Friday, February 26, 2021

The Moral is Morals: Fairy Tale Poetry

Tell a Fairy Tale Day poetry | Graphic designed by and property of | #poem #poetry  
Last Friday of the month round here,
is officially poetry time.
There's always a theme to work with,
and then I set out to rhyme.

Today's a national holiday,
celebrate telling a Fairy tale.
So that's the theme I picked this time,
Sure hope that I don't fail.

The Moral is Morals

Orange man with an attitude wry,
to make money, nothing he wouldn't try,
bills he'd not pay, sue people out of his way,
and to get loans, he would quite simply lie.
Thought he knew more than all of the rest,
came down the escalator, theory to test,
bragged 5th Avenue shootin', even kissed Putin,
and he won, who would have possibly guessed?
Surrounded by spineless sycophants,
play his evil word music, they'd dance.
They even broke laws, for his bigoted cause,
loud and proud with their sickening chants.
On this nation his havoc he'd wreak,
atrocities of which I just cannot speak.
Daily he'd lie. Every norm, he'd defy.
From respected, our country became weak.
Then along came a most deadly plague.
His response was not even vague,
"Ignore it," he said, "all the people now dead,
just attacks from the media that's fake."
Those with brains and morals now had to act.
Voter suppression first line of attack.
People voted with zeal, the consequences quite real.
Democracy won fair and square, that's a fact.
His next step, of course, was a coup.
Evil pied piper's zombies came through.
Guilty of sedition, their treasonous mission, 
did all the damage they could possibly do.
Many were found and arrested.
their actions denounced and detested.
Leader didn't care. Guilt, he refused to share.
In prison their allegiance will be tested.
As in all fables, evil must fail. 
Prosecutors now following money trail.
He'll get his just desserts, and I do hope it hurts,
get used to eating his McDonald's in jail.

The moral I hope to have conveyed,
careful from whom you take toxic Kool-Aid.
Like ingredients in batters, in life decency matters.
Follow evil, you'll end up betrayed.

Mint Marshmallow Brownies are thick, rich mint flavored brownies baked with a mint marshmallow topping | Recipe developed by | #dessert #chocolate

Mint Marshmallow Brownies
Mint Marshmallow Brownies are thick, rich mint flavored brownies baked with a mint marshmallow topping | Recipe developed by | #dessert #chocolate


Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Mint Marshmallow Brownies

4  ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 stick margarine
1/4 stick butter
1/2 tsp mint extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme
1 tsp mint extract
1/4 cup chocolate mint baking chips (or chocolate mint candies), chopped

*Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Place the unsweetened chocolate, margarine, and butter into a large bowl and microwave at 20 second increments until the chocolate is smooth when stirred.
*Stir in the sugar and 1/2 tsp mint extract, then the eggs and finally the flour. Pour into the prepared baking pan.
*Mix together the marshmallow creme and remaining mint extract. Drizzle over the brownie batter, then use a toothpick to swirl the marshmallow creme into just the top of the batter.
*Bake for 25 minutes. The edges will be crisp and the marshmallow will be puffed up.
*Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with the chopped chocolate mint baking chips or candies. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I Cannot Tell a Lie

I Cannot Tell a LIe, National Rationalization Day | Graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics
I cannot tell a lie. 

Rationalization, however, is a whole other story. Or is it?
Today is National Rationalization Day. I'll just wait here for my crown. There is one, right? For being the queen of rationalization. I hope there's a monetary prize too.

We've all had to find some new ways to pass the days while staying home and trying to stay safe for the past year. I talked about having become a Big Game Huntress, but that hobby played (get that little play on words there?) itself out already. Something I do from time to time is to check the Fun and Bizarre Holidays and Celebrations list. Sometimes for writing inspiration, sometimes just for a laugh. I think my favorite one so far is May 1st, which is apparently officially World Naked Gardening Day. In case you're considering buying the house next door, let me assure you that particular holiday is one I may write about but have no intention of participating in. My luck I'd prune something important vital. So to speak.

