Thursday Thoughts


Here it is – my “ME” day! No scheduled ‘things to do’, no grocery shopping to get done, laundry/dishwashing, etc. – it’s a FREE DAY for me! Started it out by not getting up until almost 10 a.m. (and that, only because someone called here). Have had a nice time playing my video game: “Oregan Train: American Settler”, catching up on email reading/blog checking/facebook, etc. In my reading emails I discovered I have lots more REALLY GOOD sounding Fall/Thanksgiving/holiday recipes that I want to share with you. I’m really tempted to make the Easy Pumpkin Soup – but if I did, I’d add a dash of heavy cream. In 1978 husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to take a 1 week trip to St. Vincent, West Indies to visit friends of ours who were Peace Corps volunteers there. During our stay we all took a 1 hour boat ride to Bequia Island (pronounced Beckway) to spend a night at Julie’s Guest House. Why, you ask, would you want to do that? Simply because our friends had learned, from the native people on St. Vincent, that Julie’s Guest House had the most incredible meal available – at a very low cost. There was an entire fresh lobster dinner, many sides, etc. BUT my absolute favorite item on their menu was the COLD pumpkin soup! Never had it before and it was amazing! (I need to insert here that, yes – probably the rest of the dinner was wonderful, also BUT I had acquired a 2nd degree burn on most of my body while riding on the boat TO the island earlier that day and was so SICK I could barely walk, let alone eat. The soup was just what I needed – after that I went back to bed – didn’t even get to enjoy the lobster!) Yes, I had used a very heavy sun screen, but I’m very fair skinned and all of the others on the boat (people from the islands) took up all of the entire INSIDE portion of the boat, leaving us out on deck – sun reflecting off of water for over an hour equals BIG sunburn. NO fun! (just for fun, I did a search to see if Julie’s is still around: I found a blurb about it, but the post was from 2008 – even then, the writer raved about it – saying it was probably a 1 star restaurant, but for $60 you could get a room, breakfast AND dinner – not bad.)


Easy Pumpkin Soup

2 T. margarine
1 C. chopped onion
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 quart chicken broth
salt & pepper, to taste

garnish: sour cream

Melt margarine in large saucepot over
medium heat. Cook onion, stirring
occasionally, in pot 4 minutes or until
tender. Add pumpkin & cook, stirring
frequently, 4 minutes or until pumpkin
darkens. Stir in broth & season with salt
& pepper. Bring to boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium & cook, stirring
occasionally, 10 minutes. Serves 4
Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour
cream, if desired.

(recipe: Unilever)

Pork Chop/Apple/Bean Packets
(quick meal-GRILL or Oven)

2 (15 oz, ea) cans pork & beans, drained
1 1/2 C. sliced, quartered red skinned apples
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. barbecue sauce
4 bone-in pork chops (6 oz, ea)
1/4 tsp. salt

GRILL Method:

Preheat grill to medium-high. Stir together
beans, apple, onion & barbecue sauce in
medium bowl. Place four 18 X 12″ pieces of
heavy aluminum foil on counter. Spray each
with nonstick spray. Place 1 pork chop in center;
sprinkle with salt. Spoon 1/4 bean mixture over
chop – repeat for each packet. Bring up short
sides of each packet; double fold top. Double
fold both ends to seal, leaving space for steam.
Place packets on grate of covered grill. Grill 15-
20 minutes or until pork is cooked through &
apples are tender. Carefully open packets.

OVEN Method:
Assemble packets as per grill method. Preheat
oven 425 degrees F. Place packets in shallow pan
and bake 20 minutes or until pork is cooked
through and apples are tender. Carefully open


Cranberry Apple Cake

2 C. flour
1 C. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 T. vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 c. cranberry jelly
2 apples: Granny Smith,
peeled & grated
1 3/4 C. sugar
1 C. milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray Bundt or tube pan with nonstick
cooking spray. In large bowl, combine
milk, eggs, vanilla, oil, & sugar; mix until
well combined. Sift in flour, cocoa, baking
soda & powder; mix well. Add grated apples
& cranberry jelly; mix until well combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50-55
minutes or until toothpick inserted into
cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan
15 minutes then turn onto a plate. Let
cake cool 1 hour before serving.

