Aaaand we’re on the ‘Home Stretch’!

Went out bright & early today to FINISH UP the shopping! Our middle son will be turning 30 Jan. 4th and I noticed in an ad for our local store: Meijers, that they had out the movie: “The House with a Clock in it’s Walls” – saw the previews last month and thought he would really enjoy this one, so got it today (along with a big bag of pistachios for my husband’s Christmas stocking). I’ve been going over the ‘food list’ for Christmas dinner and realized I didn’t have any desserts – good old Meijers bakery is GREAT for that so I picked up a really big pumpkin pie and a smaller sliced/variety cheesecake (with flavors like Lemon/Lime, Raspberry Swirl) – that should do the trick.

Going by our local Clark gas station today: $2.09/9 a gallon for gas! WOW! I really don’t remember seeing it that low in many, many years!

I survived my special needs group’s Christmas party Wednesday evening. This is the very FIRST time I have ever finished out the night and my back/legs/feet/hips were good – no pain! When we did the Harvest Party I was almost crawling at the end of the night attempting to walk across the gym for the 1,000th time – I decided NOT THIS TIME! I measured my walking and only did the entire gym a few times – YES! Spent yesterday sitting in my recliner knitting & relaxing – that was really nice.


Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake

2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. orange zest
6 T. orange juice, divided
1 C. butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. white chocolate chips

1 C.  white chocolate chips,
3 T. orange juice
dash salt

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Spray a Bundt pan generously with
nonstick cooking spray & dust lightly
with flour (or use spray that also has
flour in it). In small bowl place flour,
baking powder & 1/4 tsp. salt – mix
to combine. In large bowl of stand
mixer add butter, brown & gran.
sugars – beat until fluffy, about 2
minutes. Add eggs – mix 1 minute.
Add orange zest, orange juice & vanilla;
mix until combined. Add dry flour bowl
ingredients to wet & beat 1 minute –
scrape down sides of bowl to ensure
all ingredients are well incorporated.
Add 1 C. white choc. chips & 1 1/2
C. fresh or frozen cranberries – mix
to incorporate then pour into prepared
pan – smooth top evenly. (batter will
be very thick).
Bake 45-55 minutes until a toothpick
inserted into middle of cake comes out
clean. Remove from oven & allow to
cool in pan 10 minutes. Place a wire rack
over top of pan, invert pan so that cake
is now on wire rack. Allow cake to cool
completely before adding glaze.

In medium pan on stove: add 1 C. white
choc. chips, 3 T. orange juice & dash salt
– stir over medium-high heat until chocolate
has melted & is smooth – drizzle over cooled
cake. Serves 12


Crockpot Chocolate Fudge

10 oz. chocolate chips (semi-sweet
or milk chocolate)
1 (16 oz.) tub prepared cake frosting
Optional toppings:

crushed peppermint candies, chopped
nuts, candy sprinkles, dried fruit,
chopped candy bars
Scoop frosting into bottom of 3 qt. crockpot;
add choc. chips & stir to combine. Cover &
cook on Low 1 to 1 1/2 hours. While choc.
mixture is cooking, line a 8 X 8″ baking pan
with parchment or waxed paper, leaving
paper on each side overhanging. Once choc.
mixture is melted, stir well to make sure
all is well combine & all chips are melted.
Pour mixture into prepared pan & spread
to smooth top evenly. Sprinkle top with
crushed peppermint candies, sprinkles,
chopped nuts or topping of your choice
(optional), pressing topping lightly with
your hand to make sure it sticks to fudge.
Refrigerate 2-3 hours. Cut cooled fudge
using a sharp knife. Makes 16 squares


Crockpot Green Beans w/Bacon

8 slices bacon, cut into small
pieces/cooked until crispy
2 lb. rinsed/trimmed fresh green
1/2 C. yellow onion, diced/sauteed
with bacon until transparent.
1 potato, diced
1 1/2 C. chicken broth or stock
salt/pepper, to taste

Lightly spray insides of crockpot
with nonstick cooking spray. Add green
beans, black pepper, bacon (& drippings)
to crockpot – stir to make sure all are
mixed well. Add diced potatoes & broth/
stock – salt/pepper – to taste*. Cover &
cook on Low 6-8 hours or High 3-4
hours until beans reach your desired
level of tenderness. – adjust seasonings
to your liking & serve immediately.
Serves 8

*Poster says she frequently omits salt as
the bacon gives enough salty flavor.


