Yep – it’s Winter again . . . sigh

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We’re looking at about a 1/4 th of an inch of snow on the ground and temperatures in the mid 20’s – yes, I said TWENTIES! What a shock to the system! I wasn’t truly convinced I was seeing snow last night when driving home from my special needs group but by the time I got to my area (group is about 25 minutes from my area) there was a light layer of snow on cars/trees/ground, etc. – YUCK! Woke up this morning to a little MORE snow – sure hope this goes away SOON!

This cartoon sort of explains living in Michigan:

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I’ve been spending the past few days going over the new ‘rules’ at MeetUp.com – the on-line location of my knit group. When I joined they gave me the site for free (much like WordPress-which I use for this blog) – but after 6 months began charging a ‘user’ fee. I’ve been paying the fee now for 7 1/2 years and it’s remained about the same amount. Got an email from them a few weeks ago – now they’ve begun charging groups by the SIZE of their membership and since mine is now considered a LARGE group, we get their new ‘unlimited’ fee of $14.99 a month! Oh – goodie! In all these years I’ve never charged dues simply because I really didn’t WANT TO! I don’t like dealing with asking people for money, keeping track of who paid and who still owes, etc. Two days ago I sent out an email to my group telling them that starting in May, I’d have to begin charging dues – I’ve lost 3 people so far from that fallout. When I actually went on MeetUP to set up the new payment plan for the members I discovered that Meetup only deals with credit cards AND for the money you pay in dues, they take out ‘their’ fees, also! Example: You pay $10.00 – 80% of the money goes to the group dues, 20% goes to Meetup for their ‘help in processing your monies’ – what a mess! To say this has got me ‘down’ is to put it mildly – I ended up sending out an email to the group saying I’m canceling dues for now until I can figure out a better plan. I’ve considered dropping Meetup altogether – but I’d say almost the entire group ‘found’ us through Meetup – most have said they wouldn’t have even considered coming to a meeting except that they found us through Meetup, so I’m thinking dropping Meetup is not an option at this time. What a mess. I started out this new ‘dues setup’ by saying I wanted to charge members $1.00 per month (2 meetings a month – 50 cents a meeting – seemed reasonable to me!) – Meetup said I couldn’t charge less than $1.50 – guess it had something to do with how they set up/charge their credit card users, I don’t know – UGH! I went back on my site today and ‘weeded out’ people who signed up and never came or people who haven’t been to a meeting in years (since Meetup is charging for us being a LARGE group, thought that might help). In the past 2 weeks I’ve trimmed the group from 130+ down to 99 people and half of that 99 are people who just signed up this year. I really don’t want to drop them if they haven’t even had a chance to attend yet! Sometimes I get people who sign up who don’t even LIVE in my STATE! That one I certainly don’t understand – some of my members said people just want to have a long list of groups they belong to so others will see the long list and think they are cool – go figure! Anyway – that’s my ‘soapbox’ moment for the day.

===============

Chocolate Mint Brownies

5 oz. dark chocolate
1/2 C. butter, cut into pieces
1 C. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 C. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C. powdered sugar
4 T. butter, room temp
2 T. milk
1 1/2 tsp. mint extract
green food coloring
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 T. butter
1 T. light corn syrup

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt dark chocolate & butter in double
boiler over medium-low heat; stir
occasionally. Once melted & well
incorporated, set aside to cool slightly
until luke warm. Once chocolate has
cooled, stir in brown sugar & vanilla.
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix with
a wooden spoon until chocolate
mixture is smooth & glossy. In another
bowl sift together flour, salt & baking
powder; beat in chocolate mixture until
combined, being careful not to over mix.
Pour batter into a greased 9 inch pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes until a wooden
toothpick comes out clean; allow to
cool completely. In large bowl beat 2 C.
powdered sugar & 4 T. softened butter
until fluffy. Add 4 T. milk & mint extract;
continue to mix. Add enough green food
coloring to turn mixture the desired
green. Spread mint filling on top of
brownies, making sure it is even & smooth.
Melt remaining chocolate & butter
together in double boiler over medium
heat, stirring occasionally. When chocolate
is melted, remove from heat & stir in
corn syrup; set aside & allow to cool
slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour over top
of brownies making sure it’s even &
covers the brownies completely. Allow
to cool & set before cutting.
Makes 8 servings

