SUPER Brrrrrrrrrrr!


I knew our weather was supposed to be colder this week, but I really wasn’t ready to wake up to -9 F. Wednesday was my special needs group and it was a lovely 11 degrees at that time; yesterday I went to the grocery store and it was 9 degrees F . . . but -9? Now THAT’S cold! Normally when we get close to zero it doesn’t feel really cold, but the wind chill this winter is really bad – the minute you step outside it SLAPS you in the face and you find yourself RUNNING to your car! I sang to myself halfway to my spec’l needs group (it’s about a 25 minute drive), just waiting for the car to heat up: (to the tune of ‘Singing in the Rain’) I’m freezing in my car, I’m not going far, it’s cold in the car but I’m not going far . . . you get the idea. Today is ‘get grandson’ day, so that means I will HAVE to go out later (around 3:30 p.m.) – I’ll try to remember to dress warm! (I actually wore sweat pants & a heavy sweatshirt yesterday to go grocery shopping – yes, I probably looked like a WalMart shopper! HA!)

One of my friends at church asked me if I was still doing the baby hat thing; she wants to contribute to the donation, so I’m moving the delivery up a week for her. That also gives me more time to make a few more – looks like they’re getting more than 25 per department – that’s fine, they can always use them.


Caramel Apple Dump Cake

2 cans apple pie filling (or other flavor)
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter, melted (1 C.)
1/2 C. caramel sauce (ice cream sauce)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. chopped pecans or walnuts
whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In greased 9 X 13 baking dish, mix
pie filling & caramel sauce and 1/2
tsp. cinnamon; spread in bottom of pan.
Pour dry cake mix over; spread evenly. Top
with melted butter & nuts. Bake 45-50
minutes or until top is golden brown &
filling is bubbly around edges. Serve
with ice cream or whipped cream.

(recipe: Facebook/Judy Conaway Dent)


1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
toppings – pepperoni, ham, sausage, mushrooms,
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly spay 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
With a handheld mixer, mix cream cheese, eggs,
pepper, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese until
combined. Spread into baking dish. Bake for 12-15
minutes, our until golden brown. Allow crust to
cool for 10 minutes.Spread pizza sauce on crust.
Top with cheese and toppings. Sprinkle pizza with
garlic powder. Bake 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

(recipe: Facebook)

Oriental Ramen Broccoli Cole Slaw

2 (3 oz) pkg beef-flavor ramen noodles
2 (8 1/2 oz) pkg broccoli coleslaw mix
1 C. toasted slivered almonds
1 C. sunflower seed
1/2 bunch green onion, chopped
1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. oil
1/3 C. white vinegar

Before opening noodles, crush into 1 inch pieces.
Open packages; set aside flavor packets.Place
noodles in bottom of large serving bowl. Top noodles
with broccoli slaw, then sprinkle with almonds and
sunflower kernels, and green onions.In a separate
bowl combine sugar, oil, vinegar, and flavor packets
from noodles. Pour over slaw, cover and chill
up to 24 hours. Toss before serving.

(recipe: Facebook)


John Wayne Layered Casserole

2 lb. ground beef
1 (1.25 oz) pkt. taco seasoning
1/2 C. sour cream
1/2 C. mayonnaise
8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 C. Bisquick
1 C. water
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (4 oz) can sliced jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Brown ground beef, water & taco seasoning,
accordg to Taco seasong instructions; set aside.
In separate bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise,
4 oz Cheddar cheese & half the onions; set aside. Stir
Bisquick & 1 C. water together to form soft dough.
Pat dough on bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a
greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Saute remaining onions
& peppers until slightly tender. On top of Bisquick
dough, evenly distribute ingredients in the following
order: ground beef, tomato slices, green peppers,
onions, jalapeno peppers, sour cream mixture –
end with remaining shredded cheese. Bake 30-40
minutes or until edges of dough are lightly browned.


Roasted Ranch Cauliflower

1/2 head cauliflower
salt & pepper
1/2 lemon
1/2 small pkt. Hidden Vally Ranch
salad dressing
olive oil
capers (optional)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In large bowl toss cauliflower florets
in salt & pepper, about 1/4 C. olive
oil, lemon juice & 1/2 small pkt. of
ranch dressing. Spread florets evenly
on cookie sheet; bake about 30
minutes. Flip occasionally to brown

(recipe: Myron)

Quick Mexican Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1/4 C. thick & chunky salsa
1/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 T. sliced black olives
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Corn chips or crackers for serving

Place unwrapped block of cream
cheese on microwaveable plate; top
with salsa, cheese & olives. Microwave
on High 45 seconds – 1 minute or until
cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro
just before serving. Makes 12 (2 T. servings)

You can also add 1/2 c. refried beans evenly
over cream cheese before topping with rest
of ingredients – then microwave.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot 7-Can Soup

1 lb. ground beef
3 cans minestrone soup
2 cans ranch-style beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can crushed tomatoes

Brown ground beef; drain grease. Add
all ingredients to crockpot. Cook on Low
4-5 hours. Serve over rice & top with
shredded cheese.

(recipe: Crockpot Ladies)

Preacher’s Cake

3 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 C. sugar
3 eggs
1 C. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, with
1 1/2 C. finely chopped pecans or walnuts,
1 C. flaked coconut (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt &
cinnamon; set aside. Combine sugar, eggs,
oil & vanilla; mix on medium-low speed
with elec. mixer until creamy. Slowly mix in
flour mixture until just combined. Add
pineapple (undrained), 1 C. chopped nuts &
coconut; continue mixing on medium-low
speed until all ingredients are thoroughly
combined, about 1 minute. Spray 9 X 13
pan with nonstick spray. Pour cake batter into
pan & bake 45-50 minutes or until cake is
set in center & toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Cool cake completely in pan
then frost. Sprinkle remaining nuts on top of

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temp.
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, room temp
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. powdered sugar, sifted

Whip cream cheese, butter & vanilla with
elec mixter until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
Beat in powdered sugar (add more if
necessary to reach desired consistency.)
Makes enough to top one 9 X 13 cake –
double recipe if using a layered cake.



With our lovely weather came another cold – I’m totally stuffed up and sounding like a bass singer! (that won’t be too good come Sunday when I’m supposed to be singing soprano!) Oh well – such is life, eh? Dinner last night was BBQ’d pork chops, alfredo noodles & tossed salad; tonight (in honor of my grandson) it’s homemade pizza – at least I know he LIKES that!  While at the grocery store yesterday I noticed more Paczis! (Polish doughnuts!) Of course, I couldn’t resist and brought home 6 cinnamon/apple filled – they even had (totally NON traditional flavor) Butter Cream filled (let’s just say I was SORELY TESTED on that one – really, REALLY wanted to buy them, but resisted, knowing my husband would have a FIT! “That’s not a TRADITIONAL Paczi filling flavor!) Usually, Paczi’s are filled with Lemon, Prune, Strawberry, Apple, Blueberry, Apricot. Since my husband’s Mom was Polish, I was introduced to all their many tasty flavors.


paczki  [pawnch-kee] 

noun, plural pacz-ki

A Traditional Polish doughnut, filled with jam or another sweet

filling and covered with powdered sugar or icing.


Well, friends – not much else new to talk about today, so I’m going to close and go back to knitting; at least I can RELAX while doing that and not feel too totally exhausted doing it!

Enjoy your day!



It Might Not Be . . .

what ALL mothers do, but it’s what THIS Mother does! We’re into Week 2 of the Big Art Project (Surf & Wave Board designs); as I’ve explained before son thought he was signing up for Basic DRAWING but ended up in Basic DESIGN – he is NOT a drawer/artist, so this class is really testing his ‘skills’. He had the ideas for what he wanted done, but kind of lacked the skills to accomplish the ‘drawing’ portion – that’s where I come in. I’m good at copying, so I volunteered to just do the basic drawings for him, it’s up to him to execute the PAINTING portion (which, in my opinion, will be FAR MORE difficult, given his teacher’s expectations – but that was his choice and it IS his project). They could chose one of the designs from the previous assignment and then create another idea. One board is to be done in Cool colors, the other in Warm colors. Here are the designs he chose (they’re a little light because they’re only pencil drawings and a bit difficult to photograph):


The top one is a ‘Wings & Triangle” design; I’m guessing this one will be the Cool Colors. The bottom is a design from the previous assignment; he calls them “Suns & Lines”. Now, for me, it’s ‘sit back and wait’ – I try VERY hard to NOT be a controlling Mom/person – I guess it’s just my nature to want to HELP as much as possible; it’s hard for me to do the ‘sit back & wait’.

Today is one of those ‘Get Things Done’ days – started out going to Sears searching for a pair of ladies sweat pants to use as winter PJ’s; I should explain – I’ve had one pair for a good 8-10 years, but the elastic finally ‘rotted’ out on them; I tried replacing the elastic, but it just was not good enough. Sears, with ALL of their multiple sales departments, etc. did not have ladies sweat pants (at least the kind I wanted – lots of those really light-weight pairs that aren’t really sweat pants/the kind you would wear for a work out?). Ended up at KMart – same thing, then it dawned on me – wonder if they have MEN’S sweat pants? Took a bit of searching but I found just what I wanted AND they were marked down to $9.98 (name brand, too)! I’m a happy camper – I only wear them (a) when it’s REALLY cold outside or (b) when I’m sick but I like to have them on hand for when I’ll need them. Next up – grocery shopping; got that done in record time, we really didn’t need much. Tonight is homemade Beef Stew (got a nice chunk of beef on sale – yay!). Today is also ‘Catch up on the Laundry’ – one load in the dryer, 3 folded, one waiting in the washer. After that, it’s run the dishwasher, then I’m “Off Duty” as far as responsibilities are concerned, until time to make dinner!

Yesterday was fun getting back to choir – not sure if all the choir members got the message/email/memo, but we only had about 12 people show up, 5 from my soprano section! We went over some older music and then into a few new pieces. It became rather amusing (to say the least) when we were cruising through a rather familiar piece (“Finlandia”/Be Still My Soul) and then the composer of this particular church piece decided to send the sopranos out in left field! We all stopped singing simply because we weren’t exactly sure WHAT we were doing! (It split into the regular soprano part and added a descant/higher part) In our choir we have two lovely ladies who are both blessed with extremely clear, high voices – they usually take any really high parts; THIS TIME the choir director told us we were ALL taking that part – I nearly fainted! Not only was I not sure of the part/notes I couldn’t even HEAR where we were supposed to start! (I mostly sing/play piano by EAR; yes, I can read notes, but I’m NOT a QUICK study! This was almost a disaster!). Oh well – we will practice THAT part quite a bit in the very near future, I’M SURE! That’s what makes life INTERESTING, right?


Cinnamon Sugar Breakfast Muffins

1/2 C. sugar
1/3 C. shortening
1 egg
1 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. milk
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 C. sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl cream together 1/2 C.
sugar, shortening & egg. In separate
bowl, combine flour, baking powder &
salt. Add flour mixture & 1/2 C. milk
alternately to sugar/shortening/egg
mixture; beat well. Spray 12 muffin
cups (do NOT use paper liners). Fill
cups 2/3rds full of batter. Bake 20-25
minutes or until golden brown. Combine
remaining 1/2 C. sugar & cinnamon in
shallow dish. While muffins are still hot
from the oven, spear each with a fork,
dip into melted butter then into sugar/
cinnamon mixture until well coated.
Serve warm. Makes 12.


