Today was my day for getting things done; started by baking 2 loaves of gingerbread and a dozen blueberry muffins (for our 3 neighbors) – that went well. Next was a trip to Kohl’s – a store I rarely shop. They have great deals and I still needed a few more presents for the guys so I went. I always make sure I (1) know where I parked and (2) always – ALWAYS lock my car! The shopping took about 45 minutes plus a good 35 minutes just standing in line to check-out. Got all done, walked out to the parking lot and couldn’t find my car! I knew EXACTLY where I parked – walked the entire lot twice, praying all the way: “Lord, please find my car!” (Side note here: husband & I spend about 2 1/2 – 3 hours yesterday moving all of middle son’s belongings from his apartment – almost all of that ‘stuff’ was in the back of my car – believe me, I was more panicking for HIS belongs than my car.) Finally I called my husband who told me to go inside the store and wait for him; meanwhile he called the local police for that area. I waited a good 20 minutes, easy – no husband, no police. Husband had called me back to say that the dispatcher asked if I knew where my car was, “Are you sure she didn’t go out another exit?” (I was SURE – I KNEW where I parked it!). While just standing and waiting a thought kept inkling in my brain: “Are you REALLY sure?” Finally I asked the next woman who came through the doors if the road out front was M-59? She said, No and pointed to the right – OH BROTHER! Believe me – I sprinted around the corner of that store and hit the PANIC button on my car (I had done this numerous times before and not heard that beep,beep from my car – that’s why I was sure it was stolen!) Yep – you guessed it: “Beep! Beep!” Oh my goodness was I embarrassed. I spotted the police car in front of the store and he was walking up to me while I was walking up to him. I yelled: “I found it!” He said; “I found it, too!” Of course, I apologized tons to him – he said they get numerous calls every day from people who do that – go out another exit of a store and can’t find their car. What a relief, though! You better believe I told the Lord TONS of times how grateful I was. Crazy – eh? (husband arrived after the policeman had left, so we sat in husband’s car while I de-stressed (read that: cried/bawled my eyes out in relief), then we both headed for home. All I could think (at the time) was this has been a very stressful Christmas time already with son in hospital, but to add a stolen car & contents to it – impossible!
After calming down I took a trip to Walgreen’s drug store; I know I’ve told you before how visits to drug stores can reap you bargains in grocery items (today peanut butter, Miracle Whip, garbage bags). Finished up almost all of the stocking stuffers; because this year has been so stressful and I’ve been a little more scattered than normal, I found out I totally forgot 4 of my ‘teen helpers’ for my special needs group! I usually get them something little, just as a thank you; I was glad to pick up some nice things at Walgreen’s to finish that off (I already told them that I’ll give them their presents when we return to the group January 7th).
How are your gas prices lately? Earlier today I drove by my regular Clark station and their lowest price was $2.19/9 – about 2 hours later I drove by again and it’s at $2.14/9! Pretty nice! Add the low gas prices to our weather really being great and those are two blessings I’m very happy to receive since we’re driving back & forth to the hospital every other day (about 60 miles, one way).
Spiced Pudding Squares
1/2 C. butter, melted/cooled
1 (2 layer) pkg. spice cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1 C. cold milk
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
2 T. toffee bits
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix first 3 ingredients just until blended;
press onto bottom of 9 X 13 pan sprayed
with nonstick spray. Bake 15-17 minutes
or until toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean; cool completely. Beat dry pudding
mix, milk & spice in medium bowl with
whisk 2 minutes. Stir in Cool Whip until
blended; spread over crust. Refrigerate
2 hours. Sprinkle top with toffee bits
just before serving. Makes 24 servings
(recipe: Kraft foods)
Crockpot Queso Dip
3/4 lb. ground beef or sausage,
2 lb. block Velveeta cheese
2 chopped tomatoes & jalapenos*
1 (7 oz) can diced roasted chiles,
canned or fresh
diced green peppers (optional
Corn chips, tortillas, etc. for
Saute onion & green peppers in
a little oil in a skillet until lightly
brown; spoon into bottom of (mini)
crockpot or dish you will prepare
dip in. Spoon cooked meat into
crockpot. Cut Velveeta into large
cubes; add to crockpot. Top with
chopped tomatoes, jalapenos &
cook on Low heat until cheese has
melted & ingredients are well
combined – stir occasionally.
