How’s Your Weather?

rain-umbrella-dog-26562364Around here in good old COLD Michigan, there’s a rain and freezing rain advisory – it’s supposed to get pretty bad very soon (low tonight of 30 degrees – it’s 37 right now at 6 p.m.). I’m glad I took the time this morning to run out to several grocery stores and the local drugstore. I’ve been struggling with our old lighted Christmas wreath for years – lots of lights; sometimes they blink, sometimes not – sometimes they won’t stay on – sigh. While I was out I bought a 100-light multi colored strand, thinking I’d strip the old lights and put on the new – that was not to be. Alas, only 1/2 the strand works; husband said: “Here, give it to me – I can fix it!”. I said: “I’m DONE with this – even though it only cost $3.99 (25% off sale) I’m taking it back to the store – why bother with it? They’ll only send it back to the manufacturer, anyway! Now we have a wreath with NO lights on it, because I’m not crazy enough to drive in freezing rain just for a $4 string of lights! (I can do that in a few days when it stops being nasty out).

Because of the nasty weather-to-come, we’ve decided to stay home from church. For the past few days I’ve been battling a sore throat; am wondering if I might have inhaled some mold (?) since I was helping in the basement of a church for 5 hours – just a thought. It’s not like I’m sick, I just have this stupid dry cough that nothing seems to stop (cough drops/cough syrup/tea – tea with honey & lemon/ tea with cinnamon – nothing – nada.)

Chores-wise, the big tree is finally UP! Got that done yesterday, along with stringing the lights on the fireplace (only to have the duct tape give way – all strings of lights nicely decorating THE FLOOR!) I bought some of those Command strips today – gonna give them a try (a friend recommended them). Still want to bake those 2 batches of cookies: peanut butter & gingersnap. I DID get another set of “Irish Hiking Fingerless Gloves” knit yesterday, for another son’s girlfriend (gettin’ pretty good at the cables!). Dinner tonight is potato soup – it’s a hit here: warm, creamy and filling – plus it lasts for several days. Husband has taken to telling me NOT to cook anything; he wants the fridge to NOT be crammed with leftovers. He’s in luck – middle son stopped by and ate the last of the beef stroganoff, now there’s nothing but veggies and sandwich makings!

There have been some really tasty-sounding recipes for dips & spreads, so I thought I’d send them on to you!


Festive Fiesta Bites

1 (8 oz) can refrigerated crescent dinner
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 C. cream cheese spread
3/4 C. guacamole
1 small tomato, seeded & finely chopped
1/4 C. pitted black olives, finely chopped
1/4 C. real bacon bits
1/4 C. finely chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Separate dough into 2 rectangles; firmly
press perforations to seal. Place, 2 inches
apart, on greased baking sheet; sprinkle
with seasonings. Bake 15 minutes or until
golden brown, cool. Mix cream cheese spread
& guacamole until blended; spread on crusts.
Top with remaining ingredients & serve.
Makes 24 servings.

NOTE: can be made with store-bought or home-
made guacamole. Crusts can be baked ahead of
time. Cool, then cover & store at room temp.
up to 2 hours. Spread with cream cheese mixture
& add toppings just before serving.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Easy Stuffed Shrimp

1/2 lb. large (about 10) shrimp,
peeled & cleaned
3 T. zesty Italian salad dressing,
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
6 Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place shrimp & 2 T. salad dressing
in resealable plastic bag; refrigerate
10 minutes to marinate. Mix remaining
1 T. salad dressing & remaining
ingredients in small bowl until blended.
Remove shrimp from marinade; discard
marinade. Partially split each shrimp
lengthwise by making a long cut along
the underside of each shrimp, being
careful not to cut all the way through.
Open shrimp slightly & place, cut sides
up, in shallow baking dish. Spoon about
1 T. stuffing mixture on top of each shrimp.
Bake 7-8 minutes or until shrimp are pink &
cooked through. Makes 2 servings, about
5 shrimp each.

NOTE: You can marinate & stuff shrimp
ahead of time; do not bake. Cover &
refrigerate up to 10 hours. When ready
to serve, bake as directed, uncovered.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Zesty Stuffed Olives

1/2 C. cream cheese spread
1 (5.75 oz) can colossal black olives,
2 T. zesty Italian salad dressing
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Spoon cream cheese spread into small
resealable plastic bag. Press cream cheese
into one of the bottom corners of bag. Cut
off a small piece from corner of bag (you’re
making a pastry tube). Squeeze cream cheese
into centers of olives. Place olives on serving
platter; drizzle with dressing then sprinkle with
parsley. Makes about 2 dozen; 11 servings –
2 olives each.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Bacon-wrapped Breadsticks

4 slices bacon
4 (7 inch) breadsticks
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Wrap 1 slice bacon in spiral-fashion around
each breadstick. Place on double-thick layer
of paper towels on microwaveable plate.
Microwave on High 2 minutes. Roll immediately
in Parmesan cheese until evenly coated.
Makes 4

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Creamy Popper Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/4 lb. (4 oz) Velveeta, cut into 1/4″ cubes
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded & finely chopped
12 Ritz crackers, crushed (about 1/2 C.)
1 T. butter, melted
1 green onion, sliced
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat cream cheese & mayo in medium
bowl until well blended. Stir in Velveeta &
peppers; spread into a 9″ pie plate. Mix
crumbs & butter together; sprinkle over dip.
Bake 20 minutes or until heated through;
top with sliced onions. Makes 18 (2 T., ea)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Cheesy Spinach-Bacon Dip

1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
thawed & drained
1 (16 oz) pkg. Velveeta, cut into 1/2″ cubes
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel diced tomatoes &
Green Chilies, undrained
8 slices cooked & crumbled bacon

Microwave all ingredients in microwaveable
bowl on High 5 minutes or until Velveeta is
completely melted & mixture is well blended,
stirring after 3 minutes. Makes 32 (2 T, ea.)

