Wild Game, Anyone?

Did you say EMU?

Yes, it’s that time of year again when my church holds it’s Wild Game Dinner. I worked both nights doing anything they needed from washing dishes, pouring and serving up 68 cups of salad dressings, cutting  pies and putting Cool Whip on all the chocolate and pumpkin ones and then putting myself out of commission later when I cut my finger while reaching into a sink full of soapy water.  You know me – I like to be helpful when I can, so that slowed me down a bit.

The foods were definitely ‘wild’, anything from Emu meatloaf, venison Sweet & Sour   Meatballs, Duck Bow Tie Pasta, Bear Jambalaya, Buffalo Roast carved as you like it (looked pretty yucky to me, not counting the smell!), lots of Roast of Venison in gravy, Pheasant Pasties and probably more varieties of things; since I wasn’t in the food serving line this year I really didn’t memorize it all.  Last night  I had a venison meatball, a small slice of emu meatloaf and a roll; tonight was a different story! Tried a little duck bow tie pasta, the emu meatloaf, green beans, baby red potatoes and a roll; it was all good! The majority of the ‘exotic’ meats came from a caterer but some of it was donated by hunters from our church. I must say, I never thought I’d ever get to not want pie, but after cutting & serving tons of it, I had a small slice of chocolate pie and that was ‘it’. We even had pie left over tonight! All I can say is – it was a good two-nights work; I’m sufficiently exhausted and feel like I ‘earned my keep’!

Also managed to work on getting the special needs newsletter printed and out on time for the mail. Forty seven four-sheet copies done and mailed out; now I’m good for another two months when it’s time to do it all over again!

Since I’m chatting on and on about food, guess I’d better leave you with at least ONE recipe, right?


Gooey Chocolate Cookies

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 C. butter, softened

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 (18 1/4 oz.) box chocolate cake mix


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light

and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. Add cake mix

and mix well; dough will be sticky. Cover and

refrigerate for 2 hours. Roll rounded tablespoonfuls

of dough into balls. Place 2 inches apart on

ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until

tops are cracked. Cool for 2 minutes before

removing from pans to wire racks.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen


Now that I’ve had a few minutes to rest (while typing this post) I’m going to go take a nice, relaxing shower and get into my comfy jammies. Just discovered a new (to me) author while at the library the other day. I’d kind of run out of ‘good’ mystery writers to read and was just wandering up and down the mystery aisles when I spotted the title and was intrigued, so I checked it out – I REALLY like his writing style -keeps you on the edge of your seat with twists and turns.

“The Machiavelli Covenant” by Allan Folsom (2006)

Enjoy your day/night/whatever!


(a very tired) Pammie

Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 8:36 pm  Comments (2)  
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What a Day!

This was one of ‘those’ days – you know the kind: one thing sort of rolls into another until you’re riding an avalanche at break-neck speed trying to hold onto the last shred of sanity… THOSE days! Guess I should start with last night, oh say – around 1:50 a.m. when I was ‘almost’ asleep and praying middle son would come home safely. He had gone out on a date with a new young lady who lives a good 1  1/2 HOURS away.  Earlier that evening I had been out driving, myself, and it had gotten quite foggy and slippery, so the Mom in me just couldn’t quite get to sleep knowing this son was still out there in his nice ‘little’ car.  Got almost to sleep and the phone rang with said son asking for directions home; it seems he went South instead of North on a particular expressway exit and ended up in Greektown in DETROIT!  (That’s a good hour away from here). I woke up his Dad, who gave him directions and went back to sleep. I’ll shorten this by saying there were 2 more phone calls before said son was finally home safe & sound . (I say all that to let you know I didn’t get much sleep last night!).

