Yep, it’s COLD!


Today our temperatures took a big dive – it’s 14 degrees F. outside and VERY windy, making it feel like -9 degrees F. Our special needs group has been canceled so I’ve been busy calling & texting everyone, making sure they don’t come tonight. I did go out grocery shopping and was really surprised at just how quickly the cold got through all my layers of warm clothing – not fun – thank heavens for a warm house, warm clothing and all our wants and needs covered – we are blessed.


Chewy Gingerbread Bars

3/4 C. butter, melted
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. molasses
1 egg
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. butter, softened
2 C. powdered sugar
1 T. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 9″ baking dish
with nonstick spray. In large
bowl mix melted butter, sugar &
molasses – beat until well combined.
Add egg & beat until smooth. In
separate bowl mix all dry
ingredients; pour dry ingredients
into wet & beat just until
combined. Press dough into
prepared pan & bake 15-20
minutes – do not overbake.
Insert a toothpick into center-
if it comes out clean remove
pan from oven & let cool
completely. Bars will continue
to cook a bit as they cool.
Mix all frosting ingredients in
stand mixer until smooth.
spread frosting over top of
cooled bars & refrigerate
1 hour. Cut & serve; store
leftover bars in refrigerator
or freezer.

NOTE: If you want to double recipe:
use a large jelly roll pan (11 1/2″
X 16″) Bake 350 degrees F. for
20-25 minutes. Cool & frost &
refrigerate at least 30 minutes
before cutting


Quick ‘n Easy Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef (or ground
turkey/chicken, your choice)
1 small onion, chopped
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans,
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (2 T.) pouch taco seasoning
NOTE: do not drain cans (except
kidney beans)

Optional Toppings:

shredded Cheddar cheese
sour cream
diced tomatoes or
pico de gallo
sliced avocado
corn chips
lime wedges
chopped cilantro

Brown ground beef & onion in large
skillet until cooked; crumbled, drain fat.
Add remaining ingredients & stir to
combine. Cook over medium heat,
simmer 10 minutes to let flavors blend.
Serve with optional toppings.

Spinach-stuffed Chicken Pockets

4 C/ fresh baby spinach
2 tsp. plus 1/4 C. olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C. garlic-herb spreadable cheese
2/3 C. plus 1/4 C. seasoned bread
crumbs, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
halves (6 oz, ea)
1 egg, lightly beaten

In large skillet saute spinach in 2
tsp. oil until spinach is wilted. Add
garlic; cook 1 minute; remove from
heat. Stir in spreadable cheese,
2/3 C. bread crumbs & 1/4 tsp. salt.
Cut a pocket in thickest part of
each breast, fill with spinach mixture
& secure with wooden toothpicks.
Place egg in a shallow bowl (or pie plate).
In another bowl combine pepper, salt &
remaining bread crumbs. Dip chicken in
egg then coat with bread crumb mixture.
In large skillet over medium heat, cook
chicken in remaining oil 8-10 minutes on
each side or until a thermometer reads
170 degrees F. Discard toothpicks before
serving. Serves 4


Creamy Ham, Potato & Corn Chowder

2 C. cooked ham, diced into small cubes
6 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
5 1/2 T. butter, divided
1 medium yellow onion, diced (1 1/2 C)
2 carrots, peeled/diced (3/4 C.)
2 stalks celery, diced (3/4 C)
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
5 medium red potatoes, diced into
3/4 inch cubes
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt/ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 C. fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
1/4 C. plus 2 T. flour
3 C. milk
1/2 C. sour cream or heavy cream
chopped chives, for topping

In large pot melt 1 1/2 T. butter over
medium heat. Add onion, carrots &
celery – saute until tender, 4 minutes.
Add chicken broth, potatoes, oregano,
thyme & bay leaf – season with salt/
pepper to taste (slightly under season
with salt as bacon  & ham will add to
saltiness). Bring to boil over medium-
high heat; reduce heat to medium.
Cover & allow to cook until potatoes
are very tender, 17-20 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Reduce to warm
heat; stir in ham & corn.
In medium saucepan melt remaining
4 T. butter over medium heat. Add flour
& cook, stirring constantly, 1 1/2 minutes.
While whisking, slowly add in milk &
whisk vigorously to smooth lumps.
Season with salt/pepper to taste. Bring
to boil & allow to thicken, whisking
constantly. Remove from heat, stir in
sour cream. Pour & stir milk mixture
into soup mixture. Serve warm
topped with bacon & chives. Serves 6


Stuffed Baby Red Potatoes

24 small red potatoes
(about 2 1/2 lb)
1/4 C. butter, cubed
1/2C. shredded Parmesan
cheese, divided
1/2 C. cooked/crumbled bacon,
2/3 C. sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp paprika

