Happy 62nd Birthday, Husband!


Yep, today is my husband’s 62nd birthday; he’s never been one for wanting that acknowledged in any way. (long story-his favorite uncle died on his birthday many years ago and ever since, he just wants to forget – sad.) Over the years I’ve tried to ‘lighten’ the day, buying him gifts I think he’d like but it doesn’t change, so this year it’s just his favorite dinner – he’s happy with that. Favorite dinner? Meat & Potato Pie and banana cake. I found an easy banana cake recipe today and will post that below.

Weather-wise, like most of the country, it’s VERY cold. Right now it’s actually WARM! 16 degrees! BUT the wind chills make it hard to be outside very long. It’s supposed to be colder all weekend (oh, joy) from today through Monday it’s all below zero: lows -18 or lower: -23, light snow through Sunday, wind chills -20 with winds up to 50 MPH. Ah, the joys of living in a COLD state!

I had a 6-month mammogram appointment today and just the short drive to the hospital made the tips of my fingers almost numb! (it’s such a short drive the car heater didn’t get much chance to warm up). Xray wise, it looked the same as 6 months ago – which is GOOD/GREAT! Thank you, Lord!


Simple Banana Cake

3 over-ripe* bananas, peeled & sliced
4 large eggs
4 T. butter, melted
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 C. milk

4 T. butter
1/4 C. light brown sugar, packed
2 T. milk
1 C. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray. Beat
together bananas & eggs with elec. mixer on
medium until bananas are mashed, about 1 minute.
On low speed, pour in melted butter, cake mix &
milk; beat on medium 2 minutes then pour into
pan. Bake 30-40 minutes until cake is firm in center;
let cool in pan.

In small saucepan combine sugar, milk & butter; cook on
medium-high until at a full boil, stirring constantly. Remove
from heat & add powdered sugar. Whisk until no trace of
sugar remains. Pour over cooled cake & spread; let cool.
This makes a thin layer of frosting, double frosting recipe
if you want more.

*NOTE: If you don’t have any over-ripe bananas, place yellow
bananas on cookie sheet in oven. Turn oven temp to 350
degrees F.  When your oven ‘beeps’ that is preheated, take
bananas out. The skins will be a little brownish & bananas
are warm. The heat gets all the sugars & banana flavor ready
to get mashed into cake or banana bread recipes.

(recipe: Am Giordano-justapinch.com)

Roasted Turkey Enchilada Bake

2 C. cooked, chopped turkey
1 (16 oz) jar thick & chunky salsa
(your choice of heat level)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed &
1 C. frozen corn
1 1/2 T. chili powder
4 (8 inch) flour tortillas
3/4 C. sour cream
1 1/2 C. Mexican-style shredded

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Combine first 5 ingredients. Place
2 tortillas, in single layer, on bottom of
9 X 13 baking dish sprayed with nonstick
spray; top with layers of half each: turkey
mixture, sour cream & cheese. Repeat layers;
cover with foil & bake 40 minutes or until
casserole is heated through & cheese is
melted. Uncover after 30 minutes & continue
baking. Serves 8

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Tuscan Vegetable Baked Ziti

1 (7 oz) pkg. KRAFT shredded Italian
3-cheese blend cheese, divided
3 C. ziti pasta, cooked
2 large red peppers, cut into thin strips
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise, then
thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 lb. mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 (24 oz) jar chunky spaghetti sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Reserve 3/4 C. cheese; combine remaining
cheese & all ingredients. Spoon pasta
mixture into 9 X 13 baking pan; sprinkle
top with reserved cheese. Bake 20-25
minutes or until heated through. Serves 6

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Mustard Short Ribs

3 lb. beef short ribs
1 C. beef broth
2/3 C. honey mustard
1 T. worcestershire sauce

Place short ribs in crockpot; add
honey mustard & worcestershire sauce.
Pour beef broth over mixture; stir
mustard into broth as much as possible.
Cover & cook 8 hours on Low. Turn ribs
every 4 hours.

(recipe: thelatefarmer.com)

Quick Amish Cinnamon Bread

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. buttermilk*
1 tsp. baking soda
2 C. flour
1/2 C. cinnamon chips
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
In large bowl, cream together egg,
vanilla, butter & 1 C. sugar until smooth.
Add buttermilk, flour & baking soda; stir
until just combined. Add cinnamon chips;
stir to incorporate. In separate small bowl,
mix together 1/3 C. sugar & cinnamon; set
aside. Pour 1/2 of batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle
3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of batter, then
add remaining batter. Sprinkle last of cinnamon
mixture over top of batter then swirl with a
knife. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick
inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
Cool in pan 20 minutes before removing to
cool completely on a wire rack.

*If you don’t have buttermilk: pour 1 T. lemon
juice or vinegar into a 1-Cup measuring cup.
Pour in milk until mixture measures 1 C. Stir
with a fork and let set 5 minutes, then use as

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Supreme Pizza Dip

4 oz. pepperoni
1 C. finely chopped bacon
1/2 C. finely chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced + 1 whole clove
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 T. tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes, with juice
1/3 C. pitted black olives, chopped
1/4 C. grated Parmesan
4 oz. mozzarella, diced

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Dice 3 oz. pepperoni; thinly slice
remaining 1 oz; set aside for garnish.
Meat medium skillet over medium heat;
add diced pepperoni; cook, stirring, until
crisp, 4-5 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper,
minced garlic, oregano, 3/4 tsp. salt & some
pepper. Cook, stirring, until onions are very
tender & lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste; cook, stirring, until it
coats the vegetables & smells lightly toasted,
about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes; reduce heat
to simmer, stir occasionally until mixture is
slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in
olives & Parmesan cheese; remove from heat.
Season with additional salt & pepper. Preheat
broiler; scatter mozzarella & sliced pepperoni
over dip in skillet. Place skillet under broiler &
broil until cheese is melted & slightly browned,
2-3 minutes. Serve dip warm. Serves 8-10

