Making the best of it –

It’s been a strange week so far: ended up babysitting for 8 hours Monday. Tuesday husband took my car into our dealership-we keep smelling antifreeze inside the car whenever we use the heat or air. There were other issues to be dealt with as well so husband left car & got a shuttle ride home (1/2 hour away). Wednesday came – had to skip Library knitting AND my special needs group – no car. I did, however, get something done I hadn’t really planned on – I cleaned my dollhouse! (I know that sounds strange but it was REALLY dusty!). I built it in 1982 to keep my mind busy while awaiting our adoption. My dear friend Mary asked me if I wanted to go with her to a miniature show and I did – I got ‘hooked’ on miniatures! The house took, altogether, almost a year to complete. Lots of tiny details – I had forgotten some of the things in it. We were really hoping to get a girl (and be able to pass it down to her when she was old enough). No girl – all boys so the house is still here. I had a LOT of fun collecting items, creating items (I bet you didn’t know there’s a market for teeny tiny crocheted table doilies!) I saw them being sold for something like $2.00 each and – being I’m a ‘dyed in the wool’ Scotswoman, I couldn’t tolerate spending that much so I made my own by bending the tip of a sewing pin and using sewing thread, crocheted my own. It’s things like that that were FUN for me. At one of the booths were clay sculptures of miniature animals – one was a cat lying on a shelf/step with it’s paw hanging over; they wanted $10 for it! OUTRAGEOUS! I went home & made my own out of Sculpy – made the whiskers out of sewing thread. (will post some photos in another blog)

Somewhere during my ‘forced days’ off I managed to pull a back muscle – not my ‘usual’ left side, but this time it’s the right! (Technically it’s called a Piraformus muscle located in your ‘bum’ – when it goes out I can’t stand up without a lot of pain.) It’s getting better but takes time. Not much can be done to help it – years ago I went to a chiropractor and he did lots of manipulations – VERY painful. Eventually the muscle relaxed and I was able to stand/walk normally. Being somewhat confined to a recliner is not much fun – read all three library books, did some word search puzzles, knit a bunch. On the ‘good’ side, I’ve lost 3 pounds! Come on, Muscle – HURRY UP and HEAL – I have ‘things’ to do!


Pineapple Dream Dessert

2 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
(2 sleeves)
1/2 C. unsalted butter

2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened
(for filling)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple,
drained well

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
Place 1/2 C. butter in a microwaveable
container & melt – allow to cool. Combine
crumbs & butter in a bowl then press
2 C. of mixture firmly into a 9 X 9″ square
baking dish. Bake 8-10 minutes – cool on a
wire rack. In a bowl beat cream cheese & 1/2
C. butter until creamy using elec. mixer – turn
down speed to Low & add powdered sugar one-
cup-at-a-time until fully incorporated. Turn up
speed & beat well for 1 minute. Add a heaping
tablespoon drained/crushed pineapple to
mixture & stir in using a rubber spatula. Spread
cream cheese mixture then pineapple mixture
over crust. In a bowl fold remaining pineapple
into Cool Whip & spread on top of dessert. Sprinkle
remaining graham cracker crumb mixture on top.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
Serves 12


Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes

1 C. sour cream
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of potato soup
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 lb. small red potatoes (about 8),
very thinly sliced*
1 1/2 C. (Kraft) shredded Triple Cheddar
cheese with a touch of Philadelphia
1/2 tsp. paprika
3 T. chopped fresh chives

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
cooking spray.
In large bowl combine first 3 ingredients;
add potatoes & toss to coat evenly. Spoon
1/3 of mixture into crockpot & top with
half of the cheese. Repeat layers; cover with
remaining potato mixture. Cover & cook on
High 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours (or Low 7-8 hours).
Stir & sprinkle with paprika & chives.
Serves 12

*Place sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water
until ready to cook to prevent them from
darkening. When thinly slicing a large amount
of potatoes, use a food processor or manual
slicer (mandoline) for even results.


Romaine/Cucumber Salad w/Yogurt

2 T. lemon juice
1 T. champagne vinegar (poster
used Prosecco champagne vinegar)
1 1/2 T. sugar
1 tsp. fresh  minced garlic
1/2 C. whole milk Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
5 T. extra virgin olive oil

Shredded Salad:
1 large head romaine
1 English cucumber, peeled
2 C. fresh baby arugula, coarsely
1 C. whole walnuts, divided
3 T. fresh dill, coarsely chopped
2 T. fresh mint, coarsely chopped
2 T. fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes

In small bowl mix lemon juice, vinegar,
sugar & garlic – let stand 10 minutes.
Whisk in yogurt, salt, pepper & oil.
Separate romaine leaves from core (discard
core & any discolored leaves). Rinse under
cold water & pat dry using paper towels.
Stack leaves. Using a long, sharp knife,
slice thin slices from stack – one end to the
other – place in large bowl & toss. Shred
cucumber using large holes of a box grater.
Place shredded cucumber on some paper
towels or a clean kitchen towel & squeeze
out as much water as you can – add to bowl
with romaine. Add arugula to bowl. Lightly
toast whole walnut pieces & set aside a few
for garnish. Add remaining to bowl with dill,
mint, parsley, salt/pepper & pepper flakes –
toss to combine.
When ready to serve: toss half of dressing
with lettuce mix & top bowl with reserved
walnuts. Serve rest of dressing on the side.
Serves 4


Grilled Chicken Kabobs

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts,
cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 each:  yellow & green pepper, cut
into 1 1/2″ pieces
1/2 C. Italian salad dressing, divided

Thread chicken & peppers alternately
on 4 skewers*; brush with 1/4 C. salad
dressing & refrigerate 1 hour.

Heat grill to medium heat.
Grill kabobs 12 – 15 minutes until
chicken is done, turning & brushing
occasionally with remaining dressing.
Serves 4

*If you are using wooden skewers,
soak skewers in water for 30 minutes
before using to prevent them from
burning on the grill

NOTE: You can substitute sirloin steak
for chicken and cherry tomatoes, onion
wedges & mango slices for pepper pieces.
Increase grilling time to 20 minutes or until
meat is done.

Broccoli & Feta Salad

1 bunch broccoli (about 1 lb),
cut into florets
2 T. olive oil
2 T. wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 C. crumbed Feta cheese
1 C. grape tomatoes (or
1 C. cherry tomatoes) halved
1/2 C. very thinly sliced red onion

Pour enough water into a saucepan
to come 1 inch up side of pan – bring
to a boil. Place broccoli in a steamer
basket in saucepan & steam until
bright green but still crisp (about
1 minute) – drain. In a large bowl
whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic,
salt/pepper. Add broccoli, feta
cheese, tomatoes & onion to bowl
& toss to coat. Serves 4-6


Peach Cobbler Cake

1 box yellow cake mix, divided
1 C. flour
1 packet active dry yeast
2/3 C. warm water
2 eggs
2 (21 oz, ea) cans peach pie filling
1/2 C. butter (1 stick), cubed
1 C. powdered sugar
3-4 T. milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray.
Measure out 2 C. cake mix into
a bowl. Add flour & yeast – stir
until combined. Pour in warm water
& stir well. Add eggs & stir (batter
will be lumpy). Spread mixture into
prepared baking dish. Spread both
cans pie filling over top & even out
as best you can. In a bowl combine
rest of dry cake mix with butter until
crumbly – sprinkle on top of cake
over pie filling. Bake 45-55 minutes.
Topping should appear golden brown.
Allow cake to cool 10-15 minutes.

In a bowl combine powdered sugar &
milk (start with a smaller amount of
milk -add more to get desired consistency).
Drizzle icing over top of cake.
Serves 12



On a good note, husband picked up my car/van so
now I have transportation – now I need to feel well
enough to DRIVE IT! Saturday is World-Wide Knit-in-
Public Day and I’m hoping I can go (since I organized
it for both of my knitting groups!). Sunday our choir
is going to sing a very moving song we sang at Easter:

“Is He Worthy?”

and I really don’t want to miss that.

Just biding my time; have a great day!



Some days ya just gotta be FLEXIBLE!

Today was “take my van in to the dealership for fluid changes’ day. Also on that agenda was ‘please check out WHY my right front tire has a continual slow leak!” and – why my electric side doors sometimes decide they don’t want to open/close – only sometimes! I was prepared: took 2 knitting projects and my latest book. Drove myself there, got some free coffee and commenced knitting. About half hour later nice young man from Service comes over & tells me that I have more issues than I thought: #1 they can’t find reason for electric door problem (why am I not surprised?), #2 all FOUR tires have issues (they ARE older tires) #3 something else I don’t remember now needed fixing. When I asked grand total of TIME for fixing all this they said: FIVE HOURS! Oh MY! Today is husband’s class reunion in another city so he’ll be gone a good 3+ hours, tonight is special needs group – what to do? Nice guy suggested they DO have a shuttle AND I’m just within their radius for using it -now I’m home sitting at my lovely computer, it’s almost 11 a.m. Husband ‘should’ be home in time to drive me back to dealership later. As I was getting out of the shuttle the driver said: “Hope they get your vehicle done today!” OH MY – never thought of the “What if they don’t? scenario! Mentioned to husband that he might need to drive me tonight to special needs – his response: “Won’t be the first time!” Ah, life – it’s great IF you’re flexible! Yesterday while watching the baby (just before Mom left for work) she asked if I was available TODAY to watch him – I had to say No. I texted her a little earlier explaining my plight and saying that IF she still needed, I could watch him until around 4:30 BUT she would have to pick me up; turns out her Dad will watch the baby so I’M FREE – WOW, what a concept!


Easy Strawberry Cake

1 (16.25 oz) box white cake mix
1 (.3 oz) box strawberry Jell-O
4 egg whites
1/3 C. canola oil
1 C. frozen unsweetened
strawberries, thawed
1/2 C. water
1/3 C. butter, softened
2 1/3 C. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour two 9″ round
cake pans. In large bowl combine
cake mix & Jell-O; add egg whites
& oil; beat using elec. mixer until
well blended. In small bowl or
food processor, mash strawberries
in their juice – set aside 3 T.
mashed berries for icing. Add
water & remaining berries to
batter & mix; pour into pans.
Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick
inserted into center of cake comes
out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes;
remove cakes from pan to wire
racks & cool completely.

Combine butter & reserved berrie
mixture in small bowl. Gradually
beat in powdered sugar until light &
fluffy). Place one cake on serving platter
& top with half of icing; top with second
cake & repeat, spreading icing evenly
on top.


