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Baking in a Tornado by Karen Bakinginatornado - 8h ago
I had taken a seat, the other day, ummm, how can I put this? Let's just say that I'm a princess, and was sitting on my throne. It's unfortunately a communal throne, but that may be a discussion for another day. Or never. 

Anyway, I was sitting there when I was suddenly struck by some fairly pertinent questions. Situation specific, so to speak. So, like anyone else on the planet, I asked google. Because, since I no longer have little ones, I was actually alone in the throne room. And even if the kids had been there, I'm not sure I could trust their answers. 

It went something like this:

Me: Google, who in the world uses single ply?
Google: Single ply roofs are economic and perform well under drastic weather changes. 
OK, not really what I was looking for, but good to know.

Me: If you're at someone's house and the toilet paper is on wrong (you know, the dreaded under instead of over), after you fix it, is it OK to go upstairs and check their other bathrooms. In case you can be of further service?

I got a few different answers on this one, neither of them informed me of the proper visiting guest toilet paper etiquette.

The first article was about what to do if you're at someone's house and you clog the toilet. Don't ask me the answer, I don't know, I didn't read it. You think this blog post is TMI? Let me tell you, that article looked like a whole lot of TMI.

The second option , although useful information also, didn't answer my question either. I did find out that a toilet works on the principals of gravity and if you leave a clogged toilet alone overnight, it could very well clear itself. So don't be so quick to reach for that plunger (not that I ever am).

I'm thinking my kids would have done better answering this one. They would have said "yes" or "no". More than likely one would have said "yes" and the other "no" so not only would I have gotten answers that at the least were appropriate to the question, but statistically, one of them would have been right. 



Me: Why are they now making toilet paper rolls so big that they don't fit on the holder and you end up tearing it off one aggravating square at a time?

Surprisingly, the first suggested article that came up would have made more sense had it come up on my previous query. This piece claimed to have the scientific answer to the over/under toilet paper debate. Not only didn't it answer my question, but there's no need for a scientific answer, everyone knows it's over. Discussion over.

The second article informed me that there is actually such a thing as rapidly dissolving toilet paper that breaks down 4 times as faster than other toilet papers. Apparently it's Clog Clinic tested. Is that a thing? Or are they shitting me?

Me: Why does toilet paper have designs quilted onto it?

I thought for sure I'd get appropriate answers on this one, but the first article told me that toilet paper was invented in China (no information about whether it had designs or not), and that when first introduced to the states, it was called "medicated paper for the water closet".

The second piece discussed the fact that toilet paper is available in several types of paper and a multitude of patterns. Apparently if it's quilted or rippled, it's "luxury". I may not know why they add designs, but apparently I've got the luxurious water closet paper.


Needless to say, I didn't fit a recipe into today's post. I could have, but the knock on the door was telling me that my inquiring mind (and the rest of me) needed to loan my throne to another family member. It's also possible that today's subject matter may not have exactly been appetite inducing. 

Hopefully my Oatmeal Butterscotch Quick Bread will be:



Oatmeal Butterscotch Quick Bread


Oh, I actually did ask one more question. I was afraid that google might be feeling badly because of it's clear uselessness to me today, so I snuck in an easy one.

Me: Does a bear poop in the woods?
Google: Yes.






Oatmeal Butterscotch Quick Bread        
                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup butterscotch baking chips, divided

Directions:
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 5 loaf pan.
*In a large bowl, mix together the flour, quick oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat in the buttermilk and vanilla. Mix in 1/2 cup of the butterscotch baking chips.
*Pour evenly into the prepared pan. Dot the top with the remaining butterscotch baking chips.
*Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is completely brown and crusty. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges to remove. 
*Tastes best served warm with a pat of butter.
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Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 6 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.




Sometimes I wonder how PurDude ended up so damn literal, then other times I'm reminded of exactly how.

The Red Sox had played an afternoon game, which I had watched. Hubs came home from work:

Hubs: I saw on my ESPN app that the Red Sox played a game this afternoon, did you know that? They killed the Blue Jays.
Me: There wasn't a game, there was a home run derby.
Hubs: No, they don't do those other than at the All Star games mid-season.
Me: Think about what I'm saying, what was the score?
Hubs: It was like 12 - 2.
Me: Yes, I saw it on TV. It was a home run derby.
Hubs: Then how was there a final game score?
Me (rolling my eyes so hard I can hear them rattling): Think about what I'm telling you. It was a home run derby.

Hubs starts to talk but I walk away thinking, you know, that I may need my eyeballs for another day or something.





It has been raining. I'm mean really raining. Constantly, consistently, never ending wet, soggy, sloshy rain.

It's been raining so much that even the ducks are crossing the road to get to the other side.


Before you tell me how horrible my picture taking skills are, let me say that it was dark, I couldn't control the rain drops, obviously, and (I was safely at a stop, btw) I was trying to take the picture in between passing cars that blocked my view. 

