Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Hope Again

 They say that hope springs eternal. But does it?
A mere four years ago, hope took a hit. Body slam, as it turned out. For me, anyway. 
As we close out the nightmare that was most of 2020 and look to a new year, I've been thinking a lot about hope, in both consequential ways, and those with far less significance.
I have no intention of, nor the stomach for, rehashing all that's happened in this country's recent history. Suffice it to say that as my identity as an American along with my personal safety took a hit, so did hope. "Beacon of hope" declined to a "glimmer of hope", and then to "hope against hope". "Beyond hope" was staring me in the face. What then? We're better than this.

At least I hope to hell we are.
But the first step back up that slippery slope from near despair to hope is action. So we voted. Even in a pandemic, when the cavalier actions of so many literally threatened our lives, we found a way, took that step from "hope against hope" back to our old friend "glimmer of hope". Nothing new here, we did the same thing we always did, registered our beliefs.

Hope Again | Graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #life

Less consequential, globally anyway, was a conversation I had a few days before Thanksgiving based, it turns out, in blind hope. I was preparing foods differently this year due to my husband's diet restrictions (lower in fats). I'd made some adjustments to the pumpkin pie I always serve, Hubs and PurDude love it but the ingredients needed to be tweaked this year. I added espresso too because PurDude loves coffee as much as he loves pumpkin. I wanted to make a second dessert as well, for all of us, but because College Boy doesn't love pumpkin.

Me: I made an Espresso Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving. What should I make for a second dessert?
College Boy: Cheesecake.
Me: Cheesecake? Dad can't have cheesecake, that's about as high in fat as you can get. 
College Boy (as he's walking away): I'm sure you can come up with a lower fat version.

Of cheesecake? Are you kidding me? 
Looks like hope springs eternal after all. 
But you know what they say, where there's hope, there's fire. Or something like that.

This Cheesecake is lower in fat but just as creamy and delicious as the full fat version. Serve as is or top with fruit of your choice. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert
Cheesecake (Lower Fat) 
This Cheesecake is lower in fat but just as creamy and delicious as the full fat version. Serve as is or top with fruit of your choice. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert
I've struggled during this pandemic, as so many of us who trust science and doctors have, with not seeing family members. I'd never gone more than a few months without seeing my younger son, but this Thanksgiving was a full year. He sat in his home 8 hours away, working from home and I sat in mine, trying to stay healthy and alive. Numbers were spiking both there and here, making it unsafe for us to be together.

I checked in with him each day, and each day we had pretty much the same conversation, trying to come up with a way he could come home. Day after day after day, to no avail.

Until, finally, in what felt like out 300th conversation, we started to work out a way. It would take a lot of effort and a little luck, but it could work.

He came home for Thanksgiving. He stayed for a month. I can't even tell you how that felt.
You know, they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
But maybe that's not insanity at all. Maybe it's just hope.

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Cheesecake (Lower Fat)        


Printable Recipe

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 TBSP sugar
6 TBSP milk
1 block (8 oz) Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 block (8 oz) fat free cream cheese, softemed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
6 TBSP Greek yogurt
2 TBSP milk
2 TBSP flour
1 tsp lemon zest 3 eggs, room temperature 
OPT: macerated fruit for serving

*Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 inch springform pan. On the outside of the pan, wrap a sheet of tin foil around the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan.
*Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and 6 TBSP milk. Press into and partially up the sides of the springform pan.
*Beat the Neufchatel cheese, cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, and lemon extract until smooth. Beat in the Greek yogurt, remaining milk, flour, and lemon zest, then the eggs, one at a time.
*Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 60 - 75 minutes, until the center is just set.
*Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
*To serve: gently run a knife around the cheesecake before removing the side of the springform pan.
*OPT: serve topped with macerated fruit.
*Store leftovers, covered, in refrigerator.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Split Decision: Funny Friday

Funny Friday: a multi-blogger challenge: one picture, five captions,  | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

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.

