and we start ANEW!


I hope all of you had a good celebration, whether large or small – another year gone, a new one to begin. Ours was, as usual, quiet – the boys were home (YAY! Mom knows they’re safe!); I cooked a little calamari (fried breaded squid rings – hey, we like them!), had a shrimp ring & cocktail sauce, 2 kinds of chip dip and we were good for the snacks. I’m not one for watching the ‘ball drop’ – not into all the current ‘beautiful people’, so at around 11:40 p.m. just turned on the tv to see what was on – happened upon our local tv which featured the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – they were FABULOUS! I LOVE classical music, but this evening THEY ROCKED! They ended at midnight so switching around the channels, happened on “Live at Lincoln Center” with the New York Philharmonic orchestra – MORE great music! I was in my ‘happy place’! What usually is a rather dull evening turned into a GREAT night!

Also got my MOJO back! Chatting with youngest son I mentioned that it almost felt like I’d lost my knitting confidence when he said: “Mom, you are a knitting phenomenon – you knit ALL THE TIME; don’t let this little setback stop you – you’re strong and resilient!” So I picked up some worsted (regular weight) yarn in white and another skein of rather thin multi colored (yellow/orange/white) fluffy yarn. My thought was: “When in doubt, go back to BASICS”. Knit 7 rows of plain white, 4 rows multi, 7 rows white, etc. – I like it! (Yes, it’s another baby blanket).


No-Bake Millionaires Shortbread Bars

1 (10.5 oz.) pkg. shortbread cookies, crumbled
7 T. butter, melted

Caramel Layer:
1/4 C. brown sugar
6 T. butter
12 oz. evaporated milk

Chocolate Layer:
7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 T. butter

Grease a 8 X 8″ square baking dish well.
Add cookie crumbs to a bowl; stir melted
butter into cookie crumbs until all is wet.
Press mixture into pan in an even layer;
refrigerate until firm.
Add all caramel ingredients to small
saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to
Low & simmer until thickened (about 30
minutes) – stir occasionally to avoid
burning. Pour mixture over hardened
shortbread base & refrigerate until
Melt chocolate with butter & pour over
cold caramel layer. Refrigerate until
hardened. Cut into bars. Serves 12

(recipe: Pinterest)

Crockpot Ham & Ranch Potatoes

2 lb. redskin potatoes, peeled/
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 oz. pkg. dry Ranch salad dressing mix
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of potato soup
1 (16 oz) pkg. cooked ham, diced
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
salt/pepper, to taste

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Place potatoes in
bottom. Mix together cream cheese,
dressing mix & soup – pour on top
of potatoes. Cover & cook on Low
6 1/2 hours. Add ham & stir; sprinkle
cheese on top – check salt/pepper –
adjust to your liking. Cover & cook
until cheese melts, 15-30 minutes.
Serves 6


Crockpot Stuffed Pepper Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 C. diced onion
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with
roasted garlic & Onions (Red Gold)
2 C. green peppers, chopped
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
3 C. beef broth
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 C. cooked rice

Brown beef & onions in skillet over
medium heat; drain & place in
crockpot. Add tomatoes (+ juice)
and rest of ingredients. Cover &
cook on Low 6-8 hours. Serves 8


Cinnamon Apple Crisp


1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. old fashioned oats
1/2 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 C. unsalted butter,
diced into small cubes

2 lb. Granny Smith apples,
room temp, peeled/sliced thin
& diced
2 2/3 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 T. flour
3 T. water
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch salt

vanilla ice cream or sweetened
whipped cream (topping)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Butter an 8″ X 8″ baking dish.

In bowl whisk together flour,
oats, brown sugar, baking powder,
cinnamon & salt 30 seconds. Add
diced butter – using clean fingertips,
rub butter into dry mixture until
it comes together into small
crumbles – transfer to fridge to
chill while preparing filling.
In small bowl whisk together
melted butter & flour until well
blended, then mix in water, lemon
juice & vanilla. Stir in brown sugar,
cinnamon, nutmeg & pinch salt.
Pour butter mixture over apples &
toss to coat evenly. Pour mixture
into buttered dish; spread in an
even layer. Remove topping from
fridge; sprinkle into crumbs over
top of apples. Bake about 35
minutes, until top is brown
& apples are tender when pierced
with a toothpick. Remove from
oven & allow to cool 10 minutes
before serving. Serve with vanilla
ice cream or sweetened whipped
Serves 6


4 Ingredient Chili Dog Casserole

2 (15 oz, ea) cans chili with beans
5 hot dogs
5 corn tortillas (6 inch)
1/2 C. shredded mild Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spread chili on bottom of 8 inch square
baking dish sprayed with nonstick
spray. Place one hot dog on each
tortilla & roll up. Place, seam sides
down, over chili & sprinkle with
cheese. Cover with foil & bake 25
minutes until hot dogs are heated
through & cheese is melted.
Serves 5

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Bacon/Ranch Roll Ups

4 (12 inch) tortillas
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1/2 C. finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 C. finely chopped scallions
1/3 C. finely chopped cooked bacon
3 T. ranch dressing mix (dry)

In large bowl combine cream cheese,
red pepper, scallions, bacon & ranch
mix. Spread evenly over tortillas. Roll
each tortilla up tightly then wrap in
plastic wrap. Chill several hours or
overnight. When ready to serve, unwrap
& slice into pinwheels.


