Yep, We got it!


I’m guessing here, but I’d say between 4 & 5 inches of the white stuff descended upon us yesterday. Last night around 11-something p.m. husband & I were out there attempting to help middle son get his car unstuck from our ‘hill’. The roads were horrible and our ‘hill’ is just steep enough to require a really running start to get up it – son has a Honda Civic – read that: NO WEIGHT for a running start! First he was stuck on the hill, then we got him free; he drove around the block and tried again. This time he got stuck parallel to the road – half ON the sidewalk, half on the road – facing oncoming traffic! Thankfully there were only a few cars out – and even then some ‘lovely’ person honked their horn (more like laid on their horn for quite awhile) as if to say “Get out of my way!) As if it didn’t already LOOK like that’s what we were attempting to do! Crazy! Got him out of that, another trip around the block and THIS TIME he made a huge attempt and made it safely up the driveway! YAY!Count that as THREE ‘stucks’ and one success; what a night! To add insult to injury – we got an automated phone call from the school district informing us all schools were closed – at 4:58 A.M.!

Today finds me on the telephone AND using Facebook & emails to contact all 64 special needs students to inform them there will be NO Friends Group tonight. Every time, I repeat: EVERY TIME I do this there’s a problem . . . and it’s almost always MINE! This time there were a good 5-6 errors on my sheet. At first I thought it was MY typing, but as the calling progressed I discovered it was actually the problem of my new program: EXCEL! Somehow, when adding or subtracting information from a line, it managed to copy the line TWICE! I called a group home, got into my spiel: “Hi, this is Pam from Friends Group at (blank, blank) church” and then I hear “Yes, Pam – you just called me!” WHAT? Look over my sheet – sure enough, same phone # in two spaces for two different people! Great! Apologize and move on. Fun . . . not. Still not exactly sure how it all happened but on one I dialed the # and, while it was ringing I’m thinking: “This number is VERY familiar!” It hits me: it’s the phone # of the guy I used to drive to Friends a year ago (he’s since moved). How did HIS number end up 2 lines BEFORE his information? Glad I caught it – would have felt really goofy when saying the name of who I THOUGHT I was calling, only to find out differently! Sigh . . . Well, I’m down to ONE number now. Every time I call both cell phone #’s for the parents I get: “The number you’re calling has a voice message that hasn’t been set up yet.” No RING, no answering machine – just that. I’ll keep calling, hoping that eventually they’ll answer, otherwise I’ve done all I can do. The church has been called then they’re putting a sign on the door saying no Friends Group. Best we can do. We’ve had it happen where some of our students were dropped off and LEFT AFTER we thought all was well and everyone was contacted. Sigh . . . I guess it’s to be expected when you’re dealing with over 64 people. Not exactly the day I thought I’d be having.

It’s now almost 4 o’clock – I’ve been at this since before noon. Don’t exactly know what I’ll be doing for the rest of the day – haven’t thought that far ahead! Got part of the baby afghan sewn together (1  1/2 rows), maybe I’ll work on that for awhile. Want to go back to reading the LesCroart book “The Hearing” – it’s the kind of book that requires you to continually read, otherwise you lose track of exactly WHO each person is, and their connection to the main character. (Especially since this is a lawyer/court story, there’s LOTS of extra people and sub-plots).


Death by Chocolate Cake
(takes a bit of time for setting)

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 oz milk chocolate, chopped
6 T. cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Make Cake:
Butter an 8 inch spring form pan. Wrap
pan bottom in heavy-duty foil. Melt butter &
bittersweet chocolate in a large bowl set over a
pan of simmering water. Remove bowl, stir to combine
& let cool to lukewarm. Whisk eggs into chocolate
mixture until well-combined. Scrape batter into
prepared pan. Place spring form pan in a roasting pan;
pour hot water to 1 inch deep into roasting pan. Bake
until cake is set around edges but wobbly in center, 30-35
minutes. Remove foil & let cool on a rack. Cover with plastic
and chill for at least 6 hours or up to 3 days.
Make Glaze:
Put milk chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream just to a boil;
pour into bowl. Let stand 5 minutes; whisk until smooth. Cool
to room temperature. Remove cake to a platter; spoon on glaze.
Refrigerate up to 5 hours.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Cheesy Bacon Mini Meatloaves

2 eggs
3/4 C. milk
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 (6 oz) box stuffing mix for chicken
3/4 C. Mexican-style finely shredded
Four Cheese (Kraft)
1/4 C. barbecue sauce
3 green onions, sliced
6 slices bacon

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Whisk eggs & milk in large bowl until blended.
Add all remaining ingredients (except bacon);
mix lightly. Shape into 6 (1 inch thick) patties;
wrap bacon slice around edge of each patty.
Place meatloaves on rimmed baking sheet
sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake 35
minutes or until done (160 degrees F.)
Makes 6 servings

NOTE: These can be made ahead of time &
frozen. After making patties, wrap each
individual patty with plastic wrap & place
in a freezer-weight resealable plastic bag.
Seal bag & freeze up to 3 months.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Saucy Swiss Steak

1/4 C. zesty Italian salad dressing
1 boneless beef chuck steak
(1 lb) cut into 4 pieces
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. tomato paste
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 C. beef broth
1 green pepper, chopped

2 C. hot mashed potatoes
1/2 C. shredded Swiss cheese

Heat dressing in large nonstick skillet
on medium-high heat. Coat meat with
flour; add to skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes
on each side or until evenly browned on
both side; remove from heat.
Combine tomato paste, tomatoes & broth
to crockpot. Add meat & peppers, cover
with lid. Cook on Low 8-10 hours or High
3-4 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes
topped with shredded cheese.
Serves 4

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Easy Grape Salad

1 lb. seedless green grapes
1 lb. seedless red grapes
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme (Kraft)
1 (6 oz) pkg slivered almonds

Wash grapes in colander under running
water, remove stems & place in large
bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together
cream cheese & marshmallow creme until
smooth & creamy. Pour mixture over grapes.
Using a rubber spatula or large serving
spoon, fold mixture into grapes until well
coated; fold in almonds. May be served
at room temperature or chilled 1 hour.

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Spinach-Pasta Toss

1 (14.5 oz) can Italian-style diced
tomatoes, undrained
2 C. penne pasta, uncooked
1 C. water
1 (9 oz) pkg. baby spinach leaves
1 C. shredded Italian 3-cheese
blend cheese (Kraft)

Bring tomatoes, pasta & water to boil in
large saucepan; stir. Cover & simmer on
medium-low 10 minutes or just until
pasta is tender. Add half of spinach; simmer,
covered, 2 minutes or just until wilted. Repeat
with remaining spinach. Serve topped with cheese.
Serves 6, 1 C. each.

TIP: For a spicier dish, add 1/4 tsp. crushed red
pepper or hot pepper sauce to uncooked pasta
mixture in saucepan before cooking as directed.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Bacon & Baked Potato Soup

1 T. butter or margarine
1/4 C. chopped onions
1/4 c. chopped celery
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 1/4 C. milk
2 baking potatoes, baked & cut into
1/2 inch cubes
1/8 tsp. pepper
8 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled,
3/4 C. Cheddar cheese, cubed & divided
1 green onion, sliced & divided
1/4 C. sour cream

Melt butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven over
medium heat. Add onions & celery; cook & stir
5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add next 4 ingredients
& bring to a goil, stirring constantly. Slightly crush
potatoes with back of spoon. Simmer on medium-low
heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reserve 2 T. bacon,
2 T. cheese, and 1 T. green onions; set aside. Add
remaining bacon, cheese, green onions to soup;
cook until cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Serve
topped with reserved bacon, cheese, onions & sour cream.
Makes 6 servings, 1 C. each.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Nutty Saltine Toffee

35 saltine crackers
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter
1/2 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
8 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate,
chopped (or 8 oz chocolate chips)
1 C. chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a 15 X 10 X 1 inch baking pan with
aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place
saltines in even rows on lined pan. Melt
butter & sugar in saucepan over medium
heat. Continue cooking until butter is
completely melted & mixture is well blended,
stirring frequently. Bring to boil; boil 3 minutes,
without stirring. Spread mixture evenly over
crackers. (SEE NOTE BELOW)
Bake 7 minutes. Remove from oven & sprinkle
with chopped chocolate or chips. Allow to stand
5 minutes so chocolate can melt. Spread melted
chocolate evenly over ingredients in pan; sprinkle
top with nuts. Cool & break into pieces. Store
leftovers in refrigerator.

NOTE: Poster said spreading melted butter & sugar
over crackers is difficult. Her friend advised using a
cup of butter to make spreading easier, but poster
said she sticks to 1/2 C.


Mustard-Glazed Pork Chops

4 (1/2 inch) thick bone-in pork chops
2 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, cut into thin wedges
1/2 C. apricot preserves
1 T. Dijon-style mustard or spicy mustard
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Season pork with salt & pepper. In a 12 inch
skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat
; add pork & onion & cook 3 minutes; turn
pork & onions. Cook 3 more minutes.
In small microwave-safe bowl, combine
preserves, mustard, 1/4 C. water, paprika,
& nutmeg. Heat in microwave 1-2 minutes
or until melted. Pour over pork chops in
skillet. Reduce heat to medium; cook,
covered, 10 minutes or until pork is
cooked through (slightly pink in center).
Serves 4.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Chipotle-Apricot Cream Cheese spread

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. apricot preserves
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely
2 T. water
1 green onion, finely chopped
crackers (for serving)

Spread cream cheese onto bottom of pie
plate. Cook preserves, peppers & water in
saucepan on medium-low heat 5 minutes or
until preserves are melted, stirring occasionally.
Stir in onions, spread over cream cheese. Serve
with crackers. Makes 12 servings, 2 T. spread ea.

NOTE: Preserve mixture can be cooked in the
microwave; microwave preserves, peppers &
water in microwaveable bowl on High 1 minute
or until heated through, stirring every 30 seconds.
Stir in onions, then continue with recipe.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Well, right now the weather is sitting at 34 degrees F. and the snow outside is wet and heavy and MELTING some! YAY! However, there’s a 80% chance of more snow tonight, 60% chance tomorrow (great – I have a 10:30 a.m. doctor’s appmt. – just a check up). Oh well, it IS what it IS, eh? I’m just grateful that we have a nice, warm house; everyone is (for the most part) in good health (I’m feeling stronger every day – just a little stuffed up now); we have food in the house and we’re able to get out of the driveway (Husband shoveled it to his heart’s content today). Life is good!

Hope you are warm, comfortable, in good health and able to say, with me: LIFE IS GOOD!



The Calm before the STORM!

??????????????????????????????????????Yep, it’s Michigan and YEP, we’re due for 3-5 inches of the white stuff by evening. I told my husband it looks like Spring outside: 40+ degrees, clear skies and what’s left of the last snow is now melting. Well – I spoke too soon: it’s now grey and raining; 34 degrees F. (Perfect temp for snow). I stayed home from my Bible study simply because I’m still coughing and didn’t want to alarm anyone that maybe I had something contagious! (I don’t  – am feeling stronger and head is clearer). Tonight was ‘supposed’ to be the Knit/Crochet Movie Night (with all the great foods) but I had to cancel that because the ladies were worried about going home in a snow storm (who can blame them?).  Now my day is ‘free’ – did a few errands, shopped a bit for a few food stuffs and now I’m enjoying my lovely Tim Horton’s COFFEE (love the stuff!) while writing to you. Among my ‘things to do’ list for today are: (1) Color my HAIR! The grey roots are really showing! (2) Sew together the baby afghan! (I keep procrastinating about it. It’s not the sewing I mind, it’s knowing that after that I have a good 6-8 rows of crocheted border to do – sigh). (3) finish paying house bills (DID THAT! Yay!) (4) clear out kitchen sink, wash pots & pans that don’t go in dishwasher, finish loading dishwasher and run it.  Not a LOT of stuff to do, just need to GET TO IT!

