Gettin’ colder…Brrrrrrr!


Over the weekend our temperatures dropped – woke up to 20 degrees F. and about 1 inch of snow; the roads are clear, so that’s good. Supposed to go to the drug store today but I’ll make up my mind later (when it, hopefully, warms up a bit). (amendment: it’s now 17 degrees F. with wind chill – making it feel like 9 degrees F. BRRRRrrrr!

Saturday was the new grandson-to-be-born’s baby shower – they got lots of nice gifts. Here’s a photo of the soon-to-be new parents:


She’s due in 5 weeks or less (she said that the baby ‘dropped’ the night before the shower, so it could be less!) They are both thrilled and it shows.


Reese’s PBJ Cupcakes

1 1/3 C. flour
2/3 C. finely crushed graham crackers
1 T. baking powder
1 C. creamy peanut butter
1/3 C. shortening
1 1/3 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. milk
24 bite-sized chocolate covered
peanut butter cups, unwrapped
raspberry or strawberry jam

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 24 muffin cups with paper
liners. In medium bowl mix flour,
crushed graham crackers & baking
powder. In large bowl beat peanut
butter & shortening using elec.
mixer on Medium speed – mix well.
Add sugar until well mixed then add
eggs & vanilla. Alternate flour mixture
& milk, beating on Low speed after
each addition. Spoon 1 rounded
tablespoon of batter into bottom of
each muffin cup liner. Add 1 whole
peanut butter cup to each liner. Spoon
remaining batter into cups. Bake about
18 minutes until a toothpick inserted
into centers comes out clean (cupcakes
may have a slight indentation).
Cool on cooling rack & top with jam.
Makes 24


Easy Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1/2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 head cauliflower, diced
1 (32 oz) can vegetable broth
1 tsp. salt

grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
sliced green onions, garnish

In heavy pot or Dutch oven heat
oil over medium heat; add onion &
garlic, cook until softened, 5 minutes.
Add cut up cauliflower & broth; bring
to boil & cover. Simmer 15-20 minutes
until cauliflower is softened. Carefully
pour contents into blender; add salt &
blend until smooth. Serve in bowls with
Parmesan cheese & sliced green onions
on top. Serves about 8


Crockpot Creamy Italian
Pork Chops

6 pork chops
1 envelope dry Italian salad dressing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
2 dashes paprika

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Place pork chops
in bottom & cover with onions, In
small bowl mix Italian salad dressing
mix & soup together & pour over
chops & onions. Sprinkle with a
couple pinches of paprika. Cover
& cook on Low 6 hours. Serves 6


Cheesy Broccoli Rice with Ham

1 T. olive oil
1 C. long-grain white rice
2 1/4 C. chicken broth
2 small heads broccoli,
chopped into small pieces
2 T. butter
3 C. cooked, diced ham, hot
(warm in microwave a few minutes)
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt/pepper, to taste
splash of milk, as needed

Heat oil in medium saucepan over
medium heat. Add rice; stir to coat.
Toast the rice, stirring often, just until
it starts to turn golden. Pour in broth,
bring to boil; turn heat to Low & cover.
Cook, covered, 10 minutes. After 10
minutes add broccoli to rice & continue
cooking 5-10 minutes until most of liquid
has been absorbed.(Broccoli will cook
5-10 minutes & steam for 5). If you like
it more tender, add to pot of cooking
rice sooner. Remove from heat; add
butter, ham, cheese & garlic powder.
Stir until well incorporated. Cover &
let stand 5 minutes. Stir again & adjust
seasoning, if needed. Add a splash of
milk if you would like to thin out
texture a little bit. Serves 4


French Onion Chicken Noodle

4 C. cooked chicken, diced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 (16 oz) jar French Onion dip
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel diced tomatoes
& chilies, drained (Optional)
1 C. Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (12 oz) pkg. egg noodles
1 1/2 C. French Fried onions,

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. Cook egg noodles
accordg. to pkg. directions; drain.
In large bowl combine chicken,
soup, dip, Ro*Tel & cheese. Gently
fold in cooked egg noodles & pour
into prepared pan. Top with crushed
French fried onions & bake 25-30
minutes until heated through.
Serves 8


Crockpot Pot Roast & Veggies

1/2 C. A1 original sauce
1/2 C. cold water
1 (.9 oz) pkt. onion-mushroom soup
1 (2 1/2 lb) boneless beef chuck
1 lb. red new potatoes
1 (16 oz) pkg. baby carrots
1 onion, thinly sliced

Mix first 3 ingredients until blended.
Place meat in crockpot; top with
vegetables & sauce. Cover & cook
on Low 8-9 hours (or High 6-7)
Serves 8


Seven Layers of Heaven Dessert

1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 C. graham cracker crumbs
1 C. sweetened flaked coconut
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1 C. peanut butter chips
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
milk (not evap. milk)
1 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Pour melted butter evenly over
bottom of 8″ square baking dish.
Spread graham crumbs evenly
over butter. Layer with coconut, then
choc. chips, peanut butt. chips. Drizzle
sweeten’d cond. milk over top &
sprinkle with walnuts. Bake 30-40
minutes until lightly browned. Cool
then cut into bars. Serves 16



So far, this week is looking OK – nothing
‘special’ (yet) – Knit Night Tues., Spec’l
needs group Weds – that’s it! (Of course,
we know that could change . . . )

Enjoy your day – stay warm (if you need
to) and take a little time to relax!



PS: Gas prices are down to $2.16/9 – WOW!

Up & At Em EARLY today!


Today found me rising at 6:30 a.m. – middle son needed me to give him a ride home after dropping off his car for some routine maintenance (not used to rising that early, but with a cup of coffee I was ‘good to go’). Managed to get the greeting cards & envelopes ORDERED! YAY! I ended up calling the company and spoke to a VERY nice young man who gave me the information I needed; my special needs ‘kids’ really struggled with that last greeting card because it had a glossy finish on the inside of the card – I wanted to MAKE SURE these cards didn’t have that (wasn’t sure looking at their site). He assured me that the insides are matte finish and, after telling him what we specifically wanted the front black & white for (so the recipient could color their own card) he suggested we make the front matte finish, also – SO GLAD I called them! Order is placed and I’m super happy.

PS: Just in case you might find yourself needed a good printing company, I would highly recommend:

Tomorrow is my yet-to-be-born grandson’s Baby Shower and I’m freaking out about finding the place – read that: I HATE EXPRESSWAYS! Husband gave me directions (not on expressway) on how to find it but I find myself still worrying that I might get lost. I don’t know about you, but I’ve NEVER been comfortable driving to new places – especially if they involve either expressways OR roundabouts! Went to the dollar store today to get a big paper gift bag for the rest of the baby gifts – again, don’t know about you, but I really don’t enjoy baby showers . . . too much AHhhhhhhh, Ooooooooo, look at all the CUTE things! Guess I’m just a ‘standard issue’ grandma: just give me the baby & I’ll watch it. I’d much rather just give the gifts to the parents and avoid a shower but no-can-do this time so it’s “BUCKLE UP, BUTTERCUP – here comes the shower!” Sigh …


Cherry Pie Sheet Cake

1 3/4 C. sugar
1 C. butter, softened
4 eggs
3 C. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 (21 oz, ea) cans cherry pie filling
2 C. powdered sugar
4 T. milk
1 tsp. almond extract
dash salt

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cream together sugar & softened
butter until light & fluffy – about
2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time,
making sure to scrape bottom of
bowl so all ingredients are well
combined. In separate bowl combine
flour, salt & baking powder – add to
creamed mixture & mix 1-2 minutes
until smooth & glossy. Spray a large
cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
Spread 2/3 of batter into pan & smooth
out evenly. Carefully spoon both cans
of pie filling on top of batter & smooth
out evenly. Drop remaining cake
batter by spoonfuls onto pie filling &
spread out with a knife. Bake 35-40
minutes until a toothpick inserted into
center comes out clean & top is golden
brown. Allow cake to cool completely.
In medium bowl combine powdered
sugar, milk, almond extract & salt – whisk
with a fork until smooth then drizzle
over top of cooled cake.
Makes 24 servings


Citrus Chicken & Rice Soup

1 T. olive oil
1/2 C. celery, diced
1/2 C. onion, diced
1/4 C. scallion bottoms (save
1 C. carrots, diced
1/2 C. uncooked white rice
zest from 1 naval orange
6 C. chicken stock, divided
2 eggs
1/4 C. orange juice
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. lime juice
dash hot sauce (optional)
2 C. cooked chicken, broken into
bite-sized pieces
1 C. frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
sliced scallions (tops/green parts)
for garnish

in 5  qt Dutch oven heat oil over
medium-high heat; add celery,
onion, scallion bottoms & carrots –
saute 3 minutes. Add rice & orange
zest; cook 1 minute. Reserve 1 C.
stock & pour rest into pot; bring to
boil. Lower heat to Low, cover & cook
10 minutes. While rice is cooking, whip
the eggs until frothy; add to 1 C. reserved
stock. Add juice from orange/lemon/lime
& stir. After 10 minutes remove lid & add
cooked chicken, green peas & cilantro –
heat to hot, almost boiling. Remove from
heat & ladle out a few cups of hot broth
into egg & juice mixture then slowly add
back into hot soup, stirring while adding.
Heat soup to serving temperature & remove
from heat. Add optional hot sauce & serve
with chopped cilantro & scallion tops.
Serves 6-8


Cheesy Cabbage Casserole Skillet

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 small head cabbage, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 C. shredded Mexican-blend cheese
1 C. white rice, uncooked
1 2/3 C. water
salt/pepper, to taste

Brown ground beef & onion in large
skillet over medium-high heat until
beef is no longer pink & onions are
tender. Drain; season with salt/pepper.
Stir in cabbage, diced tomatoes &
tomato sauce; cook over medium heat
until cabbage is just tender. Add rice &
water, increase heat & bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cover with
tight-fitting lid – simmer 25 minutes
without removing lid, until rice is
tender & most liquid has been
absorbed. Remove skillet from heat;
sprinkle top with cheese. Replace lid,
allow cheese to melt completely.


