And now it’s WINTER, again…

Yesterday was (once again) another SNOW day – we ended up cancelling my special needs group because we were expected to get about 3 inches of snow (add that to the 1-2 the day before). Yesterday was busy for me: Knit Group 10-12, drive to Auburn Hills to pick up the special needs (printed) newsletters, get them home – fold, put them in envelopes & drive them to the Post Office. Back home, had to call all of the group to inform them No meeting tonight. That done, I relaxed (read that ‘knitted’). Dinner was Fried Perch, mashed potatoes & tossed salad – yum. Since our middle son moved out about a month ago, the house seems much quieter – not as much activity. Youngest son is still with us but he’s in & out – pretty quiet, only talks when he wants to. Today the sun is out BRIGHT & SHINING; it’s 25 degrees F. The roads are clear and it looks like driving will not be a problem; I have to babysit at 2 today.

On the subject of knitting: the new teal yarn came and I was NOT happy. It was supposed to be 2 colors of teal; well – it was . . . sort of. I wanted mostly bright teal with an after shade of a darker blue. This was MOSTLY darker blue with ‘hints’ of teal . . . NOT what I wanted! I was NOT happy and set about figuring out just what I would do since I wanted to knit a scarf for my friend for her (now past) birthday. Last Wednesday at the library knit group the librarian brought in 2 large bags of yarn that had been donated by a patron. One was navy blue, fine/fluffy and one was the same in forest green. There was enough to knit a sweater or small blanket. No one else in the group wanted it because it was so very fine – I ended up taking the forest green & a friend, the navy. After the disappointment with the teal yarn, I decided to try this green yarn instead. Picked a pattern I’d never done before & got started. I’d say I have about 3 feet done at this point; I really LIKE the way the pattern looks BUT it’s one of those: “have to really CONCENTRATE on every stitch/row” patterns (there are 10 rows!). I find I can knit about 2 groups of 10 rows before I have to stop and take a break – just too intense. At this rate she MIGHT get the scarf before Spring – but don’t hold your breath!


Cinna-bun Cake

3 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 C. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. butter, melted

1 C. butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar
2 T. flour
1 T. cinnamon

2 C. powdered sugar
5 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 15″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray.
Mix all cake ingredients EXCEPT
melted butter in a large bowl. Add
melted butter & pour into prepared
In separate bowl mix all topping
ingredients – mix well & drop by
teaspoonfuls over batter in pan
as evenly as you can. Use a butter
knife to swirl topping into batter.
Bake 28-30 minutes

While cake is baking prepare glaze.

Remove cake from oven & glaze while
still warm.


Philly Cheese Steak Casserole

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
2 bell peppers, seeded/diced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. seasoned salt (like Lawry’s or Mortons)
4 slices Provolone cheese
4 large eggs
1/4 C. heavy cream
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 9″ square baking dish
with nonstick cooking spray.
In a skillet cook gr. beef over medium
heat, crumbling. When beef is broken
up & still pink, add peppers, onion,
garlic & seasoned salt. Continue
cooking, stirring often, until beef is
cooked & vegetables have softened
a bit. Drain & pour mixture into
prepared dish. Tear cheese into small
pieces & place on top of beef. In a
medium bowl add eggs, cream, hot
sauce & Worc. sauce – whisk to combine.
Pour mixture over beef & bake 35
minutes until eggs are set. Let stand
5 minutes before serving.


Deconstructed Wonton Soup

6 oz. bulk pork sausage
1/3 C. panko bread crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 T. plus 1/3 C. thinly sliced green
onions, divided
1 (32 oz) carton chicken broth
1 T. soy sauce
1 bunch baby bok choy, coarsely
chopped (or 2 C. fresh spinach)
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 C. uncooked extra-wide egg noodles
1/2 C. coarsely chopped fresh basil

In large bowl combine sausage, bread
crumbs, egg & 2 T. green onion – mix
lightly but thoroughly – shape into 3/4 inch
balls. In large saucepan bring broth & soy
sauce to a boil. Carefully drop meatballs into
soup. Stir in bok choy, celery & noodles; return
to boil. Cook, uncovered, until meatballs are
cooked through & noodles are tender, about
10-12 minutes. Stir in basil & remaining green
onions – remove from heat.
Serves 4 (makes 1 quart)


Crockpot Pepper Steak

2 lb. beef sirloin, cut into bite-
sized pieces
garlic powder, to taste
3 T. oil
1 cube beef bouillon
1/4 C. boiling water
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 C. onion, chopped
2 green peppers, seeded/
thinly sliced
1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
3 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 C. cooked rice
Sprinkle beef pieces with
garlic powder. In large skillet over
medium heat, brown beef in oil;
transfer to crockpot. In a bowl mix
boiling water & bouillon cube until
dissolved. Stir in cornstarch until
dissolved & pour over beef. Stir in
all remaining ingredients (except
rice). Cover & cook on Low 6-8
hours (or High 3-4 hours). Serve
over cooked rice.
Serves 8


