Anybody got yarn? (and other happenings)


Yesterday at church a friend gave me 3 boxes and 3 big bags full of yarn – she was helping her friend get rid of her mom’s stuff. Not a great photo (I accidentally deleted the good one) but you get the idea. There is one huge bag full of SETS of yarn – like 9-12 big skeins of BRIGHT ORANGE (have no idea what you’d make with that) – I took enough to make 2-3 baby blankets and some scarves; the rest will go to the Knit group January 17th for our Yarn Swap. In amidst the yarns I found a kind of neat scarf – it wasn’t finished (not exactly sure what the creator’s “method” was for doing it – TONS of ends sticking out and LOOPS! Crazy! Took me awhile to get it together & finish it (had a good photo of ‘before’ too, but deleted it…ooops). Here’s the finished product – it will make a nice man’s scarf for the homeless: (it’s folded up in photo)


Sunday was our choir’s Christmas program and I was very happy to be able to participate – you see, Saturday night after practice (around 8:30 p.m.) I walked out of church, being VERY careful of where/how I was walking when my feet went totally out from under me and I fell flat on my back. Never before have I experienced having the wind knocked out of me – that’s scary! I couldn’t breathe! My friend saw the whole thing and was yelling across the parking lot: “Pam! ARE YOU OK?”  I couldn’t speak OR breathe – my brain kept saying: “Roll OVER, you IDIOT! Suck in some air!” so I did – took a few minutes but was able to sit up. Two guys from choir came over to help me stand, one walked me to the car. My first thought was: “OH NO! My scoliosis! WHAT did just do to my back!?” but it was OK – two days later I’m still a little stiff & sore; apparently I also hit my elbow as it’s a little sore BUT NOTHING’S BROKEN! PRAISE THE LORD! It was one of those freak things: I had boots on, I was VERY careful how I was walking – I remember thinking: “OK – TINY, BABY…steps – OOOOOOOooooo, falling – this is gonna hurt when I hit!” My friend was freaking out – she thought I had a concussion – I hit my head, but not hard at all. AH, the FUN of getting older, eh? Another friend in my Sunday School class (same age as me) fell last week & broke her leg; she thought it was her knee, but her husband said: “No, you broke your tibia!” (bone that runs from kneecap to foot, in front). Been taking it easy since after church yesterday – nothing on my agenda, per se, until tomorrow night’s Knit/Crochet night. The second tree is still not up, nor the lights but if that’s all we have – it’s STILL OK!


Peppermint Delight

1 (15.5 oz) pkg. Oreo cookies,
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 gallon Peppermint ice cream,
slightly softened
1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip,
1 (11 3/4 oz) jar hot fudge ice
cream topping, warmed
crushed peppermint candies

In large bowl combine cookie
crumbs & butter; press into an
ungreased 9 X 13″ baking dish.
Spread softened ice cream
over crust; top with Cool
Whip. Cover & freeze until
solid. (May be frozen up to
2 months).
Just before serving, drizzle top
with hot fudge topping &
sprinkle with crushed candies.
Serves 12-15

Chocolate-Peppermint Striped

45 vanilla wafers, finely crushed
(about 1 1/2 C.)
1/4 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. sugar, divided
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
3 C. plus 2 T. cold milk, divided
1/4 C. finely crushed candy canes
1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed,
2 (3.9 oz, ea) pkgs. chocolate
instant pudding mix
1/4 C. coarsely crushed candy

Combine wafer crumbs, butter &
2 T. sugar; press onto bottom of
9 X 13″ baking dish; refrigerate
until ready to use.
Beat cream cheese, remaining
sugar and 2 T. milk in medium
bowl until blended. Stir in
finely crushed candy canes. Add
1 1/4 C. Cool Whip; mix well then
spread over crust. Beat pudding
mixes & remaining milk with
whisk 2 minutes; pour over
cream cheese layer. Let stand
5 minutes until thickened. Cover
with remaining Cool Whip.
Refrigerate 4 hours. Top with
coarsely crushed candy canes
just before serving.
Serves 24


Prosciutto Pizza Rolls


1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried oregano, divided
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 (16 oz) pkg. ready-to-bake
pizza dough
3 oz. prosciutto
1 C. shredded mozzarella
1 C. chopped, fresh basil

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray baking sheet with nonstick
spray. In small bowl mix tomato
sauce, paste, vinegar, basil, garlic,
pepper, 1 tsp. oregano & 2 tsp.
olive oil to make pizza sauce.
Roll out pizza dough to 14″ X 8 1/2″
inch rectangle. Spread 1/2 C. of
sauce evenly over dough, reserving
remaining sauce for dipping. Lay out
prosciutto on top & sprinkle evenly
with cheese & basil. Using a pizza
cutter, cut dough in half down
length. Next, cut each half into
8 even strips. Roll each strip
carefully & place on baking sheet
seam-sides down. Brush tops
with remaining olive oil & sprinkle
tops with remaining oregano.
Bake 12 minutes until golden
brown. Serves 12

Sausage-Cheddar Balls

1 lb. mild country sausage
2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar
1 1/2 C. Bisquick mix

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine sausage & cheese in large
bowl; blend in Bisquick with hands
until well mixed. Roll mixture into
1 inch balls & place on ungreased
baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes
until golden brown. Serve warm
or at room temperature. Serves 20


Crockpot Cube Steak & Gravy

1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6-8 pieces cube steak
2 T. oil
2 C. beef broth

Mix flour, dry mustard, salt/
pepper & garlic powder in ziplock
bag. Add cube steak, zip bag &
toss bag to coat all meat. (Reserve
excess flour mixture for later step)
Heat oil in a skillet (or browning
crockpot). Brown cube steak on all
sides but do not cook through. Mix
any excess flour with broth & pour
into crockpot. Add steak & cook on
High 90 minutes – 2 1/2 hours until
steaks are fork-tender & sauce has
thickened. Serves 4-6


Baked Orange Chicken

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt/pepper, to taste
1 1/2 C. cornstarch
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 C. canola oil

2/3 C. brown sugar
2/3 C. orange juice
1/4 C. soy sauce
2 tsp. sriracha sauce
3 T. white vinegar
3 T. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. cornstarch

Cooked rice for 4-6

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces &
season with salt/pepper. In separate
bowls, place cornstarch & slightly
beaten eggs. Dip chicken in cornstarch
then into egg mixture. Heat oil in large
skillet over medium-high heat & cook
chicken until lightly browned. Spray a
9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick spray
& place chicken in dish. In medium bowl
whisk brown sugar, orange juice, srirach,
apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, soy
sauce, garlic salt & cornstarch – pour
over chicken. Bake 1 hour. Serves 4-6

(Note: serve over rice, if desired)


Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

8 medium russet potatoes, peeled/
chopped into 1″ pieces
2 large onions, chopped
6 T. butter
1/2 C. sour cream

Place 2 T. butter & chopped onions
in large skillet over medium-low heat;
cook slowly, stirring occasionally until
golden in color & fragrant. Add quartered
potatoes to large pot of boiling salted
water; cover & turn heat to Low. Cook
about 10 minutes, until fork-tender. Drain
& add to large bowl with sour cream, onions
& rest of butter. Mash using potato masher
or elec. mixer until desired consistency.


Cream of Turkey soup

1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
1 C. diced onions
1 C. diced leeks (white part only)
1 C. diced celery
1 C. diced carrots
1 C. new red potatoes, peeled/diced
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dry thyme
1/4 C. dry white wine or water
5 C. turkey stock
4 C. cooked, diced turkey meat
1/4 C. Half & Half or light cream

In large pot melt butter & add onions,
leeks, celery, carrots & potatoes. Saute
over medium high heat 5-10 minutes
until almost tender. Reduce to medium &
add flour, salt/pepper, sage & thyme – cook
5 minutes, stirring with wooden spoon &
being careful the mixture does not stick.
Add wine (or water) & scrape up any
browned bits from bottom of pan. Add
stock, bring to boil & reduce to simmer.
Cook 10-15 minutes until vegetables are
tender & soft. Remove several batches
of soup to a blender & puree – add back
to pot. Add turkey & heat to hot; add
cream & serve. Serves 6-8


White Chocolate Fudge

3 (4 oz, ea) pkgs. white chocolate,
broken into pieces
3/4 C. canned sweetened condensed
1 C. almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 C. dried cranberries
1 T. orange zest

Line 8 X 8″ baking pan with foil,
extending ends over sides. Microwave
chocolate & milk in microwaveable
bowl on High 2-3 minutes until
chocolate is almost melted; stir until
chocolate is completely melted &
mixture is well blended. Add
remaining ingredients; mix well.
Spread mixture on bottom of
prepared pan & refrigerate 2
hours until firm. Using foil handles,
remove fudge from pan & cut into
squares. Makes 24 servings


1 1/2 pkgs (4 oz, ea) semi-sweet
chocolate, broken into small
3 C. miniature marshmallows

Spray a baking sheet with
nonstick spray. Melt chocolate
as directed on pkg. Place
marshmallows in large bowl &
pour melted chocolate over; toss
until evenly coated. Drop rounded
tablespoons of mixture into 24
mounds on prepared sheet.
Refrigerate 1 hour until firm.


I’m still trying to figure out the
foods for Christmas dinner –
so far not so much luck. (I do better
if I don’t think someone is double-
guessing my choices . . . sigh). I know
it will all be great and there will be
more than enough to feed all nine
of us so I shouldn’t worry…just me,
I guess.

Our weather has been getting
much colder BUT no snow (so far); it’s
a ‘balmy’ 15 with a wind chill that
makes it feel like 3 degrees F above
zero – fun! The sun is out, the roads
are clear so for those who want to
go out, it’s great driving weather!
I’m going to wait another day or so
before venturing far – still a little
achy and don’t want to ‘push it’.

