I Dot a Code . . . (sniff)


Yep, it’s day 2 (or so) of the cold; it isn’t slowing me down much but the end of my nose is now officially red & sore. Thank heavens for sinus medication which (kind of) keeps my breathing working through the nasal passages (getting tired of mouth-breathing, my lips are really raw). Oh well – such is life, right?

It’s now Saturday and I ‘caved’ and volunteered to help with THE Art Design painting – I really don’t mind, for me – it’s kind of fun. My husband wondered what I was ranting & raving about – it was over the (my opinion) STUPID choices of color combinations they are forced to use! Who, in their right mind, mixes blue violet & red-orange in any KIND of a painting/clothing design, ANY WHERE!??? Totally UGLY, in my opinion – BUT . . . I buckled under and did it. They are to paint 5 ‘Warm color’ schemes and 5 ‘Cool’ color schemes and 2 Wave/Surf boards, one each that copies one of the warm/cool patterns out of the 5 done – that makes a total of 10 5 X 5″ squares and 2 boards – 12 total painted. That might not seem like a lot to you, but for my son, it takes him about 2-3 HOURS to do ONE 5 X 5″ square! (I kept trying to NOT paint the way I usually would IE: making sort of blobby lines, or not exactly straight (mimicking HIS painting style) – let me tell you, that AIN’T easy! He kept commenting that I really paint fast; I, in turn, kept trying to down-play that comment – it didn’t work very well. I didn’t want him to feel unable to do the work, it’s just that I’ve had years & years of practice! I took art lessons from grade school through high school, painted back drops for our former church, big (6′ X 8′ ) posters monthly for that church, and lots of other art projects. After awhile, you just get better at what you do. Oh well, as of today, he has one more 5 x 5″ square and one board to complete, then comes the assembling of the various parts to make up the display board(s) – at this point, I’m not sure they will all fit on one board – we’ll see. (son kept saying, last night, “Mom – YOU should take art classes in college – you’d pass them all!” – I have no need to take any more college classes, that I know of right now, nor do I have any desire to!) Perhaps years ago, I might have persued Business Law while still employed with Michigan Bell (AT&T, now) – the company paid half of all college courses, but that time came & went – AND we were slowly growing/adopting a family – I’m not sad about any of those life choices – just saying, it might have been fun to be a Corporate Lawyer for AT&T! (My teacher for Business Law actually WORKED for Michigan Bell at the time he was teaching me, hence the ‘suggesting/gentle push’ towards ME pursuing that job title.

Our weather has been pretty steady these past few days – just relentless bitter cold! Amazingly, right now it sets at 24 degrees F. – that’s actually WARM considering what it’s been (but then, you also have to figure in the WIND CHILL, which makes it feel MUCH colder!). Glad that today I don’t have anywhere to go outside (that I know of!).


Southern Fried Cabbage

5-6 strips bacon
1 head cabbage, sliced
1 onion, diced
1/4 C. chicken broth
1 tsp vinegar (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In large skillet, fry bacon until crisp, remove to a
paper towel to drain Place chopped cabbage &
onion in skillet with bacon fat over medium heat;
cook until it begins to wilt. Crumble  bacon &
add to the pan; add in chicken stock,vinegar, salt
and pepper.  Cover and allow it to simmer 10 minutes
Serve hot. Serves 4
NOTE: You can also add:
diced apples, sliced sausage, cooked noodles.

(recipe: facebook)

Easy Sprite Cake

1 box  Cake Mix
1 can or 12 oz Diet Sprite or something similar

In a bowl, mix  cake mix and sprite until smooth
(Ignore the ingredients needed on the box)
Bake the cake at the temp and time listed on the box
Insert a toothpick into the cake. Once it comes out
clean, remove the cake from the oven
Allow the cake to cool before frosting.