Crockpot Homestyle Pork Chops

1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6-8 boneless pork chops
2 T. oil
1 (10.5 oz) can chicken broth

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Mix flour, mustard,
salt & garlic powder in flat pan (like
a pie pan). Lightly coat chops in flour
mixture (reserve remaining flour
mixture). In large skillet add oil
& brown chops over medium-high
heat. Mix broth with remaining flour
mixture & pour into crockpot. Place
browned chops in crockpot, cover &
cook on High 2 1/2 hours.
Serves 6


Quick Peach Cobbler

1/2 C. butter, melted
1 (15 1/4 oz) can sliced peaches,
drained (reserve 1/4 C. juice)
1 1/4 C. sugar, divided
1 C. flour
1 C. milk
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Pour butter into a shallow
2 qt. baking dish. In saucepan,
bring peaches & juice just to a
boil. In bowl, combine 1 C. sugar,
flour, milk, baking powder & salt-
mix well then pour over butter
in dish. Spoon hot peaches over
batter & sprinkle top with
remaining sugar. Bake 25 minutes
until cake tests done. Serve warm
Serves 6-8


Pizza Sandwich Casserole
(party recipe-serves 12)

1/4 C. butter
1 pkg. dinner rolls
2 C. shredded or sliced
mozzarella cheese
small pkg. sliced pepperoni
1/4 C. tomato sauce
2 tsp. ground oregano

Place butter in saucepan
on medium heat; remove from
heat once melted (to prevent
scorching). Slice buns across the
middle (horizontally) – set tops
to the side. Spread tomato sauce
on bottom sections & place in
9 X 13″ baking dish. Spread 1 C.
mozz. cheese on top of sauce;
layer pepperoni to make one full
layer on top of cheese; sprinkle
with remaining 1 C. mozz. cheese.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Place tops back on & drizzle with
melted butter. Sprinkle on oregano
& cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes
until cheese is melted & butter has
been fully absorbed, making golden
tops. Cut into portions & serve.
Serves 12

NOTE: These can be made ahead of
time & refrigerated. After preparing
& covering with foil; refrigerate until
ready to cook.


‘Rotisserie Chicken’ Nachos

1 (4 lb) rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 bag restaurant-style tortilla chips
1 (15 oz) can refried beans
2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 C. shredded Pepper Jack cheese
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro (garnish)
2 T. diced red onion (garnish)

2 T. olive oil
1 C. diced onion
1 large fresh jalapeno, stemmed/
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15 oz) can diced tomato with juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. chili powder

Optional toppings:
sour cream

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Fill large oven-proof skillet with
tortilla chips. Prepare salsa by
sauteing Jalapeno & diced onion
in olive oil several minutes until
tender. Add garlic & saute 1-2
minutes. Add remaining salsa
ingredients & bring to boil. Simmer
over Low heat, uncovered, 5-10
minutes. Heat refried beans in a
microwave-safe bowl. Warm
shredded chicken in microwave. Drop
dollops of refried beans over top
of tortilla chips in pan. Layer warm
salsa over beans & layer chicken
over salsa. Layer both cheeses over
chicken & bake 5-7 minutes until
cheese is melted. Remove from oven
& sprinkle with cilantro & red onion.
Serve immediately. Serves 6-8


Easy Mini Apple Strudels

6 medium Granny Smith apples,
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. raisins
1/4 C. sliced almonds
10 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 (16 oz) pkg. phyllo dough
extra sugar for dusting

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with
parchment. Place apples in large
bowl; sprinkle with lemon juice &
toss to coat. Add raisins, almonds,
cinnamon, flour & sugar – toss to
combine well. Melt butter.
For Each Strudel:
4 sheets phyllo, layered.
Brush first sheet with butter, lay
another sheet on top & brush with
butter – repeat until there are 4 sheets
layered. Place about 1/3 C. filling in
top third of layered sheets – fold on
long sides of sheets towards the center,
then roll from short side & place in pan,
seam-side down – repeat until all filling
is used up. Brush each strudel with
remaining butter & sprinkle tops with
sugar. Bake 30 minutes until golden
brown. Serves 8

(Poster noted she got 8 strudel with some
leftover phyllo – you probably won’t use
the entire box)



Today we have 31 degrees F., cold &
breezy with tiny granules of snow –
yes, it’s sticking to the ground but for
now it’s not accumulating, so that’s OK.

Hope you have a GREAT day;



New Projects! (and you know how much I LOVE them!)


Last night was my special needs group; one of our young men who is in a wheelchair & disabled had some recent medical procedures done so we wanted to send him a get well card. I went into my card ‘stash’ and got a generic get well card & brought it for the entire group to sign – not paying attention to the fact that this particular card was shiny INSIDE, making it extremely difficult to use an ink pen on! I had kids coming to me constantly: “This pen doesn’t work, have you got another one?” (it wasn’t the pen – it was the goofy card!). At the end of the evening one of our leaders threw out the idea that perhaps we should attempt to design our OWN get well card! If you know me, you know I LOVE a challenge so last night & today saw me searching various sites for a FREE design your own greeting card. It was suggested that we use a black & white front design that the kids might color (good idea) – I found this one which is also our group Bible verse:


The inside reads:

Hope you feel better soon;
we’re all praying for you.

Love and prayers from
all your friends in the
“Friends Group”

This has been an ‘interesting’ adventure – found a great site but I couldn’t reduce the size of the front picture to fit THEIR format (sigh), several more that were very confusing. So far, the site I chose seems reasonable: $42.30 for 50 cards (the cost needs approval by the other board members) – found a site that has the right sized envelopes (press & seal) $14.95 for 50 so now it’s wait & see what the board thinks.

Yesterday was a day that felt like I needed to make some changes – ever have one of those? It started when I realized I needed to get all the various baby gifts in ONE place to wrap for Saturday’s baby shower (they were in closets, drawers, etc.) Upon doing that I decided to get the house bills done & in order – finished that. Sitting down to do a light bit of knitting got me started thinking of another ‘project’ I came up with: knitting a bookmark for the big Bible at the front of our church; it rests on a oak ‘altar’ (for want of a better name-a big flat table) and is placed on an oak book holder – all rather ‘blah’ – no color. The sanctuary of our church was entirely remodeled last year and now is in various shades of browns & creams – not much ‘pop of color’ so to speak. That got me to thinking: What color would go with the browns & creams and yet not distract from the message? I just placed an order for some burgundy sport-weight yarn – am going to knit a bookmark with that. One of my friends asked: “Did you ask permission for doing that?” NOPE – am going to attempt it – if I think it looks good I’m just going to put it on the Bible and see what happens (aren’t I a rebel?!) I’m guessing, if they don’t like it, it will just vanish – I don’t care…we’ll just ‘wait & see’!


Kathy’s Chocolate Chip Cake

1 (15.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 (3.9 oz) box instant chocolate
pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 C. water
3/4 C. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. chocolate chips

Ganache (chocolate frosting)

1 C. Half & Half or heavy cream
2 C. chocolate chips
1 T. melted butter
1 T. dark rum

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl mix all cake
ingredients except choc. chips.
Spray & flour a 10″ Bundt cake
with nonstick spray & flour
(tap out any loose flour);
pour batter into pan, spreading
evenly. Bake 45-50 minutes in
center of oven until a wooden
toothpick inserted near center
comes out clean. Cool 10
minutes then invert onto wire
rack & cool to room. temp.
Transfer cake to a serving plate.
Heat cream to hot & remove from
heat just as it begins to start to
boil; do not let it boil.
Add chocolate & let stand 5 minutes
then stir using a whisk to melt all
chocolate. Add butter & rum, whisk.
Cool slightly (5-10 minutes) then
drizzle over cake top covering as
much of surface as possible, letting
it drip down sides of cake.
Serves 12


Crockpot Broccoli Beef

2 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced &
cut into 2″ strips
5 C. fresh broccoli cut into florets
1 1/2 C. beef broth
2/3 C. soy sauce
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. cold water
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. peanut oil
3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes,
kosher salt/fresh ground black pepper,
to taste

(I would recommend serving this
over cooked rice)

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Add steak strips, beef broth, soy
sauce, brown sugar, garlic, peanut oil &
red pepper flakes (if using). Cover & cook
on High 2 hours until steak is cooked
through but still tender (or Low 4-5 hours).
After 2 hours cooking, whisk cornstarch &
water in small bowl then stir into beef
mixture. Stir in broccoli & cover. Continue
cooking 20-25 minutes until broccoli is
fork-tender. Spoon beef & broccoli into
bowls – serve hot. Serves 6


Cheesy Zucchini Quiche

Pastry for single-crust (9 inch)
3 T. butter
4 C. thinly sliced zucchini (about
3 medium)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 C. (8 oz) shredded mozzarella
2 tsp. prepared mustard

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Roll dough on lightly floured
surface to 1/8 inch thick circle;
transfer to 9 inch pie plate. Trim
pastry to 1/2 inch beyond rim
of pan & flute edges. Refrigerate
dough while preparing filling.
In large skillet heat butter over
medium heat; add zucchini & onion-
cook & stir until tender; drain &
cool slightly. In large bowl whisk
eggs & seasonings until blended;
stir in cheese & zucchini misture.
Spread mustard over pastry shell &
add filling – spread out evenly.
Bake on lower oven rack until a
knife inserted into center comes
out clean & crust is golden brown,
35-40 minutes. If needed, cover edges
loosely with foil during last 15 minutes
of baking to prevent overbrowning.
Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
Serves 8

Pastry Crust for Single 9″ pie crust

1 1/4 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. cold butter
3-5 T. ice water

Combine flour & salt; cut in cold
butter until crumbly. Gradually add
ice water, tossing with a fork until
dough holds together when pressed.
Wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate
1 hour before using.


Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup

2 C. diced/peeled butternut squash
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 C. vegetable broth, divided
1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes,
3 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/4 C. minced fresh basil
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
sauce, chopped
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained/
1 (11 oz) can Mexicorn, drained
2 C. fresh baby spinach
fresh sage – optional

In large saucepan saute squash,
carrot, onion & cumin in oil 10
minutes. Add garlic; cook 1
minute longer. Add 1 1/2 C.
broth & bring to boil. Reduce
heat; cover & simmer 10-12 minutes
until vegetables are tender; cool
slightly. Transfer mixture to blender;
add tomatoes, cream cheese, basil,
chipotle pepper & remaining broth.
Cover & process 1-2 minutes until
smooth. Return mixture to saucepan;
stir in beans, corn & spinach. Cook & stir
until spinach is wilted & soup is
heated through. If desired, sprinkle
with fresh sage. Serves 5


Spinach-Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

12 lasagna noodles
3 C. spaghetti sauce
1 C. mozzarella cheese

2 C. ricotta cheese
1/2 C. cottage cheese
1 egg
1 C. Parmesan cheese
1 C. mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice
5 C. finely chopped spinach

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Boil lasagna noodles accordg.
to pkg. directions to al dente (do
not cook all the way through). Place
them in a strainer & run cold water
over them. Mix all filling ingredients
in large bowl – make sure to combine
fully. Spray 9 X 13″ pan with nonstick
spray. Pour about 1 C. spaghetti sauce
in pan & spread around to cover bottom.
Lay one lasagna noodle on a plate; using
a spoon, spread filling over top of noodle
& roll up. Place rolled up noodle, seam-
side down, in pan & repeat. Pour remaining
spaghetti sauce over top of rolls &
sprinkle with 1 C. mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil & bake 45 minutes until
cooked through. (you might want to remove
foil & place under broiler to brown tops –
make sure you watch it so they don’t burn)
Makes 12 rolls


Cranberry Almond Energy Bites

1 C. oatmeal
1/3 C. almonds, chopped
1/3 C. sweetened shredded coconut
1 T. ground flax seed (optional)
1/2 C. nut butter (peanut or almond)
1/4 C. honey
1 T. chia seeds
1/3 C. dried cranberries, roughly

Bake oatmeal, almonds & coconut
8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F. ,
stirring after 5 minutes. Allow mixture
to cool. In medium bowl microwave
the nut butter 20-30 seconds until
runny. Add baked mix along with
flax seed, honey, chia seeds & cranberries
to bowl. Mix & form into 1 1/2 inch
balls. Place on a cookie sheet &
refrigerate. Store in airtight container,
refrigerated, up to one week or freezer
for 3 months. Makes 16


Crockpot Easy Shredded Pork

5 lb. pork shoulder (can use
pork loin but you may need
to reduce cooking time)
steak seasoning – to taste

serve on buns with your
favorite BBQ sauce

Sprinkle steak seasoning liberally
over shoulder – rub into meat then
place in crockpot. Cover & cook on
Low 8-10 hours until it is ‘fork-
tender’. Shred meat using 2 forks.
Serves 10


“I Could Eat the Whole Pan” Casserole

1 (fully cooked) roaster chicken/chicken
pieces removed & bones discarded
8 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
Ritz crackers (about 1 sleeve), crushed
poppy seeds
1/2 stick butter, melted
salt/fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Spray 8 X 8″ baking dish with nonstick
spray & place chicken pieces on bottom.
In small bowl mix sour cream & soups –
spread mixture over chicken & season
with salt/pepper. Top with crushed
crackers & sprinkle poppy seeds over top.
Pour melted butter over top & bake
20-30 minutes until it starts bubbling.
Serves 4


Cannoli Dip

2 C. heavy cream
1/3 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C. whole ricotta cheese
1 C. mini chocolate chips
2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

10 broken cannoli shells (or
you could use sugar ice cream

Beat cream cheese & sugar together;
fold in other ingredients. Serve with
cannoli shells (or cones) Serves 8


Double Butterscotch Cookies

1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. shortening
4 C. packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 T. vanilla
6 C. flour
3 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. English toffee bits (10 oz)
OR almond brickle chips (7.5 oz)
1 C. finely chopped pecans

In large bowl beat butter, shortening
& brown sugar 2 minutes until mixture
resembles wet sand. Add eggs, one at
a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking
soda, cream of tartar & salt; gradually
add to brown sugar mixture & mix well.
Stir in toffee bits & pecans. Shape into
three 1/4 inch rolls (mixture will be slightly
crumbly). Wrap each roll in plastic wrap &
refrigerate 4 hours until firm.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Unwrap rolls & cut into 1/2 inch slices.
Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray &
place slices 2 inches apart on sheets. Bake
9-11 minutes until lightly browned. Cool
1-2 minute before removing from pans to
wire racks to cool. Makes about 7 dozen



Our weather is still goofy – it’s been rather
gray & blah with temperatures in the 40’s
(but really feels like it’s about 32 degrees F.)
It’s currently 36 degrees F. but with the wind
chill it feels like 26 degrees – BRRrrrrrrrr!
We’re supposed to get drizzle & some snow,
but reading through the reports, it doesn’t
sound like it’s really going to amount to
anything (YAY!) with reports of: “Chance
of precipitation 30%” Wind gusts as high
as 24 mph – oh, fun… Was ‘going’ to go
out shopping but think I’m going to just
stay inside until tomorrow – I’m warm &
happy right now – don’t want to rock the

Hope things are going well for you; hope
you are in good health, warm & happy.
(See? You didn’t know that I just became
your Mother or Grandmother! or at
least I ‘sound’ like one, right? Remember
to wear your warm scarf & bundle up
tight!”) Hehehe – gotta ‘play the part’
since my name IS Grammypammie!





Today is my husband’s 65th birthday – he is not one to want any big deal made of it; cake & a present are fine for him. (don’t even wrap the present, no card – all on the ‘down low’). I gave him 2 new long-sleeved ‘church’ shirts and just finished popping his favorite cake (Banana w/Cream Cheese frosting) in the oven. I’d forgotten just how time-consuming/multi bowls/steps making a cake from scratch can be! I’m Bushed! (and the frosting is still yet to be made!). Earlier I went to Meijer to grab some garlic parmesan Alfredo sauce to go with the stuffed chicken breasts for dinner. His favorite dinner is Meat & Potato Pie (a huge meatloaf frosted with mashed potatoes & topped with melted sharp Cheddar Cheese) – we just had meatloaf a few nights ago so I decided to switch it up a bit (he likes this dinner, also).

Our weather is really goofy – it’s been that way now for almost this entire month. It was ‘supposed’ to be in the high 40’s today; when I went to Meijer at around 12:30 p.m. it was 39 degrees F., windy and raining – REALLY chilly! Oh well . . . better than snow I guess, right?


For those of you who MIGHT ENJOY making a cake from scratch, here’s my recipe:

Banana Cake w/Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 C. mashed ripe bananas
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. butter, softened
2 1/8 C. granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. buttermilk*


1/2 C. butter, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 275 degrees F. **
Grease & flour either: (a) one 9 X 13″
baking dish OR (b) two 9″ round baking
Mix mashed banana with lemon juice in
small bowl. In medium bowl mix flour,
baking soda & salt. In large bowl cream
butter & granulated sugar. Beat in eggs
one-at-a-time then stir in vanilla. Beat
in flour mixture gradually with buttermilk.
Stir in banana mixture & pour into pan(s).
Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted
into center of cake comes out clean.
(this will make the cake very moist)

In large bowl cream butter & cream
cheese until smooth. Beat in vanilla &
add powdered sugar gradually. Beat at
LOW speed until fully combined then on
High until smooth. Frost cake.


*If you don’t have buttermilk:
Using a 2-cup measuring cup add 1 T. lemon
juice or vinegar. Pour milk into cup to reach
1 1/2 cup mark. Stir with fork & let stand
5 minutes – now you have buttermilk!

**I baked  mine in two 9″ round pans &
at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes.

NOTE: This makes a VERY dense cake

Brocccoli, Sausage, Pasta Simmer

3 C. uncooked spiral pasta
2 lb. smoked kielbasa or Polish
sausage, cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 medium bunches broccoli, cut
into florets
1 C. sliced red onion
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes,
2 T. minced fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried
2 T. minced fresh parsley or 2 tsp.
2 tsp. sugar

Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions.
In Dutch oven saute sausage, broccoli
& onion 5-6 minutes until broccoli is
crisp-tender. Add tomatoes, basil,
parsley & sugar. Cover & simmer 10
minutes. Drain pasta & stir into
sausage mixture. Serves 8


Bart’s Black Bean Soup

1 (15 oz) can black beans,
1 1/2 C. chicken broth
3/4 C. chunky salsa
1/2 C. (canned) whole kernel
corn, drained
dash hot pepper sauce
2 tsp. lime juice
1 C. (4 oz) shredded Cheddar
2 T. chopped green onions

In microwave-safe bowl combine
first 5 ingredients. Cover & micro-
wave on High 2 minutes until
heated through. Pour into 4
serving bowl & drizzle each with
lime juice. Sprinkle with cheese &
green onions. Makes 4 servings.


Easy Sticky Chicken

3-5 lb. bone-in chicken,
skin on (legs & thighs)
1 C. ketchup
1 C. honey
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In sauce pot combine ketchup,
honey, brown sugar, soy sauce &
garlic powder over medium heat;
bring to boil while stirring – remove
from heat. Arrange chicken pieces
in 9 X 13″ baking dish. Pour entire
sauce over chicken, turning pieces
with tongs to fully coat. Bake 45
minutes (uncovered); turn pieces
& continue baking 30 minutes longer.
Fifteen  minutes before serving, turn
pieces one more time & baste with


Crockpot Beef Stew

2 lb. beef stew meat, cut into
1 inch cubes
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. dried onion flakes
1 1/2 C. beef broth
3 potatoes, peeled/diced
4 carrots, peeled/ sliced

Using gallon-sized ziplock bag,
mix flour, salt/pepper. Pour
meat into bag & shake until
well coated then place meat in
crockpot (discard bag). Stir garlic,
paprika, Worc. sauce, onion, broth,
potatoes & carrots into crockpot;
stir to combine. Cover & cook on
Low 8-10 hours. Serves 4


Egg Rolls in a Bowl!

1 T. sesame oil
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 T. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 C. shredded cabbage (about
1 small head)
2 large carrots, shredded (2 C.)
4 oz. rice noodles
3 green onions, thinly sliced

additional soy sauce, if desired

In large skillet heat oil over
medium-high heat; cook & crumble
pork until browned, 4-6 minutes.
Stir in soy sauce, garlic & seasonings.
Add cabbage & carrots; cook 4-6
minutes until vegetables are tender,
stirring occasionally. Cook rice noodles
accordg. to pkg. directions; drain &
immediately add to pork mixture,
tossing to combine. Sprinkle with
green onions. (serve with additional
soy sauce, if desired. Serves 4


3-ingredient Chili Cheese Dip

1 (15 oz.) can Hormel Turkey
chili (with or without beans)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, cut
into cubes
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

tortilla chips – for dipping

Combine all ingredients in micro-
wave safe bowl. Microwave on
High 2-3 minutes; stir & continue
to microwave in 30-second
intervals until all cheese is melted
& chili is heated through. Serve
warm with tortilla chips.