Gas Prices: How’s your area for that subject? I needed to get gas today and the lowest price around was $3.86/9.  Who would have thought I’d get excited about that HIGH a price? Guess it’s better than $4.00 a gallon, eh?

On prices: went to the Post Office to mail out the special needs groups newsletters (got them done Monday – Yay, me!) and, for the first time, purchased some International Forever Stamps. I’d read in the newspaper that they are now issuing FOREVER stamps – you can mail a letter ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD for $1.10!!! Is that not fantastic? I remember mailing cards to Canada and it cost very close to $1.00; yesterday I mailed a card to a missionary friend in Durban, South Africa – for ONLY ONE DOLLAR TEN CENTS! Also wrote to my cousins in Canada and told them about the postal stamp (then thought: you Bozo – THEIR mail is NOT the US Mail – they STILL have the very high postage!)
Oh well, I was happy about it!

I’ve decided that since we’re probably going to have to cancel my special needs group tomorrow night, dinner for tonight can be something I can take time cooking – likewise tomorrow night. Tonight is a family favorite:
Pierogies & Polish Sausage (with sour cream, of course). Tomorrow will probably be either homemade pizza or Enchiladas. (Glad I’m finally feeling well enough to cook!)

Books:  Started a book I think I read years ago by John LeCroart: “The Hearing”. Wasn’t planning on reading for a good 3 1/2-4 hours last night but had to force myself to quit when it was almost 2:30 in the A.M.! It’s a lawyer/court case story but intriguing enough to keep my interest (especially since I’m STILL trying to guess ‘who done it’!)


Baked Spaghetti

12 oz – 1 lb. spaghetti, cooked

accordg to pkg directions

1 lb ground beef

1 C. chopped onions

1 C. chopped green pepper

1 can mushrooms, drained

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

1 can creamed soup (your choice)

1/4 C. water

1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Brown meat; drain & add onions & peppers,

cook until soft. Add tomatoes, mushrooms &

spices. Simmer, uncovered, 10-15 minutes.

Place mixture (except cream soup, water &

Parmesan) in a big bowl; mix. Place in a

9 X 13 pan. In a small bowl, add water to

cream soup & mix well. Spread over spaghetti

mixture. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese &

bake 35-40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes

before serving.



Snickers Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix

1 jar creamy peanut butter

1 tub Cool Whip

1 jar caramel syrup

1 1/2 C. unsalted peanuts

1 bottle chocolate syrup

1 1/2 C. Toll House peanut butter &

chocolate chips

3 large eggs

1 1/3 C. water

1/3 C. oil

1 tub chocolate frosting

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Prepare cake mix accordg to pkg directions.

Grease 2 round cake pans; pour in batter &

bake 29 minutes. Combine peanut butter &

Cool Whip; beat until smooth; set aside. This

will be used to ice the first layer.

When cake is completely cooled, ice top of

first layer with peanut butter mixture. Place

second layer on top of first, ice sides of cake

with chocolate frosting. Ice top of cake with

chocolate frosting, then spread on peanuts &

chocolate chips, syrup & caramel.



Easy Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

1/2 lb. fettuccine, uncooked*

2 C. fresh broccoli florets**

1/4 C. zesty Italian salad dressing

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts,

cut into bite-sized pieces

1 2/3 C. milk

4 oz. cream cheese, cubed

1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves

Cook pasta in large saucepan accordg

to pkg directions, omitting salt – add

broccoli to boiling water for last 2
minutes. Heat dressing in large non-
stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add

chicken, cook 5 minutes or until done,

stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining

ingredients. Bring to boil, stirring

constantly; cook 1-2 minutes or until

sauce is well blended & heated through.
Drain pasta mixture; place in large bowl.

Add chicken mixture; mix lightly.

Serves 4, 2 C. each

*Can substitute cooked spaghetti

**Can substitute frozen peas, chopped red

peppers or any vegetables for the broccoli.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Pineapple Souffle

1/4 C. butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 C. sugar
3-4 slices white bread, cubed
1/4 C. milk
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple,

cinnamon + 1 T. sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt butter in 8 X 8 pan*. Beat
eggs in medium bowl; add sugar,
milk, cubed bread & pineapple.
Fold all together & pour into pan
with melted butter. Sprinkle top
with cinnamon & sugar. Bake
45 minutes, until hot & bubbly.
Serves 4-6

*Poster notes that she just puts
the butter in the pan and sticks it
in the preheatedoven while preparing
the rest of the ingredients

NOTE: She also suggest serving
with a dollop of whipped cream or
vanilla ice cream.

(recipe: Mary

Crockpot Split Pea Soup

2 (14.5 oz ea) cans chicken broth
2 C. water
1/2 C. Italian salad dressing
1 lb. dried split peas, rinsed
according to pkg directions
4 carrots, peeled & sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 oz. finely chopped ham
2 bay leaves

Bring first 3 ingredients to boil in a
saucepan. Place remaining ingredients
in crockpot; add broth mixture & cover
with lid. Cook on Low 8-10 hours or
High 4-5 hours; stir. Discard bay
leaves; remove 1 C. soup & place in
shallow bowl. Mash peas & vegetable
pieces with a fork; return to crockpot &
stir. Makes 8 servings, 1 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Saucy Beef Noodle Skillet

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 C. water
1/2 C. zesty Italian salad dressing
2 (3 oz, ea) pkgs. RAMEN NOODLE
soup mix – any flavor
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown meat in large nonstick skillet on
medium-high heat; drain grease. Stir in
peppers, tomatoes, water & dressing.
Discard flavor packets from Ramen
noodles (or reserve for another use).
Add dry noodles to skillet; bring to boil &
cover. Simmer on low heat 5 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Remove from heat;
sprinkle top with cheese. Serves 4
(1 3/4 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Pinto Beans & Ham Hocks

1 C. pinto beans
2 smoked ham hocks
1 bay leaf

Place beans & ham hocks in pot with
bay leaf. Cover with water. Cook
6-8 hours on High. Remove bay leaf
before serving.
NOTE: no need to season because ham
hocks give dish flavor.

(recipe: carolsrecipes77-Slowcooker

Oven-Baked Crumb Potatoes

6 medium russet potatoes
1/4 C. butter, melted
2/3 C. Italian bread crumbs
salt & pepper

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Cut potatoes into cubes and put in a
medium-sized bowl. Pour melted
butter over potatoes; add 2/3 C.
bread crumbs & salt & pepper. Stir
potatoes to mix, making sure all
cubes are coated. Spray a large cookie
sheet (with sides) with non-stick spray;
lay potatoes out evenly over pan. Bake
45 minutes, stirring a few times during
cooking. They are done when fork-tender
and crispy along outsides. Makes 7 servings.

(recipe: Jamiecooksit up!)

Homemade Hummus

1 (15 oz) can garbanzo (chick peas) beans
1 (15 oz) can white kidney beans or great
northern beans
3/4 C. sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 T. lemon juice, fresh or bottled
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt & pepper
dash sugar
2 T. olive oil
1/4 C. water

Drain juices from beans & rinse beans then
pour them into food processor or blender. Roughly
chop sun-dried tomatoes & add to blender. Add rest
of ingredients; blend. Test to see if it needs more salt
or pepper. Place hummus into air tight container &
refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. When ready
to serve, you can drizzle a bit of olive oil over top.
Makes 3 C.
(recipe: JamieCooksItUp!)

Valentine Meringues

3 egg whites
3 1/2 T. raspberry Jell-0, dry
3/4 C. sugar
dash of salt
1 tsp. vinegar
6 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven 250 degrees
Beat egg whites gradually, adding Jell-o
& sugar until whites are stiff & glossy.
Fold in vinegar & salt; beat well. Add
chocolate chips & drop by teaspoons
on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 40-50
NOTE from poster: DO NOT double recipe.
These can be made without using the chocolate
chips, also.


Hope you’re enjoying yourself, perhaps relaxing a bit? After reading through the recipes, it’s the kind of day that makes me want to cook up a big ole’ pot of soup (not that I’m going to, but it sort of ‘begs’ for that). A few of the above I found rather ‘interesting’ – like the Valentine Meringues; they don’t seem hard to do AND would be a nice treat for either a Ladies group OR young children. The Oven-Baked Crumb Potatoes sound easy, too and not a lot of ingredients. I try, when chosing recipes for you, to find ones that don’t cost a lot, have few ingredients (or, mostly, ingredients you probably have in your kitchen). When sometimes necessary, I try to highlight something you might need to pick up (like the Ramen Noodles). We ‘have’ Ramen noodles in our house (only because middle son likes them) so I thought it was interesting to find a recipe using just the noodles. Yes, I DO know there’s at least one site for JUST ramen noodle recipes – I remember when said son first became enamored of them and came home all excited after hearing about said site. They’re ok, I guess – IF you’re into LOTS OF SALT!!!

Anyway, just looked outside again – still ‘just’ rain – YAY! (she said, knowing that this is Michigan – LAND OF SNOW!) It’s coming but the good thing is: (as far as I know, anyway) I don’t have to go out in it today/tonight! (Hey, be happy for the little things, right? Sort of like the expression: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff because, in the end, it’s ALL small stuff!”

Enjoy your day;



Feelin’ Better!

computer lady

Still stuffed up with a few coughs, but am seeing ‘the end of the tunnel’. I stayed home from church today simply because I didn’t want others to think I had some sort of ‘creeping crud’ and because I knew I couldn’t sing in the choir. Yes, I ‘could’ have just sat there, but I think the coughing might be disturbing to others. Am feeling like I have more energy to get things done: worked on the special needs group’s next newsletter due out this week, updated the attendance files for the group and adding more recipes to my blog files.

Our weather is bright & sunny – in the mid 30’s. They’re predicting more snow, but only light flurries, so that’s good. Tuesday night is the Knit Group’s Movie night and so far, 12 have signed up – that’s the biggest number EVER! I’m looking forward to it and hope I’ll be able to smell/taste by then because one of the ladies is bringing her mom’s recipe: Cannoli Cake! (I LOVE cannoli’s!!!). (one good side effect of being sick – I’ve dropped down 3 lbs. and BELIEVE ME: I can USE the loss!). Been wanting to cook but not feeling the energy; my husband keeps telling me to let the guys get rid of the leftovers, so we’ve been ‘cruising’ on leftovers for about three days now. (He just announced that there’s only 1 piece of Chicken Parmesan left – he’s having that for lunch along with the last of the Garlic-Butter-Parmesan noodles.) I’m planning on meatloaf for dinner, tossed salad and maybe mashed potatoes or baked – depends on how I feel at the time.


