Finally – a day to decompress (a little)


Last week was super-crazy busy, so far this one is not so bad (YAY!) Got my early-morning running done (Post office – mailed the baby blanket to friend’s daughter who’s shower I’m NOT going to), Drugstore & Grocery store). For some goofy reason my brain is on HYPER mode – I see & think of a good 10 things at once that ALL need doing – IMMEDIATELY! Drives me nuts! Got the clean laundry folded, organized dates/lists for Spec. Needs group, texts to various people, etc. Still have to print the newsletter before Wednesday – awaiting approval of some dates/times. SOOOooo glad I’m down to JUST ONE baby blanket to work on (the light blue one for my next grandson). Saturday I went with the other grandma to two Mom2Mom sales – one was rather small but the other one was HUGE! She was super happy – found a wooden high-backed high chair for $20!!! She/we have been searching for one for awhile now (they run $700 new!!!). She bought some other big thing (too tired to remember just what) – I bought (total both sales/places): 1 small kids book, one small baby’s puzzle – that’s it. I think I’m pretty much BABY STUFF done! Yes, I’m sure there are still lots more cute CUTE things out there, but I’m super-over seeing tons of baby clothes/toys & babies/Moms/strollers with babies/Moms/Dads – if you get my drift. It’s kind of like going to too many garage sales – you just get burned out on it. (I’m sure if I asked the other grandma she would NOT agree – she LOVES buying/shopping – in fact her daughter gave her strict orders: NO MORE CLOTHES – we don’t have the ROOM! I might even just go to Amazon (my favorite store/place) and get a new baby walker ($26) and go to KMart for the fold-up high chair I wanted ($39) and call it DONE!  Our ‘new soon to be’ Mommy told me she just felt the baby kick for the first time; as she put it, I know exactly when he wakes up – he lets me know! Cool . . . I’ve heard (from her) that it might be a little earlier than the first of March – we’ll see.


Pumpkin Bread

5 large eggs
1 1/4 C. canola oil
1 (15 oz) can solid-pack
2 C. flour
2 C. sugar
2 (3 oz, ea) pkgs. cook & serve
vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Spray five (5 3/4 X 3 X 2″) loaf
pans with nonstick spray.
In large bowl beat eggs; add oil
& pumpkin, beat until smooth.
Combine remaining ingredients;
gradually beat into pumpkin
mixture. Pour batter into
prepared loaf pans. Bake 50-55
minutes until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool
10 minutes before removing from
pans to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTE: Freezer Option:
Securely wrap & freeze cooled loaves
in plastic wrap & foil. To use, thaw
at room temperature.

NOTE: Bread may also be baked in 2
greased 8 X 4 X 2″ loaf pans for
75-80 minutes.


Creamy Pumpkin Soup

3 T. margarine, softened
1 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 slices whole wheat bread
1 C. chopped onion
2 T. butter, melted
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 C. heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Combine butter, brown sugar &
cinnamon; spread evenly on one
side of each bread slice. Place,
buttered sides up, on baking sheet
& bake 8-10 minutes until bread is
crispy & topping is bubbly. Cut each
slice into 8 small triangles or squares.
Saute onion in butter in medium
saucepan until tender. Add 1 can
chicken broth; stir well. Bring to boil,
cover, reduce heat & simmer 15 minutes.
Transfer broth mixture to blender or
food processor & process until smooth.
Return mixture to saucepan; add
remaining can broth, pumpkin, salt,
cinnamon, ginger & pepper – stir well.
Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat &
simmer 10 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Stir in whipping cream &
heat through – do not boil. Ladle into
bowls & top each serving with the
cinnamon croutons. Serves 6


Pizza-stuffed Chicken Roll-ups

2 (8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken
1/4 tsp. salt
ground black pepper
1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
12 slices turkey pepperoni
12 slices white button mushrooms
1/4 C. seasoned bread crumbs (or
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/3 C. marinara sauce
8 thin slices red onion
2 T. finely chopped green bell pepper

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with
foil or parchment paper & spray
with nonstick spray. Halve each
breast horizontally to create 2
cutlets; cover with a piece of
waxed paper & lightly pound to
1/4 inch thickness – season with
salt/pepper. Lay cutlets on a work
surface & top each piece, IN CENTER,
with 1 T. mozz. cheese, 3 slices
pepperoni, 3 slices mushroom. Loosely
roll up each & set, seam sides down,
on work surface. In small bowl combine
bread crumbs & Parm. cheese. In second
small bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice
& pepper, to taste. Dip each roll-up in oil
mixture, then in crumb mixture. Place,
seam sides down on prepared baking sheet;
repeat with rest of chicken. Lightly spray
roll-ups with nonstick spray & bake until
chicken is nearly cone, about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, top each roll-up with
marinara sauce, mozz. cheese, onion &
bell pepper. Bake until cheese is melted &
sauce is hot, about 4-5 minutes more.
Serve immediately. Serves 4


Crockpot Squash Soup

3 lb. butternut squash, peeled/
cut into 1″ chunks
1 apple, peeled/cored/diced
1 C. chopped sweet onion
2 C. chicken broth
1 C. milk
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

In 4 qt or larger crockpot combine
squash, apple, onion & broth. Cover
& cook on High 3 hours until squash
is soft. Place mixture in a blender &
puree until smooth. Pour mixture
back into crockpot & add remaining
ingredients; mix well & cook 15
minutes until heated through.
Makes 8 cups (serving size 1 C)


Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Dry Ingredients;
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Wet ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 C. sugar
1/2 of a (15 oz) can – about
1 C. pumpkin puree
1/2 C. plus 2 T. vegetable oil

Oat Crumbles:
1/4 C. melted butter
1/2 C. sugar
5 T. flour
1/4 C. quick or old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all CRUMB ingredients (you
may need to use slightly less flour
to get proper crumb consistency)
Mix dry ingredients; beat wet
ingredients until well blended.
Add dry ingredients & mix until
just moistened – do not overmix.
Line or grease muffin tins. Fill each
cup 3/4 ths full. Sprinkle top of
each muffin with crumb mixture.
Bake 20-25 minutes for regular-
sized muffins. Bake 35-40 for Texas
sized muffins (check for doneness
at minumum time).
Remove from oven & cool on racks.
Serves 6


Backwoods Chops with River Gravy

1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 (4 oz) boneless center-cut pork
1/2 C. flour, divided
1/4 C. buttermilk
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 T. vegetable oil
3/4 C. milk

In small bowl combine garlic & onion
powders, 1/2 tsp. salt & pepper – rub
mixture evenly on both sides of chops.
Reserve 1 T. flour. Place remaining
flour in shallow dish. In another shallow
dish combine buttermilk & cayenne
pepper. Dip chops in buttermilk, then
coat both sides in flour. In large skillet
over medium heat, heat oil. Add chops
& cook 5 minutes on each side, until
golden; drain on paper towels. Reduce
heat to medium-low; whisk reserved
flour into milk. Add remaining salt &
cook in skillet until thickened & bubbly,
stirring constantly. Serve immediately
with chops. Serves 4


Autumn Pumpkin Chili

1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small sweet yellow pepper,
1 T. canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. ground turkey
1 (15 oz) can solid-pack pumpkin
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
4 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Optional Toppings:
shredded Cheddar cheese, sour
cream, sliced green onions

Saute onion & peppers (green &
yellow) in oil in large skillet until
tender. Add garlic, cook 1 minute.
Crumble turkey into skillet & cook
over medium heat until meat is no
longer pink. Drain any grease & transfer
to a 3 qt. crockpot. Stir in pumpkin,
tomatoes, chili powder, pepper/salt.
Cover & cook on Low 7-9 hours.
Serve with toppings of your choice.
Serves 4

(recipe: tasteof

Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting

1 C. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 C. pumpkin puree
4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. milk (if needed)

In a bowl, using elec. mixer, place
butter & pumpkin puree – mix until
combined then add powdered sugar,
mixing on Low speed until all are
combined. Continue to beat on
medium speed until frosting is
creamy. Add vanilla & mix until
combined then add cinnamon &
nutmeg. Add milk, 1 T. at a time,
if needed, until frosting reaches
desired consistency.

This recipe should make enough
frosting to cover a 9 X 13″ pan
or two 8″ layer cakes. If making
cupcakes, should be able to
frost 24 cupcakes if using a knife
to apply (if using a pastry bag &
swirling frosting, should be able
to cover 15-18 cupcakes, depending
on size of swirl.)


Catch up:
The Special Needs group Harvest Party went
over very well –
we only had 25 people come and had TONS of food leftover,
but it was nice.

Gas prices:
Recently our gas prices have really dropped. I had a 20 cents
off per gallon coupon for Speedway so I went Saturday. Their
cheapest gas was $1.98/9 per gallon, so I filled up with $1.78.9
per gallon and was really happy!

It’s been kind of crazy – some days gray/cold/wet & windy but
Saturday it got up to 78 degrees F.! That was a BIG shock! I
hear it’s supposed to be 72 tomorrow, but then back down to
the mid 50’s – guess I can’t complain, right?

Hope you are having a good day and able to take a little break
when you can. Remember to take a little time for YOURSELF;
even if it’s only 5 minutes to close your eyes & breathe deeply.
Take care of yourself – you are IMPORTANT to other people!




It’s THURSDAY already! YIKES!


As I mentioned in my last post, this is a very busy/crazy week. Just got home from attending the funeral of my very close friend’s Mother. It was very good to re-connect with all of her family plus see some people I haven’t seen in a long time, from our previous church. It was a good service and I’m glad I went. Today I face getting the special needs group’s newsletter written – not one of my favorite things to do. Tomorrow evening is the Harvest Party for our group and it’s been a bit crazy trying to arrange last night’s group meeting plus the party – I’m Number 2 in charge, but our Number 1 Leader is the lady who’s Mom’s funeral we just attended – that leaves me in charge of all things for awhile. Whew! I’m pretty sure tomorrow’s party is going to go very well – if all who volunteered to help show up. Last night’s meeting went VERY well – Thank You, Lord! As I’ve told people many times: I’m a GREAT helper/assistant – NOT a good IN-Charge Leader-type person. I do my best – that’s the most anyone can expect, right?

