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!


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ironically, here in Canada, the weather is actually really nice…today, it’s around 5 degrees Celsius (I think that’s warmer than 20 Fahrenheit). Thanks for the soup recipes- I’ll definitely be trying some of these out!

  2. You caught my eye on the soup recipes –might try one. Glad hubby is better.

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