And We’re Off – AGAIN!

Yep, I’m ‘back in the game’ – the ART DESIGN PROJECT game, of course! This particular project is (in my opinion) VERY touchy/difficult only in that it not only requires you cut things out of construction paper very finely BUT it requires you to think OPPOSITE of what your normal brain-thinking would be. I’ll attempt to explain: this project is supposed to be a book cover BUT it’s in REVERSE – think of an old-time film negative: that which is white is black/etc. The book covers are to be done on 6 X 6″ bristol (kind of thick cardboard) board using cut out construction paper for the designs. We are to chose 5 book titles (as given by the teacher) and come up with designs for them. On the back of the presention board they are to render a 2 X 2″ square in black & white that is the opposite of the front design (see what I mean about brain-thinking? His teacher did tell the class normal people don’t think this way, so it’s very difficult to wrap your brain around this idea – at least for ME it was!) Here is what we’ve done so far:


This is the cover, done in black & light blue, here is the back side 2 X 2″ black & white


(I had to show this in 2 photos, since this one is done) The rest have not been glued to the presentation boards yet, so I photographed them, not glued, on a white board)


The book title is:  Sunset Yoga


This book title is: Greek Architecture

(it kind of looks crooked, but it’s only resting on the white board, not glued)

We still have two more designs to finish; I sketched out my ideas for the last two, but middle son has to make up his mind how he wants to do them. At the last minute he suddenly decided to change-up one of the titles (oh, great . . . sigh). We’ll see what happens. (Ah, yes – son just got home and said (about the Greek Architecture one)
“Don’t you remember? The teacher said she wants the design moved over closer to the middle of the page?” Let’s just say I wasn’t happy (to put it mildly!) His comment: “Mom, you don’t take criticism well.” YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!  This is where I just back off and see how he does the rest of this, right?

Not much new around here – Knit/Movie night went very well: 11 people and a TON of food! The funny thing? Four people said they were bringing dessert, none (at the time) said exactly WHAT dessert. Come that night – we ended up with FOUR batches of CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES! How funny! Watched the movie: “Dear John”; some really liked it, I thought it was OK.

Today was ‘supposed’ to be the finish of our roofing/gutters project (we let them delay finishing due to all the snow & ice). They came out and said: “The weather is supposed to get worse today – snow & rain, so we’ll call as soon as we get clearer weather.” That’s fine – we had nothing ELSE to do, anyway! Good old Winter/Spring – ya just never know whether it’s going to be clear or snowy! I saw two robins yesterday! (for us, here in Michigan, they are a harbinger of Spring!).


Ooey-Gooey Chicken

6 boneless, skinless hcicken thighs
1 (13.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 C. water
1 T. dry Italian salad dressing mix (see below)
1 T. quick cooking tapioca
3/4 C. Greek-style plain yogurt (or sour cream),
room temperature (to prevent curdling)
1 T. flour
salt & pepper
bacon bits (optional)

Cooked rice, noodles or potatoes

Place chicken in crockpot. Pour cream of
chicken soup, water, dressing mix &
tapioca over top. Cover & cook on Low
4-6 hours. Remove chicken & shred or
cut into pieces. In a bowl, stir together
Greek yogurt (or sour cream) & flour. Add
mixture to crockpot & stir. Add chicken
back to crockpot; stir into creamy mixture.
Salt & pepper, to taste. Serve over cooked
rice, noodles or potatoes (top with a
spoonful of bacon bits, if desired)
Serves 6

Dry Italian Dressing Mix:
(Makes large amount – if you
want to use it for salads, also or
just use the required amount above
for this recipe)

1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. sugar
2 T. dried oregano
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. ground basil
1 T. dried parsley
2 T. salt
Mix all ingredients & store in an
airtight container.
(IF you want to make it into
salad dressing:)

2/3 C. apple cider vinegar
2/3 C. olive oil
2 T. water
2 T. dry mix

In a jar, combine all 4 ingredients &
shake. Store in the jar with a lid, in
the refrigerator.

(recipe: 365 days of
Chicken Noodle Casserole

1 (8 oz) pkg. egg noodles
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10.5 oz) can onion soup
1 1/2 C. colby cheese, grated
1 C. chopped celery
1 (2 oz) jar sliced pimentos
1/4 C. slivered almonds
2 (10 oz, ea) cans chunk chicken or
1 1/2 C. cooked, chopped chicken
buttered bread crumbs

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Cook noodles accordg to pkg directions.
Combine soups & cheese in small saucepan;
heat until cheese is melted. Combine cooked
noodles, soup & cheese mixture, celery, pimentos,
almonds & chicken. Pour into a 2 1/2 qt. greased
casserole dish. Sprinkle buttered bread crumbs on
top. Bake 40-45 minutes.  Serves 4


Zucchini-Onion Frittata

3 T. butter
2 T. vegetable oil
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, cut in half & sliced
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 large eggs
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
chopped, seeded plum tomatoes (garnish)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt butter with oil in 12″ ovenproof skillet
over medium-high heat. Add zucchini & onion,
saute 12-14 minutes or until onion is tender.
Remove from heat & stir in 1/4 C. Parmesan
cheese. Whisk together eggs & next 3 ingredients
on list at least 1 minute or until well blended;
pour over vegetable mixture. Bake 13-15 minutes or
until set; increase oven temp. to broil & broil
5 1/2 inches from heat 1-2 minutes or until edges
are lightly browned. Sprinkle evenly with remaining
1/4 C. Parmesan & basil. Garnish, if desired.
Makes 6-8 servings

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Bacon-Horseradish Dip

1 (16 oz) tub sour cream (or Greek-style
plain yogurt)
3 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients until well blended.
Refrigerate several hours or until
chilled. 18 servings, 2 T. each
Serve with crackers, chips or cut-up
fresh vegetables

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Chocolate Bundles

1/2 pkg. (17 1/4 oz) Pepperidge Farm
Frozen Puff pastry sheets – 1 sheet
1 (6 oz) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/4 C. chopped walnuts
confectioners sugar

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature
30 minutes.
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Mix chocolate pieces & walnuts; set aside.
Unfold pastry onto lightly floured surface.
Roll into 12 inch square. Cut into 9 (4 inch)
squares. Place about 2 T. chocolate mixture
in center of each square. Brush edges of squares
with water. Fold corners to center on top of
filling & twist tightly to seal. Fan out corners.
Place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake
15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from
baking sheet & cool on wire rack 10 minutes.
Sprinkle tops with confectioners sugar. Makes 9.

For large puffs, cut pastry into 4 (6 inch) squares
and place about 1/3 C. chocolate mixture into
center of each. Continue as directed above.
Makes 4.



Chicken with Garlic, Basil & Parsley

1 T. dried parsley, divided
1 T. dried basil, divided
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tomatoes, sliced

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
Sprinkle 1 tsp. parsley & 1 tsp. basil over bottom
of dish. Arrange chicken breast halves in dish;
sprinkle evenly with garlic slices. In a small bowl,
mix remaining 2 tsp. parsley, basil, salt & red
pepper; sprinkle over chicken. Top with tomato
slices & bake, covered, 25 minutes. Remove
cover, continue baking 15 minutes or until
chicken juices run clear. Serves 4.

(recipe: Pilgrims .com)

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

5-6 potatoes, peeled & cubed
1/2 C. milk
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. tub sour cream
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
12 slices bacon, cooked crisp/crumbled

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place potatoes in large pot filled with
water to cover potatoes; bring to boil
over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer
20-25 minutes; drain well. Mash potatoes
until light & fluffy. In large bowl, beat all
other ingredients (except Cheddar cheese &
bacon) until smooth & creamy. Spoon into
lightly greased 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle top with
cheese & bacon. Cover & bake 30 minutes or
until heated through. Serves 10-12

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

CheesyCauliflower Patties

1 head cauliflower
2 large eggs
1/2 C. Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 C. panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
olive oil

Cut cauliflower into florets; cook in
boiling water until tender, about 10
minutes; drain. Mash florets while
still warm. Stir in cheese, eggs, panko,
cayenne & salt to taste. Coat bottom
of a griddle or skillet with olive oil
over medium-high heat. Form
cauliflower mixture into patties about
3 inches across. Cook until golden-
brown & set, about 3 minutes per
side. Keep each batch warm in oven
while cooking the rest.


Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

1 loaf Rhodes bread (in freezer section),
1/2 C. softened butter
3/4 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 C. finely chopped apple (Granny
Smith preferred)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 C. “Homemade Basic Caramel”
(recipe below)

Grease a 9 X 13 pan with nonstick
spray (or two 8 X 8 pans)
In small bowl combine sugar & cinnamon
for filling. Toss diced apples with lemon
juice in small bowl. On floured surface,
roll out Rhodes dough to approx. 12 X 16
inches; spread with softened butter &
sprinkle top with cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Evenly sprinkle diced apples on top then
drizzle Basic caramel on top of apples.
Starting on long side, roll up dough into a
cylinder; pinch edge to close. Cut dough
into 12 equal circles. (NOTE: it’s easier if
you start with a center cut then work your
way out). Place circles cut-side-down, into
greased pan – try to leave a little bit of space
around each roll, for rising. Let rolls rise
45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Bake rolls 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-2 C. powdered sugar
dash vanilla flavoring
2 T. milk

Mix well with elec. mixer & frost cooled
rolls. Drizzle Homemade Caramel over each
roll before serving.

Homemade Caramel

2 C. packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 C. heavy whipping cream
3/4 C. dark corn syrup
2 T. unsalted butter
2 tsp. kosher salt

Fill a bowl halfway with ice & water. Combine
ingredients in medium saucepan; bring to
boil over medium-high heat. Cook until
mixture registers 250 degrees F. on a candy
thermometer, about 10-20 minutes (could be
longer). Immediately dip bottom of saucepan
in ice water bath & let chill until bubbles have
subsided, about 1 minute. Stir until stiff caramel
from bottom is incorporated into warm caramel
on top. Remove from water bath,

Visited the library yesterday and checked out another five books; think that’s what I’m going to do today (plus finally make the much-awaited lasagna.) Still working on reading through the many Dee Henderson novels – I like her writing style: enough action/suspense to keep you wanting to read more. Also checked out two Debbie MacComber books; she writes lady-type novels AND books with knitting! (I’ve read several of them – good, kinda ‘fluffy’ stories).

It’s a rather cold/chilly/gloomy day here, temp. 33 degrees F. (perfect SNOW temperature – yippie). Today is one of those days where you just want to snuggle up under a nice, warm afghan and read a good book – or knit! Think I might just do BOTH!

Enjoy your day!



ps: Sorry about the font size on some of the recipes – I try my best to make them legible, but this blog site (I’m guessing) keeps adjusting the size and I don’t know how to change it! I either get super tiny print or HUGE – there’s not nice in-between medium there!


Having “I Might as Well” kind of days!


Have you ever had that kind of day? Let me explain: last night, on the way home from evening church I got to thinking about a few errands I was going to do the NEXT day – while I was driving it struck me: “I might as well see if the grocery store is open and grab those cans of beans I need for chili.” (I should explain: earlier that day I stopped at the grocery store only to run into a power failure while I was there – customers please leave the building). We live in the area of the power outage so I knew – total time without power? 5 HOURS! Today, while attempting to help middle son with another art project I decided to see if I could find some NEWER construction paper (mine is very old – circa the 1960’s!) I needed a dark/navy blue color and mine had faded to a middle purple. Called up a local dollar store and they said they had some so I made the trip (they had a tiny pad with THREE colors: pink, yellow & light green – no help). I sat there thinking: “Do I really want to just go home and forget the navy blue OR do I want to go across the street to Meijers which ALSO has the tossed salad materials I will be needing tomorrow for the Knit/Movie night?” (insert: Might as Well) in here. They did have construction paper in two different sized pads BUT no navy blue! I bought the smaller pad anyway, since some of their colors are brighter than what I have. It seems strange, but the ‘might as well’ actually is saving me some trips; YES, I would still have needed to go, but this way tomorrow is free until around 6 p.m. when I would leave for Knit/Movie night. Right now there’s chili in the big pot and I’m using this time as a break from the art project. It’s a doozie! The teacher wants the images to be reversed – think of an old photo negative: that which is black is white, etc. Kinda blowing my mind attempting to think that way! We’re only allowed to use TWO colors (and that includes the background – not an easy assignment!).