Chicken Burrito Skillet

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 C. uncooked long grain rice
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
& rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 1/2 C. chicken broth
1 C. shredded Mexican-blend cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 green onions, chopped

Sprinkle chicken with salt/pepper.
In large skillet over medium-high
heat, heat 1 T. oil. Saute chicken
until browned, about 2 minutes-
remove from pan. In same pan, heat
remaining oil over medium-high
heat. Saute rice until lightly browned,
1-2 minutes. Stir in beans, canned
tomatoes, seasonings & broth – bring
to boil. Place chicken on top (do not
stir into rice). Simmer, covered, until
rice is tender & chicken is no longer
pink, 20-25 minutes. Remove from
heat; sprinkle top with cheese. Let
stand, covered, until cheese melts.
Top with tomato & green onions.
Serves 6

Mexican Corn Bread Salad

1 (1 oz) pkg. dry Ranch
dressing mix
1 C. sour cream
1 C. mayonnaise
6 corn bread muffins
2 (16 oz, ea) cans pinto
beans, drained/rinsed
1 green bell pepper,
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen corn,
3 large tomatoes, chopped
10 slices bacon, cooked/
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Mexican
cheese blend
6 scallions, sliced

In small bowl combine dressing
mix, sour cream & mayonnaise.
Crumble 3 corn muffins in large
glass bowl or trifle dish. Place a
layer of beans over muffins, then
bell pepper, dressing mixture,
corn, tomatoes, bacon, remaining
corn muffins (crumbled), cheese &
scallions. Cover & chill at least
2 hours before serving. Serves 8

Freezer Slaw

1 1/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. cider vinegar
2 (10 oz, ea) pkgs. shredded
angel hair cabbage slaw
1 large carrot, peeled/shredded
1 small green bell pepper,
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. mustard seeds (optional)

Bring sugar & vinegar to a boil in
small saucepan, stirring until sugar
dissolves; cool. Combine cabbage
slaw & remaining 4 ingredients;
pour vinegar mixture over cabbage
mixture & toss to coat. Place in a
large heavy-duty ziplock bag or an
airtight container & freeze up to
3 months. Thaw in fridge before
serving. Serves 8

NOTE: If you don’t need to make
this dish in advance, prepare dish-
cover & chill at least 2 hours before


NO-bake “Baked Potato” Salad

8 medium potatoes (about 3 lb)
scrubbed & cut into 1-inch chunks
1 T. salt
1 (16 oz) tub sour cream
1/4 C. real bacon bits
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Place potatoes in large pot with
enough water to cover them. Add
salt & bring to boil over high heat.
Cook potatoes 10-15 minutes until
fork-tender; drain well & allow to
cool slightly. In large bowl combine
remaining ingredients; mix well.
Add potatoes & mix until well
combined. Serve warm or cover &
chill until ready to serve. Serves 6


No-cook Roll-ups

1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen
chopped spinach, thawed &
1 C. mayonnaise
1 (8 oz) tub sour cream
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 (.4 oz) envelope Ranch-
style salad dressing mix (dry)
1 (3 oz) pkg. bacon bits
9 (10 inch) flour tortillas

In large bowl combine all
ingredients except tortillas;
stir well. Spread mixture on
tortillas, distributing evenly.
Roll up, jelly-roll fashion;
wrap each in plastic wrap.
Chill 4-6 hours then cut into
1/2 inch thick slices & serve.
Makes 6 dozen


Crockpot Honey-Garlic Chicken Thighs

4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
1/2 C. soy sauce
1/2 C. ketchup
1/3 C. honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil

Lay chicken thighs in bottom of
crockpot. Whisk soy sauce, ketchup,
honey, garlic & basil together in a
bowl & pour over chicken. Cover &
cook on Low 6 hours. Serves 2

Crockpot Peachy Pork Chops

4-6 whole very ripe peaches, peeled/
pitted (can use frozen that have
been thawed or canned-in-water,
not syrup)
1 small onion,
2-4 lb. boneless pork chops
1/4 C. ketchup
1/4 C. honey BBQ sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. soy sauce
pinch salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Using blender or food processor,
place peaches in device & process
until smooth adding a small amount
of water, if necessary. Puree should
be smooth & not chunky. Place a
small amount of olive oil in large fry
pan heated to medium-low heat.
Place some of pork chops in pan &
cook 3-5 minutes per side until
chops are slightly browned on each
side but still pink inside (work in
batches until all are semi-cooked).
As chops are browning place finished
ones in a bowl, coat each chop with
some peach puree & place in crockpot.
When all chops are cooked/coated,
mix remaining peach puree, ketchup,
BBQ sauce, brown sugar, salt, garlic
salt, soy sauce & ground ginger in a bowl
& mix well to combine. Drizzle mixture
over top of chops. Cover & cook on
Low 5-6 hours or High 2-3 hours.
Test chops for doneness to make sure
they are no longer pink inside or when
a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees F.
Serves 6-8


Pineapple Pie

1 1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 C. crushed pineapple
3 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat all ingredients together
(except pie shell) & pour into
unbaked pie shell. Bake until
pie sets & is brown.

(recipe: tastyrecipes/


Weather-wise we’re now DEFINITELY into SUMMER;
high 80’s & low 90’s – thank heavens for air conditioning!

Gas prices are really good: $2.29/9! YAY!

Depending on whether I need to go back & fetch my
vehicle today or not, dinner “might” be enchiladas.
We love them but it takes about 40+ minutes to make
them, then about an hour to bake them – we’ll see,
dinner just might be ‘catch-as-catch-can’ (meaning
eat what you want, I’m not cooking!)

Hope you’re having an OK day!



Making a “List” and other things –


The last two days have certainly been ‘different’ – yesterday husband & I got all ready to go to church; there was a light dusting of snow on the windshield &  frozen parts. I got out the ice scraper & was cleaning off the windshield while husband was just coming out of the house. He got in the car and then yelled something – I thought he said: “Get In!” I leaned over and asked again – he replied” It’s dead!” Oh, no – not again! Yep, battery was totally gone. To add to the fun, HIS Jeep had a dead battery, too (he knew that and was going to jump it last week but just didn’t get around to it). Later on he used son’s car to jump-start my minivan but kept saying it just wasn’t ‘revving up’ right-he checked and one of the cells on the battery was dead. Since there was no evening church/choir practice I didn’t have to go out, so I just stayed in. Today husband removed the battery & got a new one – van works just fine! YAY! (Probably later we’ll jump HIS Jeep).

Since I had some time to spare yesterday I went on line & started ordering Christmas presents – YAY! Got some good prices on men’s PJ bottoms & a long-sleeved Seattle Seahawks t-shirt for grandson. It’s always nice to have a ‘start’ on presents!

Discovered a GREAT recipe site today (go figure – I should have KNOWN about this one) LOTS of great recipes – I got totally enmeshed in their appetizers!


Bite-sized Salted Caramel Cheesecake

1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1 T. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 T. melted butter
1 1/2 pkg. (8 oz, ea) cream cheese,
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 egg
12 Kraft caramels
1 T. milk

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Mix graham crumbs, brown sugar,
1/4 tsp. salt & butter; press onto
bottoms of 24 paper-lined mini
muffin cups. Beat cream cheese &
granulated sugar in large bowl
using elec. mixer until blended.
Add egg; beat just until blended.
Spoon mixture into muffin cups,
adding about 1 T. to each.
Bake 15 minutes until centers of
cheesecakes are almost set. Cool
completely & refrigerate 1 hour.

Place caramels in small heatproof
bowl. Add milk & 1/4 tsp. salt;
place over pan of boiling water
making sure boiling water does not
touch bottom of bowl. Cook until
caramels are completely melted
& mixture is well blended, stirring
frequently. Drizzle about 1 tsp.
caramel sauce over each cheesecake;
sprinkle tops with remaining salt.
Refrigerate 1 hour. Makes 24

(recipe: Kraftrecipes)

5-Minute Potato Casserole

1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen hash browns
8 oz. sour cream
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
half of a (10.75 oz) can cream of
chicken soup
1/2 stick or 2 oz. butter, softened
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
black pepper, to taste
(optional) chopped green onions
or chives as garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray an 8 X 8″ baking pan with
nonstick spray. Thoroughly mix
all ingredients together in large
bowl & spoon into prepared pan,
pressing down using back of a
spoon to flatten surface. Bake
90 minutes until casserole is
bubbling & starting to brown on
top. Cool 10 minutes before
serving. (garnish with chopped
green onions or chives, if desired)


Roasted Sweet Potatoes w/Honey

4 sweet potatoes, peeled/cut into
1 inch cubes
1/4 C. olive oil (+ more for drizzling
potatoes after cooking)
1/4 C. honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
salt/ground black pepper

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Lay potato chunks in single layer on
a roasting tray – drizzle with oil, honey,
sprinkle cinnamon, salt/pepper on top.
Roast 25-30 minutes until tender. Remove
from oven & transfer to a serving platter.
Drizzle with more olive oil before serving.
Serves 4


3-Ingredient Jalapeno Poppers

1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated crescent
dinner rolls
8 small jalapeno peppers
1 (8 oz) tub Garden Vegetable cream
cheese spread

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Separate dough into 8 triangles; cut
each lengthwise into 2 narrow triangles.
Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise, remove
seeds. Spoon cream cheese into chili
halves. Place 1 stuffed half on shortest
side of each triangle. Roll up, starting at
shortest end of triangle & rolling to
opposite point. Place point sides down
on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake
14-18 minutes until crescents are
deep golden brown. Makes 16

3-Ingredient Sausage/Cream
Cheese Crescent Bundles

1/2 lb. bulk hot pork sausage*
1/2 C. spicy jalapeno cream cheese
spread (from 8 oz. container)
1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated crescent
dough sheet (or) 1 (8 oz) tube
refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In 10 inch nonstick skillet cook
sausage over medium-high heat
4-5 minutes, stirring frequently
until no longer pink; drain. Unroll
dough & press into 12 X 9″ rectangle.
(if using crescent roll dough, firmly
press perforations to seal). Using
a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut
into 6 rows by 4 rows, making
24 squares. Place about 1 rounded
teaspoon sausage in center of each
dough square. Top with about 1
tsp. cream cheese. Bring 4 corners
together to overlap slightly in
center at top of each bundle. Twist
& pinch to seal, leaving small gaps
between seams. Place on ungreased
cookie sheets. Bake 10-14 minutes
until golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes 24 servings.

