It’s coming together!


3 loaves of Cranberry-Orange bread – done…check! (for neighbors); around 8 dozen (guessing here) baked cookies: Chocolate/Choc. chip, peanut butter, peppermint. 1 dozen are for the mail lady (4 of each kind plus a few mini candy bars thrown in for fun). I was lazy this year: bought the ‘cut & bake’ tubes of cookies (those in the photo are not mine). I still have 2 boxes in the freezer of 72 cut out sugar cookies (still have to buy the frosting for those) plus another box of cut out ginger bread men (not going to get all fancy on those – probably just some frosting) – WHO KNOWS when I’ll get to baking those! Middle son was already up attempting to ‘lighten my load’ of cookies – he got away with 3 (hehehe). Still have to get dressed & deliver the breads to the neighbors, but that can be a little later.

Had the fun of watching the grandson for about 3 hours last night – I’d forgotten how totally random he can be; had me laughing a lot! His dad & I were attempting to go over the Christmas dinner/day, schedule – it’s going to be complicated. Grandson’s mom has decided this year to hold her holiday dinner at around 6:30 p.m. (always in years past it was around noon/1 p.m. then we’d have son & grandson over around 6 p.m. at our house). Don’t have a CLUE, now, how we’re going to work it; son suggested a LUNCH meal instead of dinner – NOT looking forward to that! We’ll see how it all falls together. Son even said HE was thinking of doing the LUNCH at his house – it’s a mess. I’m just going to quietly wait – I’ve already purchased almost all of the ingredients for the dinner – still need rolls and a dessert . . . sigh.


“Tex-Mex” Chopped Chicken Salad

1 C. Ranch salad dressing
2 T. taco seasoning mix (dry)

3 C. cooked chicken, cooled/diced
4 C. chopped romaine lettuce,
about 1 head
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, seeded/diced
1 C. corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
4-5 green onions, chopped
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed/
4 oz. sharp Cheddar or Pepper Jack
cheese, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
1 C. crushed tortilla chips
salt/pepper, to taste

Optional toppers:
diced jalapeno
toasted pumpkin seeds
diced avocado
diced jicama

In small bowl stir ingredients for
dressing; refrigerate until ready
to use.
In large bowl toss salad ingredients
together; add dressing, a little at
a time, toss until lightly coated.
Season with salt/pepper, to taste &
serve immediately. Serves 8


Christmas Crack Candy
(toffee saltine cracker candy)

1 1/2 sleeves saltine crackers*
1 1/4 C. unsalted butter (not marg)
1 1/4 C. light brown sugar
1 (12 oz) pkg. chocolate chips (or)
1 (8 oz) pkg. milk chocolate toffee

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with
foil-spray with nonstick spray. Arrange
crackers on sheet in one layer. In
medium saucepan melt butter &
brown sugar. Stir often & bring to full
rolling boil. After mixture comes to
full rolling boil, set timer & boil
mixture exactly 3 minutes. Pour over
saltines & bake 5 minutes. Remove from
oven & sprinkle milk chocolate toffee
bits all over caramel mixture. Let cool
then break into pieces. Store in air-
tight container – or freeze.

*graham crackers can be used in


Crockpot Pepper Steak

1 1/2 lb. beef strips or top sirloin
cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced thick
1 red bell pepper, sliced thick
1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 C. water (divided*)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 T. cornstarch
3 T. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. brown sugar

cooked rice for 4
Place beef, peppers & onions in crockpot.
Add 1/4 C. water in a glass; drop bouillon
cubes in & microwave 60 seconds. Stir
until cubes dissolve. In small bowl
combine the other 1/4 C. cold water
& cornstarch, soy sauce, ginger, garlic
powder, pepper & brown sugar; whisk
until cornstarch dissolves. Add hot beef
bouillon water to mixture & stir – pour
over beef, etc. in crockpot. Cover & cook
on Low 5 hours. Serve over cooked rice.
Serves 4


BBQ ‘Sticks & Stones’

1 (32 oz) bag frozen meatballs
1 pkg. cocktail weenies
1 (12 oz) jar grape jelly
1 (12 oz) bottle Sweet Baby
Ray’s bbq sauce

Combine all ingredients in
crockpot; heat on Low until
heated through.