Lots of Fall/Harvest/Thanksgiving-type recipes coming in – having trouble choosing just which ones to feature – but here are some you might like:


2-ingredient Pumpkin Cake w/
Apple Cider Glaze

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
3 T. apple cider
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl pour cake mix & pumpkin
puree; using elec. mixer, beat until
well incorporated (batter will be very
thick). Spray a 7 X 11 X 2″ baking dish
with nonstick spray and pour batter
into pan. Bake 28 minutes until a
toothpick inserted in the center comes
out clean – do not overbake. Let cool
in pan 5-10 minutes then flip onto a
Combine powdered sugar, apple
cider & pumpkin pie spice – glaze
should be thick but pourable. Add
more sugar or cider, if needed then
pour over cake while still warm. Reserve
some glaze to pour over each slice
when served. Serve warm or at
room temperature. Serves 4-6


Bacon-cheeseburger Chowder

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper,
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T. flour
2 1/2 C. milk
1 lb. potatoes (about 2 medium),
1 1/2 C. water
1 T. beef bouillon granules
12 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed,
about 2 1/4 C.)
3 strips bacon, cooked/crumbled

In 6 qt. stockpot, cook beef, onion &
pepper over medium heat 6-8 minutes
until beef is no longer pink & onion is
tender; drain. Add garlic, cook 1 minute
longer. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually
stir in milk. Add potatoes, water & bouillon;
bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered,
15-20  minutes until potatoes are tender.
Add cheese; stir until melted. Sprinkle
servings with bacon. Serves 6


Dump & Go Cheesy Chicken

6 skinless boneless chicken breast
2 (11 oz, ea) cans cream of Cheddar
cheese soup
1/2 C. milk
salt/pepper, to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder

Spray crockpot with nonstick spray.
Place chicken in crockpot. In medium
bowl mix soup & milk; pour over
chicken. Season with salt/pepper &
garlic powder. Cook on High 6 hours.
DO NOT lift lid while cooking.
Serves 6

NOTE: You can also add a 16 oz pkg.
frozen broccoli the last 30 minutes
of cooking time.


Harvest Squash Medley

6 C. water
1 butternut squash, peeled/
seeded, cut into 3/4″ pieces
2 medium sweet potatoes,
peeled/cut into 3/4″ pieces
1/4 C. honey
1/4 C. orange juice
3 T. butter
1 T. grated orange peel
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 small apples, peeled/sliced
1/2 C. chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large saucepan, bring water to
boil – add squash; return to boil.
Reduce heat; cover & simmer 10
minutes/drain. Place squash &
sweet potatoes in a greased
9 X 13″ baking dish.
In small saucepan combine honey,
orange juice, butter, orange peel,
cinnamon & nutmeg; bring to boil,
stirring constantly. Pour over
squash & potatoes. Cover & bake
30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover, stir in apples & bake
30-35 minutes longer until tender,
stirring occasionally. Sprinkle
top with walnuts & serve.
Serves 10

Sweet Potato/Ham Hash

2 C. cubed/peeled sweet potatoes
2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small sweet red pepper,
3 green onions, chopped
1 red chili pepper, seeded/
finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 C. cubed fully cooked ham
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1/4 C. shredded white Cheddar

In large skillet saute sweet
potatoes in butter & oil until
crisp-tender. Add onion, red
pepper, green onions & chili
pepper – saute 4-5 minutes
until tender. Add garlic; cook
1 minute longer. Stir in ham,
pepper & salt. Using back of
a spoon, make four wells in
the potato mixture – add one
egg to each well. Sprinkle
with cheese, cover & cook
4-5 minutes until egg whites
are completely set. Serves 4


Pumpkin Peanut Butter
Yogurt Dip

1/2 C. canned pumpkin
1/2 C. vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1 T. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Serves 4

Serve with your choice of

sliced fresh fruit (apples, bananas)
Nilla wafers
graham crackers

Store leftovers in airtight container
in fridge.
NOTE: Poster cored a small pumpkin
and used that to serve this dip in


Salisbury Steak

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 C. bread or cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 egg
small onion, sliced (optional)
1 can beef broth
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms,
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
1 pkg. brown gravy mix (or
1 jar/can brown gravy)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix first 5 ingredients & shape
into ovals about 3/4″ thick. Cook
in a skillet with a little oil , turning
once until brown. Add onion,
mushrooms & broth – heat to boiling.
Reduce heat, cover & simmer 10
minutes. Remove meat to a casserole
dish & keep warm. Heat mixture to
boiling; mix water & cornstarch
together in a small bowl to make a
paste. Add paste to boiling mixture
using a wire whisk – whisk until gravy
begins to thicken. Mix in gravy mix
(prepared accordg. to pkg. directions
(or canned gravy) – pour over meat
in dish & bake until bubbly; 30 minutes.
(Serve with cooked rice, mashed
potatoes or noodles)


Autumn Pumpkin Chili

1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small sweet yellow pepper,
1 T. canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. ground turkey
1 (15 oz) can solid-pack pumpkin
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
4 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Optional Toppings:
shredded Cheddar cheese, sour
cream, sliced green onions

Saute onion & peppers (green &
yellow) in oil in large skillet until
tender. Add garlic, cook 1 minute.
Crumble turkey into skillet & cook
over medium heat until meat is no
longer pink. Drain any grease & transfer
to a 3 qt. crockpot. Stir in pumpkin,
tomatoes, chili powder, pepper/salt.
Cover & cook on Low 7-9 hours.
Serve with toppings of your choice.
Serves 4

(recipe: tasteof

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies
(makes 28 cookies)

1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 C. butter
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon

Pumpkin Spice Buttercream:
4 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. butter, room temp.
5 T. milk
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray 2 cookie sheets with
nonstick spray. Cream together sugar
& butter; beat in egg yolks & vanilla.
Add flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie
spice, cinnamon & cream of tartar;
stir (dough will be firm – it’s supposed
to be this way). Form dough into
walnut-sized balls & place, 2 inches
apart, on sheets. Do Not flatten.
Bake 12-14 minutes utnil tops are
cracked & just turning color. Remove
from sheets & cool completely on
wire rack.

(at this point you can prepare the
frosting if you are going to eat them
right away, or line them tightly in a
ziplock bag & seal, placing them in the

Pumpkin Spice Buttercream
In large bowl cream powdered sugar &
butter until smooth. Gradually mix in
milk & vanilla using elec. mixer until
smooth & stiff, about 5 minutes. (color
with food coloring, if desired) then
frost cookies.



Our weather is now in the ‘need sweater or
coat’ mode – 40’s and maybe 50’s if it’s sunny.
Brrrrrrrr! Kind of gray, wet/damp rainy – seems
like EVERY year it gets this way just before
Halloween – I don’t remember very many DRY
trick-or-treat nights as a child – oh well, adds
to the scary atmosphere, right? Brrrrrrrr!

Our gas prices have dropped again; yesterday
Clark was $2.06/9 and today it’s $2.05/9 – that’s
from $2.29/9 a week or so ago.

Hope you are having a great week;
stay warm & dry if you can!



Just a ‘wee bit’ busy lately . . .


This is one of those BUSY weeks – I’m supposed to be working on the next issue of my special needs group’s newsletter but have been sorely procrastinating – ooops. A close senior lady friend of mine from church called me yesterday saying her dog just fell down 2 flights of stairs & couldn’t walk (very old, age 12) dog. Later someone took her (with dog) to vets (I would have, but can’t lift heavy things/pets) – she let me know later that the vet put the dog down – very sad. Been keeping that friend company. The leader of our special needs group returned to Michigan yesterday – she had been with her dying mother in Tennessee for the past 2 weeks – I’m awaiting information on that funeral (not sure how long it takes to bring a body here – don’t know if it’s being driven or flown). Tonight is my Knit/Crochet group (still working on baby blanket for friend’s daughter who is due beginning of January – have about 1 1/2 feet more to knit on that, then a hat & booties to finish that & mail). Another friend from church gave my husband a garbage bag for me with yarn and a few partially finished projects – Yay…one of the items was a partially knit EYELASH yarn scarf – pretty but a BUGGER to knit (am slowly working on that – will probably finish & donate). In the bag was a really cute (I’m guessing about size of a 3-4 yr old boy) sweater. She had knit the front & back and one sleeve. Included was more yarn but no directions. I KNOW that none of my knit group ladies would even TOUCH that kind of thing so I set about seeing what I could do about it. I picked at the sleeve and disconnected it from the body (I don’t knit sweaters OR sleeves) – my thoughts were: “This would make a really cute VEST!” She had knit a train & cars that wrap all around the body – VERY colorful & cute. After a few hours of fiddling with it, I sewed the parts together & crocheted around the sleeve holes – VOILA! A really cute boys vest! Am thinking of giving it to our (new/unborn) grandbaby – his Mom can put it away for later. My friend who gave us this bag said: “You can rip it all out & re-use the yarn it you want.” ARE YOU KIDDING? NO WAY! So glad to salvage her work into something usable!



Now you can see why I couldn’t just unravel all that cuteness!!!


Pumpkin Bars w/browned butter

1 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. canned pumpkin
1/2 C. orange juice
1/2 C. canola oil
2 eggs
2 tsp. grated orange peel
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

2/3 C. butter, cubed
4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4-6 T. milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 15 X 10 X 1″ baking pan.
In large bowl beat first 6
ingredients until well blended. In
another bowl whisk flour, baking
powder, pie spice, baking soda &
salt – gradually beat into pumpkin
mixture then transfer to prepared pan.
Bake 18-22 minutes until a toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean.
In small heavy saucepan melt butter
over medium heat – heat 5-7 minutes
or until golden brown, stirring
constantly. Transfer to a large bowl.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar, vanilla
& enough milk to reach desired
consistency – spread over bars. Let
stand until set. Makes 2 dozen.