Today was also a ‘get it done’ day – baked a loaf of banana nut bread, loaded & ran the dishwasher, did a load of laundry, worked on the art project, did the shopping, knit a baby hat – now I can relax a little with you! Finally got a call back from the hospital I deliver the baby hats to (thought it was kind of strange they didn’t answer their phone OR call me back!). Turns out the lady I used to deal with doesn’t work there anymore – got a very nice older lady who’s a volunteer – now the Volunteer Office handles my project! Made an appointment for a week from today to deliver them (friend who’s been knitting hats still has more to turn in – I’ll pick them up Sunday at church). I’m just doing the 100 hats for now, any more I’ll save for the next delivery.


Strawberry-Banana Muffins

3/4 C. butter, room temp.
2/3 C. light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 C. cake flour
1 C. all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 C. fresh strawberries, sliced
2 T. granulated sugar

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large bowl, cream butter. Add
sugar; blend well. Puree bananas in
food processor. Stir pureed bananas &
eggs into butter mixture, beating until
batter is smooth. In medium bow, sift
together cake flour, all-purpose flour, salt,
baking soda & baking powder. Add flour
mixture to batter & mix well. Stir in
sliced strawberries. Spoon batter into
greased muffin tins or foil-lined tins.
Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar.
Bake 20 minutes. Serve warm.


Aimee's Quick Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 oz. Dijon mustard
1/4 C. teriyaki sauce
1/4 C. bacon bits
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place chicken in 9 X 13 baking pan. Slather
mustard evenly over chicken, then pour
teriyaki sauce evenly over all. Sprinkle top
with bacon bits, then cover with cheese.
Bake 35-45 minutes (check chicken for 
doneness-making sure juices run clear). 
Serves 4

(recipe: Peg - Marys Recipe Exchange)
Lemon-Shrimp Pasta Toss

3 C. bow tie pasta, uncooked
1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, cut into
2 inch lengths
1 C. zesty Italian salad dressing
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 lb. cooked, cleaned large shrimp
1 C. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (8 oz ) pkg. Colby-Monterey Jack
cheese crumbles (Kraft)
Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed
on pkg; omitting salt & adding asparagus
to cooking water for last 3 minutes; drain.
Rinse with cold water; drain well. Mix 
dressing, oregano & lemon zest. Place
pasta mixture in large bowl; add dressing
mixture, shrimp, tomatoes & cheese;
mix lightly. Serves  12 (3/4 C. each)

Salad can be made ahead of time.
Refrigerate up to 24 hours before

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Santa Fe Enchilada Bake

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts,
cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (16 oz) jar thick salsa
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen corn*
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 C. sour cream
1 1/2 C. Mexican-style finely shredded
Four Cheese (Kraft)
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Cook & stir chicken, onions & peppers in 
large nonstick skillet on medium heat 10
minutes or until chicken is done; stir in salsa
& corn. Arrange 6 tortillas on bottom on a 
9 X 13 baking pan; cover with layers of
half of chicken mixture, sour cream & cheese; 
repeat layers & cover. Bake 40 minutes or
until heated through, uncovering for last
10 minutes. Serves 8

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with chopped tomatoes, shredded
lettuce & chopped fresh cilantro just before

*you can substitute 1 rinsed & drained (15 oz) 
can kidney beans for the corn

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Potato Chip Chocolate PIe

1 ready made pie crust, unbaked 9 inch, deep dish
2 large eggs
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
3/4 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. salted potato chips, crushed
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Beat eggs using elec. mixer until foamy. Add flour,
sugar, brown sugar & butter; mix until just combined.
Add potato chips & chocolate chips; mix well. Pour
mixture into pie crust and bake 55-60 minutes. Serves 8

(recipe: Sandy-Marys Recipe Exchange)
Crab Dip

1 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (6 oz) jar artichoke hearts
3/4 C. mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. dried dill
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green onions, chopped
1 (8 oz) pkg. fresh lump crab meat
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cream Parmesan & cream cheese using
elec. mixer. Add artichokes, mayo, dill &
garlic; mix well. Add green onions & 
lump crab meat just until well blended.
Bake 40 minutes. Serves 4

(recipe: Nicole -
Bacon-wrapped Cream Cheese

12 slices hickory bacon, thick cut
8 slices sandwich bread
1 (8 oz.) TUB cream cheese (garlic & herb
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
3 T. Old Bay seasoning
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Add smoked paprika to tub of
cream cheese; mix until combined.
On 4 slices bread, generously spread
cream cheese mixture; top with another
slice of bread. Cut off crusts. Cut each
sandwich in 3 rows, turn & cut in half
making 6 bites. Cut 12 slices bacon in
half; wrap each bite with slice of bacon, 
secure with wooden toothpick. Cover a
cookie sheet with foil & spray with non-
stick spray. Add wrapped bacon bites
to sheet; sprinkle Old Bay over each one.
Place in center rack of oven; bake 25-30
minutes until bacon is brown & cooked.
For a crisper bacon, place under broiler
for approx. 1 minute - watch them, or they
will burn! Serves 4-8

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes 
& Carrots
 2 lb. white potatoes (about 6) peeled & thinly
 2 onions, sliced, separated into rings
 4 carrots, cut diagonally into thin slices
 3 T. butter or margarine
 2 T. flour
 1/4 tsp. black pepper
 dash black pepper
 dash ground red pepper (cayenne)
 1 1/2 C. milk
 1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
 Heat oven 375 degrees F.
 Cook vegetables in boiling water 8-10
 minutes or until tender. Melt butter in
 medium saucepan on medium heat. Add
 flour & seasonings, mix well. Cook & stir
 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until
 well blended. Bring to boil on medium heat;
 cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring
 constantly. Stir in cheese; cook on low 1 
 minute or until cheese is melted, stirring
 constantly. Drain vegetables; spoon half into
 9 X 13 greased dish. Cover with half cheese
 sauce; repeat layers & cover with foil. Bake
 45 minutes or until heated through, uncovering
 after 30 minutes.
 Serves 12, 2/3 C. each
 (recipe: Kraft foods)
Mandarin Orange Upside 
Down Cake
 1 stick butter
 1 C. brown sugar
 1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges
 1/2 C. coconut
 1 pkg. yellow cake mix
 3/4 C. chopped pecans
 Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
 Heat butter in 9 X 13 pan until 
melted.Sprinkle brown sugar in 
pan bottom then arrange orange 
slices over sugar. Sprinkle coconut 
on top of oranges. Prepare cake
 mix as directed on pkg, stirring in 
the chopped pecans. Pour batter 
into pan over coconut. Bake 45-55
minutes. Remove from oven & 
immediately turn cake over onto 
a cake plate.

 (recipe: Rhonda G-
Marys Recipe Exchange)
How is your weather lately? Our's just keeps 
thinking it's WINTER! Yesterday was in the 20's but when
I got out of church last night I nearly FROZE! The Wind
Chill was AWFUL! It was lightly snowing when I got back 
home, right now it's 28.

Going to close for now (computer's reacting VERY slowly
to anything I type.



Easy-goin’ Saturday

12339809858uiR0bWell – it’s ‘officially’ Spring – even if it doesn’t FEEL like it!

Happy Saturday! This week has been a bit ‘busy’ and I didn’t even REALIZE it was already Saturday! (THAT’S how scrambled it’s been!) Last night was my special needs Gym Night – it went over well, although we only had about 15 students; my theory is: because of the goofy weather and all the cancellations we’ve had to make, they’re almost ‘gun-shy’ when it comes to coming back to the group! Wednesday we had 17 kids – that’s really LOW! Sure hope it picks up some soon, now that (hopefully) our weather will be better. HOWEVER-living in Michigan is much like the cartoon below:


Right now it’s a VERY NICE 36 degrees F.! Yesterday I was being ‘optimistic’ and wore my Fall/Spring light jacket – then went to pump gas and wished I still had the heavy winter jacket – it was very breezy and CHILLY! (gas was $3.56/9 . . . sigh). It rained overnight but NO SNOW – YAY!

Went to my first (of the season) Rummage Sale yesterday at a church. I’ve attended (and worked at) MANY rummage/garage sales in my day – this was the most dis-organized I’ve ever seen! After walking around a bit, I finally asked one of the people just WHY they had all these little areas of clothes, then dishes, toys, then more clothes, some books, more clothes, etc. instead of an area of all clothes, all books, all kitchen/dishes items, etc. She said they were trying to raise monies for their church repairs and each attending/participating family had their own ‘bucket’ in which to put their funds. Essentially: all the strange ‘groupings’ were each family’s items! I wondered why there were people (almost ‘stationed’) about every 7 feet along the tables – waaay too many people – made the buyers feel like we were under some extreme surveillance! STRANGE! As I was walking in I heard a couple going out talking about the HIGH prices there. I even attempted to suggest to one of the selling people that they just pool all their donated items, (since all the proceeds were going to the church), arrange them by category, then all monies go to the church – she kept going back to the ‘Oh, NO! EACH family has their OWN bucket!” What a weird concept! She also said this was their first rummage sale – sure hope they learn something from it! I saw very few buyers but (as said before) WAAAY TOO MANY people selling! (They were also clustered in groups – not paying any attention to their items, just chatting – not a good business procedure, I would think. Sure didn’t make me WANT to buy anything!) I ended up buying a 6 qt. crockpot (circa, I’m guessing, 1990’s) for $5.00 – had a sticker: “It WORKS!” Brought it home, all happy – went to wash it, turned it over and there appeared to be a small crack in the plastic base. Husband looked it over, sort of took it apart – lots of old grease around inside rim. I cleaned that all off – guess what! The grease is what held the base to the main part! Now that it’s clean, the base keeps falling off the main part! Oh well – it is the same size as my old crockpot AND is also one of those that the ceramic insert is removable, so I’m going to keep the ceramic insert & lid – my old crockpot is also circa 1980/1990’s – I think mine’s a bit older – it belonged to husband’s Mom. Ya win some – ya lose some, right? (Here I was, all happy that now I have TWO crockpots! sigh . . . )

Just spent a bit of time searching out clipart ‘ideas’ for middle son’s NEXT art project. Yep, it’s another DOOZIE! This one requires using ‘reverse imaging’ – sort of like an old black & white photo negative – the main image has to be REVERSED, and we can only use TWO colors for the entire work – ALSO they have to be CUT OUT OF CONSTRUCTION PAPER!  (plus she said she wants DETAILED work – ugh!). They were given 8 ideas/themes and we are to chose 5 (or you can come up with 2 of your own out of the 5). Son & I haven’t had time to actually collaborate yet, so I went ‘brain-storming’ – my choice of the 5 (these are fake book titles you need to design the covers for):

“Sunset Yoga”

“Riding the Wave”

“Identify Jungle Vegetation”

“Greek Architecture”

“Light Houses of North Carolina”

Sounds like fun, right? I found some really amazing clipart at a site I’ve never seen before; gave me some really GREAT ideas to work on! (YAY!) I think the hardest will be the Greek Architecture, simply because it needs to be (in my opinion) simple/stark yet effective. Also the jungle vegetation one will require LOTS of cutting – thank heavens for my embroidery scissors with tiny tips/very sharp edges! Yes, folks, I can see us immersed in this one for hours & hours. There is still ONE MORE project after this one – it better be an easier one (although I’m guessing, it won’t be).