Cranberry-Cream Cheese Bites

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 T. chopped dried cranberries
1 T. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. finely diced/seeded jalapeno
1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated crescent
dough sheet (or) 1 (8 oz) tube
refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Line 2 cookie sheets with cooking
parchment paper. In medium
bowl mix cream cheese, cranberries,
chives & jalapeno. Unroll dough
onto work surface. Press into
12 X 8″ rectangle (if using crescent
roll dough, firmly press perforations
to seal). Using pizza cutter or sharp
knife, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows,
making 24 squares. Place 1 tsp.
cream cheese mixture in center
of each square. Bring 4 corners
together to overlap slightly in
center at top of each bundle. Twist
& pinch to seal, leaving small gaps
between seams; place on cookie
sheets & bake 11-13 minutes
until golden brown. Serve
warm. Makes 24


Will post more appetizers soon – didn’t
want to put them all on one post!

Crockpot Beef & Enchilada Rice Dip
(4 qt or larger crockpot)

1 lb. ground beef
1 C. diced white onion
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 C. sour cream
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained/
2 1/2 C. cooked white rice
1 (8 oz) can sliced black olives, drained
1-2 Roma tomatoes, diced
Tortilla chips, for dipping

Brown gr. beef & onion in skillet; drain &
add to crockpot; sprinkle with salt/pepper.
Add half of cheese, sour cream, pinto beans
& rice to meat – stir then flatten out; sprinkle
with remaining cheese. Cover & cook on
High 2 hours WITHOUT OPENING LID  during
cooking time. Remove lid, sprinkle with olives
& tomatoes & serve with chips. Serves 6


Crockpot Apple Cranberry Sauce

1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries (or
3 C.)
1 C. dried cranberries (“Craisins”)
10 large ripe strawberries, frozen*
1 large Red Delicious or Honey
Crisp apple, peeled/diced
1/4 C. fresh orange juice
juice of 1/2 lime
lime zest
3 T. honey
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Add all ingredients to crockpot, cover
& cook on High 2 hours. Once
majority of cranberries have popped
allow sauce to cool. Puree mixture
using a food processor, blender or
immersion blender (done in small
batches). Taste & add more sugar,
if desired. Makes approx. 1 quart
(4 C.) of sauce. Sauce can be frozen

*If you don’t have frozen strawberries,
add extra apple


Strawberry Cream Cheese Mini Wraps

12 tsp. strawberry jam
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Roll out each pie crust & trim edges to
form a square – cut into 6 equal squares.
In medium bowl using elec. mixer, beat
cream cheese & powdered sugar. Turn
the square of dough so it’s shaped like
a diamond with one tip at the top &
one at the bottom. Spread 1 T. cream
cheese mixture in each square, forming
a line from top corner to bottom. Spread
1 tsp. jam over cream cheese. Fold side
corners in & over & place on a baking
sheet – repeat with remaining dough &
filling. Bake 15 minutes until crust is
lightly browned. Makes 12 servings



Our weather is clear & sunny today (what little
snow we did get melted away – YAY!). Looking
at the week’s forecast, looks like Weds – Friday
“Rain/Snow, mostly cloudy” – oh well . . .

Hope your plans for the coming holiday are
coming together nicely.



I have a GREAT Husband!


After all the car troubles yesterday (and it wouldn’t start at all), we gave it another ‘go’ today (without all the cold/rain). He calmly cleaned off the battery cables, filled the water reservoirs, etc. and we hooked my van up to his Jeep to get it started. Fast forward about 1/2 hour: my car held a charge – YAY!. I took it on a good, long ‘run’, about 4-5 miles, easy and it ran fine. Shut it off, started it up again – Yay, we have Running CAR again! Thank You, Lord AND HUSBAND! He said we’ll give it a few hours and try to start it again, just to make sure. He’s thinking that somehow I accidentally left on an overhead light which would have drained the battery. I vaguely remember fiddling with the brightness switch on the way home Wednesday because the dashboard lights didn’t seem quite as bright as I thought they should be – must have been ‘that’. Ah, LIFE – it’s good if you don’t let it get to you!


Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

1 (family size) box brownie mix
2 C. fresh pumpkin puree (or
a 15 oz. can pumpkin puree)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/3 C. chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 8 X 8″ baking pan with
nonstick spray. Combine
brownie mix, choc. chips &
1 1/2 C. pumpkin puree in a
bowl. In separate bowl mix
1/2 C. remaining pumpkin
puree & pumpkin pie spice.
Spread 3/4 ths of brownie mix
in pan; spread pumpkin puree
mixture on top then top with
remaining brownie mix. Using
a knife, gently swirl top layer
so it gets mixed up with puree.
Bake 30-35 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean.


Crockpot Pizza Sloppy Joes

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 C. onion, chopped
1 pkg. pepperoni, cut into 1/4’s
(1/2 C. – more or less-your choice)
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 jar pizza sauce
hamburger rolls, for serving

Place ground beef & onion in
crockpot & cook on High 2 hours
(drain grease).* Add pizza sauce,
pepperoni quarters & spices –
stir. Cover & cook on Low 4-6
hours; serve on rolls.


Pumpkin Risotto

1 C. Arborio rice
1 C. canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. onion, finely chopped
1/2 C. dry white wine
4 C. vegetable stock or broth
1 large clove garlic, minced
5-6 T. grated Parmesan cheese
salt/pepper/nutmeg, to taste

Pour veg. stock in a pan & heat
to simmer. On another burner,
warm a large non-stick pot until
it’s hot – reduce heat to medium-
hot & add olive oil; saute onion &
garlic. Once onion begins to look
slightly yellow, stir in rice & coat it
with mixture. Add wine & let wine
finishes evaporating. Gently pour
1 C. warm stock into pot & reduce
heat to simmer, along with a pinch
of nutmeg. Stir frequently as rice
absorbs the liquid. Continue by
adding another cup of stock, stirring,
until rice is tender but not falling apart
or overly sticky. (If you have any stock
left at this time, leave it aside. If you
need more, warm it & add). Reduce
heat so pot is no longer simmering but
merely warm. Taste rice & mix in
pumpkin, cheese, salt/pepper until
flavor you want is achieved. Serve
immediately. Serves 2-3

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Bake

3 T. butter, softened
1 (1 lb) French bread, cut into 1/2″
slices (about 22 slices)
2 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese,
1 (10 3/4 oz) can tomato soup
1/2 C. milk

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Lightly spread butter on one side of
bread slices & place on baking sheet.
Bake 5-7 minutes, turn over & bake
another 5 minutes until lightly toasted.
Arrange half the slices in 9 X 13″ baking
dish in a single layer. Sprinkle bread with
1 1/2 C. cheese & top with remaining
bread slices. In medium bowl combine
soup & milk; evenly pour over bread. Bake
20 minutes; remove from oven & sprinkle
with remaining cheese. Bake 10 more
minutes until heated through. Serves 5


Cheesy One-Pot Pumpkin Pasta

12 oz. pasta noodles (elbow/farfalle or
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin
pie filling)
4 C. vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 T. butter
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp,
cut into cubes
parsley, for garnish

In stockpot or deep-sided skillet,
add noodles, onion, garlic, broth,
pumpkin puree, red pepper flakes,
salt/pepper & nutmeg – stir to blend.
Cook on medium-high heat – bring to
boil then cover, reducing heat to
simmer 10 minutes. Uncover, stir,
cover & simmer 2-4 more minutes
until pasta is al dente. Add butter &
cream cheese cubes; stir constantly,
until cheese is melted & mixed in.
Serve topped with parsley, if desired.
Add salt/pepper, to taste.


Layered Ham & Cheese Potato Bake

5 potatoes, peeled
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
8-10 slices ham
7-8 slices mozzarella cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1/4 C. parsley, chopped
2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 C. heavy cream
2 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Slice potatoes into 1/4″ thick slices.
Season slices with salt/pepper, tossing
to make sure they’re coated evenly.
Press a layer of potatoes evenly into
bottom of greased, square baking pan.
Place half of ham slices evenly on top,
then sliced cheese. Next, layer of potatoes,
remaining ham & sliced cheese. Sprinkle
bacon & parsley evenly on top & then
one final layer of potatoes. Sprinkle
shredded cheese on top; press it into
an even layer. In small bowl mix heavy
cream & eggs – pour on top of mixture.
Bake 40 minutes until cheese is deep
golden brown. Cool slightly then slice.
Serves 4-5


Caramel Apple Cobbler

1 (15.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
2 (21 oz, ea) cans apple pie filling
1 T. cinnamon
1 C. butter, melted
1/4 C. caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Pour pie filling in bottom of greased
8 X 11″ casserole pan or 2 1/2 qt.
casserole dish. Sprinkle cinnamon over
top of pie filling & top with caramel
ice cream topping. Pour dry cake mix
over filling, then pour melted butter
on top of cake mix. Bake 50-60
minutes. Serves 12



It’s nice now that the rain stopped, that
we’re back to Fall weather: leaves changing/
falling, over-cast days but 50 degrees out
today (NO rain!). I noticed, on my battery-
charging drive, that our local Clark station
has gas at $2.09/9 (another 10 cents a
gallon drop – yay!).

Dinner tonight will be Pierogies &
Polish sausage – since it’s getting
chilly out, time for warmer meals.
There’s lots of harvest/pumpkin/
Fall recipes coming in – hope they
help you plan your dinners!



Some days are better than others –


Today we finally have the ‘weather shift’ – it’s 55 degrees F. and pouring rain. I had, a little earlier, planned several quick trips to the drug store, bank, library and grocery store – all that changed when I got in my car and it wouldn’t start. Husband very nicely tried helping, using all the tricks of the trade: check battery, try jump starting my van using his Jeep, cleaning off the battery cables, etc. – nothing. When my van was hooked up to his, it started – but after, nothing. When I got in my car, originally, I noticed a tiny, high-pitched sound – husband heard it in the engine area, but couldn’t define just where it was coming from. It would occasionally stop, then start up again, sort of like ‘something electrical’ was trying to run – crazy stuff. After much trying/attempting, we both agreed to just come in the house & get warm & dry, we were both cold & soaked. He’s all for trying again tomorrow to see if it will be better when it’s not raining – sure hope so! Actually, thank You, Lord, I don’t have anything pressing I need to be going to until Saturday, and if that happens & I still don’t have a car, I’m sure I can get a ride. Sometimes you just don’t know when life’s gonna hit you in the face with something ‘different’! Hoping we can get it running long enough to be able to drive it to the dealership (which is a good 25 minutes away) – we’ll see; more ‘adventures’ tomorrow.


