Just gotta add –


Looking over the statistics of this web site I find I’m totally AMAZED at where some of my readers are from! For the  most part it’s USA and Canada, but on other days there are viewers from as far away as Russia, Bulgaria, Madagascar, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Philippines, the Czech Republic, India, Spain, Israel, Germany, Italy, Romania, Cyprus, Peru, Australia and Greece! AMAZING – TOTALLY AMAZING! Who would have EVER thought when I started this blog back 8 years ago (or so) that my words or postings would reach around the world like that? Thank you to each and every one of you who have stopped by, read some, maybe written down a recipe or a knitting/crocheting pattern, shared your thoughts or best wishes (especially when I was going through breast cancer 4 years ago) – this blog has gone farther than I EVER EVER dreamed!

Big Hugs;


Published in: on December 30, 2015 at 2:23 pm  Comments (2)  

Out & About – Getting things done!


Ran out of printing ink for my newsletter – husband, also, needed printer ink SO – I suggested we go to Best Buy AND stop by IHOP for breakfast afterwards (sneaky, eh?). Went to Best Buy then stepped into a VERY busy IHOP only to be informed they were waiting for their delivery truck – it seems they didn’t have any EGGS . . . IHOP with NO EGGS? Inconceivable! We opted to go to Big Boy, instead; food was good – I ordered a Sammy Hammy (or something like that name) : scrambled eggs, hash browns with ham, cheese, tomato, onion. (would have been a little better if they’d have put it under the broiler; cheese was not melted – I got the ‘fruit cup’ instead of toast/biscuits/bread stuff. Fruit cup was cut up cantaloupe, grapes and one lone piece of grapefruit (I kinda wondered why the cantaloupe tasted a little odd – grapefruit juice.) All in all, it was an OK breakfast, not the best, but it sufficed.

Home now working on finishing up the printing (have about 35 more issues to print, then staple/fold/stick in envelopes & add stamps & return addresses. Think I’m going to way-lay delivering them to the Post Office until tomorrow. (Oh! There was a Post Office in that shopping plaza also, so we swung in there to get stamps – saved me an extra trip tomorrow!).

On the knitting thing: still haven’t seemed to find my MOJO – looked through some yarn yesterday, picked a new one & needles but just didn’t feel like knitting – weird! Decided to knit another baby hat; at least I’m being somewhat productive, right?


Ok – since tomorrow is New Year’s Eve – I’m dumping ALL my appetizer/dip recipes on you NOW – (hope you don’t mind the overload!)

Jalapeno Spinach Dip

2 (10 oz, ea) pkgs. frozen chopped
spinach, thawed/squeezed dry
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 C. Half & Half
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped/seeded jalapeno
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dill weed

tortilla chips, for dipping

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Combine first 10 ingredients in
crockpot; cook on Low 2-3 hours until
heated through. Serve with chips.
Makes 16 (1/4 C. ) servings

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Creamy Feta-Spinach Dip

1 C. (8 oz) plain yogurt
3/4 C. crumbled feta cheese
2 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/4 C. sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 C. finely chopped fresh
1 tsp. dill weed
1/8 tsp. pepper

fresh cut up vegetables and/or
sliced bread for dipping

Line a strainer with four layers of
cheesecloth or one coffee filter; place
over a bowl. Place yogurt in prepared
strainer; cover yogurt with edges of
cheesecloth. Refrigerate 2 hours until
yogurt has thickened to the consistency
of whipped cream. Transfer yogurt to a
food processor (discard liquid from bowl).
Add feta cheese, cream cheese, sour
cream & garlic; cover & process until
smooth. Transfer mixture to a small
bowl; stir in spinach, dill & pepper. Cover
& refrigerate until chilled. Serve with
vegetables and/or bread.
Makes 2 Cups.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled/
cut into 1/4″ sticks
1 T. kosher salt, divided
3 T. cornstarch
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. coriander
1/8 tsp. cumin
3 T. vegetable oil (or veg &
olive oil blend)

sea salt flakes (optional)

Place raw cut sticks in large bowl &
add enough cold water to cover;
sprinkle 2 tsp. salt over top & allow
to sit 1 hour or more.
Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Place a rimmed cookie sheet (standard
size) in oven to heat. Cut a piece of
parchment paper to fit sheet. Drain
fries & place in large plastic bag along
with all spices (exept salt flakes) – leave
a little bit of air space in bag & shake until
evenly coated. Use same bowl to toss
fries in oil. Remove cookie sheet from oven,
place parchment paper on sheet & carefully
toss fries on, making sure they have space
in between to bake (otherwise they will
steam!). Bake 20 minutes, toss then bake
10-15 minutes more until crisp & golden
brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with
sea salt flakes (if desired) & allow to cool
5 minutes before serving. Serves 4-6

(recipe: lilluna.com)

Hotel Crab Cakes

3/4 C. plain bread crumbs
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 egg
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 (6.5 oz, ea) cans lump crabmeat*,
drained/cleaned of any shells
2 T. butter

In medium bowl combine all
ingredients except crabmeat &
butter; mix well. Fold in crabmeat,
being careful not to break up
pieces – form into 8 equal-sized
patties. In large skillet melt butter
over medium heat; saute patties
3-4 minutes per side until browned.
Serve immediately. Makes 8 patties

*imitation crabmeat will work, also
If you make the patties smaller,
they can also be used as appetizers!

(recipe: mrfood.com)
Sausage Rollups

1 (16 oz) pkg. spicy pork sausage
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. refrigerated
crescent rolls (8 rolls ea pkg)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In bowl combine sausage, red pepper &
scallions; mix well. Unroll 1 pkg. cresc
rolls & press seams together to form one
large rectangle; repeat with second pkg.
Spread half of sauce mixture evenly over
each rectangle, starting from narrow end,
roll up ‘jelly-roll’ style. Cut each roll into
8 equal slices & place on a baking sheet.
Bake 25-30 minutes until sausage is no
longer pink & crust is golden; serve warm.
Serves 16

(recipe: mrfood.com)

Crockpot Turkey Noodle Soup
(6 qt crockpot)

7 C. turkey stock or broth
3 C. cooked turkey, shredded or
1 C. sliced carrots
1 C. sliced celery
1 C. diced white onion
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. thyme
dash black pepper
8 oz. fettuccini noodles, broken up
salt, to taste

Add all ingredients except noodles
to crockpot. Cover & cook on Low
8 hours. Cook noodles about 12
minutes in boiling water; drain &
add to soup. Continue to cook soup
on High 1 1/2 hours (this will soften
the noodles & make the soup thicker).
Serves about 8

(recipe: themagicalslowcooker.com)

Chocolate ‘Lasagna’ Dessert

1 pkg. Oreo cookies (not double stuff),
about 36 cookies
6 T. butter, melted
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. sugar
2 T. cold milk
1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed &
2 (3.9 oz, ea) pkgs. chocolate instant
pudding mix
3 1/4 C. cold milk
1 1/2 C. mini chocolate chips

Crush Oreos to fine crumbs
(can use food processor, or put in
ziplock bag & use rolling pin).
Place crumbs in a large bowl. Stir
in 6 T. melted butter & use a fork
to incorporate butter into crumbs.
Transfer mixture to a 9 X 13 pan. Press
crumbs into bottom of pan. Place pan
in fridge while working on additional
layers. Mix cream cheese with mixer
until light & fluffy; add 2 T. milk &
sugar; mix well. Stir in 1 1/4 C. Cool
Whip, then spread mixture over
chilled crust. In bowl, combine instant
pudding mixes & 3 1/4 C. cold milk. Whisk
several minutes until pudding starts to
thicken. Use a spatula to spread mixture
over cream cheese layer. Allow dessert
to ‘rest’ about 5 minutes so that pudding
can firm up. Spread remaining Cool Whip
over top. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips
evenly over top & place in freezer
1 hour
, or refrigerator 4 hours, before
(recipe: centercutcook.com)
—————————–White Pizza Dip

2 C. (16 oz) sour cream
1 C. ricotta cheese
1 C. (4 oz) shredded mozzarella
cheese, divided
1/4 C. chopped pepperoni
1 envelope (Lipton) savory herb
with garlic soup mix

French baguette bread slices,

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In small bowl mix sour cream,
ricotta, 3/4 C. mozzarella, pepperoni &
soup mix until blended. Spread into
greased 9″ pie plate. Sprinkle top with
remaining mozzarella cheese & bake,
uncovered, 35-40 minutes until bubbly.
Serve with slices of toasted French
bread baguette. Makes 12 servings
(1/4 C. each)

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
Tropical Guacamole

3 medium ripe avocados, peeled
2 C. finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 medium tomato, seeded/chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded/chopped
1/3 C. minced fresh cilantro
2 T. lime juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

tortilla chips, for dipping

In small bowl mash 2 avocados; stir in
pineapple, tomato, jalapenos, cilantro,
lime juice, garlic, salt/pepper. Coarsely
chop remaining avocado & gently stir
into mixture. Serve with chips.
Makes 3 1/2 C.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
Tuscan Sausage & Bean Dip

1 lb. bulk hot Italian sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 C. dry white wine (or chicken
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (6 oz) pkg. fresh baby spinach,
coarsely chopped
1 (15 oz) can white kidney or
cannellini beans, drained/rinsed
1 C. chopped, seeded tomatoes
1 C. (4 oz) mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese

assorted crackers or toasted French
bread slices

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large skillet cook sausage, onion &
garlic over medium heat until sausage
is no longer pink; drain. Stir in wine,
oregano, salt & thyme; bring to boil
& cook until liquid is almost evaporated.
Add cream cheese; stir until melted. Stir
in spinach, beans & tomatoes; cook &
stir until spinach is wilted. Transfer to
a greased 8″ square or 1 1/2 qt. baking
dish. Sprinkle top with cheeses &
bake 20-22 minutes until bubbly. Serve
with crackers. Makes 16 servings.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Great Greek Dip

1 (4 oz) can small shrimp; rinsed &
3 T. lemon juice, divided
1 tsp. Greek seasoning
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
3/4 C. crumbled feta cheese
1/2 C. chopped roasted sweet
red peppers, drained
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 T. minced fresh parsley

baked pita chips, for dipping

In small bowl combine shrimp, 1 T.
lemon juice & Greek seasoning. In
food processor, combine cheeses,
red peppers, garlic & remaining
lemon juice; cover & process until
smooth; stir into shrimp mixture.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover &
refrigerate until serving. Just before
serving stir dip & garnish with parsley.
Serve with pita chips. Makes 2 1/2 C.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
Tex-Mex Dip