Triple-Layer Mud Pie

3 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate*, melted
1/4 C. canned sweetened condensed milk
1 Oreo pie crust (6 oz)
1/2 C. chopped pecans
2 (3.9 oz, ea) chocolate instant pudding mix
2 C. cold milk
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed & divided

Mix melted chocolate & condensed milk; pour
into pie crust & sprinkle with nuts. Beat
pudding mix & milk using whisk 2 minutes;
spoon 1 1/2 C. over the nuts. Stir half of Cool
Whip into remaining pudding; spread over
pudding layer in crust. Top with remaining
Cool Whip & refrigerate 3 hours. Serves 10.

*You can also substitute bittersweet baking
chocolate instead of semi-sweet, if you wish.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Roasted Potatoes w/Blue Cheese Drizzle

2 lb. red and/or yellow potatoes, halved
1/2 C. mayonnaise, divided
1/4 C. milk
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 C. crumbled blue cheese (about 4 oz)
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Toss potatoes with 1/4 C. mayonnaise, then
arrange in single layer on baking sheet. Roast
35 minutes or until golden brown & tender,
turning potatoes once. Arrange potatoes on serving
platter. Combine milk, remaining mayonnaise, mustard,
garlic, pepper & cheese in microwavesafe bowl; whisk
ingredients together. Microwave on High 1 minute,
stirring once halfway through. Stir (mixture will be
lumpy) then drizzle cheese sauce over potatoes just
before serving. Sprinkle top with green onions.
Serves 4

(recipe: Unilever)

Honey Mustard Chicken w/Pretzel Crust

1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. yellow mustard (prepared, not dry)
1 T. spicy mustard
1 T. coarse-grained mustard
1 T. honey
1 t. vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 C. salted pretzels

1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 T. prepared yellow mustard
3 T. honey
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with foil &
spray with nonstick spray. In a
bowl, mix together vinegar, yellow mustard,
spicy mustard, coarse mustard, honey &
vegetable oil. Place chicken breasts between
2 sheet of heavy plastic (or resealable
freezer bags work well), on a solid surface
Firmly pound chicken with smooth side
of a meat mallet, to a thickness of about
1/4 inch. Coat chicken well with mustard
mixture. Place pretzels in a resealable
zip plastic bag; roll bag under a rolling
pin to finely grind pretzels. (Using a
soup can on it’s side, works for this,
also.) Place coated chicken, one at
a time, into bag & seal – shake to
thoroughly coat each chicken breast
with pretzel meal. Place breasts on
prepared baking sheet & spray each
breast with nonstick spray. Bake
until coating is golden brown and
meat is no longer pink in center,
about 25 minutes. Flip chicken after
about 12 minutes of cooking to
brown both sides. Mix together
mayonnaise, yellow mustard, honey
& salt in a bowl. Drizzle this sauce over
cooked chicken & serve. Serves 4.

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe

Cheesy Beef – Corn Chip Skillet

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 C. water
1 (1 1.4 oz) pkg. dry taco seasoning mix
2 C. corn chips
1/4 lb. (4 oz) Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch
2 C. shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes, chopped

Brown meat with onions in large skillet;
drain. Stir in water & taco seasoning mix;
cook as directed on pkg. Top with chips &
Velveeta; cover. Cook on low 5 minutes or
until Velveeta is melted. Cover with
lettuce & tomatoes.  Serves 6, 1 C. each.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb. ground beef or turkey, browned,
seasoned & drained of fat
2-3 C. canned (drained) or frozen
vegetables of choice (green beans,
corn, peas or mixed vegetables –
3 lb. frozen tater tots
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 C. milk
8-12 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spread cooked meat in 9 X 13 greased
casserole dish. Add a layer of your
choice of optional vegetables; cover
with tater tots. Combine both soups &
milk; pour evenly over tater tots. Bake
45 minutes; add cheese & bake 10-15
more minutes. Serves 6-8

(recipe: Muna –

Black & White Pizza

1 (12 inch) pre-baked pizza crust
1 T. olive oil
1 C. prepared Alfredo sauce
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 (6 oz) pkg. frozen ready-to-eat chicken
breast strips, thawed
1/2 C. canned black beans, rinsed & drained
1 (6 oz) pkg. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 (4 oz) can sliced jalapeno peppers
1 tsp. dried parsley

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add
garlic & cook until fragrant. Add chicken strips, cook
until heated through. Spread Alfredo sauce over pizza
crust, sprinkle with some of the shredded cheese.
Arrange chicken strips & garlic over cheese, top with
as many black beans as you want. Place jalapeno
slices on top, then cover with remaining cheese. Garnish
with a sprinkle of dried parsley flakes. Place pizza
directly on oven rack. Bake 15 minutes until crust is
crispy & cheese is melted. Serves 4


John Murphy’s Clam Puffs

1 loaf San Francisco French bread, sliced
very thin
4 cans minced clams, drained (save juice)
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
2 T. sour cream
2 tsp. butter, softened
2 pinches salt
2 pinches pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 dashes fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 cube soft butter
1 clove garlic, smashed

Rub a bowl well with smashed garlic.
Hand mix all ingredients in bowl, (except
1 cube butter & sliced bread) Refrigerate.
Make clam sauce:
Pour reserved clam juice, lemon juice, salt,
pepper & 2 tsp. butter in a saucepan; set
aside on stove to warm.
Toast one side only of bread; set aside.
Spread soft butter & dab of clam mixture
on untoasted side of bread. Broil these
leaving them close to broiler heat to make
clam mixture puffy & hot. Serve hot, with
clam sauce. (can dip the bread in the clam

(recipe: Bonnie-

Malted Milk Pie

2 pkgs. graham crackers, crushed
(2 C.)
1/2 C. sugar
1 stick butter, softened
6 oz. malted milk balls,
crushed *
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
2 T. milk
6 T. marshmallow cream
6 T. malted milk powder**
1 pint whipping cream
2 T. milk

Mix first three ingredients together; press
into a 9 X 13 pan; freeze 1 hour. Add
crushed malted milk balls & milk into
softened ice cream; mix well & pour
over crust. Freeze.
Mix marshmallow creme, malted milk
powder & milk together. Add whipping
cream; beat in (using elec. mixer) until
stiff peaks form. Pour over ice cream &
freeze several hours. Serves 12

NOTE: *Poster notes: place malted milk
balls in a zip lock bag (don’t seal all the
way) smash them with a meat mallet
or rolling pin.

**If you can find it, poster says chocolate
flavored malted milk powder
is even


Chipotle Enchiladas

2 T. vegetable oil, divided
2 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash,
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce,
finely chopped
1 (1 lb 8oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 C. sour cream
3 C. shredded cooked chicken

16 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 C. crumbled queso fresco cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Heat 1 T. oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-
high heat; cook zucchini with onion, stirring
frequently, 6 minutes or until vegetables are
tender. Remove vegetables from skillet; set
aside. Heat remaining 1 t. oil in same skillet
over medium heat; cook garlic & chipotle
peppers, stirring frequently, 30 seconds. Stir
in spaghetti sauce; simmer – covered-
4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour
cream. Combine chicken, vegetables & 1 C.
spaghetti sauce in large bowl. Spread 1/2 C.
sauce mixture into 9 X 13 pan. Arrange
6 tortillas on sauce mixture. Evenly top
with chicken mixture, then remaining
tortillas & sauce mixture. Sprinkle top
with cheese & bake 20 minutes or until
enchiladas are heated through & cheese
is melted. Serves 8

(recipe: Unilever)


Going over my recipes, I’m amazed at how many are either chicken or desserts! Oh well – they all sound good to me!

(REMINDER: The recipes I post on my blog are NOT mine- I note the source below each recipe.)

Been trying to catch up on craft projects these past few days. Managed to knit a pair of baby booties for my friend in Ohio. Still want to attempt to knit a baby sweater, then finish sewing together all the crocheted squares for her blanket. I also had to remember she’s having a Caesarian delivery, so her baby will be rather large (that makes a difference when knitting hats!).

Not much else going on – have to drive youngest to work in a few minutes. My husband has been really good about driving him or picking him up for me. Yesterday was the first time I’d driven in about 3-4 days! If all ‘holds up’, I should be pretty much over this in a few days – really hoping that’s so. I keep remembering my husband’s Mantra: “Remember – for every ONE day you were/are sick, it takes your body THREE days to recover!” Sigh . . .

Stay healthy if you can, keep warm, relax and try to do something you enjoy at least once every day! Life’s short – eat dessert first!



Cough, Cough – sniffle, cough . . .


Well, it had to happen – eventually. I’m working through a ‘nice’ sinus infection. Right now it’s day 3 – not too bad, it isn’t in my chest. I’m still amazed that the Lord brought me through over a year and several months totally healthy (even during and after the radiation treatments!) before I finally came down with an illness – not too bad, indeed! Babysat grandson yesterday for several hours, relying almost totally on my husband to keep grandson amused while I sat in a chair feeling crappy. I’m bound & determined that I will get over this quickly – we’ll see.

It’s been a full week, with more activities for next week but tomorrow I’m ‘free’ of specific duties (except maybe driving youngest back & forth to work). Weather-wise, we got almost 3 inches of the white stuff earlier today. It looks to be the fluffy stuff; husband reported he went through almost ‘white-out’ conditions around 9:30 driving youngest to work; glad the snow has stopped!

Since my energy levels are not very high, am just going to post recipes:


Savory Apple Pinwheels

2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
2 apples, any type, seeded & chopped
1/2 bunch chives
1 1/4 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
3 dashes black pepper
1/2 C. cashews, salted

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Unroll dough, cut into quarters, pinching
seams together. Mix all other ingredients
together. Cover dough with mixture to
about 1/4-1/2 inch of edges of dough. Roll
up dough and pinch seam. Cut into 6 slices
using a serrated knife. Place on a baking
sheet; bake 15 minutes or until golden


Cheesy Mushroom Fish Bake

4 frozen haddock fillets* (1 lb)
2 T. zesty Italian salad dressing
1 C. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 t. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Place frozen fish in 9 x 13 baking dish;
drizzle with dressing. Bake 25 minutes
then top with mushrooms & cheese.
Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts &
fish flakes easily with fork. Sprinkle tops
with parsley before serving. Serves 4

*Can be prepared using halibut or cod fillets

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Italian Veggie Bake

1/3 C. Kraft Tuscan House Italian salad dressing
1 large onion, chopped
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 (8 oz)  pkg. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 zucchini, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes,
drained & cut up
1/3 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 T. chopped fresh parsley

Heat dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add
onions; cook & stir 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in
eggplant; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add
mushrooms, zucchini & peppers; cook & stir 5
minutes. Stir in tomatoes; bring to boil. Simmer on
medium-low heat 15 minutes or until vegetables are
tender, stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Pour vegetable mixture into 2 quart casserole dish
sprayed with nonstick spray. Top with cheese & cover.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle
top with parsley before serving. Serves  14, (1/2 C. each)

NOTE: This dish tastes even better if prepared the day
before. Cool completely then cover & refrigerate until
ready to bake.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Almond-Laced Banana Cake

3/4 C. unsalted butter, divided
1/3 C. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 C. sliced almonds, divided
1 C. granulated sugar
1 C. mashed banana (2 medium)
2 large eggs
1/4 C. milk
1/2 tsp. white vinegar
2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 T. almond paste
2 T. sweetened condensed milk,
slightly warmed
1 C. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Spread 1 T. melted butter on
bottom & up sides of a 9 inch
square cake pan. In medium
bowl, stir together brown sugar &
1/2 C. almonds. Sprinkle half of
mixture in pan. Add 3 T. remaining
butter to remaining brown sugar/
almond mixture. Stir to evenly mix.
Place remaining 1/2 C. butter in a
large mixing bowl. Add granulated
sugar & mashed banana; beat on
medium speed with elec. mixer
until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at
a time. In small bowl, stir together
milk & vinegar; set aside. In medium
bowl, stir together flour, baking powder,
soda & salt. With mixer on low speed,
gradually beat in milk mixture
alternately with dry ingredients, beating
well after each addition; beat in extract.
Pour half of batter over brown sugar mixture
in pan. Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar
mixture. Spoon remaining batter evenly over
top. Use a knife to swirl gently. Bake 25-35
minutes or until toothpick inserted in center
comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool
10 minutes in pan, invert onto cake plate.
Crumble almond paste into small mixing
bowl. Add warmed condensed milk & beat
on medium speed until well-combined.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar; drizzle
over cake. Sprinkle top with remaining
1/4 C. almonds. Serve warm or at room
temperature. Cut into 3 inch squares to
serve. Serves 9.

