Life Changes – Slowly

Well, let’s just say I survived the past few days – what a whirlwind! During that time I’ve had three trips to the Secretary of State’s office with youngest son – to get his actual Driver’s License and then to get plates for his ‘new to him’ car. I don’t know about your local Sec. of State offices, but here, if you’re (pardon me) DUMB enough to go there on either a Monday or Friday – you PAY – you WAIT!!! One of our trips we waited 2 1/2 hours – next day, for plates, a good hour; yes, they’re just THAT busy! CRAZY! As I stated above, life changes – now we have a fully licensed driver IN HIS OWN CAR! (the details of getting said car are another long story – he bought it, sight unseen, from a friend he knew from school & work). It’s a 2000 Saturn, 4 door – a little ‘well -for-wear’ should we say? It runs BUT it also has a very unique KEY problem! Let’s just say he drove it to work yesterday and, later decided to go sit in his new car on his lunch and listen to his CD’s – couldn’t get it to start! Much work later and several calls to us, husband & I drove to his work only to discover he’d accidentally left his interior lights on (turns out he bumped them by accident). We jump started it, husband finally figured out the ‘trick’ to getting the key to work (lots of specific jiggling – sigh). Now he’s happy with the car – it runs, the keys DO work, and for the first time in many months I DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE HIM TO WORK!!! Amazing! My day is MY OWN! As I sit here typing, it’s now 11:59 a.m. and I’m still in my jammies! Here is a photo of proud ‘new’ car owner (and brand spanking new driver)


Through all of the whirlwind I also had my 65th birthday! During one of the runs to son’s work, I decided I’d buy myself a birthday cake – and I did! It’s a little 1/4 sheet cake, chocolate, but I enjoyed it. Also picked up two of their large store-made pizzas (one all cheese, one stuffed crust pepperoni) – that way I didn’t have to cook dinner. Also got to sit my grandson for the day and we had fun in the sandbox:


Almost 7 and missing lots of teeth!

Decided to knit a baby hat to go along with the baby afghan for my surgeon (who’s expecting in Sept.) so put this one together:

Yes, my calendar is STILL full of lots-to-do stuff the remaining part of the week, but it’s nice to know that at least my daily goings-on are NOT revolving around youngest son’s work schedule! (Let’s see-what time is it? He works until what? OK – still have 1/2 hour before getting him at work.) My, my, my – what WILL I do with all that EXTRA time??? hehehe


Rocky Road Cake



1 (18.25 oz) pkg. German chocolate cake mix

1 (3.9 oz) pkg. chocolate instant pudding mix

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 C. sour cream

1/3 C. butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

3 1/4 C. milk, divided

1 (3.4 oz) pkg. chocolate cook & serve pudding mix

1/2 C. chopped pecans

1 1/2 C. miniature marshmallows

1 C. semi-sweet chocolate morsels

(vanilla ice cream – optional)

Beat cake mix & next 5 ingredients plus 1 1/4 C.

milk at medium speed with elec. mixer 2 minutes,

stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour

batter into lightly greased 4 qt. crockpot. Cook

remaining 2 C. milk in a heavy non-aluminum

saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 3-5

minutes or just until bubbles appear (DO NOT

BOIL); remove from heat. Sprinkle cook & serve

pudding mix over batter. Slowly pour hot milk

over pudding mix. Cover & cook on Low 3 1/2


Heat pecans in a small nonstick skillet over

medium-low heat, stirring often, 3-5 minutes or

until lightly toasted & fragrant.

Turn off crockpot. Sprinkle cake with pecans,

marshmallows & chocolate morsels. Let stand

15 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly

melted. Spoon into dessert dishes, serve with

ice cream, if desired.


NOTE: The cake will look like it needs to cook a

little longer, but by the time the topping is set, it’s

ready to serve.


(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe Exchange)


Italian Peas & Tomatoes

3 T. margarine, & divided

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 C. frozen green peas, thawed

2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp. garlic

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 C. loosely packed fresh basil leaves,

coarsely chopped (optional)

Melt 2 T. margarine in 12 inch nonstick

skillet over medium-high heat; cook onion,

stirring occasionally, until tender, about

10 minutes. Stir in peas, tomatoes, garlic &

pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes

& peas are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in

remaining 1 T. margarine & basil.

