Just a few more recipes . . .

Almost the end of 2010 –

Since the New Year’s Eve party preparations are rapidly approaching, there are a few more recipes which might help you get your menu together. Here I’ve arranged for us to have boiled shrimp and cocktail sauce, baked brie in phyllo dough served with crackers(yum!), some fresh veggies with 2 kinds of dip – that’s about it. We’re not big on celebrating New Years and, for the most part, we’ve had very small ‘celebrations’ – basically eat then go to bed! Ever since we had the baked brie last year at my oldest son’s house, I’ve been wanting to try to make it myself. Having leftover phyllo dough from making Tropita’s (see previous posts for recipe) for Christmas, I thought this would be a good way to use it up! (Probably not ALL of it, as it comes in large quantities . . . will have to come up with another recipe for that!). Here are the recipes:


Baked Brie in Phyllo Dough

1 (6-inch) round of brie
4-5 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted
4 tbsp. butter, melted
French bread

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Butter each sheet of phyllo dough and place in a pie plate or quiche dish, with the ends hanging over the edge. Place brie in center of the dough; bring the edges of the phyllo dough up over the top and seal well, using most of the remaining butter.

Turn the “package” over and brush the top well with the rest of the butter. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 minutes.

Remove and let sit for at least 20 minutes before serving with slices of French bread. This can be served as an hors d’oeuvre at a large party or as part of a brunch menu. Serves 10 or more

(recipe: Cooks.com)


Bacon-Crab Mushroom Caps

1 can (6 oz.) crabmeat, drained, flaked
1/2 cup   shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup   bacon pieces or bits
1-1/2 Tbsp. parsley flakes
36 medium  mushroom caps

Preheat oven  350°F.

Mix all ingredients except mushroom caps.
Spoon evenly into mushroom caps; place on baking sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Makes 36 servings, 1 stuffed mushroom cap each

(recipe: Kraft Foods)


BLT Appetizer

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
Iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 large vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 pound lean bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Sea salt bagel chips

Combine mayonnaise and sour cream in  small bowl with a snap-on lid. When well mixed, refrigerate until serving time. When ready to serve, place mayonnaise mixture in a large serving bowl. Top with lettuce, tomatoes and bacon. Serve with bagel chips. Serves 8.

(recipe: Food Network)


Baked Cream Cheese Appetizer

1/2 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 egg yolk, beaten

Preheat oven 350º F.
Unroll dough on a lightly floured surface; press together seams to form a 12 x 4 inch rectangle. Sprinkle one side of the cream cheese with half of the dill weed. Place brick of cream cheese dill side down in center of dough. Sprinkle dill on top of cream cheese. Enclose cream cheese by bringing sides of dough together and pressing edges to seal. Place dough on lightly greased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg. Makes 8 servings

(not sure if I posted this one before – not even sure where I got it!)


Margarita Pie

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese (softened)
2 packages Holland House margarita mix
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1 carton (8 oz.) Cool Whip 

Cream the cream cheese until fluffy. Add margarita mix and
sugar and beat until smooth. Add Cool Whip and mix.
Freeze in graham cracker crust until ready to serve.
Bing Cherry Delight

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
7 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (16.5 ounce) can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup vanilla wafer crumbs

In a large bowl, combine milk and lemon juice. Fold in cherries.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Gently
fold cream and pecans into cherry mixture. Spread into an
ungreased 11x7-in. dish; sprinkle with wafer crumbs.
Cover and freeze overnight or until firm. May be frozen
for up to 2 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes
before cutting.

Hope these are helpful to your holiday preparations. The
weather here today is amazing - it's almost 40 degrees!
I can see small icicles melting on the edge of the roof;
the mass of built-up snow & ice at the bottom of the
driveway is now gone (YAY!). Living in Michigan, I know
that this isn't the last of the snow & ice, but it gives
me a small joy knowing that the roads are clear, you can
go out shopping and not worry about falling - small things.

I'll leave you with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt; think
on this when preparing to face the New Year:
"You have to accept whatever comes and the only
important thing is that you meet it with courage
and with the best that you have to give."

Published in: on December 30, 2010 at 11:14 am  Comments (1)  
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Just a few recipes . . .

Just a few recipes to entice you:


Apple Cinnamon Kielbasa & Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 to 3 red apples, cored and chopped

1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
16 oz. package Kielbasa, coarsely chopped

Place apples, juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Add Kielbasa. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Makes 4 servings.  Serve with canned (drained) sweet potatoes that have been warmed and mashed with butter.

(Recipe: Cooking With Friends yahoo group, submitted by Sandy)
NOTE: I used real sweet potatoes instead of canned (boil the sweet potatoes until soft and then mash).


Baked Chicken Dijon

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup Evaporated Milk

1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 (4-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 475° F.

Spray 13 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine mustard and evaporated milk in shallow bowl. Combine bread crumbs and cheese in separate shallow bowl. Dip chicken into mustard mixture, coating both sides, then into bread crumb mixture. Place in prepared dish. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and no longer pink in center. Makes 4 servings
(recipe; Peg – Marys Recipe Exchange)
Cranberry Chicken Wraps
1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
1 cup chopped apple
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons fat-free Miracle Whip, divided
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1/4 tsp. minced fresh rosemary or 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary,crushed
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 whole wheat tortillas (8 inches), room temperature
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach

In a small bowl, combine the chicken, apple, 1/4 cup Miracle Whip, cranberries, feta cheese, rosemary and pepper. Spread remaining Miracle Whip over tortillas. Top with chicken mixture and spinach. Roll up and secure with toothpicks.  Makes 2 servings.

(Recipe source: Make it all Recipes yahoo group, submitted by Lucky Sandon.)

Crockpot Beef and Bean Dinner

1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 pound bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
2 cans (1-LB, 15-ounce size) pork and beans
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) butter limas, drained
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Brown ground beef in skillet; drain off fat and put beef in slow cooker/Crock Pot. Brown bacon and onions; drain off fat, Add bacon, onions and remaining ingredients to slow cooker/Crock Pot. Stir together well. Cover and cook on low 4-9 hours.

(recipe: Peg – Marys Recipe Exchange)
Caramel Banana Bread Pudding

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups lightly packed (13 ounces) brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 bananas (overripe is preferred), peeled and coarsely mashed with a for
6 cups diced croissants, from about 3 croissants diced into 1/2-inch cubes
3 eggs

In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring to dissolve. Stir in the cream, vanilla and a pinch of salt and gently bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. When the mixture has come to a boil, remove from heat and set aside to cool. While the caramel cream cools, toss the bananas and croissants in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk the eggs into the caramel cream to form a custard base, strain and then pour the custard base over the croissants and gently toss. Place the mixture in a greased 9-inch round cake pan or an 8-inch square baking dish. Set the mixture aside to soak for 1 hour. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the cake pan into a larger baking dish; fill the larger baking dish with enough boiling water to come up the side of the cake pan halfway to form a water bath. Bake the bread pudding until puffed and set, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and water bath, and cool slightly before serving. For a crisp topping, place the cake pan under the broiler just until it begins to brown and crisp on top, about 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the broiler. Servings: 8

(recipe: Trish – 1 Comfort Foods)

Hope you are all doing well and resting up after many fun and festive Christmas gatherings.
Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 10:57 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

Christmas Eve preparations…

“And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among

us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only

Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and

truth.”  John 1:14 (NIV)


Well, here it is – Christmas Eve. Yesterday was my day to babysit our grandson and, once again, he filled me with little tidbits only a four-year-old would come up with, such as the discussion we were having about getting older. (him) “Gumma, you know when you have a birthday – you get older.” (me) “Yes, and you’re supposed to get smarter, too!” (him) “You need to eat good foods – like vegetables ’cause they’re good for you!” (me) “Yes” (him) “Know what also makes me smarter?” (me) “What?” (him) “Eating Lucky Charms! That makes me smarter!” (me) doing all I can to stifle giggles! What a kid!

