Gettin’ it done – slowly!

snowman tree

Got the fiber optic tree up & lit, the bigger tree is ‘assembled’ – with star & lights awaiting husband & I lifting it up onto the top of the baby grand piano to decorate. (I have scoliosis in my back and sitting on the floor assembling & fluffing out all the branches was a little too much for my back, so the rest of lifting/decorating is for today and days to come). I did, however, finish youngest son’s scarf – it’s super long (enough to go around his head, cross at the neck and still have more than enough to keep his chest warm):


It’s all black & very long


I attended our church’s Ladies Christmas Dinner Monday – the food was excellent (always is): prime rib (with horseradish sauce – YAY!), candied carrots, green beans w/ bacon, huge tossed salad, rolls, cranberry jello ‘stuff’ (I’m asking for the recipe – it was REALLY yummy!) and little apple tarts with cream for dessert. The entertainment was simply “a RIOT!” We have our senior pastor, assistant pastor and a young man who’s in school for becoming a pastor, plus another gentleman who form the group: “The Four Waiters” – they only perform for the ladies dinner – they truly out-did themselves this time. The do mime for several Christmas songs and the entire audience was grinning & laughing their heads off – at one point Pastor was miming playing the saxophone to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – great job. It was a great night full of good food, great fellowship and lots of fun – really glad I went.

Tonight is my special needs group’s Christmas dinner & program. I ‘was’ going to go grocery shopping today but then thought about just how long I will be on my feet (in church shoes, no less) and decided I’m going to wait – there’s food in the ‘larder’, so we won’t starve – we can wait a day or two. I love this dinner/program – we, as leaders, get to see parents & family and spend a little time with them as well as enjoy our ‘kids’. My job is basically (when I first get there) to help with whatever needs doing: help set tables, arrange cookies on trays, etc. When it begins, it’s help serve/carry drinks, food, etc. for those in wheelchairs, or those who are unable to manage. After the dinner it’s help with the singing and, at the end, play the piano for 4 Christmas carols plus our signature song:”Amazing Grace” then it’s done. Total time: (I will get there about an hour early) 5:25 – 9 +. Long night, but lots of fun, hugs, etc. I GUARANTEE I’ll be exhausted – always am! Good thing? I’ve got 2 weeks off to recuperate!


Wonton Mozzarella Sticks

12 pieces string cheese
12 egg roll wrappers
oil for deep-frying

marinara or spaghetti sauce,
for dipping

Place 1 piece cheese near bottom
corner of one egg roll wrapper –
keep remaining wrappers covered
with a damp paper towel until ready
to use). Fold bottom corner over cheese,
roll up halfway – fold sides toward
center over cheese. Moisten remaining
corner with water & roll up tightly to
seal; repeat with remaining wrappers &
In a skillet heat 1/2 inch oil to 375 degrees F.
Fry sticks a few at a time 30-60 seconds on
each side until golden brown. Drain on
paper towels & serve with marinara or
spaghetti sauce. Makes 12


Layered Mexican Spread

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/2 C. fresh salsa
1 C. (Kraft) Mexican-style finely
shredded 4 cheese
1/2 C. coarsely chopped avocados

crackers, for dipping

Spread softened cream cheese on
bottom of a pie plate; top with remaining
salsa, cheese & chopped avocados.
Serve with crackers.  Makes 16 (2 T.)

(recipe:Kraft recipes)


Mini Sausage Quiches

1/2 lb. bulk hot Italian sausage
2 T. dried minced onion
2 T. minced chives
1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated
crescent rolls
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 C.  shredded Swiss cheese
1 C. cottage cheese
1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large skillet brown sausage &
onion over medium heat 4-5
minutes until meat is no longer
pink; drain – stir in chives. On lightly
floured surface unroll crescent
dough into one long rectangle;
seal seams & perforations; cut into
48 pieces. Press onto the bottom &
up sides of greased miniature muffin
cups. Fill each cup with about 2 tsp.
sausage mixture. In large bowl combine
eggs & cheeses; spoon 2 tsp. over
sausage mixture & sprinkle tops with
Bake 20-25 minutes until a knife inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool 5
minutes before removing from pans to
wire racks. If desired, sprinkle tops with
additional minced chives. Serve warm;
makes 4 dozen.


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

In 1 1/2 qt. crockpot combine
first 10 ingredients. Cover &
cook on Low 2-3 hours until
heated through. SErve with
chips. Makes 16 (1/4 C. ea)


Orange Chicken

1 1/2 C. water plus 2 T.
1/4 C. orange juice
2 1/2 T. soy sauce
1/3 C. rice vinegar
1 T. orange zest
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. chopped green onion
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 large chicken breasts cut
into 1 inch chunks
1 1/2 C. cornstarch plus
3 Tablespoons
1 C. Panko bread crumbs
1 C. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cooked rice

Place 1 1/2 C. water, orange juice,
soy sauce, rice vinegar, orange zest,
brown sugar, minced ginger & garlic,
chopped green onion & crushed red
pepper flakes in a saucepan & bring
to boil. Once it starts boiling mix
3 T. cornstarch & 2 T. water & pour
into sauce; simmer & allow to slightly
thicken. Turn off heat & cover.

