Friday, July 28, 2023

Bug Me: Monthly Poetry Group

Mocha Latte Oatmeal Bars | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #dessert


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

Bugs, a monthly poetry challenge based on a theme. | Graphic property of | #poetry

Bug Me

I consider it my castle,
the place that I call home.
Invited guests only, not
a place for bugs to roam.

I cannot read or write with
flies buzzing round my head.
I find myself chasing them,
around the house instead.

Ugh spiders, they're quite stealthy,
scare the bejeezes out of me.
If Hubs isn't here to catch them,
they can have the house, I flee.

Asian beetles are deceiving,
masquerading as a lady bugs.
You're at ease until they bite you,
those insect versions of thugs.

And the deck's another problem,
food attracts the dreaded bee.
We just want to enjoy dessert,
(and to do it stinger free).

Mocha Latte Oatmeal Bars | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #dessert
Mocha Latte Oatmeal Bars

Yet after a long cold winter,
what am I happy to see?
though it's true, they cannot speak,
those first bugs say spring to me.

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 poetry:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Mocha Latte Oatmeal Bars

3/4 cup hot brewed coffee
1 TBSP powdered vanilla creamer
1 cup quick oats
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup espresso baking chips

*Stir the powdered vanilla creamer into the hot coffee. Once incorporated, mix in the quick oats. Set aside.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan.
*Cream the butter, margarine, and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then the flour, baking soda, and salt.
*Beat in the coffee mixture just until incorporated, then mix in 3/4 cups chocolate chips, and the espresso chips.
*Spread into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips. Bake for about 35 minutes, until browned. Cool before slicing.
*OPT: serve topped with a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Swag Bag Sister Wife


Skillet Chicken & Rice Dinner | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #dinner

Hubs went off at about 9:45 on a Saturday morning. By the time he got back, two things had occurred. First, I spent a very quiet day alone (yay). And second? Well, it's possible I gained a sister wife (ummm . . . boo?).

So, here's the deal: Hubs had recently decided to change our cell phone carrier. Big whoop, you're thinking, lots of people change their cell phone carriers. Well, we're old, so let's just say we tend to make things a lot more difficult than they need to be. Or one of us does, anyway.

First, Hubs spent 2 days researching carriers, prices, and coverage. Yes, with a pen and a notebook. Then he went into the store, met with a salesperson, and came home with 4 more pages of that notebook covered. Notebook in hand, he gave me a doctorate level dissertation on his findings. 

The company he'd chosen, if we were to come to the party, offered quite an impressive swag bag: they'd pay off all of our phones, we could get one line free, 20% off, free AAA, free Apple TV, free Netflix. It would save us thousands of dollars. 

In retrospect, I specifically remember that there was no offer of a sister wife in that swag bag. Just sayin'.

Swag Bag Sister Wife | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #MyGraphics #blogging

So, we ran it by College Boy, who was concerned. He uses his phone to purchase items that sometimes have a sale window of literally seconds. If it's at a time when he's on wifi, that's not a problem, but if the new hot spot is slower than our current service, he could lose out on drops.

Then we talked to PurDude, who didn't really care. But PurDude lives in another state so once we changed carriers, his sim card wouldn't work and he'd have to go to a local store to get his sim card switched. So, we'd have to coordinate the day and time with him, as he works part time at home and needs to be accessible to his team by phone throughout the day. This whole production was starting to feel very Mission Impossible-ish.

But we're not done making it more difficult than it needs to be yet. 

My phone is about 28 years old. Well, in dog years, anyway. Apparently there have been so many subsequent generations since I got it, that it could fill up a tree on ancestry(.)com. Hubs was hunting around online and found that with a new account, they were offering a new Razr flip phone. For free. Might make sense to replace mine.

So, off Hubs went on a Saturday morning. Since, on weekends, PurDude doesn't get up until the sun goes down, he'd just leave to get his new sim card whenever he woke. That works.

What didn't really work is that, with replacing my phone, Hubs had to take it with him. Leaving me in a silent house. 

