Welcome to the REAL World or –

“Lessons your Mother was never able to teach you.” What does that mean? Today my youngest son & I got into a discussion about his work – he’s now a cashier at Meijers and the discussion was about people who have to use various government cards to assist their food purchases. This was not a ‘finger-pointing’ discussion, but rather a conversation about the various ‘cards’ that are out there: EBT, WIC, etc. Our middle son, now being ‘on his own’, mentioned that he will be applying for an EBT card; why, you might ask? When I began to think about his total income from being a caregiver of special needs adults, it became clear to me – he is in the bottom of the pay scale for income, making just barely enough to file income tax. As I thought over the fact that both of my boys are now very knowledgeable about these things, I thought: “That’s something I never would have been able to teach them”. The youngest mentioned that he was extremely shocked at the prices of infant formula (he sees it when he’s checking out customers); he mentioned that he’s amazed that people can afford to use formula (that’s sort of where this discussion came about – the idea that it’s a good thing there ARE things like EBT cards or WIC cards). For those of you who  might not be aware, an EBT card is what used to be called a Bridge card (son taught me that one) – the monies from the government which allow those of low income to be able to purchase groceries. A WIC card (stands for Women Infants Children) is for just who it states. I remember, when fostering, we were able to get something like the WIC program, called Focus Hope. I used the program only for the soy formula, simply because it was so darned expensive! If I recall, you could only be on the program until the child turned 5 years old; believe me, having had three sons who were all lactose intollerant, any amount of assistance in the soy formula area really helped. (for those of you who might not know, all three of our sons are adopted, hence ‘why’ I was able to obtain the Focus Hope formula for them).  Anyway, I say all that to wrap it up – it got me to thinking just how knowledgable my sons have become since working in the world in the retail area. Middle son is very informed on bulk foods, having worked for Gordon Food Services – ie: how to order large amounts of foods for, say, a big party. Youngest is now very informed on retail, working now as a cashier.  It’s all amazing to me – they’ve grown up! Middle son stopped by last night to say Hi, fax some work papers and have some Meat & Potato Pie (he just happened to show up when it was finished cooking!). I’ve noticed it is certainly quieter around here in the  morning – youngest is in school, husband is usually on his computer and NO ONE is watching tv, or blasting a music video or playing a rather loud fighting game on the game systems! Wow – amazing!  (Which leads me to the next topic of discussion  – knitting . . . you were surprised, yes? hehehe)

Well, attempting to be BRAVE and conquer this new net yarn stuff to make the scarves I mentioned to you before (Red Heart Boutique Sashay yarn, to be specific) I sat down on at least TWO occasions, to watch the on-line videos of exactly how you KNIT with this stuff – VERY confusing! The video from the manufacturer (Red Heart) is ok – the filming is done too far away to be able to actually see the demonstrater’s hands – not good. I tried that way at least twice; finally got frustrated and said: “Wait! What about YouTube?” There’s a video on You Tube (done by a man) that’s very clear, up close and informative. It’s got everything you’d want to know: how to ‘cast on’, how to ‘knit’ and how to ‘bind off’. After all the mind-boggling attempts, I gave up for the moment and will try to sit down with it again and see IF I CAN DO THIS! (I’m also planning on taking it to knit night tomorrow as one of our members has already made several scarves using it, so she might be able to help me get over this hump.) It’s not at all like using yarn, it’s not at all like knitting; with this ‘stuff’ you only cast on 6 stitches at a time, then ‘knit’ them off, turn the whole thing around and do it again (the turning causes the ‘yarn’ to make the big ruffles). It’s (to me) very VERY awkward to handle and, I can see, not lending itself to knitting quickly, either . . . sigh. Knowing I’ve already invested around $14. oo for the 2 skeins, I’m bound and determined to conquer this stuff! (We’ll see how it goes). In my frustration I sat down and knit several more baby hats. I’ve taken to doing them in threes: 1 really tiny, 1 Premie size and 1 newborn size; that way, I should have an even count in each area “Tiny”, “Premie” & “Newborn.” (Yes, my Type A personality is showing again – right? Always gotta have everything in neat little rows/piles/arrangements – but that’s just ‘me’ – sigh).

I have a neat blessing to tell you about – I get to attend the Ladies Fellowship Christmas dinner tonight! It’s an annual event at our church and very nicely done. Two of the ladies in our church have their own catering company and they prepare the food. Not exactly sure what we’re having but I KNOW it will be top notch and very tasty. There’s usually a guest speaker, also. Up until yesterday I was sure I couldn’t attend, because of youngest son’s work schedule BUT they announced in church yesterday that there were FIVE tickets still available (they usually sell out almost immediately). After church I texted him to ask what his work hours were for Monday – came back 4:15  -8:15 p.m.  I bought the ticket – by my figuring dinner starts at 6 and usually runs 1  1/2 hours, so I’ll have my phone on vibrate – I told him to text me if there’s any change of plans (his girlfriend might pick him up, or they ask him to work later) – our church is about 20 minutes from his work. Hoping all works out for the best – I can text if I’m running late and he can just wait a few minutes for me.