Heat oil in a deep pan or skillet to
350 degrees F. Place milk in shallow
bowl (for dredging). Place cornstarch
in separate shallow dish (for dredging).
Dredge chunks of chicken in (1) milk
(2) cornstarch (3) milk (4) Panko crumbs.
Fry chicken until golden brown; transfer
to paper towels to drain the grease.
Serve chicken with sauce & cooked rice.


Jewel Bark

3 (4 oz, ea) pkgs. white chocolate,
1/2 C. chopped dried apricots
(about 18)
1/2 C. (Planters) deluxe pistachio
mix, chopped
1/2 C. dried cherries
1 tsp. orange zest

Combine all ingredients & spread
onto waxed paper-covered baking
sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour until firm.
Break into pieces. Makes 16 servings

NOTE: you can substitute 1 C. dried
fruit bits for dried cherries & chopped
dried apricots

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Rosemary & Thyme Turkey
Breast Cutlets

1 lb. thinly sliced turkey
breast cutlets*
1 T. olive oil
1/4 C. white cooking wine **
4 T. butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/3 C. chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme

Heat large cast iron skillet over
medium heat. Add oil & swirl
to coat pan. Season cutlets with
salt/pepper on both sides. Once
pan is hot, add cutlets & sear
1 minute per side – remove from
skillet to plate/keep warm. Might
have to do this in batches if skillet
is small. When all turkey is seared,
pour white wine into pan & scrape
bottom to loosen all browned bits.
Once liquid has reduced, lower
temp. to medium-low & add butter,
stirring until butter melts. Add chicken
broth, rosemary & thyme – simmer
a few minutes. Add cutlets back to
pan, including any juices that may
have collect on plate. Coat turkey
with sauce & let simmer a few
minutes until turkey is heated
through. Serves 4-6

*You can substitute thinly sliced
chicken breast or thinly sliced
pork chops

**You can substitute white cooking
wine or chicken broth


7-Layer Magic Cookie Bars

1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
1 C. butterscotch-flavored chips
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 C. flaked coconut
1 C. chopped nuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking pan with nonstick
spray. Combine graham crumbs & butter;
mix well & press firmly into bottom of
prepared pan. Pour sweetened cond.
milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer
evenly using remaining ingredients;
press down firmly with fork. Bake
25-30 minutes until lightly browned.
Loosen from sides while still wram;
cool on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Makes 30 bars

NOTE: For perfectly cut bars, line
entire pan with foil, extending foil
over edge of pan. Coat lightly with
nonstick spray. After bars have baked
& cooled, lift up by edges of foil to
remove from pan then cut into bars.



Graham Cracker Toffee

15 honey graham cracker sheets
1 C. unsalted butter
1 C. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. chopped almonds or pecans

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line large baking sheet with parch-
ment paper or foil (if using foil spray
with nonstick spray). Place graham
cracker sheets in single layer, touching,
on sheet. In medium saucepan melt
butter & brown sugar over medium-
high heat; bring to goil & simmer
4 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour
mixture evenly over graham crackers &
bake 8 minutes.
Remove from oven & immediately
sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over
top. Let choc. chips set 2 minutes so they
have a chance to melt. Spread melted
choc. chips with a knife or spatula, smoothing
to flat layer. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Let
mixture set 2 hours until chocolate hardens.
(If you’re in a hurry, refrigerate 1 hour or
freeze 30 minutes) When choc. is set up,
break into pieces.



Our weather is still cooperating: it’s supposed
to get colder by Friday with a 60% chance of
snow showers (High 34 degrees F Friday but
by Sunday it’s supposed to get up to 41, so
that’s good!). I’m just glad the weather will
be good tonight, being that we have quite a
few kids in wheelchairs and if the weather is
‘iffy’, they just don’t come.

Now that the scarf is done I just have the two
baby blankets to finish and then it’s off on a
NEW project! I’m WAaaaaaaay behind on baby
hats for the hospital, might just work on some
of those for a change! None of my charity
recipients are pushy about deliveries, so that’s
good (it’s all in MY head – I get to feeling guilty
if I don’t deliver stuff in a 2-3 month time period.)
Oh well – that’s just ‘me’!

Hope your day is going VERY well!



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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I give you credit for control. If I followed your activities I would be 250 lbs. in no time. But I wouldn’t mind sampling all that food by the sounds of it. Yes and a pat on the back for the Christmas trees. (Good girl Pamela Jane.)

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