Lentil Soup

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 (15 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
1/2 lb. lentils, sorted & washed
3 small carrots, chopped
1 (1/2 lb.) potato, chopped
1/2 C. sour cream

Cook bacon & onions in large saucepan
8-10 minutes or until bacon is crisp &
onions are crisp-tender, stirring
occasionally. Add garlic, cook 1 minute.
Add next 5 ingredients; stir. Bring to boil;
simmer on Low 25-30 minutes or until
lentils & vegetables are tender. Serve
topped with sour cream. Serves 8,
1 C. each

Cooking TIP:
Before using lentils, place in a colander &
rinse thoroughly. Discard any shriveled
lentils or bits of dirt. Lentils do not need to
be soaked before cooking.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Spicy Black Bean & Bacon Soup

2 (15 oz) cans black beans drained & rinsed
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 slices bacon, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. ground cumin
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped
1 1/2 C. chicken broth
juice of half of a lime
salt & pepper, to taste
sour cream (garnish)
2 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
(for topping on soup bowls)
chopped fresh cilantro (garnish)

Place beans & tomatoes, with juice,
in a food processor or blender; process
until smooth. In a large pot, heat oil over
medium-high heat. Add onions, bacon &
garlic, sauté until onions are soft & bacon
is crisp. Add cumin & jalapeno, stirring
to combine. Pour in pureed mixture & chicken
broth; bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce
heat to medium. Cover pot & simmer
15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in
lime juice & season with salt & pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls & garnish with
sour cream, bacon & cilantro. Serves 4


Hearty French Onion Soup

3 large onions, sliced, separated into
2 T. butter or margarine
3 (14.5 oz, ea) cans fat-free, reduced-
sodium beef broth
1 T. A1 original steak sauce
1 C. seasoned croutons
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese*

Cook onions in butter in large saucepan
on medium heat 10 minutes or until
golden brown, stirring frequently. Add
broth & steak sauce; stir. Bring to a boil;
simmer on medium-low heat 5 minutes.
Heat broiler. Ladle soup into 6 large
ovenproof bowls; top with croutons &
cheese. Broil 2-3 minutes or until cheese
is melted. Serves 6 (1 C. each)

*Variation: serve using shredded Swiss cheese.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Hope you’re nice & comfortable inside, enjoying something you like doing. Me? I’m going to close here, get dressed then retreat to my nice, cozy recliner!

Enjoy your day;



Getting Warmer . . . slowly

Today started out like any other day – a little gray outside, around 40 degrees with no new snow. I spent a short while crocheting more squares for the baby blanket but really didn’t feel all that motivated to ‘do’ anything. That changed rather quickly when we suddenly lost power. Normally we would get a short outage, then it would come back on . . . not today. Totally out from around 11:04 a.m. until  a little after 6 p.m. this evening! I’m SO glad we have a gas hot water heater; that enabled my sons to be able to take showers AND it gave me something to ‘do’ – hand wash the dishes & pots in the sink. Along with that I got several other little tasks I’d sort of been avoiding, done. Addressed all the envelopes for my next special needs group newsletter due out before the end of the month; put away some dishes I’d sort of been working around (you know – those larger casserole dishes that you have to re-arrange the cupboards to accommodate); loaded the dishwasher with regular dishes (was going to run the dishwasher to day and do a few loads of laundry – oh well, laundry can wait until tomorrow).  I was glad the small tasks got done but then began to notice the cold, so wrapped up in my afghan Momma made me and read some – eventually fell asleep for awhile. My husband kept calling the recording for the electric company to get an update on when we would get power again. First it said between 4 & 6, then 5 & 6, then 5 to 7 p.m. When we finally DID get it on again, he went on line to look at the area affected and found out it was a VERY large area – including another large area North of us. Each area affected over 1,000 people – I was surprised! There was no explanation as to ‘why’ but it might be in tomorrow’s newspaper. Glad we didn’t have any small children. Reminds me of the time, many years ago when our oldest was about two when we had an ice storm that affected huge areas (my friend Momma remembers that one!). This went on (in our area) for a week and a half! Not a fun time, for sure.

I would have written a blog sooner, but have been rather busy. Last week was a bit of a blur – lots of driving involved AND babysitting grandson. He was out of school Wednesday because he said his stomach bothered him, then we also had him Thursday. Lots of games of dominoes, Cootie, Don’t Wake the Dragon and other board games were played.






(He beat me at Cootie!)


Also on last week’s agenda – youngest passed his Driver’s Ed. written permit test. He was supposed to begin driving lessons this evening, but the company called and said that the other two people in the class had just cancelled; now he has to wait until March 11th.

Friday brought more activity – we bought another car. Husband decided he always wanted a Jeep, so we got a 2010 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, 2 door, black with 14,000 miles! Great price, great deal. This will help GREATLY when it comes to youngest needing to be driven places (like next Sunday evening – I can’t be in 2 places at once: He gets off work at 6 p.m. and evening church starts at 6 – I would have been at church for choir practice 4:45 – 6p.m. but wouldn’t be able to get to where he works by that time – it’s about 25 minutes away. With our new car, my husband can pick him up!). Friday evening was Gym Night for my special needs group. We didn’t have a very big turnout (around 17) but they all had lots of fun; we had tons of hot dogs leftover!

Well, that’s the ‘happenings’ around here lately, now on to the recipes!


5-Minute Mug Cakes

4 microwave-safe mugs
1 c. flour
1 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
3/4 C. milk
3/4 C. vegetable oil
(toppings: whipped cream, powdered
sugar or chocolate sauce)

Combine all ingredients & mix until
just combined. Do not over mix. Divide
between 4 mugs; one at a time, microwave
on High 2 1/2 – 3 minutes, until cake rises
above the mug. Let cool 2 minutes then
garnish with desired toppings.

TIP: Cakes can be made in mugs, cooled &
then frozen for up to 1 month. Add
toppings just before serving.

Vanilla Mug cake:
Substitute 1 tsp. vanilla extract for cocoa

Red Velvet Mug Cake:
add 1 T. red food coloring to chocolate
recipe; top with cream cheese frosting &
fresh strawberry slices.

(recipe: Home Made Simple)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

12 oz. cream cheese, softened & cut
into large pieces
1/2 C. hot sauce
1/4 tsp. celery seeds
1 1/2 C. crumbled blue cheese (about 6 oz)
4 C. small-dice cooked chicken
carrot sticks, celery sticks, saltine crackers,
thick-cut potato chips or toasted bread, for

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place cream cheese, hot sauce & celery seeds
in medium saucepan over medium heat; cook,
stirring occasionally, until melted & smooth, about
7 minutes. Add 1/2 C. blue cheese; stir until melted
& smooth. Add chicken, stir to combine. Transfer
mixture to a 9 inch pie plate; spread mixture into
an even layer. Sprinkle remaining blue cheese over
top; bake until bubbling around edges, about 10-
15 minutes. Serve with extra hot sauce, veggies &
crackers/toast for dipping.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Grandma Mack’s Breakfast Delight

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
2 C. cubed, fully cooked ham
5 large eggs
1/2 C. milk
dash salt & freshly ground pepper
2 C. frozen hash browns, thawed
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Arrange crescent rolls on bottom of a
9 X 13 pan. Place ham on top of rolls.
Beat eggs, milk, salt & pepper; set aside.
Layer hash browns over ham, pour egg
mixture over hash browns; top with cheese.
Bake 30 minutes. Serves 8

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys-Recipe Exchange)

Smothered Sirloin Steak in Parmesan-Peppercorn

1/2 C. zesty Italian salad dressing, divided
1 boneless beef sirloin steak (1 lb.), well-trimmed
1/3 C. sour cream
4 1/2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)
1 onion, thinly sliced & separated into rings

Pour 1/4 C. dressing over steak in shallow dish; turn
to evenly coat steak. Refrigerate 30 minutes to marinate.
Mix sour cream, 2 T. remaining dressing, Parmesan
cheese & pepper; refrigerate until ready to serve.
Heat remaining 2 T. dressing in nonstick skillet over
medium heat. Add onions & cook 7-8 minutes or until
golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove onions
from skillet; set aside. Remove steak from marinade;
discard marinade. Add steak to skillet; cook on medium
heat 3-4 minutes on each side or until medium doneness
(160 degrees F). Remove steak from skillet; cut into thin
strips. Serve topped with sour cream sauce & onions.
Serves 4.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Cheddar Mashed Potato Casserole

2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6),
peeled & quartered
2 T. butter
1/2 C. sour cream
2 T. milk
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook potatoes in boiling water in large
saucepan 20 minutes or until tender;
drain. Return to pan. Add butter,
sour cream and milk to potatoes; mash until
smooth. Spoon half of mixture into
1 1/2 quart casserole; cover with layers
of cheese, remaining potato mixture &
bacon. Bake 30-35 minutes or until
heated through. Makes 10 servings
(1/2 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Zesty Minestrone

1/4 C. Zesty Italian salad dressing
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (19 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed*
2 (14 oz, ea) cans vegetable broth
2 C. water
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 C. small pasta shells, uncooked
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat salad dressing in large nonstick
skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions,
celery & carrots; cook 2 minutes or until
crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Pour
into crockpot. Add tomatoes, beans,
broth, water & seasoning; stir. Cover
with lid & cook on Low heat 6 hours
(or High 3 hours). Stir in pasta, cook
10-15 minutes or until pasta is
tender. Top with cheese just
before serving. Makes 8 (1 Cup)

Substitute: can use canned white
beans or chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
instead of kidney beans

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Overnight Oatmeal

8 C. water
2 C. steel-cut oats (see Ingredient note)
1/3 C. dried cranberries
1/3 C. dried apricots, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

Combine water, oats, dried cranberries,
dried apricots & salt in 5-6 qt. crockpot.
Turn heat to Low, cover with lid. Cook
until oats are tender & oatmeal is creamy,
7-8 hours.

Ingredient note: Steel-cut oats (sometimes
labeled “Irish oatmeal”, looks like small
pebbles. They are toasted oat groats, the oat
kernel that has been removed from the husk
and cut into 2-3 pieces. Do NOT substitute
regular rolled oats, which have a shorter
cooking time, for this crockpot recipe.

