Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Recipe Remix

Sweet Hot Mango Chicken | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Repurpose is not just for furniture any more. With increased frequency, and out of economic necessity, we are being forced to be more mindful of using every bit of whatever it is we can afford. 

Yes, I'm talking food.

I grew up in a time where you might often hear the words "eat your vegetables, there are children starving in Africa." 

Truth is, there are children starving everywhere. And although eating our vegetables would have done nothing to change that, the sentiment, both to appreciate, and to not waste what we have, is a salient one. 

These days we call it "food insecure," which not only widens the umbrella to include those who are actively hungry but those who live in a constant state of not knowing where the next meal may come from. And then the one after that.

Moving from the macro to the micro, and from catastrophic global issues to the situations we're all facing in our grocery stores and our homes, my current focus on repurposing foods is not based in humanitarianism, but on scarcity and economy.

A FB friend, when recently viewing my recipe for Grilled Skirt Steak, told me she can't find skirt steak anywhere (you can use flank steak or flat iron steak, btw). I can't find bone in chicken breasts. And I think at this point sriracha is being considered for the EPA's endangered list.

When we do find some of the foods we want, the prices are astronomical. Many essentials have doubled in price, and then doubled again (eggs, I'm looking at you). Which moves more and more people towards becoming food insecure.

Those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford the ingredients we want or need, are now giving more thought to "waste not want not."

I'm not wasteful in general, but I do admit to forgetting about ingredients specifically, but even leftovers sometimes, until they reach the point where they're eligible for use in penicillin production. 

Not any more. I've become much more vigilant in my quest to be cognizant of what I have, and to use it all. I stay on top of freezing unused vegetables, and miscellaneous leftovers may end up as a buffet dinner, or in sandwiches. I've also focused on repurposing leftover foods in a more diverse and creative way. A recipe remix. When I add ingredients I already have in my pantry to make something completely different, it feels less like we're having the same dinner we'd just had.

Recipe Remix | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #recipes

Like, I made Greek Chicken Pot Pie from leftover Crockpot Chicken Soup. And even for dessert, I made Blueberry Maple Glazed Strawberry Cake from the Blueberry Maple Syrup I'd used on our Key Lime Pancakes.

I'd recently made a few new appetizers to try while Hubs and I had drinks on the deck. The recipes, of course, created way more food than we could eat. I later turned the leftover meat from one, Barbecued Pork Corn Chip Nachos into Barbecued Pork Enchiladas

I had also made Sweet Hot Mango Dip, and was trying to work through what to do with the 3/4 cup of dip I had left. I thought about using it as a sauce for Cod. Or maybe over vegetables, like snap peas.

The chicken sitting in the fridge made my decision for me. 

Sweet Hot Mango Chicken | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Sweet Hot Mango Chicken

I liked the idea of cooking the chicken in the dip (adding a few more ingredients) as opposed to just using the dip as a sauce. 

And, although we enjoy leftover buffets and leftover sandwiches, there's something really satisfying about the creativity, the accomplishment, of turning one (yummy) food into another, completely different but just as yummy, recipe.  

P.S.: There are charities, global and national, that could use financial assistance in any amount. On a more local level, food pantries in all communities are grateful for all nonperishable donations. Help, if you can.

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

Sweet Hot Mango Chicken         

Printable Recipe

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt, pepper, garlic powder
3/4 cup Sweet Hot Mango Dip (recipe HERE)
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp minced garlic
5 oz grape or cherry tomatoes

*Grease a 8 X 11 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place in the baking dish.
*Whisk together the Sweet Hot Mango Dip, lime juice, and garlic. Pour evenly over the chicken.
*Slice the tomatoes in half, and sprinkle over the top.
*Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked.



Friday, May 26, 2023

Look Again: Monthly Poetry Group


S’mores Ice Cream Pie | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Last Friday of the month is for
Monthly Poetry Group to rhyme.
Diane, Mimi, and I take turns,
Through a Looking Glass, 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.  

Through a Looking Glass, poetry challenge based on a theme. | Graphic property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #poetry #blogging


Look Again

If I looked through a looking glass
what would I see?
Seems to be an older woman,
looking back at me. 

My curly hair is going grey,
some wrinkles on my face,
squinting to see clearly, I'm 
aging without much grace.

I may eat a bit too much,
I'm exercising less.
Not putting enough effort into,
new styles, when I dress.

S’mores Ice Cream Pie | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert
S'mores Ice Cream Pie

But instead of just looking,
and judging what I see,
if I went through the looking glass,
might I disagree?

If I went through that looking glass,
could it set me free?
A whole new perspective,
now what would that be?

Viewing myself differently,
perchance I would see,
each line and grey's a lesson,
it's OK to look like me.