Breadstick Pizza

2 (11 oz, ea) refrigerated breadsticks
1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 medium green peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning,
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded Cheddar
cheese, divided
5 oz. Canadian bacon, chopped
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded mozzarella
marinara sauce

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Unroll breadsticks into a greased
15 X 10 X 1 inch baking pan. Press
onto bottom & up sides of pan,
pinch seams to seal. Bake 6-8
minutes until set.
In large skillet saute mushrooms,
peppers, onion & 1 tsp. Ital.
seasoning in 2 tsp. oil until crisp-
tender; drain. Brush crust with
remaining oil; sprinkle with 3/4 C.
Cheddar cheese & top with vegetable
mixture & Canadian bacon. Combine
mozzarella cheese & remaining Cheddar;
sprinkle over top. Sprinkle with
remaining Italian seasoning. Bake
20-25 minutes until cheese melts &
crust is golden brown. Serve with
warmed marinara sauce.
Serves 12

Freezer option:
Bake crust as directed; add toppings &
cool. Securely wrap & freeze unbaked
pizza. To use: unwrap pizza; bake
as directed, increasing time as


Pumpkin Cheeseball

sheet of plastic wrap (to
wrap ball in)
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 medium onion, minced
3 T. salsa
1 tsp. cumin
2 C. nacho-flavored chips (like
Doritos) finely crushed
1 bell pepper STEM (for garnish)
Dippers: chips, fresh cut vegetables,
corn chips, pretzels

In large bowl combine cream cheese,
Cheddar cheese, onion, salsa & cumin
using electric mixer until smooth &
creamy. Scoop mixture onto plastic
wrap & form into a ball. Refrigerate
at least 2 hours. When ready to serve,
remove ball from plastic wrap & roll
ball in crushed chips until evenly
coated. Place ball on a plate or platter
& place green pepper stem on top of
ball to resemble a pumpkin. Serve
with dippers.


Emily’s Bean Soup

1/2 C. EACH:
dried great Northern beans
kidney beans
navy beans
lima beans
butter beans
split green or yellow peas
pinto beans

1 meaty ham bone
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 (28 oz) can tomatoes with
liquid, quartered
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
4 medium carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. minced chives
3 bay leaves
2 T. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Wash all dried beans thoroughly;
drain & place in large saucepan.
Add 5 C. water; bring to rapid boil
& boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat;
cover & let stand 1 hour.
Place ham bone & 3 qts. water in a
stockpot; simmer 1 hour. Drain beans
& add to ham bone in pot along with
all other remaining ingredients. Simmer
2-3 hours until beans are tender. Cut
meat from bone (discard bone). Add
additional water to soup, if desired.
Makes about 5 1/2 quarts
Serves 22


Chicken, Corn & Zucchini Casserole

8 oz. penne pasta, cooked/drained
1 T. butter
2/3 C. flour
3 C. chicken broth
1 C. milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
9 oz. (about 1 1/2 C.) cooked, diced
1 zucchini, diced into very small pieces
1 1/2 C. frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese,
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Melt butter in large skillet over
medium-high heat. Add flour & stir to
cook 1 minute; whisk in broth, milk,
salt, thyme & bring to simmer, stirring
constantly. Allow to cook until it thickens,
whisking regularly so sauce is smooth,
about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat,
stir in cooked pasta, 1/2 C. mozz. cheese,
chicken, zucchini & corn. Transfer mixture
to prepared dish & top with remaining
cheeses. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly
& heated through, about 20-25 minutes.
Serves 8


Garlic-Roasted Broccoli

1 1/2 lb. head broccoli, cut into
1-inch florets (about 6 overflowing
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with
foil. In large bowl combine florets &
garlic then drizzle with oil – toss to
coat. Sprinkle with salt/pepper & red
pepper flakes (if using) – toss to combine.
Spread florets evenly onto prepared pan.
Bake 10 minutes, stir then bake an
additional 5-10 minutes until edges are
browned & broccoli is crispy.
Makes 6 servings.


Caramel Chocolate Poke Cake

1 3/4 C. flour
1 3/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 C. brewed coffee, cooled
1 T. lemon juice
1 C. milk
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 C. caramel ice cream topping
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
(or 2-3 C. whipped cream)
chocolate sauce
chopped or shaved chocolate,
for garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray & flour a 9 X 13″ baking pan.
Combine milk & lemon juice – stir &
set aside (mixture will thicken slightly)
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda,
baking powder in large bowl. Add eggs,
coffee, soured milk (from above), oil &
vanilla – beat at medium speed 2 minutes;
pour into pan. Bake 30-40 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center comes out
clean. Check cake at 30 minutes so it doesn’t
over cook. Remove from oven & cool 15
minutes. Poke holes all over top of cake
using the handle end of a wooden spoon.
Pour sweetened condensed milk all over
top & 3/4 of caramel sauce, allowing them
to seep into the holes. Cover & refrigerate
cake overnight or a minimum of 4 hours –
longer is better. Spread Cool Whip all over
top, drizzle remaining caramel sauce,
chocolate sauce & sprinkle top with shaved



The rest of this week is shaping up to be more of the
same: BUSY! Oh! After visiting with my church lady I
stopped at the Salvation Army store near her/church –
ended up buying a ladies watch (I wanted one with
a dark face so I could see the hands easier). The one
I picked out has a black band and black face – turns
out the counter lady says: “Oh! This is GUCCI!” (me –
gulp…what’s the price?) She looks at it and says $14
but wait – that tag is purple and we haven’t had
purple tags in a LONG time; let me get a manager &
see if we can get the price dropped some! (WOW!)
Ended up paying $10 for a ladies Gucci with a all
leather strap – almost brand new – no scratches, etc.
I told her I’m used to wearing Timex – kind of like going
from KMart To Sacks Fifth Avenue tastes! I like it – it has
a very small band (the lady said something about it
being for someone with a very small wrist . . . MY
wrist fits it perfectly – in fact, when I put it on, the
notches on the band were in the same place as when
the original owner wore it – funny. YAY, thrift stores!
Also found 3 nice mens ties for middle son to wear
in his Hilton Hotel front desk clerk job – each tie was
$2.99 – WOW! Have you looked at mens tie prices
lately? They start around $15/25 and go up. The
checkout lady said: “Oh, this tag is tan – that’s 50%
off today” (two ties were $2.99 each and one was
$4.99 – it was the $4.99 tie that was half off! SCORE!)

Our weather is into the colder part of Fall – lots of
beautiful fall colors from the leaves; the sky is a
gorgeous blue with big fluffy white clouds – lovely
to look at. Temps high 40’s/50’s

Hope you are enjoying the weather where you are;
God made some beautiful creations – I love to thank
Him for letting me get to experience them every day.



I have a GREAT Husband!


After all the car troubles yesterday (and it wouldn’t start at all), we gave it another ‘go’ today (without all the cold/rain). He calmly cleaned off the battery cables, filled the water reservoirs, etc. and we hooked my van up to his Jeep to get it started. Fast forward about 1/2 hour: my car held a charge – YAY!. I took it on a good, long ‘run’, about 4-5 miles, easy and it ran fine. Shut it off, started it up again – Yay, we have Running CAR again! Thank You, Lord AND HUSBAND! He said we’ll give it a few hours and try to start it again, just to make sure. He’s thinking that somehow I accidentally left on an overhead light which would have drained the battery. I vaguely remember fiddling with the brightness switch on the way home Wednesday because the dashboard lights didn’t seem quite as bright as I thought they should be – must have been ‘that’. Ah, LIFE – it’s good if you don’t let it get to you!


Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

1 (family size) box brownie mix
2 C. fresh pumpkin puree (or
a 15 oz. can pumpkin puree)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 C. chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 8 X 8″ baking pan with
nonstick spray. Combine
brownie mix, choc. chips &
1 1/2 C. pumpkin puree in a
bowl. In separate bowl mix
1/2 C. remaining pumpkin
puree & pumpkin pie spice.
Spread 3/4 ths of brownie mix
in pan; spread pumpkin puree
mixture on top then top with
remaining brownie mix. Using
a knife, gently swirl top layer
so it gets mixed up with puree.
Bake 30-35 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean.


Crockpot Pizza Sloppy Joes

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 C. onion, chopped
1 pkg. pepperoni, cut into 1/4’s
(1/2 C. – more or less-your choice)
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 jar pizza sauce
hamburger rolls, for serving

Place ground beef & onion in
crockpot & cook on High 2 hours
(drain grease).* Add pizza sauce,
pepperoni quarters & spices –
stir. Cover & cook on Low 4-6
hours; serve on rolls.


Pumpkin Risotto

1 C. Arborio rice
1 C. canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. onion, finely chopped
1/2 C. dry white wine
4 C. vegetable stock or broth
1 large clove garlic, minced
5-6 T. grated Parmesan cheese
salt/pepper/nutmeg, to taste

Pour veg. stock in a pan & heat
to simmer. On another burner,
warm a large non-stick pot until
it’s hot – reduce heat to medium-
hot & add olive oil; saute onion &
garlic. Once onion begins to look
slightly yellow, stir in rice & coat it
with mixture. Add wine & let wine
finishes evaporating. Gently pour
1 C. warm stock into pot & reduce
heat to simmer, along with a pinch
of nutmeg. Stir frequently as rice
absorbs the liquid. Continue by
adding another cup of stock, stirring,
until rice is tender but not falling apart
or overly sticky. (If you have any stock
left at this time, leave it aside. If you
need more, warm it & add). Reduce
heat so pot is no longer simmering but
merely warm. Taste rice & mix in
pumpkin, cheese, salt/pepper until
flavor you want is achieved. Serve
immediately. Serves 2-3

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Bake

3 T. butter, softened
1 (1 lb) French bread, cut into 1/2″
slices (about 22 slices)
2 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese,
1 (10 3/4 oz) can tomato soup
1/2 C. milk

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Lightly spread butter on one side of
bread slices & place on baking sheet.
Bake 5-7 minutes, turn over & bake
another 5 minutes until lightly toasted.
Arrange half the slices in 9 X 13″ baking
dish in a single layer. Sprinkle bread with
1 1/2 C. cheese & top with remaining
bread slices. In medium bowl combine
soup & milk; evenly pour over bread. Bake
20 minutes; remove from oven & sprinkle
with remaining cheese. Bake 10 more
minutes until heated through. Serves 5


Cheesy One-Pot Pumpkin Pasta

12 oz. pasta noodles (elbow/farfalle or
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin
pie filling)
4 C. vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 T. butter
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp,
cut into cubes
parsley, for garnish

In stockpot or deep-sided skillet,
add noodles, onion, garlic, broth,
pumpkin puree, red pepper flakes,
salt/pepper & nutmeg – stir to blend.
Cook on medium-high heat – bring to
boil then cover, reducing heat to
simmer 10 minutes. Uncover, stir,
cover & simmer 2-4 more minutes
until pasta is al dente. Add butter &
cream cheese cubes; stir constantly,
until cheese is melted & mixed in.
Serve topped with parsley, if desired.
Add salt/pepper, to taste.


