After waiting 2 days, I finally got to hold him! Days were hectic and I am not one to impose myself on others, but last night oldest son texted me the baby was up & active, did I want to come over & hold him? OF COURSE! Picture is a little blurry (son was trying to use my camera and the flash had been shut off, plus baby was fussing a bit – at first). I had a great time just chatting with his parents and holding him while he slept – for THREE hours! Both parents kept saying they’ve never seen him so relaxed – told them it’s the Grandma Touch. Many years ago, at another church nursery, I was always the person they gave the fussy babies to – don’t know what I did/do, but it seems to work. I had a great time!


Cappuccino Magic Cake

6 T. unsalted butter
3 large eggs, room temp,
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon (more for serving)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. milk
5 tsp. instant expresso powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

powdered sugar, for dusting
whipped cream/Cool Whip,
for serving

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Place oven rack in center of oven.
Line a 8 X 8″ baking pan with a
12 X 8″ piece of parchment paper,
leaving an overhang on 2 sides.
Melt butter in small microwave-
safe bowl, about 1 minute. Brush
parchment paper with some of
butter; flip paper over & press
back into pan – brush other side
& sides of the pan with butter.
Whisk egg yolks & sugar
vigorously in large bowl until
pale, creamy & thick (1-2 minutes)
Pour in remaining butter & whisk
until incorporated. Add flour,
cinnamon & salt; mixing until
completely combined. Heat milk
in microwaveable bowl or
measuring cup until warm, 1
minute. Whisk espresso powder &
vanilla into milk until completely
dissolved. Slowly add milk mixture
to egg yolk mixture, whisking
constantly until well combined
(batter will be thin). Beat egg
whites & cream of tartar in another
bowl using elec. mixer on medium
speed until stiff peaks form, about
2 minutes. Scrape whites into yolk
mixture, gently breaking them up
a little with a whisk. Using a whisk,
gently stir & fold mixture a few times
to coat the whites with liquid while
keeping as much volume as possible
(batter will not totally come together).
Pour batter into prepared pan & gently
smooth top with a spatula. Bake until
top is browned & puffed & cake is
mostly set with a slight jiggle in the
center, about 1 hour. Let cake cool
completely in pan, about 2 hours.

To Serve:
Dust top of cake with some powdered
sugar & a little cinnamon. Run a small
spatula or thin knife around edges of
pan to loosen. Use parchment paper
overhang to lift cake from pan – place
on a cutting board & cut cake into
9 squares – serve topped with whipped
cream or Cool Whip. Makes 9 servings.


Mongolian Shrimp & Broccoli

3 T. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 ginger, grated
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb. shrimp without tails,
1/3 C. cornstarch
canola oil
1 large head broccoli, cut into

Cooked rice to serve 4

In small bowl combine soy sauce,
garlic, ginger, brown sugar & pepper.
In medium bowl season shrimp with
salt & mix with cornstarch until well
coated. In large skillet over medium-
high heat, add 1 T. oil & cook broccoli
until tender, 2 minutes. Add soy sauce
mixture & cook 1 minute. Add shrimp
& stir until cooked through & broccoli
is slightly charred. Serve immediately.
Serves 4

Skinny Texas Cheese Fries

4-5 medium Yukon Gold or Russet
2 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 C. Cheddar cheese, grated
1 T. bacon, cooked/crumbled
1 T. cilantro, chopped
1 T. green onions, chopped

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Wash potatoes; slice into 1/2 inch
strips. Lay potato strips face down
in 2 piles; slice each pile into 1/2
inch strips. Place them in a bowl
& drizzle 2 T. olive oil over top.
In small bowl combine chili powder,
seasoned salt, paprika & garlic –
sprinkle seasoning over top of
potatoes & toss, using tongs,
making sure all slices get covered
with seasoning. Generously spray
2 large cookie sheets with nonstick
spray. Lay potatoes out evenly, making
sure none overlap. Bake 25 minutes.
Test with a fork to be sure they are
soft in centers. Remove from oven &
sprinkle tops with salt. Using a spatula,
place all fries into a deep 9 X 9″ casserole
dish (or deep dish pie plate). Sprinkle
with Cheddar cheese & bacon crumbles.
Place pan in oven & allow cheese to melt,
2-3 minutes. sprinkle top with chopped
cilantro & green onions & serve.
Serves 6


Crockpot Anything Goes Sausage Soup
(cooks for 9-10 hours)

1 lb. bulk pork sausage
4 C. water
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of
mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed
Cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
5 medium red potatoes, cubed
4 C. chopped cabbage
3 large carrots, thinly sliced
4 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 chicken bouillon cubes
1 T. dried parsley flakes
3/4 tsp. pepper
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

In large skillet cook sausage over
medium heat until no longer pink;
drain & transfer to 6 qt. crockpot.
Stir in water & soups until blended.
Add vegetables, bouillon, parsley
& pepper. Cover & cook on Low
9-10 hours until vegetables are
tender. Stir in milk, cover & cook
30 minutes longer.
Serves 15 (4 qts)


Homemade Guacamole

2 ripe Haas avocados
4 T. minced red onion
1 tsp. (or more) hot sauce
2 T. minced cilantro
1 tsp. lime juice
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
few grinds black pepper
1/2 of a ripe tomato, seeded/
skinned & diced

Crackers or chips, for dipping

Run a knife around outside of
avocados from top to bottom &
back to top. Cut down to it; using
a twisting motion, twist avocado
halves apart. Tap pit with the edge
of a knife so that knife partially
goes into pit – turn knife & pit will
come out. (be careful not to swing
too hard & hit your hand). Run a
soup spoon between avocado pulp
& skin – place pulp in a medium
bowl; mash slightly with a fork,
leaving large chunks.
Add all other ingredients (except
tomato); adjust seasoning as needed.
When ready to serve, sprinkle
diced tomato on top. Makes 2 Cups

NOTE: If, after preparing the guacamole,

when ready to serve, place the PIT in the

middle of the guacamole – it will keep it from

turning brown.


30 Minute Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta
(uses rotisserie chicken & oven-proof

1 (12 oz) pkg. bowtie pasta
2 T. butter
1 C. chicken broth
2 C. Half & Half
2 (10 oz, ea) cans cream of chicken soup
1 tsp. honey mustard
1/4 tsp. onion powder
salt/pepper, to taste
3 T. sour cream
2 C. cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped
2 C. deli ham, chopped (or leftover ham)
8 slices Swiss cheese
1 1/4 C. Italian Panko bread crumbs*

Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions. Heat
butter in medium skillet over medium-high
heat. Add chicken broth, Half & Half & both
cans soup – whisk to combine. Add honey
mustard, onion powder & salt/pepper – stir
& bring to simmer, stirring occasionally. Allow
to simmer 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened.
Add chopped chicken, ham & sour cream to
skillet then drained/cooked pasta – stir together.
Lay slices of Swiss cheese on top of mixture then
sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
Turn on broiler
Place under broiler & cook until golden brown –
just a few minutes; watch so you don’t burn it.
Remove from oven & allow to cool a little before
serving. Serves 6-8


Crockpot Mexican Beer Chicken

6-8 bone-in/skin on chicken thighs
1 bottle dark (Mexican) beer
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all seasonings in a small bowl;
sprinkle each thigh with blend & place
in crockpot. Pour in beer*. Cover &
Frozen: 4-6 hours on High or 8-10 on Low
Thawed: 3-4 hours on High or 7-8 on low

*Poster said she pours the beer down the
side of the crockpot so as not to wash all
the seasonings off the chicken.


Sugar Cookie Apple Crisp

2 T. butter, melted/cooled
1/4 C. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 pinch nutmeg
pinch salt
6 medium apples, peeled/
cored/chopped into bite-
sized chunks
1 (14 oz) pkg. refrigerated
sugar cookie dough, broken
into chunks
1/2 C. rolled oats

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 9″ casserole or
deep-dish baking dish with
nonstick spray. In large bowl
combine butter, sugar, lemon
juice, cinnamon, allspice,
nutmeg & salt. Add apples &
toss to coat. Scrape sides of
bowl with spatula & transfer
to prepared dish. Using a food
processor (or blender), add
cookie dough & oats – pulse
several times until mixture
resembles coarse, wet sand.
Use your hands to sprinkle
mixture on top of apples.
Bake 20-25 minutes until
topping is lightly browned
& apples bubble. Let cool
slightly before serving.
Serves 6


Our weather has been a bit goofy – if you
read the weather reports we’re supposed to
be getting COLD weather, but each day it keeps
getting warmer (for example: woke up & it was
35 degrees F. – a few hours later it’s almost 55!)
I can definitely take this weather but having
grown up in good old Michigan, I KNOW we will
probably get some snow before or during Easter –
wouldn’t be the first time.

