Ever So Slowly . . .

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I’m still in amazement at the lack of energy, after almost a year, that the radiation left me with. I’m ‘working’ at mustering enough to get some of the Christmas decorations down from upstairs and put up – not an easy task at this point. I guess you might say I’m just a bit scared – I know, now, that any extra efforts I put out will result in me either being totally exhausted today or tomorrow – doesn’t leave for a very encouraging outlook BUT I persist, anyway. Happily had enough energy to get out the bags of already purchased presents to go through them, making sure I know exactly what was bought and what’s still on the list. List – ah, yes . . . also had to write one of those! That’s a ‘given’ for me every year (except this one); I sort of live by ‘the list’ when out shopping; it helps me to decide what still needs buying. Discovered that I’d already bought TWO Hershey’s large chocolate bars (only needed one) – that’s OK – it will find a home. Also discovered that I already bought those hollow plastic candy canes filled with M & M’s – I usually buy three (one for each of the boys) – this year I have FIVE! (That’s OK – one for my husband & me, too!). Speaking of husband – yesterday I finally admitted to him that I only have one small present for him; he and I, both, really don’t NEED anything! We go through this every year – it’s a HUGE struggle deciding what to get him. I found the new movie: Men in Black3 – that’s ‘it’ for his presents! Am thinking of sending away for his favorite Cinnamon Orange Tea – that’s easy. He loves it – it’s a powder.

Got some of the laundry done – some in dryer, some in washer at the moment. Took down the shower curtain & liner and they are ‘washing’ as I write. Got a load of towels folded, the scarves I knit are now wrapped – next stop is going upstairs to locate the Christmas cards and some of those little present bags, maybe drag down the Christmas tree ‘top’ (the tree is in a big box, PLUS the extra ‘top part’ of the tree is separate). Don’t know why – I LOVE seeing the house decorated, just HATE doing it! (Boy, you’d think I’m 90+ years old and an old curmudgeon – right?). Guess I’ve always (or almost, anyway) been this way. I remember as a teen wondering why my Mom didn’t really get excited about putting up the decorations . . . AND NOW I’M HER! Scarey – eh?

Also on my many lists is writing down all the BAKED stuff needed: breads for our three neighbors, cookies for the mail lady plus more cookies to just ‘have on hand’ for the house. Realized, yesterday, that when I was at Gordon Foods Sunday picking up the multi-flavors cheesecake (for Christmas dinner – stuck it in the freezer) Was happy to hear that it went on sale Sunday – it’s usually $15, but this week it’s $9.99!!! (husband said I should have bought 2 – but I said we really don’t need it!!!).I totally forgot to buy their already-cut-out sugar cookies. I count on them each year to help ‘beef up’ my cookie stash. They make really large cookies in about 3-4 shapes, you just bake them then frost them and you’re ‘good to go’. Oh yeah – and still have to bake the chocolate/chocolate “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” cake – but that’s for closer to the holiday. It’s a family tradition – I have a little baby Jesus in a manger that goes on top of the cake.

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

Chocolate-Peppermint Striped Delight


45 vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed
(about 1 1/2 Cups)
1/4 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. sugar, divided
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 C. plus 2 T. cold milk, divided
1/4 C. finely crushed candy canes
1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed &
divided
2 (3.9 oz, ea) pkgs. chocolate instant
pudding mix
1/4 C. coarsely crushed candy canes

Mix vanilla wafer crumbs, butter &
2 T. sugar; press onto bottom of 9 X
13 dish. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar &
2 T. milk in medium bowl until blended.
Stir in finely crushed candy canes. Add
1 1/4 C. Cool Whip; mix well & spread
over crust. Beat pudding mixes & remaining
milk with whisk 2 minutes; pour over cream
cheese layer. Let stand 5 minutes or until
thickened. Cover with remaining Cool Whip.
Refrigerate 4 hours. Top with coarsely crushed
candy canes just before serving. Serves 24.

TIP: To cut easily: place dessert in freezer
about 1 hour before cutting into squares.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
————————————

Sausage Balls
(appetizer)

1 (1 lb) pkg. ground sausage
3 C. Bisquick baking mix
4 C. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/8 T. pepper

Dip:
1 C. mayonnaise
1 T. mustard

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick
spray. Combine all ingredients in a
large bowl; mix well using your
fingers – mixture will be very crumbly.
Form into 1 inch balls, squeezing
mixture so it holds together, then
rolling it between palms of your hands
to form balls. Place balls on baking sheet.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
To prevent sticking, move balls with a
spatula halfway through cooking.
To Make Dip:
Combine mayonnaise &mustard, serve
with sausage balls.
Makes approx. 5 dozen balls &
about 1 Cup dip.