Today was one of the ‘constantly driving somewhere’ days – bank, gas station, library, drop off a paper to husband’s doctors office, pick up youngest son from school and drive him to orthodontists, then back to school. FINALLY – I’m home to relax. If you know me, that doesn’t usually fit into my vocabulary after such a rushed day. You’re right – I began laying out the next newsletter for my special needs group. A good 2 1/2 hours later it was almost ready to print and it was time to drive again! We were ‘supposed’ to get 1 inch of snow this morning but obviously the weather didn’t get that memo – no snow during the day. It waited until I was ready to leave, then started coming down in big, fluffy flakes which rapidly made the roads very slippery. Dropped off youngest son to his church, picked up the two special needs fellows I drive, and proceeded on my way to my group. Got going for maybe 10 minutes before a large pickup truck two cars ahead spun out while going through town! Good thing I was driving really slowly and cautiously. From that point on, I don’t think I exceeded 30 MPH the whole 1/2 hour drive! Saw several police cars and cars at the sides of the road on the way, but we got there safely.  (I’ll try to summarize the night: Special needs adults (about 31) and church’s grade school group both combined to make a bookmark craft; our group’s Music night (lots of singing); then the Birthday part – a huge Cosco sheet cake cut into many pieces and distributed, then clean up and time to go home (Oh, and lots of belated Valentines passed out, also). Home ride wasn’t as bad, not so slippery – got my two fellows home safely and went to pull into my driveway. If you remember, I’ve mentioned my driveway is short in length but rather steep – if there’s snow, it can be a bugger! In the turn lane in front of me is middle son in his cute little ‘small’ car. He guns it and pulls forward; I gun it and shoot into my regular parking space. Get in the house and think it’s odd that son isn’t in the house yet…look out – his car is stuck on the turnaround ‘hill’, buried up to the undercarriage in snow – wheels spinning and going nowhere!  (Here’s where it’s good to thank the Lord!). Husband, youngest son, myself AND middle son all home at the same time – what’s the odds of that!? We all managed, with much shoveling and shoving, some kitty litter and an old blanket-finally got the car down the hill, out onto the road and able to drive back in and parked.  “HOT COCOA FOR EVERYONE” I was heard to shout! Yep, WHAT a DAY!!!

I’m home, I’m safe and fairly exhausted…but SAFE!!! Praise the Lord!



Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 11:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

And it’s STILL coming down!

My comment to a friend while leaving church last night was: “It’s so nice to see the snow almost all gone!” Well, today I EAT my words! Today we’re having a Winter Storm Warning –  (read that ‘tons of snow coming’). I got up this morning to a good 4 inches on the ground. You couldn’t even see the tracks my husband left when he departed for work an hour earlier! Youngest son went to the bus stop (while I was sleeping) and returned home; a nice lady drove by him and said the schools were all closed! Middle son got a call from his manager telling him to stay home – there’s no work! THAT is amazing – in the three years he’s worked there I’ve never seen them do that, so you KNOW it’s bad! I just looked out the window and am guessing there’s a good 5 inches on the ground. My latest email weather update says 5-8 inches by 4 p.m.; only emergency travel being allowed at this point. Now you KNOW it’s got to be bad when they say that! (I’m wondering how my husband is doing at work – he had an outside job today for Detroit Edison; that usually means being on top of a telephone pole somewhere!) I had my mammogram scheduled for this morning but called and told the nice young man who answered Central Scheduling  that I wasn’t as brave as he was and wasn’t planning on driving in this snow (appointment re-scheduled for 2 weeks – let’s hope the snow is all gone then!).

After getting the notice of ‘your boys are going to be home ALL day’, I began thinking of things I could be doing to keep my mind off the idea that they don’t usually get along together well, especially if it’s an all-day thing.  Got the sink and dishes all done (dishwasher is taking care of the rest). Next it’s washing clothes and cleaning the cat box. Already got the garbage collected and ready to go; I guess a ‘snow day’ isn’t as bad as it seems – I get lots of housework done! Dinner is going to be beef stroganov (my recipe) and some sort of vegetable. I ‘might’ even feel the need to bake, just to have an extra ‘something’ in the house to ‘sweeten’ the fact that we’re snow-bound for awhile.

This coming Friday and Saturday our church is hosting it’s annual “Wild Game Dinner.”  I’ve worked it the past 2 years and it’s a fun night; this year we’re expanding to two nights and word was that we’re having something like 150 people Friday and almost 200 Saturday! The meats are catered from an outside establishment and I can verify that their venison pasties are really yummy! I haven’t had venison much since I was a young child; my father was a butcher so when hunting season came up we usually had at least 3-4 deer hanging upside down in our basement awaiting their being cut up and packaged. I got very used to venison in many forms, plus the occasional rabbit, pheasant, duck, goose, etc. You could always tell when that season had arrived from the rather nasty smells emanating from the basement – pots of boiling water on an old gas stove filled with several varieties of fowl (to remove the feathers). Let me tell ya – ya ain’t lived until you’ve smelled boiling feathers! YUCK!!! It’s also been a good 40 years since I’ve had pheasant. We used to have them in the back fields; my dad would get out his gun and shoot them from our kitchen window! (sounds like I lived in the great outdoors/wilderness, right? Nope, we lived almost in town! (Of course, we’re talking the 1950’s, when things were a little less stringent on gun laws and shooting creatures!). Anyway, my job at the Wild Game Dinner is in the food serving line and I love it! You get to meet lots of new people AND serve them foods they are eager to try! The catering company that prepares these wild game foods does an excellent job and there’s plenty of variety (if you’re into that sort of thing. I’ll write about the various offerings later). It’s an exciting evening when we have that many people come to our church and enjoy the company of the people and the wonderful foods; I’m excited to get to be a part of it all!