Nothing much new going on (except the baby, of
course) – gas prices keep fluctuating between
$2.19/9 and $2.29/9 – not sure just why but as
long as they stay in that range, we’re good.

Tonight is Knit/Crochet night – still working on
both baby blankets – slowly plodding along.

Have a GREAT day!




and we have another GRANDSON!


Kolt Brian  20 inches, almost 8 lbs. & Mommy


Kolt & Daddy (our son)

It was a crazy/hectic Friday to Saturday for us but finally he’s born & in good health. They are (hopefully) going home sometime this afternoon. Not much to report – with all the things going on at the hospital, I didn’t get to hold him YET – but I will, when he’s home. My son says the baby has big feet! Of course, being OUR baby – he’s cute (don’t all grandparents say that?)

Will report more later – going to take a well-deserved nap!



Published in: on February 26, 2017 at 1:38 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

A little at a time


Each day, lately, I’ve attempted to make a ‘dent’ in the ‘world of the upstairs JUNK’! Today was another ‘go at it’ – we’re talking YEARS of accumulations. Today I actually ‘found’ more little kids reading books, about 6 BOXES of VCR movie tapes (oh, joy), MORE of my old High School Homeschool books (a friend from church wants them – we’re talking Geometry, Biology, Economics, etc.) and that was just today’s discoveries. By the time I’m done I’m hoping to make more room upstairs for when middle son moves up there. It will be a LOT neater/cleaner and a little more roomy – makes my little heart glad.

Along with the cleaning ‘fun’ I ran into more bags of old house bills/receipts, etc. which need to be shredded. I don’t know about you, but shredding is NOT one of my favorite pastimes – boring! I have 2008 & 2009 to do in the next few days. My basic complaint (besides it being boring) is that those little ‘shreds’ seem to jump out of the garbage bag and end up being trecked all over the house! UGH! Oh well – one more job tackled – hopefully.


Crockpot Lemon Spoon Cake
(about 4 lemons total for recipe)

1 (15.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1/2 C. lemon juice (plus 2 T. for glaze)
1/2 C. water
1/3 C. melted butter
3 eggs
1 T. lemon zest (packed)

2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 C. powdered sugar

vanilla ice cream, if desired, for serving
cake with

In large bowl add cake mix, lemon juice,
water, melted butter, eggs & lemon zest;
mix with a spoon until combined. (Do not
over mix, some lumps are fine)
Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick spray.
Pour batter into crockpot & smooth out evenly.
Cover & cook on High 1 1/2/ – 2 hours. Check
after 1 1/2 hours by pressing center of cake with
your fingers – it should be firm). If you are not
ready to serve when cooking time is up, turn
crockpot to warm setting.

Mix glaze ingredients in small bowl with a spoon.
Scoop cake into bowls & drizzle some glaze over
each serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if
desired. Serves 8 or more


Easy Shrimp Scampi

2 T. olive oil
5 T. butter
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 lb. shrimp, (uncooked), peeled/
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. chopped parsley, divided
juice of 1 lemon

cooked rice or pasta for 4

Heat skillet over medium heat; add
oil & butter – heat until bubbly.
Add ground red pepper; stir constantly
30 seconds. Add shrimp, garlic, salt/
half of parsley; continue to stir 2
minutes. Add lemon juice & cook
1 more minute. Remove from heat &
garnish with remaining parsley. Serve
warm over cooked rice or pasta
Serves 4


Sriracha Chicken & Brown Sugar
Bacon Bites

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T. olive oil
2 T. Sriracha sauce
2 T. orange juice
6-8 slices bacon
6 T. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. black pepper

Cut chicken into 16-18 cubes &
place in large ziplock bag. Add
oil, Sriracha sauce & orange
juice. Zip up bag & turn to fully
coat chicken with marinade.
Refrigerate 1 hour, turning bag
every 20-30 minutes. (For spicier
bites, leave bag in fridge longer).
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Cut each slice of bacon into 3
pieces; remove chicken from
marinade & wrap a piece of bacon
around each chicken cube. Roll
cube in brown sugar & secure with
wooden toothpicks. Cover a baking
sheet with foil & spray foil with
nonstick spray – place cubes on sheet.
Sprinkle cubes with black pepper &
bake 30 minutes until bacon is crisp.
Turn pieces halfway through cooking
time. Serve warm. Serves 4


Baked Rice with Sausage/Peppers

& Corn

1 lb. spicy or sweet Italian sausage (or
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 1/2 C. Arborio rice
3 C. chicken broth
2 ears fresh corn, shucked/kernels cut off
(or) about 2 C. frozen corn, thawed)
1 tsp. Old Bay cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 T. chopped cilantro

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. Pierce sausages all
over on all sides using the tip of a
knife (to prevent splitting/bursting).
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat; add sausages & cook,
turning often, until browned, about
5-6 minutes. Allow sausages to rest
a few minutes then cut into halves
or thirds – transfer to prepared
baking dish. Add to skillet onion,
garlic & red pepper – cook, stirring
frequently, until onion is softened,
about 2-3 minutes. Add rice; stir &
cook 1 minute, making sure all grains
get coated with oil from pan. Add
chicken broth, corn, Old Bay, salt/
pepper & bring to boil. Carefully
pour hot mixture over sausages in
baking dish. Cover tightly with foil
& bake until rice is tender & has
absorbed chicken broth, about
30-35 minutes. After baking, remove
from oven & let stand 5 minutes
before serving. Sprinkle top with
chopped cilantro.


Crockpot Honey Pork Roast

3-4 lb. pork loin roast
2 T. dried oregano
2 T. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
2 T. garlic, minced
1/2 C. honey
2 T. olive oil
1/4 C. soy sauce
2/3 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray & place roast in
pot. In medium bowl combine
oregano,basil, pepper/salt/,
garlic, honey, soy sauce & Parm.
cheese – mix well & pour over
roast. Cover & cook on Low 6-8
hours. Remove cooked roast
from crockpot, reserving liquid.
Shred meat. Add reserved cooking
liquid to a saucepan & bring to
a boil. Reduce heat & simmer until
reduced & thickened. Pour reduced
thickened sauce over meat & serve.
Serves 6-8


Crockpot Cream Cheese Taco Dip

16 oz. Velveeta, cubed
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, softened/
1 (16 oz) jar salsa
1 oz. pkg. dry taco seasoning mix
1 lb. ground beef, browned/drained

corn or tortilla chips for dipping

Place all DIP ingredients in crockpot
(2-3 qt if you have one). Cover &
cook on Low 1 to 1 1/2 hours,
stirring frequently. Serve with dippers
Serves 10


Crockpot Zuppa Toscana
(Italian Potato/Sausage Soup)

6 slices bacon, cut, cooked &
1 lb. mild sausage, browned/
4 C. diced russet potatoes
1 C. diced white onion
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 (32 oz) box chicken broth

1 1/2 C. heavy cream
4 C. chopped kale

Add all ingredients to crockpot
except cream & kale. Cover &
cook on Low 7 hours. When done,
add heavy cream & kale; push
kale down into soup. Cover &
cook an additional 20 minutes.
Serves 8


Banana Sundae Dessert
(overnight recipe)

1 (12 oz) pkg. vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 C. butter, melted
2 T. sugar
6 C. chocolate chip ice cream,
4 large, firm bananas, sliced
2 (11 3/4 oz, ea) jars hot fudge ice
cream topping, divided
6 C. strawberry or cherry ice cream,

Optional toppings:
whipped cream (or Cool Whip)
maraschino cherries
chopped walnuts
banana slices
colored sprinkles

In a bowl combine crushed wafers,
melted butter & sugar; press onto
bottom of a 9 X 13″ baking dish.
Freeze 15 minutes.
Spread choc. chip ice cream over
crust & layer with sliced bananas &
1 1/2 jars fudge topping (about 1 1/2
C.) Freeze, covered, at least 30 minutes.
Spread strawberry or cherry ice cream
over top & freeze, covered, 6 hours
or overnight.
Remove from freezer 10 minutes before
cutting. Warm remaining fudge topping &
drizzle over top. Serve with toppings.
Serves 16



Yesterday we had a VERY pleasant surprise –
middle son & I ‘adventured’ to the Wonderful
World of calling MEDICAID! Son doesn’t make
a lot of $$$ and is too old to be on our
medical insurance. He managed to lose his
Medicaid/Michigan insurance card and since
he hasn’t seen the doctor in awhile, thought
his coverage had expired. After a 20 minute
(listen to the canned music) wait we got an
actual PERSON – lady was very nice and checked
his account. Turns out his file is STILL active &
she’s sending him a new card! YAY! This is the
son that has very bad scoliosis (severe curvature
of the spine) and lately it’s been really painful
for him. He wants to be able to see a specialist
to get x-rays or an MRI to see just what can be
done. Many years ago while he was in his teens
we went through that – the specialist said that
unless it got more severe, there was nothing he
could do – just live with it. If it got worse he could
have surgery to have rods put in his back (VERY
painful). It’s many years later and he’s really needing
some sort of treatment (he’s already been to several
chiropractors – a little relief, for a little while – expensive
as they are not covered on insurance). We’ll see where
this goes – hopefully to get him some relief!

