End of Our First NEW YEAR week! (almost)



Birthday-(boy) . . . on right

Today found me running around searching for birthday presents for my middle son who turns 24 today. After some looking, found him two pairs of jeans, two long sleeved casual shirts and some (typical MOM-type present) – underwear. Hey! A guy on his own always needs underwear – right? (He’d cringe right now if he knew I wrote that!). This is the son who moved out last month, who stopped by the other evening to tell us that he’s moved – again! His roommate’s lease was up the end of December, so they both now moved into roommate’s step-Dad’s house – in Holly! Holly is a very nice little town; quiet and removed from other ‘towns’ by many miles. Now he lives about 35-45 minutes away, so I’m guessing we won’t be seeing him quite so often. Apparently the new move gets him his own room, so that’s a good thing. His clients will not be too far to drive, except one – who lives by us (guessing we’ll see him on that evening, weekly – just guessing . . . he still has to fax papers to work every week, so – we’ll see.)  The house smells yummy – just took a batch of dark chocolate brownies out of the oven, have to wait for them to cool before frosting with chocolate frosting – his favorite. Everyone else likes cake – chocolate, to be specific – except this son, who loves brownies on His Day. Have a big pork roast & carrots in the crockpot, along with baked potatoes, should be a pretty good dinner.

How’s your weather? It’s been a bit chilly here 29 degrees F. – today it’s rather windy, which makes for colder air temperatures but it’s nice & sunny and the roads are now clear, driveways are traversable, so I’m not complaining. How’s your gas prices holding up? Around here they’ve been steady at $3.21/9 – not great, but better than when they were around $3.49, so not complaining there, either.

Had my grandson for the afternoon yesterday and introduced him to the game: “Connect Four”. Took him about four games before he got the ‘hang’ of it, but once he did, he won almost every round. His mom told me later that he got that game for Christmas, they just haven’t opened it or played with it yet. I’m guessing that now he knows how to play, it will be opened pretty soon! We had rousing matches of “Candyland” and “Pen the Pig” (he took great relish in deliberately misspronouncing it because he knew it bugged me:: Pig the Pen) Little stinker!

Recipe-wise, I attempted to re-create something last night. Last Sunday one of our Sunday School members brought a quiche-like offering (plus sticky buns – I turned those down). His was a sausage & cheese casserole, of sorts. Quite a few of the ladies were asking for the recipe, so he said his wife will have to write it down, as she has better penmanship! I looked up the ingredients (I think he said he used Bisquick), and ‘did my thing’ – mine had maple sausage, ham, onions, green peppers, and sharp Cheddar cheese; it was “OK” – not very flavorful, mostly tasting the green pepper. I was bummed. His WAS flavorful – you could really taste the sausage and cheese – I NEED THAT RECIPE! On that note, I did find a VERY interesting recipe site for what used to be called: Impossible Pies. Back a good 15 years or more, Bisquick came up with this concept of throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pan along with eggs & Bisquick and baking it – they came out with a pseudo-crust, sort of quiche-like – they were a BIG hit at the time. On that note, this site has a large amount of said recipes PLUS a whole lot more sites for other recipes – one of those “sit down and take your time’ going over, sites; lots to explore, for sure!



Easy Baked Manicotti

2 C. spaghetti sauce, divided
1 3/4 C. ricotta cheese*
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese**
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C. pesto
12 cooked manicotti shells, rinsed in
cold water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spread 3/4 C. sauce on bottom of 9 X 13
baking dish. Mix cheeses, egg & pesto until
blended; spoon into resealable plastic bag.
Use scissors to cut small corner from bottom
of bag. Fill manicotti shells by squeezing
cheese mixture into both sides of each shell;
place in baking dish & top with remaining
sauce – cover. Bake 40 minutes or until
heated through. Serves 6

*You can substitute cottage cheese for the

**You can substitute grated Romano cheese
for the Parmesan

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Roasted Red Potatoes & Cheese & Bacon

1/2 C. ranch dressing
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
3 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 lb. small red potatoes, (about 6),
1 T. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix first 3 ingredients in large bowl,
add potatoes & toss to coat. Spoon
into 9 X 13 pan sprayed with nonstick
spray; cover & bake 55 minutes or
until potatoes are tender, uncovering
after 40 minutes. Sprinkle top with
parsley. Serves 8

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Layered Black Bean Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 C. canned black beans (rinsed & drained)
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel diced tomatoes & green
chiles, drained
1 C. Kraft Mexican-style finely shredded
Four Cheese

Spread cream cheese onto bottom of a
shallow dish; top with remaining ingredients.