Hope you all stay SAFE and WARM;



PS: Noticed gas prices went up a tiny bit,
from $2.19/9 to $2.21/9 – not too
bad considering we’re into the last
week of HOLIDAY shopping, etc.

Hangin’ with the OWLS and other things –


First, since the cute Snoopy clipart showed up, just had to post it. Our weather temperatures have drastically changed since this time last week – woke up to 32 degrees F. (Yes, here in Michigan that CAN be the exact temperature when we get that dreaded “S” word – snow). If we had pumpkins I could have said there was definitely FROST on those pumpkins! It’s sunny, breezy and now up to 43 balmy degrees so I can’t complain too much. First thing found me getting out to return library books (found out they were closed for Veteran’s Day – which was YESTERDAY! UGH!) Oh well – was able to use the ‘side of the building’ return slot, so at least they won’t be over-due! Made a quick trek to Tim Horton’s for husband’s favorite coffee pods and tried out their ‘special: small hot cocoa for $1.00’ – it was good. Next was a quick trip to the grocery store where I found myself being seduced by two items: fresh broccoli and some really nice looking pork chops on sale; yes, dinner very soon will be broiled BBQ pork chops, baked potatoes & broccoli with cheese sauce – YUM! Tonight’s dinner will be Potato Soup – haven’t made it in awhile and, with the cold temperatures, it just seemed to be the ‘thing’ to make!

I have some GREAT NEWS! Just got the results back from my doctor’s visit on Tuesday for a chest x-ray and ultrasound of my abdomen. When I went to see my oncologist last week (cancer doctor) he requested I get these tests done – just as a preventative, last thing after being Five Years Cancer Free. To put it mildly, it made me feel a little unsettled – if I’m now cancer-free, WHY these tests? Oh well, being the good little patient I am, I had them done. Results: ALL GOOD- ALL CLEAR! YAY! Thank You, Lord!

To fill you in on the OWL story: I think I mentioned in a few posts back that I wanted to knit a baby hat for our unborn grandson – his Momma decorated his room in all owl designs so I felt a little owl hat would go good with the baby blanket. Searching for just the right pattern took some time, as did the knitting of the hat & attempting to make the face ‘cute’. When I showed my friend (the leader of my special needs group) the photo of the baby hat she immediately said: “Can you make an adult one for my daughter in Colorado? She LOVES owls!” (Normally I would NOT go for any requests like that but since she is one of my closest friends, I said “I’ll try”. Let’s just say, with researching a pattern that would fit the hat I had in mind took me almost 2 days (hence why I haven’t been writing here). Lots of really cute patterns – some in other languages (Russian/Chinese, etc.) – let’s just say I skipped those. Some I couldn’t figure out how to extract the cute owl pattern from the rest of the pattern – UGH! FINALLY I found a dishcloth pattern that fit my needs & immediately set to knitting up a test ‘swatch’. (another hour at least). Started on the hat late afternoon yesterday (lots of math figuring, to make sure the pattern would fit exactly in the middle of the hat, etc.) Worked on it a good 2 hours then put it down when I noticed that I didn’t like the way I’d done a few rows (time to rip them back – I gave up on that last night). Got up early this morning and set to ripping out 4 1/2 rows (92 stitches per row) until I was finally back where I wanted to be. Long story – I still have about 1 – 1  1/2 hours left of knitting then it will be done. I will post a photo of both the baby owl had and the adult one soon. Some days I just don’t FEEL like knitting any more . . . sigh.


No-Bake Marshmallow
Pumpkin Pie

1 (10 oz) pkg. large marshmallows
1 C. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
1 (9 inch) graham cracker
pie crust

additional Cool Whip, for topping

In large saucepan combine first
6 ingredients; cook & stir over
medium heat 8-10 minutes until
marshmallows are melted; remove
from heat & cool to room temp.
Fold in Cool Whip & spoon into
crust. Refrigerate 3 hours until set.
Serve with additional Cool Whip
for topping, if desired. Makes 8


Southern Green Beans w/Bacon

4 strips thick-cut bacon
2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
3 C. water
3 C. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 T. butter, unsalted
1/3 C. sliced almonds

Cook bacon in large Dutch oven
until crisp; drain on paper towels &
cut into pieces. Reserve bacon
grease-add beans, water, broth,
garlic powder, seasoning salt/
pepper to pot & bring to a boil.
Simmer 20-30 minutes until beans
are tender. Drain beans into a
strainer & return to pot on stove.
Add butter & almonds; cook over
medium heat, swirling pot, until
butter becomes golden brown &
gives off a nutty aroma. Stir beans
& bacon into butter & heat through,
making sure to coat everything with
butter. Serve warm. Serves 6-8


Pepper Jack Scalloped Potatoes

6 large russet potatoes, peeled/
rinsed/dried/sliced 1/4″ or
1/4 C. unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/4 C. milk
1 1/4 C. Half & Half
2 1/4 C. Pepper Jack cheese,
freshly grated

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray 9 X 13″ baking dish
with nonstick spray. In medium pan,
saute onion in butter over medium
heat until softened. Add flour & stir
to incorporate well. Slowly add milk &
cream; whisk together – season with
salt/pepper. Continue stirring until
mixture is bubbly & thickened; remove
from heat & add 1 1/4 C. Pepper Jack
cheese – stir until creamy. Evenly layer
half of sliced potatoes in prepared dish;
pour half of sauce onto potatoes & spread
evenly using back of a spoon. Evenly layer
remaining potatoes & cover with remaining
sauce, evenly. Sprinkle top with remaining
1 C. cheese. Bake, uncovered, 45-55 minutes
until a fork easily pierces the potato slices.
(cooking time will depend on thickness of
potato slices).
Remove from oven & cool 10 minutes
before serving. Serves 6


Sweet Potato Casserole

2 lb. sweet potatoes, cleaned
4 T. melted butter
1/4 C. milk
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 egg

1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. flour
4 T. melted butter
1/2 C. chopped pecans

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a sheet pan with foil &
spray with nonstick spray. Prick
potatoes with a fork & place on
pan. Bake until tender, 45 minutes-
1 hour. When potatoes are cool
enough to handle, cut them open,
scoop out insides & place potato
insides in a large bowl. Add 4 T.
butter, milk, brown sugar, spices
& egg to bowl. Use a potato masher
or food processor to mash/blend
until mostly smooth. Spray a 9 X 9″
pan or 2 qt. baking dish with nonstick
spray. Discard skins or use for another
Spread sweet potato  mixture into
pan evenly. In another bowl, mix brown
sugar, flour, melted butter & pecans,
until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of potatoes
& bake 25-30 minutes until topping has
lightly browned. Serve immediately
Serves 6


Bacon Cheeseburger Pie

1 T. olive oil
1 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. chopped dill pickles
1 tsp. pickle juice
1 T. yellow or Dijon mustard
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 C. milk
1 large egg
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
8 strips bacon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet over medium heat
heat oil. Add onion & cook until
tender. Add garlic & cook 1 minute.
Add ground beef; cook until no
longer pink, 5-7 minutes; drain &
remove from heat. Season with
salt/pepper, Worc., dill pickles,
pickle juice & mustard – stir to
combine. Line a pie plate with
refrigerated pie crust & transfer
beef mixture to crust. In small bowl
whisk milk & egg; pour over beef &
top with Cheddar. Make a bacon
by placing 4 strips of bacon
on top of the pie. Flip 2 back & place
1 slice on top, then flip back the
2 slices & flip up the other 2,
creating a ‘weave’. Cover crust
with foil & bake 35 minutes. If
bacon needs to be cooked more,
place under broiler 3-5 minutes.
Let cool 10 minutes then serve.
Serves 4


Grandma’s Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
1 (28 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian-style diced
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped
broccoli, thawed/well-drained
1 (15 oz) tub ricotta cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
10 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In large skillet
brown beef over medium heat
8-10  minutes until no pink
remains, crumbling meat as it
cooks; drain. Add spaghetti
sauce, tomatoes & salt; stir
until well blended. In medium
bowl combine broccoli, ricotta
& Parmesan cheeses; mix in egg.
Spread 2 C. sauce mixture over
bottom of prepared dish. Press
4 uncooked noodles lengthwise
over sauce & place 1 noodle
crosswise across each end of
dish, completely covering
sauce mixture. Spread
ricotta mixture evenly over noodles
then sprinkle with 1 C. mozzarella
cheese. Top with 1 1/2 C. sauce then
arrange remaining noodles over
sauce, pressing lightly into sauce.
Spread remaining sauce over top.
Bake 55 minutes until noodles
are tender. Remove from oven &
sprinkle with remaining 1/2 C.
mozzarella; cover with foil & let
stand 10 minutes. Cut & serve.
Serves 6


Beef Barley Soup

1 T. butter
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 C. chopped onion
4 C. beef broth
4 C. water
2 C. chopped, cooked roast beef
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 C. quick-cooking barley
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. frozen peas

In 6 qt. stockpot, heat butter over
medium-high heat; saute carrot,
celery & onion until tender, 4-5
minutes. Add broth, water, beef,
tomatoes, barley & seasonings;
bring to boil. Reduce heat &
simmer, covered, 20 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Add beef
& peas, heat through, about
5 minutes. Serves 8 (3 qts)


Crockpot Gingerbread
Pudding Cake

1/2 C. molasses
1 C. water
1/4 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 C. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 C. chopped pecans
6 T. brown sugar
3/4 C. hot water
2/3 C. butter, melted

Cool Whip (thawed), whipping
cream optional toppings

Spray insides of crockpot
with nonstick spray.
Mix molasses & 1 C. water. In a
bowl cream softened butter & sugar
until light & fluffy; beat in egg
white & vanilla. In another bowl whisk
together flour, baking soda, salt &
spices; add to creamed mixture
alternately with  molasses mixture,
beating well after each addition;
fold in pecans. Pour mixture into
prepared crockpot & sprinkle top
with brown sugar. Mix hot water &
melted butter; pour over batter (DO
NOT STIR). Cover & cook on High
until a toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean (2 to 2 1/2 hours).
Turn off crockpot, let stand 15 minutes.
If desired serve with optional
toppings. Serves 8



Well, that’s all the excitement around here lately –
hope you are able to enjoy this Fall weather AND
stay nice & warm!



