Thoughts on a Thursday

Yes, it’s been in the 90’s all week (a few promises of thunderstorms but they never came true). Bright, sunny day with a little breeze – SO GLAD I’m HOME! I was supposed to babysit for around 6 hours today but then grandson came up sick & his dad said he didn’t want me to catch whatever it was, so I’m home! YAY! I ‘did’ venture out awhile ago – sometimes when you’re in charge of a group of people things get a bit ‘dicey’ so I was scoping out locations for my knit group. Because of Covid 19 Panera Bread (where we’ve ‘been’ meeting for years now) is only 50% open and only if you sit with someone in your family (that doesn’t work for a group of 14+ unrelated women). That led to me trying to find a suitable substitute – I found a lovely shaded area, easy to find, good parking – only problem NO BATHROOMS. (There was a port-a-potty off a ways away) Our location is in the same place where our local Farmers Market Fruit & Veggie stand sets up end of July – end of September which makes me trying to find a quick ‘new’ place of utmost importance. I thought I had that covered – there’s a pavilion 2-3 minutes away from where we are now but . . . once again, NO BATHROOMS. The ladies began to grumble; several gave me suggestions for other places and I’ve now officially checked them both out. One is a water park which is closed for the summer due to the virus BUT they’re open to drive in/have a pavilion and port-a-potties. (The ladies were grumbling about that idea). Next place is where we’ve met every year in the past to do the historical Log Cabin Day – I just came home from there and THEY HAVE REAL BATHROOMS WHICH ARE OPEN! They are cleaned once a day – now I’m awaiting verification that they are NOT locked in the evenings (we would be there 4-6/7 p.m. every week). Ah, the fun of trying to please ladies! (I know – I CAN’T please everyone, but I sure want to try!)

Carrot Cake Muffins w/Maple
Cream Cheese Frosting

1/3 C. canola
1/2 C. walnut or pecan pieces
1 3/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon (plus more
for dusting)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 C. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 C. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. coarsely grated carrots

1/4 C. whipped cream cheese
1 T. maple syrup
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 12 muffin tin cups with
nonstick cooking spray (or use
paper liners)
Spread nuts on a small rimmed
baking sheet & toast in oven
about 3 minutes – let cool slightly
then finely chop.

In medium bowl whisk flour, baking
powder, cinnamon, baking soda,
salt & nutmeg.
In a large bowl whisk brown sugar,
oil & eggs until well combined.
Whisk in applesauce & vanilla;
stir in carrots. Add dry ingredients
to wet in 2 or 3 batches, mixing
each addition until just combined.
Stir in nuts until just incorporated.
Scoop batter into prepared tins.
Bake about 20 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into centers
comes out clean. Transfer to
wire rack to cool completely,
the remove muffins from tin.

While muffins are cooling,
prepare frosting:

In small bowl combine cream cheese
& syrup, beating until smooth.
Transfer mixture to a small ziplock
bag, pushing frosting to one corner.
Snip off about 1/2 inch of bag
corner (to create a piping bag).
Squeeze a dollop of frosting onto
each muffin. Dust muffin tops
with cinnamon (if desired).
Makes 12 muffins

(recipe: The Oakland Press, July
Quinoa Greek Salad

2 C. chicken stock
1 C. quinoa (uncooked)
1/2 C. red pepper, diced
1/2 C. green pepper, diced
1/2 C. cucumber, diced
1/4 C. green onion, diced
1/4 C. black olives, sliced or whole
1/4 C. red onion, diced
3 oz. feta cheese

1/4 C. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. basil, chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano, chopped
black pepper, to taste
Heat chicken stock in a
saucepan – bring to boil. Stir
in quinoa; reduce heat to
medium-low & cover. Cook
15 minutes until liquid is
absorbed. Transfer to a large
bowl & cool.
Stir veggies & feta into cooled
quinoa. Whisk dressing ingredients
together & pour over salad. Toss
to coat. Serves 6


Apple Coleslaw

3 C. chopped cabbage
1 carrot, scraped & shredded
2 unpeeled apples/chopped
(poster used 1 red/1 green
1/4 – 1/2 C. chopped onion
(poster used purple, can use
regular or green onion)
1 tsp. celery seeds (or 1/2 C.
chopped celery)
1/2 C. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
2 T. honey
1 T. granulated sugar
2 tsp. white vinegar
1/8 tsp. black pepper
pinch salt

In large bowl combine cabbage,
shredded carrot, apples, onion &
celery – toss. In a bowl whisk mayo,
honey, sugar, vinegar, pepper & salt –
pour over slaw & mix well with a
spoon. Refrigerate 2-3 hours before
serving. Serves 8 (makes about 4 C.)

NOTE: You can use red or green
chopped peppers, raisins, or nuts.
You can use lite mayo, omit sugar or
use sugar substitute


Crockpot Chicken Tetrazzini

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts or tenders
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (.6 oz) pkt. Italian Salad Dressing
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 C. butter
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
Cooked noodles to serve 6
Place all ingredients in crockpot
except cream cheese. Cover &
cook on High 3 hours (or Low
7 hours). Add cream cheese; stir
& cook an additional 1/2 hour
until cream cheese melts (no
lumps). Stir using a wooden
spoon to break up the chicken.
Serve over cooked noodles.
Serves 6


Broccoli Beef

1 lb. flank steak, cut into thin strips
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 C. soy sauce
1 T. brown sugar
5 cloves garlic, minced
11-inch piece of fresh ginger,
1 T. cornstarch, optional
1 T. sesame oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets/

Cooked rice to serve 4

Optional garnishes:
1 T. toasted sesame seeds
3 scallions, sliced on the bias
Season beef with salt & pepper. In
small bowl whisk soy sauce, brown
sugar, garlic, ginger & cornstarch
(if using). In large nonstick skillet
over high heat, warm 1/2 T. sesame
oil until just smoking. Add beef &
cook, stirring occasionally, until meat
is just about cooked through. Transfer
to a plate. Add remaining 1/2 T. oil to
skillet; add onions & cook about 8
minutes until softened. Add blanched/
drained broccoli – cook 1 minute then
add reserved garlic sauce – stir to coat.
Return beef to skillet & cook about 3
minutes more until beef is cooked through
& sauce has reduced slightly. Transfer
to serving plates over rice. Sprinkle
tops with sesame seeds & scallions.
Serves 4

Grilled Basil & Tomato Chicken

8 Roma tomatoes, divided
3/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1/4 C. fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Cut tomatoes into quarters & put
in a food processor. Add vinegar,
basil, oil, garlic & salt – cover &
process until smooth. Pour 1/2 C.
mixture into a small bowl; cover &
refrigerate until serving time. Pour
remaining mixture into a large
ziplock bag – add chicken. Seal bag
& turn to coat chicken. Refrigerate
1 hour.
Heat grill over medium heat.
Remove chicken from bag, discard
marinade. Grill chicken, covered,
4-6 minutes per side until golden
& juices run clear. Cut remaining
tomatoes in half; grill 2-3 minutes
per side, until tender. Serve chicken
with grilled tomatoes & reserved
tomato mixture. Serves 4

(recipe: gooseberrypatch)

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers

24 fresh jalapeno peppers
12 oz. bulk pork sausage
12 slices bacon, strips halved
24 toothpicks (soak in water if
Wash peppers & remove stems.
Cut a slit along one side of each
pepper – remove seeds; rinse &
dry peppers.
In a skillet cook sausage over medium
heat until no longer pink; drain.
Stuff peppers with sausage & wrap
with bacon – secure with a toothpick.
Grill peppers, uncovered, over medium
heat for about 15 minutes until tender &
bacon is crisp, turning frequently.
Makes 24


Fruit Pizza

2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 C. cold butter, cubed
1 egg, beaten

1 (3.9 oz) box instant vanilla
pudding mix
1 1/2 C. cold milk
1 tsp. almond extract
1 C. whipping cream

Fresh Fruit ideas:
sliced peaches
black berries
peeled/sliced kiwi
sliced bananas
In bowl of a food processor, place
flour & salt. Add cubed cream cheese
& butter – pulse until large crumbs
start to form, 10-15 pulses. (If you
grab some dough & it holds together
after you squeeze it, it’s ready). Pile
dough in a large circle & wrap in
plastic wrap – refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Roll out dough to fit in a rimmed
sheet pan (18 X 13 X 1″) Flatten
dough to fit pan. Prick dough all over
with a fork & brush on beaten egg.
Bake 15 minutes until golden brown.
(It will shrink slightly). * Let crust
cool completely.
In large bowl beat milk, dry pudding
mix & almost until smooth & thickened.
In another bowl beat whipping cream until
stiff peaks form – fold cream into pudding
mixture then spread evenly on crust. Top
with sliced fruit & serve.
(Poster noted that she thinks this tastes
best after being refrigerated an extra 1-2
hours before serving.) Serves 16

*If you don’t want the crust to shrink
slightly you can omit using the egg & place
parchment paper on top of dough. Add
dried beans or lentils (or pastry weights)
on top to weight down the dough, then



Hope you are able to stay cool, safe
and in good health during this ‘season of



Another beautiful Sunday!

The sun is shining, there’s a slight breeze and it’s 79 degrees F. (with an expected of 85!). A gorgeous Sunday, for sure! Nothing lately on our agenda; oldest son & youngest grandson dropped by yesterday. Son spend many hours using a wood chipper to reduce the many branches he & other grandson cut down last week. Husband & I kept the 3 yr. old amused – he’s good, just feed him & make sure he has something to drink & he’s good!