Biscuits & Gravy Breakfast Casserole

1 lb. pork sausage
2 T. butter
2 pkgs. Sausage Gravy mix (makes 2 C.
per pkg)
12 eggs
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tubes refrigerated biscuits

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet cook sausage; break into
small pieces & drain. In large saucepan
prepare gravy accordg. to pkg. directions –
add sausage & mix. In large bowl whisk
eggs, evap. milk & salt – soft-scramble
eggs with butter in a skillet. In 9 X 13″
(or larger) baking dish layer gravy, eggs,
gravy, eggs, gravy then top with biscuits.
Bake 20-25 minutes until biscuits are
golden brown.


Chicken Barley Soup

1 broiler/fryer chicken (2-3 lb),
cut up
8 C. water
1 1/2 C. chopped carrots
1 C. chopped celery
1/2 C. medium pearl barley
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp. salt (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
In large stockpot cook chicken in
water until tender. Cool broth & skim
off fat. Remove chicken until cool
enough to handle. Remove meat from
bones; discard bones & cut meat into
cubes-return meat to pan along with
remaining ingredients. Reduce heat;
cover & simmer 1 hour until vegetables
& barley are tender. Discard bay leaf.
Serves 5 (about 1 1/2 qts)


Crockpot Mediterranean Lentil Soup

2 (32 oz, ea) boxes chicken stock (8 C.)
1 C. diced carrots
1 C. green lentils, rinsed
1/2 C. jarred marinated artichokes,
1/2 C. diced celery
1/2 C. sun-dried tomatoes in oil,
drained/julienned* plus 1 T. oil from jar
1 tsp. vegetable bouillon paste**
3 sprigs fresh oregano
1 onion, diced
2 C. escarole, julienned*
zest & juice of 1 lemon
kosher salt/ground black pepper,
to taste

crusty bread, for serving
Place in crockpot: chicken stock,
carrots, lentils, artichokes, celery,
sun-dried tomatoes & 1 T. oil,
bouillon paste, oregano & onion.
Cover & cook on High 4 hours
(or Low 8 hours) until lentils are
tender. Stir in escarole, lemon zest
& juice – let stand 5-10 minutes.
Season with salt/pepper & serve
with crusty bread for dipping.
Serves 8-10
*julienned: means to cut into
thin strips

**NOTE: I have not  made this recipe
but  1 person used 1 tsp.
chicken bouillon instead

reading comments on this soup

1 person substituted spinach greens
for escarole/1 substituted kale

-1 person added a Parmesan cheese
rind to the soup

-1 person suggested breaking up
dry spaghetti noodles & adding them
to the soup towards end of cooking –
it thickens the soup


Pecan Cheesecake Squares

Shortbread Layer:
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. finely chopped pecans

Cheesecake Layer:
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Pecan Pie Layer:
3/4 C. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 C. light corn syrup
1/3 C. butter, melted/cooled slightly
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. pecans
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray.

Shortbread layer:
In medium bowl combine flour &
3/4 C. brown sugar. Using a pastry
blender (or 2 knives) cut in butter
until mixture resembles coarse
crumbs. Stir in 1/2 C. pecans & press
mixture evenly in bottom of prepared
pan. Bake 10 minutes – remove from
oven & cool about 10 minutes.

Cheesecake Layer:
In bowl of a stand mixer place cream
cheese (using paddle attachment).
Beat at medium speed until smooth.
Beat in sugar; add milk & 2 tsp. vanilla –
beat until combined. Pour mixture over
cooled shortbread layer. Bake 15 minutes.
Remove from oven & cool about 10 minutes.

Pecan Pie Layer:
In medium bowl combine remaining 3/4 C.
brown sugar, corn syrup & melted bututer.
Gently stir in eggs, salt & remaining 1/2 tsp.
vanilla. Stir in 1 1/2 C. pecans & pour over
cooled cheesecake layer. Bake 35-40 minutes
until center is set & pecan pie layer is a rich
brown color.



Tuesday our middle son invited my husband & I for
dinner at his new apartment (and to meet his new
kitties!) Wasn’t exactly sure what he would cook, since
he’s not a very experienced ‘chef’ but he made spaghetti
with Polish sausage in it (different . . . ) – we, of course,
complimented it. The kittens are adorable – they’re about
6-7 weeks old; he loves irony so there’s “Snowball” (a
little girl) and “Lucky”, a little boy – both are all black!
It took them awhile to come out from under the couch
but eventually we were able to pick them up – SO CUTE!
He said he wanted two so they could keep each other
company while he was at work – seems to be working
just fine! He’s happy – they’re happy, and . . . in the end
WE’RE HAPPY for them!

Hope you have a WARM, cozy day!



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