So Happy – and Feelin’ Great!



Today was another check up mammogram on the surgery side and, as the radiology tech & I looked at the films we both agreed – looks clear to us! She compared the last ones from August and remarked: “Wow! They look identical – mirror image!” I noticed that the scarring is getting smaller and she said: “It’s supposed to.”  Later on I called my Oncologist’s office to find out the results from several blood tests they did Dec. 28th – the report came back: “Normal”! YAY! THANK YOU, LORD! That means there weren’t any cancer cells loosely floating around in my body – that’s a really GOOD thing! I’ve noticed that I’m slowly feeling a little stronger every day – not so much fatigue. Did a lot of ‘little’ errand running today: to the hospital first for the mammo, then to the drugstore, home, then to the library, Township offices (to pay our Winter Taxes), stopped at KMart to return something, then Tim Horton’s for coffee and a small treat for husband & I (blueberry muffins!). Normally, that kind of ‘running’ would cause me to have to take a very long rest with nothing else to ‘do’ for the rest of the day. I read a book for a good 2 hours (the book I mentioned before: the actual life story of the Countess of Highclere Castle, on which the Masterpiece Theater’s production of “Downton Abbey” is fashioned after). Just finished dinner: Spaghetti & garlic toast. I made that very dinner last night and the guys were ravenous (or so it would seem) – all the garlic toast was gone and just ONE serving left of the spaghetti! Now, I’m not bragging, but I make a BIG pot ‘o spaghetti (1 1/2 lbs. of dry spaghetti noodles, 2 jars of Prego and whatever meat – last night it was meatballs and the cut up remains of some leftover pork chops; tonight it was the leftover remains of a pork roast and cooked hamburger). Normally I would not, ever, repeat the same meal two nights in a row, but the guys really wanted it – so they got their wish (let’s see how long this second batch lasts!). The good thing about this was: I was able to use the leftover meats (if I have any, I usually cut them into bite-sized pieces & freeze them), plus all of the leftover hamburger & hot dog buns in the house (and that was a considerable amount!). There is a cartoon featured in our local newspaper called: “Pluggers” – we love the humor AND it usually fits our family to a ‘T’. I have one I cut out years ago which has a Mom standing over the oven – the caption is: “A plugger’s garlic bread looks suspiciously like hot dog buns.” SO TRUE! I butter them, sprinkle with garlic powder & Italian spices then cover with Parmesan cheese and put them under the broiler until nicely browned.

For those of you who are ‘on the ball’, my Christmas decorations & tree are still up! And, YES, I still plug in the lights every night, including the lighted wreath in the window. Why? No particular reason except I just haven’t felt the ‘need’ to take them down yet! It will get done – eventually. I remembered, this evening, that I still need to take a ‘gift’ out of the box and ‘use’ it. One of my special needs guys gave me a Amaryllis bulb (comes in a box with plastic pot & ‘soil’ – you just dampen the ‘soil’, place some of it in the pot, arrange the bulb on the soil, cover with remaining soil, water and wait.) It’s funny because I was thinking this year that I really wanted to get over to ACO hardware simply because they SELL those and I wanted to buy one – totally forgot – then I get one for Christmas! I love watching them grow – this one is a vibrant red; I’ll try to remember to take a photo when it blooms – they usually produce about 5-6 flowers – very pretty. It’s nice to know there will be a little ‘Spring’ in the house during a cold, grey winter. Speaking of weather – it’s been pretty decent here: in the 30’s during the day and high 20’s at night, no new snow! It was warm enough, with enough bright sunlight today, to melt a good part of the ice on the driveway and other roads; supposed to stay that way until Thurs & Fri when we’re expected to get rain. Rain’s not bad – as long as it doesn’t FREEZE!

Well, after all that’s said, on to the recipes!


