Tuesday, January 30, 2018

She Didn't Speak English

She didn't speak English. By the end of the conversation, neither was I.

I was in the grocery store last week and the check-out line was rather long. It's unusual, really, they're generally pretty quick there but I suspect that between colds and the flu they may have been short a few employees. I'm an impatient person by nature but I really wasn't in any rush so I settled into my spot for the long run. There was one person checking out, two others, then me. I could go take a look at the only other check-out line open but even if it were shorter I knew damn well that if I moved to it, that line would somehow take longer. 

Not much to look at standing there. I was not, by a long shot, new to this grocery shopping thing I was immune to the diversions in the form of candy, nail clippers and other cutely packaged but unnecessary items surrounding me. Just as I'd finished snooping into the cart of the woman ahead of me, I noticed movement behind me. I turned and saw that someone had joined the line. I smiled. She smiled. A social convention, nothing more. But as I was turning back, I noticed a few items in her cart that I'd never seen before. I faced forward for a while, checked my cell phone for messages, noted the progress of the checker, took my coat off. A bit of boredom tinged with a heaping dose of curiosity got the best of me. I like to try new recipes. Maybe you know that about me by now. FYI, you can rationalize nosiness by thinking of it as "new ingredient recipe development research". 

Noodle and Vegetable Strata has layers of noodles, vegetables and cheeses. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, as delicious as it is beautiful. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Noodle and Vegetable Strata
Noodle and Vegetable Strata has layers of noodles, vegetables and cheeses. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, as delicious as it is beautiful. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

I turned to the woman behind me and asked about an item at the top of her cart that was unfamiliar. She said something in Spanish. I know a tiny bit of Spanish, enough to recognize the language and pick out a few words, hold my own in a superficial social situation but that's it.

About a year ago I'd gotten a private message on my blog Facebook page. It was in a language I didn't know. Puzzled, at first I ignored it. It bothered me though and it later dawned on me that in this day and age I have the world at my fingertips. I popped onto a translation website, copied and pasted her message and found out that she was asking me a question in (I think it was) Danish. I typed in my response, copied the Danish translation and pasted it into the private message.

Standing in the grocery store looking at this woman, both of us now a little uncomfortable, I remembered the Danish conversation and realized that I had a hand-held translator in, well, the palm of my hand. 

I got onto the translate site, typed in my question and read her the translation. She took out her cell phone and answered me. Yes, it was a little stilted, and we certainly butchered (grocery store pun intended) each others' languages a bit. A few times we had to look at each others' cell phones because verbalizing in other languages, (English especially) is hard. If you don't speak English, you can see the word "laugh" and try your hardest to sound it out phonetically, but I'd take the Vegas odds that there is no way you're going to say anything that resembles "laugh." 

She Didn’t Speak English, an exercise in communication | www.BakingInATornado.com | #communication #MyGraphics

But by the 3rd or 4th interaction I realized what was happening. I was, at this point, speaking solely in her language. And she was exclusively speaking mine.

Ultimately I did learn a bit about achiote paste and before I even realized it, I was at the head of the check-out line. As I was leaving, I turned to her one last time, said "adios y gracias", waved and left the store smiling.

I don't know what this woman's story is. I don't know if she's here visiting, has moved here or has always lived here. I don't know if she is learning English or not. None of it is my business.

What I do know is that it doesn't matter what you speak. Words, language, they're about communicating, connecting. And on that day, in a grocery store check-0ut line, with a little help from technology, that's exactly what we did.

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

Noodle and Vegetable Strata      

Printable Recipe

1 stick butter, divided
12 oz wide noodles
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 
2 eggs 

2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz bag uncooked spinach
3 slices provolone, cut in half

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup shredded mozarella

*Grease a bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Melt 6 TBSP butter. Cook the noodles until al dente. Drain. Mix in the parmesan, salt and pepper. Refrigerate to cool a bit.
*In a saute pan, over medium heat, melt 1 TBSP butter. Add the garlic. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the spinach and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir until the spinach starts to wilt. Remove from heat.
*Mix the eggs into the noodles. Place about 1/3 of the noodles into the bundt pan. Top with the spinach, then a layer of the provolone cheese, followed by another 1/3 of the noodle mixture.
*Return the saute pan to the stove and melt the last 1 TBSP butter. Add the mushrooms, red pepper, green onion, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until soft. Drain. Spread over the noodles in the bundt pan. Top with the mozarella, followed by the remaining noodles.
*Bake for 45 minutes.
*Remove from oven. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before running a knife around the sides and center of the pan to loosen. Place a plate over the top, flip over onto the plate and remove from the bundt pan.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Ten Months of Hibernation: Funny Friday

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:a multi-blogger challenge, one picture, five Captions,  | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

 Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Jules of The Bergham Chronicles.