A bit later in the evening his dad came to pick him up and we finally got the ‘holiday’ schedule arranged. This year will be different than years before; in the past we had a big dinner here at our house and they came. Because of the ‘arrangements’ with his girlfriend, I guess last year they agreed to them coming here for Christmas Day dinner but then agreed that next year (this year, 2010) they would spend it with her parents. (she has a large family and they hold a gathering at a local country club). That’s fine but it just was a bit of a surprise to me – now the arrangements are that they’re coming here around 3 p.m. and staying until around 5, then they have to go to the other dinner. That makes their visit just ‘hors d’oeuvres’ here and Christmas Dinner will be just the 4 of us, later. Times change, seasons change, traditions change – I just have to ‘adjust’ to the changes. I’m glad we’ll be able to have them here, if even for a short while. Christmas seems more like a celebration when you have a little one to enjoy it with.

I might need to go out to the store in a short while to pick up a few things for the ‘hors d’oeuvres’ spread; I made the cheeseball yesterday and have several boxes of crackers to go with it, but hadn’t really planned on more than that (those were just for ‘drop-in guests’ . . . just in case we GOT any!). Am kind of tossing around the spinach dip and veggies route, although only my husband and I like that one (and maybe oldest son – not sure). He said something about doing a cheese tray? but that conversation quickly melted when grandson was really getting antsy to go home and was really REALLY bugging his dad to leave (don’t think we ever finished that conversation or really solidified WHAT we were going to eat for snacks!). I’m thinking just go out and buy some fresh veggies, maybe make up a onion dip for chips? I’m kinda out of the loop on this one – maybe the ‘cream cheese with cocktail sauce and tiny shrimp’ thing? We don’t DO the hors d’oeuvres thing here! We’ll see – who knows what I’ll come up with!

My last two ‘chores/things on the list’ to do today will be baking the “Happy Birthday, Jesus” cake and wrapping presents. Oh, and stuffing stockings MUCH later. Other than that, I’m a free agent today. I have one afghan almost done, maybe 6 squares to sew together, then crochet the border and that’s done. I might just attempt that crocheted snowflake idea I posted about before. Grandson was really fascinated with what I was doing yesterday: “Gumma, how do you do that yarning? I tried to, very simply, show him how crochet is just a series of loops which made him say: “I want to learn how to do yarning.” We chatted about what you can crochet and he spotted the crochet thread ball I had pulled out for the snowflake; that segued into a conversation about hook sizes (me showing him my biggest and smallest hooks). When his dad came to pick him up he didn’t want to go home, saying that he wanted me to make the snowflake right that minute so he could see me do it! You can imagine the struggle trying to convince him that (1) I really am not sure I’ll even be ABLE to do this and (2) IF I do, it won’t be right away; that didn’t go over very well. Ah, children – gotta love ’em.

Along the lines of recipes, I only have a few today (but they sound really yummy!).


Cherry Cordial Hot Chocolate

5 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups chocolate syrup
1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice, divided
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Maraschino cherries with stems (optional)

Heat first 3 ingredients and 7 tablespoons cherry juice 
in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat, stirring often.
Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer 
until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar and reserved 
cherry juice, beating until soft peaks form. Serve with hot
chocolate; top each serving with a cherry, if desired.
Makes 8 1/2 cups.

(recipe: Desserts du Jour site)
 Hazelnut Mocha Mix 
1 box (1lb 9oz) non-fat dry milk powder 1 bag (16oz) powdered sugar 1 container (15oz) Nesquik 1 jar (11oz) non-dairy powdered creamer 2 jars (8oz) hazelnut flavored non-dairy powered creamer 1/2 cup cocoa 1/4 cup instant coffee granules In a very large bowl, combine all ingredients.
Stir until well blended.  Store in airtight container
or gift bags.  Makes approximately 18 cups of
mocha mix.Attach serving directions if giving
as a gift:
Serving Directions:
Mix 3 TBS mocha mix with 6 oz. hot water.
For a strong blend, use 1 TBS per 2 oz hot water
Cream Puff Cake 1 cup water 1/2 cup butter 1 cup all-purpose flour 4 eggs 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese 4 cups milk 3 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large heavy saucepan, heat butter and water to
boiling over medium-high heat. Add flour and reduce
heat to low. Cook and stir until it forms a ball and
pulls away from the pan. Remove from heat and transfer
to a large bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating
well after each egg. Spread in bottom and up the sides
of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes.
Cool completely.
FILLING: In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk
and beat until smooth. Add pudding mix and beat until thickened.
Spread over cooled shell. Top with whipped topping, and
drizzle chocolate syrup over the top.
Cranberry Coffee Cake 1 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 2 cups *self-rising flour  (see below) 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce 1/2 cup chopped almond (Glaze) Preheat oven to 350º F. Cream butter. Gradually add sugar, beating well at medium
 speed of electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating
after each addition.Add flour alternately with sour cream,
 beginning and ending with flour.Stir in almond extract. Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9-inch pan. Spread
cranberry sauce evenly over batter, and sprinkle with
almonds. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick
inserted in the center comes out clean. Drizzle coffee
cake with Glaze. Glaze 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar 2 tablespoons milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth.
Sorry they're all 'sweets' - 'tis the season to eat
sweets, isn't it? (my server's starting to act goofy
again - making each post line way too long for the space,
so now I guess it's telling me to close. 
Here's hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas - however,
wherever, and WITH whomever you spend it! Take time to enjoy 
yourself, relax, remember a little and if that's too much 
just 'make your own Christmas moments'.
Merry CHRISTmas! Hugs; Pam

Just a few crafty items…

These are the presents I gave to the people in my knit group; they’re crocheted wreaths. In the photo are about half of the total 35 done (I forgot about taking a picture of them and had already wrapped half of them before the above photo). The members got 2 pieces of chocolate and the little wreath (with hook – hooks aren’t in photo, but they’re the standard ornament hooks – no big deal). I was glad to have made them, it seemed to make the people smile. Several of our other ladies also did gifts – Brenda brought her infamous Pumpkin Rolls and 2 kinds of homemade fudge (YUM), Ronda created stitch/row counter bracelets and pair of earrings (I had thought of making the row counters but they proved a little too expensive for me to make 35 of them so I went with the wreaths), and Jan created lovely Christmas hanging towels, plus a cute pin and tiny ornament – it was definitely a ‘gifty’ evening! I’ve mentioned before that our group is growing – we had FOUR new people last night: a Mom and her 3 older daughters; that was a pleasant surprise! As I was going out the door at the end of the evening I heard a loud “AHEM!” Turned around to find the manager standing there smiling – she thrust a huge loaf of Panettone (Italian Christmas bread) at me and said: “Merry Christmas!” How neat!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was knitting hats for two friends we haven’t seen in about 6 years. After completing the hats, I didn’t have any more knit OR crochet projects to take to Knit group so that got me to thinking. I decided that the one hat ‘needed something’ so I knit a multi-tiered flower to go on it (I think it looks good – sort of adds something to a rather plain hat).