Today's holidays struck me first of all because I'm gifted with the superpower of taking rationalization to an art form. It's not that I can really take all the credit for that, It's something parenting will do to you. Not that I'm trying to rationalize rationalization or anything.

But what had me laughing is another of the "holidays" celebrated today, Pinocchio Day. As someone familiar with the attempted vindication (or at the very least mitigation) of a justification defense, it's as clear as the nose on your face that if rationalization had a physical persona, it would be Pinocchio. 
As current reigning queen of rationalization (in my house, anyway), it is incumbent upon me to defend myself. I think a good place to start would be with the master of truth, George Washington, famous for his honesty. As the story goes, at the age of six, he took a hatchet to his father's cherry tree. When confronted by his angry father, little George stated that he could not tell a lie and admitted his guilt. His father then celebrated his son for being truthful. 

The truth? "I cannot tell a lie" is a lie.

Wake up, people. First of all, what 6 year old tells the truth? Ever. And what angry father is going to be all excited because his beloved cherry tree was chopped down by a truth teller?
In later years, when asked about the story, Washington's biographer explained that after Washington's death, people were anxious to learn more about such a revered man so he offered up the story to symbolize the president's virtues. Rationalization, Mr. biographer? Methinks so.

So if the truth, even about the truth, is not the truth? Precedent, your honor. At least I don't lie to the masses about a historical figure. My little falsehoods are way more, I don't know, benign.

Like when my boys were little and I'd say "no, there are no vegetables in that casserole," as I hid them under the sauce? It's not a lie if it's for the greater good, and everyone knows that it's a parent's responsibility to be sure their kids eat a well-balanced diet.

All in One Chicken Casserole: chicken, ham and vegetables on a bed of hash browns, smothered in sauce, and baked in one pan. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

All in One Chicken Casserole
All in One Chicken Casserole: chicken, ham and vegetables on a bed of hash browns, smothered in sauce, and baked in one pan. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Or when, to incessant whining, I had to say "no" to fast food for lunch for the 987th time that week, I had to explain that McDonald's is closed on Monday? Well, see above excuse rational explanation.

When Hubs used to fly to NY for work one week every month, and I'd tell the kids that it was bedtime when it was actually not for another hour? Well, it was dark, I was tired, no harm, no foul, right? And they're still alive, aren't they?
And when Hubs was back home on the weekend and I'd tell him I needed to run a quick errand and somehow end up in a coffee shop with a friend? That was my errand. I never said it wasn't. And coffee and conversation are basic human needs, after all.

Yes, I may be guilty of a rampant rationalization, but at least I didn't chop down a cherry tree. 

National Tootsie Roll Day | Picture taken by and property of | #humor #funny

By the way, there's a third national celebration day today, a sweet one. It's National Tootsie Roll day.

I'll take mine in a pop, please. And NOT a banana one. There are a lot of things you can rationalize. Banana Tootsie Pops aren't among them.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

All in One Chicken Casserole

Printable Recipe

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp garlic powder
12 oz shredded potatoes
1 egg
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup poppy seed salad dressing
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 packet Italian dressing mix
2 TBSP sweet hot mustard
10 oz frozen mixed vegetables
4 oz chopped ham

*Grease an 8 X 8 baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and set aside.
*Mix the potato shreds, egg, green onion, salt, and pepper together. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared dish.
*Evenly distribute the vegetables over the potatoes. Mix together the ham and chicken, then add to the baking dish.
*Whisk together the salad dressing, orange marmalade, salad dressing mix, and sweet hot mustard. Pour over the ham and chicken. Cover with tin foil.
*Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove foil and bake another 30 minutes, making sure the chicken is fully cooked.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Cookies for Dinner and What's in the Juice: Fly on the Wall



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

This is the kind of situation that can only happen in the Covid induced blurring of days.
We'd had about 4 inches of snow, ending right around dinner time.
Me: After dinner you need to get out the snow blower.
Hubs: It's dark and it's freezing, I'll do it during the day tomorrow.
Me: You have to at least clear the sidewalk so the kids don't get hurt walking to school.
Hubs: OK, I guess I'll just get it all done tonight then.