Still working on several knitting projects & 1 crocheted baby blanket. Getting pretty close to finishing the ‘donated’ alpaca/mohair yarns – it will be a scarf when I’m done. Our local library hasn’t opened yet; you can bring back books you rented (OR – put books on hold & pick them up there, after calling to let them know you’re coming – all ‘library work’ is done in the parking lot for now). I’ve run out of books to read – I ‘could’ raid my stash upstairs; I did that last month – we’ll see.


Easy Fruit Pizza

Cookie Crust:
1 2/3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. sugar
10 T. butter, room temp.
1 large egg, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract

8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1/3 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Fruit Topping:
2 C. strawberries, sliced
2 kiwi, peeled/sliced
1/3 C. blueberries
1/4 C. mandarin oranges, drained
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
LIghtly spray a 12″ pizza pan
(without holes on bottom) with
nonstick cooking spray.

Cookie Crust:
Whisk flour, baking powder, & salt
in small bowl. In another bowl using
elec. mixer, beat sugar & butter until light
& fluffy. Add in egg, vanilla & almond
extracts & beat until combined. Scrape
down sides of bowl as needed. Add in
dry ingredients & beat until soft cookie
dough forms. Press dough out into
prepared pan. Bake 11-13 minutes until
center is set. Let cool completely on
wire rack.

In a medium bowl using elec. mixer,
beat cream cheese, sugar & vanilla
until smooth & creamy. Spread evenly
over top of cooled crust.

Arrange fresh fruit over top of frosting
in a pattern you like.

(NOTE: if you like, you can mix 1 tsp.
honey with a little water to create a
nice glaze you can brush over fruits
so they look shiny)
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Serves 12


Chunky Tomato-Avocado Salad

1 avocado, pitted/peeled & cubed
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 C. sweet onion, chopped
1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
2-3 T. lemon juice

In bowl gently stir ingredients together.
Cover & refrigerate overnight. Serves 4

Serve with corn chips or ‘Scoops’
for dippers


Crockpot Zesty Italian Beef Sandwiches

3 lb. beef chuck roast, quartered
1-2 T. oil
1 (2 oz) pkg. zesty Italian salad dressing mix
1 (12 oz) can beer
1 onion, chopped
6-7 pepperonicini peppers, chopped

6-8 sandwich buns, split
In a skillet over medium heat, brown roast
on all sides then place in crockpot. Sprinkle
dry dressing mix on top; pour beer over
roast. Add onions & peppers. Cover & cook
on High 5-6 hours until beef shreds easily
with a fork. Shred beef & serve on
sandwich buns. Makes 6-8 sandwiches.


Grilled Basil/Garlic Chicken Breasts
(4-12 hour marinade)

4 large boneless skinless chicken
breast halves (10-12 oz ea)
3 T. finely minced garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 C. chopped fresh basil
1/4 C. olive oil

olive oil, salt/ground black pepper for skin
In small bowl mix garlic, 1 tsp. salt, basil &
oil. (add additional oil if necessary) Mash
garlic to a paste (poster used a mortar & pestle).
Smear mixture on both sides of chicken breasts
being careful to leave skins intact.
Gently place breasts in a gallon ziplock bag &
marinate, refrigerated, 4 hours up to 12 hours.
When ready to grill:
Remove chicken from bag, wipe skin side
free of marinade*. Brush on olive oil &
sprinkle on salt/pepper. Over a medium fire
place chicken skin-side down to crisp skin,
about 8-10 minutes, turning 90 degrees half
way through to get cross hatch marks. Once
skin is crisp, flip each piece over & move to
a cool side of grill – cook 8-10 minutes with
cover closed. (try to maintain an internal
grill temperature of 425 degrees F. by adjusting
burners on or off to keep that temperature.)

Remove chicken when internal temperature
reaches 155 degrees F using a probe thermometer.
Cover loosely with foil & allow to rest 5 minutes
before serving. Serve either whole or sliced.
Serves 4

*Wiping the skin helps the skin to brown without
burned basil pieces


Panzanella Salad

4 C. rustic Italian-style bread
cut into 1″ cubes
2 T. olive oil
1 English cucumber, halved,
seeded & sliced
1/3 C. red onion, thinly sliced
3 C. tomato, cut into 1″ pieces
3/4 C. yellow bell pepper, cut
into 1/2″ pieces
2 T. capers
1/2 C. basil leaves, sliced


2 T. lemon juice
1 T. Dijon mustard
3 T. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
2 T. finely minced shallot
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 C. olive oil
salt/black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place bread cubes in a bowl;
add 2 T. olive oil & toss to coat.
Place bread on a sheet pan &
bake 10-15 minutes until dry &
lightly browned then place in a
large bowl with cucumber, onion,
tomato, bell peppers & capers.


Place all dressing ingredients in a bowl
& whisk until smooth. Pour dressing over
bread/vegetables & toss to gently
combine. Cover & chill at least 30
minutes or up to 6 hours. Stir in basil
& serve. Serves 6


Country Tomato/Bacon Pie

2-3 tomatoes, sliced
1 (9 inch) deep dish frozen pie crust,
baked accordg. to pkg. directions*
1/2 C. green onions, chopped
1/4 C. basil, chopped
1/2 C. cooked/crumbled bacon
ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 C. shredded cheese (poster used
*If using a frozen pie crust, defrost
on counter about 10 minutes. Prick
with a fork & bake accordg. to pkg.
directions. (usually 400 degrees F.
10-12 minutes) Cool crust slightly.
Turn oven temp down to 350 degrees F.
Layer slices of tomato in bottom of pie
crust – season with black pepper; top
with green onions, basil & crumbled
In a bowl combine mayo & shredded
cheese – spread on top of pie.
Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

NOTE: If edges of pie crust are becoming
too brown while baking, place some strips
of foil around edges over crust during
baking time. Serves 6


Crockpot Glazed Coffee Cake

3 1/2 C. Bisquick baking mix,
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. vanilla yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. powdered sugar
3 T. milk
Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick cooking spray. Cut a
piece of parchment paper to fit
the bottom of crockpot – place
paper in crockpot & spray top
with nonstick spray. In a bowl
mix 3 C. baking mix, sugar, yogurt,
eggs & vanilla.
In another bowl mix remaining
Bisquick mix, cinnamon & brown
sugar. Spread half of batter in bottom
of crockpot  – cover with half brown
sugar mixture. Spoon rest of batter on
top of sugar mixture – end with
remaining brown sugar mixture.
Place 2 paper towels under lid of
crockpot; cover & cook  on High
1 1/2 to 2 hours until a toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean.
Let stand 10 minutes.
Use a spatula to run around edge of
cake to separate cake from crockpot.
Flip cake onto a serving plate &
remove parchment paper from cake.
In a bowl mix powdered sugar & enough
milk to make a drizzle – drizzle glaze
over cake. Serves 10-12



Hope you are all in good health and able to enjoy

this lovely summer weather!

PS: Gas Prices are currently: $2.15/9




I WENT SHOPPING!!! Our state is finally out from under the ‘stay at home’ order; we picked up my van at the dealership yesterday (needed a new Air Conditioning compressor – under warranty – yay!). Today I decided I would GO OUT! Stopped at Walgreens & picked up my instant coffee on sale (they offer it about every 3-4 months on sale) then stopped at CVS to pick up more things on sale (and to use my $10 off coupon that would expire soon). After that I drove to a nice little park where 12 of my knit ladies were meeting (6 feet apart) to knit/crochet for an hour outside! It was SO NICE to get out and really SEE people in person instead of on the Zoom meetings! One lady brought me a bag of white yarns; said “I thought you might be able to use these.” Turns out she was absolutely right! I really needed exactly that! (I use a lot of white yarn in the baby blankets). PERFECT! Without going into great detail, we’re going to do this again tomorrow (there’s a free yarn/knit project thing going on so the intent is for us to pick up the yarns, knit/crochet something with it then give it back to the lady who will give it to a charity for them to sell in their gift shop.

(a 80+ yr old woman died & she had a stash of VERY EXPENSIVE yarns – her daughter gave us the yarns with the intent that we would use them for charity only. (one of my ladies is keeping track of it all). I took 2 bags – we’ll see how this goes. Am planning on knitting either a cowl, fingerless gloves or a scarf with it – we’ll see – I promised I wouldn’t knit a baby blanket! HA!)

I’m going to try to go grocery shopping tomorrow – we’ll see how that goes (and if I have the courage to do so – today found me almost in a panic attack after leaving the first store – weird! I’ve been looking forward to this for 3 months!)


Cherry Coffee Cake

1 1/4 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
8 T. butter (1 stick/ 1/2 C.), melted
1/2 C. milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (20 oz) can cherry pie filling
1 tsp. lemon extract
Crumb Topping:
1/2 C. flour
2 T. butter, melted
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 9″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl whisk flour, sugar,
baking powder/baking soda.
Stir in melted butter, milk, egg &
vanilla – mix well & spread into
bottom of prepared pan. In a
medium bowl mix lemon extract
with pie filling & spread over
flour mixture.
In a small bowl mix together Crumb
Topping ingredients & sprinkle on
top of pie filling.
Bake 55-60  minutes until topping is
brown & bubbly. Serves 9

NOTE: If you would like a glaze on top,
combine 1/2 C. powdered sugar & a few
tablespoons milk – drizzle over cooled cake.