Grandma’s Pumpkin Snack Cake

2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 C. granulated sugar
1 C. vegetable oil
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 T. milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In medium bowl
stir flour, salt, cinnamon, baking
powder, baking soda. Using elec.
mixer in another bowl combine
eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin – mix
then add dry ingredients to wet
mixture & beat at Low speed until
combined & batter is smooth. Spread
batter into pan & bake 30 minutes
until a toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Cool cake in pan
completely before frosting.
Beat cream cheese using elec. mixer
until smooth; add in sugar & milk –
mix on Low speed until combined.
Stir in vanilla & mix again; spread
over cooled cake. Dust top lightly
with cinnamon, if desired then
cut into bars.


Autumn Soup

2 1/2 C. cubed, peeled butternut
1 large sweet potato, peeled/cubed
3 medium carrots, sliced
1/4 C. thawed orange juice concentrate
3 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 T. sour cream
2 T. minced chives
1 T. sesame seeds, toasted

Place squash, sweet potato & carrots
in a steamer basket. Place basket in
a large saucepan over 1 inch of water.
Bring to boil; cover & steam 12-16
minutes until tender. Cool slightly then
transfer to food processor. Add OJ
concentrate, cover & process until
smooth. Transfer to large saucepan;
stir in milk, salt/pepper & cook,
stirring, over Low heat until heated
through (do not boil). Top each serving
with 1 1/2 tsp. sour cream, 1 tsp. chives
& 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds. Serves 6


Baked Horseradish/Cheddar
Mac & Cheese

3 T. melted unsalted butter
1/2 lb. dry elbow macaroni
1 C. milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
coarse salt/ground black pepper
1 lb. horseradish Cheddar cheese,

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly coat a 6 qt casserole dish
with 2 T. melted butter. Cook
macaroni accordg. to pkg. directions;
drain well & pour into a bowl. Add
remaining butter & toss to coat. Mix
milk, eggs & nutmeg with salt/pepper
in medium bowl. Add half of cheese
& stir to combine. Spoon half of buttered
macaroni into prepared dish; pour half
of milk mixture over macaroni & toss
to combine. Sprinkle half of remaining
cheese over macaroni; combine
remaining macaroni with remaining milk
mixture. When well combined, pour into
dish – sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake 35 minutes until top is crusty &
golden brown & edges are bubbling.
Serves 6

Crockpot Beer Can Chicken

2 T. smoked paprika
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. coarse pepper
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 (6 inch, ea) strips foil, each
bunched into a ball
1 (16 oz) can beer
1 (6.5 – 7 lb.) whole chicken

Mix paprika, salt/pepper,
oregano, thyme, garlic powder
& cayenne in small bowl. Place
foil balls in bottom of crockpot &
pour beer in. Rinse chicken & pat
dry with paper towels. Rub chicken
with seasoning mixture & place
chicken on top of foil balls. Cover &
cook on High 3 hours or Low 5-7
hours. (chicken is well done when
a meat thermometer reads 165
degrees F. in breast, or 175 degrees F.
in thickest part of thigh.)


Skillet Stroganoff

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. sirloin, cut into small cubes
or thin strips
2 T. butter (+ more for noodles)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 C. white button mushrooms,
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. white wine
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 C. beef stock
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 C. water
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 C. sour cream

cooked egg noodles

1/4 C. chopped parsley

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Season steak with salt/
pepper & place in skillet in single
layer. Brown on all sides & cook
until medium-rare, about 2-4
minutes. Remove meat to plate to
rest; add butter to skillet. Add
onions & mushrooms; season
with salt/pepper & saute until
onions are soft & mushrooms
tender. Stir in garlic & cook 1
minute. Add wine, Worc. & beef
stock; bring to simmer. Whisk
cornstarch & water; pour into
pan. Reduce heat & add mustard
& sour cream. Stir until evenly
incorporated then add steak
back to pan, tossing to coat meat.
Cook egg noodles according to pkg.
directions; add butter & toss to coat.
Serve over buttered egg noodles &
garnish with chopped parsley.
Serves 6


Cheese-stuffed Meatballs

4 string cheese packets, cut
cheese into 1″ cubes
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 C. breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 C. chopped parsley,
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese,
plus more for serving
1 T. olive oil
1 (15 oz) jar marinara sauce

In medium bowl combine beef,
pork, breadcrumbs, eggs, 2 T.
parsley, garlic & Parmesan.
Season to taste with salt/pepper
& stir to combine. Scoop mixture
into small balls (about 2 T.) &
press 1 cube string cheese into
center, sealing meat tightly
around cheese; repeat with
remaining meatball mixture &
cheese. Heat olive oil in large
skillet over medium-high heat.
Add meatballs & cook to brown
on all sides. When meatballs
have developed a nice crust,
remove to a plate & wipe skillet
clean. Return skillet to stove over
medium heat. Pour marinara in
skillet & add meatballs to sauce.
Spoon sauce over meatballs.
Cover pan & simmer 12 minutes
until cooked through. Serve warm
& garnish with parsley & Parmesan.
Serves 4-6


Mini Eclair Bites

2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks margarine, melted
1 (4-serving size) pkgs. instant
FRENCH vanilla pudding mix
1 1/4 C. milk
2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
3/4 C. chocolate frosting
(the kind that comes in a plastic

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 18 mini-muffin cups with paper
liners. In medium bowl combine
graham crumbs, sugar & butter – mix
well. Evenly press mixture into liners
using your fingers – press over bottom
& up sides of liners. Bake 5 minutes
until crust begins to brown – remove
from oven & cool completely.
In medium bowl whisk pudding mix &
milk. Fold in Cool Whip & place in a
zip-lock bag. Seal bag & snip off one
corner of bag (you’re using the bag
as a pastry bag for piping). Fill the
crusts with mixture evenly.
In small microwave-safe bowl heat
frosting 10-15 seconds & stir until
smooth & pourable. Place frosting in
another ziplock bag, snip corner &
top pudding mixture with a dollop
of frosting. Refrigerate 4 hours until
ready to serve. Makes 18



I was talking with my husband about just
how advantageous this car-event was;
any other day we probably would be
needing groceries but actually we’re doing
well. I made a big batch of the spicy black
bean/chicken soup last night so there’s
leftovers.  We’re in good shape and I’m
thankful. I ‘was’ going to go to the library
because I was kind of ‘out’ of books to
read, but I’m sure I’ll be just fine – if I
look around here enough, I’m pretty sure
I could find one I haven’t read yet and
you KNOW there’s always knitting – hehehe.

Hope you are warm, dry and cozy wherever
you are. Sometimes little things like this
happen to heighten our awareness of just
how blessed we truly are!



It’s a “Hurry up & Wait” kind of day!


Just got home from a trip to the car dealership – we dropped off my van for ‘routine maintenance’, went out for breakfast and stopped at JoAnn Fabrics, to boot! When we mentioned we were going out to eat the guy at the dealership asked ‘where’ – I told him I had no idea – any suggestions? He mentioned a little cafe in the area so we gave it a try: we both had omelets & hash browns .. . food was ‘OK’, nothing to write home about – it filled our tummies, so that was good. Our stop at JoAnn’s was just to kill time and that, it did. Husband sat down in a chair in the yarn section, adjusting stuff on his cell phone while I perused…end result – nothing I could see/find that I needed/wanted, so we came home – now it’s a ‘wait for the phone call’ then the 25 minute drive back to Lake Orion to the dealership, then back home. Good thing I already know what’s for dinner tonight (Chicken Parmesan & Garlic Noodles) ’cause this has been a pretty disjointed day so far!


Raspberry-Rhubarb Slab Pie

3 1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 C. butter
3/4 C. plus 1-2 T. milk
1 egg yolk
2 C. sugar
1/3 C. cornstarch
5 C. fresh or frozen unsweetened
raspberries, thawed/drained
3 C. sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb*,

Vanilla Icing:
1 1/4 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
5-6 tsp. milk

In large bowl combine flour & salt;
cut in butter until crumbly. Whisk
3/4 C. milk & egg yolk; gradually
add to flour mixture, tossing with
a fork until dough forms a ball. Add
additional milk, 1 T. at a time, if
necessary. Divide dough into two
portions so that one is slightly
larger than the other. Wrap each
in plastic wrap & refrigerate 1
hour until easy to handle.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Roll out larger portion of dough
between 2 large sheets lightly
floured waxed paper into an
18 X 13″ rectangle. Transfer to
ungreased 15 X 10 X 1″ baking
pan – press onto bottom & up
sides of pan, trim pastry to edges
of pan. In large bowl combine
sugar & cornstarch. Add raspberries
& rhubarb; toss to coat & spoon
into pastry. Roll out remaining
dough; place over filling in pan.
Fold bottom pastry over edge of
top pastry & seal with a fork –
prick top several times with
fork tines to allow for steam.
Bake 45-55 minutes until golden
brown. Cool completely in pan
on wire rack.
Combine powdered sugar, vanilla &
enough milk to make a drizzling
consistency – drizzle over top of pie.
Cut into squares – makes 2 dozen.