Still finishing up little ‘stuff’; delivered the last neighbors Christmas bread today – that was fun. The couple are a bit older than we are and the wife is now going through Alzheimers so she doesn’t always remember people but I was really pleased that she remembered me; they’re such a lovely couple!


Slow Cooker Chicken Bites

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts — cubed
1 onion — minced
2 garlic cloves — minced
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup no-sugar raspberry jam
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Place the chicken in a 4-quart slow cooker. In a small bowl, whisk together the onion, garlic, chili sauce, jam, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Pour it over the meat. Cook on low for 3 hours or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir before serving. Serves 16.
(recipe: “Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook by Rachel Rappaport, 2010” (Formatted by Chupa Babi)
Eggnog Bread Pudding

2 tablespoons brandy
1 (7-ounce) package dried fruit bits
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
8 oz.country white bread, crusts removed/cut into 1-inch pieces
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. 
Combine brandy and fruit bits in a small saucepan; 
bring to a boil. Remove from heat; let stand 1 hour.
Combine milk, butter, vanilla, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan.
Heat to 180F or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan,
stirring frequently (do not boil). Remove from heat.
Combine 2/3 cup sugar, eggs, and egg yolks in a large bowl.
Pour hot milk mixture into egg mixture in a slow, 
steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk
mixture to saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring
constantly, until thickened (about 6 minutes).Combine bread 
and fruit mixture in a large bowl; pour milk mixture over 
bread mixture. Transfer bread mixture into 11 x 7-inch 
baking dish coated with cooking spray. Place dish
in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; add hot water to larger dish 
to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes
or until set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serves 10.

(recipe: Desserts du Jour site)
Hamburger Dip (Crockpot) 
 2 lbs. lean ground beef 
 1 cup chopped onion 
 2 cloves garlic, minced OR 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 
 salt to taste 
 2 (8-oz.) cans tomato sauce 
 1/2 cup ketchup 
 1-1/2 tsp. oregano 
 2 tsp. white granulated sugar 
 2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened and cut in cubes 
 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
 1 tsp. mild chili powder 
In a skillet, brown ground beef with onion, discard fat. Pour     browned meat and 
onion into Slow Cooker. Add garlic, salt, tomato sauce,
ketchup, oregano, sugar, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and 
chili powder. Set crockpot on LOW until cream cheese has
melted and is thoroughly blended, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. 
Stir, taste and adjust seasoning if desired. 
Serve with cube French bread or tortilla chips. 
If spicier dip is desired, use hot chili powder in
place of mild chili powder. Finely chopped jalapeños
may be added, if desired.
Bacon and Onion Muffins
 1/2 pound bacon
 1/4 cup chopped onion
 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
 3 teaspoons baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
 1/3 cup milk
 1 cup sour cream
 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Preheat oven to 375°F. 
Fry bacon until crisp in skillet. Remove with slotted
spoon and drain on paper towels. Crumble into small bits. 
Sauté onion in 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings until 
just tender (do not brown). Set aside to cool. 
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and 
salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Combine the eggs, 
milk and sour cream in small bowl; blend well. Add all at 
once to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to moisten.  
Stir in bacon and onion. Spoon batter into greased 
muffin-pan cups, filling two-thirds full. Sprinkle with
sesame seeds. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve hot.
Apple/Sausage/Sweet Potato Casserole
1 lb. seasoned lean bulk pork sausage
1/4 cup water
1 can (23 oz) sweet potatoes, drained and thickly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 medium apples (red cooking variety), cored
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Form sausage into patties; brown in a skillet and drain. Place patties in bottom of an ungreased 2-qt casserole. Add water. Layer thick slices of sweet potatoes over sausage. Sprinkle with sugar; dot with half the butter. Cut unpeeled apples into 1/2-inch slices; layer over all. Dot with remaining butter. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer.
(recipe: Sandy – Marys Recipe Exchange)
Crockpot Broccoli Dip

2 packages, frozen chopped broccoli
1 8-oz can mushrooms pieces, drained
1 cup butter
1 large onion chopped
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
2 rolls of garlic cheese, cut up
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 can slivered almonds

Cook broccoli according to directions and drain. Sauté onions in butter. Add all ingredients except mushrooms and almonds. Simmer until cheese is melted. Then add mushrooms and almonds. Can put in a chafing dish to serve or put in a crock pot on warm. Serve with crackers or Fritos.

(really simple dessert)
Fruit Cocktail Salad

1 (17 ounce) can fruit cocktail, with syrup
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry Jello
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) carton Cool Whip

Heat fruit cocktail with juice and Jello to boiling point. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese and stir until it melts. Fold in Cool Whip. Place in serving container and refrigerate.

Hope you’ve had a good day, stayed warm and enjoyed a good meal or beverage to your liking. Slowly we’re creeping up on Christmas Eve – not too many days to go. Enjoy this time of year.



Once More into the Fray…

Just when I thought I was all done Christmas shopping, husband added a ‘few’ extras which found me making a 3 hour shopping frenzy (I call it that because I went to 6 stores in that time period, including the Christmas dinner food shopping. WHEW! I’m whipped!

Yesterday found me finally baking up the already-cut-out sugar cookies and frosting them, as well as a dozen white chocolate macadamia nut and about 3 1/2 dozen chocolate chip; have we got the cookies! Also gave some to the mail lady; that’s an every-year tradition. Still have to wrap the presents, write out about 8 Thank You cards for my special needs kids that gifted me with presents and make the cheeseball. Tonight is my knit group and, if they’re anything like years past, it’s going to be a rousing PARTY atmosphere with presents flying up and down the table and lots of good cheer to go around (not the liquid kind, either!).  It feels so funny to have all my knitting/crocheting done; I don’t even have a project to work on (except the ‘afghans’ and they’re a ‘constant’). Wait – there IS one possible project but it depends on whether I can figure out a crochet pattern or not. I can do your basic crochet, it’s all the following directions that confuses me. This project involves me trying to crochet a simple snowflake ornament. I was totally amazed when going online to find free crocheted snowflake ornament patterns on Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com) – there were probably 400 or more! (In case you’ve never heard of Ravelry – it’s a free site for knitting & crochet which has all kinds of ideas, patterns, etc. You can enter a project you’ve done, put up a photo of it (and directions, if you want) then other people can go to your ‘page’ and see your projects. You can also assemble a ‘on line library’ of all your crafting books, your knitting needles or crochet hooks, all your various yarns, etc. The purpose of that is: for example – you go out and buy 3 skeins of some fancy alpaca yarn but don’t really have an idea of what to make with it. You can go on Ravelry, type in the yarn then pull up all the various projects other people have made things with, using that yarn! Pretty clever, eh? I just learned that you can also check your library of books and booklets, type in a pattern and it will bring you the page(s) of your book(s) which have that pattern, thus saving you the trouble of trying to remember exactly WHERE you stored that particular book in your house! Anyway, we’ll see what happens on the crocheted snowflake idea . . . (don’t hold your breath).

