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.




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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Glad you are enjoying this gorgeous weather. Not looking forward to the rest of the week but happy these few days are here.

  2. Thanks for the dinner ideas, chicken lasagna fits the bill. Enjoy the waning days of summer!

  3. I spent this early evening catching some of the colors you spoke of. I’ll print them tomorrow.

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