Jiffy Ground Pork Skillet

1 1/2 C. uncooked penne pasta
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes,
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4″

Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions.
In large skillet, cook pork & onion over
medium heat until meat is  no longer
pink; drain. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce
& Ital. seasoning. Bring to boil; reduce
heat. Cover & cook 5 minutes to allow
flavors to blend. Drain pasta; add to
skillet. Stir in zucchini; cover & cook
3-5 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-
tender. Serves 5

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Southwestern Egg Rolls

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 packet chipotle marinade OR
taco seasoning
dash garlic salt
small can Mexicorn or chipotle corn, drained
1 can black beans/rinsed & drained
8 oz.  pepperjack cheese, shredded
8 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded
dash hot sauce or salsa (optional)

2 pkgs. egg roll wrappers (larger ones
if using for dinner, smaller for appetizers)
kosher salt

Sides for dipping: sour cream, salsa,
guacamole (optional)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In 9 X 13 pan place chicken breasts; sprinkle
marinade mix on top & a little garlic salt.
Pour veggies (not beans)on top & around
chicken. Add 1/2 C. water to pan. Bake 50-55
minutes, when chicken is cooked all the way
through & veggies are tender. Place chicken
& veggies in large bowl; shred with 2 forks.
Add corn & beans to chicken mixture along
with 2 cheeses. Sprinkle a little salt & pepper
& a little hot sauce or salsa on top (if you
want it a little spicier); mix well. Lay egg roll
wrapper down in a diamond shape; add a little
mixture to middle of wrapper, shaping filling
into a log shape. Begin to roll up; halfway
through, tuck in ends & finish rolling. Place,
seam-side-down, on well-greased cookie sheet.
Repeat until filling is gone. Spray tops of eggrolls
with nonstick spray & a light sprinkling of kosher
salt. Bake until browned & crispy, 20-25 minutes.
Serve with sour cream, salsa or guacamole for


Bacon-Horseradish Chip Dip

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 (16 oz,ea) containers sour cream
2 (3 oz, ea) jars real bacon bits
5 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 of 8 oz. jar prepared horseradish
1-2 pinches salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients.
Serves 25

(NOTE: you can add more or less
Worcestershire & horseradish, to
your taste).


Mississippi Mud Cake

2 C. sugar
1 C. shortening, softened
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 C. cocoa powder
1 1/2 C. self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. chopped pecans
3 tsp. vanilla
2 C. miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

1/3 C. cocoa powder
1 box confectioners sugar
1/2 C. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. chopped pecans

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
In a bowl, cream together sugar &
shortening; add eggs & beat. Sift
together flour, cocoa & salt; add this
to mixture & mix well. Add vanilla &
pecans – mix well. Pour into a 9 X 13
baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven
immediately – gently drop pan onto a
flat surface, enough to make the cake
‘fall’ – this makes it fudgy. Cover top
of cake with marshmallows; place back
in oven & let marshmallows slightly melt.

Combine confectioners sugar, cocoa, vanilla,
evaporated milk, melted butter & pecans in
large bowl; mix well. Pour mixture over cake
& spread out. Place cake in refrigerator 2-3
hours. Keep chilled until time to serve.
Makes 12 servings.


Foil-Pack Chicken & Mushroom Dinner

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 C. water, divided
1 (6 oz) pkg. stuffing mix for chicken
6 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
(1 1/2 lb.)
6 slices smoked ham
1 1/2 C. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Combine stuffing mix & remaining water.
Spoon onto centers of 6 large sheets
heavy-duty* aluminum foil sprayed with
nonstick spray. Top with chicken, ham
& vegetables.  Mix soup & 1/4 C. water
& pour over vegetables. Fold foil to make
6 packets; place on rimmed baking sheet.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until chicken is done
(165 degrees F). Cut slits in foil to release
steam before opening packets. Serves 6

*If you don’t have heavy-duty foil, just use
double layers of regular aluminum foil.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


1 box yellow cake mix (& ingredients to make cake)
2 box (small) instant banana pudding
4 c milk
8 oz whipped topping
20 vanilla wafers, crushed
sliced bananas – use your own judgment

Follow the direction on the cake mix box to prepare
the actual cake. Prepare it in a 9 x 13″ pan. When
golden, remove from over and let cool for a few
minutes.When just slightly cooled, use the end of
a wooden spoon (the handle end) to poke holes
into the baked cake. Don’t be shy; make the holes
big enough for the pudding to seep into and go deep
enough with the spoon that you hit the bottom of
the pan.Next, prepare pudding mixture. Combine
4 cups of milk and instant pudding mix; whisk until
fully combined and there are no lumps.Now it’s
time to fill those holes! Pour pudding mixture over
the entire cake, taking care to get it into all holes.
Use the spoon to help really get it into the cake and
spread evenly. Refrigerate for about two hours…
or until set.
Top with whipped topping, crushed vanilla wafers
and sliced banana.
(Refrigerate any leftovers.)

(From Betty Crocker and Just a pinch)

Mexican Pizza

Approx 1/2 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 T. taco seasoning
1/4-1/2 C. refried beans
1/4-1/2 C. salsa ( jarred or homemade)
1/4-1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese (or your desired flavor)
2 (4 inch) flour tortillas
your choice of toppings: tomatoes, green onions, olives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground beef in skillet. Add taco seasoning.
Drain if needed. Spray baking sheet with non stick
cooking spray. Lay one tortilla on sheet. Spread
with beans, then, with meat. Cover with second
tortilla. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
Spread top tortilla with salsa, then, top with cheese and desired toppings. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted completely.
Cool slightly before cutting.

(recipe: Facebook)

Barbie’s Tuna Salad

1 (7 oz) can white tuna, drained & flaked
6 T. mayonnaise or salad dressing (Miracle Whip)
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. sweet pickle relish
1/8 tsp. dried minced onion
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1 T. dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 pinch garlic powder

In medium bowl, stir together tuna, mayonnaise,
Parmesan cheese & onion flakes. Season with
curry powder, parsley, dill & garlic powder. Mix
well & serve with crackers or on a sandwich.
Makes 4 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Turkey Chili Taco Soup

1 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 (10 oz) can Ro*tel tomatoes with
green chilies
1 (15 oz) can corn, drained (or frozen)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
1 packet taco seasoning mix
2 1/2 C. chicken broth

In large pot, brown turkey on medium heat.
When cooked through, add onions & pepper;
cook 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, beans,
tomato sauce, refried beans, taco seasoning &
chicken broth. Bring to boil & simmer 10-15
minutes. Serves 9

Serve with: baked tortilla chips, or top with sour cream,
jalapenos, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, or
chopped fresh cilantro.


Cherry Cream Cheese Bake

1 can cherry pie filling
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tube crescent rolls
1/2 stick of butter
2 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven375 degrees.
Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish.
Take half of the crescent rolls and lay
them out on the bottom of the baking dish.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, blend cream
cheese until smooth. Once smooth, add
powdered sugar and vanilla and blend.
Once blended, spoon onto the crescent rolls
in baking dish and spread evenly.
Top with can of cherry pie filling.
Top with the last half (4 triangles) of crescent
rolls.Melt butter and pour on top of crescents.
Top with granulated sugar; bake for 25 minutes
or until browned.

(recipe: Facebook)

How are your Gas Prices lately? I had a big shock when we drove past our regular gas station yesterday; Regular gas had jumped from $3.39/9 to $3.59/9 (I actually let out a yelp which caused my husband to think something was wrong – he was NOT happy I startled him). I’m glad that, right now, my tank is 3/4 full – sure hope it drops some soon.

Weather-wise, it’s back to being in the really cold temps: in the teens! When I went out earlier I was surprised at just how cold the wind was making me in such a short time. (Ah, those pesky Wind Chills that they factor into our weather reports). Right now it’s 19 and the cold is supposed to stay for the remainder of this week (sigh). The good thing? (in my humble opinion?) – You can still Walk/Drive/move about in cold – not so much in huge snow storms or freezing rain/icy roads, etc. Our unpaved road going to our church is a real mess right now – TONS of BIG potholes and ice all around – I felt like I was riding a rollercoaster just attempting to get to church! Spring is around the corner – but I really wish it would HURRY UP!

Hope you are all in good health – when I finish this post I have one more load of laundry, then it’s get back into my current mystery book (“The Witness” by Dee Henderson) and work on baby hats/crocheted baby blanket a little. (Ah, the life of a RETIRED Woman – sometimes it can be so taxing . . . she said with a smirk!)



Happy Saturday!


So far it’s turning out to be a really nice day! The sun is shining, it’s 31 degrees outside and VERY windy – but, Hey! Yesterday was warmer, creating melting of the snow & ice – that’s a GREAT thing! I’ve heard, from several other people, that their driveways & sidewalks were virtual SKATING RINKS because of the underlying ice, but hopefully if this continues, we’ll have lots LESS ice & snow! Our picnic table is a good example; I use it to kind of gauge the height of the accumulated snows. Yesterday, with the melting, it looked almost like a couch cushion – the mounded snow on top had decreased greatly, showing an underlying very thick layer of ice (I didn’t even know that was there!). Interesting to observe it all getting smaller – sure hope this continues. Yesterday (and today) our winds are pretty rugged – I got really tired of hearing our porch door bang open from the winds; it’s now propped open, just to avoid that constant BANG! sound. Saw this cartoon on Facebook today and it thoroughly explains our MICHIGAN weather lately:


Got an email today saying our choir practice is resuming; our choir director’s wife (who plays piano for us) had to have surgery on her wrist end of January and is now able to resume her duties – YAY! Since we’re going to be starting the Easter season music so late, looks like we’ll only be singing two songs instead of a contata this year – it’s all good. I’m just happy to be back with the group; it’s such a good feeling working on learning new music, challenging your own voice to see if you can really reach those super-high notes (properly – not squeaking!) and blending with a group of people who are all dedicated to the same end: to make beautiful music which praises the Lord and brings honor to His name – as well as lift people’s hearts to worship.

Working on my last 2 baby hats – for a total of 50; I try to make 25 Newborn and 25 Premie before I deliver them, that way they should have enough to keep them ‘covered’ until my next delivery in a few months (I hope!). I already have ENOUGH yarn, but saw a great sale at Herrschner’s (craft company) and ordered some really nice baby yarn (good prices!). Last year I made two of the same pattern, using the same yarns but reversing the positions of them. That pattern was SO much fun and came out so nice looking, I decided today to make another one – but this time with a bit more brightly colored baby yarn; should be a fun knit!


The pattern is the one on the left (same as middle, yarns reversed). The one I want to do this time is the (left) white background with brighter multi-baby colors yarn.

Herrschner’s had a really bright baby multi-colored yarn, so I’m anxious to see how that one will turn out! (The pattern is easy and lots of fun to knit).


Peanut Butter Banana Monkey Bread

1 small banana, coarsely chopped
6 T. peanuts, divided
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
2 T. butter
2 T. creamy peanut butter
2 T. pancake syrup (maple)
1 T. water
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 (16.3 oz) can refrigerated buttermilk
biscuits, each cut into quarters

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place bananas in 9″ round pan sprayed with
nonstick spray; sprinkle with 1/4 C. nuts.
Microwave brown sugar, butter, peanut butter,
syrup & water in small microwaveable bowl
on High 1 minute or until butter is melted;
stir until mixture is well blended; drizzle over
ingredients in pan. Use pulsing action on
food processor to process remaining nuts &
granulated sugar, until nuts are almost ground;
pour into shallow dish. Dip dough pieces in nut
mixture, turning evenly to coat each piece. Arrange
in a single layer over ingredients in pan; top with
any remaining nut mixture. Bake 25 minutes until
golden brown. Cool 1 minute; invert onto plate.
Remove pan; top bread with any nuts remaining in
pan; cool slightly. Makes 12 servings

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Chicken Dumpling Casserole

2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
2 C. chicken broth
1/2 stick butter
2 C. Bisquick
2 C. milk
1 can cream chicken soup
3 tsp. chicken granules
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Layer #1:
In a 9 X 13 pan, melt butter & swirl pan
around to coat bottom. Spread shredded
chicken over butter. Sprinkle black pepper &
dried sage over chicken. Do not stir.

Layer #2:
In small bowl, mix milk & Bisquick; slowly pour
over chicken; do not stir.

Layer #3:
In medium bowl, whisk together 2 C. chicken
broth, chicken granules & soup; slowly pour
over Bisquick layer. Do not stir.

Bake casserole 30-40 minutes, until top is
golden brown.

(recipe: Facebook)

Skinny Clam Chowder

2 lb. potatoes, peeled/cut into
1/3″ cubes (no larger)
1 C. celery, cubed to 1/3″
1 1/4 C. onion, finely chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 T. olive oil
1/4 C. flour
1 bay leaf
1/3 tsp. thyme
3/4 to 1 tsp. kosher salt
2 C. Half & Half
1/2 C. milk (or water)
1 (8 oz) bottle clam juice
3 (6.5 oz, ea) cans chopped clams

Strain juice from canned clams into
large pot; reserve clams for later. Add
clam juice, Half & Half, potatoes; bring
to simmer then pour ingredients into
crockpot. Cover & cook on High 4 hours.
Cook bacon in skillet until just crispy; strain
& discard fat, set aside bacon for later.
Add olive oil to pan with celery & onion;
saute 8-10 minutes or until onion is shiny
& transparent. Add garlic; saute 3 more
minutes. Add 1/4 C. flour, cook with
vegetables 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add vegetables to crockpot along with bay
leaf, thyme & salt (add salt little by little, you
might not want the entire 1 tsp.). Stir once
an hour; add bacon & clams in the last half
hour of cooking time.


