Cold, but quiet morning


Not sure how your weather temperatures are at the moment, but here in good old COLD Michigan it’s ZERO with lower than zero wind-chills. Last night was my first Knit/Crochet night in over a month (due to weather, we had to cancel previous meetings) – it was SO nice to get back together with friends. It was very cold last night, as well, but 19 lovely ladies showed up (FOUR new people!) – a good time was had by all. I was amazed at the parking at Panera (we’re talking 6 p.m.) and I got the LAST parking space! When I came out to my car at a little after 9 p.m. my car started right up (temp 3 degrees F) but was pretty stiff in the power steering until it warmed up. Panera (on a good day) is about 7 minutes from my house; I found it amusing (to say the least) that as I drew closer to my house the temperatures went from 3 down to zero – Yep, it was C-O-L-D! I got the call yesterday to cancel our special needs group for tonight, as it’s supposed to get even colder with wicked wind chills. Because we have quite a few of our students in wheelchairs and not all of our students are very swift on their feet, getting into the building can be a challenge – especially if it’s REALLY cold out. Easier to cancel for better weather. My only goal, today or tomorrow, is to get out and figure out a good birthday gift for my husband, as tomorrow he will be 62. I love him dearly but he’s VERY hard to buy for – he’s not really into clothes (not counting it’s not easy to find 4X shirts), he likes to read but he’s VERY picky about what authors (only HE buys his books), he’s not much into foods (I get him cinnamon tea occasionally, but he already has enough/candy – not much interest) so I really don’t have a clue what to get him  (or where to go!) – so far it’s only bake him a banana cake (he loves that). Oh, forgot to mention: he HATES anyone acknowledging his birthday! (long story – about 36 years ago his favorite uncle died on his birthday – after that, he doesn’t even want to remember it’s HIS birthday). Go figure . . . NOT an easy assignment, eh?


Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
4-5 mini bell peppers, chopped
12 C. water
9 chicken bullion cubes
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. salt
3 chicken breasts
1 (15 oz) can corn, drained & rinsed
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained &

tortilla strips
tomatoes, chopped
(or salsa)
chopped green onions
Mexican-blend shredded cheese

Heat large soup pot over medium-
high heat. Add olive oil & heat, then
add chopped veggies. Cook until
onions are translucent & veggies are
crisp-tender. Add water, bullion cubes &
seasonings & chicken to pot; bring to
rolling boil. Turn heat down to simmer &
cook 30 minutes or until chicken is
cooked through & no longer pink inside.
Remove chicken from pot; shred with 2
forks & place chicken back in pot. Add
corn & beans; cook 10 minutes longer.
Serve with choice of toppings.
Serves 8


Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. oats
1 C. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (10-12 oz) jar strawberry preserves*

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease 9 X 13 baking pan. Mix butter,
flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder
& salt. Press half mixture into prepared
pan. Spread with preserves. Sprinkle
other half of  mixture over top & pat
down lightly. Bake until light brown,
30-40 minutes. Let cool completely, then
cut into squares. Makes 24 servings.

* You can use any flavor preserves/jam

(recipe: Ree Drummond-Food Network)


Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy

1 1/2 C. whole milk
2 large eggs
2 C. flour
2 tsp. seasoned salt
ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 lb. cube steaks (tenderized round steak
that has been extra tenderized)
kosher salt
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 T. butter


1/3 C. flour
3-4 C. whole milk
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
ground black pepper