Sausage Cheese Balls

3 C. Bisquick baking mix
1 lb. uncooked bulk pork
4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C. milk
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley (or 1/2
tsp. dried flakes)

Barbecue or chili sauce, for dipping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease bottom & sides of a jelly
roll pan or shallow casserole dish. In
large bowl mix all ingredients except
sauces for dipping, mix using your hands
or a spoon. Shape mixture into 1-inch
balls & place on pan. Bake 20-25 minutes
until brown. Immediately remove from pan.
Serve warm with dipping sauce.

Can be made ahead:
Cover & refrigerate unbaked balls up to
24 hours. Bake as directed. Cover & freeze
any unbaked balls up to 1 month. Preheat
oven 350 degrees.

Place frozen balls on ungreased cookie sheet
& bake 25-30 minutes until brown.

Place 6 frozen balls on a microwaveable plate;
loosely cover with waxed paper & microwave
on High 45 seconds to 1 minute until heated

(recipe: Mike Suddaby-Facebook)
Ham & Cheese Rollups

1 (8 oz) tube crescent roll dough
1/2 lb. deli sliced ham
2 T. Dijon mustard
8 oz. sliced Swiss cheese
4 T. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 T. chopped parsley
1 tsp. poppy seeds

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 8 X 8″ baking pan with
nonstick cooking spray. On a lightly
floured surface unroll dough &
separate the sheet into rectangles.
Pinch the perforations to seal. Spread
mustard onto each rectangle; top with
sliced ham & cheese. Starting with one
short side, roll up each rectangle, pinching
edges to seal. Cut each roll into 5-6 slices &
place, cut sides up, in baking pan.
In small bowl whisk melted butter, garlic powder
& parsley – brush over pinwheels then sprinkle
poppy seeds on top. Bake 12-15 minutes until
rolls are golden. Makes 6 servings


Overnight Blueberry French Toast

12 slices day-old bread, cut into 1-inch
cubes (Italian bread works best)
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, cut into
1-inch cubes
1 C. fresh or frozen blueberries
12 eggs, beaten
2 C. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 C. maple syrup
1 C. granulated sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 C. water
1 C. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 T. butter

Lightly grease a 9 X 13″ baking dish. Arrange
half bread cubes in dish & top with cream
cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 C. blueberries over
cream cheese & top with remaining bread
cubes. In large bowl mix eggs,  milk, vanilla &
syrup – pour over bread cubes. Press the cubes
down a bit to ‘soak’ them in mixture. Cover
tightly & refrigerate overnight.

Remove bread cube mixture from fridge
30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cover with foil & bake 30 minutes. Uncover,
continue baking 25-30 minutes until center
is firm & surface is lightly browned. In medium
saucepan bring sugar, cornstarch & water to
a boil, stirring constantly – cook 3-4 minutes.
Mix in remaining 1 C. blueberries. Reduce heat
& simmer 10 minutes, until blueberries begin
to burst. Stir in butter & pour over baked
French toast. Serves 16


Crockpot Swedish Meatballs

1 T. butter
1 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup,
1 envelope Lipton beefy onion soup mix
1 (24 oz) pkg. frozen fully-cooked Swedish
meatballs (OR) 1 (26 oz) pkg. frozen fully
cooked homestyle meatballs
2/3 C. sour cream
2 T. minced fresh parsley (or) 2 tsp dried

Hot cooked noodles or mashed potatoes
to serve 10 (Optional)

In large skillet heat butter over medium-high
heat. Saute mushrooms until tender, 4-5
minutes – place in crockpot. Stir in broth,
chicken soup & soup mix – stir in meatballs.
Cover & cook on Low 5-6 hours, until flavors
blend. Stir in sour cream & Parsley. Cover &
cook until heated through, about 15 minutes.
Serve with cooked noodles or mashed
potatoes to serve 10