Maple-Baked Apple Chicken

4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C. sliced onions
2 red cooking apples, sliced
1/2 C. maple-flavored pancake syrup*
1/3 C. zesty Italian salad dressing

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook chicken in large ovenproof skillet
sprayed with nonstick spray, on medium-
high heat 3 minutes on each side, or until
evenly browned; remove from heat. Top
chicken with onions; surround with apples.
Mix syrup & dressing; pour over chicken.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until chicken is done
(165 degrees F.). Drizzle with syrup mixture
from bottom of skillet. Serves 4

*can substitute honey for syrup

NOTE: If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet,
cover handle of your regular skillet with several
layers of foil before using in oven.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Crockpot Chicken & Gravy

2 chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 envelope chicken gravy mix
hot, steamed rice

Combine all ingredients (except rice) in
crockpot & cook, on Low 4-6 hours. Before
serving, break chicken breasts into bite-sized
pieces and serve over hot steamed rice.


Baked Potato Casserole

8 medium potatoes (about 2 1/2 – 3 lb, total),
peeled, cut into 1″ chunks
1 C. evaporated milk
1/2 C. sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 C. (8 oz pkg) shredded Cheddar cheese,
6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled/divided
sliced green onions (garnish-optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place potatoes in large saucepan; cover with
water, bring to boil. Cook over medium-high
heat 15-20 minutes or until tender; drain.
Add evap. milk, sour cream, salt & pepper to
potatoes in saucepan; beat with elec. mixer
until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 C. cheese & half
of the bacon; mix. Spoon mixture into a
greased casserole dish. Bake 20-25 minutes
or until heated through. Top with remaining
1/2 C. cheese, remaining bacon & green
onions, if using. Bake an additional 3 minutes
or until cheese is melted.

(recipe: Sunday newspaper flier)

Easy Homemade Apple Fritters

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup chopped apple

2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons milk

Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking
powder, cinnamon. Stir in milk and
egg until just combined. Fold in apple.
Pour oil into skillet so that it is
approximately 1 1/2 deep. Heat oil on
high. Oil is ready when a little dough thrown
in floats to top. Carefully add dough to
oil in heaping teaspoons. Cook until brown,
about 2 minutes, then flip. Cook another
1-2 minutes, until both sides are browned.
Transfer briefly to paper towels to absorb
excess oil, then transfer to cooling rack.
Make glaze by stirring milk and powdered
sugar together in a small bowl. Drizzle over
apple fritters. Wait approximately 3 minutes
for glaze to harden, then flip fritters and
drizzle glaze over the other side. Best served

(recipe: Facebook)

Devil’s Food Cake & Butter Cream Frosting

1/2 C. shortening
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1/2 C. milk
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. cocoa
1 C. boiling water
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cream together shortening & sugar;
add egg & milk alternately with flour,
baking soda, salt & cocoa. Add water &
vanilla; mix well. Grease & flour 2 9″ cake
pans; pour in batter & bake 30 minutes; test
if toothpick inserted into center comes out
clean. *

1/2 C. milk
2 T. flour
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 C. sugar

Add milk & flour to saucepan;
cook until thick, stirring constantly.
Let mixture cool, then whip together
butter, & sugar in a bowl; add to milk/
flour mixture & whip together.

*You can also make this in:
Loaf pan: bake 40 minutes
layer pans: 2 round pans 30 minutes
cupcakes: 17 minutes

NOTE: If you make a layer cake, double
frosting recipe.

Quick & Easy Breadsticks

1 1/2 C. warm water
2 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 – 4 C. flour
1/4 C. butter (not margarine)melted
garlic seasoning

Preheat oven 170 degrees F.
Mix water, sugar & yeast together in glass
measuring cup; let set 5 minutes. Add salt &
flour, one cup at a time, until well incorporated.
Mix on High 5 minutes; let dough rest 5 minutes.
Pour half of melted butter into a jelly roll pan
(large cookie sheet). Place dough in center of
sheet; let set 2-3 minutes. (letting the dough rest
makes it much easier to shape.) Spread dough
out flat onto pan until it reaches all of the edges.
Pour rest of melted butter onto dough; spread it
around with your hands. Sprinkle top with garlic
seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Using a pizza
cutter, cut the dough into three rows lengthwise
and about 12 rows wide.
Place pan in oven 7-10 minutes; breadsticks
should rise about 1 inch.
Turn up oven heat to 350 degrees F.
Bake breadsticks about 12 minutes or until
golden brown. When finished baking, remove
from oven and let rest about 5 minutes, then
recut lines using the pizza cutter. (poster uses
kitchen shears to cut edges where pizza cutter
can’t reach, against pan rim).

Makes approximately 36 small breadsticks


Apple Praline Bread

1 cup sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups Granny Smith apples,
peeled & finely chopped
1 cup nuts (walnut or pecan or a combo),

For the Praline sauce:
1/4 cup brown sugar and1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the sour
cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed for
a couple of minutes until well blended. Stop mixer
and then add in the flour, leavening agents and salt.
Continue to beat on low until well combined.
Fold in apples and half of nuts into batter.
Transfer the batter into the greased loaf pan*.
Sprinkle the rest of the nuts on top and then
press them lightly into the batter. Bake for about
60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the
center comes out clean. Cool in the loaf pan for
about 20-30 minutes and then transfer to a wire
rack to cool completely.

*So it doesn’t get too dark, I suggest using a light
colored loaf pan.

For the praline sauce:

In a small sauce pan, place the butter and brown
sugar. Using medium heat, bring to a boil. Lower
heat and simmer lightly for about one minute,
stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove
from heat and drizzle over bread. Cool completely.

(recipe: Facebook)

Light & Delicious Spaghetti Squash

2 T. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large tomato
4 C. fresh baby spinach
2 C. spaghetti squash (see below)
2 dashes salt & pepper

To cook spaghetti squash: make several holes
in squash using a fork then place in microwave
10-12 minutes (about 4-5 minutes per lb). Allow
to cool several minutes. Remove from microwave
cut open lengthwise. Using a fork, scrape out
contents (it will be stringy) into a bowl; set aside.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; add
garlic & cook until just turning brown. Add tomato,
sprinkle with a little salt. Top with spinach leaves &
cover; cook 2 minutes. Spinach will cook & reduce
down. Uncover; break up spinach with a wooden
spoon; it will start to clump together once cooked.
Add spaghetti squash a little at a time & stir in. Sprinkle
with salt & pepper. Serves 1-2


Chunky Potato-Swiss Chowder

2 C. thinly sliced leek (about 2 large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 C. cubed/peeled Yukon gold potatoes
(about 1 1/2 lb.)
1 C. cubed carrot (about 1/2 lb)
1 C. cubed yellow squash
2 (15.75 oz, ea) ans chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 C. hot, cooked white rice
1 C. Half & Half
1/2 C. (2 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Heat large Dutch oven coated with non-
stick cooking spray over medium-high
heat. Add leek & garlic; saute 3 minutes or
until tender. Stir in potato & next 4
ingredients (potato – bay leaves); bring to
a boil. Cover, reduce heat & simmer 20
minutes or until tender. Discard bay
leaves. Place half of potato mixture in a
blender & process until smooth. Return
pureed potato mixture to pan; stir in rice
& remaining ingredients except parsley.
Cook over medium heat until cheese melts.
Sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Serves 5

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Pickle Slice Appetizers
(several day recipe)

7 (3 ” ) Kosher dill pickles
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 pkgs. sliced ham, beef, pepperoni or
turkey (very thin slices)

Drain pickles several hours, up to 12;
wipe dry. Whip cream cheese. Thrust
pickle onto a fork tine. Coat pickle with
cream cheese then wrap with 3 slices
of meat. Wrap pickle in plastic wrap &
refrigerate several days. When ready to
serve, use a sharp knife & slice into
pieces 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick.


NOTE: You can also add a few shakes of
Tabasco sauce to cream cheese when
whipping, for flavor


(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Princess Pie (Coconut Cream)

1 C. flour
1/2 C. butter, melted
2 T. sugar
1/2 C. chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix & pat into 8 X 8 pan. Bake 15-20
minutes, until just beginning to turn
golden; do not over bake.

Layer #2:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
1 C. Cool Whip, thawed

Beat together sugar & cream cheese; fold
in Cool Whip. Spread on cooled crust.

Layer #3:
1 small pkg. coconut cream instant pudding mix
1 1/2 C. cold milk

Mix together pudding & milk until thickened.
Spread over cream cheese mixture.

Top with remaining tub of Cool Whip.
Toast 1 C. coconut, sprinkle evenly on top
of dessert & refrigerate.

(recipe: Facebook)


Hope you’re having a great SPRING day! Hope the sun is shining where you are and it’s lifting your spirits greatly!






Diagonal Box Stitch baby afghan (from the pattern my dear friend, Mary (Momma) taught me MANY years ago (another baby afghan for Detroit Veteran’s Hospital baby shower in September)


100 baby hats for St. Joseph’s Hospital; Premie hats on the left/Newborns on the right

I must say this is also with help from two friends; Laura and Terri. Delivery next week then back to knitting more!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg, beaten
1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter

Preheat oven 350 F.
Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder
and baking soda in large bowl. Cut in butter with
pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles
fine crumbs. Stir in peanuts. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb
mixture. Stir egg into remaining crumb mixture. Press
onto bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.Stir together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter in small bowl until well combined. Pour evenly over partially baked crust.Stir together reserved crumb mixture and chocolate chips. Sprinkle evenly over peanut butter layer.Bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool & cut into bars.

(recipe: Facebook)


Chicken Noodle Casserole

2/3 C. chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts, cut into 3/4 in. cubes
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 1/2 C. chopped carrots
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3 T. butter or stick margarine
3 T. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 1/2 C. milk
1 1/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
8 oz. wide egg noodles, cooked & drained

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large nonstick skillet, saute onion & garlic
in oil until tender. Add chicken; cook & stir until
no longer pink. Add broth, carrots, celery, &
thyme; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer
10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender. In a
saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt & pepper
until smooth. Gradually add milk; bring to a boil.
Cook & stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove
from heat; stir in cheese until melted. Pour over
chicken mixture. Add noodles; mix well. Transfer
to a 3 Qt. baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until bubbly.
Serves 8

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage

2 lb. lean corned beef brisket, all fat trimmed
1 C. frozen pearl onions
2 medium carrots, peeled & chunked
2 medium parsnips, peeled & chunked
1 small head cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp. whote peppercorns

In 5-6 qt crockpot, place brisket, carrots &
parsnips, pearl onions, parsley, bay leaves,
peppercorns & 3 C. water. Cover & cook on
High 4 hours. Add cabbage; cook on High
1 hour 20 minutes more. Remove meat; slice
& serve. Serves 6


Crockpot Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5 lb. red potatoes (peeled or not)
3 cloves garlic
salt & pepper
1 tsp. chicken bullion granules
1 C. water
8 T. butter, divided
1/3 C. sour cream
1/2 C. milk

Place potatoes in 4-7 qt. crockpot; sprinkle with salt &
pepper. Place garlic cloves in center of a square of tin
foil; wrap up foil like a Hershey kiss candy and place in
crockpot, to the side. Place chicken bullion granules in
1 C. warm water; stir then pour broth mixture over
top of potatoes. Cut 4 T. butter into small pieces; place
them in random spots over top of potatoes. Cover &
cook on High 4 hours or Low 7-8 hours. When potatoes
are fork-tender, remove tin foil, open it & smash the
roasted garlic with a fork. Add half of it back into crockpot.
If you want more garlic taste, add more after everything is
mixed together & tasted. Pour 1/2 C. milk, 4 T. butter & 1/3 C.
sour cream into crock. Using a hand mixer, blend potatoes
until smooth & creamy. Add more milk if they are too thick.
Taste, then add more garlic, salt or pepper if you like.
Serves 10-12

NOTE: Recipe can be halved, or make the entire batch &
reserve leftovers for a Shepherd’s Pie. OR – if you don’t
like garlic, just leave it out.



