Keepin’ Busy

What do you do with a very active 7 year old for a day? Well, you might play Jenga, for starters! This particular young man likes to play ‘dirty’ – which he learned from his Dad, by the way. You START out the game by removing the very BOTTOM pieces, making the rest of the plays VERY difficult to the other player. Let’s just say, he won all the games played with grandma!


Then, much later on – after MANY board games (of which I think I won 2), he got rather tired after we read several books together. He asked me what songs I used to sing to him when trying to get him to sleep (“when I was a baby”) – so I started singing and patting his butt – next photo is the end result (which took all of about 3 minutes – he MUST have been tired!)


(sorry the photo is blurry – but you get the idea. It took youngest son to lift him up & put him on the couch – now that he’s growing up, he’s too heavy for me to lift!)

It’s a kind of busy weekend for me: Friday evening is the bridal shower for the young lady I knit the shawl for and Saturday evening is the ‘wedding/celebration’ for my middle son’s client. It will be a ‘different’ type of ceremony – his client is special needs and so is his ‘intented’. Both of their parents realize that they will probably never be able to actually marry but decided to ‘give them the next best thing’ – both sets of parents are throwing a celebratory party in their honor. I know it’s at a very up-scale hotel and will be formal – just not exactly sure of the whole ‘program’; on this one I’m following my middle son’s lead – the ‘groom’ is his client. There’s going to be a cocktail hour followed by a sit-down dinner then dancing. (I don’t dance, neither does my son, so I’m hoping we can gracefully leave after dinner). New experiences every day, right?

Lots of great summer recipes coming in:


Ice Box Lemon Drop Cake

1 box Duncan Hines moist deluxe
lemon cake mix
1 C. buttermilk*
1 (3 oz) pkg. instant lemon pudding mix (dry)


4 C. confectioner’s sugar
1/3 C. lemon juice
3 T. vegetable oil
3 T. water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, stir together dry cake mix &
pudding mix. In another bowl, combine all
wet ingredients & eggs that cake mix calls
for, plus buttermilk. (Where cake mix box
calls for 1 1/3 C. water, put in 1 C. water &
1/3 C. lemon juice to make cake even more
lemon flavored). Beat with mixer until blended;
add to dry mixture, beat until combined. Bake in
greased 9 X 13 pan for time CAKE BOX calls for.
It might require a few minutes longer baking
time, because of extra moisture produced by milk.
Test by inserting wooden toothpick in center, if it
comes out clean, it’s done.

Combine water, oil, confectioner’s sugar & lemon
juice in bowl, mix with elec. mixer until smooth. Add
one more T. of water, if necessary, if consistency isn’t
‘saucy’. Glaze cake when just a little cooled. Do not
over glaze because glaze mixture is sweet, only a THIN
layer is required. There will be a little glaze left over; store
in refrigerator & stir before using. Store cake in refrigerator
& serve cold or at room temperature.

1 C. milk
1 T. lemon juice or vinegar

Combine milk & lemon juice or
vinegar in bowl, let stand 5 minutes.
Mix well & use as buttermilk
Comment from tester:
“This is one of the most moist cakes I’ve ever had!
(I attribute that to the addition of the buttermilk.”)


Black Bean & Mango Salsa

1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1 (16 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen corn, thawed
1 C. chopped ripe mango
1/2 C. chopped red pepper
1/3 C. chopped red onion
1/3 C. chopped cilantro
1/4 C. lime juice

Mix all ingredients until well blended; cover.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve with grilled
chicken or tortilla chips.
Makes 32 (2 T.) servings.

To serve as a simple salad, add
1 1/2 C. cooked brown rice

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Cheesy Salsa Mini-meatloaves

1 lb ground beef
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
1 egg
12 saltine crackers, finely crushed
(about 1/2 Cup)
1 1/2 C. Mexican-style finely shredded
Four cheese, divided (Kraft)
1 C. thick & chunky salsa, divided

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Mix first 4 ingredients with 1 C. cheese &
1/2 C. salsa; press into 12 muffin cups
sprayed with cooking spray. Use back of
spoon to make indentation in center of
each. Place muffin pan on foil-covered
baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes or until
meatloaves are done (160 degrees F). Top
with remaining salsa & cheese; bake 3
minutes more or until cheese is melted.
Makes 6 servings.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Cheesy Ham & Hash Brown Casserole

1 (32 oz) pkg. frozen hash brown potatoes
8 oz. cooked, diced ham
2 (10.75 oz, ea) cans cream of potato soup
1 (16 oz) container sour cream
2 C. shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9 X 13 baking dish. In
large bowl, mix hash browns, ham, soup,
sour cream & Cheddar cheese; spread
evenly into prepared dish. Sprinkle top
with Parmesan. Bake 1 hour until bubbly
& lightly browned.