And although I admit, I enjoyed the lack of ringing and dinging, even finished a book, I also have to admit that without any phone at my fingertips, I felt like I'd washed up on a deserted island. If I wanted to talk to anyone, I'd need to brush up on smoke signals.

Overly dramatic, you think? Not so much. 

One hour plus and he wasn't home. Over two hours and he wasn't home. At the three hour mark, I was starting to wonder if he'd make it home for dinner.

Skillet Chicken & Rice Dinner | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #dinner
Skillet Chicken & Rice Dinner

After about 3 1/2 hours he finally walked in. With my old phone, not a new one (it had to be ordered). 

Me: Where have you been?
Hubs: You know where I've been, getting our cell service switched.
Me: For how long? I think I had 2 birthdays while you were gone.
Hubs (putting down his handy dandy notebook): There was a lot to go over.
Me: You just spent more than 3 hours with a salesperson?
Hubs: Yes.
Me: You know, in some countries that would be considered a common law marriage.

So, to recap: new provider, same old phone, researching my new responsibilities as a sister wife.

Guess I should set another place at the dinner table.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Skillet Chicken & Rice Dinner         

Printable Recipe

2 lg boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
3 TBSP canola oil
4 TBSP butter
1/2 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 TBSP cooking sherry
6 oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and patted as dry as possible
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 1/4 cups cooked rice

*Cut the chicken into bite sized chunks. 
Whisk the egg. Place the chicken and the egg into a gallon sized plastic bag. Manipulate so all the chicken is covered. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
*Whisk together the flour, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Remove the chicken from the bag and coat with the flour mixture.
*Add the canola oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken with as little overlap as possible. Cook until the bottoms brown, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken pieces over. If the pan is getting too hot, lower the heat a little. 
*Cook the chicken, stirring now and then, for about another 3 minutes. Move the chicken to a plate and keep warm.
*Add the butter, onion, and garlic to the pan. Cook, scraping the flour bits up from the bottom of the pan until the onion starts to soften. Add the chicken broth, sherry, remaining salt and pepper, spinach, and mushrooms to the pan. Bring to a boil.
*Add the rice to the pan, mix, then add the chicken to the top. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the cover and mix. Make sure the chicken is completely cooked. If not, turn the stove off, return the cover to the pan and cook until the chicken is done.


Friday, July 21, 2023

The Starfish and the Lobster: Fly on the Wall

Peaches and Cream Bars, a refreshing summer dessert | recipe developed by Karen of | #dessert #fruit

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. elcome 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.

A couple of neighbors were walking by when I came outside to give Hubs some interesting news:

Hubs: Oh.

Neighbor, walking away, whispering to her husband: Do they have their own language?

No, we were just speaking baseball.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
I had been out for a while when Hubs texted me:

Hubs: Where are you?
Me: Who knows?

I could tell he wasn't sure what to say to that, because there was a long pause before I heard from him again:

Hubs: You OK?
Me: Sure, I've got plenty of credit cards.

Didn't hear from him again. I bet he was thinking that maybe what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him.

And he's probably right. 

Until the bills come in . . .

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

We had gone for a walk, when suddenly I started laughing.

Me (sort of under my breath): I don't think that's how it goes.
Hubs: How what goes?
Me: "What doesn't," it's "what doesn't." 
Hubs: What are you talking about?
Me: Listen to her . . .

We were walking past a little girl, playing on her driveway, skipping around, singing at the top of her lungs "whatever kills you makes you stronger . . ."

So cute, but so funny.

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

We have 4 bathrooms, 2 upstairs, which have multiple light fixtures above the mirror, 1 bathroom on the main level, and one in the basement.

Me: There's a bulb out in the upstairs bathroom.
Hubs (grabbing a light bulb): Which one?
Me (rolling my eyes): The one that doesn't light up when you flip the switch on.
Hubs: I meant which bathroom.


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

I had tried out a new dessert, Peaches and Cream Bars. I liked how they looked until Hubs walked up, then I was second guessing my decorating choice.