*If using frozen rhubarb, measure
rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw
completely. Drain in a colander but
do not press liquid out


Cheesy Brown Rice Risotto, Leeks
& Asparagus

2 T. butter, divided
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut into
bite-sized pieces
2 leeks, large, trimmed & cut in half
lengthwise & into thin half circles
1 tsp. salt
2 C. brown (short grain) rice
1/2 C. dry white wine
6 C. chicken broth, heated to a simmer
3 oz. grated Gruyere cheese
fresh ground black pepper
parsley, finely chopped – garnish

Melt 1 T. butter in large saucepan over
medium heat; add  asparagus – cook &
stir until bright green & crisp-tender,
3-4 minutes. Remove from pan. Add 1
T. butter to pan, leeks & salt; cook &
stir until leeks are tender, 5-6 minutes.
Add rice to leeks, cook & stir 2-3 minutes
until rice is very shiny. Raise heat to
medium-high & add wine. Bring to boil,
stirring until wine is nearly absorbed.
Reduce heat to medium-low & begin
adding broth, one ladleful at a time,
stirring often until liquid is nearly
absorbed before adding next. Stir
risotto often during this process to keep
it from sticking. Continue cooking risotto
adding a ladleful or two at a time for
30-35 minutes until rice is nearly tender
but still a bit firm in the middle. Stir in
asparagus & a bit more broth. When
broth has been absorbed, stir in cheese
& a little more broth so that risotto is
creamy (neither runny nor stiff). Season
to taste with salt & pepper. Sprinkle
top with parsley (if using) and a bit
more cheese when serving.
Serves 4-6


Bacon-wrapped Chicken Roll-ups

3 large chicken breasts (about 2 lb)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
22 strips pre-cooked bacon, divided
4 green onions, minced
3 mushrooms, minced
3/4 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 T. dried parsley

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place 1 chicken breast in a gallon
ziplock bag; seal the bag & pound
chicken to flatten as thin as you
can get it (about 1/4″ thick). Cut
flattened breast in half using
kitchen shears – repeat with other
2 breasts. In medium bowl place
cream cheese & microwave 30
seconds to soften. Add green
onions, minced bacon & mushrooms,
minced garlic, onion powder, parsley
& salt/pepper – stir to combine.
Sprinkle a bit of salt/pepper over each
reast & spoon about 2 T. cream cheese
mixture on each breast. Roll chicken
up & wrap 2-3 pieces of bacon around
each one*. Spray 9 X 13″ pan with
nonstick spray & place rolls in it.
Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes until
inside of chicken is cooked through &
is no longer pink. Remove pan from
oven, cover in foil & allow to stand
5 minutes then serve. Serves 6

*If bacon is hard to manipulate,place
on a plate & microwave about 20
seconds to make it more pliable.


Chive & Honey Biscuits

2 C. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. chopped fresh chives
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. honey (warmed 20 seconds
in microwave)

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
In large bowl mix flour, baking
powder, salt & chives. In another
bowl stir milk, mayo & warm honey.
Mix wet ingredients with dry until
it starts to ‘come together’. Roll
out dough on a floured work surface
to 3/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds
using a biscuit cutter (or a glass –
lightly coat the rim with shortening
& then use it to cut out the biscuits).
Place biscuits on greased cookie
sheet & bake 10-12 minutes until golden
brown. Makes 12


Asian Chicken Noodle Salad

1 (3 oz) pkg. ramen noodle soup mix
1 (14 oz) pkg. coleslaw blend (cabbage
slaw mix)
2 c. shredded or chopped cooked chicken
4 green onions, diagonally sliced
1/3 C. chopped peanuts
1/2 Kraft lite Asian Toasted Sesame
salad dressing
1 T. creamy peanut butter

Break ramen noodles up into small
pieces in large bowl (discard seasoning
packet). Add coleslaw blend, chicken,
onions & nuts; mix lightly. Beat salad
dressing & peanut butter using whisk
until blended & add to salad – toss
to coat. Serves 4

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Hawaiian Sausage Breakfast Casserole

5 slices Hawaiian sweet sliced bread
(from 16 oz) pkg.
1 1/2 C. shredded Colby & Mont. Jack
cheese, divided
6 eggs
1 1/2 C. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. mild country sausage, (thawed,
if frozen)
1 C. chopped red bell pepper
1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits in
juice, drained

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Place bread in single layer in dish,
cutting slices to fit. Sprinkle with 3/4 C.
cheese. Whisk eggs, milk, salt/pepper in
medium bowl until blended. Heat large
skillet over medium-high heat & add
sausage. Cook 5 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Add bell pepper; cook 2
minutes until pepper is tender & sausage
is crumbled & no longer pink; drain & spoon
over bread in dish. Top evenly with pineapple.
Pour egg mixture over sausage layer & sprinkle
with remaining 3/4 C. cheese. Bake 25-30
minutes until knife inserted into center
comes out clean. Serves 8

NOTE: Can be made ahead:
Prepare casserole. Cover & refrigerate at
least 8 hours or overnight. Preheat ove
350 degrees & bake 35 minutes until
knife inserted into center comes out


Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese
Squares (crockpot)

2 (7 oz, ea) boxes apple cinnamon
muffin mix – prepared
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
2-4 T. powdered sugar

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Mix up muffin mix batter & pour
into crockpot. Cut cream cheese into
12 cubes & place evenly in batter.
Place 6-8 paper towels under lid of
crockpot; cover & cook on High 2-4
hours. Remove towels/lid – sprinkle
top with powdered sugar & cut into
12 squares – serve warm.


It’s a nice, Spring-like day again: supposed
to get up to 70! Right now it’s kind of

overcast & gloomy with a tiny bit of light
sprinkles, but that’s OK – the flowers love
the rain! (I have to keep reminding myself
to go out & water the one hanging

Hope things are going well for you and
that you are enjoying good health!




Shopping – (almost) All Done!


Went out for a brief shopping trip & to the library. Ended up getting gas ($1.79/9) and stopping at the dollar store. Found something nice for the three young collage girls who occasionally help out in my special needs group – now I’m down to just one young man who also helps out. His present is super easy: he loves Hershey’s Cookies & Cream candy bars so I usually get him a really big one – that’s on my ‘to buy’ next week list. . . THEN it looks like I might actually be DONE with Christmas shopping! YAY! Middle son is getting all things he likes, youngest already GOT things he wanted/needed. . . but – we took his car in today & dropped it off at the dealership – probably needs a new tire & front end alignment (guess who’s paying for that). At least he’s still getting things he NEEDS! Only one I’m still waffling about is the grandson; got him a Minecraft (his favorite game) t-shirt but that’s ALL! His dad mentioned that P – – (something, something) card for his games, will have to be more specific on what game to get that.


Gingerbread Brownies

1 1/2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. baking cocoa (unsweetened)
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 C. butter, melted/slightly
1/3 C. molasses
2 eggs, beaten

garnish: powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine flour,
sugar, baking soda, cocoa &
spices. In another bowl combine
butter, molasses & eggs. Add
butter mixture to flour mixture,
stirring just until combined. Spread
in a greased 9 X 13″ baking dish.
Bake 20 minutes. Cool in pan on
wire rack. Dust top with powdered
sugar & cut into squares.
Makes 2 dozen


Turkey Crescent Bites

2 tubes crescent rolls
1 C. chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 T. olive oil
2 1/2 C. chopped, cooked turkey
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C. chopped dried cranberries

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in saute pan over
medium heat; add celery & onion-
saute until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add
chopped turkey, salt/pepper, sage &
garlic powder, stirring to combine.
Reduce heat to low & blend in cream
cheese until melted; remove from
heat & stir in chopped cranberries.
Unroll one pkg. crescent rolls & place
on a baking sheet. Using your fingers,
gently press seams together to seal.
Spread turkey mixture evenly over
dough, leaving about 1/2″ border
along edges. Unroll remaining pkg.
rolls & place on top of turkey
mixture; press edges together to seal;
gently press seams together. Bake 20
minutes until dough is golden brown.
Cut into small squares & serve*

*a pizza cutter makes quick work
of cutting


Mozzarella Stuffing Balls

3 C. cold stuffing*
2 oz. fresh Mozzarella cheese,
cut into 16 cubes
1 egg, beaten
1/3 C. panko bread crumbs
1/3 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
vegetable oil, for frying

Heat oil in deep pan.
Divide stuffing into 16 portions. Mix
panko bread crumbs & Parm. cheese
in small dish. Cup each portion around
a piece of Mozz. cheese using your
hand, then roll into a firm ball. Dip
ball into beaten egg & then into
panko/Parm mixture to coat throughly.
Fry balls in hot oil to cover until well

*If you do not have 3 C. stuffing:
Dice up enough Mozz. cheese to
fit into what you have & use equal
parts of panko & Parm. cheese.


Cake Mix Fudge

2 C. + 2 T. cake mix
2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. butter (1 stick) cut into
4 pieces
1/4 C. milk
2/3 C. white chocolate chips
1/2 C. rainbow cake sprinkles
plus more for topping

Line a 8 X 8″ baking pan with
aluminum foil. In large microwaveable
bowl mix together cake mix
& powdered sugar – mix to make sure
there are no lumps. Add butter pieces
& milk but DO NOT STIR. Place bowl in microwave
2 minutes on High. Remove from oven & stir,
stirring until you get a thick batter. Add in
white chocolate chips – only stir to combine
as they will melt if you continue stirring. Add
in rainbow sprinkles, gently stirring – quickly.
(sprinkles will melt if you continue to stir
& they will turn into a muddy color – not
desirable). Quickly spread batter into
prepared pan & press to smooth out. Sprinkle
more rainbow sprinkles on top & press into
dough gently. Place dish in refrigerator & let
set 2 hours or overnight. Remove from fridge,
remove fudge, using foil, to a cutting board.
Remove foil & cut into squares.

(note: poster did say it was VERY sweet &
would probably appeal more to children
than adults)


Crockpot Chicken Parmesan &

2 (24 oz, ea) jars spaghetti sauce
(chunky tomato, garlic & onion)
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano

1 lb. penne pasta, cooked
3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese

Add chicken to crockpot; sprinkel
salt/pepper & oregano over chicken
then pour spaghetti sauce over.
Cover & cook on Low 6-8 hours
without opening lid. When done
cooking, prepare pasta as per
pkg. directions. While pasta is
cooking remove chicken from pot &
place on a plate – cut into bite-
sized pieces then add back to pot.
Drain pasta very well. Add pasta
to chicken & sauce; stir. Flatten
pasta out into an even layer;
sprinkle shredded cheese &
Parmesan on top. Cover & cook
15 minutes until cheese melts.
Serves 6


Spaghetti/Chicken/Bacon Dish

1 (12 oz) pkg. spaghetti, cooked/drained
3 C. cooked, chopped chicken
6 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 C. chicken stock
salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl mix chicken, spaghetti,
soup, chicken stock, some of bacon,
1 C. cheese & salt/pepper. Pour into
greased 9 X 13″ baking dish. Cover with
foil & bake 20 minutes. Uncover & top
with 1/2 C. cheese & rest of bacon. Bake
10 minutes more.


