Monday Mutterings


Really nice Fall day here – 57 degrees F., somewhat sunny; spent the early part of the day running around shopping. Our local Sears store will be closing (I think, in December) so I stopped in there; happily discovered that a lot of their clothing was 50% off! I visited there last week but really wasn’t thinking straight and came out with nothing. Later in the week I thought: “Wait! CHRISTMAS!” so today I very happily scored flannel pajama bottoms for both younger sons, socks, a polo shirt for middle son and a flannel shirt for youngest – score! Then I traipsed over to the perfume/jewelry aisle and bought myself a Christmas present: a $20 perfume box (perfume/body lotion & dusting powder) for $10, and a nice pair of cubic zirconium earrings for $8! This girl was HAPPY leaving Sears today! Went to Office Max and bought printer cartridges then took advantage of their “Get a $10 gift card for over $59 in HP ink purchases” – another score! Finished up with grocery shopping; I don’t know about you, but every once in awhile I tend to draw a complete blank when it comes to what I’m going to cook for the week – same here, today. Oh well – we won’t starve.

Our gas prices are down to $2.96/9 (they went up to $3.09/9) for a few days – glad they’re coming down again!


Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

2/3 C. flour
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3/4 C. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. evaporated milk
2 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
whipped cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with
paper liners. In bowl, whisk
together flour, baking powder,
baking soda, salt & pumpkin
pie spice. In large bowl whisk
together pumpkin puree, sugar,
eggs, vanilla & evaporated milk
until well combined. Add in dry
ingredients & whisk until no
streaks of flour remain & batter
is smooth. Fill each muffin cup
with approx. 1/3 C. batter. Bake
20 minutes & let cool 20 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from pan & chill
in fridge 30 minutes. Top with
whipped cream & sprinkle tops
with more pumpkin pie spice or
cinnamon before serving.
Makes 12


Butternut Squash Lasagna

3 lb. butternut squash peeled/
seeded/ cut into 1/4 -1/2″ thick slices
3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 C. milk
1 T. snipped fresh rosemary
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 1/3 C. finely shredded Parmesan
cheese (5 1/2 oz)
1 C. whipping cream

Preheat oven 425 degrees. Lightly grease
a 15 X 10 X 1″ baking pan. Place squash
in pan; add oil & 1/2 tsp. salt – toss gently
to coat then spread in an even layer. Roast,
uncovered, 25-30 minutes until squash is
tender, stirring once. reduce temp. to
375 degrees F.
In large sauce pan, heat butter over medium
heat; add garlic, cook & stir 1 minute. Stir in
flour & 1/2 tsp. salt. Gradually stir in milk.
Cook & stir until thickened & bubbly. Stir in
squash & rosemary. Lightly grease a 9 X 13
pan or 3 qt. rectangular casserole dish. Spread
about 1 C. sauce into prepared dish. Layer 3
of the noodles in dish; spread with 1/3rd
remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 C. Parm.
cheese. Repeat layering: noodles, sauce, Parm.
cheese two more times. Pour whipping cream
evenly over layers in dish then sprinkle with
remaining 1/3 C. Parmesan cheese. Cover with
foil & bake 40 minutes. Uncover & bake 10
minutes longer until edges are bubbly & top
is lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before
serving. Serves 8-10


Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Sweet Peppers

28 mini sweet peppers
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. hot sauce
2 T. powdered Ranch salad dressing
28 strips bacon
(wooden toothpicks)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat cream cheese until smooth; add
hot sauce & powdered Ranch dressing
mix; mix until well blended. Cut sweet
peppers in half lengthwise (scoop out
seeds) fill with cream cheese mixture.
Wrap each pepper with a piece of
bacon & secure with a wooden
toothpick. Bake 25-30 minutes on
broiler pan. Remove toothpicks &
serve immediately. Makes 28


Crockpot Italian Chicken

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cans cream of mushroom or chicken
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 envelopes dry Italian salad dressing
1 pkg. extra wide egg noodles

Place chicken in crockpot. Pour dry
dressing mix over chicken. In small bowl
cream together soup & cream cheese;
pour over chicken. Cook on Low 4-6
hours. Boil noodles; drain & serve with
chicken. Serves 4


Easy Overnight Ham & Cheese Caserole

1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped
spinach, thawed
4 eggs
2 C. milk
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 (20 oz) ham steak, diced
3 c. shredded sharp Cheddar
cheese, divided
2 medium carrots, grated
2 medium turnips, grated
1 (20 oz) pkg. refrigerated
shredded potatoes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick
spray. Place spinach in a mesh
strainer & squeeze out as much
water as possible; set aside. In
large bowl beat eggs with milk,
mayonnaise, mustard, salt/pepper
& onion powder until smooth. Stir in
squeezed spinach, ham, 2 C. cheese,
carrots, turnips & potatoes. Spoon
mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle
remaining 1 C. cheese over top.*
Bake 45-60 minutes or until puffed
& golden and a knife inserted into
the center comes out clean. Serve
warm. Makes 12 servings.