Skillet Potato Pancake

2 T. cooking oil
1 (20 oz) pkg. refrigerated shredded
hash brown potatoes
1/3 C. flour
3 eggs
1/3 C. grated yellow onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Heat oil in large, heavy skillet over
medium-high heat. Combine potatoes
& flour in large bowl; set aside. Combine
eggs, onion, salt, garlic powder & pepper
in another bowl; add egg mixture to potato
mixture; mix well. Place potato mixture
evenly in skillet. Cover skillet with aluminum
foil; cook 10 minutes or until mixture is set
and bottom is golden grown. Place large
plate over skillet; holding skillet & plate,
turn skillet over, inverting pancake onto
plate. Cut into wedges. Serves 6 (1 wedge



1 pkg yellow cake mix
2 boxes orange Jello
1 box vanilla instant pudding
1 C. milk
2 Large Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 tub Cool Whip

Bake cake as directed in a 9 x 13″ pan.
Let cake cool completely. Poke holes in cooled
cake. Mix 1 pkg. orange gelatin dessert with
1 C. boiling water and 1 C. cold water. Pour over
cake. Cover & refrigerate for 4 hours. Mix pudding mix
with cold milk, the other pkg. orange gelatin dessert
& vanilla; beat by hand with a whisk until thickened.
Fold in Cool Whip; frost cake with pudding mixture.
For a layered Creamsicle Cake: Make cake batter as directed,
then batter pour evenly into 3 round 9″ cake pans. Bake
cakes as directed and let cool. Make orange gelatin as
directed on pkg. but with this version, you’ll let the gelatin
set up instead of pouring it into the cake. We recommend
using your round cake pans, or using a 13 x 17″ jelly roll pan
(1″ deep cookie sheet with edges). Once you pour the liquid
gelatin mixture into the pans, it will need to be refrigerated
for about 4 hours. Meanwhile, make the pudding mixture
according to the original recipe. Finally, layer in this order:
cake, gelatin pudding mixture. Repeat once more for a
6-layered Creamsicle Cake.

(recipe: Facebook)
Sausage Pepper Pasta

3 C. rigatoni pasta, uncooked
1 lb. Italian sausage links, sliced
1 (each) green, red & yellow bell
pepper, coarsely chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian-style diced
tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 C. shredded Italian Mozzarella-
Parmesan cheese blend (Kraft)
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta accordg. to pkg directions,
omitting salt. Cook sausage in large skillet
on medium heat 10 minutes, stirring
frequently. Stir in peppers; cook & stir
7 minutes or until sausage is done & peppers
are crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes, cook 2
minutes or until heated through, stirring
occasionally. Drain pasta; add to sausage
mixture with shredded cheese blend; mix
well. Top with Parmesan cheese. Serves
6 (1 1/2 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Melty Pizza Hummus

1/2 C. cooked garbanzo beans,
heaping 1/2 tsp. dry basil
heaping 1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 C. + 2 T. basil & garlic tomato
1 T. olive oil

combine all ingredients in food processor;
blend well until there are no chunks. Scoop
into a serving dish; serve with chips, raw
veggies or crackers. Can also be used as a
spread for sandwiches or toasted bread.
Can be chilled in fridge before serving. Store
in closed container in refrigerator – will last
a few days.

*Or plain tomato sauce; add extra basil & garlic

(recipe: Facebook)

Baked Triple-Veggie Dip

1 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 (1lb,3oz) can asparagus spears, drained &
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
thawed & drained
1 (8.5 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained &
1 (8 oz) tub (Kraft) Philadelphia Chive & Onion
cream cheese spread
1/2 C. mayonnaise

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix 1 1/4 C. Parmesan with all remaining
ingredients. Spoon into 2 qt. baking dish
sprayed with nonstick spray; top with
remaining Parmesan. Bake 35 minutes or
until dip is heated through & top is lightly
browned. Makes 36 servings (2 T. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

“This BEETS the cake!”

1 (14 oz) jar beets, drained
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 1/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 C. self-rising flour
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. applesauce, unsweetened

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat butter & sugar until light & fluffy, then
beat in eggs. Add cinnamon & nutmeg, then
applesauce; mix well. Add in SF flour, a little
at a time on Low speed of elec. mixer until
well mixed. Puree beets in food processor
or blender until smooth (or heat in micro-
wave until soft & mash them with a potato
masher or use a standard mixer to beat them).
Mix beets into batter until well blended. Pour
batter into lightly greased & floured 9 X 13
pan (or Bundt pan). Bake 35-40 minutes until
cake tests done*.
If using a 9 X 13 pan, you can lightly ice the cake
with store-bought cream cheese frosting (or
just a glaze.) If using a Bundt pan, you can glaze
it or just sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

*A cake tests ‘done’ when you insert a clean
wooden toothpick into the center and it comes
out clean – no wet dough sticking to it.

NOTE: Poster commented that people who have
eaten this cake and did NOT know what the secret
ingredient (beets) was, guessed it was cranberries!


We had our grandson (age 7 1/2) over for most of the day yesterday: 7:50 – 3:30 p.m.; let’s just say I really didn’t get much sleep the night before (possibly worrying about waking up in time?) – got 3 hours sleep. Wasn’t really ready for a BOUNCY, READY-TO-PLAY kid! I stalled a bit by making omelets & toast for breakfast, then his uncle got him situated (for awhile) on the TV playing virtual hockey -this boys really takes after my son (our oldest): he LOVES almost every sport and can quote all sorts of sports stats (just like his dad). Later we played a ton of board games until I (virtually) hit the wall and said: “Grandma’s REALLY tired, can we take a break?” He played with Legos some while I attempted to take a short nap (didn’t happen – I just lie there ‘listening’ to him playing). After I got up I remembered a box I’d seen upstairs and brought it down. He & I spent a good 1 1/2 hours making a pink mouse key chain with beads – he LOVED it! This was a box of ‘leftovers’ from way back when the boys were about his age; they had already made the alligator, turtle, frog – but there was still enough cording to make ONE more project, so he chose the mouse. (think I’ll look into buying more elastic cord, for later). There’s still enough beads to make a ladybug, butterfly and something else (don’t remember). He loves doing crafts, so that helped use up some of the time. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE spending time with him, BUT he’s so smart and full of energy that it’s difficult for me to come up with things to keep him busy! Around 3:30 his other grandmother arrived to pick him up; she’ll have him overnight. (We don’t have any place to have him ‘overnight’ – no spare bedroom/extra space). It was fun  – I think he had a good time.

Hope you’re having an OK day – (or better!). Enjoy your day – smile a little, have a wee snack that you like, put your feet up and take a 10 minute ‘Power Nap’ if you can!



Good ‘Ole Michigan!


Yep, in THIS state the saying goes: Don’t like the weather? Stick around a few minutes and it will change! Today’s weather was SUPPOSED to be in the 40’s with rain/perhaps thunderstorms & high winds (over 30 MPH) and later possible freezing, with ice on the ground (from the rain). What DID we get? I went out shopping (knowing the weather LATER was supposed to be nasty) – the weather upon my departure from the house?  31 degrees F. – clear, so I even decided not to wear a hat (I hate hats, but here they’re necessary for most of winter). During part of my shopping it began to snow – we’re not talking REGULAR-SIZED snowflakes, these were HUGE and constantly coming down! (Where’s the RAIN?). This kept up, causing the roads to become slippery; I ended up cancelling part of my trips and instead, just stopped at Tim Horton’s for coffee, got the mail and came  home. I was glad for the stops I was able to make – the books I put on ‘hold’ at the library can wait for another day – this lady’s NOT going to become a car accident if I can help it! CRAZY weather! Now, about an hour later, it’s stopped snowing and the temps are up to 34 degrees F – the icicles on the roof are melting – go figure!


Herb-coated Oven Roasted Veggies
(makes a large batch)

1 bundle of asparagus
1 small bag of snow peas
2 medium to small yellow squash
1 zucchini
1 small bag of baby carrots
1 package of grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
1 small bag of baby red potatoes
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Rosemary (If you are using fresh-
3 tablespoons)
2 1/2 T, Basil (If you are using fresh: 1/3 cup)
McCormick’s steak seasoning’s (pepper mix-it’s

part of their Grinders series)
1 1/2 tablespoons Garlic Salt

Pre-heat  425 degrees F.
Cut squash & potatoes into chunks.  Snap asparagus at appropriate areas for them; about 1 to 1 1/2 inches from  bottom of asparagus. Cut Asparagus in half.  Not down the middle in half, but across.  We want to leave the spears intact. Mix the vegetables in one bowl.  (Unless you have a really HUGE bowl, then use 2 separate bowls.) Sprinkle about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over veggies & add all seasonings on top. Mix together seasonings in separate bowl then, using wooden spoon, fold all ingredients together; make sure all ingredients are well-mixed. Place veggies in deep baking dish (or two, if needed.) Cover dish(es) with foil & bake 30 minutes. Remove foil & bake another 10-15 minutes. If you like your veggies more al dente, lesson the covered cooking time.
Makes very large batch.

(recipe: Facebook)

Triple Layer Banana Cream Pie Bars

60 vanilla wafers, finely crushed (about 1 1/2 C.)
1/2 C. chopped
1/3 C. butter or margarine, melted
3 bananas, sliced
2 (3.4 oz, ea) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
3 C. cold milk
2 1/2 C. Cool Whip, thawed, divided

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Mix wafer crumbs,nuts & butter in 9 x 13
pan; press onto bottom of dish. Bake 8 minutes;
cool 10 minutes. Top with sliced bananas. Beat
pudding mixes & milk with whisk 2 minutes; spread
2 C. pudding over bananas. Stir 1 C. Cool Whip into
remaining pudding; spread over pie. Top with
remaining Cool Whip. Refrigerate 3 hours.
Makes 16 servings.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Tomato-Zucchini Fritatta

2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 C. (7oz) zucchini, diced into
4 large eggs
1/4 C. Asiago cheese, grated
salt & fresh ground black pepper
2 medium (about 8 oz) vine ripe tomatoes,
cored & thinly sliced, crosswise

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low
heat. Stir in onion & cook until slightly
golden, about 8-10 minutes. Add zucchini;
increase heat to medium-high. Season with
salt & pepper; cook 2-3 minutes or until
moisture dries up, stirring occasionally.
Pour eggs into skillet, making sure they cover
all the vegetables. Arrange tomatoes in over-
lapping pattern on top & season with salt &
pepper. when edges begin to set (about 2
minutes), move skillet to oven. Cook about
16-18 minutes, or until fritatta is completely
cooked. Serve warm, cut into 4 pieces.
Serves 4.


Crockpot Tortellini

1 bag of froz
en tortellini
1 small bag of fresh spinach
2 cans of Italian style diced tomatoes
1 box or 4 cups or vegetable broth
1 block of cream cheese

Set heat level to LOW.
Place all ingredients in crockpot, chunking
up the cream cheese. Cook 5-6 hrs.

