There are days . . . and then . . .

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I don’t know about your family but here, it seems, goofy things come in groups. For example, last night youngest was ‘out’ and we get a phone call around 11:45 p.m. telling us that his truck won’t start and he’s in the Taco Bell lot (about 12 minutes away). Husband goes to check, thinking maybe battery trouble – he’s gone about an hour; they both come home with the guess that the gas line froze! (Mind you, he had just filled up his gas tank THAT day!) Not unusual, as our night temperatures have been below zero with wind chills at 25 below or worse. Today they’re towing the truck to a repair place (as we don’t have a garage to defrost it in!). I go back to bed, don’t actually get back to sleep until somewhere after 3:30 a.m. (at least that’s the last time I remember hearing our chiming clock announce the time). At 6:58 a.m. we get a phone call from middle son – apparently he’d accidentally left his keys at his old apartment (visited there to take a friend to work, then friend didn’t need the ride and went back to bed with the KEYS inside and the door locked – son couldn’t get him to respond to his phone calls, so called us.) Husband decided HE would go take middle son his spare key, so they both came home around 8 a.m. with Tim Horton’s coffee. CRAZY night! Very shortly I will be driving youngest to work (again – shades of a few months ago before he got this truck) . . . sigh. Do YOU ever have days like that? Husband has been grumbling around here: “We’re into our RETIREMENT age – we shouldn’t have to deal with all this!” – Me? I try to stay positive: even though youngest’s truck is not running, at least son is SAFE! Even though middle son goofed up a bit, he WAS trying to help a friend and HE was safe! Middle son did his second night of being a waiter/server yesterday – said it went better – that’s good.

I, personally, FINALLY got out of the house yesterday; rode with husband to his dentist appointment (we weren’t exactly sure just how much work they were going to do on him, so I went as a ‘driver’, just in case). Turns out he was fine and we went out for Thai food for lunch – we both love Pad Thai, so we happily munched on spring rolls, Sweet & Sour soup, and chicken  Pad Thai (me)  and (pork) Pad Thai for husband.  Our driveway is a little better to traverse – still slippery with a very narrow opening at the bottom because the county snow plows keep plowing us IN – it happens every year.

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Quick shot of the bottom of our driveway – yes, it’s a short way to the road (my van front on left) BUT it’s quite a slope!

Right now our temperature is sitting at a balmy 7 degrees and they’re saying it might go up to 16! (chance of snow: 50%); also predicting rain for Friday – oh, joy! Rain which will freeze on top of all the (buried ice) & snow – what fun! Well, at least I’ve gotten 3 baby hats knit – that’s SOMETHING!

================

Turkey, Bacon & Tomato Soup

2 lb. cooked, cubed turkey
8 slices thick-cut smoked bacon,
cut into small pieces
5 C. turkey stock
5 C. tomato juice
3 large carrots, sliced
2 large parsnip, sliced
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 C. chopped fennel bulb
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red or white onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
4 T. olive oil
4 T. dried savory
1 T. oregano
1 T. marjoram
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 C. lentils

Cook bacon slowly over medium-low
heat to crisp, rendering out as much of
the fat as possible. Drain off fat & deglaze
the pan with a little turkey stock; add to soup
pot. Saute all vegetables & garlic (except
tomatoes) in olive oil 5 minutes over
medium-high heat. Deglaze pan with turkey
stock & add to soup pot along with sauteed
vegetables. Add all other ingredients except
tomatoes & cooked turkey to soup pot; simmer
slowly 30 minutes. Add turkey & tomatoes; simmer
10 minutes or until lentils are cooked. Serves 8

(recipe: Rock Recipes)
————————————————–

Brown Sugar Carmel Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups butter softened
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1 (8oz) bag toffee chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
=
Carmel Drizzle:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
(Drizzle directions):

In a medium saucepan, combine condensed
milk and brown sugar; bring to a boil over
medium-high heat, whisking frequently.
Reduce heat, and SIMMER for 8 minutes,
whisking frequently. Remove from heat;
whisk in butter and vanilla. Let cool for 5
minutes before using. NOTE: Make sure
you drizzle the caramel while it’s still HOT.
When cooled the caramel does somewhat harden.

=
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Spray 12 cup Bundt pan with cooking spray
with flour (or spray and dust with flour).
Beat butter until creamy. Add sugars beating until
fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. In medium bowl
combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour
mix to batter alternately with milk, beat until just
combined. Stir in toffee buts and pecans. Spoon
batter into pan and bake 85 minutes or until
wooden pick comes out clean. To prevent excess
browning, cover cake with foil while baking.
Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove
from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Spoon Caramel Drizzle over cooled cake.