Here's today's picture. It was submitted by Me.

Funny Friday, a multi blogger picture captioning challenge | Picture taken by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #funny #laugh

1. Child: Is this what they mean by "split decision?" 
Mom: Well, it's certainly proof that it's best to work together. 
2. Little Girl (looking at the tree): Mom, does that hurt? 
Mom: I don't think so, what do you think?
Little Girl: I don't think I'd want to do the splits for that long.
Mom: Good point.
3. Maple (to his friend the Cottonwood): I heard something about you and your wife, are you OK?
Cottonwood: Yes, unfortunately we hit a rough patch.
Maple: Were you able to work it out?
Cottonwood, No, we decided to split.

4. Tree (to his better half): Honey, I think you've taken social distancing a bit too far.

5. Girlfriend to boyfriend: I think we should take a break.
Boyfriend (disappointed): Why? Don't you like spending time with me?
Girlfriend: I do, but I need a little space. Sometimes it feels like we're joined at the hip.

And now for something yummy:

Orange Cranberry Pull-Apart Loaf, this fun treat for breakfast, brunch or a snack is full of holiday flavors.| Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake

Orange Cranberry Pull-Apart Loaf
Orange Cranberry Pull-Apart Loaf, this fun treat for breakfast, brunch or a snack is full of holiday flavors.| Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake

Click on the link below for more smiles:

Southern Belle Charm 

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

Orange Cranberry Pull-Apart Loaf

2 cans refrigerated crescent dough sheets
3/4 cup orange marmalade
2 TBSP cranberry juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice 
1/4 cup cranraisins
1/4 cup shelled roasted pistachios, chopped 

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan.
*Unroll the crescent dough sheets and cut each one in half, the long way, then cut each half into thirds.
*Whisk together the orange marmalade, cranberry juice, cinnamon, and allspice. Mix in the cranraisins and chopped pistachios.
*Gently dollop a heaping teaspoon of the mixture into the center of the top of each of the 12 dough segments, then fold the bottom half over onto the filling. 
*Place loosely into your prepared loaf pan, folded side down and open side up to fill the pan.
*Bake for 20 minutes, loosely cover with tin foil and bake another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, gently run a knife around the edges, then allow to sit in the pan for 15 minutes before removing to serve.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020




Jewels | Graphic designed by and propterty of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #friendship

Friends are the jewelry that adorn us. They add color, vibrancy, and sparkle.

As we go through life, we gain friends, retain friends, and unfortunately lose them. Sadly, over the last four years in this country we've expanded the number of ways in which we lose friends. Politics doesn't only make for strange bedfellows, but for wide divides, amplifying some pretty consequential differences.

Today I'm talking about two friendships, and about two diametrically opposed states of loss. I hope that when I've got this out, put this jumble of feelings into concrete sentences, I can begin to come to terms with what's been haunting me for almost two months now. 
Because I'm also talking about the ultimate loss, death.

At the beginning of this year I had two friends I no longer have. I met them both at almost the same time, back in the very beginning of 2013. They both found me through the blogging challenges I run. We grew our connection through the blogging community created as a result of those challenges. Both friends participated regularly over the past 7 years. And the community, a safe place to share, built our trust and connection.
One of these women wrote a very right wing blog post back in June. She told me that she knew her stance wouldn't be popular with our group, but that everyone has the right to say what they think. I agree. But apparently to her, "everybody" meant only her. She was hurt by her blog comments from our group expressing opposing viewpoints. She told me privately that she was sure I wanted her to leave the group, that she no longer felt welcome in the group. I supported her, told her that I didn't want her to leave, and that she has every right to express her political and social position on her own blog. 
She also expressed a desire to participate in an upcoming group post but thought she wouldn't be well received. I told her she was as welcome as always (she did end up signing up, then didn't honor her word by not participating). It declined from there, she got passive/aggressive taking down graphics I'd spent a lot of time and effort making for her without saying anything to me, I backed off in order to keep from saying anything I couldn't take back, she told me I wasn't her friend and she wanted nothing else to do with me or our writing group.