(you can also add ground nuts, if desired)

Chicken, Vegetable, Bean Soup

1 C. dry Great Northern beans
6 C. water

1 C. chopped onion
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed & cut
into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. snipped fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1 tsp. marjoram, crushed
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 1/2 C. chicken broth

2 1/2 C. chopped, cooked chicken
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained

Rinse beans; drain. In large saucepan, combine
beans & 6 C. water; bring to boil then reduce
heat. Simmer, uncovered, 2 minutes. Remove
from heat & cover. Let stand 1 hour (or, skip
boiling step & soak beans overnight in a
covered pan; drain & rinse beans before using)

In 3 1/2 – 4  or 5 qt. crockpot, combine onion,
fennel, carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme, marjoran &
pepper. Place beans on top of vegetables; pour
chicken broth over all. Cover & cook on Low 8-10
hours or on High 4-5 hours. (If using Low setting,
turn to High after cooking time; stir in chicken &
undrained tomatoes. Cover & cook 30 minutes
longer or until heated through on High setting.
Makes 4-6 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Sausage & Cheese Crescent Squares

2 cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 lb. hot pork sausage (or your choice of hotness)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Unroll 1 can dough into 2 long rectangles;
place in ungreased 9 X 13 pan. Press dough
over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of pan to
form crust. Cook sausage over medium heat,
stirring frequently, until no longer pink. Remove
from skillet; discard drippings. Add to skillet
cream cheese; cook over low heat until melted.
Add cooked sausage, stir to coat. Spoon evenly
over crust in dish; sprinkle with Cheddar cheese.
Unroll second can of dough onto work surface.
Press to form a 9 X 13″ rectangle. Firmly press
perforations to seal, then carefully place dough
over cheese in dish. Bake 21-26 minutes or until
golden brown. Cool 15 minutes then cut into


Horseradish Cheese Pub Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 C. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 T. mustard
3 T. horseradish
1/2 C. stout ale
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 T. vinegar
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 pinch ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in food processor;
blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings
to taste. Serves 8

(recipe: Stephanie-

Turtle Cookie Bars

2 C. flour
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C. butter, softened

2nd Layer:
1 C. pecan halves or chopped pecans
2/3 C. butter
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1 C. milk chocolate morsels

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine crust ingredients in bowl; beat
at medium speed with elec. mixer until
well blended. Pat mixture firmly into
ungreased 9 X 13 pan. Arrange pecans
over crust. Combine butter & brown sugar
in a saucepan; bring to boil over medium-
high heat, stirring constantly. Cook 3 minutes,
stirring constantly. Pour mixture over pecans.
Bake 15-17 minutes or until golden & bubbly.
Remove from oven; sprinkle with chocolate
morsels; let stand 2-3 minutes or until slightly
melted. Gently swirl chocolate with a knife,
leaving some morsels whole (do not spread).
Let cool on wire rack at room temp until chocolate
is set. Cut into squares

(recipe: Facebook)

Cheesy Drop Biscuits

2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 C. (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 C. buttermilk
1/3 C. cooking oil
additional Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
In large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients.
Add cheeses. In small bowl, combine buttermilk
& oil; stir in dry ingredients just until moistened.
Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 2 inches apart on greased
baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with additional
Parmesan cheese, if desired. Bake 10-12 minutes
or until golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 10

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

5-Spice Pecans

1 lb. pecan halves (4 C.)
1/4 C. butter, melted
2 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. five-spice powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

Place pecans in 3 1/2 – 4 qt. crockpot.
In bowl, combine melted butter, soy
sauce, five-spice powder, garlic powder,
ginger & red pepper; pour over nuts &
stir to coat. Cover & cook, on Low 2 hours.
Uncover & stir; turn heat to High. Cover &
continue cooking 15-30 minutes. Cool.
Makes 4 Cups.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Not much else going on around here – the weather is really NICE today, for a change (was raining, gray and windy yesterday). It’s 47 degrees out and SUNNY – just the kind of weather to buoy my spirits! Have you started making any Thanksgiving meal plans yet? I’m still ‘on the fence’ – I’m pretty sure our oldest son/his girlfriend and our grandson will be joining us, plus middle son (now that he’s got his own apartment) – youngest is pretty sure he’ll have to work – sigh.  Probably going with my ‘all standards’ meal: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes (some sort of sweet potato thing – it varies per year), green bean casserole, maybe corn casserole (this year making it SMALLER – had WAY too much leftover last year), homemade cranberry orange relish, rolls and desserts.  You’d think, with all the recipes I go through on-line, I’d be able to come up with something REALLY AMAZING and DIFFERENT, wouldn’t you? Nope – family wants it “THE SAME as all the other years!” Oh well  . . . better to please them, right?

Hope you’re enjoying your day/evening – put your feet up, grab something comforting to drink (coffee/tea/chai/cocoa?) and relax a few minutes – you deserve it!




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