2 (9 oz, ea) cans bean dip
3 medium ripe avocados, peeled
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 C. (8 oz) sour cream
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar
1 C. sliced ripe olives
4 green onions with tops,
1 large tomato, seeded/chopped

tortilla chips, for dipping

Spread bean dip on a 12″ serving
plate. In small bowl mash avocados
with lemon juice, salt & pepper; spread
over bean dip. Combine sour cream,
mayo, & taco seasoning; spread over
avocado layer. Sprinkle top with
cheese, olives, onions & tomato.
Serve with chips. Makes 8-10 servings.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
2-Ingredient Chocolate Truffles

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 C. chocolate chips

(optional extra ingredients)
cocoa powder, for dusting
extra melted chocolate, for

Melt chocolate chips; place cream
cheese in a bowl & pour melted chocolate
over top; blend well. Line a baking
sheet with parchment paper & spray
with nonstick spray. Spray a small (2 tsp)
cookie scoop with spray, as well. Spoon
truffle mixture onto baking sheet &
refrigerate 3-4 hours. You can serve
these ‘as is’ or dust with cocoa powder
& drizzle melted chocolate on top.
Refrigerate until chocolate drizzle

(recipe: youtubevideo)

 Gas prices are still at $1.96/9 (read in the
newspaper yesterday that AAA says gas
prices are going up – really? No surprise

Weather is not very warm; woke up &
looked at our thermometer which read
40 degrees F.; about 1 1/2 hours later it
read 32! NOT GOOD! It’s gray & gloomy
out but the roads & sidewalks are clear
of all the ice/sleet/hail – the ground is
white but it’s not from snow. As long
as we can get around OK, I’m not worried.
Just realized today that I hadn’t been out
of the house in THREE days – for me that’s
almost a record (unless I’m sick).

Hope you’re keeping warm, are relatively
happy doing something you like – take
a little time for yourself today: coffee/tea,
a brief nap, sit down & put your feet up –
you get the idea. (or maybe even have a
bit of chocolate from your Christmas
stocking!) I still have about an inch of my
big Mr. Goodbar left in my stocking – I
tend to ‘hoard’ my favorites and eat them
in very small amounts – they last longer
that way!



PS: You can see my computer is having great
fun with varying the size of my recipe typing!

and Winter is here – I think


Our promise of 100% ‘wintry mix’ came to pass – all day I kept hearing tiny little balls of hail hit the windows and our temps dropped into the 30’s. Luckily, the roads are clear, and there’s just a thin sheet of ice on the car windows & sidewalks. Both sons had to go to work today, so I’ve been praying they’d be safe driving (one’s riding a garbage truck so I pray for his safety there, too).

The holiday dinner fixin’s have dwindled down to just ‘snack material’ now – lots of leftover turkey, a small bowl of stuffing, some gravy, rolls and a bit of the cran-raspberry Jello (and maybe 5 pieces of cheesecake). That means I’ll have to figure out something to fix for dinner tonight! Am leaning towards Polish sausage & mac & cheese – two favorites (which are also quick fixes!). There’s still a TON of cookies – I’ve taken to looking the other way when going through the dining room, as the big plate ‘o cookies is still there (with lots more in the basement fridge). I’d pitch them (if it were just me) but I know that husband will eat ANY cookie – stale or fresh, so they won’t go to waste/waist? hehehe


Spinach/Sausage/Cheese Manicotti

1 (15 oz) tub ricotta cheese
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
thawed/squeezed dry
1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 C. minced onion
1 egg
1 tsp. dry parsley
1 tsp. dry basil
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 C. shredded Italian cheese,
2 (26 oz, ea) jars spaghetti sauce
(or about 5-6 C. homemade)
1 1/2 C. water
1 (8 oz) pkg. manicotti shells

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet over medium-high heat
brown Ital. sausage with minced garlic,
& red pepper flakes; drain &
return to pan. In large bowl combine
ricotta, spinach, onion & egg; season
with parsley, basil, pepper, garlic powder
& onion powder – add cooled sausage
mixture & mix in 1 1/4 C. cheese.
In separate bowl stir spaghetti sauce &
water. Spread 1 C. sauce in bottom of
9 X 13″ pan. Using a spoon or piping
bag, stuff shells with ricotta mixture;
arrange in a single layer in dish. Cover
with remaining sauce. (If preparing
in advance, cover with foil & refrigerate-
remove from fridge 30 minutes before
baking or go straight from fridge to oven
but add additional baking time.)
Bake, uncovered, 45-55 minutes or until
noodles are soft & sauce is bubbly. Top
with remaining cheese during last 15
minutes of baking time. Serves 6

(recipe: allfood.recipes.com)

Easy Mayo Dinner Rolls

2 C. self-rising flour
1 C. WHOLE milk*
4 T. mayonnaise
1 T. sugar

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
In large bowl stir all ingredients
to form a soft dough. Spoon into
a 12-cup muffin pan sprayed
with nonstick spray; distribute
evenly. Bake 10-12 minutes until
golden. Makes 12 rolls

*be sure to use WHOLE milk ONLY

(recipe: mrfood.com)

Northend Skillet Chicken

1 envelope onion soup  mix
1/4 C. vegetable or olive oil
1/4 C. water
1 T. fresh lemon or lime juice
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken
breast halves, cut into thin strips
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen assorted
vegetables, thawed/drained

In large skillet blend onion soup
mix, oil, water, lime/lemon juice,
cayenne pepper, Ital. seasoning &
garlic powder; let stand 5 minutes.
Bring mixture to boil & stir in
chicken & veggies. Cook, uncovered,
8-10 minutes until chicken is done &
no pink remains, stirring frequently.
Serves 3

(recipe: mrfood.com)

Cinnamon Roll French Toast

3/4 C. chopped pecans
2/3 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. melted butter
1/2 C. plain Greek  yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 (12 oz, ea) tubes Pillsbury cinnamon
rolls, each roll cut into quarters

Combine all ingredients except rolls
in a large bowl. Toss quartered rolls
in mixture (reserve icing pkts). Spray
insides of crockpot with nonstick spray.
Place mixture into crockpot, cover &
cook on Low 2 1/2 – 3 hours until sides
are golden brown & rolls are set. Drizzle
icing packets on top & serve. Serves 6-8

(recipe: recipesthatcrock.com)

Tuscan Chicken & Bean Soup

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 (32 oz) carton chicken broth
1 tsp. dry oregano
1/4 C. diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 (15.5 oz) can cennellini beans,
1 (14.4 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (7.75 oz) can garbanzo beans,
1 C. fresh kale leaves, thick stem
removed & thinly sliced
1/4 C. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
(plus more for garnish)

Place first 6 ingredients in crockpot &
cook 1-2 hours on High until chicken is
cooked through. Remove chicken from pot &
break into bite-sized pieces – return
to crockpot & add remaining 5
ingredients. Cook on High 1 hour until
ingredients are heated through. Serve
soup with extra grated Parm. cheese on
top. Serves 6

(recipe: flouronmyface.com)

Banana Cake

1/2 C. butter, softened
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. mashed ripe bananas
(about 3 medium)
1 C. sour cream (8 oz)

Coffee Frosting:
1/3 C. butter, softened
2 1/2 C. powdered sugar
2 tsp. instant coffee granules
2-3 T. milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl cream butter & sugar
until light & fluffy. Add eggs, one at
a time, beating well after each.
Stir in vanilla; combine flour,
baking soda & salt; add to creamed
mixture alternately with bananas &
sour cream. Beat well after each addition.
Pour into greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake
35-40 minutes until toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool
on wire rack.
In small bowl beat butter & powdered
sugar until smooth. Dissolve coffee
granules in milk; add to butter
mixture & beat until smooth. Spread
over cake. Serves 12-15.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)


Velveeta Potato Bites

2 lb. baking potatoes (about 6)
peeled, cut into chunks
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 lb. Velveeta (4 oz) cut into
24 cubes
1 pkg. Shake & Bake extra crispy
seasoned coating mix
1 1/2 C. thick/chunky salsa

Cook potatoes in boiling water in
large pot 15-20 minutes until tender;
drain. Cool 10 minutes then mash
until smooth. Add onions, egg &
pepper; mix just until blended.
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Empty Shake & Bake into a pie plate.
Roll potato mixture into 24 balls,
using about 2 T. per ball. Insert
1 Velveeta cheese cube into center
of each ball, completely enclosing
cheese. Roll, one-at-a-time, in
coating mix – turn to evenly coat.
Place on rimmed baking sheet sprayed
with nonstick spray. Bake 14-16
minutes until heated through. Serve
with salsa. Makes 24

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com)

Cracked Pepper/Parmesan Crisps

3/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine cheeses; spoon into 14
mounds, 2 inches apart on baking
sheet (using about 1 T. mixture for
each mound). Flatten mounds slightly &
sprinkle tops with pepper. Bake 6
minutes until golden brown, rotating
baking sheet after 3 minutes. Transfer
immediately to wire racks; cool
completely. Makes 14 servings.

(recipe: kraftrecipes.com)


Spicy Fried Cheeseballs

8 oz. grated cheese (your choice)
1 C. flour
2 C. bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 T. water
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt/pepper, to taste
oil for frying

Mix grated cheese with 1/2 tsp.
chili powder – take 1 tsp. of mixture
& form a ball; repeat with rest of mix.
Roll all balls in flour. Mix egg & water;
beat well. Mix bread crumbs with
remaining chili powder. Dip balls in egg,
one-at-a-time, then roll in flour and
again back in egg. Last-roll balls in
bread crumbs to nicely coat whole ball.
When all balls are coated, heat oil in
a skillet. Cook balls until golden; remove
to paper towel. Stick a toothpick in each
ball & serve.