(recipe: Facebook)

Crockpot Turkey Chili

1 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey
1 tsp. oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced fine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 C. frozen corn kernels
1 (10 oz) can Ro*tel mild tomatoes
1 (8 oz) small can plain tomato sauce
1/4 C. chicken broth
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Additional Toppings:
diced avocado
sour cream
shredded cheese
baked tortilla chips, crushed

Heat ground turkey in large skillet over
medium-high heat; season with salt &
pepper; cook until turkey browns and is
no longer pink; place in crockpot. Add oil
to skillet; saute onion, garlic & bell pepper
over medium heat 4-5 minutes. Spoon over
turkey in crockpot, then stir in corn & tomatoes,
tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, paprika &
salt; mix well until well blended. Pour chicken
broth over all. Cover & cook on High 4 hours
or Low 6 hours. Serve with desired toppings.
Serves 5


Chicken Roll-ups


2 oz. (1/4 of 8 oz pkg) cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. finely chopped green peppers
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 C. (Kraft) Italian shredded 5-cheese blend, divided
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
1 lb, pounded to 1/4 in. thickness
1 C. spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Mix first 4 ingredients until blended. Add
1/2 C. shredded cheese; mix well. Shape
into 4 logs. Place 1 log on one short end of
each chicken breast; press lightly into chicken.
Roll up tightly, tucking in both ends of each
breast around filling to completely enclose
filling. Place, seam sides down, in 9 X 13
baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray;
top with spaghetti sauce; cover. Bake 30
minutes or until chicken is done (165 degrees F.)
Top chicken with remaining shredded cheese;
bake 3-5 minutes longer until cheese is melted.
Serves 4.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Sour Cream-Banana Muffins

1/4 C. butter, softened
1 C. sugar
1 C. mashed fully ripe bananas (about 3)
1 C. sour cream
2 eggs
2 1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat butter & sugar in large bowl with
mixer until well blended. Add bananas,
sour cream & eggs; mix well. Add combined
dry ingredients; mix just until moistened,
stir in nuts. Spoon into 16 paper-lined muffin
cups. Bake 22-24 minutes or until toothpick
inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool
in pan 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool
slightly or to room temperature.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

3 Cheese Chicken & Noodles


3 C. chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 C. cottage cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) pkg. wide egg noodles,
cooked & drained
1 C. grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. diced celery
1/2 C. diced onion
1/2 C. diced green pepper
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in crockpot; stir
to coat evenly. Cover & cook on Low
6-8 hours or High 3-4 hours. Serves 8


Snickerdoodle Bread

1 C.butter
2 C. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. sour cream
2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 pkg. Hershey cinnamon chips

3 T. sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cream butter, sugar, salt & cinnamon
until fluffy.. Add eggs; mix well. Add
vanilla & sour cream; mix well. Mix
flour & baking powder in separate
bowl then add to wet ingredients;
mix until combined. Add cinnamon
chips; stir into batter; set aside.
Spoon batter into 4 mini loaf pans
until about 2/3 full. Mix 3 T. sugar &
3 tsp. cinnamon in a bowl, sprinkle
over batter in each pan. Bake 35-38
minutes. Let cool before removing
from pans. Can also be made in
2 (8 x 4 inch) pans. Baking time
for larger pans: about 50 minutes.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

That’s the weather & news from this end – hopefully YOU will have a GREAT day, GOOD weather and a little time to relax! Remember to smile a little during the day – it makes you happy and makes other’s wonder what you’re up to!



Published in: on February 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Baby, it’s COLD outside!


The thermometer says 16 degrees F., but the WIND CHILL is 2 degrees F. – sure makes your face hurt just being out in it! Got back from grocery shopping and was VERY glad to come home to a nice, warm house. (Thank you, Lord, for all the many small blessings we take for granted every day – like heat, a warm house, food, clothing, etc.).  I hadn’t really counted on finding a early Easter treat, but brought home a box of 6 Apple/Cinnamon-filled Pacjki (Poonch-keys)! I thought it amusing that ALL THREE of my (living at home now) guys quickly converged on the box, asking: “Are those what I THINK they are?” Yep – super calorie-laden, but really tasty big fat FILLED doughnuts! (I had a half, gave the other to my husband – they’re good, I just can’t handle that much sugar – these were also powdered sugar covered – for extra calories?) Happy with my purchases; I went there not exactly sure what I would be buying and came home with the makings for Chicken Pot Pie (homemade – that will be tonight’s dinner), a few more beef cube steaks to go with the ones in my freezer, some really nice, fat boneless chicken breasts (love cooking those on the George Foremann) and fixings for making Beef Stew – that should hold us for about a week!

Also, with our weather lately, I heard talk while in the stores, that we’re supposed to be getting MORE SNOW; about an inch overnight then 2-3 inches tomorrow? BUT – Thursday is supposed to warm up to almost 30 degrees F.!!! YAY! It’s about time! My husband had to take a hammer to the accumulated ice ‘pack’ that was right behind my front tires – it was so mounded/packed that every time I turned a corner you could really HEAR it scraping the tires! Crazy stuff.

Middle son is working on his third Art Design project – the one they gave him 2 weeks to complete. This time I’ve decided to see just how far he can go on his own. The teacher required they have all the sketching done by tomorrow – he has half done. I helped with the technical drawing parts, but I’m leaving him to do the second design all on his own. We’ll see how this goes . . . (YES, I KNOW it’s HIS project and HIS grade, but as I’ve said before – he thought he was getting into a BEGINNING DRAWING class, not beginning DESIGN – for those wanting to go into say: architecture, fabric design/fashion, that sort of thing.)

Tomorrow is another Knit/Crochet night and so far there are 19 people signed up – WOW! Usually most of the ladies do NOT sign up ahead of time (don’t know why) and then just show up; I’m hoping there will be adequate seating for that many! We’ll see! Still working on baby hats: 20 Newborn/20 Premie done – shooting for 5 more of each before I deliver them to the hospital. I love making them (as if you didn’t figure THAT one out, right?)


Creamy Burrito Casserole

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (1 1/4 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix
6 large flour tortillas
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
2-3 C. shredded taco cheese or
2-3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
4 oz. sour cream
hot sauce

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Brown meat; drain. Add taco seasoning
mix & refried beans; mix well. Mix soup
& sour cream in separate bowl. Spread
1/2 sour cream mixture in bottom of a
casserole dish. Tear up 3 tortillas & spread
over sour cream mixture. Place 1/2 of meat/
bean mixture over tortillas; add a layer of
cheese. You can add hot sauce here, if you
want. Repeat layers. Sprinkle cheese over
top & bake, uncovered, 20-30 minutes.
Serves 8-10.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Panera’s Cream Cheese Potato Soup

4 C. chicken broth
4 C. peeled/cubed potatoes
1/4 C. minced onion
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, cut into chunks

Combine broth, potatoes, onion & spices;
boil on medium heat until potatoes are
tender. Smash a few of the potatoes to
release the starch for thickening. Reduce
to low heat; add cream cheese & heat,
stirring frequently, until cheese melts.
Serves 4-6

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Crockpot Salsa Chicken Thighs

1 1/2 lb. skinless chicken thigh filets
1 C. chunky salsa
adobo seasoning (or salt) to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
salt, to taste

12 large taco shells
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese
sour cream

Season chicken with adobo seasoning; place
in crockpot, top with salsa, garlic powder &
1/2 tsp. cumin. Cover & cook on Low 4 hours.
When cooked, remove chicken; set on large
plate & shred with two forks. Pour liquid into
a bowl & reserve, then place shredded chicken
back into crockpot. Adjust salt to taste & add
remaining 1/4 tsp. cumin. Pour 3/4 C. reserved
liquid back into crockpot; cover until ready to
serve. Makes about 2 3/4 C. chicken.


Chocolate Chip Spice Muffins

2-1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup Cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup molasses
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet (or Dark) chocolate chips
powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350F.
Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with
paper bake cups. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder,
baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Stir
together molasses, hot water, melted butter, brown
sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg in large
bowl. Add eggs, stirring until blended. Stir in dry
ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Stir in
chocolate chips. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full
with batter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until wooden pick
inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan 10
minutes; remove to wire rack. Cool completely or
serve while slightly warm. Sprinkle with powdered sugar,
if desired. About 2 dozen muffins.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
Easy Jam-filled Cookies

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. butter, softened
2/3 C. granulated sugar
2 eggs, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 C. finely chopped walnuts
3/4 C. strawberry jam*
1 tsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat cream cheese, butter &
gran.sugar in large bowl with elec.
mixer until blended. Separate 1 egg;
reserve white for later use. Add yolk,
second whole egg and vanilla to
cream cheese mixture; mix well. Gradually
beat in combined flour & baking powder
until blended. Divide dough into 4 equal
parts. Roll each piece of dough into 12 X 1
inch long log; place, 2 inches apart, on large
baking sheet. Use the handle of a wooden
spoon or fingers to make 1/2 inch wide and
1/2 inch deep depression down the center
of each log. Beat reserved egg white with a
fork; brush over dough, then sprinkle with
nuts. Fill the depressions with jam. Bake
25-27 minutes or until edges are lightly
browned. Transfer to wire racks; cool. Sprinkle
tops with powdered sugar. Cut each log into
12 diagonal slices. Makes 48 cookies.

*or any flavor you choose

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Egg Roll in a Bowl

1 pound ground beef or pork
2 tsp sesame oil
6 cups finely sliced cabbage
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 med onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onion stalks, finely chopped
1tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
S & P
1/4 tsp red pepper flake, optional

Brown ground beef & drain, add onion and sesame oil.
Cook until onions are lightly browned. In a small bowl
mix ginger, garlic and soy sauce then add to pan. Immediately
add cabbage an stir. Cook a few minutes, stirring often
so cabbage wilts evenly and doesn’t burn. Add shredded
carrots and cook another few minutes. Turn off heat, add
green onion, S & P and stir again.

(recipe: Facebook)

Creamy Bacon Roll-ups

1 (8 oz) can crescent rolls
2 (3 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
8-10 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 T. minced onion
1-2 tsp. milk
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Unroll dough & separate into 4
rectangles. Press perforations to
seal. Mix together cream cheese, bacon,
onion & milk (may need more milk so
mixture will spread easily); spread on
rectangles. Roll up, jelly-roll style,
starting at long end. Press edges to
seal. Cut each roll into 8 slices. Place
on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle
tops evenly with Parmesan cheese.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until brown.
Makes 32 roll-ups.

(recipe: Leslie

Tamale Casserole

1 large can tamales
1 large can chili
3 C. Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Remove tamales from papers & place
in a greased baking dish. Cover with
can of chili, then cover with cheese.
Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Serves 6-8

Extras you can add: refried beans, a
layer of Spanish rice, top with tortilla
chips, top with salsa


Coconut Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

1 C. butter, softened (2 sticks)
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 eggs
2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (OR 1/2 tsp. vanilla &
1/2 tsp. coconut extract)
2 1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. coconut milk (optional)

1/2 C. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. confectioners sugar
1 c. grated coconut, toasted

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray.
Cream together butter, cream cheese &
sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then
add vanilla & mix in flour. (batter will be
thick) Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake
35-40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean; let cake
cool on wire rack.
Beat together butter, cream cheese, vanilla &
sugar; mix until well blended.
Toast Coconut:
In a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray,
add coconut and stir & toss until golden brown.
You can also place coconut on a baking sheet &
toast in oven, turning frequently to prevent
Cut cooled cake into 24 squares, then top with
frosting & toasted coconut.
NOTE: Best kept refrigerated.

(recipe: Cassie:

Here’s hoping your weather is ‘good for/to you’- stay warm (if you’re in a cold place), relax a little – maybe take a quick nap/have a little something sweet/drink a nice cup of something warm (coffee/tea/cocoa) and try to SMILE a little!



Happy Sunday!


It’s a brisk and ‘balmy’ 23 degrees here with SUNSHINE! It was snowing big, fluffy flakes when we left for church and kept it up for a good hour; I don’t worry about that kind of snow (unless it continues) because it doesn’t stay around long. As you can see, my poor snowman sign has a bit of snow on him but not half as much as last week (he even had an icicycle hanging from his nose, then!). The extra snow made the roads a bit slippery going back & forth to church, but we’re just SO glad to be back, it really doesn’t matter. My poor Alzheimer’s lady is getting worse – I’m sure there will come a time in the near future when she wont’ be able to go to church any more. It’s hard working out a schedule for her (for us to pick her up); even though I called her (& her husband) yesterday, when we got there to pick her up she wasn’t at the condo complex door. I called their apartment and she answered; apparently she got ready (again) too early – as she put it: “I waited and waited and got tired of waiting so I came up and changed my clothes.” I’m trying to figure out a system so that won’t happen; am thinking of calling their apartment about 15 minutes before we’re due to pick her up; that should give her enough time to get her coat on and come down one flight of stairs to the door, thus ending the ‘getting there too early’ – I hope. The sad thing was; while I was putting on my coat AFTER church my cell phone rang – it was her husband who put her on the phone: “Pam? Is there church today?” (neither she NOR he remembered talking to me earlier this morning). Alzheimer’s is a truly VICIOUS disease; it slowly steals away the people you love to where they don’t remember who they are/ who you are or anything else.