(recipe: Facebook)
————————————
Loaded Chicken & Potatoes Casserole

1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cubed
6-8 medium skin on red potatoes, cut in 1/2″cubes
1/3 c olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp hot sauce (more if you like it HOT)

Topping:
1 C. crumbled bacon
2 C fiesta blend cheese
1 C. diced green onion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt,
pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and hot sauce.
Add cubed potatoes & chicken; stir to coat.
Carefully scoop potatoes & chicken into prepared
baking dish. Bake 55-60 minutes, stirring every 20
minutes, until cooked through, crispy, and browned
on the outside. While the potatoes are cooking,
fry bacon (about half a pound). Once potatoes and
chicken are fully cooked, remove from oven & top
with cheese, bacon, and green onion. Return to oven;
bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with
extra hot sauce and/or ranch dressing or sour cream

(recipe: Facebook)
————————————————–
Ranch Beef & Noodle Skillet

1 oz. packet ranch dressing mix (like Hidden Valley)
1 lb. ground beef, cooked & drained
1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 (8 oz) pkg. wide egg noodles, cooked & drained
8 oz. sour cream
3/4 C. milk
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
3 sliced green onions

In saucepan combine all ingredients except cheese.
Heat thoroughly; sprinkle top with Parm. cheese &
garnish with sliced green onions.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
————————————————–


Easy Eggplant Parmesan

1 eggplant (1 lb) , sliced
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Layer half each eggplant & mushrooms
in 9 X 13 pan sprayed with nonstick spray;
top with layers of 1/3 each Parmesan &
mozzarella cheeses. Repeat layers. Top
with spaghetti sauce & cover with foil.
Bake 35 minutes; remove foil & sprinkle
with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered,
5 more minutes until mozzarella is melted.
Serves 6

(recipe: Kraft foods)
———————————————

Quick Tomato “Risotto”

2 T. cooking oil
1 C. medium-grain white rice, uncooked
1 (14.5 oz) can (Hunts) Fire-roasted diced
tomatoes with garlic, undrained
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. frozen green peas
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high
heat. Add rice; cook 3-4 minutes until browned
lightly, stirring occasionally. Add undrained
tomatoes, broth & water; bring to boil. Reduce
heat to medium-low; cover & simmer 15 minutes
until rice is tender. Stir in peas, cheese, salt &
pepper; heat 1 minute more or until peas are hot.
Serves 4 (1 C. each)

(recipe: readyseteat.com)

————————————

Crockpot Roast Beef Hash
(German)

1 large onion, chopped (1 C.)
2 lb. beef top round steak, trimmed,
cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 pkg. brown gravy mix
1 C. water
3 1/2 C. frozen Potatoes O’Brian (w/onions
& peppers) from 28 oz bag
1 c. frozen sweet peas

In 3 1/2 – 4 qt. crockpot, layer onion, beef,
salt, pepper & dry gravy mix; pour water
over all. Cover & cook on Low 8-9 hours.
Thaw potatoes in refrigerator. About 30
minutes before serving, stir in thawed
potatoes & frozen peas. Increase heat
to High; cover & cook 25-30 minutes or
until potatoes & peas are tender. Serves 6

Leftovers: Cook leftover hash in melted
butter in skillet over medium heat, turning
occasionally, until crisp & brown. Serve
with fried eggs & toast for a ranch-style
supper

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
—————————————-

Grandma’s Apple Crisp

1 C. brown sugar
1 C. rolled oats
1 C. flour
1/2 C. butter, melted
3 C. apples, peeled/cored/chopped
1/2 C. white sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease 8 X 8 baking pan. In large
bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour &
butter; mix until crumbly. Place half of
crumb mixture in pan; spread apples
evenly over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with
sugar & cinnamon; top with remaining
crumb mixture. Bake 40-45 minutes until
golden brown.

(recipe: Facebook)
========================
Well, at least it’s SUNNY outside right now – that’s something to be thankful for! It’s about 55 minutes before I have to drive youngest to work; am going to do some grocery shopping while I’m there (Meijers – where he works – is a lot like WalMart: groceries and everything else). It’s not that we need much, but it will give me an ‘out’ to help curb the CABIN FEVER I’ve been experiencing! Our roads, even though plowed, are still kind of treacherous – read in our local paper that the intersections ‘look’ clear but have a lot of ‘black ice’ – we saw & experienced that yesterday. Some people (in the editorial section AND on Facebook) were complaining that everyone was driving too slow, now that the roads have been plowed. HUGE article in the paper stating that half of their snow plow fleet is out of commission – trucks are just too old and they’ve ordered 35 new ones BUT they won’t get here until SPRING! Go figure!

Ah, LIFE – it’s OK as long as you don’t focus on the bad stuff too much-right?

Keep yourselves warm/safe/and in good health!

Hugs;

Pammie

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