But this first picture I tried to take of the ducks? Well, I've got no good excuse for this one:







We didn't grow up in the cell phone generation, Hubs and I, so it's been an adjustment. I spoke before about how, when Hubs first got his, he couldn't text. Either I'd have to take his phone and respond to texts for him or, if he wasn't home, he would call me, tell me what the boys had texted to him and then text back his answer from my cell. Ugh.

Those were the days of flip phones. Now, of course, texting is so much easier and he's able to do it (yay, progress). But now also, we have to tap the screen to use the phone. If I'm sitting with him watching TV, I often hear knocking noises. I look over and Hubs is banging on his cell.

Me: What are you doing?
Hubs: Checking my phone.
Me: You just need to tap it.
Hubs: I am.
Me: Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if that thing got a restraining order.





We were all sitting in the den watching the Red Sox. It was just the first inning when it looked like when the batter hit the ball, it hit our pitcher.

Me: Oh no, that ball hit the pitcher. He hit the pitcher.

{{silence}}, everyone's busy on their cells.

Me: Did you see that? It's the first inning and the manager is out on the mound talking to the pitcher. He could come out, this is awful.

{{silence}}

A few minutes later Hubs looks up and sees the pitcher coming out.

Hubs: Hey, what's going on? 
Me: I told you. No one listens to me. You're too busy beating the crap out of your phone.





Another day and Hubs and I had just finished dinner. The Bruins were playing for the Stanley Cup but the basketball finals were on too. I haven't been interested in the basketball playoffs since the Celtics were eliminated so I stayed upstairs to watch the Bruins while Hubs took his dessert on a plate and went down to the man cave to switch back and forth between games.

It wasn't until hours later, in the 3rd period that Hubs came up to stick his plate in the dishwasher.

Hubs (peeking up the stairs): So, the Bruins tied the game.
Me: Yes, I was pretty pissed off through most of this game.
Hubs: I know, I could hear you screaming at the TV all the way downstairs.
Me: Is that why it took you 2 hours to come up and wash your plate.
Hubs: Well, yeah.
Me: What if they never tied it up, would you have sat in the basement with your dirty plate until tomorrow.
Hubs: You know I would.
Me: Jeez, I didn't know I was that scary.
College Boy (walking into the room): Well, I could have told you that.



Grilled Portobello Skewers


My Pinterest account really seems to be heating up. Which, initially, would make me happy. Until I went and looked. These are actual words that actually came out of my mouth:

Me: Oh good, naked girls are following me on Pinterest.
College Boy: Seems like your fan base.
Me: No, it's bad enough when hot oil splatters on you when you've got clothes on, no way would naked girls be a messy baker's fan base.




Me: What the hell is "eye-ass"?
Hubs: What? You OK? Do I need to get you to a hospital?
Me: No, I'm writing my Longer Days poem for the Monthly Poetry Group.
Hubs: Okay????
Me: I needed help with a rhyme so I googled it and among the options is "eyass". What the hell is that?
Hubs: No clue.
Me: And how the hell does that rhyme with "nights". Words that rhyme with nights are bites, lights, sites, tights . . . and eyass? 
Hubs: I'm sure you're not reading that right, maybe poetry is too taxing for you, why don't you lay down for a while. 
Me (getting frustrated): Lay down? Me? I'm not the one who says eyass rhymes with nights. Maybe google should lay down.
Hubs just looks at me silently.
Me: I think I'll go lay down.




PurDude got a new car. He and Hubs were driving it back from the dealer to our house. Hubs called from the car.

Hubs: We got it, we're on our way.
Me: He must be so happy.
Hubs: He is, but let me tell you, this is a really fast car.
PurDude (yelling in the background): Don't tell mom that!!
Me: Ask him how he was going to hide that from me.

The next day I spent the day looking into insurance for him. Then I texted him:

Me: I got an insurance quote that's as high monthly as your car payment. Haven't been able to find out how long you have to get the car insured so you really need to drive it as little as possible until we get insurance.
PurDude: {{silence}}
Me: Not gonna happen, right?
PurDude: Nope.
Me: Oh good, I needed something else to worry about.




Another day and PurDude and I were watching the Red Sox again (yeah, we do that often) while I was making dinner. A commercial came on for free Taco Bell tacos, something to do with the NBA playoffs.

PurDude: Oh, we should go get free tacos.
Me: I don't like Taco Bell.
PurDude: Me either.
Me {{blink, blink}}: If you don't like it, why do you want to go?
PurDude: Well, free.
Me: If I said I would give you diarrhea for free would you drive over here for dinner.
PurDude: Point made.

Phew, in retrospect I really opened myself up on that one, was afraid of what he COULD have said about my cooking . . . 



Same day, we were still watching the game when I sneezed. He didn't say anything. 

Me: "Bless you" is what you're supposed to say.
PurDude: Love you, Ma.

I'll take that over a "bless you" any day.


