Thursday Thoughts

It’s been a rather quiet day here, just doing the ‘regular’ things like washing/drying/folding clothes, picking up/dropping off son and picking up the house a bit. Just changed out the front Welcome sign from the red hearts to a Fall wreath, moved my Wandering Jew plant indoors – that’s one plant I’m still ‘in the dark’ about. It didn’t do well in the house and, in the Spring, I moved it outside with the warning: Grow or Die! – – – it chose to grow! Amazing! We’ll see how it does (or does NOT do) over the winter – I’ve told you before – I’m NO plant person!

We’re currently awaiting the ‘TREE’ man – we have a huge (probably 30 ft, easy) black walnut tree in our back yard which is up against our fence. Yes, it throws tons of black walnuts all over the lawn (AND our neighbor’s yard). Apparently, it’s been bugging our neighbor – she called last week to tell us that there’s a branch hanging over her yard – she says the branch is cracked and, if it falls, will take out her sun porch – sigh. We’ll see what the TREE guy says – I’m still not sure just what my husband has decided; one minute he’s all for totally getting rid of the tree, the next it’s “we’ll just get it trimmed up and save the tree”. (Yes, I know that some people/company’s BUY trees for their wood, we had a company stop by about a year ago and tell us that they buy per foot upwards from the first branch DEPENDING on the staightness of the rest of the tree – the  more straight – the more money.) Ours is not very straight. Ah, the fun of it all – – – sigh.  We’ve never sprayed the tree, hence the nuts are wormy – the neighbor that used to live there when we moved in would collect the nuts, dry them and use them in baking – but they moved a good 12 years ago; neighbor now just thinks the tree is a nuisance.


(after consult with tree guy) We all agreed to SAVE the black walnut – they’re going to ‘give it a hair cut’! He agreed it’s a very good, healthy tree – no reason to totally take it down.  They can trim off branches, give it some ‘room’ AND (hopefully) not bug the neighbor with the branches by taking them up higher on her side. Along with the consult we ended up deciding to remove another tree AND have our front bushes trimmed up, too! YAY! I’m actually happy with the entire idea! The front bushes, alone, have been a big pain in my side for many years. I’m 5’4″ tall and for years the only way those bushes would be trimmed was by me standing on a short ladder and using the long hedge clippers AS FAR AS I COULD REACH! The last time I did that (a good 3 years ago) I could only reach about 3/4’s around & up the bushes – they ended up looking like they had MOHAWK hair cuts! They looked ridiculous! (I asked the male members of the family to ‘finish the job’ and trim the remaining branches but it never got done). Since that time the bushes have entirely gone WILD – I can’t see out our front door window (too much bush/branches in the way). This company is very reputable (have been in business since the late 1890’s!) and the man who came out is an Arborist from Michigan State College – he knows his TREES (& bushes!)!!! They’re going to call us for the date of all the work – around 2 weeks from now – I’m really glad we called them!


Recipes? Are you ready for more “Some Summer/Some Fall”??? Here ya go:


Curried Broccoli Salad

1/2 C. mayonnaise
3 tsp. spicy brown mustard
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. curry powder

3 C. fresh broccoli florets
1/2 C. raisins
1/3 C. sunflower kernels, roasted
& salted

Mix mayonnaise, mustard, honey &

curry powder in large bowl until
well blended. Add broccoli, raisins &
sunflower kernels to mayonnaise
mix; toss lightly. Serve immediately
or cover & refrigerate until ready
to serve. Serves 6 (1/2 c. each)

(recipe: readyseteat)

Skillet Spinach Gratin

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

6 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 1/2 lb. baby spinach leaves or
2 bags (10 oz, ea) fresh spinach leaves
(about 4 C.) *
4 oz. (1/2 of 8 oz pkg) cream cheese,
15 Ritz crackers, coarsely crushed,
about 1 1/2 C.)
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. butter, melted

Cook onions & bacon in large skillet on medium-
high heat 5-7 minutes or until bacon is crisp,
stirring frequently; drain. Add spinach; cook

3-5 minutes or until spinach is slightly wilted,
stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add cream
cheese; mix well. combine cracker crumbs,
Parmesan cheese & butter. Sprinkle over
spinach mixture just before serving. Serves 6,
1/2 C. each.