Crockpot Bean & Ham Soup
(OVERNIGHT recipe)

4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
4 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 C. dried Navy beans
1 1/2 C. dried Northern white beans
4 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. black pepper
9 C. chicken broth
2 C. diced ham (or more)

Soak beans in 8 C. water overnight.
If using ‘quick soak’ method, bring beans
to a boil in 8 C. water, turn off heat, cover
& let set 1 hour; drain water before adding
to crockpot.
Mix all ingredients in crockpot & cook on
Low 9-10 hours. Discard bay leaf before
serving. Serves 8-10


Cranberry Apple Cobbler

2 (21 oz, ea) apple pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 C. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 C. dried cranberries
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. milk

vanilla ice cream – for serving

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine dry cake mix & butter in
elec. mixer bowl. Beat at Low
speed 1 minute, until crumble.
(it’s Ok to have a few large pieces
of butter in mixture). Remove 1 1/2
C. cake mixture to medium bowl; stir
in cranberries & cinnamon. To
remaining cake mixture add milk &
beat on Low until all dry mixture
is moist. Use a spoon to mix all
together (there will be some visible
pieces of butter – don’t over mix)
Place pie filling in microwaveable
bowl; heat in microwave until bubbly,
4-5 minutes, covered. Pour hot filling
into a 9 X 13″ baking dish. Top filling
with dollops of cake batter then
sprinkle top with cranberry topping
mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes until
topping is golden brown & cracks
appear dry. Cool 30 minutes.

(recipe: Recipes-Galore)
Cinnamon Roll Cake

from scratch
Serves 15

3 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. granulated sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 C. milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter,

Cinnamon Filling:
1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 C. packed light brown sugar
2 T. flour
1 T. cinnamon

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

To make cake:
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 13″ pan (or line with
parchment paper or foil, grease
sides & bottom – set aside).
In large bowl whisk flour, salt,
sugar & baking powder; add milk,
eggs & vanilla – whisk until smooth.
Slowly add melted butter & whisk until
smooth. Spread batter into prepared
pan; set aside.

In medium bowl, beat butter using elec.
mixer until creamy. Add sugar, flour &
cinnamon; beat until fluffy, about 2
minutes (it will look crumbly at first, keep
beating, it will come together). Spread
filling over cake batter, leaving at least
1 inch space from edge of pan; swirl
gently using a rubber spatula. Bake
28-32 minutes until toothpick inserted
into cake comes out clean. Cool cake
15 minutes; pour glaze over cake &
spread evenly.

Using medium bowl, mix powdered
sugar, vanilla & milk; whisk together
until smooth & of drizzling consistency;
spread over still warm cake. Keep
covered in room temperature up to 3


Cranberry Apple Stuffing

1/2 C. butter
2 C. chopped celery
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 tsp. thyme leaves, crushed
1 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
1 tsp. parsley flakes
2 red tart apples, cored/chopped
1 1/4 C. dried cranberries
1 tsp. grated orange peel (optional)
4 C. unseasoned dry bread cubes
1 C. chicken broth

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
In skillet melt butter; add celery,
onions & saute 5 minutes. Remove from
heat; stir in next 5 ingredients & orange
peel, if using. Place bread cubes in large
bowl; stir in skillet mixture. Add broth;
toss to combine. Place in 9 X 13″ baking
dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover &
bake 35-40 minutes. Makes 8 (1 C. ea)

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Our weather is still holding at CLEAR,
in low 40’s (feels like low 30’s) & over-
cast – happy with that as long as there’s
no ‘white stuff’ falling or on the ground,

Hope your day turns out BETTER than
you expected!



Gloomy Day but that’s OK


Our weather took a nose-dive last last night; we ‘had’ been enjoying some nice ‘Summer-like’ weather and then thunderstorms! Today it’s gray & rainy – there is a GOOD side though – I don’t have to remember to water my few outdoors planters!

It’s been a rather busy week and I was glad to finally reach Saturday – a ‘stay home in your jammies’ day, but that wasn’t to be. Husband wanted to go pick up his new glasses and asked me to accompany him, so I did – on the up side: gave another lady my knit group business card – she might be interested in joining us! I finished the crocheted X-square afghan – not truly pleased with it. When I crochet these squares they tend to come out with rounded edges, hence when you sew them together they tend to ‘cup’ – not cool. It’s done, I will gift it to Crisis Pregnancy but not truly proud of it. A few days ago I purchased some worsted-weight variegated (baby colors) yarn; last night I sat down attempting to find a pattern I liked. The lady who received the Crisis Pregnancy blankets made an ‘off’ comment: “Oh good! They’re nice and TIGHTLY made!” (something about a new ‘directive’ – for want of a better word) about babies getting their fingers caught in blankets if there are holes in the pattern. Let’s just say that really took the wind out of my sales – I LOVE knitting with holes in the patterns – it gives them FLAIR! I went through most of my standard patterns attempting to find one that didn’t have holes (but those are rather BORING!). Started one, knit about 6 inches and then looked at it: the problem with using variegated yarns is: YOU CAN’T SEE A PATTERN BECAUSE THE YARN IS TOO ‘BUSY’! Sigh – ripped it out. Today I got to thinking: “Wait! What if I crocheted one, instead?” So I’m off crocheting my friend Mary’s (Momma) Diagonal Box Stitch pattern! I’m sorry but I’m kind of a rebel when it comes to being dictated to: I’ve decided I’m just going to make baby blankets and donate them – if they don’t want them, I’ll quit and find another charity that WILL receive them. (Yes, sometimes I’m a bit too sassy for my britches . . . )


Zucchini Crisp Pizzas

3 medium zucchini, cut into
thin rounds
2/3 C. Panko or seasoned
2/3 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 C. mozzarella cheese, grated
1/3 C. marina or pizza sauce
2-3 T. olive oil
kosher salt/ground black pepper,
to taste

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Lightly spray a rimmed baking
sheet with nonstick spray. Place
zucchini rounds in large bowl &
drizzle with olive oil; toss well
to coat each well. In shallow dish
or small bowl mix Panko & Parm.
cheese together until well
combined; season with salt/pepper.
In batches, press both sides of
zucchini rounds in Panko mix, pressing
firmly so it adheres, until they are
all thoroughly coated. Transfer rounds
to baking sheet & cook 20-25 minutes
until breading is golden brown. Remove
from oven & spread a small amount
of marinara (or pizza) sauce over each
round. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on
top & return to oven 5  more minutes
until cheese is melted. Serve hot.
Serves 6


Crockpot Peach Cobbler

3/4 C. uncooked old fashioned oats
2/3 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. Bisquick mix
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
5 fresh peaches, peeled/sliced

vanilla ice cream – for serving

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Combine sugars,
Bisquick, oats & cinnamon; stir
in peaches & spoon into crockpot.
Cover & cook on Low 4 hours.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla
ice cream on top.

(recipe: Julie Kemeny-Facebook)

Honey-Mustard Breaded Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 C. dry bread crumbs
1 tsp. plus 2 T. Dijon mustard, divided
3 T. honey
2 T. butter

Flatten chicken to 1/4 inch thickness
by pounding. In shallow bowl, combine
bread crumbs & 1 tsp. mustard. In
another shallow bowl combine honey &
remaining mustard. Dip chicken in honey-
mustard mixture, then coat with crumbs.
In nonstick skillet, cook chicken over
medium heat in butter 4-6 minutes on
each side until juices run clear. Serves 4


Cheesy Noodle Bake

2 lb. hamburger
1 (16 oz) bag extra wide egg noodles
1 (15 oz) tub ricotta cheese
1 (16 oz) tub sour cream
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce w/basil,
garlic & oregano (Hunt’s)
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 C. shredded sharp cheese, your

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cook & drain hamburger; add sauce &
let simmer. Cook noodles accordg to pkg.
directions. Mix sour cream & ricotta
together in a bowl. When noodles are
cooked, drain & add to sour cream
mixture; combine well. Place some of
the sauce in 9 X 13 pan; layer noodles,
meat sauce & repeat. Top with shredded
cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes. Remove from
oven & let set 5 minutes before cutting.

*NOTE: Poster said you might want to
use mozzarella and/or Parmesan

(recipe: SlimSecretswithSara-Facebook)

Sausage Muffins

1 C. Bisquick baking mix
1 lb. cooked pork sausage, crumbled
4 eggs, beaten
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray insides of muffin tins with
nonstick spray. Mix above ingredients
together & spoon into muffin tin.
Bake 20 minutes.

(recipe: Facebook)

Apple Butterscotch Brownies

2 C. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 C. butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 C. peeled, diced Granny Smith apples

butterscotch sundae topping (for ice cream)
Cool Whip or Ice cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Stir first 4 ingredients together in medium
bowl. In separate bowl mix flour, baking
powder & salt – add to brown sugar mixture
& stir until blended. Add apples & pour into
greased & floured 9 X 13 baking dish, spreading
evenly. Bake 35-45 minutes & cool completely.
Serve with Cool Whip or ice cream & butterscotch


Cheesy Scalloped Potato Casserole

2 T. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 1/2 lb. russet potatoes-peeled/
sliced about 1/8″ thick rounds
1 C. chicken broth
1 C. heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1 C. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Melt butter in large Dutch oven over
medium-high heat until foaming
subsides. Add onion & cook, stirring
occasionally, until lightly browned &
soft (about 4 minutes). Add garlic,
thyme, salt/pepper & cook another
30 seconds. Add potatoes, chicken broth,
cream & bay leaves; bring to simmer.
Cover & reduce heat to medium-low;
simmer 10 minutes, discard bay leaves.
Transfer to 8 X 8″ baking dish; press to
an even layer. Sprinkle top evenly with
cheese & bake 16 minutes until cream
is bubbling around edges & top is golden
brown. Let cool 10 minutes before
serving. Serves 6-8


Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread

1/3 C. light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. milk
1 apple, peeled/cored & chopped
(Poster used Granny Smith)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour 9 X 5: loaf pan.
Mix brown sugar & cinnamon in a
bowl. Beat gran. sugar & butter until
creamy using an elec. mixer; beat in
eggs, 1 at-a-time, until incorporated.
Add vanilla; stir until mixed. Combine
flour & baking powder in another bowl;
stir into creamed butter. Mix milk into
batter until smooth. Pour half the batter
into prepared loaf pan. Add half apples &
half brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Lightly
pat/push apple mixture into batter. Pour
remaining batter over apple layer, top with
remaining apples & add more brown sugar/
cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat/push apples
into batter. Swirl brown sugar mixture
through apples using a finger or spoon. Bake
30-40 minutes until a wooden toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean. If you
notice it getting too brown on top, cover it
loosely with foil & continue baking until the
insides are done.



Waiting to see what tomorrow’s weather will
be like – oldest son has asked us to attend our
grandson’s football game tomorrow. Husband
is still coughing from bronchitis, so we’ll have
to see how he feels tomorrow. (He didn’t want
to go see our doctor, so it’s slow going). If we
go I’ll miss choir practice because this year
grandson is playing TOUCH football (not
‘flag’ like this summer) and apparently these
are full-time games (2 hours plus). The tag
ones were, at most, 45 minutes, total. These
have a half-time (think it’s called that) AND
oldest son said this is their Homecoming
game (WHO has a homecoming game for
9 year olds??? That’s just weird!) Oh well –
we’ll see how it goes, tomorrow.

