Friday, April 30, 2021

Guilty Favors

Guilt poetry | Graphic designed by and property of | #poem #poetry


Last Friday of the month is for
Monthly Poetry Group to rhyme.
Guilt's the theme I chose today. 
Hope my poem's not the crime.
As usual, this time I'll try,
a poem to write . . . or fudge.
Whether I'm successful or not,
you get to be the judge.

Guilty Favors

The party will be spectacular,
so much to celebrate.
We're now all vaccinated so,
no longer have to wait.
It took her more than just one day,
to make these treats, it's true. 
Nothing but the best for all,
her family (and some friends too).
First day prepped, second constructed,
and today was the big bake. 
Lined up in her kitchen were,
cookies, tartlets, and cake.
Vanilla Blueberry Tartlets by Baking In A Tornado
Vanilla Blueberry Tartlets
Vanilla Blueberry Tartlets by Baking In A Tornado

Satisfied (and also proud),
of the work that she had done.
Time to quickly shower then,
she'd happily greet everyone. 

Freshly dressed, back down she came,
to a shock! This cannot be.
A hole in everything she made,
Son holding a fork, with glee.
"You're guilty," she sputtered, eyes ablaze, 
So mad she could barely see.
"You're not a child, I raised you well.
How could you do this to me?" 

"You've made a mess and more than that,
you've ruined three days of work.
If you'd like to know what's good for you,
get rid of that guilty smirk."
"I know that when you look," he said
you see treats with a hole.
What you call guilt's a favor, though,
called quality control."

Before you go, more Guilt poetry:
Diane of On the Border shares Guilty

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Vanilla Blueberry Tartlets

NOTE: These tartlets set best if made ahead and refrigerated overnight

2 refrigerated pie crusts, unbaked
3 TBSP cornstarch
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (I used fat free)
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup powdered French vanilla creamer
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup frozen blueberries
OPT: whipped cream for serving

*Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 24 tartlet liners onto a baking sheet.
*Roll out each pie crust to about 14 inches round. Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles. If you don't get 12, roll out the remaining dough to make the rest.
*Press each crust round into and up the sides of the liners. Prick the bottoms with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes, cool completely.
*While the crusts are cooling, whisk together the 3 TBSP cold water and the cornstarch. Set aside.
*Whisk the evaporated milk, egg yolks, brown sugar, and salt in a pot over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Whisk in the powdered creamer and the vanilla.
*Reduce heat to medium low, then whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Continue whisking until the filling is thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
*Spread approximately 1/2 cup blueberries onto the bottom of the cooled tartlet crusts. Fill the crusts about 2/3 of the way full with the filling. Top with the remaining blueberries and press them gently into the filling.
*Refrigerate for at least 3 hours but sets best if refrigerated overnight. 
*OPT: serve topped with whipped cream.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Conflagration Consideration, Use It or Lose It

Everything Seasoning Bread Twists serve these crunchy flavorful twists with a salad, as a complement to any meal or just as a snack. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #bread
When the boys were little, they had this little game they'd play called Opposite Day. Bet your kids did too. It had multiple uses, none of which would ever work out well for me. Their favorite time to cite the dreaded (for me) opposite day would be to manipulate a negative (for them) situation into a positive. You know what I mean:

One of my sons (they're interchangeable in this instance), calling up from the basement: Mom, can we have soda?
Me: No, it's 10 minutes until dinner.
I notice both sons come up from the basement holding cans of soda.
Me: What are you doing? I just said "no."
Both of my sons: It's Opposite Day! 

Or they'd invoke it to trick me, in an every day is April Fools Day sort of way. Like when I'm cooking dinner and take a quick bathroom break.

One of my sons (they're interchangeable in this instance too), yelling from the kitchen: Mom, mom, the breadsticks are burning.