As far as recipes go, haven’t found too many lately (but then, have been a bit busy to be looking for them, also!).


Cornbread Salad

1 package cornbread mix
1/2 cup celery
1 bell pepper
2 red tomatoes
1 bunch green onions
3 hard-boiled eggs
3/4 cup mayonnaise

Cook 1 package cornbread mix using water instead of milk. While it is cooking, chop up the celery, bell pepper, tomatos and green onions. Grate the hard-boiled eggs. Crumble cornbread and mix with vegetables, eggs and mayonnaise.


Ambrosia Cake

1 pkg yellow cake mix
2 oz Maraschino cherries
1 can crushed pineapple
1/3 C. sugar
1 cup Fancy Flake coconut
2 ct whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat  13 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, pour into prepared pan. Chop 3/4 cup maraschino cherries; sprinkle over batter. Bake 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Reserve remaining cherries. Combine pineapple with juice and sugar in medium saucepan, heat to boiling, over medium heat. Cool slightly. Poke holes all over cake with toothpick. Spread pineapple mixture over cake; cool completely. On a microwave safe plate , microwave coconut on high in 20-second intervals until lightly browned; cool. Spread cooled cake with topping; sprinkle with coconut. Garnish with reserved cherries.

(this is not my recipe – sorry for lack of exact can sizes)


Baked Cream Cheese Appetizer

1/2 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 egg yolk, beaten

Unroll dough on a lightly floured surface; press together seams to form a 12 x 4 inch rectangle. Sprinkle one side of the cream cheese with half of the dill weed. Place brick of cream cheese dill side down in center of dough. Sprinkle dill on top of cream cheese. Enclose cream cheese by bringing sides of dough together and pressing edges to seal. Place dough on lightly greased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings

(recipe: All Recipes.Com)


Orange-Spice Pot Roast

1 2-pound boneless beef chuck arm pot roast
Nonstick spray coating
3 inches stick cinnamon, broken
6 whole cloves
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.)
1 lb. turnips or rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
3 T. quick-cooking tapioca
1/3 C. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 C. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt

Trim roast. Spray an unheated large skillet with nonstick coating and heat over medium heat. Brown roast on all sides. Place cinnamon and cloves on a double thickness of 100% cotton cheesecloth. Gather up the edges and tie with a string and place the spices in the slow cooker. Wash, peel, and cut off woody portions and ends of the sweet potatoes and cut sweet potatoes into quarters. Place potatoes in slow cooker. Add turnips and onion; sprinkle tapioca over vegetables. In a small bowl stir together thawed orange juice concentrate, corn syrup, and salt; pour over vegetables in cooker. Place roast atop vegetables. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on the high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Transfer roast and vegetables to a serving platter. Skim fat from cooking juices, if necessary. Discard spice bag. Pass the cooking juices with the meat. Makes 6 servings.

(recipe: MomsMenu.Com)


Royal Raspberry Bars

1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sweetened flaked dried coconut
1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup raspberry jam
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix oats, flour, coconut, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt.
Add melted butter and stir until well blended. Press dough
level in bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking pan.Bake crust until
edges begin to brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool about
5 minutes, then spread jam evenly over warm crust.In a large
bowl, with a mixer on high speed, whip egg whites and cream
of tartar until thick and foamy. Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar
and continue to whip until mixture holds soft, shiny peaks.
With a spatula, spread meringue evenly over jam.Bake until
meringue is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5
minutes, then cut into 24 bars. Let cool completely, then
use a wide spatula to remove bars from pan. Makes 24 bars.
(recipe: Recipe du Jour site)
Oven Denver Omelet                

 8 eggs
 1  C. milk
 1/2  tsp. seasoned salt
 2 C. frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
 1 C. diced fully cooked ham
 1 1/2 C. Cheddar cheese
 1 T. dried minced onion

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl beat eggs, milk and seasoned salt. Stir
in remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 8 inch square
baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes or until a knife
inserted near the center comes out clean. Makes 6 servings.

(recipe: Pathinze: 1 Comfort Foods Digest site)
It's about time I wrap this one up and get going on today's
projects; so glad to see that there aren't many more left
to do before it's Christmas Eve! Hoping you are staying in
good health and slowly whittling away YOUR list of "Things
to get Done!"



PS: At the first store of my shopping frenzy the cashier
commented that it was a good idea that I was out "before
the snowstorm" - UGH! Sometimes I think it's a good idea
that I DON'T keep up with the weather reports; today and the
past few have been just perfect for shopping - clear roads,
not too cold (it's 30 degrees right now) - great weather for
getting shopping done. The parking lots are even getting
clearer now that we haven't had any major snowfall in
awhile. (Here in Michigan if you have to push a shopping
cart in a parking lot, that can be a real CHORE, as the
lots are usually cleared for CARS/TRUCKS but not carts!
Lots of frozen snow, slush and some ice to maneuver through.
Just glad it's still staying clear out!

Wrappin’ it up, Saturday

From the title you’d think it was time to wrap presents, but no – just wrappin’ up all the baking (or the greater part, anyway). Finished three loaves of Christmas breads for the neighbors: 2 Cranberry Walnut and one Cinnamon Streusel. What happened to the Banana Nut from last week,you ask? I decided that they were just not ‘tall’ enough (I used my ‘other’ bread pans and they’re a bit bigger, making the loaves a lot ‘flatter’, not high and pretty like I’d like.) Husband was glad to hear that, as banana nut is his favorite. I’ll save some to add to the ‘Christmas Plate’ of goodies for our postal lady (she’s a real sweetie).

Spent a good 4 – 4 1/2 hours yesterday doing a ‘quick’ project for my knit/crochet group. I’ve been hemming and hawing about some sort of small gift for each one, but at 35 people, that can get a bit expensive. While decorating the tree I came upon an idea and ‘made it happen’ yesterday. (Notice I’m not telling you – there are a few of my members who read this blog and I don’t want to let the secret out just yet – will post photo probably Wednesday.) While I was at JoAnn Fabrics the lady working there said: “Oh, I’ll probably see you before Christmas!” I said: “No, I’m pretty much done.” She said: “Yeah, I’ll probably see you again before then!” Whew! Bad when people know you almost ‘too well’!