That’s the current ‘stuff’ going on around here (and the white stuff is STILL falling)…sigh. Stay inside, warm and dry; try to find something you really enjoy, be it reading, doing a craft, watching a good tv show or movie, or just sipping a favorite beverage. (on a side note, our local cable company had three great movies on Saturday; I’m not a TV/movie watcher, normally, but got to enjoy “Braveheart” (love Mel Gibson! and OF COURSE, he’s SCOTS!!!), “The Patriot” (another Mel Gibson movie) and “The Queen” (with Helen Miren, who plays Queen Elizabeth, the current reigning monarch of England, during the time of Princess Diana’s death…very good and touching movie). That was more movies than I usually would watch in a YEAR!

Have a GREAT day!!!



Final count on the snowfall: almost 6 inches! (And our local paper is calling for another small storm Wednesday, total of around an inch more snow.)

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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Zoom-Zoom? NO!

(mine’s silver)

One of the interesting things about renting a car is that you get to try out vehicles you wouldn’t normally drive (or purchase). Today was a learning experience in a new Mazda 3 rental car (no owners manual to tell me the actual “name” of this particular vehicle, just the little metal plate on the side that says Mazda3). You know the ads – “Zoom-Zoom” ? Well, they aren’t wrong on that part, this little baby has PLENTY of pick up (almost TOO much!). It’s very small (ground hugging) seats 4, (we’re talking our ‘BASIC’ car here, no frills so to speak). I haven’t had time to see if it’s good on gas mileage or not, only drove it to the doctors and home. Why the “No” vote from me? For one, it took me a good LONG time to finally locate how to adjust the steering wheel so that if, in an accident the air bag should deploy, I wouldn’t end up with it straight in my face. (Their little ‘handle-thingie’ is located UNDER the steering wheel, sort of tucked up into the steering column – who would think to look there?) I feel like I’m driving 4 wheels and a go cart, it’s so close to the ground and ‘basic’. I’m wondering just who came up with the idea to make their console gear shift designfor a AUTOMATIC  look like a manual trans shifter (it’s in the pattern you would use to shift a manual). Normally if you have a car with a shifter between the front two seats, it’s just a ‘forward/backwards’ shift motion from drive to reverse, etc.  No . . . Mazda had to be ‘Fancy!” This little puppy requires you having to LOOK every time you shift because, if you don’t, you could ram the shifter into the stupid cut out pattern/design! Yup; want to go in reverse? Gotta move the lever over to the right, then down, then down a little more. (You should have seen me after pulling out of the rental parking lot – thought I was in “Drive”… turns out I was in “M” (guess that’s something like Second?)  The engine was revving BIG TIME but wasn’t going very fast! Go FIGURE!!! I looked down and went “M???” WHAT IS “M“????? Quickly pulled into the middle turn lane and got a good look at the shifter then corrected to “D” for DRIVE! sigh…..) Who comes up with these goofy ideas??? “Let’s see…we’ll make this BASIC car look more sporty by making the gear shift ‘feel’ like you’re driving a manual transmission! That’s just plain NUTS! Mazda, you can KEEP your goofy little #3 car! (I should also add here that because of time constraints, I didn’t pick out this car, the rental agent did and drove it to me. She is absolutely great at her job and I ask for her by name every time, it’s just that ‘this time’ I’m guessing this was all that was available in my price range at such short notice.)

On a good note, went to the gynecologist today and discovered that it had been almost FIVE years since I’d been there, not the 2 that I thought it was. In that almost five years I’ve only gained 4 lbs., so that’s good. The check up seems to have gone very well (will get Pap results later). I’m VERY relieved. Even with thinking it had been 2+ years, I began to worry a little. Yes, I agree it’s STUPID to let something as important as a yearly Pap test/gyn. check up go. I would be devastated if something had been discovered, like cancer. The same goes for the Mammogram (scheduled for that one this coming Monday). It’s only been a year for that and I’m not really worried, but you never know.  I’m feeling very relieved that, so far, the doctor’s visits/check-ups are coming back with positive results…Praise the Lord!

Like the gynecologist said: “We’re all getting older; wouldn’t you rather spend that time healthy?” I couldn’t agree more.