Funny Friday, a multi blogger picture captioning challenge | Picture submitted by Jules of The Bergham Chronicles | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #funny #laugh

1. Elf to the mom and dad: It's January, it was a tough holiday season. When I said I need a drink, water wasn't exactly what I had in mind.

2. Elf to family: Thanks for the aspirin, and for the water. One minor problem . . . you do know I don't have opposable thumbs, right?

3. Elf to the mom and dad: I kept your kids in line for a month and all I get is a bottle of water? Where are my holiday gifts? I could use a new pair of pajamas.

4. Elf to the family: Phew, feels good not to be hanging from chandeliers and sitting on the edge of the potty for a change. Ahhhh, to stretch my legs again. Wait, you're not going to try to shove me back in that box in the attic, are you? Nooooooo . . . this is the thanks I get?

5. Elf to himself: Another holiday season in the books. Feels like I just spent a month playing The Amazing Race, Homebound Edition. And I'm pretty sure I won. Wonder what the prize will be. Bet it's 10 months of hibernation. I could use it.

For today's recipe I'm sharing a spiced, spiked coffee. Perfect for an Elf on the Shelf after a hectic holiday season or for mom and dad on any cold winter day: 

Spiced Coffee, featuring some favorite winter flavors, is a hot antidote to a cold winter day. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #coffee #drink

Spiced Coffee
Spiced Coffee, featuring some favorite winter flavors, is a hot antidote to a cold winter day. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #coffee #drink

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

Bookworm in the Kitchen
Southern Belle Charm
The Bergham Chronicles
Cognitive Script 

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

Spiced Coffee

Ingredients (makes 3):
4 cups brewed coffee
3 ounces Cinnamon Roll Vodka
2 ounces Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
1 ounce Amaretto
whipped cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp ground cloves 

OPT: milk, half and half or creamer to taste

*Mix the vodka, whiskey and Amaretto into the brewed coffee. Pour into 3 mugs. Top with whipped cream.
*Mix the cinnamon and ground cloves.  Sprinkle over the whipped cream.
*OPT: I mix the whipped cream into the coffee when drinking, which lightens the coffee. If you prefer a lighter coffee, mix in your choice of milk, half and half or creamer.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Go-Go Boots, Mad Ants and Nuts

I admit it. When it's cold and windy and snowy and icy out, I give in to my couch potato inclination more often than I'd like to admit. I don't think I've watched daytime TV since college. One thing I've realized recently is that I haven't been missing much.

But lately Hubs has been taking my car to work more often as the SUV is better on the ice and snow, so I've been staying home. I'm someone who doesn't mind being home, I can always find something to keep me busy. I love to read and always have a large selection of books on my Kindle. I enjoy doing Sudoku as well. Lately I've solved fewer of the advanced puzzles, but I keep trying.

I don't have to tell you that I keep this blog going, researching or just freestyle writing at least twice a week. I develop, create and photograph my own recipes, keeping my brain active and my family supplied with sweets.

For a snack or for dessert, Apricot Bars have a cookie base, chewy dried apricots, nuts, 2 different kinds of baking chips and a caramelized topping | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #bake #recipe

Apricot Bars

As I said, I've also got the TV on more often. Mostly I'm looking for sports, as there's little on during the day that interests me. I'm not a sports fan, per se, but I will always watch a Boston Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics or Bruins game, as well as Purdue football or basketball. This time of year it's mostly basketball I'm watching and it's pretty exciting as Purdue football not only beat their nemesis this year, but also went to and won a bowl game. Even more exciting, Purdue basketball made it into the national top 10 ranking.

Which takes us to today. I was looking through the channel selections hoping there was a basketball game on I could watch and there was, the Celtics. Score! But before I found the Celtics game I found a few others. And although searching for sports on TV is generally not a humorous endeavor, I found myself literally laughing out loud. 