(recipe: Food Network)

Italian Stuffed Jalapenos

15 jalapenos, cut in half, seeded/deveined
1 T. cooking oil
2 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1/4 C. minced red onion
1/4 C. minced red bell pepper
3 T. minced garlic
2 C. cream cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
salt & pepper
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place oven rack in middle of oven. Place
jalapeno halves on sheet tray – roast 10
minutes. Remove from oven; let cool.
Turn broiler on medium. Heat oil in
medium saute pan; add sausage & cook
5-7 minutes. Add onions, peppers & garlic;
cook about 5 minutes. Remove & place in
large bowl. Cool to room temp, then add
cream cheese & Parmesan. Mix ingredients
thoroughly & season with salt & pepper.
Place approx. 1 T. mixture into each jalapeno
slice & top with 1/2 tsp. mozzarella cheese.
Broil until mozzarella melts. Serves 4-6

(recipe: Food Network)

Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin

2 T. butter, softened
8 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
3 C. heavy cream
1 C. whole milk
1/4 C. flour
2 tsp. salt
ground black pepper
2 C. freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 green onions, sliced thin

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Butter large baking dish with butter.
Slice potatoes into sticks then cut sticks
to create a dice. Combine cream & milk in
a bowl. Add flour, salt, & some pepper; whisk
together so that flour is incorporated in. Add
diced potatoes to prepared dish; pour creamy
mixture over top. Cover with foil & bake 20-30
minutes. Remove foil & bake 15-20 minutes longer.
Just before serving, sprinkle grated cheese on top
& return to oven until cheese melts. 3-5 minutes.
Sprinkle top with green onions & serve.
Serves 16

(recipe: Ree Drummond-Food Network)

Beef & Vegetable Soup

2 1/2 lb. beef, cut into 3/4″ pieces
1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth or 1 beef
broth & 1 beef consomme
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with
garlic & onion, undrained
1 C. water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried, crushed oregano
1/2 tsp. dried crushed basil
2 C. frozen mixed vegetables
1 C. uncooked small pasta
shredded Romano cheese

Combine beef, broth, chickpeas, water,
salt & pepper, & seasonings in large crockpot.
Mix well, cover & cook on High 5 hours or
Low for 8 hours. No stirring is necessary
while cooking. Stir in mixed vegetables &
uncooked pasta; continue cooking, covered,
an additional hour or until beef & pasta are
tender. Stir well before serving & sprinkle
with cheese. Serves 6

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Peanut Butter-Banana Muffins

1 C. flour
3/4 C. quick-cooking oats
1/2 C. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1 C. milk
1/2 C. mashed banana (fully ripe,
about 1 large)
1 egg
2 T. oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine first 5 ingredients in large bowl.
Whisk peanut butter & milk in medium bowl
until blended; stir in bananas, egg, oil & vanilla. Add
banana mixture to dry ingredients; stir just until
moistened. Spoon into 12 muffin cups sprayed
with nonstick spray (or use paper liners). Bake
18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into
center of muffin comes out clean. Cool
slightly before serving. Makes 12 muffins

NOTE: Muffins can be baked ahead of time. Cool,
then wrap individually in plastic wrap & freeze up
to 1 month. Thaw, then reheat in microwave just
before serving.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


You’ll be happy to know (or, maybe not) that I FINALLY got up the gumption to take all the boxes of Christmas ‘stuff’ AND the tree upstairs! It was really bugging me, but since the stupid cancer thing, I just don’t have the strength I used to (legs/lifting/stamina, etc.) YES, I do have two strapping young men but it seems they’re not around when ya need them; husband helped with the lugging the tree box (which was HEAVY!). That’s done for another year. Husband said yesterday that this is the first time in his memory that he really doesn’t LIKE snow and is not looking forward to more winter. I agree! When I was setting UP the Christmas ‘stuff’ I said (to myself) “I’ll leave up some of these snowmen after the Christmas stuff is packed – they sort of cheer up this time of year!” I even lugged some of them upstairs yesterday – really sick of just THINKING of more snow in the offing. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t already have TWO big snowfalls; it’s more the ‘just can’t get out/or back in the driveway” and ‘have to shovel’!  SO glad we finally found a person who can plow! We’re gettin’ too old to be lifting the really heavy, wet stuff!

Thinkin’ of spending some QUALITY time today with a new book and some knitting – now THAT’S being productive! (Not counting I still have to bake that banana cake!) I’m cheating a bit: bought a boxed banana cake and am going to mash up some really ripe bananas in the batter; bought cream cheese frosting which will have some banana oil flavoring added, for flavor. Even bought husband a ‘new’ ice cream flavor: Malted; it was funny when he was unpacking the groceries today he stopped and said: “Malted? You HATE malted!” I said; “I know! But it’s YOUR birthday and you LOVE Malted!” He walked off grumbling something about me buying ice cream I won’t eat . . . to me, it’s a Win/Win situation! I don’t like it, so I WON’T eat it! (saves me hitting it late at night when I get a craving, right?). There’s METHOD to my MADNESS!

Enjoy your day – try to stay warm (if you’re in a cold climate). Do something you like OR do something nice for someone else! Both make you feel better inside!




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’m going to try the banana cake recipe! That is good news on those chest ornaments! Stay warm!!!!!

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