My husband turns 64 this Saturday and we began his celebration today by going out to lunch at Outback Steak House (one of his favorite places). I felt bad for the servers & greeter: it seems that when they open at 11 a.m. they have two servers and it’s very slow (ie: people usually don’t come in the door until noon) – not today. One server was late coming in, one just didn’t show for awhile, leaving the greeter to do the serving! She nicely explained that it might be a bit of a wait (we were OK with that); husband & I kept saying “She looks familiar!” Finally I asked – turns out we go to the same church! We had a nice RELAXED lunch (got there around 11:30 & finally left around 2 p.m. – the ‘end time’ was because the greeter lady decided to chat with us which was just fine. It was funny, while getting dressed husband was going to wear his ‘favorite’ shirt and I told him to hold on – he kept saying “Hold on for WHAT?” Finally I remembered where I’d hidden the shirt I bought him for his birthday & he wore that. After lunch we stopped at Arizona Saddlery and picked up his ‘birthday’ moccasins; I told him he still has one more present but he nearly freaked out on me – he HATES celebrations, so I told him “Too bad, you have to wait until Saturday to get it!” (he was good with that). While we were ‘relaxing’ waiting for our food I said I forgot to get chocolate cake mix for his birthday cake – he said: “Why do you need that to make a BANANA cake?” (Oooooooops – totally forgot that’s HIS favorite!) I’ll get it done. We also dropped off his Jeep for regular maintenance; it will be ready tomorrow so we get another ‘together time’ day (dealership is about half-hour away).
Skinny Orange Dreamsicle Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 (12 oz) can Sunkist orange pop
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
1 T. orange juice
2 tsp. fresh orange zest
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
(optional) fresh orange slices for
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
spray a 9″ springform pan with
nonstick spray. In a bowl mix cake
mix & orange pop together & stir
until just combined (do not overmix)
Pour batter into prepared pan. In
medium bowl whip cream cheese until
smooth; add powdered sugar & mix
until fully incorporated. Add orange
juice & zest until well combined. Pour
cream cheese mixture over cake batter
& swirl a few times with a spoon or
spatula. Bake 32-35 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean. Cool cake completely.
Spread Cool Whip evenly over cake &
top with sliced fresh orange slices
Quick Spinach/Sausage Soup
1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casings
removed, meat crumbled
1 T. chopped garlic
1 lb. spinach, stems trimmed
3 (14.5 oz ea) cans chicken broth
1/2 C. broken pieces capellini (1 inch)
(OR) 1/2 C. vermicelli pasta
4 slices French bread, 1/2 inch thick
4 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese,
Heat a large saucepan over high heat.
Add sausage & cook, stirring occasionally,
5 minutes. Add garlic, cook 30 seconds; add
spinach & broth. Fill one empty broth can
with water & add to pot. Cover & bring to
boil. Add pasta, cover & boil 2 minutes.
Heat broiler. Broil bread slices on cookie
sheet about 1 minute per side, until
toasted. Drizzle each slice with 1 tsp. oil;
sprinkle tops with 1/2 tsp. Parm cheese.
Divide soup among 4 large soup bowls; top
each serving with a slice of toast. Serves 4
Country Cottage Potatoes
2 C. hot mashed potatoes (don’t
add any butter or milk)
1 C. creamed cottage cheese
3 T. butter
1 T. chopped chives
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Combine potatoes, cottage cheese,
butter, chives & salt; mix thoroughly.
Spay a 1 qt. casserole dish with nonstick
spray & spoon potatoes into dish. Heat,
uncovered, 20 minutes. Five minutes
before end of baking, sprinkle with
Chicken Fried Steak
4 (1/2 lb. each) beef cube steaks
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. buttermilk*
1 T. Tabasco hot sauce
1/4 C. vegetable oil (for frying)
1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. flour
3-4 C. milk
salt/pepper, to taste
Cooked rice or biscuits (4)
Heat shortening in deep skillet to
325 degrees F.
In one shallow pie plate add flour;
in a small bowl stir baking powder,
baking soda, pepper/salt; stir in
buttermilk, egg & Tabasco. Dredge
each steak first in flour, then into
batter, then again in flour. Place
steaks in skillet & cook until evenly
golden brown on both sides, about
5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks
on a plate lined with paper towels.