I know that teams are named mostly for one of two reasons, to denote strength or to pay tribute to their home city or state. Some names are better than others. I love my Boston teams but Red Sox? Really? Not exactly a name to bring fear to the hearts of their opponents. Not exactly representative of Boston either. But what I found when I searched through that TV guide is that there are minor league teams with names that are just . . . well . . . bizarre. The game that had me laughing was basketball. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants were playing. Mad Ants? Really? I'm quaking in my boots. OK, maybe not.

But it did get me thinking and I did some research on other professional sports teams' affiliates. From the "what were they thinking with that name files, I bring you:

*The Washington Wizards are soon to have an affiliate team, the Capitol City Go-Gos. Unless they wear boots instead of sneakers, this one's lost on me.

*I understand the correlation between the Charlotte Hornets and the Greensboro Swarm, but can you imagine the sportscasters when the Swarm play the Mad Ants?

Go-Go Boots, Mad Ants and Nuts, a look at pro sports affiliate team names. | www.BakingInATornado.com | #funny #laugh #MyGraphics

*Tampa Bay Rays' Double A team is the Montgomery Biscuits.  I can see fearing the biscuits if you're gluten free but otherwise? Not so much.

*Cleveland Indians' Double A team is the Akron RubberDucks. Not to be outdone in the state of Ohio, the Cincinnati Reds have the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

* The Detroit Tigers' Triple A team is the Toledo Mud Hens.

* The Colorado Rockies have the Albuquerque Isotopes. Let me guess, Sheldon won the right to name this team in a raffle?

*An affiliate of the Seattle Mariners is the Modesto Nuts.

*Philadelphia Phillies' Triple A team is the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Wonder if they serve bacon on their burgers at their home stadium, Coca-Cola Park (yes, that really is the name of their arena).

*Colorado Rockies' Class A team is the Ashville Tourists. Oooh, tourists . . . now I'm really scared .  .

*The San Diego Padres have the El Paso Chihuahuas. Wonder if they bare their teeth and nip at your ankles.

*Winner of the trifecta though is the Miami Marlins with their affiliations the New Orleans Baby Cakes, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Greensville Grasshoppers and the Batavia Muckdogs.

Who names these teams? 

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Apricot Bars         

Printable Recipe

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 stick margarine, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup sliced almonds 
1/4 cup cinnamon baking chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 pan with non-stick spray.
*Beat the butter, margarine, sugar, brown sugar and egg until smooth. Mix until barely incorporated, then beat in the orange zest, salt and flour. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, leave oven on.
*Sprinkle the dried apricots over the crust, then the almonds, then cinnamon baking chips, then white chocolate chips. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top.
*Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbly. Remove from oven. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, then allow to cool completely before cutting and removing from pan.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Or Maybe I'm Actually Funny: Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 3 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, a multi-blogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

PurDude is in his senior year of college. He was home recently for the final winter break of his college career {{sob}}.

Many of you know of all the drama his travel day home ended up being. When he boarded his final plane home, Hubs and I headed for the airport. PurDude was 29 hours late and we'd not slept much over that trying, working to get him home. He was finally coming in, it was the night of our second day of waiting for him and we were exhausted.

Once we finally got him, we headed home. I could tell Hubs was wiped out when I had to keep telling him to switch lanes so he didn't end up on an exit ramp. But it was frustrating him too.

Me: You need to move over a lane.
Hubs: Don't be side street driver.
Me: Side street driver?
Hubs: Whatever you call them.
Me: Back seat driver?
Hubs: Yeah, but you're in the front seat.

PurDude and I giggled most of the rest of the way home. 

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

 . . . until we got just a couple of blocks from home. There was a side street ahead, followed by an intersection with a light that turned red. Hubs was stopping at the side street. About a block from the red light.

Me: What are you doing?
Hubs: Stopping. The light is red.
Me: That's a block away. Why don't you go ahead and move up to the light? 
Hubs: Oh, OK.
Me: And, just curious, does this car have a ejector seats and parachutes?
Me (whispering to PurDude): Listen, we gotta bail . . .

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

You'll be happy to hear we made it home alive. It was pretty late when we got in but PurDude saw that I had made a Peanut Butter Lover's Pie. I cut him a slice and sat with him while he ate. Hubs stood by the counter and I noticed he had his eyes closed.

