and Summer begins!

Our weather has been really nice 80’s & some 90’s, not humid so that really makes it much better!

Busy but not busy – some days I feel like I used to ‘before Covid’ – something going on every day . . . and then there are other days where all I do is knit, read, mess on Facebook a bit, cook dinner – the ‘new’ normal. Friday was a cookout/meeting of the leaders for my special needs group. It was SO nice to see AND HUG (YES, we HUGGED!) everyone. Great food, great fellowship, great re-connecting. We discussed what our possible opening in the Fall will be like. Our group leader for 30 years is stepping down and another lady who makes a great leader will take over. Things will be different – not sure just how many of our ‘kids’ will return but . . . in the words of our former leader: The future of the group is not up to us: our job is to keep our eyes on the Lord and HE will lead us. It’s HIS group, whether it continues or fails is not up to us – we just need to do our jobs. The other issue with all of this is: I will be leaving about 3 months after they start up again. It has been discussed with our kids & leaders; I’ve been with the group since October, 1993. My husband doesn’t like me driving at night, especially in the winter (I don’t see well in the dark) so he has asked that I retire. When all is said & done there will be four, possibly five leaders. Three have been with the group about 3 years, the other two for less time. We will see what this all brings.

At the party I brought a dessert I haven’t made in a long time. This is one of those GREAT tasting recipes, so I’ll feature it here. Also, one of the leaders brought Hot Artichoke Dip – it was WONDERFUL! Really flavorful – really tasty. (see below)



1 (18.5 oz) box chocolate cake mix
1 (3 oz; 4 serving size) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 pint sour cream
3/4 C. vegetable oil
1 C. water
4 eggs
1 C. chocolate chips (6 oz. – you can
use more)
(chocolate hot fudge sauce – drizzle)
Vanilla ice cream
Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick cooking spray. In large
bowl mix all ingredients; mix until
smooth & pour into crockpot.
Cover & cook on Low 4-5 hours
until set in center. Let cool 30
minutes. Serves 10

Best served with vanilla ice cream

Hot Artichoke Dip

1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 C. mayonnaise
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
salt/pepper, to taste
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a medium casserole dish
with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix all dip ingredients together
& pour into prepared dish.
Bake 30-45 minutes.

Best served with chunks of
French bread

Grilled Squash with Herbs

3 large summer squash (yellow or green)
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried, minced rosemary
1 tsp. dried, minced basil
1 tsp. dried, minced parsley
Preheat grill to High
Cut squash lengthwise into thick
strips. Combine oil, salt/pepper &
herbs in a large bowl – toss squash
slices with mixture. Grill squash
about 3-4 minutes per side.
Serve immediately. Serves 4-6

Sheet Pan Panko Shrimp

1 1/2 lb. jumbo (10/15 count)
Wild American shrimp, preferably
Gulf Shrimp, peeled/deveined
zest of 1 lemon (reserve juice)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. Creole or Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. paprika
2/3 C. Panko bread crumbs
3 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes (plus
more for garnish, if desired)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with
foil & spray with nonstick cooking
spray or lightly brush with olive oil.
To remove excess water: pat shrimp
dry with paper towels & place in
large bowl. Toss with remaining
olive oil, salt/pepper, Cajun seasoning,
Old Bay, pepper flakes & paprika. Add
lemon zest & garlic, spread onto
prepared sheet in single layer.

In a separate bowl mix panko crumbs,
butter, cheese, black pepper & parsley.
Sprinkle half panko mixture over shrimp
& press lightly – repeat with remaining
crumbs. Bake 10-12 minutes (depending
on size of shrimp) until shrimp are
cooked through & crumbs lightly browned.
Squeeze lemon juice on top & sprinkle
with parsley before serving.
Serves 4

Yummy Summer Pea Salad

2 (6 oz, ea) pkgs. frozen peas, thawed
1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled
1 C. golden raisins
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 C. sunflower seeds


1 C. mayonnaise
2 T. wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. sugar (or, to taste)
In large bowl combine peas, bacon,
raisins, Cheddar cheese, onion &
sunflower seeds. In small bowl stir in mayo,
vinegar & sugar – drizzle over salad & toss
to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap &
refrigerate 1 hour.


Crockpot 3-Bean Casserole Crunch
and OVEN recipe

1 lb. ground beef
6 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
1 T. white vinegar
1 T. mustard
1/2 C. ketchup
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained/
1 (16 oz) can chili beans
1 (15 oz) can pork & beans
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 C. crushed Chili Cheese Fritos
In skillet brown ground beef with
bacon, onion & peppers – drain &
mix with remaining ingredients
(except cheese & Fritos).
Place mixture into crockpot; cover
& cook on Low 4-6 hours. Before
serving top each serving with
cheese & Fritos.* Serves 6

*If you want your cheese melty;
place on beans in crockpot for
10-15 minutes before serving.

OVEN method:
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a 3 quart casserole dish
with nonstick cooking spray.
Cook meat/peppers, etc. as
above in a skillet; mix in a
bowl with all ingredients
(except cheese & Fritos) then
pour into prepared dish.
Bake 45 minutes then top with
cheese & chips – bake until
top is bubbly.


Creamy Baked Mac & Cheese

16 oz (about 3 C.) elbow macaroni
3 T. butter or margarine
1 1/2 C. milk, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb (16 oz) cubed Velveeta
cheese (1/2 inch cubes)
8 oz. shredded mild Cheddar
cheese (about 2 C.) divided
8 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish
with nonstick cooking spray.
Cook macaroni according to pkg.
directions until tender but not
soft (about 10 minutes). Drain &
pour into a mixing bowl – stir.
Melt Velveeta until melted/stir
until it’s creamy. Pour melted
cheese over pasta & stir well. Add
butter, eggs, milk & 1 C. shredded
cheese, salt/pepper. Mix very well
& pour into prepared dish. Pour rest
of cheese on top. Bake about 20
minutes until brown & bubbling.
Serve hot or cool 5 minutes out of

Shrimp Scampi Foil Packets
Grill or oven recipe

heavy aluminum foil
4 cloves garlic; 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 T. olive oil
40 jumbo peeled/deveined shrimp,
slightly over 1 lb.
1/4 C. dry white wine
1 T. fresh lemon juice
4 pinches red pepper flakes
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
3 T. chopped parsley

Optional – for serving:
whole wheat crusty bread
1 lemon, cut into wedges
In large bowl whisk grated garlic, salt
& oil. Add shrimp & toss to coat.
Chill, uncovered, at least 30  minutes –
up to 1 hour.
To Grill:

Tear off four 16″ foil sheets. Place
10 shrimp in center of each sheet; top
with remaining garlic slices, 1 T. wine,
lemon juice, pinch red pepper flakes,
1/2 T. melted butter on each.
Bring up long sides of foil so ends
meet over the food. Double fold the
ends, leaving room for heat to circulate
inside. Double fold the 2 short ends to
seal the packet.  Serves 4

Grill over High heat 8  minutes. Use
gloves or tongs to remove & carefully
open. Top with chopped parsley.
Serve with lemon wedges.
OVEN method:
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Prepare packets as directed above.
Place packets in oven & bake about
10 minutes.


No-churn Ripple Ice Cream

2 C. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. cherry pie filling (from 21 oz can)*
1/2 C. blueberry pie filling (fro 21 oz can)*

In large bowl whip whipping cream until stiff
peaks form. Fold vanilla & sweetnd cond. milk
into whipped cream – Pour mixture into a
9 X 5″ loaf pan (or similar sized container).
Put cherry pie filling in food processor &
pulse until smooth – drizzle over top of whipped
cream mixture. (rinse & dry out food processor).
Process blueberry pie filling until smooth & drizzle
over whipped cream mixture. Use a knife to cut
through the pie filling & create swirls. Cover pan
tightly with plastic wrap & freeze 8 hours until
firm. Serves 10-12

*Reserve rest of pie filling for another use



Hope you’re having a GREAT DAY!



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