Meatball-stuffed Biscuits

1 (12 oz) tube Pillsbury Grands
Jr golden layers refrigerated
buttermilk biscuits
10 frozen fully-cooked Italian-style
meatballs, thawed, cut in half
4 sticks string cheese (mozzarella)
about 3 oz, cut each into 5 pieces
1 T. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 C. marinara sauce, warmed

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Separate biscuits, cut each in half
(you should have 20 pieces). Gently
roll biscuit piece into a ball & flatten
in palm of your hand. Place 1 piece
string cheese (you may need to
flatten) & one meatball half in
biscuit – wrap remaining dough
around & seal edges. Place, seam-
sides down, in 9 inch round cake
pan – repeat for remaining meatballs.
Lightly spray tops with nonstick
cooking spray or lightly brush with
oil or melted butter. Sprinkle tops
with Parm. cheese, garlic powder &
Italian seasoning. Bake 18-23 minutes
until golden brown. Serve warm
with marinara sauce.


Twisted Strawberry Shortcake
(like a trifle)

2 (3.4 oz, ea) pkgs. vanilla instant
pudding mix
1 qt (4 C.) cold milk
2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
1 (12 oz) prepared angel food
cake, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 C. orange juice
3 C. sliced fresh strawberries
5 oz. white chocolate, grated/

Beat pudding mixes & milk in large
bowl using a whisk for 2 minutes;
gently stir in Cool Whip. Place cake
cubes in large bowl & drizzle orange
juice over cake & toss to coat. Place
half of cake cubes in deep glass
serving bowl; cover with layers of
half each: pudding mixture, straw-
berries & chocolate. Top with layer
of remaining cake cubes, pudding
mixture, strawberries & chocolate.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before
serving. Store leftovers in fridge.
Makes 20 (1/2 C. each) servings


I noticed that gas prices have dropped a little,
again; now we’re down to $2.19/9 for regular
(that’s from $2.39/9 a week ago!) YAY!

Not much else pressing for the moment;
our ‘soon-to-be’ grandson’s baby shower
is this coming Saturday. (I still have to
remember to get a big ‘baby shower’ bag
to put the ‘stuff’ in). It’s hard for me to
grasp that very soon we will have a newborn
in the family – it’s been 10 years since my
first grandson (and the baby’s older brother!).
Not worried about my ‘baby care-giving’ skills;
it might have been 10 years but I think I’ve
got this one covered (that’s 3 adopted sons,
14 foster children, running my own baby/infant
day care for 3 years plus working in the church
baby nursery for years . . . yep, think I got this one)

Hope your day is going well – remember to take
a little break JUST FOR YOU! (Believe me, after
reading through the cake recipe, ‘thinking I had
it OK’ only to discover I didn’t really READ the
bowl sizes – ended up having to transfer the
dry ingredients to another bowl so I would
have enough room to mix ALL the ingredients
together at the end . . . sigh – I TOOK A BREAK!
In fact, am STILL taking a break while the cake



and it’s Friday – again


It’s a gray & gloomy/wet day. Yesterday I went to our local KMart which they are closing in 3 months; got some really good deals. Total spent: $97.00 – total saved $60.00! It was a very ‘random’ shop; I stopped at each department and tried to do a thorough look around – the items in my cart were varied: bedroom slippers, winter scarf & gloves, a bath mat & shower curtain liner, etc. but all-in-all I was happy with my purchases. The other good things? I got a $2.00 off per gallon coupon for our local Speedway gas station AND more bonus points which can be used at other KMart or Sears (on line). Husband is stopping by there today to get a watch and, with his purchase, more bonus points. Am thinking of getting a new crockpot (which is ALSO on sale on their KMart site – BONUS!).


Sugar-Dusted Apple Bundt Cake

2 C. sugar plus 2 T. divided
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 C. vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 C. orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla
1 (21 oz) can apple fruit pie
filling & topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour 10-inch Bundt pan.
In small bowl mix 2 T. sugar &
cinnamon; sprinkle bottom &
sides of Bundt pan with mixture.
In large bowl combine flour, salt,
baking powder & remaining
sugar. Stir in oil, eggs, orange juice
& vanilla; mix well. Add fruit
filling & stir. Pour batter evenly
into prepared pan.
Bake, uncovered, 1 hour; let
cool 15 minutes. Invert cake
onto serving plate & cool.
Drizzle top with Citrus Glaze
(recipe below) Serves 12

Citrus Glaze:
1 C. powdered sugar
1 T. orange juice (extra
orange juice, if needed)

In medium bowl beat all
glaze ingredients until smooth.
Add extra orange juice, if
needed – by the teaspoon-
until desired consistency.

(recipe: The Oakland Press
“Family Features”, Dec., 4, 2016)

Loaded Nachos

1 ‘party sized’ bag tortilla chips
1 lb. ground beef
2 T. taco seasoning
1/3 – 1/2 C. water
1 C. refried beans
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained/
2 C. shredded cheese: mixture of
Cheddar & Monterey Jack
2 (2.25 oz, ea) cans sliced black
olives, drained
1 C. whole kernel corn – frozen &
thawed or fresh

3 green onions, chopped
jalapeno peppers/ seeded & chopped
mixed yellow/orange/red mini peppers,
sliced into rounds
2 C. chunky salsa or pico de gallo,
drained of excess liquid
1 avocado, cut into chunks

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Brown ground beef; drain. Add
taco seasoning & water; bring to
boil & cook 2 minutes. Line a
large baking sheet with parchment
paper. Place a layer of chips on sheet;
layer taco meat, refried beans, black
beans, cheese, olives & corn – repeat
layer & top with chopped green onions,
jalapenos & mixed pepper slices. Bake
10 minutes until cheese melts. Top
with any other suggested garnishes &
serve warm. Serves 6-8

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

3/4 C. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 C. milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
(about 1 C.)
4 oz. sliced pepperoni and/or
sausage, cut into small pieces
(about 1 C.)
1/2 C. pizza sauce, warmed (for

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a 24-cup mini muffin pan
with nonstick spray. In large bowl
whisk flour & baking powder.
Whisk in milk & egg; stir in
cheese & pepperoni/sausage.
Let stand 10 minutes.
Stir batter & pour into prepared
pans. Bake 20-25 minutes until
puffed & golden brown. Serve
with pizza sauce, for dipping.

Crispy Fried Jalapeno Slices

4 C. vegetable shortening or
vegetable oil (for frying)
1 1/2 C. flour, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 eggs
1 C. beer
1 (16 oz) jar sliced jalapeno
peppers, drained (about 2 C.)

your favorite dipping sauce,
for serving

In deep fryer or cast iron Dutch
oven, heat shortening to 365
degrees F. In medium bowl combine
1 C. flour, salt/pepper, chili powder,
garlic powder, eggs & beer – mix
until combined. Place remaining
1/2 C. flour in a ziplock gallon bag.
Dry drained jalapenos on paper
towels & add to bag – seal bag &
shake to coat jalapenos. Place floured
jalapenos in batter in bowl & stir
gently to coat. Discard any remaining
flour at bottom of bag. Lift battered
jalapenos using a fork & gently drop
(being careful of back splash of hot
oil) into preheated oil. Cook until
golden brown & crispy, about 2-4
minutes. Remove to paper towel
lined plate. Serve with your favorite
dipping sauces. Serves 3-4


Corn & Chicken Bake

6 boneless, skinless chicken
breast halves (about 1 1/2 lb. total)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 (6 oz) pkg. cornbread stuffing mix
1 (8 3/4 oz) can whole kernel corn,
1 C. boiling water
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of celery
1/3 C. milk
1 T. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. Place chicken
breast halves in single layer
in dish; season with garlic powder,
salt/pepper. In large bowl combine
stuffing mix, corn, water & melted
butter – mix well & spoon over
chicken. In same bowl combine soup,
milk & parsley; mix well. Pour over
stuffing then cover with foil. Bake
35 minutes; uncover & bake 8-10
minutes longer until no pink remains
in chicken & stuffing is golden.
Serves 6

*You can substitute cream of mushroom


Crockpot Homestyle Pork Chops

1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6-8 boneless pork chops
2 T. oil
1 (10.5 oz) can chicken broth

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Mix flour, mustard,
salt & garlic powder in flat pan (like
a pie pan). Lightly coat chops in flour
mixture (reserve remaining flour
mixture). In large skillet add oil
& brown chops over medium-high
heat. Mix broth with remaining flour
mixture & pour into crockpot. Place
browned chops in crockpot, cover &
cook on High 2 1/2 hours.
Serves 6


Easy Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup

1 lb. baby portobello mushrooms,
2 T. olive oil
2 (6 oz, ea) pkgs. long grain & wild
rice mix (Like Rice a Roni or Uncle Bens)
1 (32 oz) carton beef broth
2 C. heavy whipping cream

In Dutch oven saute mushrooms in
oil until tender. Add rice, contents
of seasoning  packets, broth &
water – bring to boil. Reduce heat,
cover & simmer 25 minutes. Add
cream & heat through. Serves 8
(2 quarts)


Unstuffed Pepper Soup

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
3 large green peppers, seeded/
1 large onion, chopped
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans beef broth
2 (10 3/4 oz ea) cans tomato
soup, undiluted
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes,
1 (4 oz) can mushroom stems &
pieces, drained
1 1/2 C. cooked rice

In Dutch oven or large saucepan
cook beef, green peppers & onion
over medium heat until meat is
no longer pink; drain. Stir in broth,
soup, tomatoes & mushrooms –
bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover
& simmer at least 30 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Add rice &
heat through. Makes 10 servings


Chocolate Magic Custard Cake

4 eggs, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. flour
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 C. milk, lukewarm
1 T. powdered sugar (for dusting)

Preheat oven 320 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 9″ baking dish with nonstick
spray & line with parchment paper.
Separate egg yolks & whites; beat
whites in a bowl until stiff. Whisk
egg yolks, vanilla & sugar until creamy.
Add melted butter & mix half a minute.
Add flour & unsweetened cocoa; mix
using a spatula until well incorporated.
Pour in milk gradually & continue beating.
Add egg whites, one third at a time &
gently stir with a spatula. Do not over mix
just stir a few times. Pour this liquidy batter
into pan & bake 60 minutes. Let cool & when
it comes to room temperature, refrigerate
1 hour. Slice into pieces & dust with powdered
sugar just before serving. Keep leftovers
refrigerated. Serves 6



Today is also Inauguration Day – a day where many
people who SHOULD be joined together in unity
this year – are not. It’s sad when politics can totally
separate friends & family. I’m hoping that this total
day’s events go smoothly with no trouble. Every time
we get a new president SOME are happy, SOME are
not – but in spite of the differences, we all need to
support those who are in office over us. I try my
best NOT to get into politics and religion here on
my blog and in my personal life – everyone is
entitled to their opinion. May this day and the
next four years go smoothly with both sides/
parties working together to unite our country.



