Finishing old projects


Many years ago one of my knit group members asked me if I could ‘use’ 5 knit swatches she had made. To clarify (for those of you who are not knitters/crocheters) a swatch is a small piece of knit/crocheted project which is created to see just how a full pattern will look like knit/crocheted. The swatches she gave me were all knit in cream colored yarn, varying in size & difficulty of pattern choice (she’s an expert knitter). She said: “I know that you will make something nice and useful to others; these are just sitting around my house so here you go!” Four of them have found uses as blankets and I just bumped into a small bag that had 8 knit red squares leftover from many years ago when I was making charity blankets for Ghana, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. That got me to thinking: “These have been ‘stored’ for too many years – get with it and finish them for charity!” That’s what I did – knit 4 cream squares then sewed them up and crocheted a border; now we have a baby blanket for Crisis Pregnancy Center! I have learned over the years that I really enjoy trying to use something someone else started and making it into something useful – guess it’s just my ‘thing’!


Knowing ‘the’ football game is coming soon, I’ve included several appetizer recipes for ya!

Banana Chocolate Swirl Cake
with Chocolate Glaze

1/2 C. chopped walnuts
1/2 C. coarsely chopped
chocolate chips
1/4 C. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 C. buttermilk*
3/4 C. oil
1 1/3 C. granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 C. mashed, ripe bananas (4-5
3 C. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray Bundt pan with
nonstick spray. In medium bowl
combine nuts, choc. chips, brown
sugar & cinnamon; mix well. In
large bowl combine buttermilk,
oil, sugar, eggs & vanilla; using
a whisk, mix until well blended.
Stir in bananas – mix well. Whisk
remaining ingredients into
batter until well combined. Spoon
1/3 of batter into pan & sprinkle
with half walnut mixture. Spoon
another 1/3 batter & sprinkle
with remaining walnut mixture –
cover with remaining batter.
Bake 50-55 minutes until a
toothpick inserted near center
comes out clean. Let cool 10-15
minutes in pan then invert onto
serving plate. Cool completely
then top with chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 C. chocolate chips
1 T. vegetable oil

Using microwavable bowl, melt
chocolate chips in microwave,
stirring every 30 seconds until
melted. Stir in oil & allow glaze
to cool & thicken slightly. Pour
over top of cooled cake, allowing
glaze to drip down sides of cake.
Allow to set before serving.

*If you don’t have buttermilk:
Pour 1 tsp. vinegar or lemon
juice into a 1-cup measuring cup.
Pour milk up to 1/3 C. mark –
stir & let stand 5 minutes.
Now you have 1/3 C. buttermilk


Chunky Guacamole

3 medium avocados (or 4 large)
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 C. cilantro, chopped
2 T. salsa
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt/pepper, to taste
1/4 C. frozen corn
1/2 C. chopped tomato

Scoop flesh from avocados & place
in medium bowl (reserve 1 pit).
Squeeze a bit of lemon & lime
juice on top (about 1 tsp. each).
Add cilantro, salsa, garlic & onion
powders, cumin & cayenne. Using
a fork, smash all ingredients
together. (In order to get chunky
texture, don’t smash avocados
too much) Add salt/pepper; mix
corn & chopped tomatoes – mix
to combine. You can serve now –
OR if planning on using later:
Place 1 avocado pit in center of
guacamole & cover bowl with
plastic wrap – press wrap onto
top of guacamole so there is
as little air as possible touching
the guacamole (this helps it
keep from turning brown).
Refrigerate – it should last
2-3 days. Makes 2 Cups

NOTE: If you serve it second or
third day – you might need to
freshen up the seasonings –
taste, stir & add more garlic
powder & cumin, if needed.

Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffins

1 C. + 2 T. flour
1 C. cornmeal
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 C. buttermilk*
1/2 C. oil
2 eggs
1 C. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2-3 small jalapenos

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine flour,
cornmeal, sugar, baking soda & salt;
mix with fork. In 2 Cup glass measuring
cup place buttermilk, oil & eggs – whisk
with fork until well combined. Pour wet
ingredients into dry & stir just a few
using a wooden spoon. Do not
over mix. Chop jalapenos (remove seeds);
Add cheese & jalapenos to batter; stir
until there are no more streaks of flour.
Line muffin tins with paper liners &
spray with nonstick spray; pour batter
into pans & bake 12-15 minutes until
tops spring back when lightly tapped.
Remove from oven & cool in pans
5 minutes.

*If you don’t have buttermilk:
Place 1 C. milk plus 1 T. lemon
juice or vinegar in 2-cup measuring
cup – stir & let stand 5 minutes.
Now you have buttermilk!


Mixed Bean Soup w/ Ham & Kielbasa
(overnight or quick cook methods)

1 (16 oz) bag mixed dried beans (&
flavor packet – if your beans don’t
have a flavor packet, it’s not essential)
8 C. water
2 chicken broth cubes
1 C. sliced carrots (about 1/2″ thick)
1/2 C. chopped onion
meaty ham bone or 1 large ham
steak, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. basil
1 bay leaf
1 pkg. fully-cooked kielbasa, cut into
1/2 inch slices
salt/pepper, to taste

Overnight Method:
Place beans in a large pot & cover with
water 1 inch above beans; soak beans
Quick-cook Method:
Place beans in large pot & cover with
water 1 inch above beans – bring
to boil & boil 5 minutes. Remove pot
from heat, cover & let stand 1 hour.

With either method, drain water after
soaking/boiling & rinse well.