I yank up my pants and run into the kitchen to find nothing burning.
Boys (laughing in the way only little boys can do when they've successfully punked their mom): Ha, ha, it's Opposite Day!
Everything Seasoning Bread Twists serve these crunchy flavorful twists with a salad, as a complement to any meal or just as a snack. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #bread
 Everything Seasoning Bread Twists
Opposite Day is actually a thing, btw. I know 'cause I asked my friend Google. And contrary to popular (or at least my kids' popular) belief, it's on January 25th, as opposed to any (and every) day you feel like invoking it.
So why am I writing about conflagration today? Apparently because it's opposite day. In April. Which may be the opposite of January but that's a rabbit hole I'm just not venturing down.
Is there a point to all of this rambling? Yes, and it's my most recent conundrum
As I age, I'm disappointed to find that my vocabulary just isn't what it was. It's especially discouraging because writing is the way I've chosen to amuse myself (and, ironically, work that muscle in my head formerly known as my brain). More often than I'd like to admit, I can't quite grasp a word I'm reaching for. I know what it is, how it fits, what it means, but I can't capture it. Sometimes I can google a description of what I'm trying to say and find the word. Other times I can find a similar one to get my meaning across, but that's almost equally as frustrating. 

Today, though, was unusual. I kept thinking of the word "conflagration." It popped into my head, and more than a few times. I wasn't looking for the word, I wasn't looking for any word, it wasn't one of those instances. It was just sort of out of nowhere. And it was persistent.
The opposite of losing a word, I'd actually found one. Or maybe it found me.
I have to admit I've never had this earworm thoughtworm thing before so I'm not sure of what happens next, but if I were to guess, it's some kind of use it or lose it word conspiracy. Like "I'm here now, use me while you can 'cause if and when you need me there's no guarantee . . ."

You and I both know that if I ever do need that word, or even want it, there's a good chance it'll pick that moment to go into hiding. So if you happen to find me with smoke coming out of my ears, frantically grinding those gears in my head searching for a word, you know what to say to me, right?
But why this word, and why today? 

Conflagration Consideration, Use It or Lose It | Graphic designed by, featured on, and property of | #MyGraphics

Conflagration isn't a word I'd use often, actually most likely never, and to be honest I only had a loose understanding of its meaning. Something to do with war, I thought.
I've done a little research and now know I was sort of right. It's often used in reference to a large, destructive fire. OK, thankfully there's no reason I'd be thinking about that right now. But it's also used to describe a catastrophic, violent, or devastating event (including war). And that may be the reason why conflagration keeps making its entrance into my thoughts today. 
As I sit here bombarded by stories about police shootings and trials, mass shootings that have become so frequent that they don't even break into television programming to cover them, people still dying of covid and many continuing to refuse the vaccination, the senate at a standstill, politicians credibly accused of sexual relationships with minors  . . . 
Maybe, just maybe, conflagration is a word I should be thinking about. Because there actually is a large and destructive fire. And it is us.
But what is the opposite of conflagration? It's peace. 

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Everything Seasoning Bread Twists        


Printable Recipe

1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
3/4 tsp dried minced onion
1/4 tsp garlic salt
a pinch of kosher salt
1 tube refrigerated crescent sheet
1 TBSP butter
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion, garlic salt, and kosher salt. Set aside.
*Melt the butter, set aside.
*Unroll the crescent sheet onto the parchment paper on the baking sheet to about 14 inches long and 9 inches high. Spread the melted butter onto the crescent sheet with a pastry brush. Sprinkle with the seasoning mix.
*Cut the crescent sheet into 14 strips, each about an inch wide. A pizza cutter works well for this.
*Separate the strips slightly from each other on the parchment paper. Leave the top of each strip on the parchment paper, then gently, loosely twist the strips 4 - 5 times into a loose spiral.
*Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes or until they start to brown. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Something Else Party: 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.

We had put in an order for groceries. I had Doritos on my list, the hot spicy ones because those are the ones I like. I was planning to use them in a recipe and as a side dish with sliders.

When we got our order, the Doritos were there, but there was also a second bag, one we hadn't ordered. I tried them to see whether I might want to use them in the recipe instead of the hot Doritos, but they were a weird flavor and I didn't like them.