Hubs: What's that?
Me: A new dessert experiment. Want to try it?
Hubs: I don't think so.
Me: What? Why? You never turn down a dessert.
Hubs: Umm, I'm full?
Me: OK, what's really going on?
Hubs: I know you like to come up with new and interesting ideas, but you may have thought a little too far outside the box for me on this one.
Me: What do you mean? You don't even know what it is.
Hubs: Well, I can guess. 
Me: You can guess?
Hubs: You usually decorate the top to show what the main ingredient is.
Me: And?
Hubs: That's a starfish . . .

Peaches and Cream Bars, a refreshing summer dessert | recipe developed by Karen of | #dessert #fruit

Peaches & Cream Bars

Hubs is walking towards the kitchen:

Hubs: Do we have coffee?
Me (rolling my eyes): Of course we have coffee.

Hubs goes over to the coffee pot, looks at it, looks around.

Hubs: I thought we had coffee.
Me: We do.
Hubs: I don't see it.
Me: I didn't say it was made.

OK, maybe that was mean. But in my defense, I hadn't had my coffee yet.

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

Our basement had been a place where a whole lot of kids hung out when the boys were in high school. Now it's Hubs' man cave.

Sometimes, if he's working on his laptop or there's something he wants to see on TV, he may take his coffee down to the man cave in the morning.

One afternoon I had gone down there to take something out of the spare fridge.

Me: Did you spill your coffee on the carpet on the stairs?
Hubs: I don't think so.
Me: There's a stain going down the top 3 stairs.
Hubs: Must have been the kids.
Me (laughing): Your days of blaming the kids kinda ended when they . . . you know . . . moved out.

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

Hubs had brought in the groceries and sat at the counter as I was unpacking them, which doesn't usually end well.

Hubs: Oh, you bought ice cream.
Me: You can't have it, it's for a recipe.
Hubs: OK, how about those cookies?
Me: You can't have those either, they're for a recipe.
Hubs: I'm hungry, what can I have?
Me (unpacking the next bag): Can I interest you in an egg?
Hubs: That sounds good, you going to cook it for me?

He looks up to see me glaring at him.

Hubs: OK, my bad, I'll just send myself to my room.

Yeah, his room is a basement with a 57 inch TV, a pool table, pinball, and a fully stocked fridge.

And I'm standing in the kitchen putting away groceries.

There is definitely something wrong with this picture.

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

I read a lot. Often in the afternoon, but always at night before I go to sleep. I "buy" free books and load them onto my Kindle and iPad. Most always, the books are mysteries. I especially love when I can get a multibook series, it's like binge watching a TV show, and I can get invested in the characters over multiple books.

I'd just started a 6 book bundle.

Hubs: What are you reading?
Me: I'm halfway through the first book of a 6 book bundle.
Hubs: Do you like it?
Me: Yes, great so far, it's well written and I really like the main character.

Not much later I came stomping into the kitchen, muttering under my breath.

Hubs: I thought you were reading.
Me: I was, but I deleted the books.
Hubs: Why? You said you liked the main character.
Me: Not any more. She has poor taste.
Hubs: Poor taste?
Me: She said she liked warm water lobster better than Maine lobster.
Hubs: You know it's just one line from a fictional character in a book, right?
Me: I don't care, that's a dealbreaker, I've lost all respect for her.
Hubs: Well I hope the next series you try out has characters with higher culinary standards.
Me: Me too! That's a couple of wasted hours of my life I'm never getting back.

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

We recently switched cell phone providers (funny post about that coming up soon). Hubs signed us up and got us all new sim cards. When he got home, we all checked out our new service, calling and texting each other. Everything was fine.

The next day, Hubs texted me, asking me to respond if I got his text because he can't call me.

Can't call me? I tried to call him and couldn't, got a message that I had reached the cell provider's payment line. I tried calling College Boy, same results.

I was very concerned that none of us would be reachable, but Hubs came home with some good news/bad news. Good news, he and College boy could make and receive calls. The bad news, of course, is that it seemed to be just me. I kept trying all night with no luck.