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday (for those of you non-Catholics…I’m an ex-Catholic) that means Paczki day! (Pronounced Poonch-key – a Polish extra fat-filled doughnut) Several people at Knit Night mentioned partaking of those very heavily calorie-laden delights which made me realize that, once again, I’d forgotten about that day. Got home later only to discover a plate of four custard-filled Paczkis on the counter! I asked my husband if HE bought them; no…turns out our neighbor brought over about 6 of them! Surprise! Of course I had to refresh my memory on the tastes & delights of eating one; afterward I kind of thought it wasn’t really worth it: semi-sweet; very dense dough, little custard — should have just said “No”, but then we all learn something new every day, eh? (There’s one more sitting on the counter today attempting to call my name…I told it to go jump in the lake, I’m not interested!)

That’s what’s ‘shakin’ around here today, hope you have a great day. It’s clear out, no snow, and in the mid 30’s so that makes for good walking/driving . . . I’m happy. Enjoy YOUR day!



Tuesday Musings…

So far our weather has been ‘good for walking/driving’; a little cold (29 degrees F. average during the day) but no new snow, so you KNOW I’m happy! (Amendment to that above statement, wrote this entry last night: today it’s snowing big, fluffy flakes which seem to be sticking…sure hope this stops SOON!)

It’s been a slow weekend (for a change), one new added ‘problem’ – took my husband’s van in Friday because it kept shifting from third gear down into first  while he was driving! They looked it over (this is the same place that has worked on it before) and replaced the solonoid assembly (???). We picked it up Saturday and it was supposed to be ‘good to go’; husband called me from work today and said it did it again on the way in to work. When he drove home from work, it worked just fine! Go figure! He’s determined that we take it back tomorrow, so that will put a little stifle in my running, but that’s OK. Got the grocery shopping done today, so except for Knit Night tonight night, I’m Ok with staying home.  Oh…the other thing – since they’ve done work on this van and it’s transmission before, it was ‘no charge’ Saturday! Sure hope that continues when we take it back…sigh.

Dinner last night was an easy, comfort-food dinner: baked chicken, white rice with butter and a tossed salad. The chicken recipe came from my sister-in-law years ago and we like it.

Sour Cream Baked Chicken

4 legs & thighs, cleaned and patted dry

1  1/2 – 2 C. sour cream

1 packet dry onion soup mix

dash of garlic powder (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking pan (bigger than 9 X 13 by a little) with non-stick cooking spray. Clean chicken of any excess fat or skin, separate legs & thighs and place them in a layer in the bottom of the baking pan.  In a medium bowl combine sour cream, dry onion soup mix and garlic powder; mix well and spread over top of chicken pieces. Bake 1 hour. Serves 4.


(I don’t have the original recipe in front of me so I kind of made up the title, but it says what it is!) When I originally made this recipe, I believe she might have said ‘cover with foil and bake’. When you do that, it turns the sour cream mixture ‘soupy’ in my opinion – I’d rather have it more like a topping than a soupy sauce, but you choose. The ‘soupy/sauce’ method makes a good gravy over mashed potatoes!


Another of my ‘think I feel like experimenting’ projects was tackling this Mock Cable knit baby hat. Read the directions and they seemed simple enough – they are; the problem lies with me; I like something simple and QUICK to knit! This is NOT quick, in my humble opinion. The pattern IS easy (knit, purl, yarn overs) but it’s constantly following a 4 row pattern, which I tend to get bored with and then my mind wanders . . .there’s the trouble! Let’s see – it starts with Purl 2, now is that Row 2 or Row 4? Of course, if you’re like me, you just take a wild guess and plow into whichever row you ‘think’ it might be, then find out later that it was the “other” row! Tear it out, start over. (Yes, I have a stitch/row counter but do you think I ALWAYS remember to move it up one each time I complete a row? Not when I get distracted!) Oh well, it made a nice baby hat, but don’t think I’m going to repeat this one any time soon (especially when looming one goes so much faster!)

Saturday was my special needs group Basketball Game and it was another great evening; of course my group won (it’s kind of the way that particular game goes…we can have some of the longest last quarter games in history…keep shooting until my group scores the last point). (I should insert here that the opposite team is made up of volunteers from the Christian high school we play at; they are not special needs ‘kids’. Some of their players are adult volunteers, also.) There were some great moments like when the other team members lifted one of our kids up to make a basket…that’s the player AND his wheelchair! Or the time when one of our more severely handicapped kids got passed the ball. He doesn’t have a lot of upper body coordination so his caregiver gently tipped the ball up when he threw it, making the basket for him. In this game, even members of the opposite team get into the action of tipping the ball in for our kids! It’s a great evening, full of many laughs, smiles and all-around great fun!

That’s what’s happening around here these days. Hope you’re remembering to take a little time to  smile! (I hear it helps get rid of wrinkles…I wouldn’t know – I have a ton of Smile Wrinkles!)



