here we go … again…


Now that we’re finally able to navigate the ice & snow, here comes MORE! Latest weather report: 5 inches between 5/6 p.m. tonight and noon tomorrow – great…sigh. I spent the morning getting paperwork together for knit  & special needs groups then decided to check in with a friend. She said: “Well, are you ready for more snow?” I hadn’t been keeping up with the weather, so NO, I’m not ready. That lit a fire under my (you fill in the blank) – got my various lists together & went to post office, drug store, mail box & grocery store – think we’re good for now. Living in Michigan all my life, you’d think I would be used to this but Noooooooooo, every new snowfall produces more ANGST! I also failed to mention we’re in a sort of deep freeze: Highs are around 14 degrees F.  I’m grateful we have a nice, warm house, food/clothing to bless us (and a heater, if needed) – only thing left is what? MORE KNITTING, of course! I’m down to a good hour or so of finishing the blue & green baby blanket then I’m totally out of projects (except baby hats – but then I ALWAYS have baby hats!). Torn between starting another baby blanket or doing another scarf for the homeless. Baby blankets are ‘all the time’ projects, but the scarves are seasonal – guess I just talked myself into my next project, eh?


Crockpot Cranberry Apple Butter

2 lb. apples, peeled/cored/sliced,
about 6 C. (poster used Granny Smith)
1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 C. orange juice

(add at end, to taste)
1/2 C. brown sugar

Add apples, cranberries, clove, cinnamon
sticks & orange juice to crockpot. Cover &
cook on High 5 hours or Low 8, without
opening lid during cooking time. When
time is done, remove cinnamon sticks &
discard. Ladle everything into a blender
working in batches – add sugar. (poster
used 1/2 C. – you can always add more)
Blend until smooth. Makes 20 servings

Comments from poster:
I think it tastes better after being
refrigerated overnight. Good on
biscuits or croissants.

Candy Cane Trail Mix

5 C. rice cereal (like Rice Chex)
1 C. mini pretzels
2 1/2 C. white chocolate chips
1 C. crushed candy canes
1 C. powdered sugar
2 C. popped popcorn
1/2 C. dark chocolate chips
1/2 C. mini marshmallows
1/3 C. shelled pistachios

Pour cereal & mini pretzels in large
bowl. Melt white choc. chips in
microwave in 30-second intervals,
stirring occasionally, until all morsels
are melted – pour over cereal in bowl,
stirring & folding until lightly coated.
Fold in crushed candy canes. Pour
powdered sugar into a large zip-lock
bag. Pour cereal/pretzel mixture in
bag, seal & shake until mixture is
covered with sugar. Refrigerate bag,
allowing chocolate to harden. Place
mixture in a large serving bowl &
stir in rest of ingredients. Store
leftovers in airtight container at
room temperature up to 2 weeks.
Serves 8


Batter-dipped Fried Bacon
with Queso Dip

1 lb. bacon (don’t use thick cut)
oil for frying

2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. baking soda
4 T. Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce
1 1/2 C. water


fried bacon, tortilla chips, corn chips,

Heat 1-2 inches oil in a deep pot,
Dutch oven or electric deep fryer
to 375 degrees F. (If using elec.
deep fryer, follow ALL manufacturers
instructions). In medium bowl mix
flour, salt, pepper & baking soda. Add
only enough water to make a very
thick batter (poster only used 1 1/2 C.)
Add Tabasco & stir until well combined.
Cut each slice of bacon in half; dip bacon
pieces in batter, letting excess batter
drip back into bowl. Fry bacon in small
batches so bacon has plenty of room
to move around. Fry about 4-6 pieces
at a time for a total of 10 minutes,
turning each slice halfway into cooking
time. Drain onto a paper towel-lined
plate (bacon may be kept warm in
200 degrees F. oven while finishing
rest of batch. Makes about 30

Queso Dip

1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 (16 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 C. shredded cooked chicken
2-3 T. Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce
1/2 C sliced black olives (optional)

In large microwaveable bowl place cheeses
& diced tomatoes (don’t drain). Microwave
on High 1 minute; stir. Continue to micro-
wave in 30-second intervals,stirring after
each, until cheeses melt & mixture is
smooth. Add Tabasco & shredded chicken;
stir – stir in olives (if using).
Serve with suggested dippers

Sugar Maple Bacon Smokies

1/2 lb. bacon
1 pkg. cocktail franks
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 – 1/2 C. maple syrup
small wooden skewers

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with foil;
drizzle with maple syrup &
sprinkle with brown sugar.
Cut bacon into thirds; wrap each
piece around a cocktail frank &
secure with skewer – place on
prepared sheet. Repeat until
all bacon is used. Bake 20-30
minutes until sugar is melted &
bacon is browned & crisp.
Makes approx. 24-36.


