Very quiet around here –

I don’t know about YOUR weather, but here in (what’s supposed to be COLD) Michigan, we’re ENJOYING (at least my family is) a balmy 50’s bit! Today it’s kind of overcast & gloomy, but who can complain when there’s NO SNOW OR ICE! Last night I went out to pick up our paper (forgot to get it earlier) – it’s usually tossed on our driveway –  around 7:30 p.m. there was ‘dew-like’ moisture on the paper an all over cars, ground, etc. Normally that would have frozen into a film of ice but NO – it’s just plain old WATER! YAY!

Today is babysitting from 3 p.m. – ? so I’m taking my knitting (of course). Finally finished the variegated pinks baby afghan and am determined to get the black scarf for middle son DONE before it goes back to really cold weather (am about 3/4th’s done now).

For Christmas my oldest son got me a beautiful set of wooden circular needles from KnitPicks – very fancy! (I finished the pink blanket on them). Awhile ago he was looking at that same blanket (on my plastic circular needles) when one end of the needle attachment came apart leaving several stitches flying until I could get them back on the needle/cable. That got him to thinking that there must be a better way to attach them so he went on line. (the new ones screw in and have a ‘locking’ key to secure the attachment area: needle/cable). I’ve decided that I’m not going to take up any NEW patterns for blankets until I finish my youngest son’s scarf – that way I’m forcing myself not to procrastinate! (good luck with that . . . I tend to get bored just knitting one thing). We’ll see how that goes.

How was your Christmas & dinner(s)? Ours was lovely at oldest son’s house. He cooked an enormous ham & sent some home with us. My guys here LOVE ham hot or cold so the ‘sent home’ ham quickly vanished. I just put a ham in the oven – it should be cooked by the time I have to leave to babysit (that way I get some to take with me!).

Of course I have MORE recipes to share with you – enjoy!


Chocochip Gooey Treats

1 box yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1 stick salted butter, melted (8 T.)

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temp.
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
1 stick salted butter, melted (8 T.)
1 (12 oz) pkg. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place oven rack in center position.
Lightly spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish
with nonstick cooking spray. Pour
cake mix in large bowl, add egg &
melted butter – mix until combined
(using elec. mixer works best). Batter
will be consistency of loose Play-doh)
Scrape batter into prepared dish &
use spatula to get bowl & beaters as
clean as possible. (Place beaters & bowl
aside for later use for filling).
Using clean hands, press dough evenly into
bottom of pan. In (used) mixing bowl, beat
cream cheese until fluffy. Add 2 eggs & 1 tsp.
vanilla – beat until very well combined. With
mixer at Low to Medium-Low speed, very
gradually add powdered sugar until thoroughly
combined. Gradually add melted butter &
mix well. Pour filling mixture over crust batter
& spread evenly. Bake 40-45 minutes – it will
still be jiggly. Remove from oven & allow to
cool at least 2 hours before cutting.


Jalapeno Popper Dip

10-12 slices bacon
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 C. mayonnaise
1/3 C. sour cream
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
kosher salt/ground black pepper, to taste

tortilla chips or
slices of baguette

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet over medium heat, cook
bacon until crispy, about 8 minutes – drain
& chop. In large bowl mix cream cheese, mayo,
sour cream, garlic powder, most of bacon (reserve
some for topping), most of jalapenos (reserve
some for topping) & 1 C. each Cheddar & Mont.
Jack cheeses – season with salt/pepper. Transfer
mixture to a small oven-safe skillet or baking
dish & sprinkle with remaining bacon, jalapeno,
& both cheeses. Bake 15-20 minutes until bubbly &
golden brown. (If desired, broil 3 minutes to turn
cheese golden brown). Serve with tortilla chips
or baguette slices. Serves 4-6


Crockpot Frito Pie Chili

1 lb. gr. beef or turkey
1 T. taco seasoning
1/2 C. diced onion
1 C. water
1/2 C. long-grain white rice (or jasmine
1 (10 oz) can mild enchilada sauce
1 (15 oz) can chili beans (pinto beans
in tomatoes & seasonings also called
ranch-style beans)
1 C. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 1/4 C. Frito corn chips
5 T. diced green onions
5 T. sour cream
5 T. diced tomatoes

Heat a pan over medium-high heat;
cook gr. beef & break it up. Add onions &
taco seasoning – brown about 5 minutes;
drain, & add meat, etc. to crockpot. Add
water, rice, enchilada sauce & beans to
crockpot. Cover & cook on Low 4 hours
until rice is tender. Remove lid. Stir in
cheese & ladle into 5 bowls – top each
bowl with 1/4 C. Fritos, 1 T. green onions,
1 T. sour cream & 1 T. diced tomatoes.
Serves 5


Easy Glazed Honey-Balsamic Chicken

1/3 C. honey
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. dried thyme
salt/pepper to taste
3 lb. chicken, (thighs & drumsticks

Preheat oven 475 degrees F.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with
foil or parchment paper. Place chicken
pieces on sheet & season with salt/pepper.
Rub well to work seasonings into chicken.
In small bowl or measuring cup whisk
honey, bals. vinegar & thyme – drizzle a
small amount onto each piece of chicken,
using a brush to coat the chicken. Roast
20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked
through, brushing glaze on 2 more times
during cooking time. Serve immediately.
Serves 6


Rice Pilaf

1/2 C. uncooked orzo pasta
1 T. olive oil
3 T. butter
1 C. chopped onions
1 C. uncooked long grain white rice
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 1/2 C. chicken stock

(optional: chopped fresh parsley – garnish)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In Dutch oven over medium heat, toast raw
orzo DRY, stirring constantly with a wooden
spoon until it turns a light walnut color
(3-4 minutes) – remove to a bowl.
Add olive oil & butter to pan – once butter is
melted, add onions & rice; saute 5 minutes
stirring occasionally until onions are
translucent. If rice starts to get brown, remove
from heat before you proceed to next step.

Add garlic & stir 1 minute; add bay leaves, thyme,
pepper & browned orzo. Add & stir chicken stock.
Be careful – when stock hits the hot pan, it will
bubble up. Stir once, cover & place in oven for
30 minutes untouched. Remove from oven &
discard bay leaves. Fluff rice with a fork & taste –
add salt to taste, if needed. Garnish with chopped
parsley, if using. Makes 5 Cups.


Crockpot Broccoli Cheese Soup

2 T. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 C. finely chopped fresh broccoli
3 C. chicken broth
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 (8 oz) pkg. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese

additional shredded sharp Cheddar
cheese for topping
In small skillet over medium-high heat,
heat butter. Add onion & cook 3-4 minutes,
stirring until tender. Transfer to crockpot;
add broccoli, broth, milk & pepper. Cover
& cook on Low 3-4 hours until broccoli is
tender. Stir in Velveeta until melted. Add
shredded cheeses & stir until melted.
Just  before serving stir soup to combine.
Top servings with additional Cheddar cheese.
Serves 4


Pecan Pie Bars

3 C. flour
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. butter

4 eggs
1 1/2 C. light corn syrup
3/4 C. granulated sugar
3/4 C. light brown sugar
3 T. butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. chopped pecans

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray a 10 X 15″ jelly roll pan
with nonstick cooking spray. In large
bowl whisk flour, sugar & salt – cut in
butter until mixture resembles coarse
crumbs – sprinkle mixture evenly over
prepared pan & press in firmly. Bake
20 minutes.

(While crust is baking):
In large bowl mix eggs, corn syrup, gran.
sugar, brown sugar, butter & vanilla until
smooth. Stir in chopped nuts & spread
filling over crust as soon as it comes out
of the oven.
Bake 25 minutes until set.
Allow to cool completely on wire rack
before slicing into bars.

NOTE: make sure bars are completely
cooled before cutting

If you’re feeling really adventurous, sprinkle
a few chocolate chips on the filling before



Hope you are able to enjoy good health
(I’m doing MUCH better – finally!) and
staying warm (if your area is cold!).




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