Slowing down some . . .

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THINK SPRING!!!

Almost the end of this week and it’s FINALLY slowing down. Not that I still don’t have a few ‘commitments’ to do, but it’s nice to know that there aren’t many (Weds & Thurs. were crazy, just trying to keep up with what time and where I had to be, when). My dear husband volunteered to drive youngest to work today (10:45 a.m.) so that I could take a leisurely shower and not have to rush anywhere until I get to go out to lunch with two girlfriends at 1 p.m. – wasn’t that nice of him? These two friends & I have known each other since high school – one is a year older and used to ride the same bus as I did; the other one was in Girl’s Choir in high school with me – both are in my Sunday School class at church. We’re going to Leo’s Coney Island – good food, good selections and good prices – can’t beat that!  Later on this evening (5:30) I have to help ‘do’ my special needs group Gym Night. My ‘partner/leader’ of the group has been sick with bronchitis so I ended up running our Wednesday night meeting. She says she’s feeling a little better, so she’s heading up Gym Night – we’re having sloppy joes. Gym Nights are fun for our ‘students’ – first we eat, then a short devotion then they are able to either just chat with their friends, work on jig saw puzzles, color coloring sheets, play basketball or several other floor games. Tonight one of the moms is coming to direct a few group games – they love that. Last time she had them sit in folding chairs divided by a batmitton net – they had to hit a blown-up balloon back & forth over the net until the balloon hit the floor (point for opposite team) – they LOVED it! These kinds of games are great because some of our students are in wheelchairs – this way, they can participate, too.

Craft-wise, finished a few more baby hats. Went to the library to get more John Lescroart novels and discovered the Friends of the Library were having a used book sale (SCORE!). Found 2 Lescroart books and several other murder/mystery writers I like PLUS a paperback knitting book with a really cute baby sweater pattern (75 cents) – I couldn’t resist. The only ‘problem’ is – I’m not exactly sure I understand their way of constructing said sweater; Oh well . . . won’t be the first time I’ve tried to ‘create’ using someone else’s pattern!

So – have you got any St. Patrick’s Day plans? I’m seeing more interesting recipes, but we our family doesn’t really do anything special (none of us are Irish, for starters . . . . YES, I know that MOST people who celebrate that day AREN’T, but I digress…) On to recipes!

======================

Oreo-Peanut Butter No Bake Dessert
20 Oreo cookies, divided
2 T. butter, softened
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. peanut butter
1-1/2 C. confectioners’ sugar, divided
1  (16 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed, divided
15 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
1 C. cold milk
1 pkg (3.9 oz) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix

Crush 16 cookies; toss with butter. Press into an ungreased 9-in. square dish; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter & 1 C. confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fold in half of Cool Whip; spread over crust. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups.
In another large bowl, beat  milk, pudding mix & remaining confectioners’ sugar on low speed for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in remaining Colol Whip & spread over peanut butter cups. Crush remaining cookies; sprinkle over  top. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.

(recipe: from Facebook)

————————————–

Irish Peas


2 T. margarine
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen green peas
1/2 C. chopped fully cooked bacon
2 T. packed brown sugar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Melt margarine in large saucepan over
medium-high heat. Add peas; cook 5
minutes or until slightly thawed,
stirring frequently. Add bacon, brown
sugar, mustard & pepper; cook 3
minutes more or until hot. Serves 6
(1/2 C. each)

(recipe:readyseteat)
———————————————–

Unstuffed Cabbage


1 C. long-grain white rice, uncooked
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
6 C. chopped green cabbage
1 lb. ground chuck beef
1 C. frozen chopped onion
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Place rice & broth in 3 qt. saucepan. Bring to
a boil over medium-high heat, stir. Place
cabbage on top; do NOT stir. Cover, reduce
heat to medium-low. Cook 15 minutes or
until rice & cabbage is tender. Cook beef &
onion in large skillet over medium-high heat
5 minutes or until beef is crumbled & no
longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain. Add
undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar &
pepper to meat. Break up tomatoes with spoon.
Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer about
10 minutes. When rice mixture is done, add to
skillet; toss together. Serves 6

(recipe: readseteat!)
————————————————

Cheesy Ham Bubble Bakes


1 (6 oz) pkg. (Oscar Mayer) smoked ham, chopped*
3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (12 oz) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 count)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine ham & cheese in large bowl. Cut each biscuit
into 4 pieces. Add to ham mixture; mix lightly. Spoon
into 8 muffin cups sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake
20 minutes or until puffed & golden brown. Cool
10 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm
Makes 8

*can substitute smoked turkey breast & shredded
Mozzarella cheese for cheddar

NOTE: Instead of baking in muffin pans, you can
spoon ham mixture into 8 mounds on baking
sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, bake as directed.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
————————————————–

Crispy Chicken Thighs & Pesto Pasta
(one-pan meal)

3 1/2 -4 lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken
thighs (about 7)
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. cellentani pasta (spirals)
1 C. chicken broth
Arugula Pesto (see recipe below)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper & paprika. Heat
oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat until
oil just begins to smoke. Place chicken in skillet,
skin sides down; reduce heat to medium-high &
cook 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate;
discard drippings.
Prepare pasta accordg. to pkg. directions. Toss
cooked pasta with chicken broth & 3 T. Arugula
Pesto. Add pasta mixture to skillet. Place chicken,
skin sides up, on pasta. Bake 25-30 minutes. Dollop
with additional Arugula Pesto.