Our weather is, once again, gorgeous! It’s in the high
50’s today – forecast is rain/thunderstorms Thurs-Sun,
so ‘oh, goody’ but I’ll take the sunshine TODAY! It
always makes me extra happy feeling when the sun
is shining!

Gas prices are still at $2.19/9 a gallon – I know I need
to stop & fill up within the next few days, as well as
make a stop at the library & grocery store but just
haven’t felt the URGE to do so. That will change soon
because I have my special needs group tonight & it’s a
25 minute drive, one-way, so that will burn up some
gas & perhaps inspire me to get off my gluteus maximus
(polite way to say rear end/derriere, etc.) and go do
those things!

Hope your day is filled with some SUNSHINE and
a rest or two – just for the heck of it!



Another GORGEOUS day!

a perfect day

The sun is shining & it’s 58 degrees F. in Michigan in FEBRUARY!

We’ve had several days like this and it really lifts one’s spirits to see the sunshine – you would almost expect flowers to start blooming! We do have some birds that have returned from down South – here in Michigan we look forward to robins coming back every year – kind of like a sign of Spring.

Youngest son moved out Friday and I’ve spend partial days working on straightening/sorting/re-packing, etc. things that were kind of shoved to the walls when he first moved up there. (I know that sounds weird, but the ‘room’ I’m talking about is the total upstairs of a 1 1/2 story Cape Cod house with peaked ceiling.) When middle & youngest son’s decided that they really didn’t get along & needed to have separate rooms (about 5-7 years ago) middle son chose to stay in the same room, youngest picked the upstairs. Going through boxes of ‘stuff’ I was pleasantly surprised to find some things I thought had long-since been given or thrown away – like baby toys! Found a bunch of jigsaw puzzles I’d forgotten, 10 partially-filled Word Search books (won’t be needing to buy any more any time soon!) – books, old VCR movies, etc. The ‘fun’, now is finding places to PUT all that stuff! I know what to do with the baby toys (the baby is due any day now – actual due date is March 1st). I have be best of intentions but find that (since the radiation 5 1/2 years ago) I just don’t have the energy/stamina I used to have. I find myself having to set ‘times’ and then say: “that’s enough for now” because otherwise I get too fatigued to do anything else that day. Frustrating but that’s just how it is now. I’m happy with what I’ve already accomplished – still have a lot to go; the REAL test is, like I said, finding places to put this ‘stuff’ once it’s all sorted & re-packed! UGH!


Quick & Easy Banana Pudding

(quite honestly, I didn’t think this was so

‘Quick & Easy” as stated!)


1 box vanilla wafer cookies
1 small box vanilla instant pudding
mix (plus milk for preparing)
2-3 ripe bananas, sliced
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed

Prepare pudding mix according to
pkg. directions – refrigerate. Place
vanilla wafers in single layer on
bottom of a small baking dish*.
Spread half of pudding (about 1 C)
over cookies & top with a single
layer of sliced bananas. Repeat
layers, starting with cookies. Top
final layer of banana slices with
Cool Whip. Refrigerate at least
1 hour. Garnish top with extra
vanilla wafers, if desired.
Serves 4-6

*Poster used a glass 8 X 6 X 2″
dish and about 20 cookies for each


Crockpot Cream Cheese Taco Dip

16 oz. Velveeta, cubed
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, softened/
1 (16 oz) jar salsa
1 oz. pkg. dry taco seasoning mix
1 lb. ground beef, browned/drained

corn or tortilla chips for dipping

Place all DIP ingredients in crockpot
(2-3 qt if you have one). Cover &
cook on Low 1 to 1 1/2 hours,
stirring frequently. Serve with dippers
Serves 10


Crockpot Dijon Pork Chops & Potatoes

1 (10.75 oz) can cream of mushroom
soup, undiluted
1/4 C. chicken broth
1/4 C. whole grain Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 medium red potatoes, sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 boneless pork loin chops (about
1-inch thick)
1 T. oil

Thickening (if desired):
3 T. flour
1/4 C. water

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray.
In large bowl mix soup, broth, mustard,
garlic, thyme, salt/pepper. Stir in sliced
potatoes & onions & place in crockpot.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high
heat; brown chops well on both sides.
Place chops on top of potato mixture.
Cover & cook on Low 4-6 hours or High
3-5 hours. If you want a thick sauce,
mix together thickening ingredients
listed above & stir until there are no
lumps. Turn crockpot to High, remove
chops & stir flour mixture into potatoes.
Place chops back in crockpot & cook on
High 15-20 minutes longer until sauce
is thick & fully cooked. Serves 6


Easy Spanish Rice

1 C. chicken stock
1 C. white rice
1 C. tomato sauce
1 (4 oz) can green chiles
1 1/2 T. taco seasoning mix
1-2 T. olive oil

Heat oil in medium or large saucepan
over medium-high heat; pour in rice.
Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently
until rice is lightly toasted but not
burned. Pour in chicken stock, tomato
sauce, green chiles & taco seasoning;
stir well & bring to boil. Once boiling,
cover & reduce heat to Low. Cook
20-25 minutes until rice has absorbed
all liquid & is al dente. Uncover &
fluff with a fork, returning mixture to
heat if there is any liquid left in bottom
of pan. Serves 2-4


Chicken Wild Rice Soup

2 qt. chicken broth
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 C. finely chopped celery
1 C. shredded carrots
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 C. butter, cubed
1/4 C. flour
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of
mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 C. dry white wine (or
additional chicken broth)
3 C. cooked wild rice
2 C. cubed, cooked chicken

In large saucepan combine first
9 ingredients (broth – thyme); bring
to boil, reduce heat. Cover & simer
30  minutes. In Dutch oven melt butter
& stir in flour until smooth. Gradually
whisk in broth mixture; bring to boil,
cook & stir 2 minutes until thickened.
Whisk in soup & wine (or broth). Add
rice & chicken; heat through.
Makes 14 servings.


Jiffy Cinnamon Rolls &
Cream Cheese Frosting

4-5 C. flour
1 box JIFFY yellow cake mix
2 pkg. fast rising yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 C. warm water
2 T. butter
1/2 C. sugar
1 T. cinnamon


1 (3 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/4 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

Grease a cookie sheet or
spray with nonstick spray.
In large bowl combine 3 C. flour,
cake mix, yeast, salt & warm
water; mix until smooth. Add
enough remaining flour to form
a soft dough. Turn dough out onto
a lightly floured surface & knead
until smooth (6-8 minutes). Roll
dough to 9 X 18″ rectangle. Spread
dough with butter & sprinkle with
sugar & cinnamon. Roll dough up,
jelly-roll fashion, starting with long
end. Slice roll into 1-inch circles using
a piece of clean dental floss or heavy
thread placed under roll. Bring ends
of floss up & criss-cross at top of roll
& pull strings in opposite directions.
Place rolls on prepared sheet; cover
& let rise in a warm place until
doubled in size, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Bake rolls 15-18 minutes.
While rolls are baking, beat
together cream cheese, butter,
powdered sugar, vanilla & salt.
When baking is done, spread
frosting on warm rolls before
serving. Makes 12 rolls.



Found out today that our Youth Pastor’s
wife is expecting a girl; I’m 3/4ths done
with a pink/tan & white blanket – YAY!
Will probably knit a hat & booties to
match (if I’m not mistaken, the baby
is not due until July).

Hope your day is going well and you
are in good health. FINALLY my husband
(after almost 3 weeks) is back to his old
self – the bronchitis seems to be gone –



Moving Day! (again – different son this time)


Today finds me assisting youngest son in his first endeavor to move to a new place. He’s done all the packing/moving his single bed mattress from upstairs, out to my van, loading my van, etc. We’re awaiting the call that the room is now ready (I guess the owners are cleaning the floors first?) my only job is to drive my van to his new place (he’ll do the unloading). The groceries are all bought (did that yesterday) his laundry caught up, etc. Each son, when moving, was given about a week’s worth of groceries & supplies (clothes soap, kleenex, toilet paper, etc.) – this son is not much of an ‘eater’ so trying to figure out just what foods he might like was a bit of a challenge – but I succeeded! Each son was different when it came to moving – some wanted/needed a lot of help; this one is very independent, so in the area of needing help – not so much. We’ll see how this goes. My next ‘job’ will be going over his old room, dusting/vacuuming, re-arranging lots of ‘stuff’ so that middle son (when/if he decides) can move up there. Again – we’ll see…



1 single pie crust
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temp.
2/3 C. peanut butter smooth or crunchy
1/2 C. sugar
2 T. milk
1 T. honey
pinch salt
3/4 C. jelly, your choice flavor
1 C. heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-4 T. powdered sugar

chopped peanuts – optional garnish

Prepare pie crust or use already
prepared – bake & cool completely

Peanut Butter Filling:

In large bowl cream peanut butter,
cream cheese, sugar, milk, honey &
salt until well combined; spoon into
prepared crust – spread evenly.

