Thoughts on a Thursday


Hello, on a grey and rainy day! It’s now 34 degrees F. and raining – hope it stays that way and doesn’t continue on to what our weather forecast predicted: snow. We’ve had MORE than enough snow – the crocus are blooming, birds are singing – it’s time for SPRING!

Started looking up ideas for the last Art Design project. This time they are to build (using foam board) a 3D building 10″ tall, 5″ wide and themed. Son has decided we are building a Japanese Tea House-themed hotel (they can either do a store or a hotel). Let me tell you – LOTS of time just trying to research what would be a (somewhat) easy construction of said building using FOAM BOARD! NOT an easy task! I draw/create using pictures/photos in front of me – not good at pulling ideas out of my head. They are to begin by deciding on a name and LOGO for said building/business. (we haven’t exactly got that down yet). I mentioned to son that I could look up the Japanese characters for TEA and HOUSE; found both plus HOME and GOOD LUCK. (my thinking: perhaps work in the name, like Good Luck Tea House?) We’ll see – I’ve taken Calligraphy before so doing the characters using dip calligraphy pens shouldn’t be a problem. I’m almost excited about this project, as it’s somewhat like dollhouse designing (done that, too). I love working in miniature, so we’ll wee where this goes (and how much son allows me to be creative!). I’m also thinking a tiny stone pathway up to the building – we CAN do exterior design/landscaping, if we wish – she said: “BE CREATIVE! ANYTHING GOES! PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS!” (Oh, I can DO that!!!).

Had some fun today pulling out some of the small batch of yarn I picked up from the Yarn Swap Tuesday. This time it’s a coffee-color, a cream-color, and a bright yellow. I was calling it a boy’s hat but son said: “Actually, it’s non-gender” . . . UGH! (I don’t think like that but THIS generation DOES!). See what YOU think!


brown hat – donated yarn/pink hat-hot pink border donated

(Just me having fun ‘creating’ with FREE yarn!)

Yesterday was a busy and disorganized day, but managed to make it through it well. LOTS of phone calls – I called the son of my knitting friend who died and he told me he wants to donate ALL of her knitting supplies PLUS boxes of other craft stuff to the group. I told him we’d be honored to receive it; he’ll get in touch with me in about 3-4 weeks. I stopped by the funeral home just to pay my respects and meet her son. Got a phone call from a friend at church asking if I would like a large garbage bag full of about 75 skeins of yarn? (You KNOW my response!) She seemed a bit surprised, but I told her my ladies view free yarn like anyone else would chocolate or candy – them GLOM on it! I know that whatever yarn does not get taken, plus whatever craft items my friend’s son will donate can be dropped of at our local Senior Center and they will be happy to make good use of it – or put it in their Rummage Sale later this year. It won’t go to waste, for sure. (Yes, I’m excited to see what’s coming – as if I needed MORE yarn or needles/etc. but it’s fun to LOOK!)


Amish Banana Cake

1 C. butter, softened
2 C. sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking powder
3 1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cream butter & sugar; beat in eggs &
vanilla. Blend in mashed bananas. Dissolve
baking soda into buttermilk; set aside.
In separate bowl, sift together baking powder,
flour & salt. Blend dry ingredients into
banana-egg mixture alternately with buttermilk.
Beat well. Pour into a 9 X 13 baking pan. Bake
35-40 minutes.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)
Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 large green peppers, seeded & chopped
1 (8 oz) pkg. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
1 (1 lb) pork tenderloin
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 C. multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 C. water
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
Mix tomatoes & tomato paste in crockpot
until blended; stir in vegetables. Cut meat
into 8 pieces; pound to 1/2-inch thickness.
Sprinkle with oregano & add to crockpot.
Press meat into sauce with back of spoon.
Cover & cook on Low 4-4 1/2 hours or
High 2 1/2 - 3 hours.
Cook pasta as directed on pkg, omitting salt.
Transfer meat to plate, reserving sauce in
crockpot. Cover meat to keep warm. Mix
cornstarch & water until well blended; add
to sauce & stir. Cook, covered, on High
6-8 minutes or until thickened. Drain pasta,
spoon onto serving plates. Top with meat,
sauce & cheeses. Makes 4 servings.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Lasagna Soup

1 lb. ground sausage or 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
2 (8 oz, ea) cans tomato sauce
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
7 lasagna noodles, broken up
into large chunks
1 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 C. mozzarella cheese, grated
In large soup pot place meat, onion,
bell pepper & garlic; cook over medium-
high heat until meat is browned & onions
are translucent. (drain grease). Add thyme,
brown sugar, stewed tomatoes, tomato
sauce, Italian seasoning, salt & chicken
broth; bring to boil over medium-high
heat. When boiling, reduce heat & simmer
20 minutes. Add noodles to pot; simmer until
noodles are tender (about 10 min.) Add
Parmesan cheese to pot; allow to melt.
Remove pot from stove, serve soup with
grated mozzarella cheese on top.
Serves 8