Mashed potatoes – for serving

For the Steak:
Mix milk with eggs, one at a time in a
shallow dish. Mix flour with seasoned salt,
black pepper, paprika & cayenne in a bowl.
Have one clean plate at end to receive breaded
meat. Work with one piece of meat at a time.
Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt & black
pepper; place in flour mixture – turn to coat. Place
meat in egg/milk mixture, turn to coat. Place meat
back in flour, turn to coat then place on clean plate,
repeat with remaining meat. Heat oil in large
skillet over medium heat. Add butter, drop in a few
sprinkles flour to make sure it’s sufficiently hot. When
butter sizzles immediately, it’s ready. (if flour browns
right away, the fire is too hot). Cook meat, 3 pieces
at a time, until edges start to look golden brown, about
2 minutes each side. Remove meat to paper-towel lined
plate; keep warm by covering lightly with another plate
or sheet of foil. Repeat until all meat is cooked. After
meat is fried, pour off grease. Without cleaning skillet,
return to medium-low heat. Add 1/4 C. grease back to
skillet & allow to heat up.
When grease is hot, sprinkle flour evenly over grease. Using
a whisk, mix flour with grease, creating a golden-brown
paste. Add more flour if it looks overly greasy; add a little
more grease if it becomes too pasty/clumpy. Keep cooking
until it reaches a deep golden brown color. Pour in milk,
whisking constantly. Add seasoned salt & pepper, to taste &
cook, whisking, until gravy is smooth & thick, 5-10 minutes.
Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Be
sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned. Serve
meat with mashed potatoes & gravy. Serves 6

(recipe: Ree Drummond-Food Network)

Skillet Chicken & Vegetables Parmesan

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. zesty Italian salad dressing
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tsp. dried basil leaves, divided
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper*
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
(broccoli/carrots/green beans/peppers), thawed
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook garlic in dressing in large skillet over medium
heat 1 minute. Add chicken, 3/4 tsp. basil & pepper;
cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until chicken is done
(165 degrees F.) Add vegetables & remaining basil;
cook 2-3 minutes or until heated through, stirring
occasionally. Sprinkle top with cheese & serve.
Serves 4

*For a spicier flavor, substitute crushed red pepper for
black pepper

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Beef ‘n Noodles

2 lb. cut up stew meat
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans beef broth
2 C. water
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 T. Italian seasoning

Place meat in crockpot; cover with broth
& water. Add seasonings.
Cover & cook on
High 4 hours, or Low 8 hours

Last 30-45 minutes of cooking, add 1
(16 oz) pkg. egg noodles. Cook until
noodles are tender and most of liquid
has been absorbed.

(recipe: Kristi’s Recipe Box)

Spinach Cheddar Quiche
(makes it’s own crust!)

1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
& squeezed dry
1 C. (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 C. chopped green bell pepper
3 large eggs
3/4 C. Bisquick baking mix
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Grease 9″ round pie pan. Combine
spinach, Cheddar cheese, onion & green
bell pepper in large bowl, mix & pour
into prepared pie pan. In another bowl
combine eggs, Bisquick, salt & pepper;
mix & pour over spinach mixture. Bake
35 minutes or until center is firm.

(recipe: Cook’s Recipes)

White Bean & Ham Soup

2 T. margarine
1 C. sliced carrots
1/2 C. diced celery
1 C. chopped, fully cooked ham
2 (15 oz, ea) cans Great Northern beans,
drained & rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can (Hunts) diced tomatoes
with basil, garlic & oregano, undrained
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 1/2 C. water

Melt margarine in large saucepan or Dutch
oven over medium-high heat. Add carrots &
celery; cook 8 minutes or until vegetables are
tender, stirring occasionally. Add all remaining
ingredients; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to
medium-low, simmer 5 minutes. Serves 6,
1 1/4 C. each)


Easiest Pecan Bars Ever!

1 (8 oz) can refrigerated crescent rolls
3/4 C. chopped pecans
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. corn syrup
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Unroll dough & press in bottom and
half inch up sides of 9 X 13 pan. Firmly
press perforations to seal Bake 8 minutes.
In medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients.
Pour filling over partially baked crust. Bake
18-22 minutes longer or until golden brown.
Cool completely, about 1 hour, then cut into

(recipe: Facebook)


Well, that’s all the excitement here for now – we were supposed to have our roofing/siding company out today to install the gutters, but they just called and said it’s too cold, they’ll be here Monday (we’ll see – probably will be cold then, too!).

Enjoy your day – take a few minutes to just think about one (or more) things in your life that are a blessing and then give thanks for that. Life is short – why not fill your head (and heart) with good things! For me, it all boils down to:

Philippians 4:4
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Ok I won’t wish him a Happy Birthday but I will think It. A wise move on the cancelling meeting you don’t need any accidents.

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