Beautiful Day to get things DONE!


I started out today thinking I’d make a trip to Walmart (about 20 minutes away) then things changed, so I stayed home. I don’t know about you, but around here things sort of pile up – little things that need doing – like washing the INSIDES of my car windows! They get kind of ‘filmy’ over time (no, I don’t smoke – this is just ‘road grime’) so today was the perfect day to get that done (along with sweeping out the floors, wiping down the dashboard, etc.) Next was an annual job involving stabilizing the porch door-done! Got the dishwasher loaded, washed those dishes that don’t go in the dishwasher, addressed two get well cards, updated some phone numbers for my special needs group – you know . . . THAT kind of ‘little things that pile up’! Along with all that I found a short video on YouTube which taught me how to do a more stretchy cast-on for my baby hats! You know that rim on hats that holds the hat ON? Mine are not very stretchy, even though I knit a ribbing; THIS cast on adds just that little ‘needed something’ it was lacking before – SCORE! Feeling ACCOMPLISHED today! Dinner tonight is spaghetti & meatballs with garlic bread – YUM!


Since summer is wrapping up AND I’m pretty sure you all have some ZUCCHINI left – here’s some recipes for that!

Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

1/2 C. butter, softened
1 1/3 C. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. sour cream
1 C. shredded zucchini
2 T. lemon zest
2 tsp. poppy seeds

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Grease & flour three 5 X 3″ mini
loaf pans. Using elec. mixer, beat
butter until creamy; add sugar &
beat until light & fluffy. Add eggs,
1 at a time, until just blended after
each addition. In medium bowl whisk
flour, salt, baking soda & baking
powder – add to butter mixture
alternately with sour cream, beginning
& ending with flour mixture. Stir in
zucchini, lemon zest & poppy seeds.
Spoon batter into prepared pans.
Bake 40-45 minutes until a wooden
toothpick inserted into center of
loaves comes out clean. Cool in pans
in wire racks 10 minutes then remove
to wire racks to cool completely.


Olive Zucchini Spread
(4 hour or overnight recipe)

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese
3 C. shredded zucchini
1 (7 1/2 oz) jar marinated artichoke
hearts, drained/finely chopped
1/4 C. pimiento-stuffed olives,
1 (4 1/4 oz) can chopped ripe olives
8 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. chopped red onion
2 T. minced fresh cilantro
2 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
1 green onion, chopped
1 French bread baguette, sliced

In large bowl combine first 11
ingredients; beat until blended
then transfer to a serving bowl.
Cover & chill at least 4 hours or
overnight. Serve with baguette
slices. Makes 6 cups


Zucchini Lasagna
(grill & oven)

1 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 T. chopped fresh basil
black pepper, to taste
3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8″
1 1/2 C. ricotta cheese
1/4 C. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese,
1 large egg
16 oz (4 C) shredded mozzarella

Slice zucchini 1/8″ thick, add salt &
set aside 10 minutes.Zucchini has a
lot of water when cooked, salting it
takes out a lot of the moisture. After
10 minutes blot excess moisture with
a paper towel.
In medium sauce pan brown meat &
season with salt;  drain & remove meat
from pan. Add olive oil to pan & saute
garlic & onions 2 minutes. Return meat
to pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt/pepper –
simmer on Low 30-40 minutes, covered.
Do not add extra water – sauce should be
Heat grill to medium-high; grill zucchini 2-3
minutes per side, until slightly browned. Place
on paper towels to soak up any excess
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In medium bowl mix ricotta, Parmesan, egg &
stir well. Spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray & spread 1/2 C. sauce on
bottom – layer zucchini on top to cover.
Spread 1/2 C. ricotta mixture, then top with
1 C. mozz. cheese – repeat until all ingredients
are used up. Last/top layer with zucchini &
sauce. Cover with foil & bake 30 minutes.
Uncover & bake 20 minutes (to dry up the
sauce). Place remaining 1 C. mozzarella
on top & bake until melted, 10 minutes.
Let stand 5-10 minute before cutting.
Serves 8


Twice-Baked Potato Casserole
(and baked potato skins)

9 medium russet potatoes
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sour cream
4 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 – 3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 C. milk (if potatoes are
too thick)
1 jar bacon bits (or half lb. bacon,
2 1/2 – 3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
3 green onions, sliced, garnish

Garnishes for Skins:
cooked/chopped bacon
sour cream
chopped green onions

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Scrub & pierce potatoes several times
with a sharp knife. Bake potatoes about
an hour until potatoes ‘give’ when
squeezed gently using an oven mitted
hand. When done, cut in half & carefully
scoop out insides into a bowl, leaving
about 1/4 inch layer of skin. Using an
elec. mixer, mix potato ‘insides’ briefly
to break up; add cream cheese, sour cream
butter, garlic & about 1/2 tsp. salt & 1/4
tsp. pepper – beat until thoroughly mixed.
Do not mix to gumminess. If mixture seems
really thick, add up to 1/2 C. milk to smooth
them to the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Spray large casserole dish with nonstick spray
& spread potato mixture into pan.Cover with
foil & bake 40 minutes at 325 degrees F.
Immediately after removing from oven, cover
top with 1 C. cheese then sprinkle with about
2/3 of bacon & sliced green onions. Allow to
stand 10-15 minutes before serving. . Makes
about 9-10 servings.