Apple Cinnamon Bread

1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together
in a bowl and set aside. Beat white sugar
and butter together in a bowl using an
electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated;
add vanilla extract. Combine flour and baking
powder together in another bowl; stir into
creamed butter mixture. Mix milk into batter
until smooth. Pour half the batter into the
prepared loaf pan. Next add half the apples and
half the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Lightly
pat apple mixture into batter. Pour the remaining
batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples
and add more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar
mixture through apples using a finger or spoon.
30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted
in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

(recipe: Facebook)

Cheeseburger Soup

1 lb. ground beef
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 lb. Velveeta, cubed
1 (40 oz) bag frozen shredded
hash browns
4 C. chicken broth
6-10 bacon strips

Brown beef in skillet; season
lightly with salt & pepper. Place
Velveeta in crockpot; add hash
browns & chicken broth. Drain
beef, add to crockpot. Cover &
cook on Low 4-6 hours. About
15 minutes before serving, fry
bacon strips, crumble then add
to soup, stirring well. Serves 6


Layered Crabmeat Spread

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 C. cocktail sauce
1 (16 oz) container lump crabmeat, drained
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 C. sliced ripe olives
assorted crackers & fresh vegetables

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with
elec. mixer until smooth; add lemon juice & next
4 ingredients, beating until blended. Spoon
mixture into 9 ” serving dish. Cover & chill at
least 20 minutes. Spread cocktail sauce evenly
over cream cheese mixture. Top with crabmeat,
sprinkle with cheese, green onions, bell pepper &
ripe olives. Serve with crackers & fresh vegetables.
Makes 12-15 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Salted Pretzel Caramel Brownies

1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownies (for a 9X—13 pan)
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pretzels
1 jar caramel sauce
coarse sea salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 9X13-inch baking pan with parchment paper,
or grease with cooking spray. Prepare brownie batter
according to package instructions.Pour about 1/3 of
brownie batter into prepared baking pan; spread until
bottom of  pan is evenly coated. Then add two even layers
of pretzels, covering the entire surface. Carefully spoon
remaining brownie batter on top to cover pretzels.Bake
30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle
of the brownies comes out clean. Remove &set on a cooling
rack to cool.Spoon caramel sauce onto  top of brownies in
an even layer. (If it is too thick, spoon the sauce into a small
bowl first and microwave for 30 seconds to thin.) Sprinkle
the caramel with a few pinches of sea salt.Serve warm,
or let cool to room temperature then serve.

(recipe: Facebook)

Beer Cheese Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. Ranch salad dressing
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 C. beer
2 green onions, chopped

Beat cream cheese & dressing in medium
bowl with elec. mixer until blended. Stir
in remaining ingredients; refrigerate
several hours or until chilled.
Makes 15 (2 Tsp.) servings
Serve with crackers or cut up

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Meatball Minestrone Soup

3 (14.5 oz, ea) cans Italian-style
stewed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
4 C. beef broth*
1 1/2 C. carrots, sliced
1/2 C. onion, chopped
1 C. green beans, fresh or frozen
1 tsp. basil, dried
1 tsp. oregano, dried
1 tsp. thyme, dried
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans,
rinsed & drained
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans
(also called chick peas)
6 C. (about 1 1/2 lb.) Italian
meatballs, fully cooked (frozen)
1 (16 oz) pkg. elbow macaroni
1 (10 oz) can tomato soup
Parmesan cheese

In large crockpot pour stewed tomatoes &
tomato sauce. Add beef broth*, carrots,
onion & green beans to crockpot. Add
seasonings, kidney & garbanzo beans. Add
meatballs to crockpot, cover & let cook
6-8 hours. When ready to eat, cook pasta
according to pkg. directions. DO NOT add
uncooked pasta to crockpot-cook pasta
separately. Add tomato soup to crockpot;
stir to incorporate & heat through. (soup
should thicken a little with the addition of
the tomato soup.) When you are ready to serve,
add a portion of the cooked pasta to each soup
bowl, then pour meatball mixture from crockpot
over the top. Garnish with a bit of Parmesan
cheese. Serves 10

*Or dissolve 4 tsp. beef soup base granules
into 4 C. hot water


Green Chile Spinach Quiche

1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
12 eggs
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded Colby-
Monterey Jack cheese
2 C. (small curd) cottage cheese
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped
spinach, thawed & drained
2 (4 oz, ea) cans chopped green
1/2 C. melted butter
2 (9 in.) unbaked pie crusts

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Whisk flour, baking powder &
salt together in small bowl; set
aside. Beat eggs in mixing bowl
until smooth. Whisk in flour
mixture until no lumps remain.
Stir in cheese, cottage cheese,
spinach, green chilies & melted
butter until evenly blended. Divide
mixture between pie crusts. Bake
15 minutes at 400 degrees, then
reduce oven temperature to 350
degrees F. Continue baking until
quiches are lightly browned & a
knife inserted into center comes
out clean, 35-40 minutes. Makes
2 quiches.

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe

Tuna Supreme Casserole

1 pkg. egg noodles, cooked & drained
2 cans cream of mushroom soup,
1 pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese (2 C.)
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cans tuna packed in water, drained (small
1 pkg. Ritz crackers
1 stick margarine, melted
1 C. mayonnaise
1/2 pkg. frozen mixed corn/peas/carrots
3-4 dashes hot sauce
1 small jar pimientos
1 C. ricotta cheese (optional)
3/4 C. water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix in large bowl: tuna, soup, onion,
mayonnaise, frozen veggies, hot sauce,
pimiento, ricotta, water & half bag
of shredded cheese. Fold in cooked egg
noodles, then spread mixture into greased
9 X 13 pan; cover with remaining cheese. Mix
melted margarine & crushed crackers until
well coated; sprinkle over casserole. Bake
until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Serves 6


Best Banana Pudding

1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 C. milk
1 (5 oz) box instant French vanilla pudding mix
6-8 bananas, sliced
2 bags/pkgs. butter cookies – any shape you like,
preferablly rectangular

Line bottom of 9 X 13 pan with bag of cookies;
layer bananas on top. In large bowl combine
milk & pudding mix; blend well using elec.
mixer. In another bowl, combine cream cheese &
condensed milk; mix until smooth. Fold Cool
Whip into cream cheese mixture then add
cream cheese mixture to pudding mixture; stir
until well blended. Pour mixture over cookies &
bananas – cover with remaining cookies.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

(recipe: Facebook- Chef Ron Lock)

Ham Fried Rice

1 small onion, chopped
1/2 pkg. fresh mushrooms, chopped
3 carrots, peeled & sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1 T. garlic, minced
4 C. cold, cooked rice
2 T. olive oil, divided
2 T. soy sauce
1 1/2 C. chopped, cooked ham
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
2 eggs
salt & pepper, to taste

Heat large skillet, add 1 T. olive oil,
garlic, onions, carrots & mushrooms –
season with salt & pepper. Saute until
crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Add 1 T.
olive oil, cold rice, soy sauce, ham, sugar &
sesame oil; stir well. Stir & cook until all
of rice is heated through & starts to brown
just a bit. Push rice mixture to side of pan;
crack eggs into a bowl & whisk, then pour
eggs into side of pan. Stir eggs around until
cooked (like making scrambled eggs), then
stir into rice mixture. Taste & adjust salt &
pepper to your liking. Remove from pan;
stir in green onions. Serves 6


Yesterday was a nice, quiet day – time enough to work on the knit baby hats, crochet more rows on the baby blanket and read a few chapters in my latest mystery; I don’t get many of those and was very happy to enjoy it while I could. Dinner was another batch of the Black Bean Chicken Soup – middle son was very happy to see it when he got home from work (if you might remember, last time I made it he told me he would be happy if I made it EVERY night for dinner!). I love it when there are leftovers and I don’t have to worry about “What’s for dinner?” I might throw together another loaf of the 3-Ingredient Banana Bread – that’s always tasty and easy to make (and husband likes it for breakfast).

Hope you are enjoying your day/night – even though it’s not really warm, I’m just happy it’s out of the ‘teens’ – we’re supposed to get warmer weather this coming week – we’ll see.



Another Goofy Day . . . sigh


not his car, but you get the idea – his was nose-first onto a big hump

Was awakened this morning rather early by husband who learned that middle son got home rather late from work – after getting his car stuck in a ditch and walking home. Fortunately, it was only on the next street over, so car was OK – son was OK. After some conversation with said son, he doesn’t have any more ‘tows’ on his car insurance, so ended up having to call a towing service ($75) to get it out of the snow bank – sigh. Husband helped him through all that (plus, thought he lost his phone – it was under his car seat). To top all that off, husband & I had a 10 a.m. dentist’s appointment, leaving exactly ONE HOUR for husband/son to get all that straightened out (they did – we made it to the dentist exactly on time, and it’s 25 minutes away!).

This same son is currently going through some real ‘stuff’ with his new cell phone – he decided to go with Virgin Mobile (bad choice – they don’t have any ‘places’ you can go to if you have problems; it’s all done on-line). He bought the phone at considerable cost, then when he called to have it activated the person he spoke to did ‘most’ of the activation, then informed him they were closing for the night, he’d have to call back in the morning. He did, spending 1/2 hour EACH with 2 different (almost non-English-speaking people) only to be told that he would have to call ANOTHER level to get it straightened out. Apparently Person #1 put the codes in, which would NOT allow anyone else to enter/check/etc. anything BECAUSE he didn’t finish the transaction! STUPID – right? After spending an equal amount of time with the THIRD LEVEL person, he was again informed they CAN’T DO ANYTHING, just send back the phone and we’ll issue another one! UGH! I find it interesting that now days you not only have to research the kind of phone you want, but also the kind of SERVICE their company will be giving you (or lack thereof!). I told him, after he got shot down with call person #2 that I would just tell them to take a flying leap and I’d go with another company – he told me: “Mom, I would BUT I’ve already paid for the phone! I can’t . . . NOW!” Crazy business…

My husband finds it amusing that almost everywhere we go (if I have my knitting/crochet) people stop and talk/ask questions about it. I gave out another of my knit group business cards to a lady in the dentist’s waiting room who just learned how to knit and couldn’t seem to wrap her brain around how I could knit something square and have it turn into a baby hat. As it happened, she was still there when we were leaving so I had the receptionist take the finished hat in for her to see – you just never know how people are going to react; I could hear my dentist saying: “She knit that JUST NOW?” (Yep, about 1/2 hour’s work).


Mini Apple Pies

1 pkg. crescent roll creations
1 apple pie filling
5 T. flour
2 T. sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs butter

Preheat oven to 350.
Roll out dough; use rolling
pin to flatten & enlarge dough.
Use pizza cutter to cut dough into
squares. Place dough in 8″ X 8″ pan.
Place one scoop of apple pie filling
in center of each square. In a separate
bowl combine flour & sugar, then cut in butter
until crumbly; sprinkle on top of each square.
Pull corners to the middle & add another dash
of the crumble. (You can use half the mixture or
add a lot depending on how much topping you like)
Bake 15 -17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove
from pan immediately.
Serve with ice cream or eat them COLD

(recipe: Pampered chef via Facebook)

Crockpot* Beef Burgundy

1/3 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 lb. cubed beef stew meat
1 1/2 C. fresh baby carrots, halved crosswise
1 (10 oz) pkg. fresh pearl onions, peeled
1 (8 oz) pkg. small fresh whole mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed beef consomme
1 1/2 C. water
fresh oregano, if desired

Combine flour, salt, pepper & beef in large
bowl; mix well & pour into crockpot. Add all
remaining ingredients; mix well. Cover &
cook on Low 10-12 hours or until carrots &
beef are tender. Serve over rice or noodles,
garnish with oregano, if desired. Serves 6

*Can also be made on stove using 3 1/2-4
qt. soup/stew tureen. If cooked on stovetop,
cook 3-5 hours.


