Early Morning Excitement

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Early this morning we were wondering why traffic was all lined up outside our house with a flashing police car blocking the road. It appears that during the night with some pretty strong winds, a HUGE tree in the park across the road was blown down. (Husband took the photo) – the man in blue is a policeman. They had our entire street blocked until they could get chain saws in to cut  it up into smaller pieces, thus clearing the road. Mind you – I live on a MAJOR 5-lane highway, so blocking the entire street was pretty big news.

Weather-wise, it’s been GREAT! A little grey, but who’s complaining when it’s 70+ degrees out there!? We got some sporatic rain but it didn’t stay – definitely NO COAT weather! (At least for today – they’re predicting 2 inches of SNOW for tonight and temps dropping to the low 30’s! YIKES!) I spent a little time walking around the back yard just to see what’s in bloom. So far the Aconite is up (bright yellow ground cover), the crocus’s are done & gone, some Star-of-Bethlehem are up (little purple flowers in the shape of a star) – that’s about all I could see. My forsythia bushes are either totally dead or just not ready to bloom yet. They’re old – we planted them (if I remember) the first year we lived here, that’s about 35 years ago.

Gas Prices – YIKES! Today our local Clark station has posted $3.84/9 for their cheapest gas! AWFUL! How are YOUR prices?

Worked on the Art Project a little last night – just did a temporary trial taping of all the walls to see if they would stay together/line up/etc. Not bad – I was happy. This morning I got up and decided to do the final taping/gluing of the walls. One wall that is covered in glitter ended up puckering a bit due to all the glue, so I put that on the back of the building. (the teacher really stressed pay attention to the FRONT of the building) – she really didn’t even mention sides or back, so I’m not going to stress. I was super happy with the way the roof finally went together. Got a quick idea for enforcing the inside of the roof to the 2 walls it will be attached to – AND IT WORKED! YAY! (It’s the little things – right?). Found a good ‘tree’ from a small bush outside, still have to form it, place glue on the branches, crumple up green tissue paper and put it on the branches, then form clay for the base, place the ‘tree’ in it, glue it in and finally glue that to the entire project base. That leaves, to do: design & make the railings for 2nd & 3rd floors, son to design & make the ‘sand garden’, attach/glue/tape the entire building together floor-by-floor then adhere that to the base, fit the sign into the base & glue it, place the tiny ‘lantern’s on the first floor and we should be done! Son needs to take in ‘something’ to show he’s still working on the project tomorrow – it’s still 1 week/1 day until the final project is to be brought in. I gave him a container of sand, plastic spoon & fork, Elmer’s glue and some foam board to practice making/shaping the sand garden. He also wants to do the railings, so we’ll see where that goes. Husband couldn’t locate the ‘model train grass’, so I ended up painting the base to look like grass – looks good. (if I do say so myself).

How are your Easter dinner plans coming? I’m looking at spiral ham prices in the local fliers – I have 4 stores to chose from. Husband wants the ‘traditional’ dinner: Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Rolls, Green Bean Casserole, fresh veg, tray & some dessert. I’m going to try the Watergate Salad as a extra side and ‘might’ try the Mandarin Orange Cake – we’ll see. We’ll be eating late – grandson will be with his Mom’s family until around 6:30, so we get him after that (dinner will probably be at 7 – yes, I know that’s late, but we’re pretty used to late holiday dinners).

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Watergate Salad

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple in
juice, undrained
1 (3.4 oz) pkg. (Jello) pistachio
instant pudding mix
1 C. miniature marshmallows
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 1/2 C. Cool Whip, thawed

Combine first 4 ingredients in large
bowl; stir in Cool Whip. Refrigerate
1 hour. Serves 8, about 1/2 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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Mandarin Orange Cake

1 box butter golden cake mix
1/2 C. oil
3 eggs
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges

Frosting:
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple
1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
——————–
Cake:
In bowl of stand mixer (or large mixing
bowl) pour cake mix, oil & eggs. Pour
mandarin oranges into a large measuring
cup.  (reserve 8-9 orange slices to decorate
top of cake). You will need 15 ounces, total,
juice & oranges. Pour oranges & juice into
mixer & mix, on Low, 30 seconds. Scrape
bottom of bowl using rubber spatula & mix
on medium speed 2 minutes or until batter
is well combined & a bit glossy. Spray two
9 inch round cake pans with nonstick
cooking spray. (flour pans, also – or use a
nonstick spray with flour in it). NOTE:
You can also cut out two round pieces of
either parchment paper or waxed paper to
insert into bottoms of pans – helps the cake
come out easily. Pour batter into pans. Bake
30 minutes or until golden brown on top a
wooden toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean. Remove pans from oven & let rest
5 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack & let
them cool completely.
Frosting:
Place 12 oz. thawed Cool Whip in large mixing
bowl; pour in dry vanilla pudding over top of
Cool Whip. Add crushed pineapple (juice included)
& mix all ingredients together with a wooden
spoon. Place a dollop of frosting into middle of
a serving/cake plate. Center one cake layer onto
plate. Add about 1 C. frosting & spread out evenly.
Gently place second layer of cake on top & pile
rest of frosting on cake; spread out evenly. Frost
sides with remaining frosting then decorate top
with reserved orange slices. Refrigerate if not
serving immediately. Serves 12

(recipe: jamiecooksitup.net)
———————————-
Garlic Rubbed Roasted Cabbage ‘Steaks’

1 (2 lb) green cabbage, cut into 1″ slices
1 1/2 T. olive oil
2-3 large garlic cloves, smashed
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Pull outer leaves off cabbage; cut cabbage
from top to bottom into 1″ thick slices. Rub
both sides with smashed garlic. Using a pastry brush, evenly spread olive oil over both sides of slices. Sprinkle each side with kosher salt & pepper. Roast on middle rack of oven 30 minutes. Carefully flip ‘steaks’ & roast an additional 30 minutes until edges are brown & crispy. Serve hot.

(recipe: Facebook)
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Roasted New Potatoes

2 lb. new red potatoes, halved lengthwise
6 slices bacon, chopped
3 T. zesty Italian salad dressing
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 T. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Combine potatoes, bacon & dressing;
spread on rimmed baking sheet. Bake
45 minutes or until potatoes are tender &
crisp around edges, stirring after 25 minutes.
Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice & garlic until
blended. Spoon cooked potatoes onto a
platter; top with mayonnaise mixture,
cheese & parsley. Makes 8 servings (2/3 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)
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Crockpot Beef & Peppers

2 lb. round steak
2 green peppers, sliced thin
2 T. dried minced onions,
or 1/2 onion chopped
1 C. beef broth
2 T. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Cut steak into serving-sized pieces.
(If desired, you can brown meat in a little
hot oil before adding to crockpot). Place
pepper rings in bottom of crockpot, reserving
a few to place on top of meat, if desired.
Arrange meat on peppers, carefull to not
stack one piece directly on top of another.
Mix all other ingredients & pour over meat 7
peppers. Cover & cook on Low 8-10 hours,
or High 4 hours.

(recipe: Cheryl-slowcooker digest)
———————————-

Baked Vegetable Omelet

1 1/3 C. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
2 C. chopped broccoli (or 1 8oz pkg. frozen,
chopped broccoli, thawed & drained)
3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (2 C.)
2 2/3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/3 C. milk
1/3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Layer Mont. Jack cheese, broccoli, tomatoes &
Cheddar in ungreased 8 X 8 square baking dish.
Beat milk, flour, salt & eggs until smooth; pour
over cheese. Bake, uncovered, 40-45 minutes or
until egg mixture is set. Let stand 10 minutes
before cutting. Serves 6

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)
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Mama’s Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs
1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 T. yellow mustard
6 slices bacon, cooked
crisp & crumbled
1 small onion, minced fine
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

Boil eggs, cool & peel. Split eggs
lengthwise & put yolks in a large
separate bowl. Place whites on
serving dish & set aside. Mash
egg yolks with a fork in a large
bowl. Add onions & bacon to egg
yolks; stir well. Add wet & dry
ingredients to egg mixture & mix
well. (taste & adjust salt).
Filling whites:
You can either (A): spoon mixture
directly into egg whites, or (B)
Place egg mixture into zip lock bag;
snip off tip of bag & pipe mixture
into egg whites. Once filled,
refrigerate 30 minutes before
serving.