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
For Potato Skins:
After scooping out insides you should have
18 skin ‘halves’. Cut each in half so you have
quarter skins. Heat about 2 inches canola
oil in a pan (about 325 degrees F). Fry skins
in batches, careful not to crowd the pan. Once
skins are golden brown, remove to a paper-
towel lined cooking rack to drain. Place fried
skins, open sides up, on a baking sheet. Sprinkle
each with cheese & a little bacon. Bake 5-10
minutes until cheese melts. Top with sour
cream & chopped green onions, if desired.
Makes about 9 servings onion skins.


Crockpot Italian Chicken

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into
1 red pepper cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. ground oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. sea salt (optional)
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes

cooked pasta

Spray crockpot insides with nonstick
spray. Place chicken in bottom of
pot; place peppers/onion/garlic on
top. Sprinkle herbs on top & pour
stewed tomatoes with juice over
all. Cover & cook on Low 6
hours. Serve over cooked pasta

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)
Ritz Cracker Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
2 C. Cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 C. milk
1 large egg

1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/4 C. milk
2 T. sour cream
2 T. unsalted butter
kosher salt/black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Combine egg & milk in a pie plate/tin;
whisk until fully incorporated. Place
cheese in another pie plate. Place
crushed crackers in a third pie plate.
Sprinkle chicken with salt/pepper then
dip in egg, making sure to coat both
sides; shake off excess, then coat in
grated cheese. Transfer chicken to
crushed crackers making sure to coat
all sides – press firmly so that cracker
crumbs adhere to meat. Spray a 9 X 13″
baking dish with nonstick spray & place
chicken in dish. Bake 30-35 minutes until
chicken is cooked through. While chicken
is baking, make sauce:
Combine soup, milk, sour cream & butter
in medium saucepan over medium heat &
cook, stirring frequently until melted &
smooth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low &
simmer 5-10 minutes until thickened. Taste
& adjust seasoning. Remove chicken from
oven & serve hot with sauce drizzled over
top. Serves 4


Layered Shrimp Dip

1 (3 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
6 T. salsa, divided
1/2 C. cocktail sauce
3 (6 oz, ea) cans small shrimp,
1 (2 1/4 oz) can sliced ripe olives,
1 C. (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 C. (4 oz) shredded Monterrey Jack
sliced green onions
Tortilla chips, for dipping

In small bowl combine cream cheese &
3 T. salsa; spread into an ungreased
9 inch pie plate. Combine cocktail
sauce & remaining salsa – spread over
cream cheese. Arrange shrimp evenly
over top. Sprinkle top with olives.
Combine cheeses & sprinkle over top.
Sprinkle onions on top & chill.
Serve with tortilla chips.
Makes 12-16 servings


Brazilian Candy Balls (Truffles)

Chocolate “Brigadeiro”

1 T. butter
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C. cocoa powder
chocolate sprinkles

Grease a large plate.
Melt butter in a pot over low heat;
add milk & cocoa powder, stir
continuously until you can see the
bottom of the pot for 2-3 seconds
when dragging a spatula through.
Pour mixture onto greased plate &
chill 1 hour. Shape mixture into balls
then roll in chocolate sprinkles.

Coconut Truffles

1 T. butter
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. coconut milk
coconut flakes

(same process as above)

Strawberry Truffles

1 C. fresh strawberries, chopped
1/2 C. water
1 T. butter
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C. white chocolate

Grease a large plate.
Place strawberries & water in a pot
over medium-high heat; cook until
there is a jam-like consistency & much
of liquid is evaporated. Reduce heat
to Low; add butter, sweet’d cond. milk &
white chocolate, stirring continuously
until you can see the bottom of the pot
for 2-3 seconds when dragging a spatula
through. Pour mixture onto greased
plate & chill 1 hour. Shape mixture into
balls & roll in sprinkles.

Cookies & Cream Truffles

10 chocolate cream cookies (Oreos)
1 T. butter
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

Grease a large plate.
Separate the cream centers from the
cookies; crush cookies. Melt butter,
conds. milk & cream centers in a pot
over Low heat, stirring constantly until
you can see the bottom of the pot for
2-3 seconds when dragging a spatula
through. Pour mixture onto greased
plate & chill 1 hour. Shape mixture
into balls & roll in crushed cookie



Gas prices in our area have dropped again
(YAY!) to $2.11/9 – – – WOW!

Our weather is just perfect for the approaching
Fall – it’s sunny with a slight breeze and 72
degrees F. at 4:40 p.m. on this Thursday.

Knitting wise I did a DUMB thing Tuesday at
Knit Night: I brought the yellow baby afghan
to work on. One of MY OWN rules for Knit
Night is NEVER bring anything complicated or
that requires lots of counting stitches, rows,
etc. (this one does both – almost every row).
This afghan was on my interchangable circular
needles (meaning you can take off the ends
and put in bigger/smaller needles on the same
cable). When I reached into my bag to take out
the knitting the needle came apart from the
cable! OH NO! As I’m trying to fix it, more &
more stitches kept coming unraveled – BIG
OH NO! I attempted to put them back on the
cable (almost lost a few stitch markers which
fell off onto the floor – retrieved them later).
I got so flustered by it all that I just put the
entire thing back in the bag, saying I’ll fix it
when I get home. Next day (yesterday) I “tried”
to do just that – WHAT A MESS! I tried MANY
times to get the stitches back on the needles
and (somehow) be able to figure out just where
I was in the SIX rows of the pattern . . . let’s just
say it wasn’t a pretty sight. I got really upset and
threw it across the room (and it takes a LOT to
get me upset! . . . I did that TWO times! I was
ready to just give up so I put it down.) Mentioned
to my husband how upset I was about it – this
was the THIRD time I’ve had that happen with
my adjustable circular needles; he said: “Bring
it to me and let me see.” Good thing! By using
a flashlight he was able to see that one of the
two locking pins on the cables had worn off –
making it VERY easy for the cable to come off
of the needle! He even went on line and looked
up the company that made them and found
out they sell JUST the cables! $4.00 and I can
have a new cable! (The complete set costs
$65.00; I was so upset I had even entertained
the idea of ordering a completely NEW set!)
I bought these, used, from a friend – I’ve had
them about 4 years and use them all the time;
who knows how long she used them before me?
Anyway, I now have TWO brand new 16 inch
cables coming in the mail – YAY! After all that,
the baby afghan is FINALLY back on track –
and, NO, I’m not planning on taking it back
to Knit Night! Stick to what you know, Pammie!
ONLY bring SIMPLE stuff to work on!

