Welcome to Thursday!


I don’t know about you, but to me this week has just seemed to FLY by! On Tuesday I thought it was Monday – yesterday I was still ‘off’ in my weeks – I was a whole WEEK ahead of myself, schedule-wise. Glad I figured THAT one out – I thought I really had to hustle to catch up – thank heavens, I had more time! Spend a good part of Tuesday and some Wednesday just attempting to update my special needs address list – that is quite a feat! I was working in Microsoft WORD (don’t like that program but my entire family says it’s much more ‘user friendly’ . . . not to THIS user!). That program has a feature where you can insert or delete information (supposedly) easily – I got all the way to the end of my list of 70+ people (name, address, phone # & birthday) only to accidentally hit a key with my pinky finger – don’t know WHAT key, but it threw the ENTIRE program – I had a space with some letters and some display I had NO CLUE what to do with! Did I call my husband (like I should have? NO! Of Course NOT!) I attempted to fix it myself, only to make it worse. Gave up (and I had been working at this for a good 2+ HOURS already) and went back at it yesterday – finally got it all done. Husband asked: “Did you hit “SAVE” or Save AS?” (Save As – WRONG ANSWER!) NOW I know to hit SAVE – just plain old SAVE – after all that work it’s finally arranged the way I want. One of the ‘FUN” things I find with WORD is it somehow – magically shifts things up & down when you’re trying to insert information. That might be good in some situations BUT – I ended up having to go line-by-line, checking EVERY SINGLE bit of information on each student BECAUSE I ended up with phone numbers I couldn’t figure out where they came from! (SIDE NOTE: Let me tell you – when you have to phone all 70+ students because we’re cancelling the meeting because of inclement weather, you’d better VERY WELL MAKE SURE all the phone numbers are correct! You certainly don’t want any of them showing up at church when it’s closed – just getting more than one special needs person in a wheelchair in or out of a van is a HUGE undertaking – only to find out all your efforts were in vain because you DIDN’T get the phone call? You get the idea). Along those same lines I was working on the food preparation list for the upcoming Friends & Family Christmas Gathering – almost every year since we’ve begun this special dinner at the very LAST minute, we’ve had to quickly put up more tables & chairs simply because we didn’t know how many people to expect. (YES-RSVP would be nice, but that would never work – even on a regular Wednesday night we never know how many to expect – add to that family/caregivers/extra people and you get that idea). We’re (so far) shooting for 125 – I’m personally thinking we should up it to 145, just to be cautious. Last year we had to send one of our helpers out to Costco for more sandwiches. Turns out they bought all that the store had that were already prepared (that wasn’t enough) so she very quickly did a ‘on-her-feet’ thinking and bought extra croissants/lunch meats/sliced cheeses and some lettuce and we quickly assembled more. Hectic NIGHT! We’ll see how this goes THIS YEAR!

Husband & I have spend two days doing ‘together’ things; yesterday he had a dentist’s appointment – we weren’t sure whether this was going to be THE appointment where they did the dental surgery to insert a tooth implant or not, so I came along-just to drive. Turns out we can schedule that for January – free time for us, so I talked him into going out for breakfast!  Today we both had to take our vehicles in for work: my van: routine oil change (it’s been driving me nuts with a ‘ding’ – then flashing on the dash: CHANGE OIL varying with LOW WASH – guess it was just thirsty!) His Jeep needed a tire rotation – so we made a ‘trip’ of it (we were ‘going’ to go out to lunch, but there really aren’t many good places around there, so we just came home.)

Ended up purchasing the lacy Red Heart Sashay yarn to make those two scarves – started on one this morning and remembered what a PAIN they are to work with! The ‘yarn’ I bought for my older lady is red with a red foil woven throughout. That’s fine BUT the foil tends to snag – (sigh); it ought to look really nice with her red wool coat. Been playing with more baby hats; dug out a pattern I only did once, called Elm Seeds. It’s a very easy pattern; makes little bumps every 3-4 rows. I’d forgotten how much I like the look of it; am probably going to finish up the 8-9 more hats I want to knit before turning them in, using that pattern.


Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

5 lb. potatoes, peeled
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
2 C. shredded cheese (your choice)
1/2 – 1 C. sour cream
bacon, cooked & crumbled (1/2 pkg)
green onion, diced (optional)
milk, as needed, for mashing potatoes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Peel & boil potatoes; drain. Add cream
cheese, butter, shredded cheese, sour
cream & milk; mash to your choice of
consistency. Add 3/4 bacon, 3/4 onion
mix in; pour into greased casserole dish.
Top with remaining bacon & onion (and
more shredded cheese, if you wish). Bake
15 minutes.

