Wrap It Up, November

And that’s it for November.

Not quite as many posts as my goal, but I’ll take it.



WordPress Strangeness

Along with several other strange things about WordPress lately, I updated the WordPress app on my phone, and now it’s creating alternate universes (not actual universes that I know of but …).

It shows two duplicate listings of my blog and any other blogs I’ve signed up for such as Writing 101 or 201. So there are three listings — two impostors and one actual — of alightningbug and each of the others. The list in “My Sites” is huge. The impostor links don’t work (only give error messages when clicked), so I can’t actually use them.

I feel like I’m on Let’s Make a Deal or in this case, it’s wordier cousin, Let’s Make a Blog. Every time I try to visit my blog from the app on my phone (which is often) Monty Hall asks me which of three identical “doors” to click to find the one that works.

If I accidentally click the wrong link then the order of the links will (invisibly) change. If the third one down worked before I can keep clicking that one, and it will work. But if I choose another “door” by accident, and it’s wrong, the order of all of them will change. I’ll have to get lucky to figure out which one works again. Sheesh. I like games, but not this one.

The app is also having problems when trying to sync my drafts.

I’ve tried quitting the app completely and restarting, but it’s not fixing the problem. Maybe I need to delete the app entirely, and download an all-new copy, but I’m worried it will loose some of my settings or the blogs themselves.

Other WordPress stuff I’ve noticed is that there are blogs I’ve Followed that no longer show me as Following. I’ve actually had to re-Followed blogs that I know I already Followed in the past. Weird.

I don’t know if those blogs changed somehow causing me to be dropped as a Follower, or if it was something else. I’m pretty sure my Blog lost a Follower or two also but don’t know if people just unFollowed me or, again, if something else happened.

On top of all that, WordPress works differently from within my desktop browser. The new version is not playing nice with my browser. Some tools don’t show up. Then they do. Then they go away again. The fun never ends.

Anyway, I’m still a big fan of WordPress! But I could do without these latest problems. If anybody has any solutions, feel free to post a comment.

(This post is also for NaBloPoMo, but I’m behind. We’ll see if I can catch up before December bursts in. If you get a bunch of posts from me today and tomorrow, you’ll know why. Hope folks don’t mind. Multiple posts per day may happen from time to time, but will not be a regular thing from me, aLightningbug. I promise. Thank you!)


Fixing Pie (saving an undercooked pie)

This year’s Thanksgiving pumpkin pie came out less than ideally cooked, and we were able to save it from a runny fate by rebaking it. Here’s what happened. 

It was one of the frozen pies my mom purchased from my daughter as a fundraiser for the the school’s music department. Last year we thought these pies were actually quite yummy, so we looked forward to enjoying them again.

The instructions on the box said to bake the pie at a temperature 50 degrees lower if baking in a convection oven. So my mom thought this would be a good time to try out the convection feature of her new oven. Needless to say it resulted in an undercooked pie even though she let it bake for a few extra minutes. Those 50 degrees made a huge difference.

Perhaps it was somewhat the result of unfamiliarity with a new oven, but I don’t think convection instructions are always correct when they tell you to bake at a lower temperature. Why is this anyway? I thought a convection oven was supposed to cook quicker. That doesn’t happen when baking at a lower temperature.

Anyway, come time that any of us felt like squeezing another morse of food into our stomaches after stuffing ourselves with turkey, gravy, sweet potato casserole, and stuffing, we took our bites of pie and hesitated. Parts of the crust were doughy and the pie was runny in the center even though it had throughly cooled in the fridge.

We ate our pieces anyway because … pie. The flavor was still very good, but overall that poor little pie really needed more heat.

So we re-baked it.

We’d already cut a couple of pieces out of the pie so now there was a gaping hole left behind where those pieces had been. We needed a way to keep the filling from running into the crevasse when it got hot and even runnier as it re-liquified.

So we formed a sort of placeholder out of greased aluminum foil. A slices-of-pie shape cup was fashioned to sit where the eaten pieces had been. Then we filled that foil cup with some water to weigh it down, and keep it stable. This prevented the pie filling from oozing too much as it reheated. It also helped to stabilize the temperature.

We then popped pie in the pre-heated oven at the higher (non-convection) temperature and 35 minutes later — voila. Fixed pie.

The crust was now a lovely golden brown instead of the pale doughy impostor it had been, and the filling was now able to stand up on it’s own without wandering about the pie plate.

This process may not work with every pie. But it saved this particular doughy, undercooked excuse of (delicious) pumpkin pie goo and made it into a real, stand-up, yummy pumpkin pie.