After I'd made the dinner with the Doritos in the beginning of the week and served them with the sliders later in the week, there were a few of the hot ones left. One afternoon I was sitting at the counter working on my laptop and finished them off. Hubs came upstairs.

Hubs: Oh, did you finish off the Doritos, I was just coming up to get some.
Me: There were only a few hot ones left, but I left all of the yucky ones for you.
Hubs: Oh. Ummm. Thanks?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
There was a mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder last month, I'm sure you know that. If you read this blog regularly you know that I have a son who lives in Boulder. In the past, when speaking of shopping, I've told him he could probably find an item he was looking for at Walmart. He told me that they don't have one in Boulder. They have a Target and for groceries there's a chain called King Soopers.
So when I first heard about the shooting, I knew it was at a store my son had been to, and of course I was panicked. When I found him, I was relieved, then I felt guilty for being relieved, knowing that many families would end that day not relieved.
Although I was glad he hadn't been grocery shopping that day, I was also a bit perplexed at his go-to store for groceries:

PurDude: There are three King Soopers in Boulder, that's not the one closest to me.
Me: I didn't know there were 3, I just knew you'd mentioned King Soopers as a grocery store you go to.
PurDude: I've been there but it's really not where I shop.
Me: Where do you get your groceries?
PurDude: I usually go to Walgreens.
Me: Walgreens?
PurDude: Yes.
Me: For groceries?
PurDude: Yes.
Me: You eating bandaids for dinner these days? 

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
Even after all these years it's still a shock that when I am sarcastic with Hubs he doesn't get it, answers me seriously. I keep trying and he keeps not getting it.
Until now, apparently.
He was making himself a sandwich and was rattling his knife in the jam jar for an excessive amount of time, an aggravatingly long time. So, of course, I used sarcasm to get my point across.
Me: You sure you don't want to rattle that knife around inside that jar for another hour?
Hubs: No, I'm good.
Wait. No explanation about trying to get the last of the jam from the bottom of the jar? No literal answer to my sarcastic question?
Only took over twenty years but I think he finally gets me. I am so proud!

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

Cancel that whole "I am so proud" thing.
Hubs got a new lawn mower and was putting it together. Fortunately, since he's the opposite of handy, whatever that is, you just have to attach the handle part. He had done it when I went out to see how it was going.
Me: That handle bar looks really low.
Hubs: I know, there are 3 adjustments and this is the highest. 
Me: I think maybe that lawn mower is meant for kids.
Hubs: No, they don't make these for kids and . . .
And we're back to answering my sarcasm seriously. 
So, basically, in over twenty years, he got my humor once. And it was a fluke {{sigh}}.
Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
Hubs comes up from the man cave to grab a snack. I'm sitting at the desk reading something on my iPad.

Hubs: What were you eating?
Me: Nothing.
Hubs: You've got spots all over your shirt.
Me: So you're saying I eat like a child?
Hubs: No, I wasn't saying you eat like a child. 
Me: Good.
Hubs: Ummm, so how did you get spots all over your shirt?
Me: I don't eat like a child, but I do bake like one.
Strawberry Pina Colada Galette, a rustic tart made with strawberries, pineapple and more, a dessert version of a summer cocktail. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Strawberry Pina Colada Galette
Strawberry Pina Colada Galette, a rustic tart made with strawberries, pineapple and more, a dessert version of a summer cocktail. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

I know I'm easily amused, which actually works out well when you've mostly not left the house for a year. I've still got another 10 days or so before my vaccination reaches peak efficacy so I remain cautious. And continue to find amusement where I can.
I've written about it in past months, and this month again I've gotten a good laugh from grocery store online ordering systems. This time I was looking for peanuts. We like them in the shell, and unsalted. When I put "peanuts" in the search box, only raw and salted shelled peanuts came up. So I put "unsalted peanuts" in the search box. 
And a package of candy eyeballs came up.

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

I know you all know by now that I've been a Red Sox fan, pretty much since birth, grew up with box seats to all the home games.