Chicken Tortilla Bake

3 C. cooked, shredded chicken
2 (4 oz, ea) cans chopped green chilies
1 C. chicken broth
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom
soup undiluted
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken
soup undiluted
1 small onion, finely chopped
12 corn tortillas, warmed
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Optional toppings:
Sour cream
chopped green onions
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray. In large
bowl combine chicken, chiles, broth,
soups & onion. Layer half of tortillas
in bottom of sprayed pan, cutting to
fit if desired. Top with half of chicken
mixture & half of cheese – repeat
Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes until
heated through. Serves 8

NOTE: Freezer option:
Cover & freeze unbaked casserole
To use: partially thaw in fridge overnight.
Remove from fridge 30 minutes before
baking. Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Bake 30 minutes, increasing time as
necessary to heat through & a
thermometer inserted in center
reads 165º.


Crunchy Taco Cups

1 lb. ground beef, cooked/drained
1 envelope taco seasoning (3 T.)
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes &
green chilies, drained
1 1/2 C. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
(OR) Mexican blend cheese
24 wonton wrappers*
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Generously spray a 12 – cup muffin
tin with nonstick cooking spray. Combine
cooked meat, taco seasoning & Ro-Tel
in a bowl; stir to combine. Line each
muffin tin with a wonton wrapper; add
1 1/2 T. meat mixture & top with 1 T.
cheese – press down & add another layer
of wonton wrapper, meat mixture & a
final layer of cheese – repeat.
Bake 11-13 minutes until cups are heated
through & edges are brown. Makes 12

*You can find wonton wrappers in the
chilled fruits/veggies section of
grocery stores

Deep-dish Ham & Asparagus Quiche

1 9 inch pie crust (refrigerated)
3 T. olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 T. water
12 oz. cooked ham, cubed
1 small bunch asparagus, trimmed/
cut into small pieces
6 oz. shredded Swiss or Monterey
Jack cheese
7 eggs
3 C. heavy cream
salt/pepper, to taste

Coat large skillet with olive oil; add
onions & water – cook over medium-low
heat, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes,
until caramelized. Add ham & cook,
stirring occasionally about 5 minutes. Add
asparagus; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat.
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large bowl combine eggs, heavy cream, salt/
pepper – whisk to combine. Place about 2/3rds
ham mixture into crust – top with 2/3rds cheese.
Pour 2/3 egg mixture on top – repeat with remaining
ham/cheese/egg mixtures. Filling should be about
1/2″ from top of pie crust. (If you have extra
ingredients, save for scrambled eggs the next day).
Cover quiche loosely with foil. Bake about 90
minutes. Remove foil & bake another 20-30 minutes
until quiche is set but juggles just slightly.
Remove from oven, let cool on wire rack 30-45
minutes before serving. Can be served room
temp, cold or warm. Serves 12

NOTE: If making the day ahead, let cool to room
temp. on a cooling rack. Cover & refrigerate.
Remove from fridge about 45 minutes before
planning to serve.


Crockpot Creamy Nacho Chicken Dip

1 (16 oz) can refried beans
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (12 oz) can chicken, drained/shredded
1 (16 oz) jar chunky salsa
8 oz. shredded Mexican-blend cheese

tortilla chips or tortillas for dipping
Spray insides of 4 qt. crockpot with
nonstick cooking spray. In small bowl
mash/stir cream cheese until smooth.
Layer ingredients in crockpot:
refried beans
cream cheese
Cover & cook on High 1 hour (or Low 2 hrs)
Serve either on top of chips or use chips/
tortillas as dippers.  Serves 12


Fried Boneless/Skinless
Chicken Breasts
(overnight recipe)

2 lb. boneless/skinless chicken
2 C. buttermilk*
2 C. flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
3 whole eggs
3 T. whole milk
2 T. hot sauce (your choice)
Enough shortening (or lard) to
come 2 inches up side of a large
cast iron skillet
Place chicken breasts in a large zip
lock bag; cover with buttermilk &
let stand in refrigerator overnight
or at least 12 hours. When ready
to cook; drain chicken/discard
In large bowl whisk flour, salt/pepper,
garlic powder & paprika. In a shallow
(pie) pan beat eggs, milk & hot sauce.
Place chicken, 2 pieces at a time, in
flour mixture, then egg, then back
into flour, pressing each time to coat.
Breading should be rough & shaggy:
the shaggy parts will crisp up as they fry
& give a nice crunchy crust. As you bread
each piece, place on a platter or plate.

Place a rack over a sheet tray (set aside).

In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, melt
shortening & heat to 325 degrees – no
higher**. Add all chicken at once, piece by
piece. If they don’t comfortably fit all at
once, you will need to cook in 2 batches.
The temperature of the oil will drop below
300 degrees F. when you place the chicken
in; if oil is too hot, the outsides will get too
dark before the insides cook. Fry for a total
of about 15 minutes, carefully turning each
piece every few minutes for even browning.
(Insert a probe thermometer into one piece
& remove from fryer onto prepared rack when
internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F.
The chicken will continue to cook to a safe
165 degrees F.) Be careful when handling
the chicken so the cooked breading stays on.
Serve immediately. Serves 4

*If you don’t have buttermilk: In a 1-cup
measuring cup add 1 T. lemon juice or
vinegar. Pour enough milk in cup to reach
1-cup. Stir & let stand 5 minutes – now you
have ‘sour milk/buttermilk’.

**Poster used a candy thermometer to
reach temperature

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic

1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/2 lb.)
cut into bite-sized florets
3 T. olive oil
1/2 C. fresh garlic cloves (more or
less, to taste)cut in half or thirds
if especially large
salt/black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Spray a rimmed baking sheet
lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl toss broccoli with
oil, garlic, salt & pepper – spread
in single layer on prepared sheet.
Roast about 20 minutes until
broccoli is bright green & edges are
starting to brown. (do not let garlic
get too brown or it will taste bitter)
Serve hot.  Serves 4


Brownie-bottom Cheesecake

1 box brownie mix
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate ice cream topping
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9″ springform pan with
nonstick cooking spray.
Mix brownie mix accordg. to pkg;
spread in prepared pan.
Bake 8-10 minutes.
In large bowl mix cream cheese, eggs,
sugar & vanilla – beat until smooth &
spread on top of brownie.
Bake 30 minutes.
Reduce heat to 325 degrees F.
Bake another 15 minutes.
Cool completely before removing
from pan. Serve with chocolate
sauce drizzled on top, if desired.
Serves 8
(does not need to be refrigerated
before serving)



Since all of my ‘usual’ activities have been
put on hold b/c of the virus, I’ve been watching
TV in the evenings. Have been ‘binge watching’
NCIS Los Angeles lately, think I have 3-4 more
episodes before I’m done with the season (at
least all the ones that are ‘free’). I enjoy the
interaction between the characters; we also
love NCIS and NCIS New Orleans for the same

I spoke to the other leaders of my special
needs group and we’ve come to the decision
that we plan on starting up in the Fall. Hopefully
by that time things will have settled down a bit
as to churches being open, larger groups of
people meeting together – we’ll see. My group
averages about 15-17 students and about 8
or so adults. It’s such a strange world when you
have to plan out how far apart each person will
be from another person!  With that said, at
least now I know that my summer will be free.
Not sure yet when oldest son will have me start
babysitting my 3 yr old grandson again. He’s
checked with his big boss about when the hotels
will plan on re-opening their restaurants; still
not getting a definite answer – that’s hard to
plan when you don’t really know!

Hope you are all well and coping OK with all
the changes.



Another beautiful Saturday!

It seems so strange the way the days are flying by. I’m sure, once our ‘quarantine’ is lifted, we will wonder just how we survived without going bonkers (for those of you who haven’t been working through this). It’s a sunny/balmy 66 degrees F. Yesterday I decided I really needed to find another baby blanket pattern – as if knitting 2 wasn’t enough . . . bumped into a pattern that I’d done many years ago. This time I decided to change it up a bit; I’m starting with white and a federal blue then will see where this goes. I don’t think I have enough blue to complete the blanket so am thinking of changing it up by using various colors, interspersed with white – we’ll see. The fuzzy pink/white blanket is almost done; the multi-colored/scalloped blanket has a long way to go.

In the ‘kinda bored’ area, I decided we needed to spice up dinner so I made a Taco Salad the other night. (ordering groceries through Kroger-they didn’t have 1,000 Island salad dressing so I went with Catalina – DON’T DO THAT! TOO SWEET!) Needless to say, it’s all gone – sweet or not! Last night I made a Meat & Potato Pie (basically it’s a big meatloaf made in a 9 X 13″ baking pan, topped with mashed potatoes & shredded Cheddar Cheese (melted); it’s one of my husband’s favorite meals. I still have to roast the turkey – it’s been my ‘staple quarantine’ food since this started. I kind of felt like I knew that I had that in the freezer so we wouldn’t totally run out of meat! (fowl, to be more specific). I don’t know about your area, but here meat/chicken especially/hamburger are pretty scarce in the stores. I tried ordering Pork Chops from Kroger last time since they were advertised on sale that week but didn’t get them in my order. According to the calendar for my state
Michigan; our Stay-At-Home Order expires June 12th. Am REALLY hoping this will be the END of the ‘can’t go out no matter what’ if you’re considered in the older age group/diabetic, etc. I try not to complain, but there’s only SO MUCH you can try to convince yourself you’re not totally BORED!