(recipe: Facebook)

Creamy Almond Bars

2 C. flour
1 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. powdered sugar


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. almond extract


1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 T. milk
1 tsp. almond extract
sliced almonds

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix & press crust ingredients into a
greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake 20 minutes.
Beat cream cheese & sugar for filling
using elec. mixer until smooth. Add
rest of filling ingredients; beat until
just mixed. Pour filling mixture over
crust & bake 15 minutes. Combine all
frosting ingredients using elec. mixer.
Frost bars when they are cool; top with
sliced almonds, if desired. Cut into
24 squares. Serve warm or chilled.
Store in refrigerator. (Bars also freeze

(recipe: Heather-justapinch.com)

Crockpot Beef Roast with Gravy

1 (2-3 lb) roast
1 T. Kitchen Bouquet
3/4 C. beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 T. butter
2 T. flour

cooked, buttered noodles – for serving

In medium bowl combine broth, mushroom
soup, onion soup  mix, Worcestershire, red
wine vinegar, garlic, thyme & pepper; stir to
mix well; set aside. Rub Kitchen bouquet over
roast, coating all sides. Heat a little oil in a
large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown
both sides of roast (you’ll know it’s ready to
flip when the meat no longer sticks); transfer
to crockpot. Reduce heat to medium; add
butter to skillet. When melted, add flour –
cook 1 minute, stirring with a whisk. Add
gravy from bowl to skillet. Using a whisk,
loosen up brown bits from bottom of skillet.
Continue to cook until thickened; pour over
roast. Cover & cook on Low 7-8 hours or until
roast is fall-apart tender. Serve over buttered
noodles. Serves 6-7

(recipe: Gretchen-justapinch.com)

Chewy Gingerbread Bars

3/4 C. butter, melted
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. molasses
1 egg
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. butter, softened
2 C. powdered sugar
1 T. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Pour melted butter, sugar & molasses
in stand mixer bowl; beat until well
combined. Add egg; beat until smooth.
In separate bowl mix all dry ingredients;
add dry ingredients to mixer bowl; beat
until just combined. Spray a 9 X 9 pan
with nonstick spray; press dough into pan.
Bake 15-20 minutes, do not over bake. If
knife inserted in center comes out clean,
remove pan from oven – let cool completely.

Mix all frosting ingredients together in stand
mixer bowl; beat until smooth. Spread frosting
over cooled bars. Refrigerate one hour; cut &
serve.  Store leftover bars in refrigerator.

(recipe: Jamiecooksitup.com)

Cashew Pork

4 boneless pork loin chops 1 1/4 in. thick
2 tsp. olive oil
3/4 C. salted cashew nuts
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
2/3 C. chicken broth
1 t. snipped parsley

Oil skillet with 1 tsp. olive oil. Over medium
heat, brown chops 6 minutes. Turn & cook
7-9 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove
meat from skillet; keep warm. Using food
processor or blender, process or blend 1/2 C.
cashews until finely ground; set aside. Add
remaining olivei oil to hot skillet. Add garlic &
ginger root; cook & stir 15 seconds. Stir in
ground cashews. Slowly add chicken broth,
stirring until well blended. Stir in parsley.
Serve sauce with chops; sprinkle remaining
cashews on each serving. Serves 4


(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Make-Ahead Unstuffed Shells
(Next day recipe – see NOTE)

4 C. medium pasta shells, uncooked
1 lb. ground beef
1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce
1 (10 oz) tub Kraft Philadelphia Italian
Herb cooking cream
1/3 C. chopped fresh basil
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta accordg to pkg. directions, omitting
salt. Brown meat in large skillet; drain. Stir in
marinara sauce; simmer on medium heat 2 minutes;
remove from heat. Drain pasta; mix cooking cream,
basil & Parmesan in large bowl; stir in pasta. Spread
half meat sauce on bottom of 9 X 13 baking pan
sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover with layers of
pasta mixture & remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle
with mozzarella; cover with foil.
Refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Bake casserole, covered, 40-45 minutes or until
heated through, uncovering after 30 minutes.
Serves 6

Extras: 1 small chopped onion and/or one small chopped
green pepper – cook along with meat.

NOTE: Casserole can be baked immediately after
assembling. Reduce baking time to 30 minutes,
uncovering after 20 minutes.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Creamy Mushroom Tartlets

1 T. butter or margarine
1 (8 oz) pkg. fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 C. Kraft Chive & Onion cream cheese spread
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 (8 oz) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet on medium
heat. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until
tender, stirring frequently. Add cream cheese
spread & Parmesan; cook & stir 1 minutes or
until cream cheese is melted; remove from
heat & set aside.
Unroll dough into 2 long rectangles; firmly press
perforations & seams together to seal. Cut each
rectangle into 12 squares. Place 1 square in each
of 24 mini muffin cups with corners of squares
extending over rims of cups. Firmly press dough
onto bottom & sides of each cup. Spoon about
1 1/2 tsp. mushroom mixture into each cup.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Sprinkle tops with parsley. Cool in pan 5
minutes before serving. Makes 24 tartlets.