(This post is also for NaBloPoMo.)

Adding a footnote since this is a popular topic on Thanksgiving 2018. I hope this helps save few a pies from a runny fate this turkey day. Thank you for visiting and feel free to leave feedback in the comments.

The temperature should be as high as the original temperature, at least 350 degrees. Use a thermometer to be sure. If you think your oven is running cool, but you have no thermometer you might want to crank it up to 375 or more. Check the pie regularly to make sure it’s not burning to a crisp.

If I was going to do the same again, I’d cover the edges of the crust. There were some slightly burned areas after the rebake. Make a ring of foil around just the edges. Remove it the last 10 minutes to make sure the crust is golden and flaky.

Also adding that since some pumpkin pie contains raw eggs, it’s probably not a great idea to eat the pie raw or undercooked. Heating completely through should take care of any nasties. But if the pie sat out at room temperature semi-raw for days or if there’s any evidence of a foul taste or smell, then probably best to toss it.

Also, this rebake method should work with many other pies that suffered from too little heat and ended up doughy or runny. Just be careful about burning the crust on the rebake. May not be quite as good as getting it right the first time, but better than tossing the whole pie. A rebaked pie is better than no pie.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

Earlier in the day I caught a pot-holder on fire while checking on a pie. There were flames and everything. 

It was quickly extinguished, but the the whole kitchen smelled funny for a while. The pot-holder is still good. It’s just a little stinky. The pie turned out nicely.

Right now my tummy is still stuffed full of yummy food. This Thanksgiving was our first at my mom and stepdad’s new home. It has a great kitchen for cooking, but perhaps allows too many cooks working simultaneously. That can be a minor issue, but gets trickier when none of them know quite where to find things. It all worked out, and there’s much to be thankful for.

Wishing you and yours a lovely day and weekend!

Advance Warning

Earlier this Thanksgiving Day I burped. With all the food eaten and beverages consumed today I’m thinkin’ I’m not the only one. I hadn’t even eaten our Thanksgiving meal yet. It was a soda burp.

In my case, it lead to a discussion on whether or not people have advance warning before they burp (or fart for that matter), so that they can close their mouth or even excuse themselves to another room before cutting loose.

Years ago I had this same discussion with a co-worker, and dear friend, who complained that her husband (now ex) farted right there in their living room in front of her. On the couch even!

She’d tell him that he should go to the restroom. He’d argue that he had no advance warning, and therefore had no choice but to fart wherever he was at the time. She was somewhat offended by this. Her thinking was that he was just being lazy about where he dispensed his farts, and the claim of “no advance warning” was his unbelievable excuse.

In comes me. I was a little nervous about defending my friend’s husband as she seemed pretty certain that farting in front of others was uncouth. And really, her husband was a little uncouth sometimes in general, so it wasn’t a great stretch of the imagination to take his actions that way.

But no matter his other social manners I had to defend him because I hated to see him being unfairly accused. I wouldn’t want to be unfairly accused either. I too get very little advance warning that I might burp or “break wind” (if we want to be a little more polite here). So I told her that I rarely know ahead of time.

It was a surprise to her that anybody else would make this claim. While to me it was a surprise that other people get advance warning most of the time like my friend apparently did. It’s like some kind of magical fart-burp-ESP. Not me.

I almost never get a building of pressure to give me warning. Just, “frrrrp!” I’m sorry! I might shift my weight. Stand up. Sit down. And frrrrpppp! 

Today’s burp was the same, I was breathing in, breathing out, just like all the other times I breath, everyday, day after day.

Today, instead of the normal exhale that comes 99.9999% of the time, out came, “BRRRRURPPP!” I said “excuse me.” And, because I have the sense of humor of a five-year-old, I laughed.

I think I tend to laugh louder when I have zero warning. It surprises me. It feels like aliens have momentarily taken control of my body causing the burp. It tickles a little as it comes out. Then the aliens leave, and I once again have control of my body. Except for the laughter. (I can’t always control that either.)

I’m pretty sure the giggling kind of nullifies the “excuse me.” And it doesn’t help my argument that I had no advance warning. But I didn’t. Really!

My only advance warning was that I drank soda pop earlier, and that I was breathing. I didn’t feel it ahead of time at all (and don’t most of the time). And for those rare times I do feel it ahead of time, I try to be polite, but I don’t feel like I have time to go to another room. 

I briefly might know I’m going to burp. Then I burp. The End.

