Friday, September 29, 2023

The Whisper Game: Monthly Poetry Group


Strawberry Jalapeno Chicken | recipe developed by Karen of | #dinner #chicken



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

Your Favorite Text, a monthly poetry challenge based on a theme. | Graphic property of Karen of | #poetry #blogging

The Whisper Game

When the boys were little,
was a game that we would play.
Started off as silly,
but it went on this way . . .

"Come here, I have a secret,"
how I'd entice them near.
They'd snuggle up beside me,
to my mouth, they'd put their ear.

At first they were confused by,
the words that I would say.
"Some boys love their moms," was what
I whispered, that first day.

Soon, though they would get it,
the answer, it was clear, 
"love you, mom," exactly,
what I needed to hear.

Fast forward many years to,
family dinner with older son,
off to college in the morning, for
independence (and some fun).

Strawberry Jalapeno Chicken | recipe developed by Karen of | #dinner #chicken
Strawberry Jalapeno Chicken

Next day, I was determined,
his independence to respect,
I'd let him reach out first to me,
but . . . so hard, I almost wept.

I'm sorry, I admit it,
I quickly failed, it's true.
Didn't make it out of the parking lot!
Saying "good bye," too hard to do.

Just two words I texted to him,
my feelings to impart,
"Some boys . . ." my simple message,
his "love you, mom," warmed my heart.

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

Strawberry Jalapeno Chicken

1/2 jalapeno pepper
1/3 cup Italian dressing
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
3 TBSP strawberry preserves
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

*Remove the seeds from 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper. Chop.
*Whisk together the Italian dressing, red wine vinegar, and strawberry preserves. Mix in the chopped jalapeno. Pour into a resealable plastic bag and set aside.
*Cut each chicken breast half into 3 - 4 pieces of similar thickness. Add the chicken to the bag with the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 4 hours, turning the bag now and then.
*Preheat your grill to medium. Place the chicken pieces on the grill. Discard the marinade.
*Grill, flipping once, for about 7 minutes per side, until the chicken is completely cooked.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Taking On Einstein


Ginger Snap Sweet Potato Cake | recipe developed by | #recipe #bake

Albert Einstein was a genius. Just a fact, not up for debate. But I'm going to argue with him a bit today (admittedly, far easier to do considering he's been dead for well over 60 years). And no, theoretical physics is not an arena in which I could take him on.

The truth about geniuses is that they are often proven to be best when they stay in their lane. Not all of them are "street smart," understanding of some of the less left-brained, more everyday aspects of life. Not so with Einstein. He actually understood so much more than the analytical.

One fairly well-known quote that caught my attention: "Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear, and greed."

There was a time I might have argued this one, but not now. Pessimistic? Yes. But coming to clear fruition in the realm of politics in this country? Hell, yes.

But it's a quote acknowledging, even putting higher value in, the right side of his brain that makes me think the same thing I've been thinking about our forefathers: insightful, incredibly insightful, but oh, you never saw this current republican party coming.

Einstein said: "I am enough of the artist to draw freely on my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

Imagination may encircle the world, but in his own words, Einstein admits that stupidity, fear, and greed rule it.

So . . . Enter Ron DeSantis, followed by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and the Tennessee legislature . . . the death knell of knowledge. 

Yeah, I'm up on my soap box again.

Taking On Einstein | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #MyGraphics #blogging

I fully agree that imagination is integral to most every stride forward we make. But where I take exception is here: if we limit knowledge, we diminish the scope with which the imagination has to work.

Neither knowledge nor imagination is more important than the other. It is, it needs to be, a symbiotic relationship. They nourish each other.

It is not the ingredients OR the process that is the recipe for success, dear Einstein, it's the mixture: the ingredients AND the process.

Ginger Snap Sweet Potato Cake | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #bake

Ginger Snap Sweet Potato Cake

Ginger Snap Sweet Potato Cake | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #bake

Book banning limits knowledge. It is the beginning of the choking off of imagination, the limitation of nutrients. Imagination can survive, but cannot thrive.