Jelly Filling:
Add jelly to small bowl; mix with spoon
or fork slightly to make it easier to spread;
spread over peanut butter layer & smooth

Whipping Cream:
Chill a large bowl & elec. mixer beaters at
least 30 minutes. Add cold heavy whipping
cream to chilled bowl; beat at medium
speed until cream begins to thicken. Add
vanilla & turn on High – continue beating
until cream thickens. Gradually add in
powdered sugar until cream forms stiff
peaks – generously spoon onto jelly layer.
Top with chopped nuts. Refrigerate any
leftovers. Serves 8


Crockpot Honey Pork Roast

3-4 lb. pork loin roast
2 T. dried oregano
2 T. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
2 T. garlic, minced
1/2 C. honey
2 T. olive oil
1/4 C. soy sauce
2/3 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray & place roast in
pot. In medium bowl combine
oregano,basil, pepper/salt/,
garlic, honey, soy sauce & Parm.
cheese – mix well & pour over
roast. Cover & cook on Low 6-8
hours. Remove cooked roast
from crockpot, reserving liquid.
Shred meat. Add reserved cooking
liquid to a saucepan & bring to
a boil. Reduce heat & simmer until
reduced & thickened. Pour reduced
thickened sauce over meat & serve.
Serves 6-8


Cheesy Tuscan Spaghetti Squash

2 medium spaghetti squash
olive oil, for brushing
kosher salt/black pepper
1 whole head garlic
1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 C. chicken or vegetable stock/broth
3 T. prepared pesto
1 C. plain Greek yogurt
1 C. (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
5 oz. fresh baby spinach
salt/pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
8 slices provolone cheese
basil leaves (topping)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Carefully cut squash in half, lengthwise;
scrape out seeds & membranes, leaving
denser flesh intact. Transfer squash halves
to large rimmed baking sheet & brush
insides of squash lightly with oil; season
with salt/pepper – flip squash halves over
so that cut sides face down. Remove excess
garlic ‘paper’ from outside of head; keep
remainder of head intact. Cut top off head
to expose tops of individual cloves. Place
garlic head on a piece of foil & drizzle
exposed cloves lightly with olive oil – wrap
garlic in foil & place on baking sheet with
squash. Roast squash & garlic until tender,
about 35 minutes. Remove from oven &
allow to cool 5-10 minutes before handling.
Flip squash over – cut sides up – scoop
squash from outer skin & place ‘insides’ in
a bowl. Reserve outer skins (for boats)
In medium pot, heat crushed
tomatoes & stock over medium heat; bring
to boil. Squeeze in roasted garlic & mix well.
Reduce heat to medium-low; add pesto &
yogurt, stirring to combine. Stir in mozzarella &
baby spinach. Continue stirring until cheese is
melted & spinach is wilted. Mix scooped out
spaghetti squash into sauce – season with
salt/pepper & red pepper flakes, to taste.
Divide squash evenly between squash skins.
Cover with provolone cheese & broil until
cheese melts & is beginning to brown – top
with fresh basil leaves & serve warm.
Serves 4


Bacon-wrapped Cream Cheese
stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 T. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
2 T. chopped green onions
4-8 pieces bacon

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cut chicken into 4 equal pieces; pound
out meat to 1/4″ thick. Mix cream
cheese, chopped gr. onions & shredded
Pepper Jack. Place 1/4 of this mixture
in middle of each piece of chicken.
Starting on long side, roll up, keeping
cheese mixture to the middle. Wrap
1-2 slices of bacon around breast &
secure with a wooden toothpick.
(one piece of bacon is enough, but
you can use 2). Place on baking sheet &
bake 30 minutes. Place sheet under
broiler about 5 minutes to brown &
crisp bacon. Turn each breast over
& broil another 3 minutes to crisp
up bottom side. Serves 2


Turmeric Cauliflower Soup
Turmeric is a very good spice
for healing – this soup is also
good for any stomach aliments

1 medium heat cauliflower, chopped
1 medium shallot, quartered
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. red lentils
2 C. vegetable broth
2 1/2 C. milk*

garnishes: fresh herbs, cracked pepper,
lime, olive oil

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
In large bowl add cauliflower, shallots
& garlic – drizzle with olive oil & spices;
toss to combine. Place mixture on a
baking sheet & roast 30 minutes,
flipping half way through cooking time.
After roasting, transfer to saucepan;
add lentils, broth & 2 C. milk – stir to
combine then bring to boil. Cover &
reduce to simmer 20 minutes. Remove
from heat; place contents in blender &
blend until smooth – stir in remaining
milk & serve immediately – top with
desired garnishes. Serves 4

*Poster used unsweetened almond


Dressed Up Wild Rice

1 T. butter
1 C. sliced fresh mushrooms
3 scallions, sliced
1 (6.2 oz) pkg. quick long grain &
wild rice mix (including seasoning
packet) uncooked
1 2/3 C. water
1/3 C. sherry*

In large skillet over medium-high
heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms
& scallions – cook until tender,
stirring constantly. Stir rice mix with
seasoning packet, water & sherry into
mushroom mixture – bring to boil,
stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce
heat to Low & simmer 10 minutes
until rice is tender & liquid is absorbed.
Stir gently with fork before serving.
Serves 4

*For this recipe, cook with sherry
like you would wine – using only
ones that you would drink


Easy Caramel Pie
(does take some time)

1 cooked pie shell
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
milk (Eagle Brand)
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
2 bananas, sliced (enough to cover
bottom of crust)READ directions
before slicing
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Remove label from Eagle Brand
milk & place UNOPENED can in
a saucepan. Completely cover can
with water & boil 3 hours, replacing
water when needed. Keep can
completely submerged in boiling
water at all times. After 3 hours, cool
can completely (approx. 4 hours).
Sprinkle 14/ C. chopped nuts on
crust bottom. Slice bananas & layer
on top of nuts. Carefully open cooled
can of milk & pour into shell. Refrigerate
at least 1 hour. Top with Cool Whip &
1/4 C. chopped walnuts.

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)
Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

1 C. shortening
2 C. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 T. milk
2 1/2 C. flour
2 C. old-fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In bowl cream shortening &
brown sugar; add eggs & milk-
mix well. Combine flour, oats,
baking soda, salt & cinnamon –
add to creamed mixture. Drop
by rounded teaspoonfuls 2
inches apart on lightly sprayed
baking sheets. Bake 12-15
minutes until done. Makes 4



Our weather has been behaving nicely
these days – clear (no snow or rain) and
in the 40’s. Looking at the forecast for
the next 7 days – we even have a High
of 58 for Saturday – WOW! Lots of
‘partly cloudys’ but on the whole, it
looks like a few days coming up!

It’s nice, sometimes, to have a rather
lazy few days – today was just getting
a few little things done on the special
needs group newsletter (I’m awaiting
final approval of the calendar for the
next 2 months) – other than that, I’m
ready to send it to the church for
printing! Sometimes the newsletters
‘go together/are assembled/compiled’
with little or no problems (like this time)
and others have been a real pain –
mostly with the printer/paper jamming/
etc. so having the church print them for
us removes that problem – YAY!

Slowly plodding along on the two baby
blankets – no hurries. I might spend some
time in the next few days just knitting
baby hats to get them up to my usual
‘quota’. The hospital I donate them to
is very happy to get them WHENEVER
I deliver them. If you know me, I tend
to set big goals for myself – I want to
deliver a good amount, not just a few
hats, so I try to get 25 Premie & 25
Newborns done for one delivery. That
said, I still have about 10 to go with
each size; one premie hat takes me
about an hour/newborn 1 1/2 hours,
tops. I like knitting them because they
are so simple I can watch tv or day-
dream while doing them. They are a
straight-knit (not in the round) so it’s
knit one row, purl the next, etc.

Hope your day is shaping up just as
you’d planned!



Not much going on –

In Mi will it rain or will it snow

Had a light dusting of the white stuff overnight – nothing to worry about, maybe 1/2 inch total?

Last night was Knit/Crochet night and even though it was Valentine’s Day, 15 ladies came out to enjoy crafting together. Fun, quiet evening, worked a little on new mint green baby blanket and a little on another baby hat – nothin’ special.