So much for the excitement in my life, eh?

Hope you have a GREAT day/evening! Enjoy
this weather ’cause it will SOON ENOUGH



Beautiful DAY!


Today is the kind of day for relaxing (like the clip above) – the sun is shining, it’s a lovely temperature 79 degrees F., light breeze – perfect ‘End of Summer’ Holiday-day! We don’t have any special plans for the day – just enjoying the sunshine, for it won’t be too long and the temps will drop, the leaves will start falling and BOOM! We’re into Fall! (not my favorite time of year).

The ‘crazy’ grandson-sitting possible schedule of last week has mellowed out greatly: as it stands we only have to pick him up after school at his bus stop and drive him to football practice 2 days – that’s it! WHEW! So glad that’s straightened out!


Peanut Butter Custard Blast

2 C. Oreo cookie crumbs
2 T. sugar
1/3 C. butter, melted

1 1/2 C. sugar
1/3 C. cornstarch
2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
6 C. milk
6 large egg yolks, beaten
1 C. creamy peanut butter

2 C. heavy whipping cream
1 T. powdered sugar
6 peanut butter cups, chopped
1/2 C. chopped salted peanuts
2 T. chocolate syrup

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In small bowl combine cookie
crumbs & sugar; stir in butter &
press into bottom of a greased
9 X 13″ baking dish. Bake 8 minutes
until set; cool on wire rack.
In large saucepan combine sugar,
cornstarch, flour & salt; stir in
milk until smooth. Cook & stir
over medium-high heat until
thickened & bubbly. Reduce heat
& cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Remove
from heat & stir a small amount of
hot mixture into egg yolks; return
all to pan, stirring constantly. Bring
to a gentle boil, cook & stir 2 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir 1 C. peanut
butter in until smooth. Gently stir
peanut butter mixture into pan then
pour over crust. Cool to room
temperature. Cover & refrigerate
at least 2 hours.

In large bowl beat cream until it begins
to thicken; add powdered sugar & beat
until stiff peaks form. Spread over peanut
butter mixture then sprinkle with peanut
butter cups & peanuts. Drizzle top with
chocolate syrup. Serves 15

To Prepare ahead:
After peanut butter custard is poured over
crust, refrigerate overnight. Before serving,
top with sweetened whipped cream, peanuts,
peanut butter candy & chocolate drizzle


Baked Rueben Dip

1 (32 oz) jar sauerkraut, rinsed/
well drained
10 oz. sliced deli corned beef,
2 C. (8 oz) shredded sharp
Cheddar cheese
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. Russian salad dressing
1 tsp. caraway seeds, optional
rye crackers

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl mix first 6
ingredients; stir in caraway
seeds, if using. Spray a 9 X 13″
baking dish with nonstick spray &
pour mixture into dish. Bake
25-30 minutes until bubbly. Serve
with crackers. Makes 8 cups


Pork Chop/Garden Veggie
Rice Bake

8 (1 inch thick) pork chops
salt/pepper, to taste
1 tsp. paprika
2 T. oil
2 T. butter
1 carrot, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 C. fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. green onions, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian-style diced
tomatoes, drained
1 3/4 C. chicken broth
1 C. long grain rice (must be
this kind of rice)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt butter & oil in dutch oven over
high heat. Once hot, add chops &
brown 3 minutes per side – continue
until all chops are cooked. Remove
chops & add carrots, bell pepper &
mushrooms to pot. Reduce heat to
medium-high & cook, stirring
occasionally, 3 minutes. Add broth,
rice & diced tomatoes – bring to boil
then reduce to simmer, stirring
occasionally 5 minutes. Pour rice/veggie
mixture into a greased 9 X 13″ baking
dish. (It will seem like a lot of liquid &
too little rice but it will change when
cooked). Top mixture with chops & cover
dish with foil. Bake 1 hour. Serves 4-6


Citrus Grilled Chicken

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
breasts or thighs (or comb. of both)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
juice of 1 orange
2 fresh sprigs rosemary, removed
from stem & chopped (about 3-4 T.)
2 T. olive oil + more for grilling

Place all ingredients in zip lock bag &
marinate at room temp. 30 minutes –
one hour. Heat grill to High on one side
and Low on the other. Discard marinade
& pat chicken dry. Brush chicken with oil
& place on hot side – leave on for a few
minutes to sear; flip & repeat then move
them to cool side & close cover. Cook
5-10 minutes depending on how thick
the meat is. Poke Test: push on thickest
part of meat; if it bounces back it is
probably done or close to done. If your
finger leaves an impression, it is still
uncooked. If you have to, pull one off
& cut into thickest part of one piece
to check. Let rest 5 minutes, then serve.
Serves 4