(recipe: Eatingwell Magazine)

Turkey & Hash Brown Bake

1 (16 oz.) bag or 4 1/2 C. frozen,
shredded hash brown potatoes
2 C. chopped frozen or fresh broccoli
8 oz. sliced turkey, cut into 1/2 inch
pieces (about 2 C.)
1 (12 fl oz) can evaporated milk
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan with
nonstick spray. Combine all
ingredients in large bowl until
well blended. Pour into prepared
pan. Bake 50 minutes or until
heated through. Cool 10 minutes
before serving. Serves 10.


My husband just announced the house heat is now up to 70 degrees F.; now we can start feeling WARM! I’m off, in a few minutes, to pick up two deep-dish Jet’s Pizzas & cheesy bread – I figure we earned them! (We don’t do ‘take out’ food very often, so it’s both a treat AND a reward for ‘enduring the cold’ . . . wink!)

Enjoy your day – stay warm, remember to do something you enjoy!



Once a year – that’s a good thing, I think???

This morning was Ladie’s Bible Study (10 a.m. – noon), then I had a few quick errands to do. Since there is a Kroger’s near church, I dropped in there to pick up my few groceries. That’s when I saw them . . . PACZKI’S:


(Guess I should ‘translate’ – these are pronounced: POONch-Keys; very rich,large, VERY ladened with calories Polish donuts made to celebrate “Fat Tuesday” February 12th – that’s the day BEFORE Lent starts. They are fried, (usually) jelly or cream-filled donuts. They were originally created to clear out pantries of fruits, sugar & fat for Lent. They come in all sorts of fillings: raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, lemon, PRUNE (traditional), Bavarian cream (traditional), and cream cheese (there are probably others I haven’t listed).  I bought some last week at a different store but they weren’t that good – KROGER’S cream cheese filled were the ‘to die for’ kind! I brought them home, cut one in half, ate it then just couldn’t resist – I ate the other half too! (For me, that’s a HUGE thing – I don’t really like sweets that much and really don’t care for glazed donuts). These were rich, creamy and all-together just plain YUMMY! I’m going to have trouble staying away from the remaining ones in the box! Saw a cute post on Facebook today: “Today is called ‘Fat Tuesday’. In fairness, I propose that tomorrow be called: “Gee, you look slender Wednesday!”  (from Jim Hunt cartoons). So true – SO GLAD they only are available ONCE A YEAR! One of my son’s said: Imagine if they WERE available year-round – our planet couldn’t handle the extra weight and would shift off it’s axis!”

Today is a MUCH better day than yesterday. Got quite a few errands done: stopped at Salvation Army store (because it’s close to church) and found some really nice, cream colored very fine yarn ($2.99). I have another bunch of it in blue (this ‘bunch’ was not labeled, nor is the one I have at home – think it’s wool, not sure). I want to knit a scarf for the little old lady we drive to church. I’m thinking that the two yarns knit in one scarf would be really pretty – we’ll see. Tomorrow I’m planning on going to JoAnn Fabrics to buy some yarn to make the BABY BOY afghan I wrote about yesterday. Perhaps in a mint green? We’ll see. At times I’m torn with wanting to do a really pretty, sort of complicated knit pattern for the mom, BUT knowing I’m going to be pressed for time (she’s due in May) AND knowing I sort of have to do ‘catch up’ (being that I just found out yesterday that it’s NOT a girl like she thought, and I already HAD a girl afghan almost done), I’m more swayed towards a very simple pattern. I ‘could’ make more crocheted squares – those go very quickly BUT I want to venture into something I’ve not done before-perhaps a new pattern. Decisions, decisions – too many with too little time! sigh . . .

In my travels today I also noticed the GAS PRICES! Yep, they went UP again! Now, around my area the cheapest gas is $3.89/9 a gallon! OUTRAGEOUS! Not a good thing when I view my weekly travel adventures – lots of driving in store – sigh.


Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

1/4 C. zesty Italian salad dressing

3 lb. mixed chicken thighs & legs

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 C. red pepper strips

1/2 C. green pepper strips

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp. dried thyme leaves

4 C. hot cooked long-grain white


Heat dressing in large skillet over

medium-high heat. Add chicken, in

batches; cook 2-3 minutes on each

side or until evenly browned on all

sides. Place mushrooms, onions,

peppers & garlic in crockpot; top

with chicken. Combine tomatoes &

thyme; pour over chicken. Cover &

cook on Low 6-8 hours (or High

5 hours.) Serve chicken mixture

over rice. Serves 8

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Pumpkin Pound Cake w/Buttermilk Glaze



1 T. flour

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin

3/4 C. granulated sugar

3/4 C. packed dark brown sugar

1/2 C. butter, softened

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3 C. flour

1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 C. buttermilk*


1/3 C. buttermilk**

1/4 C. granulated sugar

2 T. butter

2 tsp. cornstarch

1/8 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Lightly coat a 10-inch tube pan

with nonstick spray; dust with 1

T. flour. Spread pumpkin over 2

layers of paper towels; cover with 2

additional layers of paper towels. Let

stand about 10 minutes. Scrape drained

pumpkin into a bowl. Place 3/4  C.

granulated sugar, brown sugar & 1/2 C.

butter in a large bowl; beat with elec.

mixer on medium speed 3 minutes or until

well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating

well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin &

vanilla. Combine 3 C. flour and next 4

ingredients (through salt) in a bowl,

stirring well with a whisk. Add flour

mixture and 3/4 C. buttermilk alternately

to sugar mixture, beginning and ending

with flour mixture. Spoon batter into

prepared pan. Bake 55 minutes or until a

toothpick inserted in center comes out

clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire

rack. Remove from pan, cool completely

on wire rack.


Combine 1/3 C. buttermilk & remaining

ingredients in a small saucepan over

medium heat; bring to a boil. Cook

1  minute or until thick, stirring

constantly; remove from heat. Drizzle

cake with glaze. Makes 16 servings.

*BUTTERMILK (how to make yourself)

This makes 1 CUP – see the recipe to

adjust amount needed.


Place 1 T. white vinegar or lemon juice

in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough

milk to bring the liquid up to 1 Cup line.

Stir then let stand 5 minutes.

(recipe: DDJ-10/15/12)


Italian Sausage & Tortellini Soup


1 lb. sweet Italian sausage

1 C. chopped onion

2 large garlic cloves, sliced

5 C. beef broth

2 C. chopped tomatoes (can use petite diced tomatoes)

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 large zucchini, sliced

celery, diced (however much you like)

1 large carrot, thinly sliced

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

1/2 C. dry red wine

2 T. dried basil

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 (10 oz) pkg. fresh cheese tortellini

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Saute sausage in heavy Dutch oven over

medium-high heat until cooked through,

crumbling with back of spoon, about 10

minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer

sausage to large bowl. Pour off all but

1 T. drippings; add onion & garlic, saute

until translucent, about 5 minutes. Return

sausage to Dutch oven; add stock, tomatoes,

tomato sauce, zucchini, celery, carrot, bell

pepper,wine, basil & oregano. Simmer until

vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.

Add tortellini to soup; cook until tender,

about 8 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan

cheese & serve. Makes 6 servings.

(recipe: RDJ 10/26/12)


Beef Pot Roast

1 lb. new potatoes
2 C. pearl onions, peeled
1 boneless beef chuck or blade
roast (2 lb.)
1/2 C. balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 C. beef broth
1/4 C. fresh chopped parsley

Place all ingredients (except parsley)
in crockpot; cover with lid. Cook on
Low 8-9 hours or High 6-7 hours.
Transfer meat to cutting board; cut
across grain into thin slices. Place
on platter surrounded with vegetables.
Skim fat from sauce; discard fat. Drizzle
sauce over meat & vegetables, top
with parsley. Serves 8

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Inside-Out Pizza Casserole

1/2 of 15 oz. pkg. refrigerated pie crust
(1 crust)
1 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 (8 oz) pkg. sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 C.)
1 1/2 C. spaghetti sauce
4 oz. sliced pepperoni, coarsely chopped
2 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz)
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Let pie crust stand at room temp. for 15
minutes or until it’s easy to handle. Heat
oil in 10-in skillet over medium-high heat.
Add sausage; cook until it’s well browned,
stirring frequently to break up meat; pour
off any fat. Add mushrooms & onion; cook
until tender. Stir in spaghetti sauce &
pepperoni, cook until mixture is hot &
bubbling. Remove skillet from heat and let
cool slightly. Stir in mozzarella & Parmesan
cheeses. Spoon mixture into a 2 Quart
casserole. Place crust over sausage
mixture, crimp or flute edges. Cut several
slits in crust for venting. Bake 30
minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let
stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6


Baked Fudge Pudding

1 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. sugar
2 T. cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2/ C. milk
2 T. melted butter
1 C. finely chopped pecans
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. white sugar
1/4 C. cocoa
1 3/4 C. hot water
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Sift first 5 ingredients together in
round baking dish. Add next 3
ingredients; stir until well blended.
Mix next 3 ingredients & sprinkle over
batter. Mix hot water & vanilla; pour
over all & bake 40-45 minutes. Serve
warm or cold. Serves 6



Just checked the weather for our area: right now it’s 30 degrees F., clear but not sunny and the next few days look pretty good, too! YAY! Looks like they’re predicting some snow & rain on Thursday – we’ll see.

Enjoy your day – eat a Paczki!



What a day . . . and then some!


Have you ever had a day that seems to surpass bizarre? That’s my day, so far. I decided to work on filling out prescription claim forms for our (old/new) medical prescription company. To explain: We used to have this company years ago, then our insurance carrier changed companies and thus, we didn’t have this company. (my opinion – Goody! They were a pain in the whatevers then – and now we have them back – YUCK!) They require that if you have a drug prescription you take regularly, YOU pay for it at the drug store, then fill out their forms, mail them in and they ‘might’ reimburse you for half, or part of what you paid. The operative word here is: MIGHT. I complained about their policies concerning their forms YEARS ago – let’s just say they haven’t improved ANY! Trying to log onto their site and print out forms was difficult – took MANY attempts. My husband got HIS information cleared, then I attempted to do mine – more problems. We’re talking a good hour or more of all this form filling out, talking to representatives who are SUPPOSED to know what the form is about, etc. VERY FRUSTRATING! Finally succeeded in getting that done – great. (Last lady spoken to said the original representative didn’t clear my old information, hence the problem). An hour or so goes by and we run into an equally frustrating problem with our health insurance coverage! Apparently, for WHO KNOWS WHAT REASON, they didn’t get our last payment and now we’re two months behind! We went through all this a month ago, on line & on phone with them – when the lovely lady looks over our account today she says: “Oh, that account was closed due to lack of funds.” WHAT??? That’s insane! There are no lack of funds! After MUCH time on line & on phone, we finally got that one straightened out – we will be calling them back on Wednesday to MAKE SURE they got the payment! CRAZY! How can these things happen??? (good thing: we didn’t lose coverage of our health benefits during this mess). I’m still in a shocked state over this – don’t understand it AT ALL!

Weather-wise, it’s been rather ‘nice’ – in the 30’s & almost to 40, light rain and windy. At least we don’t have more snow! The roads are clear, my car is clear – good going.