That situation is resolved. I have no regrets, feel no remorse. I offered support, it was rejected, and I have no problem living with her decision.

But the other loss, that loss is none of the above. There is regret. There is remorse. There is guilt.

And it was a candy cane, of all things, that brought it to the surface, what I'd been tamping down, avoiding, for months now. I guess the candy cane was the trigger because Christmas was important to Jules, she was deeply religious and was even semi-raised by a chosen mom (it's very complicated) who was a former nun. So, at this Christmas time, I finally need to talk about Jules.

Candy Cane Cake, for serious peppermint lovers. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert
Candy Cane Cake
Candy Cane Cake, for serious peppermint lovers. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert
As I said, I met Jules via blogging 7 years ago. I encouraged her participation in our writing challenges and she joyfully joined in most of them. Through the group and then through private messages we got to know each other better.

But Jules had problems. That's an understatement. She was a mess, physically. I don't even know where to start, from Crohn's and a myriad of autoimmune conditions to benign growths on her brain to throwing blood clots to, well, you name it. She was constantly seeing doctors and oncologists, was a medical enigma, they were forever just trying to keep her in a state of stability. 

She started having me edit some of her posts, remind her of deadlines, and she made me an administrator on her blog. As time went by she got more comfortable with the group and shared some very personal and difficult truths. With her permission, I wrote a blog post about it called Silent No More. She wrote a companion piece, which I edited for her. I went into her blog dashboard yesterday searching for it, but she'd deleted it. She didn't want anyone's feelings hurt, which is so Jules.
I don't know when she began sending me private messages at all hours of the night, but we'd talk for hours. Trying to follow her line of thought could be exhausting. I'm sure it was because of the tumors and the meds, but she'd start conversations assuming things she's actually never told me, relay a conversation with a former father in law (in name only, it turns out) I never knew she had. She'd talk about people I'd never heard of, and she'd make definitive decisions that, the next time I talked to her, not only had she not followed through with, but she seemed to know nothing about. She'd talk about new medical decisions or conditions, parenting struggles, Chad, Andrea, Whit, Kateri, Molly, her mom, her "mum", her landlord, knowing her father was fading, and then her feelings when he died. I talked with her through it all, Jules was an unwaveringly kind, moral, honorable and honest person and I cared about her so much. But honestly, it was emotionally draining.

She'd told me over and over again that she would die young but with every setback over all of those years that she overcame, it just stopped registering.
I heard about Jules' death last month from Penni (the daughter of her "mum Rosemary"), posting to Jules' FB page. Even while both in shock and grappling with a stabbing sympathy for Chad, Andrea, Molly, and her daughter Whit, the guilt set in immediately. 
We'd lost touch. Not completely, but the late night personal conversations had become few and far between. She got a job and stopped blogging, spent more time on her FB page communicating en masse than individually. 
Some of the last few private conversations are now quite painful to read. Some of the bits and pieces:
Jules: "I miss you. I've just been barely surviving these days."
Me: "Hang in there, it'll get better. It always does."
Jules: "I absolutely agree. I know in the end it will be okay."

and a piece of a conversation as the reality of the pandemic set in:

Jules: "I cannot wait for us to all be safe again. I need us to be safe. I said Trump would kill us all I genuinely wanted him to prove me wrong. I love you. Stay safe."

and from one of our last private talks:

