Bright ‘n Sunny Today!


It’s slowly beginning to look like Fall around here – the trees are VERY SLOWLY (at this point) starting to turn colors. I love seeing the many beautiful colors of the changing trees, the crispness in the air and approaching Fall BUT I don’t like knowing that, very soon, we will be facing another winter. (Unfortunately for those of us in the “Mitten” – Michigan, it’s being predicted that this will be one of the hardest winters in 40 years – PLEASE say it isn’t so! We just lived through an excruciatingly harsh winter LAST YEAR!). Right now, at almost noon, it’s bright & sunny, slight breeze and 51 degrees (zero chance of rain – YAY!) We had some rain yesterday and a town somewhat near us had a tornado touch down early this morning – SO GLAD it wasn’t us! Thank YOU, Lord!

Not much going on so far – still working on the two knit scarves for the other knit group – I find myself looking for more challenging patterns and have found a few. I like to keep my knitting ‘interesting’ – knitting scarves takes some time so you, as the knitter, want to be a bit challenged by the project (at least I do)! This week, on Thursday, my special needs group is having a “Hawaiian Luau” – there is a very energetic lady at the church we meet at who loves to do charity events (she & her husband are well known in the community as great fund raisers). She decided last year to get involved with our group and held a very nice Harvest Party for us. She also went to the various schools & places which have special needs adults, inviting them and their staff to come to our party. Through her, we gained about 5 new students (which is her goal – to ‘grow’ our group). I am in awe of her energy & enthusiasm – (obviously, she has a gift in this area); she plans the food, gets donors for all items/gifts/prizes/food stuff/decorations and even enough helpers for the entire event! I learned we will be having hot dogs/hamburgers, chips, cut up watermelon & fresh pineapple, cookies & cake. (Our kids are rather limited on their ‘likes’ when it comes to food, so she’s playing it safe with hot dogs & hamburgers). She has hired a DJ for 1 hour and the kids will be able to dance, play games, win prizes and have a great time; it’s a 3-hour event. After last year’s Harvest Party she said she had such a great time working on it that she wants to do this for our group once or twice a year! AND – at no cost to us! VERY nice!


Cinnamon-frosted Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 C. shortening
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 egg
1 C. pumpkin
2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Cinnamon Frosting:
1/4 C. butter, melted
1/4 C. shortening
1 1/4 C. powdered sugar
1 T. milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large bowl cream together shortening
& sugar; add rest of ingredients & mix
until combined. Drop by teaspoon onto
greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes
or until edges are golden brown. Let
cool on pan 3-5 minutes; remove to wire
rack & let cool
Cream together butter & shortening in
bowl. Slowly mix in rest of ingredients &
spread over cooled cookies.
Makes 36 cookies


Pork chops/Apples & Stuffing

1 (6 oz) box stuffing mix for chicken
1 (21 oz) can apple pie filling
6 boneless pork chops (1 1/2 lb)
3/4″ thick*

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Prepare stuffing mix accordg. to
pkg. directions. Spread pie filling
on bottom of a 9 X 13″ dish
sprayed with nonstick spray; top
with chops & stuffing. Cover with
foil. Bake 35 minutes until chops
are done (145 degrees F.),
uncovering for last 5 minutes.
Remove dish from oven & let
stand 3 minutes before serving.
Serves 6

*can substitute 6 boneless,
skinless chicken breasts &
increase baking time as
necessary for chicken to be
done (165 degrees F.)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Creamy Zucchini/Spinach

3 C. (1/2 of 16 oz pkg) rigatoni
pasta, uncooked
1 tsp. oil
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. flour
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 C. chicken broth
4 oz (1/2 of 8 oz pkg) cream
cheese, cubed
1 (6 oz) pkg. baby spinach leaves
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella
cheese, divided

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cook pasta accordg. to pkg.
directions, omitting salt. Heat
oil in large skillet on medium
heat. Add zucchini, mushrooms
& garlic; cook & stir 3-4 minutes
until zucchini is crisp-tender. Add
flour & seasonings; cook & stir
1 minutes. Stir in broth; cook &
stir 2-3 minutes or until thickened.
Add cream cheese; cook & stir
2-3 minutes until melted. Drain
pasta; return to pan. Add zucchini
mixture, spinach, Parmesan &
1/2 C. mozzarella, mix lightly. Spoon
into a 2 qt casserole dish sprayed
with nonstick spray. Top with
remaining mozzarella. Bake 10
minutes or until mozzarella is melted.
Serves 6; 1 1/3 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Baked Triple-Veggie Dip

1 1/2 C. grated Parmesan
cheese, divided
1 (1 lb, 3 oz) can asparagus
spears, drained/chopped
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped
spinach, thawed/drained
1 (8.5 oz) can artichoke hearts,
1 (8 oz) tub (Kraft) Philadelphia
Chive & Onion cream cheese spread
1/2 C. mayonnaise

Dippers: crackers or cut-up
fresh vegetables

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix 1 1/4 C. Parm with all
remaining ingredients. Spoon
into a 2 qt. baking dish; top
with remaining Parm. cheese.
Bake 35 minutes or until dip
is heated through & top is
lightly browned.
Serves 36; 2 T. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Beef Nacho Casserole

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (12oz) jar thick & chunky salsa
1 C. frozen whole kernel corn
3/4 C. mayonnaise
1 T. chili powder
2 C. tortilla chips, crushed
2 C. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 tomato sliced

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Brown ground beef in large skillet over
medium heat; drain excess fat. Stir in
salsa, corn, mayonnaise & chili powder.
Layer 1/2 meat mixture into 8″ square
baking pan, followed by 1 C. tortilla
chips. Spread 1 C. cheese over top-
repeat with remaining chips & cheese.
Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.
Top with sliced tomato & serve.