Nothing much new – more recipes for ya:


Slow Cooker Pork Cacciatore

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 large green peppers, chopped
1 (8 oz) pkg. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
1 pork tenderloin (1 lb)
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 C. multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 C. water
1 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Mix tomatoes & tomato paste in slowcooker
until well blended; stir in vegetables. Cut meat
into 8 pieces; pound to 1/2 inch thickness &
sprinkle with oregano. Add to slowcooker; press
into sauce with back of spoon. Cover, cook on
Low 4-4 1/2 hours or High 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Cook
pasta as directed on pkg, omitting salt. Transfer
meat to plate, reserving sauce in slowcooker. Cover
meat to keep warm. Mix cornstarch & water until
well blended; add to sauce, stir. Cover & cook on
High 6-8 minutes or until thickened. Drain pasta;
spoon onto serving plate. Top with meat, sauce &
cheeses. Makes 4 servings.

NOTE: can be topped with 1 T. chopped fresh basil or
Italian parsley when serving.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Carrot Poke Cake

1 (2 layer) box spice cake mix
2 C. shredded carrots
1/4 C. raisins
1 C. boiling water
1 (4 servg size) Jello orange gelatin
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 C. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Prepare cake batter accordg to pkg. directions; stir
in carrots & raisins. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Remove from oven.
Pierce cake with large fork or skewer at 1/2-inch
intervals. Stir boiling water into dry gelatin; mix
2 minutes until completely dissolved. Pour evenly
over cake; refrigerate 3 hours. Beat cream cheese,
butter & spice in large bowl with elec. mixer until
well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating until
well blended after each addition. Spread on cake.

(recipe: kraft foods)

Layered Chicken & Mushroom Casserole

9 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1/4 C. butter or margarine
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 C. flour
2 tsp. instant chicken bouillon
3 C. milk
2 C. chicken, cooked & cubed
1/2 C. parsley, chopped
15 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook lasagna noodles accordg to pkg.
directions; drain, rinse with hot water. In
large saucepan, melt margarine; add
mushrooms, garlic, salt & lemon juice.
Saute mushrooms until tender, about 5
minutes. Stir in flour & bouillon; blend
well. Add milk; cook over medium-high
heat until mixture thickens & boils,
stirring constantly. Stir in chicken & 1/2 C.
Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Spread about 1/2 C. sauce in ungreased
9 X 13 pan. Layer 1/3 of noodles, 1/3 of
ricotta, 1/3 of mozzarella, 1/3 sauce,
and 1/3 Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers
ending with Parmesan cheese on top.
Sprinkle top with remaining parsley; bake
45 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand
10-15 minutes before serving. Serves 8

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Juicy Chicken & Sweet Potato Corn Soup
(2 meal recipe)

1 whole chicken, frozen or thawed
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce

Place whole chicken in crockpot; cover
with about an inch of water. Pour
bottle of BBQ sauce over chicken,
cook on High 4 hours (longer if
chicken is frozen) Remove chicken
from broth, remove meat from bones.
Serve for dinner.

Whatever chicken is left, put back into
crockpot, add 2 large and 2 small peeled
& cubed sweet potatoes and 1 can corn.
Cook on High 2 hours.

(recipe: Dr Alva Irish-Slowcooker digest)

30-Minute Tuna Burgers

2 eggs
1/3 C. dry bread crumbs
1 T. fresh dill, chopped
1 T. horseradish
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 pinch salt
1 (13 oz) can water-packed tuna
2 green onions, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 T. vegetable oil
4 hamburger buns
alfalfa sprouts (optional)

In bowl, lightly beat eggs; mix in
bread crumbs, dill, horseradish, mustard,
pepper & salt. Drain tuna; mix into bowl
along with onions & celery. Shape into four
1/2 inch thick patties. In nonstick skillet,
heat oil over medium heat; cook patties,
turning once, for 10 minutes or until
golden brown & set. Serve on buns,
garnish with sprouts, if desired. Serves 4

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (6 oz) pkg. stuffing mix-chicken
1/2 C. water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. dried basil
1 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water
& garlic until just moistened. Place
chicken in 3 qt. casserole dish
sprayed with nonstick spray;
sprinkle with bail & cheese. Top
with stuffing & bake 30 minutes
or until chicken is done. Serves 6
(1 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Cheesy Spanish Rice

2 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. chopped onion
1/4 C. chopped red, orange or
green bell pepper
2 C. rice (suggested short grain)
1 (6 oz) can tomato sauce
3 1/2 C. chicken broth*
1/2 tsp. cumin
salt & pepper
1 T. butter
1 C. shredded Mexican blend cheese

In a large, deep skillet melt butter; add
garlic, onion & chopped pepper. Allow
the vegetables to cook about 5 minutes,
stirring occasionally until onions are
translucent. Add 2 C. rice. Stir well to
combine, and then allow rice to cook a bit,
turning a golden brown color. Be careful
to not let it burn! Just want some of the
grains to brown, not all of them. Add
tomato sauce, chicken broth, cumin; stir
well. Reduce heat to medium low; cover.
Simmer & cook about 12-15 minutes or
until rice has soaked up the liquid and is no
longer crunchy. Sprinkle rice with a bit of
salt & pepper; toss another T. of butter in,
stir to combine. Turn off heat; sprinkle
Mexican cheese blend over top of rice.
Cover pan, let sit about 5 minutes or until
cheese has melted. Serves 8

NOTE: Poster said she used 3 1/2 C. hot
water with 3 1/2 tsp. chicken bullion to make
chicken broth.

(recipe: Jamie Cooks It UP! site)

Baked Bananas

6 bananas
3 T. lemon juice
2 T. melted butter
6 T. hot water
1/3 C. sugar

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
Cut bananas in half lengthwise, then
once across. Place a layer of bananas in a
shallow baking dish. Mix remaining
ingredients together and spread part of
mixture over bananas. Repeat layers, ending
with lemon mixture. Bake 30 minutes or
until golden brown.



Well, so much for my ranting – hope the rest of this day goes smoothly.

Enjoy your day,



PS: Just ‘one more thing’ – discovered my young friend who’s expecting in May is NOT having a baby GIRL – it’s a boy (that was the Peach afghan I featured last post). Can’t very well give her a peach afghan for a boy, now – can I? Sigh . . .

Not so bad – considering

Here it is 1:40 p.m. and I’m checking the weather report for the day. Last night we got around 4-5 inches of light, fluffy snow – not bad, considering what happened to the East Coast! Here’s a weather report I pulled off of Facebook for our state:


We’re in the purple area but, reading ahead for later today, they’re saying we won’t be getting more than 1 inch extra today. The Wind Chill, however, is something to consider. Average temperature for my area today: 26 degrees F., with a wind chill of around 14 degrees F. – not fun! Glad I only have two very quick ‘runs’ to drive youngest son ‘to’ work and then pick him up later this evening. Also VERY glad his work is only about 5 minutes from our house – YAY! Since we live on a major highway AND his work is also on the same road, the good thing is: the Township keeps it clear! Hope you are able to bundle up, looking at any snow from the inside and don’t have to go out in it or SHOVEL it! (Or, as my dear friend Momma/Mary – drive a tractor to plow the driveway!) It’s a GOOD day to STAY INSIDE!

Finished another baby hat using Bernat Baby Jacquard’s yarn, this time in shades of lavender.  This is the self-striping yarn that makes little flower designs on whatever you knit using it. The hats come out very cute (my very favorite color pattern with this yarn is the Pinks – makes such CUTE hats!). Got out the 30 crocheted squares for the baby blanket for my best friend’s daughter; she’s going to be having her second baby – a girl, and she’s naming it after her Grandmother: Felicity. Now that’s a name you don’t hear, often. I knew her Grandmother and her Mother well; I find it interesting that she’s naming her daughter by that name – very old fashioned. I know her Mother would be very proud. This young lady is very much like a Niece to me, as her Mother & I were best friends from age 4; her Mom died about 9 years ago and I miss her greatly. It’s an honor for me to be able to crochet baby things for her baby; she lives one state away and I haven’t seen her since she was about 11 – she’s got to be almost 30 now; we keep in touch by phone.  This particular blanket is a copy of one I made for the Detroit Veteran’s hospital baby shower so I’ll just post a photo of that one. I still have to crochet the flower in the  middle, then finish by crocheting a border. (Her’s is done in apricot and white squares.)

Detroit Vets baby shower


Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. oatmeal (pulverized in blender)
2 eggs
1/2 lb. butter, softened (2 sticks)
3/4 C. white sugar
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix flour, oatmeal, salt, baking soda &
cinnamon. Cream together sugars &
butter; mix eggs into butter/sugar
mixture. Add flour mix slowly, mix
thoroughly. Mix in chocolate chips.
Bake 10 minutes. Makes 36 cookies.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Potato Spinach Casserole

6-8 large potatoes (about 3 lb)
1 (8 oz) carton sour cream
1/4 C. butter or margarine
2 T. snipped fresh chives or green
onion tops
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
thawed & well drained
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Peel & quarter potatoes. In large saucepan,
cook potatoes in small amount of salted
water 20-25 minutes (covered pan) or until
tender; drain. Mash (should be about 6
cups). Add sour cream, butter, chives
& pepper; mash again until butter is
melted & mixture is smooth; stir in
spinach. Transfer to a 2 quart casserole.
Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or
until heated through. Sprinkle top
with cheese. Makes 12 servings.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Southwest Cheddar Cheese Soup

4 medium russet potatoes, cubed
3 C. water
3 chicken bouillon cubes (or 3 tsp. granules)
1 onion, chopped
1 C. green pepper, chopped
1/3 C. butter
1/3 C. flour
3 1/2 C. milk
4 C. Velveeta cheese, cubed (1 lb.)
2 T. salsa

Place potatoes, onion, carrots & green
pepper in large soup pot; add # c. water.
(water should cover vegetables with
about 1/2 inch of water at the top. Add
chicken bouillon or granules; stir. Bring heat
to medium high; cook until fork tender.
In a skillet or medium-sized saucepan, melt
butter over medium-high heat; add flour &
immediately whisk to form a thick paste.
Add milk; whisk to combine. Keep stirring,
watch for it to get thick & bubbly, should
take a few minutes. When veggies are
cooked, add milk mixture to pot. (Do
not drain any of the water the veggies
were cooking in; stir. Add Velveeta &
salsa (add more salsa if you wish);
stir to incorporate until cheese is melted.
Remove from heat & serve. Serves 6

(recipe: jamiecooksitup!)