Last year was an . . . how do I put this . . . unfortunate year for them. When they're doing well, I have more of a chance of seeing the games on one of the sports networks we have here in the Midwest. When they're having a bad season, I don't hardly get to see them at all.

I thought this year would be another bad one. They were swept in the season opener at home. But a miracle happened and they won the next 9 away games, including sweeping the team that had swept them at the start of the season. So I wasn't surprised when the next game was covered by the MLB network. 

They lost.

The following day:

Hubs: The Red Sox are on tv today. Don't watch.
Me: Don't watch? You know I love to watch them.
Hubs: But I don't think they like it so much.
Me: Huh?
Hubs: Yesterday was the first game you watched out of the last 10 games.
Me: I know.
Hubs: And they lost.
Me: You're saying I did that?
Hubs: I'm just wondering if we should chance it.

So apparently I'm a walking, talking (watching), "reverse the curse". In reverse.

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

I've talked often on this blog about having to change Hubs' diet drastically to lower fat because he has gallbladder issues. It's been a change for all of us, we miss throwing Rib Eyes or bacon wrapped Filets, marinated London Broil or Flank Steak on the grill (among many, many other changes.

You also need to know that College Boy and I love lamb chops on the grill. Hubs doesn't, so through the years I would buy lamb chops, I'd buy him a smoked pork chop and we'd all have something we like for dinner. He can't have the pork chops any more so I almost never buy lamb.

Over Passover, though, I decided to buy lamb chops. I marinated a beautiful piece of salmon (which we both love) to grill for him. As I'm putting taking the lamb chops out of the bag and putting them into the fridge for the next day, Hubs comes into the kitchen.

Hubs: Oh, that looks so good. I wish I could have a lamb chop.
Me: You don't like lamb chops. In the over 20 years I've known you, you've never wanted a lamb chop.

The next day, Hubs comes into the kitchen while I'm preparing the food for the grill.
Hubs: I wish I could have a lamb chop.
Me: Say it again and I'm going to put you in a Memory Care Center. 
Hubs: Do they serve lamb chops?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
I had a running list on the desk in the kitchen of things I needed. It included items over the year (plus) that I've been isolating in the house, up to the present. I could safely go out again next week and needed to catch up on supplies. Hubs came into the kitchen as I was setting the list to the side of the desk calendar.

Hubs: What's that?
Me: A shopping list.
Hubs: For our groceries?
Me: No, this is a list I've been keeping of items that aren't food.
Hubs (looking at the list): Why is about 90% of this list alcohol?
Jeez, does this guy know me? Like, at all?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
As I said, I'm almost at my 2 weeks post 2nd Covid shot milestone and will finally be going out. I'll continue to wear a mask and social distance because I'm neither ignorant nor selfish.
I have rarely left my property in the past 13 months, so I'm beyond excited to be out and about, feeling safe. It felt like an occasion that required a celebration. I decided to make a cake (of course I did) for the family and drop off a few pieces at friends' houses. Maybe I'd even get some balloons.
PurDude checks in with me once a day from Colorado. Mostly it's just FB PMs, but once a week or so he calls so I can hear his voice and have longer conversations. He called as I was planning my little celebration.
PurDude: Hi, Mom.
Me: Hi honey, nice to hear your voice.
PurDude: You too, what have you been up to?
Me: Well, at the moment I'm planning my coming out party.
PurDude: What?
Me: I'm planning a little celebration. After all this time I'm finally getting to come out.
PurDude: Coming out?
Me: Yes, from Covid isolation.
PurDude: Mom, do yourself a favor.
Me: What?
PurDude: Maybe call it something else? 
So now I'm planning a "something else" party. 
Which is fitting since my family often look at me, roll their eyes and mumble under their breath "she sure is something else."
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

Strawberry Pina Colada Galette

1 can (8 oz) pineapple chunks
about 1/4# fresh strawberries
1/4 cup pineapple preserves
3 TBSP spiced rum (can substitute pineapple juice)
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 refrigerated pie crust
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 maraschino cherry