(recipe: the seaman mom)

Waldorf Salad

3 crisp red apples (Pink Lady, Fuji or Gala)
3 crisp Granny Smith apples
1 T. lemon juice
2 C. red grapes, halved
1 C. celery, chopped (about 3 stalks)
1 C. walnut halves
3/4 c. mayonnaise or plain yogurt

green leaf lettuce or mixed greens

Slice apples then chop into bite-sized
pieces. Place apple chunks in a bowl &
toss with lemon juice. Mix celery, grapes
& nuts in with apples. Stir in mayo or
yogurt until all are well-coated. Refrigerate
until ready to serve. Serve on bed of lettuce
or mixed greens. Serves 10-12 (depending
on serving size).

(recipe: favfamilyrecipes.com)


You know you’ve been in a kind of daze
when you wake up and realize that you
only have a few days to do two things:
(a) go on Amazon.com and order some
clothes for middle son’s birthday coming
up FAST this coming Monday and (b)
get moving on creating the next news-
letter for the special needs group –
it’s due BEFORE next Weds! Ugh –
my mind likes to take little mini-
vacations, sometimes and I tend to
forget there’s the REAL WORLD stuff
that needs doing! Ever do that?

I spent yesterday happily snuggled
up in a blanket while reading an
entire book; book was good (not
spectacular, but I was bored). I
sort of looked at some yarn but
without a real feeling of
commitment to a new project,
so I just put it back. I know the
‘inspiration’ will return; maybe
later on today I’ll sort through
my ‘stash’ – we’ll see where that

Now that we’re back in the
old routine (instead of holiday
mode), hope things are falling
back in place for you. I don’t
know about you, but I’m a
definite procrastinator when it
comes to putting up/taking down
Christmas decorations – mine will
stay up until probably the week
after New Years – it’s such a chore
to do, I tend to ignore it (I’m bad
like that!). Still have a good 15
“Thank You” cards to write/send –
haven’t done that, either. It will
all come around – ‘when’ is the
question of the day, I guess!

Enjoy your day – stay WARM
(if you’re in a cold climate, that
is) and try to do something
you ENJOY this day!




And sometimes we change things


Today we’re in a ‘waiting for another weather change’ holding pattern; it’s chilly, gray with a 100% chance of a wintry/breezy freezing rain & sleet due tonight – oh joy . . .  Can’t complain, though, we’ve had nice clear weather for weeks now (and no snow) – it being Michigan, that’s kind of what we’re known for – BIG winters. I’ll bet the grocery & hard ware stores are really busy today – that seems to be the ‘norm’ when we’re told to brace for a storm: gotta buy groceries, bottled water, batteries, and snow shovels/generators, etc. Me? I’m just going to ‘sit it out’ – been there/done that many times before – we’ll be fine. (she said, hoping she wouldn’t regret/eat her words tomorrow!).

On the ‘change’ band wagon’ I made an ‘executive decision’ last night when attempting to get the last baby afghan done – decision was: It’s been a PAIN and it’s not getting any easier – I’M DONE! Haven’t decided whether to rip it all out & re-use the yarn or just give the entire pkg., directions/needles & all to the senior center & let THEM finish it! We’ll see (don’t worry – have lots of extra needles & yarn). Been working on a few baby hats, just to have some knitting to do. Right now I’m kind of in a knitting ‘funk’ – I know that Crisis Pregnancy Center needs baby blankets to give to those mothers who decide to KEEP their babies; I know that the local hospital is happy to receive baby hats and the homeless shelter knitting is needed, too . . . it’s just that sometimes I get to feeling overwhelmed. I almost feel like they count on me and I don’t want to let them down. (Yes, most places also have other people who knit & crochet for them and I’m not the ONLY one – but it feels like that.) Sorry – I’m whining! Later I’m going to go through my yarns and maybe then I’ll make some sort of decision on what to knit next – I might even CROCHET! Who knows!?

Since this is the week between ‘eating’ holidays, I’ve been attempting to collect some PARTY foods for those of you who might have a party or gathering on New Years Eve.


Honey-Mustard Kielbasa Bites

1 (14 oz) pkg. kielbasa, sliced
1/3 C. yellow mustard
3 T. honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. black pepper

toothpicks, for serving

Mix mustard, honey, garlic & pepper
in small bowl. Add mixture and
sliced kielbasa to crockpot. Cover
& cook on High 1 1/2 hours, stirring
occasionally. Turn heat down to
warm before serving.  Serves 5

Recipe can be doubled or tripled
for a large party – you can also brown
the kielbasa in a pan stove-top before
adding to crockpot

(recipe: realhousemoms.com)
7-Layer Chili Cheese Dip

2 (15 oz, ea) cans thick chili
1 (16 oz) tub sour cream
1 (8 oz) pkg. sharp Cheddar cheese,
1 (2.25 oz) can black olives, drained
1/4 C. sliced jalapenos (ones in a jar)
2 Roma tomatoes, cut in half, remove
seeds & juice, then dice
1/4 C. sliced green onions

party sized bag of large Fritos Scoops

Spray insides of 6 qt. crockpot with
nonstick spray. Spread chili on bottom,
then sour cream*. Sprinkle grated
cheese on top. Cover & cook on High
2 hours. Add olives, jalapenos, tomatoes
& green onions. Serve with Fritos Scoops
Serves 8

*Easiest way to add sour cream is by
adding spoonfuls all over top of chili,
then spreading evenly with a spatula

(recipe: realhousemoms.com)
(crockpot) Shredded Beef Sheet
Tray Nachos

3 lb. chuck roast
2 T. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 T. cooking oil
2 (10 oz, ea) cans Ro*Tel (tomatoes
& chilies)
1/2 C. diced white or yellow onion
1 (1.25 oz) pkg. taco seasoning

1 large bag tortilla chips
1 lb. Monterrey Jack cheese shredded
2 avocados, diced
1 (4 oz) can black olives, drained
sour cream – for serving
salsa – for serving

In small bowl combine flour, salt/pepper
& onion powder – pat mixture onto roast.
Heat large skillet on medium-high heat;
when pan is hot, add cooking oil & brown
roast on all sides – transfer to a 6 qt. crockpot.
Add Ro*tel, onions & taco seasoning on top
of roast. Cover & cook on High 6 hours or
Low 8 hours, without opening lid during
cooking time. When meat is done:
Set oven temp. to BROIL
Shred meat using 2 forks, discarding any
fatty pieces. Add entire bag of chips to a
sheet pan. Place shredded beef over chips
in an even layer, then sprinkle on cheese.
Place in oven & broil (about 5 minutes-
watch to make sure it doesn’t burn). Remove
from oven; top with diced avodaco & olives.
Serve with sour cream & salsa. Serves 8

(recipe: themagicalslowcooker.com)
Crockpot Beer Brats

2 (14 oz) pkgs. smoked bratwursts
1 large white onion, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced
1-2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 (12 oz) can beer

buns for serving plus condiments

In large skillet over medium-high heat
add enough oil to cover bottom of
pan. Add brats & brown on all sides
(poster does this in 2 batches). While
they are cooking add onion, bell
peppers, garlic & black pepper to
crockpot. Add browned brats on
top & pour beer over all. Cover &
cook on High 3 hours. Serves 12

(recipe: themagicalslowcooker.com)
3-Cheese Baked Ziti w/Meatballs &

1 T. olive oil
1 pkg. (Johnsonville) fully cooked
Italian sausage slices (OR) 1 1/2 lb.
(uncooked) Johnsonville) Sweet
Italian sausage links
2 T. olive oil
3/4 lb. yellow onion, diced
3/4 lb. green bell pepper, diced
4 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. dry rigatoni pasta
5 C. tomato sauce (plus more
for serving, heated)
1 lb. sliced Fontina cheese
1 C. freshly grated Parmesan
cheese (plus more for serving)
1 (24 oz) bag (Johnsonville) fully
cooked 3 cheese Italian-style
meatballs, heated in mocrowave
until hot
2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

If using Sweet Italian Sausage Links:
In large skillet over medium heat heat
1 T. olive oil & cook sausage links until
browned & cooked through, about 5
minutes. Remove from pan, cool &
slice into 1″ links.
If using fully cooked Ital. sausage:
Omit olive oil & cook like uncooked,
In same skillet, heat 2 T. oil over
medium-high heat; add onion, peppers
& mushrooms – cook until onions are
tender, 5 minutes. Add sausage slices-
heat just to hot, remove from heat.
Bring large salted pot of water to boil &
cook rigatoni to just under al dente (they
should still be chewy) – drain.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Layer 1 C. hot tomato sauce on bottom,
mix 2 C. tomato sauce with drained pasta &
pour 1/3 into prepared pan, reserving rest
for other layers. Layer half Fontina cheese
over pasta; layer all of sausage/pepper
mixture over Fontina. Sprinkle half Parm
over sausages. Layer another 1/3 pasta
& top with remaining Fontina. Layer
entire bag of meatballs over Fontina &
top with 1 C. tomato sauce. Layer final
1/3 pasta & top with last 1 C. tomato
sauce, remaining Parm. cheese, letting
some of meatballs poke through from
previous layer. Top with mozzarella &
bake, uncovered, 30 minutes until hot
& bubbly, just starting to brown on top.
Serve hot with additional tomato sauce &
Parm. cheese. Serves 8-10

(recipe: afmailyfeast.com)

Tomato-Tortellini Soup

1 (9 oz) pkg. refrigerated cheese
2 (10 3/4 oz, ea) cans condensed
tomato soup, undiluted
2 C. vegetable broth
2 C. milk
2 c. Half & Half
1/2 C. chopped oil-packed
sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese

additional shredded Parm. cheese,

Cook tortellini accordg. to pkg.
directions. In Dutch oven combine
soup, broth, milk, Half & Half,
tomatoes & seasonings – heat
through, stirring frequently. Drain
tortellini & carefully add to soup.
Stir in cheese; sprinkle each serving
with additional cheese, if desired.
Makes 10 servings (2 1/2 qts)

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. cornstarch
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. butter (2 sticks), very cold &
cut into small pieces
1 tsp. vanilla

Caramel Apple Filling:
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled/cored
thinly sliced
2 Pink Lady apples, peeled/cored
thinly sliced
4 T. flour
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. granulated sugar
2 tsp. Apple Pie spice*
1/3 C. (Smuckers) Salted Caramel sauce

Crumb Topping:
1 C. flour
2/3 C. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
8 T. butter, very cold, cut into small

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 X 13″ baking dish with foil,
making sure foil overlaps the edges
of the pan-this will help remove the
bars from the pan. Spray foil with
nonstick spray.
In medium bowl combine flour,
cornstarch, powdered sugar & salt –
using a pastry blender or two forks,
cut in cold butter pieces. Add vanilla &
press mixture into prepared pan using
your fingers to press firmly, forming
an even layer. Bake 22-25 minutes
until set but not yet golden brown.
Caramel Filling:
Place sliced apples in a bowl. In a
separate bowl combine flour, brown
sugar, gran. sugar & apple pie spice;
stir well. Toss apples with mixture to
Crumb Mixture:
In a bowl combine flour, brown sugar,
gran. sugar, oats & cinnamon. Cut in
butter using a pastry cutter or two
forks (or your hands) until it resembles
a wet sand/crumb mixture.
Layer apple mixture on top of hot
shortbread crust & drizzle with
caramel sauce. Top that with crumb
topping & bake 40-45 minutes. Allow
bars to cool completely then chill at
least 2 hours before cutting into bars.
Drizzle top with additional caramel
before serving. Makes 16 large bars.

