Friday, June 8, 2018

Practice Makes Improved: Secret Subject Swap

Welcome a Secret Subject Swap. This month 10 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret   in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. Read through mine and at the bottom you’ll find links to all of today’s other Secret Subject participants.

Secret Subject Swap, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

My subject is: Tell us about a first time.
It was submitted by Jules of The Bergham Chronicles.

It's hard to talk about, even now, but then these things tend to be. I suppose that's because it ended up being an unmitigated disaster, but I guess that's par for the course too. I'll tell you about it, since Jules asked, but for the record, I do so under duress. Sometimes it sucks being a rule follower.

I think it goes without saying that first times are most always memorable. Often wonderful, but frequently painful as well. If you're brave and you try again over time it changes from what it was that first time. At least we certainly hope so.

I can't say, in retrospect, what specifically lead up to it. I guess these things build up over time. One day you're not ready and then, little by little without even realizing it you inch forward to the place where you find that you are.

I'd like to say that the less than enjoyable first experience is because I was young, but not so much, that would be a lie. Inexperienced but not young. Sometimes it takes time and maturity to really put yourself out there, be vulnerable, expose yourself. Even then, there's no guarantee as to how you'll be judged, how your vulnerability will be handled. Not everyone is kind, friends.

The first time, most first times, should really be well thought out. Maybe I wasn't as mature as I'd thought because, really, I feel like I just sort of did it, pulled the trigger without careful consideration of repercussions. A "do it, do it, don't be such a baby, do it" mantra running through my head along with a little "you know you want to" and a "bet you love it". After all, there was protection in place, so only be those I was closest to would ever be aware it had even occurred. 

Looking back now I realize just how awful it was. Seeing it from my current perspective, my enhanced abilities (if you will), I'm incredibly embarrassed. But the thing about first times is this: you can regret them, but you can never take them back.

However, as humiliating as it is to admit here, I also have to say that some good came of it. After all, that first experience, as they all tend to be, was an initial step towards where I am today. Turns out embarrassment is a great motivator. I've worked at it from all positions and although I'm still no expert, I'd like to say that I've made strides. In all aspects.

But back to that first time. As I said, I just did it, made it public. Posted my very first picture on FB of cookies I'd tried to decorate for the kids. I still cringe when I look at that picture, yet (thanks, Jules) here I am posting it today on my very own blog.

First (unsuccessful but funny) attempt at deccorating cookies | | #BakingFail

I had made a lot of cookies in my day, but had never before tried to decorate them with icing. What a disaster. Just as a side note here, lesson learned, if you're going to try something new, read up on it first. Turns out there's a whole art to icing, different consistencies needed for the outline (which, duh, goes on first, not after the icing has run over the sides) as well as the flooding. And there are ways that photography can enhance (or detract) from the looks of whatever you're photographing. 

All these years later, here I am with a blog where I share recipes I develop myself, photograph and post for all to see. Here's hoping practice has made, well, not perfect, but maybe improved?

Cashew Nutella Snowballs: a buttery Nutella base, filled with chopped cashews, rolled in powdered sugar and dusted with cocoa, these cookies are so quick and easy to make. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies
Cashew Nutella Snowballs

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Cashew Nutella Snowballs

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (makes 32 cookies):
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1/3 cup Nutella
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups chopped unsalted cashews

approximately 3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 TBSP baking cocoa

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Cream the butter, margarine, Nutella and vanilla.
*Starting on low until it's incorporated, beat in 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, flour and salt. Mix in the cashews.
*Roll the dough into approximately 1 inch balls. Place on cookie sheets and bake 10 - 12 minutes or until set.
*Cool completely. Roll in the remaining powdered sugar. Dust with cocoa.


  1. Oh my, sometimes I miss eating sweets and this is one of them!!!!

  2. That recipe more than makes up for your first time confession-wonder how many participants confessed to that other “first time”. Alana

    1. We each got our own individual prompt so fortunately no one went there, LOL.

  3. I have to tell you, those 'first time' cookies would have disappeared just as quickly as your amazing Cashew Nutella Snowballs in my household!
    I looked at those delightful cookies and a line from The Court Jester popped into my head: The pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle. The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!

  4. While I was quite certain you were not talking about *that* first time, I had no clue what else until I saw the picture. Icing your cookies, hahaha!

    Your Nutella / Cashew recipe sounds heavenly!! Love both main ingredients.

  5. I agree with Tamara:)
    I knew it wasn't "that" first time, but then what? You very creatively kept us pondering about that what.

    First time trying anything can be embarrassing (even baking), but then they are always good memories to look back and see where we are today doing the same task so perfectly:)

    1. You're right, it's those less than perfect moments that make for the best memories.

  6. I was thinking, get on with it woman! TELL US what FIRST you are talking about. LOL Way to hold your audience captive. The cookies, whether or not they looked professional, I'm sure tasted great and were eaten. Now these new ones...not carb friendly but I'd eat them with no regrets.

    1. LOL, that's what was so great about having little kids, the cookies don't have to be pretty!

  7. I loved your first time cookies -- looked like mine do most of the time! If I can make cookies and not burn them, I consider that a success. Nothing to be embarrassed about even for a seasoned baker like yourself. I bet they were delicious!

    1. Actually, they did taste a whole lot better than they looked.

  8. I can't help but love the word play that had us all wondering if you were actually talking about THAT first time. ha.

    1. Glad that bit of innuendo worked to send your mind down that wrong path.It took time and effort and thought to send you there!

  9. Ha! You had me wondering where you were headed with that! Facebook is my nemesis!

  10. Your first time was made with love and that's all that counts! ;)


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