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




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Cleaning the garage hit me right in the head! This is on my to do list, Chris our friend got my truck into the garage but it was like using a shoe horn. I will check with Cindy on the Layered Vegetable Torte to see if it is near what her diet calls for.

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