Arugula Pesto
2 C. firmly packed arugula
1/2 C. firmly packed fresh flat-
leaf parsley
1/2 C. olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. water
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Process all ingredients in food
processor until smooth. Refrigerate
up to 1 week. Makes 1 Cup.

(recipe: Shine/Yahoo.com)
————————————-

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread


1 (18 1/4 oz) box lemon cake mix
1 (3 1/2 oz.) pkg. instant lemon pudding
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 C. oil
1-2 tsp. poppy seeds
1 C. water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Blend ingredients together, mixing well.
Pour into two greased & floured 8 X 4″
loaf pans. Bake 50-60 minutes.
Makes 2 loaves.

(recipe: Peg-via Gooseberry Patch cookbook)
—————————————

Pork & Pasta Skillet


1 lb. ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 small yellow summer squash OR
zucchini, sliced into half-moons
1 1/2 C. penne pasta, cooked or other
small pasta shape

Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high
heat. Add pork & onion; cook & stir until
evenly browned. Stir in tomatoes & tomato
sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low,
cook 5 minutes. Stir in squash & pasta. Cook
2-5 minutes or until heated through. Serves 4

(recipe: National Pork Board)
————————————-

Creamy Parmesan Pearl Onion Casserole


2 (15 oz, ea) jars pearl onions (DON’T
use pickled onions!)
1/3 C. butter
1/3 C. flour
2 C. cream or Half & Half
1/3 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
pinch nutmeg
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 C. grated Cheddar cheese
paprika

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Drain onions. Melt butter in 2 qt. sauce
or saute pan over medium heat. Turn
heat to low & stir in flour. Cook 2-3
minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in cream
(or Half & Half); stir to blend. Stir in
Parmesan, mustard, nutmeg, salt & pepper;
stir well to thoroughly combine ingredients &
melt cheese. Grease a small oven baking dish
or spray with nonstick spray. Place drained
onions in dish, then cover thoroughly with
sauce mixture. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese,
then sprinkle paprika on top. Bake 35-40
minutes or until mixture is bubbly & hot.
If desired, broil the top briefly until golden
brown. Serves 8

NOTE: Can be made ahead of time & partially
baked. Finish baking 10-15 minutes before
serving.

(recipe: Sher-justapinch.com)

==================================

Weather-wise, it’s 33 degrees F., clear and a bit dreary – BUT no snow (or only in a few big huge mounds in parking lots where it had been plowed weeks earlier). Husband says we might be getting 1-2 inches tonight – hope not. Yes, 1-2 inches isn’t much, but add my special needs group and their parents/caregivers and it’s not a good mix – especially if you have to transport wheelchairs – they’re the ‘pits’ in any kind of snow – hard to push. Oh well – if it comes – it comes, right?

Gas prices around here dropped 3 cents – to $3.76/9 a gallon (for cheapest gas). I’m going to need to fill up soon – this has been a week of traveling from our house to Clarkston (25 minutes), Auburn Hills (25 min. opposite direction), and points in between; have used up almost a full tank of gas this week (not my normal). Lunch today is in Clarkston, Gym Night is in Auburn Hills, so you get the idea.

Oh! On the ‘Spring’ weather changing thing – I stepped out to our back yard yesterday and observed some green ‘flower bulb’ shoots attempting to come up (they will probably be daffodils, but could be crocus) and also spotted our BUNNY! Every year we have 1-2 rabbits who live in our raised garden/flower bed; we all try to spot them. This one was full-grown, brown with the white cotton tail. The one we had last year had a decided limp on one of his back legs – yesterday’s bunny was just fine – hopped vigorously away from me. I LOVE seeing the bunnies, the Spring flowers, hearing the birds returning – YAY, SPRING!!!

Anyway, friends – hope you have a good day/evening. Stay warm, relax when you can and remember to try to do something YOU like, at least once a day. Oh! And SMILE a little – it’s good for the soul!

Hugs;

Pammie

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I have seen a couple of bunnies earlier in the year but none right now. All my Robins seem to know i have the camera and they head for the woods when I appear. My Red Belly woodpecker is out there but it is playing shy too.


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