Startin’ Early this year!


Yes, in the past I’ve always been the one saying: Wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to put up anything Christmas – until this year! Today I woke up full of ‘gusto’ and determined to tackle our dining room. Most people have houses that are not that messy – not mine. Husband is a bit of a pack rat so the operable word here is ATTACK the dining room. There were boxes of old papers/magazines/books; receipts, old cordless phones – you name it, we had it. Found a receipt from 2004, the installation directions for our dishwasher – guess I should preface that with: dishwasher was purchased in 1978! Going in stages, I finally managed to get it almost all done; still left to do is vacuum the rug – no biggie, that can be done Mon – Weds. of coming week. I dragged out the china from the china cabinet, washed it & the cabinet windows, dragged out the winter decorations for in front of said cabinet – let’s just say I WAS ON A ROLL! Found some things husband didn’t even know were missing – he said, rather loudly: “WHERE did you find my old jackknife?” (on top of the china cabinet – isn’t that where EVERYONE puts theirs? . . . NOT!!!) Old cassette tapes & cd’s, a VCR tape of the movie: “Ratrace” (great movie!) – a little bit of almost everything. After several rest periods I began hauling ‘stuff’ upstairs and down the basement (things like books, his old briefcase, a soldering iron, duct tape, etc.) While upstairs I got to thinking: “Hey! What if I put up the fiber optic Christmas tree for the dining room . . . WAY EARLY!” That should shock the boys – I’m a ‘wait until almost Christmas to put up the decorations’ person. It’s not that I don’t like SEEING them, I don’t like all the effort it takes to drag all the boxes down, assemble the tree, put the lights on it (talk husband or son to lift it on top of the baby grand piano – it’s too balky & heavy for me) – you know . . . all THAT stuff! I even put the little snowman decoration in the bathroom and the three little china snowmen on the kitchen mantle! AMAZING! Found several things to give away on Freecycle, too – YAY! Less STUFF!!!  Just hoping that all my efforts do not backfire tomorrow – you know the statement: “It takes three days of getting better for every ONE day you were sick.” (I have a tendency to OVER-do when I first start feeling better – hence I usually put myself back to being sick again . . .  hope I didn’t do that today. Am fully planning on singing in the choir tomorrow at church – I’ve REALLY missed that. Now we’re almost into the Christmas music – I remember one Easter I was SO sick I couldn’t sing in the Easter program. No, I’m no soloist, but I really enjoy working on/practicing all the music and finally getting to perform it with the choir. Really looking forward to getting back to church – to hear the sermon & lesson in Sunday School, seeing all our friends, working with the choir, etc.  It’s been a VERY productive day today.


Low-Fat Lemon Crinkle Cookies

1 box lemon cake mix
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 C. Cool Whip, thawed (8 oz tub)
1/2 – 1 C. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, combine cake mix, egg, &
Cool Whip. Batter will be sticky! Form
dough into tablespoonfuls & roll in
powdered sugar. Bake 8-10 minutes, until
edges are golden brown. Allow to cool 1
minute on baking sheet; then remove.

(recipe: Facebook)

Soft Caramel for Popcorn

1 C. brown sugar
1 stick butter
1 C. Karo syrup
1 can condensed milk

Popped  popcorn

Mix all ingredients (except popcorn)
together. Heat until mixture melts, do
not overcook. Pour over popcorn.

(recipe: Facebook)


Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter
(No Bake) Candy Bars
(AND they are HEALTHY!)

1 C. peanut butter
2/3 C. honey
1/2 C. coconut oil (NO substitutes – this is
what gives it creamy texture & flavor)
2 C. oats (not instant)
1 1/4 C. mini chocolate chips
3/4 C. dried cranberries

In medium saucepan, melt peanut butter, honey
& coconut oil. Remove from heat & add oats,
chocolate chips & dried cranberries. Stir until
combined & chocolate chips are melted. Spread
into 9 X 13 pan. Refrigerate until hardened, about
1 hour. Store in refrigerator.

(recipe: Facebook)

Chicken a la King

1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast,
trimmed & cut into 1″ cubes
1/2 C. flour
2 T. oil, divided
10 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 C. water
1 C. chicken broth
1 C. milk
1 (4 oz) jar sliced pimientos, rinsed
1/2 C. sliced scallions

cooked egg noodles

Toss chicken & flour in medium bowl until
coated. Heat 1 T. oil in large skillet over
medium-high heat. Reserving remaining
flour, add chicken to pan & cook, stirring
occasionally, until lightly browned, 2-4
minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Reduce
heat to medium; add remaining 1 T. oil to
pan. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, salt &
pepper; cook, stirring often, until mushrooms
are softened & starting to brown, 3-5 minutes.
Pour in water, bring to a boil & cook, stirring
to scrape up any browned bits, 3 minutes. Whisk
broth & milk in to reserved flour until smooth.
Stir mixture into pan; bring to a simmer, stirring
often. Stir in pimientos & chicken, return to a
simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a gently
simmer & cook until veggies are tender & chicken
is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Stir in scallions &
serve immediately.
Serve over cooked egg noodles.

