It’s a GORGEOUS Day!

dancing woman

Even though we’re just in the beginnings of April, it’s Gorgeous outside today! The sun is shining brightly, robin’s egg blue skies with light, fluffy white clouds and BIRD SONGS! It’s been SO long since I’ve heard the birds; just stopped to get the mail and heard a robin high up in a tree – I love their songs! I even saw TWO robins today – my first of the season. (In case you’re not in Michigan: it’s a Michigan ‘thing’ to see if you can spot the First Robin of Spring! Not sure why, but lots of people I know do that, too. My husband announced today that he’d seen his first a few days ago – sigh, just glad I spotted TWO today!) On another note, our temperatures ARE on the chilly side: it’s around 37 degrees out, but the warm feeling from all the sunshine makes it much nicer (and there’s no wind, so it doesn’t feel colder than 37). I’m just doing my Happy Dance that Spring is HERE! (see my Dancing Lady above).

Since it was so nice out, I did my errand running – Post Office, Bank, dollar store, Sears – all done in record time. Happy to get the Income Taxes done and in the mail – YAY! Today, for me, is a FREE day – Grandson is on Spring Break and his Mom is taking him to the Great Grandma’s house today – so I have an entire day to do WHATEVER I CHOSE! WOW! (now, mind you – I don’t have a clue what that ‘is’ yet, but I’ll figure it out as I go.) Yesterday I was feeling BRAVE- took youngest on a ‘DRIVE’ around 7:15 p.m. He was a bit ‘miffed’ at me yesterday morning when I wouldn’t let him drive to work (reason being: my husband was also in the car and I was trying to avoid extra comments). I had promised son that I would take him out soon. We went for about a 45 minute drive – he did OK:  one time he got too close to a car that was ‘contemplating’ whether to run a Yellow light or not – they stopped, we almost rear-ended them. Scary, but those are the kinds of things you can’t really train for-just glad my brakes work really well! He has a tendency to get a little too close to the edge of the road or curbs; that makes me nervous. I had him go down a road that, when he saw it coming, said: “Not THAT road!” I said: “It’s good practice – just take it slow & easy.” I guess, being used to driving that road, I never noticed that it’s really narrow and curvy – good practice; he did fine. He told me he doesn’t like making Left turns – too bad – time to get used to that one! IF I’m feeling benevolent this evening, I might repeat the exercise, taking a different route – we’ll see. It’s been almost a week since he’s driven/I’ve ridden with him – it was an ‘experience’ – I just tend to forget that it’s also pretty stressful (for me). Oh well . . . somebody’s got to do it!

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

Chicken Florentine Casserole


4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 C. butter
3 tsp. minced garlic
1 T. lemon juice
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 T. Italian seasonings
1/2 C. Half & Half
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2 (13.5 oz, ea) cans spinach, drained
4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2/3 C. bacon bits
2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place chicken breast halves on a baking sheet.
Bake 20-30 minutes, until no longer pink &
juices run clear. Remove from heat & set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium
heat. Stirring constantly, mix in garlic, lemon
juice, cream of mush. soup, Italian seasonings,
Half & Half, & Parmesan cheese. Arrange
spinach over bottom of 9 X 9 baking dish. Cover
spinach with mushrooms. Pour half the mixture
from saucepan over mushrooms. Arrange chicken
breasts in the dish, cover with remaining sauce
mixture. Sprinkle with bacon bits & top with
mozzarella cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes until
bubbly & lightly browned. Serves 4

(recipe: Pilgrims Pride)
———————————————

Stir-fry Spinach Salad


1 (8 oz) can pineapple chunks
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves –
sliced into thin strips
2 T. cooking oil
1 medium green pepper, sliced into thin strips
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 C. ketchup
1 T. vinegar
3 T. soy sauce
6 C. torn fresh spinach
1 C. cherry tomato halves

Drain pineapple, reserving 3 T. juice in a small bowl;
set pineapple aside. (discard remaining juice). In a
skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken in oil 5 minutes or until
no longer pink. Add green pepper; stir fry 2-4 minutes
or until crisp-tender. Add brown sugar & cornstarch
to pineapple juice;  mix well. Stir in ketchup, vinegar
& soy sauce until smooth; add to skillet & cook until
thickened. Arrange spinach, pineapple & tomatoes on
a large serving platter. Top with chicken & green pepper;
serve immediately. Serves 6

(recipe: Pilgrims Pride)
—————————————-

Classic Egg Salad


6 eggs
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 small stalk celery, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 T. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Place eggs in medium saucepan; add enough
water to cover eggs by 1 inch; bring to boil.
Remove from heat; cover & let stand 15
minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer eggs
to bowl of ice water. Let eggs stand in ice
water 5 minutes. Peel eggs; shred cooked
eggs with a fork in a medium bowl. Add
remaining ingredients; mix well. Refrigerate
1 hour. Makes 4 servings, 1/2 C. each.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
——————————-

Lemon Blossoms (mini cakes)


1 (18.5 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 (3.5 oz) pkg. instant lemon pudding mix
4 large eggs
3/4 C. vegetable oil

Glaze:
4 C. confectioners sugar
1/3 C. fresh lemon juice
1 lemon , zested
3 T. vegetable oil
3 T. water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray mini muffin tins with nonstick spray.
Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs & oil
in large bowl; blend well using elec. mixer
until smooth, about 2minutes. Pour a small
amount of batter, filling each muffin tin
half full. Bake 12 minutes. Remove muffins
from tin onto a towel.

