Shopping, Shopping!


Today was another ‘lots of errands’ day – first: 6 month check-up with Oncologist (cancer) doctor – had a great chat, all’s good there. While going through the ‘regular’ stuff (blood pressure/temperature, etc.) I get a call from my husband: “When you get done there would you stop at ACE Hardware and pick up a SUMP PUMP?” OK – told my doctor about the call and he said: “Let’s see: Eggs, loaf of bread and a sump pump – check!” So true! Was a bit shocked at a few price jumps: eggs (large – 1 dozen) have gone from what was about $1.35 to over $2.00, sliced fresh mushrooms were around $1.25 a box, now $1.99, and there were a few other surprises while grocery shopping. Local gas station WAS $2.86/9 a few days ago (when I DIDN’T need gas) to $2.96/9 today (when I DO need it – isn’t it always the way?). I think we’re now ‘officially’ ready for the holiday: groceries are all purchased (YAY!); bought the multi-flavors cheesecake AND a pumpkin pie (for my husband). Oldest son (the chef) called today to tell me he’s bringing a Kale salad which is famous at their restaurant: something about candied pecans, dried cranberries – he had me at the nuts! I told him that’s just great because I ‘was’ thinking about a salad, but then dumped it, as my salads are not very ‘interesting’ – now he saved the day!  Was happy that I chose today to finish up the grocery shopping – went to Krogers and they were NOT busy (at around 11:45 a.m.); Gordon Food Services was (as expected) pretty busy but I’m SURE they will be a LOT more busy tomorrow – they are a wholesale/retail grocery with all kinds of great items to chose from. Also bought a new lighted Christmas wreath while at the hardware store – our old one is just a tad ‘too old’ for my liking.


5-Minute Homemade Brown Gravy

1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. onion powder
2 C. water
4 tsp. beef bouillon granules

Combine water & bouillon in glass
measuring cup. Heat in microwave
1 minute at a time, until steaming
hot. Melt butter in medium saucepan
over medium heat. Add flour & onion
powder; whisk together. Allow to cook
1 minute, whisking occasionally (this
helps cook out the ‘floury’ taste). Add
beef broth mixture to flour mixture &
whisk. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer
1  minute. Makes about 2 C.


Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars

2 C. sugar, divided
1 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. molasses
2 1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
1/3 C. quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 (3 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine 1 1/2 C. sugar, butter & molasses in
a bowl. Using elec. mixer, beat on medium speed
until creamy. Add flour, baking soda & 1 tsp. pie
spice; beat on low until mixed. Reserve 3/4 C. mixture
into a bowl; add oats & mix well – set aside.
Press remaining mixture into an ungreased 15″ X 10″
jelly roll pan. In a bowl, combine pumpkin, remaining
1/2 C. sugar, cream cheese, vanilla & remaining
pie spice; beat until well mixed. Add eggs; beat until
smooth. Spread mixture over crust in pan; crumble
reserved oat mixture over top. Bake 25-30 minutes
until golden brown. Cool completely. Drizzle glaze
over cooled bars.


1 C. powdered sugar
1 T. butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 – 2 tsp. Half & Half

Combine powdered sugar, butter & vanilla in bowl. Beat
with elec. mixer on medium speed, gradually adding
enough Half & Half for desired drizzling consistency.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

2 T. oil
1 C. chopped onion
2 small stalks celery, chopped
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled/
cubed (about 1 lb)
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 C. vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. fresh thyme (more for garnish)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
cubed apples, for garnish

In Dutch oven saute celery & onion in
oil until tender; add remaining
ingredients( except apple) bring to
boil over medium heat. Reduce heat &
simmer 25-30 minutes until potatoes
are tender. Discard bay leaf & cinnamon
stick. Cool slightly, process in blender or
food processor until smooth. Return to
pan & heat through. Serve in bowls with
garnish. Serves 4


Cranberry Fluff

2 C. fresh cranberries, washed/
picked over
1/8 C. sugar
1 can cranberry sauce
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 small can Tidbit or crushed
pineapple, drained
1/2 bag miniature marshmallows
1 C. toasted/chopped pecans

Place fresh cranberries in a large
ziplock bag & smash with a hammer.
Sprinkle sugar in bag & refrigerate
1 hour. About 1 hour before serving,
open can of cranberry sauce, pour
in a bowl & smash with a fork; add
fresh cranberries to bowl, pecans,
marshmallows, pineapple. Gently
fold in Cool Whip. Refrigerate 1 hour
before serving.