Middle of the week musings –


Nothing really special to share – last night was the Knit/Crochet group’s Yarn Swap – I’m happy to report I only had a very small bit of yarn to bring home! (I, personally, kept one small ball of baby yarn which will be enough to knit one newborn and one premie baby hat). Since I also heard several ladies bemoaning the fact that they forgot it was the Yarn Swap, I wrote to the group informing them we can do it again NEXT meeting (thereby, hopefully – I’ll be able to give away the last box & bag of gifted-to-me yarns!) I was totally amazed at the amount of knitting needles donated – and they all went home with new owners! YAY!


Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint

1/2 C. butter, softened
2/3 C. sugar
1 egg, separated
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. flour
1/3 C. baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. finely chopped pecans


12 – 14 caramels (unwrapped)
3 T. heavy whipping cream
1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening

In large bowl cream butter & sugar
until light & fluffy. Beat in egg yolk,
milk & vanilla. In another bowl whisk
flour, cocoa & salt; gradually beat into
creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered,
1 hour until easy to handle.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place chopped nuts in a shallow pan
or bowl. Spray baking sheets with
nonstick spray. Beat egg white in a
shallow bowl. Shape dough into
1 inch balls then dip balls in egg
white, then into chopped nuts,
patting to help nuts adhere to ball –
place balls on prepared sheets
2 inches apart. Press a deep indentation
in center of each ball with end of
a wooden spoon handle. Bake
10-12 minutes until set. Remove
from pans to wire racks to cool

In large heavy saucepan melt
caramels with cream over Low heat,
stirring until smooth. Fill each
cookie with about 1/2 tsp. caramel
mixture. Using a microwave, melt
chocolate chips & shortening & stir
until smooth. Drizzle mixture over
top of cookies; let stand until set.
Store in airtight container.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.


Crockpot Mexican Party Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sour cream
1 C. Mexican-style shredded Four
cheese (Kraft), divided
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained/
1 (16 oz) jar thick & chunky salsa
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray.
Mix cream cheese, sour cream & 3/4
C. shredded cheese until blended;
spread onto bottom of crockpot.
Top with black beans & salsa.
Cover & cook on Low 3-4 hours.
Top with onions, cilantro & remaining
Serves: 40 servings, 2 T. each

(recipe: kraftrecipes)

Bacon & Tomato Balsamic Pasta

1/4 C. butter, cubed
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. salt
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 C. grape tomatoes, halved
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 C. olive oil, divided
1 (16 oz) pkg. uncooked angel hair
9 strips bacon, cooked/crumbled
2/3 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 T. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried

Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions.
In large skillet over medium-high heat,
melt butter; add onions, pepper flakes
& salt. Saute until onions are tender,
stir in garlic – reduce heat to medium-
low & cook, stirring occasionally,
30-40 minutes until onions are deep
golden brown. Add tomatoes, vinegar
& 2 T. oil to skillet. Drain pasta & toss
with onion mixture. Drizzle with
remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with bacon,
cheese, basil & pepper – heat through.
Serves 6


Crockpot Turkey Chili

2 lb. ground turkey
1 diced onion
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 can black beans in
chili sauce
3 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder

Hot sauce – to taste

Brown turkey, peppers, onion &
garlic in a pan; drain any grease &
add to crockpot along with rest of
ingredients. Cover & cook on High
4 hours (or Low 6+ hours).


Oven-roasted Chicken & Veggies

2 large chicken breasts (boneless,skinless)
cut into large cubes
1 red bell pepper, seeded/chopped into
large pieces
1 green bell pepper, seeded/chopped into
large pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded/chopped into
large pieces
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped into large
1 C. broccoli florets
1/2 C. grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Preheat oven 475 degrees F.
Spray large baking sheet with nonstick
spray. Place chicken & veggies on
prepared sheet; sprinkle with olive oil,
salt/pepper & Italian seasoning – toss
to combine. Bake 15-20 minutes until
veggies are charred & chicken is cooked
through. Serve immediately.
Serves 4


Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate
pudding mix
1 3/4 C. milk
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips (poster
used semi-sweet)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix pudding mix & milk together;
stir in chocolate cake mix (dry) –
batter will be very thick. Spread
mixture on bottom of 9 X 13″
baking dish & sprinkle choc. chips
on top. Bake 25 minutes until
edges start pulling away from pan.


Crab Mac & Cheese

1 lb. elbow macaroni
1/4 C. butter
1 shallot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. flour
2 C. milk
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 C. shredded white Cheddar
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lb. lump crab meat
(chopped fresh parsley-garnish)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large pot boiling water cook
pasta accordg. to pkg. directions
for al dente; drain & return to pot.
In large skillet over medium heat
melt butter; add shallots & garlic;
cook 3 minutes. Add flour; whisk
until combined 1 minute. Add
milk & season with salt/pepper.
Simmer 2 minutes until thickened
& smooth. Stir in half of white
Cheddar and all mozzarella until
melted; remove from heat. Add sauce
& crab meat to pot with cooked
pasta – stir until completely
combined. Sprinkle with remaining
1/2 C. Cheddar. Bake 20 minutes
until bubbly. Top with chopped
parsley, if desired. Serves 6


Cheesy Ham Chowder

10 strips bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 C. diced carrots
3 T. flour
3 C. milk
1 1/2 C. water
2 1/2 C. cubed potatoes
1 (15 1/4 oz) can whole kernel
corn, drained
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
pepper/to taste
3 C. (12 oz) shredded Cheddar
2 C. cubed, cooked ham

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon
over medium heat until crisp;
remove to paper towels to drain.
Saute onion & carrots in drippings
until tender; stir in flour until
blended. Gradually add milk &
water – bring to boil & cook,
stirring 2 minutes until thickened.
Add potatoes, corn, bouillon & pepper;
reduce heat & simmer, uncovered,
20 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Add cheese & ham; heat until cheese
melts then stir in bacon. Serves 10


Gorilla Bread

1/2 C. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
2 C. brown sugar, packed
1 C. butter
2 (12 oz, ea) tubes refrigerated
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, cut
into 20 cubes
1 1/2 C. walnuts, coarsely chopped/

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix sugar & cinnamon. Melt brown
sugar & butter in a saucepan over Low
heat, stirring well. Flatten biscuits & sprinkle
each with 1/2 tsp. sugar mixture. Place a
cheese cube in center of each biscuit,
wrapping & sealing dough around cheese.
Spray a 12-Cup Bundt pan with nonstick
spray. Sprinkle 1/2 C. nuts in bottom of pan.
Arrange half of biscuits in pan & sprinkle
with half of sugar mixture. Pour half butter
mixture over top & sprinkle with 1/2 C. nuts –
repeat layers. Bake 30 minutes. Let cool
5 minutes; place a dinner plate on top of
Bundt pan & invert cake onto plate.
Serves 20



Our weather has FINALLY settled down – it’s supposed
to be in the 40’s all week (which is VERY unusual for
Michigan at this time of year). Most of the snow has
melted, no more thin layers of ice on the ground
(that was 2 days ago – very scary). It’s nice to have
these small pockets of PLAIN weather (no snow/ice/
rain/sleet) where you can actually plan to go some-
where and not have to worry about either walking
or driving conditions.

While out yesterday I noticed that our gas prices
have dropped another 10 cents a gallon – YAY!
We’re now at $2.29/9 a gallon for regular (and,
wouldn’t you know – I had just filled up a few
days ago at $2.39/9 . . . sigh).

Hope your day & week are going as you’d
expected (right now I really don’t have any
‘expectations’ – whatever comes my way is
the way it ‘is’ for now!). We’re all healthy &
relatively happy – so that’s a GOOD thing!

Enjoy your day/evening!



Good old Michigan weather – sigh


Yesterday it was in the low 30’s with a slight film of ice on the ground – enter today: FREEZING RAIN all night, everything is covered with ice: roads, ground, walkways, etc. SO glad I decided to venture out yesterday to get a few groceries! The strange part is: it’s supposed to get up to the mid-40’s today! Sure hope so – then the ice will melt. I can hear the traffic and it seems to be moving OK; middle son had to work all-night and got home around 7 a.m. He said the roads were a little slippery but the driveway and sidewalk at home were really bad. (Husband put salt out so that should help.) Living here in Michigan you really don’t know, day to day, what’s coming. AT LEAST IT’S NOT SNOW!!!


Perfectly Peanut Butter Pie

1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1 (3 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie crust

Optional: additional Cool Whip,
chopped peanuts for topping

Combine sugar, peanut butter & cream
cheese in large bowl; stir until well
blended. Fold in Cool Whip & spoon
into pie crust. Cover & chill at least
2 hours before serving. Top with
additional Cool Whip and/or chopped
peanuts. Serves 8


Lemon Chicken Soup & Pasta

6 C. chicken broth
1/3 C. fresh lemon juice
1 dried bay leaf
1 (2 inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 medium peeled/sliced carrots
1 C. spaghetti noodles broken into
2″ pieces
2 C. diced, cooked chicken (can be
1 C. grated Romano cheese
1/4 C. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
kosher salt

In large stockpot bring chicken broth,
lemon juice, bay leaf & Parmesan rind
to boil over medium-high heat. Add
carrots & simmer 5-8 minutes. Mix in
broken spaghetti & cook 4-5 minutes
while stirring. Once pasta is cooked, add
chicken & continue cooking 2-3 minutes
to heat chicken. Remove bay leaf &
Parmesan rind: discard both. Add half
of cheese & parsley – season with salt.
To serve:
Ladle soup into bowls & top with
remaining cheese.


