Friday, April 29, 2022

It's My Jam: Monthly Poetry Group


Cannoli Tart, a favorite Italian dessert made into a tart. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert



Last Friday of the month is for
Monthly Poetry Group to rhyme.
Diane, Mimi, and I take turns,
"Jam" is the theme this time.
As usual, today I'll try,
a poem to write . . . or fudge.
Whether I'm successful or not,
you get to be the judge.  

Jam, a monthly multi blogger poetry writing challenge based on a theme. | Graphic property of | #poetry

It's My Jam
It's become quite complicated,
when jam's the word you use.
Context is required now,
explain so you don't confuse.
"In a jam" is a complication,
you don't want to be in.
When it comes to this situation,
it's better to have been.

For me, the worst jam is when,
you're stuck in a small space.
Like people jammed into an elevator,
all going to the same place.

Fin to watch a basketball star,
jam that ball into the net.
And if it happens to win the game,
something fans will not forget.

When musicians jam together,
harmony organically flows.
Sometime from impromptu,
a lovely new song grows.

And don't forget Bob Marley,
he "wanna jam it wit you,"
Dancing to his music is,
the best that we can do.
But baking tarts or cookies,
preparing ham or lamb,
don't think I need to tell you that,
food as love remains "my jam."

Cannoli Tart, a favorite Italian dessert made into a tart. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert
Cannoli Tart

Lost in the hyperbole,
is the sweetest jam of all.
Add to peanut butter and,
watch the kids come when you call.

Monthly Poetry Group, a monthly group writing challenge, poetry based on a theme | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics #poetry

Before you go, stop by these blogs for more Collections poetry:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Cannoli Tart

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour

1 1/2 cups mascarpone
1/2 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 tsp baking cocoa
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered sugar
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a springform pan.
*Beat together the butter and vanilla. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, salt, and flour. Beat on low just to incorporate, then mix and press together with your hands until it forms a dough.
*Press the dough into the bottom and about 1/3 of the way up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes until the crust browns. Cool on the counter for an hour, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
*Whisk together the mascarpone, almond extract, 2/3 cup powdered sugar, and orange marmalade until smooth. Mix in the mini chocolate chips and pour into the cooled pie shell. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
*Mix together the baking cocoa, cinnamon, and the remaining powdered sugar. Sprinkle over the top of the pie. 
*Remove the sides of the springform pan to serve. Store any leftovers, covered, in the fridge.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

It's a Hit


Peanut butter Nutella Bars have everything you love, cookie butter, peanut butter, Nutella, and so much more. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

"Happy Mother's Day" is probably the last thing I expected to hear in early April. I'm willing to bet you'd agree.

Nor, I'm willing to bet, do you think it might be a good idea to use "sports app" and "Mother's Day gift" in the same sentence.

On that one, you'd be wrong.
We had finished dinner, the dishwasher was running and I was just settling down on the couch to see what was on TV when my cell rang. I took a quick look at it and saw it was PurDude calling. My teeth clenched and my stomach rolled.

I'm sure that's not the kind of response one would expect to have when their son calls home, but when he was away at college I had so many heart wrenching phone calls from him, it's (sadly) sort of a Pavlov's dog type reaction. I learned that when everything was fine, he'd text. But when he broke his leg, when a friend died, when he had been taken by ambulance to the hospital, when he had a his second flat tire in a week, when he really needed me, those were predominantly the times my phone rang.

Now that he's working 8 hours away in the other direction, I'm trying hard to stop that automatic reaction to his calls. We text once a day, just to check in, and he still calls when there are problems, but they have been few and far between. And he does call every week or so, so we can have a conversation without my fat fingers trying to hit the right letters on the cell phone keyboard.

But on this night, I was worried. It was Wednesday night, April 6th, and I was worried because he'd just gotten back from a vacation with his high school friends on Sunday. He'd called to fill us in on his vacation, so I'd just talked to him 3 days earlier.
And we'd just texted that morning, him informing me, and both of us complaining, about the Red Sox season opener the next day against our arch rivals the Yankees being postponed. 