Hubs bundles up, goes out and clears the snow from the driveway and walkway and sidewalks. He comes in freezing, his cheeks are bright red and there are icycles on his eyebrows.

Hubs: You know what I figured out while I was out there?
Me: No, what?
Hubs: Tomorrow's Saturday. There's no school.
Me: Oops. Never mind.

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

Only a week later we had a lot of snow. So much that the snow blower couldn't go through it all at once and Hubs had to do the driveway in 2 stages, first in the middle of the storm and later when it was over.

We have a step up to a small front porch. Hubs has to shovel that part. After the storm was over and he was outside working on the driveway, I decided to shovel the step and the porch for him. It only took a minute so, even though he could do it with the snowblower, I went to work on the short walkway to the porch.

Suddenly it was snowing again. Really hard. I was covered in a matter of seconds. I looked up and realized that Hubs, who was looking down at where he going, didn't realize I was there and was blowing the snow from the driveway onto me.
Here I am, living my best life . . . as one of the Three Stooges.

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

And it was on one of those freezing snowy morning that I had a defection in the house. You may have seen this posted to my Baking In A Tornado facebook page:

Never take the ones you love
as a given, or for granted.
When you least expected, they,
with you, are disenchanted.

Happened just today and I
discarded a morning love.
That now, in hindsight I can see,
had fit me like a glove.

"Cannot live without it," I
whined incessantly.
'Till Hubs knew that he had to get,
a replacement. Instantly!

When not only is Covid here,
and weekends suck for shopping,
how could it possibly choose this time?
It's snowing! And not stopping.

I want to boldly say this now,
for all the word to see,
"I promise to appreciate you,
new coffee maker, I love thee."
Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
Given all that snow, this attempt on my part to escape should come at no surprise:
Me: My cell phone needs a vacation. I better take it to the beach.
Hubs: Your cell phone?
Me: Yes.
Hubs: What are you talking about?
Me: It' been giving me high wind warnings all day.
Hubs (looking out the window): It's completely calm out there, no wind at all.
Me: I know, I think it's having a breakdown. I'll take it to the beach, I'm sure a little time there will help. 
Hubs: You don't need to do that, we'll just mail your phone to your mom on Marco Island for a week.
Damn. He got me.


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

The past few years I'd only cooked 5 days a week. Hubs would work late twice a week and I'd just leave a plate of leftovers from earlier in the week for him to heat up when he got home.

Now that he's working from home and we rarely go out, I cook 7 days a week, and I'm not really loving it. One evening I was just completely exhausted and didn't feel like cooking. I had baked that afternoon and thought maybe I'd use that to my advantage.

Hubs: What's for dinner?
Me: I don't know, I'm not feeling great, I'm just exhausted.
Hubs: Why don't we just have something simple for dinner?
Me: What would you think about peanut butter and jelly?
Hubs: I guess I could have a couple of sandwiches for dinner.
Me (pushing a plate of cookies towards him): Perfect. Enjoy.
Hubs: Cookies?
Me: Peanut Butter Cookies with a jam filling. Take it or leave it.
Hubs: Sold.
Me: And since you're being such a good sport, I'll throw in a glass of milk.
Hubs: How did I ever get so lucky?
Me: If you're going to be sarcastic, I can take the cookies back, make you a bowl of spinach and beets or something.
Hubs (pulling the cookie dish closer): Nope. We're all good here.
And that, my friends, is how you do it.

