Projects, Plants and Other “Stuff”

Today’s Tuesday and I’m feeling a little stronger every day – that’s a GREAT thing! Yesterday found me deciding to get rid of our old ‘House Bills Book’ and creating a new one, complete with folders, tabs, titles, etc.! Took about 1 1/2 hours, but I’m happy with the results – even made a page with all the information on each company – Tab: “Insurances” – then a list of each company, their address and phone number plus our policy numbers – just in case . . . Since my husband will soon be joining me in the “60’s” category (his birthday is Jan 23rd), I felt it would be helpful to have all that information in ONE PLACE. Took awhile to gather all the information on each separate one, but I’m happy with the results; now there, in one place, is all the information for Eye Care, Dental, Car Insurance, House Insurance, Medical, Life Insurance and Investments.

Today was another ‘burst of energy’ so I went through all my kitchen cupboards and refrigerators, tossing ‘old’ stuff or things I’ll probably never use (like that half package of Filo Dough from last New Years) – something tells me I won’t be having a sudden urge to make Tiropita (Greek Appetizer made with filo). After getting an idea of what we ‘have’ and what we ‘need’, I then made a detailed list for the grocery store, rested a little bit, then charged to Kroger’s. Happy with my purchases (I even passed up a sale on REALLY BIG turkeys at 69 cents a pound). As I was going down the pop isle I had a sudden thought: A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have felt THIS GOOD or been able to do the things I’ve done today – I would just have been too fatigued. Thank you, LORD for restoring my health and energy! (Even stopped at Tim Horton’s for coffee for my husband & I – it’s a little ‘treat’ we both love).  Now our ‘larder’ is filled with things to make and eat soon, like Spaghetti & meatballs w/garlic bread; Pierogies & sausages; Enchiladas; a Pork Roast and other goodies. It also occurred to me – I’m cooking more. I know my guys ‘survived’ while I was sick but I really can’t say on ‘what’ – I’m guessing they’re also happy I’m feeling better!

Plants – today I had to relegate  (what was once) a fern to the garbage. I’m definitely NOT a plant person; this was a Mother’s Day gift from my grandson & his Mom. When I received it I hung it outside on a shepherd’s crook and it did great all summer! When the weather got colder, I brought it inside and ‘attempted’ to keep it going – let’s just say it didn’t have a very promising future. Just before Christmas I took the fern and it’s ‘friend’, a wandering Jew plant which was also a gift from a friend, stripped off all their old leaves & stems/branches (whatever you call them on a fern), gave them some plant food and a warning: “OK, it’s sink or swim for both of you – if you don’t start perking up soon it’s the garbage for you.” Today I gave the wandering Jew another warning – “You’re next – if you don’t start looking healthier – it’s ‘The Way of the Fern’ with you!” (I’m a stern taskmaster – these plants better just listen . . . or else!) The only other plants in my house are a Birdsnest Sansiveria (those short plants that are relatives of the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue) and a miniature umbrella plant. Mine is a left-over from my mother-in-law’s funeral – that would be 1993. It was originally in a large round table planter and somehow, I’ve managed to keep it alive (not by MY ‘green thumb’, for sure!) I’ve learned, through the years, that both the Birdsnest and the Umbrella plant only like water once a week and then, sparingly. Look out any other plant given into my possession; one of my nicknames should be: “She Who Kills Most Plants”!

Still plugging along on John’s afghan squares – just a little over half done with them (aiming for a total of 49). I’m learning that if I find a simple pattern, I’ll knit around 2 green & 2 red squares in that pattern – saves me constantly looking up  more patterns and it goes quicker.

Last night I did something I rarely do – (at least since my cancer, anyway) I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. finishing a book. Haven’t read many books lately and decided to check up (on line, using our library’s site) on a favorite auther: Steve Berry. He writes mostly historical fiction with a murder-type twist. This one was a little slow in starting but quickly picked up the pace and had me enthralled. He wrote this one last year (2011): “The Jefferson Key” – I’d recommend it and all of his books, for that matter.

Ah yes, recipes . . . HERE THEY ARE!


Pork Tenderloin w/Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
2 lb. sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 C. orange juice
2 tsp. dried oregano, divided
2 T. vegetable oil
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
** (see tip below)
Spray 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick
spray. Place potatoes in pan; combine
orange juice & 1 tsp. oregano in small
bowl; pour over potatoes. Combine oil,
garlic, remaining 1 tsp. oregano, salt &
pepper in small bowl; stir together.
Coat pork with seasoned oil mixture;
place on top of potatoes. Cover pan
tightly with aluminum foil; bake
35 minutes. Increase oven temp.
to 425 degrees F. Remove foil,
bake uncovered 10-15 minutes
more or until pork is slightly pink
in center (160 degrees F.) and
potatoes are tender. Let pork
stand 5 minutes before slicing.

