SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE!
It’s a beautiful, balmy 78 degrees outside with lots of sunshine & fluffy clouds – MY kind of day! Saw our little baby bunny out in the yard and our resident chipmunk – love looking for them first thing while getting my coffee ready, they cheer me up! Just got back from visiting the yearly Senior Center Rummage & Bake sale; came away with some great buys: a green & white checked cloth shower curtain, a small galvanized roasting pan and one small Christmas decoration – total cost: $3.25! The shower curtain will work just fine to cover a wooden picnic table at Log Cabin Days, allowing me to put our small display on the table AND make it look a bit more ‘homey’. The roasting pan will replace my old one (have had it since I got married, almost 37 years ago). The old one had a small chip in the bottom (his Mom gave it to me, used) and it’s worked all those years BUT the chip is the spot where everything sticks! This one is brand new and only $1.00! A balm to my FRUGAL heart! And, to top off my experience, they had a large table of day old breads with a sign: FREE! Took home a nice (orig. price $3.99) loaf of Artisan bread for my husband; it will be really tasty warmed in the toaster oven with some butter – YUM! At said sale I also ran into a lady I used to work with at Michigan Bell MANY years ago, several of my special needs ‘kids’ & one of their caregivers, and three members of my knit group! It’s a GREAT DAY!
Last night was our special needs group meeting and we got a HUGE blessing! For many years we’ve been sort of crammed into a large classroom (I think I wrote about the night I had 48 kids, 8 wheelchairs and tons of caregivers – that was the biggest group we’ve ever ‘wedged’ into that room!). My friend (and the group’s leader) Lois went before the church deacon committee and presented our ‘plight’. They responded by giving us the entire old sanctuary – it’s HUGE! We now have about 15 round tables with 8 really cushy chairs at each, a baby grand piano (YAY! I’m thrilled! Our old upright only played some of the keys and the loud pedal didn’t work at all!), a white board, nice podium AND our own bathrooms! The room is wheelchair accessible and there’s room for growth! THANK YOU, LORD! (the only ‘downside’ – because it’s such a large room, sound really bounces off the walls, even with carpeting and drapes – it got pretty loud towards the end of the evening. Imagine being in a gym and how sound bounces there. Hey, I’m not complaining – it will just take a bit of adjusting, that’s all). Friday is our Gym Night with the group; we’re having ham & cheese ‘subs’ on hot dog buns, chips & cookies; a devotional and then the ‘kids’ can do jigsaw puzzles, color papers, play basket ball or other various games; they love it and it’s a good night ‘out’ for them.
Still working on the new “Grandma’s Favorite-style” baby blanket; have 9 more rows of plain knitting then I get to start the decrease rows! That will make me feel like I’m finally (sort of) getting towards the ‘home stretch’! I ordered the very fine variegated purples yarn for my friend’s shawl – YES – I decided on knitting a shawl. I picked a fairly simple/easy pattern so we’ll see how it goes.
Nothin’ much new on the food scene – I have a large pork roast that I need to shred and make into BBQ’d pork for dinner – on hamburger buns (YUM!). There are still some really tasty sounding recipes coming in on Facebook, so I hope you don’t mind if I share them with you!
Rhubarb Dump Cake
1 lb. rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (3-4 C.)
1 C. white sugar
1 (3 oz.) box strawberry Jell-o
1 box yellow cake mix
1 C. water
1/4 C. butter, melted
Preheat oven 350 degrees F..
Grease 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread rhubarb evenly
in bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle sugar over rhubarb,
followed by Jell-o, then dry cake mix. Pour water & melted
butter over top. Do not stir. Bake 45 minutes or until
rhubarb is tender.
Banana Split Ice Cream Dessert
3 C. vanilla ice cream
3 C. chocolate ice cream
3 C. strawberry ice cream (each flavor: about
1/2 of a 44 oz. container)
3/4 C. pecans
1 (5 oz) box sugar cones
5 T. butter, melted
2 T. sugar
2 medium-sized bananas
1 C. Cool Whip (thawed)
1 (11 oz) jar hot fudge sauce
Take ice creams out of freezer & let set
on counter – you want it to be a bit soft
before using. Toast pecans: pour pecans
in medium skillet & sprinkle with a bit of
salt. Heat over medium-high heat. When
nuts turn darker & smell fragrant (about
5 minutes), remove pan from heat &
allow nuts to cool. Break up sugar cones
some & toss into food processor or blender.