(recipe: Kraft Foods)

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

1/2 C. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 C. (5 oz) peanut butter
1/2 C. crushed rice cereal or cornflakes
1/2 C. rolled oats, finely ground in food processor
1 C. powdered sugar
2/3 C. chocolate chips
2 T. peanut butter

Measure 1/2 C. crushed cereal. In large bowl,
combine melted butter & peanut butter; add
crushed cereal, oats & powdered sugar; stir
well to combine. Press about 1 tsp. mixture into
bases of a 24 hole nonstick MINI muffin pan. Place
chocolate chips & peanut butter in a microwaveable
bowl & microwave in 30 second bursts until melted
& combined, stirring between each burst. Spoon
chocolate mixture over each peanut butter bite.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours before inverting pan.
Makes 24 bites.

(recipe: butterbaking.com)

Spumoni Chunk Cookies

1 (1 lb 1.5 oz) pouch (Betty Crocker) sugar
cookie mix
1/2 C. butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 C. dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 C. semisweet chocolate chunks
1 C. salted, dry-roasted pistachio nuts,
coarsely chopped

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter &
egg until soft dough forms. Stir in cherries,
chocolate chunks & nuts. Drop dough
by heaping tablespoonfuls onto
ungreased cookie sheets (or use level
3-Tablespoon size scoop) about 2 inches
apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges
are golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove
from sheets to cooling racks, cool completely.

(recipe: Betty Crocker)

Turkey Calzones

1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
4 (2 oz, ea) slices oven roasted turkey
4 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
4 oz. canned mushroom slices, well drained
2 tsp. fresh tarragon leaves
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 C. dry plain bread crumbs
1 C. turkey gravy, heated to boiling

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Separate crescent dinner roll dough into 4
rectangles; firmly press perforations to seal.
Press each to form 6 X 5 inch rectangle. Top
each rectangle to within 1/2 inch of edge with
1 slice turkey, 1 oz. grated cheese, 2 T. sliced
mushrooms & 1/2 tsp. tarragon. Fold dough
in half, forming a square; pinch edges to firmly
seal. Dip each calzone in beaten egg, then coat
with bread crumbs. Place calzones on prepared
sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes or until crust is a
deep golden brown. Top calzones with hot gravy,
if desired. Makes 4 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G. – Marys Recipe Exchange)

Italian Peas & Tomatoes

3 T. margarine, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 C. frozen 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. margairne
& basil. Serves 4.

(recipe: Unilever)

Sweet n’ Sour Meatball Simmer

12 oz. frozen, fully cooked meatballs
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen stir-fry vegetables
(green/red/yellow peppers, white onions)
1/4 C. apricot jam
1/4 C. Catalina salad dressing
2 T. soy sauce
3 C. hot, cooked instant white rice

Optional: 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients (except rice) in large
skillet; cover & cook on medium-high 10 minutes
or until meatballs & veggies are heated through,
stirring occasionally. Serve over rice. Serves 4

Extra: Add ground ginger & garlic powder to sauce
while cooking

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Andes Mint Cookies

1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1/2 C. oil

2 eggs
1 package Andes Mints

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs together.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking
sheet. Bake 6-9 minutes. Take sheet
out of oven and while the cookies are
still very hot, place an Andes Mint on
top of each cookie. In about 5 minutes,
the mint will be melted. Take a spoon
and smooth out each mint like frosting.

(recipe: Facebook)


Our weather today is unseasonably nice! It’s 44 degrees out, a little overcast, but it feels so nice to be able to go outside and not get hit in the face with a blast of cold air – let alone getting into a really COLD car! I’ll take the little reprieve when I can!

Spoke with middle son again and it now appears he will be moving back in within the next 1-2 WEEKS, so it looks like today’s the day to straighten up his room (my computer room) and make way for all the boxes (sigh). When I was out yesterday I brought home 2 medium-sized boxes, just to help him get a start on boxing it all up – again. (I’m guessing he did NOT save any of the boxes he used when he moved from here about 5 months ago).

Again I’m praising the LORD for my health – I’m feeling MUCH better, still have a slight dry-throat cough, but that’s OK. I’ve had fleeting (note that word: FLEETING) thoughts of starting to bake Christmas cookies, but immediately dismissed them – I don’t know about you, but I’m just not in the Christmas mood yet (and we only have something like 2 1/2 weeks left!).

Well, now that I’ve either put you to sleep or given you red/irritated eyes, I’ll close this EPIC NOVEL! Hope you are enjoying your day, resting when you can and remembering to SMILE a little, be nice to a stranger for no apparent reason, and be good to yourself!





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