Cheesy Baked Penne w/Roasted


1 red bell pepper, cored/
cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium zucchini, quartered
lengthwise, cut into 1″ cubes
1 medium (8 oz) fennel bulb,
ends removed, cut into 1″
1 C. asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 medium red onion, sliced into
1″ pieces
6 cloves garlic, peeled/slightly smashed
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil

12 oz. penne pasta
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 C. grated Pecorino Romano
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 (25.25 oz) jar marinara sauce

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Spray large baking sheet with non-
stick spray; toss peppers, zucchini,
fennel, asparagus, red onion & garlic
with balsamic, olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt,
black pepper & dried herbs – spread
out on prepared sheet. Bake/roast
until tender on lower rack of oven,
about 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway,
until slightly browned & tender. Bring
large pot of salted water to boil &
cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions
for al dente (undercooking by 4 minutes).
In medium bowl combine ricotta, parsley,
6 T. Pecorino Romano & half of mozzarella
cheese. Spray a deep 9 X 13″ baking pan
with nonstick spray. Place half of roasted
veggies into pan, top with half of cooked
pasta, top with 1 C. sauce. Spoon ricotta
mixture on top of sauce in even layer.
Cover with remaining pasta, veggies then
sauce. Top with remaining mozzarella
& 2 T. Pecorino Romano cheese. Cover
with foil & bake 25 minutes until cheese
is melted. Serves 8


 Chicken Gnocci Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled/grated
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled/chopped
2-3 T. olive oil
1 rotisserie chicken plus 1 C.
reserved broth from bottom of
7 C. water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
1 (16 oz) pkg. Potato Gnocchi,
usually found in refrigerated/
freezer section
4 C. Half & Half
1 1/2 C. spinach, chopped
1 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. sugar
1/4 C. cold water
5 T. cornstarch
2 T. butter

Heat large pot over medium-high
heat; add 2-3 T. olive oil. When oil
is hot, add chopped veggies & cook
over medium-high heat 5-8 minutes
until onions are translucent. Remove
chicken from pkg.; pour broth in bottom
of pkg. into a large measuring cup
(should be about 1 C.) Remove skin
from chicken & remove meat from
bones; chop meat into medium sized
pieces. When veggies are done; pour
cooking broth from chicken & 7 C.
hot water into pot; add chicken &
chicken bouillon cubes & stir well.
bring to boil. Add Gnocchi to pot &
let soup come to a boil again. Cook
3-4 minutes – Gnocchi will be cooked
through when they float to the top
of broth. Add Half & Half, seasonings,
sugar & butter to pot – stir gently &
let come to a boil.
In small bowl combine 1/4 C. cold
water & 5 T. cornstarch – mix well &
pour into boiling soup. Stir well –
soup should thicken as it reaches a
boil. Taste & adjust seasonings with
salt/pepper. Serves 12


 Broccoli/Cheddar Noodle Pie

1 (8 oz) pkg. egg noodles
3 T. butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. flour
3/4 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/2 large head broccoli, florets
2 C. grated Cheddar cheese
3 large eggs, beaten (or
6 egg whites)
1/4 C. panko breadcrumbs
1 tbl. olive oil

Cook noodles accordg to pkg
directions; drain.
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Butter a pie pan. In large skillet
over medium heat melt butter.
Cook onions until soft, 5 minutes.
Add garlic; cook 30 seconds more,
season with salt/pepper. Sprinkle
flour over mixture, 1 T. at a time,
stir constantly until flour is cooked
through & golden, 2 minutes. Whisk
in chicken broth & heavy cream; bring
to simmer. Add broccoli florets & let
simmer until bright green, 2 minutes.
Add cooked noodles & season with
salt/pepper. Add cheese, stir to
combine then transfer to prepared
pie dish – pour over beaten eggs &
gently toss. In small bowl mix panko
& olive oil; season with salt & sprinkle
over top. Bake 40-45 minutes until
golden & bubbly. Let cool 15 minutes
then slice & serve.


Crockpot Bacon Jam

1 1/2 lb. sliced bacon
2 medium yellow onions
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 C. cider vinegar
1/2 C. dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 C. maple syrup
3/4 C. brewed coffee

In large skillet cook bacon over
medium-high heat, stirring
occasionally until bacon is
lightly browned, about 20
minutes – transfer to paper
towels. Pour off all but 1 T.
fat from skillet; add onions &
garlic, cook about 6 minutes.
Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple
syrup & coffee – bring to boil,
stirring & scraping up browned
bits from bottom of skillet, about
2 minutes. Add bacon & stir.
Transfer to crockpot. Cook on
High, uncovered, until liquid is
syrupy – about 3 1/2 – 4 hours.
Transfer mixture to food
processor; pulse until coarsely
chopped. Let cool, then refrigerate
in airtight containers, up to 4
weeks. Makes 3 cups


Crockpot Cashew Candy Clusters

24 oz. dry roasted cashews(can use
4 oz. unsweetened dark baking
chocolate, broken into pieces
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 lb. vanilla almond bark broken
into as small of pieces as you can
1 tsp. vanilla

(recipe best made in a 5 qt or
larger crockpot for easier stirring)
Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Place cashews in
bottom of crockpot. Next a layer
of broken up dark chocolate &
chocolate chips. On top white
almond bark pieces. Cover &
cook on Low first hour, stirring
every 15 minutes using a spatula
or wooden spoon* After first hour,
stir every 30 minutes. When it starts
mixing really well but not quite all
melted, add vanilla & stir in well.
This can take 2-3 hours, depending
on how warm your crockpot gets.
(unless you are using a much older
first generation crockpot, skipping
the stirring process will result in
burnt cashews & chocolate.
After all is mixed well & smooth,
spoon out into empty cupcake
liners. Refrigerate until ready to
serve. Serves 4

*If you have a Warm feature on
your crockpot, cook on Warm for
the first 3 hours then just let it
melt as it won’t scorch before

NOTE: You can change up recipe
by adding pretzel bits, dry cereal,
different nuts or marshmallows at
very end as you are spooning
mixture into cups.



Hope you are all warm/dry and comfy –
I’m sitting here sipping cocoa; just had
a ‘taste’ for it!




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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Living on a corner lot we just had the sidewalks shoveled to wake up to more snow. well it will give someone some gift money. Stay warm and safe!

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