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes & place in
large saucepan covered with
water – bring to boil. Reduce
heat, cover & cook 15-20
minutes until tender; drain.
When cool enough to handle,
cut a thin slice off top of each
potato. Scoop out pulp leaving
a thin shell (cut thin slices off
bottoms of potatoes if needed
to make level).
In large bowl mash potato tops &
pulp with butter (set aside 2 T.
cheese & bacon for garnish) Add
remaining cheese & bacon to
potatoes; stir in sour cream,
egg, salt/pepper.  Spoon mixture
into potato shells & place on
ungreased baking sheet. Top with
remaining cheese & bacon –
sprinkle tops with paprika. Bake
12-18 minutes. Makes 2 dozen


Chicken Tamale Pie

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/2 C. sour cream
1/2 C. corn kernels (canned/
fresh or frozen)
1 large egg
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Taco seasoning mix
2 C. cooked/shredded chicken
3/4 C. enchilada sauce,
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 C. shredded Monterrey Jack
chopped fresh cilantro – optional

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Prepare corn muffin mix: in medium
bowl combine mix, sour cream, corn
& egg; whisk until evenly combined.
Spray large oven-safe skillet with
cooking spray & pour mixture into
pan. Bake 15 minutes until golden;
let cool slightly.
In large skillet over medium heat, heat
oil. Add onions, cook 5 minutes; add
garlic & cook 1 more minute. Add taco
seasoning & season with salt. Add
chicken & 1/2 C. enchilada sauce; stir
until combined. Poke holes all over
cornbread using bottom of a wooden
spoon. Pour remaining 1/4 C. enchilada
sauce over holes & top with chicken
mixture. Top with cheeses & bake
20 minutes. Garnish with cilantro,
if using, & serve.


Baked Spaghetti

1 C. onion, chopped
1 C. chopped green pepper
1 T. butter
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (4 oz) can mushroom stems &
pieces, drained
1 (2 1/4 oz) can sliced ripe olives,
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 lb. ground beef, browned/
12 oz. spaghetti, cooked/drained
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom
soup, undiluted
1/4 C. water
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet saute onion & green
pepper in butter until tender. Add
tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, oregano
& ground beef – simmer, uncovered,
10 minutes; drain. Place half of
spaghetti in greased 9 X 13″ baking
dish; layer with half vegetable mixture
& 1 C. Cheddar cheese – repeat layers.
In small bowl combine soup & water
until smooth; pour over casserole.
Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese &
bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes until
heated through. Serves 12


Winter Fruit Salad w/Cinnamon-
Rum Sauce

1 (12 oz) can pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. rum extract
2 (10 oz, ea) cans mandarin
oranges, drained
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks,
2 C. purple or red (seedless) grapes
2 large apples, cored/chopped

In large bowl add 1 can pineapple
juice concentrate, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
& 2 tsp. rum extract – whisk to combine.
Add 2 drained cans mandarin oranges,
pineapple chunks, grapes & chopped
apples – stir to combine. Refrigerate
1 hour. Serves 10



Yesterday found me attempting to finish all the
‘extra’ knitting – managed to finish one of the
two sets of boot toppers – still have about 8
rows of ribbing (then sewing up) on the second
pair and then that’s done! YAY! I also took in
one small box of yarn to my knit group – all

but 3 skeins were taken. Our next meeting
(in 2 weeks) is the Yarn Swap so I’m hoping
to get rid of a lot more – we’ll see! There
is just too much  to take in all at one time,
so I’m slowly going to take a little in each

 Had an unusual
happening last night: I brought in 6 very large
skeins of yarn that i had ordered on line – when
I got it I discovered it was not as thick as I
thought it was – you would need to knit using
two yarns together to have it thick enough.
In my carrying all the ‘stuff’ in , somehow one
of the balls must have fallen out – onto the
parking lot and into a very dirty puddle – I
found it next to my car when I came out
3 hours later. What to do? I dragged it home,
filled a bucket with warm water & Tide and
let it soak. Today I ‘squished’ it together with
my hands to get out the dirty water then
rinsed it. NOW what to do!? I ended up
remembering I had a net laundry bag I used
to use for washing baby socks (keeps them
from getting lost in the washer/dryer) so
I put the ball in that and stuck it in the dryer.
It went through  1 hour – still VERY wet so
I’m going to try to keep doing that for a
few 1 hour cycles and see what happens.
My thoughts are: it’s VERY dense & probably
will not dry inside – I (right now) don’t exactly
know what to do other than unrolling it, a
little at a time, and letting THAT part dry –
repeat process. We’ll see – it’s a BIG ball!
(Yes, I can hear some of you: why not just
pitch it!? Well, it IS a good yarn, cost
$7.00 – not a big expense but I’d hate to
just waste it – we’ll see…)

Hope you are all safe, warm and enjoying
the beginnings of this New Year. Today is
my middle son’s 28th birthday – baked him
his favorite: double chocolate brownies
(with tiny chocolate chips inside) and
frosted with dark chocolate frosting – the
house smells great!

Enjoy your day;





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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. A happy birthday to middle son and many many more. Cindy and I grocery shopped yesterday. What an excruciating event that was!

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