Jules: "I trust God. I really do. But sometimes I feel like he's filming candid camera."
I didn't feel badly about the dwindling of individual conversations because we did still stay in touch. I actually, in a way, felt relieved. 
That insensitivity is where the seeds of regret, remorse, and guilt lie. What I wouldn't give to be able to have more middle of the night conversations. Even the ones where I was completely lost, had no idea what we were talking about.
I continue to struggle with the guilt, probably always will. But I am fortunate enough to have had those conversations, they are the reason I know that Jules' 37 years were well spent. I know, for instance, that she could barely walk, but participated in charitable marathons, no matter how long it took her. Jules had ongoing issues with food and digestion, but volunteered regularly at her local food bank. She was dealt an unimaginable hand physically, but she always expressed gratitude. She often had severe issues with memory, but it didn't stop her from remembering to tell me she loved me.
Jules had a name for herself, the one she used as her twitter handle. She called herself Broken Jules. And she was, in so many ways, broken. 
Yet in infinitely more meaningful ways, she was, like all jewels, most perfectly formed.
Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Candy Cane Cake

6 TBSP canola oil
4 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup finely crushed candy canes (or peppermint hard candies)

1 can (12 oz) vanilla marshmallow frosting
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/3 cup finely crushed candy canes (or peppermint hard candies), divided 
OPT: peppermint hard candies for decoration

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 baking pan.
*Beat the canola oil, butter, and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, then the milk and 1 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract.
*Add the flour, salt, baking powder and 1/3 cup of the crushed candy canes. Spread evenly into the baking pan.
*Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch. Cool completely.
*Mix the frosting with the remaining peppermint extract and about 1/4 cup of the crushed candy canes. Spread over the cake. Sprinkle with the remaining crushed candy canes.
*OPT: decorate with peppermint hard candies.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Gold Frosting and Orange Pee: Fly on the Wall


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

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 4 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.

I'm still not going into stores and have resigned myself to relying on picking up my groceries. There's good news and bad news, of course. If they're out of an ingredient and don't have an acceptable substitute, it comes off my bill, budget good news. But if I can't come up with a creative substitute on my own, I can't make the recipe I'd needed that ingredient for.
Hubs does the pick up, and a few weeks ago he brought the groceries in, smiling. It's not often a chore he enjoys.
Me: You're happy.
Hubs: I'm looking younger.
Me: Huh?
Hubs: Last week we got a bottle of wine, and they just put it in with our groceries.
Me: And?
Hubs: This week we got beer and they carded me before they'd put it in the car.
Me: Hold on to that feeling, it could be fleeting.
Hubs: Why?
Me: How are you gonna feel if they don't card you again next week?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
While PurDude was home, I made sure to have him do all the online and blog stuff I don't know how to do. I had come to depend on him for that kind of thing, and it got really difficult for me when he moved away. When I get him home, I have to make the most of it.
And sometimes things come up while he's here. Which is perfect timing as far as I'm concerned. Even if I do have to endure eye rolls. Like this conversation:
Me: My IPad is runny really really slowly.
PurDude: Let me look at it.

PurDude looks at the IPad for a few minutes, then hands it back to me. I click on an app and can see that it's much faster.

Me: It's working. What did you do?
PurDude (rolling his eyes): I closed the 700 apps you had open.
Me: Oh. I thought they closed when I clicked out of them.
PurDude: You didn't know you had to close the apps? How long have they all been open?
Me: I'm guessing since the last time you were home. So . . . about a year.

And about that time I was treated to a second eye roll. All in about a 10 second span. Am I good or what?
Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
I was watching one of my true murder shows after dinner one night when PurDude came down the stairs. He sat down to see what I was watching. It was towards the end of the show and the police were interviewing the killer. When asked why she killed her friend's husband, she said it was because her friend had asked her to.
Me: If someone asks you to kill someone, say "no."
PurDude: But what if they ask nicely?
Me: I'm still gonna go with you saying "no."

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

PurDude had talked about staying just through Thanksgiving but I, of course, had other plans. He should stay through his birthday at least, right? That would keep him here through most of March. Just as, you know, a little insurance policy, this conversation may have happened:

Me: Take PurDude down to the man cave and put on a football game, really loud.
Hubs: Should I ask why?
Me: Do you think you'd want to know?
Hubs: No, but I'll be brave and ask anyway. Why?
Me: I want to be sure he stays longer than he'd planned.
Hubs: How is watching a football game with me in the basement going to make that happen?
Me: While you're down there, I'm going out to the garage to take the battery out of his car.