PS: Forgot to mention: gas prices around
here have dropped to $1.99/9 – WOW!



Today I am officially FIVE YEARS CANCER FREE!


While chatting with my Oncologist (cancer doctor) I said: “So – see you in a year?” He said: “No, you’re done!” WOW! (I will still have to see my Radiologist, probably once a year, not sure yet, but for the most part, I’m done with all the doctors! YAY!)

Today was supposed to be in the 50’s but it’s 69 degrees F. sunny and gorgeous! What a great way to celebrate MY DAY! I stopped at the Salvation Army store near the cancer center and bought 5 paperbacks – they have used books for sale: .50 cents paperback/$1.00 hardbacks – more murder/mysteries for me!

Lots of Fall/Thanksgiving recipes comin’ in so here ya go:


Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

2/3 C. flour
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3/4 C. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. evaporated milk
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Whipped cream – topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper
liners. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking
powder, baking soda, salt & pumpkin
pie spice. In large bowl whisk pumpkin
puree, sugar, eggs, vanilla & evap.
milk until well combined. Add dry
ingredients to wet & whisk until no
streaks of flour remain & batter is
smooth. Fill each muffin cup with
approx. 1/3 C. batter. Bake 20 minutes
& let cool 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes
from tin & chill in fridge 30 minutes. Top
with whipped cream & sprinkle tops
with more pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
before serving. Makes 12.


Overnight Apple French Toast

1 C. brown sugar, packed
1/2 C. butter
2 T. light corn syrup
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled/
cored/sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 eggs
1 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
9 slices day-old French bread
1 C. applesauce
1 (10 oz) jar apple jelly
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Combine brown sugar, butter &
corn syrup in small saucepan;
cook over Low heat until thick.
Pour into ungreased 9 X 13″
baking dish. Arrange sliced apples
on top of syrup. Beat eggs, milk
& vanilla in shallow dish. Dip
bread slices in egg mixture &
arrange over apple slices. Cover
& refrigerate overnight. Uncover
& remove 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Bake 35-40 minutes until top of
bread is browned. Combine
remaining ingredients in a saucepan
& cook over medium heat until
jelly is melted. Serve toast with
apple slices on top & spoon the
warm sauce over the apples.
Serves 6-8


30-Minute Garlic Roasted Chicken

2 T. olive oil
4 skin-on, boneless chicken breasts
(about 1 1/2 lb)
salt/ground black pepper
2 heads garlic
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 slices sourdough bread,
grilled or toasted
2 T. white wine vinegar

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet
over medium-high heat. Season
chicken with salt/pepper & cook,
skin-sides down, until browned,
5 minutes. Separate the heads of
garlic into cloves but do not peel.
Flip chicken, add garlic & rosemary
to skillet & transfer to oven. Roast
until chicken is cooked through but
still moist, 15-20 minutes. Place
bread on a platter & top each
sliced with a chicken breast. Add
vinegar to skillet & scrape any
browned bits with a wooden spoon.
Add 3 T. water & simmer until sauce
thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
Pour sauce & garlic over chicken/
bread. You can squeeze the garlic
out of the skin & spread on chicken
or bread. Serves 4


Sausage & Wild Rice Casserole

1 box Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice, cooked
accordg. to pkg. directions
1 lb. sausage, cooked/drained
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 1/2 C. mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients & place in
greased casserole dish. Bake
30 minutes. Serves 6-8


Crockpot Garlic Parsley Potatoes

1 1/2 lb. new potatoes, washed
1/4 C. olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. dried parsley (or fresh
parsley, finely minced)
salt/pepper, to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel away
ONE strip of peel around middle of
each potato & place in bottom of
crockpot. Drizzle olive oil over top
then sprinkle with garlic & parsley;
toss with a spoon to coat each
potato with oil/seasonings. Cover &
cook on Low 4-6 hours until potatoes
are fork-tender. Serves 4


Spiced Harvest Pumpkin Soup

6 medium carrots, shredded
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
3 T. butter
1 medium apple, peeled/shredded
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (29 oz) can solid-pack pumpkin
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1/4 C. minced fresh parsley
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 C. milk
1 C. heavy whipping cream

salted pumpkin seeds

In Dutch oven saute carrots,
onion & celery in butter 4 minutes.
Add apple & garlic; cook 2 minutes
longer until tender. Stir in pumpkin,
broth, parsley & seasonings – bring
to boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer
20 minutes. Add milk & cream; cool
slightly. Place mixture in a blender &
process in batches until smooth.
Return all to pan & heat through.
Garnish servings with pumpkin seeds.
Serves 10 (2 1/2 quarts)


Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip
(overnight recipe)

1 1/2 C. butter, softened
2 C. sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 C. molasses
4 C. flour
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
(additional sugar)

Pumpkin Dip:

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
2 C. canned pumpkin pie mix
2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Cream butter & sugar until light &
fluffy. Beat in eggs & molasses.
Combine next 6 ingredients; add to
creamed mixture & mix well.
Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Shape dough into 1/2 inch balls;
roll in additional sugar & place
(2 inches apart) on ungreased
cookie sheets. Bake until edges
begin to brown, about 6 minutes.
Cool 2 minutes before removing
to a wire rack.

Beat cream cheese until smooth;
beat in pumpkin pie mix. Add
powdered sugar, cinnamon & ginger –
mix well. Serve with cookies on the
side. Refrigerate any leftover dip.

Makes about 20 dozen cookies and
3 Cups dip



That’s all the good news from here, today.



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!



Enjoying the quite/rest – for now . . .


After the past crazy/hectic week I’m definitely enjoying the semi-rest/quiet. Yesterday went OK – early on…church/change clothes, grandson’s football game EXCEPT – the team that played before his went over time – WAY over time which put his team way over, also. I’m sitting there looking at my watch (choir practice starts at 4:45 p.m. a good 20-25 minutes away from where I am)…time is getting VERY close to 4 p.m. and there’s still the FOURTH quarter to go! By this time I’m pretty exhausted – it’s semi-warm out but directly in front of us is the team’s cheer leaders. We’re talking 7-9 year olds (I’m guessing here) – screaming & yelling the ENTIRE game – UGH! I’m sorry – I’m not one for seeing little girls dolled up like the show “Toddlers & Tiaras” (make up, outfits that are not really for little girls, etc.) so all I want to do is watch the FOOTBALL game. Finally I make the decision to just stay for the end of the game and chuck choir practice/evening church/church business meeting and then go home. Got home & took a 1 1/2 hour NAP – I was whipped!

Today is the ‘annual’ (both sides) Mammogram – you know the drill, ladies: this is where I get up on my soapbox and urge you STRONGLY to go get your Mammograms. Bottom line: if I hadn’t done that five years ago who knows what would have happened – I’m quickly approaching the 5-year mark for being breast cancer FREE-YES, a routine mammogram caught the 3 tumors. They were very small and very close to my rib wall (in fact, had the first surgery not come back with what they call a ‘dirty margin’ – means there might be more cancer cells in the area – I might be still carrying cancer in my body.) I praise the LORD that my 5 year anniversary is quickly coming up – not sure, exactly, when the oncologist (my main cancer doctor) declares me Cancer Free – it could be December or January – I’ll have to find out then. I do know, looking back, it was 4 days ago 5 years ago that I had my first cancer surgery (then another one 2 weeks later). MAMMOGRAMS CAN SAVE LIVES! Please go get yours – we want to see you around to enjoy your life!


Layered Peanut Butter Dessert Dip

1 C. creamy peanut butter
1/2 C. Marshmallow creme (Kraft)
1/2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
1/4 C. coconut, toasted
1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted/
2 T. cocktail peanuts

Optional ‘dippers’:
sliced fruit, vanilla cookies, graham

Spread peanut butter onto bottom of
8 inch pie plate. Mix marshmallow
creme & Cool Whip until blended;
spread over peanut butter. Top with
remaining ingredients.
Makes 16 (2 T. ea) servings

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Crockpot Balsamic Chicken & Carrots

4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1 lb. carrots, washed/peeled
2 T. butter
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1/4 C. honey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
1 tsp. jarred minced garlic
pinch red pepper flakes

Melt butter in skillet over medium-high
heat. Add chicken, skin sides down, &
let brown 5-6 minutes until golden
brown. Flip & brown 2-3 minutes on
other side. Whisk vinegar, honey,
salt, cilantro, garlic & red pepper flakes
together. Place chicken & whole carrots
in crockpot – pour balsamic mixture
over top. Cover & cook on High 3-4
hours or Low 6-8 hours. Serves 4


Baked Steak with Gravy

1 C. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
6-8 beef cube steaks
1 tsp. butter
2 (10 3/4 oz, ea) cans golden
mushroom soup
2 1/2 C. water
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms,

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Mix flour, salt & pepper in a
shallow pie pan. Dredge steaks in
mixture. Melt butter in a skillet
over medium heat; add steaks &
brown on both sides. Arrange
steaks in a lightly greased 9 X 13″
baking dish. Combine soup, water
& mushrooms – pour over steaks.
Cover with foil & bake 45-50
minutes. Remove foil, bake an
additional 15 minutes. Serves 6-8