Cream Cheese Mints

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 T. butter, softened
7-8 C. powdered sugar (start with 7,
reserve 1 C. for dipping later)
4-6 drops peppermint oil
(food coloring, if desired)

In large bowl place cream cheese, butter
& peppermint oil – using elec. mixer,
beat until fluffy. Add 7 C. powdered
sugar & beat again until dough is like
in consistency. It will seem stiff & dry at
first but after a minute or two it will
come together. (you can add coloring
at this point, if desired.) (If it’s too dry
to form balls after you’re done mixing,
add 1 T. milk & mix again.) Form into
small 1 inch balls & place on waxed paper.
Roll each ball in powdered sugar &
flatten slightly with your fingertip/
a fork/back of a spoon/bottom of a
glass or a tiny
seasonal pastry stamp. Allow mints
to dry a few hours before storing. If
they will be eaten in a day or two, you
can leave them out in an airtight
container – for longer storage, place
in fridge. Makes about 80 1-inch mints.


I’m thrilled our weather is still ‘good’ – today
it’s kind of misty/foggy & gloomy with temp.
at 38 degrees F. Looking at our weather
for the next week there are a few hints of
snow, but nothing showing any accumulation
so we can just hope it melts! (even Christmas
Day it says “chance of snow after 1 p.m., mostly
cloudy high near 34”. If we stay that way I’ll be
happy – Why, you ask? Because you can WALK,
without worrying about slipping,
falling or getting into an accident when your car
slides on the roads!

Stay safe, warm and REMEMBER TO REST WHEN
If you ‘over-do’ it, you won’t have the
energy you need to get all your ‘stuff’ done! (that
is spoken from great experience in that area!).
I have babysitting at 1 p.m. today and have been
rejoicing in that TODAY is the only day I’ve had to
do that this week! YAY! (Don’t get me wrong – I
love my baby grandson but I also love my OWN
time) – at least I get a lot of knitting done when
sitting! (but then, I usually come home really
tired, so glad dinner is something simple:
steak & eggs – found 3 nice steaks on sale so
dinner will be easy!)




Crazy Weather – still

Just a few weeks ago we were enjoying close to 50 degrees F. weather – now we’re back to a light dusting of snow on the ground, low 20’s and pretty strong (30 mph) winds . . . welcome to Michigan! Gee, looking at the weather forecast, if we wait until Friday we might actually get up to 40 degrees F.! (But then there’s Friday & Saturday with 80% chance of snow . . . oh, goodie) Sigh –


Looking at St. Patrick’s Day coming up – found some recipes for ya

Grasshopper Pie
(overnight recipe)

2 (3 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
15 drops green food coloring
24 chocolate-covered mint cookies,
2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
1 chocolate crumb crust (8 inch)

In large bowl beat cream cheese until
fluffy. Gradually beat in milk until
smooth. Beat in food coloring. Coarsely
crush 16 cookies; stir into cream cheese
mixture. Fold in Cool Whip & spoon into
crust. Cover & freeze overnight.
Remove from freezer 15 minutes before
serving. Garnish with remaining crushed
cookies. Makes 8 servings


Farmer’s Cabbage & Pasta

1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 1/2 C. chopped onion (about
2 medium)
4 C. chunked cabbage (about
1/2 medium head)
8 oz. bowtie noodles, cooked
accordg. to pkg. directions
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

In large skillet heat oil over medium-
high heat; saute onions & cabbage
until very soft & light brown. Add
remaining ingredients & cook 3-5
minutes until heated through. Serve
immediately. Serves 6

Sweet & Sour Irish Cabbage

2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. white vinegar
1/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. caraway seed
1/4 C. water
4 C. shredded green cabbage,
about half a medium head

In large skillet over medium heat,
heat all ingredients except cabbage
2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add
cabbage & stir to coat. Reduce heat
to Low, cover & simmer 20 minutes.
Serves 3