A few days ago my oldest son & his 2 sons (ages 14 & 3) showed up at our house to cut down some trees in our yard & take out part of a chain-link fence. I knew SON was coming but didn’t expect our grandsons (well – the 3 yr old, anyway). We’ve seen son & older grandson at a distance since this started but have not been close to the 3 yr old. Let’s just say the 3 yr old is VERY ADVENTUROUS (to say the least). I ended up bringing him in the house & watching various DVD’s with him to keep him amused – it was a VERY LONG afternoon! (wrote on the calendar the date just in case I end up sick in 2 weeks – sure hope not!) Husband was outside helping do the work; the yard looks great.

I also found out lately that two events I take part in every year will still be held: our County Historical Society’s Ice Cream Social end of July (where I wear my costume & my ladies & I knit/crochet outside under a sycamore tree for the day – this year it’s going to be 2 days; they will be celebrating the BiCentennial for the County. Our end of September knit/crochet donations for the Detroit Veterans Hospital Baby Shower is also a ‘go’, but they will have to do a ‘drive in/pick up’ for the ladies, rather than a sit-down shower/party. I will have to work out the details of how the lady in charge of Women’s Affairs will pick up our donations, but that will be at a later date (maybe we’ll have to do a parking lot pick-up, too!).


Crockpot Raspberry/
Chocolate Lava Cake
(using 2 1/2 qt. crockpot)

1/2 C. butter, sliced
2 (1 oz, ea) squares unsweetened
baking chocolate
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 C. sugar
1/3 C. seedless raspberry jam,
6 tsp. seedless raspberry jam,
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Optional garnishes:
fresh raspberries
ice cream
whipped cream
Spray insides of crockpot
with nonstick cooking spray.
In a saucepan on Low heat,
melt butter & chocolate. Remove
from heat & stir in sugar, 1/3 C.
jam, vanilla & eggs. Add flour
& baking powder – combine
well & pour into crockpot.
Dot top with remaining
teaspoonfuls of jam evenly.
Cover & cook on High 2-3 hours
until cake is set (it will be a
spoonable consistency)
Serve warm with fresh raspberries
& ice cream or whipped cream.
Serves 6


Parmesan-Roasted Carrot Fries

2 lb. carrots, peeled/sliced into
1/4″ thick ‘fries’
1 T. oil
salt/pepper, to taste
1 C. Parmigiano-reggiano (Parmesan)
cheese, grated
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl gently toss carrots in
oil, salt/pepper – sprinkle on cheese;
mix to coat. Spread in single layer on
a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Roast 16-20 minutes, mixing halfway
through. Serves 6


Brown Sugar Baked Beans

10 slices bacon, halved
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
(54 oz) pork & beans
4 T. ketchup
1/4 C. molasses
2/3 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. cider vinegar
2 tsp. dry mustard

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray.
Cook bacon about half way done;
drain on paper towel.
Place oven rack to lower-middle rack
position. In deep skillet heat about
2 T. bacon grease (or butter)over medium
heat. Add diced onion & green pepper –
saute about 5 minutes until softened.
Add remaining ingredients & stir to
combine – simmer about 1 minute.
Pour beans in bottom of prepared dish;
lay semi-cooked bacon on top. Bake
2-3 hours (depending on your desired
consistency). Let beans stand 5
minutes before serving.

Sheet Pan Panko Shrimp

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

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with
foil & spray with nonstick cooking
spray (or brush lightly with olive oil)
Pat shrimp dry using paper towels &
place in large bowl. Toss with
remaining olive oil, salt/pepper, Cajun
seasoning, Old Bay, pepper flakes &
paprika. Add lemon zest & garlic,
spread on prepared pan in single layer.

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


Cucumber Cream Cheese Spread
(overnight recipe)

1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut into chunks
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. salt

Dippers: crackers, toasted bagels
Cut off roots from gr. onion; place
onions in food processor – add
cucumber. Pulse until coarsely
chopped (do not over process – you
want chunks not water). Add cream
cheese, Worc. sauce & salt – Cover &
pulse until smooth; transfer to a
medium bowl. Cover & refrigerate
overnight for flavors to blend.
(this recipe NEEDS to be refrigerated
overnight before eating).
Serves 4


Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad

2 C. orzo pasta
1 C. grape tomatoes, quartered
1 C. diced cucumber
5 T. olive oil
1 lemon
2 T. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (optional)
salt/pepper, to taste

Cook pasta until tender (about 10
minutes) – do not over cook or it
will become mushy. Rinse with cold
water & drain. Zest lemon to get
1 T. lemon zest. Juice the lemon to
get 2 tsp. lemon juice.
In large bowl mix parsley, tomatoes,
cucumbers, lemon zest. Mix in oil
& seasonings; stir in drained pasta &
combine. Serve immediately or chill,
covered. Serves 8

NOTE: refrigerate leftovers for up to
5 days

Red Beet Eggs

12 hard boiled eggs, shelled
2 cans sliced or whole beets
2 C. beet juice from cans (add
water to make 2 C., if needed)
2 C. white vinegar (equal to
amount of beet juice/water)
1/4 C. sugar

In a saucepan heat beet juice/
water to very hot but not boiling.
Add sugar & vinegar – stir & allow
to cool a little.
In a large gallon glass jar add eggs
& beets; pour liquid over beets &
refrigerate for at least 4 days.


Crockpot Bacon Cheddar Potatoes

1 (12 oz) pkg. bacon, cooked crisp/
6 potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
Optional garnish: chopped green onion
Line crockpot with aluminum foil so
that it will be able to fold together
over top of potatoes. Spread half of
crumbled bacon evenly on bottom
of crockpot – cover with half sliced
onions. Top with half of potatoes;
repeat layers. Fold foil to create
a packet over potatoes. Cover &
cook on Low 4-6 hours.
ONE half hour before serving:
add cheese & stir gently. Cover &
heat through. Just before serving
top with chopped green onion,
if using. Serves 6

Crockpot Easy Peach Crumble

9 C. frozen peaches & any juice
in the bag, thawed
3/4 C. brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. old fashioned oats
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. cold butter, cubed
Spray insides of crockpot
with nonstick cooking spray.
In a bowl mix peaches, 1/2 C.
brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon
juice & extracts; add to crockpot.
In another bowl mix remaining
ingredients using 2 forks or a
pastry cutter until crumbles form.
Sprinkle crumbles over top of
peaches. Cover & cook on High
90 minutes. Serves 8



Hope you are all in good health & enjoying this weather!



and we continue on . . .

This past week has found our local temperatures in the mid 50’s, sunny with slight breezes. Today it’s 40 degrees F. and light SNOW! Who KNEW??? (I will say, it was almost dandruff-like – you really had to look to see it, then it went away). It’s supposed to rain & snow/possibly freeze tonight . . . in MAY! Weird . . . but then it’s Michigan!

My husband & I were able to go pick up our groceries from Meijer today – I was VERY happy with the entire arrangement. The lady who was fulfilling my order called to verify a possible substitution then told me she was almost done – we could pick them up very soon. (That’s 1 1/2 hours EARLY! YAY!)  THIS TIME everything I ordered was THERE! I was totally surprised – with the past two orders at Kroger there were unexpected substitutes (like diet Mount Dew instead of regular) – yes, it’s probably a small thing but when you’ve already PAID for them, get them home THEN find out it’s not what you want – you get it. I’m still learning about this ‘order on line/pick up at store’ thing: there is a spot for “NOTES” where you can say NO substitutes, or list something specific. This order will get us through the next 2 weeks. Yesterday our Governor extended the Stay at Home order until the end of May – sigh. I SO miss seeing friends/family/church family, etc. She also announced she’s closing all public pools for the ENTIRE summer – sigh. I can just imagine what Moms with kids are thinking. Oldest son just got notice that he’s probably not going back to work until the beginning of JULY! (owner is bringing back staff a week early to set up). He’s been off work now since about the first week in March (thank heavens for unemployment).

Not much else new – been getting some really great sounding recipes, so here ya go!


Double Chocolate Muffins

2 1/2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. dark cocoa powder
1 T. baking powder
2 tsp. instant coffee
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. milk (whole)
2 large eggs
8 T. melted butter, cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. fresh raspberries
1/2 C. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray muffin cups with nonstick
cooking spray (or use paper liners)
In large bowl combine dry ingredients.
In another bowl mix milk, eggs, cooled
butter & vanilla; add wet ingredients
to dry & mix until fully combined.
Fold in raspberries & choc. chips.
Pour mixture into muffin cups.
Bake 25-30 minutes
Makes 12

(recipe: Heart of my Home)

Crockpot Sausage & Potatoes

1 1/2 lb. smoked pork sausage, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 1/2 lb. medium russet potatoes, peeled/
1 (10 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 tsp. creole seasoning

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
cooking spray (or use a crockpot liner).
Place all ingredients in crockpot & stir.
Cover & cook on Low 7-8 hours.