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

Never Ever Give Up Hope  
Menopausal Mother 
Spatulas on Parade
Bookworm in the Kitchen
Follow Me Home










Grilled Portobello Skewers
                                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Ingredients:
12 oz thick sliced portobellos
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 zucchini, sliced
1 red pepper, cleaned and chopped into about 1" pieces
1/4 red onion, peeled and pulled apart into individual scales

6 TBSP red wine vinegar
3 TBSP olive oil 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

OPT: brown rice for serving

Directions:
*Carefully place all of the vegetables into a sealable bag. You want to be sure the portobello slices don't break.
*Whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, minced ginger, salt and pepper. Pour into the bag and refrigerate, turning once, for 2 hours.
*Remove the vegetables from the marinade. Lay them all flat and carefully push the skewers through the vegetables, with all of the vegetable options on each skewer.
*Heat your grill to medium. Place the skewers on the grill. Grill for about 5 minutes per side. The vegetables should soften. 
OPT: Serve over brown rice.

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It started with a letter. 

It was marked "personal and confidential". Not addressed to me, but that's just a detail, right? Everyone knows if you send a letter to a man marked that way it's like waving a red cape in front of a bull, you can bet your ass that wife is gonna open it. Especially since, initially, I was terrified. What official letter could possibly come to Hubs? Has he been drafted? Into the Space Force? He can't go, you know. He's got bone spurs.




Now I just want to commend you, seeking out my husband to write to personally at 5:43 am. And although your letter hits on all of your dog whistles, lies, delusional interesting world views, I have to admit that it doesn't really sound like you. There aren't any made up words, way fewer random use of capital letters (well, other than "Fake News Media" and "Liberals"), or glaring spelling errors. Did you turn on your spell check? You can admit it, I won't tell.

I actually posted the above picture on my FB page, and in the ensuing discussion, a fellow blogger, Tamara, suggested a blog post response. Good idea Tamara, I actually have, in fact, responded. Not with money, of course, but with something way more valuable. 

June 18th
3:30 am

I want to thank you for your recent letter to my husband. He never saw it, but I'm sure he'd be appreciative of the time an effort you took to explain to him personally (and confidentially) how you feel about those evil liberals who want things like health care, human rights and affordable education.

Anyway, I'm awake and answering you at 3:30 in the morning as I just have such a hard time sleeping these days. Because of, you know, things like the electoral college, kids in cages, pedophiles running for office, White House staff breaking the law, increasing anti-semitism, cronyism, trampling of women's rights, Mitch McConnell . . .

I know you ask, in your letter, for $2020, but since you got the tax break and I . . . well . . . didn't. And since you don't grocery shop and I've suffered frequently increasing food prices and now gas prices due to tariff and trade agreement whims, I thought I'd offer you some sage advice instead.  

*If you say something on tape, you can deny it later if you want, but chances are pretty good that people are going to know you said it.

*Every day is not "take your kids to work" day.

*Methinks thou doth protest too much. Truth is, people who are stable and who are geniuses don't need to talk about it. Over and over and over again.

*Sometimes bad things happen that Hillary is not responsible for. Like wild fires. Even if she didn't sweep the forest floor.
 
*When hosting guests, especially in the people's house, Mickey D's is just . . . well . . . gauche. You know there's a chef who will cook for guests, right? And you don't have to do the dishes either, there's a staff for that too. So maybe try to show a little class. A nice grilled steak, that's a dinner worth serving.



Grilled Asian Flank Steak


*Mexico is not paying for any wall. And neither am I.

*Reading is good. In fact, most people find that information is often helpful.

*Allies are our friends. Really. Look it up.

*We have a 4th of July celebration in the capital every year. Independence Day was already sort of a big deal before you came along.


*I know you talk a lot about fake news, I thought maybe you'd understand the concept better if I gave you clear examples.
Legit: global warming.
Fake: no obstruction, no collusion. 

That's all I have for you for now. If you need any further assistance (meaning non-financial), feel free to send my husband another personal and confidential letter. I'll be watching for it.

Sincerely,
A patriotic snowflake

PS: Have you ever actually seen a snowflake? They're beautiful.



Grilled Asian Flank Steak
                                                                                 ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Ingredients:
1 3/4 # flank steak
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 TBSP pineapple juice
1 tsp sesame oil
1 TBSP brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger

Directions:
*Place the steak in a resealable gallon sized bag.
*Whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin, pineapple juice, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. Pour into the bag to cover the steak and seal. Refrigerate for at least 6 and up to 48 hours.
*Preheat grill to medium high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and place on the grill, immediately lowering the heat to medium.
*Grill from 5 to 7 minutes per side, until almost done to your preference.
*Remove from grill and allow steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing, against the grain.

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Baking in a Tornado by Karen Bakinginatornado - 1w ago
Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.





At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: sticky ~ stencils  ~ water tank ~ phone ~ airplane
They were submitted by Karen of Bookworm in the Kitchen.
                        
