and they just keep coming in!


Last night’s special needs group practice went WAY BETTER than I ever imagined! (I ran my little tush off, but it was worth it). We had invited those people who were attending church Wednesday to come, join our group (to give them an idea of what our group is all about and to meet some of us). I was totally amazed – we had, probably, 40+ people (lots of kids) come. (We’ve been practicing these 2 songs for almost 2-3 months now and, up to last week’s practice, it just wasn’t coming together – AT ALL!) The kids were AMAZING! I was SO PROUD of them! The cookies we served went over well (even had about 3-4 dozen leftover which we’re freezing for next week’s Christmas party and the actual performance). It was a GREAT night!


Buttermilk Pecan Pralines

1 C. buttermilk*
3 C. granulated sugar
3/4 C. light corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 C. pecan halves
2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. butter

Line 2 large baking sheets with
waxed paper. In large (5 qt or
larger) pot, bring buttermilk,
sugar, corn syrup, baking soda
& salt to boil over medium heat.
Stir constantly until sugar has
dissolved & mixture reaches
236 degrees F. (soft ball stage).

NOTE: baking soda will make
mixture foam & rise as it begins
to boil-be careful.

Once mixture has reached softball
stage, remove from heat & stir in
pecans, vanilla & butter. Beat by
hand until mixture begins to hold
it’s own shape. It will be thick &
creamy – this can take awhile. Once
thickened, quickly drop by spoonfuls
onto waxed paper to let cool. Store
in airtight containers up to 2 weeks.
Makes 3 dozen candies

*if you don’t have buttermilk:
Using a 2 cup measuring cup, pour
1 T. lemon juice or vinegar in cup &
fill the rest of the cup with milk to
the 1 C. line. Stir & let set 5 minutes
and now you have buttermilk!


Crockpot Chicken Stuffing Casserole

10-12 chicken tenderloin pieces
1 T. poultry seasoning
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of celery soup
1 (6 oz) box (Stove Top) stuffing mix
for chicken
2 C. chicken broth

In bowl mix stuffing & broth. Place
tenderloin pieces in bottom of
crockpot; sprinkle poultry
seasoning on top & pour soup
over chicken – spread evenly.
Once stuffing has absorbed all
of chicken broth; pour evenly
on top. Cover & cook on Low
4-6 hours. Serves 4-6


Crockpot Steak Soup

2 1/2 lb. beef sirloin tip roast,
cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 T. canola oil
1 oz. pkg. dry onion soup mix
4 C. beef broth
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. Worcestershire sauce

2 C. uncooked wide egg noodles

Mix flour, salt/pepper in large ziplock
bag; add beef cubes. Seal bag & toss
until beef is well coated. In large, deep
skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat
& add beef. Saute until brown, about
6 minutes then place in crockpot.
Sprinkle dry soup mix evenly over beef.
In a bowl whisk broth, tomato paste &
Worc. sauce – pour over beef. Cover &
cook on Low 8 hours until beef is tender.
Add noodles – cover & cook 30 more
minutes until noodles are tender.
Serves 6


French Onion Meatballs

1 (24 – 32 oz) bag frozen meatballs
2 cans French onion soup

Combine ingredients in crockpot;
heat on High 2 hours or Low 4


Hashbrown Quiche

1 (24 oz) bag frozen shredded
hash brown potatoes*
2 T. butter
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, divided
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
4 slices bacon
1/3 C. red onion, chopped
1/3 C. green pepper, chopped
5 eggs
1 1/3 C. Half & Half
1 C. sharp Cheddar cheese,

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Place bag of frozen hash browns in
microwave 1-2 minutes to help
defrost. Heat large, deep skillet
on medium-high heat; melt 2 T.
butter in skillet. Add potatoes,
1/4 tsp. paprika & 1/4 tsp. season
salt, salt/pepper & allow potatoes
to cook through-making sure they
get a golden brown crispness. In
separate skillet fry bacon over
medium-high heat; when crisp,
place on paper towel to drain.
Discard all but 1 tsp. bacon
grease in pan. Saute onions &
green pepper in skillet over
medium-high heat, stirring
occasionally until tender. Spray
a 9 inch deep dish pie plate
with nonstick spray and pour
cooked hash browns into pan-
press into bottom & up sides
using the back of a measuring
cup. In large bowl add eggs &
1 1/3 C. Half & Half; whisk
together with a fork. Crumble
bacon & add to eggs along
with cooked onions & green
peppers. Add 1/4 tsp. smoked
paprika, salt/pepper & 1 C.
shredded Cheddar cheese; stir
to incorporate – pour mixture
over hash browns in pie plate.
Bake 45-55 minutes until center
is set & top is golden brown. Allow
to set 10 minutes, then cut &
serve. Serves 8


Hot Parmesan Green Chile
Popper Dip

2 T. panko bread crumbs
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese,
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 C. Mexican-style cheese
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles,

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine bread crumbs & 1 T.
Parmesan. Mix remaining Parmesan
with remaining ingredients in
shallow ovenproof dish until
blended; top with crumb mixture.
Bake 15 minutes until top is golden
brown and dip is hot & bubbly
around edges.