I noticed that gas prices came down a bit
today; they were $2.39/9 and now they’re
$2.26/9, so that’s a ‘start’, right? Guess I’m
just spoiled wanting the lowest we can get!
Husband & I went to our dealership with
my van yesterday (left rear tire had a faulty
valve stem and caused tire to leak air). We
were there about 25 minutes when the guy
who took our order came to us saying that
there was a bit of a mix-up with his
mechanics. Apparently the guy who does
this stuff didn’t READ the order, just went
ahead & sprayed (whatever) stuff on all
four tire sensors and then repaired the
RIGHT rear tire. When the boss noticed
the mistake he came & told us and then
said it would be another 25 minutes or
so and they’d correct the problem. End
result: we got TWO valve stems replaced
for the price of one! Well, now we know
that the back two tires have new valve
stems, right? Crazy. I like our dealership
(Milosche Chrysler/Dodge, etc – Lake
Orion, MI) – they have a little ‘Deli’
inside the waiting room. I forgot to eat
breakfast (think I had a cookie & 2 grapes,
plus a cup of coffee – I know – don’t judge!).
I ended up getting a scrambled egg, cheese
& ham wrap with homemade salsa for
$4.00 – not bad! It was HUGE – I gave half
to my husband; it was worth the $$$.

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!



Casual Day


Today is another ‘gentle’ day – early morning found husband and youngest son take son’s car to dealership – it’s not running right. Since I finished the grey scarf yesterday I started another one; guess I should preface this: was given a good amount of darker grey yarns (a few cream) and thought I could put them together for some more scarves for the homeless shelters. The one I started today is another pretty easy pattern – it’s dark grey for about 4 inches, then 4 inches medium grey then a sort of fluffy/soft black & cream mix. I’m going to use up all of the black/cream mix yarn (it’s a medium sized skein) then end with a copy of the other end: medium grey to dark grey.

Finished my book – not really happy with the ending but hey, I’m not the author so I don’t have much ‘say’ in how he wrote it. Don’t have another author/book in mind right now so I’ll just wait & see what piques my interest.

Last night was Knit/Crochet night and was happy to see a lady who used to be a part of our group many years ago (she still lives in the area but doesn’t drive) – she immigrated to the US 9 years ago from Peru and is an expert knitters AND crocheter – was SO good to see her again. Along with her visit we got the thrill of seeing our first ‘Knit Group Baby’ – one of our members had her first baby almost 2 months ago and she brought her last night. Lots of “Ooooooh’s/Ahhhhhhs’ were heard. I love my group – the people are friendly and we seem to form a close-knit (pardon the pun) bond with each other. It’s nice to know we’re not just a ‘club’ but a group of like-minded ladies who invest time in each other as well as our joined craft.


 Cheesy Yellow Squash & Ham Casserole

1 1/2 lb. yellow squash, thinly sliced into
1/4 c. diced yellow onion
1/4 C. diced red bell pepper
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar
1 C. diced cooked ham or turkey,

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 2 qt. baking dish with nonstick
spray. Layer bottom of dish with half
yellow squash slices & lightly sprinkle
with salt/pepper. Top with half of onions,
red bell pepper & dollops of 1/2 cream
cheese plus half Ched. cheese. Repeat
layer, ending with rest of Cheddar cheese.
You can add diced ham/turkey at this point.
Bake 40-45 minutes until top is beginning
to brown & squash is fork-tender; let rest
5 minutes before serving.

*can also substitute one cooked spaghetti
squash (strands) in place of yellow squash

Note: You can cut down on the cooking time
by lightly steaming, boiling or sauteing the
squash before baking until nearly tender.
Using this method, simply bake until cheese
is melted.


Death by Chocolate Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 box chocolate instant pudding mix
4 eggs
3/4 C. oil
1 C. sour cream
1 (12 oz) bag semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients (except choc. chips)
together for 2 minutes. Pour half batter
into a greased Bundt pan or 9 X 13″ pan;
top with half the chocolate chips. Pour
rest of batter on top, smooth then sprinkle
with remaining chocolate chips. Bake 50

(recipe: Facebook)
Fresh Tomato Pie

1/2 of one (15 oz) pkg. refrigerated
pie crusts
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried chives
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place piecrust into 9″ pie plate; fold
edges under & crimp. Prick bottom &
sides of crust using a fork. Bake 9
minutes – reduce oven temp. to 350
degrees F.
Arrange tomato slices in crust bottom.
Combine basil, chives & pepper; sprinkle
over tomatoes. Spread top with mayonnaise
& sprinkle top with cheese. Bake, uncovered,
20 minutes until cheese melts & pie is
thorouhly heated. Let stand 10 minutes
before slicing. Serve warm or cool on wire
rack. Serves 6

Homestyle Beet Salad

3 whole fresh beets, stems removed
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
1/4 C. olive oil

Place beets in medium saucepan; add
enough water to cover. Bring to boil over
high heat, then reduce heat to Low &
continue cooking 35-40 minutes until
tender. Drain; let cool 10 minutes. Remove
skins from beets*, cut into quarters, then
into 1/2″ cubes. In small bowl whisk
remaining ingredients & pour over beets –
mix well. Cover & refrigerate 4 hours or
until ready to serve. Serves 6

*when preparing beets it’s recommended
that you use rubber gloves so your hands
do not get stained

Foil Packet Fish Florentine
(oven recipe)

2 C. instant white rice, uncooked
2 C. warm water
1 lb. flounder filets, cut crosswise
in half
4 c. tightly packed fresh spinach,
coarsely chopped
1/4 C. (Kraft) Philadelphia Chive &
onion cream cheese spread
1/2 C. (Kraft) Sun-dried tomato
vinaigrette salad dressing

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine rice & water; spoon onto
centers of 4 large sheets heavy-duty
aluminum foil. Top evenly with half
fish, cover with spinach, cream cheese
spread & remaining fish. Drizzle tops
with dressing. Fold foil to make 4
packets & place on rimmed baking
sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Cut slits in
foil to release steam before opening
packets. Serves 4

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Upside-Down Cheescake Apple Pie

2 Pie crusts (like Pillsbury)
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
6 large apples, peeled/thinly sliced
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 T. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon

caramel ice cream sauce (for serving)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line pie plate with one pie crust. Using
mixer on High, combine cream cheese, sugar
& vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs; mix until
combined. Pour  mixture into pie crust.
In large bowl combine apples, lemon juice,
sugar, flour & cinnamon. Gently place
apples on top of cream cheese mixture. Top
with second pie crust, turning crust inward
to bake. Cut a few small slits in top crust
for steam. Line a pan with parchment paper &
place pie on the pan. Cover pie loosely with
a piece of foil & bake 30 minutes. Remove
foil & bake an additional 30 minutes until
the apples feel soft when a knife is inserted.
Remove from oven & cool 10 minutes.
Place a large plate over top of pie & flip it
upside down, releasing the pie onto the
plate. Cool 1 hour on counter top then
refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Serve
cold with caramel sauce.


Crockpot Pork Chops w/
Golden Ranch Gravy

4 center-cut pork chops (bone-in,
or boneless)
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 T. butter

cooked rice

Melt butter in large heavy skillet over
medium heat. Brown pork chops well on
both sides; remove & place in crockpot.
Add soup & ranch mix to pan chops were
browned in; mix well & heat. Pour over
pork chops in crockpot. Cover & cook on
High 3-4 hours or Low 4-6 hours.
Serve over cooked rice.  Serves 4


Sassy Sweet ‘n Sour Cabbage

1 tsp. vegetable oil
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 medium green cabbage, cored/
cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 C. cider vinegar
1/4 C. granulated sugar
3 T. soy sauce

Heat oil in large heavy pot over
medium heat. Add bacon; cook
until brown & crisp, stirring
frequently. Using a slotted spoon
transfer bacon to a plate. Add
onion & cabbage to pot; cook-
stirring often, until cabbage is
wilted (about 10 minutes). Add
vinegar, sugar & soy sauce; cook
until cabbage is crisp-tender, about
10 more minutes. Stir in bacon &
serve. Serves 4


Not much new going on – they called on
son’s car – seems it has a pinched line going
to the catalytic converter; they’re ordering the
part and it should be good to go tomorrow
afternoon. Son needs his car to go to work
so getting him back on the road is a necessity
around here – for all of us!

The weather’s still holding at Typical August:
mid 80’s & sunny. If I were a beach-goer I’d
be in my glory (but I’m not – burn too easily
and, at my age, just don’t feel like going
through all the ‘preparations’ to get there,
etc. Yep – I’m LAZY!

Enjoy your summer day;



Of Cops and Coupons


Today was my day for getting things done; started by baking 2 loaves of gingerbread and a dozen blueberry muffins (for our 3 neighbors) – that went well. Next was a trip to Kohl’s – a store I rarely shop. They have great deals and I still needed a few more presents for the guys so I went. I always make sure I (1) know where I parked and (2) always – ALWAYS lock my car! The shopping took about 45 minutes plus a good 35 minutes just standing in line to check-out. Got all done, walked out to the parking lot and couldn’t find my car! I knew EXACTLY where I parked – walked the entire lot twice, praying all the way: “Lord, please find my car!” (Side note here: husband & I spend about 2 1/2 – 3 hours yesterday moving all of middle son’s belongings from his apartment – almost all of that ‘stuff’ was in the back of my car – believe me, I was more panicking for HIS belongs than my car.) Finally I called my husband who told me to go inside the store and wait for him; meanwhile he called the local police for that area. I waited a good 20 minutes, easy – no husband, no police. Husband had called me back to say that the dispatcher asked if I knew where my car was, “Are you sure she didn’t go out another exit?” (I was SURE – I KNEW where I parked it!). While just standing and waiting a thought kept inkling in my brain: “Are you REALLY sure?” Finally I asked the next woman who came through the doors if the road out front was M-59? She said, No and pointed to the right – OH BROTHER! Believe me – I sprinted around the corner of that store and hit the PANIC button on my car (I had done this numerous times before and not heard that beep,beep from my car – that’s why I was sure it was stolen!) Yep – you guessed it: “Beep! Beep!” Oh my goodness was I embarrassed. I spotted the police car in front of the store and he was walking up to me while I was walking up to him. I yelled: “I found it!” He said; “I found it, too!” Of course, I apologized tons to him – he said they get numerous calls every day from people who do that – go out another exit of a store and can’t find their car. What a relief, though! You better believe I told the Lord TONS of times how grateful I was.  Crazy – eh? (husband arrived after the policeman had left, so we sat in husband’s car while I de-stressed (read that: cried/bawled my eyes out in relief), then we both headed for home. All I could think (at the time) was this has been a very stressful Christmas time already with son in hospital, but to add a stolen car & contents to it – impossible!

