and then there’s snow . . . coming today-UGH!


Watching the weather report last night made us just want to go to bed and not get up! Between today and Sunday night we’re supposed to get between 6-7 inches of the white stuff. Tomorrow is CHURCH! We always go to church! Well, it will be ‘get up & see what we’ve got to deal with’. Middle son left last night for a weekend gaming tournament – a good 1 1/2 hours  away – REALLY hope he thinks about coming back home before Sunday night! Living in Michigan makes you think long & hard about where you have to go, traveling conditions, traffic, etc.


 Melt-in-your-Mouth Pecan Sandies

2 C. flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1 large egg, room temp.
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 C. pecans: 1 C. chopped/1 C.
reserved whole, for decoration

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment
paper. In large bowl beat sugar, egg,
butter & vanilla until creamy (3-5 minutes).
In separate bowl combine flour, salt &
baking soda. Using elec. mixer on Low slowly
add dry ingredients until just combined, then
fold in chopped pecans. Scoop out dough; roll
into 1-inch balls & place on prepared sheets.
Place 1 whole pecan in center of each cookie.
Bake 10-12 minutes until edges of cookie
are just golden. Remove from oven; cool
on wire rack. Serve immediately or store in
airtight container. Makes 2-3 dozen


Crockpot Green Bean Casserole

2 lb. fresh green beans (or frozen
French-cut green beans)*
4 T. unsalted butter
6 T. flour
1 C. chicken broth
1 C. milk
1/2 C. Half & Half
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned/
stems removed & sliced
1 C. Parmesan cheese, finely
grated (optional)
6 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1/2 C. Panko bread crumbs
1 T. butter
1 1/2 C. French’s French fried onions,

In large saucepan melt 4 T. butter over
low heat. Whisk in 6  T. flour & let
cook1-2 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 C.
chicken broth then 1 C. milk; whisk
until it begins to thicken. Let simmer
a few minutes. Season to taste with
salt/pepper. Stir in Half & Half.
In a nonstick skillet saute mushrooms
slowly so they release all of their
moisture. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt,
1/2 tsp. black pepper, & 1/2 tsp. ground
thyme. When mushrooms start to turn
golden brown (about 10 minutes) add
to sauce in other saucepan. Stir in 1 C.
finely grated Parmesan cheese (if using).
In large bowl toss green beans with
mushroom sauce. Spray insides of
crockpot with nonstick spray; pour
green bean mixture into crockpot &
sprinkle 1/2 C. French fried onions
on top.
*Fresh beans – cook on Low 4-6 hours
Frozen beans- cook on Low 5-6 hours
Shortly before serving heat 1 T. butter
over medium heat. Add 1/2 C. Panko
bread crumbs & cook until lightly
toasted. Add 1 C. French fried onions
& cook 1 minute. When casserole is
done cooking transfer to a serving dish
& sprinkle Fried onion mixture over
top & serve.


Creamy Garlic Pasta

1 lb. angel hair pasta
3 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
2 C. whipping cream
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. butter
1 tsp. minced garlic
(chopped parsley, garnish)

In large pot over medium heat,
melt butter; add garlic & cook
1 minute. Add chicken broth &
bring to boil. Once boiling, add
pasta & cook until done – then
lower heat & simmer until most
of broth has evaporated. Turn off
heat; add whipping cream & Parm.
cheese – stir then serve with parsley

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Mexican Beef & Vegetable Soup

2 T. olive oil
1 1/2/ lb. top sirloin steak, cubed
into 1″ chunks
1 large onion, diced
1 C. diced celery
1 C. diced carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes,
8 C. beef stock
3 T. lime juice
salt, to taste
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes,
peeled/diced into cubes
1 C. canned yellow corn
fresh parsley, minced (optional

In large Dutch oven or soup pot over
medium heat add 1 T. oil. Place half
of beef in pot & brown on each side –
remove with slotted spoon into a
separate bowl, repeat with rest of
meat. Add 1 more T. olive oil & onions
to pot & cook over medium heat until
onions are translucent. Place celery,
carrots, garlic, cumin,oregano, pepper,
cayenne, diced tomatoes & beef stock,
lime juice & potatoes in same pot &
mix until combined. Bring to boil, cover &
simmer 20 minutes. Taste & adjust
seasoning. Add corn to pot & stir.
Garnish with parsley, if desired &
serve warm. Serves 8


Super Easy Italian Crescent Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 C. spaghetti sauce
1 (8 oz) can refrigerated crescent rolls
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. sour cream
1/4 tsp. dried basil

Preheat oven 375 degrees F. In skillet,
cook ground beef until brown; drain &
add spaghetti sauce – heat through.
Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles
Place dough in ungreased 9 inch pie plate
with narrow tips (of rolls) overlapping rim
of dish. Mix sour cream & 1 1/4 C. cheese
together. Spread ground beef onto rolls;
top with sour cream mixture. Fold rolls
over so tips are in center of dish (try not
to overlap). Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 C.
cheese & dried basil. Bake 20-25 minutes
until golden brown. Serves 6


Chocolate Pretzel Rings

48-50 pretzel ‘rings’ or squares
48-50 milk chocolate or striped
chocolate kisses
1/4 C. milk chocolate M & M’s