Apple Pie Spice recipe:
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
dash cardamom (optional)

Mix all ingredients together – use
as much as needed for recipe

(recipe for Apple Pie spice: google.com)
(recipe for bars: mariahspleasingplates.com)

Mother-in-Laws Paella

2 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. chorizo sausage, cut into
1/4″ slices
1 C. chicken broth (plus more
as needed)
2 1/4 C. frozen chopped pepper
& onion blend
1 (9 oz) pkg. frozen peas
1 lb. frozen shrimp, peeled/
deveined with tails removed,
1 1/2 tsp. papri
1 tsp. kosher salt

8 C. cooked yellow or long-grain
white rice

In large nonstick skillet over medium-
high heat, heat olive oil. Add sausage;
cook until browned on both sides;
transfer to a plate. In same skillet add
1 C. broth; bring to simmer. Add pepper/
onion mixture & peas – cook 4-6 minutes
until heated through, stirring occasionally.
Add shrimp, cook 2-4 minutes until pink.
Stir in paprika, salt, rice & cooked sausage.
Reduce heat to medium, add additional
chicken broth, as needed, to achieve
desired consistency. Cook until heated
through; serve immediately. Serves 4

(recipe: mrfood.com)

Oh Joy! Brownies

1 egg
1 box (Duncan Hines)
dark chocolate
premium brownie mix
1 T. flour
1 C. sweetened coconut
1/2 C. chopped nuts
1 small can sweetened condensed

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix brownies accordg. to pkg.
directions. Pour half of batter into
greased pan. Mix together coconut,
sweet/con milk, 1 T. flour, 1 egg &
nuts; spread mixture over first layer
of brownies. Spread remaining brownie
dough over top & bake 35-40 minutes
until firm in center. Allow to cool; cut
into squares.

NOTE: do not grease sides of a brownie
pan, only grease the bottom

(recipe: duncanhines.com)


Things are quiet around here after all
the hustle & bustle of the past week’s
preparations for the holiday. I don’t
really have any particular plans for
the day (I probably should get to the
library & check out a few more books
BEFORE the winter/storm thing hits).
It’s been kinda nice to have already
cooked dinner ingredients in the
fridge (ran out of mashed potatoes
last night – those are always the first
to go). Still have lots of turkey, some
green bean casserole & stuffing &
rolls (plus more cheesecake – the
Happy Birthday, Jesus cake is almost
gone – 1 piece left!). Lots of the cran-
raspberry jello stuff; since that was an
experiment (first time made this year),
I’d rate it OK – more like a dessert than
a relish side dish; kinda sweet (I added
2 bags of unsweetened frozen raspberries
when the recipe called for 1 – I LOVE
raspberries.) This dish would probably
be good served with Cool Whip or
whipped cream – it made a 9 X 9″
pan – more than I thought it would.
Will I make it again? Probably not – not
that there’s anything wrong with the
recipe, it just wasn’t what I was looking
for as a cranberry relish-type side.
(recipe was posted in a previous blog

Hope you are recovering from the
holiday and are sort of ‘back on track’;
the New Years Eve is fast approaching.
Our plans for that? Stay home, probably
make some sort of appetizers, watch
TV & crash before midnight. It’s not a
big deal in our household (when we
were YOUNG, that’s a different story!
but not now). The boys will all probably
have somewhere to go – oldest will
probably throw a big party at his
house (he loves to entertain, and being
a chef, he does it very well).

Enjoy your day – stay warm & cozy –



PS: Oh! Almost forgot! Gas prices are
coming down a little: they were, just
before Christmas, $1.96/9 now they’re
sitting at $1.84/9.

Great Day (and boy, did I sleep!)


After all the hustle & bustle, we had a GREAT Day! Tons of food (everyone was groaning their tummies were SOooooo full!), lots of good chatting around the table, presents and most importantly: the presence of FAMILY all together!


My grown up boys: Eric (21), Kris (32) Ben (26)


Kris’s family: Kris, Kris’s girlfriend: Taylor, & my grandson, Kaden (9)


My whole family

Husband pitched in a LOT and helped me finish getting dinner together (I was really grateful!) – it was a wonderful day!


Creamy Turkey & Noodles

1 (16 oz) pkg. farfalle (bow-tie)
pasta, uncooked
1/4 C. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen mixed
vegetables (carrots/corn/green
beans, peas)
6 T. flour
2 C. milk
2 (7.5 oz, ea) pkgs. sliced,
roasted turkey breast, chopped*
2 (10 3/4 oz, ea) cans cream of
chicken soup
1 C. sour cream
1 (8 oz) pkg. Kraft shredded 3-cheese
with a touch of Philadelpia

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook pasta as directed on pkg,
omitting salt. Melt butter in Dutch
oven or large, deep skillet on
medium heat. Add onions, cook &
stir 4 minutes until crisp-tender. Add
frozen vegs; cook 4 minutes until
thawed, stirring frequently. Stir in flour
until blended; cook & stir 1 minute.
Gradually stir in milk; bring to boil.
Cook & stir 2 minutes until thickened.
Remove from heat; stir in turkey,
soup & sour cream. Drain pasta &
add to sauce – stir until evenly
coated. Spoon into two 9 X 13″
pans sprayed with nonstick spray;
top with shredded cheese & cover
with foil. Bake 30 minutes until
heated through, uncovering for
last 10 minutes. Serves 10-12

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Crockpot Mexican
Hashbrown Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can dhopped green chilies
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
4 oz. cream cheese
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen hashbrowns
2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

chopped tomatoes, chopped avocados,
guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese,
sliced green onions, sliced black olives

Place hash browns in a bowl with half of
chopped peppers, half onion & 1 C. cheese.
Add 1 T. taco seasoning mix; mix well & set
aside. Saute ground beef, onions & reserved
peppers in large nonstick skillet over medium-
high heat until ground beef is cooked &
vegetables are soft. Reduce heat to medium-low
& stir in remaining taco seasoning, green chiles &
stewed tomatoes; stir in cream cheese. Spray
insides of crockpot with nonstick spray. Spread 1/2
hash brown mixture onto bottom; layer half of
ground beef mixture, 1/2 C. remaining Cheddar
cheese, second half of potatoes, last half of
ground beef & last 1/2 C. cheese. Cover & cook on
Low 4-6 hours. Top with your choice of toppings.

(recipe: sixsistersstuff.com)

Southern Apple Dumplings

1 large apple (Fuji or any tart apple)
1 can crescent dinner rolls
1/2 C. butter
2/3 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. (or 6 oz) 7-Up pop (or
equivalent lemon/lime soda)
about 1/2 can

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease an 8 X 8″ baking dish.
Peel & cut each apple into 8-10
wedges; set aside. Separate
crescent dough into triangles. Roll
each apple wedge in dough, starting
at wide end; pinch to seal & cover
apple then place in prepared dish.
Melt butter in small saucepan &
stir in sugar & cinnamon. Heat,
whisking to combine. Mixture will
slowly combine & thicken. When
it’s thickened, remove from heat &
add vanilla; stir. Pour cinnamon
mixture over dumplings. Pour soda
over dumplings. Bake 40-45 minutes
until golden brown.

(recipe: inspiredreamer.com)

Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes & Bacon

1 (32 oz) bag frozen Southern-style diced
hash browns
8-10 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 onion, chopped medium
8 oz. sour cream
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

(chopped chives – optional)

In large bowl mix soup, hash browns,
melted butter, onion, sour cream, bacon,
cajun seasoning, garlic powder, pepper &
1 C. shredded cheese. Place ingredients
in crockpot, top with other 1 C. cheese.
Cook on Low 3-4 hours. (You can also
place some of the cooked,crumbled bacon
on top before serving.

(recipe: Crockpot Moms)

Leftover Hambone Soup

1 leftover ham bone
1 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled/diced
1 russet potato, peeled/diced
1 C. canned white kidney beans,
3/4 C. frozen corn kernels
3/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
kosher salt/fresh ground black pepper,
to taste
1 1/2 C. leftover diced ham

Place hambone in large stockpot or
Dutch oven – add enough water to cover
bone halfway, about 6-7 cups; bring to
boil, reduce heat & simmer about 30
minutes – 1 hour, until very fragrant.
Remove & discard bone. Heat olive
oil in large stockpot or Dutch oven
over medium heat; add garlic, onion,
carrots & potato – cook, stirring
occasionally, until onions have become
transparent, 2-3 minutes. Stir in ham
stock (from ham bone), beans, corn,
thyme & bay leaves – season with
salt/pepper, to taste. Bring to boil;
reduce heat & simmer until potatoes
are tender, 10-12 minutes. Stir in
ham until heated through, 1-2 minutes.
Serve immediately. Serves 6

(recipe: damndelicious.net)

Pam’s Stuffed Zucchini

5 medium zucchini
3/4 C. chopped onion
1 T. chopped garlic
5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 lb. mild pork sausage*
1/4 tsp. salt, to taste
1/8 tsp. black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 (32 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1+ C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Wash zucchini. Cut zucchini, lengthwise
in half. Scoop out centers into a bowl,
leaving 1/8″ shell. Spray a large baking
pan with nonstick spray. (my pan is larger than
9 X 13″). Place zucchini shells in pan. Heat a large
skillet on stove to medium-high heat & cook
sausage. Drain most of grease, add chopped
onions, garlic, tomatoes and the scooped
out zucchini. Cook & stir 3-5 minutes until
onions are crisp-tender. Drain liquid &
spoon mixture into zucchini shells. Top
shells with spaghetti sauce (I had about
1/4 jar leftover). Cover pan with foil &
bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with
cheeses & bake an additional 5-10
minutes until cheese is melted. Remove
from oven & drain any liquids in pan.
Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting into
smaller pieces – or leave whole and serve
as a main course.