I don't exactly know how to fit these words into it, but I wanted you to know that today is a celebration. It's not just the 66th month in a row that I've run and participated in our Use Your Words monthly writing challenge, although that seems quite the feat in and of itself. Sometimes the words form the post almost on their own and sometimes they're a bit . . .  well . . .  sticky, but for 66 continuous months I've joined my blogging friends in meeting the challenge.

This post today is also the 800th Baking In A Tornado blog post. 800. Who knew I had that many words? Well, everyone I suppose since it seems I'm known for making a short story long, but still . . . 800 (semi)composed written pieces, including graphics I make myself, recipes I develop and pictures I take, edit and, despite varying degrees of success, publish. That's a lot of work just to amuse myself, now that I think of it.

And I'm not done there. Today, this exact day in history (well, my history anyway), is the anniversary of that water tank shed moment (does it count as using my word prompt if I cross half of it out? Oh wait, I forgot, I made the rules . . . so yes, it does). The day I chose a name (well, technically my son chose from my second choices since my first choice was taken) and wrote a post called Can I Blog?. It was scary back then, setting up a theme, picking a tag line, making a graphic, all the things I didn't know how to do. There are no stencils out there that worked as is for me, that I could just put up in the interwebs, and be happy with. I needed to feel that it represented me, not just the words but the look. So after doing and redoing and redoing and redoing every little detail, and after much trepidation, on June 14th, 2012, I finally pressed that "publish" button. It was done. I was out there. 

What started out as a 6 months at most venture, has suddenly turned into 7 years. Somehow I'm still here, still going. Thanks in part to all the stress in my life, and some very loyal blogging friends (I think you know who you are), I'm still here, still pressing that publish button. Over and over again. Fortunately with little trepidation at this point.

So how to celebrate? With baked goods, of course. I was going to post a recipe for a grilled dinner today but nope. Thought about a cake but decided against that too. Ended up choosing French Vanilla Glazed Baked Coffee Donuts. Not only did I recently write an entire blog post about my love of (well, need for) coffee but, well, donuts.




French Vanilla Glazed Baked Coffee Donuts



So can I blog? Turns out you don't have to be a brain surgeon, it's not even (as I may have envisioned all those years ago) as hard as landing an airplane (not that I'd know, but I had to use the word). Hell, these days you can even do it from your phone. Whatever blogging is, or isn't, it seems that I am, in fact, doing it. Whether or not I'm doing it successfully? Well, that's up to you.


Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

French Vanilla Glazed Baked Coffee Donuts       
                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (makes 15):
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 TBSP butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 - 5 TBSP French Vanilla creamer

Directions:
*Mix the instant coffee granules into the brewed coffee, stir to dissolve and set aside to cool.
*Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 15 donut pan cups.
*Whisk together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
*Separately, whisk together the milk, coffee and eggs, then the melted butter. Add to the flour mixture, just until incorporated.
*Spoon or pipe evenly into the prepared donut pan(s). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the center springs back to the touch. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing.
*Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla and as much French Vanilla creamer as is needed to get the mixture to a glaze consistency. Drizzle evenly over the warm donuts. 
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Baking in a Tornado by Karen Bakinginatornado - 1w ago
June, as a month is truly sublime,
weather is now deliciously fine,
Floral scents replace the pine,
and stars all just seem to align.

Monthly Poetry Group, in wisdom divine,
took June's best asset as a sign,
so about Longer Days we'll all opine.
Just scroll down and you'll find mine . . .




 Longer Days

June is here and daylight grows.
Longer days, I can disclose,
happily replace toes that froze
with days in flip flops (and less clothes). 

Longer days and shorter nights,
sun kissed skin and blond highlights,
grilled food thrills our appetities,
we drive not blinded by headlights.

But oh, the cottonwood, it flies,
up my nose and in my eyes.
Worth it, more time with the prize,
big yellow ball up in the skies. 

Outdoor time is just the best,
On the back deck you can't be stressed.
With early evening, I'm obsessed.
even with an occasional winged pest,

like bitey bugs and things that sting.
But later fireflies take wing,
then a happiness sure thing.
grilling on the deck with my offspring.


Grilled Orange Marmalade Chicken


Soon the days will shorten still,
completely, you know, against my will, 
For yearlong spring, I think I'd kill.
For now . . . this weather fits the bill.



Before you go, click on these links to more poetry from some of my friends: 
Dawn of Cognitive Script shares Longer Days.
Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares The Days are Long.
Diane of On the Border shares Love 'em or Hate 'em.



Grilled Orange Marmalade Chicken
                                                                          ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:
*Trim and cut each of the chicken breasts in half. Place into a resealable gallon sized bag.
*Whisk together the orange marmalade, pineapple juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. 
*Add the marinade to the bag with the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours up to overnight, turning now and then.
*Preheat your grill to medium high. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place on the grill. Lower the heat to about medium. 
*Grill chicken, turning once, for about 7 - 10 minutes per side. How long it takes will depend on the thickness of your chicken and some pieces will be done a minute or two before others. Be sure to cook your chicken through completely until there is no red and the juices run clear.

