Another Spring Day – YAY!


It’s been a bit breezy but sunny – I can’t complain! One still needs a light sweater or jacket during the day; right now it’s 59 degrees at almost 5 p.m. – that’s pretty GOOD for here! (she said – remembering that there STILL could be snow before or on Easter! Good old Michigan – gotta love it!)

I noticed while out today that our local gas prices have climbed a LOT! A few days ago I got gas (the cheapest) at $3.59/9 and was happy – today, same station was $3.79/9!!! WOW! Wonder if they’re raising it for those traveling during Easter? Just a thought.

Lots of yummy-sounding recipes lately – here ya go:


Black Forest Cupcakes

*Whipped Icing:

2 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. milk
pinch cream of tartar
2 C. heavy whipping cream


2 1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 C. cocoa
2 C. sugar
4 eggs
1 C. milk
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 T. vanilla
1 can cherry pie filling (with
extra cherries)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place 24 paper cupcake liners in
cupcake pans; set aside. Sift
together & combine dry ingredients
for cake, including sugar, in large bowl.
Add eggs, milk, oil & vanilla; beat until
well blended. Pour or scoop evenly into
liners, filling 2/3 rds full. Bake 17-21 minutes
or until toothpick inserted into centers
comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on wire


In large mixing bowl, combine powdered
sugar, milk, tartar; mix well. Cover &
refrigerate for at least one hour.

When cupcakes are cool & icing is ready,
use an apple corer (or small spoon) and
make a hole for filling. Reserve 24 cherries
out of pie filling, then place pie filling
into holes. Remove icing from refrigerator;
mix in whipping cream on medium-high
speed until cream forms stiff peaks. Top
each cupcake with whipped icing & reserved
cherries. Cupcakes should be kept
refrigerated. Remove from fridge 15-30
minutes before serving. Makes 24 cupcakes.



Sour Cream/Bacon Potato Salad

4 oz olive oil
2 oz. bacon drippings
2 oz. cider vinegar
your choice of herbs (basil, rosemary,
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

4 lb. small red potatoes
4 large eggs, hard boiled (separate
yolks from whites-chop whites)
8 oz bacon, cooked & crumbled (be
sure to reserve some bacon drippings)
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 C. mayonnaise
3/4 C. sour cream*
3 T. Dijon mustard
salt & pepper, to taste
chopped green onion & crumbled
bacon (optional)

To make marinade:
Combine bacon fat, olive oil, vinegar,
herbs & garlic salt in small food processor,
shaker jar or bowl & combine well. Season
with pepper to taste

To Make salad:
Clean but do not peel potatoes; cut into 1″
cubes. Place in a large pot with salted water;
bring to a boil – boil 7-10 minutes, testing
potatoes to see if they are done. (they should
be firm but easily penetrated with a fork).
Remove from heat; drain & place back into pot.
Add marinade & stir gently to cover all potatoes.
Refrigerate at least 1/2 hour. Mash egg yolks
finely with a fork in a medium bowl. Prepare
dressing by combining yolks with mayonnaise,
sour cream & mustard. Mix with a whisk &
season with salt & pepper. Add dressing, chopped
egg whites, bacon & green onion to potatoes – mix
gently. Taste & adjust seasoning with salt & pepper,
if necessary. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before
serving. Best if made ahead & refrigerated overnight.
Garnish before serving with green onion & bacon bits.
Serves 6-8

*You can substitute plain Greek yogurt, if needed


Crockpot Lemonade Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (6 oz) can frozen lemonade, thawed
1 T. vinegar
3 T. brown sugar
1/4 C. ketchup
*4 C. rice, cooked

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Place chicken on bottom of crockpot.
In a bowl, mix all other ingredients (except
rice) then pour over chicken. Cook on Low
6-8 hours or High 3-4 hours. Add salt &
pepper when serving.
*Do not cook rice in crockpot; wait until
chicken is nearly done, then cook on stovetop
or in rice cooker.  Serves 4

(recipe: Crockpot Ladies)

Side-Dish Parsley Potatoes

1-2 medium potatoes per serving (thin-
skinned or peeled)
1 T. butter, per serving
1/4 medium onion, chopped
1/4 bunch fresh parsley, per serving
zest of one lemon, grated (optional)
salt & pepper, to taste