The next morning, on the way to work, before going to the cell store, he called me. My phone rang and I answered. I called him back, too. And we texted.

Hubs was trying to think of all of these technical reasons for the glitch, but I knew exactly what had happened. My old phone, like my old self, just needed a good night's sleep.



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

Peaches & Cream Bars

6 oz shelled pecan halves
5 TBSP brown sugar, divided
1/8 tsp plus 1/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
2 TBSP butter, melted
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 box (3 oz) peach jello
1 large or 2 small ripe peaches
1 container (5.3 oz) peach yogurt

OPT: peach slices for decoration and/or whipped cream for serving

*Grease an 8 X 8 baking dish. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
*Place the pecans, 2 TBSP brown sugar, and 1/8 tsp cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until they resemble  
crumbs. While pulsing, add the melted butter through the chute and pulse a few more times until incorporated.
*Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on the counter for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until cold.
*Beat the cream cheese, vanilla, remaining brown sugar, and remaining cinnamon until smooth. Carefully spread over cooled crust. Refrigerate.
*Boil 1 cup of water. Dissolve the peach jello poweder and set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. 
*Pit, skin, and chop the peaches. Sprinkle evenly over the cream cheese layer.
*Whisk the yogurt into the jello. Pour evenly over thepeaches and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting.
*OPT: top with peach slices, serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Souls Sold: Word Counters


Seared Scallops with Canadian Bacon | recipe developed by Karen of |  #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 share what we all came up with.

This month's number is 44
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 writing about an addiction, of sorts, about sold souls.

~ I have, many times over the years, been in awe of the all encompassing foresight of the founders of this country. How much effort and thought they put into plans for every contingency, even circumstances unfathomable in their time. Well, in awe until now.

~ I'm going to talk about addiction today, or what I consider a form of addiction. I mean no disrespect to those who suffer with and fight off personal addictions of all sorts. I don't claim that my views are medically sound, just personal observation.

~ Narcissism. It's an addiction to self. It most likely has its roots in insecurity, but how it manifests is dangerous. Unlike many addictions, it's not only dangerous to the narcissist, but to everyone around them, through self aggrandizement, manipulation, arrogance, and lack of empathy.

~ Narcissists feed mostly on power. They don't have the emotional tools to deal with disappointment. If they don't like dinner, they could throw their plate against a wall. If they do like dinner but are angry about something else, they could throw their plate. 

Seared Scallops with Canadian Bacon | recipe developed by Karen of |  #recipe #dinner

Seared Scallops with Canadian Bacon

~ To achieve the insatiable need for power and adulation, they will use any conceivable (and inconceivable) strategy. Lying, cheating, exploitation, stealing, alliances made with anyone who will stroke their ego, and broken when those people no longer serve their purpose. There are few boundaries.

~ Like most addictions, the current high won't last. Addiction is hungry. The high isn't just needed again, it has to be bigger. And if they're surrounded by other narcissists, feeding off of them, stakes get even higher, the behavior even more erratic and unthinkable.

~ As I said, I am in awe of the foresight of those who envisioned this constitutional republic, based firmly in the tenets of a democracy. But now they have met their match, never imagined a political party run by narcissists who've sold their soul. 

Souls Sold | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #MyGraphics #politics

~ There is a step we need to take to buttress their vision, fight off authoritarianism, fill in an unforeseen hole in our politics. We need to amend the constitution to disallow any convicted felon from running for office. Hasn't happened yet, but it could . . .

