Friday, January 4, 2019

Team Summer: Secret Subject Swap

Welcome a Secret Subject Swap. This month 7 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: Some of us hate winter and live as far south as we can go. Some of us love winter and enjoy the cold and snow. Which one are you? What do you do to enjoy it?
It was submitted by: Minette of Southern Belle Charm.

It's a barometer, when I get prompts like this one, of how much things have changed. At heart, I'm a summer girl. All things considered, I much prefer the heat to the cold, not to mention driving with the windows open as opposed to skidding on ice and snow. Truth is, not just because of where I live (and I'll explain that in a minute) but because the older I get the less tolerant I seem to be of the cold, as it stands right now I would love to move south. Permanently.

There was a time, though, when I would tell you that I love both seasons, all four, really. I would have thought, long ago, that much of the way I felt was a product of having grown up with the four distinct seasons. I now know it's more involved than that. I didn't just grow up with both winter and summer, but I grew up in an environment where you can make the most of both. 

I lived a little over an hour from amazing beaches. Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket to the south. Plum Island, Gloucester and Rockport to the north. Lakes for boating and my love of water skiing, and pools for raft floating. I adored having sun kissed skin and being brown as a berry (well, once I burned and peeled a few times).

I also lived just a couple of hours drive from some pretty great ski mountains, large and small. There were many times we'd spend the day floating downhill on white powder, and picking myself up, laughing, after a patch of ice got the best of me. But that's OK, the day always ended with a cocktail (hot cocoa when younger) and something sweet served beside a fire roaring in the fireplace. Thoroughly exhausted but nonetheless invigorated best described those days.

Mocha Cinnamon Cake is a moist white cake with a light whipped frosting and dusted with coffee, chocolate and cinnamon flavors. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cake

Mocha Cinnamon Cake
Mocha Cinnamon Cake is a moist white cake with a light whipped frosting and dusted with coffee, chocolate and cinnamon flavors. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cake

I now live in the Midwest. Still a part of the country with the same four seasons but, I'd argue, no way to enjoy them. I have told this story about finding myself landlocked before, but I'll tell you again today. When I first moved here, I was distressed by not having access to what, to me, represented the fun of the seasons. Knowing there were no oceans (duh), I decided I'd just have to get used to beaching it on lakes. I could find lakes on the map but no indication of where beaches were. I knew I was in trouble when I called the Parks Department to ask which lakes had beaches and they laughed. They laughed!

Winter came and, of course, I knew I was out of luck with a mountain but, desperate, I asked a neighbor if maybe there was a local ski hill. And there was. I got a little glassy-eyed and tuned out when she was explaining something about snow-making on a garbage dump. Nope. I'm out.

In order to raise our boys to appreciate the joys that the seasons hold for us, we had to fly with them to the ocean. Learning to ski took a 10 hour drive to a neighboring state with ski mountains. The fact that both of the boys love lobster and searching for sand dollars, know how to ski and snowboard, makes me happy. But it required an extraordinary amount of effort and was only for planned and extended vacations, not part of daily life.

I remember, years ago, an enterprising young real estate agent going door to door in our neighborhood. "I have a home for sale in this area," he said, "do you have any friends or family who might be interested in living in your neighborhood?"

"Sure," I answered, "put in an ocean, a nice ski mountain and we'll talk."

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

Mocha Cinnamon Cake

Printable Recipe

Box white cake mix and the ingredients specified in the package directions

2 TBSP instant coffee granules
3 TBSP baking cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 TBSP cinnamon flavored creamer
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar

3 TBSP chocolate syrup

*Preheat oven according to cake package directions. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. 
*Prepare the cake batter and divide into the 3 prepared pans. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch.
*While the cake is baking, make sure your coffee granules are finely grated. Mix them with the baking cocoa and cinnamon and set aside.
*Once baked, cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely.
*Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and the flavored creamer until smooth.
*In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the 1/3 cup powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks hold, then fold into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside 1/2 cup of this frosting.
*Place one cake layer onto your serving plate. Spread with approximately 1/4 of the frosting mixture. Sprinkle with about 1/3 of the coffee/cocoa/cinnamon and cover with the second cake layer. Repeat with another 1/4 of the frosting, then another 1/3 of the coffee/cocoa/cinnamon. Top with the third cake layer and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle with the remaining coffee/cocoa/cinnamon.
*Mix the chocolate syrup into the 1/2 cup of frosting that had been set aside. Pipe along the bottom of the cake. Store in the refrigerator.


  1. When I go back 'home' to the Midwest, I wonder how I ever survived. I hate heat. I hate humidity. We have lived near the ocean for over 30 years now and couldn't imagine ever living anywhere else. And, yes, the ski mountains are only an hour away.

  2. I've lived in Southern California for most of my life, since I was 4 and haven't seen much of seasons unless I travel to it. I like the moderate weather, though. We have been freezing lately at 48 degrees. I'm sure you're laughing.

    1. I'm actually laughing not only for the reason you think, that 48 degrees is hardly freezing around here in the winter, but also because it was actually 55 degrees here today!

  3. I like the in between seasons as in spring and autumn when it isn't too hot or too cold, right now it's summer and stinking bloody hot

  4. Beach girl all the way, but you knew that. Cake looks amazing!

  5. This is really a great prompt. Winter adds such an interesting dynamic to Minnesota. Without it, I wonder what our state would be like. Glad to hear your perspective.

    1. It was an interesting prompt for me because it made me realize how much my perspective has changed.

  6. Yes, the older I get the less I enjoy the cold. I'm ready to go to FLA with Minette. I've never been fond of snow, it is pretty while falling and untouched it is calm and beautiful but I hate getting around in it. One because in the south we are not prepared or equipped for such. I do love this cake though!

    1. Yeah, I think we should all move in with Minette until spring!


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