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Pumpkin Gingerbread Crumble

2 1/4 C. flour
1 T. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice,
1 C. butter, softened
1 1/4 C. sugar, divided
1/2 C. molasses, divided
1/2 C. old-fashioned or
quick-cooking oats
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
foil, extending ends of foil
past edges (to use for handles).
Mix flour, baking powder &
1 tsp. pump. spice until blended.
Beat butter, 1 C. sugar & 1/4 C.
molasses in large bowl using
mixer until blended. Gradually
add flour mixture, mixing well after
each addition. Remove 1 C. dough;
place in medium bowl. Add oats
& mix with fingers or fork until
mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Press remaining dough onto bottom
of prepared pan. Beat cream cheese &
remaining sugar in medium bowl
using mixer until blended. Add
pumpkin, vanilla, remaining molasses
& spice; mix well. Blend in eggs; pour
over crust. Sprinkle with reserved
crumb mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes
until topping is golden brown. Cool
completely. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Use foil handles to lift from pan
before cutting into bars. Makes 24

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Cranberry Bliss Fudge

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon zest (zest of 1/2 lemon)
1/4 tsp. salt
4 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C. white chocolate chips,
1/2 C. dried cranberries

1/2 C. white chocolate chips
1/2 C. dried cranberries
2 tsp. lemon zest (zest of 1/2 lemon)

Line an 8 X 8″ pan with waxed or
parchment paper, folding excess
paper over sides of pan & spray
lightly with nonstick spray. Using
stand or hand mixer, beat cream
cheese, milk, vanilla, lemon juice,
zest & salt together until smooth.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar,
1 cup at a time, stopping to scrape
bowl – mixture will begin to get
thicker. Melt white chocolate chips
in microwave (follow pkg. directions
for melting). When chocolate is
fully melted, let cool 5 minutes. Add
melted chocolate to sugar mixture &
hand-stir until completely combined.
Mixture will begin to get stiff; stir in
dried cranberries. Add fudge
mixture to pan & spread evenly. Top
with remaining white chocolate chips,
cranberries & lemon zest. Refrigerate
or freeze at least 4 hours before
cutting. Keep leftovers refrigerated or
frozen. Makes 18-24 servings


Marinated Fresh Veggie Salad

2 C. sliced celery
2 C. thinly sliced cauliflower
2 C. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 C. carrots, thinly sliced
2 C. sliced cucumbers
1 medium onion, thinly sliced &
separated into rings

3/4 C. olive oil
1/2 C. minced fresh parsley
3 T. white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/8 tsp. pepper

In large serving bowl combine
veggies. In small bowl, whisk
dressing ingredients & pour
over vegetables. Gently toss to
coat. Cover & refrigerate at least
2 hours or overnight. Serve with
slotted spoon. Serves 12 (3/4
C. each)


Lazy Lasagna for Six

1 lb. ground turkey or beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
1 C. water
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 (8 oz) pkg. no-cook lasagna noodles
4 C. (16 oz) shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 C. (12 oz) cottage cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese

In skillet cook meat & onion over medium
heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic
& cook 1 minute longer; drain. Stir in tomato
sauce, water, tomato paste, salt & oregano.
Spread 1/4th of meat mixture into ungreased
5 qt. crockpot. Arrange one third of noodles
over sauce (break noodles if necessary). Combine
cheeses; spoon 1/3 of mixture over noodles;
repeat layers twice. Top with remaining meat
sauce. Cover & cook on Low 4-5 hours or
until noodles are tender. Serves 8



Not much new – finished getting the
last invitations to the group Christmas
party ready to mail (for those parents
who’s kids are in group homes and don’t
always know when there’s a party). Not
really sure what I’ll be doing today – I’m
sort of drawn to begin dragging down
the decorations – we’ll see.

Hope your day is going SUPER!




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