(recipe: Facebook)

Creamy Kielbasa/Kraut Surprise

(Serves 2)

1 small bag frozen sauerkraut, drained
1 small carrot – shredded
1 small onion, diced
1 ring smoked kielbasa sliced into
rounds or diced
1 large onion, sliced
4 oz. sour cream
2 slices bacon

In large frying pan add bacon, cook on
medium-high heat until cooked. Remove
& chop up, return to pan. Add sauerkraut,
carrot & small onion to pan; cook until
translucent & soft. Add kielbasa; stir until
cooked. Add large onion & cook until all
onions are translucent. Lower heat to
medium-low & add sour cream; stir to
combine. Cook until sour cream is creamy
throughout pan. Mix well & lower heat to
simmer; simmer 10 minutes. Serves 2

(recipe: Rosemarie-justapinch.com)

“Impossibly” Easy Breakfast Bake

2 (12 oz, ea) pkgs. bulk pork sausage
1 medium bell pepper, chopped (1 C.)
1  medium onion, chopped (1/2 C.)
3 C. frozen hash browns
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1 C. Bisquick mix
2 C. milk
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 eggs

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Grease 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray. Cook
sausage, bell pepper & onion in 10 inch skillet
over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until
sausage is no longer pink; drain grease. Stir
sausage mixture, potatoes & 1 1/2 C. cheese
into prepared pan. Stir Bisquick, milk, pepper &
eggs in large bowl until blended; pour in baking
dish. Bake, uncovered, 40-45 minutes or until
knife inserted into center comes out clean. Sprinkle
top with remaining cheese; bake 1-2 minutes longer
or just until cheese is melted. Cool 5 minutes.
Serves 12

(recipe:  Food Network)

Beef & Bean Taco Casserole
(also called Broken Enchilada casserole)

2 T. vegetable oil, plus more for greasing dish
3 T. chili powder
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
2 C. salsa plus more for serving
6 C. yellow corn tortilla chips (about 5 oz)
plus more for serving
3 C. shredded Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese

sour cream, chopped lettuce, chopped tomato,
chopped avocado, chopped pickled jalapenos,
salsa, tortilla chips

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease 9 X 13 pan. Heat oil in large skillet
over high heat. When oil is shimmering, add beef &
sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, oregano, 1 tsp.
salt & few grinds black pepper. Cook, breaking up
meat into smaller pieces, until browned, about 5
minutes. Add onions & garlic; cook until onions are
soft, about 5 minutes more. Add beans, salsa & 1/2
C. water; bring to simmer – cook until sauce thickens
& coats the meat, about 5 minutes. Add salt & pepper
to taste. Lay half tortilla chips in bottom of pan; spread
half meat mixture on top. Sprinkle half cheese blend over
meat – repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake, uncovered,
until cheese melts & casserole is hot, about 20 minutes.
Serve toppings on the side. Serves 8

(recipe: Food Network)

Meatball Minestrone Soup

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

*You can also dissolve 4 tsp. beef soup base
granules in 4 C. hot water
**You can use frozen meatballs

Place all ingredients (except 1 can tomato soup,
macaroni and Parmesan) into crockpot. Cook on
Low 6-8 hours. Just before ready to serve, cook
pasta accordg. to pkg. directions. Add the 1 can
tomato soup to crockpot and stir (it will thicken
the soup a little).
Serving: Dish a portion of the pasta into each
soup bowl, pour minestrone over top and garnish
with Parmesan cheese. Serves 10

(recipe: jamiecooksitup.net)

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies

1 C. butter, melted
2 C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 C. flour
3/4 C. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
8 large Reese’s peanut butter cups
(or 24 mini cups) roughly chopped
1/2 C. salted peanuts, chopped
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T. butter
1 1/2 C. peanut butter
1 1/2 C. Rice Crispy cereal

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 X 13 pan with foil so that a
small amount of foil hangs over the edge;
spray foil with nonstick spray. Combine
butter, sugar, vanilla & eggs; mix well then
add flour, cocoa powder & baking powder –
mix well then pour into prepared pan. Bake
20-25 minutes.
Prepare topping:
In microwavesafe bowl, place chocolate chips,
butter & peanut butter; cook until melted,
about 45 seconds. Stir well until mixture is
smooth. Add Rice Crispy cereal; stir to coat
When brownies are done, remove from oven &
top with chocolate/cereal mixture, spreading
evenly over the top. Set aside & let cool about
1 hour, then refrigerate at least 2 hours. To
remove from pan, lift out by pulling up on the
foil. Pull foil back from sides of brownies & cut
into bars. Makes 20-24 bars.