(recipe: diabetic connect)

Creamy Broccoli Salad

2 strips bacon
1/2 C. ice cubes
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 C. buttermilk
1/3 C. sour cream
1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 t. fresh lemon juice
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 1/2 C. broccoli florets (about 1 lb), cut
into bite-sized pieces
1/3 C. golden raisins
2 T. salted, roasted sunflower seeds

Cook bacon in small nonstick skillet over
medium-low heat until crispy, about 8
minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined
plate to drain, reserve 1 tsp. drippings
for the dressing. Finely chop bacon strips
& reserve. Combine 1 C. water, ice cubes &
onions in a small bowl. Let onions soak 10
minutes while preparing rest of salad, then
drain & pat dry. Whisk buttermilk, sour cream,
lemon zest & juice, reserved bacon drippings,
3/4 tsp. kosher salt & pepper to taste in large
bowl. Add broccoli, onions & golden raisins to
the dressing. Toss well, cover & chill for at least
1 hour or up to 4 hours. Before serving, toss well
& season with additional salt & pepper. Transfer
to a serving dish & top with chopped bacon &
sunflower seeds. Serves 6

(recipe: Food Network)

Zucchini Pizza Bites

(One serving)

4 slices large zucchini (1/4 ” thick) or
1 medium zucchini
salt & pepper
2 T. quick marinara sauce
1/4 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut zucchini about 1/4 ” thick. Spray both
sides of slices with nonstick cooking spray
then season with salt & pepper. Place on
cookie sheet & broil or grill about 2
minutes on each side. Top with sauce &
cheese; broil an additional 1-2 minutes,
being careful not to burn the cheese.


Dutch Apple Salad

1 C. cooked, diced ham
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 apples, peeled/cored/chopped
2 sweet pickles, chopped
3/4 C. cooked, diced potatoes
1/4 C. Italian or Buttermilk salad dressing

Combine ingredients & serve on lettuce

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Crockpot Candy

Set crockpot heat on LOW.

2 lb. lightly salted dry-roasted
1 (12 oz) bag Toll House or
Hershey Milk chocolate morsels
1 (4 oz) block Bakers German
Sweet chocolate
1 (24 oz) block Almond Bark

Pour all ingredients in crockpot.
Cook, on Low, 3 hours. Stir with
spoon, then pour into cupcake
papers & let cool.

(recipe: Facebook)

Enchilada Bake

4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp Taco Seasoning
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 oz tortilla chips, finely crushed *

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat or whisk cream cheese & eggs until smooth.
Add seasoning; mix well. Stir in cheese & crushed chips;
mix well. Grease a 9×13″ baking dish or line with
parchment paper; spread cheese mixture evenly over
bottom. Bake 35 minutes or until browned, but
not too dark. Let stand 5-10 minutes before adding

* 1/4 oz is about 4-5 small round tortilla chips.

1 lb. ground beef
1 T. Taco Seasoning
1 C. Red Enchilada Sauce
8 oz pepper-jack cheese, shredded

Brown hamburger; drain fat. Stir in
seasoning and enchilada sauce. Spread
over the crust. Top with the cheese.
Bake another 20 minutes or so until hot
and bubbly. Makes 8 servings

(recipe: Facebook)

Creamy Crockpot Tomato Soup

1 T. olive oil
1 C. finely diced celery
1 C. finely diced carrots
1 C. finely diced onion
1 (28 oz) can whole plum tomatoes, with juice
1 tsp. thyme
1/4 C. fresh basil
3 1/2 C. chicken broth (or vegetable)
Parmesan or Romano cheese rind (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. flour
1/3 C. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 3/4 C. milk, warmed
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add
oil, celery, carrots & onions. Cook 5-6 minutes,
until golden then add to crockpot. Pour the
juice of the tomatoes into crockpot; roughly
crush them with your hands. Add chicken or
vegetable broth, cheese rind, thyme, basil &
bay leaf. Cover & cook on Low 6 hours or until
vegetables get soft & flavors blend. Remove
cheese rind (discard). Pour soup into a blender
in small batches & blend until smooth. Melt
butter over low heat in a large skillet; add flour.
Stir constantly with a whisk for 4-5 minutes. Slowly
whisk in about 1 C. of the hot soup, then add the
1 3/4 C. warmed milk – stir until smooth. Pour back
into crockpot & stir, add the grated Pecorino
cheese & adjust salt & pepper, to taste. Cover &
cook on Low 30 more minutes. Makes about 9 1/2


French Toast Muffins

1/3 C. applesauce or canola oil
1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 C. milk

1 T. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1/8 C. canola oil

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl sift together all dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients & stir until just combined,
but still a bit lumpy. Do NOT overmix; overmixing
will ruin the texture of the finished muffins.
Scoop batter into muffin tins that have been sprayed
with nonstick spray.

NOTE from poster: Using a large spoon, I got 9 muffins
out of this batter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until they just start to turn a bit golden brown at the edges.
Mix sugar & cinnamon in a small bowl. Place oil in
another small bowl. Dip warm muffins in oil, or using
a spoon, drizzle over muffins, then dip/roll/sprinkle
the muffin in cinnamon sugar mixture. There might be
a little leftover topping.


I keep forgetting to mention: Have any of you ever watched the TV show on ION TV (cable) called: “Flashpoint” ? GREAT show – full of lots of action, suspense, etc; it’s a show based around a crack team of special response (sort of ) firefighters/police which takes place in Canada.  I would highly recommend it if you get ION cable channel.

Our weather today is typical for Michigan this time of year: (was going to say in the low 30’s until I looked at the thermometer – it’s 27 and snowing right now . . . sigh). Time to zip the lining in my trench coat and drag out the wool scarf & gloves – Baby, it’s COLD outside!

Hope you’re having a good day/evening – dinner tonight is leftovers – husband gets to choose whether he wants the rest of the beef stew or the barbecued pork chops from last night! (I’ll take whatever he doesn’t want . . . our youngest is really PICKY – he RARELY eats any leftovers!).



PS: Thanks, Dar – I ‘borrowed’ your clipart from Facebook for the top of this page!


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Well you did a great job on that dining room today. Speaking of finding Thing I cleaned off the top of Jay’s dresser –there were enough t-shirts to out fit an army– and I found his winter gloves he has been looking for. So you see I can relate!!!!! I reallt like Flashpoint too!

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