Place pretzels on greased baking
sheets; place 1 chocolate kiss in
center of each pretzel. Bake at
275 degrees F. 2-3 minutes until
chocolate is softened – remove
from oven. Place 1 M & M candy
on each, pressing down slightly so
chocolate fits pretzel holes. Refrigerate
5-10 minutes until chocolate is firm.
Store in airtight container at room
temperature. Makes about 4 dozen


Creamy Potato & Red Pepper Dip

2 russet potatoes (about 1 lb),
kosher salt
6 medium cloves garlic
3/4 C. whole blanched almonds
1/2 C. plus 2 T. olive oil, plus
more for drizzling
2 whole jarred roasted red
peppers, rinsed/patted dry
1/2 C. fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 C. lemon juice
3 T. white wine vinegar

baked pita chips and/or
warm fresh pita bread wedges

Place potatoes & 1 T. salt in medium
saucepan; cover with cold water by
2 inches. Bring to boil over high heat.
Lower heat & simmer until potatoes
are very tender, 25-30 minutes. Once
water is at a simmer, add garlic cloves
& cook until just tender, 2-3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove garlic &
cool slightly, then coarsely chop.
Add garlic to food processor along with
almonds & 1/2 C. oil; process until
mixture becomes a thick paste – transfer
paste to a large bowl. Rinse out food
processor & add roasted red peppers,
parsley, pepper flakes, 2 T. oil & 1/4 tsp.
salt. Process until mixture is mostly
smooth with some small chunks. When
potatoes are tender, drain well then
cool slightly. Use a clean dish towel to
rub off skins (discard skins), coarsely
chop potatoes. Mash (or use food
mill or rices) potatoes add to bowl
with almond mixture. Add 2 tsp. salt
& gently stir until just combined. Stir
in lemon juice, vinegar & 1/2 C. water;
taste for seasoning & adjust as needed.
Spoon potato mixture into shallow
baking dish – make a large well in
center. Fill well with red pepper sauce
& lightly drizzle top with olive oil.
Serve warm or at room temperature
with pita chips/bread chunks.
Makes about 4 cups


Candy Bar Fudge

1/2 C. butter
1/3 C. baking cocoa
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1/4 C. milk
3 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
30 caramels, unwrapped
1 T. water
2 C. salted peanuts
1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. milk chocolate chips

In microwave-safe bowl, combine
butter, cocoa, brown sugar & milk.
Microwave on High until mixture
boils, about 2 minutes. Stir in
powdered sugar & vanilla; pour into
a greased 8 X 8″ square pan. In
another microwave-safe bowl heat
caramels & water on High 1 1/4
minutes until melted. Stir in peanuts;
spread over chocolate layer. Micro-
wave chocolate chips on High 30
seconds until melted; spread over
caramel layer. Chill until firm.
Makes 2 3/4 lb. or 64 servings


No-Bake Chocolate/Peanut Butter

1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
2 C. sugar
1/2 C. whole milk
4 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 C. creamy peanut butter
3 C. instant oats
2 tsp. vanilla

Line baking sheets with waxed
In medium saucepan add butter, sugar,
milk & cocoa – heat on medium heat.
Measure out peanut butter & oats &
have vanilla ready – process goes quickly.
Bring mixture to a rolling boil; boil 1
minute 15 seconds. Remove from heat
immediately, stir in peanut butter. Add
oats – stir, add vanilla – stir. Drop by
Tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.
Let cool 30 minutes until set. Store in
air-tight container.

Tip to perfect cookies: TIME THE BOIL
when it’s at a full, rapid boil, not when you
first start seeing bubbles. Never go over 1
minute 15 seconds while boiling or it will
end up too dry.

Second tip: never make them when it’s raining-
they will not turn out correctly (they’ll be gooey
and not set up) Weird, but true



Today is one of those “What do I do FIRST?” days;
there are three rather ‘pressing’ things I SHOULD
be doing: (1) get those 2 spa cloths knit, (2) work
on completing the next newsletter for my group
in time to email it to the church so they can get
it printed up, so I can drive there/pick them up/
staple together/fold/put some in envelopes &
mail BEFORE January 4th which will be our first
meeting of the new year (3) finish buying presents
hopefully BEFORE we get too much snow to
travel in safely…those are the ‘weighing on my
brain things’ today. And where do you find me
when all that needs doing? Perusing my emails,
reading Facebook posts and then deciding to
make a post to you! Yep, I’ve officially joined
Also still tossing around which ‘sides’ will go
well with the Christmas dinner! Oldest son
is preparing either Prime Rib or Roast Pork
Loin (or both, he hasn’t decided yet) – other
grandmother & I are doing the sides &
desserts. I asked son if he would prepare
his (fantastically tasty) grilled asparagus;
along with that I’m thinking glazed carrots,
twice-baked/stuffed potatoes, maybe some
kind of cold salad/jello thing?, rolls. The
other grandma makes great appetizers, so
that’s what she’s doing; I’m doing the desserts.
For starters: our family tradition: a big dark
chocolate cake:


along with French vanilla ice cream.
Might come up with one more dessert,
maybe something not quite as sweet?
Haven’t decided yet. The Birthday cake
is usually round, but that year I found
my old heart-shaped pans and went
with that. I make it as a devil’s food
cake & add extra strong coffee as the
liquid (brings out the chocolate flavor).

Well, my dears, the day is swiftly passing
and I’m no closer to getting any of my
objectives accomplished. Think I’ll sign
off here and start on the the newsletter.

Enjoy your day – and stay warm & safe!!!




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