Once a chef . . . always a chef!

May I take your order, M’am?

Thursdays are ‘babysit my grandson’ day – today he was rather bored with reading his books and drawing. He noticed that his ‘kitchen set’ was missing from our livingroom (I gave it away about a month ago – it’s made for 2-4 yr olds & he’s 6 1/2). He said he was feeling like cooking – the good thing was, I kept the big container of plastic foods, his ‘menu’ and cooking implements – he was thrilled. If you’re going to be a customer in HIS restaurant you HAVE to give your name – he won’t serve you if you don’t! I became Miss Smith and later Mrs. Perriwinkle (my choice of names – he thought they were hillarious!). He made me breakfast, lunch and dinner with a few ‘chef choices’ thrown in extra. Did you know you have to use your blender to process pineapple? (He has a toy battery-operated blender and he must have blended that toy pineapple a good 10 times before declaring it was fit to eat!) It was a joy to play with him today – his dad would be proud of his ‘up and coming’ chef. (I’ll have to remember to ask my oldest son – his Dad – if HE requires the name of his client before cooking for them!) Oh – grandson, as the Executive Chef went by several names also; first he was Chef Tony and then, for the dinner menu, he was Chef Zane (apparently he knows a third-grader named Zane who’s his friend). Too funny. He very meticulously writes down how much he’s charging you, then gives you play plastic money to pay him with. A peanut butter & jelly sandwich, grape pop and a banana was $10.00 (inflation, you know . . . ) Ah, the imagination of a 6 year old!

Went shopping today for the Thanksgiving turkey – got a good deal at Kroger for their house brand: a 23 lb. for 69 cents a pound  – came to $15 – not bad. I find it interesting remember holiday prices from years ago – used to be a 4 stick package of margarine, on sale, was 50 cents – now, you’re lucky if you can find them for 79 cents (we’re talking Blue Bonnet or Imperial). I was happy to get the larger container of Durkee’s French Fried onions for $2.29 today – I thought I did rather well using coupons – saved $23.00 on an over-$100 total order, not bad. Still have to go to another store beginning of next week for the russet potatoes on sale: 5 lb bag 99 cents! Campbell’s gravy (in a glass jar) 2/$1.00 – not bad!  Picked up youngest son from work tonight and he was telling me about the lady customer who bought 16 turkeys! She was doing the cooking for her company’s holiday dinner – ugh! He’s had a few more ‘extreme’ couponers – more of the ‘over $600 orders’ – he said, for him as a cashier, it’s really tiring. I guess their store (Meijer) honors other stores coupons which means the cashier then has to do a lot of hand-typing in the prices & codes; if you have a lot of that type of items it could get really frustrating. (Glad I’m not working on that kind of job). I’m just grateful he HAS a job!

Still plugging away at the baby hats – finished 2 more today. Decided I’d change things up a bit and am working on another chemo cap. If you read my blog last month you saw I won a set of circular, interchangable knitting needles – I decided to give them a try on the chemo cap; they work very nicely. I finally found the ‘net yarn’ I was writing about last entry. It’s commonly used to knit quick scarves – there are several different kinds/types – here is a photo of what they look like knit-up:


Here’s more recipes for you:

Cool Ranch Chicken Tacos or Tostadas

4 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lb)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
14 oz. chicken broth

Put chicken breasts, taco & ranch mixes,
and chicken broth in crock pot. Set on Low
5 hours. After 5 hours, shred chicken with
2 forks. Replace lid, continue cooking on
Low 30 minutes more. Serve shredded
chicken on tostadas, tacos, burritos or salad
with your favorite toppings.
Serves 4-6

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

8 medium baking potatoes, about 4 lb.

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temp.
1/2 C. butter, softened (1 stick)
1 pint sour cream
2 C. (1/2 lb) shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese,
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 C. chopped chives, (garnish)
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained & crumbled

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Pierce potatoes , place on baking pan. Bake
1 hour 15 minutes, until very soft. Peel &
mash potatoes in large bowl with potato masher
or back of fork. Add cream cheese, butter, sour
cream & 1 C. Cheddar; stir well. Add garlic, salt &
pepper; stir again. Spray 9 X 13 baking pan with non-
stick cooking spray. Place potato mixture in dish,
bake 30-35 minutes until hot. Sprinkle remaining
1 C. Cheddar over casserole, return to oven 5 minutes
until cheese melts. Garnish with chopped chives & bacon
before serving. Makes 10-12 servings.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Hamburger Gravy

2 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 C. flour
1 quart milk salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp. onion salt
1 small onion, chopped (optional)

Place hamburger in deep skillet; crumble

& cook over medium-high heat until evenly
brown. Remove from heat & sprinkle flour
over cooked hamburger. Stir until evenly
coated & all fat is absorbed. Place skillet
over medium heat, add 1/2 of milk & stir
until gravy begins to thicken. Add remaining
milk until desired consistency has been
reached & gravy comes to a boil. Season
with salt, pepper & onion salt. Makes
6 servings.

