Monday Morning Meanderings


Boy, that weekend sure flew by! Our weather here is certainly improving – we had temps in the 60’s yesterday!!! That’s a high so far – it was sunny & clear; in the afternoon I carried my coat to church (to wear at 7:15 p.m. when church got out, but sure didn’t need it at 4:30 for choir practice!).  Went to the baby shower Saturday and had a nice time. Got to see two friends I hadn’t seen in a good 7 years, maybe more. Was a bit surprised to see that mine were the only hand made gifts (for this one my gift was an afghan, the green knit bunny toy, a pair of high-tops tennis shoes (crocheted by a friend), 2 pairs of booties and a hat (plus a few toys). Got the other baby gifts mailed to Ohio on Friday, so now I’m happily BABY-KNITTING FREE! (at least, for showers, anyway -still doing the newborn & premie hats for the hospital).

This week is going to be another ‘almost every day something going’ week. Tonight starts DRIVERS ED for my youngest (6-8 p.m.). So far he hasn’t asked to go out practicing (since his one & only try last week – not sure why). I don’t think I traumatized him too much – I didn’t even YELL! Oh well, we’ll see what today brings – he might change his mind before this evening. Tomorrow is Ladies’ Bible Study 10 a.m., then Knit/Movie night in the evening (husband is going to drive son to Drivers Ed & pick him up). Weds. is my husband’s Oral Surgeon appointment & speciall needs group, Thurs babysit grandson & Dr. Ed, Friday, so far is open BUT two of my lady friends have asked if we could all go out to lunch together, so it looks like that’s my only free day! The Drivers Ed thing is every Mon-Thurs 6-8 p.m. for three weeks, so I’ll be booked up doing that most of the time.

Finally got the laundry and dishes caught up – do you ever have it where you just don’t feel like doing the household chores? I’m horrible with that – don’t mind doing laundry, it’s the carrying upstairs of the loaded clean clothes baskets I don’t want to do (or then, fold everything – I procrastinate!) Who would have thought? “Back in the Day” (read that-when I was much younger) I used to love to fold clothes! Now it’s just another chore I have to get done, so I avoid it. Getting B-A-D in my old age!

Yesterday was my turn to bring Sunday School snacks and I discovered a ‘new-to-me’ place to purchase goodies – MEIJERS! Since I didn’t feel like baking (this time) I discovered Meijers bakery department and happily purchased: sugar-free lemon pound cake (already sliced!), mini blueberry muffins, little apple turnovers AND a HUGE box of frosted cinnamon buns (they were a close ‘cousin’ to the CINNABON buns. The buns looked so good, I bought a box for us, too. Totally happy with my purchases – all that for around $12.00- not counting our box)! (the buns were $3.99, pound cake $2.99, muffins $2.99, turnovers $2.99) I usually spend around $20+ for goodies at Gordon Food Service (1 box of assorted  mini muffins and a box of assorted danish). I definitely see me going to Meijers in the future for snacks!


Foil-pack Taco Dinner

4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1 lb.
4 tsp. taco seasoning mix
1/2 lb. red potatoes (about 2) peeled & thinly sliced
1 C. Kraft Tex-Mex shredded cheese
1/2 C. salsa
1/4 C. sour cream

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning mix. Tear heavy-
duty aluminum foil into four large squares and spray
with nonstick spray. Place 1/4 of potatoes in center of
each square. Top potatoes with chicken,1/4 th of cheese &
salsa; repeat with other 3 foil squares.Fold foil wrap around
each portion to make 4 packets,leaving room for heat
circulation inside. Place packets on a baking sheet.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until chicken is done.
(thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken should
register 170 degrees F.). Allow packets to cool 5 minutes.
Cut slits in foil to release steam before opening. Top each
serving with sour cream.

Can be made ahead: Assemble packets as directed. Refrigerate
up to 4 hours, then bake as directed, increasing baking time
to 40 minutes.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Coconut Cherry Bars

1 C. butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. chopped nuts
1/2 C. maraschino cherries, chopped
2/3 C. flaked coconut
6 oz. miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cream butter; add sugar gradually. Add egg
& vanilla; mix well. Sift together flour, baking
powder & salt; stir into creamed mixture. Stir
in nuts, cherries, coconut & chocolate chips.
Spread dough in a greased 9 X 13 baking pan;
bake 25 minutes or until bars are firm in
center; cool slightly & cut. Makes 16 bars

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Italian Cupboard Soup

2 boneless pork chops, cubed
1 (15 oz) can chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
2 T. dried minced onion
1 (15 oz) can cannellini or Great Northern beans,
8 oz. fresh spinach leaves, torn

In a deep saucepan, brown pork in a little oil.
Add ingredients (except spinach) & bring to
a boil. Lower heat & simmer 15 minutes. Stir
in torn spinach; cook 2 minutes longer. Serves 4

Option: Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese
just before serving.

(recipe: National Pork Board)

Loaded Bacon-Tato Dip

1 (16 oz) container sour cream
1 (3 oz) jar bacon crumbles
2 C. freshly shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 C. chopped green onions

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients well, using elec. mixer.
Place in an oven-safe casserole dish. Bake
30 minutes, covered, then an additional
15 minutes uncovered. Serve with
potato chips.

(recipe: National Pork Board)

Minty Shamrock Brownies

1 box brownie mix
1 (10 oz) bag Andes Creme de
Menthe baking chips
(ingredients to prepare brownie mix)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Prepare brownies as directed on box.
Lightly grease a jelly roll pan. Pour
brownie batter onto pan; spread
batter to cover pan bottom. Bake
10-15 minutes or until center of brownies
is no longer soft & gooey. Do not over
bake. Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes.
Cover top of brownies with baking chips.
Place brownies back in oven 2 minutes to
melt chips. Cool completely before cutting
& removing from baking sheet.


Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup

1 C. carrots, chopped
1 C. celery, chopped
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
10 C. water
8 chicken bouillon cubes (or 8 tsp.
bouillon granules)
salt & pepper
1 tsp. parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. thyme
2 chicken breasts
2 chicken thighs
1 C. rice (uncooked)
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup

Add veggies & water to crockpot. Add all
seasonings & bouillon cubes (granules); place
chicken in crock. Cover & cook on High 5 hours
or Low 7 hours. Remove chicken from crockpot;
shred with two forks. Add rice & shredded
chicken to crockpot, cover & cook on High
1 hour or until rice is tender. Stir in can of
chicken soup (undiluted); cover & allow soup
to heat thoroughly (10 minutes). Makes 10

(recipe: Jamiecooksitup!)

Glazed Carrots & Apples

1 (12 oz) bag baby carrots
1 Granny Smith apple, cored &
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 C. butter or margarine, cubed
1/2 C. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Toss carrots, apple & salt together in
8 X 8 glass baking dish. Dot with
butter cubes; sprinkle with cinnamon
then brown sugar over all. Seal tightly
with foil. Bake in center of oven 1 hour.
Serves 6


Baked Fish Au Gratin

1 lb. frozen fish fillets (cod, ocean
perch, halibut or flounder)
2 T. fine cracker crumbs
1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
2 T. chopped onion
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 T. butter
1/4 – 1/2 C. cheddar cheese, shredded

Thaw fillets accordg. to pkg. directions
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 1 qt. shallow baking dish;
sprinkle with cracker crumbs. Lay fillets
on top of crumbs. In medium bowl, combine
tomatoes, onion, salt & pepper; pour over
fillets. Dot with butter & sprinkle with cheese.
Bake 35 minutes or until fish flakes easily
when pierced with a fork. Serves 4


Snappy Asparagus with Bacon

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed, cut
into 1/2 inch lengths
2 C. sugar snap peas
dash crushed red pepper
dash soy sauce*

Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet on medium
heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving
1 tsp. drippings in skillet. Drain bacon on paper
towels. Add asparagus & peas to skillet; cook on
medium-high heat 5 minutes or until crisp-tender,
stirring occasionally. Stir in bacon & remaining
ingredients. Makes 6 (1/2 C. each) servings

*substitute a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for soy

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)


Cream Cheese-Berry Coffee Cake

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 3/4 C. flour
2 eggs
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. seedless red raspberry jam
powdered sugar
fresh raspberries (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
(350 if using 9 x 13/ 325 if using
3 quart)
Grease 9 X 13 baking pan or 3 quart
rectangular baking pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese,
granulated sugar & butter; beat with
elec. mixer on medium speed until
smooth. Add 3/4 C. flour, eggs, milk,
baking powder, baking soda, vanilla & salt.
Beat about 1 minute more or until combined.
Add remaining 1 C. flour, beating on low
speed just until combined. Spread batter
evenly in prepared pan. In small bowl, stir
jam with a spoon until nearly smooth. Spoon
jam in 8-10 mounds on top of batter in pan.
Using a thin spatula or knife, swirl jam into
batter. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in
pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Dust top
with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve warm
with fresh raspberries.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Have you started thinking about/preparing for Easter yet? I guess I’ve been (mentally) procrastinating about Easter dinner. Yes, I’m aware it’s coming up quickly – we get reminded in choir about how many more practices there are before the Easter Contata, but I guess I really hadn’t thought about EASTER DINNER until last night. I vaguely remember last year telling my family that I WASN’T going to do a big DINNER Easter afternoon or evening. Perhaps I should preface this with: the Saturday before I have/ and will be at church for a good 3 hours cutting up fruit and putting it on skewers, decorating tables, putting flowers in vases, etc. Our church puts on a HUGE Easter breakfast before the church service (my Sunday School class does all the preparation): tons of foods-scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, sliced ham, a variety of egg casseroles, pancakes, biscuits & gravy, and cut up fruits on skewers, plus juices/milk/coffee,tea, bottled water.  Easter Sunday I will be assisting in the kitchen for the Easter breakfast (8:30 a.m., but I will get there around 7 a.m.) then grabbing a quick bite to eat and running to the choir room before we sing the contata – lots of energy needed and NONE for getting together a very big dinner for my family! (Yes, I ‘should’ feel a little guilty, but hey – it’s what I do at this time of year!) After thinking over last year, I remember telling my family “Let’s pick another day and do dinner then!” (think we did dinner on Tuesday following Easter – it gave me time to rest up a bit and prepare a nice dinner – the way it ‘should’ be!) I’m going to go with that thought THIS year. Don’t know, yet, whether we’ll do ham or maybe turkey – I have both in the freezer. It’s a good thing I still have time to plan this out!

How’s your weather? Have you seen any new flower bulb shoots popping out of the ground? I haven’t been out in our back yard to check but I’m guessing there will probably be some hyacinth and crocus shoots, maybe daffodils – who knows? It’s been so warm that almost all of our snow/ice build-up has melted (YAY!) Our dirt road going to our church was almost a SWAMP yesterday – rivulets of water running across the VERY muddy and VERY potholed dirt road – made me want a SUV or all-terrain vehicle to traverse it! Pastor said he’s going to call the county today and see if they will come grade it – he said they’re pretty good about responding when he calls (there’s also a subdivision behind and beyond our church, so they would greatly benefit from the grading, too. I don’t remember seeing potholes THAT big in years past).

Well, friends, I think I’ve about exhausted all avenues of thought for today – have a great day and remember to ENJOY it!




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. YUM! I may just have to try those delicious desserts for Easter! Thanks!

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