crushed peanuts.
*Pour mixture into an 8" greased baking dish and top with as many marshmallows as will fit. Brush a little butter over the tops so they don't fluff up too much while baking.
*Put into a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated and marshmallows are melted.

Items You Can Cheat On

Stuffing: Packaged is no different than homemade if you use a little less of the water and butter the directions call for on the box. You can always mix in chopped walnuts and dried cranberries for a fancier version, but I can tell you right now, my kis won't eat it like that.

Corn: Grab a few economy sized cans, drain 'em, dump into a microwavable bowl with a dab of butter and pinch of salt, then heat up while the turkey rests before carving.

Baked Beans: Prepare just like the corn. Dump a few cans into microwaveable bowl and warm it up the same time as the corn.

Mashed Potatoes: Instead of wasting milk your kids probably go through way too fast as it is, use the leftover evaporated milk you already opened for my Cheddar Green Bean Casserole. I have found my creamiest mashed potatoes are made this way. I don't add any water to dilute the contents, either. In a real pinch though, you can fix instant potatoes to be more like the real deal by using evaporated milk, an extra bit of butter, a couple TBSP more of the flakes than called for by the box directions, and a few pinches of garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Gravy: I have no issues with making gravy from a packet. I get them 2/$1.00 at the grocery store, which is a steal in comparison to the price of canned gravy. I replace about 1 cup of the water necessary to make 6 packets worth with 1 cup of the leftover juice and drippings from the finished turkey for a more homemade touch and kick of extra flavor.

Rolls: While everyone loves crescent rolls, they're not very budget friendly. Grab a few packs of the brown-n-serve rolls from the bread aisle and call it a day. Before putting them into the oven to warm, lightly brush the tops with a mixture of 1/2 cup margarine, 1 TBSP garlic powder, 1 TBSP parsley flakes, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and 1 TBSP grated parmesan cheese. Brush with the remaining spread when you pull them out of the oven.

About the Author:
To Insanity and Beyond!
At The Daily Rantings of an Angrivated Mom, Kristina chronicles her journey as a SAHM of 4 with big dreams and little luck. A writer by nature, poet by heart, and blogger by nurture, Steena shares an eclectic mix of poetry, essays and humor running a gamut of themes. From parenting experiences and relationships to marijuana legalization and mental health awareness, there's something for everyone. 
Don't miss her blog posts at The Angrivated Mom.
And be sure to follow her:
on Facebook
on Twitter
and Bloglovin.  

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Friday, December 16, 2016

Use Your Words: The Work of Angels

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: angel ~ humanitarian ~ work ~ city ~ serve ~ wart
They were submitted by Diane of On the Border.

There are people in need everywhere. In your citand in mine. I live in the outskirts of a city. It used to be a small town in its own right but the city annexed it long before I moved to the midwest. It's an area where I really didn't think there were many families who were struggling. How wrong I was. I know there's a lot of talk of those who apply for and receive assistance who don't need it. These people are a wart on the nose of society. But they are also few and far between. Most people who accept relief truly need it.  

There are people here, in my little corner of the world, who provide it. These are the people I want to tell you about today. Although they reach out at this time of year, it is a year long project. The amount of preparation is astounding.

The project is run by the area Business Association. The association has a number of committees, including the one for this charity. As a businessman and member, my husband has served on this committee for years. 

It starts with a relationship with the school system. The families they serve are recommended by guidance counselors at the schools. These are the people who can identify children who could benefit from the service. They speak privately with the parents and go forward only with those parents' permission. Sadly, each year the number of families grows. This year the committee had the daunting task of serving about 320 families including around 775 children.

The plan is to provide each family with food they can prepare themselves over the holiday season. They all get a turkey, a ham, staples, and all the ingredients for the rest of the meal. 

But that's not all. Not even close. There is a room full of donated clothing. Families can pick and choose whatever they need. Additionally, each child is "sponsored", the committee finds someone who is willing to purchase personal gifts just for their "sponsored" child. This year there were 66 children not yet assigned a sponsor with just a few weeks left to go. A mass emailing was sent out by the committee and by the end of the day all were covered.

Oh, there's more. On the day that the families come in to do their pick up, volunteers are on hand to take the children into a separate room (no parents allowed) where there are gifts they can choose from in order to have something to give to their parents. There are tchotchkes of course, but there are also hundreds of practical gifts too, like toaster ovens and waffle irons. All bought with the donations, carefully chosen by the kids, wrapped and sent home.

There are activities through the year to raise funds for this cause. And committee members, like my husband, will sit in front of grocery stores accepting food and monetary donations. He's spoken to local groups who have small grants available. Donated clothing is gathered as well. They have to secure a large space to store the nonperishable food, clothes, and gifts. As time winds down they work feverishly to get the clothes hung, the food packaged by family, the gifts set out on tables.

The whole project culminates on "distribution day". This is the day when the families arrive, go through the rooms for clothing and gifts and get their food. I always bake about 12 dozen cookies and send them with my husband for the workers. They spend all day there making sure each family, and every person in it, has everything they need. It's a small gesture of appreciation on my part, but Hubs says that they actually look forward to it.

Pistachio Toffee Lace Cookies, giant buttery thin and crispy lacy cookies. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

Pistachio Toffee Lace Cookies
Pistachio Toffee Lace Cookies, giant buttery thin and crispy lacy cookies. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

On "distribution day", which was this past Saturday for 2016, so much is accomplished. For my husband and the rest of the committee, it's another year of successfully doing the humanitarian work of angels to serve those in need. For so many recipients it brightens, even makes, their holiday season. 

One year, on distribution day, a father who had picked up food, clothes and gifts with his children refused to leave until he had gone through that entire building and hugged each and every volunteer.

That one gesture pretty much says it all.

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Pistachio Toffee Lace Cookies

Ingredients (makes about 25 giant cookies):
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup quick oats
2 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped shelled unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup toffee baking chips

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Cream the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then mix in the rest of the ingredients.
*Drop batter by rounded teaspoon onto cooking sheets, leaving plenty of room between cookies for them to spread.
*Bake 8 - 10 minutes, they will spread and brown.
*Remove from oven. Allow to cool completely (about 10 minutes) before carefully removing from parchment paper.
*Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between the cookies.