Mexican Chicken Casserole

3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 C. thick & chunky salsa
2 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed &
1 tomato, chopped
2 6 inch tortillas
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese,

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cook & stir chicken & cumin in nonstick
skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium
heat 2 minutes. Add peppers, cook 2 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Stir in salsa, cook 2 minutes.
Add cream cheese; cook 2 minutes or until
melted. Stir in beans & tomatoes. Spoon 1/3
of chicken mixture into 8 inch square baking
dish; cover with 1 tortilla and half EACH of
remaining chicken mixture & shredded cheese.
Top with remaining tortilla & chicken mixture;
cover. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.
Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese; bake
uncovered, 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
Serves 4

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Pink Raspberry Muffins

1/2 C. butter
2 C. flour
1 1/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C. milk
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 box fresh raspberries

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour muffin tins or
use paper liners (makes 12 muffins)
Sift flour, baking powder & salt
together; set aside. Cream butter &
sugar until light & fluffy. Add eggs;
beat well. Add milk then flour mixture,
beat until well combined. Place 3
raspberries in each muffin cup. Add
remaining raspberries to muffin
mixture; beat well until it turns
pink. Spoon into muffin cups
evenly. Bake 25-30 minutes
Makes 12 muffins.


Pink Raspberry Muffins

1/2 C. butter
2 C. flour
1 1/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C. milk
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 box fresh raspberries

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour muffin tins or
use paper liners (makes 12 muffins)
Sift flour, baking powder & salt
together; set aside. Cream butter &
sugar until light & fluffy. Add eggs;
beat well. Add milk then flour mixture,
beat until well combined. Place 3
raspberries in each muffin cup. Add
remaining raspberries to muffin
mixture; beat well until it turns
pink. Spoon into muffin cups
evenly. Bake 25-30 minutes
Makes 12 muffins.


Quick & Creamy Chicken Stew


3/4 lb. potatoes, quartered

2 T. water

1 T. oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken

breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 (10 3/4oz) can cream of chicken soup

1/4 C. Zesty Italian salad dressing

2 C. frozen peas & carrots

1/2 C. sour cream

Microwave potatoes & water in covered

microwaveable dish on High 7 minutes or

until potatoes are tender. Heat oil in

large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add

chicken; cook 7 minutes or until evenly

browned, stirring occasionally. Add

potatoes, soup, dressing & frozen veggies

to chicken in saucepan; stir. Bring to

boil; cover & simmer on medium-low heat

3 minutes or until chicken is done &

vegetables are heated through. Stir in

sour cream, cook 1 minute or until

heatedthrough, stirring occasionally.

Serves 4

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Pumpkin-Swirl Cheesecake Bars


25 ginger snaps, finely crushed

(about 1 1/2 C.)

1/2 C. finely chopped pecans

1/4 C. butter, melted

4 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,


1 C. sugar, divided

1 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

1 C. canned pumpkin

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

dash ground cloves

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

Mix ginger snap crumbs, nuts & butter;

press onto bottom of 9 X 13 pan. Beat

cream cheese, 3/4 C. sugar & vanilla

with  mixer until blended. Add eggs,

1 at a time, beating after each, just

until blended. Remove 1 1/2 C. batter.

Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin & spices

into remaining batter. Spoon half of

pumpkin batter into crust; top with

spoonfuls of half the plain batter.

Repeat layers; swirl gently with knife.

Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost

set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Makes 16 bars

NOTE: You can line the pan with aluminum

foil, extending ends of foil over sides

of pan. Use foil ‘handles’ to lift chilled

cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Awesome Cabbage Casserole


1 small cabbage

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 C. margarine or 1/4 C.

butter melted


1/4 C. mayonnaise

1 (10 oz) can cream of mushroom



1/4 C. margarine or butter, melted

1 C. grated Sharp Cheddar cheese

30 butter-flavored crackers, crushed

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Coarsely chop cabbage into large

casserole dish sprayed with non

stick spray. Sprinkle chopped onion

on top; pour melted butter over

cabbage. Sprinkle with salt. Mix

mayonnaise & soup together; spread

over cabbage and onions.


Mix together melted butter, crushed

crackers & grated cheese; sprinkle

over top of casserole. Bake 45

minutes or until bubbly & brown.