The house is now decorated (except I have to go upstairs and bring down the lighted wreath for the livingroom window.) Oldest son was over Thursday and I said: “I’m finally done with the house decorating!” (note the ‘so proud of myself’ tone to that statement). He promptly said: “But where’s the lighted wreath for the window? And the lights AROUND that window? And the tinsel on the tree? (gave that up years ago) and then he proceeded to mention a few other things I’d ‘omitted’. I guess, with me getting older I’m trying to just ‘keep up’ and perhaps ‘cutting’ a few things I see as ‘extras’ to make the job just ‘get done’! Funny, how they notice every little detail, eh?

Last night was youngest’s Christmas concert and it went very well. (It was very long – almost 3 hours). It was the ‘full thing’: all orchestras, Jazz Ensemble & Jazz Band, all choirs and even a new little group called: The Boy Band which consisted of around 8 GIRLS! Funny name but they did a good job. We came home happy and tired with songs ringing in our ears. The finale was a riot – “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” complete with the back row swaying and heartily swinging their arms with great gusto with each repeated “WISH”! (back row – my son, of course).  Great performance by all!

Received a very nice email yesterday from someone who happened to locate a recipe I’d posted a few years ago and she’s excited to try it for Christmas. It’s a ‘tried & true’, one that I pull out for parties (I’ve posted it before, but it’s worth a repeat)


Cherry-Pineapple Dessert

(I usually just call it that Pink Stuff)

1 can Eagle Brand sweetened, condensed milk

1 large (14 oz.) Cool Whip

1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling**

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained


Mix Eagle Brand milk and Cool Whip together with mixer until it forms stiff peaks, then fold in drained pineapple and pie filling. Refrigerate about 1-2 hours before serving.

**a friend of ours made hers using blueberry pie filling when she couldn’t locate cherry – she really liked it!


Another recipe which goes really well for a dip with fresh fruits:

Cheesecake Creme

1 (7 oz.) jar Kraft Marshmallow Creme

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (room temp)


Combine marshmallow creme and softened cream cheese; mix until well blended. Makes 2 Cups. Serve at room temperature.

Variation: Add 1 T. orange juice and 1 tsp. grated orange rind to mixture.

(I have used this mixture in the past as a filling along with cherry or strawberry pie filling for homemade Crepes. It’s a very rich, and sweet filling so a little goes a long way)

(recipe: Kraft Foods)


(found these recently – haven’t tried them but they sound really tasty)

Kiwi Lemon Cheesecake Tarts

2/3 C. apple jelly

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened room temp.

1 jar lemon curd

2 C. Cool Whip

2 pkgs. miniature Phyllo cups (already baked)

2 Kiwi fruit, peeled, sliced and quartered

(Garnishes: mint leaves, lemon peel or other fresh fruit zest)


Blend cream cheese until smooth; add curd and fold in Cool Whip. Fill phyllo cups with lemon mixture. Top each cup with a teaspoon softened jelly (to soften: stir vigorously with a spoon). Add Kiwi to each cup. Top with optional garnishes. Makes 24 servings.


Triple Berry Baked Brie

1 frozen puff pastry, thawed

1/3 C. Smuckers’ Triple Berry Preserves**

8 oz. round baby wheel brie cheese

1/4 C. chopped hazelnuts or pecans

1 large egg

1 T. water

crackers, pear slices, apple slices for serving


Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

Unfold pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll gently to seal any cracks in pastry. Spoon preserves onto center of pastry. Place cheese on top of preserves. Sprinkle evenly with nuts. Fold pastry up over the cheese to cover. Trim excess pastry and press to seal seams. Reserve pastry scraps.  Whisk egg and water in small bowl; brush seams with egg mixture. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Cut pastry scraps into decorative shapes and arrange on top, if desired. Brush with egg mixture. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 20 minutes before cutting. Serve with crackers and sliced fruits. Makes 12 servings.

** complete name of preserves:

Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Northwest Triple Berry Preserves

(couldn’t fit it all in the space provided above!)

(recipe: Smuckers)


Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions

4 medium peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
 (about 2 1/4 pounds)
2 medium Oso Sweet or other sweet onions, cut into 1-inch
pieces (about 1 pound)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. garlic-pepper blend (such as McCormick)
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 425F.
Combine all ingredients in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish,
tossing to coat.Bake at 425F for 35 minutes or until
tender, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 servings.
(recipe: Recipe du Jour site)
(this is one of those recipes that you keep on hand
for 'drop in' guests at the holidays; I try to keep
the ingredients in the cupboard for just that reason!)
Easy Cream Cheese Shrimp Dip

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 bottle cocktail sauce
1-2 cans baby shrimp

Soften cream cheese and spread out onto plate or pie plate.
Pour cocktail sauce over cream cheese and top with shrimp.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till ready to serve.
Tastes best with Ritz, Wheat Thins or Triscuits. (last state-
ment made by original poster of recipe)


(this one just sounded like a great recipe to have on hand

during the holidays, also for drop-in company!)


Dorito Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. Taco seasoning
1 small onion; chopped
1 can diced green chiles; drained
1 can Campbell’s Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup
1 bag  Doritos; crushed
1 bag  shredded cheese
1 can cream of celery soup
Sour cream and salsa for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Brown ground beef and onion; drain. Add Taco seasoning and  following directions on package. In  large casserole dish, layer bottom of pan with 1/2 bag of Doritos; set the other half aside.In a large bowl combine, taco seasoned beef and onion, can of drained green chiles, can of nacho cheese soup & cream of celery soup. Mix well. Top layer Doritos with beef mixture. Layer beef mixture with remaining half Doritos.
Top with whole bag of shredded cheese.
Bake  until cheese is melted or slightly browned.
Top portions with sour cream and salsa as desired, when serving.

(recipe: Sandy- Marys Recipe Exchange)


Baked Hash Browns

8 frozen hash brown patties
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup ( 4 oz ) shredded cheddar cheese

Place patties in a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with salt
and garlic powder. Pour cream over patties. Bake uncovered at 350 for
50 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 to 10 minutes more or until
potatoes are tender and cheese is melted.

(recipe: Pathinze – 1 Comfort Foods Digest)


That’s about enough recipes for today – I’m sure there will be more to come in the very near future. What’s on the agenda for today? Perhaps – (I say that with some question in my voice) perhaps . . . I might drag out the frozen already-cut-out sugar cookies, bake and then frost them (48 cookies) but I’m not really sure I want to do that today – might procrastinate until Monday; we’ll see. Other than wrapping presents, I’m pretty much ‘up to date’ on all the Christmas preparations – WOW! what a surprise! Oh … just remembered – still have to go grocery shopping for all the Christmas foods. Was ‘going’ to do that Monday – maybe baking cookites IS in my future for today! (sigh…) Also just remembered I forgot to send Christmas cards to my relatives in Canada-the mail gets there, but very slowly – oooooooops! Well, looks like I’ve got my ‘work’ cut out for me today, eh?