Herb & Cheese Stuffed Roast Chicken

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. fresh rosemary leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced & divided
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 whole roasting chicken (3 1/2 lb.)
1 lemon, halved
1/4 C. olive oil, divided
2 large baking potatoes, (1 1/2 lb) peeled & cut
into chunks
2 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 lb) peeled & cut into

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix cream cheese, rosemary & half of garlic &
pepper. Starting a neck of chicken, use the handle
of a wooden spoon or fingers to carefully separate
skin from meat of the breast, thighs & legs, being
careful not to tear the skin. Spoon cream cheese
mixture under the skin; use fingers to spread
mixture out to thighs & legs. Place lemon halves into
cavity of chicken. Place chicken in shallow pan &
brush with 2 T. oil. Toss potatoes with remaining oil
& garlic in separate pan. Bake chicken & potatoes 1 1/4
to 1 1/2 hours or until chicken is done, stirring
potatoes every 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to large
serving dish, reserving juices in pan. Let chicken
stand 10 minutes. Spoon potatoes around chicken. Skim
fat from reserved juices; discard fat. Spoon juices
over chicken & potatoes. Serves 6

(recipe: Kraft Foods)

Easy Dinner Hash

1 T. vegetable oil
8 oz. bulk Italian sausage
1 potato, peeled & diced
1/4 onion, chopped
1 C. frozen mixed vegetables
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oil in large skillet over medium
heat. Stir in sausage; cook until
crumbly & slightly pink, about 5
minutes. Stir in potato & onion;
continue cooking until potatoes are
tender & have slightly browned,
10-15 minutes. Once potatoes are
tender, stir in mixed vegetables
until hot. Season with salt & pepper.
Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese before

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe
California Tortilla Pizza

2 tsp. cooking oil
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. chopped green pepper
2 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat;
cook & stir onion & green pepper until tender,
about 5 minutes. Place tortillas on an ungreased
baking sheet. Top with onion mixture, oregano,
garlic powder, tomato & cheese. Bake 8-10
minutes, until cheese is melted. Cut into four
wedges, each ‘pizza’. Makes 2 6″ pizzas

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Cheese-topped Grilled Tomatoes

4 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half
1/4 C. zesty Italian salad dressing
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. chopped fresh herbs (basil, chives, and/
or parsley
Heat grill to medium-high heat.
Place tomatoes, cut sides up, in 8 inch square foil
pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle
 tops with dressing; top with cheeses. Place pan
on grill grate. Grill 10-12 minutes or until mozzarella
is melted & tomatoes are heated through. Sprinkle
tops with herbs & serve. Serves 4

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

1 C. butter, melted
2 C. sugar
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. red food coloring (gel coloring)*
1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Layer:

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
*NOTE on coloring: if using regular
liquid coloring (instead of gel) you
might have to use up to 1 T. to get
red color – which might affect the taste
of the brownies.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Brownie Layer:
Place melted butter, 2 C. sugar, 1/3 C.
cocoa into stand mixer or large bowl. Mix
until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add
eggs, one at a time, mixing in between.
Add vanilla; mix in. Add flour & salt in a
small bowl, mix with fork, then add to
batter; mix until combined. Add gel coloring;
mix until red. Add choc. chips; mix until
combined. Line a 9 X 13 pan with waxed
paper/parchment paper or foil – spray with
nonstick spray. Spread batter evenly in pan.

Cream Cheese Layer:

Place softened cream cheese in mixer bowl;
beat until smooth. Add sugar, egg & vanilla;
mix until well combined. Drop cream cheese
mixture on brownie layer – smooth, using a
knife to swirl through both layers, creating a
marble effect. Bake 45-55 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Let cool on wire rack.

(recipe: Jamiecooksitup!)
Last night was our first night back in three weeks for my special needs group; the weather WAS cold (18 degrees F) and the wind chills were probably pretty low, but we still had 22 kids attend, so that wasn’t too bad. It was also Music/Birthday night but none of the three people who’s birthdays were in February came, so we just all ate frosted cupcakes and enjoyed them! It was really good to be back together – you could really see the kids missed being with each other. I love my group; one of our girls said, when we were talking about how good it was to be back: “Yep, it’s a miracle!” (she’s a riot – that’s almost her standard answer for everything).

Not much else new today – planning on Salmon Patties for dinner with baked potatoes & salad; it’s easy and a change from our meals lately (mostly having soups/stews). Am hoping (barring any other unforeseen situations/tragedy, etc.) to just knit more baby hats, work a little more on the crocheted baby afghan (I’m to the ‘increase length part’ now – with this pattern if you don’t do this part, you end up with a square) and reading. Nice, relaxing afternoon – I HOPE!

Our weather is FINALLY warming up! It’s 29 degrees F. and you can see the icicles melting! It’s supposed to gradually get warmer – today it’s a high of 29, mostly cloudy. (well, just looked up the forecast – I was wrong: it’s going to be HIGH’S of 18 for the next few days . . . guess I’d better ENJOY this HEAT WAVE of 29 degrees, right? Crazy…

Enjoy your day!



Home Again, Home Again – Jiggety Jog


Today was my ‘running errands’ day – what with 8 locations to stop at, I’m pretty tired but happy to get it all done! It’s been awhile since I went grocery shopping and we were running a bit low on ‘non-edible’ items like paper towels, garbage bags, Kleenex, etc. so I decided to combine that with a trip to the dollar store, library, 2 drug stores, the bank, mailbox, Tim Horton’s for coffee (last stop – treat for husband & I when I got home). When I got in the car the temperature was 11 F. and I thought: “ELEVEN? That’s COLD” and then it changed to 9 degrees F. and stayed there! Yes, it’s cold – makes your cheeks hurt if you’re out just walking from the car to the buildings, but I can still DRIVE in cold – not so much for the ‘S’ word (snow). I guess we’re supposed to stay in this really low temps. through until Thursday when it’s supposed to get up to (seasonally regular) 30 degrees – but I’ll believe that when I see it!

Gas prices have slowly crept up this week, from $3.39/9 to $3.44/9 – not a lot, but every little bit counts.

Grocery shopping thoughts: I went to Kroger today and was looking over their meats (I don’t usually buy meat there – (in my humble opinion) their prices are too high. Looking at whole chickens (and not BIG ones, either) for $6.00+, very SMALL roasts for $35.00!!!, 2 medium-sized pork  cube steaks for $6+ (I’m thinking: If I were to buy those, I’d need at least 6 to feed the four of us – too much! Twenty-four dollars for ONE MEAL? NO!) Yes, I’m (to choose a nice word) : FRUGAL! My husband attributes it to my Scots heritage – I think it has more to do with growing up rather poor; either way, I do know how to squeeze a penny and make it scream! Had fun using coupons plus Kroger on-line in-store coupons to save $14+, at the dollar store I had coupons and a (in the mail) $3.00 coupon for their store if you spent over $15 – just buying pop for my husband and bird feed was enough to pass that point! Stopping at WalGreen’s also saved me $$$ – I believe I’ve mentioned this one before, but checking Drug Stores for FOOD DEALS is a good idea. I got Aquafina bottled water (24 bottles – husband ONLY drinks this kind) for $3.99 (usually $5-6 a case), Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds cereal for $1.99 (usually $3.+) and a gallon of 2% milk for $2.29 – not bad!  While grocery shopping I kept thinking: WHAT am I going to make for dinner? then I spotted a nice, big turkey breast marked down, so bought that along with 2 turkey thighs. They are happily cooking in the crockpot along with cut up russet potatoes; I poured some zesty Italian salad dressing over the turkey, added salt/pepper/garlic powder and let ‘er cook. Husband & I both like stuffing with turkey, so I bought a box of that for us (the boys will have the potatoes) and a salad will round out the meal.


Greek Salad Layered Dip

1 seedless cucumber
kosher salt
2 C. Greek yogurt
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. + 2 T. chopped fresh mint
freshly ground black pepper
2 small vine-ripe or plum tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 C. pitted black olives, coarsely chopped

warm pita bread or corn chips, for serving

Grate cucumber on large holes of box grater
into a bowl. Toss with 1/4 tsp. salt & pour
into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl; let
stand 10 minutes. Using your hands, work
with a bit of cucumber at a time, squeeze the
excess liquid out of the cucumber; place cucumber
in large bowl. Add yogurt, feta, garlic, 1/4 C. chopped
mint, 1/4 tsp. salt & 1/4 tsp. pepper to bowl with
cucumber. Stir to combine; add more salt & pepper
if desired. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl. Toss
tomatoes, red onion, olives & remaining 2 T. mint
together in medium bowl. Sprinkle mixture over
cucumber mixture. Makes 4 Cups

(recipe: Food Network)

Chicken & Doritos Casserole

1 regular bag Doritos, crushed
1 rotisserie chicken, deboned & shredded
1 C. sour cream
1 C. milk
1 C. shredded cheese (Taco/Mexican or
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 packet taco seasoning mix

1 C. shredded cheese, for topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl mix all ingredients (except
Doritos). Place 1/3 Doritos (about 2 C.)
in bottom of greased 9 X 13 baking dish.
Top with half of chicken mixture. Pour
another 1/3 Doritos on top, followed by
remaining chicken mixture; top with
remaining Doritos. Bake 30 minutes;
remove from oven, top with cheese &
place back in oven 5 more minutes until
cheese melts. Remove from oven & allow
to rest 10 minutes before serving.


No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

1/2 C. butter or margarine
1/2 C. packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 C. peanut butter
2  1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Place butter, brown sugar, vanilla,
peanut butter & confectioners sugar
in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave
on high, 40 seconds – stir. Continue to
microwave & stir until all ingredients
form a ball of dough that leaves the
sides of the bowl. Pat this mixture
into a 9 X 13 pan. Pour chocolate
chips into another microwave-safe
bowl; microwave at 30 second intervals,
stirring after each, until completely
melted. Spoon over top of dough in
pan; spread evenly. Allow to cool
completely at room temperature until
chocolate hardens again or place in
fridge for faster hardening. Cut into
squares & serve.

(recipe: Facebook)

Cheddar, Jalapeno & Bacon Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C. beer
6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved/
seeded & thinly sliced

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat cream cheese & garlic powder
in medium bowl with elec. mixer
until blended. Gradually beat in beer.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread on
bottom of 1 1/2 qt. casserole or 9 inch
pie plate. Bake 15-20 minutes or until
heated through. Makes 16 (2 T ea) servings.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Sweet & Sour Pork

1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks in juice
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cubed
3 carrots, sliced
1 small green bell pepper, large chop
1 small red bell pepper, large chop
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. unsweetened pineapple juice
1/3 C. soy sauce
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
1/4 C. water
1/4 C. cornstarch

cooked rice

Spray crockpot with nonstick spray. Drain
pineapple, reserving juice & fruit separately.
Place meat in bottom of pot; sprinkle with
carrots, bell peppers & garlic. Mix pineapple
juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger & vinegar;
pour over meat in crockpot. Cook on High 3-5
hours or on Low 5-7 hours. Turn heat to High,
add pineapple chunks. Mix cornstarch & water;
add to pork mixture & stir well. Cook 20-30
minutes longer until thickened. Serve over cooked
rice. Serves 2-4

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Baked Potato Soup

2 russet potatoes, washed & dried
1 small head cauliflower, stem removed &
cut into florets
1 1/2 C. chicken broth
1 1/2 C. milk
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C. light sour cream
10 T. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
6 T. chopped chives, divided
3 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Pierce potatoes with fork, microwave on
High 5 minutes, turn over & microwave
another 3-5 minutes, until tender.* Cool,
peel potatoes. Steam cauliflower in water
in large, covered pot until tender. Drain &
return to pot. Over medium heat, add
chicken broth, milk, potatoes; bring to
boil. (using an immersion blender to
puree to smooth). Add sour cream,
half of chives, salt & pepper; cook on
low another 5-10 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Remove from heat.
Top each serving with 2 T. cheese,
remaining chives &

*If you wish, you can bake the
potatoes in a 400 degrees F.
oven 1 hour or until tender;
cool & peel.


Crushed Cracker Pork

1 lb. pork tenderloin
1 egg, beaten
1 T. steak sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 C. cheese crackers, finely crushed
2 T. vegetable oil, divided

Combine egg, steak sauce & garlic
powder in shallow dish. Place crushed
crackers in another shallow dish. Cut
tenderloin crosswise into 1/2 in. thick
slices. Pound or flatten slices to 1/4″
thickness. Dip each slice first into egg’
mixture, then cracker crumbs, turning
to coat. Heat 1 T. oil in large nonstick
skillet over medium heat until hot. Add
half of pork slices & cook 4-5 minutes per
side or until browned. Repeat with remaining
oil & pork slices. Serves 4


Crockpot Apple Crisp

1 (3.4 oz) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 C. sugar, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
10 Granny Smith apples (3 lb) , peeled &
1 C. fresh or frozen cranberries
6 T. butter, melted & divided
12 Nilla Wafer cookies, coarsely chopped
1/4 C. sliced almonds

whipped cream or thawed Cool Whip

Mix dry pudding mix, 1/4 C. sugar & cinnamon.
Toss fruit with 1/4 C. batter in large bowl. Add
pudding mixture; mix lightly; spoon into crockpot.
Cover with lid & cook on Low 4-6 hours or High
2-3 hours. Combine chopped Wafers, nuts, remaining
butter & sugar in shallow microwaveable dish. Micro-
wave on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave 1 1/2 – 2 minutes
or until golden brown, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool
Sprinkle top with nut mixture just before serving.
Serves 12, about 1/2 C. each
Good topped with whipped cream or Cool Whip

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Oh, almost forgot! My son got another A- on the second Art Design project! YAY! (Teacher said he would have gotten a solid A if we hadn’t watered down the paints, OR chose brighter colors – she said the colors at the bottom of the board were supposed to “POP” . . . sign).  Got a look at the next assignment – it’s a doozy, 2 weeks for this one: something about designing 2 patterns for snowboards, sort of like the t-shirt thing but with more mixing various color choices (go figure, it gave me a headache just looking at it!).