Tuscan Chicken Lasagna

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 T. oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Italian seasoning

2 tsp. oil
1 onion, diced
2 C. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 C. sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. flour
1 C. chicken stock
2 C. milk
1 C. cooked spinach
1/2 C. Gruyere cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
salt & black pepper, to taste
6 large fresh lasagna noodles

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Place chicken breasts in a shallow
pan & mix with oil, salt/pepper,
paprika, minced garlic &
Ital. seasoning. Heat a large
heavy skillet & sear on both sides until
golden on both sides & fully cooked;
remove to a pan. Shred cooked/
cooled chicken using 2 forks. Heat oil in skillet on
medium heat, add diced onion, sliced mush
rooms; saute until browned a bit. Add sun dried
tomatoes & garlic; stir & heat – move ingredients
to sides of skillet. Add 1/4 C. butter &
melt. Add 1/4 C. flour & mix into melted
butter – cook 1 minute; stir into other ingredients in
skillet. Add chicken stock & milk; stir to coat –
bring to boiling & let thicken slightly. Add spinach;
stir then add Gruyere cheese &
Parmesan – stir & mix until cheese melts.
Salt & black pepper – to taste.
In a 9 X 13″ (or larger) casserole dish
arrange a ladle of sauce on bottom &
top with a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread
more sauce; top with shredded chicken &
sliced Mozzarella cheese. Repeat with remaining
mix & noodles, finishing with a layer of chicken,
sauce & cheese. Cover with parchment paper &
foil. Bake 20 minutes until bubbling. Remove
cover & place under broiler until top is golden
brown. Serves 10-12

Easy Baked Burrito Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 pkt. taco seasoning mix (dry)
1 can refried beans
1 can cream of mushroom soup,
1/2 C. sour cream
1 pkg. large flour tortillas
2 1/2 C. shredded Mexican-blend cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray.
In a large skillet cook gr beef & onion
until beef is no longer pink; drain.
Add taco seasoning & refried beans; heat
through. In separate bowl blend soup with
sour cream – spread half this mixture on
bottom of prepared dish. Add a layer of
3 flour tortillas to top of soup (you will
need to cut or tear tortillas  & overlap
Spread a layer of gr. beef mixture on
top & top with about 1 C. cheese –
repeat layers & end topped with
remaining cheese. Bake about 20
minutes until cheese melts.


Crockpot Mexican Black Beans & Rice

1 or 2 (14 oz, ea) cans black beans, drained/
3/4 C. brown rice
1 1/2 C. water
3/4 C. salsa (plus more, if needed)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic salt
salt/black pepper, to taste
lime juice

Place beans, rice, water, salsa, bay leaf,
cumin & garlic salt in crockpot. Cover &
cook on Low 3-5 hours. Add salt/pepper
to taste & lime juice, to taste. Add in
extra salsa, if needed. Serves 4


Crockpot Hamburger Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (46 oz) can vegetable juice
3 potatoes, peeled/diced
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans, drained/
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
salt/pepper, to taste

In large skillet over medium heat,
cook meat, onion & celery; drain
& place in crockpot. Add rest of
ingredients & stir well. Cover &
cook on Low 8-10 hours (or
High 4-6 hours), stirring occasionally,
until potatoes are tender.
Serves 8


No-Bake Goldie Bars

1 C. butter, melted
2 C. graham cracker crumbs
2 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C. creamy peanut butter, divided
1 (12 oz) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a 9 X 13″ baking dish with waxed paper.
In medium bowl mix butter, gr. cracker crumbs,
powdered sugar & 1 C. peanut butter – press
mixture into bottom of pan – try to get an even
layer. In a microwave-safe bowl melt choc. chips
& stir in 1/2 C. peanut butter until smooth – spread
on prepared crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before
cutting into squares. Makes 18-24 bars



Hope your day is going well (and no snow!)



PS: Watched a ‘free’ movie last night on our cable:
“Confessions of a Shop-a-holic” (2009)- funny, light-
hearted; just what I needed!

And we’re back to Friday – again

This has been quite the week – crazy stuff, sudden drop-in visits, etc. My Kroger order-on-line & have them deliver (first & only time I’m going to do that!) worked – sort of. Kroger notified me that the order would be delivered between 4-6 p.m. Weds. NO call ahead – nothing until youngest son came in yelling: “Mom! The groceries are here – piled in front of the porch door so I couldn’t even get the door open!” This was sometime around 5 p.m. – NO idea how long they’d been there! Got them unpacked – no receipt – NO idea the total cost; with LOTS of substitutions! (You can put in, under each item, if you want a substitution or not) – well, this order was a bit of a surprise, to say the least. (son kept telling me to quit complaining – the employees did the best they could – sigh). Goofy thing? The BILL has not shown up on either of my bank accounts so I STILL have no idea how much they cost! Another funny thing: went on my emails a little later and got a KROGER SURVEY asking if I’d like to rate my delivery transaction. I did, thought I was pretty fair in my rating (forgot to note that there was no receipt with the order). Guess I’ll just stick to ordering on line, picking up at the store. (NOTE: for now, we’re VERY well stocked!) Will need a few things like Kleenex, paper towels, toilet paper – you can’t order those on line) but we’re good.

Today we got a phone call letting us know that our nephew would be stopping by on his drive home from college. He’s gone to college in Michigan for 4 years (about 4 hours away) & is finally driving home (he lives in Florida with his parents). It was nice seeing him (have only seen him maybe twice in the past 4 years). With all the Covid 19 warnings, we met him in our driveway & kept the required 6 feet away; he stayed about 15 minutes but it was nice to SEE him! (too bad we couldn’t give him a hug!).

OH! On the covid-front – our governor just implemented another 2 weeks Stay At Home order, now going to May 15th. (personally, I’ve been projecting we’ll be stuck like this until June – we’ll see.) Like I quoted my oldest son saying: “Each day seems to melt into the next”. Oh well, at least we’re SAFE, HEALTHY and not starving, suffering, etc. HOW ARE YOU doing?

Lots of interesting recipes coming in – some easy soups, too –


Oatmeal Raisin Swirl Bread

2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. quick-cooking oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 C. buttermilk*
1/4 C. sour cream
1/2 C. butter, melted (1 stick/8 T.)
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 – 1 C. raisins

1/2 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 C. nut pieces (pecans or walnuts,

3/4 C. powdered sugar
3-4 T. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 5″ loaf pan with
nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl whisk flour, baking powder,
baking soda, oats & salt. In another bowl
using elec. mixer cream sugar & eggs; add
buttermilk, sour cream, melted butter &
vanilla – combine with flour mixture –
mix well. Fold in raisins & pour batter
into prepared pan. In a bowl mix
Swirl & spread over top – cut it into
batter using a knife until swirled throughout
the mixture.
Bake 65 – 70 minutes until center tests done.

In a bowl mix together Glaze & drizzle over
cooled bread. Makes 1 loaf

Chicken & Zucchini Stir Fry
(with rice)

Stir Fry:

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized
4 T. olive oil
salt/pepper, to taste
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 small yellow summer squash, cut into
1/4″ slices
1 medium onion, sliced into 1/4″ rings


3/4 C. sweet chili sauce*
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. honey
1 T. cornstarch
1 T. cold water
Cooked white or brown rice
to serve 6
Heat large, deep skillet over medium-high
heat. Add 2 T. olive oil – allow to heat through.
Add chicken & sprinkle with salt/pepper –
cook, stirring only occasionally until the
outsides are golden brown – remove to a
plate, cover.
Add 2 T. more olive oil to skillet-heat through
& add vegetables. Cook over medium-high
heat until crisp-tender.
In small saucepan add all sauce ingredients;
whisk to combine & heat until thick &
bubbly (should take only a few minutes)
When veggies are cooked, add chicken
back into pan & pour sauce over top;
stir to combine. Serve immediately over
cooked white or brown rice.
Serves 6

*You can find sweet chili sauce in the
Asian aisle of the grocery store


Crockpot 3-Ingredient Chicken & Gravy

4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
(frozen is OK)
1 packet onion soup mix
1 (13.75 oz) can cream of mushroom soup

Place chicken thighs in crockpot – sprinkle
onion soup mix on top. Spoon soup over top.
Cover & cook on Low 4-6 hours. Remove lid;
shred chicken. Serve over cooked rice, cooked
noodles or mashed potatoes. Serves 4


Crockpot Reuben Casserole

1 T. butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 T. vegetable oil
1 (20 oz) -pkg. refrigerated shredded
hashbrown potatoes
1 (8 oz) can sauerkraut, drained/
1 lb. corned beef, diced
1 (20 oz) jar alfredo sauce
6 oz. shredded Swiss cheese

In large skillet saute onions & pepper
in butter until softened & onions are
translucent – place in crockpot.
In same skillet add 1 T. vegetable oil
& add potatoes – cook until slightly
browned & place in crockpot.
Add sauerkraut, corned beef, alfredo sauce &
cheese – stir well to combine.
Cover & cook on Low 2-3 hours until
potatoes are fully cooked & casserole
is slightly bubbling around the edges.
Serves 8


Baked Mustaccioli
(baked cheesy pasta)

1 (16 oz) box rigatoni pasta
1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced or petite
diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C. (about 8 oz) shredded
mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. (about 2 oz) shredded
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray.
Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions;
drain. In large skillet over medium-high
heat, cook gr. beef – drain. Reduce heat
to medium; add onion & garlic & cook
until onion is just tender, about 3 minutes.
Add spag. sauce, diced tomatoes & juice,
Ital. seasoning & salt – stir to combine. Heat
until mixture just begins to bubble; remove
from heat. Add cooked pasta & stir to
combine until pasta is coated with sauce.
Layer half the mixture in prepared dish;
top with half mozz. & Parm. cheese – spoon
remaining mixture on top & top with
remaining cheeses. Bake 25-30 minutes
until cheese is melted. Let stand 5-10
minutes before serving. Serves 8-10

-You can substitute penne or ziti
pasta (or any other pasta you like)
-you can substitute Ital. sausage
for gr. beef (or a combination of both)


Sheet Pan Biscuits w/Bacon/Cheddar &
  (Makes 12 biscuits)

1/4 lb. (about 4) thick slices bacon, coarsely
4 C. flour (plus additional for dusting surface &
cutting dough)
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 C. cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 C. slightly packed, coarsely grated Cheddar
1/3 C. finely chopped chives
2 T. packed thyme leaves
1 1/2 C. cold buttermilk, well-shaken
1/4 C. maple syrup, divided
ground black pepper
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
In medium skillet over medium-high
heat add bacon – cook, stirring, until
bacon is crisp & fat is rendered, about
7 minutes. Remove bacon to paper towel-
lined plate.
Brush a 9″ X 13″ quarter sheet pan with the
bacon fat from skillet & line sheet with
parchment paper – brush paper with more
bacon fat. Reserve remaining bacon fat.