Eggplant Parmesan

3 eggplants, peeled & thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
4 C. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 C. spaghetti sauce, divided
1 (16 oz) pkg. mozzarella cheese, shredded &
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread
crumbs. Place in single layer on baking
sheet. Bake 5 minutes on each side.
In a 9 X 13 pan, spread spaghetti sauce
to cover bottom. Place a layer of eggplant
slices in sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella &
Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining
ingredients, ending with cheeses. Sprinkle
basil over top. Bake 35 minutes or until
golden brown. Serves 8-10

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)


Mozzarella – Basil Chicken w/Roasted

4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 lb)
12 large fresh basil leaves, divided
2 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into 4 slices
4 large oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1/4 C. Balsamic vinaigrette dressing, divided
2 1/4 C. grape tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Make a cut in one long side of each chicken
breast, being careful to not cut through to
opposite side. Fill each pocket with 2 basil
leaves & 1 cheese slice and 1 sun-dried tomato.
Place chicken on one side of a rimmed baking
sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Add tomatoes
to other side of baking sheet. Brush chicken
evenly with 1 T. balsamic dressing. Bake 30
minutes or until chicken is done (165 degrees F).
Cut remaining basil leaves into thin slices. Top
tomatoes with basil & remaining dressing; toss
lightly. Serve chicken topped with tomato
mixture. Serves 4

(Recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

2 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1″ cubes
10 oz. fresh mushrooms, halved
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 C. beef broth
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 C. sour cream
2 T. flour
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 (16 oz) pkg. egg noodles, uncooked
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Place meat, mushrooms, onions & garlic in
crockpot. Add broth, paprika & salt; cover.
Cook on Low 7-8 hours or High 5 hours. Mix
sour cream, flour & mustard in small bowl;
stir into crockpot until well blended. Cook,
covered, on Low 15 minutes. Cook noodles
as directed on pkg. Drain noodles; place in
large serving bowl. Add meat mixture; mix
lightly. Sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8

NOTE: For more robust flavor, brown meat in
2-3 T. oil in large skillet on medium-high before
adding to crockpot

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Easy Mexican Casserole

1 pound lean ground beef
1 can Ranch Style beans
1 (10-12) oz bag tortilla chips, crushed
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 package taco seasoning
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water

sour cream and salsa for serving

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In large skillet, brown meat; drain off fat.
Stir in beans, tomatoes, onion, taco seasoning,
soup and water; simmer over medium-low heat
until everything is well combined and heated
through. Grease 9 X 13 casserole dish. Put down
a layer of crushed tortilla chips, followed by a layer
of the meat/bean mixture, then half of the cheddar
cheese. Repeat layers. Cover with foil and bake for
20-30 minutes, or until bubbly. Let sit for 5-10
minutes before serving.
Top with sour cream and salsa.

(recipe: Facebook)

Double-Banana Pudding Cake

1 (2 layer) box yellow cake mix
1 1/2 C. mashed fully-ripe bananas
about 3, divided
1/2 C. chopped walnuts (or pecans)
2 (3.4 oz, ea) pkgs. vanilla instant
pudding mix
2 C. cold milk
1/4 C. water
2 T. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Prepare cake batter accordg to pkg.
directions. Stir in 1/2 C. bananas &
nuts; pour into greased 9 X 13 pan.
Beat pudding mixes, milk & water in
medium bowl using whisk 2 minutes;
stir in remaining bananas & pour over
batter in pan. Place pan on baking sheet.
Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour or until
toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean. Cool 20 minutes – sauce will
thicken slightly as it cools. Sprinkle top
with powdered sugar. Serve warm.
Refrigerate any leftovers.
Makes 16 servings

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Yesterday I tried something new (to us); I was at Gordon Foods earlier in the week and bought a package of Parmesan Risotto (that’s cheesy ‘fancy’ rice). I cooked it last night along with some baked white fish. Have you ever had something turn out ‘not how you wanted it’? This was it – the fish was blah (white fish can be) and rubbery (sigh) and the Risotto was gummy and not at all what I expected – these are two items I will NOT be buying again! The ‘saving’ item was tossed salad – at least THAT tasted like I expected!

Our weather today is sunny, but cold (29 degrees F). No snow today (we did get a light dusting Weds night – Thurs morning, but it’s melted).

Today is a kind of ‘fun’ day for me: big church rummage sale in the area (and another one at another church, tomorrow!), then quick shopping at Gordon Foods for snack items for tonight’s special needs group Gym Night. Later it’s pick up grandson at 4 p.m., then leave for Gym Night around 5:20 – busy until around 9 p.m. then come home and ‘crash’.

I’ve ‘heard’ robins lately (our Michigan ‘sign of Spring’) but haven’t seen any yet.I’m glad one of the first signs of Spring is here: Rummage/Garage Sales!   I don’t really NEED anything when I go to these sales, I just like the fun of the ‘hunt’. Sometimes you find things you didn’t know you needed!

That’s about ‘it’ for now – working on more baby hats (next batch) and the white & brightly colorful baby afghan. It’s funny – when I get into an afghan, I find myself almost yearning to learn ANOTHER pattern! (Have to kind of rein-in my brain – ONE-AT-A-TIME!).

Have a GREAT day! Hope the sun is shining where you are


Dreary Day – but, HEY! NO SNOW!


Sometimes you just have to look for the little things in life to make you happy and not to the things around you – right? It’s a ‘balmy’ 43 degrees F. outside, grey and drizzly. Yes, that ‘could’ affect my mood, but I’ve determined I’m NOT GOING TO LET IT!

Psalm 118:24   This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Yesterday was one of those ‘really filled’ days – I knew I had to get grocery shopping done, and a few more errands. By the time I was back home, I’d hit 7 places and was really whipped! Spent about 45 minutes in the recliner just attempting to get my strength back up to go on with my day! Last night was Knit Night and the added “Yarn Swap” – I really wasn’t sure what this would look like or how to exactly ‘run it’. My fears were very quickly subsided – the ladies just brought in yarn/books/accessories/tools they didn’t want and said: “Have at it – take what you want, no need to ‘swap’ one-for-one!” Pretty neat! They loved the excitement, quite a few people went home with new yarns and I even ended up with 5 skeins of baby yarn and a Debbie McComber book (she writes knitting-related novels). Panera brought over their mini chocolate chip cookies – the evening couldn’t have been any better! (In fact, they liked it so well they want to continue it next time AND perhaps schedule one every 3-4 months!) Pretty neat!  On the Knit/Movie night, more people signed up – looks like we’re going to have a pretty good feast! Spaghetti, garlic bread, salads, and at least 3 desserts!

In my travels yesterday I stopped at Gordon Foods; knowing it was going to be a busy evening, I needed something quick to make for dinner for the guys. Ended up purchasing a bag of frozen GFS medium cheese ravioli. I prepared the ravioli then topped it with a jar of Prego Roasted Garlic spaghetti sauce, some garlic powder/Italian seasonings/some salt/good sized dashes of grated Parmesan cheese and a 1/2 bag of shredded Italian cheese blend mixture. I thought it was pretty good but the guys RAVED over it! Even my husband said: “Get this AGAIN! Don’t forget how you made it – it’s really REALLY good!” (he’s the one who usually says: “It’s ok . . . BUT it tastes like something is missing” . . . UGH! That makes me crazy-to have made something he really liked just made my day!


Four Layer Dessert
1st layer:

1 C. flour
1 C. chopped nuts
1 stick softened margarine

Press evenly into a 9 x 13 pan.

2nd layer:
1 C. powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese,
room temp.
1 C. Cool Whip

Mix together and spread over
first layer

3rd layer:
1 box inst. chocolate pudding
1 box inst. vanilla pudding
2 C. cold milk

Mix together and let thicken
before spreading over 2nd layer.

4th layer:
2 (16 oz) tubs Cool Whip
chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Spread 1 1/2 of the 2 tubs
Cool Whip over top of dessert.
Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.
Chill 1 hour before serving


Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

4 chicken breast halves, skinless/boneless
& cubed
1 stick cold butter
2 C. wild rice, uncooked
1 medium onion, chopped
2 C. chopped carrots
2 C. celery, chopped
1 (8 oz) can mushroom pieces (drained)
1/3 C. flour
6 C. chicken broth
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 t. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. sage, dried

In large skillet add 1/4 C. butter, onion,
celery, carrots, sage & salt/pepper, to
taste. Saute until onions are translucent.
Add chicken; continue cooking until meat
turns white. In a saucepan, bring 2 C. water
to rolling boil; add rice & reduce heat. Cover
& simmer 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Combine chicken mixture, rice & chicken
broth in large soup kettle. Bring to boil,
reduce heat; add cream & parsley. Heat just
to boiling point (DO NOT boil). In microwave-
safe bowl, melt remaining butter; add flour
& mix together to make a roux (paste). Slowly
whisk roux into soup mixture until thickened.
Serves 8-10


Irish Champ

2 lb. potatoes, peeled
1/2 C. finely diced scallions/chives or onions
2/3 – 1 C. milk
ground black pepper
butter or margarine

Boil potatoes until tender. Simmer scallions in
milk about 5 minutes. Mash potatoes; beat warm
milk & scallions into potatoes; season with salt &
pepper to taste. Make a ‘well’ in each serving of
potatoes, place a large lump of butter or marg.
in each well. Serves 4

(recipe: Stephen Block)

Potato Encrusted Fish

1 C. cooking oil
3 large russet potatoes, shredded
1/4 C. bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4-6 oz. fresh or frozen white fish
(cod, haddock) 1 inch thick or more
1 C. flour
3 large eggs, beaten

reheat oven 450 degrees F.
Lightly coat a sheet pan with nonstick
spray. If using frozen fish, make sure it
is defrosted.
Mix together grated potatoes, bread-
crumbs, thyme, onion powder, salt &
pepper. In large fry pan, heat 1 C. oil on
medium-high heat. Place flour in shallow
dish; dredge fish in flour, shaking off
excess, then dip in beaten egg. Crust
fish in potato mixture, pressing to adhere.
Add crusted fish to hot oil; cook to brown
potatoes to crispness; turn over & brown
the other side; drain on paper towels. Place
browned fish on greased 9 X 13 pan; bake
5-8 minutes or until cooked through.
Serves 4


Veggie Baked Ziti

12 oz. dry ziti pasta, uncooked
1 T. vegetable oil
3 medium yellow summer squash*,
cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
thawed & squeezed dry
1 (24 oz) can chunky vegetable
pasta sauce (Hunt’s)
1 (10 oz) container refrigerated
2 C. shredded mozzarella, cheese,

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray.
Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions,
omitting salt. Heat oil in large skillet
over medium-high heat. Add squash,
salt & pepper; cook 5 minutes or until
squash is crisp-tender & starting to brown,
stirring frequently. Add spinach, cook 2
minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring
frequently. Stir in pasta & alfredo sauces;
cook 1 minute or until hot, stirring
occasionally. Add pasta & 1 C. cheese to
vegetable mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into
prepared dish; top with remaining 1 C.
cheese. Bake 10 minute or until cheese
melts & mixture is hot. Serves 8

*If summer squash is not available, use
zucchini or bell peppers


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

3 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
3/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 (16.5 oz) rolls refrigerator chocolate
chip cookie dough

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese,
eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract until well
mixed; set aside. Slice cookie dough rolls into
1/4-inch slices. Arrange slices from one roll on
bottom of a greased 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish;
press together so there are no holes in dough.
Spoon cream cheese mixture evenly over dough;
top with remaining slices of cookie dough.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden and
center is slightly firm. Remove from oven, let cool,
then refrigerate. Cut into slices when well chilled.