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

Some husbands are so kind and thoughtful. Others, well, they weren't raised that way and some just haven't quite gotten the whole way there.

I was making dinner on the grill and, of course, it got cold and rainy. I had lit the grill and was about to go out and put the chicken on to cook. My husband had come into the kitchen and saw me holding the platter of chicken headed out to the porch.

So, you know what he did? 
Yup, he ran over and held the door open for me.
Bacon Wrapped Chicken in Pineapple Barbecue Sauce, a little sweet, a little smoky, an easy dinner to prepare ahead of time. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #dinner #recipe

Bacon Wrapped Chicken in Pineapple Barbecue Sauce
Bacon Wrapped Chicken in Pineapple Barbecue Sauce, a little sweet, a little smoky, an easy dinner to prepare ahead of time. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #dinner #recipe

Me: Oh, gross, that's disgusting. I'd never buy that.
Hubs: What is? 
Me: This jam I'm looking at on the grocery store website.
Hubs: What is it?
Me: Fig and Lemon Jam.
Hubs: That actually sounds really good. Maybe we should try it.
Me: I don't think so, look at the ingredients:
Fig and Lemon Jam typo | Picture taken by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com
Hubs: Orange pee? Yeah, that's a hard pass. 

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

Still on the website and once again I'm perplexed by what I see.
Me: Do you think Betty Crocker puts gold in their chocolate frosting? Or maybe caviar? Truffles?
Hubs: What are you talking about now?
Me: I'm still on the website, how much do you think a 13 oz can of chocolate frosting costs?
Hubs: You know me, no idea.
Me: Well, the Hershey's one is $1.50.
Hubs: Well, since you're asking if they put gold in theirs, I'm guessing maybe theirs is $3.00.
Me: No. Look at this:
High priced frosting | Picture taken by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com

Hubs: Yeah, I'm guessing there's gold, caviar AND truffles in there. But don't buy it.

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

PurDude, Hubs and I had been watching the first game of a basketball challenge. Purdue had won the first game, so they'd be playing a game in the next round the next day.
Me: What time do they play tomorrow?
Hubs: I don't know.
PurDude: I don't either.
Me: I'll check online. The ESPN website will have the schedule. 

I go to the ESPN website, and navigate over to the NCAAM page, then click on "schedule."

PurDude: What did you find?
Me: I don't understand, I can't find anything on this schedule for tomorrow. I don't even recognize any of these names.

PurDude looks over at my laptop and rolls his eyes.

Me: Are you rolling your eyes at me?
PurDude: Do you think there's a school called Cage Warriors?
Me: No. I told you I didn't recognize any school names.
PurDude: That's because you're on the ESPN schedule page for the MMA.
Me: Oh, the wrong page, that explains a lot.

This time I think I actually heard him roll his eyes.

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

For that first Purdue tournament game, some of our cable boxes were malfunctioning and we could only get the channel showing the tournament on one television. The next morning, Thanksgiving Day, the other TV stopped getting it too. If we couldn't get it to work, we couldn't watch any of the tournament all weekend long.

We called our cable company and all the tech could tell us on the phone is that he had no idea what was happening, but he could schedule a technician to come out sometime next week. I was furious. 

PurDude woke up and we told him the situation.

PurDude: We'll just have to go watch at my house.
Me: That's an 8 hour drive from here.
PurDude: And what's your point?

PS: This is why I love social media. I tagged the company in a tweet saying they'd ruined a lot of our family time over Thanksgiving weekend. They responded and over the next half hour we communicated back and forth via DM. Eventually she gave us something we could try and it worked.

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

Getting old sucks, example # 743:

With all of these hungry men in the house, I'd go to bed with a full fridge and pantry and wake up to pretty much nothing. So I had to start hiding things that could possibly be eaten as a snack, but that I needed as ingredients for a recipe.