Finally Got Out!

After the last few days of snow, I managed to venture outside and go to my (every 3 month) doctor’s visit. My husband and youngest son had cleared off the bottom of the driveway yesterday so getting out wasn’t the horrible thing I was imagining. Yesterday was a ‘snow day’ for schools here (I’d say we probably got around 5 1/2 inches); the snow was light & fluffy which made shoveling much easier.

Today was the first of the three ‘necessary’ doctor visits; it was a breeze-I’m doing great (I thought so). Since it was a fasting visit, I treated myself to a Burger King Whopper Junior and a large Tim Horton’s coffee when I got home (Hey, a girl’s gotta eat!). Yesterday was supposed to be the gynecologist, but I called in to cancel due to snow. The receptionist was very nice when I said: “Hello, I’m one of probably many cancellations for today”; she said Yes. When we’d finished with the re-scheduling details she followed up with: “Now go have a nice cup of coffee and a piece of toast, then go back to bed; don’t forget to think of us poor souls who HAVE TO WORK!” We both had a chuckle.

Tonight is the baby shower for the much-worked-on baby blanket featured in another post. I’m looking forward to going; haven’t been to a baby shower in probably a few years, so I’m due. Hoping that the road to our church is decent to drive on (it’s a rural dirt road with lots of pot holes – usually).

The weather here is actually nice! It’s very sunny right now (which did a great help in melting the tons of snow on my car), about 21 degrees F, with the main roads being nice and clear. Ended up being behind a county snow plow (those really BIG ones!) while going to Burger King. He had his scraper down on the ground; personally, I didn’t see that it did any good – the road was already clear! Oh well, guess ya gotta look like you’re doing something when you drive one of those).

Here’s a great way to prepare a whole chicken in your crockpot; it’s easy and the meat comes out falling off the bones. It tastes like the roasted chickens you get in the grocery store. (the aluminum balls keep the meat out of the juices, so it’s also heart-healthy!)


Slow Cooker “Baked” Chicken

1 (2-3 lb.) whole chicken

1 tsp. paprika

salt & pepper to taste


Wad up three pieces of aluminum foil

into 3-4 inch balls and place in

bottom of crockpot. Rinse and

pat dry chicken, then season with

salt, pepper and paprika. Place in slow

cooker on top of the balls. Set for HIGH for

1 hour, then turn down to LOW for 4-5

hours, or until chicken is no longer

pink and juices run clear.

(MY tip: be careful when removing

chicken from crockpot as this

method tends to make the chicken

fall apart very easily.


That’s what’s going on around here lately; hope you are able to enjoy your weather and day. Remember to do something YOU enjoy, even if only for a little while . . . it helps keep you happy and healthy!



ps: Almost done with afghan #230! (Hey, it’s cold outside – that gives me incentive to get my fingers moving and getting afghans DONE!)

Tuesday Ponderings . . .

Today is the beginning of the ‘expected’ big snowfall: 5-8 inches from Tues. morning to Wednesday afternoon, with high winds which could cause drifting to 10 inches – oh, joy.  Hey, we’re in Michigan – land of the WINTER WONDERLAND (or at least that’s what they USED to call it). It’s now almost noon and there’s a powdered-sugar dusting of snow falling; not too fast but it IS sticking to my car. (had to brush it off twice while I was ‘out’).

Speaking of being “out”, I learned something NEW today! (Maybe not new to you, but I’m slow to ‘get on the bandwagon’ when it comes to doing things in a more ‘modern’ fashion.) I went for an appointment with our local banker who showed me how easy it is to pay all my bills ON LINE! For as long as I’ve been paying bills (that would be from around 1966 upwards), I’ve always felt most comfortable paying them by check. It is only because the costs of ordering checks, added to the costs involved in buying stamps and driving to the Post Office to mail them that I decided it was time for a change.  The very kind and patient banker I dealt with said that he was just the same as me – very possessive when it comes to doing bills – all by checks until lately. (Perhaps he was just trying to make me feel comfortable, but it didn’t seem that way.) As I’ve said, I’m slow to ‘update’ to more  modern methods of doing things – I also set up my bank card to be a credit payment with rewards; before this I only did “debit” (no rewards). We’ll see how this all plays out in the future, but for now I’m feeling kind of happy that I’m learning new things!

Knowing that this big snowstorm is supposed to come today, I re-checked our household grocery supplies. We’re doing fine in the food department but one thing was lacking that ‘could’ make being house-bound/snow-bound rather difficult. . . toilet paper! That bastion of decency, the lowly toilet paper – needed by millions and, without it, greatly missed. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home – we are now ‘good to go’ (sorry for the pun!).