Taking that limitation a terrifying step forward though, is not just the denial of facts, but the literal whitewashing of history. The bastardization of school curriculum from the largest scope of truth we can impart to one man's skewed personal views. The manipulation of knowledge by stupidity, fear, and greed.

I look at my generation with shame. We have not made the world a better place for the next generation. I have, however, seen so much hope in this next generation, a moral compass and a vision for this country and the world despite (or because of) the erosion of right, disregard of truth, bigotry, and the mass shooting traumatization endemic of the years in which they will come of age.

Now, I'm not so sure. The assault on education is the limitation of knowledge and its effect on imagination changes everything.

Computer scientists were right, the quality of the output is determined by the quality of the input.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Ginger Snap Sweet Potato Cake         

Printable Recipe

1 box yellow cake mix
1/4 cup crushed ginger snaps
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes, cooled
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup oil
4 eggs

1 can (16 oz) cream cheese frosting
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP brown sugar
5 TBSP crushed ginger snaps, divided

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans.
*Beat cake mix, 1/4 cup of the ginger snaps, mashed sweet potatoes, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, orange juice, oil, and eggs for 2 minutes. Spread evenly into the prepared pans.
*Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the center of the top springs back to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pans, and cool completely. Trim the tops of the cake layers so they are flat. Place the bottom layer onto your serving plate.
*Beat together the cream cheese frosting, cream cheese, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Remove 1/3 cup of the frosting to a piping bag for decoration.
*Divide the remaining frosting in half. To one half, mix in 3 TBSP of the remaining cookie crumbs. Use half of this frosting to frost the top of the bottom cake layer. Add the middle cake layer and use the rest of this frosting on the middle cake layer. Add the top cake layer.
*Using the half of the frosting without the cookie crumbs, frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with the reserved frosting and the remaining crushed cookies. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.
*Cover and refrigerate leftovers, then bring to room temperature to serve.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Three Yesses and a No: Fly on the Wall

Spiked Apple Topping | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #dessert


 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.

College Boy walks in the house:

Me: Hi!
College Boy: What are you up to today?
Me: I need to get a couple of blog posts written. Do you want to write the poem, or the other one.
College Boy: I'll write the invisible one.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
I was putting the clothes into the washing machine when Hubs started a conversation from the kitchen. Distracted, I walked in to finish the conversation.

An hour later the laundry should have been done for a while, had I missed the chimes?

Hubs was in the laundry room putting on his shoes (our lockers are there too), when I came in.

Me: Is the laundry done?
Hubs (pressing the start button): Helpful hint, it works better if you turn it on.

Oh, good to know.

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

wrote a post, just a couple of days ago, about an issue we'd had with ants, and what we did to try to get rid of them.

One of those attempts was about something I'd read, that ants don't like cinnamon or vinegar.

College Boy came home in the middle of it all, not knowing what was going on, while I was standing on the landing with cinnamon and vinegar.

College Boy (coming up the stairs): What are you doing?
Me: I'm sprinkling cinnamon on the windowsill, then I'll spray with vinegar.
College Boy (walking away): Mom?
Me: Yeah?
College Boy: NO.
Me: No what?
College Boy: Whatever you're making? I'm not eating it.

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

I get all kinds of solicitations, people who want me to promote their products, publish their stories, or feature them on the Baking In A Tornado FB page.

I rarely respond at all, but sometimes, they really just make me angry. These are the ones that are sent by marketers who have clearly never read my blog.

And if I'm in a mood, I just might answer. Like the message the other day, in which they complimented my pictures, and especially my style. They then suggested that based on what they see, my posts would be a perfect fit for promoting their sunglasses.

To which I responded "which of my recipes were you thinking of putting the sunglasses on?" 

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

I was using the grill quite a bit and planned to use it again that night, so I asked Hubs to check the propane level. It was low.

Fortunately, it was one of the days that Hubs wasn't going to go into the office. He had actually planned on going to the hardware store, and they have a propane tank swap, so he'd do that at the same time. Perfect.

He left to do his errand, and I went out onto the back deck to water my plants. While there, I noticed that the propane tank was still attached to the grill. Well, unless he's planning on carrying propane gas in the palm of his hands . . .