Problem is, with some of the items, I just can't remember where I hid them. 

And although I'm aggravated with myself, I keep picturing, some years in the future when we sell the house and move, finding these little hidden gems and thinking "ah, of course, that's where I hid that can of cashews back in 2020."

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

Never Ever Give Up Hope  
Menopausal Mother 
Go Mama O. 

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

Bacon Wrapped Chicken in Pineapple Barbecue Sauce         


Printable Recipe

1 (12 oz) package of center cut bacon
about 1 1/3# thin sliced chicken
garlic powder
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup crushed pineapple (not drained)
1/3 cup frozen chopped onion
*Grease an 8 X 11 baking dish.
*Par cook the bacon. I cook 1/2 of the package at a time for about 3 minutes in the microwave. Set aside.
*Cut the chicken into the same number of pieces as slices of bacon that you have. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with garlic powder. 
*Roll each piece of chicken in a slice of bacon, secure with a toothpick and arrange in the baking dish.
*Mix together the barbecue sauce, maple syrup, pineapple (and juice), and onion. Pour over the chicken and cover with heavy foil.
*NOTE: you can cook now or refrigerate for up to a day to cook later. If cooking later, take out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in the oven, covered with the tin foil, and bake for 1 1/2 hours.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Truth and Dare: Word Counters

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


Counting my words again. 

Today my fellow Word Counters and I are sharing our monthly group post. Each month one group member picks a number between 12 and 74. All participating bloggers 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.

The December number is 33. 
 It was chosen by Me.

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 settled on the theme Truth and Dare.

~ This month was a first as far as choosing a theme goes. I chose, then I adjusted. Originally this post was called Truth or Dare. I've decided to call it Truth and Dare.
~ We're rounding the corner towards a new year, the finish line for this one in in sight, but when it comes to hoping for a better, happier, healthier year ahead, do I dare?
~ The truth is that the alternative, taking that big, fairly (well, completely) permanent sleep isn't an option, of course. And not something to joke about in the reality of this age of Coronavirus.
~ Another truth is that this past year has gone by mostly in a daze, almost feeling like a long sleep. Well, nightmare anyway. Actually, the last four years, but this past one especially.
~ I'm now seeing a prolonged period of the denigration of norms, of the reality of a society unwilling to protect each other, as a form of sensory deprivation. This has been our truth.

~ I choose to dare. I acknowledge that to hope for change has to begin with an active continuation of those things I'd considered my normal. I still write, still share what I bake.

Pina Colada Bread, for the holidays or any occasion, features the flavors of a favorite cocktail baked into a bread. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake

Pina Colada Bread
Pina Colada Bread, for the holidays or any occasion, features the flavors of a favorite cocktail baked into a bread. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bake

~ Truth is, we're going to need to find a balance. Continuation of the norm can only be achieved in part. Some things are gone forever, acceptance of this, adjustments for this, are critical.
~ The song (maybe because it's almost New Year's Eve) "make new friends, but keep the old" is my current earworm. We all need to hold onto what we can while embracing the new.
~ For success, dare must be collective. Whatever it takes, we all must find the ability to hope, the determination to see the coming year as a beacon of light after a long darkness.
~ I wish for you what I hope for myself, a new year full of new opportunities, time spent with love ones, the ability to safely rejoin our communities, travel, health, happiness, and peace.

Here are links to the other Word Counters posts:

Messymimi’s Meanderings 
On the Border 

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

Pina Colada Bread        

Printable Recipe

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup toasted coconut
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 TBSP grenadine
3 TBSP milk
6 TBSP Malibu rum
8 oz can crushed pineapple with juice
2 TBSP untoasted coconut
6 maraschino cherries
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 5 loaf pan.
*In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and toasted coconut. 
*In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, grenadine, milk, and rum. Add these liquid ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients, along with the crushed pineapple with its juice. Mix until just incorporated.
*Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and top with the untoasted coconut and the cherries. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch.
*Cool in pan for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges to remove.