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Today’s post is the next in our series of Blog With Friends themed collaborations. Each month a group of bloggers get together and each publish a project based on a theme. What I love about his partnership is that it's not bloggers with similar interests or strengths but a diverse group coming up with a variety of posts. In any given month we may a recipe, sewing tutorial, crocheting, crafts project, book review, and/or technology post all related to the theme of the month.




This month's theme is Fireflies.

There will be individual project pictures and links to what everyone else has to offer at the end of my post, but here's a peek at what we all came up with:



I made a Cupcake Firefly Centerpiece.


Cupcake Firefly Centerpiece

I have to admit I really had a hard time with this one. And that's saying a lot. Often in interpreting these Blog With Friends themes into a recipe, my logic can be, shall we say, a bit difficult to follow. A stretch, really. Well this time, with Fireflies, I had a hard time even doing that. Fireflies? Now how am I going to cook or bake fireflies (sounds kinda cruel when I say it). So here's what I came up with, I decided to make a firefly out of cupcakes. Which, I think you'll agree, is much better than trying to make cupcakes out of fireflies, right.

This is sort of a marriage between a craft and a recipe. And you can make this pretty easily using a boxed cake mix and canned frosting, or go all out for flavor by making both from scratch. I went the doctored up box route this time, but wanted to give you an option for homemade as well. You can use my Chocolate Mint Cupcakes recipe (this recipe makes 24 cupcakes). For the frosting, you can use the mint extract or substitute vanilla, don't use the green food coloring, substituting yellow for 1/3 of the frosting and adding 1 TBSP baking cocoa powder and 1 TBSP chocolate syrup to the rest.

The cake box says that it makes 24 cupcakes, bw, but they're stingy ones so I use one box and make 18 cupcakes. You'll just have to bake them a little longer.

NOTE: along with the ingredients, you will also need 2 lollipop sticks for the antennae. 

 






Start with your ingredients, first for the cupcakes:












 







Fill the cupcake papers and bake. They need to cool completely before frosting. 




 








While they're baking, melt a couple of white chocolate chips and use them to glue the candy balls to the lollipop sticks for the antennae and the candy "eyes" to the candy melts.



 








Next is the frosting. You'll use chocolate for the face and wings and yellow for the body. 


 













Frost 6 cupcakes yellow and the rest chocolate. 



To assemble, place the yellow frosted cupcakes in a line and add 2 chocolate cupcakes at the top. Place one "eye" in the center of each of the chocolate cupcakes and stick the "antennae" into the top. Arrange 2 cupcakes on either side of the body with 3 cupcakes on the far side of them to form the wings. 








Cute dessert centerpiece for a summer party or cookout, don't you think?















As always, any time you make one of my recipes, feel free to post a picture of it to my Baking In A Tornado Facebook Page. I'd love to see it!

Be sure to visit all of this month's other Blog With Friends projects:

 

Dawn of Spatulas on Parade shared her recipe for Shrimp Summer Salad









Lydia of Cluttered Genius shares her DIY Adult Playground




 



Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments shares a project, Escaping the Ordinary





Cupcake Firefly Centerpiece
                                                                          ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

 NOTE: To make the cupcakes from scratch, use the recipe for my Chocolate Mint Cupcakes (which makes 24 cupcakes). For the frosting, use the same recipe. You can use the mint extract or substitute vanilla. Do not use the green food coloring, to 1/3 of the frosting add yellow food coloring and to the rest, add 1 TBSP baking cocoa powder and 1 TBSP chocolate syrup.

Ingredients:
1 box (15.25 oz) chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water 
1/2 cup sour cream

1 TBSP white chocolate chips, melted
2 candy coated chocolate pearls, your choice of color
2 candy melts, your choice of color
2 candy "eyes"

1 can chocolate frosting
1 can white frosting
yellow food coloring
OPT: colored sugar, candy coated pearls or other decorations for the yellow frosted cupcakes

Directions:
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 18 paper cupcake cups into cupcake pans.
*Make your cupcake batter if making from scratch. If using a box mix, beat the dry mix with the eggs, oil, water and sour cream for 2 minutes. Divide evenly into the paper cupcake cups. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch. Remove from the cupcake pans and set aside to cool completely.
*While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave. Dip the ends of the lollipop sticks into the melted chocolate and use it to attach the 2 candy pearls to the sticks to make the antennae. Dip the bottoms of the candy "eyes" into the melted white chocolate and attach them to the flat bottoms of the candy melts. Set aside.
*Make your frosting, if making from scratch and place about 1/3 of the frosting into a bowl. Mix in yellow food coloring. To the other 2/3 of the frosting, add 1 TBSP baking cocoa powder and 1 TBSP chocolate syrup. If using canned frosting, add yellow food coloring to the white frosting.
*Frost 12 cupcakes with the chocolate frosting and frost the remaining 6 cupcakes with the yellow frosting. OPT: decorate the yellow frosted cupcakes with colored sugar and/or candy coated pearls.
*Assemble: Place the yellow cupcakes in a line and add 2 chocolate cupcakes at the top. Place one "eye" in the center of each of the chocolate cupcakes and stick the "antennae" into the top. To form the wings, arrange 2 chocolate frosted cupcakes on either side of the body, 2 more to the far side of those and 1 at the end.
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Baking in a Tornado by Karen Bakinginatornado - 2w ago
Welcome a Secret Subject Swap. This month 8 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. Read through mine and at the bottom you’ll find links to all of today’s other Secret Subject participants.