Crockpot Zucchini Noodle Lasagna

2 medium zucchini (sliced into quarter
inch rounds)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 C. cottage cheese
1 C. Parmesan cheese (shredded)
1 (12 oz) roll ground sausage, browned/
drained of excess grease
1 (24 oz) jar pasta sauce

Place sliced zucchini in a strainer; salt
rounds with a pinch of salt & let stand
15-20 minutes. Water from zucchini
will drip out of strainer – make sure you
have a bowl under strainer. Rinse off
zucchini & dry with a paper towel. In
medium bowl combine cream cheese,
cottage cheese & Parm. cheese – use
a hand mixer to mix until smooth. Spray
insides of crockpot with nonstick spray &
layer half of zucchini on bottom. Spread
half of pasta sauce on top & half of
cheese mixture – repeat layers. If desired,
sprinkle top with additional Parm. cheese.
Cover & cook on High 2-3 hours (or) Low
4-6 hours. Serves 6-8


Crunchy Taco Cups

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkt. taco seasoning ( 3 T.)
6 oz. diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 1/2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
6 large flour tortillas

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large skillet brown ground beef & drain;
transfer to a bowl. Add taco seasoning,
tomatoes, chiles & stir to combine. Cut
tortillas into a square shape & cut each into
4 smaller equally sized square pieces.
Generously spray a standard sized muffin
tin with nonstick spray. Line each cup
with a tortilla square. Add 1 1/2 T. of
taco mixture to each cup & top with
1 T. cheese – press down & add another
layer of tortilla square, taco mixture &
a final layer of cheese. Lightly brush
tops edges of tortilla squares with
cooking oil. Bake 18-20 minutes until
cups are heated through & edges are
golden brown. Makes 12 cups


Do Nothing Cake

2 C. sugar
2 C. flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (16 oz) can crushed pineapple,

1/2 C. butter
1 C. sugar
3/4 C. evaporated milk
1 C. flake coconut
1 C. chopped nuts (your choice)
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ pan with nonstick
spray. Place first 6 ingredients in
a bowl; mix until blended & pour
into pan. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Mix butter, sugar & evap. milk in
a saucepan & cook over medium
heat until a little thickened – about
5 minutes after reaching a boil.
Remove from heat & add
remaining ingredients; stir & pour
over hot cake.



Diet-wise, I’m down 12.4 lb. (after 3 weeks). It’s slow-
going but I’m still plugging at it. I would ‘like’ to get
down to 145 (I’m at 174 now) – we’ll see where this

Still working on the yellow baby blanket for Crisis
Pregnancy – it’s a beautiful pattern (6 rows, every
other row is just Purl) but it’s the kind of pattern
where, once you’ve made it through 6 rows, you’re
ready to do something else! This will be a slow-
going afghan; I have about 16 inches done now.
Also working on a rather simple scarf for the other
knit group that collects hats, scarves, mittens &
gloves for the homeless. Every year I say I’m done
knitting for them and then . . . I feel the urge to
knit a few scarves. THIS time I happened to bump
into some really pretty purples/dark blues/dark
greens (think peacock feather colors) yarn that
someone recently gave me and, when I originally
got it (about a month ago) I really didn’t have
ANY idea what to make with it (just knew I LOVED
the colors!). This time when I found it I immediately
knew it would make a really pretty scarf (or more);
another ‘gonna take awhile’ project, but that’s OK –
I have time.

Not much else new around here – I made pierogies &
sausages for dinner last night and it looks like that
might be dinner tonight, too.

Hope you all are having a nice, relaxing holiday!



Things are LOOKING UP!


Some days are more crazy than others – remember my ‘babysitting situation’ for next week? The crazy driving schedule? Now it’s looking like I’ll only have to pick up grandson ONCE at bus stop, get him some food then take him to football practice (No overnight stays/drive to school next morning) – YAY! Still awaiting the ‘final’ schedule, but it’s MUCH better than it was a few days ago! YAY!

Tuesday night was the final drop off of all the knit/crocheted baby items and it was CRAZY-HECTIC! We had over 22 ladies crammed into a very small space but you could ‘feel’ the excitement/anticipation in the air – they were ALL excited for the event. There was a total of 75 items donated. I took pictures of some of the creations – yesterday I sat down with my camera to download the photos onto my site and . . . NO PICTURES! The computer said there was ZERO pictures to download – WHAT? I did everything I could think of – nothing. I prayed on it and just before falling asleep last night I had a quick thought of checking one more place. I just did that and YES! The computer had tucked them away but I FOUND THEM! Those dear ladies took all that time to create all those sweet items – then entrusted them to me to photo (some didn’t have time to take a picture of their item(s) themselves, so it made me SICK thinking I messed up.) It was a busy/hectic evening but I’m SO PROUD of all the ladies did for that charity!


