Friday, December 29, 2023

Finale: Your Superpower Monthly Poetry Group


Celebrate Anything Cake | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #cake


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

Finale, a Your Superpower themed poem, and a good-bye to blogging | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #poetry #blogging


Superpowers are fluid things
often changing throughout life,
Quite different when single,
than as a mom and wife.

College found me taking tests,
with hardly any sleep.
My superpower? Partying,
and yet, good grades, I'd keep.

Marriage and moving far away,
to where I'd not fit in,
Sometimes superpower can be,
just not giving in.

IVF, loss, and pregnancy,
the struggle, it was real.
Superpower in those years:
making mind and body heal.

When raising babies, some days,
wonder how we all stay alive.
My superpower in that time:
setting each of us up to thrive.

Family life frequently changes,
I later had time for me.
Exploring possibilities . . .
what would my superpower be?

Blogging was the answer,
recipe development too.
Writing something from the heart,
and creating yummies too.

Celebrate Anything Cake | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #cake
Celebrate Anything Cake
Celebrate Anything Cake | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #cake

My superpower in those years,
creating a blog community.
Developing, running challenges,
cultivating support and unity.

Eleven and a half years gone by,
done more than I planned to do.
Blog superpower's run its course,
though I'll miss all of you.

A superpower needn't be,
something way over the top.
Today it's just as simple as,
saying it's time to stop.

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

Celebrate Anything Cake

1 1/4 cups birthday cake ice cream
1 box (15.25 oz) white cake mix
1/2 cup oil
4 egg whites
2/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup multicolored nonpareils
1/4 cup multicolored sprinkles

1 cup frosted animal cookies, crushed

1 can (12 oz) whipped white or buttercream frosting
2 - 3 drops food coloring of your choice
1 can (16 oz) vanilla frosting
OPT: additionals cookies, nonpareils, sprinkles, and/or sugar pearls for decoration

*Defrost the ice cream.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans.
*Beat the melted ice cream, cake mix, oil, egg whites, and yogurt for 2 minutes. Mix in the nonpareils and sprinkles. Spread evenly into the cake pans.
*Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the centers spring back to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans and cool completely.
*Place the bottom layer onto a serving plate. 
*Mix a few drops of food coloring into the whipped white or buttercream frosting. Reserve 1/3 cup of this frosting in a piping bag and refrigerate.
*Frost the bottom layer with half of the remaining whipped frosting. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the chopped cookies, add the second layer and repeat with the remaining whipped frosting and chopped cookies.
*Add the top later. Frost the top and sides with the vanilla frosting. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
*Decorate the top and sides with the reserved whipped topping and the edible decorations of your choice.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Zig, Zag, Flee

Almond Cranberry Sauce Cookies | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #baking

It's not so much that I was hearing voices. I mean, that's not . . . you know . . . healthy. But, truth is, I wasn't. Healthy. Physically. 

Mentally, I was doing OK. A little depressed, a lot exhausted, but mostly OK. Well, except for the messages. 

Not auditory messages, visual. Delivered through a daily game I played. Seemingly mocking me at first, but later offering some pretty sound advice.
So, two things. The first one I'll give you the bare minimum in terms of information. Because I neither want to relive, nor will you want to hear all the gory details. And it was gory around here. 

Little by little, in the end of November through the middle of this month, we were sick. We being PurDude, (who was home from Boulder for 2 weeks for his brother's birthday, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah), and then College Boy, and finally me.

PurDude's first morning here, he had respiratory symptoms. On his day 8, his brother exploded in the middle of the night, gastrointestinally. On day 11, I had respiratory distress and PurDude, still having his respiratory issues, was also exploding gastrointestinally. He went to an urgent care and they did lab work. All negative. He didn't have Covid, strep, flu, RSV . . . apparently, we were all suffering from . . . nothing.

Not to be deterred, I still made all the celebration meals, desserts, and snacks. So, at least I was functioning. And somehow it all got eaten. Whoever was well enough on any given day, ate whatever I'd made. Well, along with their jug of Gatorade.