At the store I kept noticing two items: corn muffin mix and canned chili with beans. This brought to mind a tasty, filling/hearty casserole which I plan on making very soon:


Stove Top Tamale Pie 

1 pound ground beef
1  packet Taco Seasoning
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can  (14 ounces)  kidney beans, undrained
3/4 cup water
1 box (8 ounces)  corn muffin mix
1/4 cup green onion
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

 Brown ground beef; drain grease. Stir in taco
seasoning mix,tomato sauce, beans and water;
bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer.
Meanwhile, prepare corn muffin mix according to box
directions. Drop small spoonfuls of muffin batter
over meat; cover and cook on Low 15-17 minutes
or until corn bread is done. Top with cheese
and green onion; cover and cook over low heat
until cheese melts.
Note:  This is not the exact recipe I was looking
for; if I recall, the original was made with
canned chili with beans and baked in a casserole
dish. Nonetheless, this one came close;I think
I might add a bit more spices to it,perhaps cumin,
a little chili powder and lots of garlic powder.
That's what's going on around here, am 3/4ths
done with afghan #229 and if it keeps snowing
looks like I might be doing a LOT
of afghan work in the near future.

OH! One more 'recipe' for you, just in case
you find yourself wondering what to cook for

Crockpot Water Buffalo


1 Medium Water Buffalo
1 Large Rock

Place Water Buffalo and Rock in large
crock-pot. Cook on high until rock melts.
Meat will be done.


Have a great day! Remember to smile a little,

keep warm & cozy and treat yourself to something

you like: a good book,a cup of hot tea/cocoa/coffee,

a good movie,some nice music,something sweet

(cookie, M & M's, cappuccino?.


(for some weird reason, WordPress wants

to be goofy today on the sentence spacing-

hope this comes out ledgible!)

When it’s cold . . .

we cook! I love my crockpot and lately am adding more recipes to my collection. They are such amazing creations, these crockpots; you can throw the ingredients in and then not bother with it again for 4-6 HOURS! When you DO go back – VOILA! Dinner is ready! In the past I’ve shared my favorite recipe for Triple Chocolate Mess, a wickedly good concoction that is almost heart-stoppingly wicked. You can see in the above photo, my dear grandson deep into perfecting his burger-flipping (Love the sucked in cheeks!). I figured that since his dad and brothers used to love to play cooking, he would too (especially since his dad is the Executive Chef). Grandson’s claim to fame in the “kid-concoction/recipes” is ‘hangaburgers’ and ‘chocolate spaghetti’ (“You add chocolate milk to the spaghetti, Gramma…it’s really good that way!”) O….K…., think I’ll pass on that one (wink).

Our weather report is telling us to be ready for 4-6 inches of the white stuff, starting tomorrow through Wednesday . . . oh, goodie. Knowing that this week is (hopefully) going to be very busy with doctor visits, appointments, knit group, my special needs group, a baby shower, an orthodontist appointment and our special needs group’s annual basketball game, I’m REALLY hoping that the weather predictions are not as severe as they’re telling us (but who am I to doubt the weather people?).

Since it’s winter AND cold out, here are a few good-sounding recipes for your crockpots: (these were donated by Sandy at Mary’s Recipe Exchange):

Zippy Beef Tips (crockpot)

2 lbs stewing beef
2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 can 7-up (or other lemon lime carbonated drink)

Place meat and mushrooms in slow cooker.  Combine mushroom soup, soup mix, and soda, pour over meat.  Cover, cook on low for 8 hours.
Serve with rice or noodles


Tamale Pie (crockpot)

3/4 cup Cornmeal
1 1/2 cups Milk
1 Egg, beaten
1 pound Ground beef, browned and drained
1 Envelope dry chili seasoning mix
1 16 oz Can diced tomatoes
1 16 oz Can corn (or 16 oz frozen corn)
1 cup Grated cheddar cheese
Combine cornmeal, milk, and egg.  Stir in meat, chili seasoning mix, tomatoes and corn until well blended. Pour into slow cooker.  Cover. Cook in slow cooker on High 1 hour and then on Low 3 hours.  Sprinkle with cheese. Cook another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.


Crockpot Smothered Steak Strips

2 lb. chuck roast, cut into 1″ strips
2 oz. flour
1/2 tsp. each salt, pepper
1 large onion
2 large green peppers, julienned

1/2 cup each (4 oz.) catsup, water, canned mushrooms
1 cup (8 oz.) barbecue sauce
1 tbsp. each molasses, soy sauce
2 tbsp. brown sugar

Place steak strips, flour, salt and pepper in slow cooker. Stir well to coat steak. Slice onions and peppers very thin. Add rest of ingredients. Cover, cook on High for 1 hour, Low for 8 hours.