Blackberry Creme Filled Peanut Butter Cookies, peanut butter and jelly meets a fluffernutter in an addicting cookie. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

 Blackberry Creme Filled Peanut Butter Cookies
Blackberry Creme Filled Peanut Butter Cookies, peanut butter and jelly meets a fluffernutter in an addicting cookie. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

Men are insensitive. There, I said it. You can go ahead and call me sexist if you want, but I lived with 3 of them for a lot of years so I've had a lot of experience with it.
Unfortunately, I'm very sensitive, get my feelings hurt very easily. It's not really the best combination.

Me: I had a bad day.
Hubs: What's wrong?
Me: Both of the boys hurt my feelings.
Hubs: Whatever they said, you know they didn't mean it.
Me: You're half right.
Hubs: You mean they partially meant it?
Me: No, I mean PurDude didn't mean it, unless I spell it out for him, he's clueless. 
Hubs: And?
Me: College Boy? He knows exactly what he's doing. 

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

It had been my sister's birthday and I was not going out to stores. I really wanted to send her a card, but in this wide open state where masks were never mandated, I knew it just wasn't safe.
I often keep a few cards in the house but when I looked I was down to pretty much nothing. Both of the ones I had were not appropriate, but I came really close to using one. Then I did find a card with just flowers on the outside, nothing inside. That would work, I'd write her a note inside. Along with the birthday message, this is what I said:
"I rarely go to stores in this wide open state, so this was the best I could do for a card. In my defense, although I'd ruled out the sympathy card I had, I came very close to sending you my other option, a "Congratulations, it's a boy" card. Fortunately I found this card before I mailed the other one. Maybe next year though . . ."

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
I was working on the shopping list and had a question for Hubs, who was downstairs in the man cave. I didn't feel like either yelling or going down there, so I texted him. 

Hubs (coming up the stairs looking at his phone): What the hell have you been giving me?
Me: Huh?
Hubs: Your text.
Me: My text? I was asking if you wanted the same juice this week that I bought you last week.
Hubs: What kind of juice exactly did you buy me?
Me: V8.
Hubs: What kind?
Me: Low sodium.
Hubs (heading back down the stairs): Get your phone. Look at the text.

I grab my cell and see what he was so concerned about.

Me (texted to Hubs): Do you think you need more low scrotum juice this week?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
Hubs comes into the room and I'm watching, as I often do, a true crime show on the ID network about a gruesome murder.

Hubs: You're always watching shows about people trying to get away with murder. I'm worried about you.
Me: You should be more worried about you.
Hubs: Maybe I'd be better off if you changed the channel for a little while.
Me: I was watching a different channel, but it was too violent.
Hubs: Too violent for you?
Me: Yes.
Hubs: What were you watching that could possibly have been more violent than people murdering innocent people?
Me: The news.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
PurDude wanted a PS5 and they were impossible to get your hands on, I wrote recently about trying to get one and what we went through in my post Big Game Huntress.

Because the sellers' websites were so overwhelmed when there was a drop (almost all sales were online), they would sell out within seconds. Often the sites would crash or not be able to keep up with the orders. Even worse, people who got their orders placed would later get order cancellations. When I finally was able to get an order in during one of the drops, we then had to hold our breath hoping the order wouldn't be canceled.
My order showed "preparing for store pick up on Thursday" for 5 days. At 6:00 pm the Tuesday before, I got an email and my heart stopped. But what it said was that my order was ready for pickup (I sent it to a Colorado store with PurDude as the pickup person). I was so excited! I called PurDude. And I called him again. And I sent a PM. And I texted. Nothing. 

I know my son. He was either working (he'd still answer the phone), skiing (not this day), or sleeping (this kid is, I'm sure, eligible for his doctorate in napping). I knew he was sleeping and I was beside myself.

45 minutes later he called me back.

PurDude: Mom.
Funny truth is, now that he finally has a PS5 and some new games, chances are he actually won't be sleeping again for a long time.