*you can also substitute Italian sausage
for the pork sausage

Serves, as an appetizer, about 10 people;
as a main course (2 halves each) serves
5 people.

When I made this recipe I ended up with
about 2 1/2 C. of extra filling so I mixed
the rest of the spaghetti sauce in and more
shredded mozz. & Parm. cheese. This mixture
could be poured over cooked pasta, with
scrambled eggs or put on a flour tortilla.

Eggnog Truffles

1 lb. white baking chocolate,
4 oz (1/2 pkg) cream cheese,
1/4 C. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. rum flavoring (optional)

additional ground nutmeg for

Melt 8 oz. white choc. as directed
on pkg. Beat cream cheese, powdered
sugar, nutmeg & rum flavoring (if using)
in large bowl using elec. mixer on medium
speed until well blended & smooth. Add
melted chocolate; beat until well mixed.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours until firm.
Shape mixture into 24 (3/4 ” balls). Place
on waxed paper covered tray – refrigerate
until ready to dip.
(Coat only 12 truffles at a time)
Melt 4 oz. remaining white choc. in
small microwaveable bowl on Medium
(50%) power 1 1/2 minutes, stirring after
1 minute. Using a fork, dip 1 truffle at a
time into melted choc. – tap back of fork
2-3 times against edge of dish to allow
excess choc. to drip off. Place truffles on
waxed paper-lined tray – if there are any
‘bald’ spots on truffle, cover with melted
chocolate that remains on the fork. Sprinkle
truffles with nutmeg – repeat with remaining
4 oz. choc. & remaining truffles.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate is set.
Store truffles between layers of waxed
paper in airtight container in fridge up
to 1 week. Makes 24 (serving size:

2 truffles each)

(recipe: mccormick.com)

Our weather is still holding – it’s a bit
cloudy out today, but still 40 degrees F –
great weather for ‘getting around’!

I sincerely hope that all of you had
a lovely Christmas. Christmas isn’t
about the presents you get – it’s about
the people who surround you,
whether near or far.



PS: Totally forgot to add the explanation
to the title: I slept ALOT after everyone
went home – woke up at 5:30 a.m. and
stayed up, reading, until around 7 –
fell back asleep and slept until 10:30 a.m.!

Merry CHRISTmas, everyone!


I John 4:14: “and we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”

Published in: on December 25, 2015 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Finishing up!

Lessons from a Christmas tree

Today is the last of the ‘getting ready for Christmas’ days; I’m still definitely not up to ‘snuff’ (sort of feel like the fatigue I had while going through radiation) but still managed to get a few things on my list done. Got the “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” cake baked & frosted, wrapped all the presents & did a quick dusting/swiffering of the living & dining rooms (husband was most gracious to do the vacuuming for me yesterday). Went out really early to the dollar store – we were out of paper towels! I chose there because I knew it wouldn’t be as busy/crowded as a grocery or drug store – I was right. Got in & out in about 10 minutes (paper towels, pop, kleenex and 2 sets of ‘ear buds’ for younger sons- they’re always losing them!).  Been mostly doing something, then resting, do another thing, rest more. Finished another book by the two authors I mentioned last post (1 day total read). Since I just finished the book, next on my list is coloring my hair (Yes – it needs it!). Dinner tonight is the last of the meatloaf. I ‘might’ make the cran/raspberry jello later, or I might make it tomorrow – we’ll see. Thank heavens for antibiotics – can’t imagine how ‘rough’ I’d feel if I had let this UTI go for a few more days (say, calling next Monday for an appointment). Really like my OB/GYN – I said to him that I was really glad to get in the day I called. His response: “If you are one of my patients and you are sick or in pain, there is NO reason why you shouldn’t be seen as quickly as possible – we leave openings in our daily schedule just for that.” What a guy!


Cherries Jubilee Cheesecake Bars

1 box (Betty Crocker) super moist
cherry chip cake mix
1/2 C. butter or marg, softened
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 tub (Betty Crocker) rich & creamy
cherry frosting
3 eggs

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
In large bowl beat dry cake mix &
butter using elec. mixer on Low
speed until crumbly; reserve 1
C. mixture. In bottom of ungreased
9 X 13″ baking dish press remaining
crumbly mixture. Bake about 45
minutes (about 42 minutes for
dark or nonstick pan) until set.
Cool completely. Cover & refrigerate
at least 2 hours until chilled

For Bars:
cut into 6 rows by 6 rows. Store
covered in refrigerator. Makes 36

(recipe: Sara Green – Facebook)

Cheesy Chicken/Bacon & Tater Tot

1 (32 oz) bag tater tots
3 oz. crumbed, cooked bacon
1 lb. skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 C. shredded Colby cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded Monterrey jack cheese
3/4 C. milk
salt & pepper

Grease insides of crockpot. Layer half of
tater tots on bottom; sprinkle half bacon
on top. Combine the 2 cheeses; sprinkle
1/3 of it over mixture in pot. Sprinkle
chicken with salt & pepper & place in
crockpot. Top with another 1/3 cheeses,
sprinkle with rest of bacon, then top with
tater tots. Top mixture with rest of cheeses.
Pour milk over top. Cook on High 4-5 hours.
(check at around 3 hours for doneness of

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe Exchange)

BBQ’d Bacon-wrapped Mushrooms

1 (8 oz) pkg. large button mushrooms
1 lb. pepper bacon, room temp –
slices cut in half
4 T. BBQ sauce

Cut stems off mushrooms; rinse briefly
& dry well with paper towels. Wrap each
mushroom with bacon strip half (use 2
if cap is not completely covered). Bacon
will stick to mushrooms – no need for
toothpicks. In medium saute pan over
medium-high heat, saute wrapped
mushrooms until bacon is golden brown.
As bacon begins to crisp, add BBQ sauce
& toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Serves 6-8

(recipe: food.com)

Warm Bacon Blue Cheese Dip

8 oz. bacon, cut into small
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz. blue cheese, room temp.
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
2 T. fresh chives, minced

fresh cut veggies for dippers

Preheat 375 degrees F.
Cook bacon in heavy bottomed Dutch
oven or pan over medium-high heat
until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper
towel-lined plate to drain. Combine
garlic with blue cheese, cream cheese,
chives & cooked bacon in bowl.
Spray an oven-safe bowl with nonstick
spray & spread dip into bowl. Do not
overfill. Bake 20 minutes until cheese
starts to melt. Serve warm.
Makes 10 servings

(recipe: realhousemoms.com)

Peppermint Truffle Bark

2 (11 oz, ea) bags white chocolate chips
1 pkg. peppermint Oreo cookies
4 oz. cream cheese, softened & cubed

Place parchment paper on a cookie
sheet. Pour 1 bag white choc. chips in a
microwave safe bowl. Microwave 30
seconds, remove & stir – repeat until
chocolate is melted. Spread melted
chocolate over parchment paper –
refrigerate to solidify. Place Oreos in
a food processor & pulse to fine
crumbs. Place cream cheese cubes in
food processor; pulse until completely
mixed with Oreos. Once white choc.
has hardened, remove from fridge &
gently spread Oreo mixture over
white choc. mixture – refrigerate
1 hour. Melt last bag of white choc.
using method mentioned earlier.
Carefully spread melted white choc.
over top of Oreo mixture – allow to
harden in refrigerator. Remove from
fridge, break into pieces.

(recipe: realhousemoms.com)


Mrs. Claus Casserole

4 C. cooked, diced ham
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 T. butter
6 T. flour
3 C. milk, scalded
1/3 C. chicken stock or broth
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese,
3/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese,
1 tsp. mustard powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. linguine noodles, broken into
thirds & cooked to al dente

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet add 2 T. canola or olive
oil & over medium heat cook onions
until softened. Add peppers & cook
until just tender, 5 minutes. In sauce
pan melt butter on medium-low heat.
Add flour & whisk until smooth, about
3 minutes. Pour in scalded milk & chicken
broth; cook, constantly stirring, until
very thick. Mix in 1/2 C. Cheddar &
1/2 C. Parm. cheese-stir until melted &
creamy. Remove from heat & add mustard
powder, salt & pepper. Combine this sauce
with ham, cooked linguine & vegetables.
Taste & adjust seasoning to taste. Pour
mixture into large casserole dish. Sprinkle
remaining cheeses on top & cook until
warm & bubbling, about 35-45 minutes.
Serves 10-12

To reheat:
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cut casserole into large squares. Pour
about 1/4 -1/2 C. water into seams &
around edges (This allows moisture to
steam the casserole instead of drying it
out). Slices will ‘cook’ themselves back
together & water will evaporate. Cover
with foil & bake at 350 degrees F. until
hot & bubbly.

NOTE: Casserole amount can be halved – or
prepared ingredients & place into two
smaller dishes – freeze one for later.

