Our New “Visitor”!


I nick named him “Pudgems”

Years ago we had a squirrel that visited every day during the winter – you could always tell it was ‘him’ because he had a rather scrawny tail and was pretty small. The really neat thing about that squirrel was – our middle son could actually go out and hand-feed him carrots! This one is a bit more skittish, but he comes every day looking for food and seems to really like baby carrots & chopped up apples. That dark spot at the top of the picture is where he likes to stick his head into the snow (who knows what’s there for a squirrel?) but he seems to do it regularly. I’ve checked it out – it’s only about 2 inches deep, so no great ‘squirrel hiding hole’. He seems to be the only squirrel that visits our bird feeder (just on the ground). We actually stopped filling the feeders a few years ago due to some kamakaze (sp?) squirrels that would walk the phone wires until they were directly over the feeder, then launch themselves onto it’s top. Bad part was – then they would physically OPEN the top and have a huge bird seed feast! I got tired of that and really didn’t want to spend money on squirrels, so you see the reasoning in no seed for years. This year I felt sorry for the birds due to all the snow we’ve had, so we resumed filling the feeders and waited to see how the squirrels would react. So far, it’s only “Pudgems”, so that’s OK – he only eats what’s on the ground. We’ve had cardinals, chickadees, slate junco’s, nuthatches and red-headed woodpeckers (on the suet feeder).

The weather has been cooperating lately, with temps in the high 20’s; yesterday we had pretty strong winds, but today it’s sunny and clear. No particular plans for the day, so I’m glad I’m staying inside.


Beef Stroganoff

2 T. butter
1 lb. boneless chuck roast, cut
into thin strips
1 C. sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 C. diced onion
1 C. beef broth
2 T. tomato paste
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste
2 T. flour
1 C. sour cream
1 (8 oz) pkg. egg noodles

In medium skillet melt butter &
brown beef. Add mushrooms &
onion, cook until tender. Add broth,
tomato paste, garlic powder, salt &
pepper. Simmer covered, stirring
occasionally, 30 minutes or until
beef is tender. Stir in flour blended
with sour cream; bring to boil, then
simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce
is thickened (about 5 minutes). Cook
noodles according to pkg. directions.
Serve over cooked noodles.
Serves 4

(recipe: Linda-justapinch.com)

Cheesy Spinach Triangles

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
5 oz. frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed
2 T. milk
garlic & onion powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
Parmesan or Romano cheese, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste
bacon bits, optional
1 medium egg
3 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix cream cheese, spinach, milk,
cheese & spices (bacon bits, if using)
in small covered bowl. When seasoned
to taste, add egg & stir until well mixed.
Cover & refrigerate while working with
dough. Open first pkg. rolls; unroll. Rolls
are 4 rectangles, each sliced down one
diagonal. Slice from corner to corner & across
from edge to edge, making 8 triangles or
total of 32 per pkg of rolls. Place 1/2 tsp.
spinach mixture onto each triangle, pull
one point of triangle over mixture & tuck
under bottom on opposite side. Place
triangles on non-stick cookie sheet. Bake
10 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
Remove from oven & allow to cool 2-3
minutes. Makes 96

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Apple Brown Betty

1 1/2 – 2 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces
8 slices hearty wheat bread, diced
3 apples, cored & diced (Granny Smith)
1 1/2 C. packed brown sugar

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Generously butter 9 X 13 pan. Place half
diced bread into dish; sprinkle on half
of the apples, half brown sugar & half butter.
Repeat layer, end by sprinkle 1/2 C. water over
surface, a spoonful at a time. Bake, covered,
until apples are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove
foil & bake an additional 10-15 minutes to brown.
Serves 8-10

(recipe: Ree Drummond-Food Network)

Broccoli Cheese Soup


4 heads broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 whole onion, diced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
Pinch nutmeg
3 cups grated cheese (mild Cheddar, sharp
Cheddar, Jack, etc.), plus more for garnish, optional
1 cup chicken broth, optional

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Remove 2 C. broccoli, cut in half, drizzle w/olive oil &
sprinkle with salt & pepper. Place on baking sheet
cut side down, bake until florets begin to crisp & turn
slightly brown, about 20 minutes. Melt butter in a pot
over medium heat; add onions, cook until softened,
3-4 minutes. Sprinkle flour on top; stir to combine &
cook until flour is absorbed & smells lightly toasted,
1 minute. Add milk & half & half; add nutmeg, broccoli,
small dash salt & black pepper. Cover & reduce heat to
low. Simmer until broccoli is tender, 20-30 minutes. Stir
in cheese; allow to melt. Serve soup as is, or mash with
a potato masher/transfer to blender & puree (your choice).
Garnish with toasted broccoli or grated cheese. Serves 10NOTE: when blending hot liquids, first let cool 5 minutes, then
transfer to blender, filling only halfway. Place on lid, leaving
one corner open. This will prevent the vacuum effect that
creates heat explosions. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel
to catch spatters & pulse until smooth.
IF you puree in blender, return soup to heat to re-heat. Add
some chicken broth, if necessary for thinning.