In large bowl combine flour, baking powder,
baking soda, cayenne & salt. Add butter –
using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut butter
into flour until butter is pea-sized. Using your
hands, break up butter into smaller pieces &
incorporate flour until mixture resembles
coarse meal. Add Cheddar, chives, thyme &
bacon – mix to incorporate.

In a bowl combine buttermilk, 1 T. reserved
bacon fat, 2 T. maple syrup – add wet
ingredients to dry & mix just to incorporate.
Lightly dust work surface with flour & turn
out dough onto surface. Knead 2-3 times
until dough sticks together – do not over

Pat dough into a 7″ x 11″ rectangle about
1 inch thick, using flour under surface to
prevent sticking. Using a floured knife,
cut dough into 12 squares, 3 X 4 inches ea.
Place squares on prepared sheet, spacing
closely together but not touching.

In small bowl combine 1 T. reserved bacon
fat with 2 T. maple syrup – brush tops of
biscuits with mixture & sprinkle tops with
salt & black pepper. Bake 25-30 minutes
until tops are golden brown & biscuits are
just baked through. NOTE: tent biscuits with
foil if tops are browning too fast.
Remove from oven & let cool slightly before
serving. Makes 12 biscuits


Apple Pie Egg Rolls

2 T. butter
3 C. apples, peeled/cored/diced
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
10-12 egg roll wrappers *

oil, for frying
powdered sugar, for dusting
caramel sauce – for dipping
(like an ice cream sauce – heated)
In medium pan melt butter; add
apples, brown sugar & cinnamon.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring
often until apples are tender – pour
into a bowl & refrigerate until cool,
about 30 minutes.

Remove egg roll wrappers from pkg.
& place 2 heaping tablespoons of
apple filling in center of each roll.
Wet edges with water & roll up to
seal edges – use a dab of water to
secure the tip of the wrapper –
repeat with remaining ingredients.

Line a plate with paper towels
In skillet, preheat oil to 350 degrees F.
Fry each egg roll about 4-5 minutes
until brown & crispy & place on
paper towel-lined plate. Dust tops
with powdered sugar & serve with
a caramel sauce.
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Place egg rolls on a greased baking
sheet (or use parchment paper)
Bake 20-25 minutes until golden
brown. Brush a bit of melted butter
(or use butter spray) on each; dust
with powdered sugar & serve
with caramel sauce.

*You can usually find egg roll wrappers
in the refrigerated section of the fruit/
vegetable section


Pina Colada Fluff

1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla
pudding mix
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 tsp. rum extract
2 C. miniature marshmallows
1 C. shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 C. chopped nuts

In large bowl combine pudding mix &
crushed pineapple (undrained) – stir
until completely combined. Fold in
Cool Whip, rum extract, marshmallows,
coconut & nuts. Chill until ready to serve.
Serves 8



Try to stay safe & healthy!



We’re good – how about you?

It’s a bit gloomy & in the 50’s outside but it’s a NEW DAY so time to make the best of it! Yes, these times are definitely different – don’t know about you & your state but here in Michigan we are doing the ‘Sheltering at Home” thing – that means don’t leave your house unless you absolutely have to! I’m sure lots of people are glued to their computers & TV’s keeping up with the latest reports – Me? I only read our local newspaper – watching the news, for me, is too scary/confusing – you pick a word. Last night a good friend of mine (who’s son is a Sheriff) texted me asking if I’d heard the latest order: Only 1 person per car on the roads now! NO – I hadn’t heard that so, for the next 1 1/2 hours I watched various news stations/reports and did NOT see anything about it. Right after dropping that bomb on me, she went to bed so I wasn’t able to verify WHERE she read/heard that. First thing this morning I contacted her and asked. . . (wait for it) . . . she saw it on FACEBOOK! GROAN! I did a ‘search’ on it and did find a news clip about that very thing . . . IN MALAYSIA! HA! Just shows you can’t believe everything you read/see on Facebook! (I have a friend who has 11 kids – lives in another state – I thought about their family & just how they would juggle that idea – crazy).

On another ‘new situation’ note: our sons are really pressing us NOT to go out to shop for groceries – CALL ME, MOM! I’ll get whatever you need! I decided I would try Kroger’s order on line & pick up at the store. It was kind of fun – until I got to the part where you schedule the pick up . . . I know they’re busy with a lot of people doing the same thing BUT first day I could schedule to pick up the groceries I’d put on order is next Tuesday – a week away! Crazy! I texted one of our sons to ask if he’d pick up 2 loaves of bread & some yellow mustard – that’s all we really need right now. Ah, the times they are ‘a changin’!


Apple Pecan Cake w/Caramel Glaze

1 1/2 C. cooking oil
2 C. sugar
4 eggs
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 C. Granny Smith apples
(approx. 3-4 apples), peeled/chopped
1 C. chopped pecans

Caramel Glaze:
3/4 C. butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 C. light brown sugar
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Generously grease & flour a tube
(or Bundt) pan (OR) you can use
two loaf pans

In large bowl add oil, sugar & eggs; mix
until creamy. In medium bowl whisk
flour, baking soda, cinnamon & salt –
add to egg mixture & mix well. Add
vanilla & mix well. Stir in apples & pecans
& pour into prepared pan(s).
Bake approx. 1 hour. Check using a toothpick
at about 50  minutes – if it comes out clean,
cake is done.
NOTE: If using loaf pans, make sure to check
at about 50 minutes as well.

In small saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
Stir in brown sugar & milk – bring to boil over
low heat then reduce to a simmer, stirring
constantly. Let boil 10 minutes, continue
stirring. Remove from heat & add vanilla –
stir & let cool. Once cooled a bit, pour over
top of cake.


Breakfast Sticks

1 T. oil
2 slices bacon, chopped
3 oz. breakfast sausage
2 large green onions, chopped
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 C. shredded Monterey Jack
or Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 8 muffin tin cups with
nonstick cooking spray. In medium
bowl beat eggs with shredded
cheese. In a non-stick skillet
brown bacon; add sausage, crumbled,
stirring & cooking until no longer
pink. Add onion – saute just until
onion begins to cook/wilt. Remove
from heat & cool 1-2 minutes. Add
meat mixture to egg mixture & beat
well with a spoon. Using a 1/4 C.
measuring cup, scoop up 1/4 C. mixture
into each of the muffin cups.
Bake 15-20 minutes until just set &
barely beginning to brown on top.
Remove from pan using the tip of a
knife & serve at once. Makes 8

Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad

1 C. Ranch dressing
2 T. taco seasoning, hot or mild

3 C. chicken, cooked/cooled/diced
4 C. Romaine lettuce, chopped (about 1 head)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, seeded/diced
1 C. corn kernels, fresh or frozen
4-5 green onions, sliced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained/rinsed
4 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese (or Pepper Jack),
cut into 1/4″ cubes
1/4 C. cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 of a lime
1 C. tortilla chips, crushed

Optional garnish:
seeded/diced jalapeno
toasted pumpkin seeds
diced avocado (or jicama)

In small bowl stir dressing ingredients
together – refrigerate until ready to use.
In large bowl toss salad ingredients – add
dressing a little at a time, then toss to
lightly coat. Season with salt/pepper &
serve immediately.


Bacon/Potato/Corn Chowder

1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1/4 C. chopped onion
1 1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
(about 5 medium), peeled/cubed
1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

In large skillet cook bacon over medium
heat until crisp, stirring occasionally.
Remove with slotted spoon; drain on
paper towels. Discard drippings but
reserve 1 1/2 tsp. in pan. Add onion to
pan; cook & stir over medium-high heat
until tender. Place potatoes in a large
pot; add water to cover. Bring to boil over
high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook,
uncovered, 10-15 minutes until tender;
drain, reserving 1 C. potato water. Add
corn, milk salt/pepper, potatoes & reserved
potato water to saucepan; heat through.
Stir in bacon & onion & serve. Serves 6


Crockpot Beef & Potato Au Gratin

1 lb. ground beef (touch of salt/pepper
to season)
3 lb. peeled russet potatoes sliced 1/4″
thick (about 7 C. total-sliced)
1 C. thinly sliced onion
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. alt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. chicken or beef broth

In a skillet brown gr. beef; drain & add a
touch of salt/pepper. In small bowl combine
paprika, garlic powder, parsley, salt/pepper.
Add half sliced potatoes to crockpot – sprinkle
half of sliced onion/half seasonings/half
meat & half of cheese – repeat layers.
Drizzle broth evenly over layers. Cover &
cook on High 4 hours. Do not open lid during
cooking time or potatoes will not get soft.
Serves 6

*You can substitute one (12-16 oz) pkg. bacon,
cooked/crumbled in place of the gr. beef

**You can substitute red/Gold/white potatoes
for the russets


Egg Roll Casserole
(tastes like the filling in egg rolls!)