(recipe: Paula Dean-FoodNetwork)
————————————–

Roasted Sweet Potato & Ginger Puree


3 medium sweet potatoes
1 1/2 T. unsalted butter
1 1/2 T. crystallized ginger, coarsely
chopped & divided
1/3 C. heave cream (or half & half)
2 oz. mild goat cheese, room temp.
1/4 C. fresh chives, minced
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Scrub sweet potatoes, poke in several spots
with paring knife. Place in a foil-lined baking
dish; bake 1 hour or until potatoes are very
soft. Set aside to cool. Peel sweet potatoes &
place in a food processor with fitted metal
blade. Add butter & 2 T. crystallized ginger;
process until smooth. Add heavy cream & goat
cheese; process until combined. Scrape bowl,
process briefly; taste & season with salt & pepper.
Transfer puree to a serving bowl; stir in chives
& remaining tablespoon of crystallized ginger..
Serves 4. Half Cup puree per person

(recipe: Purdue)
————————————–

Fresh Apple Relish

– 1 T. vegetable oil
1 C. Granny Smith apples, diced
1 C. red-skinned apples, diced
1/4 C. shallots, minced
1 C. apple cider
1/2 T. cider vinegar
3/4 C. celery, finely diced
1/4 C. fresh parsley, minced
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper sauce

Place oil in skillet & heat. Add apples &
shallots; saute 3-4 minutes. Add cider &
vinegar, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer
until glazed (6-8 minutes). Remove from heat,

add celery & let cool to room temperature. Set
aside. Add parsley & hot sauce, if desired. Serve
hot or at room temperature.

(recipe: Perdue)
—————————————-

Roasted Chicken & Vegetables


8 chicken drumsticks (2 lb)
1 lb. small red potatoes (about 6),
quartered
1/2 lb. carrots (about 4) peeled, cut into
1/2 in thick slices
1/2 C. zesty Italian salad dressing
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Toss chicken, potatoes & carrots with
dressing; spread in a shallow pan sprayed
with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 40-50
minutes or until chicken is done & vegetables
are tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

TIP: Line pan with aluminum foil before
using to speed up cleanup.

NOTE: Can substitute sweet potatoes for
red potatoes and peppers (like poblano)
for the carrots.

(recipe: Rhonda G-via Kraft foods)
———————————-

Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Cauliflower

– 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
& cubed
3 C. cauliflower florets
2 cloves garlic
1/3 C. milk
3 T. margarine
1/8 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
2 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cover potatoes, cauliflower & garlic with water in

3 qt. saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to Low; simmer, uncovered until vegetables
are very tender, about 15 minutes; drain.
Return vegetables to saucepan; mash.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Serves 4.

(recipe: Unilever)
—————————————–

Chilies Rellenos Casserole


2 (7 oz, ea) cans green chiles, seeded
1/2 lb. Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
2 C. evaporated milk
4 eggs
1/3 C. flour
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In 12 X 8 baking dish, layer green chiles and
both cheeses. Place evaporated milk, eggs,
flour & salt in a blender; blend thoroughly.
Pour mixture over chiles & cheeses. Bake
45 minutes.

(recipe: Rhonda G- Marys Recipe Exchange)
——————————-

Savory Parmesan, Spinach & Artichoke Dip


1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened*
1 (12 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts,
drained & chopped
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
thawed & well drained
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix ingredients until well blended; spoon

into a shallow ovenproof baking dish. Bake
20 minutes or until heated through. Serve
with assorted cut up vegetables and/or crackers.
Makes 2 1/2 C. (2T. each, 20 servings)

*Softening cream cheese: Place completely
unwrapped pkg. of cream cheese in micro-
waveable 9 inch pie plate. Microwave on
High 15 seconds or just until softened. Spread
onto bottom of pie plate, then continue as
directed.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
——————————————-

Slow-Cooker Apple Crisp


1 (3.4 oz) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 C. sugar, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
10 Granny Smith apples (3 lb) peeled & sliced
1 C. fresh or frozen cranberries
6 T. butter, melted & divided
12 vanilla wafers, coarsely chopped
1/4 C. sliced almonds

Mix dry pudding mix, 1/4 C. sugar & cinnamon.
Toss fruit with 1/4 C. butter in large bowl. Add
pudding mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into slow
cooker; cover & cook on Low 4-6 hours or High
2-3 hours. Combine chopped wafers, nuts, remaining
butter & sugar in shallow microwaveable dish.
Microwave on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave 1 1/2-
2 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 30
seconds; cool. Sprinkle with nut mixture just before
serving. Makes 12 servings, about 1/2 C. each.

(Note; good topped with Cool Whip)

(recipe: Kraft foods)
============================

So – how’s your weather? It’s still a ‘nice’ winter (so far) – it’s sunny & clear out, BUT it’s only 27 degrees F at almost 11:30 a.m.! THAT’S COLD! (not complaining, though – you can always put on more outside ‘layers’ – hat, scarf, gloves, etc.).  It’s my ‘off’ week for Knit group, so I have the evening to myself (YAY) and since I made a huge vat of chili yesterday, don’t even have to wonder what’s for dinner – it’s already made!

Hope you’re having a good/great day! Remember to stop and rest every once in awhile – you just might NEED IT!

Hugs;

Pammie

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