Almond Cranberry Sauce Cookies | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #baking
Almond Cranberry Sauce Cookies

On day 15, with just some minor congestion, PurDude ran for his life, escaped, drove back to Boulder. Two days later, not to be left out, I joined the explosion party. And two days after that College Boy went for round two.

At the 3 week mark, everyone was pretty much better except for me, I was still coughing and congested.

Now the second thing: I play a lot of word games and post my results twice a day to my Baking In A Tornado Facebook page, where some friends there share their scores too. I wrote about it in Wordle, Nerdle, Curdle. I even wrote You Are What You Phrase, about the game Phrazle, which is the specific game choosing to mock me a few weeks ago.

I clicked on Phrazle this particular morning, PurDude was back in Colorado, College Boy was back at work but I, a week behind them, was still sick, and exhausted, and sad that our holiday celebrations were . . . how do I say this? . . . a shit fest. And although I was ready to play the game, figure out the elusive phrase of the day, I just kept saying to myself over and over again "how did this happen? How can we all be so sick with (according to the lab tests) absolutely nothing? Where did this come from?"

And there it was, the solution to the puzzle? Or a cosmic answer?

Zig, Zag, or Flee | graphic by Karen of

OK, that's just mean. Yeah, maybe we zigged when we should have zagged, but it's not like we had any warning. I mean, none of us are aware of having seen some big cloud of medical crud headed our way, so how could we have known to initiate evasive tactics?

Believe me, we would have. Zigged, zagged, or just flat out run for our lives.

The next day, since we clearly didn't zig, zag, or flee, Phrazle shared the only strategy left to me:

Zig, Zag, or Flee | graphic by Karen of

And the following day, I guess the advice was not to dwell on a ruined holiday season. Once I was better, apparently the puzzle gods recommended that I:

Zig, Zag, or Flee | graphic by Karen of

Finally, finally feeling just a little bit better, and hoping that with the illness was going the percieved subliminal messaging, I got to the Phrazle portion of my daily game routines. Hoping against hope, but afraid to look in the mirror, I wondered if I was starting to look human again. Seems Phrazle had reverted to snarky:

Zig, Zag, or Flee | graphic by Karen of

Oh, and btw, were you wondering about Hubs? Bet you can guess who it was who'd been tending to the boys while they were exploding. Well, let's just say this: Hubs . . . perfectly fine, from start to finish, not so much as one single wayward sneeze, dammit.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Almond Cranberry Sauce Cookies         

Printable Recipe

2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce, room temperature
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 egg, room temperature
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Cream the butter, sugar, cranberry sauce, and almond extract until smooth. Beat in the egg.
*Starting at the lowest speed, beat in the flour, baking soda, and salt until it forms a dough. Mix in the white chocolate chips and chopped sliced almonds.
*Bake for 11 - 13 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Allow to sit on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before removing to cool completely.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Call Me Wing Saver: Fly on the Wall

Cajun Potato Wedges | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #sidedish


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.

PurDude came home for a few weeks at the end of last month and the beginning of this month. When he walked in the door, I noticed that he looked different, he had changed his haircut.

Me: You're wearing your hair differently. I like it.
PurDude: Yeah, I'm growing a mullet.
Me: A mullet? They've been out of style for years.
PurDude: They're coming back.
Me: I'm sorry to hear that.
PurDude: You just said you liked it.
Me: Well, it's short, it's not long in the back.
PurDude: Maybe I'll just keep it this length, it's still a mullet though.
Me: Ummm, well, how about we call it mullet- adjacent?

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

He and Hubs were talking about the Denver airport, and Hubs was telling a story about how he once went all the way down to the sub-basement to recover his lost luggage.

PurDude: You can't go down there any more, the sub-basement is the headquarters for the illumaniti.
Me: That's not true, it's a conspiracy theory.
PurDude: You can't even get in the elevators, they have guards there.
Me: Come on, you don't think that the basement has been taken over by the illuminati?
PurDude: Oh, I know it.
Me: You know it? You have, like, illuminati radar?