Homemade Bisquick Mix

2 C. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 T. shortening (butter or margarine)

Mix all ingredients; blend until mixture
resembles fine crumbs. Use as a
substitute for Bisquick. Store in a dry,
cool place. Makes 2 C.


No Bake Pineapple Cookies

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple,
well drained
1 C. chopped pecans
3 C. flaked coconut

In small bowl beat cream cheese &
pineapple until combined then fold
in nuts; cover & refrigerate 1 hour.
Remove from fridge & roll into 1″
balls, then roll balls in coconut.
Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Makes about 2 dozen

(recipe: Facebook)

Chicken & Black Bean Nachos

1 C. cooked, shredded chicken
2 T. salsa
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. chili powder
20 tortilla chips
1/2 C. black beans, rinsed/
1 C. sharp Cheddar cheese,
1 C. Colby Jack cheese, shredded

sliced black olives
cilantro, chopped
green onion, chopped

Place chicken in a microwave-safe
bowl; add salsa & seasonings & stir.
Cover bowl & microwave 1 minute
until chicken is warm. Arrange 12
tortilla chips on plate; spoon chicken
mixture over chips. Sprinkle black
beans & cheeses over top. Top with
more tortilla chips and another layer
of chicken, beans & cheese. Micro-
wave plate 30 seconds to melt cheese
or however long it takes to melt the
cheeses. Sprinkle top with sliced
olives, chopped cilantro, guacamole
and more salsa. Serves 4


Chocolate Twinkie Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can frosting

5 T. flour
1 C. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. shortening
1/2 C. margarine
1/2 tsp. salt

Bake cake accordg. to pkg. directions.
When cake is completely cooled, remove
cake from pan onto a large plate or platter.
If cake is really moist, place cake in freezer
for a few minutes, it should pop right out.
Cut cake in half to make 2 layers; use a
second plate, placing it over top of cake,
cut cake & remove top layer with 2nd
plate; set aside. Flip bottom cake half
back into pan.
In a medium saucepan cook 5 T. flour,
1 C. milk, 1/4 tsp. salt until thick; stirring
until like a thin gravy. (if it is too thick it
won’t beat up well in end). Remove from
heat & add 1 tsp. vanilla. Let cool completely.
(you can refrigerate it at this point).

In medium bowl, cream together 1 C.
granulated sugar, 1/2 C. Crisco shortening,
1/2 C. margarine & 1/2 tsp. salt.

When ‘gravy’ is completely cooled, ad to
bowl of creamed ingredients & beat
10 minutes – it should be fluffy &
the consistency of a Twinkie filling.
NOTE: this recipe makes about 2 C.
fluff filling – it would be enough to have
a 1/2 inch of filling in a 9 X 13 cake.

Spread cream filling on bottom layer of
cake, leaving 1/4 inch of space around
outside of cake (cream will spread out
when top layer is put back on). Carefully
slip top layer back onto cake. Frost cake
as you normally would.

NOTE: If you are going to do a cake with
multiple layers, place cake in freezer so
that Twinkie filling sets up and does not
mix with the frosting if it squeezes out
the sides.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 bell peppers
5 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 C. cooked white rice
1 C. chopped tomatoes*
1 T. chopped fresh oregano, or
1 tsp. dried
ground black pepper
1/2 C. ketchup
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
dash Tabasco sauce

Bring a large pot of water to boil over
high heat. Cut tops off peppers 1 inch
from stem, remove seeds. Add several
generous pinches of salt to boiling water
then add peppers & boil, using a spoon
to keep peppers completely submerged
until bright green & flesh is slightly
softened, about 3 minutes. Drain &
set aside to cool.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Heat 4 T. oil in large skillet over medium
heat. Add onions; cook & stir until soft
& translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic &
cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat &
add meat, cooked rice, tomatoes & oregano;
season generously with salt & pepper; mix
well. (You may find it easier to put ingredients
in large bowl & mix with your hands). Drizzle
remaining 1 T. oil inside peppers. Arrange cut-
side of peppers up in a baking dish then stuff
with filling. Combine ketchup, Wors. sauce,
Tabasco sauce & 1/4 C. water in a small bowl
then spoon over filling in peppers. Add 1/4 C.
water to baking dish. Place dish in oven &
bake 40-50 minutes (or longer, depending on
how big peppers are). Cook until internal
temperature of peppers reaches 150-160
degrees F.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)


Here’s hoping you are having a GREAT
day and enjoying the weather.




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. i’m with you on hoping that the forecast for a harsh winter isn’t true. We had enough of that stuff last year.

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