Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cold: February Word Counters

Counting my words again. 

Today my fellow Word Counters and I are sharing our monthly group post. The bloggers who are joining me this time all picked a number between 12 and 74 and sent it to me. I gave the numbers out as assignments to other bloggers who are then challenged to write something (or a few somethings, as the case may be) using that exact number of words. Today we all share what we came up with.

Word Counters, a multiblogger writing challenge | Developed, run by and graphic property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics



I got the number 14. It was submitted by Dawn of Spatulas on Parade.

As I've been doing in these Word Counters posts, I've chosen a theme and am using my word count multiple times in keeping with the theme. This month I've chosen the theme Cold. I bet you can figure out why.


~ You feel the need to say a prayer EVERY time you start the car.

~ Don't be gloveless, the steering wheel will claim the skin right off your fingers.

~ Whipping winds take your breath away, require zipping my coat up over your mouth.

~ You lose feeling in your feet, inside your boots, just walking to the mailbox.

~ Your groceries begin freezing in your trunk on the ride home from the store.


Crockpot Pepperoni Pizza Soup is a fun and filling way to have your soup and pizza too, pizza night in a quick and easy slow cooker soup form. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Crockpot Pepperoni Pizza Soup
Crockpot Pepperoni Pizza Soup is a fun and filling way to have your soup and pizza too, pizza night in a quick and easy slow cooker soup form. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner



~ You walk to your neighbor's house and end up with icicles on your eyelashes.

~ Stick your nose out of the covers, if it turns red, stay in bed.

~ How many pairs of socks can you wear at once? Asking for . . . me.

~ Damn whoever thought up daylight savings, the early dark plummeting temps in the afternoon.

~ But . . . a hot drink (with a shot) is medicinal on freezing days. Cheers.




Here are links to the other Word Counters posts:
Spatulas on Parade 
Messymimi’s Meanderings 
On the Border 



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Crockpot Pepperoni Pizza Soup
                                               ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Ingredients:
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth 
1 TBSP sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 cup pepperoni slices
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 small red onion, sliced then cut in quarters
1/2 green pepper, sliced then cut in quarters
1 clove minced garlic
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

OPT: naan or small premade pizza crusts
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
OR: Italian seasoned croutons

shredded mozarella cheese for serving

Directions:
*Place the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, sugar, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and pepperoni in a slow cooker and turn to high.
*In a saute pan, heat the 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat until hot. Stir in the onion, green pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion is just soft. Add to the slow cooker.
*Cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce to low and cook for 3 hours. Add the mushrooms, ricotta and parmesan and cook another hour.
OPT: just before the soup is done cooking, brush the remaining 1 TBSP olive oil onto the naan, then sprinkle with garlic powder and parsley flakes. Toast until the bread is hot, crisp and browned. Cut into about 1 inch slices.
*To serve, top each bowl of soup with the shredded mozarella cheese, then serve with the toasted bread or top with the Italian seasoned croutons.


Friday, February 14, 2020

A Song, A Raven, and Shrimp?: 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 | developed and run by 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: vile ~ well known ~ shock ~ song ~ bug ~Raven
They were submitted by Jenniy of Climaxed.

                          
Perspective is a funny thing. I took a look at my assigned words for this month and I was stuck. The reason? The order in which Jenniy submitted the words. I see that first word, vile, and in my mind I'm using that as a starting point. I don't want to write a post about vile. Well, actually, I do. I received these words, exactly 2 weeks ago today, the day the senate voted (again) to hear no witnesses and subpoena no documents. The vile way senators (I won't call them representatives because they're not) blatantly put their own political aspirations ahead of the best interest of our country (so . . . guilty of the actions they were charged with judging, how's that for irony?) really is something I could write about at length. But then so is shock, another one of my assigned words.

I'm not going there though (despite the fact that you could argue that I sort of just did, but oh how much more I have to say). I've done it before on this blog, my political viewpoints are well known here. But I just don't have it in me to get started on what I think about that mock trial. If I were to write about it, really speak my mind, I know how it would end, with the bottom line of how I feel about the state of our union, of the star-crossed hopes of anyone who values democracy:

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore".

So I'm going to change my perspective. Throw the words (well, there are only two left) into a dice shaker, roll them out again and talk about something else.

"Bug." Great, the perfect segue to sharing a new recipe . . .

Creamy Shrimp Rotini, fresh shrimp and vegetables are mixed with pasta and served in a creamy sauce. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Creamy Shrimp Rotini
Creamy Shrimp Rotini, fresh shrimp and vegetables are mixed with pasta and served in a creamy sauce. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner


I hope you don't mind if I move right along to song, a nice, benign, happy word. 