My subject is: Is the glass half full or half empty? Discuss your thoughts on the subject.
It was submitted by: Jules of The Bergham Chronicles.

Half full? Half empty? Who cares, pass me the vodka and lets fill 'er up.

It's funny but I think I've talked about this subject before. But like many things, most things really, my perspective continually changes. Not the glass, that is what it is, but my view of it.

When I was young and responsibility free (well, for the most part), that glass was half full. In fact, even if it was half full, I may have seen it as completely full. "Ahhh, youth", you're thinking. But not so much. A lot of how we approach life is dictated by our innate personality. I am skeptical by nature, and I am extremely sensitive. My standpoint is skewed by thought, often overthought, and I tend keep my shield up to avoid hurt. So my view of that glass, or my naivete, if you want to call it that, was actually part youth but also part effort. I wanted to drink the kool-aid. And I did.

In the next chapter of life, when I was raising kids, that glass looked a bit different, sometimes on a daily basis. I tried to be positive, I mostly was positive, but it was frequently difficult, often damn near impossible. Add to the mix that I needed to prepare these kids for the real world, and that required, in certain circumstances, a good dose of realism if nothing else but for the sake of safety and their ability to navigate the complexity of  relationships. "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst" is a difficult tightrope to walk and I failed, btw. When PurDude went off to school hundreds of miles away, and was faced with all kinds of different people and difficult circumstances, I realized just how sheltered a life he'd led.

Nuances come with age. Well, with experience. It has to. No, you don't have to embrace cynicism, but those rose colored glasses tend to dim. I'm not talking about the inconsequential circumstances, those are easy. Because the investment in those situations are insignificant, in the scheme of things. Will my new recipe idea come out? Yes, that glass is half full, because I have little to lose if it doesn't.
 
Berry Cinnamon Refrigerator Bars

But the current state of our country, our politics, has me thinking differently. It wears on you, realism. No matter how you want to, almost desperately need to, hold seeing that glass as half full. College Boy is a conspiracy theorist. He is persuasive, makes a good case, but I don't agree with all of his stances. I say he's a pessimist. He says he's realistic. I say I'm an optimist. He says I'm unrealistic. 

Ultimately it's immaterial, how much you believe in the foundation of your political system, trust those elected to have a moral compass and do what's right not for some but for all. Sometimes that glass is just undeniably completely empty.

But then . . .

The Red Sox are playing. They're down 4 - 1 and at bat at the bottom of the 9th inning. There are 2 outs and the batter has 2 strikes. I will not turn off the TV because he could, he could, hit a home run, right? And the 3 batters after him could too . . . that glass COULD be half full . . .

And just like that, I'm back.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:





Berry Cinnamon Refrigerator Bars        
                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp strawberry extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1 box cinnamon graham crackers

12 oz strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
6 oz raspberries, rinsed and halved
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP Cinnamon Roll Vodka, can substitute water

Directions:
*Mix the strawberries, raspberries, brown sugar and vodka (or water). Set aside.
*Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and strawberry extract and beat until stiff peaks hold. Fold the mini chocolate chips into the whipped cream.
*Place 1/3 of the cinnamon graham crackers in a single layer into the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish. Break the crackers into whatever size pieces you need to cover the bottom of the dish.
*Spread 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture onto the graham crackers, followed by half of the fruit mixture, reserving the liquid from the fruit. Repeat with another layer of graham crackers, another 1/3 of the whipped cream and the remaining fruit. Top with the final layer of graham crackers and the final third of the whipped cream. Drizzle the top with the reserved liquid from the berries.
*Cover tightly and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before cutting.
 
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Baking in a Tornado by Karen Bakinginatornado - 3w ago
Raising kids is not a competition. It's a team sport, everyone knows that. 

I could continue the lie here, of course, tell you that just like not having a favorite child (that one really is true), we don't want to foster the notion that our children could have a favorite parent. But I won't lie, I want to be the favorite. {{waves hand frantically}} pick me pick me!

It's harder to achieve when you're a stay at home parent. Of course, I have more time in the day to place subliminal messages in their brains. All while they were growing up I used to say to the boys "I love you. Now that daddy guy, he doesn't like you so much, but I love you." Of course, that sort of lost it's impact once the boys started to get my sense of humor. Which {{sigh}} they did at an early age. It was, after all, a matter of self preservation.