Serves 4


(recipe: Unilever)


Hot & Spicy Hush Puppies


1 C. yellow cornmeal

3/4 C. self-rising flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. cayenne

1/2 small sweet onion, finely chopped

1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 C. grated Cheddar cheese

1 C. buttermilk

Orange dipping sauce (recipe below)

Preheat deep fryer 375 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together in large mixing

bowl to form a thick batter. Dip 2 table spoons

into water. Using the spoons, scoop up some

of the batter & drop into hot oil. Work in batches.

Fry 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove &

drain on paper towel-lined sheet tray. Serve with

dipping sauce. Makes 4-5 servings.


Orange Dipping Sauce;


1/4 C. Dijon mustard

1/4 C. honey

1/4 C. orange marmalade


Mix all ingredients together & place in bowl.


(recipe: The Neeley’s – Food Network)


Cheddar Chicken Crunch Salad


1/4 C. Miracle Whip salad dressing

1/4 C. ranch dressing

4 C. small fresh broccoli florets

2 C. chopped cooked chicken breasts

1 C. halved cherry tomatoes

1/2 C. thinly sliced red onions

1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

Mix dressing in large bowl. Add all remaining

ingredients except cheese & bacon; mix lightly.

Refrigerate 1 hour. Top with cheese & bacon just

before serving. Serves 4 – (2 C. each)


(recipe: Kraft foods)


Grilled Shrimp Tacos

1 large avocado, pitted, peeled & diced

1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes & green chilies,


1/2 C. frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

1/4 C. chopped red onion

1/4 tsp. salt

1 lb. peeled & deveined large shrimp

with tail (thawed, if frozen)

1 T. cooking oil

1/2 tsp. chili powder

9 white corn tortillas (6 inch) warmed

Spray cold grate of gas grill with cooking spray.

Preheat grill for medium heat. Toss together

avocado, drained tomatoes, corn, onion &

salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Remove tails from shrimp, toss with oil &

chili powder in large bowl. Thread shrimp

evenly onto metal skewers*; grill 2-3 minutes

on each side or just until shrimp turn pink.

Divide shrimp evenly between tortillas. Top

each with about 1/4 C. avocado mixture &

serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.


*Wooden skewers may be used in place of

metal skewers. Soak wooden skewers in

water at least 30 minutes before using.


(recipe: readyseteat!)


Taco Bake


1 lb. ground beef

1 packet taco seasoning mix

(water, as called for on back of seasoning pkt)

3 large (8 inch size) flour tortillas

1/2 C. Salsa Con Queso (salsa with cheese)

1 1/2 – 2 C. shredded Mexican cheese blend

Toppings: sour cream, diced tomatoes


Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Brown & crumble ground beef; drain grease. Add

taco seasoning & water. Once meat is cooked,

turn off heat – add 1/2 C. salsa con queso; stir well

until thoroughly combined.

Spray a 8 inch round baking pan with nonstick spray.

Layer bottom of pan with one flour tortilla. Add about

1/3 of ground beef filling on first layer, then 1/3 of cheese.

Continue layering: tortilla/taco meat/cheese.

Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted & edges are

slightly golden brown. Allow to cool a few minutes, slice

& serve. Serve with sour cream and/or diced tomatoes,

if desired.


(recipe: Facebook)


Spinach & Bacon Pasta


1 (16 oz) pkg. wide egg noodles

3/4 C. zesty Italian salad dressing

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts,

cut into bite-sized pieces

2 C. cherry tomatoes, halved

1 (6 oz) pkg. fresh baby spinach leaves

1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

8 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

Cook noodles as directed on pkg, omitting salt.

Heat dressing in large skillet on medium heat.

Add chicken; cook & stir 5-7 minutes or until

done. Add tomatoes; cook 1 minute, stirring

occasionally. Drain noodles, reserving 1/2 C. of

cooking water. Add noodles & reserved cooking

water to chicken mixture in skillet; stir. Remove

from heat; add spinach, 1/2 C. cheese & bacon;

mix lightly. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.