After frying all steaks, drain any
leftover oil from skillet, reserving
any fried ‘bits’ in pan (do not clean
Return skillet to medium heat; melt butter
in skillet. Whisk 1/2 C. flour into melted
butter. Scrape bottom of skillet to release
‘bits’ into gravy. Stir in milk, a little at a time,
using a whisk; raise heat to medium & bring
to a simmer, cooking until thick, 6-7 mintes.
Season generously with salt/pepper. Serve
on top of cooked rice, biscuits & top with
gravy. Serves 4
*If you do not have buttermilk:
In a 2-Cup measuring cup pour 1 T.
vinegar or lemon juice. Fill cup to
1 1/2 C. measure with milk & stir.
Let set 5 minutes and now you have
No-Bake Avalanche Cookies
2 C. Rice Krispie cereal
1 1/2 C. miniature marshmallows
1 lb. white chocolate (vanilla almond
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
In large bowl mix cereal & marshmallows.
Mix peanut butter with white chocolate
until smooth; pour over cereal, gently
mixing until everything is well coated.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
Using a spoon, scoop cereal mixture
onto lined sheet in small mounds.
Let set 2 hours until chocolate is set
up. (store in air tight container).
Makes 2 dozen
Cheesy Spinach/Jalapeno Crescent
1 (9 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. ricotta cheese
6 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/3 C. diced pickled jalapenos, drained/
2 tubes refrigerated crescent roll dough
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Prepare spinach in microwave accordg.
to pkg. directions; drain/squeeze dry
using paper towels. Combine cream
cheese & ricotta in large bowl using
an elec. mixer to combine. Add spinach,
cheese & jalapenos; mix to combine.
Open crescent dough & separate into
triangles. Using ungreased cookie sheet,
arrange triangles into a ring so short
sides of triangles form a 3 inch circle
in center (dough will overlap; half of
each triangle will hang over edges of
cookie sheet – dough ring should look
like a sun). Spoon spinach mixture on
half of each triangle, closest to center
of ring. Bring each dough triangle
hanging over sides of pan up over
filling, tucking dough under bottom
layer of dough to secure it – repeat
around ring until entire filling is
enclosed (some filling might show
a little). Bake 15-18 minutes until
dough is fully cooked & golden. Let
cool slightly before slicing & serving.
Crockpot Western Beef Casserole
1 1l2 lb. lean ground beef, browned
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 (16 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (10.75 oz) can tomato soup
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 C. milk or water
Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
Mix well then cook on Low 4 hours or
on High 1-2 hours. Serves 4
(recipe: Crockpot Ladies)
Tuesday was Knit/Crochet night & I was in a
bit of a hurry getting my ‘stuff’ and ended up
taking the ‘hard’ baby blanket to work on. All
was going great until today when I happened
to look at it – it seems I somehow managed
to completely KNIT about 6 rows in one
section, totally omitting all the nice little
‘holes’ that were supposed to be there! You
guessed it – time to rip it all out and start
over. After about an hour of ripping & attempting
to start over, it’s now where I think it should
be but I was too burned out with the ripping
to go ahead & knit it over, so there it sits. I
don’t think the mistake was due to Knit night,
I think I might have started that mistake HERE
then just continued it later – either way, it HAD
to be fixed, definitely NOT something a non-
knitter would overlook – BIG, GLARING
MISTAKE! I kept telling myself “This is good
practice – even expert knitters make mistakes!”
(not saying I’m one – I’m more an intermediate
level). Last night my close friend who runs the
special needs group asked me if I would be
willing to knit two hats for her granddaughters.
(You guessed it – I don’t seem to be able to
use the NO word – I told her to buy the yarn
& I’d do them for her). Oh well . . . .
Our weather is holding at chilly/cold but
not a lot of snow/ice on the ground (YAY!)
We had a light dusting this morning, but
nothing to worry about (not like the HUGE
storm coming for Washington, DC).
Our gas prices are still dropping: $1.54/9
today – pretty neat!
Enjoy your day!