*Ro-Tel works well for this
Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies
1 can seamless crescent rolls
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
With your hand mixer, beat sugar, cream cheese and
vanilla together until smooth in a medium sized bowl.
Unroll the crescent roll sheet. Stretch dough out slightly.
It should be in the shape of a rectangle. Spread cream
cheese mixture over the top of the crescent sheet,
leaving a gap at the edge about 1/2 inch. Sprinkle
chocolate chips on top of cream cheese. Roll the
crescent sheet up tightly and wrap in cling wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When chilled preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper to prevent
sticking. Slice the crescent roll into 1/4″ slices. Bake on
prepared cookie sheet for 12 -14 minutes until crescent
roll appears golden brown.
Transfer to wire rack; eat warm or room temperature.
Mock Pizza Casserole
2 lb. meat: ground beef, Italian sausage,
ham, pepperoni (your choice)
2 (24 oz, ea) jars spaghetti sauce
24 oz. PLUS – Mozzarella cheese (how
ever much YOU want)
1/3 C. Parmesan cheese
Veggies: green pepper, onion, olives,
mushrooms, spinach,or your favorite
1 (1 lb) bag noodles (bowtie, macaroni,
etc. your choice)
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Boil noodles to al dente. Cook all meats
(except pepperoni). Grease a 9 X 13 baking
dish. Divide cooked noodles, sauce & cheeses
into thirds. Layer #1: noodles, sauce, cheese,
1 meat & veggie Layer #2 noodles, sauce, cheese
1 meat & veggie Layer #3 noodles, sauce, cheese,
1 meat & veggie. Bake 40 minutes; let rest 15
minutes to set up, then serve. Serves 8
Cranberry-Orange Pork Roast
2 T. oil
1 flat boneless pork loin roast (4 lb)
1 (14 oz) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 C. Catalina salad dressing
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. zest and 1/4 C. juice from 1 orange
Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.
Add meat; cook 4-5 minutes on each side or
until browned on both sides. Transfer meat to
crockpot. Mix cranberry sauce, dressing & soy
sauce; pour over meat & cover with lid. Cook
on Low 4-5 hours. Remove meat from crockpot,
reserving liquid. Cover meat to keep warm. Whisk
remaining ingredients in small bowl until blended;
stir into liquid in crockpot. Cover & cook on High
10 minutes or until liquid is thickened. Slice meat;
place on platter. Drizzle lightly with sauce and serve
with remaining sauce. Serves 16
FOR BEST RESULTS: Do not cook meat on HIGH
(recipe: Kraft foods)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 stick butter
14 oz. coconut
2 C. chopped nuts
2 lbs powdered sugar
Ghirardelli Chocolate Candy Making Block
(or your choice) (I only melt half at a time)
Mix all ingredients except chocolate. Chill
& roll into balls. Let stand 1 hour in refrigerator
after rolling into balls. Dip each candy into
Braised Paprika Chicken
3 1/2 lb. bone-in chicken thighs/
drumsticks/and, or breasts) skin
3/4 tsp. coarse salt, divided
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 T. cooking oil
1 T. butter
4 C. finely diced onions
pinch of sugar
1 C. diced red bell pepper
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. sweet paprika (Hungarian)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 C. sour cream
1 T. flour
2 t. finely minced fresh parsley, dill and/or
Pat chicken dry with paper towels; season with
1/2 tsp. salt & pepper. Heat oil & butter in large,
heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add onions & sprinkle with sugar; cook, stirring
frequently, until onions are very soft & light brown,
10-15 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, tomato paste,
paprika & crushed red pepper. Add chicken & stir
gently into onion mixture. Sprinkle with marjoram &
add broth. Cover with tight-fitting lid & simmer over
medium-low heat until chicken is very tender, about
50 minutes. Just before chicken is done, whisk sour
cream, flour & remaining 1/4 tsp. salt into a small bowl
until smooth. When chicken is done, remove to a plate.
