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


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


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.



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.


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



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


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!)


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love reading your blog. Thank you so much for taking time to share your life. Really enjoy the pictures you post and the general talk about your daily “doings!” Hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

    • Thank you SO MUCH for your comments! Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours, too!

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