Or at least it should be. But thanks to some weird game app, and egged on by my words today, the song that's become today's earworm is about a bug. Technically (for the record), not a bug although (also for the record) a Raven would eat them. Nonetheless, "Eensie Weensie Spider" is circling my brain like kids playing a game of musical chairs. I was innocently playing my daily Sudoku game and when I beat it, I am always encouraged to download other game apps before my win is registered. Today's was a game where a spider is in one drain connected to a man in another. There are blockages in the drain and you are supposed to open the blockages that would allow the water at the top to drown the spider and not the man. Absurd game, in so many ways. I'd just leave all the blockages there, they're both safe and the spider's unable to get to the man. There, I win. Not much fun, but then neither would be playing the game as it's intended. 

Hence, the unwelcome (dare I say "vile") earworm of the day.

As well as the final proof that I'm not really accomplishing anything with this writing challenge {{sigh}}.

To that end, I guess I should end with an apology. Maybe two. First to Jenniy, I'm afraid I didn't do your words justice this month, I'm sorry. Second to the rest of my readers, if you look at my word count, seems I spent more time writing about why I didn't want to write about "vile" than I did saying much of anything else. Guess it's true that words are powerful, and sometimes they just won't be denied.

But there's a bright shiny object recipe. It's easy and it's delish. 

Yeah, deflection. Hope it works as well for me as well as it works for . . . 

Oh, and happy VD to you all. Wishing you love and happiness and flowers and champagne. And no spiders.




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Creamy Shrimp Rotini        
                                                      ©www.BakingInATornado.com


Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 box (12 oz) garden rotini
1 cup spinach (uncooked)
4 TBSP butter
3 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
24 oz raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 TBSP flour
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 milk
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

OPT: shaved or grated parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:
*In a large pot, cook the garden rotini to al dente. Drain, add the spinach to the pot and keep warm.
*In a large saute pan, melt 1 TBSP of the butter over medium heat. Add 2 cloves of the garlic, the onion and the chopped red pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables are soft, then add them to the pot with the pasta.
*In the same saute pan, melt another 1 TBSP butter with the olive oil and the other clove of garlic. Add the shrimp and cook, turning once, until just pink. Add to the pot with the pasta.
*In the same saute pan, melt the remaining 2 TBSP butter. Whisk in the flour. Cook and whisk for 1 minute until it's thick and the flour starts to brown. Whisk in the wine, heavy cream, milk, dried pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens. 
*Add the pasta mixture to the sauce and gently stir to coat the pasta, shrimp and vegetables. 
*OPT: serve with grated or shaved parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Can't Just Go: Escape Poetry


February, dark and cold,
leafless trees, sad to behold.
Even Valentine's a day of love,
can't these dreary feelings shove.

Monthly Poetry Group considered all,
this was our resulting call:
when it comes to February in prose,
Escape is the theme that we all chose.


Escape, a monthly poetry challenge based on a theme. | Graphic property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #poetry


But my poem today isn't about the weather.
Can't Just Go


"Escape" it said,
voice in her head.
"Go laugh, have fun,
you need to run."

"Escape" it said,
voice in her head.
Stop being naive,
I can't just leave.


"Escape" it said,
voice in her head.
Can't just dismiss,
signed up for this. 

"Escape" it said,
voice in her head.
But I can't go,
needs me to grow.

"Escape" it said,
voice in her head.
Just eats sweets without me, 
I'm no longer free.



Big Heart Cookies aren’t just for Valentine’s Day, share them with the ones you love on any occasion. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies

Big Heart Cookies
Big Heart Cookies aren’t just for Valentine’s Day, share them with the ones you love on any occasion. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies


"Escape" it said,
voice in her head.
Though tempted to run, 
she loved her "bun".


"Escape" it said,
voice in her head.
"Hang in" thought she,
he'll soon be three.


Before you go, click on these links to more poetry from some of my friends:
Dawn of Spatulas on Parade shares The Great Escape
Diane of On the Border shares Escaped.
Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares Escape the Madness.



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Big Heart Cookies  
                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (makes 12 large cookies):
1 stick butter,room temperature
1 stick margarine, room temperature 
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg 
2 tsp strawberry extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBSP red colored sugar
2 - 3 drops red food coloring

Directions:
*Cream together the butter, margarine and both sugars. Beat in the egg and strawberry extract. Mix in the flour, baking power, salt and red colored sugar, then use your hands to form into a dough.
*Place the dough onto plastic wrap and flatten to form a disk. Wrap the dough completely and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days.
*Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out 12 hearts with a large heart shaped cookie cutter. Using a small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut and remove a small heart from the center of each cookie and set aside with the excess dough. Move the large hearts to the baking sheets and refrigerate.
*Add 2 - 3 drops of red food coloring to the remaining dough, form a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll out this dough and, using the small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out 12 hearts. Place these into the center of the large cookies, gently manipulate them with your fingers so they fill the entire space, and return them to the refrigerator.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Remove the baking sheets from the refrigerator and bake for 15 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets before removing to cool completely.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Nutella King Cake: Mardis Gras Blog With Friends