It's a Hit | picture taken by, featured on, and property of

I picked up the phone and gingerly said "hello." I knew immediately from the tone of his "hi, ma," that everything was fine. Phew.

PurDude: Happy Mother's Day!
Me (rushing to look at the calendar in a panic, I hadn't sent cards to my mom and step mother): Mother's Day?
PurDude: Mother's Day. It's a holiday. You know, Mother's Day? A day for mothers?
Me: A day for mothers a month from now.
PurDude: Well, I bought you a Mother's Day present.
Me (as confused as only a family member can make me): A present? In April? Over the phone?

Let me just say here, that there are ways to express love, and then there are soul crushing no-nos. You know what I'm talking about, gifts from the heart that show you know the person you're buying for, those are the best. Then there are the more common gifts, flowers, dinner out, chocolates, champagne . . .

And then there are the tragic mistakes. You've heard of them, like don't buy your wife a vacuum cleaner for your anniversary, or a scale for her birthday . . .
or a sports app for your mom for Mother's Day . . .

As I said, you'd be wrong.

I've mentioned many times on this blog that I'm a Bostonian, stuck in the Midwest. I miss a lot of things, like skiing, going to the beach, fresh seafood, and sports. Not just professional sports in general, but my teams. Especially the Red Sox. I grew up a Red Sox lover, got it from my grandpa, and I've passed it on to PurDude. I used to love watching the games with him. Well, when we could get them, which, even though I have the MLB channel, is still rare.

I have a Red Sox throw on my couch, a Red Sox clock in the kitchen (and a Patriots mug), all gifts from my family.

And now, PurDude bought me a subscription to stream the Red Sox on the MLB app. I can watch any game. Not just any game, I can watch all of them.
Maybe he's a month early for Mother's Day, but as far as I'm concerned, this kid just hit a home run.
Peanut butter Nutella Bars have everything you love, cookie butter, peanut butter, Nutella, and so much more. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert
Peanut Butter Nutella Bars
I might just have to bake him a treat, something using his favorite pairing, peanut butter and chocolate. I'll ship it to him, and wish him a happy birthday.
It'll only be 10 months early.

But I bet it'll be a hit!

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Peanut Butter Nutella Bars         

Printable Recipe

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup cookie butter
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup mini chocolate peanut butter cups
1/4 cup Reese's pieces
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup Nutella

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 X 11 baking pan.
*Beat together the butter and cookie butter until smooth, beat in the egg. Slowly at first, beat in the salt, cinnamon, powdered sugar, and flour until it comes together to form a dough.
*Press into the bottom and 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pan.
*Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, but leave the oven on.
*Sprinkle the Rice Krispies, mini peanut butter cups, and Reese's pieces evenly over the crust.
*Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and Nutella, pour over the top.
*Return to oven and bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Diamonds in the Pantry: Fly on the Wall


Caramel Apple Cake Balls taste like apple pie in individual cake ball form. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

 Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 3 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 think I'm at risk of banned from texting. Hubs was at work last week and texted me:

Hubs: Do you need anything at the store?
Me: No, thanks. BTW, I can't get the VPN working on my cell. Are you having a problem too?
Hubs: Yes, the server must be down, just don't use your cell for the internet right now.
Me: Well fortunately I can still sext with PurDude.
Hubs: WHAT???
Me (looking at what he was reacting to): Oh, jeez, text. TEXT. Text with PurDude.

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

Followed closely by this one:

I was texting with College Boy and was late getting dinner started. As we were finishing the conversation, I was trying to say "love you much." I typed and sent. Mistake. Big mistake. What did I send? "Love you douche."
Douche? Really? Douche? You had me say "douche" to my kid?
I swear I'm going to wash that cell phone's mouth out with soap. 