No-Melt Sundae Pie

15 Oreo cookies, finely crushed
3 T. butter, melted
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed/
1 (3.4 oz) pkg. Jell-o instant pudding
1 C. cold milk
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/3 C. canned sweetened condensed

Combine cookie crumbs & butter; press
onto bottom & up sides of 9″ pie plate.
Reserve 1/2 C. Cool Whip; refrigerate
until ready to use. Beat pudding mix &
milk in medium bowl using whisk
2 minutes. Stir in remaining Cool Whip &
spoon into crust. Mix melted chocolate
& condensed milk; spoon over pie. Swirl
gently using a knife. Freeze 6 hours or
until firm. Let pie stand at room temp.
15 minutes before serving to soften
slightly. Top with reserved Cool Whip.
Serves 10

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Spinach/Ricotta/Zucchini Rolls

2 large/wide zucchini, washed
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes (or
pasta sauce of your choice)
1 (18 oz) pkg. frozen spinach, thawed
1 (18 oz) tub ricotta cheese
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tsp. garlic
3/4 C. mozzarella cheese, divided
salt, to taste

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spread half pasta sauce on bottom of
a shallow baking dish. Slice zucchini
very thinly, lengthwise, to create
ribbons. Place spinach in a large bowl
& squeeze out any excess liquid (discard
liquid). Mix ricotta, eggs, garlic & 1/2 C.
mozzarella cheese into spinach until
all ingredients are well combined. Add
salt, to taste. Place 2 zucchini ‘ribbons’
on top of each other & spoon 1-2 T.
ricotta mixture on smallest end – roll
up to form a roll & place in prepared
baking dish, open end facing up – repeat
with remaining zucchini/spinach mixture.
Pour remaining sauce over rolls & top with
remaining cheese. Bake 20-30 minutes
until cheese is golden & bubbling; zucchini
is soft when tested with a fork or toothpick.
Serves 6


Grill Pork Chops & Sweet Potatoes
Foil Packets
(& oven recipe, also)

1 C. Manwich original sloppy joe
1 tsp. spicy brown mustard
10 oz. frozen cut sweet potatoe
fries (about 20 pieces)
2 medium ears fresh sweet corn,
husks removed/quartered
4 thick-cut boneless pork chops
(4 chops=1 1/3 lb)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 T. chopped green onions

Preheat gas grill for medium-high
heat. Combine Manwich & mustard
in small bowl. Place four 18″ X 12″
pieces heavy duty aluminum foil on
counter. Spray each with nonstick
spray. Evenly place sweet potatoes
& corn on each piece of foil then
top with pork. Sprinkle pork with
salt/pepper & spoon sauce over top.
Double told top & ends of each
foil, leaving space for steam to gather.
Place packets on grill & cover. Grill
15 minutes until pork is cooked
through (145 degrees F.) and corn is
tender. Carefully open packets; sprinkle
with green onions & serve. Serves 4

Oven Method:
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Assemble packets as above; place
packets on shallow pan & bake
25 minutes until pork is cooked
through (145 degrees F.)


Dilled Cucumber Salad

1/2 C. plain yogurt
1/4 C. Italian salad dressing
2 tsp. dried dill weed
2 large cucumbers, halved
lengthwise & sliced (3 C.)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1/4 C. thinly sliced red onion
1/8 tsp. salt

Stir together yogurt, dressing & dill
in large bowl. Add remaining
ingredients & stir gently to combine.
Serve immediately or chill 1 hour
before serving. Serves 6


Chive & Onion Hash Brown

1 1/2 C. Half & Half cream
1 (8 oz) tub spreadable chive &
onion cream cheese
2 T. dried minced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 (20 oz, ea) pkgs. refrigerated
shredded hash brown potatoes
2 C. shredded Swiss cheese
3 T. minced fresh chives, divided
2 T. butter, cubed

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a
Dutch oven. Cook & stir over
medium heat until blended; stir
in potatoes. Spray a 9 X 13″ baking
dish with nonstick spray & layer
1/3 of hash brown mixture and
2/3 Swiss cheese – sprinkle with
1 T. chives. Repeat layers & top
with remaining hash brown mixture &
cheese – dot top with butter. Bake,
covered with foil, 35 minutes. Uncover
& bake another 10-12 minutes until
edges begin to brown & potatoes
are heated through. Let stand 10
minutes before serving. Sprinkle
with remaining chives. Makes
12 (3/4 C. each) servings


Chicken Crescent Bake

1 (8 count) tube (regular sized)
crescent rolls
2 c. shredded, cooked chicken
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. instant minced onin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch pepper
1 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan or Romano

1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken
or mushroom soup
1 soup can milk (pour milk into empty
soup can)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In medium bowl combine
chicken, cream cheese, minced onion,
garlic powder, salt/pepper, cheese. In
another bowl mix soup with milk, stir so
it’s smooth. Separate crescent dough into
8 triangles; place about 1/4 C. chicken
mixture on wide base of roll, roll up
& seal, pinching sides together so filling
is completely enclosed – place rolls in
dish, making 2 rows of 4 crescents in each
row – leave space on all sides for sauce.
Pour sauce around rolls, avoiding covering
rolls with sauce or they will not brown & will
be soggy. Sprinkle roll tops with grated cheese
& bake 30-35 minutes until tops are browned.
Makes 8


Chocolate Cherry Snack Bars

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 C. quick oats
1/3 C. applesauce
1/4 C. milk
1 egg
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 C. (YOUR CHOICE):
dried cherries, chopped walnuts
chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients together in a
bowl. Line a 9″ X 9″ baking dish
with parchment paper & scoop
batter into pan – smooth out top.
Bake 20-25 minutes until golden &
mostly firm to the touch. Allow to
cool then cut into squares. Store
leftovers in fridge. Makes 24 squares



Weather-wise it’s been nice – in the 70’s, sunny and I heard
today it’s supposed to stay that way all through the weekend.
That’s great for those planning outdoor events or cook outs!
(For us, it’s the same – stay home, do nothing . . . but relax).