Crockpot Nutella Brownie Pudding

3 eggs
1 C. + 3 T. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. cocoa powder
1/3 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
10 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 C. Nutella

vanilla ice cream

Find an oven-safe casserole dish that
fits inside your crockpot – spray the
insides with nonstick spray. Fill bottom
of crockpot with about 2 inches of water.
In bowl beat eggs & sugar on medium
speed 5-7 minutes until very thick &
light yellow in color. Make sure to mix
for full 5 minutes (it’s essential for
texture of this dessert). Add vanilla,
cocoa, flour & salt – mix on Low speed
just until combined. With mixer on Low
speed, carefully add melted butter &
Nutella – mix just until combined, using
a spatula to scrape sides of bowl – pour
batter into prepared dish & place dish
in bottom of crockpot. (the water
should go about halfway up the sides
of the dish). Place 2 layers of thick
paper towels over the top of the
crockpot & secure them by placing
crockpot like on top. Cook on High
2-3 hours (at 2 hours it will be more
melty; at 3 hours it will still be moist
but totally cooked through – you
choose which you prefer). Unplug
crockpot & let stand 10 minutes.
Scoop mixture into serving bowls &
top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Makes 6 servings


Philly Cheesesteak Soup

2 T. canola oil
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. flour
4 C. chicken broth
1/2 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced
3 green bell peppers, seeded/
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
kosher salt/ground black pepper
8 oz. sliced Provolone cheese,
chopped, plus more for baguette

baguette, for serving

In large pot over medium heat, heat
1 T. oil. Add half the onion & cook
6 minutes; add garlic & cook 1 minute.
Add flour & whisk until golden, 2-3
minutes. Add broth & let simmer
15 minutes. In large skillet over medium-
high heat, heat remaining oil. Add steak,
onions & green peppers – cook, stirring
occasionally, until steak is cooked
through, 10-12 minutes. Stir in Worc.
sauce & season with salt/pepper. Add
cheese to soup & stir until melted. Add
steak mixture to soup & heat through,
3 minutes.
Heat broiler
Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls & top
with baguette slice each. Sprinkle
additional Provolone cheese on top
of slices & broil until cheese melts,
2-3 minutes. Serves 4

20 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 C. chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 C. crushed tomatoes
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans,
1 C. frozen corn
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 C. cooked/shredded chicken
1 T. lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
1 T. fresh chopped cilantro

Garnish suggestions:
sliced avocado
tortilla strips
chopped cilantro

Add oil to large saucepan-heat oil
& add onion – saute 2-3 minutes.
Add garlic, cook 1 minute; pour in
chicken broth, enchilada sauce,
crushed tomatoes, black beans, corn,
cumin, paprika & pepper – bring to
simmer & cook 10  minutes. Stir in
cooked chicken & warm through.
Remove from heat, ad lime juice
& cilantro – serve immediately with
garnishes, if desired. Serves 4


Ranch/Mushroom Chicken Thighs

8 chicken thighs
1 1/2 T. dry Ranch salad dressing mix
2 T. olive oil
8 oz. cremini mushrooms
1 C. chicken broth
1/4 C. Ranch salad dressing (wet)
2 T. chopped parsley

Season chicken evenly with dry
Ranch dressing mix. In large,
heavy-bottomed skillet heat oil
over high heat. Add chicken, skin
sides down, & cook until browned,
undisturbed, about 5 minutes. Flip
over & cook 3-4 minutes; remove
from pan. Turn heat to medium;
add mushrooms – saute until
slightly softened, 3-4 minutes.
If bottom of pan looks like it might
start to burn, stir in 1-2 T. water.
Add chicken back to pan & add
broth. Bring to boil, cover, turn
heat to Low & simmer 30 minutes.
Remove cover, stir in wet Ranch
dressing & simmer 5 minutes more
until chicken is fully cooked & liquid
has slightly reduced. Garnish with
parsley & serve. Serves 4-6


Skillet Pork Casserole

2 T. olive oil
1 lb. boneless pork chops*, cut
into bite-sized pieces
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. uncooked white rice
1 T. Italian seasoning
1 C. frozen peas & carrots
2 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. sour cream
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oil in large skillet over medium
heat. Saute pork with garlic & onions
until pork is browned & onions are
tender, 5-7 minutes. Add rice, Ital.
seasoning, frozen peas/carrots & broth.
Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer &
cover. Cook 18 minutes until rice is
tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sour
cream & 1/2 of cheese until combined.
Top with remaining cheese; cover 2-3
minutes until cheese melts.
Option: place skillet under broiler 2
minutes to melt cheese. Serves 4-6

*you can substitute cut up chicken
for pork


Snickerdoodle Bars

1 stick butter (1/2 C.)
3/4 C. granulated sugar, divided
1/3 C. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. flour
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 8 inch square baking dish
with nonstick spray. In large microwave-
safe bowl melt butter 45-60 seconds; add
1/2 C. gran. sugar, brown sugar, egg &
vanilla, whisk until smooth. Stir in flour,
cream of tartar & salt – mix until
thoroughly combined – spoon batter
into baking dish. In small bowl mix
cinnamon & remaining 1/4 C. sugar –
sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake
20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted
in center comes out clean. Cool then
slice into bars. Makes 15


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)

Deconstructed Egg Rolls

1 bag coleslaw mix
1 lb. sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. onion, diced

In large skillet brown sausage; drain
then mix in rest of ingredients. Cook,
covered, on medium heat 5 minutes.
Stir; adjust seasoning (salt/pepper)
& serve.

(recipe: 77

Apple/Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla

Cake Batter:
1 C. finely chopped pecans
3 C. flour
1 C. granulated sugar
1 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 C. canola oil
3/4 C. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. peeled/finely chopped apples,
about 1 1/2 lb.)

Caramel Pecan Frosting:

1/2 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 C. butter
3 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. powdered sugar
1 C. pecan halves (garnish)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat first 3 ingredients on medium
speed using elec. mixer until blended &
smooth. Add egg, flour & vanilla; beat
just until blended.

Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8-10
minutes until toasted & fragrant,
stirring halfway through. Stir 3 C. flour
& next 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir
in eggs & next 3 ingredients, stirring
just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Stir in apples & pecans. Grease & flour
a 14-Cup Bundt pan then spoon 2/3 rds
of apple mixture into pan. Spoon cream
cheese filling over apple mixture, leaving
a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl
filling through apple mixture using a knife.
Spoon remaining apple mixture over filling.
Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until a
long wooden pick inserted into center comes
out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack
15 minutes; remove from pan to rack &
cool completely (about 2 hours).

Bring 1/2 C. brown sugar, 1/4 C. butter &
3 T. milk to boil in 2-qt. saucepan over
medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil
1 minute whisking constantly. Remove from
heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in
powdered sugar until smooth. Stir gently
3-5 minutes until mixture begins to cool &
thickens slightly. Pour immediately over
cooled cake & garnish top with pecans (while
frosting is still hot).



Gas prices dropped a little – from $2.29/9
to $2.19/9 – that’s good.

Looking at the calendar I suddenly realized
that the end of the month is quickly creeping
up – that means I really need to hurry up and
get the next 2-month issue of my special needs
group newsletter composed! Sometimes it goes
together very smoothly – sometimes not …
this time I was in luck and it’s almost ready
to print! Now that we have totally changed
the old ‘system’ – the church we meet at has
graciously offered to print them for us (at a
savings of a good $70 or so), that means I
have to get them composed and ready to
print, then email via PDF file. They print &
staple them together for us (YAY!) which
just leaves me to fold them, address/stamp/
return address label – them then stuff the
envelopes & take them to the Post Office.
My ‘kids/students’ are not very understanding
when it comes to newsletter deliveries – they
expect they will ALWAYS be there when needed.
That means I’d BETTER get them done so they
get them in their mails by the first of March.
Too funny – I don’t mind; they are all so very
exacting in their thinking.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog,
not much going on right away. Youngest
announced yesterday that he’ll be able to
move out on Friday instead of the following
Tuesday – that’s fine. The only thing I need
to do is collapse the seats in my van so he
can put his single-bed mattress in & we can
transport to his new ‘room/place/digs’ (which
are about a block away on a very close side-
street). That will leave us with just ONE son
living with us – different!

Hope you have a great day!




Published in: on February 14, 2017 at 11:54 am  Comments (1)  

Monday Morning Musings


Not the best photo (should have taken one at home )

Finally finished the Bible bookmark – took awhile to decide on just what yarn to use for the border; bumped into some of my tatting thread and used that for the tiny white scalloped crochet edge. I misjudged the size (it must have been 13 inches for the length of the pages); the finished bookmark was 17 inches, a little too long in my opinion but it will do.