*At this point the casserole can be
covered & refrigerated for up to
1 day


Baked Pears w/Walnuts & Honey

2 large ripe pears
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. honey
1/4 C. crushed walnuts
(optional): yogurt or frozen yogurt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cut pears in half (top to bottom) &
place on a baking sheet. (you can
also cut a small sliver off of the outside
skin to make them sit flat). Using a
measuring spoon or melon baller,
scoop out seeds. Sprinkle cut sides
with cinnamon, top with nuts &
drizzle 1/2 tsp. honey over each.
Bake 30 minutes. Remove, cool &
eat. Serves 4


3-Ingredient Chicken & Gravy

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken
thighs (frozen is OK)
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 (13.75 oz) can cream of
mushroom soup

Cooked rice, noodles
or mashed potatoes

Place chicken thighs in bottom
of crockpot; sprinkle onion soup
mix on top. Spoon soup over
chicken. Cover & cook on Low
4-6 hours. Remove lid, shred
chicken. Serve chicken & gravy
over rice, noodles or mashed
potatoes. Serves 4

(recipe: 365daysofcrockpot.
Green Chili Cheesy Rice Bake

1 lb. ground beef or turkey sausage
2 C. cooked rice
1 1/2 C. salsa or picante sauce
2 (4 oz, ea) cans green chiles
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

In large skillet brown sausage over medium-
high heat; drain. Add in cooked rice, salsa &
green chiles; stir & heat up rice & salsa. When
heated through sprinkle cheese on top &
serve when melted. Serves 6

NOTE: You can also pour mixture into a baking
dish (8 X 11), sprinkle cheese on top & bake
400 degrees F. 10 minutes, then serve.


Cake Mix Apple Cobbler

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (20 oz) can apple pie filling
6 T. butter, melted

Place pie filling in bottom of crockot.
Spread cake mix over top then spoon
butter onto cake mix; DO not mix.
Cook on High 4 hours.
VERY GOOD with vanilla ice cream!


Pepperoni-cheesestick Roll Ups

1 (8 oz) pkg. refrigerated crescent
foll dough
4 cheese sticks, halved
1 (3.5 oz) pkg. sliced pepperoni
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

(optional: marinara or ranch sauce
for dipping)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Take each crescent dough triangle &
place about 6 pepperoni on bottom
of triangle (wide end). Place 1 half-
cheese stick on top & roll up. Place,
seam side down, on a cookie sheet;
repeat using all dough. Bake 10-15
minutes until golden brown. While
cooking, combine melted butter,
Italian seasonings, garlic powder &
cheese in small bowl. Remove baked
triangles from oven; brush with garlic
mixture. Serve with marinara or ranch
for dipping.


Craft-wise I’m back ‘at it’ with my ‘wanting to
make all things for all charities’ – to my chagrin.
(I know, by now, you are probably getting tired
of me repeating this, I’m guessing it’s my
Type A personality – wanting to please all
people all the time). I finished the easy-stitch
white scarf (see photo below) and wanted to
make another scarf. Since the white scarf was
too thin for a homeless person, it’s going to
the Historical Society for their December
sale. I remembered I had another bright red
(but rather thin) fuzzy yarn, so I thought I’d pair
up the thin/white with the thin/red – that was
a disaster – ended up ripping that out after
about a foot of knitting (You couldn’t see the
variation in the two colors – it just sort of
blobbed together!). Remembering I had more
red, I tried putting two strands of red together –
you guessed it – another disaster! I went up
to size 11 needles (those are rather big); still
ended up with the yarn tangling (too many
fuzzies) AND it was difficult/hard on my
wrists to knit. After about a foot knitted I
said to myself: “Do you REALLY want to
struggle through a good week of knitting
LIKE THIS???” (answer: Heck NO!) so I ripped
that out, too. Feeling totally frustrated and
a tad sorry for myself, I grabbed my ‘old
faithfulls’ – my needles used for knitting
baby hats and knit up a white & (thin)
red baby hat – that did the trick in
satisfying my need to create! Think I’ve
decided, for now, to stick to knitting
children’s sized hats for the homeless
and maybe looming adult hats. Don’t
know if you remember my posting a
photo of what’s called “Broomstick
Lace” a few months ago; I saw a
video on YouTube on how to do it
(I had done it a good 30+ years ago).
When shopping the other day I got
a great buy on a Red Heart Super
Saver skein of yarn for $2.99 in
BRIGHT yellow – I grabbed that and
set off to make a child’s scarf in
Broomstick Lace. I’d forgotten just
how quickly this goes (it IS a bit
of a difficult maneuver using this
HUGE plastic knitting needle and a
crochet hook, but once you get the
hang of it, it’s not too bad (done in
short time spurts, of course!). I’ve got
about 3 feet done now and will
probably finish it soon. (now I don’t
feel quite so clumsy/awkward doing
it). Ah, the things I do for crafts – eh?


Hope you’re having a great day – just looked
at our weather forecast for the rest of this
week (not sure if you’ve heard that the Arctic
Blast is coming our way). Here’s what’s to
be coming for Michigan:

Tues 70% chance showers, high 67
Weds rain & snow likely
Weds flurries, high 35
Thurs. 60% chance of snow high 34

Oh, goody, right? Ah, weather –
what can ya do? For those of us who
grew up in Michigan, you just kind of
learn – if it’s Michigan – it’s gonna be
COLD in winter!

Have a great day!




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Some how the name broomstick lace scares the heck out of me. Don’t know if I will ever try it but I’m not brave like you.

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