Gas prices are OK – got gas today for $2.29/9 at my local

Weight-wise I FINALLY lost 12 lbs – that’s 12 lbs in TWO MONTHS!
(Oh well, I didn’t put it on overnight, so it’s not coming off quickly,
either – right?). Went to one of my doctors for a annual check up
today and he was happy. He would like my weight/height to match
the (suggested) BMI – as he told me: “Only 3 more pounds, Pam!”
I’m really hoping to just keep going on the weight loss – no fun, but
it’s helping keep my diabetes blood numbers much better, too and
that’s really what I need to keep in mind when I start getting
discouraged and sick of not eating much. (Lately Dean’s cottage
cheese has become my friend – I really like their small curd – fills
me up and it can be eaten quickly!).

Hope you’re doing well and enjoying this ‘tail-end’ of summer;
next week school starts here on Tuesday.





Yesterday was certainly NOT your average day. I finally got youngest son to agree to ‘do his cake & picture’ – he turned 22 on Saturday but was never around to do it until yesterday. In the photo you can see he was tired, but agreed:


Happy 22, Eric!

(that’s a Dairy Queen Reese’s Ice cream cake!)

Yesterday also was the day my oldest invited us over for a family dinner – the food was fantastic! New York strip steaks, grilled to perfection including caramelized onions & mushrooms, baked potatoes, grilled asparagus (I’d never had it grilled before – phenomenal flavor!), my Greek salad, appetizers: sliced Cheddar & Pepper Jack cheeses, sliced salami, Brie cheese ‘en croute’ (wrapped in phyllo dough) & crackers. We all ate until we were stuffed. The entire dinner party included myself, my husband, middle son, oldest son/his girlfriend & our grandson, and her Mom (her dad had pulled his back earlier & couldn’t come). Finally the decided to bring out the cake – mind you, we were STUFFED! Out came a big bakery box from a local bakery that is well known for wonderful baked goods. Son opens the box & places the cake on the table with a grin. We’re all talking, not really taking in ‘the cake’. I look over & notice something on the top – two baby pacifiers! Her Mom kept talking and finally my son’s girlfriend said: “Mom, look at the cake!” Her mom walks over, starts reading the top and screams/cries! The cake is decorated in pink & blue dots – in the middle is a sign that says: “We’re having a baby!” There’s also a little teddy bear on top. Both sets of parents have talked about how great our ‘kids’ are together; they are both SUPER happy together – I’m still in shock. From what I’m told, the baby’s due date is March 1st – Wow…just WOW! It’s been TEN years since our last baby – I have since given away almost all baby ‘stuff’. There’s a few things I kept – just in case: small baby swing, big battery-operated swing, some toys. Of course, that ‘news’ got me thinking: lots of visits to Good Will, Salvation Army, etc. for baby items for OUR house. They were talking baby showers and it’s been decided that she doesn’t have that many close ‘girl’ friends to have just a ‘girl’ shower, so they’re going to have a (not sure what it’s called) combined? shower – guys & girls together. Well, my thoughts are: as soon as we find out the sex, it’s time for me to get started KNITTING – FOR SURE! All I kept saying last night was: “WOW – JUST WOW!” They, of course, are THRILLED and so is my grandson; he & his dad want a boy – I & girlfriend want a GIRL! We’ll see what transpires – what a surprise!


Sweet ‘n Salty Ice Cream Sandwiches

32 saltine crackers
1/2 c. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 C. packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 (8 oz) bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. toasted, sliced almonds
2-3 C. vanilla ice cream, softened 5
minutes at room temp.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line two 9 X 9″ baking pans with foil &
spray with nonstick spray. Line up 16
crackers, salt sites up, in bottom of each
pan. In small saucepan, melt butter & sugar
over medium heat 3-5 minutes until melted –
whisk to emulsify then stir in vanilla. Pour
half of mixture over each tray of crackers;
spread evenly to cover crackers. Bake
10-15 minutes until topping is bubbly &
edges have just started to darken. Sprinkle
chocolate chips over topping & let stand
5 minutes until melted; spread choc. chips
in even layer then top with sliced almonds.
Freeze both pans 15-30 minutes until solid.
Remove from freezer & carefully peel off
foil from bottoms. Line one of the pans with
plastic wrap then put a sheet of the crackers
in it, chocolate-side down. Scoop softened
ice cream onto crackers & spread out in an
even layer. Lightly press the other choc. covered
sheet over top of ice cream layer (choc. side up)
& freeze 6-8 hours until solid, then cut into


Sauted Zucchini & Sweet Corn

2 T. butter
2 C. zucchini or summer squash,
halved & sliced
1/2 C. onion, diced
1/3 c. green bell pepper, diced
2 C. fresh sweet corn, cut from cob,
(can also use frozen/thawed)
1 T. fresh chopped parsley
1 T. fresh chopped basil
salt/pepper, to taste

Melt butter over medium heat in
medium saute pan; add zucchini,
onion & green pepper – saute
4-5 minutes. Add corn & saute
3-4 minutes longer. Season with
salt/pepper & stir in parsley &
basil. Remove from heat & serve.


3-Ingredient Chicken

2 packets dry Italian salad dressing
1/2 C. brown sugar
6-8 chicken thighs (or your choice),
skin on

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a metal rimmed baking sheet
with foil. Place brown sugar & dry
mixes in a large zip-lock bag – shake
to  mix. Add chicken pieces to bag &
shake to coat then place pieces on
prepared sheet, skin sides up. Bake
35 minutes for thighs, longer for
thicker pieces, like breasts – until
juices run clear.