As a stay at home mom though, I was the one who went on adventures like J. Doe hopping with them, took them to the pool in the summer, brought them to brain cell killing Pokemon movies, did crafts with them, even put them behind the wheel of a car for the first time. But I was also the one who made them eat their vegetables, clean their rooms, do their homework and set the table. Which, basically, pretty much negates all the progress I'd made and brings me right back to even footing with Hubs. Damn.

Now I do have a few other tricks up my sleeve. After all, Hubs can't boil water and I can bake. Not just for lunch dessert, dinner dessert, and snacks, but even breakfast treats. That's 4 points a day, if you're counting.


Baked Key Lime Donuts


Let me tell you a story. Happened just a few days ago. Actually, it starts many years ago. I'll give you the shortened version because I've talked about parts of it before. PurDude was 10 and College Boy was 11 when they went with Hubs to a city about 45 minutes from here and purchased a little red BMW. Initially Hubs drove it, but I ended up with it. The day, and I mean the exact day, PurDude got his driver's license he took it over and he was not giving it back. That car took him through high school, through 4 years of college and this past year as well. 

All through those years, as he held onto that little red BMW, we had cars come and go. A few years ago my car was replaced with a red BMW, mine an SUV. So when PurDude was home from school, this is how the double side of our garage looked. Mom and son, 2 red BMWs.  



But, alas, that SUV was just too big for me. I not only had trouble climbing into it, but wasn't happy trying to park it either. So Hubs took it and he and PurDude went out and found me a beautiful grey Audi SUV. I was shocked as we have a history with Audis, having tried to buy one twice before over the years and always having something happen. In fact, we fretted that we were Audi impaired, somehow sentenced to a lifetime of never owning one. But this must be the year of the Audi, or the stars must have aligned or something, because I ended up with this one and it is perfect. I absolutely love it.



Fast forward to this past weekend. It was time for the talk. PurDude's little red BMW had a long, long life, it was well loved and thoroughly enjoyed, but it was time to let go. It had almost 100,000 miles, the header was leaking so badly that he was having to replace the oil constantly, the automatic door locks don't work, the driver's window didn't go down (actually it did go down, just not back up again), a spark plug was misfiring, he'd just replaced a tire and a rim, and now the brakes were grinding. 

PurDude was on the hunt for another BMW, he knew just what he wanted, but that was proving difficult to find. He came to us last weekend and wanted his dad (yikes, dad points) to go with him to look at a car. Coincidentally it was at the same dealer where we had originally picked out his car. They went out and talked to the dealer, but ultimately he couldn't afford the car he had gone to look at. Even with me signing the BMW title over to him to use as part of his down payment, it was not only above where I thought he should be for monthly payments, but it was a little above where he wanted to be. He was disappointed. He drove the car and absolutely loved it.

I saw him on Memorial Day and he was still stuck on that car, thinking about calling the dealer at the end of the week. I came up with a way that he could bring the payments down a little, but they would still be high.

On Wednesday the dealer called Hubs. When PurDude got in touch with him on Thursday, the dealer had come down in price. The payments would be right where I wanted them to be and the financing at a great rate. The hang up was that it had to be that day or the next. They needed the car out of their inventory in time to reflect in their month's end quota.

Thursday after work, PurDude came here and picked up his dad. I wanted Hubs to go over all of the paperwork before PurDude signed. 

About 3 hours later, PurDude came home with his new car. He had traded in his red BMW for a grey Audi.



No, parenting's not a competition.

But clearly, I win!




Baked Key Lime Donuts
                                                              ©www.BakingInATornado.com



Printable Recipe


Ingredients (makes 18):
1/4 cup Key Lime juice
1 cup milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Key Lime zest
1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 1/2 TBSP Key Lime juice

Directions:
*Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 18 donut pan cups.
*Add 1/4 cup Key Lime juice to the cup of milk and set aside.
*Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lime zest.
*Whisk together the melted butter, eggs, milk and Key Lime mixture. Add to the flour mixture, just until incorporated.
*Spoon or pipe evenly into the prepared donut pans. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the center springs back to the touch. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing.
*Whisk together the powdered sugar and remaining 4 1/2 TBSP Key Lime juice. Drizzle evenly over the warm donuts.

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Baking in a Tornado by Karen Bakinginatornado - 3w ago
Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.


Here's today's picture. It was submitted by Dawn of Cognitive Script.




1.Woman (exasperated after just having left the mall, and mumbling under her breath): Bet he never walks up and down 10 aisles in a mall parking lot searching for where he left his car.

2. Well that's the height of laziness, get out and walk, you don't play paintball in your car.


3. Little boy to his mom (pointing to the multicolored car): Mom, what's that?
Mother: That's the car of someone who flunked art.