Layered Ham & Cheese Potato Bake

5 potatoes, peeled
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
8-10 slices ham
7-8 slices mozzarella cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1/4 C. parsley, chopped
2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 C. heavy cream
2 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Slice potatoes into 1/4″ thick slices.
Season slices with salt/pepper, tossing
to make sure they’re coated evenly.
Press a layer of potatoes evenly into
bottom of greased, square baking pan.
Place half of ham slices evenly on top,
then sliced cheese. Next, layer of potatoes,
remaining ham & sliced cheese. Sprinkle
bacon & parsley evenly on top & then
one final layer of potatoes. Sprinkle
shredded cheese on top; press it into
an even layer. In small bowl mix heavy
cream & eggs – pour on top of mixture.
Bake 40 minutes until cheese is deep
golden brown. Cool slightly then slice.
Serves 4-5


Caramel Apple Cobbler

1 (15.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
2 (21 oz, ea) cans apple pie filling
1 T. cinnamon
1 C. butter, melted
1/4 C. caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Pour pie filling in bottom of greased
8 X 11″ casserole pan or 2 1/2 qt.
casserole dish. Sprinkle cinnamon over
top of pie filling & top with caramel
ice cream topping. Pour dry cake mix
over filling, then pour melted butter
on top of cake mix. Bake 50-60
minutes. Serves 12



It’s nice now that the rain stopped, that
we’re back to Fall weather: leaves changing/
falling, over-cast days but 50 degrees out
today (NO rain!). I noticed, on my battery-
charging drive, that our local Clark station
has gas at $2.09/9 (another 10 cents a
gallon drop – yay!).

Dinner tonight will be Pierogies &
Polish sausage – since it’s getting
chilly out, time for warmer meals.
There’s lots of harvest/pumpkin/
Fall recipes coming in – hope they
help you plan your dinners!



Some days are better than others –


Today we finally have the ‘weather shift’ – it’s 55 degrees F. and pouring rain. I had, a little earlier, planned several quick trips to the drug store, bank, library and grocery store – all that changed when I got in my car and it wouldn’t start. Husband very nicely tried helping, using all the tricks of the trade: check battery, try jump starting my van using his Jeep, cleaning off the battery cables, etc. – nothing. When my van was hooked up to his, it started – but after, nothing. When I got in my car, originally, I noticed a tiny, high-pitched sound – husband heard it in the engine area, but couldn’t define just where it was coming from. It would occasionally stop, then start up again, sort of like ‘something electrical’ was trying to run – crazy stuff. After much trying/attempting, we both agreed to just come in the house & get warm & dry, we were both cold & soaked. He’s all for trying again tomorrow to see if it will be better when it’s not raining – sure hope so! Actually, thank You, Lord, I don’t have anything pressing I need to be going to until Saturday, and if that happens & I still don’t have a car, I’m sure I can get a ride. Sometimes you just don’t know when life’s gonna hit you in the face with something ‘different’! Hoping we can get it running long enough to be able to drive it to the dealership (which is a good 25 minutes away) – we’ll see; more ‘adventures’ tomorrow.


Grandma’s Pumpkin Snack Cake

2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 C. granulated sugar
1 C. vegetable oil
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 T. milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In medium bowl
stir flour, salt, cinnamon, baking
powder, baking soda. Using elec.
mixer in another bowl combine
eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin – mix
then add dry ingredients to wet
mixture & beat at Low speed until
combined & batter is smooth. Spread
batter into pan & bake 30 minutes
until a toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Cool cake in pan
completely before frosting.
Beat cream cheese using elec. mixer
until smooth; add in sugar & milk –
mix on Low speed until combined.
Stir in vanilla & mix again; spread
over cooled cake. Dust top lightly
with cinnamon, if desired then
cut into bars.


Autumn Soup

2 1/2 C. cubed, peeled butternut
1 large sweet potato, peeled/cubed
3 medium carrots, sliced
1/4 C. thawed orange juice concentrate
3 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 T. sour cream
2 T. minced chives
1 T. sesame seeds, toasted

Place squash, sweet potato & carrots
in a steamer basket. Place basket in
a large saucepan over 1 inch of water.
Bring to boil; cover & steam 12-16
minutes until tender. Cool slightly then
transfer to food processor. Add OJ
concentrate, cover & process until
smooth. Transfer to large saucepan;
stir in milk, salt/pepper & cook,
stirring, over Low heat until heated
through (do not boil). Top each serving
with 1 1/2 tsp. sour cream, 1 tsp. chives
& 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds. Serves 6


Baked Horseradish/Cheddar
Mac & Cheese

3 T. melted unsalted butter
1/2 lb. dry elbow macaroni
1 C. milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
coarse salt/ground black pepper
1 lb. horseradish Cheddar cheese,

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly coat a 6 qt casserole dish
with 2 T. melted butter. Cook
macaroni accordg. to pkg. directions;
drain well & pour into a bowl. Add
remaining butter & toss to coat. Mix
milk, eggs & nutmeg with salt/pepper
in medium bowl. Add half of cheese
& stir to combine. Spoon half of buttered
macaroni into prepared dish; pour half
of milk mixture over macaroni & toss
to combine. Sprinkle half of remaining
cheese over macaroni; combine
remaining macaroni with remaining milk
mixture. When well combined, pour into
dish – sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake 35 minutes until top is crusty &
golden brown & edges are bubbling.
Serves 6

Crockpot Beer Can Chicken

2 T. smoked paprika
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. coarse pepper
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 (6 inch, ea) strips foil, each
bunched into a ball
1 (16 oz) can beer
1 (6.5 – 7 lb.) whole chicken

Mix paprika, salt/pepper,
oregano, thyme, garlic powder
& cayenne in small bowl. Place
foil balls in bottom of crockpot &
pour beer in. Rinse chicken & pat
dry with paper towels. Rub chicken
with seasoning mixture & place
chicken on top of foil balls. Cover &
cook on High 3 hours or Low 5-7
hours. (chicken is well done when
a meat thermometer reads 165
degrees F. in breast, or 175 degrees F.
in thickest part of thigh.)


Skillet Stroganoff

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. sirloin, cut into small cubes
or thin strips
2 T. butter (+ more for noodles)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 C. white button mushrooms,
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. white wine
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 C. beef stock
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 C. water
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 C. sour cream

cooked egg noodles

1/4 C. chopped parsley

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Season steak with salt/
pepper & place in skillet in single
layer. Brown on all sides & cook
until medium-rare, about 2-4
minutes. Remove meat to plate to
rest; add butter to skillet. Add
onions & mushrooms; season
with salt/pepper & saute until
onions are soft & mushrooms
tender. Stir in garlic & cook 1
minute. Add wine, Worc. & beef
stock; bring to simmer. Whisk
cornstarch & water; pour into
pan. Reduce heat & add mustard
& sour cream. Stir until evenly
incorporated then add steak
back to pan, tossing to coat meat.
Cook egg noodles according to pkg.
directions; add butter & toss to coat.
Serve over buttered egg noodles &
garnish with chopped parsley.
Serves 6


Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

4 string cheese packets, cut
cheese into 1″ cubes
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 C. breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 C. chopped parsley,
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese,
plus more for serving
1 T. olive oil
1 (15 oz) jar marinara sauce

In medium bowl combine beef,
pork, breadcrumbs, eggs, 2 T.
parsley, garlic & Parmesan.
Season to taste with salt/pepper
& stir to combine. Scoop mixture
into small balls (about 2 T.) &
press 1 cube string cheese into
center, sealing meat tightly
around cheese; repeat with
remaining meatball mixture &
cheese. Heat olive oil in large
skillet over medium-high heat.
Add meatballs & cook to brown
on all sides. When meatballs
have developed a nice crust,
remove to a plate & wipe skillet
clean. Return skillet to stove over
medium heat. Pour marinara in
skillet & add meatballs to sauce.
Spoon sauce over meatballs.
Cover pan & simmer 12 minutes
until cooked through. Serve warm
& garnish with parsley & Parmesan.
Serves 4-6


Mini Eclair Bites

2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks margarine, melted
1 (4-serving size) pkgs. instant
FRENCH vanilla pudding mix
1 1/4 C. milk
2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
3/4 C. chocolate frosting
(the kind that comes in a plastic

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 18 mini-muffin cups with paper
liners. In medium bowl combine
graham crumbs, sugar & butter – mix
well. Evenly press mixture into liners
using your fingers – press over bottom
& up sides of liners. Bake 5 minutes
until crust begins to brown – remove
from oven & cool completely.
In medium bowl whisk pudding mix &
milk. Fold in Cool Whip & place in a
zip-lock bag. Seal bag & snip off one
corner of bag (you’re using the bag
as a pastry bag for piping). Fill the
crusts with mixture evenly.
In small microwave-safe bowl heat
frosting 10-15 seconds & stir until
smooth & pourable. Place frosting in
another ziplock bag, snip corner &
top pudding mixture with a dollop
of frosting. Refrigerate 4 hours until
ready to serve. Makes 18



I was talking with my husband about just
how advantageous this car-event was;
any other day we probably would be
needing groceries but actually we’re doing
well. I made a big batch of the spicy black
bean/chicken soup last night so there’s
leftovers.  We’re in good shape and I’m
thankful. I ‘was’ going to go to the library
because I was kind of ‘out’ of books to
read, but I’m sure I’ll be just fine – if I
look around here enough, I’m pretty sure
I could find one I haven’t read yet and
you KNOW there’s always knitting – hehehe.

Hope you are warm, dry and cozy wherever
you are. Sometimes little things like this
happen to heighten our awareness of just
how blessed we truly are!