Today’s post is the next in our series of Blog With Friends themed collaborations. Each month a group of bloggers get together and each publish a project based on a theme. What I love about his partnership is that it's not bloggers with similar interests or strengths but a diverse group coming up with a variety of posts. In any given month we may a recipe, sewing tutorial, crocheting, crafts project, book review, and/or technology post all related to the theme of the month.

Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme| Featured on and graphic property of www.BakingInATornado.com



This month's theme is Mardi Gras.

There will be individual project pictures and links to what everyone else has to offer at the end of my post, but here's a peek at what we all came up with:

Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Mardi Gras | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com


I made my version of a King Cake.


Nutella King Cake, a fun and easy interpretation of the classic Mardi Gras treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake

Nutella King Cake

I think Mardi Gras may be my spirit animal. Name a day Fat Tuesday, celebrate it by eating rich, fattening foods with reckless abandon, observe it publicly with parades and costume balls and parties and dancing in the streets? Sign me up.

King Cake reigns supreme for Mardi Gras. It's basically a filled, baked dough that is baked or fried, topped with a glaze and decorated with gold, green and purple colored sugars. A little plastic toy "baby" is baked into the cake and whoever gets that toy in their slice is supposed to be lucky. To me, skipping a trip to the dentist is lucky so I'm going to leave the it out. 

And that's not the only way I'm breaking with tradition. If you know me, you know that yeast and I are mortal enemies. I say "do what you're supposed to do" and it says "not a chance." So I'm making my King Cake starting with a frozen dough. My version is basically a giant braided glazed cinnamon roll. Works for me, hope it does for you. 

I start by defrosting a 1# frozen bread loaf, which I cut in half. I make my filling. 


Nutella King Cake, a fun and easy interpretation of the classic Mardi Gras treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake


Then roll out each piece of dough separately and slather them with my filling.


Nutella King Cake, a fun and easy interpretation of the classic Mardi Gras treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake


I roll them up, 


Nutella King Cake, a fun and easy interpretation of the classic Mardi Gras treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake



entwine them and allow to rise. 


Nutella King Cake, a fun and easy interpretation of the classic Mardi Gras treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake



Then bake.


Nutella King Cake, a fun and easy interpretation of the classic Mardi Gras treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake


While baking, I make the glaze.

Nutella King Cake, a fun and easy interpretation of the classic Mardi Gras treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake

Cool the Nutella King Cake slightly, drizzle with the glaze and sprinkle with the colored sugars.


Nutella King Cake, a fun and easy interpretation of the classic Mardi Gras treat. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake


Laissez les bon temps rouler!


As always, any time you make one of my recipes, feel free to post a picture of it to my Baking In A Tornado Facebook Page. I'd love to see it!

Be sure to visit all of this month's other Blog With Friends projects:
 
Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Mardi Gras | Let the Good Times Roll by Kia of The Ground Beneath My Feet | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com 
Kia of The Ground Beneath My Feet shares Let the Good Times Roll!


Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Mardi Gras | Celebrating Carnival in the Spanish Classroom by Lydia of Cluttered Genius | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com 



Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares Carnival in the Spanish Classroom

Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Mardi Gras | Looking at Mardi Gras by P.J. of A 'lil HooHaa | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com 




P.J. of A 'lil HooHaa shares Masks and Beads and Food and Drinks, OH MY!

Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Mardi Gras | Jazz it up with Gold by Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com 




Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments shares Jazz it Up!

Blog With Friends, a multi-blogger project based post incorporating a theme, Mardi Gras | Find the Baby by Jules of The Bergham Chronicles | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com 






Jules of The Bergham Chronicles shares Find the Baby.



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Nutella King Cake
                                                                          ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 loaf (1#) frozen bread dough
3/4 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup Nutella
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup powdered sugar 
1 tsp vanilla
purple, green and yellow or gold colored sugars

Directions:
*Encase the dough tightly in greased plastic wrap and defrost in the refrigerator. You can do this overnight.
*Grease a baking sheet and the bottom and sides of a clean metal can. Mix together the butter, nutella, brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
*Unroll the dough and cut in half. Flour your counter and rolling pin. Roll each half out separately between pieces of wax paper to about 18 inches long by 7 inches wide. 
*Carefully spread the Nutella mixture onto each sheet of dough, leaving about 1/2 inch on the long sides. Roll each up tightly.
*Entwine the 2 dough ropes together and move to the baking sheet. Form them into a circle and pinch the ends into each other to hold. Place the greased can in the center and allow to sit for 2 hours. 