Ham & Cheese Hashbrown Casserole

1 (32 oz) pkg. frozen hash brown potatoes
1 lb. cooked, diced ham
2 (10.75 oz, ea) cans cream of potato soup
1 (16 oz) tub sour cream
2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Lightly spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In large bowl mix hash
browns, ham, soup, sour cream &cheese;
spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle top
with Parm. cheese & bake 1 hour until
bubbly & lightly brown. Serves 10


Crockpot PIZZA!

refrigerated pizza dough
pizza sauce
shredded cheese, your choice
sliced pepperoni
(any extra toppings you want)

Line bottom of crockpot with
parchment paper, making a cross –
be sure paper is long enough so it
will make lifting the pizza out later
easier. Sprinkle flour on bottom
(on paper) then spray with nonstick
spray. Press dough on bottom,
smoothing it out; spread pizza
sauce over top. Add cheese & your
choice of toppings. Cover & cook
on High 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Condensation
will begin to form on inside of lid-
you will want to wipe inside of lid
dry to make sure pizza isn’t too soft.
When done it should look golden
brown. Lift out pizza using parchment
paper; place on cutting board & slice.


Crockpot Sausage & Potato Soup

1 lb. mild ground sausage, browned/
6 potatoes, peeled/cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced (or 6 baby)
1 stalk celery, sliced
5 chicken bouillon cubes
1 T. dried parsley
5 C. water
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 T. salt
6 T. butter, melted
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Optional topping: shredded
Cheddar cheese

Place all ingredients (except
milk & cheese) in crockpot;
gently stir. Cover & cook on Low
10-12 hours (or High 3-4 hours).
ONE hour before final cooking
time: stir in milk. Serve soup
topped with shredded cheese.
Serves 6-8


Crunchy Honey-garlic Pork Chops

6-9 pork chops (can use boneless
pork loin OR chicken)
2 eggs
4 T. water
2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
canola or vegetable oil, for frying

1 1/2 C. honey
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
dash cayenne pepper (to your taste)
1/2 C. soy sauce
1 T. chopped garlic
2 T. butter

In large fry pan pour 1/2 inch cooking oil,
heated. Be sure oil is hot but not too hot.
Whisk eggs & 4 T. water in shallow dish.
Mix flour, salt, pepper & garlic powder
in another shallow dish. Dip chops in
flour, then into egg, then back into flour
mixture. NOTE: Be sure to get plenty
of flour on last coating then shake a little
& place in pan with oil. Cook 6 minutes
on each side. Try not to turn  more than
twice or breading will come off. Remove
from pan to a 9 X 13″ baking dish.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Saute garlic in a little butter; add honey, soy
sauce, brown sugar, cayenne & ginger
to pan & bring to boil; reduce heat to
Low & simmer 5 minutes. (watch carefully
because it will foam & might boil over).
Place half of glaze over chops & turn them
over. Pour rest of glaze over top. Bake,
uncovered, 20-25 minutes. (this sets the
glaze & makes sure chops are fully cooked).


Easy Buttermilk Cornbread

1/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 C. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 C. cornmeal
1 C. buttermilk*

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 9″ baking pan with
nonstick spray. Whisk sugar,
oil & eggs just until combined.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking
soda & cornmeal together. Add
about 1/3 C. dry ingredients &
about 1/3 of buttermilk to sugar/
oil/eggs mixture – stir – continue
until all ingredients are blended
together. Pour into prepared pan
& bake 25-30 minutes until top
is lightly browned.
Makes 9 large servings or more
if cut smaller

*If you don’t have buttermilk:
Pour 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar
into a 2-Cup measuring cup. Pour
regular milk up to the 1 C. mark.
Stir then let stand 5 minutes –
now you have 1 C. buttermilk!


Apple Nachos

4 Granny Smith apples, cored/
thinly sliced
1 C. white chocolate chips, melted
3/4 C. caramel, warmed in microwave
1 C. chopped pretzels
2 Heath candy bars, broken into pieces

On large plate arrange apple slices
on top of one another. Drizzle half
melted chocolate & caramel over
top. Top with pretzels & Heath bar
pieces then drizzle with remaining
melted chocolate & caramel. Serve
immediately. Serves 4-6



Tonight is my knit/crochet group’s Yarn Swap –
I’m looking forward to seeing the various items
brought in AND to get rid of some of the last
big batch of yarn I was ‘gifted’. Have been just
slowly working on both the pink/white/light tan
baby blanket & the teal scarf. The ‘fun’ of the
yarn swap is the anticipation of perhaps finding
something you haven’t seen before and/or
being inspired by a yarn – plus IT’S ALL FREE!
Really hoping the weather doesn’t keep the
ladies away.

I noticed lately that our gas prices have dropped
10 cents a gallon from $2.49/9 to $2. 39/9 – YAY!

While digging in my upstairs freezer I found two
large packages of ground pork – I only buy it to
add to ground beef for meatloaf, so guess what’s
for dinner tonight!? Meatloaf is my husband’s
favorite dinner, so I’m glad for the 2+ day meal;
hopefully it will feed us for that long (I have
Knit night tonight & special needs group
tomorrow, so really won’t be cooking-I’ll make
the meatloaf & mashed potatoes early then
the guys can eat when they want.)

Hope you are staying warm, dry and managing
to take a little time out in each day to relax &
rest – we all need that.




Friday the 13th – not to worry


It’s a ‘balmy’ 19 degrees F. out, a little flashes of sunshine but mostly a kinda drab day (but no snow, sleet or rain – so not TOO bad!). Just spent a good hour looking at hundreds of clip art images of knitting/crochet/yarn baskets to try to decide which to put on my knit group’s new business cards. For 8+ years now I’ve been printing my own but after watching a simple commercial for Vistaprint company, I decided to go with them. For $9.99 (first order) you can design your own cards – that’s 500 cards! I’ve been getting 100 blanks for about the same (if not a little higher price) and then had to print my own. Not a bad deal! It was a little difficult trying to pick a clip art image that I liked and that would fit in their little square! Found lots I liked but then when I put them in the square designated, it would chop off the sides – frustrating! Anyway, the ones I ordered will do the job.


Peppermint French Silk Pie

1 9″ refrigerated pie crust, softened
as per box directions
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 C. butter, softened (do not use
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract
3 T. instant espresso coffee powder
or granules (or instant coffee)
4 eggs

Suggested toppers:
sweetened whipped cream
finely chopped chocolate chips
crushed peppermint candies

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Bake pie crust 9-11 minutes until
light golden brown – cool
completely, 30 minutes.
In small microwaveable bowl,
microwave choc. chips 30 seconds,
stir. Continue to microwave in 15
second increments until chocolate
is melted; cool. In large bowl beat
butter using elec. mixer on medium
speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in
sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in
cooled chocolate, peppermint extract
& coffee powder until well blended.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on high
speed 2 minutes after each addition.
Beat until mixture is smooth & fluffy –
pour into prepared pie shell. Refrigerate
2 hours before serving. Garnish with
remaining suggested toppers. Cover &
refrigerate any remaining pie.
Serves 8


Crockpot Chicken Corn Chowder

3 medium boneless skinless chicken
4 C. chicken broth
5 small red/gold or brown potatoes,
cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (8 oz) can diced green chiles
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
2 cans cream-style corn
2 C. heavy cream (or Half & Half)
1 tsp. garlic powder
4-6 strips bacon, diced, cooked crispy
salt/pepper, to taste
freshly chopped parsley (garnish)

Combine chicken, broth, potatoes,
chiles, onion & corn in crockpot; stir
to combine. Cover & cook on Low 6
hours. Uncover – using 2 forks, shred
chicken. Stir in heavy cream, garlic
powder, bacon, salt/pepper & cook
another 15-20 minutes. Garnish with
parsley & serve hot. Serves 4-6


Amish Onion Patties

3/4 C. flour
1 T. sugar
1 T. cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
3/4 C. milk
2 1/2 C. chopped onions (about 2
oil for frying

Mix dry ingredients together;
stir in milk (batter will be thick).
Add onions & mix thoroughly.
Heat 1/2 inch oil in large skillet
over medium-high heat. Drop
batter by tablespoons into hot
oil; flatten slightly. Brown on
both sides until crisp; place
on paper towel-lined plate to


Garlicky Shrimp Alfredo Bake

1 (10 oz) box 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.
In large pot of salted boiling
water, cook penne accordg. to
pkg. directions for al dente; drain
& return to pot. In large oven-
proof skillet over medium heat
melt 1 T. butter; add garlic, shrimp
& 2 T. parsley – season with salt.
Cook until shrimp is pink & no
longer opaque, 2 minutes per
side. Transfer to plate (keep
juices in skillet). Add remaining
2 T. butter to skillet, melt & add
flour – whisk until golden, 1-2
minutes. Add milk & chicken broth,
bring to a simmer. Stir in 3/4 C.
mozzarella & 1/4 C. Parmesan
until creamy -season with salt/
pepper. Return shrimp to skillet;
add tomatoes & cooked penne –
toss until combined. Add more
milk if mixture is too thick.
Sprinkle top with remaining
1/4 C. mozzarella & 2 T. Parmesan.
Bake until melted, 5-7 minutes.
Broil 2-3 minutes more until top
is golden (watch it doesn’t burn)
Garnish with remaining parsley
& serve. Serves 4


(Copycat) Panera Bread Broccoli-Cheese

1 T. melted butter
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 C. melted butter
1/4 C. flour
2 C. Half & Half
2 C. chicken stock
1/2 lb. fresh broccoli, cut into small
1 C. carrot, julienned
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
8 oz. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
salt/pepper, to taste

In small pan saute onion in butter.
Cook 1/4 C. melted butter & flour-
use whisk over medium heat 3-5
minutes whisking constantly then
add Half & Half, chicken stock &
simmer, stirring, 20 minutes. Add
broccoli, carrots & onions – cook
over Low heat 20-25 minutes. Add
salt/pepper, to taste. Add cheese &
nutmeg – stir & serve.

NOTE: Can be pureed in blender if


Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

4 T. unsalted butter
1 C. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C. flour
3 C. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 C. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 lb. russet potatoes, washed/
scrubbed & sliced very thinly*
1 lb. diced ham (about 4 C)
fresh parsley – garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 3 qt baking dish with nonstick
spray. Melt butter in large skillet
over medium heat; add onion &
cook, stirring, 4 minutes. Add garlic &
cook another 1-2 minutes until garlic
is fragrant & onion is tender. Sprinkle
in flour & cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Whisk in milk & cook until sauce is
thickened & bubbly, about 4-5 minutes.
Add salt, pepper & cheese; stir until
cheese melts – remove from heat.
Place half sliced potatoes in bottom
of prepared dish. Top with half of
ham, pour on half of sauce – repeat
layers & cover dish tightly with foil.
Bake 45 minutes – remove foil &
bake another 20-30 minutes until
potatoes are tender & top is golden &
bubbly. Let stand 10-15 minutes before
serving. Garnish with fresh parsley, if
desired. Serves 8

*potatoes turn brown quickly when
sliced – drop them in a bowl of cold
water once they’re sliced & drain when
ready to assemble dish.