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

College Boy came to visit. We had already eaten so he decided to walk to a restaurant down the street from us and got a quesadilla. It was gigantic, and he got fries too.

When he came back in, I went to sit with him in the kitchen. It was clear he'd gotten high on the way back home.

College Boy (after eating a ton of food): Mom, I ate the fries and half of the quesadilla. I think I'll wrap up the other half and have it for dinner tomorrow, I'll be over but I'll be really late again.
Me: OK, just stick it in the fridge.

About 20 minutes later, I was upstairs, when College Boy came to find me.

College Boy: Mom?
Me: Yes?
College Boy: I have something to tell you.
Me: OK.
College Boy: I just ate tomorrow night's dinner.


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

It was freezing and miserable outside, Hubs, PurDude, and I were inside watching Purdue basketball. They were losing.

Hubs had to run out and pick up College Boy. When he came back, Purdue was winning.

Me: Go stand out front.
Hubs: Huh?
Me: They were losing when you left, and now they're winning.
Hubs: And?
Me: You need to go back out. 
Hubs: I don't think so.
Me: It's the least you can do, come on, take one for the team. 
Hubs: The team's just going to have to figure out how to win without me freezing my face off.
Me: Fine, keep your face, some team player you are . . .

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

I was working on the blog, so I set the timer on the microwave to remind me to preheat the oven to 350 so I could get dinner into the oven on time.

The timer went off, I got up, set the timer to 350, and sat back down.

In just under 4 minutes, I finally realized what I'd done.

Cajun Potato Wedges | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #sidedish
Cajun Potato Wedges

I was trying out a new recipe for Cajun Potato Wedges. The heat issue is tricky around here in terms of preference. 

They looked good, it was taste test time:

Hubs: Oh, those are really hot. 
PurDude: These are nowhere near spicy enough.

I guess all we needed was to find Baby Bear's porridge potato wedges.

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

PurDude wasn't feeling well when he first got home, his throat was really sore. He put on a mask and took a Covid test, which was negative.

On his second day, his throat was worse. I was concerned he may have strep throat and with Thanksgiving in just 2 days, insisted he go to an urgent care. He was not happy with me when he came back. His throat was red but he had no infection.

Of course, on Thanksgiving Day he woke up with a bad cough, his chest was sore from coughing. I rounded up all of our cold medicine, and was in the kitchen with College Boy reading the labels. 

Me: Looks like most of these expired in 2020.
College boy: Those won't do him any good.
Me (looking at the last bottle): This one expired in 2013.
College Boy: Oh, you should keep that one.
Me: Why?
College Boy: It might be worth something some day, it's an antique.

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

I really wanted to get PurDude some relief. I called all of the local grocery and big box stores but, of course, they were closed on Thanksgiving. 

College Boy suggested I call a gas station up the street and see if they were open, and if they carried any cold medicine.

Me (on the phone): You're open today?
Nice guy who answered the phone: Yes, until midnight.
Me: Do you happen to sell any cold medicine in your little mart there?
Nice guy who answered the phone: Let me go look.
Me: You don't have to do that, we'll come in.
Nice guy at the gas station: No problem. Yes, we have night time liquid, day time liquid, pills . . .
Me: That's great, thank you.
Nice guy at the gas station: Let me warn you though, they're not cheap.
Me: That's OK, nothing else is open, we're desperate, see you in a few minutes.

I hang up the phone and College Boy and I both look at each other, then we both break out laughing.

College Boy: Why did you tell him that? How much do you think they're marking that stuff up as we speak?

Turns out, you could by a small house for what they charged. And it turns out I was more than happy to pay the price.

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

The family was watching football in the den when I came downstairs. I went into the kitchen and turned on the light to check on dinner.

Me (looking over at the counter): Oh, I just found my glasses.
Hubs: I didn't know they were missing.
Me: Neither did I!

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

A fly on the wall this month would have seen me becoming an acrobat. Although not on purpose.

I was making Teriyaki Wingettes for the family. I bake them ahead of time, then heat them up on the grill. 