(recipe: Facebook)

Roasted Red Potatoes

4 red potatoes
1 T. olive oil
2 T. bread crumbs
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese
(your favorite seasonings: garlic powder,
onion powder, seasoned salt, dried parsley,

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Rinse & scrub potatoes, slice into wedges &
place in a bowl. Toss with olive oil until
coated then add remaining ingredients; toss
until evenly coated. Bake 30-40 minutes or
until desired degree of crispness, turning
wedges over halfway through baking.


Baked Paprika/Parmesan Chicken

1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tsp. paprika
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C. butter, melted

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 8 X 8 pan with nonstick spray.
Combine flour, Parmesan, paprika,
salt & pepper in a bowl. In separate
bowl, whisk together egg & milk. Dip
chicken in egg, then dredge in flour
mixture; place in prepared pan & pour
melted butter evenly over chicken. Bake
1 hour 15 minutes until cheese has
browned & chicken is cooked.


Greek Yogurt/ PeanutButter/Cinnamon/
Honey Dip

1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
2 T. peanut butter
dash cinnamon
1 T. honey

Combine ingredients.
Good with fresh fruit: apple, banana, or
with graham crackers

(recipe: littlecookinthebigcity)


Hope you have a great day (in spite of what the weather brings!).



PS: Apparently the Art Design teacher took the projects home and will be grading them this week. Son said teacher was impressed with our ideas; some of the other students projects were much the same: ie: the FAN concept (how many designs can you make about a ceiling fan?). Waiting (on pins & needles) to see what his final grade is on that one! (There are TWO MORE projects! Son said they are mostly drawing and paper cutting – oh, joy . . . )

Published in: on March 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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Project #4 – Finally DONE!!! YAY!





(This one is both my son’s & my favorite)

The two that were done with construction paper cut-outs were the one above and the Sports Shack – those were difficult to do, but we got them DONE!

Published in: on March 17, 2014 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Busy Couple of Days


The snow is finally melting!

Not a lot to write about – been working on helping middle son with the LAST Art Design project – (I think!). This one is all about Logos – companies use them as ‘instant identification’ for their customers and products. What sounds like an easy assignment can prove to be VERY difficult when it comes to coming up with logo designs for such companies as (a) a ceiling fan company in the tropics (b) a coffee company that is now going to be selling both hot AND cold coffee (c) a sports company that is expanding to cover almost every known sport and (the last and most difficult) (d) MAKE UP your OWN company and then design logos for it! I’d say, of all the companies listed above, the two most difficult were the fan company and the sports company. The teacher did NOT want the students to include any lettering in the design, just a picture/image – not as easy as it sounds. She even told them to ‘think out of the box – the more random, the better” – that’s what happened with the sports company (as you will see when I show you the final photos). In this project, I attempted to stay as much OUT of it as I could, but then it hit the wall, so to speak. It’s very difficult to come up with ideas (SO glad I don’t work for an advertising firm!).

Been cooking a bit lately – Chicken Parmesan, Beef roast with potatoes & carrots; have all the fixin’s for lasagna, but today I just don’t feel quite ‘right’ – ever have one of those days? It was ‘supposed’ to be: get up and go grocery shopping AFTER husband took my car into dealership for a routine check up; no boys home (at work). What actually happened? Got up, husband stayed home not feeling well (headache) – BOTH boys home – surprise! I didn’t feel well, either – achy, out of sorts, yucky (not flu, just not quite ‘right’). Got some laundry done, went through the cupboards & fridge to see what was needed grocery-wise (I knew we were getting pretty empty in the larder, so to speak). Made up the lists for where to go/what to buy but just couldn’t seem to muster enough energy to accomplish it – not ANY of it! Middle son got up and said: “Today’s the day to finish the project!” (me thinking: Oh, great – I didn’t even THINK about that one!). After a brief conference about the last two logo ideas, we settled on them and got to work and I’m happy with what we produced. I’m a perfectionist – it REALLY bothers me if things I make/work on, etc. don’t come out (in my mind’s eye) PERFECT! I have to remember that THIS project is supposed to be my SON’S work, hence I have to do things a bit differently that I would if it were solely mine – what does that mean, exactly? My son is a GUY – they don’t color ‘inside the lines’ exactly – half of this project required using colored pencils in very small spaces, or black ink pen in a 2″ X 2″ space – you tend to get some ‘spill-over’, if you understand what I’m saying. Right now all of the (4)  8 X 8″ squares are painted (2 painted/2 using construction paper-cut out), (4) 2″ X 2″ black pen renderings (12) 3 X 3″ squares colored with colored pencils. What’s left: gluing all of them on four large foam boards plus the headings AND writing a small paper on WHY you chose each of the ideas for each of the four companies. I’M DONE! My part in this is finished – son still has to do the write-ups and the gluing  – all before 9 a.m. tomorrow morning BUT I’M NOT GOING TO STRESS OVER IT!  That’s hard for me, as I want to see the completed project. I love my family but I live with a house full of procrastinators! Oh well – such is life, eh?

Today is St. Patrick’s Day – a day, for me, just like every other day. I’m not one to celebrate this day BUT I WILL post some recipes for you, for this day.


Irish Potluck Potatoes

4 medium-large potatoes, peeled &
sliced 1/8″ thick
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup-can milk*
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 quarter loaf Velveeta, cut into
1″ cubes (standard size large loaf)
3 slices deli roast beef, cut into
1/2″ squares (medium thin slice),
approx. 1/4 lb.
3 slices deli corned beef, cut into
squares (medium thin slice) approx
1/4 lb.

4-5 slices bacon, fried & crumbled
(save grease)
1/2 pkg. shredded cabbage, approx.
2-3 C.
3/4 C. coarsely shredded colby cheese
3-4 green onion stems (or whole onion),
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced & cut
into 1/2″ pieces
1/4 stick butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray. Place
sliced potatoes in pan. Mix soup & soup-can
milk in small bowl; pour over potatoes.
Sprinkle 1 tsp. pepper & salt on potatoes.
Add first layer of roast beef pieces, then
corned beef pieces, then cubed Velveeta.
Bake 40 minutes until potatoes are tender
(check with fork). Reheat skillet with bacon
grease; add onion & cabbage. Sprinkle with
salt & pepper, fry until cabbage is done &
beginning to brown. Remove from heat; stir
in 1/4 stick butter. When potatoes are cooked,
remove from oven. Using fork, transfer cabbage &
onion mixture to casserole dish; uniformly cover
potatoes & cheese; sprinkle with colby cheese
then top with bacon & chopped green onion.
Return to oven 10 minutes to melt cheese &
crisp dish slightly. Remove from oven; let stand
10-15 minutes before serving. Serves 8-10

*1 soup-can: means 1 empty soup can filled
with milk


Easy Triple-Layer Pistachio Pie

2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/4 C. sweetened condensed milk
1 (6 oz) Oreo pie crust
3/4. C. chopped pistachios, toasted &
2 (3.4 oz ea) pkgs. Pistachio instant
pudding mix (Jello)
1 3/4 C. cold milk
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed/

Mix melted chocolate & condensed milk
until blended; spread onto bottom of crust.
Sprinkle with half the nuts & refrigerate
until ready to use. Beat pudding mixes &
milk with whisk 2 minutes (pudding will be
thick). Spread 1 1/2 C. over chocolate layer
in crust. Stir half the Cool Whip into remaining
pudding; spread over pudding layer in crust.
Top with remaining Cool Whip & nuts.
Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.

(recipe; Kraft foods)

 Irish Colcannon

1 1/2 lb. baking potatoes (about 5),
peeled & quartered
3 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 C. water
3/4 lb. cabbage, shredded (about 4 C.)
2 T. butter
1/2 C. milk, warmed

Cook potatoes in boiling water in large
saucepan 20 minutes or until tender.
Cook & stir bacon in large skillet on
medium heat, until crisp. Remove bacon
from skillet with slotted spoon; drain on
paper towels. Add onion to skillet; cook
& stir 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add
water; stir to release browned bits from
bottom of skillet. Add cabbage; mix well.
Cover & cook 7 minutes or until cabbage is
tender & water is cooked off, stirring
occasionally. Drain potatoes; return to pan.
Add butter; mash potatoes until creamy,
gradually adding milk. Add cabbage mixture
& bacon; mix well. Serves 10 (1/2 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

“Shamrock” Bell Pepper/Potato Frittata


4 thin slies green bell pepper, sliced into
1/4″ thin slices, crosswise
4 large eggs
4 large egg whites
kosher salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 C. minced shallots
1 (7 oz) medium peeled Yukon Gold
potato, diced into 1/2 ” pieces
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. paprika

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Crack eggs & egg whites into large bowl.
Add salt & pepper; beat until blended. Heat
10″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add
oil & shallots to pan; cook until golden, 2-3
minutes. Add potatoes, season with salt,
garlic powder, paprika & black pepper. Cover
& cook over medium-low heat, stirring
occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 12-15
minutes. Pour egg mixture into skillet. Carefully
arrange bell pepper slices on top to create a
shamrock pattern, if desired. Reduce heat to
Low; cook until edges are set, 6-8 minutes.
Transfer skillet to oven & bake until frittata is
completely set & cooked through, 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven; transfer frittata to large
place. Cut into 4 wedges; serve.


Mint Chocolate Brownies

1 C. butter, melted
2 C. sugar
1/2 C. cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C. chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)

Mint Filling:
2 1/2 C. powdered sugar
2 T. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. mint extract
2-3 drops green food coloring
3 T. whipping cream
dash salt

Chocolate Topping:
1/3 . whipping cream
1 1/3 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 C. butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place 1 C. melted butter, 2 C. sugar,
1/2 C. cocoa powder & 2 tsp. vanilla in
bowl of stand mixer or large mixing bowl.
Mix on Low speed until combined & smooth,
about 1 minute. Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time, mixing
well after each one. (the batter will be runny
at this point) In small bowl, combine 1 1/2 C.
flour & 1/2 tsp. salt; toss together with fork to
combine. Add this to brownie batter; mix on
medium speed about 2 minutes until smooth.
Stir in 3/4 C. chocolate chips. Spray a 9 X 13
pan with nonstick spray; spread batter into pan.
Bake 25-35 minutes, being sure not to overbake.
Remove pan from oven; let stand to cool
Prepare Chocolate topping:
Place 1/3 C. whipping cream, 1 1/3 C. semi-sweet
chocolate chips & 1/3 C. butter in medium sauce
pan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly
until all is melted & well combined (a few minutes)
Set pan aside to cool (mixture should be lukewarm
when you pour it over mint filling).
Prepare Mint Filling:
In medium mixing bowl add 2 1/2 C. powdered sugar,
2 T. softened butter, 4 oz. softened cream cheese,
1/2 tsp. mint extract, 2-3 drops green food coloring &
3 T. whipping cream. Beat ingredients 2-3 minutes until
well combined. When brownies are completely cooled,
spread mint filling over brownies. Place pan in fridge &
allow to set about 20 minutes. When filling is set, pour
chocolate topping over top and spread evenly. Place pan
back in fridge 1 hour, or until chocolate layer is set. When
ready to serve, slice with sharp knife and store leftovers
in fridge or freezer. Makes one 9 X 13 pan.