Stir sour cream mixture into sauce; return to simmer &
cook, stirring, until sauce coats the spoon. Reduce heat
to low, return chicken to sauce & reheat, about 1 minute.
Serve garnished with parsley, dill and/or chives, if desired.
* If you are using a combination of thighs, drumsticks and
breasts, cut each breast in half crosswise to make pieces
about the size of a thigh. And if you buy whole legs,
separate the drumsticks & thighs. When pieces are about
the same size, they’ll cook at about the same rate.
NOTE: You can prepare this ahead of time. Prepare through
to “JUST BEFORE CHICKEN IS DONE, cool to room temperature
& refrigerate up to 1 day. Finish recipe before serving.
(recipe: diabetic connect/Facebook)
1 lb. large strawberries
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3-4 T. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
graham cracker crumbs
Rinse strawberries & cut around tops;
remove tops & scrape out part of
insides (some may already be hollow
inside) – to hold filling. In a mixing bowl,
beat cream cheese, powdered sugar & vanilla
until creamy. Add mixture to a piping bag or
ziplock back with corner snipped off. Fill
strawberry insides with cheesecake
mixture. Once they are filled, dip top
of berry in graham cracker crumbs.
NOTE: If not serving immediately, refrigerate
(recipe: Peg – Marys Recipe Exchange)
3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars
1 box yellow cake mix
1 (1/2 C.) stick unsalted butter,
1 can lemon pie filling
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray.
In a bowl, combine softened butter with
dry cake mix; mix until crumbly. Measure
out 1/2 C. of mixture; set aside. Using rest
of mixture; press into bottom of prepared
pan. Spread it out evenly and pack down
with your hands. Spoon lemon pie filling
onto crust; spread out evenly. Sprinkle
reserved crumb mixture over top. Bake
20-25 minutes; top will start to turn very
light golden brown. Cover & store in
(recipe: the countrycook.net)
Turkey Meatball/Spinach Tortellini Soup
10 oz. ground turkey
2 T. seasoned breadcrumbs
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. chopped parsley
1 large egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 T. unsalted butter
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled & chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
1 small Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)
9 oz. refrigerated spinach cheese tortellini
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 C. loosely packed baby spinach
fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for
Combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg,
parsley, garlic, salt & Parmesan in bowl.
Using your hands, gently mix all ingredients
well until everything is combined. Form into
small meatballs, about 1 T. each – it will make
about 20-22 meatballs. In large nonstick pot or
Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat.
Add celery, onion, carrot & garlic; cover & reduce
heat to low; cook 8-10 minutes until vegetables
begin to soften. Add chicken broth & parmesan
rind; increase heat to medium-high & bring to
boil. Season with black pepper, to taste. Reduce
heat to medium & gently drop in meatballs; cook
about 4 minutes. Add tortellini; simmer until cooked
accordg to pkg. directions, about 7 minutes. Once
cooked, remove Parm. rind (if using) & add baby
spinach. Stir to combine & serve topped with
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Serves 6
Breakfast Biscuit Bake
1/2 C. milk
1 (16 oz) tube refrigerated breakfast
biscuits (Pillsbury flaky)
4 green onions, chopped
1 C. shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
4-6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
(and/or cooked sausage, crumbled)
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix eggs & milk in large bowl. Cut each
biscuit into fours (use kitchen shears); add
to bowl.* Add all other ingredients to bowl;
mix well; pour into greased 9 X 13 pan.
Bake 30 minutes.
*poster adds biscuits to bowl while cooking
meats, to let biscuits absorb more egg/milk.
NOTE: Can be made the night before; leave
mixture in bowl, refrigerated & covered with
plastic wrap. Morning of serving; stir well,
then pour into prepared pan & bake.
Well, that’s my tales for today – crazy,
happy and everything in between. Our
son is still improving – today he started
on milkshakes! It is all in the Lord’s hands
and He’s healing him day-by-day.
Hope you have a wonderful day!
PS: Always remember to keep in mind
that there might be more than one
entrance to a store! Hehehehe!