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced*
1 1/4 C. soft bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 T. dried parsley flakes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 (8 oz, ea) cans tomato sauce,
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4-5 medium zucchini
2 C. (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large bowl combine first 11
ingredients & one can tomato sauce; mix
well. Stir in tomatoes. Half zucchini
lengthwise; scoop out seeds & fill with
meat mixture. Spray two 9 X 13″ baking dishes
with nonstick spray & place zucchini boats
in greased dishes. Spoon remaining tomato
sauce over top of each. Bake, uncovered, 45
minutes until zucchini is tender. Sprinkle tops
with cheese during last few minutes of
cooking time. Serves 8-10

*Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot
peppers, the oils can burn your skin. Avoid
touching your face.


Mozzarella/Tomato/Basil Frittata

12 large eggs
1/2 C. whole milk
2 T. olive oil
4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled/
1 lb. fresh or smoked mozzarella,
2 T. slivered basil leaves
salt/fresh ground black pepper

Preheat broiler
In large bowl whisk eggs with milk.
Pour 1 T. oil into very large oven-
proof skillet (or use 2 skillets with
half the ingredients in each). Place
over medium heat & pour in egg
mixture. Scatter tomatoes, cheese &
basil over top & season with salt/
pepper. When bottom just begins to
brown, place skillet under broiler
just until the top is set, 1 minute or
less. Remove from oven & use a large
spatula to transfer frittata to a
serving platter. Cool about 10 minutes
then cut into wedges & serve.
Serves 12


Country Apple Fritter Bread

1/3 C. light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 C. white sugar
1/2 C. butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. milk
2 apples, peeled/chopped mixed
2 T. granulated sugar & 1
tsp. cinnamon

1/2 C. powdered sugar
1-3 T. milk or cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 5″ loaf pan with nonstick
spray or line with foil then spray
with nonstick spray. Mix brown sugar
& cinnamon in a bowl. In another
medium bowl beat white sugar & butter
using elec. mixer until smooth & creamy.
Beat in eggs, 1-at-a-time, until blended; add
vanilla. Combine & whisk flour & baking
powder in another bowl & add into creamed
butter mixture – stir until blended. Mix milk
into batter until smooth; pour half batter
into prepared pan; add half apple mixture,
then half brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Lightly pat apple mixture into batter. Pour
remaining batter over apple layer & top with
remaining apple mixture, then brown sugar/
cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apples into
batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through
apples using a knife or spoon. Bake 50-60
minutes until a toothpick inserted into
center comes out clean. Remove from oven
& allow to cool 15 minutes before drizzling
with glaze.
Mix powdered sugar & milk or cream until
well mixed then drizzle over loaf.
Makes 1 loaf



I was happy with the way the Greek salad turned
out; I just went on-line and looked over various
salad recipes then concocted my own. Ingredients
chopped romaine lettuce (almost 2 heads)
chopped iceburg lettuce (1 head)
sliced cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 pints)
peeled/sliced cucumbers (1 1/2)
chopped green bell pepper (1)
sliced/pitted Kalamata olives (half a jar)
sliced purple onion (small amount – it was
VERY potent!)
feta cheese (about 1/2 – 3/4 C.)
small amount toasted, chopped garlic (2 T. ?)
KROGER brand Greek salad dressing

I made a large amount (am actually thinking
of recreating it for the Sunday School picnic
this Saturday – we’ll see). There was enough
left over for us to leave some at son’s house
AND bring a rather large bowl home (half of
which became my breakfast!) Weight-wise, let’s
just say: I PIGGED OUT! Had steak, asparagus,
2 helpings salad and a very tiny amount of cake,
minus the frosting. Getting on scales today was
‘as expected’ . . . it read: GET BACK ON YOUR DIET,
WOMAN!” hehehe.

Well, now I wear 2 hats: one for a 10 year old
grandson and one for a yet-to-be-born baby
grandchild! AMAZING!



Yep, it’s STILL hot out there! (but it’s August)


Had to make a quick run to the grocery store a little earlier – my car thermometer said 88 degrees F.; it’s sunny and a GORGEOUS baby-blue sky with great big wispy clouds – if I were a sail boat person, it would be THAT kind of a day.

This evening our oldest son (the Exec. Chef) invited us over for dinner – he loves entertaining and wants to do this, every once in awhile. Also coming will be his girlfriend’s parents – we all get along great, so it should be a really FUN time. He’s making New York strip steaks & twice-baked potatoes; I’m bringing a Greek salad – he let me know they are ‘good’ on dessert, mentioning something about we have the cakes already. Cakes? I’m wondering why cakes – plural, but guess I’ll find out later, right?

Gas prices in our area have jumped up a bit – I should have taken advantage of them when they were $2.16/9 but now they’re up to $2.29/9 – not terribly bad, but would have liked the lower price – sigh.


Chocolate Bliss S’mores

1/2 C. butter, melted
2 C. crushed graham crackers
1/2 C. chopped M & M’s (peanut
butter flavored)
1/2 C. chopped M & M’s peanut
1 C. chopped Milky Way Midnight
1 1/2 C. miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 8 X 8″ baking dish with nonstick
spray then line with parchment paper.
In large bowl mix butter & graham
crumbs; press onto bottom of prepared
pan. Sprinkle chopped M & M’s &
Milky Way bars on top of crust. Bake
12-15 minutes until candy is melted &
slightly golden. Remove & cover
generously with  mini marshmallows.
Return to oven & bake another 10
minutes until marshmallows are golden
on top. Cool on rack & sprinkle with
some remaining graham crumbs, if
desired. Let cool completely before


Sweet Cola Ribs

1 T. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 C. ketchup
1 can cola
1/2 C. apple cider vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 T. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 T. onion powder
1/2 T. ground mustard
1/2 T. lemon juice
1 T. Worcestershire sauce

Dry Rub:

2 T. salt
2 T. brown sugar
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. black pepper

2 racks pork spare ribs (about
3 lb. each)

In medium saucepan over medium
heat, add oil. Once heated, add onion &
garlic; saute until tender. Add all remaining
sauce ingredients & bring to boil. Reduce
heat to simmer & cook, uncovered, stirring
frequently, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Dry Rub:
Whisk all dry rub ingredients together in
small bowl. (this can be stored in an airtight
container up to 6 months).