Weather wise- right now it’s VERY foggy – it’s been around 54 degrees all day and getting more foggy as the day progresses (thank heavens for FOG lights!). Our church is in another small community and getting there requires you to drive around several really curvy-winding roads around a lake – I’m planning on driving REALLY slow and careful tonight. Earlier in the day it was just a light fog but by around 4 p.m. it had turned into almost a medium MIST – requiring use of the windshield wipers; I’ll be careful.

So, let’s see – discussed ‘world-taught lessons’, knitting, weather – that leaves RECIPES! Here you are:


Slow Cooker Stuffing

1 C. butter
2 C. chopped onion
2 C. chopped celery
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley
12 oz. sliced mushrooms
12 C. dry bread crumbs
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 1/2 C. chicken broth, or as needed
2 eggs, beaten

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Cook
onion, celery, mushrooms & parsley, stirring
frequently. Spoon cooked vegetables over bread

crumbs in very large mixing bowl. Season
with poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram,
salt & pepper. Pour in enough broth to moisten
then mix in eggs. Transfer mixture to slow
cooker & cover. Cook on High 45 minutes then
reduce to Low, cook 4-8 hours

(recipe: Mary Free- Marys Recipe Exchange)

Bacon-Mushroom Roll-ups

– 8 strips bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (4 oz) can mushroom stems & pieces, drained
20 slices sandwich bread, crusts removed
3 T. butter, melted

In small skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until
crisp; remove bacon to paper towel, reserve 1 T.
bacon drippings. In same skillet, saute onion in
drippings until tender. Transfer to small bowl;
add cream cheese, mushrooms & bacon; stir until

blended. With a rolling pin, flatten bread slightly;
spread each slice with 4 1/2 tsp. filling. Roll up from

long side; secure with toothpick. Place, seam-side-down,
in two ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 in. baking pans; brush tops
with butter. Broil 4 inches from heat 3-4 minutes or until
golden brown. Discard toothpicks. Makes 20 appetizers.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Christmas Italian Brunch Casserole

2 tsp. olive oil
6 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

1  1/2 C. shredded Provolone cheese

1  1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 onion, chopped finely
3 C. shredded potatoes (about 4)
4 oz. cooked & crumbled Pancetta or
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
8 grape tomatoes, cut in half
few basil leaves, shredded
1/4 C. Asiago cheese, shredded
1/4 C. heavy cream

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Grease 2 qt casserole with olive oil. Mix
together eggs, seasonings, provolone/mozzarella
cheeses, onion & potatoes; pour into casserole.
Top with pancetta, grape tomatoes, basil &
asiago cheese. Drizzle top with cream. Cover
with foil & bake 1 hour, uncover after 30 minutes
& bake rest of hour. Casserole is done when fork
comes out clean when inserted into middle of
casserole and is firm.

NOTE: can be made ahead. Mix all ingredients
mentioned above, cover with foil and refrigerate.
To serve, follow baking instructions above.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Chocolate Cobbler

2 sticks butter
1 1/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. self-rising flour*
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. milk

Chocolate layer:
1 C. sugar
6 T. cocoa powder
2 C. boiling water

Preheat 350 degrees F. Melt butter in 9 X 13 pan in
oven. Mix together sugar, flour,
vanilla & milk; pour batter over
melted butter DO NOT STIR.
In separate bowl, mix cocoa &
remaining sugar. Sprinkle cocoa/
sugar mixture on top of batter
DO NOT STIR. Pour 2 C. boiling
water on top of mixture in pan
DO NOT STIR. Bake 35-45 minutes
or until there is a nice, brown crust.

(NOTE: goes great with ice cream)

*How to Make Self Rising Flour: For each cup of

all-purpose flour, add
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder & 1/4 tsp. salt.

(recipe: Erin – justapinch.com)

Ranch Crispy Chicken

8 skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 (1 oz, ea) pkgs dry ranch dressing mix
1/4 C. dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine dressing mix & bread crumbs in
a plastic bag. Add chicken & shake until coated.