Irish County Chicken Breasts

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 oz. butter
1 C. fresh white bread crumbs, crusts
2 oz. white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
8 oz. heavy cream
3 egg yolks
ground black pepper
2 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Sprinkle salt on chicken. Melt butter
in large frying pan over medium heat.
Add chicken, cook 10-15 minute until
just lightly colored on both sides. Spray
a ovenproof dish with nonstick spray &
place breasts in dish. Cook bread crumbs
in remaining butter in skillet until golden
but not too brown; remove from pan to
another dish – Deglaze pan with white
wine & lemon juice until it has reduced
to about half it’s volume. Leave in pan
until you are ready to use it. Beat cream
& egg yolks in bowl, season with salt/
pepper & stir in cheese. Pour deglazing
liquid from skillet over chicken, followed
by cream mixture & finish by sprinkling
cooked crumbs over top. Bake 25 minutes
until top is golden & egg mixture is firm.
Serves 4

Serve with new potatoes & green peas


Crockpot Sausage/Hash Brown

8 eggs
2 lb. pork breakfast sausage,
30 oz. frozen hash browns,
2 C. milk
2 C. Cheddar cheese, shredded

In large skillet cook & brown sausage;
drain & add to 4 qt or larger crockpot.
In same skillet add a little of sausage
drippings (or butter) & cook hash
browns until slightly browned, about
10-15 minutes. Add hash browns to
crockpot. In medium bowl whisk eggs,
milk & cheese until well combined;
pour on top of mixture in crockpot;
stir. Cover & cook on High 2-3 hours
until a toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Serves 6-8

*you can substitute ground turkey,
egg beaters & low fat cheese, if


Crispy Garlic Parmesan Potatoes

4 potatoes (medium) scrubbed,
not peeled
4 T. olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. parsley
salt, to taste
4 T. fresh Parmesan cheese,

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Line a sheet pan with parchment
paper. Slice potatoes 1/4″ thick &
toss with olive oil, seasonings &
2 T. Parm. cheese. Bake in single
layer 30 minutes until browned,
flipping potatoes after 15 minutes.
Once browned, top with remaining
2 T. Parm. cheese & bake an additional
5 minutes until cheese bubbles &
browns. Serves 2-4


Chocolate Mint Parfait Bars

1 box chocolate cake mix
1/3 C. butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 C. water

Middle Layer:
1 (.25 oz) envelope plain unflavored
1/4 C. boiling water
4 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 C. shortening
1/4 tsp. mint extract
2-3 drops green food coloring (optional)

Top Layer:
6 T. butter
12 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Spray 9 X 13 baking dish with nonstick
spray. In large bowl combine cake mix,
butter, water & egg; beat at slow speed
until mixed then press evenly into bottom
of pan. Bake 10 minutes; cool completely
before adding second layer

Middle Layer:
In bowl dissolve gelatin in boiling water;
cool slightly. Add 2 C. powdered sugar &
blend well. Beat in butter, shortening,
mint & food coloring (if using). Beat 1
minute at Medium speed until smooth
& creamy. Add remaining 2 C. powdered
sugar until smooth; spread evenly over
cooled base.

Top Layer:
In saucepan over Low heat, melt chocolate
chips & butter until smooth, stirring
constantly. Carefully spread evenly over
filling, covering completely. Refrigerate
until firm, then cut into bars. Let stand
at room temperature about 20 minutes
before serving. Store any remaining bars
in fridge. Makes approx. 36 bars.


Not much new going on around here;
last night was Knit/Crochet night and,
even with the cold, 12 lovely ladies
showed up. We’re planning a Knit/Crochet
Movie night for next Tuesday – that’s where
we get together at one of our ladies houses
& bring food, knit/crochet & watch a movie.
They chose Mexican for the food theme; am
thinking of making enchiladas (just not making
them quite as spicy as for my family). I send
around an email asking anyone interested to
send me what food they’re bringing & then I
try to coordinate it all; they bring movies
they enjoy & then we vote on which one we’ll
watch that evening. (I’m thinking of buying
“Dr. Strange” & bringing it – it was SUCH a
GREAT movie – lots of action, good plot &
plot twists – we’ll see if they vote for that one.

Hope you’re having a good week – enjoy
your day!



Great Day – again!


Another beautiful, gorgeous Fall Day – sun shining, 58 degrees, slight breeze – just perfect (who would guess it’s almost the middle of November?! In Michigan, no less!)