OPT: whipped cream for serving

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Drain the pineapples, gently press with paper towels to dry, then cut in half.
*Clean, hull, and slice strawberries.
*Whisk together the pineapple preserves, spiced rum (or pineapple juice), and brown sugar.
*On a piece of parchment paper that will fit your baking sheet, roll the pie crust to about 12 inches in diameter. Move parchment paper with the crust on it, onto the baking sheet.
*Spread about half of the jam mixture onto the crust.
*Spread the pineapple chunks and strawberries onto the crust to about 1 inch from the edges, then fold in the edger, creating an outer rim.
*Bake for 25 minutes. When removing from the oven, don't turn the oven off. Drizzle with the remaining jam mixture, sprinkle with the coconut, top with the maraschino cherry, and bake for another 15 minutes.
*OPT: Serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Marriage: Word Counters


Word Counters, a monthly multiblogger writing challenge | run by and graphic property of | #bloggingchallenge #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 31. 
It was chosen by Diane of On the Border!

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 Marriage
~ I don't unconditionally support the construct of marriage. Those who've been a friend of this blog for a while know I wrote Tie Not the Knot about it years ago.

~ It's not that I think people shouldn't be able to get married, I'm not at all proposing we deny marriage to those who want to make that legal and spiritual commitment. 
~ But marriage can be a decision made due to familial, religious, legal pressure, or just too soon. The result is misery or divorce. Marriages that end in divorce are forty percent.
~ For a decision this monumental, there shouldn't be outside pressure attached. I also believe it's important that couples are able to function on all levels in our society without being married. 
~ Because I do know that not all people can be monogamous. For some, relationships are an ongoing process. For them, I'm glad that the societal pressure to be married has eased.
~ My consideration of the topic started before gay marriage had become legal. Discrimination, in all of its forms infuriates me. Marriage needs to be a choice, for everyone or no one.
~ There are legal benefits attached to marriage that need to be addressed for those who make a different choice, but many of those benefits can be dealt with through the courts.

~ But there are also financial (like social security of a spouse) and medical (being on a spouse's medical insurance) that still need to be made accessible to partners who aren't married.
Creamsicle Bundt Cake, orange and vanilla flavors come together in this cake reminiscent of a summertime treat. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cake
Creamsicle Bundt Cake 
Creamsicle Bundt Cake, orange and vanilla flavors come together in this cake reminiscent of a summertime treat. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cake
~ When Hubs proposed, I wasn't sure. Religion was an issue, and we were already living together. At the time though, it was still a stigma for children to have unmarried parents.  

~ We moved to the Midwest, and the joke was on me, I was infertile. We were fortunate to find a reproductive endocrinologist, be successful with in vitro, and to be together.
~ I should mention that I baked a cake today. I also planned a special dinner, bought a card, and wine. Because some people can and should be married. Happy Anniversary, Hubs. 

Here are links to the other Word Counters posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Creamsicle Bundt Cake    

Printable Recipe

1 cup orange juice, divided
3 TBSP powdered French vanilla creamer, divided
1 box (3 oz) jello mix, divided
1 cup vanilla frosting (your own or canned)
1 (15.25) box white cake mix
3 eggs
1 (5.3 oz) vanilla Greek yogurt 
1/4 cup milk

*NOTE: It actually works out best if you do this step ahead (even the day before):
Bring 1/4 cup orange juice just to boiling. Add 1 TBSP of the French vanilla creamer and 1 TBSP of the orange jello mix. Stir until dissolved. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla frosting, place in the freezer for 15 minutes, whisk again, then refrigerate.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
*Beat the cake mix, eggs, yogurt, milk, remaining 3/4 cup orange juice, remaining 2 TBSP powdered French vanilla creamer, and the remaining orange jello mix. 
*Pour evenly into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, just until the center springs back to the touch. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and removing from the pan. Cool completely.
*Once the cake is completely cooled, remove the frosting from the refrigerator, whisk again, and drizzle over the top and down the sides of the cake.