Place coated chicken on ungreased cookie sheet

& bake 25-30 minutes or until
chicken is cooked through & juices run clear.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Creamy Corn & Turkey Soup

1/2 C. chopped onion
1 red pepper, chopped & divided
2 T. butter or margarine
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
2 C. shredded, cooked turkey meat
1 (14.75 oz) can cream-style corn
2 C. chicken broth
3/4 C. milk
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

Cook onions & half red peppers in butter
in large saucepan on medium heat 5-6
minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring
frequently. Add cream cheese; cook on
low heat 3-4 minutes or until melted,
stirring constantly. Stir in turkey, corn,
broth & milk. Cook 5 minutes or until
soup is heated through, stirring
occasionally. Serve topped with remaining
red peppers & black pepper. Serves 6

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Pumpkin Biscuits

2 C. flour
3 T. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 C. cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 C. buttermilk
1/2 C. canned pumpkin puree

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking
powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt &
nutmeg; cut in cold butter with pastry
blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles
coarse crumbs. Combine buttermilk &
pumpkin in bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring
just until moist. Turn dough onto lightly
floured surface; knead lightly 5 times. Roll
dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into
12 biscuits with a 2 1/2 in. biscuit cutter. Place

on a greased or sprayed baking sheet. Bake
11 minutes or until golden.

(suggested: serve with butter & honey)

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

Leftover Turkey Taco Soup

1 T. cooking oil
1 1/2 C. frozen whole kernel corn
1 (16 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel diced tomatoes & green
chiles, drained
1 (1.25 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 (32 oz) can chicken broth
2 1/2 C. chopped, cooked turkey
(sour ceam / shredded cheese – garnish)

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat;
add corn & cook 2-3 minutes or until thawed. Add

beans; drained tomatoes & taco seasoning mix; stir

to combine. Add broth. Cover & bring to a boil over
high heat. Add turkey, reduce heat to medium &
simmer 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream and/or
grated cheese if desired. Serves 6 (1 1/3 C. each)

(recipe: readyseteat)

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Salad

2 1/2 C. pretzels
3/4 C. butter, melted

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. sugar
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip
1 (6 oz) pkg raspberry Jell-O
2 C. boiling water
3 C. frozen raspberries

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place pretzels in food processor; grind
into coarse crumbs. Add melted butter
& 3 T. sugar; mix until combined. Press
pretzel mixture into 9 X 13 pan. Bake
13 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven, let cool completely.
In medium sized bowl using mixer, beat
cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar;
mix 4 minutes. Add Cool Whip; mix
1 minute or until well combined. Add
dry Jell-O to boiling water, stir until
dissolved. Pour in raspberries; stir
to combine. Place bowl in refrigerator
until mixture has thickened some (to
a syrup-like consistency). Spread
cream cheese mixture over top of crust.
Pour jell-o on top, cover & chill at least
4 hours.

(recipe: jamiecooksitup)

Garlic Smashed Potato Cakes

8 medium red potatoes
6 T. margarine, melted
1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes, then pierce
several times with fork; arrange
on aluminum-foil lined baking
sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until
potatoes are tender. Combine
remaining ingredients in small
bowl; set aside. Mash potatoes
on baking sheet, form 4 patties.
Drizzle with margarine mixture.
Bake an additional 15 minutes
or until crisp. Serves 8

NOTE: Can be made ahead;
bake potatoes & refrigerate
up to 1 day.

(recipe: Unilever)

Stroganoff-style Peas & Mushrooms

3 T. margarine
1 (10 oz) pkg. cremini mushrooms, thinly
1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 C. frozen green peas, partially thawed
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
2 T. sour cream
1 T. finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Melt margarine in 12 inch nonstick skillet
over medium-high heat; cook mushrooms
& onion, stirring occasionally, until mush-
rooms start to release liquid & brown, about
8 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 30 seconds.
Stir in peas & black pepper. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until heated through, about
2 minutes. Stir in sour cream. Sprinkle
with parsley. Serves 4.

(recipe: Unilever. )

Jell-O  Ten Minute Fruit Whip

1 1/2 C. boiling water
2 (3 oz, ea) pkgs. orange Jell-O
1 C. cold orange or cranberry juice
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained

Stir water into Jell-o in bowl until dissolved.
Add ice cubes to juice to make 2 Cups; add
to Jell-O, stirring until partially melted. Blend
mixture in blender on medium speed for 30
seconds. Spoon mandarin oranges into 10
dessert glasses or a large glass serving bowl.
Slowly pour blended gelatin mixture on top
of fruit. Refrigerate 45 minutes or until set.
The mixture sets with a frothy layer on top and
a clear layer on bottom. Makes 10 servings.

Lots of recipes for you – hope you’re able to put some of them to good use. I love reading all of them and thinking: “That sounds REALLY good!” I can share them with you – that makes me happy!

Hope you’re having a good day/evening –



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