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

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

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

S'mores Ice Cream Pie

5 graham crackers
5 chocolate graham crackers
3 TBSP sugar
5 TBSP butter, melted
3 cups chocolate ice cream
4 chocolate covered graham cracker cookies
2/3 cup mini marshmallows
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder

1 small chocolate bar, shaved
6 regular sized marshmallows, halved

*Grease a 10 inch deep dish pie plate. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
*Crush the graham crackers and the chocolate graham crackers. Mix with the sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom and partially up the sides of the pie plate. Bake for 6 minutes, refrigerate to cool completely.
*Once the crust has cooled, place the ice cream in a large bowl and set aside on the counter for about 15 minutes to start to soften.
*While the ice cream is softening, chop the cookies, cut the mini marshmallows in half and set aside.
*Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and whip until firm peaks hold.
*Mix the chopped cookies and mini marshmallows into the ice cream, then fold in the whipped cream and pour into the crust.
*Decorate with the chocolate shavings and marshmallow halves. Freeze for an hour before serving. Store leftovers, covered, in the freezer.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Screen for Humanity

Sweet Hot Mango Dip | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dip


It started with a distraction. 

Yes, something just that simple. It could have ended right there, faded away without more than a passing thought, but it didn't. Because, as I said, this was just the start.

In the morning, I happened to look up while in PurDude's bedroom.

But then that afternoon brought a text from College Boy that took my breath away. And had me looking at the morning's distraction with new eyes.

And the evening? In the evening it was the national news.

So, the beginning:

That morning, I'd brought towels and toiletries into PurDude's room. I was leaving them on his bed as he'd be coming home soon. Why I didn't just leave it all there and walk out, I don't know. But I sat down on his bed and looked up at the bulletin board that had been on his wall for years. At the very top was a commendation from his job. He'd been a lifeguard in high school, and had continued in the summers when he was home from college.

He had saved a life. 

Screen for Humanity | picture taken by, featured on, and property of Karen of www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging

I hate hearing that fact diminished by those who say that first responders specifically (but lifeguards and many others too) are just doing their jobs when they save a life. They may just be doing their jobs, but these are jobs that they chose, study for, train for, and practice. They know that an integral part of what they will do is to take action when someone's life is at risk. It is an awesome responsibility.

Truth is, someone is still walking and living and doing all things large and small in their life because at their moment of need, someone came to their aid. There is enormity in the miracle of that, brought about by people who value humanity enough to take on protecting it.

In a strange coincidence, that afternoon brought me the exact opposite story. One of someone no longer walking and living and doing all things large and small in their life. It wasn't because first responders hadn't come to his aid, they did. It just wasn't enough.

College Boy sent me a picture that he took outside his work at lunchtime. "Awful car crash right by my work," he texted, "see the helicopter, someone is getting airlifted. I think someone died." We texted back and forth a bit, both of us deeply affected, expressing how heartbreaking it is to see that kind of response, understanding the seriousness of the situation, and hoping everyone would be OK.

Screen for Humanity | picture featured on, and property of Karen of www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging

They weren't. A motorcyclist was airlifted to the hospital but didn't make it.

Neither of us knew the people involved in the crash, but that didn't matter. When you are witness to a moment like this, even if it's just through viewing the scope of the aftermath, how do you not take a moment to acknowledge the frailty of life? The reality of the abrupt ending of a human life on an anonymous Friday at lunchtime? How do you not empathize, right down to your bones, with the family and friends about to get that phone call? Our humanity demands it.

Juxtaposed with that evening's proof of the pervasive rise of the opposite, man's inhumanity to man.

We were out on the deck having a drink and some appetizers. It was supposed to be a relaxing end to the day. 

Sweet Hot Mango Dip | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dip
Sweet Hot Mango Dip

But I had just shut off the national news. In the past month, we've been aware of not just the growing number of mass shooting, but additionally, the shocking rash of executions of kids guilty of just one thing, making a mistake. As with mass shootings, each one is an assault not just on our way of life but, more personally on our sense of safety and our emotional health.

People, everyday citizens, are shooting children for ringing their doorbell, turning around in their driveway, mistaking a like car for their own, or allowing a basketball to roll onto a neighbor's lawn. 

I'm a gun control advocate. No, we don't want to take away all guns, but we do want, we demand, responsible gun ownership. Actually, I take that back, I DO want to take all assault weapons from citizens. For all other gun sales (including shows and private sales) there must be laws, national standards, including screening, mandatory safety, instruction, and regular reviews.