Chocolate Banana Twinkie Cake

9-10 Twinkies (yellow filled snack
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
3 large bananas, sliced into rings
1 Spray CAN whipped cream (or Cool
Whip, thawed)

Cut Twinkies in half vertically & place
in a 9 X 13″ baking dish with creamy
sides up. Lay slicedbananas over top
of Twinkies. Prepare pudding mix
accordg. to pkg directions & spread
over bananas. Cover top with spray
whipped cream or Cool Whip.
Refrigerate 1 hour.


Crockpot Pineapple Pork

2 lb. boneless pork loin, cut into
bite-sized pieces
1/2 C. (Kraft) Sweet Honey BBQ sauce
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks in
juice, undrained
3 T. cornstarch
2 large green peppers, seeded/chopped
2 large red peppers, seeded/chopped

6 C. hot, cooked white rice
1/4 C. peanuts, chopped (garnish)

Combine meat & BBQ sauce in crockpot.
Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 C. juice.
Add reserved juice to cornstarch in small
bowl – stir until dissolved & add to meat
mixture – mix well. Top with pineapple
chunks & peppers – cover & cook on Low
6-8 hours (or High 5 hours). Serve over
cooked rice. Sprinkle top of serving
with chopped peanuts, if desired.
Serves 8

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Apple Nut Bars

1 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/3 C. raisins
1 C. chopped walnuts
1 C. peeled/finely chopped apples

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In large bowl mix
flour, sugar, salt & baking powder.
Add remaining ingredients & mix
well – pour into prepared pan.
Bake 40-50  minutes until edges are
golden. Remove from oven & cut
into bars while still warm but not
hot. Makes 21 bars

NOTE: Before you serve you can
roll bars in powdered sugar or
spread with a cream cheese frosting.
Can also be served with thawed
Cool Whip as a dip or serve plain
as a cookie



Today is a rather quiet day – later on
husband & I have to go to a funeral
visitation for one of his cousin’s
children (was in her 50’s). I know the
cousin but don’t really know the
deceased. Our nephew will be coming
from up North where he attends
college and he wanted to get together
with us (if you recall, he stayed with
us for a few days a little over a year ago)
so it will be nice to see him and take him
out to eat afterwards. Husband decided
on going to bd’s Mongolian Grill
great place, we haven’t been there in
years. They have ‘make your own’ dinners
where all the foods are laid out on buffets
and you put what meats/seafoods/veggies/
pastas or rices you want then take your bowl
up to their Mongolian “Grill” where the
guys behind the grill cook your food in front
of you. Nice place – definite ‘college’
atmosphere, as it’s very close to a local
college; being Friday night they will probably
be packed (hope not, but probably). Should
make a fun evening with nephew after
funeral visitation.

Not much new here – slowly plodding along
knitting baby blanket & scarf. Spent time
yesterday organizing all the paperwork for
our special needs group. It seems like each
beginning January I end up printing out
new sheets simply because we end up with
so many address/phone # changes. It’s OK,
I’m used to it. You can really realize the
importance of keeping accurate records
when we have to cancel a meeting due to
weather – the last cancellation a week ago
found me attempting to call a group home
that had changed their phone number!
Took quite a bit of searching records to
finally find a contact number! Another of
our members is driven by his brother –
who had changed HIS phone # – that one
I ended up leaving a message with a close
friend of his. It gets dicey when I can’t let
them know – especially if it’s a group home
with students in wheel-chairs and it’s really
bad weather! (Yes, hopefully the caregivers
would realize the weather is too bad, but
we have had situations where they actually
CAME then found out there was no group
meeting that night…simply because I could
not get them on the phone!

Hope your day is going well –



Oh, what a night!


I had written, earlier, that we were having some strange weather but last night beat them all. It started early in the morning with about 2 1/2 inches of snow all over; slowly during the day it began to melt (that was good). Later the winds picked up and it began to rain – not so good. Around 6:30 p.m. we lost power for around 20 minutes; husband called the power company and checked – restoral in a few minutes (good). About 1 1/2 hours later no power – again! So glad we have, on hand, flashlights, candles and kerosene lamps. We were warm & safe, power returned a little over an hour later. Woke up this morning to NO WIND – finally! Looking at our weather forecast for Thursday -” A chance of rain, snow, freezing rain, and sleet before 1pm, then a chance of rain and snow between 1pm and 4pm, then a chance of snow after 4pm. Cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 31 by 5pm. North wind 5 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.” Sounds like another ‘lovely’ day/night!


Apple Cinnamon Bundt Cake

4 eggs
2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. oil
1/2 C. butter, room temp.*
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 C. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 C. peeled/grated Granny Smith
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 T. brown sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour bundt pan. Sift
flour, baking powder,1 tsp cinnamon
& salt together in small bowl. In large
bowl beat eggs, butter, oil, vanilla &
gran. sugar until creamy & smooth.
Stir in flour mixture until well combined.
Stir in apples gently until combined. In
separate small bowl stir 4 tsp. cinnamon
& 4 T. brown sugar. Pour half cake batter
into pan; sprinkle half brown sugar/
cinnamon mixture evenly over batter
then swirl through with a knife. Repeat
with remaining batter & brown sugar
mixture. Bake 50-60 minutes – top will
be golden brown & sides will pull apart
from pan. Allow to cool completely before
turning out onto a plate. Slice & serve.

*be sure butter is at room temp. before
whipping it

**Need to use Granny Smith apples in
this recipe; other apples may be too sweet
& ruin the texture


Crockpot Mongolian Beef

1 1/2 lb. flank steak
1/4 C. cornstarch
2 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. minced ginger
3/4 C. soy sauce
3/4 C. water
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 C. grated carrots
1/2 tsp. crushed red chili peppers*
1/2 onion, sliced
1 small bell pepper, seeded/sliced
sliced green onions – garnish

Cooked rice

Cut steak into thin (1/4 inch) slices,
cutting across the grain; place strips
in ziplock bag & add corn starch –
shake to coat meat evenly. Add oil,
garlic, ginger, soy sauce, water, brown
sugar, carrots & chili pepper to crockpot;
stir to combine. Add coated steak strips
& stir until coated in sauce. Cook on
High 3 hours (Low 4-5 hours) until
cooked through & tender.
Serves 4-6

*chili peppers to taste & more
for garnish, if desired

NOTE: Poster said she adds onion &
bell pepper the last hour of cooking
so they aren’t mushy


Spicy Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

4-5 C. red potatoes cut into wedges
3 T. olive or canola oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. of your favorite Cajun spice
4 T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place potatoes in a ziplock bag along
with rest of ingredients – shake bag
to fully coat potatoes. Spray a sheet
pan with nonstick spray & spread potatoes
out. Bake 30 minutes, turn potatoes over &
bake 15-20 minutes more. Top with extra
shredded Parmesan cheese & serve hot.

Potato, Ham & Cheese Soup

3 C. peeled/cubed yellow potatoes
3 T. butter
1 small sweet onion, chopped
3 T. flour
3 C. milk
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 C. diced, cooked ham
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Boil potatoes in a stock pot until
desired tenderness; drain off water,
reserving 1 C. for later use.
Melt butter in small pan – saute
onion. Add onion, butter & flour to
stock pot; stir to mix over Low heat.
Keep stirring until you get thickness
desired then remove from heat. Mix
in potatoes, milk, 1 C. liquid, cheese &
ham to stock pot – simmer over medium
heat 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally,
until it thickens.


Crockpot Yellow Chicken Curry

1 medium yellow onion, finely
diced (or 2 T. dried onion flakes)
1 lb. yellow potatoes (about 3-4
medium), cubed (leave skins on,
if desired)
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (13.5 oz) can full fat coconut milk*
2 T. brown sugar
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 line, juiced (optional)
cilantro – for garnish (optional)
Cooked rice for 4-6
In 4-6 qt crockpot place onions,
potatoes & chicken. In bowl stir
coconut milk, brown sugar, garlic,
ginger, turmeric, curry powder,
coriander seed, salt & red pepper;
whisk until combined & pour
mixture over contents in crockpot.
Cover & cook on Low 4 hours
(some cookers might only take 3
hours). Test potatoes for
tenderness. Gently stir; stir in
lime juice, if using. Add more
turmeric, curry powder or salt,
if desired. Serve with cilantro,
over rice, if desired. Serves 4-6

* you can usually find coconut
milk in the aisle of the grocery
store that sells alcohol/drink


Bacon, Mac & Cheese Bites

12 slices cooked bacon
1 box mac & cheese
1/4 C. milk
3 T. butter
1 C. finely shredded Cheddar
1/4 C. Italian Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a greased muffin pan with
slices of cooked bacon. In large
pot bring water to boil & cook
macaroni 8-10 minutes (stir to
make sure it doesn’t stick) – drain
water. Add milk, butter, cheese
packet & shredded cheese, stir
until combined. Divide mac &
cheese between cups in muffin
pan & sprinkle tops with bread
crumbs. Bake 15 minutes.
Makes 12


Crockpot Sweet & Tangy Baked Beans

1 (28 oz) can pork & beans
1 (15 oz) can pineapple tidbits,
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 (14 oz) bottle ketchup
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. soy sauce

Pour all ingredients into crockpot;
stir until completely combined.
Cover & cook on Low 3-5 hours.


Jam Cobbler Bars

1 C. (2 sticks) melted butter
2 C. quick or old fashioned oats
2 C. flour
1 C. brown sugar
1 (16-18 oz) jar jam or preserves

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray (make sure you
spray sides well). Mix oatmeal,
flour, brown sugar & melted
butter; press half of mixture
into greased pan. Spread/pour
jam on top & smooth out.
Crumble remaining oatmeal
mixture on top. Bake 30 minutes
until jam starts bubbling through
the crumbles & crumbles start
browning. Allow to cool then
serve. They will be crumbly &

(recipe: annbronkema/

Made a small batch of bean soup yesterday;
I thought it was amusing: husband had 2 large
bowls and then said: “I thought you made a
BIG batch!” – sigh. I told him that it would just
be the two of eating it (both boys aren’t real
fans of bean soup) and this would be enough
to finish off the ham & bone from a few days
earlier – oh well . . .Not sure exactly what’s for
dinner tonight – got some pork cubes steaks
out of the freezer for tomorrow. Will probably
pair them with some kind of rice and veggie –
not sure just yet. Was REALLY glad the soup
had fully cooked JUST before the power
failure or it would have been sandwiches for
dinner (not a bad alternative, just not what
I had planned).