Of course, just before I lit the grill, it started to snow. Too lazy to put my shoes on and off each time I had to go out there, I put my flip flops on, taking them off and leaving them on the little rug at the sliding doors to the deck. Perfect.

The final time I went out, to bring the wings in, I didn't take my flip flops off at the rug. I took one step onto the kitchen floor and started flying through the air, headed for a hard crash onto the wood floor.

Did I try to put my hands down, break my fall? Nope. All I could think of was having nothing to put on the table for dinner. So with my left hand I threw that huge plate of wings onto the counter.

Saved the wings. Every one. Myself? Not so much.



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

Cajun Potato Wedges

4 medium potatoes
4 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper

OPT: ketchup or sour cream for serving

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large (15 X 10) baking sheet.
*Wash and dry the potatoes. Cut in half, lengthwise, then cut each half into 4 spears, Place in a bowl.
*Melt the butter. Mix with the cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Pour over the potatoes and mix so they are all coated (using your hands is the easiest).
*Place the potato wedges, a cut side down, singly, on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.
*Flip the potatoes over, sprinkle with remaining salt, and bake another 20 minutes.
*OPT: serve with ketchup or sour cream.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Inconvenient Convenience: Word Counters


Chicken and Snap Pea Dinner | 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 33. 
It was chosen by Me!

~ I've often used this post to air my complaints about the lack of customer service. Today it's about convenience, inconvenience, being denied the choice of shopping in store, being forced to shop online.

~ I like the convenience of shopping online, comparing prices, availability, ship time and fees, even having the convenience of being able to choose store pick up (if that's an option), or home delivery.

~ What I don't like is not being able to see and touch the merchandise. They can use all the descriptive words they can imagine, but it's just not the same as hands on.

~ Hubs needed a new laptop, knew what he wanted, but it was expensive. After daily checks, Hubs found it on sale. We checked our local store and success! Hubs and PurDude drove off. 

~ They were gone quite a while when PurDude called to ask what time I'd planned dinner. Dinner I knew immediately that had to be a bad omen since it was only one thirty.

Chicken and Snap Pea Dinner | recipe developed by Karen of | #recipe #dinner

Chicken and Snap Pea Dinner

~ So . . . they found the laptop, and took it up to the counter to pay. But it was ringing up at regular price. "That's because," the clerk explained, "you're looking for the online price."

~ Could he get the online price? No. Hubs had to stand in the check out line and order it online for store pick up. Once ordered, Hubs asked again for the sale price.

Inconvenient Convenience | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of Karen of | #MyGraphics #blogging

~ No, again. PurDude and Hubs were told that they now had to wait about an hour for order fulfillment. To fulfill the order, for the item Hubs was holding, in the checkout line.

~ Almost two hours later they returned empty handed. Update: the order is in the fulfillment queue and would be filled when his turn came, no exceptions for a customer standing there, they'd email.

~ Six hours later, after speaking to another store employee, Hubs was told the order was being expedited (LOL), he'd be emailed soon. Seven hours after ordering, the store closed. No email, no laptop.

~ Silence from Best Buy. The order wasn't ready in an hour, or another half hour, nor was it being expedited. All lies. Twenty seven hours after ordering, they agreed to turned it over.

~ Their claim of shopping convenience? Turning away a customer holding expensive electronics in one hand and a credit card in the other, telling him to pay online, then wait . . . a day? Decidedly inconvenient.

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

Chicken and Snap Pea Dinner         

Printable Recipe

1 1/4 cups instant brown rice
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1/3 cup Canadian bacon, chopped
3 oz snap peas
1 can chicken and rice soup
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp pepper

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8 X 11 baking dish.
*Sprinkle the rice evenly onto the bottom of the baking dish. Top with the chicken, Canadian bacon, and snap peas.
*Mix together the chicken and rice soup, chicken broth, onion, garlic and pepper. Pour even into the baking dish. Cover with tin foil.
*Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the tin foil, and bake for another 30 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the liquid.
*Stir before serving.