Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Snowstorms, Salubrity and Smoothies

'Tis the time of year for gifts. Well, it's the time of year for a lot of things not gift related, of course, like family and friends and parties and beliefs and traditions and compassion and charity. 

But it's still undeniably the season for gifts, both giving and receiving, and I've been fortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of quite a few lately. Three, in particular, are on my mind today. Not quite as symbolic and consequential as gold, frankincense and myrrh, but meaningful to me nonetheless.

Apple Pie Eggnog Milkshake is a holiday treat, with alcohol for the adults or without for the kids. Perfect for an afternoon by the fire or even a dessert. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado | #recipe #holiday
third gift
pictured with ingredients for my Apple Pie Eggnog Milkshake

First, it was just a month ago that I was able to have my youngest home for Thanksgiving. It would have been enough just to have him here, but the way it all played out was a gift, and I would have been heartbroken if it had gone any other way. The circumstances, the perfect storm (pun intended, as it turns out), all the stars miraculously aligning in such a small window of opportunity is the only reason he was on that flight.

Originally he wanted me to fly him home on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as he wasn't taking Tuesday off from work. For some reason, I don't even know why, I happened on a flight on Tuesday night at 9pm. With the time change, he'd arrive at about 11pm our time. He could work Tuesday, he's a little under an hour drive to the airport and, knowing the Denver airport is always a nightmare, had just successfully gone through the TSA preapproval process. I booked it.

Unless you're living under a rock, or even if you are, you know what happened next. A storm of epic proportions had other Thanksgiving plans for those in the Denver area. It started on Monday and by Monday night his flight was on waiver (they would allow him to rebook another day without a fee - but there weren't any flights available on Wednesday). I thought that since the snow was supposed to stop on Tuesday between noon and 2pm, his flight actually had a chance of getting out. He checked in.

Tuesday morning PurDude woke up to 18 inches of snow. The highways around Denver were closed for hours overnight due to accidents and hundreds of flights out of Denver were canceled. PurDude lives in Boulder but works in Louisville and when I talked to him he was still at home. He said that he'd try to get to the airport but I didn't want him driving. I looked into the bus schedule between Boulder and the airport but by the time I got the schedule to him he had already driven to work, (which is about 10 minutes closer to the airport), had been told (thank you, coworker) of a lot near the airport where he could reserve a spot for his car and be shuttled to the airport. He was going to try to drive there. 

Colorado is fantastic about clearing their roads, and the snow did stop around 1pm but between all the traffic and the windy conditions I still didn't like the thought of him on the roads. And he would have to leave early, to get from the parking lot to the terminal, and even with the TSA preapproval, the lines just to check your bags at Denver can be 4 hours long and could be much longer with so many people in them trying to rebook their missed flights. I told him, more than once (OK, more than 10 times), that if he started out and felt in any way unsafe that he was to get a hotel room and go back home the next morning. Nothing, nothing, mattered more than his safety. Even having him here.

I sat on my couch shaking, literally shaking, while he drove to the airport. Bless you, Colorado Department of Transportation, for (even after 20 inches of snow) pretty clear roads. There was no line to check his bag, he sailed through TSA and was at the gate about 4 hours early. Where we found out that the flight coming in that he'd be taking out had left 2 hours late.

Fingernails were bitten to the quick as his flight was delayed, and over the next 4 hours moved up and back and all over the place. Finally, 1/2 hour late he boarded and was one of the few who actually got out of Denver on Tuesday. A holiday miracle.

The second gift I'm grateful for is an important one but still comes second to having had my son here. It's my health. I've talked 'til you're all rolling your eyes about having had the shingles for pretty much all of October and to the third week of November so I don't need to go into detail. Turns out it was just a week before Thanksgiving when I was finally feeling well, could even wear a bra again (although in the balance sheet of pros and cons, I'm not sure where that one falls). 

I consider myself lucky to have been healthy for our family Thanksgiving, but right after that, probably because my immune system was so low, was when I came down with the flu. A pretty much completely lost two weeks later and I was starting to feel myself again. Just in time for Chanukah. I'm grateful. Again.

Third is a blender. No, that's not a typo, I said a blender.

This blog gets email offers and solicitations constantly. Most all of them have a catch. I'm either supposed to be honored to write for web sites for free or promote products or add (free advertising) links to my posts. I'm offered link filled (again, promotion for them) guest posts and even food or items in exchange for my promotion (which I will never agree to in case my assessment is negative). Most of the emails are immediately deleted. A few times, after careful vetting, I've accepted.

I almost deleted the email in October offering me a free KitchenAid #K400Blender. I could promote my own recipes using the blender or not, my choice, but I didn't have to agree to anything. Yeah, right. Except the email was from Yummly, a recipe search engine website I am a member of and, it turns out is owned by the same parent company as KitchenAid. I finally decided to follow through and just before Thanksgiving, there it was, pretty as can be, my brand new (and yes, totally free) blender. Within a day I had made a delicious Apple Pie Eggnog Milkshake (I'll be sharing the recipe next Tuesday), and since this blender is strong enough to double as a food processor, I next made Red Pepper and Spinach Hummus.

As I'm now making my way through the eight nights of Chanukah, prepping for a Christmas day feast and working on my New Year's Eve menu, I'm grateful for many things: the gift of the memories of a Thanksgiving with the family under one roof, the gift of my health, and the gift of a blender that makes a breakfast smoothie a quick, delicious and healthy treat. Just when I need it.

Basic Mixed Fruit Smoothie recipe and lots of suggestions for substitutions to incorporate your favorite flavors. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #drink

Basic Mixed Fruit Smoothie
Basic Mixed Fruit Smoothie recipe and lots of suggestions for substitutions to incorporate your favorite flavors. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #drink

Whatever you celebrate, I wish you all a magical holiday season. I wish you the joy of being surrounded by your family, I wish you good health, and I wish you gifts that make your life easier.

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

Basic Mixed Fruit Smoothie        

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (makes 2):
16 oz frozen pineapple, strawberry, peach and mango fruit mix (can substitute any frozen mixed fruit)
1 cup apple cider (can substitute apple juice)
5 oz orange cream yogurt (can substitute any flavor)
1/4 cup eggnog (can substitute milk)
2 - 3 TBSP honey 

*Place all ingredients except for 1 TBSP honey into a blender. Pulse and then blend until smooth.
*Turn off the blender and taste with a spoon. Adjust consistency and flavor:
Add ice if you prefer a thicker consistency.
Add honey if you prefer more sweetness.
Add eggnog or milk if you prefer more creaminess.
*If you've added anything, blend again briefly.


  1. Oh, my word, we've truly entered the season of miracles! I'm so grateful you got your son for Thanksgiving. Is he home for Chanukah and Christmas as well?
    We have so many blessings in our lives. The only catch is to see them for the wonders that they are.
    I loved this post. And could you please tell me why I'm teary reading about your new blender? (Of course, it's probably because I got worked up over the thought of family and health!)
    I'm so grateful you are returning to your normal vigor. You are a blessing in my life!

    1. Thank you Diane, I'm fortunate to be able to call you a friend.

  2. Our 70 year degree Christmas temperatures will give us the chance to get outside and work off Christmas Dinner #1. My oldest son messaged me asking to bring lunch tomorrow. Of course, I was thrilled, but could not to let him know that a quiet day was not devastating me. So we are running around preparing for an unexpected gathering. I have no idea who and how many. Merry Christmas!

    1. I'm glad you're having the unexpected gathering, it warms my heart to know that you'll be together.

  3. Wishing you and your family many blessings now and all through the coming year.


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