4. The next day:
Little boy to his mom (pointing out the front window): That guy only painted half of his car, what do you think he in art? A "C"?



5. Next day: 
Mom: Where are you going?
Son (heading into the garage carrying every color of indelible marker they make): I have to go practice, I want to get an "A" in art.


And now for something yummy: 


Chocolate Chunky Peanut Butter Bars

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Southern Belle Charm 
Cognitive Script 
 The Bergham Chronicles
Bookworm in the Kitchen




Chocolate Chunky Peanut Butter Bars
                                                                ©www.BakingInATornado.com


Ingredients:
14 chocolate graham crackers, crushed to crumbs
1 stick butter, melted

2 (8 oz) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter

1 can evaporated milk
box chocolate pudding mix (3.9 oz)
1 cup chopped peanut butter and chocolate candies (peanut butter clusters, peanut butter cups or butterfingers)  

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

OPT: chocolate syrup
 
Directions:
*Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan.
*Mix together the chocolate graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
*Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, evaporated milk with the chocolate pudding mix, just until incorporated. Mix in the chopped candy and set aside.
*Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and beat until firm peaks hold. Fold into the cream cheese mixture. Pour into the crust. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting. OPT: drizzle with chocolate syrup. Store in the refrigerator.

 
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Baking in a Tornado by Karen Bakinginatornado - 1M ago
There is one day a year that I am just miserable. Well, there's probably more than one, but those are individual stories for another day (or not). But there is one that I can bank on, it's Yom Kippur. It comes in the fall, at the time of the Jewish New Year, and is a very solemn holiday, a day when we pray to be included in the "book of life" for the coming year. We think, we pray, and we fast.

I bet you've decided that I'm miserable because of the fast. Nope. Actually, my family and I do quite well with it. It's the coffee. I do not do well (actually, I don't "do" at all) without coffee. I'm addicted and no intervention is going to cure me. I need it to function and yes, I know that all addicts say that but there it is, it's true. 



For many of us, there is a line to be drawn in the day, every day, between pre-coffee and post-coffee. I, most assuredly am one of those many. With that in mind, if you want to be my friend (you do, don't you), here are some things you need to know.

  Eight things that cannot happen before coffee:

~ Say "good morning" to me. If you are a morning person, you cannot be my friend. Or family. Or acquaintance, neighbor, or anything else. You are an anomaly that I have no desire to resolve. Yeah, Grumpy Cat (rest in peace) had nothing on me.

~ Ring my doorbell. Separate from my first point, this is not just because I'm grumpy, but for your own good. If you don't want to see me with my pajama top hanging off one shoulder, hair looking like I stuck my finger in a socket, one eye open and mascara gluing the other shut, frantically looking for door opening directions, just don't do it.

~ Let me try to work out a new recipe. Been there, done that with this one before, woke up with a genius recipe idea, jot it down and then later (post coffee), as I'm deleting, wonder why the hell I thought Nutella and lime juice would go well in macaroni and cheese. Well, unless you're looking for a home made version of Ipecac Syrup. And I'm not.


This recipe, btw, completely developed after a few good cups of joe:

Macaroni Dinner Salad
served with
Blueberry Lime Bread


~ Tell me bad news of any kind. I'm like a deer in the headlights, completely paralyzed, not a single idea of what to say or do, not even sure I'd heard what (it later turns out) I had, in fact, heard. Even PurDude, when he broke his leg in college (and was himself in agony), knew to wait till he was sure I'd had my coffee before calling with the news.

~ Make plans. Whether it's for that day or another, truth is, even if I do remember it later I'll think it was a dream.

~ Let me anywhere near keys. Car keys specifically, but for the safety of all, any keys really is a good general rule. 'Nuff said.

~ Allow medical commercials on TV. There should be a law dictating the time of day for these things. I mean, I turn on the TV so I can watch the news, but until I've got that first cup in me, do not even think about advertising meds with these (among other) side effects: explosive diarrhea, abnormal ejaculation, vaginal twitching, bloody discharge . . . I'd like that coffee to stay down, thank you. And believe me, so would those around me.

~ Assume I have any working brain cells. I don't. But if you wait a few minutes, I know where they are, and I'm about to them.

Hello, my name is Karen and 364 days a year I'm a coffee addict. And that other day? You'd best steer clear. 







Macaroni Dinner Salad        
                                                       ©www.BakingInATornado.com

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups macaroni noodles

3/4 cup cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup cooked ham, cubed
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 carrot, peeled into strips with a potato peeler
1 green onion, chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
2 tsp stone ground mustard
4 tsp sweet pickle relish
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:
*Cook the macaroni to al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water multiple times to stop the cooking process. Place in a large bowl in the refrigerator.
*Whisk together the mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, mustard, relish, salt, celery salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
*Once the noodles are completely cold, add the chicken, ham, eggs, carrot and green onion to the bowl and gently mix. Last, add the dressing and gently mix again.
*Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to overnight. Mix every now and then.
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