In case you’re wondering just ‘why’ I would involve myself so much in this project – son is working on a grant; IF he passes both classes he gets the grant money. He wants to use that money to pay us for a loan from awhile ago, plus buy a laptop. I’m not doing it for ‘me’ or the $$$, but I know how much this all means to HIM, therefore I’ll do what I can to help him through. As I’ve mentioned, this is NOT an easy art class (especially when you think he went into it thinking it was a BEGINNING DRAWING class – it’s definitely NOT!). Oh well, we all learn something new, almost every day – right? I’m just kind of pretending I’m back in college! (I thought it was cute: he asked me about my degrees from college and then said: “I thought a degree in Arts meant you were into ART!” . . . . no, dear – it means I had a TON of Sciences/History of Art & Music, classes – nothing to do with drawing/painting (as in: I’m doing the painting/drawing).

Hope you have a great day/evening – stay warm (or cool, depending on where you are), and remember to RELAX a little and enjoy at least a tiny part of your day!





ART DESIGN: Project #2-DONE! . . . YAY!!!


Here is Project #2 – The Color Wheel with it’s

accompanying Complimentary/Analgous charts

SOOOO glad this one is done! It wasn’t as difficult as the first one, but when you’re mixing acrylic paints, it can get dicey – for instance, just trying to get the right shade of orange. Yes, orange DOES come in a tube all mixed, but for this assignment, you must MIX YOUR OWN! That also goes for a VERY dicey VIOLET color (the teacher did warn the students that violet would be the most difficult to achieve and she wasn’t kidding!). Because of mixed messages between the teacher, my son, and myself, the left hand bottom portion of the chart had to be re-done (son told me: just copy what she did in the example – so I did! . . . turns out he meant: follow her EXAMPLE, but create your OWN color matches! UGH!) Between the two of us, it’s now a done-deal! (I also told him, when this class is all done – he owes me lunch!)

Our weather is cooperating still/yet – it’s clear and no new snow, 20 degrees right now at 4:10 p.m. – it’s good enough to go out shopping or drive in. In fact, we went to church yesterday! Let’s just say: missed 2 weeks, went 1, missed 2 more = a VERY anxious Pammie! It was like ‘old home’ week – everyone was just about in the same boat: “How long since you’ve been here?” was the sentence of the day.  Lots of hugs & smiles – you could really tell people were happy to be back in church!

Been experimenting a bit with the new donated yarns; I like trying new things so I dragged out some of my old afghan square knit patterns and applied them to some of the hats – to my pleasure! Added the “Granite Relief Pattern” to a brim, “Star stitch” to another, and “Elm Seed Stitch” to another. These patterns work best if done in a solid color, so you can see the stitch contrast. Right now I’m up to 19 Newborns & 18 Premie hats (I try to shoot for 25 of each before I deliver them – that way I figure the Obstetrics and Neo-natal Intensive Care units will have enough to hold them for a few months – hopefully!).


Gold=Granite Relief, Pink+Star stitch, Green=Elm stitch

Food-wise, nothing ‘special’ – made homemade Potato Soup for dinner last night; family was happy. With everyone in & out all the time it makes preparing dinner meals a bit difficult, as I never know HOW MANY people will be eating them! OH! Youngest came home last night with the announcement that he has another job and starts TODAY. (Not my choice of a job for him, but he wants to do it, so why stifle the effort?). He’s working at a Piercing Kiosk at the local mall (they sell ‘stuff’ for people who like pierced parts: ears/eye brows/lips/etc. He has his ears, bottom lip and septum (the part between your nose hole openings) pierced (go figure – his Dad & I both do NOT like that sort of thing – YUCK!). I was surprised when he said that the MALL ITSELF has a dress code for those working at kiosks – no tennis shoes, no jeans, no t-shirts/shirts with writing on them – basically clean & neat/business-like. He’s working 4 days this week, all training. Got up early and drove there only to find out he had the hours reversed: he went for 9 a.m. – 3 p.m./ it was supposed to be 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.! (He was bummed at spending the gas for two trips). He asked me yesterday why I kept “PUSHING” him to get another job – (I thought I was just ‘suggesting’ – oh, well). I told him most people operate on money and the ‘having’ of it – without a job there’s no gas money/money to spend on ‘stuff/movies/fast food, etc. We’ll see how long this job lasts – I’m not one for thinking those kiosk jobs are anything to hold onto for long. He says they pay $8.00 an hour & (I think) 5% commission for any sale. (I’m thinking: no sales, no pay – that’s just my ‘take’ on that kind of job, but I could be wrong).


Cowboy Casserole

1 1l2 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. milk
4 T. sour cream
1 (30 oz) bag frozen tater tots –
defrost about an hour before using

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet, cook onion until tender &
translucent; add garlic – cook 1 minute. Add
beef; cook over medium heat until no longer
pink; drain grease & place in large bowl. Set
aside. In small bowl, combine soup, milk &
sour cream; whisk until smooth. Add to
hamburger mixture; stir to combine. Grease
a 9 X 13 baking dish. Layer half of tater tots,
pour hamburger mixture over, then layer with
rest of tater tots. Sprinkle with remaining
1/2 C. cheese.Bake 25-30 minutes or until
golden brown & crunchy.

NOTE: Can be made ahead of time & refrigerated,
then baked.

(recipe: Facebook)
Sour Cream Banana Bread

1/2 C. margarine or butter
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. mashed banana
1/2 C. chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 C. sour cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease 1 large loaf pan. Cream
margarine, sugar, eggs & vanilla.
Add dry ingredients, then bananas,
nuts & sour cream; mix well then
pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake
1 hour. Makes 1 loaf

(recipe: Rhonda – Marys Recipe

Creamy Chicken Stew

3/4 lb. new potatoes, quartered
2 T. water
1 T. oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut
into bite-sized pieces
1 (10 3/4 oz.) cream of chicken soup
1/4 C. zesty Italian salad dressing
2 C. frozen peas & carrots
1/2 sour cream

Microwave potatoes & water in covered
microwavable dish on High 7 minutes or
until potatoes are tender. Heat oil in
large saucepan on medium-high. Add
chicken; cook 7 minutes or until evenly
cooked, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes,
soup, dressing & frozen vegetables to
saucepan; stir then bring to boil, covered.
Simmer on medium-low 3 minutes or until
chicken is done & vegetables are heated
through. Stir in sour cream; cook 1 minute
until heated through, stirring occasionally.
Serves 4 (1 1/2 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Pork Chops with Apples & Stuffing

1 (6 oz) pkg. stuffing mix for chicken
1 (21 oz) can apple pie filling
6 boneless pork chops, 3/4 ” thick

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Prepare stuffing as directed on pkg. Spread
pie filling on bottom of 9 X 13 baking pan sprayed
with nonstick spray; top with chops & stuffing,
cover with foil. Bake 35 minutes until chops are
done, uncovering last 5 minutes of baking. Remove
baking dish from oven; let chops stand 3 minutes
before serving. Serves 6

NOTE: Can be made using boneless, skinless chicken
breasts. Increase baking time as necessary until chicken
is done (165 degrees F.)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Cheesy Broccoli Toss

4 C. frozen broccoli florets
1/4 lb. Velveeta, cut into 1/2″
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook first 3 ingredients in large
nonstick skillet on medium-high
heat 5 minutes or until broccoli
is crisp-tender, cheese is melted &
mixture is heated through, stirring
occasionally. Sprinkle top with
Parmesan. Serves 4

NOTE: can also add 1 minced garlic
clove with the broccoli

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Potato & Bacon Soup

8 medium potatoes, cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 quart chicken broth
1 lb. bacon, chopped into 1″
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 C. Half & Half
1/4 C. butter
1 T. garlic powder
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt

Garnishes: extra shredded
cheese, bacon crumbles,
sliced green onions, sour

Fry bacon, reserving a little cooked
bacon for garnish. Place all ingredients
(except bacon garnish) into crockpot;
cover & cook on Low 8 hours. Serve
topped with shredded cheese, bacon
crumbles, sliced green onions, & sour

(recipe: thriftyand

Crockpot Cheddar Garlic Bread

2 C. Bisquick
2/3 C. milk
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 C. (stick) butter, melted
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Mix bisquick & cheese in a bowl; stir in
milk until mixed well. Grease a bread pan
(or put a piece of foil on the bottom of the
crockpot for ease of removal). Pour Bisquick
dough mixture into pan. Place pan in bottom
of crockpot and cook 1 hour 45 minutes  to
2 hours, on High – until toothpick inserted into
center of loaf comes out clean. Brush butter-
garlic mix on top of bread before serving. Makes
1 loaf.

(recipe: crock-pot ladies)

Crockpot Casserole Spaghetti

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 C. celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
or sauce
2 T. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
12 oz. spaghetti noodles or other
2 C. shredded cheese (your choice)

Cook ground beef; drain & cool
completely and place in crockpot.
Add green pepper, onion, celery,
garlic, tomatoes, chili pepper,
salt & pepper to crockpot. Cover &
cook on Low 7-8 hours or High 5-6
hours. When almost done, cook
spaghetti noodles (or pasta) accordg.
to pkg. directions; drain & add to
crockpot plus about 1 C. cheese; mix
well. Add more cheese to top and serve.
Serves 6-8


Kick-off Popper Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 lb. Velveeta, cut into 1/4″ cubes
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded/chopped fine
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 on medium
bowl until blended. Stir in Velveeta &
peppers; spread on bottom of a 9″
pie plate. Mix cracker crumbs & butter;
sprinkle over dip. Bake 20 minutes or
until heated through. Top with onions.
Makes 18 (2 T. ea.) servings
Serve with crackers, for dipping

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Hawaiian Dream Trifle

1 (10″) store made angel food cake
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (12 oz) jar pineapple preserves
1 C. sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
(reserve 1 T. for garnish)
2/3 C. toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
(reserve 1 T. for garnish)
2 (3.4 oz, ea) boxes (4 serving size)
instant coconut cream pudding mix
3 C. cold milk
1 (16 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed &

Cut or tear cake into bite sized pieces; set aside.
In medium bowl, combine crushed pineapple &
1/2 jar preserves; mix well – set aside. In large
bowl, combine instant pudding mixes & milk;
using wire whisk, mix well. Add 1 C. Cool Whip,
mix & set aside. Using a trifle bowl or large glass
bowl, layer ingredients:
half of cake pieces
half of pineapple
half coconut
half macadamia nuts.
Spread half of pudding over all and repeat layers.
Spread remaining pudding over all. Generously
spread top with Cool Whip; garnish with toasted
coconut & nuts. Cover & refrigerate 1 hour.
Serves 8-10



That’s about ‘it’ for now – hope you are happy, healthy, warm & comfortable (that about covers it all -right?).



Mama Don’t Get NO REST!


Yep, it’s another ‘Rope your mother into your Art Project” day! (HONEST: I sincerely TRIED to get him to have his DAD do this one . . . that lasted about 20 minutes – at the most). This project is to construct a Color Wheel (not bad, right?) BUT his teacher REALLY wants them to get all the concepts of how colors combined make different colors (or – in HER terms: Complimentary and Analgous colors . . . sigh). Let’s just say, after Dad, son & I worked on said project for a good 2-3 hours, it’s ready to be pasted on the foam board for Tuesday’s class presentation. This one required cutting out tons of little 1″ X 2″ rectangles from cardboard (or FANCY cardboard: Bristol board), then painting them with water colors to make the various colors in the Color Wheel PLUS making 11 shades/variants of all white to total black. WAaaaaaaaaaay back when I was taking Art classes from Art Instruction Schools I had a similar assignment: draw then paint a picture of a lady wearing a fur coat, using something like 15 variations of blacks/greys/white – let’s just say I don’t remember PASSING that assignment. It might sound easy to make 11 variations of white/gray/black but believe me – it isn’t. (I warned son, and he said: “It’ll be easy!” . . . by the end, he agreed with me (only after making I-can’t-tell-you-how-many rectangles of greys and still not getting enough difference between one and the one next to it).   I’m beginning to think of suggesting when he passes this class, he owes me at least a LUNCH!  (I love my husband, but he’s VERY …to the extreme…precise about his art ideas. When he was trying to show son about how to make a grey from beginning white he was saying: “Now you put 1 drop of white, then add 1 drop of black & mix them. If that isn’t enough you must continue to add EXACT amounts of each color to get the color you want.” (Maybe in HIS world, but in our family I’M THE ARTIST and there AIN’T NO WAY I mix colors that exactly/precisely! About 10 minutes of that and son was ready to pull his hair out! Somehow Dad got distracted and went to play on his computer game, leaving ‘guess who’ to take over. (Aside from the every-so-often comment of: “Is the project DONE yet?” from him, we did just like last project and kept plugging away.) I finally announced that there was NO WAY I was staying up until 2:30 a.m. like last time, I’d take it up in the morning, and I went to bed. Sometimes you just HAVE to step away from a project and get some relaxation or you’ll just go crazy!