* can substitute cleaned & deveined Swiss
chard for spinach.
(recipe: Kraft foods)

No-Chop Potato Salad

1 (24 oz) pkg. frozen loose-pack diced
hash browns with onions & peppers
1 1/2 C. thinly sliced celery
1 (8 oz) tub sour cream chive dip
2/3 C. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 T. sugar
1 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
3 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
lettuce leaves (optional)
celery leaves (optional)
pimiento strips (optional)

In large covered saucepan, cook hash

browns in boiling water for 6-8 minutes
or until tender; drain well. In large bowl,
combine potatoes & celery; set aside.
In small bowl, combine sour cream dip,
mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, mustard &
salt. Add mayonnaise mixture to potato
mixture; toss lightly to coat. Gently fold
in hard-boiled eggs. Cover & refrigerate
4-24 hours. Before serving, garnish
with lettuce leaves, celery leaves, and/or
pimiento strips, if desired. Makes 20

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe

Kelly’s Black Bean Salad

1 C. white rice
2 C. water
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1/3 C. red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. ground cumin
4 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 C. canola oil
3 (15.5 oz, ea) cans black beans,
drained & rinsed well
1/2 (10 oz) box frozen corn,

Bring rice & water to a boil in
a saucepan; reduce heat to
medium-low. Cover & simmer
until rice is tender & liquid
has been absorbed – 20-25
minutes. Mix tomatoes, vinegar,

garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt,
oregano & black pepper together
in a bowl. Whisk oil into tomato
mixture to make a dressing. Stir
rice, black beans & corn together
in a bowl; toss with dressing
until well coated. Makes 10

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe

Asian Spinach Salad

2 C. fresh spinach
1 C. grated carrot
1 C. bean sprouts
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. rice vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. chopped dry-roasted peanuts

Combine spinach, carrot & bean
sprouts in a large bowl. Combine
lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar,
& sesame oil, stirring well with a
whisk. Toss with spinach mixture;
top each serving with chopped nuts.

(recipe-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Spinach-stuffed Chicken Breasts

2-3 T. olive oil

1 C. thinly sliced leek (1 large)

2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tsp)

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

3/4 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,

thawed, drained & squeezed dry

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken

breasts, trimmed of excess fat
3 oz. bottled roasted red bell peppers,


1 T. melted butter

1/4 C. Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 C. dry white wine

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium

heat. Add leeks, garlic, oregano, salt, crushed

red pepper & black pepper; cook & stir until

leeks are soft (about 5 min.) Remove from

heat, add spinach, stirring to combine. Set

mixture aside. Cut chicken breasts in half

horizontally using a sharp knife. Place bottom

halves of chicken in 9 x 9″ baking dish, set

top halves aside. Divide spinach mixture evenly

among breasts; top each portion with 1/4 of

roasted red peppers; replace top halves of

chicken breasts. Brush top half of each chicken

breast with melted butter; sprinkle with bread

crumbs & spray lightly with nonstick cooking

spray. Add wine to baking dish (avoiding the

breadcrumbs). Bake 40 minutes or until chicken

is completely cooked. Remove chicken from oven;
let rest 5 minutes before serving. To serve, cut

each breast into 3-4 slices on the diagonal to

expose stuffing, or leave each portion whole.

(NOTE: Slicing chicken breast horizontally

holds the filling well and does away with

the need to pin them together with


(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)


German Potato Salad

3 lb. potatoes, peeled & sliced
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. cider vinegar
2 T. white sugar
2 T. dried parsley
ground black pepper, to taste

Bring large pot of salted water to
a boil; add peeled & cut potatoes;
cook until tender but still firm,
about 15 minutes. Drain; transfer
to large bowl. Add onions. In a
large bowl, whisk together
mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, sugar,
parsley, salt & pepper. Gently
stir mixture into potatoes &
onions. Let stand for 1 hour
before serving, to enhance