Enjoy your day! It’s been cold here but clear – you could almost say BRISK! It’s 21 degrees right now, clear and a little grey. Asked my dear husband if he’d take the baked breads to the neighbors a bit later. Tonight is the dress rehearsal for tomorrow morning’s Christmas Concert at church. (guessing that will take about 2 hours-for the rehearsal). Oh! I have ONE MORE ladies hat to knit as a spur-of-the-moment thing (think I blogged that a few days ago: friends we haven’t seen for about 5 years called and might stop over next week. HIS hat is done, still have to come up with one for Her.)

Gonna wrap this up! (I just keep going ‘on-and-on’….



Wednesday’s Wonderful (so far)

Today is turning out to be my ‘getting it DONE day’; just got home from a last minute shopping spree (unplanned, by the way). Yesterday we got the house decorated (except for the ornaments on the main tree – that comes tomorrow). Since it’s been really nasty cold (-11 degrees), I haven’t been out of the house since Saturday; driving my car today felt like driving a TANK! The wheels were slow to move, windshield totally frosted over (even after youngest went out and cleaned it off yesterday and started it, just to keep the engine running OK).  Only had planned on going to the bank , get gas and the drug store for prescriptions – that was ‘the plan’. While I was out, got to thinking about how the car was driving (very sluggish) and decided to take a short trip to get the gunk off the tires, warm up the engine, etc. (Even got out and checked to see if I had a low tire or a flat, that’s just how weird it was driving!). Got to thinking about ‘stocking stuffers’ and where I might be able to pick up some for 3 boy/men/guys – ended up at Meijers. If you’re from Michigan or the closest states, you know that Meijers is a store that you go to IF you want to spend lots of money, walk great distances, and (perhaps) get a good deal or find something you weren’t exactly sure you were looking for (stocking stuffers!). I tend to avoid this store because it is THE place to go and find something – household items, toys, drug store items, things for your car, all the local ‘team’ logo items like sweatshirts/hats/gloves/scarves/etc., groceries (TONS of those, tons of variety – you could easily drop $50 just in the ice cream isle alone!). Came home happy to have purchased things I sort of had an idea I wanted: got each son a Maglight key chain flashlight, some of their favorite gums, candy (of course), and lots of other little ‘goodies’. Discovered that they carry Kraft cheeses in a jar (haven’t seen these in a long LONG time!) – the kind I use for our favorite cheeseball (recipe below). After my treck, I’m trying to remember to REST a LOT because tonight is the special needs group Christmas Gathering and I’m one of two people doing all the work! I need to pick up my ‘guys’ (4 guys from our group who ride with me every week) starting at 4:45; get to the church around 5:20 and begin the ‘work’. We’re gearing up to feed 150 people, so the tables all have to be set: centerpiece, colored napkins, plates, plasticware, plates, etc. (the janitor will have already put the tables & chairs in the arrangement we agreed to – am still wondering if they remembered a piano!) I’m sure you can imagine the preparations for this, so I won’t bore you with the details. The dinner is at 7, then our ‘kids’ sing and we’ll be done by around 8:15p.m. (then it’s clean up!). I’m looking at a very L-O-N-G evening, for sure! (Oh, then it’s drive ‘the guys’ home! I should get home around 9:30/9:45  – I hope).

On to the recipes! After thinking about the cheeseball idea, I started to look through my “Party Recipes” cards and here are a few you might like:

Deluxe Potatoes

2 lb. frozen hash brown potatoes (thawed)

1 C. diced onion

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 lb. (16 oz.) sour cream

1/2 stick margarine

16 oz. grated Cheddar cheese

crushed potato chips for topping


Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Mix together all ingredients (except potato chips) and pour into a large baking pan. Sprinkle top with crushed potato chips.  Cover with foil and bake 2 hours. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.


Classic Spinach Dip

1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach (thawed, drained & squeezed dry)

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 pkg. Knorr dry vegetable soup mix

1 can water chestnuts, sliced & chopped

3 green onions, finely chopped

1 C. mayonnaise

1  1/2 C. sour cream

1 large round baked bread (to serve dip in)


(NOTE: this dip is better if mixed then left chilled overnight and then served.  Pour dip into bread bowl before serving)

Mix all above ingredients together well (except bread). Cut top of bread in a circle and hollow out inside, so that bread resembles a bowl. Save inside bread pieces to use as dippers.  Pour dip into bread bowl and serve with extra ‘dippers’ like celery, green pepper, crackers, etc.

Makes 3 Cups dip.


Wassail Bowl

2 Quarts apple cider

3 sticks cinnamon

4 C. orange juice

2 C.  pineapple juice

dash of brown sugar (to taste)

1-2 oranges sliced

whole cloves (to stud orange slices)


In large pot, pour cider, orange juice, pineapple juice. Toss in cinnamon sticks and, after warming, add brown sugar (to taste). Place whole cloves around edges of orange rind slices and use these to float in punch/wassail. Pour warmed punch into bowl and float the orange slices on top.


Debbie’s Cheeseball

2 (8  oz. ea.) pkgs. cream cheese (room temp)

1 (5 oz.) jar Kraft Roka Blue cheese spread (or Garlic)

2 (5 oz., ea.) jars Kraft Old English cheese spread

3 T. wine vinegar

dash garlic powder

1 C. walnuts, chopped fine


All cheese should be at room temperature. Mix cream cheese, both cheese spreads, vinegar and garlic powder together well. Cover and refrigerate until firm.  When firm, remove and form into a ball. Roll ball in chopped walnuts and refrigerate, again, until firm (at least 3 hours.)

(NOTE: This makes one large cheeseball – I prefer to separate it into two smaller balls, then roll in nuts.)


Hot Tomato Cocktail (crockpot)

46 oz. can vegetable juice
1 stalk celery, cut into 3 pieces
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients in 3-4 quart crockpot.
Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
Remove celery and discard.
Serve hot. 8 servings

(NOTE: You can substitute some tomato juice for part of the vegetable juice if you like)

(recipe: Linda Larson)


Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
2 pkgs. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
1/2 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix together flour, oatmeal and brown sugar. Cut butter into mixture until it is coarse and crumbly. Reserve about 1 1/4 cups of of crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool for 10  minutes. Beat  cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla together until smooth. Spread over  cream cheese mixture. Mix  pie filling and cinnamon together and spread over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle  remaining crumb mixture over  top.
Bake about 40 minutes. Cool about 30-35 minutes and then
refrigerate for 2-3 hours.Cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers.

(Recipe from 2 Kids and Tired Cooks http://2kidsandtiredcooks.blogspot.com


Sausage & Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

24 fresh mushrooms (1 lb.), cleaned
1/4 cup  KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
1/2 cup cooked crumbled Italian sausage
1/2 cup  KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
Heat broiler.
Remove stems from mushrooms; brush caps with Italian dressing; place caps on rack of broiler pan and broil 5 minutes. Press sausage into mushroom caps, adding about 1 tsp. sausage to each cap. Sprinkle with cheese and broil 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted; serve hot. Makes 12 servings, 2 caps each.