(NOTE: I’m not trying to ‘toot my own horn’ in saying I’m the artist, but of all of our family members I am the only one with formal training and lots of art experience from doing huge commercial backdrops for Jacobson’s Ladies Wear in Pontiac, big Christmas displays for our Junior High school (those were about 6 ft tall) to lots and lots of church backdrops for Easter Dramas to lots & lots of 6 ft X 9 ft posters for the church halls – yep, I’ve ‘been there – done that’.)

Yesterday was also a day for lots of activity; husband & I drove to Comcast to exchange our cable receiver- On Demand stopped working then stopped at Costco to get a membership. I knew it had been a very long time (10 years when they looked it up) since we were members; during that time I totally forgot exactly how HUGE that store is! (side note: I am sometimes given to anxiety attacks due to Agoraphobia: fear of crowds/large places) but haven’t had them in a long time . . . let’s just say, being in Costco really triggered one! I felt bad for my dear husband because he just kept saying: “Take deep breaths – you’ll be alright!” No, I wasn’t panicking, but just had the ‘Fear or Flight’ syndrome: the feeling that I just HAD to RUN and GET OUT OF THERE! Let me tell ya – it’s not fun. The longer I was there with all the VERY RUDE shoppers, huge floor-to-ceiling displays, around-every-aisle people demoing all sorts of food stuffs – the faster I wanted to leave. We ended up picking up a rotisserie chicken ($4.99) and a huge all-meat pizza ($8.99) and then we left. Husband graciously said: “Well, maybe the boys & I will come shopping here and you can just make us a list.”  After considering the entire experience, I’m not sure I, personally, will EVER return there. I know that sounds extreme, but I know my limits. (See? Now you know one of my biggest shortcomings).

Also had grandson yesterday (after the Costco thing) – we spent some fun time together; it’s always nice to be able to just play together.  Middle son’s girlfriend also made an appearance – it was like an Open House around here for awhile once oldest son arrived to pick up grandson but it slowly calmed down.


Peanut Butter Balls
(makes 12)

2/3 C. creamy peanut butter
4 tsp. sugar
1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. honey
1/2 C. 80% dark chocolate

In small bowl, blend peanut butter,
sugar & flour; dough will be stiff. Taste
for sweetness and adjust if needed. Using
a small scoop, measure out mixture & roll
in hands to form balls. Place in refrigerator
at least 30-60 minutes until firm.
On top of the stove (or microwave):
Melt chocolate. Insert toothpick into cooled
peanut butter balls & carefully dip in melted
chocolate. Place balls on waxed paper & allow
to cool. Keep refrigerated until time to serve.

Peanut Butter Cup Version:
 Place mini liners into mini muffin pan. Spoon
1/2 tsp. melted chocolate into bottom of liners
followed by 1/2 of a peanut butter ball. Top with
1 tsp. more melted chocolate. Refrigerate.
Chicken Enchilada Skillet

12 corn tortillas, torn into bite-sized
3 C. shredded, cooked chicken (about 12 oz)
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel diced tomatoes & green
chiles, undrained
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 C. shredded Cheddar & Monterey Jack
blend cheese, divided

Spray large skillet with nonstick spray. Add
tortilla pieces & chicken; mix well. Cook over
medium-high heat 5 minutes or until hot,
stirring frequently. Pour undrained tomatoes,
enchilada & tomato sauces over chicken mixture
in skillet; mix well. Sprinkle 1/2 C. cheese over
chicken mixxture. Cover skillet; cook 5 minutes
or until hot, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with
remaining 1/2 C. cheese. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 (1 C. each)


Crockpot Beef & Broccoli

1 C. water, divided
1/4 C. soy sauce
3 T. firmly packed brown sugar
1 T. finely chopped garlic
1 T. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 lb. beef flank steak
2 T. cornstarch
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen broccoli florets
hot, cooked rice (for serving)

Spray inside of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Stir together 3/4 C. water, soy
sauce, brown sugar, garlic & ginger
in large bowl. Add beef; turn to coat
with mixture. Place in crockpot; cover &
cook on Low 7 1/2 hours or High 3 1/2
hours, until beef is tender. Remove beef
from crockpot. Combine cornstarch &
remaining 1/4 C. water in small bowl; stir
into crockpot. Cover & cook on High 15
minutes or until sauce thickens. Pull beef
into shreds with 2 forks; cover to keep
wram. Place broccoli in microwaveable
bowl. Cover & microwave on High 5
minutes or until broccoli is thawed. Add
beef & broccoli to crockpot; stir to
combine. Cover & cook on High 15
minutes more or until mixture is hot.
Serve with rice. Serves 6 (1 C. each)


Mexican Monkey Bread

1 (16.3 oz) can refrigerated buttermilk
biscuits, quartered, divided
2 t. butter, melted
1 1/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese,
3/4 C. canned sliced jalapeno peppers,
drained & divided
3/4 tsp. parsley flakes, divided
1/4 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 5 loaf pan with nonstick spray.
Dip 1/3 of the biscuit pieces in butter; place
in prepared pan. Top with 1/2 C. Cheddar,
1/4 C. peppers & 1/4 tsp. parsley; repeat
layers. Cover with remaining dipped biscuit
pieces, peppers & parsley, top with mozzarella &
remaining Cheddar. Bake 40-45 minutes or until
golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes; invert onto
plate & remove pan. Serve bread warm.
Serves 12

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Marvelous Minestrone Soup

2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can chick peas (garbanzo beans),
drained & rinsed*
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 C. frozen Italian-style vegetable blend
1/2 C. elbow macaroni, uncooked
1/4 C. zesty Italian salad dressing
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Place all ingredients (except cheese) in large
pot, bring to boil. Simmer, on medium-low,
6-8 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Serve
topped with cheese. Serves 6

*can substitute canned red or white kidney
beans (cannellini), drain & rinse

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Cheesy Chicken/Rice Casserole

2 chicken breasts (1 lb) or
2 C. cooked, shredded chicken
1 t. chicken bullion granules
salt & pepper
1 1/2 C. white rice, cooked
2 T. onion, finely chopped
1/2 C. celery, chopped
2/3 C. mayonnaise
1 T. lemon juice
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/4 C. water
3/4 C. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
2 C. crushed potato chips

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place chicken breasts in large, deep skillet;
pour hot water over. Add 1 tsp. chicken
bullion granules & touch of salt & pepper.
Bring to boil over medium-high heat; cover
& cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 15
minutes. Remove from pan; shred with 2 forks
then place back in pan; let simmer 5 minutes
more. Remove chicken from pan; place in large
mixing bowl. (Save water – using later) Add
1 1/2 C. cooked rice to bowl; add onion, celery
& mayonnaise. Add lemon juice, chicken soup
(undiluted) & 1/4 C. water (can use water chicken
was cooked in); mix until well combined. Spray a
9 X 13 baking pan with nonstick spray; spread
mixture into pan. Sprinkle with 3/4 C. sharp
Cheddar cheese & top with crushed potato chips.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until heated through & cheese
is melted. Serves 6-7

(recipe: Jamie Cooks It UP!)

Easy Carrot Cake

1 (2 layer) box spice cake mix
1 c. Miracle Whip salad dressing
4 eggs
1/4 C. water
2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 carrots, shredded (about 2 C.)
1 C. plus 2 T. chopped walnuts, divided
1/4 C. raisins

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. butter, softened
2 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. zest & 1 tsp. juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat first 5 ingredients in large bowl with
elec. mixer 3 minutes. Stir in carrots, nuts &
raisins. Pour into greased (or sprayed) 9 x 13
baking dish. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool Completely.

Beat cream cheese & butter in large bowl with
mixer until blended. Gradually beat in sugar. Add
lemon zest & juice; mix well then spread onto cake.
Sprinkle top with remaining nuts just before
serving. Serves 16

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Fried Pickle Chips

Canolla oil for frying
1 egg
3/4 C. milk
pinch cayenne
1/4 C. cornstarch
1/2 C. cornstarch
1/2 C. cornmeal
2 T. chopped dill
2 tsp. paprika
salt & pepper
3 dozen cold pickle slices

Ranch dressing for dipping

Beat egg, milk & cayenne. Place
1/4 C. cornstarch in shallow dish.
In another dish mix cornstarch &
cornmeal with chopped dill, paprika,
salt & pepper. Dip pickle slices in plain
cornstarch, then egg wash, then corn-
meal mixture. Heat about 2 inches
canola oil in skillet to 375 degrees F.
Fry pickle slices in oil until golden, about
3 minutes. Drain on paper towels & serve
with ranch dressing. Serves 4

(recipe: Food Network)

Chili Dog Nachos

1 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
salt & pepper
2 hot dogs, sliced into 1/2 ” pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 bag yellow corn tortilla chips
1 (10 oz) bag shredded yellow
Cheddar cheese
sour cream – garnish
salsa – garnish
2 chopped scallions – garnish

Heat medium skillet over high heat; add
oil then beef; brown & crumble with wooden
spoon about 2 minutes. Season with salt &
pepper; add chopped hot dogs & continue
browning another 3 minutes. Add onions &
seasonings, Worcestershire, chili powder & cumin;
cook another 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce; simmer
5 minutes.
Preheat broiler
Arrange corn chips on a platter or in a casserole
dish. Top chips with cooked chili dog topping;
cover topping with cheese. Melt cheese under
broiler 2 minutes until melted & bubbly. Garnish
with sour cream, salsa & chopped scallions.
Serves 4

(recipe: Food Network)

Apple Slab Pie

1box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts,
softened as directed on box
1cup granulated sugar
3tablespoons all-purpose flour
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4teaspoon salt
1 1/2tablespoons lemon juice
9cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (9 medium)

1 C. powdered sugar

1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts,
 softened as directed on box
1 C. granulated sugar
3 T. flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 T. lemon juice
9 C. thinly sliced, peeled apples (9 medium)
1cup powdered sugar

2 T. milk

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Remove pie crusts from pouches, unroll
& stack crusts one on top of the other on
lightly floured surface. Roll to 17 X 12 inch
rectangle. Fit crust into 14 X 10 X 1 inch pan
pressing into corners. Fold extra pastry crust
under, even with edges of pan; crimp edges.
Mix granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg,
salt & lemon juice; stir in apples to coat. Spoon
apple mixture into crust-lined pan. Bake 33-38
minutes or until crust is golden brown & filling
is bubbling. Cool on rack 45 minutes. Mix
powdered sugar & milk until well blended.
Drizzle over pie, allowing glaze to set before
serving, about 30 minutes.

(recipe: Facebook)

I promise, when the Color Wheel is done, I’ll take a photo. One good thing? This class is over some time in April! No rest for the wicked, I guess. (or crazy Mommas who get involved . . . sigh).

Our weather is cold: 18 degrees F. with 40% chance of snow tonight BUT we’re already planning on GOING TO CHURCH in the morning! NO MORE of this missing church – it’s been too long and I want to go!!! (almost sounds like some of the responses I got when I called my special needs kids this Tuesday telling them we weren’t meeting on Weds. – they WANT to go to church!) It will be good to be ‘back’, see our friends, worship together and learn in our Sunday School class (we have a special teacher for 6 weeks: son-in-law of our teacher, he’s a History teacher by trade and an EXCELLENT Bible teacher – I’m bummed I missed 2 weeks, but tomorrow will get us back on track.).

Still plugging away on baby hats: making use of some of the donated yarn – finished 2 hats and am 1/2 way done with #3. With the amount of yarn given to me, I could be knitting for YEARS!

Hope you’re in good health, relaxing a bit and not letting this goofy weather totally make you crazy. Even though it’s cold out, I don’t mind it so much – you can WALK, DRIVE and move about in cold but not so much in deep snow.