I’m probably not a very good role model for my daughter in this way. But I do believe her when she claims she didn’t know it was coming (except after the third time in a row I get suspicious).

Happy Thanksgiving Folks!

(This post was also for NaBloPoMo.)

Tea for Tuesday – Tazo Apricot Vanilla Creme

On this fine Tuesday before Thanksgiving I’m reviewing Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla Creme flavored white tea.

I chose Apricot Vanilla Creme because I recently reviewed Teavana’s 2015 Limited Edition seasonal tea called Joy which is also an apricot-flavored tea. Let’s compare. (Tazo teas were also on sale here, so there’s that too.)

I taste a gentle apricot flavor along with some vanilla and then classic subtle white tea once it steeps for a few minutes. White tea can taste a bit grassy and bitter if steeped for too long. This got only slightly bitter. 

Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla Creme is much more delicate, in both flavor and color, than Teavana’s Joy apricot-flavored tea. Since Joy also contains black, oolong, and jasmine green teas, it has a lot more punch in several areas — tea strength, caffeine, color, and floral notes. The apricot flavor is more pronounced in Joy too (at least the first time you steep the leaves). Sweetener will help bring out the fruitiness in both.

While I can brew at least two good cups of Travana’s Joy, Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla seems good for only one nice cup. That is not a bad thing if you don’t want to leave soggy tea bags sitting around. Your family might thank you. Or if you brew tea at work, you might find Tazo fits the bill nicely.

Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla Creme lists only white tea and natural flavors on the ingredient list. It gives no specifics on what “natural flavors” are used which seems to be the norm for flavored teas.

I was able to purchase a box of 20 bags of Tazo Apricot Vanilla Creme for about $3.49. Teavana’s Joy costs about $9.95 for 12 sachets. You can also purchase Joy as a loose-leaf tea or have it brewed by the cup at Teavana or Starbucks (as they serve a limited number of Teavana teas). Depending on how you use the tea, that price difference could be huge. Brewing more than one cup from each Joy sachet definitely helps, but it’s still more expensive. (It looks like Teavana is starting a Black Friday sale, so you may be able too get Joy 2015 for less. I’ll have to explore that some.)

Drinking Tazo’s Apricot Vanilla Creme is a much more relaxing experience than drinking Joy 2015. The all-white tea means lots of antioxidants and very little caffeine. I could drink this any time of day (though it’s not much of a wake-me-up tea). The soft vanilla offers a soothing familiar creaminess that makes for a nice overall experience with balanced fruity taste.


(This post is also for NaBloPoMo. It’s my 20th post for that.)

In Other News – Three Things

Two Three things of note happened:

That’s right. It’s an empty washer and dryer at the same time!

I didn’t even realize until I opened the washer to put clothes in the dryer, and it was empty. This is a rare thing.

Also, I finally painted my fingernails (which I’ve been wanting to do since July). I know that seems trivial. But I thought it worth mentioning since, well yeah.

I also reached 100 Followers here on WordPress which is even cooler than the washer and dryer being empty at the same time. (Empty didn’t last long anyway.) More

Friends in Paper Form

I spent a portion of today going through items that we set aside to donate. Things we need to get out of this little place we call home.

We’d set these aside awhile ago, each of us contributing to a group of containers near the door.

My daughter set aside an entire box of books. I knew they were there.

Clifford’s inside. Dinosaurs that say good night. Magic Tree Houses. Lonely Fireflies. Kittens. Betty Lou Blue and her flappety shoes. School Buses. The Matzo Ball Boy (akin to the gingerbread kind). And Dilly the Duckling who lost his feather so many times. More

The Cats and the Cucumber

If you’ve seen this video you might be tempted to scare your cat with a cucumber. I was. I was tempted.

There are several articles out now about how scaring your cat with a cucumber can be traumatic (such as this one). Some cats are fragile. The scare may cause him or her have a permanent fear of cucumbers.

Seems to me like those cats were already afraid of cucumbers. The only way to overcome the fear is to expose a cat to more cucumbers, right? I mean, it not like he’s going to get over the fear through therapy and cucumber photos. Right?

Well, before I read the advice from vets, I tried it. More

The Secret to All Things Yum (Stuffing Edition)

I’m starting to think that the secret to all things yum is caramelized onions.

Well, caramelized onions for savory, cooked food. It would probably be the wrong kind of secret ingredient for cherry pie. Or Jell-o. And probably a little weird for peanut butter & jelly. But spicy peanut sauce may be another story …

For cooked and savory — if you have time to properly caramelize onions it will make practically everything taste better.

It’s like adding pure yum extract. More

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