Serves 8 (1 1/2 C. each)


(recipe: Kraft foods)


Grilled Garlic Potato Salad


1 1/2 lb. small red potatoes (about 12), cut in half

1/3 C. water

4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled

1/2 C. zesty Italian salad dressing, divided

3/4 C. mayonnaise

2 tsp. yellow mustard*

2 stalks celery, chopped

Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Place potatoes & water in 2 qt. microwaveable

casserole dish; cover with lid. Microwave on High

8 minutes, rotating dish after 4 minutes. Cut thin

slice off top of each garlic clove, leaving papery

skin on; discard tops. (Do not cut root ends).

Place garlic on sheet of foil; drizzle with 1 T.

dressing; wrap garlic in foil. Drain potatoes;

thread onto metal skewers. Brush with some

remaining dressing. Grill potatoes & garlic

10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender,

turning potatoes frequently & brushing with

remaining dressing. Remove potatoes &

garlic from grill; cool. Remove garlic pulp from

skins. Mix garlic with mayonnaise & mustard

in large bowl. Add potatoes & celery to mustard

mixture; mix lightly. Refrigerate several hours

or until chilled. Serves 12, 1/2 C. each


*for added flavor boost, substitute Dijon mustard

for yellow.


(recipe: Kraft foods)


Banana Pudding Squares


35 ‘Nilla wafers, crushed

1/4 C. margarine, melted (1/2 stick)

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 C. powdered sugar

1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed & divided

3 bananas

3 C. cold milk

2 (4 servg) pkgs. vanilla instant pudding mix

1/2 square semi-sweet baking chocolate, grated

Combine wafer crumbs & margarine; press firmly

onto bottom of 9 X 13 baking dish. Refrigerate

while preparing filling.

NOTE: poster says she doubles crust ingredients

 to cover 9 X 13 pan

Mix cream cheese & sugar in medium bowl until well

blended. Stir in 1 1/2 C. Cool Whip; spread carefully

onto crust; set aside. Slice bananas & arrange over

cream cheese mixture. Pour milk into large bowl; add

dry pudding mixes & beat with wire whisk 2 minutes;

spoon over bananas. Spread with remaining  Cool

Whip; sprinkle top with grated chocolate. Refrigerate

at least 3 hours before serving. Store leftovers in

fridge. Serves 8


(recipe: Betty –


Well, it seems this post might be a little late in the ‘posting’ – just noticed my camera battery is dead and it needs to be working in order to transfer the photos from it to this blog. Looks like a trip to the drug store is in order for me – sigh. Husband just reminded me that my new computer has a port where I can plug in my SD card from my computer directly into the computer and download the photos there! Pretty neat!!!

I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that, for my birthday, not only friends & family but also COMPANIES are giving me birthday gifts! Really! Got a coupon for $3.00 off any purchase at CVS (of course, I’m a very loyal customer) and 200 birthday points from Speedway (only went there once, but hey- maybe I can start going there more frequently?). I’ve been thinking about just what I’d like for my birthday present – think I’ve come up with ‘a new camera’ – one very much like the one I have right now (digital Kodak Easy Share 300) but with a telephoto lens! (Sure could have used that for youngest’s graduation photos!) Husband already said we’re going out to dinner at my convenience – think I’ve picked Joe’s Crab Shack simply because I really liked their fried calamari (really crispy and yummy!). But then – there’s still Cracker Barrel to think about . . . we’ll see.

Tonight is my special needs group – I know that one of my ‘helper’ friends is planning on bringing me hummus & pita bread for my birthday; she’s been very ‘I KNOW what I’m getting you for your birthday!” – grinning at me and chuckling – ought to be fun to see what transpires!

Our weather has been continually gorgeous – sunny, really blue skies with big, fluffy clouds and in the mid 70’s – really nice summer days!

Hope you’re able to enjoy your day – take a little time for yourself: relax, maybe have something cool to drink, put your feet up? Life’s short –

EAT DESSERT FIRST!!! (my little words of wisdom for this day!)




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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Happy Birthday Pammie! Sounds like your new found freedom was a great birthday bonus 🙂 it does feel weird not to have to work around our kid’s schedules – felt the same way when my you gets started driving himself to school. Hope you find a new camera soon. I’m suffering without a computer (mine officially kicked the bucket a few weeks ago) and I’m missing out on so much! Need to take the plunge soon :/. Have a great day! ~maria

  2. It sounds like your birthday gift is extra time for yourself which has got to be a plus–right!!! Happy Birthday friend.

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