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!




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