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Dutch Oven Cheesy Potatoes

(or stove-top)

8 lb. russet potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced
10 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1/2 C. butter
salt & pepper
1 (16 oz) container sour cream
2 C. Cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook
chopped bacon in D. oven a few minutes then
add onion; cook until bacon is slightly crisp &
onions are almost translucent. Add 3-4 T. butter;
stir & let melt in bacon & onions, add sliced
potatoes & stir to incorporate. Add 2-3 more
T. butter & generous helpings of salt & pepper.
Stir all so everything is evenly distributed. Cover &
let potatoes cook through, about 20 minutes,
stirring occasionally to make sure they don’t burn.
When potatoes are fork-tender, add the container
of sour cream & mix well. Top with Cheddar cheese,
cover & remove from heat. Once cheese has melted
& sour cream is heated through, it’s done. Serves 20.

(recipe: Jamiecooksitup!)


Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts,

pounded to 1/2 inch thickness

Lowry’s Seasoning Salt

6 bacon slices

1/4 cup regular mustard

1/3 cup honey

2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise

2 teaspoons dried onion flakes

1 cup sliced fresh mushroom

2 cup shredded Colby/Jack cheese

Sprinkle and rub the chicken breasts with seasoning

salt.Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While chicken is in refrigerator, cook bacon in a large

skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside

 *Do not discard grease.*

Saute chicken in the bacon grease for 3- 5 minutes per side, or until browned. Place chicken in a 9″ – 13″ casserole dish or pan.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Honey Mustard Sauce


 In a small bowl, mix mustard,honey, mayonnaise & dried

onion flakes. Spread some of the Honey Mustard over each

piece of chicken, then layer with mushrooms, crumbled bacon,

and shredded cheese. Bake 30 minutes, or until cheese is

melted and chicken is done.Serve with the left over Honey

Mustard Sauce that you made


(recipe: Facebook)


Peach-Almond Upside Down Cake


1 stick unsalted butter, room temp (plus more

for the pan)

1 1/2 C. sugar

4 medium peaches or nectarines, pitted & cut

into 6 wedges each

1 1/2 C. flour

1/2 C. whole almonds

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt2 large eggs

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. almond extract

3/4 C. milk

vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

Melt 1 T. butter in a medium skillet over

medium heat. Add 3/4 C. sugar & 1 T. water;

cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth &deep golden brown, 8-11 minutes. Pour mixture

into prepared pan & tilt to coat the bottom. Arrange

the peach wedges snugly in bottom of pan in a single layer, cutting to fit, if necessary.Combine flour, almonds, baking powder & salt in a food processor; pulse until almonds are finelyground. Beat remaining 7 T. butter & 3/4 C. sugar in large bowl with elec. mixer on medium-high until light & fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla & almond extracts. Beat in flour mixture in3 batches, alternating with milk & beginning & ending with flour mixture; beat in each addition until just incorporated. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan & bake until golden & a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool – 30 minutes. Invert onto a plate & let cool completely. Serve with ice cream. Makes 1 9-inch cake.

 (recipe: Food Network)


Cheesy Bacon Bombs

1 can (8ct.) Pillsbury Grands Flakey
Layers Biscuits
Cubed Mozzarella Cheese (1-1 inch cube
per Bomb)
2 lbs. of Bacon (1 slice per Bomb)
skewers or toothpicks
Oil for frying

Cube cheese & cut each biscuit into fourths.
Place one piece of cheese inside a biscuit
quarter & roll it up in there, nice and tight.
Wrap each rolled Bomb in a slice of bacon
& secure it with a skewer or toothpick.
In a med/large pot, heat up approx.
2 inches of Oil (to 350 degrees) and fry them
up in small batches; one or
two at a time – the oil will expand so
stay close. Drain on paper towels;
serve warm.

(recipe: Facebook)

KFC Coleslaw

1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/3 C. sugar
1/4 C. milk
1/4 C. buttermilk
2 1/2 T.  lemon juice
1 1/2 T. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
8 C. finely chopped cabbage (approx. 1 head)
1/4 C. shredded carrot (1 medium carrot)
2 T. minced onion

Be sure cabbage and carrots are chopped into very
fine pieces (a little bigger than rice)Combine mayonnaise,
sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and
pepper in large bowl; beat until smooth
Add cabbage, carrots, and onions; mix well.
Cover & refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
It’s even better overnight

(recipe: Facebook)

Amish Broccoli Salad

1 head broccoli, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 C. mayonnaise
1 C. sour cream
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine  chopped broccoli & cauliflower in 
large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine
mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, and salt to
make a creamy dressing. Add  dressing to
broccoli/cauliflower mix, stirring to evenly
coat the vegetables. Stir in the bacon & cheese,
reserving a small amount to sprinkle on top
of the salad just before serving.