(recipe: allfood.recipes)
—————————————
Pork Chops with Honey-garlic Sauce

4 bone-in pork chops (6 oz ea)
1/4 C. lemon juice
1/4 C. honey
2 T. soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced

Spray large skillet with nonstick spray;
heat over medium heat. Add chops &
cook 5-6 minutes per side. Remove &
keep warm. In small bowl combine
lemon juice, honey, soy sauce & garlic;
add to pan. Cook over medium heat
3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with chops. Makes 4 servings.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
——————————-

Pronto Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

2 large sweet red peppers
1 C. canned stewed tomatoes
1/3 C. brown rice (instant “Minute”)
2 T. hot water
3/4 C. canned kidney beans, rinsed/
drained
1/2 C. frozen corn, thawed
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Cut peppers in half lengthwise; remove
seeds. Place peppers in ungreased
shallow microwave-safe dish. Cover &
microwave on High 3-4 minutes or until
tender. Combine tomatoes, rice & water in
small microwave-safe bowl. Cover &
microwave on High 5-6 minutes until rice
is tender. Stir in beans, corn, onions &
pepper flakes; spoon into peppers. Sprinkle
tops with cheeses & microwave, uncovered,
3-4 minutes until heated through. Serves 2

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
———————————–

Skillet Beef Tamales

1 lb ground beef
1/3 C. chopped sweet red pepper
1/3 C. chopped green pepper
2 C. salsa
3/4 C. frozen corn
2 T. water
6 corn tortillas (6 inch), halved &
cut into 1/2 inch strips
3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
5 T. sour cream

In large skillet sprayed with nonstick
spray, cook beef & pepper over medium
heat 6-8 minutes until beef is no longer
pink & vegetables are tender, breaking
up beef into crumbles – drain. Stir in
salsa, corn & water; bring to boil. Stir in
tortilla strips. Reduce heat; simmer, covered,
10-15 minutes until tortillas are softened.
Sprinkle with cheese, cook, covered,
2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is
melted. Serve with sour cream.
Makes 5 servings.

Note; You can freeze cooked meat mixture
in freezer containers. To use: partially thaw
in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a
saucepan, stirring occasionally & adding a
little water, if needed. Serve with sour cream.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
—————————-

Greek Tortellini Salad

1 (20 oz) pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini

1 1/2 C. grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 C. kalamata olives, pitted/chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
3/4 C. crumbled feta cheese

Dressing:
1/4 C. olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt/pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil;
cook tortellini accordg. to pkg. directions;
drain & rinse with cold water. Place tortellini
in large bowl; add tomatoes, cucumber, olives,
red onion & feta cheese. In small bowl whisk
together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt/
pepper; pour dressing over salad & toss gently
until salad is well coated. Serve immediately
or refrigerate. Serves 8

NOTE: will keep, refrigerated, up to 3 days

(recipe: twopeaseandtheirpod.com)
———————————

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Bars:
2 1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C. granulated sugar
zest of 1 large lemon
3/4 C. butter, room temp
1/4 C. powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Lemon/Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 C. unsalted butter, room temp
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temp
zest of 2 lemons
2 T. fresh lemon juice
5 C. powdered sugar
(color sugar sprinkles, optional)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ pan with nonstick spray;
set aside. In medium bowl combine
gran. sugar & lemon zest; rub together
with your fingers until fragrant. In bowl
of stand mixer, beat butter & lemon sugar
mixture until combined. Slowly add powder-
ed sugar; beat until light & fluffy, about 3
minutes. Add eggs, lemon juice & vanilla;
beat until smooth. Slowly add flour mixture
& beat just until combined. Evenly spread
cookie dough into pan using a spatula. Bake
12-14 minutes until bars are slightly set in
the middle. (do not brown) Remove from
oven & let bars cool completely.
Frosting:
In bowl of stand mixer beat butter & cream
cheese until smooth; add lemon zest & lemon
juice. Slowly add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a
time; mix until smooth. Frost cooled bars
with frosting, decorate with sprinkles, if
desired. Cut into bars. Makes 16-24 bars