Grind cones to coarse pieces. (If you don’t
have a blender/food proc. – you can still put
the cones in a zip-lock bag & crush them with
a rolling pin or canned food. Pour 5 T. butter,
2 T. sugar & dash of salt into ground up cones.
Stir together with wooden spoon to combine.
Spray a 9 inch spring-form pan with nonstick
spray. Pour crumb mixture into pan & use a
small measuring cup to firmly press mixture
into bottom & 1 inch up sides of pan. Scoop
vanilla ice cream over crust & press down to
cover crumbs. Slice bananas over ice cream,
covering evenly. Scoop chocolate ice cream
onto bananas & smooth out. Cover ice cream
with pecans. Scoop strawberry ice cream over
nuts & smooth evenly. Cover ice cream with
Cool Whip. Wrap pan tightly with plastic wrap &
freeze at least 12 hours (or up to 1 week). When
ready to serve, allow pan to set on counter about
5 minutes. Remove outside of pan; cut dessert
with a sharp knife Heat hot fudge in microwave
then drizzle over each piece. Add a cherry to each
serving. Serves 12
Turkey & Pasta Primavera
2 lb. turkey breast tenderloins or boneless,
skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 in. pieces
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen stir-fry vegetables (sugar snap
peas, carrots, onions & mushrooms)
2 tsp. dried basil, oregano or Italian seasoning
1 (16 oz) jar Alfredo pasta sauce
3/4 lb. linguine or spaghetti, broken
shredded Parmesan cheese
In 4 1/2 – 6 qt. crockpot, combine turkey (or chicken)
& frozen vegetables. Sprinkle with dried herb. Cover &
cook, on Low heat, 4-5 hours or High 2- 2 1/2 hours.
At midway point in cooking, stir in Alfredo sauce.
When cooking is done, cook pasta accordg to pkg.
directions & drain. Stir cooked pasta into turkey
mixture & mix well. Serve with shredded Parmesan
sprinkled on top. Serves 8
(recipe: Family Circle Slow Cooker Meals)
Cranberry, Feta & Toasted Walnut Salad
1 (10 oz) bag mixed salad greens
1 C. dried cranberries
1 (6 oz) pkg. oven-roasted chicken breast
1 (4 oz.) pkg. crumbled feta cheese
1/2 C. walnut pieces, toasted
1/2 C. Italian, or Raspberry salad dressing
Toss greens with cranberries, chicken, cheese &
walnuts in large salad bowl. Add dressing; mix
lightly – serve immediately. Serves 4
How to Toast Walnuts:
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spread walnuts in single layer on baking sheet.
Bake 5 minutes or until lightly toasted.
German Potato Salad
1 (20 oz) pkg. refrigerated diced potatoes with onion
4 slices fully cooked bacon
3 T. mayonnaise
3 T. cider vinegar
3 T. sliced green onion (white & green)
1 t. firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. spicy brown mustard
Spray large skillet with nonstick spray; heat over
medium-high heat. Add potatoes to skillet, cover &
cook 15 minutes or until tender, turning occaionally.
Place bacon on paper-towel covered microwaveable
plate. Microwave on High 30 seconds or until bacon
is crisp. Crumble bacon, set aside. Combine
mayonnaise, vinegar, onion, sugar & mustard in
medium bowl. Add potatoes to mayonnaise mixture
and bacon; mix lightly. Serves 6
Chewy Oatmeal Yogurt Bars
3/4 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 (8 oz) carton yogurt (vanilla or fruit-flavored)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 C. oats
1 C. “add-ins” – diced dried fruits, raisins, cranberries,
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, combine sugars, yogurt, egg, oil, milk &
vanilla; mix well. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking
soda, cinnamon & salt; mix well then add to yogurt
mixture; mix well. Stir in oats & add-ins of your choice.
Spread dough on bottom of ungreased 9 X 13 pan.
Bake 28-30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool
completely on wire rack then cut into bars. Makes 24
(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)
(Leftovers) 3 Ingredient French Fry Casserole
large bag French fries
2 cans Nacho cheese soup
leftover taco meat (cooked)
Brown fries according to pkg. directions. Prepare
nacho soup for a topping; reheat taco meat. Layer
fries, meat & cheese on each plate.