(recipe: thekitchn.com)

Bacon Appetizer Crescents

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
8 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. finely chopped onions
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. milk
2 (8 oz, ea) cans refrigerated
crescent dinenr rolls

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients (except
rolls). Separate each can of dough
into 8 triangles; cut each triangle
lengthwise in half. Spread cream
cheese mixture onto triangles,
adding about 1 tsp. per roll. Roll
up, starting at short side. Place,
point sides down, on baking sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes until golden
brown. Serve warm. Makes 16

(recipe: kraft recipes)

King Ranch Breakfast Bake
(overnight recipe)

1/2 (16 oz) French bread loaf,
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas, cut into
1/2 inch strips
2 C. cubed cooked chicken
2 1/2 C. shredded Pepper Jack
cheese, divided
2 T. vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 C. chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles,
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
10 eggs
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of chicken soup
2 C. milk

Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Place bread cubes, tortilla strips,
chicken & 2 C. cheese in dish; toss until
well blended. In large skillet over medium-
high heat, saute bell pepper, onion & garlic
5-7 minutes until soft. Stir in tomatoes, chiles,
chili powder &salt; cook 5 minutes until heated
through. In large bowl combine eggs, soup &
milk; mix well & pour over bread cubes. Spoon
vegetable mixture on top. Cover & refrigerate
4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Uncover dish, sprinkle remaining cheese on
top & bake 55-60 minutes until set in center.
Serves 8

(recipe: mrfood.com)


Easy Zesty Cheese Dip

8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
8 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 C. mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika

Doritos chips, any flavor, for dipping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients (except chips) in
a bowl & pour into a 1 qt. baking
dish. Bake, uncovered, 25 minutes;
turn off oven & let mixture sit
5 more minutes. Serve with chips.
Serves 6-8

(recipe: afamilyfeast.com)

Ambrosia Salad

2 cans pineapple chunks, drained
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 jars maraschino cherries, drained
1 can coconut flakes
1/2 bag miniature marshmallows
4 oz. sour cream
1 (16 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed

Combine sour cream & Cool Whip
in large bowl. Fold in all other
ingredients; cover & chill at least
2 hours.

(recipe: facebook)

Since today is Christmas Eve, I’m once
again reminded of just how ‘strange’
our weather is: it’s 52 degrees, clear &
sunny – GREAT WEATHER! You don’t
have to worry about shoveling it,
slipping or skidding in/on it – just
the perfect weather for lots of
people driving/visiting friends &
family. Yes, I will concede – no snow
but as long as I’ve lived in Michigan
(that would be 67 1/2 years now)
we’ve ALWAYS had snow in winter
and I’m pretty sure this year will
not be any different! (If you’re
really counting – we already HAD
12 inches on Thanksgiving!).

Hope all of your plans/preparations/
expectations are falling into place and
you will be (or ARE) having a GREAT
Christmas Eve! Enjoy!!!



PS: And I also want to THANK
all of you for being friends and/or
readers of my blog. It’s nice to
know there are REAL people
out there! (hint-hint: I LOVE
getting responses back!)

Resting – just resting!


After hurrying around for nearly a week, today I’m just resting!  (Why, you asked?) Well, my good old body decided to get a common ‘old lady’ problem (UTI) – sorry, too much info, I know. This is the second in 5 weeks; went to doctor today and he said it’s very unusual for a lady to get TWO in such a short time, so this time he increased the antibiotic – we’ll see. For those of you who have had this problem before, you know just how quickly they can really drag you down. I’ve been kinda wondering why I felt so lethargic – now I know. Yesterday I managed to bake all those cookies (10 dozen) and last night was my knit group’s last December meeting; a cozy little group of 9 got together (I had purchased 3 dozen of Panera’s Mini Chocolate chip cookies & added the mini Milky Way & Snickers bars) – had some to bring home, too. Think I mentioned that I’d finished the white, fancy baby blanket – here it is (not a great photo – didn’t have a lot of energy to make a ‘fancily arranged photo):


Finished another book by the 2 authors I mentioned in the last  post – working on another (have 1 more before returning those to the library – I usually check out 3 at a time; that way I have enough to last me about a week). Also finished two baby hats last night – think I’m just going to ‘coast’ on knitting anything big and just work on baby hats for awhile.  The only things left ‘to do’ on my list now are dust and move a few things around for the Christmas dinner. Shopping is done, baking done, decorating, too  – YAY! (that’s why I get to just REST!)


Spinach/Fruit Salad

5 oz. fresh spinach (1/2 a 10 oz bag)
3/4 C. chopped celery
3/4 C. dried cranberries
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges
(or fresh Cuties or Halos)
1 large Granny Smith apple, sliced very
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 C. pecans

Optional: crumbled feta cheese
Cooked Orecchiette (little ears) pasta

4 T. olive or vegetable oil
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. white wine vinegar
2-4 tsp. granulated sugar
(or honey, to taste)
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1 T. poppyseeds

Mix all salad ingredients together
in large bowl. In separate bowl
mix together dressing ingredients –
pour dressing over salad & serve

(recipe: Facebook)

“Can’t Leave Alone” Bars

1 box white cake mix (regular size)
2 large eggs
1/3 C. canola oil
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
1 C. (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 C. butter, cubed

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine cake mix, eggs &
oil. Press two-thirds of mixture into a
greased 9 X 13″ baking dish. Set
remaining cake mixture aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine
milk, chocolate chips & butter. Microwave,
uncovered, until chips & butter are
melted; stir until smooth then pour
over crust. Drop teaspoonfuls of
remaining cake mixture over top &
bake 20-25 minutes until lightly
browned. Cool before cutting.
Makes 3 dozen.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Queso Roll-ups
refrigerate 4-6 hours
before serving

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 (1 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 (10 oz) can Rotel diced tomatoes &
green chilies; drained well
2-3 C. finely shredded Mexican-
blend cheese
6 (10″) flour tortillas

Using elec. mixer beat cream cheese on
medium speed until fluffy. Add taco
seasoning & mix well. Spread each
tortilla with mixture then sprinkle
with Rotel & top with shredded
cheese. Roll each tortilla VERY tightly
then roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate
4-6 hours. When ready to serve,
cut into pinwheels.

(recipe: southyourmouth.com)

‘Chicken Fried Steak’ Casserole

1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/4 lb. beef cubed steak
1 egg
1/4 C. milk
3/4 C. dry bread crumbs
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 (24 oz) pkg. refrigerated mashed
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a 8″ X 8″ pan with nonstick spray.
In shallow dish, combine flour, salt &
pepper. Coat steak in mixture; set aside.
In medium bowl combine egg & milk; mix
well. Place bread crumbs in another
shallow dish. Dip coated steak into egg
mixture, coating completely, then into
bread crumbs; set aside. Discard any
remaining crumb mixture. In large, deep
skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat
until hot, but not smoking. Add steak &
cook 6-8 minutes until juices run clear &
coating is golden brown, turning
occasionally. Place steak in single layer in
prepared dish. Combine potatoes &
scallions; spread over steak – sprinkle
cheese over top. Bake 20-25 minutes until
potatoes are warmed through & cheese is
melted. Serves 4

(recipe: mrfood.com)

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
pinch nutmeg
pinch ground allspice
1 stick (8 T.) unsalted butter,
room temp.
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. canned unsweetened
pumpkin puree
1/4 C. buttermilk*
1 C. fresh or frozen cranberries,
1 (4 oz) bar good quality white
chocolate, cut into chunks

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with
nonstick spray or use paper muffin
liners. Whisk flour, baking powder,
baking soda, salt & spices. Place
halved cranberries in a bowl & toss
with a tablespoon of flour mixture.
Place chocolate chunks in another
bowl & toss with a tablespoon of
flour mixture. Using a stand mixer
with paddle attachment, beat
butter at medium speed until soft.
Add both sugars & beat until
light & smooth. Add eggs, one at
a time, beating 1 minute after all
eggs are added. Beat in vanilla.
Lower mixer speed & mix in
pumpkin & buttermilk. At Low
speed, add dry ingredients in
a steady stream, mixing only until
they disappear. To avoid over-
mixing, stop machine early & stir
any remaining dry ingredients into
batter by hand using a spatula.
Fold in cranberries, then chocolate.
Spoon batter into prepared tin. Place
tin on a baking sheet & bake 25
minutes until a thin knife inserted
into center of muffins comes out
clean. Transfer pan to rack to cool,
cool 5 minutes in pan, then remove
each muffin to cooling rack.
These are best eaten the day they are
baked but they can be wrapped
airtight & frozen up to 2 months.
When using, rewarm in a 350 degrees F.
oven or split & toast them before

*If you don’t have buttermilk-
Add 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar to
a 1 Cup glass measuring cup. Fill
cup to 1/4 measure with milk &
stir. Let set 5 minutes then you
have buttermilk!

(recipe: ebay.com)
Crockpot Spinach/Artichoke Dip

1 medium head cauliflower
2 T. water
2 1/2 T. butter, divided
1 lb. ground hot Italian sausage
4 C. loosely-packed, chopped spinach
1/2 C. chopped red bell pepper
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 C. shredded Provolone cheese
1 (14 oz) can petite artichoke hearts,
drained/chopped (about 1 C. chopped)
1/4 C. chopped, fresh basil
1 pkt. ranch salad dressing mix
1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

Remove leaves & cut away any brown
spots on cauliflower; trim stem to be
flush with bottom of cauliflower head,
cut into medium-sized pieces & place in
microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 T. water,
cover with plastic wrap & cook in micro-
wave on High 5-7 minutes, until tender.
Move to food processor; add 2 T. butter &
process until smooth. Use 1 1/2 C. mashed
cauliflower for this dip & refrigerate rest
for another use. Brown sausage in skillet;
drain. Use same pan to wilt spinach with-
out washing it. Place spinach in pan & cook
over medium heat until wilted. Move spinach
to a strainer (over sink or over a bowl) &
press on it with a paper towel to squeeze
out any excess moisture. Using same pan,
saute chopped pepper with 1/2 T. butter
5 minutes, until softened. (Peppers will
continue to soften in crockpot) Beat
cream cheese in bowl; add mayo. & beat
until combined. Add 1 1/2 C. mashed
cauliflower, cooked sausage, wilted
spinach, sauteed peppers, cheeses,
artichoke hearts, pkt. ranch dressing &
garlic, mix well. Spread mixture into
greased crockpot; cover & cook on Low
3-4 hours until heated through &
cheese is melted. Serves 20-25

(recipe: thegunnysack.com)

Peanut Butter Temptations

1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 C. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
36 miniature “Reese’s cups”,

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In medium bowl cream brown sugar,
gran. sugar & butter. Stir in peanut
butter, egg & vanilla. Sift flour, baking
soda & salt together; stir into peanut
butter mixture until dough comes
together. Shape into 1 inch balls &
press into cups of ungreased mini
muffin tin. Bake 8-10 minutes. As
soon as cookies come out press one
mini peanut butter cup in each cookie
until only the top is showing. Allow
to cool completely before removing
from pan. Makes 36

(recipe: allrecipes.com)

Our Sunday School teacher & his wife
gave the entire class homebaked spice
bread and some SUPER buttery sugar
cookies – (haven’t tried the bread yet
but the cookies are to die for!) Recipe

Super Sugar Cookies

1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. shortening (butter flavored)
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

additional sugar to roll cookies in-
can be colored sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl cream butter, shortening &
sugar until light & fluffy. Add egg & vanilla;
mix well. Combine flour, baking powder &
baking soda; gradually add to creamed
ingredients. Shape mixture into 1″ balls,
roll in sugar & place on greased cookie
sheets (or cover with parchment paper).
Flatten cookies with bottom of a glass.
Bake 10-12 minutes until set – DO NOT
BROWN. Cool on rack completely.
Makes 4-5 dozen.