If using thin-skinned (ie: new, red, Yukon
Gold) potatoes, leave skin on. If using
thicker skinned potatoes (ie: Russet), peel
them. Cut potatoes into 3/4″ dice; place in
microwave-safe dish, add water to about
1 inch deep. Cover & microwave until potatoes
are almost done. Time varies depending on
amount of potatoes & strength of microwave
oven, but takes about 10 minutes for 2 large
servings. Melt butter in large skillet over
medium heat; saute onions in butter, stirring
occasionally to promote even cooking. When
potatoes are soft, must of the water will have
been absorbed. Using a slotted spoon, add
potatoes to skillet with onions, leaving as much
water behind as possible. Let potatoes saute
about 2 minutes to brown slightly on one side.
Finely chop parsley (and zest the lemon, if using).
Add these to skillet; toss to mix thoroughly. Heat
about 2 minutes. Taste & season with salt &

3 Ingredient Party Dip

1 (16 oz) pkg. pork sausage (your
choice of how hot)
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can Ro*Tel tomatoes,undrained

Brown sausage in nonstick skillet,
breaking up into crumbles, drain.
In medium saucepan, heat tomatoes &
cream cheese over medium heat, stirring
occasionally. Heat until cream cheese is
completely melted. Add browned sausage
to mixture; stir to combine. (If you like a
slightly looser dip, add a few drops of milk
to mixture & stir.)
Serve with tortilla chips, corn chips, crackers,
fresh cut vegetables.

Crockpot Version:
After browning sausage, add all ingredients
in small crockpot over Low heat until cream
cheese melts, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.


Bacon, Jalapeno Popper Quiche

9 inch frozen pie crust (thawed 10 minutes)

1/2 C. cream cheese, room temp.
2 jalapenos, diced (deseed for less heat)
1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds (topping)
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
1/2 C. whipping cream
1/2 C. Half & Half
5 large eggs
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
(optional: sour cream)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Prick thawed crust all over the bottom &
sides using a fork to make tiny holes; bake
10 minutes. Remove crust & lower oven
temp. to 350 degrees F. While crust is hot,
spread cream cheese all over bottom as
evenly as possible. Sprinkle diced jalapenos
over cream cheese (save jalapeno rounds
for topping). Place cream & Half & Half in a
small pot over medium heat 5 minutes
until tiny bubbles appear around edges.
Scald: bring it to just under boiling point
until very hot, but not boiling. Beat eggs
in a bowl; add hot cream mixture to eggs,
whisking constantly to combine. Add paprika,
salt & bacon; mix well & pour into prepared
crust. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven,
arrange sliced jalapeno rounds on top. Sprinkle
top with cheese & bake until cheese has
melted & turned golden brown, about 15-20
minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
(optional: serve with sour cream on side)


Easy Sausage & Tortellini Soup

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage links
1 medium sweet onion, diced fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 C. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 (9 oz) pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini
3 C. fresh baby spinach
salt & pepper

Heat oil over medium-high heat in Dutch
oven. Add sausages & cook, turning
occasionally, until browned all over, about
10 minutes. Transfer to paper-towel lined
plate; pour off all but 1 T. fat from pot. Add
onion & cook over medium heat until
softened, about 5 minutes, scraping up any
browned bits. Add garlic & cook about 30
seconds. Stir in broth & seasonings, bring to
boil. Slice sausage 1/2 inch thick; add to pot.
Stir in tortellini & simmer gently until pasta
is tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in spinach &
cook just until wilted. Season with a little
salt & pepper, to taste. Serves 4

(recipe: very
Smothered Cabbage

1 head cabbage, shredded
1 pkg. bacon, sliced
1/2 C. chicken broth
1 T. seasoning salt
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1/2 T. black pepper
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
olive oil
hot sauce (optional)

In large skillet, heat about 2 T. olive oil
over medium heat; add bacon & fry until
crispy. Remove bacon & drain on paper
towels. Add bell pepper, onion & celery
to bacon grease; saute about 5 minutes.
Add garlic; cook 1 minute more; add spices
& mix well. Add cabbage to pan; mix well.
Cook cabbage mixture about 10 minutes
then add chicken broth. Allow cabbage to
cook 10 minutes more. Crumble cooked
bacon. Add vinegar; add crumbled bacon
& cook 5 more minutes. Serves 4
Serve with hot sauce on the side.


Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler

1 stick (1/2 C.) butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 C. milk
1 C. flour
1 C. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 quarts whole strawberries, capped/washed
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into small pieces
plain Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream for
serving, (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt butter & pour into 9 X 13 pan. In small
bowl, mix egg, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder
& salt; pour directly over butter in baking dish-
DO NOT stir. Add strawberries, arranging in a
single layer as much as possible. Sprinkle cream
cheese pieces over strawberries. Bake 45 minutes
until top is golden brown & edges are bubbling.
(crust rises up around fruit, fruit will be peeking
out of top). Serve hot with choice of topping.