Glaze:
Place confectioners sugar in mixing bowl;
add lemon juice, zest, oil & 3 T. water; mix
with a spoon until smooth. Place waxed
paper on counter and put wire racks on
top of waxed paper. Holding the cakes
with your fingers, dip tops of cakes in
glaze while they are still warm, covering
as much of the cakes as possible OR spoon
the glaze over the cakes, turning them
to completely coat. Place on wire rack
to drip. Let glaze set thoroughly, about
1 hour, before serving or storing in
containers. Makes 5 dozen mini cakes

(recipe: Paula Dean – food network)
——————————————–

Creamy Raspberry Jello Salad


1 (29 oz) can pears
1 C. pear juice (from can)
1 C. hot water
1 (6 oz) pkg. raspberry Jell-O
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed

Pour pear juice in 2 C. glass measuring cup.
Add 1 C. hot water; heat in microwave
2 minutes or until it starts to boil. Add
Jell-O mix, stir until all granules are dissolved.
Place in fridge to cool down. (do not cool
until it ‘sets up’ – just until it’s cool. Place
pears and cream cheese in blender; blend together.
Add cooled Jell-O  and 12 oz. Cool Whip to blender.
Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into 9 X 13 pan;
refrigerate 3 hours or until set up. Serve topped with
Cool Whip and fresh raspberries (if desired).

(recipe: jamiecooksitup!)
———————————————-

Creamy Kielbasa & Potato Soup

4 potatoes, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 (14 oz) can beef broth
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 C. water
3/4 lb. Kielbasa sausage, sliced into
1/2 inch pieces
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
ground black pepper, to taste

In large pot over medium heat, combine
potatoes, onion, celery, beef broth, chicken
broth& water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat
& simmer until potatoes are tender, about
15 minutes. Stir in sausage & soup; continue
to simmer until heated through & slightly
thickened. Season with pepper & serve.
(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe Exchange)

——————————————-

Cowboy Salsa


3 tomatoes, seeded & finely chopped
1 (15.5 oz) can black eyed peas, rinsed
1 (11 oz) can corn, drained
8 green onions, thinly sliced
2 avocados, chopped
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro
4 sliced cooked bacon, finely chopped
1/2 C. zesty Italian salad dressing*
crackers for serving

Combine all ingredients except crackers.
Serve with crackers. Makes 12 servings.

* can also prepare using Balsamic salad dressing

(recipe: Kraft foods)
——————————————–

Pink Lemonade Cake


1 box (moist type) lemon cake mix
1 small individual size vanilla yogurt
2 T. real lemon juice (not concentrated)

Frosting:
1 lb. confectioners sugar PLUS 2 C. more
1/2 stick butter
1/4 C. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. milk
1 1/4 T. real lemon juice
food coloring, if desired


Follow directions on cake mix for amount
of eggs, oil & water. Add 1 small container
vanilla yogurt (individual portion size). Add
2 T. lemon juice. Pour cake batter into 2
round cake pans; follow directions on box
for baking (generally around 28 minutes).
You can also bake in a 9 X 13 pan; adjust
time according to box directions
Cool cake completely.
Frosting:
Cream butter & cream cheese; add about
2 C. confectioners sugar at a time,alternating
with a small amount of milk. When you have a
nice, stiff frosting, add the lemon juice. If
desired, add food coloring to make your
choice of colors. Cake can also be sprinkled
with a bit of large white sugar crystals
(found in baking aisle)

(recipe: Jan- justapinch.com)
=======================================

Have you ever jumped into something that sounded good at the time but, after investigating, made you stop & think? A few weeks ago I signed up for two on-line classes to learn how to use Microsoft Excel – sounded good at the time! Yesterday I remembered that I hadn’t even gone on line to start the course, so I did. Went through the first four ‘lessons’ – talk about BORING! (I’m more of a ‘hands on’ learner – so listening to someone drone on & on really loses me FAST!) PLUS, the guy REPEATS what he’s said at the end of every lesson – ALRIGHT, ALREADY – BORING ONCE IS BAD, BUT TWICE IS RIDICULOUS! (Yes, I realize, some people might need that and, perhaps, I might need it, too – further on when the lessons get more complicated BUT   . . .) I thought it might help me with all of the various lists I have to keep for both the special needs group and my knit group – attendance, addresses, medical/health, etc. – we’ll see.

Now that I’ve bored YOU out of your skulls, I’ll close. Hope your weather is as nice as it is here, today. Enjoy what sunshine you can – remember, Summer is right around the corner!

Hugs;

Pammie

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