(recipe: Traci-justapinch.com)

Jamie’s Loaded Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower
1 stick butter
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small pkg. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt & pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
3 C. finely shredded Colby/Monterey
Jack cheese
1 T. chives
1 C. heavy cream
1 C. sour cream
2 T. flour

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large pot bring water to boil
seasoned with salt. Clean cauliflower;
place in pot whole after removing the
stem; cook approx. 15 minutes to come
to tender. In skillet heat olive oil; place
mushrooms & onion in pan; grate garlic
into pan & add Ital. seasoning, salt &
pepper. Cook until tender. Drain cauliflower
into a colander; cut core out & cut up into
bite-sized pieces. Place cauliflower
into large mixing bowl. Add sour cream,
2 C. cheese & veggies in skillet. In a sauce
pan, melt butter, add 2 T. flour – stir to make
a paste (roux). Add in heavy cream; when
it thickens, add cauliflower. Pour into a
casserole dish; add 1 C. cheese on top,
crumbled bacon & chives. Bake about 10
minutes until cheese has melted & is bubbly.
NOTE: If you want it firmer: bake a little first,
then add cheese, bacon & chives.

(recipe: Jamie-justapinch.com)

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

1 (8.5 oz) pkg. corn muffin mix
2 oz. Velveeta, cut into 24 small cubes
4 beef hot dogs, cut into 6 pieces*
1/2 C. Dijon mustard (or honey mustard)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Prepare muffin batter accodg to pkg;
spoon into 24 mini muffin pans sprayed
with nonstick spray. Press 1 each Velveeta
cube and 1 hot dog slice into batter in
center of each muffin cup. Bake 10-12
minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5
minutes before removing from pans.
Serve warm with mustard. Makes 24
mini muffins.

*can substitute turkey franks
(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Brisket with Brown Gravy

vegetable oil, for searing
1 (2 1/2 – 3 lb) brisket
kosher salt
1 bunch parsley, stems reserved &
leaves chopped
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth
2 C. red wine (or water)
2 T. tomato paste
1 (.87 oz) pkg. slow-cooker pot
roast seasoning mix
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. mixed wild
1 (.87 oz) pkt. brown gravy mix
1 C. cold water

In large skillet, heat veg. oil over medium-
high heat. Season brisket on both sides with
generous pinch of salt. Sear brisket in hot
pan until browned, about 4 minutes per side.
Add parsley stems, celery & bay leaf to crockpot.
Place seared brisket on top of veggies. In large
bowl, whisk broth, wine, tomato paste & pot
roast seasoning; pour over brisket. Top with
onions & cook on High 4-6 hours or Low 8-9
hours, until meat is fork-tender. One hour before
brisket is done, add carrots & mushrooms. Remove
meat, carrots & mushrooms from crockpot & set
aside. Strain liquid into a medium pan over
medium-high heat. In small bowl, whisk together
gravy mix with 1 C. cold water. Turn heat to
medium & whisk in gravy mixture. Cook until
thickened, about 2 minutes. Slice brisket &
arrange on serving platter. Serve with carrots,
mushrooms & gravy. Garnish with reserved
chopped parsley leaves. Serves 6

(recipe: Foodnetwork.com)

Easy Carrot Cake

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

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

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

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

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Since today is a rather ‘easy-going’ day for me, I’m happy knowing we have enough left-overs to hold us for tonight (beef stew & homemade pizza). I’m planning on working more on the crocheted baby blanket; I’m FINALLY on the actual decrease part that will eventually end in the finishing of this blanket. I might crochet a white border on it – not sure yet.

Started a new book yesterday* (actually, I think I’ve already read it, but like having Alzheimers – it’s a totally NEW book to me!). Have you ever had that happen? You purchase/check out a book from one of your favorite authors, only to find after reading the first few pages, you’ve already READ it? Boy, that’s happened to me TOO many times! Oh well, just have to look at it like: I must have REALLY liked it! and just keep  moving on. Life’s too short to worry about trivial things! (OR, as some would say: They’re ALL trivial things! . . . that’s the old ‘Is the glass half empty or half full?’) My thought? WHO CARES, just DRINK THE STUPID LIQUID AND QUIT QUIBBLING ABOUT IT!!!

On that note, I’ll close for now. Hope you’re having an OK day – since it’s the weekend, try to use it (a) either to your advantage and get lots of things done or (b) use it to RELAX!!!



*“Term Limits” by Vince Flynn – he writes a pretty fast-paced, politically-charged murder/mystery – I like his writing style!


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. On the decrease so you will find it goes quicker. Let us see it when it is done!!!

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