**(tip): Line baking pan with
aluminum foil and spray
foil with nonstick cooking
spray for easy clean up.
Jalapeno Macaroni & Ham Bake

2 pkg (7 1/4 oz ea) Kraft Mac &
cheese dinner
1 T. oil
15 slices deli honey ham, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & chopped*
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 eggs, beaten
4 Kraft Big Slice Pepper Jack Cheese
Slice, coarsely chopped
18 Ritz crackers, crushed (about 3/4 C.)
1/2 C. fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Prepare Kraft dinners in large saucepan
according to pkg. directions. Heat oil
in medium skillet on medium heat.
Add ham, onions, peppers & garlic;
cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add ham mixture to Dinners with eggs
& chopped cheese; mix lightly. Mix
cracker crumbs & parsley; stir half
into Dinner mixture. Spoon into 2
quart casserole dish sprayed with
nonstick spray. Top with remaining
crumb mixture. Bake 35 minutes
or until center is set & casserole
is heated through. Serves 8.

* Substitute a Serrano chile or canned
chipotle pepper in adobo sauce for
jalapeno pepper.
Creamy Chicken, Bacon & Tomato Pasta

3 C. whole wheat farfalle (bow tie pasta), uncooked
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into
bite-sized pieces
3 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 (14 1/2 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes,
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 C. water
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed on pkg, omitting salt.
Cook chicken in large skillet on medium heat
5-6 min. or until done, stirring occasionally.
Add next 5 ingredients; mix well. Cook 3
minutes or until cream cheese is completely
melted and mixture is well blended, stirring
frequently. Drain pasta, place in large bowl.
Add sauce; mix lightly. Sprinkle with
grated Parmesan. Serves 4.
Mom’s Cherry Crunch

2 sticks butter
1 C. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 3/4 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 C. rolled oats
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix butter & sugar together well. Add
flour, baking soda, salt & oats; mix
well until crumbly. Press into a
greased 9 x 13 pan, reserving 1 C.
mixture. Spread pie filling over oat
mixture; sprinkle remaining
oat mixture over pie filling. Bake
20-25 minutes.
Crazy Crust Pizza

1 1/2 lb bulk sausage or ground beef
1 C flour
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2/3 C. milk
2 eggs
1/4  C. onion, chopped
4 oz mushrooms
8 oz tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven 425°.
Place oven rack at lowest position.
Lightly grease 12 inch pizza pan; sprinkle
with flour. In large skillet, brown sausage;
drain. Lightly spoon flour into measuring
cup; level off. In small bowl, combine flour,
Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, milk and eggs;
blend until smooth. Pour batter into prepared
pan, tilting pan so batter covers bottom.
Spoon meat mixture over batter; top with
onion and mushrooms. Bake on lowest oven
rack 25- 30 minutes or until pizza is deep golden
brown. Combine tomato sauce and oregano;
spoon over pizza. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Stuffed Strawberries
12 strawberries
3/4 C. milk choc. chips (can use semi-
3 oz. cream cheese
2 T. honey
1/4 tsp. almond extract
chopped almonds or nuts- optional

Halve strawberries length- wise,
core out center, leaving stem on.
Dry on paper towels. Melt chocolate
in microwave bowl until melted,
stirring regularly. Line a cookie
sheet with waxed paper. Holding
strawberry by stem, dip in bottom
in chocolate, leaving top half bare;
place on waxed paper. Beat
together cream cheese, honey &
almond extract. Spoon into pastry
bag, pipe into strawberry centers,
sprinkle on nuts (optional) Makes 24.

Creamy Biscuit Cups w/Bacon

2 (3 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 T. milk
1 large egg
1/2 C. shredded Swiss cheese
1 green onion, chopped
1 (12 oz) can refrigerated flaky biscuits
5 bacon slices, cooked & crumbled
and divided

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a large muffin tin with nonstick
spray. In a bowl, beat first 3 ingredients
on medium speed until blended. Stir in
cheese & green onion. Separate biscuits
into 10 portions; pat each biscuit into a
5″ circle. Press each circle into bottom
and up sides of muffin tins. Sprinkle each
circle/cup with half the bacon. Spread
cream cheese mix evenly over bacon.
Bake 22 minutes or until set. Sprinkle
tops with remaining bacon, pressing
into filling. Serve warm. Makes 10.

There you have it – another entry, another day. Here in good old

Michigan it’s 40 degrees, clear and sunny – still no (the “S” word)

s-n-o-w… don’t say that too loud, I’m enjoying this January

without having to either use an umbrella or shovel – it’s great!

Have a GREAT day!!!




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Wow you’re train has left the station just puffin’ and pullin’ there lady! Sounds like the old Alice we know and love. Keepo it up and enjoy every minute!!! Love yah!

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