The weather is clear & typical of Michigan at this time of year: in the low 30’s – was a bit surprised coming out of evening church last night because it had gone from almost 40 at 4:30 p.m. to 29 at 7:45 with a light coating of frozen rain on my windshield – Brrrrrrrr! I was happy my car heater worked!

Double Banana Pudding Cake

1 (2 layer) pkg yellow cake mix
1 1/2 C. mashed fully ripe bananas,
about 3, divided
1/2 C. chopped walnuts
2 (3.4 oz,ea) pkgs. vanilla instant
pudding mix
2 C. cold milk
1/4 C. water
2 T. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Prepare cake batter accordg. to pkg.
directions & stir in 1/2 C. bananas &
nuts. Spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish
with nonstick spray & pour batter
into pan. Beat pudding mixes, milk
& water in medium bowl using whisk
2 minutes; stir in remaining bananas
& pour over batter in pan. Place pan
on a baking sheet & bake 55 minutes
to 1 hour until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool
20 minutes. Sauce will thicken slightly
as it cools. Sprinkle top with powd.
sugar & serve warm. Serves 16

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Amish-style Chicken & Noodles
(overnight – crockpot)

2 medium split chicken breasts or
boneless breasts
1 large jar Heinz Homestyle chicken
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 bag Amish noodles (or whatever
thick noodles you prefer)

Place chicken in crockpot on Low
with 2 1/2 C. water – overnight
(8 hours)
In morning turn off crockpot –
remove chicken (make sure top
of chicken is golden – discard water).
When chicken is cool, de-bone &
tear into pieces. *

1 1/2 hours before serving:

Add both soups, 2 C. water,
1/2 jar of chicken gravy, noodles to
crockpot. Cover & cook on Low about
1 hour, until noodles are tender.
Add chicken to crockpot; stir carefully.
(All chicken & noodles should be
mixed well with ingredients in pot).
Cover rest of ingredients in crockpot
with rest of chicken gravy. Cover &
cook on Low 1/2 hour. Adjust seasoning
to taste. Serves 6

*You can place chicken in fridge until
ready to prep for dinner or do this
all in same day & place in crockpot.

Easy Beef Wellington

1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms,
finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 (17.5 oz) pkg. frozen puff
pastry dough, thawed
4 (4-5 oz, ea) beef tenderloin
steaks, cut 1 inch thick, ea
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray a large rimmed baking
sheet with nonstick spray. In a
nonstick skillet over medium heat
cook mushrooms, garlic & thyme
6-8 minutes until mushrooms are
tender; remove from heat.
Unfold pastry sheets & cut each
in half crosswise. Spoon mushroom
mixture onto center of each piece,
distributing evenly. Season both
sides of steaks with salt/pepper; place
over mushroom mixture. Bring corners
of pastry up over steaks using your
fingers – pinch corners & edges together
to seal. Place packets, seam-sides-down,
on prepared sheet & bake 20-25 minutes
until pastry is puffed & golden & steaks
are cooked to medium-rare (or
desired doneness). Serves 4


Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes

28 oz. frozen or refrigerated
diced potatoes
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken
1 C. sour cream
1 1/2 C. Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 C. finely diced onion
2 T. butter, melted

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Place all ingredients
in crockpot; stir well. Cover & cook
on Low 4-5 hours. Serves 6


Ravioli Soup

olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. diced onion
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 T. tomato paste
kosher salt/ ground black pepper
1 (32 oz) can chicken broth
1 (9 oz) pkg. cheese ravioli
5 oz. baby spinach
1/2 C. chopped parsley

In large pot over medium heat
drizzle 1 T. olive oil & cook garlic,
onions & carrots until softened,
4-5 minutes. Add celery, tomato
paste, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black
pepper & cook 1 more minute.
Add broth & 1/2 C. water – bring
to boil. Add ravioli & cook accordg.
to ravioli pkg. directions. Fold in
spinach & parsley; heat until
warmed. Serve immediately.
Serves 4


Spinach-stuffed Mushrooms

16-20 crimini or button mushrooms
(about 1 1/2 inches diameter)
1/3 C. breadcrumbs, divided
1 pkt. dry Ranch salad dressing mix
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. mayonnaise
1/4 C. grated cheese (Monterrey
Jack or Cheddar)
1 C. shredded spinach
1/2 C. grated carrot
2 T. minced green onions
2 T. minced dill and/or parsley

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Wipe mushrooms clean & remove stems.
Mix remaining ingredients EXCEPT
2 T. breadcrumbs – reserve for topping.
Spoon about 2 tsp. mixture into each
mushroom cap & arrange on a baking
sheet. Sprinkle tops with more bread-
crumbs. Bake 20 minutes until mushrooms
are soft & filling is bubbly & toasted.
Serves 4-6


Grandma’s Gourmet Chicken
Pot Pie

1 lb (2 C.) butter, divided
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
(2-3 lb) cut into 1 inch chunks
salt/pepper, to taste
1 (4 oz) jar Dijon mustard
1 1/2 T. dried tarragon
3 C. heavy cream
1 (12 oz) pkg. frozen peas
1 (12 oz) pkg. frozen phyllo dough
sheets, thawed

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ baking pan with
nonstick spray. In large skillet
over medium heat melt 1/2 the
butter. Sprinkle chicken with salt/
pepper & add to skillet – saute
about 5 minutes until no longer
pink. Transfer to platter – keep warm.
Whisk mustard into skillet; add
tarragon & reduce slightly. Whisk
cream in, blending thoroughly. Reduce
heat to Low & simmer until sauce is
slightly thickened. Add peas, return
chicken to skillet & toss to coat
In small microwaveable bowl melt
remaining butter. In prepared dish
lay 1 phyllo sheet on bottom, patting
to fit sides then brush with melted
butter. Add 4 more sheets, brushing
with butter between each sheet. Place
chicken mixture over dough, then place
5 more sheets over chicken, brushing
with butter between each layer. Trim
any excess dough to within 1-inch of
edges of dish. Tuck edges neatly under &
brush top with butter. Bake 15 minutes
or until heated through & top is crispy
& golden. Serves 8

NOTE: This recipe can be made ahead of
time then reheated at 350 degrees F.
for about 45 minutes.


1-Pan Beef Enchilada Noodle

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 T. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 red/yellow or orange bell pepper,
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
kosher salt/ground black pepper,
to taste
2-3 C. chicken broth
1/4 C. tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 (1 lb) pkg. egg noodles
1/2 C. light or heavy whipping
cream (or half & half)
1 1/2 C. shredded Monterray Jack/
Cheddar cheese or a Mexican blend

Spray a very large/deep skillet (13 inch/
6 quart) with nonstick spray & place over
medium-high heat. Add ground beef &
cook, stirring frequently until crumbly &
browned, about 5 minutes, drain grease &
remove to another plate. Heat oil in skillet
over medium heat; add onions, bell pepper,
garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano & salt/
pepper. Saute until onions are softened &
spices are aromatic, 5 minutes. Turn heat on
high, add 2 C. broth, tomato paste & enchil.
sauce; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to
medium-high; add cooked hamburger &
noodles; stir well. Cover & bring to simmer.
Reduce heat to medium-low, continue to
simmer, covered, until noodles are cooked,
following pkg. directions. Stir once halfway
through cooking time. The liquid should be
mostly absorbed but mixture should still
be moist looking. If noodles absorb all of
liquid before they are cooked, add up to
an additional cup of broth to pan; stir &
cover until pasta is tender. Stir in cream &
sprinkle cheese on top. Cover & cook until
cheese melts, 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.
Serves 8

NOTE: you can also substitute ground turkey.
IF you want this a little spicier: when pasta
is tender, add about 1 T. finely minced jalapeno
peppers & 8 trimmed/chopped scallions (white
& green parts) along with cream then sprinkle
on cheese. Cover & let cheese melt.


Cannoli Poke Cake

1 box white cake mix plus ingredients
to prepare cake
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
1 1/2 C. ricotta cheese**
1 1/2 C. mascarpone cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. mini chocolate chips

powdered sugar, for dusting

Prepare & bake cake accordg. to pkg.
directions for a 9 X 13″ baking pan –
allow to cool completely. Poke holes
all over the top of the cake*. Reserve
1/2 C. sweetened cond. milk & pour
rest of can over cake & refrigerate
1 hour to absorb milk. Combine
ricotta & mascarpone cheeses &
vanilla in mixer bowl; beat until
smooth. Add powdered sugar &
cinnamon; mix until combined. Add
reserved sweet/cond. milk & mix
until combined. Once cake has
absorbed milk, spread topping
evenly over cake & top with mini
choc. chips – sprinkle top with
powdered sugar. Cover cake &
refrigerate 2-3 hours. Cake will
keep 4-5 days if refrigerated.