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys
Recipe Exchange)

Chicken Mandarin Salad

1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges
3 C. diced cooked chicken or turkey
1/4 C. slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. plain yogurt
1 T. honey
1 tsp. grated lemon or lime peel
2 T. lemon or lime juice (optional)
lettuce (optional)

Combine chicken, oranges & almonds in
medium salad bowl. Thoroughly blend

mayonnaise, yogurt, honey, lemon peel,
& juice, if desired, in a small bowl.
Pour over salad; toss gently to coat.
Serve on lettuce-lined plates, if desired.
Serves 5

(recipe: DelMonte)

Zucchini Corn Bread

6 eggs
3 C. shredded zucchini

1 1/2 C. cottage cheese
1 C. butter, melted
2 C. cornmeal
1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in
zucchini, cottage cheese & butter.
Combine dry ingredients; stir into
zucchini mixture just until combined.

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted in center comes
out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Makes
16-20 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-via Taste of Home
site-  Marys Recipe Exchange)

Unforgetable Chicken Casserole

3 C. chopped deli-roasted chicken
2 C. finely chopped celery
1 C. (4 oz) grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. slivered almonds
1/2 C. sour cream
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (4 oz) can water chestnuts, drained &
1 1/2 C. French fried onion rings

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Stir together first 8 ingredients in large
bowl. Spoon into a lightly greased 11 x
7 baking dish. Bake 40 minutes; sprinkle
onion rings evenly over top; bake 5
more minutes or until bubbly around edges.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 6-8 servings.

(recipe: RDJ 09/04/12)

Very Blueberry Cobbler

2 1/2 C. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 C. white sugar,
1/2 tsp. flour
1 T. butter, melted
1 3/4 C. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
6 T. white sugar
5 T. butter
1 C. milk
2 tsp. sugar
1 pinch ground cinnamon

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease an 8 inch square pan.
Place blueberries into pan, mix with
vanilla & lemon juice. Sprinkle with
1 C. sugar & 1/2 tsp. flour, then stir
in 1 T. melted butter; set aside.
In medium bowl, stir together 1 3/4
C. flour, baking powder & 6 T. sugar.
Rub in the 5 T. butter, using your
fingers or cut in with a pastry
blender until it is in small
pieces. Make a well in the center;
quickly stir in milk.  Mix just until
moistened. It should be a very thick batter
or very wet dough. May need to add a
splash more milk. Cover & let batter
rest 10 minutes. Spoon batter
over blueberries, leaving a few small
holes for berries to peek through. Mix
together cinnamon & 2 tsp. sugar;
sprinkle over top. Bake 20-25 minutes or
until top is golden brown. Let cool to
just warm before serving. Can be
refrigerated up to 2 days.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

An interesting fact from our area – I recently called a local hospital to see if they might need knit baby hats for their newborns. I was informed that (due to changes) only ONE of the three hospitals in our area delivers babies! Amazing! I spoke with a very nice woman there who was very excited about the idea but has to run it by several other people first. I’m working on a few – have 2 done, 1 more almost done.  We’ll see where this goes.

Our weather is definately going towards Fall – leaves are slowly falling from the trees, no big color changes yet. It’s been getting cooler – right now, at 5 p.m. it’s 67 degrees F. Time to drag out the sweaters & sweatshirts, jacket-weather is fast approaching. I’m already seeing Halloween decorations and advertisements for creepy ‘places’ (haunted houses, etc).  I guess you’d say I did my first ‘tribute to Fall’ the other day – I bought 3 caramel coated & nut covered apples! (LOVE those things – not good for my health, but I figure once a year isn’t too bad).

I’ll close for now – enjoy your day – stay warm & cosy; relax a bit – maybe have a cup of something warm (tea/coffee/hot cider/cocoa) and put your feet up. ENJOY!!!



Published in: on September 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Wow the adventure with the tree man sounds like an answer to your problems. I can just see him standing there in his green and brown outfit, hands on his hips, smiling as he says, Yes Pamela Jane we can help you –or is your name Alice perhaps? Hee Hee!

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