Tangy Pineapple Meatballs

1 (40 oz) bag frozen meatballs
1 (16 oz) can pineapple tidbits
1 (24 oz) bottle ketchup
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. maple syrup
1/4 C. soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in crockpot;
cook on Low 3 hours.


3-Ingredient Cake Mix Cookies

1 box cake mix (any flavor)
2 eggs
1/3 C. oil

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients together;
roll into balls & place on
ungreased cookie sheet. Bake
8-10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen

(recipe: Facebook)

Buffalo Wing Dip

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1/2 C. Ranch salad dressing
1/2 C. sour cream
5 T. crumbled blue cheese
2 C. shredded cooked chicken
1/2 C. Buffalo wing sauce
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar
cheese, divided
1 green onion, sliced

tortilla chips, for dipping

In small bowl combine cream cheese,
dressing, sour cream & blue cheese –
transfer to 3 qt. crockpot. Layer with
chicken, wing sauce & 1 C. cheese.
Cover & cook on Low 2-3 hours until
heated through. Sprinkle with remaining
cheese & onion. Serve with tortilla
chips. Makes 6 Cups.


Avocado, Tomato & Sweet Onion Salad

1 large or 2 medium avocados
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tsp.)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 medium onion, sliced thin
3 T. rice vinegar
1 T. olive oil
kosher salt/fresh ground black pepper
(3-4 large lettuce leaves)

Peel avocado & remove pit; cut into
1 inch chunks & sprinkle with lemon
juice. Add tomatoes,avocado & onion
to large bowl; Sprinkle vinegar over
vegetables; season with salt/pepper.
Drizzle oil over mixture & gently
toss until all ingredients are well
combined. Serve on lettuce leaf,
if desired.

(recipe: Rhonda-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Mini Apple Crumb Cakes
(make ahead recipe)

3 C. flour
1 C. light brown sugar (not
firmly packed)
1 C. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/4 C. applesauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 C. peeled, diced apple (about
1 large or 2 small apples)
1 C. buttermilk*
1 egg

Line muffin cups with paper liners. Combine
flour, sugars, cinnamon, oil, applesauce,
salt, nutmeg & ginger. Measure 1 1/2 cups
of mixture & place in a bowl, reserve for
To remaining mixture add: baking soda, baking
powder, apples, buttermilk & egg; stir until
barely combined. Spoon mixture into muffin
tins & top with reserved crumbs, lightly
pressing into batter.

Freeze muffin tin in freezer until cups
are solid.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Bake until cooked through & brown on top, about
30 minutes. Gently remove from pan & let cool
10 minutes before serving.



White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. white chocolate chips
1/2 C. chopped macadamia nuts
1 C. dried cherries

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick
spray. In large bowl combine butter &
sugars. Using elec. mixer, cream butter &
sugars until fluffy & pale, 3-5 minutes. Beat
in egg & vanilla. In separate bowl combine
flour, baking soda & salt; using a wooden
spoon, carefully stir flour mixture into
butter mixture just until combined. Stir in
white choc. chips, cherries & nuts. Drop
by heaping spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes until they just begin
to turn golden around edges. Allow to
cool 2 minutes on sheet before trans-
ferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen

Option: You can place the dried cherries
in a bowl & cover with boiling water to
soften them. Let them soak 7-8 minutes
then thoroughly drain. IF you choose
to soak them, only use 1/2 – 3/4 C. dried
cherries as they will expand.



Even though it’s a bit ‘gloomy’ out,
weather is still holding at almost
50 degrees F AND it’s supposed to
get up to 60 tomorrow (with a few
scattered showers) – still GREAT
for December in MICHIGAN!

Gas prices are still at $1.86/9 –
better than $4.00, right?

Hope your Saturday turns out



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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It has been a good Saturday–the showing is over. The batteries on my thermostat gave up this afternoon but my hero next door changed them and reprogramed the thing.

  2. We went to a “Holiday” Concert tonight without any coats on! In Illinois in December that is rare. Even rarer is gas being $1.79 locally.

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