*poster used a straw to poke the
** consider draining the ricotta
before using if it’s watery



Hope you have a great day;



It’s Friday – again!

It's Friday - I must Dance!

LOVE this photo!

It’s Friday – no particular plans for the day; last night I stumbled on a YouTube site with fantastic lace knitting videos. Had fun copying down 4 patterns only to ‘attempt’ them this morning…all of them either had too many or too few stitches! UGH! When I get off here am going to go back there (needles & yarn READY) and see what I’m doing wrong.  It’s cold & light snow falling – gloomy outside . . . first thought: go make yourself a big cup of Chai Latte tea! That always makes me happy & warm – love the flavor (it’s one of the Keurig pods) – it has a very nice, cozy, warm taste (it has star anise in it).


REMINDER: These are NOT MY recipes;
I find them on various sites – the locations/
authors of them are listed at the bottom of
the recipes.

Brownie Crinkle Cookies

1 box fudge brownie mix (for
9 X 13″ pan)
1 C. flour
1 egg
1/2 C. water
1/4 C. canola oil
1 C. chocolate chips

1-2 C. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray baking sheets
with nonstick spray or line
with parchment paper. In large
bowl combine dry brownie mix,
flour, egg, water & oil – mix until
combined; fold in chocolate chips.
Place powdered sugar in a pie plate
or deep plate.
Scoop dough by tablespoon then
drop into powdered sugar – remove
& roll into a ball – place on cookie
sheet & repeat, placing them about
2 inches apart on sheet. Bake
8-10 minutes until set. Let cookies
sit on sheet 5 minutes before removing.
Cool completely on wire rack.
Makes about 36 cookies


Roasted Red Pepper/Tomato Soup
(somehow I feel I’ve posted this before-)

2 T. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers,
1 1/2 C. vegetable broth
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
dash crushed red pepper flakes
3 T. chopped fresh basil
1/2 C. milk
fresh chopped basil
croutons – for garnish
In large pot heat oil over medium-
high heat; add onion, carrot & cook
5 minutes until soft. Add garlic,
tomato paste & bay leaves – stir
until tomato paste is mixed in then
add tomatoes, roasted red peppers,
vegetable broth, sugar, thyme &
crushed red pepper. Stir to combine,
reduce to Low & simmer 15 minutes.
Stir in milk & basil, remove bay leaves
(& discard). Turn off heat & use hand
blender puree the soup. IF you don’t
have a hand blender, let soup cool
until warm & pour into regular blender;
blend until smooth then return to pot.
Heat over medium heat until heated
through. Ladle soup into bowls & garnish
with fresh basil & croutons, if desired.
Serves 4

NOTE: This soup will keep in the fridge up
to 5 days. It also freezes well. To freeze:
cool soup completely & store in a freezer
container for up to 2 months


Bacon Beer Cheese Soup

1/2 lb. bacon
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. flour
2 C. chicken broth
1 C. whole milk
8 oz. lager beer
3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
kosher salt/ground black pepper

baguette slices, toasted, for

In large skillet over medium heat
cook bacon until crisp, 6 minutes.
Transfer to paper towel-lined plate
to drain then crumble. Heat skillet
with bacon fat back to medium;
add onion & cook 6 minutes; add
garlic & cook 1 minute longer. Add
flour & whisk until golden, 3 minutes.
Add broth, milk & beer – let simmer
15 minutes. Add cheese & stir until
melted. Season generously with
salt/pepper & stir in most of crumbled
bacon. Ladle soup into bowls & top
with remaining bacon. Serve with
bread, for dipping. Serves 4


Sausage Spinach Bake

1 (6 oz) pkg. savory herb-flavored
stuffing mix
1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage
1/4 C. chopped green onions
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped
spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded
Monterrey Jack cheese
1 1/2 C. Half & Half cream
3 eggs
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Prepare stuffing accordg. to pkg.
directions. Crumble sausage in large
skillet; heat to medium. Add onions &
cook until meat is no longer pink. Add
garlic & cook 1 minute longer; drain.
In large bowl combine stuffing, sausage
mixture & spinach. Spray a 11 X 7″
baking dish with nonstick spray &
transfer mixture to dish – spread evenly.
Sprinkle top with Monterrey Jack
cheese. In small bowl combine cream &
eggs; pour over sausage mixture. Bake
35-40 minutes until a thermometer
reads 160 degrees F.. Sprinkle top
with Parmesan cheese & bake 5
minutes longer until bubbly. Serves 12


Easy No-Bake Chicken

1 box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Wild
rice (original recipe)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 soup-can water (you can add
another can of water for moister
rice, if desired)
chicken breasts or tenders (phot0
shows 3 large chicken breasts)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix box of rice, both soups &
1 can water in a bowl. Spray
9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray & pour mixture into pan.
Place chicken on top of mixture &
cover tightly with foil. Bake 2 hours
30 minutes NO PEEKING!

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


Meat Pasty
an Upper Michigan favorite)

3 C. flour plus extra as needed
2/3 C. ice water, plus extra as needed
1/2 C. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter,
1/2 C. shortening or lard
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

8 oz. ground beef (or skirt steak,
finely chopped)
1 russet potato, peeled/diced
1 small turnip, peeled/diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 T. unsalted butter, divided
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
kosher salt/fresh ground black pepper,
to taste

brown mustard – side garnish

In a bowl or in food processor, mix flour
& salt before adding in cold, cubed butter.
Pulse 10-15 seconds or until mixture is
crumbly & butter is size of small pebbles.
With motor running, slowly drizzle in 2/3
C. ice water & pulse until dough ball begins
to form. If mixture is too dry, add more ice
water, 1-2 tsp. at a time. Once dough is
formed, turn out onto a lightly floured
surface & roll into a large, flat rectangle.
Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap &
refrigerate 30-45 minutes until chilled.
While dough chills, combine beef with
turnip, potato, carrot & onion & season
generously with salt/pepper, thyme &
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove dough from fridge & cut into 6
equal pieces. On floured surface, roll each
piece out to an 8-inch circle. Spoon 1/2 – 2/3
cup beef mixture in center then top with
1/2 T. butter. Take far edge of circle & fold over
the beef, towards yourself, to form a half moon.
Press edges all around with fork tines to seal;
repeat with remaining dough & filling. Transfer
pasties (half-moons) to lined baking sheet &
brush tops with beaten egg. Bake 20 minutes
until lightly browned then lower oven temp.
to 350 degrees F. & bake another 15-20
minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with
brown mustard. Makes 6

(recipe: 12

Bacon & Egg Mac & Cheese

8 oz. elbow macaroni
1 lb. thick-cut bacon, cut into
1″ pieces (easier to cut when cold or
1 T. unsalted butter
8 large eggs
1/4 C. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper, to taste

Cheese Sauce:
4 T. unsalted butter
1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
2 3/4 C. whole milk
2 C. mild Cheddar cheese, grated
1 C. Monterrey Jack cheese, grated

1 tsp. canola oil
1/4 C. breadcrumbs
paprika, for dusting

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil
over high heat; stir in macaroni & cook
6-8 minutes (or 2 fewer minutes than
the box indicates) Drain into colander,
rinse under cool water. Spray a 9 X 13″
baking dish with nonstick spray. Over
medium heat fry bacon in a skillet,
stirring frequently, until crispy (about
10 minutes). Whisk eggs, milk, salt/pepper
together in medium bowl. When bacon is
cooked, drain on paper towel-lined plate
(discard grease & wipe skillet clean). Place
back on heat & add 1 T. butter – melt then
add eggs & stir constantly 6-8 minutes until
lightly scrambled. Remove from heat & place
in 1/4 C. portions randomly around bottom
of baking dish. Wipe skillet clean again &
return to heat; melt 4 T. butter then sprinkle
evenly with flour, using a whisk to combine.
Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute then add
salt & mustard – stir to combine. Slowly whisk
in milk & allow mixture to come to a bubble,
stirring constantly. Reduce heat to Low then
simmer 3 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid
scorching. Add grated cheeses, 1/2 C. at a time,
allowing each addition to completely melt
before adding next. Once all cheese has been
incorporated, mix in macaroni & bacon then
pour mixture around dollops of eggs in dish.
In small bowl toss breadcrumbs in oil then
sprinkle on top; dust with paprika & bake,
uncovered, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven
when hot & bubbly; allow to rest 10 minutes
before serving.  Serves 9-12


Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash salt
1 C. Cool Whip, thawed


graham crackers
sliced apples
vanilla wafers

Place all ingredients (except Cool
Whip) in elec. mixer bowl or
medium mixing bowl – beat on
medium speed until smooth &
glossy. Add Cool Whip & beat an
additional 2 minutes until fluffy.
Serve with dippers. Store
leftovers in airtight container.
Makes 2 Cups.