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

College Boy was standing in the kitchen when I opened the fridge to grab an ingredient for dinner. As I shut the fridge and move to the counter, I hear:

College Boy: Whoa, what is that?
Me: What?
College Boy (indignantly): What did I just see?
Me: What did you see? Where?
College Boy: With everything that's going on the Ukraine? How could you?
Me (totally confused): How could I what?

He opens the fridge and points. And there it is. Russian dressing.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
Hubs is in the pantry foraging. Next thing I know, he comes out of there, gingerly holding something in the palm of his hand.

Hubs: Can you take a look at this diamond I found in the pantry?
Me: You're mining diamonds in the pantry?
Hubs: Well, I found this on the floor. 
Diamonds in the Pantry | graphic created by, featured on, and property of | #MyGraphics #humor

Me (laughing): Oh, that's a rhinestone that fell off of something I was wearing yesterday.
Hubs: Oh, OK.
Me: But if you ever do find a way to mine diamonds in the pantry, be sure to let me know.

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

If you read this blog, you know that Hubs is not good at grocery shopping. When he's out, he does ask if I need him to get anything on the way home. The other day he was waiting for a repair on his car and texted me, he was next door to a grocery store and wanted to know if I needed anything. I knew that the store had the cheapest milk and eggs in town so I had him pick them up.
He came home and, although I'd talked him through the store, I neglected to discuss the car ride home. You know, like don't put the milk too close to the eggs, that kind of thing. When he got home, half of them were cracked.
The next day he went to work and texted me on the way home:
Hubs: Do you need me to pick anything up?
Me: No.
Hubs: Weren't you going to make a cake?
Me: I'm trying a recipe for Caramel Apple Cake Balls, why?
Hubs: You used eggs for the cake, don't you need more eggs?
Me: No, thanks.
Hubs: I can get some on the way home.
Me: Not the kind I want.
Hubs: I don't know what you mean, what kind do you want?
Me: Unscrambled.

Caramel Apple Cake Balls taste like apple pie in individual cake ball form. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert
Caramel Apple Cake Balls

After dinner, Hubs wanted to watch sports and I didn't. He decided to go down and watch for a while in his man-cave. Since he was going down anyway, I handed him the leftovers from dinner, which I wanted stored in the freezer in the basement.
I guess he went upstairs first to change his clothes. I know because later I went up to change mine, walked into the closet, and found the leftovers. Yup, just where I wanted them.

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

Needless to say, I brought the leftovers down from the closet. Instead of going down to the basement, I just stuck them in the freezer in the kitchen.
Now I'm not saying it's all bad that Hubs is semi(Covid induced)retired. For the most part, he's in the office working or down in the man cave watching sports. But sometimes he's around too much, gets on my nerves, and I just need a little alone time.
The other day, he was in and out of the kitchen, wanted to know this or for me to do that. 
Hubs (walking into the kitchen for the 6th time): Can you . . .
Me (interrupting): Before you ask, can you do me a favor?
Hubs: Sure, what do you need?
Me: Remember those leftovers I had you take downstairs the other night?
Hubs: Yeah.
Me: Could you go down to the freezer and bring them upstairs?
Hubs (heading down the stairs): Sure.
That should keep him busy for a while. 

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

Baseball opening day was a few weeks ago, and if you know anything about me, you know I'm a die-hard Red Sox fan. Something, I'm proud to say, my kids, born in the Midwest, got from me.
I was texting with PurDude the day before the first Red Sox game of the season. We were both looking forward to it, especially since they were playing against our arch rivals, the Yankees.
PurDude: How are you today, ma?
Me: I'm fine. It's cold and windy but I'm working on a new recipe in the kitchen. How are you?
PurDude: I'm pretty upset about the Sox game tomorrow being postponed.
Me: WHAT? It's opening day. What happened?
PurDude: It's going to rain in New York in April. I'm sure the schedulers couldn't have seen that coming.

So, he got his love for the Red Sox AND his sarcastic sense of humor from his mom. I couldn't be more proud.

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

Excited about PurDude's newfound sarcasm, I decided to share the story at dinner.