1 bag coleslaw mix
1 lb. pork sausage
2 cloves garlic minced (or garlic
1 tsp. ground ginger
salt, to taste
1/4 C. onion, diced

Brown sausage in large skillet; drain &
add rest of ingredients. Mix, cover & cook
about 5 minutes. Remove lid, stir & adjust
seasonings to taste.


Skillet Fried Corn

8 ears fresh corn (OR)
28 oz. pkg. frozen corn
1 stick butter/margarine
2 T. bacon drippings
1 T. sugar
salt, to taste

Remove husks & silks from fresh
corn; wash & cut corn from cobs;
scrape cobs to get juice. In large
skillet melt butter; add fresh (or
frozen) corn, bacon drippings &
sugar. Cook on medium-high heat
until corn is done, about 15-20
minutes. Add salt to taste.
Serves 6


Amish Cinnamon Bread

1 C. butter, softened
2 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 C. buttermilk*
4 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda

Cinn/Sugar Mixture:
2/3 C. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 2 loaf pans with nonstick cooking
In large bowl cream together 2 C. sugar
& eggs. Add milk, flour & baking soda.
Place half of batter (or a little less) in each
prepared pan. Mix Cinn/Sugar mixture in
a separate bowl.
Sprinkle 3/4ths of cinn mixture on top of
the batter in each pan. Add remaining
batter & smooth. Sprinkle last of cinn
mixture on top of each pan’s batter.
Using a butter knife, swirl the cinn into
the batter a little.
Bake 45-50 minutes until a toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool in pans 20 minutes before removing
from pan. Makes 2 loaves

*IF you don’t have buttermilk:
Add 2 T. vinegar or lemon juice to a 3-cup
measuring cup. Pour enough milk in cup
to reach the 2-cup mark. Stir & let stand
5 minutes – now you have ‘soured/butter-

(recipe: Facebook – Mama’s Favorite Recipes

PB/Choc. Chip Cookie Bites

refrigerated chocolate chip
cookie dough*
12 bite-size Reese’s Peanut Butter cups
Preheat oven to temp. on cookie dough pkg.
Spray a mini (12 cup) muffin tin with nonstick
cooking spray. Place a spoonful of cookie dough
in each muffin tin & bake 10-12 minutes. As soon
as you pull them out of the oven place 1 peanut
butter cup in middle of each cookie & press down.
Let cool a few minutes. Makes 12

*You can substitute this cookie dough:
1 box cake mix (any flavor)
1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In a bowl mix all ingredients together.
Roll dough into balls & place in mini
muffin tins (see above). Bake 8-10 minutes
& follow above recipe.

Makes 12 mini PB/Choc. Chip bites


Again, I hope that you are ALL in good health and
able to cope with the current situation. Have you
found any new crafts/ideas/things to do to keep
your mind off of the situation? Here in Michigan
our Governor just ordered another month of
staying at home – that brings us to the end of
April. (Personally, I’m guessing we won’t be out
of the woods with this until June – HOPING it’s not
longer than that). Good thing? I haven’t gained
any weight! Been really trying to not EAT anything
my little mind descends on (and, believe me – I
can think of something to snack on very quickly!)
How about you?

I’ll close for now – stay safe & in good health;




Here we are into March and it’s been GORGEOUS! Bright, sunny days – I even wore my lighter jacket today; delivered more knit & crocheted baby blankets to Crossroads Pregnancy Center. Just checked the NOAH weather service – it’s 43 degrees F. BUT I probably shouldn’t have looked further – it seems we’re in for up to 50% chance of snow tonight/tomorrow . . . sigh – BUT no more predicted for rest of week so that’s good.

I’m still working on two projects and thought I’d post the pictures. Both are VERY close to being finished. The first is a forest green knit scarf for my friend (who will be the next leader of our special needs group) – her birthday was 1 1/2 weeks ago and I’m really getting antsy to get it done to give to her.

This is the yarn I used to ‘substitute’ for the teal blue I originally ordered/planned on using. The pattern is difficult (probably Intermediate Knitter) – 10 rows; each row requires a LOT of concentration & counting so by the time I’ve knit 10 rows I’m ready for a break!

This is the Zig Zag stitch I mentioned several posts ago. It’s done in mint green. I’ve decided that because, this too, is rather difficult/challenging, I’m going to keep it for a baby shower gift instead of donating it. This is another pattern I probably won’t EVER knit again! Looks pretty (like the above scarf) but really wears me out working on it. (sorry for the complaining . . . )


Mounds Candy Bar Brownies

1 (9 X 13″ size) pan of brownies
5 1/3 C. shredded coconut
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 container chocolate frosting

Prepare brownies & allow to cool
completely. Using elec. mixer – in
large bowl combine coconut, sweeten’d
cond. milk & powdered sugar until all
ingredients are incorporated – spread
over cooled brownies. Remove lid &
foil seal from frosting container – place
container in microwave & microwave
10 seconds until frosting is pourable.
Pour frosting over coconut mixture &
allow to cool & set up.


Crockpot Navy Bean/Vegetable Soup

4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 C. cubed, fully-cooked ham
1 1/2 C. dried navy beans
1 envelope (Knorr) vegetable recipe mix
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 C. water

In 5 qt. crockpot, combine first 9
ingredients; stir in water. Cover &
cook on Low 9-10 hours, until beans
are tender. Discard bay leaf.
Serves 12 (3 qts)


(Cracker Barrel’s) Hashbrown
Casserole Copycat

2 lb. frozen hash browns
1/2 C. margarine or butter, melted
1 (10 1/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 C. Cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 11 X 14″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray. Mix all
ingredients in large bowl & place
in prepared pan. Bake 45 minutes
until brown on top.


Fajita Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T. olive oil
2 T. dry taco seasoning
1 1/2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 C. shredded Mexican cheese

chopped cilantro – for serving
Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick
cooking spray.
Cut horizontal slices across top of
each chicken breast, stopping 1/4″
from bottom (don’t cut all the way
through). Coat chicken with olive oil
& rub taco seasoning into the meat.
Tuck peppers & onion into each slice
in chicken then place on prepared sheet.
Bake 15 minutes, remove & top with
cheese. Bake about 5 minutes more until
cheese is melted & chicken is cooked
through. Serves 4


Crockpot Chicken Tortellini Soup

1 onion, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled/halved &
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley
6 C. chicken broth
1 (9 oz) pkg. cheese tortellini
(optional: chopped fresh parsley
for garnish)
Place onions, carrots, celery, chicken,
garlic, salt/pepper, thyme, parsley &
broth in crockpot. Cover & cook on High
3-4 hours (or 6-8 hrs. on Low). Remove
chicken & shred using 2 forks; return
meat to soup. Add tortellini & cook
10-15 minutes until they are puffy & heated
through. Serve garnished with parsley, if
desired. Serves 4


Kielbasa/Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner

1 lb. baby red potatoes, halved or
2 C. petite baby carrots
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 (13 oz) pkg. pork kielbasa, sliced
into rounds
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 C. olive oil separated: 2 T. &
1 T.)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
salt/cracked black pepper

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil.
In small bowl mix basil, thyme, oregano,
paprika, onion powder, salt/pepper. Place
potatoes & carrots on sheet & drizzle with
2 T. olive oil. Sprinkle half of dry herbs over
top & toss until evenly coated. Bake 20 minutes.
Remove from oven & slide potatoes/carrots to
one end of sheet pan. Add asparagus, onion &
kielbasa slices to sheet. Drizzle with 1 T. olive
oil, remaining dry herbs & garlic – toss to coat.
Spread all ingredients evenly around baking sheet.
Bake 10-15 minutes until veggies are softened &
roasted. Serve warm. Serves 4


Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless
chicken thighs
5 slices bacon
1 small onion, diced
5 jalapeno peppers, minced (seeded &
ribs removed)
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt/black pepper, to taste
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 (14-15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 – 15 oz) can white beans, like
1/2 C. frozen corn
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/3 C. minced cilantro

shredded Cheddar cheese, for serving

Place chicken thighs in a pan with a lid; cover
with water & simmer, covered, until cooked
through. Reserve cooking water & set chicken
aside to cool – cut into bite-sized pieces.
In large soup pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove &
set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Pour out bacon grease, leaving a couple teaspoons
in the pot. With heat on medium, add onion,
jalapenos & garlic to pot. Cook, stirring often,
until they begin to soften; stir in chili powder,
cumin, coriander & some salt/pepper – cook
1 more minute. Pour tomatoes & about 1 C.
of chicken poaching liquid into pot. Add corn,
beans & chicken – bring to low boil. Reduce heat
to a simmer & cook, stirring occasionally, about
15 minutes. Stir in cream cheese – continue to
stir until cream cheese is melted & thoroughly
mixed. Taste for seasoning & adjust salt/pepper,
if needed. If chili is too thick, add a bit more
poaching liquid. Crumble bacon into chili &
stir in cilantro – top with shredded Cheddar
cheese & serve.