Creamy Chicken and Peas Pasta Dinner

4 or 5 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 (16 oz.) jar of alfredo sauce
1 lb. of frozen peas (thawed)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6-8 cups cooked pasta (buttered)

Cut chicken into strips in place in greased crockpot.  Combine alfredo sauce, peas and cheese; mix well.  Spoon mixture over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Serve over noodles.


Those ought to warm your tummies!

Try to stay inside and warm, hopefully snuggled up with a nice warm blankie, something tasty to drink (maybe even a cookie thrown in for good measure!).

Enjoy your day!



Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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By the Numbers . . .

Today is Saturday; it’s 12:36 p.m. and I feel like I’ve already accomplished a great deal. My husband is considering retirement and we just returned from a visit with our local banker to start setting up our finances for the future. It was a pleasant experience and we both felt confident that this will be a good thing. As the banker told us, it’s a good thing we are doing this now, as there are lots of people our age who have just coasted by, spending and spending and never looking to that day when the monies are not rolling in. Then they are faced with bills they can’t pay and money that isn’t there, to cover the monthly expenses.  As I said, it was an interesting time spent as we learn the ‘Ins & Outs’ of retirement investing and saving.

I’m also happy at this moment because I’m sitting here sipping my very favorite beverage: Tim Horton’s coffee AND partaking of an absolutely excellent slice of my very favorite pizza from Shield’s in Southfield (MI). Last night my dear husband treated the family to dinner from Shields: a large deep dish “Meat Lovers” pizza (for the guys) and a large deep dish “Veggie” pizza (mostly for me), plus a large Greek salad! I can easily see where we will have to ‘factor in’ an occasional trip to Shields in the retirement budget and, of course, those trips to “Tim Horton’s” for coffee! (I’ve taught my husband to love Tim’s, now he’s a bigger fan than I am!)

Today is one of those “Face it…you’ve stalled long enough!” days. I absolutely HAVE to take the time to count and photograph the three large bags of donated knit squares I received last week. I’ve put it off long enough! (I have a cartoon on my cupboard that says: “Do it tomorrow-you’ve already screwed up enough today!”) I’m guessing there are, easily, over 100 squares (think I blogged on that last week). It’s not that I’m not grateful, I AM! It’s just the effort taken in getting them all out of the bags, arranging them in piles on my dining room table, then standing on a chair to photograph them, then spending the time to count them and enter them on my “Ghana Project” blog. Yes, I know . . . I don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s my way of acknowledging the donors who have spent the time to make them. (I also thank them, either in person or by note).

Today is also “Crochet the border on the baby afghan” day. Finally located the peach colored yarn I wanted to use (I’d buried it in a large container of pink yarns). Now that I look at it, I’m double-thinking using that particular shade and might change to a more subtle shade of peach. (Don’t know why, but I seem to have LOTS of peach colored yarns!). On the afghan project subject, am now working on #229.

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl; no, I probably won’t be watching (even the commercials). After the Janet Jackson fiasco, I have NO interest in any of that. Middle son is working today at Gordon Foods; we swung into their parking lot on our travels today, in hopes of grabbing some chips. The parking lot was JAMMED; husband asked “Why?” I reminded him that the Super Bowl is tomorrow and today is one of their busiest days.  Gordon Foods, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this company, is a store which sells lots of ‘large-sized grocery’ items. Sort of like a Sam’s Club or Costco, but you don’t need to pay a membership fee to shop there. They have excellent products and great prices but if you’re only shopping for a few people, their products might be a bit too large for you. I buy their hot dogs (40 to a package) and re-package them into smaller amounts and freeze them. Their already made pizza crusts are very good (2 large for $3.??); saves me trying to make my own. Anyway, lots of people shop there, especially before big events like graduation parties, holidays AND the Super Bowl parties, hence the full parking lot. We decided to wait for another day for our chips. (See? Wasn’t that informative? Didn’t you just feel that sigh of relief knowing that we could manage to wait another day for our chips? Isn’t BlogLand a great place to learn USELESS information?!)  . . . grin!

Anyway, on that note we move on to recipes. I don’t really have any great party recipes today. (are you glad?). In the past I learned about the standard “Meatballs in the crockpot recipe” but that’s almost too simple to even post about. (Frozen meatballs, a jar of grape jelly and a can of chili sauce.) Dinner tonight is Enchiladas, a family favorite. The thing I like about enchiladas is: the batch I make feeds us for two days. Oh! Don’t know if I’ve blogged about this before or not: in our beginning exploration into the “Wonderful World of Retirement” I felt it was necessary to make a complete log of all of the monthly expenses. One of those expenses is Groceries. I believe I actually surprised my husband when I told him that our average cost, per month, to feed four people is $500. At first he seemed a bit alarmed at the number until I showed him on a calculator that it averages out to $4.16 per person PER DAY! That’s the benefit of frugal grocery shopping!