*Fully line the lower shelf of your oven with tin foil as the cake may leak while baking and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
*Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Carefully slide the cake onto a platter and remove the can.
*Mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla and about 4 tsp water until your topping is of drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the warm cake. Sprinkle the purple colored sugar in one section, then the green, then the gold and repeat so the bread has 6 sections of colored sugar, two of each.

Friday, February 7, 2020

We're Havin' a Party: Secret Subject Swap

Welcome a Secret Subject Swap. This month 9 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 | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics



My subject is: Unbeknownst to you, your friends are planning a party to celebrate you! They need to pick one song to start the party with. What do you think they'll pick and why?
It was submitted by: Minette of Southern Belle Charm.

Before I start let me just say that if you don't recognize a single song in this post, it's because your "the rest is still unwritten" is obviously longer than mine (yes, that's my way of saying I'm old). We can still be friends, just don't rub it in. Like the first thing that comes to mind, a song sung by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Bet you've never heard of them, we're "Havin' a Party." But as much as I love that song, it's too generic, nothing says MY party.

As for the theme song for MY party, it's easier to say what they wouldn't (dare) pick. Well, to start with anyway. I'm guessing they won't go near, with a ten foot pole as they say, what I had come to think of as my theme song back in the day. I can remember driving in my car, windows and sunroof open, hair flying in my face, radio turned up to an ear splitting level, wondering when exactly Elton John had met me while singing along:

"I'm a bitch. I'm a bitch. Oh, the bitch is back.
Bitch, bitch, the bitch is baaaaack."

So no, I'm guessing they'll stay away from that one.

But what would they pick? "That's What Friends are For"? "You've Got a Friend"? "Thank You for Being a Friend"? All good choices I suppose, but a little too cliche, and not really the way to start a party. My kind of party anyway.

They may consider one of my all time favorite songs, Desperado:

"It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you.
You better let somebody love you.
You better let somebody love you.

Before it's too late."
 
No, a little too melancholy, not exactly situation appropriate.

How about a song about food?

Lady Marmalade: "Voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir."
Brown Sugar: "Brown sugar, how come you taste so good?"
Pour Some Sugar on Me? "I'm hot, sticky sweet, from my head to my feet."

Nope, none of those are about me. Or about food apparently, for that matter.


Peppermint Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream, NO CHURN, studded with peppermint candy pieces and swirled with chocolate syrup. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #ValentinesDay

Peppermint Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream, No Churn
Peppermint Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream, NO CHURN, studded with peppermint candy pieces and swirled with chocolate syrup. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #ValentinesDay



Or drink?

If they're my friends, they know I've wasted away in a Margaritaville or two. But I don't like Jimmy Buffet (sorry) and it's been years since I've not been able to find my shaker of salt.
 
"Red red wine you make me feel so fine.
You keep me rockin' all of the time."

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a dance fanatic. But I'm not doing much "Dancing in the Street" these days. Or "on the ceiling" either for that matter.

I've got it! The perfect start to a party about friendship, a reminder of where we've been and all that's to come. Dye your hair before attending, friends, channel your inner Cyndi Lauper and sing along with me:

"Girls just wanna have fun.
Oh girls just wanna have fun.
They just wanna, they just wanna . . ."

I know you didn't ask, but for the end of the party? Another Southside Johnny song:

"I know that it's getting late 
but I don't wanna go home.
I'm in no hurry baby time can wait,
I don't wanna go home."


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:


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Peppermint Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream, No Churn
                                                              ©www.BakingInATornado.com



Printable Recipe


Ingredients:
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp peppermint extract
2 cups heavy cream
25 red and white peppermint hard candies (like starlight mints)
OPT: red food coloring
6 TBSP chocolate syrup

Directions:
*Line a 9 X 5 loaf pan with an extra long piece of plastic wrap, so the inside of the pan is covered and the plastic wrap hangs over both sides. Place in the freezer to cool.
*Crush the mints in a food processor until you have pea sized or smaller pieces.
*In a large bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, peppermint extract and candy pieces. You can add a few drops of red food coloring if desired.
*Beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks hold. Fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture.
*Remove the loaf pan from the freezer. Pour about 1/3 of the ice cream mixture into the pan. Drizzle 2 TBSP of chocolate syrup over it and, using a toothpick, swirl into the ice cream mixture. Repeat this step 2 more times.
*Freeze for about 6 hours (best if left overnight). Store in the pan with the long ends of the plastic wrap folded over the top.