Pop-in-the-Oven Beef Stew

2 lb. lean, boneless beef stew meat, cut into
1 1/2 inch cubes
2 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 lb. baby carrots
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut in quarters or
eighths, depending on size
2 large onions, peeled and cut into chunks
(varying sizes is fine)
1 cup water
1 packet instant beef bouillon (OR use 1 cup
beef broth, and eliminate 1 cup water)
1/3 cup instant tapioca
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon dried basil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, including juices

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a very large Dutch oven, stir water, beef bouillon
and tapioca until combined. Stir in salt, pepper,
basil and garlic. (You’re essentially making the
base for the “sauce”) Open can of tomatoes.
Using a kitchen sheers, coarsely cut tomatoes
while in the can. Pour tomatoes, including juices,
into Dutch oven and stir. Alternately add beef,
celery, carrots, onions and potatoes to Dutch
oven, folding and stirring to make sure everything
is coated. Cover and pop in the oven 2 1/2-3 hours,
or until meat and vegetables are tender.
Makes  8 servings.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Blarney Stones

4 eggs
1 3/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 C. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. milk
1/4 C. butter, melted

2 lb. confectioners sugar
2/3 C. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
6 C. finely chopped peanuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, beat eggs, sugar &
vanilla until thick & lemon-colored,
about 4 minutes. Combine flour,
baking powder & salt; add to egg
mixture. Beat on slow speed just
until combined; beat in milk & butter.
Grease 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray &
pour batter into pan. Bake 30-35 minutes
or until a toothpick inserted near center
comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack then
cut into squares. Cover & free overnight.

In a small bowl, beat confect. sugar, milk,
vanilla & salt until smooth. Frost the top &
sides of frozen cake squares then roll in
peanuts. Place on wire racks to set.
Makes 2 dozen


Weather-wise it’s been kind of crazy – when it LOOKS like it’s going to be a rather warm day (in the 40’s, here, would be warm) – it turns into a 9 degree day (like Saturday!) Yesterday was OK but towards evening the wind was really chilly and the temps driving home from church at around 7:45 sat at 14 degrees F. Crazy stuff.

How are YOUR gas prices? Ours have JUMPED – they are now sitting at $3.69/9 – that’s outrageous, in my opinion! (What happened to $3.39/9? I was sort of happy with that, of course LOWER would be good, too!).

Well, the grocery shopping has now been moved to tomorrow AFTER I get done at the dentist’s (quick trip there to pick up a teeth-whitening kit). This is one of two weeks of pretty full days. The good thing? There are TWO church rummage sales coming up this week, on two different days! YAY! You KNOW it’s coming on Spring when we finally get garage/rummage sales! (Mind you – I don’t REALLY NEED anything, I just love the excitement of the search!).

My friend who knit the extra baby hats for me has now given me another bag with 17 MORE hats – and I haven’t delivered the last ones yet! I thought I knit fast – she’s WAAAY past me! Tomorrow is Knit/Crochet night with the added fun of the Yarn/Accessories Swap thrown in. We’ll see how that goes – the ladies seem quite interested (me, not so much: I really don’t have anything to swap AND I already have Way TOO much yarn & accessories!).  I started another baby blanket (think I mentioned that last post): this one is a pattern I’ve done last year, also for the Detroit Veteran’s Hospital baby shower (did 2 last year in this pattern). This time I bought a MUCH brighter yarn for the contrast to the main white color; not exactly sure I like the brightness, but I’m sure the knit group ladies will convince me it’s really “colorful” and babies would love it. We’ll see . . .

Gonna close here for now; hope you have a GREAT day – enjoy and don’t imbibe too much of the Irish Stout!



Yesterday’s ‘Wee Little Storm’




As you can see – we got a LOT of snow! Just as an example – the driveway, my car, the yard (my little snowman Welcome sign) – all were totally CLEAR of any snow the day before! It pretty much looks about the same, today, as in these pictures. We did cancel my special needs group, grandson & I kept busy throughout the day and he went home around 5. Last night’s “LOW” temperature was -3 F. – right now, at 7:43 p.m. Thursday, it’s sitting at 22 with a low predicted, of 18. It’s supposed to be getting warmer farther towards Sunday and on into next week – YAY! We need to see some GREEN GRASS! (I’ll even take old, yucky brown leaves & mud color – almost).

Today is oldest son’s 31st birthday, and he’s working, as usual (he’s a chef). I baked him a batch of dark chocolate brownies – IF he stops by later or tomorrow (otherwise – they’re ‘fair game’ for the house!).

I plan on taking a photo or two of the completed 80 baby hats and the diagonal crocheted baby blanket. Now, I’m off on another ‘baby blanket’ tangent: this time it’s a pattern I did twice last year but this time it’s using much brighter yarn for the accent. Not exactly sure I like it, but I’m sure others will (that’s usually the way it goes: it take something to knit group that I’m not exactly ‘fond’ of and other knitters/crocheters Oooo & Ahhh over it. Wonder if that means my sense of ‘knit yarn style’ is off? Oh well . . .


No Bake Chocolate Eclair Dessert


2 (3.5 oz.) boxes vanilla instant pudding
3 C. milk
1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip
Graham crackers

1/3 c. cocoa
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. milk
1 stick (1/2 C.) butter (or margarine)
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix pudding & Cool Whip together. Place
graham crackers in bottom of a 9 x 13
pan; spread a layer of Cool Whip mixture
then graham crackers; repeat. In a medium
saucepan, boil together cocoa, sugar & milk.
Stir in butter & vanilla; mix well then pour
over top of last graham cracker layer.
Refrigerate overnight.

(recipe: Facebook)

Turkey Club Casserole

1 (13.25 oz) box penne pasta
8 oz. turkey breast meat (can use
leftover turkey breast)
7 oz. diced tomatoes or can of
basil/garlic/oregano canned tomatoes
1/2 C. bacon, cooked & crumbled
4 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 (10 3/4 oz, ea) cans Cheddar cheese soup,
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Boil pasta accordg. to pkg. directions;
drain & return to pot. Mix in undiluted
soup; stir well. Mix in shredded cheese,
bacon, onion & garlic powders; stir well
Add canned tomatoes & turkey, stir well.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray &
place mixture into prepared pan. Bake
30 minutes.


No-Bother Mini Florentine Cups

1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, cooked &
drained well
1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 C. cream cheese spread
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. finely chopped onon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
24 slices deli-style shaved turkey breast

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients except turkey. Spray
each of 24 mini muffin cups with nonstick
spray. Place 1 slice turkey into each cup; fill
each cup with 1 1/2 tsp. spinach mixture. Bake
15 minutes or until heated through. Serve
warm. Makes 24


Yankee Bean Pot

1 lb. dried navy or Great Northern beans
1 tsp. cooking oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 oz. Canadian-style bacon, diced (3/4 C.)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 C. maple syrup or molasses
1/4 C. ketchup
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. dry mustard
1/2 lb. smoked ham hock, pork neck
bones or turkey wings (optional)
3 C. boiling water
2 bay leaves
1-2 T. cider vinegar
hot sauce (Tabasco) to taste
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper

Place beans in large bowl & cover with cold
water. Let soak at least 8 hours or overnight.
(Alternative: place beans & 2 Qts. water in large
pot; bring to boil, boil 2 minutes. Remove from
heat, let stand 1 hour).
Drain & rinse beans; place in crockpot. Heat oil
in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onions & bacon; cook, stirring often, until
onions are softened & light golden, about 5
minutes. Add garlic, thyme & crushed red pepper;
cook, stirring, 1 minute – add to beans. Add maple
syrup (or molasses), ketchup, Worc. sauce & mustard
to beans; stir to combine. Bury the ham hock/neck
bones/turkey wings in the beans. Add boiling water &
top with bay leaves. Cover & cook until beans are
tender, about 4 1/4 hours on High or 11 hours on Low.
Remove bay leaves & bones, discard. Season with
vinegar, hot sauce, salt & pepper. Serve hot. Serves
8, about 3/4 C. each.

NOTE: This can be made ahead of time. Cover &
refrigerate up to 4 days. (Start soaking beans a day


Saucy Mexican Pan Chicken

4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 lb)*
1 C. thick & chunky salsa
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 C. water
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook chicken in nonstick skillet on medium-high
heat 4 minutes on each side, or until browned on
both sides. Add salsa & beans; bring to boil & cover.
Simmer on medium-low heat 5 minutes or until
chicken is done (165 degrees F.) Top with cheese;
remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes or
until cheese is melted. Serves 4

*prepare using 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Cheesy Bacon Strata

10 eggs
2 1/2 C. milk
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded Triple Cheddar cheese
with a touch of Philadelphia, divided (Kraft)
16 slices French bread (3/4 ” thick) toasted & cubed
10 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
4 green onions, sliced

Whisk eggs, milk & pepper in large bowl until
blended. Reserve 1/2 C. cheese. Add remaining
cheese to egg mixture with all remaining ingredients;
mix well. Cut 3 (30 inch long) sheets of aluminum
foil.(these are to line to crockpot insides).
Fold 1 sheet lengthwise in half twice; repeat with
second sheet. Fold remaining sheet to fit inside back
edge of crockpot, place in crockpot. Spray insides of
crockpot with nonstick spray. Add egg mixture. If
necessary, press toast cubes into egg mixture with
back of a spoon to completely moisten toast cubes.
Cook on Low 4 hours, sprinkling with reserved cheese
last 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Use foil ‘handles’ to transfer
strata to platter; discard foil. Serves 10 (1 C. each)

For best results: Do NOT prepare this using High setting.
Since most crockpots tend to have a hot spot on the
back side of the crockpot, we cover the hot spot with foil
to help prevent this delicate strata from burning.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Chocolate-Mint Brownie Bites

2 (4 oz, ea) pkgs. Bakers Semi-sweet
baking chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 C. butter
1 C. sugar
3 eggs
1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
16 small chocolate-covered mint patties

(1-2 T. confectioners sugar – for dusting)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 8 ” square pan with foil, with edges of
foil extending over sides; spray with nonstick
spray. Microwave chocolate & butter in large
microwaveable bowl on High 2 minutes or until
butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely

melted & mixture is well blended. Add sugar; mix well. Blend in eggs. Stir in flour &
cocoa powder. Spread 1/3 of batter on bottom of
prepared pan. Arrange mint patties in single layer
over batter in pan; cover with remaining batter. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do
not overbake). Use foil handles to lift brownies from pan before cutting to serve. Dust top of baked brownies with confectioners sugar before
Makes 24.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Baked Chicken Reuben

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (16 oz) can sauerkraut, rinsed, drained &
pressed semi-dry
4 slices Swiss cheese
1 1/4 C. Thousand Island salad dressing
1 T. chopped fresh parsley (garnish)

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Place chicken in a lightly greased 9 X 13
baking dish. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Place sauerkraut over chicken & top with
cheese slices. Pour dressing over all & cover
dish with aluminum foil. Bake 90 minutes or
until chicken is thoroughly cooked
(for can easily be inserted & juices run clear).
Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serves 6


Bangin' Blueberry Coffee Cake


1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. white sugar
1/4 C. flour
3 T. butter, room temp

1 1/2 C. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
3/4 C. white sugar
1/3 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. milk, or buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. blueberries, frozen

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In small bowl, combine streusel
ingredients. Blend with fork until
crumbly; set aside.
In small saucepan, heat half blueberries
& 1 tsp. sugar over medium heat while
occasionaly mashing the berries. Heat
until berries turn into slightly thick
syrup. Remove from heat & set aside.
In small bowl, sift flour with baking powder
& salt. In medium bowl, mix together beaten
egg, 3/4 C. sugar & 1/3 C. melted butter;
add milk & vanilla. Stir in flour mixture
& mix well. Pour 1/2 batter into a greased
& floured loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining
blueberries & half streusel topping, then
top with remaining batter. Using a spoon,
drizzle blueberry syrup over the top &
gently swirl with a toothpick to slightly
mix in. Top with remaining streusel. Bake
35-45 minutes or until cake tests done.
Partially cool in pan on wire rack.