On the subject of frugality, yesterday I went to J.C. Penney’s store in our area simply because that particular store is going out of business and is having a 60% off sale on fine jewelry. I have a cross pendant necklace that I wear constantly. It is suspended from a rather old chain and said chain has developed some kinks which I fear will eventually lead to the chain breaking and my losing the pendant. At the “Fine Jewelry” counter I picked out a chain which I thought would be to my liking and asked the price (they were behind a counter and prices were hidden). After the clerk figured out the 60% Sale (plus an additional 10% that particular day – figuring out to a 70% mark DOWN) she pleasantly replied: “$129.00; you could have knocked me down with a toothpick! Can you imagine the ORIGINAL price, if 70% OFF came to that? I nicely told her that was out of my budget and sauntered off to another part of the store. In my sauntering I discovered a “Less than Fine Jewelry” (my name for it) department that had very nice chains for MUCH less! I located (and bought) a 22″ gold overlay chain for (with a 30% mark down) $21.50 (tax included). I’m happy, my pocketbook is very happy and my frugal Scots heritage is pleasantly beaming! THAT’S what I’m talking about . . . frugality!!!

The sun is shining, it’s around 20-something degrees outside; the snow accumulation here is mostly gone . . . it’s a great day! Hope you enjoy your day YOUR way!



ps:  Got it all done! The afghan border took me 2 hours (wasn’t expecting that!) The total of all knitted squares photo’d today (all knit by the same person) was 224! Took me 2 photos to be able to include them all! Thought I’d include a photo of the completed afghan, 2 hats, 2 sets of booties (1 newborn/1 4-6 mo. size); there is also a large baby information book to go with the present.

Closeup of the Cluster Rib pattern with scalloped border

(I forgot to ‘edit’ the photo to make it lighter…sorry)


Tonight’s dinner: Enchiladas! (Made 11 of them; enough for tonight and tomorrow also)

Doing What’s Needed

Last night found me attending our church’s “Ladies Fellowship”. This is a pleasant event with dinner and a speaker, except last night was more than that. The dinner was filling: baked potatoes, salad and various desserts. The speaker was a friend who is going through chemotherapy after having breast cancer and surgery.  She carefully explained each step in her battle with this dreaded disease; she still has one more chemo to go, then 6 or 8 (don’t remember which) radiation treatments and then the waiting to see if ‘all is well’.  She was uplifting, amusing, inspiring and motivated me to “Do What’s Needed” . . . ie: get my mammogram scheduled (that was due in December).  After calling to make that appointment I decided it’s time I do more than that – time to make that appointment to the gynecologist (2 yrs behind) and also schedule my regular every three month doctor checkup.  I don’t know if you’re like me or not, but I tend to think of others before I decide it’s time to take care of me, hence the doctors and teeth check ups tend to get pushed to the background until I’ve forgotten them. I know that they’re needed, it’s just that I don’t want to take the time to get them done. On my calendar now are three appointments within the next few weeks to ‘get what’s needed done.”

In my rooting around in a drawer the other day I came across a really decadent-sounding recipe (haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds easy & yummy). See what you think:


Chocolate Peanut Butter Nirvana Cake

1 (18.25 oz.) box devils food cake mix

1 1/4 C. water

1/2 C. vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1 (3.9 oz.) pkg. instant chocolate pudding & pie filling

1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 Cups)


1/2 C. Pillsbury Whipped Supreme vanilla frosting

1/2 C. creamy peanut butter

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1/2 C. milk

chocolate curls or shavings for garnish, if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease & flour a Bundt pan. Combine cake mix, water, oil, eggs and pudding mix in large mixing bowl. Mix at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed, then stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and bake 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan 20 minutes; invert onto serving plate and cool completely.

Beat frosting, peanut butter, almond extract and milk in medium bowl until well combined. Spoon icing over cooled cake and garnish with chocolate curls if desired.

TIP:  Use a potato peeler to shave curls off of a chocolate bar.


Our weather is a little gloomy today with light ‘dust-like’ snow falling, no accumulation. Temps in the mid 20’s (not bad).

Remember: if you haven’t already had your mammogram or gynecological check up…NOW is the time to do it! Better now than later; I know… I’m finally “Doing What’s Needed!”



Published in: on February 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm  Comments (2)  
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