Place soaked/cooked/drained beans in
crockpot. Add water & flavor packet
(if using), chicken cubes, carrots, onions,
basil, bay leaf, kielbasa & ham bone/or
ham chunks. Cover & cook on Low 8-10
hours or High 5-8 hours. Add salt/pepper,
to taste & remove ham bone. Serves 6-8


Greek Feta/Tomato Dip

2 C. grape tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
olive oil
feta cheese
2-3 T. Greek seasoning

crusty Artisan bread – thin loaf

Using a serving platter, drizzle
some olive oil on bottom of platter.
Sprinkle tomatoes & green onions
on oil; sprinkle feta on top. Sprinkle
2-3 tsp. Greek seasoning on top &
toss to coat. Serve immediately
with crusty artisan bread chunks.
Serves 5-6

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken

1 (12 oz) jar Franks Red Hot
Buffalo sauce
2 T. ranch salad dressing mix (dry)
5 chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 – 3 lb-
frozen is fine)
2 T. butter
8 ranch-type rolls
8 slices Cheddar cheese

blue cheese or ranch salad dressing
shredded lettuce
chopped celery (optional)

In sauce pan pour hot sauce & 2
T. powdered ranch dressing mix;
stir to combine well then heat on
stove until bubbly. Spray 3-4 qt.
crockpot with nonstick spray &
place chicken breasts in bottom.
Pour hot sauce mixture over top.
Cover & cook on Low 7 hours,
or High 4 hours. Shred chicken
using 2 forks & add 2 T. butter –
stir. Slice rolls & place chicken
on roll bottoms; add 1-2 slices
cheese. Spread blue cheese or
Ranch dressing on sandwich &
top with shredded lettuce (and
chopped celery, if using.)


Lasagna Soup for a Crowd
(serves about 18)

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. sausage
6 C. hot water
2 T. beef bouillon granules
4 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced Italian tomatoes
2 (8 oz, ea) cans tomato sauce
1 tsp. thyme
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. fennel
1 1/2 . Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 (16 oz) pkg. medium shell pasta
2 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded

In large soup pot on medium-high
heat cook garlic & sausage until
sausage is no longer pink, breaking
up chunks; drain fat. Add all other
ingredients except Parmesan &
mozzarella cheeses & pasta. Bring
to boil, reduce heat to simmer &
cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook pasta in separate pot accordg.
to pkg. directions; drain & run cold
water over it. When soup has
simmered 30 minutes, add Parmesan
cheese & stir – remove from heat.*
Just before serving add cooked pasta
(if you add it too soon the pasta will
get soggy). Scoop into individual
serving bowls & sprinkle tops with
mozzarella cheese.

*If you’re taking this to a party:
poster transfers mixture to a large
7 qt crockpot (without pasta) &
turns crockpot to warm. Just before
serving they add pasta & stir.


Apple Dump Cake

1 box yellow cake mix plus
ingredients to prepare cake
2 (21 oz, ea) cans apple pie mix/
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter
1/2 C. water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. Spread apple
filling on bottom of pan. Prepare
cake mix accordg. to box directions;
pour cake batter on top of apples.
Melt butter with water & pour on top
of cake. Bake 50-60 minutes until
a toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Serves 8

Chocolate Marble Bread

2 C. flour
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, room temp.
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. unsalted butter, melted
1 C. sour cream, room temp.
2 T. cocoa powder

1/2 C. chocolate chips
2 T. unsalted butter
2 tsp. light corn syrup

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 5″ loaf pan with
nonstick spray. Whisk flour,
sugar, baking powder, baking
soda & salt. In another bowl
whisk eggs, vanilla, butter &
sour cream; pour wet ingredients
into dry ingredients & mix until
just combined. Do not over-mix.
Pour half batter into a separate
bowl & fold in cocoa powder.
Spoon a dollop of each mixture,
alternately, into prepared pan then
use a toothpick to swirl the two
mixtures together. Bake 50-60
minutes* until a wooden toothpick
inserted into center of loaf comes
out clean.

*Cover loosely with foil half way
through baking to prevent bread
from browning too much.

Place choc. chips, butter & syrup in a
heat-proof bowl & microwave until
completely melted & smooth,
stirring every 10 seconds. Drizzle
glaze over cooked bread & leave to
set. Makes one loaf



Gas prices are up a little to $2.26/9 – not too

Our weather is back to pure MICHIGAN
WINTER: right now the temperature is
40 degrees F., sun shining and a good
3 inches of snow on the ground. Driving
to Knit night last night was a bit ‘iffy’ –
light wet snow/rain & roads slightly
slippery but it had all stopped by the
time I was due to drive home. Woke
up to a good 1 1/2 inches MORE snow –
oh well, it IS January in Michigan, right?

Not much going on ‘new’ around here
lately – the first recipe on today’s post
(Banana Cake) I want to try soon as I
have 4 very ripe bananas screaming
at me to make something out of them
before they get thrown out – ever have
that happen to you? My poor husband
is suffering with bronchitis – he seems
to get it every winter; lots of liquids &
rest. (He says if it gets worse by tomorrow
he’s going to the doctor).

Stay safe, warm & healthy & try to enjoy
some of each day.




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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very resourceful use of swatches. I remember having a patchwork blanket as a kid, though it was the coziest most comforting snuggie in the world.

    Easy naturopathic remedy for nasty bronchitis: squeeze juice of one lemon, 1 lime in cup of warm water, stir in 1/2 tsp of baking soda, honey or maple syrup to taste.

    The baking soda ascorbatizes the Vit C and soothe the lungs. The honey/ maple syrup actually shuttles mineral ascorbates into the cells- stop cold/ flu in 24 hrs.

    You can also add ascorbic acid, oil of oregano if you have these supplements on hand.

    Better than any over the counter drug, and promotes real healing. Great preventative remedy, I haven’t any cold or flu since childhood.

    Hope hubby feels better. 🙂

  2. Re your last comment—Huh!!!

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