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

Seared Scallops with Canadian Bacon         

Printable Recipe

1# sea scallops
salt and pepper to taste
3 TBSP canola oil
2 TBSP butter
2 oz Canadian bacon slices, chopped

*Place the scallops on a plate covered with paper towels. Top with a few more paper towels and refrigerate for an hour.
*Gently press down on the paper towels, then discard them.
*Sprinkle both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper.
*Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Add the scallops to the pan carefully, the hot oil may spit, if it does, turn down the heat just a little bit. Cook for 2 minutes without touching the scallops at all.
*Remove the pan from the stove, quickly move the scallops to a plate, add the butter and Canadian bacon to the pan, swirl around then return the pan to the heat and add the scallops, cooked side up.
*Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, until the scallops are cooked through, flake apart and are opaque in the center. Move the scallops to a serving dish, drizzle the butter and Canadian bacon over the cooked scallops and serve immediately.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Five Js, Four Ways: Use Your Words


Ham & Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #sandwich

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: my friend Diane and I picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases to submit to each other to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. Both posts will be unique as we each have our own set of words we're working with.

At the end of this post, you'll find the link to Diane's post, be sure to check it out, see what words I sent her and how she used them.

I'm using: jeopardy ~ jump ~ jeer ~ jeep ~ julienne

I could hear yelling, jeering from the open rear door of the restaurant as I pulled up to pick up my best friend after her first day at work. "Quick," she said as she jumped in my jeep," get me out of here, if that crazy head chef tells me to julienne one more zucchini, it'll be more than just my fingers that will be in jeopardy.

Five Js, Four Ways, a Use Your Words blog writing challenge | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #blogging #MyGraphics

With the angry crowd jeering behind him, a jeep filled with armed soldiers heading for him, and a cliff in front of him, the scene clearly showed he was in jeopardy. Time to jump. And if he did it right, he thought, he wouldn't end up in as many pieces as a julienned carrot. "Be a stunt man they said," he muttered under his breath, "it'll be fun, they said . . ."

Five Js, Four Ways, a Use Your Words blog writing challenge | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #blogging #MyGraphics

"Julianne! Julien!" mom called to the twins, "come help with these sandwiches." Nothing. "You know your jeep privileges are in jeopardy if you continue to ignore me," she added. "Sorry we didn't jump when you called, mother dear," Julien called out, admittedly in a more jeering and less loving teenaged tone. Knowing they needed the jeep to get to the party that night, Julianne was more conciliatory: "we'll do anything." "One condition," Julien clarified, "Julianne and Julien do not julienne."

Ham & Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #sandwich

Ham & Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches

She was exhausted as she took her place in the mini kitchen assigned to her. It was the last day of the amateur cooks competition, knife skills, and she'd been up all night hearing in her head the snooty judges jeer her as they scrutinized her skills. It didn't help her nerves that the damn jeep wouldn't start again and she had to jump in an Uber. Beginning with the carrot at her station, she cut, knowing she had to get this, only that one knife skill, the julienne, put her in jeopardy. She needed that prize money or no new car. It wasn't until the timer went off that she looked around at the other contestants and realized that they had started the competition today with the dice . . .


Use Your Words, a monthly group writing challenge | developed by and graphic property of | #bloggingchallenge #MyGraphics
Here's the link to Diane's Use Your Words post:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Ham & Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches

1 can (8 count) refrigerated biscuit dough
4 slices Swiss cheese
3 TBSP stoneground mustard
4 TBSP mayonnaise
2 tsp maple syrup
1 package (12 oz) cooked boneless ham steak (I use leftovers of my Marinated Grilled Ham Steak)
3 cooked boneless chicken breasts (I use leftovers of my White Wine Mustard Chicken)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the oven off.
*Separate the biscuits, removing the top 1/3 of the layers and set these tops aside. Place each biscuit bottom on a piece of lightly greased tin foil, large enough to encase the biscuit once the sandwich is made.
*Cut each slice of cheese into quarters. Place one quarter on each biscuit bottom.
*Whisk together the mustard, mayonnaise, and maple syrup. Spread about 1 TBSP onto each sandwich.
*Cut the ham steak in half, then cut each half in quarters. Place one piece onto each of the sandwiches. Slice the chicken and divide onto the sandwiches, top with the remaining cheese slices, then the biscuit tops. Wrap each sandwich completely with the tin foil.
*Turn the oven back on to 325 degrees. Place the sandwiches onto a baking sheet and heat for 20 minutes.