(recipe: Sue-RDJ 10/12/12)


Marvelous Mac & Cheese

(oven or crockpot)

1 (1 lb) box elbow macaroni

2 cans Cheddar cheese soup

2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk

1 1/4 sticks butter

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. pepper

2 C. extra sharp Cheddar

cheese, shredded

2 C. sharp Cheddar cheese,


2 C. pepperjack cheese,


Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta accordg to pkg directions

until just done. Combine soup, evap.

milk, butter, salt & pepper in a

large microwaveable bowl. Cover with

plastic wrap, leaving a small vent –

cook 6-7 minutes until butter is

melted & mixture is warm-to-hot

throughout. Add cooked pasta; add

cheeses, one at a time, stirring

constantly, until everything is

melted & incorporated. Bake

40-45 minutes. (can stick under

broiler for a few minutes to brown



Spray interior of crock with non-

stick spray. Follow directions

1-5, cook on Low 4 hours.



8-Can Taco Soup

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained &


1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained &


1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 (15.25 oz) can sweet corn, drained

1 (12.5 oz) can white chicken breast,


1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup

1 (10 oz) can green enchilada sauce


1 (14 oz) can chicken broth

packet of dry taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients; heat until

heated through & flavors blend.

(NOTE: poster suggests serving

tortilla chips on the side.)

(recipe: RDJ 10/12/12)


Quick Chocolate-Orange Layer Cake

(uses ready-made cake)


1 1/2 pkgs (8 oz, ea) cream cheese,


6 T. butter, softened

6 C. powdered sugar

1 T. orange zest

12 drops orange food coloring*

2 baked chocolate cake layers

(8 inch), cooled

3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1/2 of 8 oz. tub Cool Whip

(do not thaw)

Beat first 5 ingredients with elec.

mixer until blended. Cut each cake

horizontally into 2 layers. Stack on

plate, spreading 3/4 C. frosting

between each layer. Frost top & sides

with remaining frosting. Microwave

chocolate & Cool Whip in microwavable

bowl on High 2 minutes or until chocolate

is completely melted &  mixture is well

blended, stirring after each minute. Cool

15 minutes; spread over top of cake,

allowing excess to drizzle down sides.

Keep refrigerated. Serves 16

*if you don’t have orange: substitute

8 drops yellow & 4 drops red, mix.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Crockpot Swiss Steak


2 lb. boneless beef chuck eye roast,

cut into 1 inch pieces

1/4 C. A-1 Original steak sauce

1 onion, sliced

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,


2 T. flour

1/4 C. water

Toss meat with steak sauce; place in

crockpot. Top with onions & tomatoes,

cover & cook on Low 9-10 hours or

High 4-5 hours. Mix flour & water;

stir into meat mixture. Cook, covered,

5 minutes or until sauce is thickened,

stirring occasionally. Serves 8

Serving suggestion: Serve over hot,

cooked egg noodles.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Hash Brown Casserole

2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
6 large eggs, well beaten
1 (12 fl oz) evaporated milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (30 oz) pkg. frozen shredded
hash brown potatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
10 slices turkey bacon, cooked &
chopped or 1 C. diced, cooked ham

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease 9 X 13 baking pan. Combine
cheese, eggs, evaporated milk, salt &
black pepper in large bowl. Add
potatoes, onion, bell pepper & bacon
(or ham); mix well. Pour mixture into
prepared dish & bake 60-65 minutes
or until set.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe

Craft-wise I’m still knitting chemo & baby hats; next Monday I have a visit to my Radiologist (just a routine check-up) and I’ll deliver whatever chemo caps I have done, at that time. Not much else ‘new’ around here; today I was commenting that it sort of feels ‘good’ to finally have all of the ‘holiday’ foods gone (still have some pumpkin pie and maybe 2 slices of cheesecake, but I’m sure those aren’t here for long). Now we’re into the ‘winter’ recipes: soups, crockpot meals – the hot & hearty of the season. How are YOU doing lately? Send me a comment – I love hearing from you!




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