Pistachio Pudding Bread

1 box Betty Crocker super moist sour
cream white cake mix
1 small box instant pistachio pudding mix
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 C. chopped pecans
4 eggs
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 C. buttermilk
3/4 C. drained, cut-up maraschino cherries

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour two 8 X 4 loaf pans. In a
3-quart mixing bowl, combine cake mix,
pudding mix, nutmeg & pecans. Make a well
in the dry ingredients; pour in eggs, oil,
buttermilk & cherries. Mix by hand until
just moistened; pour into prepared pans.
Bake 45-50 minutes or until bread tests done;
cool & remove from pans. Makes 2 loaves.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
Chicken Gnocci Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled & grated
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
2-3 T. olive oil
1 rotisserie chicken & 1 C. reserved
broth from bottom of chicken container
7 C. water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
1 (16 oz.) pkg. Potato Gnocci
4 C. Half & Half
1 1/2 C. spinach, chopped
1 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. sugar
1/4 C. cold water
5 T. cornstarch
salt & pepper
2 T. butter

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat,
add olive oil. When oil is hot, add chopped
vegetables & cook, stirring occasionally,
5–8 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add broth from cooked chicken to a large
measuring cup. (there should be about
1 C. broth from package). Remove skin from
chicken; remove meat from bones & chop
into bite sized pieces. Pour broth from
chicken & 7 C. hot water into pot; add
chicken bouillon cubes; stir. Add chicken &
bring to a boil. Pour gnocci into pot, let
soup come to a boil & cook 3-4 minutes.
Gnocci will be cooked through when they
float to the top of the broth. Add chopped
spinach, Half & Half, dried thyme, nutmeg,
sugar & 2 T. butter to pot, stir & let come
to a boil. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 C.
cold water & 5 T. cornstarch; mix well &
pour into soup pot. Bring to a boil while
stirring. It will thicken as soup reaches a boil.
Taste it – adjust salt & pepper to your liking.
Serves 12.

(recipe: jamiecooksit up!)

Make-Ahead Unstuffed Shells

4 C. medium pasta shells, uncooked
1 lb. ground beef
1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce
1 (10 oz) tub Kraft Philadelphia
cooking cream
1/3 C. chopped fresh basil
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded Mozzarella

Cook pasta as directed on pkg., omitting
salt. Brown meat in large skillet; drain.
Stir in marinara sauce; simmer on
medium heat 2 minutes; remove from
heat. Drain pasta, mix cooking cream,
basil & Parmesan in large bowl; stir in
pasta. Spread half meat sauce onto bottom
of a 9 X 13 baking pan sprayed with nonstick
spray; cover with layers of pasta mixture &
remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle top with
mozzarella; cover with foil. Refrigerate
up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake:

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Bake casserole, covered, 40-45 minutes or
until heated through, uncovering after
30 minutes. Serves 6

Variation: Chop 1 small onion & 1 green
pepper, cook along with the meat.

Casserole can be baked immediately after
assembling; reduce baking time to 30
minutes, uncovering after 20 minutes.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Saw a cute plaque photo on Facebook and thought you might find it amusing:


Stay warm, dry and comfy – enjoy your day!




Addendum: Just got back from driving youngest son – GAS PRICES HAVE JUMPED 20 CENTS A GALLON OVERNIGHT! So glad I got gas yesterday! The drive wasn’t bad – roads clear, just had to shovel the snow around my car and make a path to the porch. IF this stays this way, we’ll be fine.

Waiting . . .


Watching and reading the weather reports, we are expected to get 6-8 inches of snow tonight and another 1-3 tomorrow – oh, yay . . . It’s clear out right now (YAY!) and 30 degrees. Today was sunny & clear; most of the snow on the roads & walkways has melted which will be a GOOD thing, should we get more of the white stuff. I’d rather have new snow on top of pavement, than new snow on top of more snow on the driveway, road, etc. (just my opinion).

Last night was my special needs group and we gained another new student – that makes our numbers around 64 students, 2 leaders and 3-4 helpers, not bad. I felt bad for one group home who was bringing four students: 3 in wheelchairs and very handicapped (both mentally and physically) and one ‘average’ special needs student. The average student came in and then I got the report that the lift gate on their van wouldn’t operate; that left two caregivers in a van with three students – for 1 hour 15 minutes! Yes, they could have chosen to just go back to the group home, but they decided to let the one student stay – very impressive! Our students did a Valentine’s craft with the younger kids in the church. We had 28 of our students and about 15 young kids in the room – very noisy, but very nice, too – all involved were having a good time (made me smile just watching them interact together!).

Today was watching my 6 1/2 yr old grandson. First he decided he wanted to play a video game with my middle son (they played about 1/2 hour); then he wanted to play WebKins on my husband’s computer – that lasted about 20 minutes. He had observed my husband playing Backgammon on his computer, so he stated he wanted to learn that, too. Husband informed him that the computer CHEATS, so he got out a regular board version and they played about three games before dinner. By the time this kid is 8 he’ll be very well schooled in all versions of games! Dinner was a fast sit down to sloppy joes and then back to the board – think he had a good time.


Southwest Frito Pie

2 lb. lean ground beef
3 T. chili powder
2 T. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 C. water
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed &
drained (optional)
4 1/2 C. corn chips
2 C. shredded lettuce
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded Cheddar
3/4 C. chopped tomatoes
6 T. finely chopped onion
sour cream & minced fresh
cilantro (optional)

In Dutch oven, cook beef over medium
hat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in
chili powder, flour, salt & garlic powder
until blended; gradually stir in water.
Add beans; bring to boil. Reduce heat;
simmer, uncovered, 12-15 minutes or
until thickened, stirring occasionally.
To serve:
Divide chips among six serving bowls.
Top with beef mixture, lettuce, cheese,
tomatoes & onion; garnish with sour
cream & cilantro (if desired).
Makes 6 servings.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Chicken, Cheese & Spinach Manicotti

1 1/2 C. finely chopped cooked

chicken breasts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,

thawed & well drained

1 (16 oz) container cottage cheese

2 egg whites

1 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese,


10 manicotti shells, cooked

1 1/2 C. spaghetti sauce

1/4 C. chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Combine chicken & garlic in large

bowl. Add spinach, cottage cheese,

egg whites & 1/4 C. mozzarella;

spoon into manicotti shells. Spray

a 9 X 13 baking dish with nonstick

spray & place shells in dish. Cover

with spaghetti sauce. Bake 25-30

minutes or until heated through.

Top with remaining mozzarella; bake

5 minutes longer or until cheese

is melted. Sprinkle top with basil.

Serves 5

NOTE: Can be assembled & refrigerated

up to 4 hours ahead. When ready to serve,

bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until

heated thorough. follow remaining


(recipe: Kraft foods)


Triple Thick Chocolate Cake


6 eggs

2 sticks butter, softened

3 C. sugar

1 C. plain yogurt

2 T. evaporated milk

3 C. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 C. cocoa powder

1 1/2 C. chocolate chips


1 C. butter, softened

3 C. powdered sugar

3/4 C. cocoa powder

4 T. evaporated milk

1 T. McCormick’s Butter &

Nut flavoring

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

Cream together eggs, softened

butter, sugar, evap. milk & yogurt.

Sift together flour, baking soda &

salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet

mixture. When all blended, stir in

chocolate chips. Pour into buttered

Bundt pan. Bake 80-85 minutes.

NOTE: Check towards the end to see

when a toothpick inserted into center

comes out clean. Remove cake from

oven; set aside to cool at least 30 minutes.

Mix together all icing ingredients.

Ice cake & top and sprinkle a handful

of chocolate chips on top, if you wish.

POSTERS COMMENT: She felt that this

might work better if baked in a springform pan.



Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

1/2 C. Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. butter, softened
3 T. mayonnaise
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. celery salt
2 lb. Tilapia fillets

Preheat broiler.
Grease a broiling pan or line pan with
aluminum foil. In a small bowl, mix
together Parmesan cheese, butter,
mayonnaise & lemon juice. Add basil,
black pepper, onion powder & celery
salt; mix well. Arrange fillets in a single
layer on prepared pan. Broil a few inches
from heat 2-3 minutes. Flip fillets over
& broil a few more minutes. Remove from
oven, cover with the Parmesan mixture.
Broil fillets 2 more minutes or until the
topping is browned & fish flakes easily
with a fork. Be careful to not overcook
the fish. Serves 6.


Tiddlywinks (raisin bar cookies)

1 1/2 C. ground raisins*
3/4 C. sugar
1 C. water
1 T. cornstarch
1 C. chopped nuts
2 T. grated or chopped orange peel
2 C. flour
2/3 C. shortening
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C. or more, water as needed for crust
2 T. orange peel, grated or chopped gine
1/4 C. sugar (for topping)

*you can use a food processor to grind the
raisins – process with the sugar before putting
them in saucepan to boil.

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Bring ground raisins, 3/4 C. sugar, water &
cornstarch to boil; stirring to keep from
sticking. Add nuts & grated orange peel.
Set aside to cool slightly. Mix together
flour & shortening & salt, stirring until crumbly.
Add water to make dough, using a little more
water if needed. Roll half dough, place into a 9
inch square pan. Spread dough with filling;
cover with other half with dough rolled
very thin. Prick top dough with a fork;
sprinkle top with sugar. Bake until slightly
browned, about 20 minutes. If your oven is
too hot, try 400 degrees F.
Cool completely, cut into bars. Keeps up
to 2 days without refrigeration.


Spinach, Mushroom & Feta Crustless Quiche

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 (10 oz) box frozen chopped spinach
4 large eggs
1 C. milk
2 oz. Feta cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
If spinach is frozen, thaw it in microwave. Empty
the box into a colander, let it drain. Place sliced
mushrooms in a skillet coated with nonstick spray.
Add garlic, a little salt & pepper. Turn heat to medium-
high; saute mushrooms until they release all of
their moisture & no more water remains in bottom
of skillet (5-7 minutes.)
Spray a pie pan with nonstick spray. Squeeze rest of
water out of spinach; spread it on bottom of pie dish.
Add cooked mushrooms & crumbled feta. In a medium
bowl, whisk together eggs until fairly smooth. Add milk,
Parmesan & small dash pepper; whisk to combine. Pour
mixture into pie dish over spinach mixture. Sprinkle top
with mozzarella cheese. Place pie dish on a baking sheet.
Bake 45 minutes – 1 hour; until golden brown on top and
center is solid.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Apple Peanut Crumble

4-5 cooking apples, peeled & sliced
2/3 C. brown sugar, packed
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 C. butter, softened
2 T. peanut butter

Place apple slices in crockpot. In medium bowl
combine sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon & nutmeg.
Mix in butter & peanut butter with pastry blender
or fork. Sprinkle over apples. Cover & cook on
Low 5-6 hours. Serve warm; plain or with
ice cream. Makes 4-5 servings.


Amish Dinner

2 C. ground beef, uncooked (about 1 lb.)
2 C. sliced raw potatoes (2-3 potatoes)
2 C. celery, chopped (about 3 stalks)
1/2 C. onion, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 C. green pepper, diced
2 C. canned tomatoes

Place all ingredients in crockpot in order
listed. Cover & cook on Low 6-8 hours.


Savory Bean & Spinach Soup

3 (14 oz, each) cans vegetable broth
1 (15 oz) can tomato puree
1 (15 oz) can white or Great Northern
beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 C. converted rice
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
8 C. coarsely chopped fresh spinach or
kale leaves
finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Combine broth, tomato puree, beans,
rice, onion, garlic, basil, salt & pepper in
3 1/2-4 Quart crockpot. Cover & cook on
Low 5-7 hours or High 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours.
Stir spinach into soup before serving & top
each serving with Parmesan cheese.
Makes 6 servings.



Just got back from picking up youngest son at work – 10:45 p.m. and it’s 30 degrees F. and ALL CLEAR! YAY! (Now, that’s not saying that we won’t get dumped with tons of snow during the night, but I’m very glad to report that all my ‘chickens’ are home safe & sound!)