Just got home from going to the movies with husband & middle son, to see “Dr. Strange” with one of my favorite actors: Benedict Cumberbatch! It was SUPER – action packed, lots of CGI, great acting – really kept me glued to the screen. I can’t even BEGIN to imagine all the choreographing each actor had to go through/learn for those fight scenes! (and, of course, I glommed on a ton of super-buttered popcorn; Hey! What’s a movie without popcorn?!)

Tonight’s dinner is going to be a very large roasted chicken, stuffing & tossed salad. I went to Krogers the other day and this great big roasting chicken was marked down to $6. something – at first I said, No, I don’t need a chicken but then I got to thinking: “Their already cooked rotisserie chickens at Krogers run $7.00, maybe a little less if on sale.” This one is really BIG! YUM!


Apple Crisp Pie

1 (21 oz) can apple pie filling
1 (9 inch) deep-dish pie crust
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 C. quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1 T. cinnamon
1/4 C. butter, cold/sliced

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Pour apple pie filling into pie crust.
In a bowl combine sugars, oats &
cinnamon; sprinkle over filling.
Dot top with butter slices. Bake
30 minutes. Serves 8


Mushroom Risotto

1 1/4 C. arborio rice
1/4 C. olive oil, divided
3 slices bacon, finely diced
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz fresh mushrooms, thickly
2 cloves garlic, minced/divided
1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
1/4 C. dry white wine
1 (32 oz) box chicken stock*
4 T. butter
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese**
salt/pepper, to taste

Heat large skillet over high heat. Add
2 T. oil; quickly add mushrooms & sear
them until they begin to brown. Add
half garlic & cook 30 seconds; remove
from heat. Heat a deep saucepan (3-4
qt) over medium heat. Put in remaining
oil & heat. Add bacon & cook until it
begins to brown. Add onion, remaining
garlic, thyme; cook until onion is
translucent. Add rice & stir, making
sure rice is coated with oil. Stir in wine;
cook, stirring frequently until wine is
mostly absorbed. Add about 1/2 C.
chicken stock; stir frequently until liquid
is almost absorbed. Continue, adding
stock in about 1/2 C. increments &
stirring until it is almost absorbed until
all stock is used up. Rice should be tender
at this point and there should be a
creamy sauce. Add reserved mushrooms
& garlic; stir well. Stir in butter & cheese;
adjust seasoning with salt/pepper, to
taste. Serves 6-8

*Can substitute vegetable stock
** You can use 2 T. Roman & 2 T.
Parmesan for more flavor


Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup
(use 4 qt or larger crockpot)

6-7 boneless skinless chicken breasts
(5-6 lb)
4 C. chicken stock/broth
2 (10 oz, ea) cans enchilada sauce
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes
2 (4 oz, ea) cans diced green chilies
2 C. frozen whole kernel corn
2 (14 oz, ea) cans black beans, drained/
1 (6 oz) can pitted black olives, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, diced
1 tsp. cumin
salt/pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to crockpot; cover &
cook on High 4-5 hours (Low 7-8 hours).
Stir occasionally.
About 1 hour before serving, remove
chicken into large bowl & shred using
2 forks then return to crockpot & allow
to cook the remaining hour.  Serves 8


Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes

6 medium orange yams peeled &
cut into 1 inch cubes
4 T. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line 2 large cookie sheets with foil &
lay cut yams evenly on sheets. Drizzle
2 T. oil over each pan & toss to coat.
In small bowl combine thyme, garlic
salt, chili powder, cumin, sugar,
seasoned salt & cayenne – sprinkle
half of mixture over each pan of
yams & toss to evenly distribute
seasonings. Sprinkle with salt/pepper
on top. Bake 30-40 minutes until soft
on insides & outsides are a little bit
charred. Do no burn them. Taste &
adjust salt/pepper. Serves 6


Cheesy Cabbage Casserole

1 small head cabbage, finely
chopped (about 3 C.)
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
4 large tomatoes, diced
2 T. tomato paste
1 C. Mexican-blend shredded
1 C. white rice, uncooked
2 2/3 C. beef broth
salt/pepper, to taste

In large skillet over medium-high
heat, brown ground beef & onion
until beef is no longer pink & onions
are tender; drain grease & season
with salt/pepper. Stir in cabbage,
diced tomatoes & tomato paste;
cook over Low-medium heat until
cabbage is tender. Add rice & beef
broth; increase heat to Medium/
high & bring to boil. Reduce heat
to medium-low & cover with tight
fitting lid. Cook without uncovering
22 minutes until rice is tender &
liquid is absorbed. Remove from
heat; sprinkle top with cheese –
cover & allow cheese to melt,
3-5 minutes.