Country Potato Bake

1 lb. pkg. frozen shredded
hash browns
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken
1 C. sour cream
1/4 C. margarine, melted
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp/crumbled
1 (2.8 oz) can French-fried onions

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spread hashbrowns evenly in lightly
sprayed 9 X 13″ baking dish. Mix
soup, sour cream & marg. together
& pour over top. Sprinkle top with
cheese, bacon & onions. Cover with
foil & bake 45 minutes. Serves 12


Three-Bean Salad

1 (16 oz) can green beans, drained
1 (16 oz) can yellow beans, drained
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans rinsed/
1 onion, sliced
3/4 C. sugar
2/3 C. vinegar
1/3 C. oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried oregano

Mix beans & onion together in
bowl. Combine remaining ingredients
in a saucepan & heat until sugar
dissolves – pour over beans.
Refrigerate at least 12 hours prior
to serving. Serves 12


Zippy Zucchini Pasta

1 (7 oz) pkg. angel hair pasta or
thin spaghetti
2 small zucchini, cut into
1/4″ pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
1 (14.5 oz) can Mexican diced
tomatoes, undrained
1/4 C. minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 – 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Cook pasta accordg. to pkg.
directions. In large skillet saute
zucchini & garlic in oil until
zucchini is crisp-tender. Add
tomatoes, parsley, oregano & pepper
flakes; heat through. Drain pasta,
serve with zucchini mixture.
Serves 3


Amish Apple Dessert

1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/4 C. milk (divided into 1/2 C.
and 3/4 C.)
5-6 C. peeled/cored/sliced apples
(about 10) place in water with a
little lemon juice to prevent browning)
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray a 8 X 8″, or 9 X 9″ baking
dish with nonstick spray. Mix flour,
baking powder, salt & 1/2 C. milk
in small bowl. (dough will be quite
soft). Take half of dough & roll out
onto a flour-dusted surface until it
is the size of the bottom of the
pan you are using. Carefully transfer
dough to pan – use your fingers to
form dough to cover bottom of pan.
Whisk eggs & 3/4 C. milk. Drain apples
& place them evenly over dough in pan –
sprinkle with cinnamon & 3/4 C. sugar.
Roll out remaining dough large enough
to mostly cover apples in pan. Pour
egg/milk mixture over apples. Carefully
place rolled dough on top – you do not
need to seal it to edges. Bake 45 minutes
until apples are soft & custard is set.


Haven’t received my ‘driving times’ for this week
yet (grandson transport). All is well with oldest
son & his girlfriend (after her roll-over car
accident) – she’s still a little bruised, but she &
baby are fine. Middle son is settling into his new
job as front desk clerk at Hilton – he said it’s either
really slow or really hectic but he’s getting used to
it. Other than that, this week is looking up –
tomorrow is knit/crochet night, Weds. is my
usual special needs group and coming up Saturday
is a Moms-to-Moms sale! I’ve never been to one
before but I’m told they are very ‘grandma’
friendly – I’m looking for some good prices on
a used Pack ‘n Play, maybe a changing table and
a high chair – we’ll see what happens (I’m
EXCITED! BABY shopping – YAY!)

Have a GREAT week!



PS: We’re almost into Fall weather – I had to wear
long pants and a sweater this morning – it was really
CHILLY! 68 degrees F. ; supposed to warm up into the
70’s later today – YAY!

Finishing up!

Lessons from a Christmas tree

Today is the last of the ‘getting ready for Christmas’ days; I’m still definitely not up to ‘snuff’ (sort of feel like the fatigue I had while going through radiation) but still managed to get a few things on my list done. Got the “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” cake baked & frosted, wrapped all the presents & did a quick dusting/swiffering of the living & dining rooms (husband was most gracious to do the vacuuming for me yesterday). Went out really early to the dollar store – we were out of paper towels! I chose there because I knew it wouldn’t be as busy/crowded as a grocery or drug store – I was right. Got in & out in about 10 minutes (paper towels, pop, kleenex and 2 sets of ‘ear buds’ for younger sons- they’re always losing them!).  Been mostly doing something, then resting, do another thing, rest more. Finished another book by the two authors I mentioned last post (1 day total read). Since I just finished the book, next on my list is coloring my hair (Yes – it needs it!). Dinner tonight is the last of the meatloaf. I ‘might’ make the cran/raspberry jello later, or I might make it tomorrow – we’ll see. Thank heavens for antibiotics – can’t imagine how ‘rough’ I’d feel if I had let this UTI go for a few more days (say, calling next Monday for an appointment). Really like my OB/GYN – I said to him that I was really glad to get in the day I called. His response: “If you are one of my patients and you are sick or in pain, there is NO reason why you shouldn’t be seen as quickly as possible – we leave openings in our daily schedule just for that.” What a guy!


Cherries Jubilee Cheesecake Bars

1 box (Betty Crocker) super moist
cherry chip cake mix
1/2 C. butter or marg, softened
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 tub (Betty Crocker) rich & creamy
cherry frosting
3 eggs

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
In large bowl beat dry cake mix &
butter using elec. mixer on Low
speed until crumbly; reserve 1
C. mixture. In bottom of ungreased
9 X 13″ baking dish press remaining
crumbly mixture. Bake about 45
minutes (about 42 minutes for
dark or nonstick pan) until set.
Cool completely. Cover & refrigerate
at least 2 hours until chilled

For Bars:
cut into 6 rows by 6 rows. Store
covered in refrigerator. Makes 36

(recipe: Sara Green – Facebook)

Cheesy Chicken/Bacon & Tater Tot

1 (32 oz) bag tater tots
3 oz. crumbed, cooked bacon
1 lb. skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 C. shredded Colby cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded Monterrey jack cheese
3/4 C. milk
salt & pepper

Grease insides of crockpot. Layer half of
tater tots on bottom; sprinkle half bacon
on top. Combine the 2 cheeses; sprinkle
1/3 of it over mixture in pot. Sprinkle
chicken with salt & pepper & place in
crockpot. Top with another 1/3 cheeses,
sprinkle with rest of bacon, then top with
tater tots. Top mixture with rest of cheeses.
Pour milk over top. Cook on High 4-5 hours.
(check at around 3 hours for doneness of

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe Exchange)

BBQ’d Bacon-wrapped Mushrooms

1 (8 oz) pkg. large button mushrooms
1 lb. pepper bacon, room temp –
slices cut in half
4 T. BBQ sauce

Cut stems off mushrooms; rinse briefly
& dry well with paper towels. Wrap each
mushroom with bacon strip half (use 2
if cap is not completely covered). Bacon
will stick to mushrooms – no need for
toothpicks. In medium saute pan over
medium-high heat, saute wrapped
mushrooms until bacon is golden brown.
As bacon begins to crisp, add BBQ sauce
& toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Serves 6-8


Warm Bacon Blue Cheese Dip

8 oz. bacon, cut into small
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz. blue cheese, room temp.
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
2 T. fresh chives, minced

fresh cut veggies for dippers

Preheat 375 degrees F.
Cook bacon in heavy bottomed Dutch
oven or pan over medium-high heat
until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper
towel-lined plate to drain. Combine
garlic with blue cheese, cream cheese,
chives & cooked bacon in bowl.
Spray an oven-safe bowl with nonstick
spray & spread dip into bowl. Do not
overfill. Bake 20 minutes until cheese
starts to melt. Serve warm.
Makes 10 servings


Peppermint Truffle Bark

2 (11 oz, ea) bags white chocolate chips
1 pkg. peppermint Oreo cookies
4 oz. cream cheese, softened & cubed

Place parchment paper on a cookie
sheet. Pour 1 bag white choc. chips in a
microwave safe bowl. Microwave 30
seconds, remove & stir – repeat until
chocolate is melted. Spread melted
chocolate over parchment paper –
refrigerate to solidify. Place Oreos in
a food processor & pulse to fine
crumbs. Place cream cheese cubes in
food processor; pulse until completely
mixed with Oreos. Once white choc.
has hardened, remove from fridge &
gently spread Oreo mixture over
white choc. mixture – refrigerate
1 hour. Melt last bag of white choc.
using method mentioned earlier.
Carefully spread melted white choc.
over top of Oreo mixture – allow to
harden in refrigerator. Remove from
fridge, break into pieces.



Mrs. Claus Casserole

4 C. cooked, diced ham
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 T. butter
6 T. flour
3 C. milk, scalded
1/3 C. chicken stock or broth
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese,
3/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese,
1 tsp. mustard powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. linguine noodles, broken into
thirds & cooked to al dente

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet add 2 T. canola or olive
oil & over medium heat cook onions
until softened. Add peppers & cook
until just tender, 5 minutes. In sauce
pan melt butter on medium-low heat.
Add flour & whisk until smooth, about
3 minutes. Pour in scalded milk & chicken
broth; cook, constantly stirring, until
very thick. Mix in 1/2 C. Cheddar &
1/2 C. Parm. cheese-stir until melted &
creamy. Remove from heat & add mustard
powder, salt & pepper. Combine this sauce
with ham, cooked linguine & vegetables.
Taste & adjust seasoning to taste. Pour
mixture into large casserole dish. Sprinkle
remaining cheeses on top & cook until
warm & bubbling, about 35-45 minutes.
Serves 10-12

To reheat:
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cut casserole into large squares. Pour
about 1/4 -1/2 C. water into seams &
around edges (This allows moisture to
steam the casserole instead of drying it
out). Slices will ‘cook’ themselves back
together & water will evaporate. Cover
with foil & bake at 350 degrees F. until
hot & bubbly.

NOTE: Casserole amount can be halved – or
prepared ingredients & place into two
smaller dishes – freeze one for later.