The Last Day of Indian Summer – sigh…


Yesterday was gorgeous, with temperatures at 79 degrees F. and today is a mirror of that one – sunny, breezy (we have the windows open). I’m going to miss this particular little space in time – here in Michigan we look forward to Indian Summer. Not sure if it’s actually a ‘thing’ in other states – this time, for us, is a brief window of Summer-like weather which usually comes right after we start getting colder weather. It can last as short as one day or go as long as several days but it’s very well received because we know that once it’s gone – our typical MICHIGAN cold will start. Today’s temps. are supposed to go up to almost 80, after that the days temps start dropping: 68, 58, mid 40’s (and that’s just the rest of THIS week!) Brrrrr!

Today is another restful day (so far – YAY!). Bought the yarn to start our ‘new’ baby’s afghan – I’m attempting to come close to the baby’s room colors: white/light gray/medium brown. I bought a very light blue yarn and am knitting the same pattern as another blanket I made last year. This one will be light blue with a small trim of white, then a final border of a medium gray. (Not my choice of colors, but I’m trying to go with their ‘theme’ see below:


Working on two baby blankets now – that one and the one for my friend’s daughter due in January – I feel like I’m in a knitting marathon! I know I can finish both on time so I’m not worried. This coming Saturday is another Mom2Mom sale and we (expectant Mom & her Mom & I) are all anxiously awaiting it. I know that THEY are excited because now they can buy BOY stuff – for me, I’m still holding back. I reminded the other grandma (this will be her FIRST grandchild) that when you get them to ‘babysit’, they usually come with a diaper bag with at least 3 outfits & diapers. My point being – grandma does not have to outfit this child like it’s hers! (But, I know she’s having fun with this whole process, so I keep quiet). I’m not actually planning on buying any baby clothes/outfits, etc. as I know she will get some at the baby shower and I KNOW her MOM will over-buy. Not trying to be stingy/frugal, just don’t see the need at this time. (Now you know…of course, if I see something totally adorable, there might be that ‘urge’ . . . we’ll see).


Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cake

1 (18.25 oz) box chocolate cake mix
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room
2 sticks butter, divided/melted
3 eggs, divided
1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips,
3-4 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
1/4 tsp. instant espresso granules

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. Mix cake mix with 1
stick (1/2 C.) melted butter,1 egg & 1 tsp.
vanilla in large bowl until just combined
then transfer to prepared baking dish. Use
a rubber spatula to spread in even layer.
In separate bowl using elec, mixer,
mix cream cheese 2-3 minutes until
smooth then add eggs, one at a time,
waiting for each to be fully incorporated
before adding next.
Mix in cocoa & instant espresso
granules until smooth. Gradually mix
in powdered sugar (on Low speed) then
drizzle in remaining melted butter &
vanilla. Fold in choc. chips, if using just
until combined. Pour mixture over batter
in dish & gently spread in even layer.
Bake 45-50 minutes until edges are
pulling away from sides of dish & center
is just set. Remove from oven, let cool
at least 40 minutes until set.
Serves 10-12


Chicken & Spinach Lasagna

1 box (Barilla) oven-ready lasagna
5 C. whole milk
5 T. butter
5 T. flour
2 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. ground chicken breast
1 (6 oz) bag fresh baby spinach
salt/pepper, to taste
1 C. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese,

In medium saucepan bring milk to
a simmer. In another medium saucepan
melt butter & whisk in flour to form a
‘roux’ (when it thickens to a paste-like
consistency) – cook 1 minute over Low
heat. Once milk is simmering, add milk
to roux & whisk frequently until sauce
is thick –  season with salt/pepper, to
In large skillet saute garlic in oil 1-2
minutes over medium heat; add ground
chicken & cook on High 3-4 minutes until
lightly browned & cooked through. Add
spinach & saute 2 minutes – season with
salt/pepper – set aside to cool.

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Pour thickened sauce into a 9 X 13″ baking
dish – top with 3 sheets lasagna noodles.
Top noodles with another ladle of sauce &
1/4 C. chicken/spinach mixture – sprinkle
each layer with Parm./Regg cheese; continue
until you have 5 layers. Top with remaining
Parm/Regg cheese. Bake, covered with foil,
15-20 minutes. Remove foil & let top brown
approx. 5 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 5


Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup
(use 4 qt or larger crockpot)

6-7 boneless skinless chicken breasts
(5-6 lb)
4 C. chicken stock/broth
2 (10 oz, ea) cans enchilada sauce
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes
2 (4 oz, ea) cans diced green chilies
2 C. frozen whole kernel corn
2 (14 oz, ea) cans black beans, drained/
1 (6 oz) can pitted black olives, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, diced
1 tsp. cumin
salt/pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to crockpot; cover &
cook on High 4-5 hours (Low 7-8 hours).
Stir occasionally.
About 1 hour before serving, remove
chicken into large bowl & shred using
2 forks then return to crockpot & allow
to cook the remaining hour.  Serves 8


Beef Fried Rice

1 lb. flank steak cut into bite-
sized pieces
kosher salt/ground black pepper
5 tsp. sugar
1 T. cornstarch
vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 onion, diced
1 C. peas
3 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 C. cooked white rice

Rinse & pat meat dry using paper
towel. In medium bowl season meat
with 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper &
1 tsp. sugar. Toss with cornstarch until
well-coated. In large skillet or wok over
medium-high heat, add 1 tsp. oil &
eggs. Scramble eggs using a rubber
spatula & transfer to a side dish. In
same skillet over medium-low heat
add 2 T. oil, garlic, ginger & onions –
cook 2-3 minutes. Add peas & 2 T. water,
cook until peas are tender. Add cooked
rice & break up, using spatula. Cook
2-3 minutes; stir in soy sauce, white
vinegar, 1 tsp. pepper, remaining sugar
& sesame oil. Add meat & eggs; toss
well & serve immediately. Serves 4


Garlicky Shrimp Alfredo Bake

10 oz penne pasta
3 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. medium or large shrimp,
3 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 T. flour
3/4 C. milk
1/4 C. chicken broth
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. plus 2 T. shredded Parmesan
fresh ground black pepper
2 large tomatoes, chopped (about
1 C.)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions
to al dente; drain & return to pot.
In large ovenproof skillet over
medium heat, melt 1 T. butter; add
garlic, shrimp & 2 T. parsley – season
with salt & cook until shrimp are pink
& no longer opaque, 2 minutes per
side. Transfer to a plate, keep juices
in skillet. Add remaining 2 T. butter &
let melt. Add flour & whisk until golden,
1-2 minutes. Add milk & broth; bring to
simmer. Stir in 3/4 C. mozz. & 1/4 C.
Parm. cheese until creamy – season with
salt/pepper. Return shrimp to skillet &
add tomatoes & cooked pasta – toss
until combined. (add more milk if
mixture is too thick). Sprinkle with
remaining cheese & bake 5-7 minutes.
Place skillet under broiler 2-3 minutes
until top is golden (watch carefully so
it doesn’t burn). Garnish with
remaining parsley & serve. Serves 4


Crustless Apple Pie

6 Granny Smith apples (about 2 lb)
peeled/cored/sliced 1/4 ” rounds
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 T. honey
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 C. apple juice
2 T. margarine
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 inch pie plate with nonstick
spray. In large bowl toss apples with
lemon juice, honey, 1 tsp. cinnamon,
nutmeg & cloves. In small saucepan
over medium heat bring apple juice
& margarine to boil – whisk in remaining
cinnamon & cornstarch: cook until
thickened. Arrange a layer of apples on
bottom of pie plate & brush with thin
layer of sauce; repeat layers until all
apples & sauce are used. Sprinkle top
with walnuts & bake 35-40 minutes
until apples are soft. Cool & serve.
Serves 8



Hoping that your day is going well and you
are able to enjoy this beginning of Fall. And
now – we have the Color Show: all the leaves
turning colors.



Over half-way through October already!


Today has been a very relaxing day – so far (I always have to preface that with ‘so far’ – things get crazy around here quickly). Woke up super early (6 a.m.) and lay there until 7:30, then resigned myself to getting up. Had some coffee & knit on the baby blanket for my friend’s daughter due in January. Spent a little time upstairs digging through ‘stuff’ attempting to locate the ‘little baby’ stuff from 10 years ago. Actually was pleasantly surprised to find a small box of cardboard books (the toddler kind) – thought I’d given them away (YAY!). Also found some small baby toys, so we’re good in that department; even found middle & oldest son’s baby blankets I made for them! Only thing I didn’t find was a small bag of cloth baby diapers – they are great to use as spit-up cloths. If I don’t find them I’ll check at the next Mom-2-Mom sales coming up – pretty sure I’ll be able to find some at good prices. The only items I’m still hunting for are a small, folding high chair and a small baby walker (neither of which we’ll be needing immediately).


Layered Pumpkin Delight

1 C. flour
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. plus 1/4 C. chopped pecans
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
3 C. Cool Whip, thawed/divided
2 1/2 C. milk
3 (3.4 oz, ea) boxes instant White
Chocolate pudding mix (or vanilla)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin spice

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Layer 1:
Mix flour, butter & 1/2 C. pecans. Spray
a 9 X 9 or 9 X 13″ baking pan with nonstick
spray & press mixture on bottom (NOTE:
If using a 9 X 13″ pan)
if you want more crust, add an additional
1/2 C. flour, 1/4 C. butter & 1/4 C. more
chopped nuts). Bake 15 minutes; remove &
let cool

Layer 2:
Blend cream cheese & powdered sugar. Add
1 C. Cool Whip then spread over cooled crust.

Layer 3:
Mix milk, pudding mix, canned pumpkin,
pumpkin spice & 1 C. Cool Whip until
smooth; spread over layer 2

Layer 4:
Spread remaining 1 C. Cool Whip over top
& sprinkle with chopped nuts. Refrigerate
at least 3 hours until set.


