No Really Good Excuse . . .

just haven’t had much to write about! (I guess that’s a good thing). It’s been busy but kinda quiet here; got a call Monday asking if I could babysit our grandson on Wednesday; his Mom got a part-time job and needed me to watch him from around 4-7 p.m. Sure! Not a problem! That kinda changed when she called a day later saying she wanted me to pick him up at his BUS STOP, not at school. School I know – bus stop – No. After a good 15 minutes worth of her trying to tell me exactly where it was, I gave in and said: “Ok – I get it” (truth? I didn’t really). This produced me worrying all night, nightmares that somehow he’d be left there and we couldn’t find him – bad stuff. Next day (yesterday) my husband said: “Do you want ME to go with you?” YES!!! Two sets of eyes are much better than one. Turns out he had it all figured out – found the ‘stop’ with no problem at all! (I had pictured it somewhere between 2 apartment complexes – and it IS but it’s right on the MAIN road! I was terrified I wouldn’t SEE the bus or HEAR it, and it would be somewhere in the many little side streets in both apartment complexes.) Today was Day 2 of the same thing: I picked him up at the stop (by myself) with no problems – YAY! Mostly it’s been driving: picking up youngest from school, driving him to or from work, my special needs group Weds., etc. I DID have a unique situation which made me really smile (hear me out): a friend in my knit group has recently posted on Facebook that a close friend of hers now has been diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer – for the SECOND time. She had it almost 5 years ago (and then she was almost at the end of her 5-years taking cancer-preventing medicine) and got pregnant with her second child. The pregnancy messed with her hormones and brought on another estrogen-fed cancer. Her friend/my friend-Andrea, decided that she would host a fund raiser for her. She came up with various items to give, for a donation. She also posted that if she could raise $1,500, she would shave her head in honor of her friend. She did just that! I told her I would give her friend a chemo cap, and I gave one to my friend, also. She just posted on Facebook a photo of her wearing my hat (this is my friend Andrea the great fund raiser, not the friend who has cancer)

Such a great friend – and such a great chemo cap model, too!

Here are both of the ‘lovely ladies’ – such great hearts!

I ended up bidding (now that I think of it, I think I already wrote about this) on the Denise circular knitting needles and winning the bid. So glad she was able to reach her goal of $1,500; every little bit helps.

Still working on knitting baby hats, nothing new – counted this morning and I’m up to 28 (almost to the original number of 29 – that’s the number I had ready for the hospital and then sent to Nicaragua instead). Been having fun ‘creating’ using various yarns – stripes, heavy ‘fuzzy’ yarn stripes with thin baby yarns. Just learned in the past few days of two young ladies who will be having babies in the Spring, so it will soon be time for me to knit more baby blankets.

(later on this evening now) Pizzas cooked for dinner, Grandson has gone home, youngest son retrieved from his work. Next on the agenda: middle son & youngest son going to the midnight preview of “Silent Hill Revelation” (read that video game-themed spooky movie); they’re both really excited – middle son said it’s been something like 5-10 years since they were originally going to make this movie.

Guess I’d better get on with posting recipes, since that’s originally what I’d planned on doing when I first started this entry!

====================

Apple-Cinnamon Pull-Apart Loaf


16 Rhodes frozen dinner rolls, thawed

3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled &
chopped
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1 tsp. cinnamon
zest & juice from 1/2 lemon (about 2 tsp)

Icing:
1 C. powdered sugar
3-4 tsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond flavoring

Cut thawed rolls in half. Combine apples, sugar,
nuts, cinnamon, lemon juice & zest. Flatten each
roll-half into a 2-3 inch circle. Place 1 tsp. apple
mixture in center of each dough circle. Pinch edges
together to seal, forming a ball. Place filled balls
in a sprayed 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Spoon remaining
apple mixture evenly over top. Cover with greased
plastic wrap – let rise until dough doubles.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Remove wrap, bake 40-45 minutes. Cover with
foil last 10 minutes of baking to prevent over
browning. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from
pan; place on wire rack to cool. Combine icing
ingredients; drizzle over loaf. Makes 1 loaf.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
—————————————-

Scalloped Potatoes & Ham
(crockpot)

3 lb. potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 C. chopped, cooked ham
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 C. water

1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Place potatoes in crockpot. In medium
bowl, mix together, shredded cheese, onion
& ham. Mix with potatoes in crockpot. Using
the same bowl, mix together soup & water.
Season to taste with garlic powder, salt &
pepper. Pour evenly over potato mixture.
Cover & cook on High for 4 hours.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

—————————————

Layered Chile Casserole


1/2 lb. chorizo*
1 small onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. adobo seasoning
1 C. picante sauce**
4 eggs
1 C. sour cream
1/4 C. flour
1 (8 oz) pkg shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded & quartered

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Brown chorizo in

large skillet on medium heat;
drain. Add onions, garlic & adobo seasoning;
mix well. Cook & stir until onions are tender. Stir
in picante sauce; simmer 5 minutes. Beat eggs
lightly in medium bowl; add sour cream & flour,
mix well. Stir in cheese. Layer half each: chiles,
sausage mixture, egg mixture in greased 8-inch
square baking dish. Repeat layers. Bake 35
minutes or until center is set. Makes 8 servings.