Bacon Appetizer Crescents

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
8 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. finely chopped onions
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. milk
2 (8 oz, ea) cans refrigerated
crescent dinenr rolls

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients (except
rolls). Separate each can of dough
into 8 triangles; cut each triangle
lengthwise in half. Spread cream
cheese mixture onto triangles,
adding about 1 tsp. per roll. Roll
up, starting at short side. Place,
point sides down, on baking sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes until golden
brown. Serve warm. Makes 16

(recipe: kraft recipes)

King Ranch Breakfast Bake
(overnight recipe)

1/2 (16 oz) French bread loaf,
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas, cut into
1/2 inch strips
2 C. cubed cooked chicken
2 1/2 C. shredded Pepper Jack
cheese, divided
2 T. vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 C. chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles,
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
10 eggs
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of chicken soup
2 C. milk

Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Place bread cubes, tortilla strips,
chicken & 2 C. cheese in dish; toss until
well blended. In large skillet over medium-
high heat, saute bell pepper, onion & garlic
5-7 minutes until soft. Stir in tomatoes, chiles,
chili powder &salt; cook 5 minutes until heated
through. In large bowl combine eggs, soup &
milk; mix well & pour over bread cubes. Spoon
vegetable mixture on top. Cover & refrigerate
4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Uncover dish, sprinkle remaining cheese on
top & bake 55-60 minutes until set in center.
Serves 8



Easy Zesty Cheese Dip

8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
8 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 C. mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika

Doritos chips, any flavor, for dipping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients (except chips) in
a bowl & pour into a 1 qt. baking
dish. Bake, uncovered, 25 minutes;
turn off oven & let mixture sit
5 more minutes. Serve with chips.
Serves 6-8


Ambrosia Salad

2 cans pineapple chunks, drained
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 jars maraschino cherries, drained
1 can coconut flakes
1/2 bag miniature marshmallows
4 oz. sour cream
1 (16 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed

Combine sour cream & Cool Whip
in large bowl. Fold in all other
ingredients; cover & chill at least
2 hours.

(recipe: facebook)

Since today is Christmas Eve, I’m once
again reminded of just how ‘strange’
our weather is: it’s 52 degrees, clear &
sunny – GREAT WEATHER! You don’t
have to worry about shoveling it,
slipping or skidding in/on it – just
the perfect weather for lots of
people driving/visiting friends &
family. Yes, I will concede – no snow
but as long as I’ve lived in Michigan
(that would be 67 1/2 years now)
we’ve ALWAYS had snow in winter
and I’m pretty sure this year will
not be any different! (If you’re
really counting – we already HAD
12 inches on Thanksgiving!).

Hope all of your plans/preparations/
expectations are falling into place and
you will be (or ARE) having a GREAT
Christmas Eve! Enjoy!!!



PS: And I also want to THANK
all of you for being friends and/or
readers of my blog. It’s nice to
know there are REAL people
out there! (hint-hint: I LOVE
getting responses back!)

The Solution is Achieved!


Although it wasn’t planned, last night saw our knit group having an informal discussion & vote concerning the issue of our dues. The ladies were open, vocal and ‘ready for bear’ – none of them wanted to give their money to a site. Totally by accident I noticed the day before that one of my members had joined our group on Facebook (I had put up a ‘group’ on Facebook years ago then never did anything with it – it showed we had 3 members – I didn’t even know who the other 2 were!) – that gave me an idea. I mentioned our group on Facebook and the room lit up with rapid conversations – by a show of hands (we had 17 present) it was unanimous that we drop and go to Facebook! Although the Facebook site doesn’t have all the fancy ‘bells & whistles’, we can still use it as FREE publicity for the group, you can have multiple conversations at the same time via their ‘chat’ feature, we can post photos, upcoming events – and I’m just beginning to learn all the advantages! It will take awhile to get all of our ladies over to Facebook, but I really think this was a huge step forward for us. I spent a good amount of time yesterday copying all the photos we have on MeetUp – guess I really didn’t realize just how many – we’re talking all the way from 2007! In those photos I found two that I copied and sent to two ladies in the group: during the years two of our members died; I found two photos of those ladies with their friend who originally brought them – that was a blessing. I was able to email those photos to the friends. When I mentioned it to those ladies, both of them came to tears and said Thank You – it’s always nice to have a photo of a friend, especially when they’ve passed. Our group has served SO MANY purposes over the years besides just knitting/crochet – all of us have made new friends, we’ve ‘been there’ when one of our members husbands went through needing a mechanical heart (and then a live/human heart), when someone has died in the family/group, when being in the group expanded their concepts of charity work – I’m very grateful to all the ladies over the years – they grew and so did I. 


3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Bars

4 medium bananas
2 C. oats
6 T. peanut butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ pan with nonstick
spray. Mix ingredients together until
mixture reaches consistency of wet
cookie dough (depending on how
big your bananas are, you might need
to add more oats.) Spread dough evenly
in baking dish & bake 18-20 minutes
until a toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Cut into bars.


Tasty Mexican Salad

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
(if serving 4 people, add more lettuce)
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed/drained
3/4 C. chopped cherry tomatoes
3/4 C. fresh whole kernel corn, uncooked
(can use frozen or canned)
half ripe avacado, diced
chopped cilantro
1/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 C. tortilla chips
salt/pepper, to taste

Honey-Lime Dressing
1/4 C. fresh lime juice
1/4 C. olive oil
2 T. honey
2 T. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. chopped jalapeno pepper
(can use canned for less heat)

Place lettuce in large bowl & add
salad ingredients one by one, finally
adding cheese & tortilla chips. In
separate bowl mix dressing ingredients;
pour dressing over salad, season with
salt & pepper, to taste.


Easy Freezer Meatballs

1 1/2 C. soft bread, crusts removed &
cut into small cubes*
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. tomato juice
1 lb. ground chicken
1 lb. ground pork (not ground
seasoned sausage meat)
1/2 C. onion, finely minced
1 T. jarred pesto
1 T. jarred sweet pepper relish
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dry oregano
1/4 C. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 C. seasoned or plain bread crumbs
3/4 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs

In large bowl place soft bread crumbs & cover
with milk & tomato juice – let soak 10 minutes
then use your hands to make a mash out of the
bread or beat with a fork. Add all other
ingredients & gently combine. (try not to over-
work the mixture.) Line a sheet tray with
parchment paper; spray with nonstick spray &
set aside. Place a second tray or cutting board
next to a small bowl of water (this will be used
to scoop meatballs-once all are scooped, they
will be rolled & neatly placed on the sheets)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Using a medium scoop, scoop out 3 1/2 dozen
(42) meatballs, 1 1/2 oz each) onto the cutting
board or tray. Keep the scoop a little wet by
dipping into the water occasionally. Once all
balls have been scooped, wet your hands lightly
& rol each into a ball & place on prepared sheet.
Keep hands moist but not too wet otherwise
the meatballs will get too soft & not keep their
shape. Once the tray is full, place in oven 25
minutes. Remove, cool & place the meatballs
on a second tray lined with parchment paper.
As you remove each ball, wipe off sides so they
are nice & clean before freezing. Make sure you
pick a tray that will fit in your freezer.
Freeze overnight or until firm, then remove to a
gallon zip lock bag & freeze.
As needed, pull out as many as you need.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen meatballs

*Poster used a supermarket bakery Italian bread


Guacamole Deviled Eggs

6 large eggs, hard boiled
1 medium avocado
2-3 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. red onion, minced
1 T. minced jalapeno
1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
kosher salt/fresh ground black pepper,
to taste
1 T. diced tomato
pinch chile powder (for garnish)

Peel cooked/hard-boiled eggs; cut eggs
in half horizontally & set yolks aside.
In a bowl mash avocado & 2 whole egg
yolks – discard rest. Mix in lime juice, red
onion, jalapeno, cilantro, salt/pepper &
adjust to taste. Gently fold in tomato.
Scoop heaping spoonfuls of mixture into
the egg white halves; sprinkle tops with
a little chile powder for color – arrange
on a platter. Makes 12 deviled eggs


Chicken/Potatoes & Green Beans

1 1/2 – 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed (about
2 1/2 C.)
1.25 lb. diced red potatoes (about 4 C)
1/3 C. fresh lemon juice
1/4 C. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 garlic cloves, minced

Place chicken in center of crockpot; add
green beans on one side. Mound potatoes
on other side. In medium bowl whisk
together lemon juice, olive oil, oregano,
salt/pepper, onion powder & garlic cloves –
pour evenly over all in crockpot. Cover &
cook on High 4 hours – do not open lid
during cooking time. Serves 4

Chocolate Eclair Dream

1 C. water
1/2 C. butter
1 C. flour
4 eggs

1 (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla
pudding mix
3 C. milk
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
room temp.

2 C. whipping cream
2 tsp. sugar
– chocolate sauce, for drizzling

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Lightly spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray.

In medium saucepan melt butter into
water & bring to boil; remove from
heat & stir in flour. Mix in eggs, one
at a time, making sure each egg is
completely incorporated before
adding next. Spread mixture into
prepared pan, bringing it up sides as
much as you can. Bake 25-30 minutes
until crust is golden brown & bubbly.
Remove & let cool – don’t push down

In medium bowl whisk together
pudding mix & milk – refrigerate
15-20 minutes until thickened. In
bowl of stand mixer (or large bowl)
whip cream cheese; add in thickened
pudding to cream cheese until no
lumps remain; refrigerate to cool
until crust is completely cool, about
1 hour.

Whipped Topping:

In bowl of stand mixer (or large bowl)
with whisk attachment, beat whipping
cream until soft peaks form. Slowly add
in sugar & continue beating until stiff
peaks form.