Chicken Butternut Squash Lasagna

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
1/2 C. chicken broth or water
*see below

1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. flour
4 C. milk
salt, to taste

To assemble:
1 T. olive oil
2 (20 oz, ea) bags frozen cubed
butternut squash, thawed
1 (9 oz) pkg. (15-16 sheets) oven
ready lasagna noodles
3-4 C. shredded cheese (poster
used mozzarella & provolone)
3/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Add chicken & broth/water*(see below)
to crockpot.
Cover & cook on High 4 hours or Low
8 hours until fully cooked; remove &
shred chicken. Heat a saucepan over
medium-high heat & melt butter. Whisk
in flour until smooth & continue to whisk
1-2 minutes to let cook. Slowly stir in milk
while continuing to whisk vigorously to
ensure flour combines with milk smoothly.
Bring to a simmer & cook 3-5 minutes until
thickened. Remove from heat & add salt.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spread olive oil in bottom of 9 X 13″ baking
dish then spread one ladle of sauce on bottom.
Layer about 5 noodles then half of chicken and
1 bag squash. Add about 1 C. sauce & top with
1 – 1 1/2 C. shredded cheese & 1/4 C. Parm. cheese;
repeat layer. Final layer will be noodles, sauce,
shredded cheese & Parm. cheese. Cover pan with
foil & bake 30 minutes. Remove foil & return to
oven 15 minutes until cheese is browned &

*Poster used 2 tsp. chicken seasoning blend:
either Penzey’s Mural of Flavor, McCormicks
Italian Seasoning or Montreal Chicken


Crockpot Chicken Chili Dip

1 can dark red kidney beans (drained/
1 can black beans (drained/rinsed)
1/2 large white onion, diced
1 (10 oz) bag frozen corn
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
2 (10 oz, ea) cans diced fire-roasted
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 T. taco seasoning
1 T. cumin
1 T. chili powder
3 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 (16 oz) pkg. Velveeta, cut into cubes
1 C. milk

taco chips

Add tomatoes, sauce, beans, chilies
& corn to crockpot. Add seasonings
& stir to combine. Place chicken directly
on top of mixture then top with Velveeta
cubes – pour milk over top. Cover &
cook on High 3-4 hours. Remove lid
& stir to combine. Keep crockpot on
warm & serve. Serves 12-15

Note: Also makes a topping on burritos
or taco salad


10-Minute Stroganoff

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 (8 oz) pkg. presliced fresh
1 large onion, thinly sliced
16 oz. sour cream
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom
soup, undiluted
garlic salt
black pepper, to taste

hot, cooked egg noodles
to serve 6

Brown ground beef in large skillet,
drain grease & set meat aside.
Add mushrooms & onion, cook over
medium-high heat, stirring
occasionally, 5 minutes until tender.
Add ground beef, sour cream & soup
to skillet; cook over medium heat 5
minutes until thoroughly heated,
stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic salt
& black pepper, to taste. Serve
immediately over hot cooked egg
noodles. Serves 6


Pizza Knots

2 T. melted butter
1/4 C. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. chopped parsley
1/2 C. finely grated Parmesan
1 can refrigerated biscuit dough
2/3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. mini pepperoni

marinara sauce, warmed (for serving)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray 10 inch skillet with nonstick
spray or olive oil. Whisk butter, oil,
garlic, parsley & Parm. together.
Cut each biscuit in half & roll into a
thin rectangle. Brush each piece with
butter mixture then sprinkle lightly
with mozz. & pepperoni. Roll & pinch
the dough together to seal, then tie
the dough into a knot. Place knots in
skillet; brush remaining butter mixture
on dough & sprinkle with more mozz.
& pepperoni. Bake 15-20 minutes until
cheese is melted & biscuits are cooked
through. Serve warm with warmed
marinara. Serves 8-10


Cheesy Zucchini Pie

10 oz. zucchini, shredded/drained
1/2 C. shallots, chopped
1/4 C. fresh chives, chopped
1/2 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2/3 C. milk
1 tsp. olive oil
2 large eggs, beaten
salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Lightly spray a pie plate (or
regular baking dish) with nonstick
spray. In large bowl combine zucchini,
shallots, chives & mozz. cheese – spread
mixture evenly in bottom of prepared
pan. In another bowl sift flour & baking
powder together; add milk, oil, eggs, salt/
pepper – mix well. Pour mixture over
zucchini mixture in pan & top with
Parm. cheese. Bake 30 minutes until
a knife inserted into center comes out
clean.  Let stand 5 minutes then serve
hot. Serves 6


Maple Carrot Cupcakes

2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 C. canola oil
1/2 C. maple syrup
3 C. grated carrots (about
6 medium)

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/4 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
chopped walnuts, (optional

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Fill 18 muffin tin cups with paper
liners or grease tins. In large bowl
combine first 6 ingredients. In
another bowl beat eggs, oil &
syrup – stir into dry ingredients
just until moistened then fold in
carrots. Fill muffin cups two-thirds
full with batter & bake 20-25 minutes
until a toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before
removing from pans to wire racks.

Combine cream cheese, butter, syrup &
vanilla in a bowl; beat until smooth then
frost cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle tops with
nuts, if using. Store in fridge. Makes
1 1/2 dozen



Tonight’s dinner is Homemade Chicken Pot Pie.
There are still some leftovers around so we’re
‘good to go’, so to speak.

Hope your day is going well – enjoy this
Fall season while you can!



Got the test results . . .


Oldest son is SUPER happy (He really wanted a boy) – I’m happy as long as the baby is healthy. Now that we know – it will be time for me to pick a pattern & yarn color(s) for an afghan (and probably hat(s), booties, etc. She’s not due until beginning of March, so we have ‘some’ time.

Last night was Knit/Crochet night and we were nicely ‘packed’ into our area at Panera – all 22 of us! The group is growing and it’s nice to meet new people and connect them with others in the group that share their particular craft (being it Knitting or Crochet). I’m almost done with the yellow baby blanket and, after thinking about it, it’s too ‘girly’ for a boy, so am setting that one aside for now.


Sinfully Good Pudding Cake

1 C. flour
1/2 C. butter or margarine
1 C. chopped nuts (and a little
more for topping)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
1 (8oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed –
reserve some for topping
2 (3 oz, ea) boxes instant chocolate
pudding mix
3 C. milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine flour, butter/marg & nuts
until it roughly forms a ball. Press
into bottom of 9 X 13″ baking dish
& bake 20 minutes – let cool
Combine cream cheese, powdered
sugar & Cool Whip (reserving some)
blend well & spread over crust. Mix
pudding with milk & pour over cream
cheese layer. Top pudding layer with
Cool Whip & chill. Sprinkle some
chopped nuts on top before serving.


Cream of Broccoli & Kielbasa Cheese

1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen broccoli florets
or chopped broccoli*
4 medium potatoes, cut in chunks
(don’t peel)
2 C. chicken stock/broth
1 small onion, chopped
3 T. butter
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
1 C. Half & Half cream
14-16 oz. fully cooked kielbasa, cut
into 1/4″ slices
1 C. whole milk
1/2 – 1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
salt/pepper, to taste

Thickening (if desired):
1/4 C. flour
1/2 C. water

Melt butter in a Dutch oven or VERY
large (6 C) saucepan; add onion &
cook until translucent. Add thyme,
stock, potatoes & broccoli – heat to
boiling. Cover & reduce heat to Low.
Cook 20  minutes until broccoli &
potatoes are tender. Add kielbasa &
heat through.
Thickening, if desired:
Mix flour & water until there are no
lumps; stir into soup – mixture will
be very thick. Gradually add milk &
Half & Half, stirring to incorporate
well with no lumps (if you thickened
the soup). If soup is too thick, add
a little milk. Add salt/pepper, to taste.
Stir in cheese until it melts. Serves 4-6


Fall Harvest Salad

1 tsp. canola oil
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 (12 oz) pkg. frozen or refrigerated
butternut squash cubes
1 (5 oz) pkg. mixed salad greens
1 apple, thinly sliced
1/4 C. toasted pecans
2 T. dried cranberries

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In medium bowl combine oil,
cinnamon & salt, mix well. Add
squash & toss until evenly coated-
place on a baking sheet & bake
30 minutes until squash is tender
& begins to brown. Place remaining
ingredients in a bowl; add squash &
toss well. Serves 4


This salad dressing goes very well with


Creamy Pumpkin Salad Dressing

1/3 C. pure pumpkin
1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
2 T. maple syrup
1 T. canola oil
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt

In medium bowl whisk all
ingredients together until
smooth & well combined. Chill
until ready to use. Makes about
3/4 C.


Crockpot Cream Cheese/Caramel Dip
(use small 2.5 qt crockpot)

8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 (11 oz) bag caramels, unwrapped
1/4 C. powdered sugar

sliced apples

Place cubed cream cheese & unwrapped
caramels in crockpot. Cover & cook on
High 30 minutes to an hour. After
10-15 minutes, check to see if cream
cheese & caramels have started melting.
Once they start melting, stir frequently
until well blended. Stir in powdered sugar
until well mixed. Serve with apple slices.
Serves 6-8


Baked Zucchini Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
crushed soda crackers
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cut up zucchini into chunks &
steam them. Spray a 9 X 13″
baking dish with nonstick spray &
place steamed zucchini in dish.
Brown ground beef & onion; drain
& add soups – stir & spread over
zucchini. Top mixture with crushed
crackers & grated cheese. Bake
20-25 minutes,  to melt cheese &
heat through. Serves 8


Pecan Cheesecake Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar, divided

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix together cake mix, melted
butter & 1 egg until it forms into
a dough. Press dough into bottom
of a 9 X 13″ baking dish. Using an
elec. mixer, combine cream cheese
& remaining egg until smooth – slowly,
in batches, mix in 3/4 of box of
powdered sugar. Pour cream cheese
mixture over cake dough evenly until
completely covered. Sprinkle pecans
& powdered sugar on top. Bake
25-30 minutes. Let cool before



Our weather is now ‘officially’ FALL-
LIKE – day time temps. in the 60’s,
a bit chilly but still sunny – the leaves
will soon be falling. You can see
pumpkins out at stores, almost
everywhere.  Our gas prices jumped
up at bit lately from $2.19/9 to
$2.29/9 – not too bad (but then,
I’m innately frugal so ANY jump
is not well received by me – hehehe.