(recipe: Facebook)

Eggplant Dip

3 C. low fat Greek yogurt
1 large eggplant
1-2 small hot green chilies
4-5 big garlic cloves
1 inch ginger piece
1/2 C. roasted peanuts
2/3 tsp. dried yellow mustard
salt, to taste
1/2 C. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. oil (for roasting eggplant)

grilled pita bread, fresh veggies,
steamed rice – for dipping or on
top of rice

Apply some oil to eggplant. On medium
open flame, roast eggplant until the skin
is burnt & eggplant is soft. Makes sure it
gets roasted on every side; keep turning
so all sides get roasted. OR  roast in
pre-heated 350 degrees F. oven for
30-35 minutes until it is soft & roasted.
Once roasted, remove from flame/oven &
let cool before peeling off burnt skin &
removing stem from eggplant. In a mixing
bowl, mash eggplant using a fork; let it
cool down completely. In food processor,
add peanuts & process twice until it breaks
down into tiny pieces; remove to bowl
of mashed eggplant. Finely process green
chilies, garlic & ginger; add to eggplant
mixture. Mix in yogurt, season with salt &
mustard. Add chopped cilantro; mix well.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready
to serve. It tastes best when the flavors are
allowed to develop – if you have time, let it
set in refrigerator 1-2 hours. Once chilled,
give it a quick stir & garnish with peanuts
& chopped cilantro. Goes well with grilled
pita, fresh vegetables, steamed rice –
anything. Makes 1 large bowl.

NOTE: you can also mash the eggplant in
the food processor.


Layered Caesar, Shrimp & Pasta Salad

1/4 C. creamy Caesar salad dressing
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (6 oz) pkg. torn mixed salad greens,
2 C. medium pasta shells, cooked & cooled
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
3/4 C. seasoned croutons
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 lb. frozen, cooked & cleaned medium
shrimp, thawed
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
cracked black pepper (optional)

Mix dressing, mayonnaise & garlic. Layer
half salad greens, pasta & tomatoes in 3
qt. bowl. Cover with layers of remaining
greens, croutons, eggs, shrimp & cheese.
Refrigerate dressing mixture & salad
1 hour. Add dressing mixture to salad
just before serving; mix lightly. Add black
cracked pepper, if desired.
Serves 6, 2 C. each

NOTE: Salad & dressing can be refrigerated
up to 4 hours before tossing salad with
dressing just before serving.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Waffle Iron Cookies

1/2 C. margarine
4 T. baking cocoa, heaped
2 eggs
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 C. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

(optional: cake frosting)

Heat waffle iron.
In medium bowl, melt margarine & cocoa.
Stir in eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla & salt. Drop
by teaspoonsful onto hot waffle iron, baking
several at a time, about 45 seconds. Cool
then frost, if desired. Makes 15 or more.


Yesterday was a rather quiet day – youngest son was at work, middle son is now in his own apartment and husband attended a funeral visitation, leaving me ALONE in the house! I was able to enjoy watching (for the second time) the movie: “Out of Africa” (Meryl Streep/Robert Redford) which I had alluded to in previous posts. It’s definitely a ‘chick flick’ but I greatly enjoyed it; from the lush landscapes to the whole tone of the movie, it was very enjoyable (I’d highly recommend it!).

I’m currently ambling along on baby blanket #4 for the Detroit Veteran’s Hospital’s Baby Shower coming in September; this time out I’m ‘taking my time’, knowing I HAVE time to complete it.

How’s your Weather? Here it’s HOT (in the mid 90’s) and very humid – makes it feel more like the 100’s than the 90’s. I’m very happy to have air conditioning both in the car and home. (Husband & I, for years, have an on-going ‘argument’ over the temperatures: He likes it COLD, I’m not so much for freezing. I sit at my computer with 2 bath towels in front of the desk opening (there’s a vent right there, blowing cold air on my legs), and if it gets REALLY unbearable, I also throw over a heavy sweatshirt, just to keep my ankles warm – weird, eh? Oh well – could be something MUCH worse to argue over, right?

Gas Prices – how are yours lately? We went from an acceptable $3.49/9 up to $3.89/9 and RISING! Crazy! And, it usually figures, when they’re LOW, guess who DOESN’T need gas BUT let them get really high and suddenly I’m almost on fumes! Do YOU ever do that?

Well, friends, this one’s getting really long so I’d better close for now.

Enjoy your day!



PS: Almost forgot: Am kind of ‘getting the idea’ of the tatting – I was cruising along with the video, made the ‘circle’, joined it – make the ‘chain and connected it (end of that video). I was SO proud of actually DOING what was shown that I cut off the thread to show to husband. A few seconds later in the video the lady says: “Now, don’t cut your thread, as we’ll be continuing with this in the next video!” SIGH! I put it down and decided to wait for another day (it takes a lot of concentration and, although I’m happy I’m understanding it, I don’t see me making anything BIG with these skills any time in the near future!) I actually only want to make ONE pair of earrings with this, but we’ll see. (I’ve picked up the project again the next day, but couldn’t seem to create the same nice, crisp stitches I had the day before – looks like I’ll ‘be at it’ for awhile . . . sigh. Learning patience – the HARD way! (grin)


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