To Assemble:

Once crust is completely cooled, pour
pudding mixture over crust; top with
whipped cream & cut into squares to
serve. Drizzle chocolate sauce over each

(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)
Loaded Potato Quiche

2 1/2 C. Bisquick mix
6 T. cold butter or margarine
1/4 C. boiling water

1 1/2 C. chopped cooked ham
1 1/2 C. frozen diced hash brown
potatoes, thawed
1 1/2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar
cheese (6 oz)
3 medium green onions, sliced
5 eggs
3/4 C. Half & Half
1/4 tsp. ground pepper

3 slices bacon, crisply cooked,

sour cream
additional sliced green onions

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 1/2 ” deep-dish pie plate with
nonstick spray. Place Bisquick in medium
bowl; cut in butter, using pastry blender
(or 2 knives) through mix until crumbly.
Add boiling water, stir vigorously until
soft dough forms. Using fingers dipped
in Bisquick mix, press dough on bottom &
up sides of pie plate, forming edge on rim
of plate. Sprinkle ham, potatoes, cheese &
3 T. onions into crust. In medium bowl
beat eggs, Half & Half & pepper until blended;
pour over ingredients in crust. Bake
1 hour 5 minutes or until knife inserted into
center comes out clean. Let stand 15 minutes
before serving. Top with crumbled bacon,
sour cream & onions, if desired.
Serves 8

Beef & Spinach Lo Mein

1/4 C. hoisin sauce
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. water
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. beef top round steak, thinly
6 oz. uncooked spaghetti
4 tsp. canola oil, divided
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts,
2 green onions, sliced
1 (10 oz) pkg. fresh spinach, coarsely
1 red chili pepper, seeded/thinly sliced

In small bowl mix first 6 ingredients
Remove 1/4 C. mixture to a large bowl;
add beef & toss to coat. Marinate at
room temp. 10 minutes. Cook spaghetti
accordg. to pkg. directions. In large
skillet heat 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil. Add half
of beef mixture; stir-fry 1-2 minutes until
no longer pink – remove from pan. Repeat
with an additional 1 1/2 tsp. oil & remaining
beef mixture. Stir-fry water chestnuts & green
onions in remaining oil 30 seconds. Stir in
spinach & remaining hoisin mixture; cook
until spinach is wilted. Return beef to pan;
heat throughly. Drain spaghetti; add to beef
mixture & toss to combine. Sprinkle with chili
pepper. Makes 5 servings.

NOTE: Wear disposable gloves when cutting
hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid
touching your face.


Our weather is finally back to being ‘SPRING’ –
we’re in the 60’s during the day; today it’s
bright & sunny which matches my mood –
I’m SO HAPPY the Knit/Crochet group reached
a solution that will work for (almost) everyone!
There are a few who aren’t on Facebook or
don’t have a computer, but I’m sure we can
work something out with them. For the ones
who don’t have a computer, I just print up the
schedule of meetings for the next two months
and any other important information which
would normally be passed by email, I just
create a flyer for, so they’re not left out.
I also let them know last night about some
upcoming events I’d planned: a Yarn Swap
and another Movie Night. The Yarn Swaps
are really fun: if you have anything you don’t
want: yarn, needles/crochet hooks, old patterns/
books, bags, anything pertaining to crochet or
knitting you bring it on that night and we pile
all the ‘stuff’ on a table. If you see something
you want – take it! It doesn’t matter if you
didn’t BRING something – it’s just a ‘take it
if you want it’ event. Sometimes ladies bring
in HUGE bags of yarn – I only remember once
when there was still yarn leftover at the end
of the evening and a lady who works with
a group that makes lap robes for veterans
took it – yarn NEVER goes to waste! The
‘neat’ thing, for me is: sometimes they bring
in small balls of yarn they don’t want – those
are perfect for my knitting baby hats! What
would be something people would normally
throw out is enough for either the brim or
an entire baby hat, for me! (Now, mind you,
it’s not like I don’t already have WAY TOO
MUCH baby yarn, but a gal can dream, right?)

Hope you are enjoying a lovely day – I saw
a small post on Facebook yesterday. It was
a photo of an old woman sitting on a cement
step outside with a big smile on her face. The
person who took the photo said she had just
stopped to say Hello to the old woman when
the woman said: “I always try to go outside
every day – there’s always something nice
happening every day.” Words to us all.




Doin’ the ‘Happy Dance’!


This is the shawl I decided to order (instead of knit, myself) Found it on Etsy (crafting site – very happy with how it looks (except for the two stripes, that’s almost exactly what the one I was knitting would look like, finished! It’s being shipped from New York, so it’s also “Made in the USA!” – like I said, Doin’ the Happy Dance!”

dancing woman

Yesterday was a bit of a rush for most of the day – church (leave a little early to drive to Special Needs fund-raiser luncheon), serve food at luncheon, come home & chill for about 1 1/2 hours, then back to church for choir practice & evening church/communion/congregational business meeting – FINALLY home to get into jammies & crash in front of the TV! Lately Masterpiece (channel/company) has been featuring several of my favorite programs: “Call the Midwife”, “Mr. Selfridge” and a new one about Sir Thomas Cromwell: “Wolfhall”. I find Wolfhall a bit slow/dull but got interested in the characters (not too fond of how they portray King Henry/Anne Boleyn, etc. but they were not very nice people to start with!


Cheesy Ham Pot Pie

1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. flour
2 1/2 C. milk
1 C. chicken broth
1 (4.6 oz) box julienne cheesy
1 C. frozen corn
1 C. frozen carrots
2 refrigerated pie crusts
2 C. ham, cooked/diced

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Melt butter in large pot over
medium heat. Whisk in flour & cook
30-60 seconds; add milk & broth.
Whisk in cheese sauce from potato
box. Stir in julienne potatoes.
Cook over medium heat 6-8
minutes, stirring often, until
thickened. Stir in ham & frozen
veggies; spread mixture into
greased 9 X 13″ pan; cover top
with pie crusts. Poke holes in
crust & bake 40-45 minutes until
golden. Note; if you want a more
golden crust, you can brush the
crust with an egg wash.
Serves 8-10


Puffed Pancake Brunch Casserole

1/2 C. butter
2 C. Bisquick mix
2 C. milk
8 eggs
1 C. shredded Swiss cheese (4 oz)
3 C. cooked ham, cubed
1 (2.1 oz) pkg. precooked bacon,
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
dash ground nutmeg

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking pan with nonstick
spray. Place butter in dish, place in
oven until melted, about 10 minutes. In
medium bowl, mix Bisquick, 1 C. milk &
2 eggs using whisk until tiny lumps remain.
Pour over butter in baking dish. Layer with
Swiss cheese, ham, bacon & Cheddar cheese.
In large bowl mix remaining milk, 6 eggs,
salt/mustard & nutmeg; pour over casserole.
Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes until golden
brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 10


Cheesy Chicken Salad Stuffed Peppers

8 bell peppers, any color
1 1/2 C. frozen cooked diced chicken
1 (8-10 oz) pkg. frozen rice pilaf (white
or brown rice) thawed slightly
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 C. slivered almonds
1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1 C. crushed potato chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Wash & cut stem off each pepper; core &
remove all seeds. In large bowl combine
chicken, rice pilaf, cheese, almonds, mayo,
lemon juice & tarragon; stir well to mix.
Evenly fill each pepper with mixture; place
on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle each
pepper with crushed potato chips. Bake
35-40 minutes until lightly browned. Serve
immediately. Serves 8


Italian Layer Bake

1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated
crescent rolls
8 slices deli turkey (about 1/2 lb.)
8 slices deli ham (about 1/2 lb)
12 slices deli hard salami (about 1/2 lb)
8 slices Swiss cheese (about 1/2 lb)
1 (12 oz) jar roasted peppers, drained
4 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Unroll crescent roll dough without
separating triangles. Separate dough into
2 squares along center cut line. Place 1
square of dough into a 8″ square baking
dish; using fingertips, press dough to
fit bottom of dish. Layer with half turkey,
ham, salami, Swiss cheese & roasted
peppers. Pour half beaten eggs over
peppers & repeat layers with remaining
meats/cheese & peppers. Place remaining
square dough over peppers; pour remaining
eggs over dough & cover lightly with foil.
Bake 20 minutes; remove foil & bake an
additional 20-22 minutes until golden
& heated through. Let cool 15-20 minutes
then cut & serve. Serves 6


Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

1 1/4 C. granulated sugar, divided
1 C. flour
1/2 C. cocoa, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. milk
1/3 C. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 1/4 C. hot water

vanilla ice cream, if desired,
for serving

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Heat a
pot of water to very hot (just under
a ‘simmer’). In bowl of standard
mixer, combine 3/4 C. gran. sugar, flour,
1/4 C. cocoa, baking powder & salt. Stir
in milk, melted butter & vanilla; mix
until smooth. Pour batter into a lightly
greased 2 qt. casserole dish or a 9″ square
baking pan (if it’s not non-stick, you don’t
have to grease it) spread batter evenly. In
small bowl stir together remaining 1/4 C.
gran. sugar, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 C.
cocoa; mix well. Sprinkle mixture evenly
over batter in pan. Pour hot water over
top – do not stir. Bake 35-40 minutes if
using a dish, or 30-35 if using the 9″ X 9″
pan until center is almost set. Remove
dish from oven & allow to stand 15 minutes.
Spoon cake into individual serving bowls,
making sure to spoon fudgy sauce from
bottom of pan over top of cake. Top with
a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired &
serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.