Screen for Humanity | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging

The first step is screening. We need to screen for criminal records, and specific (but not all) mental health conditions. As much we, as a society, like to blame the mentally ill, truth is that not all shooters are mentally ill, and very few people with mental health diagnoses (about 25% of our adult population) are violent. 

But what the morning, afternoon, and evening of just one day brought me to is a question.

If a fundamental respect for human life, all human life, is not an involuntary function in someone, like breathing and blinking, then I need to know.

Basic humanity. How do you screen for that?

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

Sweet Hot Mango Dip         

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup onion and chive cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup pepper jelly
1 ripe mango

chips or crackers for serving

*Whisk together the cream cheese, sour cream, and pepper jelly.
*Peel the mango and remove the pit. Slice a few pieces and refrigerate for garnish.
*Chop the remaining mango (small pieces) and fold into the dip, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.
*Top with the reserved mango slices and serve with chips or crackers of your choice.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Pork Cutting and Mole Feeding: Fly on the Wall

Barbecued Pork Enchiladas by Baking In A Tornado

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 2 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 was on a grocery store website, trying to make some decisions for dinner next week. College Boy had asked for fish, so I typed in cod, just as I heard the door open.

Me: Here, what do you think about me doing something with this for dinner on Monday?
College Boy (looking over my shoulder at what I'd brought up on the website): I don't know, Mom, you're good but . . . how were you thinking of cooking that?

Not sure why he didn't think I could cook cod, I turned to see that the page that had come up wasn't for cod, the fish, but Call of Duty, an Xbox game.

Yeah, I'm not so sure I'm up to that challenge either. 

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

I usually shut down the TV and the laptop sometime between 9:00pm and 10:00pm and read for a few hours. I'd gotten to a good part of the book so I just kept reading, didn't get to sleep until about 2:30am.

The next day, as you can imagine, by about 3:00 in the afternoon I was pretty tired. Hubs wanted to know if I wanted to go out back and do some work in the garden.

Me: Why don't we split up the chores?
Hubs: OK.
Me: You go pull the weeds.
Hubs: Alright, what do you want to do?
Me: I'll stay here and get a head start on the obligatory after gardening nap.

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

I have a 2 shelf cabinet in the kitchen where I keep all of my food storage containers. I put them in there with their covers, but they never stay together. I think gremlins come in at night and move everything around.

After dinner one night I was looking in the cabinet for a container of the size that I needed. First I couldn't find one, then I couldn't find the cover. I had containers all over the floor and was swearing under my breath.

I finally found what I needed, but then had to put all the others away. I shoved them all in, slammed the door and held it. Gently letting go and stepping away, everything stayed in and the door stayed shut. Phew.

About an hour later, I was walking by the cabinet and the door was open just a crack.

Which is how Hubs came into the kitchen to see me wagging my finger at the cabinet and saying "don't you threaten me."

Hubs must have assessed the situation and correctly decided that it was in his best interest to not say a word and just keep walking.

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

I was writing up a recipe that included an apple. It needed to be cored and chopped. Although I'd decided not to peel it, I wanted to leave that up to individual tastes. 

As I was writing it up, I'd said "Core (and peel if desired)." Proofreading, I decided to add a comma after "peel," which I did.

Once done, I was proofreading one final time. Apparently when I added the comma, I put it in place of instead of after the "l" in "peel."

So my recipe read "Core (and pee, if desired)."

Not exactly what I meant . . .

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

Hubs and I were watching the Red Sox. It was in between innings so I got up and headed to the kitchen.

Me: Let me know when it comes back on.
Hubs: Where will you be?
Me: Just over in the kitchen, cutting the pork.
Hubs: Cutting the pork? What's that a euphemism for?
Me: Nothing. I'm literally cutting the pork.

I had bought a pork tenderloin and was cutting it into pork chops to marinate for dinner. But now I'm not sure I'll ever look at a pork chop again without wondering about dirty double entendres.

Barbecued Pork Enchiladas | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Barbecued Pork Enchiladas

Same day, watching the same game:

Hubs: Some of these new players are barely out of their teens, watching them play makes me feel old.
Me: You feel old when you're watching baseball? I just have to try to stand up from the couch to feel old.

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

I bet you know that the MLB network shows baseball games, but did you know they solve word puzzles?

While watching the game, I was working on a word game called Phrazle, where you have to guess the phrase. Through your previous guesses, you know which letters are not in the puzzle, which are in the puzzle and in the right place, and which are in the puzzle in the wrong place. 

I'd taken 2 guesses. There were 3 words. The first word was "A," the second word had 7 letters with an "i," an "o," and ended with an "e." I was fairly confident the third word was most likely "mistake," but I was stuck on that second word, "a costly mistake" didn't fit. Nor did anything else I was trying, for almost 15 minutes. I was frustrated. Then, suddenly . . .