Me: Are you OK?
Hubs: Yes, fine, why?
Me: Your eyes were shut. Why don't you go to bed?
Hubs: That's OK, I just slept the whole drive home.

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

College Boy and I seem to have this ongoing conversation. Every once in a while, he thinks he's heard me burp.

College Boy: Nice burp, Mom.
Me: I keep telling you, I'm a girl.
College Boy: So?
Me: Girls don't burp. Everyone knows that.
College Boy: Well then you must be defective.

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

Hubs: Did you know that the 23rd Purdue graduate astronaut just went into space?
PurDude: Yes, I did know that.
Me (to PurDude): I'm glad you're not going into space. I'm having enough trouble dealing with everything you do on solid ground.
PurDude: Thanks, Ma.
Me: Just sayin'. You know, in the spirit of "full disclosure" and all.

Frosted Gingerbread Bars: cinnamon, molasses and ginger flavor these bars, topped with a spiced frosting | Recipe developed by www.BakingInaTornado.com | #recipe #bake

Frosted Gingerbread Bars
Frosted Gingerbread Bars: cinnamon, molasses and ginger flavor these bars, topped with a spiced frosting | Recipe developed by www.BakingInaTornado.com | #recipe #bake

Christmas day comes and I'm excited to put a turkey into the oven. I've been prepping and making the side dishes all week. The turkey has been defrosting in the basement refrigerator for a week and I'm ready to go.

Two hours before I have to put the turkey in the oven, I ask Hubs to bring it up from downstairs. I expected to see him carrying it in 2 hands, but he comes up carrying it by the handle at the top. 

Me: Did you bring it all the way up that way? I hope it's not dripping.
Hubs: No problem, it's not leaking. It's still frozen.
Me: {{blink, blink}} No problem? A frozen turkey is the epitome of a BIG problem.

And it was semi frozen. You should have seen me scrambling for the next few hours trying to get that turkey ready for the oven.

No problem, my ass.

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

So I'm up to my elbows in turkey insides and Hubs comes up the stairs.

Hubs: I've been googling what to do if your turkey doesn't defrost. It says to put it in cold water.
Me (ignoring him): Mmm, hmmm.
Hubs: For a 10# turkey it should take about a day.
Me: And for this 22# turkey? I should be able to cook it right around New Years.
Hubs: I'll be good and hungry by then.

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

College Boy is going out with some friends and as he heads out the door I offer some sound parental advice:

Me: Be safe. Make good choices.
College Boy: What would be the point in that?
Me: Well, it might save your mom from a heart attack.
College Boy: No problem Mom, what you don't know can't hurt you.

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

I was sitting on the couch, reading blog comments when suddenly I burst out laughing. College Boy walked in and asked me what I was laughing at. I sometimes get comments where, I know they don't mean it that way, but they sort of feel like an insult. The one I was reading said "That really made me laugh. Not sure why, maybe because my blood sugar's too low. I should get something to eat." College Boy wanted to know how I was going to respond to it. I ended up saying "Or maybe I'm actually funny?"

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

I'm cruel. I know it. It normally comes out towards the boys, you know, as payback for those teenage years.

Recently though, my mean streak came out while my poor unsuspecting husband was on the phone.

First I have to tell you that my cell phone is broken. It only works on speaker. If someone calls me when I'm in public, I just make sure there isn't an emergency, then let them know I'll call them back.

I was in the grocery store the other day when my husband called. There were people all around, a few of whom know both my husband and I:

Me: Hey, I'm on speaker and I'm in the grocery store so I need to call you back. Everything OK? Did you find that package of Depends I left for you?

It's possible I have an issue with impulse control . . .