Just got the call that our gutter company will be coming out tomorrow – YAY! We’ve been waiting almost all winter for them; got a call a few weeks ago but they cancelled due to upcoming bad weather (which actually didn’t come!). It will be nice to have that big project finally done – new roof and gutters!

I think I mentioned in the last post about receiving a huge bag of yarn from a friend at church who works at a nursing home (at least 75 skeins plus tons of knitting needles and a few crochet hooks). In among all the yarns were about 8 skeins of this really thick, fluffy yarn – it’s mainly used for baby items. I’m NOT a fan of thick yarns, but this was just calling me: “Hey, you! Come and see what you can make with me!” . . . so I did. I know, from past experience, this is NOT the yarn you would knit with, so I dragged out my biggest crochet hook (size K) and attempted to crochet a baby blanket – just your standard triple crochet, nothing fancy. After about 3 1/2 rows I decided to just give it up! I DO NOT like using this yarn (even if it’s FREE) and it tends to get caught up in itself a LOT! Very frustrating but I’m sure there will be one of my knit group ladies who will be super thrilled to get it, so I’m not worried it will go to waste. Ah, the goofy things I get myself into sometimes! I don’t know WHY I sometimes think I really need THREE projects going at once (actually, if I think about it, I DO have 3 going now: baby blanket, baby hats and chemo caps!) Yep, I’m crazy.

On the son’s Art Design 3D building project: Boy, I really don’t know WHERE my brain was at when I began comping up this project. The directions said the ENTIRE building was to be 10″ (or a little bigger) tall and 5″ or a little bigger wide. I had it in my head that ONE FLOOR was 10 inches! We had all the foam board cut out and I worked on the front wall with door & windows (and was rather proud of myself, if I must say so). Made the windows out of tracing paper (to resemble Shoji screen windows, like they had in ancient Japan) and found a sheet of dollhouse flooring paper (from my dollhouse building project of 30+ years ago) and used that for the front door. Showed it to my son and he promptly said: “Mom, that looks like it’s built for a GI Joe doll! That building will be too small for a hotel – no room for beds, people, etc.” AND HE WAS RIGHT! Oh boy – back to the drawing board, for sure! Let’s just say: I’m an artist, NOT an architect – I don’t think in that scale. It drove me nuts; I took a good hour break playing video games just to get my mind off the fact that we now had NOTHING to show the teacher for our 1 week efforts! I went back at it and now the building will be a little over 10″ (maybe 10 1/2″ tall and 6 ” wide, 3 floors. One of the main problems I was having with the building design son chose was: I couldn’t wrap my brain around how to construct the roof! Finally, after going back to sites on Japanese temples, I found one that had a roof sort of like our modern American houses (the kind that look like an inverted open book). THAT is how this building’s roof will look AND it will allow for us to put the Logo on the area of the peak – YAY! Son didn’t seem too convinced of my efforts and I just decided to WALK AWAY! He woke me up this morning asking: “Mom – just what am I supposed to show the teacher today?” I said: Take your sketch book and explain our problems. He hasn’t come home yet so I really don’t know what she thought – but at this point: I REALLY DON’T CARE! I’m doing the best I can – if son gets a good grade, fine – if not – not my problem. At one point I actually told him if he didn’t like it he could build it himself! (I’m getting feisty in my old age!) He/we still have 2 weeks until it’s due – we’ll see how it goes. This is crazy, for me – going from a scale I can actually DO something with, to a scale that’s so tiny there’s very little room for creativity, except in the basic building itself. I’m still not even sure HOW we’re going to be able to put the Logo on and have it look like something! Ah well – that’s for another day. To give you a Bible verse for that one (one I fall back on, regularly): Matthew 6:34: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  (basically it means don’t spend time worry about the future – each day has it’s own problems)

Husband & I had a pleasant afternoon yesterday – we went out to Office Max for some office supplies then stopped at Red Lobster for a nice lunch courtesy of our grandson’s Mom – she gave us a gift certificate for Christmas. We both enjoyed sharing tempura battered calamari & veggies (sliced red peppers & broccoli) with a ranch dressing. We both chose their Bar Harbor salad: With fresh Romaine, sun-dried berries and honey-roasted pecans with a blueberry-balsamic vinaigrette. Crumbled blue cheese & grilled shrimp on top – REALLY YUMMY! Between feasting on their cheesy biscuits, the appetizer AND the salad – I had enough to bring home for dinner (for me – husband ate all his!). It’s nice to get out and enjoy every once in awhile!

That’s about it for today – hope you have a GREAT DAY!!!




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Lunch sounded wonderful –made my mouth water. At least you are making some progress on the project so don’t fret it will come. Also I would tell the son to choose basket weaving or Lego construction for the next class.(just kidding).

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