Graham Cracker “Eclair” Cake

1 (3.4 oz) pkg. vanilla instant
pudding mix
1 1/2 C. cold milk
15 graham crackers, broken cross-
wise in half (30 squares) divided
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 C. (Baker’s One Bowl) chocolate

Beat pudding mix & milk using whisk
2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Cover
bottom of 8 X 8″ baking dish with
graham cracker squares, overlapping
as needed to form even layer. Stir
Cool Whip into pudding & spread
half over crackers in pan. Cover with
10 of remaining crackers – repeat
layers. Refrigerate 3 hours. Spread
with chocolate frosting & serve.
Serves 9

(recipe: Kraft recipes)


Hope you have a GREAT Day!



and we’re back to WINTER/SNOW! (yay…sigh)


Woke up to about an inch of snow on the ground and the temperatures are in the 20’s – that’s CHILLY! SO GLAD I don’t have anywhere to go or plans for the day – YAY! Am (almost) considering trying a new (to me) baby blanket pattern – depends on how ‘fussy’ it turns out to be after I practice the stitches; I bought 2 skeins of mint green baby yarn yesterday while at Meijers (grocery shopping). Last night was my special needs group’s Music/Birthday night and, like always, it was a very busy/hectic but fun night – I love doing it but it always wears me out when I get home. Didn’t sleep well (heard the dining room clock chime 3:30 a.m. – guessing I slept a little UNTIL middle son woke me up at 5:30 to help him tie his tie! UGH! He was having all sorts of trouble with it – we got it done, me half-bleary eyed – I went back to sleep & woke up at almost 10 a.m.!) SO GLAD my day is open-ended – I could even take a nap later, if needed!

Since our weather is so typical-Michigan goofy, thought I’d feature some soups/stews.


Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

1 1/4 C. granulated sugar,
1 C. flour
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa,
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. milk
1/3 C. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 1/4 C. hot water
vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Heat pot of water to very hot
(just under a simmer). In bowl
of stand mixer, combine 3/4 C.
gran. sugar, flour, 1/4 C. cocoa,
baking powder & salt. Stir in
milk, melted butter & vanilla –
mix until smooth. Lightly grease
a 2 qt. ceramic dish or 9″ square
baking pan – spread mixture evenly
into pan. In small bowl stir remaining
1/2 C. gran. sugar, brown sugar,
remaining 1/4 C. cocoa & mix well.
Sprinkle mixture evenly over batter
in pan. Pour hot water on top but
DO NOT STIR. Bake 35-40 minutes
if using a glass dish or 30-35 minutes
if using a metal pan – until center is
almost set. Remove dish from oven
& allow to stand 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, spoon cake into
individual serving dishes, making
sure to spoon the fudgy sauce from
bottom of pan over top of cake.
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream,
if desired & serve immediately.
Serves 8


Bacon Cauliflower Chowder

4 slices bacon, cut into strips,
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled/chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. flour
2 sprigs thyme, stripped/chopped
1 head cauliflower cut into small
1 qt. vegetable broth
1 C. whole milk

In large pot over medium heat cook
bacon until crispy; transfer to paper
towels. Drain all but 2 T. bacon grease
from pot. Add onion, carrots & celery
to pot, season with salt/pepper & cook
until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic & cook 1 minute. Sprinkle in
flour & cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add
thyme, cauliflower, broth & milk – bring
to boil. Immediately reduce heat to
simmer & cook until cauliflower is fork-
tender, about 15 minutes. Garnish with
chopped bacon & serve. Serves 6-8

Sausage & White Bean Soup

1/2 lb. sausage, casing removed
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. diced onion
1/2 C. dry white wine
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 C. marinara sauce
1 (32 oz) can chicken stock
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans,
1/2 C. any small pasta
3 C. fresh baby spinach, washed/

Heat large pot over medium-high heat.
Brown sausage & break up pieces. Add
fennel, garlic & onion, stirring occasionally,
cook 4 minutes. Pour in wine, 1 tsp. salt &
1/2 tsp. black pepper – simmer 2 minutes.
Add marinara & stock; bring to boil &
simmer 3 minutes. Add beans & pasta;
cook accordg. to pkg. directions for
al dente pasta. If soup is too thick,
add a splash of chicken stock or water.
Just before serving add fresh spinach to
pot. Stir until warmed through & spinach
is wilted. Serve immediately.
Serves 4

Crockpot Beef & Barley Soup

1 1/2 lb. beef chuck, cut into
2 inch pieces
kosher salt
ground black pepper
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, cut into half-moons
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, cut
into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 C. pearled barley
1 qt. chicken stock
1 T. soy sauce

Pat beef dry using paper towels;
season generously with salt/pepper.
Heat large cast iron skillet over high
heat; drizzle with oil & sear meat
on all sides until brown with a
crust, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer
meat to crockpot. Reduce heat on
stove to medium; add garlic, onions,
carrots, thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp.
pepper – scrape pan with a wooden
spoon to loosen all browned meat
bits from bottom of pan & cook
3-4 minutes. If needed, add a splash
of water to fully deglaze pan – transfer
scrapings to crockpot. Add mushrooms,
barley, stock & soy sauce to crockpot.
Cover & cook on Low 8 hours. Meat
should be very tender, serve
immediately. Serves 4

Meatball Sub Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 C. Italian bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt
ground black pepper

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 T. tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
3 C. beef broth
1 C. milk
3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried oregano
kosher salt
ground black pepper

French baguettes, sliced

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parch-
ment paper. In large bowl combine
ground beef, bread crumbs, garlic,
parsley & red pepper flakes – season
with salt/pepper. Mix well & roll into
meatballs – transfer to one baking
sheet; bake until browned & cooked
through, 15 minutes.

Heat broiler

In large pot over medium-high heat,
heat oil. Add onion & cook until soft
& golden, 6 minutes. Add garlic & cook
1 minute more. Add tomato paste; stir
until combined. Add tomatoes, broth
& milk – stir until combined. Add meat-
balls; bring to simmer then add half
mozzarella & all of Parmesan cheese.
Season with oregano, salt/pepper.
Ladle soup into four oven-safe bowls
& top with a baguette slice. Top
slices with remaining mozzarella &
broil until browned & bubbly 2-3
minutes. Serve hot. Serves 4


Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 C. chopped onion
3 T. butter
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. hot water
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1/2 – 1 tsp. ground cumin
2 C. Half & Half cream
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Monterrey
Jack cheese
1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles,
1/4 – 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 medium tomato, chopped
minced fresh cilantro – optional

In Dutch oven brown chicken &
onion in butter until chicken is
no longer pink. Add garlic &
cook 1 minute. Add water,
bouillon & cumin; bring to boil.
Reduce heat; cover & simmer
5 minutes. Stir in cream, cheese,
corn, chilies & hot pepper sauce.
Cook & stir over Low heat until
cheese is melted – add tomato.
Sprinkle with cilantro, if using.
Serves 6-8  (2 quarts)


Cherry Spice Cake

1/2 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 large eggs
2 C. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. buttermilk*
1 (14.5 oz) can pitted tart
cherries, drained
1/2 C. chopped walnuts or pecans

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 3/4 C. powdered sugar
1-2 tsp. water
2-3 drops red food coloring (optional)
additional chopped nuts, if desired for

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line two 9 inch baking pans with waxed
paper. Grease & flour pans.
In large bowl cream butter & sugar until
light & fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time,
beating well after each addition. Combine
flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking
powder & salt – add to creamed mixture
alternately with buttermilk, beating well
after each addition. Fold in cherries & nuts.
Pour batter into prepared pans & bake
25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted
near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes
in pans before removing from pans to wire
racks to cool completely.
In large bowl beat cream cheese until
fluffy. Add powdered sugar & enough
water to achieve spreading consistency.
Color with food coloring (if using) &
spread frosting between layers & on top
& sides of cake. Garnish top with additional
chopped nuts, if desired. Makes 16 servings.

If you don’t have buttermilk:

Using a 1-cup measuring cup, pour 1 T.
lemon juice or vinegar in cup & fill rest
of cup with milk. Stir & let stand 5 minutes –
now you have buttermilk!


I noticed that gas prices have dropped
here again to $2.09/9 – WOW! From
almost $2.40 down to that – great!

Stay warm, rest a bit & try to enjoy
a little something you like: 5 minutes
with your favorite book/music, a quick
‘Power Nap’, cup of something hot:
cocoa, coffee, tea – something to relax



PS: Husband is finally feeling
better – not so much coughing;
now he’s catching up on his rest,
since all that coughing isn’t very
condusive to good sleep!