Dinner, here, is still BLT’s; need to
go grocery shopping pretty soon.
Lately I’m not feeling very cooking/
creative – I know I have ingredients
in the freezer/fridge for several
different choices, just can’t seem to
be able to nail one – ever have that
feeling? You KNOW you will be
needing to make dinner soon and
still have NO idea just WHAT to make!
I have ingredients for homemade
pizza, Polish sausage & Pierogies,
Meat & Potato Pie, Black Bean/Chicken
soup – nothing appeals right now (so
glad I still have BLT materials!). I guess
part of my hesitation in cooking is the
fact that one of my senior lady friends
at church just had knee replacement
surgery and needs ‘brought in’ meals.
I know she’s very against anything
spicy and there are certain foods she
can’t eat – makes for some difficulties
in trying to be a good friend AND also
cook food for the family. They put out
an email earlier this week from church
requesting people to bring her foods –
I know that 3 people did, so far.
(Haven’t chatted with her today – maybe
more are signed up).

Going to close here, go get some
breakfast and give her a call.

Have a GREAT day!



Been Busy – Sorry…


Sorry I haven’t posted, it’s been rather busy around here. Saturday our oldest son called bright & early to announce he & our grandson were coming over to help clean our garage. Did WE schedule this event, you asked? NO – he just had a free day and decided that’s what we’d all do! Our garage is old and filled to the brim with all kinds of junk. The main reason for this cleaning was to get rid of our old riding lawnmower – not only did it die but it had 2 flat tires, which made it almost impossible to drive/push onto the ramp for son’s truck. It took 5 adults (not me) to actually LIFT it onto the bed of his pick up! More work/time went by and he filled the truck with another 2 gas mowers, more metal/junk and did a run to the scrap yard. Later they came back and we filled the truck a second time with even MORE scrap metal! There’s still more work to be done to get the garage totally clean but at least there will be room, now, for a new riding lawnmower (which was husband & son’s intentions).

Yesterday found us busy, again, with church then grandson’s football game (only ONE more to go – YAY!). This time I left early & went to choir practice (on time!), then evening church. I would say I’m glad today is here, but at 2 I have an eye appointment (the kind where they dilate your eyes and you can’t see for a good 2-3 hours afterwards – fun…


Double Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

2 C. flour
3 C. finely grated/drained zucchini
1 C. oil
4 eggs, room temp, lightly beaten
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 C. cocoa
2 C. granulated sugar
3/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place cupcake liners in pan (makes
approx. 26-28 cupcakes)
In large bowl add flour, sugar, cocoa,
baking soda, baking powder, salt &
cinnamon; whisk gently. Make a well
in the center of the dry ingredients &
add eggs & oil. Mix by hand; batter will
be fairly thick. Add in grated zucchini &
chocolate chips – fold in using spatula.
Batter should loosen up a bit with
moisture from zucchini. Using an ice
cream scoop, fill cupcake liners 2/3rds
full. Bake about 18 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center of
cupcake is removed mostly clean.


Layered Vegetable Torte
(oven or grill method)

1 large eggplant, cut into
1/4″ slices
4 medium zucchini or yellow
squash, cut 1/4″ slices
2 portobello mushrooms,cut
1/4″ slices
1/2 C. olive oil (or more, as
salt/ground black pepper
2 plum tomatoes, cut 1/4″
2 T. minced garlic
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
1/4 C. freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 C. bread crumbs

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place a grill pan over medium-
high heat or heat grill – heat
should be medium-high & rack
about 4 inches from flame. Brush
veggies lightly with half of oil &
sprinkle with salt/pepper. If
roasting, grease 2 baking sheets
with oil. Roast or grill veggies on
both sides until soft.
Coat bottom & sides of an 8″
*springform pan with oil. Layer
1/3 of eggplant slices on bottom,
then half of zucchini, mushrooms,
tomato, garlic & basil, sprinkling
each layer with salt/pepper. Repeat
layers. Press top with a spatula or
spoon to make the torte as compact
as possible. Sprinkle top with Parm.
& bread crumbs – drizzle with about
1 T. oil. Bake in oven until hot
throughout & browned on top, about
30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before
removing outer ring of pan, then let
cool 10 minutes more before cutting
into wedges. Serves 4-5

NOTES: comment from another person
on this site: they peeled the eggplant
before grilling because they said grilling
leaves the skins tough

*Another person said: Line a rectangular
baking pan with foil (sprayed w/nonstick
spray) before constructing torte, then
make layers. Invert carefully after partial

NOTE: DO NOT reheat, as it will turn to mush


Sweet & Smoky Honey Chicken

2 tsp. oil, plus extra for the pan
smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 clove garlic, very finely minced
8 bone-in chicken thighs
1/3 C. honey
1 T. each:
balsamic vinegar
soy sauce

chopped parsley (garnish)

In small bowl mix oil, paprika, salt &
garlic; rub mixture under chicken skin
& on back of chicken (OR) rub all over
the chicken if you’re using skinless.
Heat large skillet over medium-high
heat & add enough oil to thinly coat
bottom. Sear chicken, skin sides down
until well browned on the skin side,
about 5 minutes. Do no over crowd the
pan. Drain any fat & turn thighs skin sides
up. In small bowl mix honey, vinegar &
soy sauce – pour into pan with chicken.
Bring to boil over medium heat then reduce
heat to keep it at a simmer. Be careful as
the honey will boil over easily. Let chicken
cook, uncovered, 15 minutes.
Serve with sauce over top or remove chicken
from pan & boil sauce hard a few minutes to
thicken it. Drizzle with a little balsamic &
sprinkle with chopped parsley when serving.
Serves 4


Old Fashioned Meatloaf

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 (10.5 oz) can vegetarian
vegetable soup
1 C. dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
3 lightly beaten eggs,
(used separately)
2 C. instant mashed potatoes,
prepared accordg. to pkg.
directions, reducing water to
3/4 C.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl mix all ingredients
except mashed potatoes & 1 egg.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray form mixture
into an oval-shaped loaf &
bake 1 hour. Prepare instant
potatoes & add remaining beaten
egg – whip until blended. When
loaf has cooked 1 hour, remove from
oven & drain any grease. “Frost”
loaf with mashed potatoes & bake
15-20  minutes until potatoes are
slightly crusted & heated through.
Serves 6


Company Potatoes

2 C. (8 oz) grated Cheddar cheese
2 C. (8 oz) grated Swiss cheese
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
4-5 large baking potatoes, peeled/
coarsely grated
1 C. Half & Half
2 scallions, sliced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

paprika, for garnish

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In medium bowl
combine Cheddar & Swiss cheeses
& parsley; mix well. In large bowl
combine remaining ingredients
except paprika. Add 3 C. cheese
mixture & stir until well combined –
pour into prepared dish. Cover with
foil & bake 30 minutes. Uncover &
sprinkle with remaining cheese
mixture & paprika. Bake 20-25
minutes until golden & bubbly.
Serves 8


Calzone Pinwheels

1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. ricotta cheese
1/2 C. diced pepperoni
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. chopped fresh mushrooms
1/4 C. finely chopped green pepper
2 T. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (8 oz) pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (14 oz) jar pizza sauce, warmed

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In small bowl mix first 9 ingredients.
Unroll dough & separate into
4 rectangles, pressing perforations
to seal. Spread rectangles with cheese
mixture to with 1/4 th inch of edges.
Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a
short side; pinch seam to seal.
Using a serrated knife, cut each roll
into four slices & place on a greased
baking sheet, cut sides down. Bake
12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with warmed pizza sauce.
Makes 16 appetizers


Crockpot Chicken & Gnocci Soup

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 C. frozen crinkle-cut carrots
1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 C. chicken broth

1/2 C. heavy cream
1 (17-18 oz) pkg. dried gnocci
4-5 oz. pkg. fresh baby spinach

Place chicken, carrots, seasonings &
flour in crockpot – toss to coat well.
Slowly stir in broth, stirring to make
sure flour dissolves. Cover & cook
on High 3-4 hours or Low 6-8 hours.
Shred chicken using forks or break
apart into large chunks. Add cream,
gnocci & spinach; cover & cook on
High 15-30 minutes until gnocci
is cooked tender & soup is fully
heated through. Serves 4


Apple Dumplings Cobbler

4 C. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 C. shortening, cold
1/2 C. butter, cold
10 T. cold water
4 each of a combination of
three different apple varieties:
(poster used Granny Smith, Fuji &
Gala), peeled/sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 C. sugar
2 T. cinnamon
1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
1 to 1 1/2 C. water
1/2 C. butter, melted

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Mix flour, salt, shortening & 1/2
C. cold butter together using pastry
blender (or 2 forks) until well blended.
Add water to mixture & mix all
ingredients together until they come
together in a ball slightly. Divide
dough in half – roll one half on a
lightly floured surface using a rolling
pin – place in a large oblong dish,
pushing the dough up the sides.
Place sliced apples in the dish. In
large saucepan heat sugar, cinnamon,
1/2 C. butter & water over medium
heat until butter melts – pour over
apples in dish. *Roll other half of dough
on slightly floured surface & cut into
1/2 inch strips – place a row diagonally
half inch apart on top of the apples.
Place another row of strips going
the opposite direction half inch apart.
Brush top liberally with melted butter &
sprinkle top with sugar. Bake 1 hour.
Serve hot or room temperature.

*Top crust can be rolled into a single
layer & placed over apples, instead of strips



Craft-wise still working on blue/green/white baby blanket for
Crisis Pregnancy, the yellow (not sure who gets it yet) baby
blanket – the one I got really frustrated with and started a
new one. Some long-time friends of ours have a daughter
who’s now 34 and expecting for the first time – she’s having
a girl in January and invited me to her baby shower – about
1 1/2 hours away. I’m NOT planning on going (haven’t seen
her in a good 10-15 years) but want to give her a gift. As with
other baby blankets I’ve done, this one started out very rocky:
tried about 4 different patterns using a very pretty mild pink/
white and pale cocoa variegated yarn – was not happy with
any of them. Finally dragged out a different yarn (same weight,
pink/green/blue/white variegated) and found an old pattern of
mine – now have about 2 feet done on it. I should (with my speed
in knitting) be able to finish the blanket, a hat & booties in time
for January – I’m planning on mailing it to her. Chatted with my
son’s girlfriend yesterday at the football game – they find out
(hopefully) tomorrow boy or girl (she’s 20 weeks and it’s her
ultrasound). Good thing we had that chat – she said she HATES
PINK! (I know – my son really wants a boy, but . . .) I’m thinking
maybe the yellow afghan I’ve been working on might just be
“The One” for them – we’ll see.