I have just enough time to wish you well and leave here to go watch one of my favorite TV shows: Big Bang Theory – hysterical show!

Have a great evening!



They were RIGHT . . . sigh…


Yep, those pesky weather people were right – woke up to lots of snow – sigh. First thing this morning we get a phone call from my grandson, asking if we could watch him for the day, as there is no school. He’s happily playing a hockey video game right now. With the snowfall comes my phoning all our contacts for the special needs group, letting them know we’re not having Friends Group tonight. Out of around 40 numbers, only have 2 that I have to call later, as theirs went to a fax machine (it’s two group homes, so I’ll call closer to 5:30/6 p.m.). Husband went out and cleared the bottom of the driveway – he’s saying he thinks we got about 3 inches BUT it’s still snowing & blowing (12:30 p.m.) AND they’re predicting it will stop around 3 p.m. (an inch an hour, predicted) THEN the temps drop to around 3 degrees F!!! UGH! I’m just glad I don’t have anywhere to go today/tonight. Managed to get two out of the three baby hats knit yesterday. (sad downside to drinking two large vanilla milk shakes in one day? I ended up ill for a good portion of the evening, finally going to sleep around 2:30 a.m.). I love vanilla milkshakes but my body can’t handle that much fats/sweets – sigh. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish #3 on the baby hats today – we’ll see. When my grandson called this morning his dad said he wanted to come to our house to play legos, video games and board games – we’ll see what transpires as the day goes along (his Mom is supposed to be picking him up around 5:30/6 p.m.).

I was thinking, today, about the fact that yesterday I went out to the dentist’s without my hat, gloves or scarf – first time this winter; it was actually THAT warm! Like the old song goes: “What a difference a day makes”.


Triple Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 (2 layer) pkg. devil’s food cake mix
2 (3.9 oz, ea) pkgs. chocolate fudge
instant pudding mix
1/3 C. sugar
2 C. cold milk
1 1/4 C. water
3 C. miniature marshmallows
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Prepare cake mix accordg. to pkg.
directions; pour into greased 9 X 13
pan. Beat dry pudding mixes, sugar,
milk & water with whisk 2 minutes
then pour over cake batter. Place pan
on rimmed baking sheet & bake
55 minutes – 1 hour or until toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes; heat broiler.
Top cake with marshmallows; broil
6 inches from heat, 30 seconds – 1
minute or until marshmallows are
golden brown. Melt chocolate as
directed on pkg.; drizzle over top &
cool 15 minutes before cutting.
Makes 16 servings.

NOTE: The longer the cake sets, the
thicker the fudge sauce gets. To
re-heat leftover cake, microwave each
serving on a microwaveable plate on
High 15-20 seconds or just until
warmed; serve immediately.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Cowboy Stew

2 lb. boneless stew beef, cut into 2 X 1
inch pieces
2 T. flour
2 T. chili powder
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 C. frozen corn kernels
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 (16 oz) jar chunky salsa
1 C. water
1/4 C. barbecue sauce
1 C. Cheddar cheese

Brown meat in nonstick skillet on medium
heat; drain grease & add to crockpot. Sprinkle
with flour & chili powder, stir to evenly coat
meat. Add all remaining ingredients except
cheese; stir. Cover with lid & cook on Low
6-8 hours. Top with cheese when serving.
Serves 8

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Cheesy Potato Casserole
(funeral potatoes)

1 (32 oz) pkg. frozen shredded potatoes
1 C. sour cream
2 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
4 T. melted butter, divided
2 (10 oz, ea) cans cream of chicken soup
salt & pepper
1 1/2 C. corn flakes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Pour frozen potatoes into a large microwavable
mixing bowl; microwave 2-3 minutes to thaw.
Add sour cream, cheese, 2 T. melted butter, 2
cans soup, salt & pepper – mix well to combine.
Pour corn flakes into food processor (or blender),
crush into crumbs. (you can also pour them into
a large ziplock plastic bag & crush them). Pour
corn flake crumbs into small bowl; add 2 T. butter
& stir to combine. Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick
spray; spread potato mixture into pan. Cover with
corn flake crumbs, cover with foil & bake 45 minutes.
Serves 12-15.


Foil-Pack Chicken Fajita Dinner

1 1/2 C. instant white rice, uncooked
1 1/2 C. hot water
1 T. taco seasoning mix
4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1/2 C. thick & chunky salsa
1/2 C. Mexican-style finely shredded Taco

sour cream, for garnish

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Fold up all sides of each of Four large sheets
heavy-duty* aluminum foil, to form 1″ rim; spray
with nonstick spray. Combine rice, water & taco
seasoning; spoon onto foil. Top with remaining
ingredients. Bring up foil sides; fold to make 4
packets. Place in 15 X 10 X 1 inch pan. Bake
30-35 minutes or until chicken is done (165 degrees
F.) Cool 5 minutes; cut slits in foil to release steam
before opening packets. Serve with sour cream
on the side. Serves 4.

NOTE: These can be prepared ahead of time; make
packets & refrigerate until ready to bake.
*If you do not have heavy-duty foil, use a double-
layer of regular foil instead.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1 C. water
2/3 C. vegetable oil
1/3 C. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1-2 T. milk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
dash salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place cake mix, pudding mix
& eggs into large bowl. Add
water, veg. oil , poppy seeds
& almond extract. Mix with
elec mixer on Low 2 minutes.
Scrape sides of bowl & mix
an additional 3 minutes on
medium speed – batter should
be glossy. Spray Bundt pan with
nonstick spray* & lightly flour
inside of pan. Pour batter into
pan; bake 35 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Let cool in pan
5-10 minutes then place a wire
rack OVER TOP of pan & invert
cake onto rack; allow cake to rest
on rack 10 minutes. To make glaze:
Add all glaze ingredients in medium
bowl, whisk together with a fork until
well combined. Add a bit more milk if
it’s too thick and/or more powdered
sugar if it’s too thin. Drizzle glaze over top
of warm cake. Cover leftovers with plastic
wrap. Serves 12

*Jamie recommends using a Oil/Flour
combined cooking spray


Au Gratin Beef Bake

1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 C. chopped green pepper
1 (5 1/4 oz) box Au Gratin potatoes
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed tomato soup,
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 3/4 C. water
2/3 C. milk

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In large skillet cook beef (turkey), onion,
celery & green pepper until meat is no
longer pink & veggies are tender; drain.
In a greased 2 1/2 oz. baking dish, combine
beef mixture, potatoes with contents of
sauce mix, soup & Worc. sauce; stir in
water & milk. Bake, uncovered, 45-50
minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Serves 6

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Lasagna Soup

1 lb. ground sausage or ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme
1 T. brown sugar
4 C. chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced stewed tomatoes
2 (8 oz, ea) cans tomato sauce
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
7 lasagna noodles, broken up in large chunks
1 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 C. mozzarella cheese, grated

In large pot cook sausage, onion, bell
pepper & garlic over medium-high heat
until sausage is browned & onions are
translucent. Add thyme, brown sugar,
stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Ital.
seasoning, salt & chicken broth; bring to
boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat
& simmer about 20 minutes. Add lasagna
noodles to pot & simmer until tender (about
10 minutes.) Add Parm. cheese & stir, allowing
a few minutes for cheese to melt. Ladle soup
into serving bowls & sprinkle tops with
mozzarella cheese. Serves 8

(recipe: Paula Dean/

Cabbage-Apple Slaw

1/2 large head cabbage (or 1 1/2 bags
coleslaw mix)
2 large carrots, grated (omit if using bag mix)
1-2 apples, washed/cored/cut into chunks
1/3 C. golden raisins
1/4 C. craisins (optional)
3/4 C. mayonnaise (not light)
1/4 C. cider vinegar
2-3 T. sugar
3 tsp. celery seed

Wash & chop cabbage (if not using bag mix);
place in large bowl. Add carrots, apples,
raisins, craisins. In separate bowl, mix mayo,
vinegar & sugar until sugar dissolves.*
When dressing is mixed well, add celery seed.
Pour dressing over cabbage mixture & toss to
combine. Chill at least 1 hour.

*If you like the dressing more tart, add vinegar,
one tablespoon at a time; if you like it sweet, add
more sugar.


7 Layer Bars

1/4 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. butterscotch chips
1/2 C. coconut
1/2 C. pecan pieces
1/2 C. sweetened condensed milk

Layer ingredients in order, in baking pan/
bread loaf pan that fits inside your crockpot.
DO NOT STIR. Place baking pan in crockpot –
IF your dish touches the bottom of the
crockpot, form an aluminum foil ring under it,
or place a trivet to keep it from touching the
bottom. Cook, on High, 2-3 hours making sure
to check at 2 hours so they don’t burn. Let
rest 5 minutes before unmolding.

(recipe: Tammilee-Crockpot Ladies)

Puffy Taco Casserole

1 1l2 lb. ground beef
1 (10.75 oz) can tomato soup
2 T. taco seasoning (or a 1 oz. pkg)
3/4 C. water
1 (16.3 oz) pkg. (Pillsbury) Homestyle
Grand buttermilk biscuits
2 C. Mexican-blend cheese, grated

sour cream
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
chopped green onion
sliced olives

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In hot skillet place ground been; cook
over medium-high heat, stirring
frequently until browned; drain fat.
Add soup, water, taco seasoning; stir &
simmer 3-4 minutes. Open biscuits & cut
each biscuit into 8-9 pieces; drop the
pieces into the taco meat & gently stir
so all dough is covered with some of the
meat. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with nonstick
spray; spread meat mixture into pan &
bake 20 minutes until meat mixture is
bubbly & biscuits are golden brown. Cover
with shredded cheese, return to oven &
bake 8 minutes more until cheese is
Remove pan from oven & let
cool 5 minutes, then cut into slices.
Serve with toppings on the side. Serves 6-7


Lemon Coffee Cake

Streussel Topping:

1 3/4 C. flour
3/4 C. light brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 C.) cold unsalted butter,


2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick (1/2 C.) unsalted butter,
room temp.
1 C. sugar
3-4 T. lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 C. sour cream


3-4 T. lemon juice
1 C. (or more) confectioners sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Butter a 9 inch angel food cake pan.
Prepare streusel. Mix together flour,
brown sugar & salt. Cut in butter until
small to medium clumps form; cover &
refrigerate. Prepare cake mix; sift together
flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt in
a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together
butter, sugar & lemon zest. Then beat in
eggs one at a time. Add vanilla & lemon
juice until all ingredients are combined.
Alternating with the sour cream, add flour
mixture to batter. Once combined, spoon
batter into greased pan. Sprinkle chilled
streusel topping evenly over batter &
place in oven. Bake 55 minutes or until
golden & a wooden toothpick inserted in
near center comes out clean. Let cool on
wire rack 15 minutes. Run a knife along edges
to remove sides of pan. Let cake cool another
15 minutes before running a knife & spatula
underneath and around center tube to remove
cake completely from pan. Let cake cool on
wire rack. When completely cooled, mix together
lemon juice & confectioners sugar. Depending
on consistency you want, you may want to add
a little more confectioners sugar for a thicker
topping or a little less.