Substitute KRAFT Four Cheese Mexican Style Shredded Cheese or KRAFT Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese for the mozzarella.
How to Crumble Sausage:
Cut off the end of the sausage casing, then squeeze the sausage into the skillet. Cook and stir until evenly browned. This will eliminate the need to cut or crumble the sausage after it is cooked.
(recipe: Kraft Foods)
Now that I’ve stimulated your taste buds, I’ll merrily go and take a short rest in my recliner with my latest mystery novel! Hope you’re having a good day – I am – so far!


Tuesday Thoughts

Here it is Tuesday and I’m sitting in my jammies writing to you. Yesterday was a total ‘bust’ – spent the whole day in the recliner trying valiantly to get rid of a horrible migraine; finally just went to bed and slept (it’s gone now -THANK YOU, LORD!). So much for using my time wisely – still no Christmas decorations up and only half the baking done. It’s been nasty out here in my area of Michigan – 13 degrees or lower daily, 6 thick inches of snow coats the ground and from what I hear ‘black ice’ on a lot of the roads. The schools are closed (2 days now) so that means my youngest is home; today it’s my plan to use his strength to get some of the decorating done! So thankful we have heat, warm clothing, our health and food in the refrigerator. Am seriously thinking of making chicken noodle soup for dinner; have three fat chicken breasts that will be good for that.


Roasted Carrots and Potatoes with Dill

1 lb. carrots, halved lengthwise if large & crosswise if long
1  1/2 lb. small red potatoes, halved if large
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh dill

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lower third. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots and potatoes with oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and cook until vegetables are browned in spots and tender when pierced with a knife, 40 minutes, tossing halfway through. Toss with lemon juice and dill. Serve warm or at room temperature.
(recipe: Martha Stewart)


Turkey Salad

1  hard-cooked egg.
4 C. of shredded cooked turkey.
1 cup mayonnaise.
1 T.  sweet pickle relish.
1/2 C. chopped pecan

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup grapes (green or red)
Lettuce, cucumber and tomato to serve.

Mash the egg in a bowl. Add the turkey, mayonnaise, celery, onion and relish to the egg. Refrigerate until ready to eat.Just before serving stir in the pecans and grapes.  Serve on wheat bread, with lettuce, cucumber and tomato.


Blueberry Cobbler Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. In another bowl stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir into sugar mixture. Stir in oats, then blueberries and white chocolate chips. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8-12 minutes but do not over bake. Cool on wire racks.

(NOTE: Can also be made using dried cranberries)

recipe: my friend Peg


Christmas Chicken Crescent Wreath

2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup shredded Co-Jack cheese
2/3 cup cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chopped fresh broccoli
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
3/4 cup cubed cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped onion

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Using a 12″ pizza pan, arrange the crescent rolls in a ring, with the
pointed ends facing the outer edge of the pan; and the wide ends overlapping.Combine all of the remaining ingredients, and spoon over the wide ends of the rolls.  Fold points over the filling; and tuck under wide ends.Filling will be visible.
Bake  20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Transfer carefully to a holiday platter.
(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
Amish Friendship Soup
Make this for your family or to give as gifts!
1/2 cup Dry Split Peas
1/3 cup Beef Bouillon — low sodium
1/4 cup Pearl Barley
1/2 cup Dry Lentils
1/4 cup Dried Minced Onion
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup Uncooked Long Grain Rice — brown
1/2 cup Alphabet Macaroni (or just plain macaroni)

Additional Ingredients

1 pound Lean Ground Beef
3 quarts Water
1 can Diced Tomatoes — (8 Ounces) Undrained
In a 1-1/2-pint or 1 quart jar, layer the first eight ingredients in the order listed. Seal tightly.
Yield: 1 batch. Store in a cool, dry place until ready to use
To give as a gift, decorate jar as desired and attach the following directions:

To prepare soup, carefully remove macaroni from top of jar and set aside. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, brown beef and drain. Add water, tomatoes and soup mix, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add the reserved macaroni and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until macaroni, peas, lentils and barley are tender.

Apricot Buttons (cookies)

About 1 C.(1/2 lb.) butter or margarine,at room temp.
3/4 C. sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups finely ground walnuts
1/2 cup apricot jam
Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, 
beat 1 cup butter and sugar until smooth.Add egg yolks 
and vanilla and beat until well blended.Stir in flour and
 salt; beat just until dough comes together.In a 
small bowl, beat egg whites to blend. Place walnuts 
in another  small bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
 Dip each in egg whites, turning to coat completely, 
then roll in walnuts to coat. Place about 1 
inch apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.
 Press your thumb gently into the center of each 
cookie to make an imprint.
Bake until lightly browned, 18 to 20 minutes; if baking
 two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions
 halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets 
for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer 
to racks to cool completely. Spoon about 1/2 tsp. jam
 into the center of each cool cookie.
Yield: about 36 cookies.
(recipe: Recipe du Jour site)
(I see my server is starting to ‘give me fits’ so I’d better close; it starts
making my entries go way past the right hand border, so then I have
to hand-edit each word I enter and really watch the borders-too fussy!)
Stay warm, try to rest and enjoy the wintery weather! It does look pretty if you’re standing inside all nice & warm . . . just sayin…


Published in: on December 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Sunday – Snow Day

Woke up to a ‘blanket of white’ and still coming down – yep, we got the snow. Getting weather reports that we’re supposed to get a total of 8 – 10 inches by tonight, and getting worse as it gets later in the evening. Oh, joy… sigh. The good thing? Have 3 batches of cookies baked now and 2 loaves of Banana Nut Bread! Right now I’m taking a short rest break before enlisting youngest to help me drag down the Christmas decorations/tree/etc. We didn’t go to church today because of all the snow and weather reports; got a call a little earlier that church and choir practice have been canceled for tonight – it MUST be getting worse for that to happen! (Our church is about 20-25 min. from where we live and the road to get there is around several lakes. Driving ‘the curves’ on a good day is a bit exciting, let alone with tons of snow and bad road!) I’m so grateful for a warm house, food in the fridge, warm clothes, candles, flashlights & oil lamps for emergencies – we’ll be Ok.

On the ‘recipe subject’, have a few more cookie recipes to share and some ‘extras’ you might find interesting:


Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 C. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 C. shortening

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 C. sugar

2 T. water

4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

3 C. regular oats (not instant)


Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Sift together: flour, baking soda and salt. Add in shortening, eggs, vanilla, sugar and water. Melt baking chocolate and add to mixture. Beat until smooth then gradually add oatmeal. Shape mixture into 4 ‘bars’, then cut each ‘bar’ into 12 equal pieces (1 bar=12 cookies).

Place on cookie sheets and bake 10 min. Makes 4 dozen.


This next recipe is really REALLY good if you’re unable to handle sugars – this gives you a great recipe you can actually indulge in!


Weight Watcher’s Banana Cream Pie


2/3 C. Ricotta cheese

1 tsp. vanilla

4 T. flour

Cream Filling:

2/3 C. Ricotta cheese

1 tsp. vanilla

1 packet sweetner (little paper packets)

2 bananas, sliced

1 pkg. diet vanilla pudding, made accord’g to directions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix ingredients for crust, place in pie pan and shape with fingers. Bake crust 20-30 minutes, then cool. Mix ingredients for cream filling and pour on top of baked crust. Arrange sliced bananas on top of filling. Mix vanilla pudding according to package directions and pour on top of bananas. Chill for at least 1 hour.