Me: I was talking with PurDude today, and he sounded just like me!
Hubs: Oh no! What do you mean?
Me: Oh no??? What do YOU mean?

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

Me: I just spent 10 minutes trying to figure out what the hell you did with my sponge.
Hubs: I used it this afternoon, but I put it back. Do you need me to help you look?
Me: No, I found it.
Hubs: Where?
Me: In the fridge.
Hubs: I didn't put it there.
Me: No, I did.
Hubs: This is going to end up being my fault anyway, isn't it?
Me: Working on it.



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

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

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Caramel Apple Cake Balls

3/4 cup caramel baking bits, divided
1 box (15.25 oz) yellow cake mix
1 tsp apple pie spice
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil

1 large apple, cored, peeled, and finely chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP caramel topping
6 - 7 oz vanilla bark or candy melts

*Crush the caramel baking bits in a food processor or clean coffee grinder. Set aside.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X13 baking pan.
*Beat the cake mix, apple pie spice, eggs, milk, and oil for 2 minutes. Pour evenly into the prepared pan and bake for about 24 minutes, until the center springs back to the touch. Cool Completely.
*Spray a saute pan with non-stick spray. Heat to medium, add the chopped apples and cook, stirring, until they are soft. Add the cinnamon and caramel topping, mix well. Remove from heat and cool.
*In a large bowl, break up the cake and mix with apple mixture and 1/2 cup of the crushed caramel baking bits. With your hands, form into 36 balls, about an inch in diameter. Place in the freezer, in a single layer, on a baking sheet or tin foil. Allow to harden for at least 4 hours.
*Melt the candy melts or vanilla bark, according to package directions. 
*Dip each cake ball (I like to put the melted bark in a shallow coffee mug and place the cake balls on a fork for dipping), allow the excess to drip off, then move to a piece of parchment paper. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch of the remaining crushed caramel bits, and repeat with the remaining cake balls. Allow to set completely before moving. 
*Store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature to serve.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

When Eight is Three: Word Counters


Italian Sub Pizza, the best of both worlds all in one. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

 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 17It was chosen by Mimi of Messymimi's Meanderings. 
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. Last month I talked about what happens when I sleep. This month, I'm sharing a bit about what happens when I don't {{sigh}}.

~ I write a monthly post called Fly on the Wall in which I share humorous life tidbits.
~ It's one of my most popular posts, an opportunity to laugh at our conversations, situations and interactions.
~ Sometimes, though, circumstances that might be funny spread out, are less funny when stuffed into one day. 

~ It started with(out) glasses. Woke, saw it was 8:40, went downstairs, seems that 8 was a 3.

~ Back up to bed, but once up I couldn't fall back asleep, head full of chores, recipes . . .

Italian Sub Pizza, the best of both worlds all in one. | recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Italian Sub Pizza

~ I'll try the old "read yourself to sleep." Nope, Kindle battery dead, iPad back downstairs, cell charging . . .
~ Hours of checking the clock, not sure whether to believe what I see, and my glasses? Downstairs. 

~ The day went as expected when sleep deprived. Laundry without detergent, over watered plants, walking into walls . . .

~ And damn, my turn to cook dinner (it always is). Those middle of the night recipes? Forgotten.

~ Note to self: new plan, no getting out of bed until the sun is blinding my eyes. 

Word Counters, a monthly multiblogger writing challenge | run by and graphic property of | #bloggingchallenge #MyGraphics

Here are links to the other Word Counters posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Italian Sub Pizza       

Printable Recipe

12 inch pizza crust
1/3 cup marinara sauce
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup provolone, chopped
1/4 cup black forest ham, chopped
1/4 cup pepperoni, chopped
1/4 cup salami, chopped
1/4 of an onion, sliced
1 dill pickle, sliced
1/4 cup pepperoncini, sliced (can use banana peppers)
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
2 TBSP grated parmesan

*Grease a pizza pan. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
*Spread the sauce over the crust, leaving a 1/2 inch edge. 
*Sprinkle with the mozzarella and provolone cheeses, followed by the meats, then the onion, pickle slices, banana peppers, and finally the black olives. Sprinkle with the parmesan.
*Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the bottom of the crust has browned.