I, like many others in the area, chose to do a quick stop at the grocery store this afternoon and also to top off my gas tank (it was below quarter tank – not good in cold weather). I decided to put a whole chicken in the crockpot tomorrow and then, with whatever leftover chicken we have, make a small pot of chicken noodle soup with thin egg noodles. That ought to hit the spot in the next few days. Youngest said that his work was pretty busy for a Tuesday – I’m guessing buying extra groceries.

Not much else going on tonight; I’ll probably play some What Word on my computer (great game of spelling various words at timed paces), then go to bed. Hope you’re in a ‘good place’ weather-wise; try to stay inside (if it’s cold outside), wrap up in something cozy, maybe read a good book, drink something nice & warm (like cocoa with little marshmallows!) and enjoy your evening.



Thoughts on a Tuesday


Hello! Not much going on around here (at least, not much NEW). Last night was my church Ladie’s Fellowship gathering – nice evening – theme: appetizers and there was a large variety! I wasn’t sure exactly what to make (or buy) so I looked up a recipe from my own blog – made it and it seemed to be a hit!

Pepperoni Squares

2 eggs
2 C. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano (I used Italian seasonings)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 C. flour
6 oz. pepperoni, chopped
4 oz. grated Swiss cheese (I used Mozzarella)
1 1/2 C. grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with nonstick
cooking spray. Mix together ingredients
eggs through flour, then stir in pepperoni
& cheeses. Pour into prepared pan and
bake, uncovered, 30 minutes. Cut into
squares and serve warm. Makes about
16 squares


While they were baking my guys kept saying: “Are we having pizza for dinner?” Comment from me – I was surprised that they stuck to the pan after cooling. I like the idea that I can whip together a ‘sort of’ pizza snack without having to buy a pizza crust! I must say, last night’s appetizers certainly were unique: one lady brought tater tots (1 each) with a slice of jalapeno, then wrapped in a bacon strip – she said they normally deep fry them but her sister bakes them, so that’s what she did. They were ‘different’ – I think they needed to be fried, the bacon didn’t quite taste fully cooked. There were stuffed mushroom caps, salmon balls, red pepper hummus & blue corn chips, the layered mexican dip, a cranberry/cream cheese dip with jalapeno in it! (they were served with very thin sliced pretzels – I’m sure you buy them commercially made). One lady brought tiny ham & cheese sandwiches that reminded me of White Castle ‘sliders’ – she said she bought the buns (never seen then that small before!). All in all, it was a very nice ladies night out.

Have you noticed the GAS PRICES lately? Around here, about a week ago, we went from $3.49/9 to $3.69/9, then back down somewhere in the middle – now it’s staying at $3.69/9. There was an article in our local paper about that very thing – saying that the price rise is due to some refineries going out of business; sure hope this isn’t a TREND of the FUTURE! I was really hoping for the prices to drop some – SOON!

Food-wise, did you do any Super Bowl foods/appetizers? Around here, even with 3 guys in residency, they never watched the game; I was at church (choir & evening church). For evening service we had a young man from our church give his account of his stay in China. He & his new wife went there for jobs – they are American Language consultants! No, they don’t speak the language; he read about the job openings and applied, not thinking they would be accepted! (they are both college graduates). They live in a small apartment close to a city and commute by subway, bus or walking. He mentioned that the college students they tutor LOVE having American nick names – one of his students said: “My name is Glutamine” – too funny. In their culture, they chose names from nature – trees, flowers, etc. and I guess he thought that Glutamine was a ‘natural’ sounding name – who knows!? It was nice getting to see our friend (he used to be in the church choir – really sweet young man) and also seeing his new wife. They’re not here for long, so it was good hearing about their adventures in China!


Taco Pasta

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
8-12 oz. medium pasta shells or other small
dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 C.)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with mild
green chilies, drained
1 (4 T.) packet taco seasoning mix
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sour cream
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
salt & pepper

Bring large pot of water to boil; cook
pasta accordg to pkg. directions. Drain,
reserving 1/2 C. pasta water; set
aside. In large skillet cook ground
meat over medium-high heat until no
longer pink. Just before meat is
cooked through, add onion, mix in
garlic & cook until fragrant, about
30 seconds. Add in diced tomatoes &
taco seasoning; let simmer over
medium heat 3-5 minutes. Stir in
cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour
cream & reserved pasta water.
Continue stirring until cream cheese
is melted & sauce is well blended.
Season with salt & pepper; simmer
over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes
to reduce sauce a bit.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)



2 1/2 C. flour, divided

1 T. ground ginger

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 C. stick margarine or butter,


3/4 C. granulated sugar, divided

1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar

1/4 C. molasses

1 large egg

1 large egg white

Combine 2 C. flour, ginger, baking

soda, cinnamon, pepper & salt in

bowl. In another bowl, beat margarine,

1/2 C. granulated sugar & brown sugar

at medium speed with elec. mixer until

light & fluffy. Add molasses; beat 2

minutes. Add egg & egg white, beat until

fluffy. Stir in flour mixture until

well-blended. Shape dough into a ball

with floured hands; add enough remaining

flour, 1 T. at a time, to prevent dough

from sticking. Wrap dough in plastic

wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Shape dough into 30 balls with floured

hands. Roll balls in 1/4 C. granulated

sugar; place 2 inches apart on baking

sheets sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake 12 minutes. Immediately remove

cookies from pans to wire rack;

cool completely. Makes 1 1/2 dozen


(recipe: DDJ – 10/10/12)


Easy Cheesy Chicken Casserole

3-4 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
1 (16 oz) pkg. wide egg noodles, cooked
1 (24 oz) container sour cream
2 (10 3/4 oz, ea) cans cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 sleeve buttery crackers, crushed (Ritz/Townhouse)
1/4 C. margarine, melted
2 T. poppy seeds

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine chicken, noodles, sour cream, soup &
cheeses in large bowl. Pour into a lightly greased
9 x 13 baking dish. Mix together cracker crumbs &
margarine; sprinkle over top. Sprinkle poppy seeds
over cracker crumbs & bake 25-30 minutes or
until crackers are crispy & golden and cheese is

(recipe: Sandy- Marys Recipe Exchange)

Oven BBQ Brisket

1 (4 lb) beef brisket
1 onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings
1 C. barbecue sauce
2 lb. red potatoes (about 6), cut into 1 1/2
inch chunks
1 lb. carrots, cut into 1/2 in. thick slices

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Place meat, fat-side up, in roasting pan; top with
onions & barbecue sauce; cover. Bake 2 hours.
Scatter cut potatoes & carrots around meat; bake,
covered, 1 hour or until meat is done (160 degrees F.)

Using slotted spoon, transfer potatoes & carrots to
serving bowl; cover to keep warm. Transfer meat to
carving board, reserving sauce & onions in pan. Cover
meat to keep warm. Skim fat from reserved sauce; discard.
Pour sauce & onions into saucepan; bring to boil on high
heat. Simmer on medium-low heat 5 minutes or until
slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Carve meat across
the grain into thin slices. Serve with vegetables & sauce.
Serves 16.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Spicy Peach Bread

2 C. flour
2/3 C. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 T. soft butter
1 (16 oz) can sliced peaches
1/2 C. syrup from peaches
2 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Blend all ingredients together by hand
until moistened. Pour into greased &
floured loaf pan; bake 60-70 minutes.

Corn Chowder

1 T. unsalted butter
1 strip bacon or 1 tsp. bacon fat*
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 C.)
1/2 large carrot, chopped (1/3 C.)
1/2 stalk celery, chopped (1/3 C.)
3 ears sweet corn, kernels removed from cobs,
(about 2 C.) cobs reserved
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 C. milk
1 medium Yukon Gold potato or Russet, peeled &
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/4 C)
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

In large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add
bacon strip (*skip this step for vegetarian option, just
add more butter). Fry until bacon renders fat but doesn’t
begin to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add onion – saute 4-5 minutes,
until soft. Add carrot & celery; cook 4-5 more minutes. Break
corn cobs in half, add to saucepan. Add milk & bay leaf. Bring
to a boil, reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover pot and cook
30 minutes. Make sure heat is as low as can be and still
maintain a gentle simmer (to prevent milk scalding). Discard
cobs, bacon strip & bay leaf. Raise heat, add potatoes, red
pepper, 1 tsp. salt & ground pepper; bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to maintain a simmer 15 minutes or until
potatoes are almost fork tender. Raise heat, add corn
kernels & thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 5

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Easy Short-cut Chicken Pot Pie

1 2/3 C. frozen mixed vegetables
1 C. cooked chicken, cubed
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 C. Bisquick mix
1/2 C. milk
1 egg

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Mix vegetables, chicken & soup in ungreased
glass pie plate. Stir together remaining
ingredients with fork until blended; pour over
vegetable mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until
golden brown.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)

White Bean/Kielbasa Stew

1 lb. dried white beans (Great
Northern or navy)
14 oz. kielbasa, halved lengthwise &
sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 C. chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. dried rosemary
5 oz. baby spinach, (6 C.)

In a 4-6 qt crockpot, combine beans,
kielbasa, broth, tomatoes & juice,
onion, garlic, rosemary & 1 C. water.
Cover & cook until beans are tender:
Low: 7-8 hours, or High 5-6 hours.
Just before serving stir in spinach.
Serves 6

(recipe: Brandi-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Mandarin Snowflake Delight

1 (18.5 oz) white cake mix
3 egg whites
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 (11 oz) can mandarin orange slices & juice

1 (9 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 medium can crushed pineapple & juice
1 (3.5 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 C. flaked coconut, divided

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine first 4 ingredients; mix for 2 minutes.
Pour into greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Bake
25-30 minutes; let cool.
Mix Cool Whip, pineapple, vanilla pudding
mix & 1/2 C. coconut; spread over cake.
Sprinkle remaining coconut on top.

(recipe: Sandy-Marys’ Recipe Exchange)

That’s about it for now – been ‘knee deep’ in paperwork these past few days, attempting to update pages & pages of data both from my special needs group (I’m the group Secretary/keeper of all information) and the knit group (addresses/phone #’s and email addresses). Just when I think I’ve finally caught up – someone usually tells me: “Oh, I have a new phone number!” Never fails! Oh well – it’s my ‘job’! For example, right now we have 63 students in the special needs group. There are 106 members in the knit group (although not all of them attend regularly). Lots of raw ‘data’.

Tonight’s knit group and I promised my guys I’d make pizza – or, as it’s termed in my house: HMP (I think it stands for Home Made Pizza – but they say it stands for Her Majesty’s Pizza – works either way! Reminds me of when I was going through radiation – the desk clerk used to always call me: “Princess Pammie” – too funny!

How’s your weather holding up? It’s been in the tiny digits for days now – with wind chills close to zero – makes for some really FAST moving from warm car to building! Right now it says it’s a ‘balmy’ 22 degrees and expecting some snow around 4 p.m. – oh goody. We’ve had snow ‘flurries’ every day now – light, fluffy stuff but it makes for driving a bit ‘dicey’ – slippery at times, patches of it at stoplights – makes for turning corners ‘no fun’. Oh well – it’s MICHIGAN – why am I surprised? I remember saying to the druggist this morning that at least it’s not the heavy WET snow – this stuff we can walk & drive through. I bought new winter boots last month and still haven’t worn them – not enough snow to bother with! YAY!

On that note, I think I’ll close – STAY WARM (if you’re in a cold climate, that is – ) and remember to do something nice for yourself!

Big Hugs;