Me: OMG. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Hubs (looking at the TV): That run was the other team, you're supposed to be rooting for the Red Sox.
Me: Oh, I wasn't thanking the team, I was thanking the sportscasters.
Hubs: Why?
Me: They just solved my puzzle.

The run, according to the sportscasters, was made by a rookie.


A rookie (has an "i," an "o," and ends with an "e") mistake! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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

We back up to woods, so we often have issues with moles. They're really destructive, creating tunnels all under our lawn and in our gardens. Hubs has put these sticks in the back yard to try to keep them away. They semi work, and now he's had to put them in the side yard too.

One day, though, I caught a glimpse of one in my outdoor reading nook, to the left of the front door. No way, not sharing my spot.

My Reading Nook | picture taken by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging

I did some research, then went back out front.

Hubs: What are you doing?
Me: I noticed a mole out here, I'm spreading around coffee grounds.
Hubs: Umm . . . just for clarification . . . are you deterring them? Or feeding them?

And now I’m wondering what “feeding the moles” might be a euphemism for . . .

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

Sometimes (OK, often) I wonder about how Hubs thinks.

I walk around the house barefoot, pretty much year round. I'll put on shoes and socks when it's cold out, if I'm going somewhere.

Hubs wears socks every day, even if he's not leaving the house. And, of course, shoes if he's going out.

But when he mows the lawn, he takes his socks off and puts on his sneakers to mow.

Just me? Or does that seem backwards to you too? 

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

Hubs: It's a jungle out there.
Me: Fine, I'll shave my legs. 



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

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

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

Barbecued Pork Enchiladas

3 boneless pork loin chops, cooked
3/4 cup barbecue sauce of your choice
2/3 cup canned black beans, drained
1 (8.75 oz) can corn kernels, drained
1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 medium soft flour tortillas
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan, and pour 1/4 cup water into the pan.
*Finely chop the cooked pork chops and put into a bowl.
*Set aside 1 TBSP of the barbecue sauce for serving. Add the remaining sauce into the bowl with the pork, along with the beans, corn, pepperoncini, and shredded cheese. Mix well.
*Lay out the tortillas. Divide the pork filling into the center of each of the tortillas. Roll up, keeping the filling in the center, and place into the prepared pan, seam side down.
*Top with the slices of cheese, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
*Drizzle the reserved 1 TBSP barbecue sauce over the cooked enchiladas.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Deferred Maintenance: Word Counters


Very Berry Bundt Cake | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

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 43

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'm talking about Deferred Maintenance.

~ It was late, I shut my tablet, Hubs closed his laptop. When heading upstairs, I heard him mutter about "deferred maintenance."

~ I'm self-conscious on a good day. Between aging and having been isolated during Covid, he was right, I'd let myself go.

Deferred Maintenance | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #blogging

~ Looks aren't paramount in life, but I used to feel good when looking my best. Not THE best, but my best.

~ When did I last shave my legs, tweeze my eyebrows? And pulling out the grey hairs will soon leave bald spots . . .

~ Maybe I could be a little less . . . ahem . . . aggressive . . . with taste testing responsibilities when baked goods are the day's recipe attempt.

Very Berry Bundt Cake | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cake

Very Berry Bundt Cake

~ Next morning over coffee, he broached the dreaded subject. "Deferred maintenance," he said. Should I start with an apology? Action plan?

~ "Every six years the assessor's office requires us fill out a form. You know, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, a finished basement."

~ "They also ask about deferred maintenance. All I can think of is we really need to replace some windows. Anything else?"


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

Here are links to the other Word Counters posts:

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

Very Berry Bundt Cake         

Printable Recipe

3 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1/4 cup blackberries, quartered
1/4 cup raspberries, halved
1/2 cup blueberries
2 TBSP blueberry jam
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
2 TBSP strawberry jam
3 TBSP flour, divided

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle all over the inside of the pan, all the way up the center and sides.
*Beat the cake mix, milk, oil, sour cream, and eggs for 2 minutes. Move approximately 1/4 of the batter into a clean bowl and about another1/4 of the batter into a third bowl.
*Toss the blackberries and raspberries with 1 TBSP of the flour. Fold into the 1/4 of the batter and pour evenly into the prepared pan.
*Toss the blueberries with another TBSP of flour. Fold into the original bowl, holding about 1/2 of the batter, along with the blueberry jam, and spoon into the pan.
*Toss the strawberries with the remaining TBSP of flour. Fold into the last bowl of batter along with the strawberry jam, and spoon into the pan.
*Bake for about 35 - 45 minutes, until the center springs back to the touch. Allow to sit in the pan for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and removing from the pan to cool completely.