Went to a craft show Saturday (after the garage cleaning) – I
would have stayed home but this was being presented by
three of my knit group ladies and I felt I should go. Three of
them are from Peru – Mother (who’s been in the States for
many years) crochets beautifully, all kinds of items and so
does her granddaughter & daughter. Not only all kinds of
knit/crocheted items but her daughter made hand-made
Peruvian chocolates! She let me try one then I bought 2
(I know, I sound cheep) but they were $1.00 EACH and
small! What did I think of them? They were OK – I LOVE
Marzipan and I tried that flavor – really didn’t get the
flavor at all and the chocolate (even though it was dark)
didn’t really have a distinct flavor. Oh well – at least I
‘represented’, right? I did end up buying a sock monkey
(personally I don’t really care for them but these were
really cute, made by another of the crafters at the show).
$20 for a small one – a bit ‘steep’ I thought, but it will
be a shower gift for new grandbaby. We have two more
Mom-2-Mom sales coming up the next two Saturdays –
hopefully by then we’ll know if it’s a boy or girl and be
able to ‘buy things accordingly’.

Well, friends – hope you have a good beginning to your



and here’s OCTOBER!


Our weather has definitely taken a dive to colder temperatures (in the mid – 60’s), kind of gloomy & rainy. I went shopping today so I didn’t let the weather stop me. I’ve been needing new jeans for quite some time now – mine fit . . . sorta, but they’re too big. I happened to check the tag, thinking they were the too big size Womens 18’s – turns out they’re the Womens 16’s. After some trying on, brought home 2 pairs of 16 PETITES (NOT WOMENS – YAY!) For those of you not schooled on LARGER ladies sizes, Women’s are the Plus or FULL Sized, then there are the regular sizes. Petite just means you need shorter legs. I tried on a 16 Average – there was a good foot of material past my ankles – in fact, if I’d have walked in them I would actually have walked ON them, they were that long! I also found three of my FAVORITE blouse! YAY! (I was shopping at KMart, in case you wondered) – I have a red and a magenta blouse that I absolutely love – they fit perfectly (they have some sort of fiber in them that makes them hug your torso, making this shirt/blouse look just right. Today I sort of hemmed & hawed about buying them but then could hear my husband saying: “If you LIKE them, GET THEM!” in my ear, so I did! Now I also have a black, a sort of electric blue and an eggplant (Aubergine, for those of you who speak French). Happy, Happy! OH, since I was in a SHOPPING mood, also bought a new purse! Looked over lots of them and then found this one – not exactly ecstatic on it BUT it will do the job AND it was HALF-OFF! $16.00!!! (AND it also came with a small umbrella & a little small purse, to boot! Umbrella will go in car, small purse will hold all the little stuff that tends to roll around in your purse (chapstick, eye drops, nail file, breath fresheners, etc.) I’d say it was a REALLY GOOD shopping day!


Trying to ‘thin out’ some of the summer recipes

Zucchini Cupcakes

3 large eggs
1 1/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. canola oil
1/2 C. orange juice
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 C. shredded zucchini

1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. butter, cubed
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 C. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat first 5 ingredients together.
Combine dry ingredients & gradually
add to egg mixture; blend well. Stir
in zucchini. Place paper cup liners
in muffin pans (or spray with nonstick
spray). Fill cups two-thirds full with
batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean, about
20-25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes
before moving to wire rack.
Combine brown sugar, butter & milk in
large saucepan; bring to boil over
medium heat. Cook & stir until thickened,
1-2 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in
vanilla. Cool to lukewarm.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar until
frosting reaches spreading consistency.
Frost cupcakes. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.


Crockpot Spicy Chicken Stew

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp. jarred minced garlic
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can white navy beans,
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans,
2 tsp. cajun seasoning blend*
1 tsp. hot sauce
2 C. chicken broth

Add all ingredients to crockpot; cover
& cook on Low 6-8 hours or High 3-4
hours. Serves 4

* cajun seasoning blend contains;
salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper,
onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano,
thyme & red pepper flakes


Summer Veggie Salad

3/4 C. white vinegar
1/2 C. vegetable or olive oil
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 (15 oz) can small green peas, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can French-style green beans,
2 (11 oz, ea) cans sweet or shoepeg
corn, drained
1 C. diced celery
1 C. diced bell pepper
1 C. diced onion
1 (2 oz) jar diced pimentos, drained

Combine vinegar, oil, sugar, salt/pepper
in small saucepan; bring just to boil over
medium-high heat. Stir constantly until
sugar dissolves. Remove from heat &
allow to cool. Combine remaining
ingredients in large bowl & pour cooled
vinegar mixture over all, stirring to coat.
Cover & chill 8 hours until thoroughly
chilled. Serve using slotted spoon.


Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

1 lb. macaroni pasta
3 T. apple cider vinegar
1 C. shredded carrots
1 C. purple onion, chopped
2 C. mayonnaise
1 (20 oz) can sliced pineapple in
juice, chopped
1/2 C. pineapple juice, (from can)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 C. chopped, cooked ham
3/4 C. chopped parsley (optional)

Cook macaroni accordg. to pkg.
directions; drain & pour back into
pot. Sprinkle macaroni with apple
cider vinegar, then add carrots &
onion – toss. Allow to cool 1 hour.
In large serving bowl mix mayo,
pineapple juice, salt & pepper – add
macaroni, ham, pineapple & parsley,
if using. Toss until well coated –
refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves


Chicken Crepes with Mushroom Sauce

1 1/3 C. milk
2 T. vegetable oil
1 1/3 C. flour
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt

Chicken Filling:
2 (8 oz, ea) cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
2 1/2 C. cooked/chopped chicken breast

Mushroom Sauce:
2 T. melted butter
1 small onion, chopped
diced green bell pepper – optional

1 chicken bouillon cube
2 T. hot water
1 can sliced mushrooms

1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Mix crepe recipe ingredients together in
large bowl. Pour 3 T. batter into a hot
skillet sprayed with nonstick spray. Roll
batter around to form a circle; cook
until lightly browned & turn out onto a
plate – repeat with rest of batter.

Combine soup & sour cream – divide
mixture in half. Combine one half with
chicken & reserve rest. Line cooked crepes
with filling; roll up & place in a pan like
Mix sauce ingredients together, dissolving
bouillon cube in 2 T. HOT water then
stirring into sauce; stir mushrooms into
mixture. Pour sauce over top of crepes.
Cover pan with foil & bake 15 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle top with grated cheese
& return to oven 10 minutes to allow cheese
to melt. Serves 8


  “Whoopie Pie” Cake

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 C.),
room temp
1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 C. milk, room temp

2 sticks unsalted butter (1 C.),
room temp
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
7 oz. Marshmallow Fluff (it’s
a jar of spreadable marshmallow)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. milk or heavy cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line bottom of two 9″ round cake
pans with parchment paper; spray
lightly with nonstick spray. Cream
butter & sugars together for cake until
light & fluffy. Add egg & vanilla, beat
until well mixed. Sift flour, cocoa, baking
soda & salt in a separate bowl. Add half
of flour mixture & half milk to butter
mixture & mix just until incorporated.
Repeat with remaining flour mixture &
milk. Divide batter evenly between prepared
pans & bake 25-30 minutes until center
springs back when touched & a wooden
toothpick inserted into center comes out
clean. Remove from oven & cool completely
in pans on wire rack. Prepare filling while
cakes are cooling.
Whip butter & powdered sugar until completely
incorporated and no lumps remain. Add Marsh-
mallow Fluff; whip until incorporated. Add
vanilla, salt & milk – whip until light & fluffy,
2-3 minutes. Remove cooled cakes from pans
& remove parchment. Place first cake upside
down on a cake plate. Place all filling in center
of bottom layer & spread evenly towards edges
using a spatula or butter knife. Place cake top
carefully (right side up) on filling, pressing
gently to position. Slice & serve.


So far, lately, things around here have been rather quiet/
slow. Saturday I went to another Mom-2-Mom sale with
the expectant Mom’s Mother – we had a good time together –
she bought a changing table for a really good price. I bought
one of those little flannel squares with the ribbon tabs all
around it (not sure what they call them, but they’re like a
soft sensitivity thing) – cost me a dollar – big expense, right?
We have two more Mom-2-Mom sales coming up in the
next few weeks – I’m still looking for a small high chair &
walker. Saw 2 walkers pretty close to what I want but I’m
not paying $35 for it USED, when I can get a new one for
that price! We’ve still got time; she goes to the doctor
in 2 weeks and will probably find out then what sex it
is – I’m still hoping for a girl! It’s fun going to those sales
BUT if you don’t know the sex, buying any clothing just
doesn’t work. The other grandmother bought 8 ‘onesies’,
which were kind of gender-neutral (but they were 3-6
months size). I tried to tell her that if this baby is BIG
when it’s born, those will only work for about 1-2
weeks . . . sigh. (That’s why I’m holding off).

Hope you are having a great week so far;
stay warm (if you’re in a chilly place), relax a
bit & take a little time to stop & ‘smell the roses’
(OR, if you’re here, smell other people burning
their leaves! . . . which is against our local
ordinances, by the way)



PS: My dear friend Mary (Momma) is going to be
reading the books that the movie I went to see
last Thursday is based on: “Mrs. Perragrin’s
Home for Peculiar Children.” She emailed me
asking what I thought of the movie. I LIKE
Tim Burton creations and have seen probably
3; this movie was NOT like those – much darker,
kind of scary theme (I would NOT recommend
young kids going to it – it’s rated PG13). There
were a few parts where I even covered my eyes,
just too weird/gorey/yucky. The plot was interesting
but I didn’t care for the movie, itself EVEN THOUGH
Samuel L. Jackson (who played the BIG bad guy) and
Dame Judith Dench, one of my favorite actresses –
she only had a very tiny part) were in it.