(these directions are a good 20 yrs. old – was in my recipe files. the equivalents are as follows, from that time: “1 piece equals: 1 milk, 1 fruit, 1/2 C. cheese, 3 ‘something extra’). Hope that helps!


No-Bake Oatmeal Clusters

2 C. sugar

1/2 C. milk

1 stick butter

pinch of salt

Boil above ingredients 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add, immediately:

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 C. peanut butter

4 C. quick cook (instant) oatmeal

Stir until mixed; spoon onto waxed paper in small mounds. Let set until cool.


Lemon Melt-Away Cookies

1 C. butter

1/3 C. powdered sugar

2/3 C. cornstarch

1 C. flour

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

Cream together butter and powdered sugar. Sift together cornstarch and flour. Mix two mixtures together and drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 15 minutes.


2 C. powdered sugar

3 T. lemon juice

1/4 C. butter

1 tsp. lemon rind (grated)

Mix above frosting ingredients together and frost cookies.


Bacon and Cheddar Appetizers

1 package (8 oz. size) finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/2 cup real bacon bits
60 Triscuits or other crackers

Mix all ingredients except crackers until well blended.
Place crackers on cookie sheet. Top each cracker with about 1 tsp. cheese mixture. Broil until cheese is melted. Garnish with chopped red and green pepper.

(recipe: Trish – 1_Comfort_Foods Digest)


Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles (candy)

1 (8 squares) pkg. semi-sweet baking chocolate

1/2 C. peanut butter

1 (8 oz.) tub Cool whip, thawed

1/4 C. powdered sugar


Microwave baking chocolate in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in peanut butter until well blended. Cool to room temperature. Gently stir in whipped topping. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Scoop peanut butter mixture with melon baller or teaspoon, then shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Store in refrigerator. Makes 3 dozen.

Additional ideas: Roll some of the balls in chopped pecans or nuts, toasted coconut, grated baking chocolate (white or brown), finely crushed Oreos or crushed candy canes.

(recipe: Kraft Foods)


Ok – now that I’ve pretty much drown you in sugar, I’ll let ya go. I find myself right now craving something really yummy, like a really good spicy cheese and bean dip or a spinach dip  – don’t know why, that just sounds really good  right now.

Enjoy your evening (or day); stay warm and in good health. ‘Tis the season to be Jolly (AND Grateful!!!);



Remember: JESUS is the reason for the Season!!!


Published in: on December 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm  Comments (1)  
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Let them eat . . . Cookies!

Well, here we are at Day 1 of my ‘marathon’ cooking baking. The last tray of Peanut Butter cookies is in the oven and I’m taking a bit of a break. I’m learning that, as the years go by, I just don’t have the strength in my wrists and hands that I used to. After struggling with my regular hand mixer and getting no where, I dragged out my trusty ‘work horse’ Sunbeam stand mixer and attached the beaters. After several minutes of frustrating mess, I put the ‘dough hooks’ on and tried again – still no go. This particular dough is really REALLY thick; requiring hand mixing with a spoon or spatula. I worked at it for about 10 minutes before calling in my youngest to finish getting all the 3 cups of flour mixed in. It’s a good recipe, makes 4 1/2-5 dozen cookies,


Pam’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Cream together:

1 C. shortening

1 C. granulated sugar

1 C. brown sugar


2 beaten eggs

1 C. peanut butter (I use ‘crunchy’ – adds more texture)

Mix in:

3 C. flour (gradually)

2 tsp. soda

dash of salt

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Form dough into balls and press tops with a fork to make the criss-cross design. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets 10 min.

Makes 4 1/2-5 dozen


Next on the ‘Hit Parade’ of cookies is my oldest son and husband’s favorite: Ginger Snaps



3/4 C. butter

2 C. sugar

Stir in:

2 beaten eggs

1/2 C. molassess (I use the dark)

2 tsp. vinegar


3 3/4 C. flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

2-3 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

(extra granulated sugar to roll cookies in)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together well; form into golf-sized balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes. Makes 5 dozen

NOTE: If dough begins to stick to your hands when rolling, refrigerate it 10-15 minutes.


I haven’t made this next recipe in a few years and I’ll admit: they’re my favorites. They’re light, nutty and not too sweet – perfect with a hot cup of coffee on a wintery day!

Russian Teacakes

1 C. margarine

1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/4 C. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 C. finely chopped walnuts

(extra confectioner’s sugar to roll cookies in)


Preheat oven 400 degrees

Mix margarine, sugar, vanilla, then add rest of ingredients. Roll into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes – DO NOT BROWN! While cookies are still warm, roll in confectioner’s sugar to coat.  Makes 3 1/2 dozen.


Another favorite of mine (that I don’t always make for Christmas) is Walnut Crunch (or sometimes called Potato Chip) Cookies. This recipe comes from a friend from many, many years ago and she was so amazed that I thought her cookies were so very tasty – they are! They’re light, and a perfect cookie for a ladies luncheon or fancy event as well as just a great cookie to have around!


Walnut Crunch Cookies


1 C. butter

1/2 C. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2  C. crushed potato chips

1/2 C. chopped walnuts

maraschino cherries cut into halves (enough to put 1 on each cookie)

Cream together:

1 C. butter

1/2 C. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Fold in:

1/2 C. crushed potato chips

1/2 C. chopped walnuts


Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Roll into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Press balls flat with fingers or fork. Place 1/2 maraschino cherry in center of each cookie. Bake 10 minutes. Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.


One more relatively easy recipe is my Sugar Cookies (using oil). I know it sounds strange, but these are made using cooking oil in place of butter or margarine – don’t worry, you’ll never notice in the taste!

Sugar Cookies (using oil)

2 1/2 C. flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 C. granulated sugar

3/4 C. cooking oil

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla

(extra gran. sugar for rolling cookies in)


Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Mix together four, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add sugar, cooking oil, eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Form dough into balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Flatten tops of cookies with a fork and bake 10 minutes. Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.


I have several other ‘favorite cookie recipes’ and will try to remember to type them up here. I’m pretty sure I featured these last year, also as well as my mother-in-law’s great fruitcake. (don’t worry – I didn’t like fruit cake EITHER until I had hers – it’s just fruit & nuts, no citrin!)

The weather today is grey and gloomy but it’s 36 degrees, so not really freezing feeling. We’re supposed to be getting a huge snow storm later on but I’m not going to worry about it – yet. Depending on my energy levels, I might bake 2 more batches of cookies today but that depends . . .  I still have the box of 4 dozen frozen already-cut-out Gordon Foods sugar cookies in the freezer that will need to be baked and frosted – but that’s definitely for LATER!

Hope you’re having a good day! Try to stay healthy, drink plenty of liquids and relax as often as you can. It’s the HOLIDAYS – we’re supposed to ENJOY them!



Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm  Comments (1)  
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