Warm Lemon Pudding Cake

1 box yellow cake mix (9 X 13
size) plus ingredients needed
to make cake (on back of
2 (3.4 oz, ea) pkgs. instant
lemon pudding mix
1/3 C. sugar
2 C. cold milk
1 1/4 C. water
2 T. powdered sugar
(for dusting)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Prepare cake as directed on
box; pour into greased 9 X 13″
pan. Beat dry pudding mixes,
granulated sugar, milk & water
with whisk 2 minutes. Pour
over batter in dish. (DO NOT
spread). Place baking dish on
baking sheet (this will catch
any drips of sauce that might
bubble over). Bake 55 minutes –
1 hour; until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool
20 minutes. (sauce will thicken
as it cools.) Sprinkle top with
powdered sugar & serve warm.
Refrigerate leftovers.

(recipe: mandysrecipebox


Baked Ziti with Squash &

3 C. ziti pasta, uncooked
1 tsp. oil
3 C. cubed, peeled butternut squash
(1/2 inch pieces)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 (5 oz) pkg. baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 C. shredded Italian 5-cheese

Heat oven 375 degrees F.
Cook pasta in large saucepan as
directed on pkg., omitting salt.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on
medium-high heat. Add squash &
mushrooms, cook & stir 8 minutes
until squash is tender. Add garlic &
rosemary; cook & stir 1 minute. Add
broth & cream cheese; cook & stir
2-3 minutes until cream cheese is
completely melted & mixture is
well blended. Drain pasta & add to
squash mixture along with spinach &
1/2 C. shredded cheese; mix lightly.
Spoon into 9 X 13″ baking pan sprayed
with nonstick spray. Cover & bake
15-20 minutes until heated through.
Top with remaining shredded cheese.
Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes until melted.
Serves 8

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Raspberry Almond Scones

2 C. flour
1 T. baking powder
3 T. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 T. cold unsalted butter, cut
into 1/4 inch cubes
1 C. heavy cream, plus 1 T., divided
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/3 C. sliced almonds
1 C. fresh raspberries

1 C. powdered sugar
4-5 T. heavy cream or milk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 C. sliced almonds, (garnish)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with parch-
ment paper; set aside. In large bowl
whisk flour, baking powder, sugar &
salt; quickly cut in butter, using your
hands, two knives or a pastry blender.
Mix until mixture resembles coarse
crumbs. Pour 1 C. heavy cream & almond
extract over ingredients & stir with
spatula until dough begins to form.
Do not over mix. Gently gold in sliced
almonds & raspberries. (Raspberries
will get a little smashed, but that’s OK)
Transfer dough to a floured surface &
knead dough by hand just until it forms
a ball. Form scones by patting dough
into a 3/4 inch thick circle; cut scones
into even triangles (makes about 8)
Place scones on baking sheet. Using
a pastry brush, brush scones lightly
with the additional heavy cream. Bake
15-18 minutes until light brown. Cool on
wire rack.
In small bowl whisk together powdered
sugar, heavy cream (or milk) & almond
extract. Whisk until it reaches desired
consistency. Drizzle glaze over cooled
scones, top with additional sliced
Scones will keep in an air-tight container
up to 2-3 days.


Weather-wise, we’re at 30 degrees F. with
very tiny flakes of snow falling; a very
light dusting of snow on the ground.

I don’t have anything planned for the day
other than knitting and maybe beginning
a new book (our library is closed for the
next 3 days, so I can’t go check out more
of my new favorite writing duo – sigh). It’s
OK – I have tons of unread books just
waiting –

SOoooooo – what have YOU got planned

ENJOY your day – make it count for something!




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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. So glad you and your youngest son had that chat. When I think of you, I usually picture you with knitting needles in your hands. I am always interested in what project(s) you are working on. God bless you in this new year!

  2. I second youngest son’s statement. I think we all get burned out on what we do but at least you bounce back. On your plant any piece with a root showing on the end can be separated, placed in another pot and another plant is started. It solves the dense problem. Two years ago I started at the corner of my street and gave small pots of them to everyone who was home down my road until I ran out.

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