Crockpot Nutella Hot Chocolate

6 1/2 C. skim milk (you can use milk
with a higher fat content if you wish)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 T. vanilla
1 C. Nutella (Hazelnut Spread with cocoa)
1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Spray crockpot with nonstick spray.
Whisk milk, sweet/cond. milk, vanilla,
Nutella, cocoa powder & salt. Cover
& cook on Low until warm (about 2
hours). Serves 6-8


Chocolate Pretzel Pie

2 1/2 C. pretzels
13 T. butter
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
8 oz (1 C.) chocolate*
1 C. heavy cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Crush pretzels until fine in
food processor. Melt butter &
fold pretzels into butter; stir
in brown sugar; press mixture
into pie dish with a spoon,
pushing the base of the crust
to create a slight sides wall.
Bake 10 minutes.
Place cream in a saucepan &
bring to boil. Pour chocolate
wafers into a bowl & cover
with hot cream; whisk until
smooth. Pour chocolate
mixture into pie crust &
refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Serves 8

*Poster used chocolate melting



Well, tomorrow is ELECTION DAY – I have been
silent as to who I’m voting for. Tomorrow night
is my Knit/Crochet group at Panera – I’m
curious to see just how many ladies will join
me there. I really DO NOT want to follow the
minute-by-minute tally of who’s winning at
that very second – there will be time for
finding out. I’m almost hoping those AT
Panera (not my group) will also be silent,
but we’ll see…I might come home early.
Not trying to be a ‘stick-in-the-mud’ but
all the DRAMA has been driving me nuts –
from BOTH sides. I’m sick of all the MUD
slinging from both sides. Why can’t we
just have an election where the people
running run on their own merit WITHOUT
the other side trying to bring them down?
(stepping off soap box now).

Hope you remember to get out and vote –
for the candidate YOU think will best
serve our country in the next 4 years.




and here’s OCTOBER!


Our weather has definitely taken a dive to colder temperatures (in the mid – 60’s), kind of gloomy & rainy. I went shopping today so I didn’t let the weather stop me. I’ve been needing new jeans for quite some time now – mine fit . . . sorta, but they’re too big. I happened to check the tag, thinking they were the too big size Womens 18’s – turns out they’re the Womens 16’s. After some trying on, brought home 2 pairs of 16 PETITES (NOT WOMENS – YAY!) For those of you not schooled on LARGER ladies sizes, Women’s are the Plus or FULL Sized, then there are the regular sizes. Petite just means you need shorter legs. I tried on a 16 Average – there was a good foot of material past my ankles – in fact, if I’d have walked in them I would actually have walked ON them, they were that long! I also found three of my FAVORITE blouse! YAY! (I was shopping at KMart, in case you wondered) – I have a red and a magenta blouse that I absolutely love – they fit perfectly (they have some sort of fiber in them that makes them hug your torso, making this shirt/blouse look just right. Today I sort of hemmed & hawed about buying them but then could hear my husband saying: “If you LIKE them, GET THEM!” in my ear, so I did! Now I also have a black, a sort of electric blue and an eggplant (Aubergine, for those of you who speak French). Happy, Happy! OH, since I was in a SHOPPING mood, also bought a new purse! Looked over lots of them and then found this one – not exactly ecstatic on it BUT it will do the job AND it was HALF-OFF! $16.00!!! (AND it also came with a small umbrella & a little small purse, to boot! Umbrella will go in car, small purse will hold all the little stuff that tends to roll around in your purse (chapstick, eye drops, nail file, breath fresheners, etc.) I’d say it was a REALLY GOOD shopping day!