After calming down I took a trip to Walgreen’s drug store; I know I’ve told you before how visits to drug stores can reap you bargains in grocery items (today peanut butter, Miracle Whip, garbage bags). Finished up almost all of the stocking stuffers; because this year has been so stressful and I’ve been a little more scattered than normal, I found out I totally forgot 4 of my ‘teen helpers’ for my special needs group! I usually get them something little, just as a thank you; I was glad to pick up some nice things at Walgreen’s to finish that off (I already told them that I’ll give them their presents when we return to the group January 7th).

How are your gas prices lately? Earlier today I drove by my regular Clark station and their lowest price was $2.19/9 – about 2 hours later I drove by again and it’s at $2.14/9! Pretty nice! Add the low gas prices to our weather really being great and those are two blessings I’m very happy to receive since we’re driving back & forth to the hospital every other day (about 60 miles, one way).


Spiced Pudding Squares

1/2 C. butter, melted/cooled
1 egg
1 (2 layer) pkg. spice cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1 C. cold milk
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
2 T. toffee bits

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix first 3 ingredients just until blended;
press onto bottom of 9 X 13 pan sprayed
with nonstick spray. Bake 15-17 minutes
or until toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean; cool completely. Beat dry pudding
mix, milk & spice in medium bowl with
whisk 2 minutes. Stir in Cool Whip until
blended; spread over crust. Refrigerate
2 hours. Sprinkle top with toffee bits
just before serving. Makes 24 servings

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Queso Dip

3/4 lb. ground beef or sausage,
2 lb. block Velveeta cheese
2 chopped tomatoes & jalapenos*
1 (7 oz) can diced roasted chiles,
canned or fresh
diced onions
diced green peppers (optional

Corn chips, tortillas, etc. for

Saute onion & green peppers in
a little oil in a skillet until lightly
brown; spoon into bottom of (mini)
crockpot or dish you will prepare
dip in. Spoon cooked meat into
crockpot. Cut Velveeta into large
cubes; add to crockpot. Top with
chopped tomatoes, jalapenos &
cook on Low heat until cheese has
melted & ingredients are well
combined – stir occasionally.

*Ro-Tel works well for this


Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

1 can seamless crescent rolls
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

With your hand mixer, beat sugar, cream cheese and
vanilla together until smooth in a medium sized bowl.
Unroll the crescent roll sheet. Stretch dough out slightly.
It should be in the shape of a rectangle. Spread cream
cheese mixture over the top of the crescent sheet,
leaving a gap at the edge about 1/2 inch. Sprinkle
chocolate chips on top of cream cheese. Roll the
crescent sheet up tightly and wrap in cling wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

When chilled preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper to prevent
sticking. Slice the crescent roll into 1/4″ slices. Bake on
prepared cookie sheet for 12 -14 minutes until crescent
roll appears golden brown.
Transfer to wire rack; eat warm or room temperature.

(recipe: Facebook)

Mock Pizza Casserole

2 lb. meat: ground beef, Italian sausage,
ham, pepperoni (your choice)
2 (24 oz, ea) jars spaghetti sauce
24 oz. PLUS – Mozzarella cheese (how
ever much YOU want)
1/3 C. Parmesan cheese
Veggies: green pepper, onion, olives,
mushrooms, spinach,or your favorite
pizza toppings
1 (1 lb) bag noodles (bowtie, macaroni,
etc. your choice)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Boil noodles to al dente. Cook all meats
(except pepperoni). Grease a 9 X 13 baking
dish. Divide cooked noodles, sauce & cheeses
into thirds. Layer #1: noodles, sauce, cheese,
1 meat & veggie Layer #2 noodles, sauce, cheese
1 meat & veggie Layer #3 noodles, sauce, cheese,
1 meat & veggie. Bake 40 minutes; let rest 15
minutes to set up, then serve. Serves 8


Cranberry-Orange Pork Roast

2 T. oil
1 flat boneless pork loin roast (4 lb)
1 (14 oz) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 C. Catalina salad dressing
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. zest and 1/4 C. juice from 1 orange

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.
Add meat; cook 4-5 minutes on each side or
until browned on both sides. Transfer meat to
crockpot. Mix cranberry sauce, dressing & soy
sauce; pour over meat & cover with lid. Cook
on Low 4-5 hours. Remove meat from crockpot,
reserving liquid. Cover meat to keep warm. Whisk
remaining ingredients in small bowl until blended;
stir into liquid in crockpot. Cover & cook on High
10 minutes or until liquid is thickened. Slice meat;
place on platter. Drizzle lightly with sauce and serve
with remaining sauce. Serves 16

FOR BEST RESULTS: Do not cook meat on HIGH

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Coconut Balls

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 stick butter
14 oz. coconut
2 C. chopped nuts
2 lbs powdered sugar

Ghirardelli Chocolate Candy Making Block
(or your choice) (I only melt half at a time)

Mix all ingredients except chocolate. Chill
& roll into balls. Let stand 1 hour in refrigerator
after rolling into balls. Dip each candy into
melted chocolate.

(recipe: Facebook)
Braised Paprika Chicken

3 1/2 lb. bone-in chicken thighs/
drumsticks/and, or breasts) skin
3/4 tsp. coarse salt, divided
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 T. cooking oil
1 T. butter
4 C. finely diced onions
pinch of sugar
1 C. diced red bell pepper
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. sweet paprika (Hungarian)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 C. sour cream
1 T. flour
2 t. finely minced fresh parsley, dill and/or

Pat chicken dry with paper towels; season with
1/2 tsp. salt & pepper. Heat oil & butter in large,
heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add onions & sprinkle with sugar; cook, stirring
frequently, until onions are very soft & light brown,
10-15 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, tomato paste,
paprika & crushed red pepper. Add chicken & stir
gently into onion mixture. Sprinkle with marjoram &
add broth. Cover with tight-fitting lid & simmer over
medium-low heat until chicken is very tender, about
50 minutes. Just before chicken is done, whisk sour
cream, flour & remaining 1/4 tsp. salt into a small bowl
until smooth. When chicken is done, remove to a plate.
Stir sour cream mixture into sauce; return to simmer &
cook, stirring, until sauce coats the spoon. Reduce heat
to low, return chicken to sauce & reheat, about 1 minute.
Serve garnished with parsley, dill and/or chives, if desired.

* If you are using a combination of thighs, drumsticks and
breasts, cut each breast in half crosswise to make pieces
about the size of a thigh. And if you buy whole legs,
separate the drumsticks & thighs. When pieces are about
the same size, they’ll cook at about the same rate.

NOTE: You can prepare this ahead of time. Prepare through
to “JUST BEFORE CHICKEN IS DONE, cool to room temperature
& refrigerate up to 1 day. Finish recipe before serving.
Serves 6

(recipe: diabetic connect/Facebook)

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

1 lb. large strawberries
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3-4 T. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
graham cracker crumbs

Rinse strawberries & cut around tops;
remove tops & scrape out part of
insides (some may already be hollow
inside) – to hold filling. In a mixing bowl,
beat cream cheese, powdered sugar & vanilla
until creamy. Add mixture to a piping bag or
ziplock back with corner snipped off. Fill
strawberry insides with cheesecake
mixture. Once they are filled, dip top
of berry in graham cracker crumbs.
NOTE: If not serving immediately, refrigerate
until serving.

(recipe: Peg – Marys Recipe Exchange)
3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (1/2 C.) stick unsalted butter,
1 can lemon pie filling

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray.
In a bowl, combine softened butter with
dry cake mix; mix until crumbly. Measure
out 1/2 C. of mixture; set aside. Using rest
of mixture; press into bottom of prepared
pan. Spread it out evenly and pack down
with your hands. Spoon lemon pie filling
onto crust; spread out evenly. Sprinkle
reserved crumb mixture over top. Bake
20-25 minutes; top will start to turn very
light golden brown. Cover & store in

(recipe: the

Turkey Meatball/Spinach Tortellini Soup

10 oz. ground turkey
2 T. seasoned breadcrumbs
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. chopped parsley
1 large egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 T. unsalted butter
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled & chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
1 small Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)
9 oz. refrigerated spinach cheese tortellini
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 C. loosely packed baby spinach
fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for

Combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg,
parsley, garlic, salt & Parmesan in bowl.
Using your hands, gently mix all ingredients
well until everything is combined. Form into
small meatballs, about 1 T. each – it will make
about 20-22 meatballs. In large nonstick pot or
Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat.
Add celery, onion, carrot & garlic; cover & reduce
heat to low; cook 8-10 minutes until vegetables
begin to soften. Add chicken broth & parmesan
rind; increase heat to medium-high & bring to
boil. Season with black pepper, to taste. Reduce
heat to medium & gently drop in meatballs; cook
about 4 minutes. Add tortellini; simmer until cooked
accordg to pkg. directions, about 7 minutes. Once
cooked, remove Parm. rind (if using) & add baby
spinach. Stir to combine & serve topped with
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Serves 6



Breakfast Biscuit Bake

10 eggs
1/2 C. milk
1 (16 oz) tube refrigerated breakfast
biscuits (Pillsbury flaky)
4 green onions, chopped
1 C. shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
4-6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
(and/or cooked sausage, crumbled)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix eggs & milk in large bowl. Cut each
biscuit into fours (use kitchen shears); add
to bowl.* Add all other ingredients to bowl;
mix well; pour into greased 9 X 13 pan.
Bake 30 minutes.
*poster adds biscuits to bowl while cooking
meats, to let biscuits absorb more egg/milk.

NOTE: Can be made the night before; leave
mixture in bowl, refrigerated & covered with
plastic wrap. Morning of serving; stir well,
then pour into prepared pan & bake.

(recipe: Facebook)


Well, that’s my tales for today – crazy,
happy and everything in between. Our
son is still improving – today he started
on milkshakes! It is all in the Lord’s hands
and He’s healing him day-by-day.

Hope you have a wonderful day!



PS: Always remember to keep in mind
that there might be more than one
entrance to a store! Hehehehe!