Caramelized Brown Butter Cake

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

In heavy skillet on Low heat melt
butter until it begins to foam – stir
about 5 minutes until golden brown &
smells nutty. Transfer to a large heat-
proof bowl & allow to cool in fridge
until solid, about half hour. Once solid
remove from fridge & set aside to bring
back to room temp.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place oven rack on lower middle section
of oven. Butter a non-stick 8 X 4.5″ loaf
pan & dust with powdered sugar. Whisk
browned butter until it becomes creamy,
then add sugar & continue whisking 3-5
minutes until well combined. Whisk in
eggs, one at a time, making sure each is
thoroughly combined before adding the
next. In separate bowl combine flour,
salt & baking powder; slowly whisk flour
mixture into creamed butter until well
combined. Slowly whisk in milk & vanilla;
continue to whisk until smooth; transfer
batter to prepared loaf pan & bake 30
minutes. Remove from oven, loosely cover
with foil & continue baking 20-25 minutes
longer. Allow cake to cool in pan 10-15
minutes then transfer, upside down, onto
a serving platter. Serves 8-10


It’s been a pretty relaxing week so far – haven’t been
asked to babysit (not sure why but am not checking).
I’m attempting to put a little variety in our meals lately –
now that I’m actually only cooking for TWO! (youngest
son really doesn’t eat ‘dinner’ – he’s in & out – usually
makes two peanut butter & jelly sandwiches & he’s good).
Tonight is baked salmon with spinach/4-cheese risotto.
I’m glad my husband doesn’t mind my ‘experimenting’ –
as long as I don’t try too many ‘exotic’ things!

Hope you’re having a GREAT day!



PS: Gas prices have dropped! It’s $1.94/9 for regular! WOW!

No more SNOW!

Our weather finally took a turn – it’s slowly warming up AND the sun has melted ALL the snow in our yard! Hey, I can deal with that! Looking at the rest of the week there’s a 30% chance of snow on Thursday but I’m ‘gambling’ that we don’t get it!


Pistachio Poke Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box instant pistachio pudding mix
1 C. water
1/4 C. vegetable oil
4 large eggs

powdered sugar – garnish/dusting
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a bundt pan with nonstick
cooking spray & lightly dust with flour.
In large bowl beat (using elec. mixer)
cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil & eggs
2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan &
bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick
inserted near center of cake comes
out clean. Let cake cool in pan
15 minutes then invert onto a wire rack
to cool completely. Dust top with powdered
sugar before serving.


One-Pot Spinach/Beef Soup

1 lb. ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (32 oz, ea) cartons beef broth
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes
with green pepper/celery/onion,
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
3 C. uncooked bow tie pasta
4 C. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

grated Parmesan cheese – garnish
In 6 qt. stockpot cook beef & garlic over
medium heat until beef is no longer pink,
breaking up mat into crumbles; 6-8
minutes; drain. Stir in broth, tomatoes &
seasonings; bring to boil. Stir in pasta &
return to boil. Cook, uncovered, until pasta
is tender, 7-9 minutes. Stir in spinach until
wilted & serve sprinkled with cheese.
Serves 8 (2 1/2 qts)


Simple Oven-baked Pork Chops & Rice

1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 C. water
1 C. long grain rice, uncooked
1/4 onion, sliced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3-4 pork chops
salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Stir together soup, water, rice & 1/4 tsp.
pepper in a 3-quart casserole dish. Add
Salt & pepper chops & place on top of
rice. Cover & bake 1 1/4 hours until meat
is done & liquid is absorbed. Remove from
oven & let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 4


Crispy Roasted Potatoes

2 lb. new yellow potatoes, halved
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, whole/peeled/ bruised
2 bay leaves
2 T. salt
2 T. olive oil
1 pinch cayenne pepper

In large pot of water place potatoes. Bruise
fresh rosemary with dull side of a knife blade &
place in pot. Add garlic, bay leaves & salt – bring
to boil. Simmer 5 minutes; drain – let potatoes
air dry.
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
When potatoes are thoroughly dry, transfer them
back to pot. Drizzle with olive oil, cayenne pepper &
a pinch of salt – stir to coat. Transfer to a rimmed
sheet pan & bake until potatoes are golden brown &
crusty and flesh is creamy & soft, about 35-45 minutes,
depending on size of potatoes.


Crockpot Beefy Burrito Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 C. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.5 oz) can Cheddar Cheese soup
1 (15 oz) can refried beans
1 C. Mexican-style shredded cheese

your favorite burrito toppings
Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick cooking spray.
Brown gr. beef in a skillet with onion &
garlic; drain. In a bowl mix together
refried beans & soup then add in
gr. beef – stir to combine & pour into
crockpot. Top with shredded cheese.
Cover & cook on Low 1 1/2 hours
until cheese is melted. Serve on
tortillas & your favorite burrito
toppings. Serves 6


Saltine Toffee Cookies

4 oz. saltine crackers
1 C. butter
1 C. dark brown sugar
2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 C. chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with saltine crackers
in single layer. In a saucepan combine
sugar & butter – bring to boil – boil
3 minutes. Immediately pour mixture
over crackers & spread to cover crackers
completely. Bake 5-6 minutes. Remove
from oven & sprinkle choc. chips on top.
Let stand 5 minutes. Spread melted
chips to cover & top with chopped nuts.
Allow to stand 5 minutes. Cool completely
& break into pieces.


Spinach Artichoke Dip with Roasted

16 oz. cream cheese
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen spinach, thawed/
drained & excess liquid squeezed out
1 1/2 C. Parmesan or Parmigiano
Reggiano cheese
1 (24 oz) jar marinated/quartered
artichoke hearts, drained/coarsely
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 heads garlic, roasted*
chips/corn chips
toasted baguette slices
celery sticks
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a 3 qt. baking dish with nonstick
cooking spray.
In large bowl combine cream cheese &
mayonnaise – mix until well combined.
Add spinach, cheese, artichoke hearts,
lemon juice, pepper & roasted garlic –
stir until combined. Spoon  mixture into
prepared dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until
golden brown & bubbling. Serve with
suggested dippers. Serves 16

*How to roast garlic heads:
2 heads garlic
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea or kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In small baking dish or cast-iron
skillet drizzle a small amount of
olive oil. Cut top quarter or third
of the garlic heads so that the cloves
are exposed. Place in dish with roots
on bottom & cut sides on top. (they
need to be snug in the dish – if needed,
crumble some foil & place between
heads to keep them upright or use a
smaller dish). Drizzle remaining oil
over top of heads & sprinkle with
salt & pepper. Cover dish or skillet
with foil & bake 40-50 minutes.
(garlic is done when it’s ‘fork-tender’
& caramelized) Let cool long enough
to handle before gently pushing the
cloves out of skins. Start from root
end & push up just like squeezing the
last bit of toothpaste out of the tube.


Apple Fritter Cake

1 heaping C.  apples(peeled/
1/3 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
small pinch fresh grated nutmeg
2 T. cornstarch
2 tsp. water

1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 C. butter
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. Greek (or plain) yogurt –
or sour cream
2 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 T. milk
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour 9 X 13″ baking dish.

In small saucepan combine apples,
sugar, water, cinnamon & cornstarch.
Cook on Low heat 5-7 minutes, stirring
constantly until sauce is thickened &
apples are a bit soft. Remove from heat
to cool. In small bowl mix brown sugar &
cinnamon until well combined.


In large bowl cream butter & sugar until
light & fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add
applesauce & vanilla – mix until combined.
Add eggs, one-at-a-time, beating well after
each. Sift dry ingredients together. Add
dry ingredients to batter in three parts,
alternating with yogurt in 2 parts, beginning
& ending with dry ingredients – beat until
just combined. Spoon half of batter into
prepared pan. Spoon cooled apple mixture
over batter carefully & spread evenly. Sprinkle
2/3rds of brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over
apples & cover with rest of batter. Sprinkle
rest of brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over
Bake 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted
into center of cake comes out clean.


While cake is baking prepare glaze.
In a bowl mix powdered sugar, vanilla &
milk until glaze is desired consistency. When
cake comes out of oven – immediately,
but carefully
pour glaze onto hot cake.
(try to pour as evenly as possible). You
might have to pick up cake pan & tilt it to
spread glaze evenly. Let cake stand while
for glaze to set.



It’s been quiet around here lately – last week I only
had to babysit for about 2 hours. Saturday was youngest
grandson’s 3rd birthday party; I felt sorry for him because
he had a cold and was pretty grumpy for most of it. He got
a LOT of toys (I knew he would). Not sure yet when I’ll be
watching him this week, usually it’s Thurs/Friday – one or
both days. His dad will be having his 37th birthday next
week – he’s our oldest; my, how time flies, eh?

Hope your week goes even better than you expect!



And now it’s WINTER, again…

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

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


Cinna-bun Cake

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

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

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

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

While cake is baking prepare glaze.

Remove cake from oven & glaze while
still warm.


Philly Cheese Steak Casserole

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

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


Deconstructed Wonton Soup

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

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


Crockpot Pepper Steak

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


Biscuits & Gravy Breakfast Casserole

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

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


Chicken Barley Soup

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


Crockpot Mediterranean Lentil Soup

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

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

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

reading comments on this soup

1 person substituted spinach greens
for escarole/1 substituted kale

-1 person added a Parmesan cheese
rind to the soup

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


Pecan Cheesecake Squares

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Hope you have a WARM, cozy day!