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Chicken Stuffed Crescent Rolls

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 (12 oz, ea) cans chicken breast meat,
1/3 C. green onions, chopped
salt & pepper
2 (12 oz, ea) pkgs. Big & Flaky cresent rolls
4 T. melted butter
2 C. crushed corn flake crumbs

1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
3 T. sour cream
2 T. butter
1 T. milk
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl add drained chicken,
chopped green onion, salt & pepper;
using 2 forks, mix all together well.
Roll out 1 pkg. crescent rolls a little,
spraying rolling pin with a little nonstick
spray. Scoop about 3 T. chicken mixture into
center of triangle; roll up from long end
to other long end, pressing corners in
and making sure all filling is secure
inside the dough. (filling will leak out
if dough is not secure). Crush corn
flakes using food processor until they
resemble coarse crumbs; pour them
into a loaf pan. Spray 2 large
cookie sheets with nonstick spray.

Using your fingers,flatten out the stuffed
dough a bit then gently dip into melted butter.
Dip buttered dough into corn flake crumbs,
being sure both sides are well coated. Lay
flattened dough onto pan, leaving about 1
inch space between each roll. Bake 20
minutes or until dough is cooked and a bit
crispy and chicken mixture is heated through.
In medium sauce pan combine 1 can soup,
3 T. sour cream, 2 T. butter & 1 T. milk; whisk
together. Heat sauce over medium-high heat,
stirring occasionally. Plate crescents & pour
sauce over crescents when serving.
Makes 16 rolls

(recipe: jamiecooksitup!)

Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars (cookies)

2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 C. granulated sugar
2/3 C. brown sugar, unpacked
1/4 C. melted unsalted butter
2 large egg whites
1/4 C. unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 C. white chocolate chips or
chopped white chocolate
1/3 C. dried cranberries, chopped


8 oz. cream cheese, softened (1/3 less fat)
1/2 C. powdered sugar
2 oz. white baking chocolate, melted *
1/3 C. dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray 9 X 13 baking pan with
nonstick spray. In large bowl, combine flour,
baking soda,salt & cinnamon; stir to blend. In
another bowl, whisk sugars with butter, egg
whites, applesauce & vanilla until light &
fluffy. Whisk dry ingredients into wet
ingredients in two additions until batter is very
well blended. If batter looks more ‘crumbly’ than
smooth, add a drop of water at at time (ONLY
if needed) until it smooths out. Fold in white
chocolate chips & 1/3 C. cranberries. Spread
batter onto baking pan using back of a measuring
cup to smooth evenly. Bake 10-14 minutes until
edges are light brown & a toothpick inserted into
center comes out clean. Don’t OVER-bake or they
will be dry. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Prepare frosting:

In large bowl, using elec. mixer, beat cream cheese,
powdered sugar & vanilla until well blended. Frost bars
& sprinkle tops with remaining chopped cranberries.
Drizzle tops with melted white chocolate.

*To melt chocolate, place in microwave-safe cup;
heat 15 seconds; stir. Another 15 seconds, stir until
chocolate is melted.

When chocolate sets on bars, cut into 15 large squares
(5 cuts by 3 cuts, with the knife). Cut each square in
half diagonally to create triangles. Store in refrigerator
until ready to serve. Makes 30 servings.

Amish Cinnamon Bread
(no-knead bread)

1 C. butter, softened
2 C. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 C. buttermilk*
4 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
2/3 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

NOTE: Buttermilk: if you don’t have
buttermilk, you can add 2 T. vinegar
or lemon juice to 2 C. milk – stir &
let set 5 minutes before using.

Cream together butter, 2 C. sugar &
eggs. Add buttermilk, flour & baking soda.
Place half of batter (or less) into
greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan).
In separate bowl, mix 2/3 C. sugar &
cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon
mixture on top of the half batter in each
pan. Add remaining batter to pans.
Sprinkle remaining cinnamon on batter,
then swirl with a knife. Bake 45-50
minutes or until toothpick inserted into
center comes out clean. Cool loaves
in pans for 20 minutes before removing.
Makes 2 loaves.

(recipe: Facebook)
Peanut Butter Pinwheel Candy

2 lb. powdered sugar
6 T. melted butter
1 T. vanilla
1/2 C. milk
peanut butter

Mix all ingredients (except peanut
butter) together; consistency should
be like a pie dough. Separate dough
into 4 parts.Cover pastry/cutting board
with a small amount of powdered sugar
to help with rolling out the dough.
Roll dough out like a pie crust, into a
square or rectangle;do not roll too thin.
Spread as much peanut butter onto
flattened dough as you want –
enough to lightly cover it. Roll dough
up like a jelly roll, then refrigerate.
When cold, cut into slices.

NOTE: This recipe had comments
from several of my friends, all of
which said they remember someone
in their family making it as children –
and they LOVED IT! (some said
they remember it being made using
mashed potatoes).

Hope you’re having a warm, relaxing evening.
Enjoy yourself!



PS: Almost forgot! I got the neatest Christmas card
in the mail today – couldn’t figure out who it was from
by the name and address. I opened it up and here
it was from all the nurses & doctors in the baby
units at the hospital I knit the baby hats for! How
SWEET of them! There were probably about
20 signatures! Made me cry – of course!


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