*can substitute 1/2 lb. hamburger for chorizo
** can substitute salsa for picante sauce

(recipe: Kraft foods)
———————————————

3-Cheese Chicken/Penne Pasta Bake


1 1/2 C. multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked
1 (9 oz) pkg. fresh spinach leaves
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts,
cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. dried basil
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
drained
1 (14 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
2  oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese,
divided
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cook pasta in large saucepan accordg.
to pkg. directions, omitting salt. Add
spinach leaves to boiling water for
last minute of cooking. Cook & stir
chicken & basil in large nonstick
skillet sprayed with nonstick spray on
medium-high heat 3 minutes. Stir in
tomatoes & spaghetti sauce; bring
to a boil. Simmer on Low heat 3 minutes
or until chicken is done, stirring
occasionally; stir in cream cheese.
Drain pasta mixture; return to pan.
Stir in chicken mixture & 1/2 C.
mozzarella;  pour into 2 quart
casserole dish sprayed with nonstick
spray. Bake 20 minutes or until
heated through; top with remaining
cheeses. Bake 3 minutes or until
mozzarella is melted. Makes 4
servings, 2 C. each.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
——————————–

Stuffed Pepper Casserole


1 lb. ground beef
2 green peppers, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 C. cooked long-grain white rice
1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 C. Kraft shredded Italian
Five-Cheese with a touch of
Philadelphia cheese, divided

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Brown meat with peppers & garlic
in large skillet; drain. Stir in rice,
spaghetti sauce & 3/4 C. cheese.
Spoon into 2 quart casserole dish
sprayed with nonstick spray; top
with remaining cheese. Bake 25
minutes or until heated through.
Makes 7 (1 C .each) servings.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
————————————

Italian Sausage Soup


8 oz. hot or sweet turkey Italian sausage
2 C. chicken broth 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

with basil,
garlic & oregano
1/2 C. uncooked small shell pasta
2 C. bagged baby spinach leaves
2 T. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 T. chopped fresh basil

Heat large saucepan over medium heat. Remove
casings from sausage & add sausage to pan. Cook
about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to
crumble; drain & return to pan. Add broth, tomatoes
& pasta to pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover
& reduce heat – simmer 10 minutes or until pasta
is done. Remove from heat; stir in spinach until
wilted. Sprinkle each serving with cheese & basil.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
————————-

Tomato-Zucchini Gratin


3 lb. ripe plum tomatoes
3 lb. firm zucchini 1/2 C. dried bread crumbs
1/4 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 T. chopped fresh oregano
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 C. olive oil

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Slice tomatoes & zucchini into 1/4-inch

thick round slices, as uniformly as you
can. Overlap tomato & zucchini slices

on a cookie sheet or ovenproof platter, like
red & green shingles. Blend all dry
ingredients together, scatter them evenly
over tomatoes & zucchini. Sprinkle olive oil
on top & bake until golden brown & crusty,
about 20 minutes.  Serves 6

(recipe: Rhonda G-Mary’s Recipe Exchange)
———————-

Death by Oreo Cupcakes


1 pkg. Oreos, regular size
1 pkg. mini oreos, (for decoration)
1 box chocolate cake mix
8 oz cream cheese, room temp.
8 T. butter, room temp.
3 3/4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix cake mix accordg to pkg. directions,
do not bake. Line cupcake pans with
paper liners. Place a regular sized
Oreo in bottom of each liner. Take 1/2
of remaining cookies & chop coarsely;
add to cake mix. Fill cupcake tins with
batter. Bake 15 minutes (or accordg.
to box directions).
Frosting:
Cream butter & cream cheese; add
vanilla, then powdered sugar slowly
until well blended. Chop remaining
regular-sized Oreos very fine &
add to frosting. After cupcakes are
cooled, frost with frosting & place a
few mini Oreos on top. Makes 24
cupcakes.

(recipe: Debbie-justapinch.com)
===========================

How’s your weather? It’s been really gorgeous here the past 2-3 days. Temps in the mid-

70’s during the day, sunny & breezy (blowing all the leaves around and off the trees) – big, fluffy white clouds in a very bright blue sky – a PERFECT summer/fall day (I’m still saying I think this was our Indian Summer). Forecast for the next 3-4 days, starting Friday night: RAIN and temps in the 40’s (typical fall weather for this time of year in Michigan). I guess, if we have to, I’ll accept it. Sure was glad to see the really nice days.

Gas prices in your area – how’s it going for you there? Ours have gone down, in the past month, from almost $4.00 ($3.99/9) a gallon to $3.36/9 today (that’s the low-grade gas). I’m happy with that – topped off the tank since I know I’ll be driving some. I’d rather be a happy driver using $3.36/9 a gallon gas than the almost $4.00 it was (she says this knowing it will probably jump up again anytime now).

Anyway, friends – ENJOY YOUR DAY! 

Big hugs;

Pammie

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