Thanksgiving Dinner

in a Crockpot

4 frozen chicken breasts
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen vegetables
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (6 oz) box stuffing mix (plus water &
butter to make stuffing – see box)
salt & pepper, to taste

Place frozen veggies in bottom of crockpot;
add chicken breast, frozen or thawed. Pour
soup on top. Prepare stuffing mix according
to pkg. directions; place stuffing on top of
soup layer. Cover & cook on Low 6-8 hours
or High 3-4 hours. Add salt & pepper, to
taste. Serves 6

Cranberry Bark


1 C. dried cranberries
1/3 C. chopped pecans,
3 (4 oz, ea) pkgs. white
chocolate, broken into
pieces & melted

Stir cranberries & nuts into
melted chocolate. Spread onto
waxed paper-covered baking
sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour then
break into pieces. Makes 12

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Apple/Cranberry/Pecan Stuffing

1 1/2 C. apple juice
2 T. butter or margarine
1 (6 oz) pkg. stuffing mix for chicken
1 small apple, chopped
1/2 C. fresh cranberries (or dried)
1/4 C. chopped pecans, toasted

Bring juice & butter to a boil in medium
saucepan on High heat. Add stuffing mix
& fruit; mix lightly. Cover & remove from
heat. Let stand 5 minutes; stir in nuts.
Serves 8 (1/2 C. each)
Recipe can be doubled

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Spicy Crab Spread

1 (8 oz) tub (Kraft) Philadelphia
Chive & Onion cream cheese spread
1 (6 oz) can lump crabmeat, drained/
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix all ingredients until blended.
Serve with crackers, baked wonton
chips or fresh cut vegetables.
Serves 12 (2 T. each)

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Citrus Ambrosia Salad

2 navel oranges, peeled, cut
cross-wise into thin slices
2 red grapefruits, peeled, cut
cross-wise into thin slices
4 clementine oranges, peeled,
cut cross-wise into thin slices
1 C. miniature marshmallows
1/2 C. flake coconut, toasted**
1/2 C. pomegranate seeds
1/2 C. sour cream
2 T. honey *
dash ground cloves

Arrange orange & grapefruit slices
alternately on a large plate. Top
with marshmallows, coconut &
pomegranate seeds. Mix remaining
ingredients & drizzle over fruit just
before serving. Serves 12

*can substitute orange juice for honey

**To toast coconut:
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spread coconut evenly on shallow
baking pan; bake 7-10 minutes or
until lightly browned, stirring
frequently. OR- spread in
microwaveable pie plate; microwave on
High 3 minutes until lightly browned,
stirring every minute. Watch, as coconut
can easily burn.

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Roasted Butternut Squash &

1 1/2 lb. butternut squash
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
2 medium apples (Gala works well)
chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. maple syrup
2 T. brown sugar

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Place squash in microwave for
3 minutes (helps cutting/peeling)
Slice bottom & top off squash.
Using a sharp vegetable peeler,
peel off all skin. Slice squash in
half (top to bottom) & scoop out
seeds & pulp strings. Lay each half
flat side down, on cutting board &
cut into strips then cut strips into
small chunks (try to make them as
uniform as possible). Spray 9″ X 13″
pan with nonstick spray; place cubes
in pan. Add 2 T. butter to microwave-
able bowl & melt in microwave. Add
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, salt &
smoked paprika; stir to combine &
pour over top of squash in pan –
stir to combine making sure all
cubes are coated with mixture.
Cover pan with foil & bake 20
minutes. Place cut apples in small
bowl & drizzle with balsamic vinegar,
maple syrup & brown sugar; stir to
combine. Carefully remove pan from
oven & unwrap foil. Stir in apple
mixture; return pan to oven. Bake,
uncovered, an additional 15 minutes
until apples & squash are soft. Serve
immediately. Serves 6

Autumn Chicken

2 large or 4 small chicken breasts
2 parsnips, peeled/chopped
2 carrots peeled/chopped
1 acorn squash
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth

Add parsnips & carrots to bottom of
crockpot. Place chicken on top & sprinkle
with garlic (minced or powder, your choice);
Pour broth on top. Cut acorn squash into
chunks & slice off skin. Place chunks on top
of chicken, then season with desired amounts
of salt, pepper & nutmeg. Drizzle enough honey
on top to lightly cover squash. Cover & cook
on Low 8-10 hours.


Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

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

Whipped cream for topping
pumpkin pie spice for sprinkling

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 12 muffin tin cups with * cup
liners; spray cups with nonstick spray.
Mix pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, eggs,
vanilla & milk. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice,
salt, baking powder, baking soda to mixture.
Fill each muffin cup with 1/3 C. mixture. Bake
20 minutes; let cool 20 minutes. Remove
cupcakes from pan & chill in fridge 30 minutes.
Top with whipped cream & sprinkle more
pumpkin pie spice on top. Makes 12 cupcakes.

NOTE: For this recipe, use either foil liners
sprayed with nonstick spray or just spray tins
with nonstick spray. PAPER cup liners make it
difficult to remove cupcakes from papers.

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)


Our weather has been really windy with rain;
today while out running errands it stayed at
30 degrees (perfect “snow” temperature). As
long as it’s clear (no rain/snow) I’m happy; just
have to remember to bundle up – (just read
the Wind Chill for today: feels like 19 degrees F –
NO WONDER it felt so cold!

Stay warm and try to enjoy your day!




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Just went through the sump pump replacement a few weeks ago. But I had to have mine installed. I hope it wasn’t too costly for you. Thank you for the surprise package.

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