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

Never Ever Give Up Hope  
Wandering Web Designer 

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Blackberry Creme Filled Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup reduced fat or regular creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour

1/4 cup marshmallow creme
1/4 cup sugar free seedless blackberry jam (can substitute jam flavor of your choice)
1 TBSP powdered sugar

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, and egg until smooth. Carefully beat in the flour.
*Roll the dough into 30 balls. Place on the baking sheets. Press the dough balls down slightly with the heel of your hand or the bottom of a glass.
*Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and cool completely.
*Whisk together the blackberry jam, marshmallow creme and powdered sugar. Turn the cookies upside down, pipe or spoon the cream into the center of half of the cookie bottoms. Top with the remaining cookies to form a sandwich. Refrigerate to thicken the center.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Be Kind to a Kvetch: Word Counters

Word Counters, a multiblogger writing challenge | Developed, run by and graphic property of | #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 50. 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.

 This month's number is 40. 
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 chosen the theme Be Kind to a Kvetch.

~ Today is National Do a Grouch a Favor Day. The point? To cheer someone up, whether they're having a bad day, week, month, or year. Do it to make the world a better place (or just to piss them off).  

~ For the grouchy morning person: there are coffee makers with automatic brewing features. You order it online, they bring it to your door, chances are anyone around you in the mornings will set it up. Grouch mitigation in a mug.

~ For the grouch fighting with the automated voice labyrinth to get a credit card question answered: cut that card up into tiny little shards. It's freeing, incredibly satisfying. Hang up that phone. There's many other credit card companies out there.

~ For the grouchy winter hater heading to the mailbox: Stop right there. There's a new winter mail strategy (I know, I'm a beta tester), leave the mail where it is until spring. Why rush out just to get bills, anyway?

~ For the grouchy hungry dieter: it's a pandemic, you're at home, eat the damn food. All of it. Not just the carrots and celery, the brownies, cookies, cakes and pies. Secret scientific fact: sweets will turn that frown upside down.
Peanut Butter Creme Brownies, dense chocolatey brownies baked with a peanut butter creme swirl. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #chocolate
Peanut Butter Creme Brownies
Peanut Butter Creme Brownies, dense chocolatey brownies baked with a peanut butter creme swirl. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #chocolate

~ For the grouch whose waistband is cutting off their circulation: that may be my bad. But we're all not going anywhere anyway, stop wearing pants. Helpful hint: this is not a good time to wave to the Fed Ex guy.

~For the (legitimate) grouch who doesn't get enough sleep: there are some . . . ahem . . . herbal solutions. Check for legal forms in your area. You'll thank me. Oh, and stock up on those Peanut Butter Creme Brownies, you'll need them {{wink, wink}}.

~ For the grouchy victim of whoever was in the bathroom before you and didn't replace the toilet paper roll: I offer you my wholehearted support. You go, girl, work that anger, make them pay. You're doing it for us all.

~ For the generalized, no idea why and who needs a reason anyway, perpetual grouch: What exactly do you think the liquor cabinet was made for? A pitcher of My Mai Tais never hurt anyone (OK, that may be a lie).

~ In case you didn't catch on, may as well admit it. Those grouchy people above? They're me. And any favor you might care to bestow, well, today's the day. Get out there and do a grouch a favor. I'm waiting . . .

Here are links to the other Word Counters posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Peanut Butter Creme Brownies

NOTE: I used a box brownie mix (with canola oil), and reduced fat peanut butter in this recipe to lower the fat content. You can use any brownie recipe and full fat peanut butter if you choose.

1 box (about 18 oz) dark chocolate fudge brownie mix
1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
2 TBSP milk

*Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Prepare the brownie mix as per box directions, or prepare your own brownie recipe as you normally would.
*Spread the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan.
*Whisk together the peanut butter, marshmallow creme and milk until smooth. 
*Place into a sealable plastic bag, snip the corner and pipe onto the brownie batter. Using a toothpick, swirl the peanut butter mixture through the top of the brownie batter.
*Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges have browned and the brownie are fully set. Cool completely before slicing.