Hubs comes home, goes out on the deck and comes back with the tank. As he heads out the door (again):

Hubs: You do not see me. I am not here.
Me: But I have so much to say.
Hubs: Who you?
Me: How old do you have to be to . . .
Hubs (as he's shutting the door to the garage): I'm not here!

Damn, and I worked so hard on those sarcastic comments, too.

Spiked Apple Topping | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #dessert
Spiked Apple Topping

I was in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher, Hubs was in the den with the TV on, the Red Sox were about to play.

I could see the TV from the kitchen, and when I looked up, I saw they had a picture of one of our pitchers up on the screen, featuring him. As I looked down below the picture, I started to yell.

Me: OMG, OMG, what happened to him?
Hubs: What's the matter, what are you so upset about?
Me: Look at the graphic, it says RIP Kluber. What happened?
Hubs: Put your glasses on, it doesn't say RIP, it says RHP. You know, right handed pitcher?
Me: Oh. Never mind.

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

Often, when I sit down to read, I know I have other things I need to get done, like starting dinner. So after I finish a chapter, I look to the bottom left of my reader to see how long the next chapter is and decide whether to stop, or read one more.

Yesterday evening, I finished chapter 20, and wanted to see if I had enough time to read chapter 21 before prepping dinner. 

Sixteen Hours | picture taken by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #blogging #humor

I'm gonna need an IV and a diaper if I'm gonna read that chapter in one sitting.

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


A little PSA, apparently some (embarrassing) clarification is required. A friend, I later found out, came to the front door, but never rang the bell.

Just so we don't have this issue again, let me tell you that if you come to visit and hear me yelling "YES, YES, YES," check to see if the Red Sox are on. If so, I'm celebrating the ecstasy of a home run.

Sorry for the misunderstanding . . .

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

College Boy: Hey mom, what are you doing for dinner? Maybe I'll join you.
Me: Remember that brisket we didn't like . . .
College Boy (interrupting): That's a NO.
Me: But . . .
College Boy (interrupting again): There isn't a "but" in the world that would help that sentence.

And yes, I really didn't approach selling it in the right way.

Back story, FYI: I buy a few premade foods now and then, my "emergency dinners," for when I'm not feeling well, or the day just gets away from me.

I had bought a package of sliced brisket in a whiskey glaze that we liked, but this time the flavor was way off, very vinegar forward. Instead of throwing it away, I froze it so I could think about whether I could "fix" it. I came up with a plan and decided to give it a try.

It was actually really good once I counteracted the vinegar and added a few other ingredients. Oh well, College Boy's loss.

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


Another day, another Red Sox game. One of our batters was up. Although he's a great player, he'd always swung at pretty much everything, either hitting the ball or striking out.
This year, though, he's been a little more discerning. In this particular game, he seemed to have reverted to his old habits.

Hubs: There he goes, swinging at everything.
Me: I'm surprised, lately he's gotten really good at watching his balls.

OK, I probably could have worded that better . . .


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

Spiked Apple Topping

2 apples of your choice
1 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp apple pie spice blend
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP Fireball whiskey or Jim Beam Apple Bourbon
2 TBSP caramel syrup

NOTE: To make this topping alcohol free, substitute apple juice for the whiskey or bourbon

OPT: use to top cake, blondies, cookie bars, pie, ice cream, pancakes, French toast, and more

*Core, peel, and chop the apples.
*In a medium sized skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples, apple pie spice, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Cook, stirring now and then, just until the apples start to soften, about 10 minutes.
*Shut off the heat but leave the skillet on the burner. Add the whiskey or bourbon and the caramel syrup. Stir until well mixed in.
*Remove from heat and serve over your favorite breakfast or dessert.
*NOTE: cover any leftovers and refrigerate. To serve again, warm briefly in the microwave.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

None by None: Word Counters


Strawberry Banana Bread | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #baking

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 27
It was chosen by Me.

As I've been doing in these Word Counters posts, I've chosen a theme and am using my word count multiple times in keeping with the theme. This month I've chosen the theme None by None.

~ Do you remember ant farms? Ever have one? Not me. Ever want one? Still not me. Especially not now, anyway, and definitely not on my upstairs landing.