Tuna Melt Casserole

1 (16 oz) pkg. corkscrew macaroni*
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 C. milk
2 C. shredded Swiss cheese,
3 (6 oz, ea) cans tuna, drained/
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ thick slices

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray a 9″ X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In large saucepan of
boiling salted water, cook pasta 7
minutes or until al dente; drain well &
return to pot – set aside. In medium
saucepan over Low heat, melt butter.
STir in flour, salt/pepper & cook 1
minute, stirring constantly. Gradually
stir in milk. Increase heat to medium-high
& cook until mixture thickens, stirring
occasionally. Remove pan from heat; add
1 1/2 C. cheese, stir until melted. Add
cheese sauce & tuna to pasta in pot; toss
until evenly mixed. Transfer mixture to
prepared baking dish. Arrange tomato
slices on top, overlapping if necessary.
Sprinkle top with remaining cheese. Cover
with foil & bake 20 minutes. Remove foil
& bake an additional 10-15 minutes until
hot & bubbly. Serves 6

*can also use elbow or shell macaroni


Strawberries & Cream Bars

1 (1 lb 5 oz) pouch Betty Crocker
sugar cookie mix
1/2 C. butter, softened
1 large egg

1 C. white chocolate chips
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,

3 C. sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/3 C. water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray bottom of 9 X 13 pan with
nonstick spray. In large bowl, mix
together cookie mix, butter & egg
until dough forms. Press dough into
bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15-20
minutes or until light brown. Remove
from oven & let cool completely

In small microwaveable bowl, microwave
white choc. chips 45-60 seconds or until
chips are melted; stir until smooth. In
medium bowl, beat cream cheese with
elec. mixer until smooth. Stir in melted
chips & spread this mixture evenly over
cooled sugar cookie crust. Refrigerate
while making topping.
In small bowl, crush 1 C. strawberries. In
2 qt. saucepan, add crushed strawberries,
sugar, cornstarch & water; cook over
medium heat, stirring constantly, until
mixture boils & thickens. Remove from
heat & let cool 10 minutes. Gently fold
in remaining strawberries & spoon over
filling. Cover & refrigerate 1 hour or until


Our weather is finally into SPRING – yesterday
was just gorgeous with lots of sun and up to
66 degrees!  Just looked up our weather report
for today – 70% chance of thunderstorms and
high of 69/30% chance of thunderstorms tonight,
Low 40 degrees F – oh well, it’s Spring and we need
the rain for the flowers!

Hope you have a GREAT day today! Remember to
take a little time to enjoy your day, stop and rest –
take in a few deep breaths and remember to thank
the Lord for your life, your health (whatever it is)
and your safety; just looking at the blue skies,
blooming flowers/plants and God’s creation makes
me very grateful He is in control, not me. Whatever
comes, He already knew about it and will gently
guide me through it.

Psalm 28:7
“The Lord is my strength and my
shield; my heart trusted in Him and
I am helped; therefore my heart
greatly rejoices and with my song
I will praise Him.”



Published in: on April 13, 2015 at 9:04 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Happy Friday the 13th!


Latest baby blanket  half-way done!

In case you might be interested in this pattern, here it is:


Red Heart “Wild Waves” Afghan


Today is another ‘chiller’ day; 12 degrees F. out there with a wind chill of minus 1. Husband informed me it’s supposed to be this cold through Sunday – oh, joy . . . 80% chance of snow tonight and the HIGH expected Sunday of 1 degree BELOW ZERO! Oh, goody! This is when we thank the Lord for a warm house, warm clothing, food in the fridge & pantry, a car that runs, etc. It’s time to count the little (and sometimes BIG) blessings, folks – they’re out there, those blessings. Sometimes we tend to forget about them, but they’re there giving us blessings. I, personally, like to thank the LORD for all He’s done for me, my family & friends. We’ve been through a lot but His blessings never cease.


Crockpot Steak & Gravy

2 – 2 1/2 lb. flat iron steak
1 oz. pkg. onion soup mix
1/4 C. water
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom

Cut steak into serving sized pieces;
place in crockpot. Add soup mix, water &
soup; mix well. Cover & cook on Low 6-8


Oven-Fried Cornflake Chicken

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 C. milk
2 1/2 C. cornflake crumbs (crushed but
not pulverized)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 (3 lb) chicken, cut up
5 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix together eggs & milk in shallow dish.
Mix cornflake crumbs, salt & pepper in
separate dish. Dip chicken pieces first in
egg mixture, then dredge in crumbs to
coat evenly. Arrange chicken pieces in
greased 9 X 13 pan; drizzle with melted
butter. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour. Serves 4

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Broccoli, Ham & Mozzarella Bake

4-6 C. very small broccoli florets, blanched
about 2 minutes, then drained well
1-2 C. diced ham
1 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 C. thinly sliced green onion (optional)
8-10 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
sour cream, for serving

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish. Bring medium-
sized pot of water to boil; cook broccoli 2
minutes, then pour into a colander; let drain
well. Layer broccoli, ham, mozzarella & green
onions in casserole dish. Season with salt &
pepper; pour beaten egg over all. Use a fork
to ‘stir’ mixture just until all ingredients are
coated with egg. Bake 35-45 minutes or until
all mixture is set & top is starting to lightly
brown (check after 30 minutes). Serve hot,
with sour cream, if desired. Serves 8

(recipe: Kalyn’s Kitchen)

Wild Berry Oatmeal Cheesecake Muffins

1 C. old fashioned oats
1 C. buttermilk*
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. granulated sugar
3 T. orange zest
1 C. flour
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C. butter, melted
1 C. fresh or frozen mixed berries

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine oats & buttermilk in small bowl;
let stand 10 minutes. Beat cream cheese,
granulated sugar & zest with mixer until
blended; set aside. Mix flour, brown sugar,
baking powder, baking soda & salt in large
bowl. Add egg & butter to oat mixture; stir
until well blended. Add to dry ingredients;
stir just until moistened. Gently stir in berries.
Spoon half of batter evenly into 12 muffin
cups lined with extra-large or giant paper
liners, (SEE NOTE BELOW) filling each liner half
full; top each with 2 T. cream cheese filling.
Cover with remaining batter. Bake 25-27
minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of
muffin comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

NOTE: The extra-large muffin pan liners are
needed to hold all the batter in the muffin
pan cups. IF you don’t have extra-large or giant
liners, spoon batter into 16 paper-lined muffin
cups instead. Bake 23-25 minutes or until
toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes
out clean.

*Replace buttermilk with sour milk. Mix
1 T. lemon juice or white vinegar and enough
milk to equal 1 cup in a glass measuring cup.
Stir & let stand 5 minutes before using.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Mini-Cheesburger Bundles


1 1/4 lb. ground beef
1 T. steak sauce
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, finely chopped (about 1/2 C.)
1 (17.3 oz) pkg. Pepperidge Farm Puff
Pastry sheets (2 sheets), thawed accordg.
to pkg. directions
12 slices (1 inch square, ea) Havarti or Cheddar
cheese, about 1/4 ” thick

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix beef, steak sauce, seas. salt, pepper &
green onions in medium bowl. Shape mixture into
12 (2 inch) patties. Cook patties in 12″ skillet over
medium-high heat 10 minutes or until well browned
on both sides. Remove from skillet & let cool to
room temperature. Lightly grease or line a baking
sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle work surface
with flour; unfold 1 pastry sheet onto floured surface.
Roll pastry sheet into a 10″ square. Cut sheet into 6
(about 3 X 5 in) rectangles. Repeat with remaining
sheet to make 12 rectangles in all. Place 1 patty
in center of each pastry rectangle & top each with
1 cheese slice. Fold corners of pastry over filling &
twist corners to seal. Place pastries on prepared
sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until pastries are golden
brown.Serves 12

Shipwreck Casserole
(also known as Dinner in a Dish)
(also Crockpot)

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
kosher salt
ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 C. chopped onion
3 large baking potatoes, peeled/
sliced thin or diced*
2 C. thin sliced carrots
1/4 C. celery, diced small
1/2 C. diced bell pepper
2 C. cooked rice (optional)
1 can tomato soup – undiluted
1 soup can warm water
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Cajun seasoning (optional)
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Butter 9 X 13 baking dish; set aside.
Brown ground beef; season with
salt, pepper & garlic powder; drain.
Layer casserole dish with onions on
bottom, potatoes; sprinkle lightly
with seasoning salt (or salt & pepper).
Top with carrots, celery & bell pepper;
sprinkle with salt & pepper. Top with
cooked rice (if using), then ground beef.
Whisk together soup, soup can water &
Italian seasoning until blended; pour over
casserole evenly. Sprinkle lightly with
Cajun seasoning (if using). Cover with
foil & bake 1 hour. Remove foil, sprinkle
top with Cheddar cheese & return to
oven until cheese has melted.
Serves 4-6

*Can substitute frozen, thawed hash
brown potatoes, thawed tater tots or
canned,sliced new potatoes. Can also
use frozen thawed sliced carrots.

Layer ingredients in crockpot, seasoning
each layer. Top with soup mixture, cover
& cook on Low 4-6 hours or 3 hours on
High (until potatoes & other veggies are
cooked through).

Salted Caramel Popcorn

1/2 C. unpopped popcorn kernels
(about 16 C. popped corn)
1 C. salted butter
1 C. light brown sugar
1/3 C. light corn syrup
1 1/2 – 2 tsp. kosher or sea salt, divided

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment
paper or a silicone mat; set aside.
Pop popcorn kernels using air popper, into
a large bowl. In small saucepan, melt butter,
brown sugar, corn syrup & 1 tsp. salt together
over medium heat; bring to boil – boil 4
minutes without stirring. Pour caramel mixture
over popcorn & stir to coat evenly. Pour popcorn
into lined pan, sprinkle remaining salt on top
(1/2 tsp – 1 tsp depending on your personal
taste preference) & place in oven. Bake 30
minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Allow
popcorn to cool on a parchment-lined counter.
Makes about 16 C. caramel corn.