Note: Bars will keep in air-tight container
in refrigerator up to 2 days

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

Quick Ravioli & Spinach Soup

2 (32 oz, ea) cartons chicken broth
1/4 tsp. onion powder
dash pepper
1 (9 oz) pkg. refrigerated small cheese
ravioli
4 C. coarsely chopped fresh spinach,
about 4 oz
3 C. shredded, cooked chicken
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In large saucepan combine broth, onion
powder & pepper; bring to boil. Add
ravioli & cook, uncovered 7-10 minutes
until tender. Add spinach & chicken during
last 3 minutes of cooking time. If desired,
serve with Parm. cheese sprinkled on top.
Makes 6 servings

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
———————————–

Mediterranean Tuna Skillet

1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 C. chopped red onion
1 (8 oz) pkg wide egg noodles,
uncooked
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
with basil/garlic & oregano, undrained
1 1/4 C. water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 (12 oz) can chunk white albacore
tuna in water, drained
1 (7.5 oz) jar marinated artichoke
hearts, drained, liquid reserved,
chopped
1/3 C. crumbled feta cheese
2 T. chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf
parsley

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Add onion, cook 4 minutes
until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir
in uncooked noodles, undrained
tomatoes, water, salt/pepper – bring
to a boil. Reduce heat, cover & simmer
10 minutes until noodles are tender,
stirring occasionally. Add tuna, artichokes
& reserved liquid to noodles; toss
together & heat until hot. Top with
cheese & parsley. Serves 6
(about 1 C. each)

(recipe: readyseteat.com)
——————————–

Shortcut Chicken ‘n Dumplings
(crockpot)

2 C. cooked rotisserie chicken
2 (10 3/4 oz, ea) cans cream of
chicken soup, undiluted
2 C. water
2 C. frozen mixed vegetables
1 T. flour
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 (16.3 oz) can refrigerated butter-
milk biscuits, quartered (8 biscuits)

In 4 qt or larger crockpot mix all
ingredients except biscuits. Gently
fold in biscuit pieces. Cover & cook
on Low 4 hours or High 2 hours,
until biscuits are firm. Serve
immediately. Serves 4

(recipe: mrfood.com)

========================

Well, that’s what’s going on around here lately –
on the knit group/Meetup ‘mess:
one of my long-time members called yesterday
and even suggested I should ask 10 faithful/
long-time members to pay $18 each for a year,
that would cover the cost for the entire group
for the year then I wouldn’t have to deal with
all the members and who paid/who owes, etc.
She’s sure that there are at least 6 people who
would jump on that idea with no questions –
I’m worried those 9 (I’d be one) people would
feel a bit ‘cheated’ since only THEY are paying –
I don’t know – it’s given me several headaches
and so far I don’t see an end or answer in sight.

Think I’m going to ‘drown my sorrows’ in some
knitting – started knitting baby headbands for
my friend who’s expecting mid-June, she’s having
a girl and is naming her Mila. Really excited for
her & her husband; they, like us, have tried to get
pregnant for years-many surgeries/medicines/
procedures later they’re expecting and I’m
thrilled for them! Still plan on knitting a brown
bunny (posted a photo of that one last year), some
baby booties – not sure what else. She’s a knitter
herself and has been creating a ‘trousseau’ for this
baby since before she knew she was pregnant!
Already knit baby blankets, socks, hats, a big
baby ‘sling’ and who knows what else, so that kind
of leaves the rest of us wondering what we can
knit/crochet for her, since she’s pretty much got it
all covered! She doesn’t want a shower (had a bad
experience with her bridal shower and wants NO
part in a shower ever again) so that leaves the group
kind of in a quandary but we finally figured out that
if we have something we want to give her we just
bring it to group night (unwrapped) and give it to
her! She receives gifts ‘that way’ just fine! Goofy,
but it works. One of my members thinks of her
as a daughter, so she’s sewn a blue jeans baby
quilt for her, brought her many cardboard baby
books and still is looking for more stuff so that
member sort of ‘set the standard’ for us on how
to get around ‘no shower’.

Anyway – off to my knitting;
Enjoy your day!!!

Hugs;

Pammie

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This may sound cold but either you pay your dues or you don’t belong solves the I feel cheated people. I don’t like the sound of the meetup rules. What is to say that down the line there won’t be more increases? It is really essential that you keep the service? You need to weed out the “because it makes me look cool people”, the out of state people, and the non attenders. I would rather belong to a local, get together type group if it were me. That would stop the headaches and make it a fun thing not an are they trying to cheat people thing ( the Meetup thing I mean). Just my thoughts my friend (not telling you what to do).


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