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

Bookworm in the Kitchen 
Spatulas on Parade

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

Frosted Gingerbread Bars

1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar 
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cinnamon baking chips

2 cups powdered sugar
4 TBSP butter, softened
2 TBSP Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey or Goldschlager Cinnamon Schnapps (can substitute apple cider)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 - 3 TBSP apple cider

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 8 X 11 baking dish with no-stick spray.
*Beat 1 stick of butter, the margarine, sugar, brown sugar, molasses and egg until creamy.
*Mix in flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves and salt. Mix in cinnamon chips last.
*Spread evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
*Remove from oven and allow the bars to cool completely before frosting.
*Carefully at first, beat the powdered sugar with 4 TBSP butter, cinnamon flavored whiskey or schnapps (or apple cider) and the 1/2 tsp cinnamon. One TBSP at a time, beat in up to 3 TBSP apple cider until the frosting has reached a thick spreading consistency. Spread over the cooled bars.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

From A to Y, a Tribute

This is something new for me. I don't do tributes to people I don't know. Part of it is just simply because I don't know them. Famous people die all the time, many of whom through their words or their art or their politics have touched my life in a personal way. But I acknowledge that I only knew them through their public professional persona. There are those with a personal connection who are much more qualified to do them justice.

This instance is a little different. Author Sue Grafton recently died of cancer. I was saddened to hear it, not only because I have loved her books for 35 years, but because the way her daughter announced the news was so touching. 

From A to Y, a Tribute. I didn’t know Sue Grafton, but I sure will miss Kinsey Millhone | www.BakingInATornado.com | #authors #books
Sue left her family too soon. And Sue's main character and alter ego Kinsey Millhone left my reading world all too soon. From "A is for Alibi" in 1982 through "Y is for Yesterday" published just a few months ago, I've followed Kinsey's life, both personal and professional. I've waited with anticipation the release of each new book, for the chance to jump back into Kinsey's world and follow her route to solving mystery after mystery.

There are other authors I view the same way as Sue, writers whose latest books I look forward to and enjoy every bit as much. Jonathan Kellerman, Janet Evanovich, Kathy Reichs, Harlan Coben, Sandra Brown . . . and how could I not love those mysteries where the chefs or bakers solve the crime and even share recipes in the book?

There have been losses before too, Philip R. Craig, who died in 2007 wrote mysteries based on Martha's Vineyard. I was invested in those characters as well, felt sad at the loss of that series of books too.

Taco Shrimp, full of Tex-Mex flavors, shrimp is rubbed, pan sautéed and served with Pico de Gallo and avocado slices | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com |#recipe #shrimp #dinner
Taco Shrimp

Sue's daughter Jamie states that Sue "was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name." Although I will miss these books, this character, and though I feel that this series ends abruptly, in an unsatisfactory, unsettling way, I also see the parallel. I hear that Sue had wanted to get that "Z" book written, had even named it "Z is for Zero." But Sue's life ended suddenly. And with her goes Kinsey. that is as it should be.

In a poignant end to her announcement Jamie says "Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y." Me too, Jamie, me too.

I didn't know Sue of course, but I feel as though I knew Kinsey. And I will miss her. 

When it comes to authors, I think that's a pretty great tribute.

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

Taco Shrimp       

Printable Recipe

3 TBSP taco seasoning
1 1/2 # large raw shrimp
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter
1 tsp minced garlic
4 - 6 tortillas
3 cups rice
1 lime
1 cup Pico de Gallo, my homemade recipe HERE
1 TBSP chopped cilantro
1 ripe avocado, sliced

*Peel and devein shrimp, leaving the tail on. Pat dry, place in a bowl, sprinkle with the taco seasoning and mix well so all the shrimp is coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours.
*Cook the rice.
*Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and the shrimp. Cook shrimp for about 2 minutes, turn over and cook the other side until the shrimp is fully cooked.
*Place a tortilla on each plate and divide the rice onto the center of each one. Add the shrimp, drizzle with lime juice, top with Pico de Gallo and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with the avocado slices.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Voluntarily Housebound: Use Your Words

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, a multiblogger writing challenge | www.BakingInATornado.com | #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: dark ~ cold ~ snowy ~ housebound ~ fire
They were submitted by Diane of On the Border.
Are these the perfect words for this time of year or what? I wrote recently about how much I hate the January doldrums, the whole let down from the holidays. These words Diane gave me could easily have been used in that post. When it's dark, cold and snowy out, I tend to be voluntarily housebound, preferring sitting by the fire to venturing out. Winter clothes, winter foods, nothing to do but wait it out.

Winter Breakfast Casserole, a breakfast casserole highlighting the flavors of the season including orange, cranberry and eggnog | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #breakfast

Winter Breakfast Casserole

Maybe it's just my age. Back when I was in college, winter didn't bother me as much, I was always up for anything. I lived just a few hours from some great ski mountains and could often be found in a lift line. But college is a time for making plans and getting out there. 