~ It started with siding. When we had some replaced on the west side of the house, the worker accidentally broke our window. And replaced it, of course.

~ We had no problems. Actually, I was pretty happy, the original window didn't open, was just glass, but the new one opens for a nice cross breeze.

~ Fast forward about three years, when we noticed one day, a big blank ant was crawling down the wall under that window. Then later, another. Oh, no.

~ The ants were marching. One by one. And two by two. And lots by lots. According to google, looking for something sweet. That could be a problem.

Strawberry Banana Bread | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #baking

Strawberry Banana Bread

~ Recon mission: identify ingress point. We knew it had to be around that window, but never saw exactly where. Choosing between kill and deter, we chose deter.

~ They don't like cinnamon (those insect heathens). So I although I rubbed the window ledge with it, I certainly wasn't sprinkling it on my wall and carpeting.

~ Don't know if that deterred some, but certainly not all. Plan B time. Hubs found a gentle, indoor safe insecticide. And they stopped. For a few hours . . .

None by None | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #MyGraphics #blogging

~ Sorry, I'm not sharing my baked goods, wall, stairway, and even (how far do ants go?) my bed {{shudder}}. No more Mrs. Nice Girl, this is war.

~ Plan C: divide and conquer. Vinegar's another deterrent. I sprayed the window, wall, carpet. Hubs sprayed a stronger insecticide outside, in the rocks and up the house.

~ The ants aren't marching. Or they've changed course (hopefully not to my neighbor's house). All's quiet on the western front, but us? We stand at the ready. 

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

 Strawberry Banana Bread         


Printable Recipe

1 overripe banana
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup strawberry yogurt
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
3 TBSP strawberry preserves

*Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
*Set aside 4 slices from the center of the ripe banana and set aside. Hull and slice one of the strawberries and set aside.
*Mash the remaining ripe banana, along with the overripe banana in a bowl with a fork. Whisk in the oil, brown sugar, egg, and yogurt.
*Mix in the flour, 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Hull and chop the remaining strawberries. Fold into the dough. 
*Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan. Even out, then arrange the reserved sliced banana and strawberry onto the top.
*Mix together the remaining cinnamon and the tsp of sugar, sprinkle over the top.
*Bake for 55 - 60 minutes, until the center of the top springs back to the touch. 
*Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and removing from the pan. Whisk the strawberry preserves to loosen. Paint onto the top of the bread using a pastry brush. Cool completely before slicing.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Call Me Victor: Use Your Words


Bagel Breakfast Bake | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #breakfast

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:  super ~ silent ~ sinuous ~ snake ~ serious


It was driving her mad. She was sitting at her desk but not getting a bit of work done, completely unproductive, consumed by her thoughts.

This was serious. Her super talented co-worker was to blame here. Yes, she was included in the daily break room gathering wth her colleagues this morning, talking and smiling before heading to their work stations, but that had only served to whet her appetite. Fuel her current obsession.

Call Me Victor | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #MyGraphics #blogging

So, she came up with a plan.

Stealth is the key to success here. She must be silent. Follow a sinuous trail through the office. Duck into the lady's room, from there to the copy room, slip into that empty work station. And she would have to take this circuitous route, all while acting nonchalant.

Yeah, she was that far gone.

Clearly, she had no pride, she thought, finally slithering into her destination like as a snake.

But success! A classsic case of the ends justifying the means. To the victor go the spoils.

Bagel Breakfast Bake | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #breakfast
Bagel Breakfast Bake

That last piece of Bagel Breakfast Bake. It's mine!


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 posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Bagel Breakfast Bake

1/2 stick butter, melted
1# everything seasoned bagels (5 large bagels)
3 oz Canadian Bacon slices
10 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped red pepper

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan.
*Slice the bagels in half, then chop them. In a bowl, mix the chopped bagels with the butter. Chop the Canadian Bacon and mix into the bowl.
*Arrange the ingredients from the bowl evenly into the prepared pan.
*In the same bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cheese, salt, pepper, green onions, and red pepper. Pour evenly over the bagels.
*Bake for 40 minutes.