Rinse & dry ribs; place on clean cutting
board. Pull off membrane & trim ribs of
excess fat. Liberally season both sides of
ribs with rub. Wrap ribs with plastic wrap
& refrigerate 4-12 hours so flavors can
Preheat grill to 250 degrees F. using
hickory and charcoal. Set up grill for
indirect heat.
Place ribs, meatier sides down, on grill
away from coals; close cover & cook
1 hr 15 minutes, flipping several times
for an even cook. Coat ribs with sauce,
reserving some for dipping later. Cook
another 20 minutes. Serves 4


Grilled Seafood Boil Foil
(& oven method)

2 T. salted butter, softened
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
3/4 lb. peeled/deveined shrimp,
thawed if frozen, patted dry
1/3 lb. bay scallops, foot removed,
thawed if frozen, patted dry
1 T. canola oil
3/4 tsp. seafood seasoning (like
Old Bay)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
2 medium ears fresh sweet corn,
husks removed, halved, crosswise
2 1/2 C. red potatoes, chopped*
2 links andouille sausage, sliced
1 C. lager beer
2 T. chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Combine butter & lemon peel in
small bowl. Combine shrimp,
scallops, oil, seafood seasoning,
garlic powder & cayenne in another
bowl; toss to coat. Place four 18″ X
12″ pieces of heavy duty aluminum
foil on counter – spray with nonstick
spray. Divide & evenly place corn &
potatoes on each piece of foil – top
each with some seafood mixture &
sausage slices. Fold edges of foil
upward; pour 1/4 C. beer into each
packet. Double fold top & ends of
each piece of foil, leaving space for
steam to gather. Place packets on
grate, cover. Grill 15-20 minutes until
seafood is cooked through (145 degrees
F.) and vegetables are tender. Carefully
open packets. Divide lemon butter
evenly & place on each piece of corn.
Sprinkle each with parsley & serve.
Serves 4

Oven method:
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Prepare packets as above; place
on shallow pan & bake 25-30
minutes until seafood is cooked
through (145 degrees F.) and
potatoes are tender.

BLT Macaroni Salad

1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked
accordg. to pkg. directions,
drained & cooled
1 C. mayonnaise
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1 C. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 C. coarsely chopped baby

In large bowl combine mayonnaise,
garlic, salt/pepper – add cooked
pasta & remaining ingredients. Mix
well, cover & refrigerate until ready
to serve. Serves 12

NOTE: you may add a little more
mayonnaise before serving if it’s a
bit too dry

(recipe: Marys Recipe Exchange)

Sauteed Zucchini, Bacon & Tomatoes

2 slices bacon, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced thin
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, minced
salt, to taste

Cook bacon in pan until crisp, remove
from pan, drain grease & wipe out pan
with paper towel until there is only a
small amount of grease left in pan. Sauteed
sliced zucchini 10 minutes until cooked,
sprinkle with a little salt. Add tomatoes,
garlic & bacon to pan & cook 1-2 minutes
more. Makes 1 serving.


Pineapple/Pecan/Chicken Salad

3 C. cooked/chopped chicken breasts
1 C. finely chopped celery
2 green onions, sliced (about 3 T.)
2 T. finely chopped green pepper
1 tsp. salt
dash black pepper
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 T. lemon juice

Combine chicken, celery, green onion,
green pepper, salt/pepper & mayo
in a bowl – mix well. Stir in pecans,
pineapple & lemon juice. Chill about
30 minutes before serving to allow
flavors to meld.

(recipe: thekitchenismyplayground)

Ambrosia Salad

1 (29 oz) can fruit cocktail, drained
1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 C. maraschino cherries, drained/
rinsed & cut in half
1 (1 oz) box cheesecake-flavor Pudding
8 oz. sour cream
3 C. Cool Whip, thawed
1 C. miniature marshmallows

Drain all fruit – if it was packed in syrup,
rinse in cold water & drain. Combine fruit
cocktail, pineapple, mandarin oranges &
cherries in large bowl – sprinkle with dry
cheesecake-flavored pudding mix & stir
to coat. Add sour cream & Cool Whip –
stir well. Fold in marshmallows & chill
at least 1 hour before serving.



Not much new around here, finally got the
‘when do we watch the grandson’ schedule
ironed out. Turns out it’s not too bad: this
week we have him all day Thurs & Friday.
Next week just Thurs. and, if all stays the
same, we’re ‘off’ for the rest of the month!
Son said it looks like it will be every Thurs.
& every other Friday when school starts –
we’ll see.

Oh! Wanted to include an actual photo
of my really pretty plant: CELOSIA


Even THIS photo doesn’t do it justice – the bottom
of the plumes are darker magenta and so are the
tips – the middles are sort of a white/pink hue –
REALLY pretty (and, so far . . . fingers crossed . . .
I’m keeping it alive!) YAY!

Have a GREAT day!