(recipe: Eva-justapinch.com)
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Reese’s Cheesecake Brownies

1 box fudge brownie mix (& ingredients
to make)
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1 (12 oz) pkg. Reese’s Pieces (candy)
1 (12 oz) pkg. milk chocolate chips
3 T. whipping cream
12 large Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, chopped

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Prepare brownie batter accordg to pkg. directions;
pour batter in 8 X 8 baking pan sprayed with non-
stick cooking spray; set aside. In large bowl, beat
softened cream cheese until light & fluffy. Add
sweetened cond. milk & peanut butter; beat until
smooth. Stir in bag of Reese’s Pieces. Spoon mixture
over brownie batter evenly. Bake 40 minutes or until
cheesecake layer is set & edges are golden brown. Let
cool 30 minutes then refrigerate 30 minutes.
Place milk chocolate chips & whipping cream in large
microwaveable bowl. Microwave on High 1 minute,
checking & stirring so as not to over cook. Heat until
melted & smooth. Pour & spread mixture evenly over
top of brownie/cheesecake. Sprinkle the 12 large
Reese’s Peanut Butter cups over top. Store, covered,
in refrigerator.

(recipe: Sally)
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Crockpot Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole2 (20 oz, ea) bags refrigerated hash brown
potatoes
2 C. sour cream
1 can cream of potato soup
1 T. all-purpose seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. diced onions
1 T. butter

Over medium-high heat, saute onions in
1 T. butter until translucent & soft, about
3-5 minutes. In large mixing bowl, mix
together hash brown potatoes, shredded
cheese, sour cream, seasoning, salt &
pepper, & soup; stir until well combined.
Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
cooking spray, then place mixture in
crockpot. Cook, on Low, 5-6 hours
Serves 8-10

(recipe: familyfreshmeals.com)
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Creamy Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

2 C. shredded, cooked chicken breasts
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained/chopped
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C. chopped, drained oil-packed sun-dried
tomatoes
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 C. milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C. tightly packed fresh basil, chopped/divided
12 lasagna noodles, cooked

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine chicken, artichokes, 1 C. mozzarella,
Parmesan & tomatoes. Beat cream cheese, milk
& garlic powder with elec. mixer until well blended;
stir in 2 T. basil. Mix half with chicken mixture.
Spread half of remaining cream cheese mixture
onto bottom of 9 X 13 pan. Cover with 3 noodles &
1/3 chicken mixture; repeat layers of noodles &
chicken mixture twice. Top with remaining noodles,
cream cheese mixture & mozzarella; cover with foil.
Bake 25 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle
with remaining basil. Let stand 5 minutes before
cutting to serve.

(recipe: Facebook)
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Bacon/Pea, Macaroni & Cheese Salad

8 oz. penne or macaroni pasta
8 oz frozen peas
4 thick slices bacon, cut into small pieces
& cooked crisp-tender
1/2 C. plain yogurt
dash hot sauce
4 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded (or other
melt-friendly cheese, not Cheddar)
salt & pepper

Cook pasta in salted water accordg. to pkg.
directions, until al dente. Add peas to pasta
water in the last minute of cooking time.
Reserve 1 C. pasta water before draining peas &
pasta. Return past/peas to pot. Add 1/4 C. pasta
water (it MUST be hot), yogurt, few dashes hot
sauce, and 1/3 grated cheeses; stir until cheeses
melt. Stir in remaining cheese, one small
handful at a time, to prevent clumping. Add
additional pasta water, if necessary, to thin & melt
cheese sauce; season with salt & pepper. Add
bacon, mix well & serve. Makes 4 servings.

(recipe: jasonandshawnda.com)
———————————————-

Crockpot Cherry Dump Cake

2 (21 oz) cans cherry pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 C. butter, melted
(1/2 C. chopped nuts, Optional)

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Pour pie filling into crockpot.
Combine dry cake mix & butter until
crumbly; sprinkle over pie filing.
Sprinkle nuts over top, if using. Cook
on Low 4 hours or High 2 hours.
(NOTE: can be served with ice cream)

(recipe: tammileetips.com)
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Not much else new around here for the moment; still knitting baby hats & chemo caps and occasionally working on the one baby afghan. I like the pattern for the afghan, I just don’t like the tediousness of the thing – that might sound weird, but it’s a 2-row pattern, first row is constant counting, second row is just purling. When I knit my mind tends to wander and I kind of forget to remember to count – lots of ripping out stitches and going back to the beginning of that row – sigh. (Guess that just proves I’m only human, right? hehehe)

Enjoy your day – hopefully there will be NO SNOW in your future!

Hugs;

Pammie

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