(recipe: Connie Stomps)

Just noticed that gas prices around here
have jumped TWENTY CENTS A GALLON in
the past day! $1.96/9 now! (Glad I got a
fill up a few days ago!).

Weather is still very unseasonal: it’s in the
mid-50’s, grey/gloomy & a light mist. Told my
doctor’s receptionist today that EVERY time
I go to that office it rains! She said: “Well,
guess it’s good that you’re inside in that kind
of weather, right?” (she’s got a point).

Hope all of your holiday plans are quickly
coming together. Try to stay healthy, rest
when you can and remember to smile –
time of year-you can smile and say: “Merry
Christmas!” to anyone! I love the way it
(usually) lights up their faces! I don’t care
what’s politically correct – I’m celebrating
the birth of my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ –
so, to me, It’s Merry CHRISTmas! It’s a time
to give smiles to total strangers and even,
if you get the opportunity, do something
nice for others.



Lotsa little checks!


Today is the day to get those last little things done! Called Panera Bread to order 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies for my knit group tomorrow night(check) every year I get choc. chip cookies, put them on a platter along with mini candy bars – my Christmas present to the group. Called Purple Heart to find out why they DIDN’T pick up our stuff Friday (they’re coming tomorrow – now check); took the 21 lb turkey out of the freezer, into downstairs fridge (check); went to Arizona Saddlery to order mooseskin moccasins for husband’s birthday (Jan 23) – check; visited library for the next three books by my new favorite (joint)  authors David Preston & Lincoln Child – ended up buying one of their books at a used book sale; they are certainly ‘different’ – their usual theme involves a police captain, an FBI agent and some bad happenings/murders at unusual locations (libraries/museums, etc.) – after about 4 books they’re kinda predictable, but still enjoyable so I plan on reading through their entire collection written thus far (think I’ve read about 4-5 now). Got gas at Clark $1.76/9 – had some trouble with the pump so I had to go inside to pre-pay – told them $22.00, ended up I could only fit around $21.39 in the tank – the remainder (if they use it) is a gift to the next one at that pump – just didn’t feel like trudging back into the building again. OH! Got myself a Christmas present! I’m not usually one to do that BUT – while at Kroger (picking up the few remaining items – especially the stuff to make that Cranberry-raspberry Salad I posted yesterday) I spotted a Christmas Cactus! If you’re a frequent reader of my blog you know that I have a BLACK thumb when it comes to growing things – am really hoping I can keep this alive! My dear friend Mary/Momma on her blog posts photos of HER cactus each time it blooms – I kinda wanted one but had no idea where to even look to find one . . . and there were 2 at Kroger’s: one really bald and the one I bought RESPLENDENT WITH BLOOMS! Score!


isn’t the clearest, but you get the idea


Pralines & Cream Fudge

3 C. white chocolate chips
1 (14.5 oz) can sweetened
condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. heavy whipping cream
1/4 C. salted butter (1/2 stick)
1 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C. chopped pecans

Line an 8 X 8″ square pan with
parchment paper. Get 2 medium
saucepans – in one add white
choc. chips, sweetened. cond.
milk & 1 tsp. vanilla. Heat,
stirring constantly until completely
melted – Pour half of mixture into
prepared pan.
Using second saucepan, pour brown
sugar, whipping cream, butter &
1 tsp. vanilla – bring to boil over
medium heat, stirring constantly.
Boil about 1 minute, remove from
heat. Immediately whisk in powdered
sugar & gently stir in pecans. Allow
mixture to thicken & cool slightly
them pour most of it over first layer
in pan. It will slightly set up – you
don’t have to wait for it to completely
set up before pouring on remaining
fudge then remaining nut mixture.

*If your fudge has hardened – you can
put it back on the stove for a minute &
stir gently to reheat & soften (be
careful not to scorch it). You can swirl
the nut layer into the other layers, if
desired. Allow fudge to set up at least
4-6 hours at room temp. or at least
2 hours in refrigerator before cutting.
You can use a knife to slide around
edges of pan then lift out parchment
& fudge – cut into squares.
Makes 36 squares.

(recipe: rosebakes.com)

Cheesy Black Bean Spinach Dip

2 T. canola oil, divided
1 (12 oz.) pkg. frozen spinach,
thawed/drained well
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
2 (15.5 oz, ea) cans black beans,
3 chipotle peppers in adobo
sauce (can) minced plus 2 T.
adobo sauce*
1/4 C. salsa
8 oz. light cream cheese
6 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
6 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated
salt/pepper, to taste

cherry tomatoes, chopped (garnish)
cilantro, chopped (garnish)
tortilla chips, for dipping

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray an 8 X 8″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Briefly saute spinach until cooked
through. Add remaining oil to skillet; once
hot reduce heat to medium – add onion. Saute
until softened, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic &
ground cumin. Saute, stirring, 1 minute. Add
half of black beans, chipotles & adobo sauce,
3/4 C. water – bring to boil. Cook mixture,
stirring occasionally, until liquid has almost
entirely absorbed & evaporated, 3-5 minutes.
Remove from heat & let cool 2-3 minutes. In
bowl of food processor, combine bean mixture,
salsa & cream cheese – process until only a few
small chunks of bean remain. Add cooked
spinach, half of remaining black beans & half
of cheeses. Pulse until evenly combined but
not smooth. Fold in remaining black beans &
season with salt/pepper. Pour dip into prepared
baking dish, top with remaining shredded cheese.
Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese bubbles & begins
to brown. Garnish with chopped cherry tomatoes
& cilantro. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Serves 6-10

*if you are sensative to spice, reduce the amount
of chipotle peppers – you can always add more,
to taste

(recipe: hostthetoast.com)

Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Chip Cake

Cake base layer:
1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted

Filling layer:
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted

1 C. chocolate chips
1 C. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease 9 X 13″ pan. In bowl
of elec. mixer combine cake mix,
egg & butter; mix well & pat into
bottom of pan, set aside. Still using
elec. mixer, beat cream cheese until
smooth; add egg & vanilla. Add
powdered sugar & beat well. Reduce
speed of mixer & slowly pour in
butter; mix well. Pour filling onto
cake mixture & spread evenly. Sprinkle
chocolate chips & nuts on top of
filling. Bake 40-50 minutes. (check
with toothpick inserted into center
as to ‘doneness’ – you want the center
to be a little gooey).

(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)

Crockpot Sausage Dinner

2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans green beans
4 (14.5 oz, ea) cans whole new
potatoes, drained
salt/pepper, to taste
1 -2 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
2 (10.75 oz, ea) cans cream of
mushroom soup
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Pour green beans into crockpot;
pour potatoes over beans & sprinkle
with salt/pepper. Place sausage
slices on top & pour soup over
that. Top with cheese; cover &
cook on Low 4-6 hours. Stir before
serving. Serves 8

(recipe: recipesthatcrock.com)

 Confetti Pasta

1 (16 oz) pkg. linguine
1 C. chopped sweet red pepper
1 C. chopped green pepper
1/3 C. chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, peeled/thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 C. olive oil
2 lb. cooked small shrimp, peeled/
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook linguine accordg to pkg. directions.
In Dutch oven, saute peppers, onion,
garlic & seasonings in oil until vegetables
are tender. Add shrimp; cook & stir
2-3 minutes longer until heated through.
Drain linguine; toss with shrimp mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese. Serves 8

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Bread

1/2 C. apple juice
4-5 apples, peeled & chopped
1 egg
1 T. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 T. cinnamon
1 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. flour
1/3 C. oil
1 tsp. salt

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Mix all ingredients together &
pour into crockpot. Cover & cook on
Low 5 hours until firm. NOTE: the
middle was slow to cook in this recipe
so make sure that the middle is
completely firm before serving.
Serves 5-6

(recipe: wannabite.com)

Baked Jalapeno Popper Chicken Sliders

12 potato rolls (poster used Hawaiian rolls)
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese,
5 strips bacon, cooked crispy & chopped
2 chicken breasts, cooked/shredded
1 large jalapeno, seeded/diced
1 1/2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Remove rolls from pkg. – do not separate.
Use a serrated knife to cut in half horizontally
so all bottoms & tops are separated. Place
bottoms in a 9 X 13″ baking dish. In large
bowl combine cream cheese & 1 C. Jack
cheese. Add bacon, chicken & jalapeno –
mix until ingredients are evenly combined.
Spread chicken mixture over roll bottoms in
an even layer. Sprinkle remaining 1 C. Jack
cheese evenly over chicken mixture. Place
tops on rolls & brush tops with melted
butter. Sprinkle tops evenly with garlic
powder. Bake 20 minutes until butter
bakes into rolls & cheese is melted.
Carefully remove from pan. Use a
spatula to cut between all the rolls,
separating them from each other.
Serve warm. Makes 12 sliders.

NOTE: You can double this recipe-

(recipe: realhousemoms.com)

Cranberry Caramel Bars

1 C. fresh cranberries
2 T. sugar
2 1/3 C. flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 C. uncooked regular oats
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 C. firmly packed light brown
1 C. butter or margarine, melted
1 (10 oz) pkg. chopped dates
3/4 C. chopped pecans
1 (12 oz) jar caramel sauce

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 X 13″ baking pan with
heavy duty foil – leave a little
overhang so that you can lift bars
out to cut with no problem. Combine
2 T. sugar in small bowl with cran-
berries. Combine 2 C. flour, baking
soda, oats & rest of sugars; stir in
melted butter until crumbly. Reserve
1 C. mixture. Press remaining
mixture into bottom of prepared
pan by placing a piece of waxed
paper over top of mixture in pan &
pressing down to flatten mixture.
Remove waxed paper & bake
15 minutes.
Remove from oven & sprinkle top
with dates, pecans & cranberry
mixture. Stir caramel sauce &
remaining 1/3 C. flour together
until smooth & spoon over top.
Sprinkle top with reserved 1 C.
flour mixture & bake an additional
20 minutes until lightly browned.
Cool on wire rack. Lift out of pan
using foil overhang then cut into
24 small or 18 large bars.