Serve with crackers or tortilla chips

(recipe: Kraft foods)
White Chocolate Banana Bread

6 oz. white baking chocolate
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 C. oil
1/4 C. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 fully ripe bananas, mashed
(about 1 C.)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray a 9 ” loaf pan
with nonstick spray. Melt 4 oz
chocolate in microwaveable
bowl at 70% power, 1 minute.
Stir & heat 30 seconds longer until
completely melted; set aside. Chop
remaining 2 oz. chocolate. Mix flour,

baking soda & salt in large bowl. Beat
eggs in medium bowl; stir in melted
chocolate, sugar, oil, buttermilk,
vanilla & bananas. Add to flour
mixture with chopped chocolate. Stir
until moistened; pour into prepared
pan. Bake 50-55 minutes or until
toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove
from pan. Cool completely on wire
rack before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Crunchy Turkey Wontons

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/2 C. finely chopped water chestnuts
1/4 C. minced green onions
1/3 C. soy sauce
2 T. grated fresh gingerroot
2 tsp. cornstarch
24 wonton wrappers*
vegetable oil
(Kikkoman Sweet & Sour dipping sauce)

Combine turkey, water chestnuts, green
onion, soy sauce, ginger & cornstarch in
medium bowl; mix well. Place 1 T. turkey
mixture in center of each wonton skin. Fold
wonton skin over to form a triangle. Turn
the top of the triangle down to meet the fold.

Turn over. Moisten corners with water.
Overlap opposite corners, press together
firmly to seal. Repeat with remaining wonton
skins. Heat oil in wok or large saucepan on
medium-high heat to 375 degrees F. Deep-fry
wontons, a few at a time for about 3 minutes

until they are golden brown & crisp. Drain on
paper towels. Serve with warm dipping sauce.
Makes 24.

*NOTE: you can find the wonton wrappers in
the fresh veggie (cold) section of the grocery.

(recipe: Butterball turkey co.)

Zesty Roasted Vegetables

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
1/2 lb. baby carrots
1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 large yellow pepper, cut into 8 strips
1/3 C. zesty Italian salad dressing
1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese,

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Cover rimmed baking sheet with foil, spray
with nonstick spray. Toss vegetables with salad
dressing & 1/4 C. cheese; spread on prepared
baking sheet. Bake 28-30 minutes or until
vegetables are tender, stirring after 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serves 8 (1/2
C. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Cheesy Italian Meatball Casserole

16 oz. dried ziti or penne pasta
26 oz. jar tomato pasta sauce
16 oz. pkg. Italian-style frozen cooked
meatballs (32), thawed
15 oz. can Italian-style tomato sauce
15 oz. carton ricotta cheese
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook pasta accordg to pkg directions; drain. Return
to pan. Stir in pasta sauce, meatballs & tomato
sauce. Transfer to ungreased 9 X 13 pan or 3 qt.
rectangular casserole. Bake, covered, 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta & Parmesan
cheeses. Uncover pasta mixture & spoon
ricotta mixture in mounds over pasta mixture.
Cover loosely; bake about 10 minutes more or
until heated through. Top with mozzarella cheese
& bake, uncovered, 5 minutes more. Makes
8-10 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Potato-Bacon Soup

6-7 large potatoes, peeled & cut into bite-
sized pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
8 oz. cream cheese, softened & cubed
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 stick unsalted butter
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 C. milk
1 pkg. real bacon bits or cooked, crumbled
shredded Cheddar cheese (garnish)
green onions, chopped (garnish)

Cook potatoes & onion in chicken broth with
just enough water to cover potatoes & onions.
Cook until tender (can use a potato masher to
slightly mash some of the potatoes, if desired).
Add cubes of cream cheese; remove from heat
until cheese is melted. Return to low/medium
heat. Add bacon, soups, butter & spices.
Cook another 10 minutes. Garnish with shredded
Cheddar cheese & chopped onions, if desired.

(recipe: Amber-justapinch.com)

Monkey Bread Surprise

1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. butter, cubed
2 tubes (10 cnt) refrigerated
buttermilk flaky biscuits
1/2 C. white sugar
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, cut into
20 cubes
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 C. chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In small microwaveable bowl, heat brown
sugar on High 1 minute or until sugar is
dissolved; set aside. Flatten each biscuit into
a 3 inch circle. Combine sugar & cinnamon,
sprinkle a heaping 1/2 tsp. in center of each
biscuit. Top with a cream cheese cube. Fold
dough over filling; pinch edges to seal tightly.
Sprinkle 1/2 C. nuts into a 10-in. tube pan
sprayed with nonstick spray. Layer in order,
with half biscuits, 1/2 brown sugar/butter
mixture, 1/2 C. nuts. Repeat layers. Bake
40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
Immediately invert onto a serving platter.
Serve warm, refrigerate leftovers. Makes 1
(12 serving) loaf.

(recipe: Lisa-justapinch.com)


Well, so far, it’s been a rather smooth, not-rushed week – I LIKE that!  Hope you’re able to have a relaxing day (or at least PART of a day) – enjoy your day and remember to take a little time out for YOURSELF! (even if it’s only a cup of tea, or two  minutes catching up on the newspaper – RELAX just a little – it’s GOOD for you!)



ADDENDUM: Long story short – middle son stopped by to open his gifts and announced he’s moving back home; apparently it just didn’t work out with his roommate. Oh well . . .


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