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp & Vegetables

4 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 large red bell peppers, diced
2 lb. asparagus, trimmed & cut into 1" lengths
2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. raw shrimp (26-30 per lb), peeled &
1 C. chicken broth
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
Heat 2 tsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over
medium-high heat; add peppers, asparagus,
lemon zest & 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until just beginning to soften,
about 6 minutes. Tranfer vegs to a bowl;
cover to keep warm. Add remaining 2 tsp. oil
& garlic to pan & cook, stirring until fragrant,
about 30 sec.; add shrimp & cook, stirring,
1 minute. Whisk broth & cornstarch in small
bowl until smooth & add to pan along with
remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until 
sauce has thickened slightly & shrimp are
pink & just cooked through, about 2 minutes
more. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice &
parsley. Serve shrimp & sauce over vegetables.
Serves 4

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Buckeye Dessert Dip
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1/8 C. milk
1 C. confectioners sugar
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 (12 oz) pkg. mini chocolate chips
graham cracker sticks, for dipping
Cream together cream cheese, peanut
butter & milk until smooth. Add conf.
sugar; blend until smooth. Fold in Cool
Whip & chips; refrigerate 2 hours before

Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers
 2 T. zesty Italian salad dressing
 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked & drained
 1/2 C. chopped tomatoes
 2 T. slivered almonds*
 2 T. raisins
 1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
 12 medium jalapeno peppers
 Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
 Heat dressing in medium saucepan over
 medium-high heat. Add meat, tomatoes,
 almonds & raisins; cook 3-5 minutes or until
 heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove
 from heat; drain excess liquid; stir in 1/4 C.
 cheese, set aside. Cut each pepper in half
 lengthwise; remove & discard seeds. Place
 peppers on foil-covered baking sheet. Fill
 each half with about 1 T. meat mixture. Bake
 10 minutes; sprinkle tops with remaining
 cheese. Bake an additional 3-5 minutes or 
 until cheese is melted. Serve warm. Makes
 12 servings.
 *can substitute chopped pecans or walnuts
 Can be made ahead of time; cover & refrigerate
 up to 12 hours. When ready to serve, uncover
 & bake as directed.
 (recipe: Kraft foods)
Braised Tomato Spareribs
 2 lb. pork spareribs, cut into single-rib
 or bite-sized portions
 2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes, 
 1/4 C. sun dried tomato Vinaigrette
 dressing (Kraft)*
 1 T. soy sauce
 1 tsp. garlic powder
 Place ribs in crockpot; add tomatoes,
 dressing, soy sauce & garlic powder;
 cover with lid. Cook on Low 6-8 hours
 or High 4 hours. Skim & discard fat from
 top of sauce before serving. Serves 4
 *can substitute balsamic vinaigrette
 (recipe: Kraft foods)
Pasta with Asparagus & Mushrooms
 1 box rotini pasta
 6 T. olive oil
 4 garlic cloves, minced
 1/3  of an onion, thinly sliced
 1 bunch asparagus, stems cut & ends trimmed
 8 oz. Portobello mushrooms, sliced
 2 thyme leaves
 4 parsley stems, minced
 2 T. balsamic vinegar
 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
 Place 2 T. olive oil in small skillet; saute
 half of garlic & onions over medium heat.
 Add asparagus; season with salt & pepper.
 Cook until al dente. Cook pasta accordg
 to pkg. directions. Place 2 T. olive oil in
 another large skillet; saute the rest of the onions
 3 minutes; then rest of garlic. Add mushrooms.
 herbs, vinegar, salt & pepper. Drain pasta &
 combine both preparations plus 2 T. olive oil.
 Toss to combine. Serve immediately with cheese
 on the side. Serves 6
 (recipe: Barilla)
Mandarin Cheesecake Dessert
 2 boxes cheesecake instant pudding & pie
 filling mix (and milk to make pudding)
 1 can mandarin oranges, drained well
 1 pkg. fudge stripe cookies 
 Prepare pudding according to pkg. directions.
 After pudding sets up in refrigerator place a
 layer of cookies in bottom of a round or square
 pan; pour half of the pudding over cookies & 
 top with oranges; repeat. 
Today's gloomy/rainy weather is perfect for snuggling 
up with a good book - I've got about 3 more library
books ready to go (1 sorta girly/knitting type novels &
2 murder/mysteries). There's always MORE baby
hats to knit, so I won't be bored this day.

Rainy, sunny, windy or just perfect, try to ENJOY




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