(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe Exchange)
Crisp Cucumber Salsa
2 C. finely chopped & seeded cucumber
1/2 C. finely chopped & seeded tomato
1/4 C. chopped red onion
2 T. minced fresh parsley
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped
4 1/2 tsp. minced fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 C. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
In small bowl, combine first seven
ingredients. In another bowl, combine
sour cream, lemon & lime juices, cumin &
seasoned salt. Pour over cucumber mixture
& toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.
Cheesy Stuffed Peppers
6 green bell peppers, tops cut off & seeds
2 T. vegetable oil
1 C. finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 C. finely diced green bell peppers or peas
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork or Italian sausage
2 T. minced garlic
1/4 C. finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4 T. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
2 C. cooked long or medium grain white rice
8 oz. tomato sauce plus more
1 C. Gruyere cheese, grated
1 C. mozzarella cheese, grated
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large pot of boiling water, parboil peppers
until tender, 2-3 minutes. Cook longer if you
like your peppers soft. Remove with a slotted
spoon & dry on paper towels. In large skillet
or saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add onions & chopped bell peppers; cook
until soft, about 3minutes. Add beef, pork or
Ital. sausage, pepper flakes & black pepper.
Cook until meat is browned, stirring with
heavy wooden spoon to break up lumps,
about 6-10 minutes. Add rice & tomato sauce;
stir well. NOTE: at this point, if you want to
substitute peas instead of diced peppers,
throw peas in pan & heat through 2 minutes.
Remove from heat & adjust seasoning to
your taste. Pour enough water into a baking
dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8″ –
1/4″ deep. Stuff bell peppers with rice
mixture half way up then sprinkle with cheeses.
Add another layer of rice mixture. Spread
1-2 T. tomato sauce on top of each pepper.
Place peppers in a baking dish then place this
dish into the pan with water. If there is any leftover
rice mixture, fill in around the peppers. Cover
dish with foil & cook in oven about 30 minutes
until tender. Remove foil & sprinkle more cheese
on top; return to oven another 15-20 minutes until
cheeses are melted & bubbly. Remove from oven
& let rest approx. 10 minutes before serving.
Lemon Chicken Piccata
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 C. Panko bread crumbs OR 1/2 C. flour
pinch salt & pepper
2 T. vegetable oil
7 T. butter, unsalted & divided
2 medium lemons
1 large shallot, rinsed & minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 C. chicken stock
2 T. capers, drained
3 T. parsley, finely chopped & divided
Preheat oven 180 degrees F.
Juice one whole lemon, reserving juice. Cut
second lemon, top to bottom, cut off end
pieces. fruit side down, slice one lemon half
into very slender slices & reserve. Using the
other cut half for additional juice to make
1/4 C. fresh lemon juice. Butterfly each chicken
breast into two pieces, then cut each piece in
half. Pound chicken to about 1/2 inch thick.
dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Salt
& pepper both sides lightly. In large skillet,
add 2 T. oil & 2 T. butter; heat to medium high.
Dredge each chicken piece in Panko crumbs or
flour. Fry half chicken pieces until browned, about
2 minutes. Flip chicken pieces & brown on other
side an additional few minutes until cooked
through. Add remaining 2 T. oil & 2 T. butter for
second batch of chicken & repeat. Plate pieces,
as they cook, wrap with foil & keep in warm oven.
NOTE: If chicken is browning too quickly, reduce
heat to avoid burning.
While chicken stays warm in oven, add shallots
to skillet. If more butter is needed to sautee, add
a bit more. Stir quickly for about 1 minute until
they begin to soften. Add garlic & stir another 30
seconds until fragrant. Add chicken broth, lemon
juice & lemon slices; bring liquid to a simmer &
continue simmering until broth reduces to about
1 1/2 Cups – about 10 minutes. Add capers & parsley,
then add 3 T. remaining butter. Swirl pan off of heat
until butter is melted. Plate chicken & ladle sauce
on top. Sprinkle top with a bit of leftover parsley,
if desired. Serves 4
Well, friends, that’s about all that’s ‘going on’ around here lately. Hope you have a GREAT day! Enjoy it!