So – how is life treating you these days? Are
you catching up on sleep, little jobs you put
off doing during the holidays, updating a
brand new calendar (or, maybe just buying
one?) – so far this year has come in rather
slowly for us (which is a GOOD thing!). Both
boys announced, at different times, that they
are planning on moving out by the end of
this month. THAT is certainly different! We
have not been a ‘just parents’ household
for over 33 1/2 years! Middle son wants to
move back in with a good friend he lived
with about 2 years ago, about 15 minutes
away. Youngest wants to move in with
friends that live just around the corner
(this will be his first venture ‘out’) – I’m
planning on my ‘usual Mom thing’: buying
them both the ‘staples’ like: shampoo,
bath soap, deodorant, razors, toothpaste,
some food essentials – hey, they’re GUYS!
They sort of need a jump start! (at least,
from my MOM perspective they do!) We’ll
see how this all works out – I understand
their need for independence. With the
new grandbaby coming fairly soon (in
the next month or so) having the one
bedroom clear will allow for a little more
freedom for where to put the baby. Our
house is small so there is very little extra
space – this would give me room to put
up a Pack ‘n Play (portacrib) and maybe
not have to take it down the minute the
baby left (as was the original plan) – we’ll

Have a GREAT day! (and stay warm);



and we have SNOW – again…


Yesterday while chatting with a friend I mentioned I might go grocery shopping tomorrow (that would be today) – she said “We’re supposed to get 2-3 inches of snow tomorrow, you might want to re-think going today?” Glad she said that – I did go yesterday and woke up to about 2 1/2 inches of the ‘lovely’ white stuff all over. Up to today the only snow you saw might be in very dirty, old piles at the edges of big shopping centers where it had been plowed the LAST snow storm. Wondering whether our plow guy will show today – he said unless we call him, he only starts after 2 inches (and that’s 2 inches at HIS house – which is about 10 minutes away from us). We’ll see – I watched a gentleman attempt, several times, going up my neighbor’s driveway – he gave up after three tries. Our driveways are not really steep but there’s just enough of an angle that on a snowy day you really need a ‘running’ start or you won’t make it. Oh well – it’s Michigan in Winter so it’s weather ‘as usual’. Forecasts for later in the week are in the mid 40’s, rain/sleet/freezing rain. . . really? All with FORTY degree weather? Here we get freezing UNDER thirty, not in the forties! Weird – hoping the warmer weather melts the snow we already have…that’s my hope, anyway –


Creamsicle Fluff

1 small box orange Jell-O
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 C. boiling water
1/2 C. cold water
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 (14 oz) can mandarin oranges,
1 C. mini marshmallows

Combine Jell-O & boiling water in
large bowl; mix until dissolved then
add cold water & stir well. Chill bowl
15-20 minutes. Whisk in vanilla
pudding mix until smooth; chill
10 minutes until it thickens. Fold
in Cool Whip, oranges & marsh-
mallows. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
Serves 8


Ham & Cheese Brunch Bake

10 large eggs
1 1/2 C. milk
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme leaves,
plus more for garnish
1 tsp. garlic powder
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
4 C. cubed French bread or
1/2 lb. (cooked) ham, chopped
1 1/2 C. shredded white Cheddar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl whisk eggs, milk,
Dijon, thyme & garlic powder;
season generously with salt/pepper.
Spray a large baking dish with non-
stick spray. Add bread to dish & top
with ham & cheese – pour egg
mixture over top evenly. Bake
until eggs are cooked through,
45-55 minutes. Garnish with
more thyme & serve. Serves 8

To Make Ahead:
Prepare dish to point of baking;
cover dish with foil & refrigerate
at least 4 hours & up to overnight,
then bake as directed


4-Can Mexican Chicken Casserole

2 C. diced, cooked chicken
2 C. cooked brown rice (can use
white or cooked quinoa)
1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel
corn, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced
tomatoes (do not drain)
1 (4.5 oz) can diced mild green
chiles, (do not drain)
1 C. taco sauce
1 C. shredded Mexican blend cheese,

Optional toppings:
diced avocado, guacamole, sour cream,
halved grape tomatoes, chopped green
onion, sliced olives

Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Spray a 11X 7″
baking dish with nonstick spray. In large
bowl mix chicken, rice, corn, tomatoes,
chilies, taco sauce & half the cheese –
pour into prepared dish & top with
remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered,
20 minutes until cheese melts & dish
is heated through. Garnish with
optional toppings & serve. Serves 6


Cheesy Lasagna Dip

1/2 lb. Italian turkey sausage
1 1/2 C. marinara sauce, divided
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1 C. ricotta cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella
cheese, divided
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese,
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil, divided

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Remove casings from sausage;
crumble sausage into medium
skillet & cook on medium heat
6-8 minutes until done, stirring
frequently. Remove from heat; stir
in 1 C. marinara sauce. Mix cream
cheese, ricotta, garlic, 1/2 C.
mozzarella & half Parmesan &
half basil until blended. Spray
bottom of 9″ square baking
dish with nonstick spray & spread
mixture onto dish. Top with
sausage mixture. Combine
remaining cheeses & sprinkle
over top. Top with spoonfuls
of remaining marinara sauce.
Bake 20-25 minutes until hot
& bubbly. Sprinkle top with
remaining basil & serve.
Makes 32 (2 T. ea) servings

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Crockpot 3-Bean Turkey Chili

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey breast
1 small onion, chopped
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chilies
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed/
2 T. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin

1/2 C. chopped red onion
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro

Optional toppings:
shredded Cheddar cheese
sour cream
chopped avocado
sliced green onions

Brown turkey & onion in medium
skillet over medium-high heat until
cooked through; drain & transfer
to crockpot. Add beans, chilies,
chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato sauce,
chili powder & cumin – mix well.
Cover & cook on High 6-8 hours or
Low 10-12 hours. Garnish with
your choice of toppings.


Oven-baked Onion Rings

5 large onions
1 C. milk
1 C. flour
2-3 C. Italian bread crumbs
Slice onions into rings. Place flour
on a plate & dredge each ring in
flour one time. Spray a cookie sheet
with nonstick spray & place dredged
rings on sheet. When done with
dredging, place cookie sheet in
freezer about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Pour milk into a shallow pan or pie plate;
dredge each chilled onion ring in
milk. Place bread crumbs in another
pie plate & dredge each milk- coated
ring in bread crumbs & place back
on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake 20
minutes – you may need to use 2
sheets, as you want the rings to
lay flat, depending on how big
the onions are. Makes 6 servings


Italian Tortellini Soup

1 lb. hamburger
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
3 (14.5 oz, ea) cans Italian stewed
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
8 C. water
8 tsp. beef bullion granules
1 green pepper, seeded/chopped
1 C fresh or frozen green beans,
1 can kidney beans, rinsed/drained
1 C. zucchini, chopped
1 pkg. (Good Seasoning) Italian
salad dressing mix
1 can tomato soup
1 (20 oz) pkg. cheese tortellini,
dried or refrigerated

Brown hamburger, onion & green
pepper in skillet; drain grease &
season with salt/pepper. Put
canned tomatoes in a blender
& blend 30 seconds. Place meat
mixture, blended tomatoes & all
other ingredients except tortellini &
tomato soup in large soup pot. Bring
to boil & reduce heat to simmer for
20 minutes. In separate medium pan
cook tortellini accordg. to pkg. directions.
Be sure to not over cook. Drain & add
tortellini to soup pot. Stir in tomato
soup & simmer 5 more minutes.
Serves 12


Crustless Apple Pies

6 large baking apples,
halved vertically & cored
12 T. butter, melted
1/3 C. sugar plus more for
2 T. ground cinnamon
2/3 C. old-fashioned rolled

vanilla ice cream – for serving
warm caramel- for drizzling

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line baking sheet with parchment
paper. Place each apple half, flat
side down – using a paring knife,
create thin slices all the way across,
making sure to stop slicing right
before bottom of apple (so it
stays together as one piece).
Transfer apple halves onto
prepared sheet. Lightly brush
apple tops with melted butter &
sprinkle with sugar. Bake 20-25
minutes, until apples are soft
& caramelized; remove from
oven. In small bowl combine
remaining melted butter, sugar,
cinnamon & oats – when cool
enough to handle, spoon
mixture inside apple slits. Return
to oven & bake 10 minutes more.
Top each with a scoop of ice
cream & serve.  Serves 6


Peanut Butter-Banana Monkey Bread

1 small banana, coarsely chopped
6 T. peanuts, divided
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
2 T. butter
2 T. creamy peanut butter
2 T. maple pancake syrup
1 T. water
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 (16.3 oz) can refrigerated
buttermilk biscuits, cut into

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9″ round pan with nonstick
spray & place bananas in pan;
sprinkle with 1/4 C. nuts. Microwave
brown sugar, butter, peanut butter,
syrup & water in small microwave-
able bowl on High 1 minute until
butter is melted; stir until mixture
is well blended; drizzle over
ingredients in pan. Place granulated
sugar & nuts in food processor &
pulse until nuts are almost ground;
pour into shallow dish. Dip dough
pieces, 1 at a time, in nut mixture,
turning to evenly coat on all sides of
each piece. Arrange in single layer
over ingredients in pan; top with
any remaining nut mixture. Bake
25 minutes until golden brown. Cool
1 minute; invert onto a plate.
Remove pan; top bread with any
nuts remaining in pan & cool
slightly. Serves 12

(recipe: Kraft recipes)


Not much new around here – started
another baby blanket (I know – right?) – this
time it’s in a pale pink/white/& very pale
tan variegated. Worked on it yesterday – it’s
a pattern I had just finished a scarf in, from
a old knitting stitches book (stitch is called
Imitation Embroidery IV) – I like it in the
scarf, but it doesn’t show up as well in a
variegated yarn; I even went down a needle
size, hoping that would make the stitch show
up better…but it didn’t – sigh. Here’s a photo
of the scarf (another one for homeless donation)


Hope you will have a GREAT day;