SERVE: over mashed or boiled potatoes, toast
or biscuits (or cooked rice!)
Can add fresh, chopped onion, if desired.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Pumpkin Crisp

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 C. evaporated milk
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 (18.25 oz) pkg. butter-flavored
yellow cake mix
1 C. chopped pecans
1 C. butter, melted
whipped cream (optional)
ground nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Stir together first 5

ingredients; pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan.

Sprinkle cake mix (dry) evenly
over pumpkin mixture. Top, evenly,
with chopped pecans & then drizzle with
melted butter. Bake 60-65 minutes or
until golden brown. Remove from oven
& let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serve warm or at room temp. Serve
with whipped cream & nutmeg, if
desired. Makes 8-10 servings.

(recipe: Linda N-1_Comfort_Foods)

Hearty Hamburger Soup

1 lb. hamburger

1/8 tsp. onion salt

1/8 tsp. garlic salt

2 (8 oz, ea) cans tomato sauce

2 lb. frozen mixed vegetables

2 medium potatoes, peeled &


salt & pepper, to taste

Brown hamburger in 3 qt. saucepan,

stirring until crumbly; drain

grease. Add next 3 ingredients &

2 C. water, mix well. Simmer,

covered, 30 minutes. Stir in

mixed vegetables & simmer,

covered, 25 minutes longer.

Add potatoes; cook until

potatoes are tender; season

with salt & pepper.Serves 6-8

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe



Baked Zucchini Chips


2 medium zucchini, sliced thin

2 T. kosher salt

1/3 C. bread crumbs

1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 T. milk

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.

Add zucchini & salt to a colander, toss

well. Let sit 15-20 minutes; press out

any excess water then rinse very well

under running water. Add zucchini to

a bowl with milk; toss well. In another

bowl, add bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese,

onion powder, garlic powder, dried basil,

and dried oregano. Add zucchini & toss in

breadcrumb mixture, coating each side. Spray

a nonstick baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Place zucchini chips in single layer on

sheet & spray tops of zucchini with non-

stick spray. Bake 5-7 minutes, turn & bake

5-7 minutes more.

(recipe:Sandy- Marys Recipe Exchange)


Overnight Stuffed French Toast


1 (8 oz) tub Kraft Philadelphia

1/3 less fat cream cheese

3 T. sugar

8 slices cinnamon-swirl bread

4 eggs

1/2 C. milk

2 C. sliced fresh strawberries

1 C. blueberries

Mix cream cheese & sugar until well

blended; spread onto bread. Place

4 bread slices, cream cheese-sides

up, in 8 in. square baking dish

sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover

with remaining bread slices, cream

cheese-sides down. Whisk eggs &

milk until well-blended; pour over

bread. Cover & refrigerate overnight.

(next day)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes or

until center is set & top is

lightly browned. Serve topped

with fruit. Makes 8 servings.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


How’s your weather been lately? Our’s is hovering around the 40’s during the day – chilly but tolerable; evening it’s in the low 30’s – REALLY chilly but tolerable as long as there’s no s-n-o-w coming! Hope you are having a good week so far. Remember – holiday shopping & cooking involves just ONE BIG THING: lots of planning  – PLAN to take your time, plan what you’re buying or preparing and planning a BREAK throughout the day! Shopping or cooking – they’re all the same: they don’t do anyone any good if the shopper/chef/cook is too tired to continue! (Trust me on that one – I know from experience!) If I had one complaint about this ‘struggling through the 5 year cancer project’, it would be how the cancer drug saps your strength. I told my husband I’m really curious if, at the end of the 5 years on the preventative drug, I’ll finally start feeling like I can do things without constantly feeling exhausted or achy (sure hope so!) Since I’ve been on the drug (almost 8 months now) I’ve had to learn the hard way to TAKE IT EASY and DON’T OVER-DO! Believe me, my body lets me know REALLY fast if I forgot that one little rule. I don’t mind being 64 , what I DO mind is feeling like I’m in my 80’s! Oh well, the alternative could be MUCH worse – I’m very grateful to the Lord for bringing me to this point in my life, there are others who weren’t given that chance.  Thank you, Lord, for giving me more LIFE to live, things to experience and a body that, although slow and achy, can still do things.  (I’ll step off my soapbox now . . . ).

Hope you’re enjoying all the preparations for the upcoming holiday!




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