(recipe: ebay.com)

Later today I get to pick up grandson from
the bus stop – we’ll have him for a few
hours. They will be coming over Christmas
day for dinner, but this was an extra
visit (Yay!).

Only a few ‘things to do’ left on the list:
dust/vacuum dining & living rooms, dust/
wash glass on china cabinet, bake the 72
sugar cookies & box ‘o gingerbread men
then frost them (Yes, I ‘could’ do that with
grandson, but if you remember I’m a
“Type A” personality with loads of
OCD (obsessive/compulsive behavior) –
read that as “I HATE MESSES!” Baking with
a child is NOT something that rings FUN
to me! Even IF he’s my grandson! Sorry-
no can do! Not much else to do – maybe
a half hour left on the white baby blanket
knitting – I’ve been reading more than I’ve
been knitting these past few days. Oh –
still have to wrap the presents and (on
Christmas Eve) stuff the stockings on the
mantle/fireplace – but we’re pretty much
ON SCHEDULE for the events – YAY!

Hope your plans & dreams are coming
together just as you dreamed/wanted
them to! Remember to get some rest –
everyone needs a little extra ‘zip’ this
time of year!



Happy Sunday!


Today was my church choir’s Christmas contata and it went very well. There was a 2 piano duet, a 4 horns fanfare and the choir’s 4 songs plus scriptures to go along with the songs. I love singing when the choir director is smiling while we’re singing – knowing he’s really pleased with the sound we are putting forth – makes me smile, too.

As promised, I got the recipe for the cranberry ‘salad’ I had at the Ladies Christmas dinner – here it is:

Cranberry-Raspberry Salad

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 C. raspberry-cranberry juice
2 (4 serving size) boxes cranberry
or raspberry jello
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 C. boiling water
1 (14-16 oz) can whole berry
cranberry sauce
1/2 C. cold water
1 (12 oz) bag frozen unsweetened

Optional garnish: fresh raspberries
and/or orange slices

In small bowl sprinkle unflavored gelatin
over juice. In large heatproof bowl mix
flavored jello & ginger. Pour boiling water
on jello, stir until jello is dissolved. Stir in
cranberry sauce, cold water & unflavored
gelatin mixture; mix well. Refrigerate 30
minutes. Stir frozen raspberries into mixture;
let stand about 5 minutes until mixture
begins to set up. Spoon into serving bowl;
refrigerate at least 1 hour or until serving
time. Garnish with optional rasp or orange
slices, if desired.


Only wish I had an idea how big a bowl to make it in! The ones for the dinner were in (I’m guessing, here) 9 X 13″ pans and were cut into squares, so I guess that would be about the size? It was tasty, not too sweet not too tart – just right!


Peanut Butter Pretzel Fudge

1 (14 oz) can sweetened
condensed milk
1/2 C. peanut butter
1 (12 oz) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. roughly chopped pretzel rods

Cover a 8 or 9 inch square pan with
parchment paper or foil, extending
paper over edges of pan by an inch.
In medium saucepan melt sweeten’d
cond. milk & peanut butter over medium
heat. Heat chocolate until it starts to
bubble, while constantly sirring, about
7-10 minutes. Immediately stir in choc.
chips until smooth. Immediately stir in
vanilla & pretzels then spread evenly
into prepared pan. Cover & chill 2 hours
or, until firm. Remove from pan by lifting
edges of paper. Cut into 20 squares.


Texas Roadhouse Green Beans
(overnight recipe)

2 (16 oz, ea) cans green beans,
2 C. chicken broth
1/4 C. butter
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. chopped or minced garlic
4 oz. bacon, diced (raw) or 4 oz.
ham (cooked)
1/2 medium onion, diced

Mix broth, sugar, peppers & salt
until well blended. Preheat a deep
pan over medium-high heat. Cook
bacon pieces until they are brick-red.
Add onions & cook until soft &
translucent. Add garlic & broth
mixture – simmer 20 minutes then
add green beans; stir to incorporate.
Bring mixture to boil & turn off heat.
Best made a day ahead to absorb the
You do not need to boil or simmer the
green beans; just long enough to heat
through – this is important so that you
don’t overcook them.
Serves 6-8

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Jalapeno Pinto Bean ‘Hummus’

3 small jalapeno peppers*
1/4 C. olive oil, divided
2 (15 oz, ea) cans pinto beans,
3 T. lime juice
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp. cumin
handful fresh cilantro, more to
salt, to taste

2 T. sliced black olives (garnish)
smoked paprika
tortilla chips, for dipping

Rub jalapenos lightly with oil & place
on baking sheet. Place rack about 4″
from heat source; place sheet in oven
& heat to High Broil. Broil until skins
have completely browned, about 15
minutes, turning often. Wrap roasted
jalapenos in foil & let them sit, to
steam. Gently peel off skins & remove
stems & seeds. Add jalapenos, beans,
lime juice, garlic, cumin, cilantro &
3 T. olive oil to food processor. Process
& add salt, to taste. Add water, a
tablespoon at a time, until you reach
a smooth & creamy consistency. Transfer
to a serving bowl & top with cilantro
leaves, sliced black olives & a sprinkle of
smoked paprika. Serve with tortilla chips.
Serves 10

*3 jalapenos may be too spicy for some. If
you’re nervous about the heat level, start
with fewer jalapenos in food processor &
add more if you want more spiciness.

(recipe: hostthetoast.com)

Crab Won Ton Cups

32 wonton wrappers*
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. heavy whipping cream
1 egg
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
5 drops hot pepper sauce
1 C. lump crabmeat, drained
1/4 C. thinly sliced green onions
1/4 C. finely chopped sweet red
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Press wonton wrappers into miniature
muffin cups sprayed with nonstick spray.
Lightly spritz wrappers with nonstick
spray Bake 8-9 minutes until lightly
browned. In small bowl beat cream
cheese, egg, cream, mustard, Wors.
sauce & pepper sauce until smooth.
Stir in crab, green onions & red pepper;
spoon into wonton cups. Sprinkle tops
with Parm. cheese & bake 10-12 minutes,
until filling is heated through. Serve warm.
Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 32

*You can find wonton wrappers in the
fresh vegetable section at the grocery

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Orange Chicken

1 1/2 C. water
2 T. orange juice
1/4 C. lemon juice
1/3 C. rice vinegar
2 1/2 T. soy sauce
1 T. grated orange zest
1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic root
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. chopped green onion
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 T. olive oil

Pour 1 1/2 C. water, orange juice, lemon
juice, rice vinegar & soy sauce into a
saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in
orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic,
chopped green onion & red pepper flakes;
bring to a boil. Remove from heat & cool
10-15 minutes. Place chicken pieces in a
resealable plastic bag. When contents of
saucepan have cooled, pour 1 C. sauce into
bag; reserving remaining sauce. Seal bag &
refrigerate at least 2 hours.

In another resealable bag mix flour, salt &
pepper; add marinated chicken pieces, seal
bag & shake to coat. Heat olive oil in large
skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in
skillet & brown on both sides; drain on a
plate lined with paper towels & cover with
aluminum foil. Wipe out skillet & add sauce;
bring to boil over medium-high heat. Mix
cornstarch & 2 T. water; stir into sauce.
Reduce heat to medium-low; add chicken
pieces & simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Serves 4

(recipe: allfood.recipes)

Cinnamon Roll/Cherry Cobbler

1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
2 (12 oz, ea) tubes refrigerated
cinnamon rolls (reserve icing)

Spray crockpot with nonstick spray.
Cut cinnamon rolls into fourths &
place in a  layer in bottom
of crock. Spoon cherry pie filling
over top – continue layering
rolls then cherries if using
traditional crockpot. Cover &
cook on Low 2 1/2 – 3 hours until
sides are golden brown & rolls are
set. Drizzle icing over top of
cobbler before serving. Serve
warm. Serves 4-6

(recipe: recipesthatcrock.com)

Calzone Pinwheels

1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. ricotta cheese
1/2 C. diced pepperoni
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. chopped fresh mushrooms
1/4 C. finely chopped green pepper
2 T. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (8 oz) pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (14 oz) jar pizza sauce, warmed

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In small bowl mix first 9 ingredients.
Unroll crescent dough & separate into
4 rectangles; press perforations to
seal. Spread rectangles with cheese
mixture to with 1/4″ of edges. Roll up,
jelly-roll style, starting with a short
side; pinch seams to seal. Using a
serrated knife, cut each roll into four
slices & place on a greased baking
sheet, cut sides down. Bake 12-15
minutes until golden brown. Serve
with pizza sauce. Makes 16

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Rocky Road Peanut Clusters

1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C. butterscotch chips
1 T. vegetable oil or shortening
1 1/2 C. roasted, lightly salted
1 1/2 C. miniature marshmallows

Line a large baking sheet with waxed
paper. Melt choc. chips, buttersc. chips
& vegetable oil in large microwave-
safe dish; heat on High 30 seconds,
stir & repeat until chips are melted &
smooth. Quickly stir in peanuts &
marshmallows. Drop spoonfuls of
mixture onto waxed paper. (make as
large or small as you like). Refrigerate
15 minutes before serving. Store
leftovers in an airtight container.
Makes 2 dozen.

(recipe: momontimeout.com)


It’s been a nice, slow day today after church; got
into my ‘comfy’ clothes, had a quick lunch and sat
down to read the paper & my current book (almost
done with it). Tomorrow is a quick trip to order
husband’s birthday present (Jan. 23) – he’s in big
need of new leather moccasins – the one’s he’s
wearing are a good 6-8 years old and that’s all
he wears (year-round) in the house. I’m pretty
sure it will take that long to get them to the
store, since they’re a special order (he wears
a 13). The last ones were moose skin! They
certainly lasted a good long time!

Weather is chilly (in the 20’s) but no white
stuff, so we’re good!

Hope your plans are coming in place for
the Christmas holidays!