(recipe: Ree Drummond-Food Network)

Crockpot Upside Down Chicken Pot Pie1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (16 oz) bag frozen chopped: celery/carrots/onion
2 (18 oz, ea) jars chicken gravy
1 (16 oz) bag frozen mixed vegetables
2 1/4 C. Bisquick mix
2/3 C. milk

Place chicken in 3 1/2-4 qt. crockpot; top with bay
leaf, pepper, froz, chopped veggies, & gravy. Cover &
cook on Low 8-10 hours. About half hour before serving,
prepare 8 biscuits using Bisquick mix & milk, as directed
on Bisquick pkg. Gently stir frozen veggies into chicken
mixture, breaking up chicken into bite-sized pieces, if
necessary. Increase heat to High; cover & cook 15-30
minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf.
For each serving:
Split biscuits and place 2 halves on a dinner plate or in
individual bowls. Spoon about 1 Cup of chicken mixture
on top of each biscuit. Serves 8

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Bacon/Lettuce/Tomato Roll Ups 

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. mayonnaise
8-10 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 C. chopped tomatoes
4 (8″) flour tortillas
1 C. shredded romaine lettuce

Mix cream cheese & mayonnaise in bowl;
add crumbled bacon & diced tomatoes. Spread
mixture on tortillas, top with lettuce. Roll up
tightly and refrigerate 1 hour. Slice into 1/2
inch slices.
(recipe: Facebook)

Veggie Frittata Cups 

2 T. oil
2 1/2 C. frozen shredded hash browns
2 C. cut-up mixed fresh vegetables
(small broccoli florets/chopped red
peppers/shredded carrots)
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
8 eggs
3 T. milk
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high
heat. Add potatoes & remaining vegetables;
mix lightly & cook 6-8 minutes or until
potatoes are browned, stirring occasionally.
Spoon into 12 muffin pan cups sprayed with
nonstick spray; top with shredded cheese.
Whisk remaining ingredients until blended;
pour over ingredients in muffin cups. Bake 15
minutes or until knife inserted into centers
comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before
removing from pan to serve. Serves 6
(recipe: Kraft foods)
Lazy Cake Cookies

1 box of yellow or white cake mix
2 eggs beaten
1 stick melted butter
2 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix together and bake in 9X13 pan 20
When cooled, cut into squares


Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze 

6-8 lb. fully cooked smoked bone-in ham
whole cloves, if desired
1 C. packed brown sugar
1 T. balsamic or cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
orange slices, if desired
marachino cherrie, if desired

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Place ham, fat side up, on rack in shallow
roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so
tip is in thickest part of ham & does not
touch bone or rest in fat. Cover loosely &
bake 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 hours or until thermometer
reads 135 degrees F. (13-17 minutes per pound)

About 20 minutes before ham is done, remove
from oven. Pour drippings from pan. Remove any
skin from ham. Cut uniform diamond slices on fat
surface of ham. Insert cloves in each diamond. Stir
together brown sugar, vinegar & mustard; pat or
brush on ham. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes longer.
Cover ham & let stand about 10 minutes or until
thermometer reads 140 degrees F. Garnish with
orange slices & cherries, if desired. Serves 12
(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Hot Spinach Dip 

2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb. spinach, cleaned/trimmed &
coarsely chopped*
1/2 C. milk
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes hot sauce (like Tabasco)
3/4 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese
coarse salt & ground black pepper

Sides: baguette slices, breadsticks or

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
In Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil over
medium heat. Add onion & garlic; cook
until lightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Add
spinach in two additions, letting the first
batch wilt before adding the next; cook until
completely wilted, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to
a colander; press to release all excess liquid.
In same pot, warm milk over high heat. Whisk in
cream cheese until melted, about 3 minutes.
Add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce &
1/4 C. mozzarella; stir to combine. Season
with salt & pepper and pour into lightly oiled
1 1/2 qt. shallow baking dish. Sprinkle top
with remaining 1/2 C. mozzarella. Bake until
bubbly & golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Serve
hot with sides.
*2 (10 oz, ea) pkgs. frozen spinach, thawed can be
substituted for fresh

NOTE: recipe can be assembled through
pressing excess liquid out of spinach, 2-3 days
ahead. Drain well, & chop.Prepare to this point,
then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until
ready to finish cooking.

(recipe: Yahoo Shine)

Well, my friends – here’s hoping you have a WONDERFUL day!
Remember to smile or laugh a little – it does wonders for your facial muscles AND it makes people wonder what you’re thinking!
Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. Can’t seem to leave one. Ok that worked!

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