Note: You can add in 2 C. chopped nuts to
un-coated popcorn if desired; coat with caramel
as in recipe.


Crockpot Tomato/Tortellini Soup

1 qt. vegetable stock
2 (28 oz, ea) cans ground, peeled
a few Parmesan cheese rinds (optional)
1 large bay leaf
3/4 C. fresh basil, roughly cut
1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
3 T. olive oil
1 C. diced celery
1 C. diced onion
1 1/2 C. diced carrots
1 T. chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
4 T. tomato paste
1/2 C. white wine (or water)
3/4 C. freshly ground Romano cheese
1/2 C. heavy cream
2 T. butter (optional)
1 (12 oz) pkg. frozen cheese-filled
1 (8 oz) pkg. baby spinach, fresh, stems
removed & chopped (or frozen may be used
if fresh is not available)

Using 4 qt or larger crockpot, place stock,
tomatoes, cheese rinds, bay leaf, basil &
thyme in crockpot. Set to High. In large
skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add celery, onions & carrots; cook 3-4 minutes
until almost soft. Add garlic, salt, pepper,
paprika & pepper flakes; cook 1 minute. Add
tomato paste & cook 2 minutes, being
careful not to burn. Add wine (water) to
deglaze skillet. Pour this mixture into crockpot
& stir. Cover & allow to cook 4-6 hours.

After cooking time is up, remove cheese rinds &
bay leaf; discard. Place mixture in blender in
batches & puree until smooth then pour into
crockpot.  Add Romano cheese, cream & butter;
stir with a spoon to combine. Taste & add more
salt/pepper, if desired. Add frozen tortellini & cook
until fully cooked (approx. 10 minutes) then add
spinach. Continue cooking just until spinach has
wilted into soup (1-2 minutes). If soup is too
thick, dilute with more cream or vegetable stock.
Serves 8-10


Hope you have a nice, cozy, WARM day –
remember to do something ‘special’ for
yourself or someone else today; it’s a
good way to ‘un-jinx’ this goofy calendar
day (by the way, there’s another one coming
up NEXT month!) I don’t remember Friday
the 13th coming up in two months in a row
before – do you? (maybe I just never noticed).



Groovin’ to the Move!


I missed wishing you a Happy Groundhog Day!

Well, today starts “The MOVE!” Middle son IS moving in with oldest son and today begins the moving – it’s been a bit hectic/unorganized – moving son keeps vacillating on whether to stay here or move in with older brother (which was the original plan before he got sick beginning of December!) Today is also the COLDEST day it’s been in a LONG time – got up to ‘almost’ 1 degree F. – I’m sure it’s warmed up some, but husband really isn’t ‘into’ this whole idea of moving on a really cold day. At first, oldest son had to work but middle son was off – now that’s reversed – middle son has to work at 3 and oldest is off all day – confusing, eh? “The Plan”, as it now stands is this: middle son goes to work, husband & I got mattress shopping – put both mattresses (no box springs, etc) in my minivan and take one to ‘new house’ and bring one home for youngest son (who also needs one). Tomorrow, if all works out well, the rest of the move will commence (which really isn’t much). I spent a little time this morning re-organizing middle son’s ‘stuff’ so that it was more compact/easy to  move/easy to put away (ie: all ‘bath’ needs: soap, toothpaste/toothbrush/etc. in one box, all sheets & towels in another bag, etc. (Plus it helps me ‘vent’ my anxiety over the craziness of this all! I’m more of a “let’s just get this ALL done at once” kind of person, where my husband is “let’s do as little as possible’ and stretch it out over several days – sigh; that’s where we’re complete opposites. I’m the ‘get it all organized, in my head organized, then let’s roll . . . oh, well (you now see why I’m on my computer writing this blog, don’t you? To vent a little extra energy – I’m ‘awaiting’ husband’s decision to ‘take a shower then go buy the mattresses’ – I’ve been ‘ready’ for hours! Oh well – all things in due time, I guess . . .


Smothered Chicken w/Mushroom Gravy

8 chicken thighs or breast, bone-in,
4 slices bacon
1 small can cream of mushroom soup
1 C. (El Pato) mexican hot style
tomato sauce
1 T. creole seasoning
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1/2 T. black pepper
1 red onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. flour
olive oil

1/2 bunch green onion, diced

Hot cooked rice or potatoes

Mix seasonings in small bowl;
set aside. Heat 1 T. olive oil in skillet
over medium heat; add bacon & cook
about 7 minutes until bacon is crispy.
Place chicken in large bowl & coat with
2 T. olive oil & seasoning blend; mix
well. Lightly flour chicken & set aside.
Remove bacon from pan & set aside.
Add chicken to bacon grease; add more
olive oil, if needed, & brown chicken in
batches about 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer to crockpot & repeat with rest
of chicken. Add bell pepper, onion &
celery to pan; saute 5 minutes; add
garlic & cook 1 minute more. Add
soup & hot tomato sauce to pan &
mix well. Pour mixture over chicken
in crockpot. Cook, on Low 4-5 hours
until chicken is done. Sprinkle cooked
bacon & green onions on top, if
desired. Serve over hot cooked rice
or potatoes. Serves 4


Cranberry-Rice Pilaf

2 T. margarine
1 1/2 C. long-grain white rice,
2 C. chicken broth

1 C. orange juice
1/3 C. dried cranberries
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 C. chopped green onions

Melt margarine in large skillet over
medium-high heat. Add rice; cook 3
minutes until rice starts to turn golden
brown, stirring frequently. Carefully add
broth, juice, cranberries, thyme & salt to
skillet; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat
to medium-low & cook 18 minutes until
rice is tender. Stir in green onions.
Serves 6 (2/3 C. each)


15-Minute Creamy Bowtie Noodles

1 (16 oz) box bowtie noodles
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. chicken bullion granules
1 T. butter
2 (10 oz, ea) cans cream of chicken soup
1 C. chicken broth*
1/2 C. milk

Cook bowtie noodles accordg to pkg.
directions, al dente. In small bowl add
cream cheese – microwave 45 seconds;
stir. Add seasonings & bullion to cream
cheese; mix well. Heat a large deep
skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 T.
butter; melt then pour 1 C. chicken broth,
2 cans soup, 1/2 C. milk & seasoned cream
cheese mixture. Stir mixture well allowing
all ingredients to heat through & bubble.
Simmer, while stirring, 2 minutes. Drain
cooked pasta well then place noodles in
individual serving bowls; top with sauce.
Serve immediately. Serves 6-8


Mixed Vegetable Casserole

12 Ritz crackers, crushed (1/2 C.)
1 T. butter or margarine, melted
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
(broccoli, red pepper & carrots) thawed,
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts,
1/2 C. Miracle Whip salad dressing
1/2 C. shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1/3 C. chopped onions

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix cracker crumbs & butter until
blended. Combine remaining ingredients
in 1-qt. casserole dish; top with crumb
mixture. Bake 35 minutes until heated
through. Serves 8, 1/2 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Tamale Bake

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1/2 C. finely diced onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 C. yellow cornmeal
1 egg
1 1/2 C. milk
1 (15.25 oz) can corn, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (1.25 oz) envelope taco seasoning
1 (2.25 oz) can sliced black olives,
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
minced green onions, for garnish

In large skillet brown beef with
onion & garlic until meat is cooked;
drain. In large bowl combine corn-
meal, egg & milk; mix until smooth.
Add corn, tomatoes, taco seasoning,
olives & ground beef to cornmeal
mixture; mix well. Dump mixture
into crockpot. Cover & cook on Low
6 hours or High 3 hours. Sprinkle
with cheese & cover again; cook an
additional 15 minutes until cheese
is melted. Serve spooned into
bowls or on plates garnished with
chopped green onion.
Serves 6


Blueberry Crumble Bars

Crust & crumble:
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3 C. flour
1 C. (2 sticks) butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla

4 C. fresh blueberries
1/2 C. granulated sugar
3 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease 9 X 13 baking pan; set
Crust & Crumble:
In medium bowl combine both sugars,
baking powder & flour. Using a pastry
cutter, cut in butter, egg & vanilla until
mixture is well combined & resembles
coarse crumbs. Pat half of mixture into
bottom of prepared pan. In separate
bowl, combine all filling ingredients;
stir gently. Sprinkle blueberry mixture
evenly over crust. Crumble remaining
dough over top of blueberries. Bake
45 minutes until top is lightly browned.
Remove from oven & allow to cool
completely before cutting.
Makes 24-28 bars


Crabmeat Stuffed Salmon

1/2 lb. imitation crabmeat, flaked
1/2 C. Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) melted butter
6 (6 oz, ea) salmon fillets

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick
spray. In medium bowl, combine all
ingredients except salmon; mix well
& set aside. Cut a slit lengthwise 3/4
of way through each salmon fillet. Evenly
divide stuffing into each slit & place on
prepared baking sheet. Bake 15-20
minutes until fish flakes easily.
Serves 6


Banana Pudding Poke Cake

1 box yellow cake mix (plus
ingredients to make cake)
2 (small) boxes instant banana
pudding mix
4 C. milk
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
20 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
sliced bananas

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Prepare cake accordg. to pkg. directions;
bake & let cool about 5-7 minutes. Using
the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes
all over the top of the cake, big enough
for the pudding to seep into & go deep
enough with the spoon that you hit the
bottom of the pan.
Prepare pudding mixes with milk; whisk
until fully mixed – no lumps. Pour pudding
mixture over cake; spread evenly – filling
all holes. Refrigerate cake 2 hours. Top
cake with sliced bananas, Cool Whip &
crushed vanilla wafers.


It’s still nice & sunny outside, even
though it’s really cold; very grateful
for heat/warm clothes/food/etc.

Hope you’re staying nice & warm;
enjoy your day!