Friday, April 15, 2022

For the Price of a Banana: Use Your Words


Peanut Butter Malted Milk Cookies, peanut butter, chocolate, and malted milk flavors blend together in these thick crunchy cookies. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

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.
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: quilt ~ books ~ bananas ~ car
They were submitted by Rena of The Diary of an Alzheimer's Caregiver.

A car is no place for bananas. Not in the winter, but most certainly not in the warmer weather. Now a quilt, fine, I can see that. Even books (well, a Kindle anyway), both can come in handy if you're waiting for someone in a parking lot or the airport. But bananas? Hell no. Not unless they're in transit to their new home in the fruit bowl in the kitchen. 
Because in the warm weather, fruit that "fell out of the grocery bag" and took residence in the trunk is a situation that can end badly. At first, it could actually be pleasant. You know, the car can take on the hint of a banana bread scent, have you wondering if that's a new air freshener Hubs was using. But that quickly gives way to the smell of rot. Definitely not a popular car scent. Pretty much not an anywhere scent, if you can avoid it. And now that I'm actually giving it some thought, even if they made a banana scent, Hubs wouldn't use it. He hates bananas.
Ummm, present company excepted, of course:
For the Price of a Banana | picture taken by, featured on, and property of | #humor

Well, him and my Eggnog and Espresso Chip Banana Bread? Hubs loves it, certainly eats his share. My Giant Banana Toffee Cookies? Same. But bananas in their natural form, a bit on the green side (me), or fully yellow (PurDude)? Hubs won't touch them, claims to hate them. No question you can taste them in the bread and the flavor of the cookies is actually banana forward. But he insists he hates bananas. Don't ask me, I gave up trying to figure that guy out many (many, many) moons ago.
Truth is, I'm both extremely organized and very observant, but I didn't even miss those bananas. I'd bought 2, and was considering using them in a new cookie recipe that had begun to form in my head. But then I noticed the malted milk bars in the pantry, right next to the peanut butter and a whole new idea, fully formed, distracted me. I went in a completely different direction and didn't give another thought to the bananas.

Peanut Butter Malted Milk Cookies, peanut butter, chocolate, and malted milk flavors blend together in these thick crunchy cookies. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies
Peanut Butter Malted Milk Cookies

Until, of course, the aforementioned rotting smell. And I won't even mention the flies when I finally went to investigate and opened the trunk. 

Was it an unfortunate accident? Did the bananas fall out of the grocery bag and end up blocked from view by the quilt? Or did the resident banana hater, who happened to be the one bringing the groceries into the house, purposely leave them? Subconsciously maybe, like some kind of subliminal self-defense mechanism? Or more nefariously, perhaps plotting to come back and discreetly throw them out, but then forgot? Ah, the old leave-the-offending-bananas-in-the-car trick (did you read that in a Maxwell Smart voice?). Hard to say.
What I do know is that Hubs is spending this afternoon in the driveway, in the not so pleasant company of my previously non odiferous car. And dinner will not be served until it has undergone a front to back, squeaky clean, completely detailed, looks like new, (odorless, stainless, flyless) exorcism transformation.

All in all, not a bad trade. Only cost me a couple of bananas.

Use Your Words, a monthly group writing challenge | developed by and graphic property of | #bloggingchallenge #MyGraphics
Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Peanut Butter Malted Milk Cookies

TBSP butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chocolate covered malted milk balls, chopped

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Beat the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly beat in the flour. Mix in the malted milk ball pieces.
*Using your hands, squeeze the dough into 24 balls. Press down slightly with the heel of your hand then, holding onto the sides, press the tines of a fork just into the top, turn the fork and press in the other side, making a crisscross indentation.
*Place on the baking sheets and bake for 10 - 12 minutes, until the edges are browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely.