Thoughts on a Thursday

The days are Summery – temps between 70’s & 80’s and sunny/breezy. Not much going on in my ‘new norm’: my every-other-week knit group at Panera Bread has morphed into every week. We used to meet 6:30 – 9 p.m. and the ‘new norm’ is now 4 – 6/7 p.m. at the park (or, during inclement weather) under a pavilion very close to the park. Wednesday Library Knit group has been doing Zoom meetings every Weds. morning 10-12 pm. and next week we, too, will be meeting in the park! Life’s little ups & downs – as long as they’re not HUGE, I can handle them.

Working on new project (don’t remember if I mentioned this one – it’s more of the free yarn/create & give back to be sold for a charity). This one is 2 strands of Alpaca/cotton/hemp knitted together to make a scarf; I’m about half-way done with it. Last bag I chose has very thin really soft, cream-colored yarn and another ‘crazy/strange’ yarn??? The second one is a very thin strand (almost like sewing thread) with a sequin sewn into it every inch – the other knit ladies suggested I knit them both together and make a cowl – going to be very strange knitting, for sure. I’m concerned there won’t be enough cream/sequin to make one but we’ll see (originally I was going to knit a scarf but there’s not enough sequin to equal cream, so we’ll see . . .)


Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake

2 tubes refrigerated cinnamon
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese
1/2 C. sour cream
1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 T. vanilla

1/2 C. butter, softened
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 T. cinnamon
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In a deep skillet press cinnamon
rolls into bottom, creating a crust
on the bottom & up sides; make
sure all buns are connected & there
are no spaces between the dough.
Using elec. mixer, mix cream cheese,
eggs, sour cream, sugar & vanilla –
beat until smooth & creamy, about
3 minutes = pour into skillet over
bun dough.

In a medium bowl stir butter, brown
sugar & cinnamon. Place mixture into
a ziplock bag, forcing mixture to one
corner of bag. Zip top & cut the tip
off one corner (making a piping bag).
Pipe a swirl of this mixture over top
of cheesecake batter.
Bake 50-55 minutes until cheesecake
is set. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Store leftovers in refrigerator.

(recipe: I heart recipes – FB)

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

4 C. broccoli florets
3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning*
salt/black pepper, to taste
3 T. finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. lemon juice
Optional garnish: lemon wedges
Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Spray a rimmed sheet pan with
nonstick cooking spray. Place broccoli
florets in gallon-sized ziplock bag; add
olive oil, Ital. seasoning, salt/pepper –
seal bag & shake to coat evenly. Pour
broccoli onto sheet pan in a single layer.
Bake 20 minutes, stirring halfway
through. Remove pan from oven; sprinkle
Parm. cheese & parsley over broccoli &
drizzle with lemon juice. Serve garnished
with lemon wedges, if desired. Serves 4

*Equal parts garlic powder, dried oregano
& dried basil

NOTE: If you want your broccoli to stay
bright green, try blanching it 2-3 minutes
before roasting.  Boil 2-3 minutes then
plunge into ice water bath.

Grilled Potato Salad w/Bacon Vinaigrette

1/2 lb. bacon (8 strips)
1 T. whole-grain mustard
1 T. light brown sugar
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
1/2 lemon
fresh ground black pepper

1 lb. mini Yukon Gold potatoes,
5 scallions
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 T. roughly chopped flat leaf
flaky sea salt

Place bacon in large nonstick skillet
over medium heat. Line a plate with
paper towels. Cook bacon, turning
ocasionally, until golden brown &
crispy, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to
plate. Place bacon fat in a small
mixing bowl. To bacon fat add
mustard, sugar & vinegar – squeeze
in juice from lemon half & whisk
to combine. Season with black
pepper. (set aside in a warm place)

Preheat grill over medium heat.

Place potatoes in an even layer in a
microwave-safe baking dish. Pour in
1/4 C. water & cover tightly with
plastic wrap. Steam potatoes in
microwave on High about 3 minutes
until just slightly tender. Remove &
drain any water that remains.
Place potatoes in large mixing
bowl with whole scallions. Drizzle
with olive oil & sprinkle with
salt/pepper. Toss to evenly
coat in oil. Place potatoes on
grill, cut sides down. Grill 7 minutes
on each side, until tender & caramelized.

Place scallions on coolest area of
grill & cook, 1-2 minutes on each
side being careful to not char. Remove
scallions from grill & set aside. Remove
potatoes from grill & place in a large
mixing bowl. Cut grilled scallions
into 1-inch pieces & Place in bowl
with potatoes. Crumble cooked
bacon in bowl & add parsley, some
sea salt & drizzle generously with
warm bacon dressing – toss to coat.
Serves 4


Crockpot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened/cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) jar/can artichoke hearts, drained
& chopped
1 C. mayonnaise
1/3 C. sour cream
1 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Place all ingredients in 2.5 to 3.5 qt. crockpot-
stir to combine. Cover & cook on Low 2-3
hours, stirring occasionally until dip is hot &
all cheeses have melted. Serve in a bowl or
from crockpot on Warm setting.
Serves 10

NOTE: This dip can easily be turned into a
pasta sauce by adding 2-3 C. milk, Half & Half
or cream after dip has cooked. Slowly stir in
milk until it reaches a pourable consistency.
Serve over any type of cooked pasta..

BBQ Chicken Tater Tot Skillet

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
3 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced into
1″ pieces
1/2 C. finely chopped onion (about
half a small one)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. diced red bell pepper (about
1 small)
1/2 C. diced poblano pepper (about
1 small)
1/4 C. chicken stock
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 T. flour
1 C. bottled BBQ sauce
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen tater tots
1 T. chopped fresh parsley (optional

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Place chicken breasts on a cutting
board, cover with plastic wrap &
pound (using a meat mallet) until
each pieces is of even thickness,
about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Season
both sides of chicken with salt/pepper.
Cook bacon over medium heat until
crispy; remove, reserving fat in pan &
transfer bacon to a plate lined with
paper towels. Drain off some of fat,
leaving about 1 T. in pan. Add chicken
breasts & cook through, about 8-10
minutes. Remove to plate. Add onion,
garlic & peppers to pan; cook until
softened, about 5 minutes. Shred
cooked chicken. Add chicken stock to
pan with veggies & bring to boil.
Scrape all browned bits off bottom of
pan. Add oregano & salt/ stir. Sprinkle
flour over top of veggies & stir until mixture
thickens; add shredded chicken to pan &
stir to combine. Add BBQ sauce & stir.
Turn off heat & top with shredded cheese.
Top cheese with frozen tater tots &
sprinkle top with cooked bacon. Transfer
skillet to oven & bake 20-25 minutes until
dish is bubbling & tater tots are hot &
baked through. Garnish with chopped parsley,
if desired. Serves 4-6

1-Pot Enchilada Rice

3 C. uncooked instant rice*
3 C. water
1/2 C. diced red & green bell peppers
1/2 C. frozen corn
1/2 C. salsa (or Rotel diced tomatoes
with green chilies)
2/3 C. enchilada sauce
1 C. shredded Mexican cheese, divided
diced cilantro for topping – garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large oven-safe skillet combine uncooked
rice & water – cook as directed on pkg. Once
cooked, add bell pepper, corn, salsa, cheese &
enchilada sauce – mix thoroughly. Cover with
a layer of shredded cheese & bake 20-25
minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle on
cilantro & serve warm. Serves 6

*If you want to use a regular long-grain rice,
you will need to double the water used


Crockpot S’Mores Lava Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 C. water
1/3 C. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 (5.9 oz) bx instant chocolate
pudding mix
2 C. milk
1/2 C. miniature marshmallows
1/2 C. crushed graham crackers
1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Spray insides of 5 to 6 qt. crockpot
with nonstick cooking spray.
In medium bowl using elec. mixer
combine cake mix, water, veg. oil &
eggs until all dry cake mix is moistened &
combined -pour into crockpot – spread
evenly. In small bowl whisk choc. pudding
mix & milk until well combined. Sprinkle
miniature marshmallows evenly on top
of cake batter in crockpot. Spread prepared
pudding evenly on top. Cover & cook on
Low 2-3 hours until edges are cooked &
cake-like, but center is bubbly & moist.
Spoon into bowls & garnish with additional
mini marshmallows & graham cracker
crumbs, if desired. Serves 6



Stepping on my soapbox here:

Sometimes we are reminded of just how short
our lives can be and how quickly we can miss
those we don’t see often. I was reminded of that
yesterday when I learned that one of my special
needs students passed away – the beginning of
APRIL! I have known him at least 12-15 years;
he was a little younger than me (69), lived
alone in a senior citizen apartment and loved
coming to our special needs group for ‘church’.
When Covid hit he was on my list for calling every
week just to ‘check up’. The first week we talked
a bit; the second he was upset with all the negative
news and didn’t want to talk. (He could be a grumpy
old man at times so I just let him go.) Weekly, from
mid March to now I’d try to call only to either get
no answer or a recording saying the subscriber was
not available at this time. Yesterday I remembered
I had a phone number for a friend of his so I called –
very gently the friend informed me that our friend died
first week in April from heart complications. That was
a shock, for sure. The friend had Power of Attorney
for my friend, as my friend had no family. This man
who called told me he, too, had wondered about
our mutual friend and was in Florida in April when
he got a phone call from the hospital doctor who
informed him of our friends death. Because of
Covid and all the paperwork it took this man weeks
before finally getting everything sorted out. (Our
friend did not have/or die from Covid). Before this
man could do anything, the hospital cremated our
friend and buried him in a group unmarked grave.

It is VERY SAD when you hear of someone’s passing –
it is even more so when you realize how quickly
we can lose contact. I know that our mutual friend
was a Christian and I truly believe he is in heaven
with “his Jesus”.

I write all this to remind you to KEEP IN TOUCH
WITH THOSE YOU CARE ABOUT. (I tried, but did
not succeed). Life is very short – keep close tabs
on those you love – LET THEM KNOW you care
about them!



Published in: on June 25, 2020 at 10:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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