Or not making plans but getting out there anyway, like these fictional young men:

Winter camping was the plan,
ill advised though it may be.
More than just a little drunk,
plan made by college three.

Long johns, hats and triple socks
to protect them from the cold.
Out into the woods they went,
drunk can make you bold.

The dark of night may not have been
the best choice for these three.
Figured out the third time that
they smacked into a tree.

Build a fire was the plan,
smart they thought they were.
Turns out the only firewood
still attached to Pine and Fir.

And then the first one had to pee,
easier said than done.
Wobbling in a snowy bank,
turns out it wasn't fun.

Home next day some friends stopped by,
"Come with us, snowboard and ski".
"Enjoy yourselves", still cold boys said,
Housebound is where we'll be.

Happy winter, everyone. Stay warm out there!

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

Bookworm in the Kitchen
On the Border
Cognitive Script
 Part-time Working Hockey Mom
The Bergham Chronicles
Southern Belle Charm 
The Blogging 911 

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Winter Breakfast Casserole

8 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup eggnog
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup orange liqueur (can skip, if desired)
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
1 box (16 oz) frozen french toast sticks
3 oz cream cheese
1 box (16 oz) frozen cinnamon french toast sticks
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup cranraisins
1 cup frozen blueberries
OPT: powdered sugar for serving

*Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
*In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, eggnog, maple syrup, orange liqueur (if using), orange zest and salt. 
*Spread the cream cheese onto one side of each of the frozen french toast sticks. Cut into quarters.
*Cut the frozen cinnamon french toast sticks into quarters.
*Add all of the chopped french toast sticks, bacon, cranraisins and blueberries to the bowl. Mix well. Pour into the prepared baking dish, cover with tin foil and refrigerate overnight.
*Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator one hour before baking.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 55 minutes covered. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes. 
*OPT: Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Be True: Rebirth Poetry

As we do each month, our poetry group got together to discuss January's theme. There were suggestions, then voting and finally a choice. This month's theme is Rebirth.  

The poetry itself is challenge enough, but this month's theme left me blank. I opened this draft about 100 times trying to find a place to start just to close it once again a blank page. I think the main issue is that I tend to write humorous poems, and I just wasn't getting from funny to Rebirth. So I'm going out on a limb here today, posting a poem that you can't laugh at and pretend to be laughing not at me but with me.

Poetry based on a theme. January 2018 theme is Rebirth | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #poem #poetry

Be True

Many times in a life,
transition promotes change.
Old you gives way to new you,
as circumstances rearrange. 

Early on we learn to say
that powerful word "no",
realization, mind of our own
And from there off we go . . .

First time mom trusts us alone
decisions must be made.
Have a party, gorge on snacks?
or study for that good grade?

Excitement of those college days
when freedom truly reigns.
But responsibility for ourselves,
brings both joy and pains.

Profession is the next big change,
housekeeping, shopping and bills,
Who we are is dictated by
the pride this time instills.

Marriage and then parenthood,
it's not all about me.
Nothing brings a rebirth more,
for any and all to see.

With each milestone in our lives,
we're becoming someone new. 
Through these steps, lesson learned:
to our own selves, be true.

The recipe I'm sharing today has nothing to do with rebirth, but it's easy and crunchy and chocolatey so there's that!

Potato Stix Snax, a simple to make, no bake, crunchy, chocolatey, salty snack. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #snack
Potato Stix Snax
Potato Stix Snax, a simple to make, no bake, crunchy, chocolatey, salty snack. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #snack

Before you go, click on these links to more poetry by some of my friends: 

Dawn of Cognitive Script shares Nine R's
Jules of The Bergham Chronicles shares Rebirth of Jules
Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares Rebirth & Renewal.

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

Potato Stix Snax

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (makes about 15):
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup Nutella
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups potato sticks

1 TBSP powdered sugar

*Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
*Melt the dark chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Melt and stir at 20 second intervals until completely smooth. 
*Stir in the Nutella and peanut butter.
*Add the potato sticks to the bowl and gently stir with a soft spatula until the potato sticks are completely covered.
*Scoop by heaping tablespoons onto the parchment paper. Refrigerate until set, about 1/2 hour. Dust with powdered sugar.