(recipe:: Peg – Marys Recipe Exchange)

Hope you don’t get a huge amount of snow (if you’re in a cold area). Rest, relax, read – the 3 R’s – oh, and Remember to do something nice for yourself (or someone else) today – it makes you feel better and blesses someone else!



Oh, Baby – I’m NUMB!



Me-feeling my bottom lip!

Today found husband & I going to the dentist; me, for ‘deep cleaning’ on my back teeth, bottom jaw. We started out with a light dose of numbing solution but at the very beginning of the procedure, I could FEEL it – not good. My dentist then told me that I would need the bigger/stronger numbing – so that’s what we did. Let’s just say, after the procedure I had a few of the ladies in the office laughing – I’ve never been good for anesthesia, it ALWAYS lasts MUCH longer than it’s supposed to. Right now it’s 1 1/2 hours past the treatment and I’m still totally numb from my bottom jaw to the TOP OF MY EARS! Strange feeling when attempting to reposition my hair clip and noticing that I can’t feel my EARS! Words are coming out of my mouth with extra sounds at the end. At the strong recommendation of the hygienists, we stopped for milk shakes (as I’m not supposed to attempt to EAT/CHEW anything, since I can’t feel my entire mouth/tongue/throat/lips. I’m happily sipping on a McD’s vanilla milk shake (and we got one more for my dinner, just in case this numbing stays for longer-I’m expecting it will). I’m also going to be having teeth whitening treatments, so they had to fit me for teeth ‘molds’ – that was fun, being totally numb (she had to tell me just how much to bite down so that I wouldn’t BITE her fingers!). Afterwards she gave me a cup of water to rinse out the extra rubber ‘stuff’ – I put some in my mouth, attempted to close my mouth only to shoot the water out the front like an ELEPHANT! That happened twice – I was laughing, the staff was laughing – Hey! You just gotta make the best of it, right? I told them I plan on going home, plunking myself in a chair and just knitting until this goes away! (I feel like I have GORILLA LIPS!)


Chocolate Coconut Almond Bars

1 (10 oz) pkg. large marshmallows
3 T. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. coconut flavoring
2 C. sweetened flaked coconut
2 C. crispy cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats with
1 (4.5 – 5 oz) pkg. honey-roasted sliced almonds
(1 1/3 C.)
1 C. miniature semisweet chocolate pieces

Line a 9 x 9 x 2 baking pan with foil, extending
foil over edges of pan; butter foil & set aside.
In large microwaveable bowl, combine
marshmallows & butter; microwave 100%
power 1-2 minutes or until butter is melted.
Stir in coconut flavoring until smooth. Stir in
coconut, cereal & almonds; cool slightly. Gently
fold in semisweet chocolate pieces. Spread
mixture into prepared pan, pressing lightly into
pan. Let stand 1 hour or until set. Using edges of
foil, lift block of bars from pan; place on cutting
board, cut into 32 bars.
To Store: Place in layers separated by waxed paper
in an airtight container; cover. Store in fridge for
up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

(recipe: BH & G)

Hungarian Beef Goulash

2 lb. beef stew meat, trimmed & cubed
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 1/2 to 2 T. sweet or hot paprika (or a
mixture of the two), preferably Hungarian
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can beef broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 T. cornstarch mixed with 2 T. water
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Place beef in crockpot. Crush caraway
seeds using the bottom of a saucepan;
transfer to a small bowl & stir in paprika,
salt & pepper. Sprinkle the beef with this
mixture & toss to coat well; top with onion
& bell pepper. Combine tomatoes, broth,
Worch. sauce & garlic in medium saucepan;
bring to a simmer. Pour over beef in crockpot;
place bay leaves on top. Cover & cook until
beef is very tender, 4-4 1/2 hours on High, or
7 to 7 1/2 hours on Low. Discard bay leaves,
skim or blot any visible fat from surface of
stew. Add cornstarch mixture to stew; cook on
High, stirring 2-3 times, until slightly thickened,
10-15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
Serves 8 (about 1 C. each)

NOTE: This can be made ahead. Cover & refrigerate
up to 2 days or freeze up to 4 months.


Greek Marinated Chicken

3 1/2 – 4 lb. chicken pieces
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 bunch fresh parsley
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (depending
on how much you like garlic)
1 lemon
2 T. olive oil
1 C. plain yogurt

Combine yogurt, olive oil, garlic, oregano,
salt & pepper in a bowl. Using a fine holed
cheese grater or a zester, scrap a thin
layer of lemon zest into the bowl. Add juice
from half of the lemon (1-2 T.); stir until well
combined.Pour mixture into gallon-sized
ziplock bag & add chicken; remove as much air
as possible from bag then marinate in fridge 1/2 hr.
Preheat oven 375 degrees.
Place chicken pieces in 9 X 13 dish. Bake 45-60
minutes or until golden brown. Serves 8


Oven Baked Tacos

Brown your ground beef and drain
completely – then add refried beans,
taco seasoning and about half a can
of tomato sauce. Mix together and
scoop into taco shells, (stand them
up in a casserole dish). Sprinkle the
cheese on top and bake at 375 for 10 minutes!

(recipe tip: Facebook)

Zesty Glazed Carrots

4 C. water
1 (2 lb) pkg. baby carrots
3 T. firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. margarine
2 T. spicy brown (prepared) mustard

Heat water in large saucepan over
high heat – bring to boil; add carrots.
Cook 8-10 minutes or until crisp-
tender; drain, return to pan. Add
brown sugar, margarine & mustard
to pan; heat over medium heat 2
minutes or until margarine & brown
sugar melts and sauce lightly coats
carrots. Serves 6


Cherry Pastry Bars

1 cup butter, softened
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 cup flour
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 large can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling

3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp soft cream cheese
5 heaping tbsp powdered sugar

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper.
Cream butter and sugar together until very
light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then
beat in the extracts. Gradually mix in the flour
until well incorporated. Spread 3/4 of the batter
in the bottom pan lined with parchment paper.
Scoop cherry pie filling over batter in pan. Drop
remaining batter by spoonful’s over the cherries.
Bake for 45 min. Let cool completely.

To make icing whisk together icing ingredients
and drizzle over cooled bars before slicing

(recipe: Facebook)

Chili-Cheddar Beer Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 C. light beer
1 1/2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 C. shredded iceberg lettuce
1 (15 oz) can chili with beans, heated
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 C. sliced black olives
1 tomato, chopped

crackers, toasted pita wedges,
corn chips, for serving

Beat cream cheese & beer with elec. mixer
until well blended. Stir in Cheddar; spread
onto large serving plate. Place lettuce around
edge of cheese mixture; fill center with chili.
Sprinkle with onions, olives & tomatoes.
Makes 4 1/2 C. dip or 36 (2 T. each) servings

(recipe: Kraft Foods)

Mexican-style Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
3/4 C. thick medium salsa
1 (1 1/4 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix
6 flour tortillas (6 inch)
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed &
1 1/2 C. (Kraft) Mexican-style shredded
Four Cheese with a touch of Philadelphia

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Brown meat in large skillet; drain. Stir in salsa &
seasoning mix; simmer on low 10 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Spread 1/2 C. of mixture on bottom of
8 inch square baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray.
Cover with 2 tortillas. Top with layers of 1/2 C. meat
mixture, half beans, 1/2 C. cheese & 2 tortillas. Repeat
layers; top with remaining meat mixture & cheese.
Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes; uncover. Let stand
5 minutes before cutting. Serves 6

NOTE: Can also add 1 (11 oz) can corn (drained or
1 C. sliced black olives to meat mixture before using
as directed.
Suggestion: Spread 1/3 of 1 (16 oz) can refried beans
on each tortilla layer before covering with meat

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Buffalo Chicken Bites

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. Ranch salad dressing
1/2 C. Buffalo Wing sauce
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 C. cooked/shredded chicken
24 wonton wrappers
1/4 C. blue cheese crumbles

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray muffin tins very lightly with
nonstick spray. In medium bowl, combine
cream cheese, Ranch dressing, wing sauce &
3/4 C. Cheddar cheese. (You can soften mixture
slightly in microwave if needed, to make it come
together). Stir in shredded chicken. Press one
wonton wrapper in each muffin tin. Spoon about
1 T. chicken mixture in each cup; top with another
wonton wrapper & add another scoop of chicken
mixture. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese &
a little blue cheese on top of each cup. Bake 18
minutes or until edges are brown. Check after 10
minutes ; if edges are browned, cover with foil for
remaining cooking time. Remove from oven & let
cool 5 minutes. To remove, run the tip of a knife
around each, then pop them out.

To Make MINI Bites:
Cut each wonton wrapper into 4 squares. Layer
wonton, about 1 tsp. filling, wonton, then another
tsp. filling. Top with shredded cheese & blue
cheese. Bake 10 minutes, let cool slightly, remove
from pan.

Makes 12 regular bites or 48 mini bites


Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 extra-large eggs, room temp
2 C. (18 oz) creamy peanut butter
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 C. (18 oz) raspberry or other flavor, jam
2/3 C. salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease 9 X 13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
Line with parchment paper then grease & flour
the pan. Using elec. mixer fitted with paddle
attachment, cream butter & sugar on medium
speed until light yellow, about 2 min. On Low
speed, add vanilla, eggs & peanut butter; mix
until all ingredients are combined. In small bowl,
sift together flour, baking powder, & salt. On Low
speed, slowly add flour mixture to peanut butter
mixture; mix until just combined. Spread 2/3 of
dough into prepared pan; spread over bottom with
a knife or spatula. Spread jam evenly over dough;
drop small globs of remaining dough evenly over
jam. (Don’t worry if all of the jam isn’t covered – it
will spread in the oven). Sprinkle top with chopped
peanuts. Bake 45 minutes until golden brown. Cool
& cut into squares.



How’s your weather doing? We are finally having some warm weather and it’s really nice – not having to wear hats/scarves/gloves/boots – YAY! The down side is: seeing all the really yucky black snow & ice and lots of MUD! (Oh, and the pot holes – but we won’t even GO there!)


Today it’s 47 degrees right now at 2:50 p.m. – the bad thing? They’re predicting rain tonight changing to 3-5 INCHES of snow by Tuesday night! NO – SAY IT ISN’T SO!!! I’m really hoping we’ve seen all the snow we’re going to get for this winter. One of the receptionists today said she heard we only need 6 MORE inches of snow to set an all time record – WHO CARES! NO records – NO MORE SNOW! (I sound like a protester carrying a sign!)

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you probably know I’m a Type A personality with great OCD tendencies – that means that certain things really bother me: like pictures on the wall that are crooked, messes that need to be straightened, etc. Well, that kind of behavior also pours over into other things, like having a total of knit baby hats come to an ‘odd number’ (77), so typically for me, I will spend time today finishing knitting the extra 3 hats to make the total come out an even 80! (Don’t ask-I drive my family nuts with the OCD thing: husband is a person who doesn’t care AT ALL about chaos/messes and I drive him nuts piling his ‘stuff/papers, etc’ into neat piles – then he can’t find anything, but it makes me so much more comfortable! (I even feel a sense of inner ‘happy sigh’ everytime I can get all the cards on Solitaire! I know – weird, right?)

Our gas prices are staying pretty much the same as last time I wrote about it: $3.59/9 in our area – $3.51/9 out by our dentist . . . go figure!

Have a great day and I’ll enjoy myself sitting here sipping my vanilla milk shake and knitting the last few baby hats!