Trying to ‘thin out’ some of the summer recipes

Zucchini Cupcakes

3 large eggs
1 1/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. canola oil
1/2 C. orange juice
1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 C. shredded zucchini

1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. butter, cubed
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 C. powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat first 5 ingredients together.
Combine dry ingredients & gradually
add to egg mixture; blend well. Stir
in zucchini. Place paper cup liners
in muffin pans (or spray with nonstick
spray). Fill cups two-thirds full with
batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean, about
20-25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes
before moving to wire rack.
Combine brown sugar, butter & milk in
large saucepan; bring to boil over
medium heat. Cook & stir until thickened,
1-2 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in
vanilla. Cool to lukewarm.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar until
frosting reaches spreading consistency.
Frost cupcakes. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.


Crockpot Spicy Chicken Stew

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp. jarred minced garlic
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can white navy beans,
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans,
2 tsp. cajun seasoning blend*
1 tsp. hot sauce
2 C. chicken broth

Add all ingredients to crockpot; cover
& cook on Low 6-8 hours or High 3-4
hours. Serves 4

* cajun seasoning blend contains;
salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper,
onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano,
thyme & red pepper flakes


Summer Veggie Salad

3/4 C. white vinegar
1/2 C. vegetable or olive oil
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 (15 oz) can small green peas, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can French-style green beans,
2 (11 oz, ea) cans sweet or shoepeg
corn, drained
1 C. diced celery
1 C. diced bell pepper
1 C. diced onion
1 (2 oz) jar diced pimentos, drained

Combine vinegar, oil, sugar, salt/pepper
in small saucepan; bring just to boil over
medium-high heat. Stir constantly until
sugar dissolves. Remove from heat &
allow to cool. Combine remaining
ingredients in large bowl & pour cooled
vinegar mixture over all, stirring to coat.
Cover & chill 8 hours until thoroughly
chilled. Serve using slotted spoon.


Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

1 lb. macaroni pasta
3 T. apple cider vinegar
1 C. shredded carrots
1 C. purple onion, chopped
2 C. mayonnaise
1 (20 oz) can sliced pineapple in
juice, chopped
1/2 C. pineapple juice, (from can)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 C. chopped, cooked ham
3/4 C. chopped parsley (optional)

Cook macaroni accordg. to pkg.
directions; drain & pour back into
pot. Sprinkle macaroni with apple
cider vinegar, then add carrots &
onion – toss. Allow to cool 1 hour.
In large serving bowl mix mayo,
pineapple juice, salt & pepper – add
macaroni, ham, pineapple & parsley,
if using. Toss until well coated –
refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves


Chicken Crepes with Mushroom Sauce

1 1/3 C. milk
2 T. vegetable oil
1 1/3 C. flour
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt

Chicken Filling:
2 (8 oz, ea) cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
2 1/2 C. cooked/chopped chicken breast

Mushroom Sauce:
2 T. melted butter
1 small onion, chopped
diced green bell pepper – optional

1 chicken bouillon cube
2 T. hot water
1 can sliced mushrooms

1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Mix crepe recipe ingredients together in
large bowl. Pour 3 T. batter into a hot
skillet sprayed with nonstick spray. Roll
batter around to form a circle; cook
until lightly browned & turn out onto a
plate – repeat with rest of batter.

Combine soup & sour cream – divide
mixture in half. Combine one half with
chicken & reserve rest. Line cooked crepes
with filling; roll up & place in a pan like
Mix sauce ingredients together, dissolving
bouillon cube in 2 T. HOT water then
stirring into sauce; stir mushrooms into
mixture. Pour sauce over top of crepes.
Cover pan with foil & bake 15 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle top with grated cheese
& return to oven 10 minutes to allow cheese
to melt. Serves 8


  “Whoopie Pie” Cake

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 C.),
room temp
1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 C. milk, room temp

2 sticks unsalted butter (1 C.),
room temp
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
7 oz. Marshmallow Fluff (it’s
a jar of spreadable marshmallow)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. milk or heavy cream

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line bottom of two 9″ round cake
pans with parchment paper; spray
lightly with nonstick spray. Cream
butter & sugars together for cake until
light & fluffy. Add egg & vanilla, beat
until well mixed. Sift flour, cocoa, baking
soda & salt in a separate bowl. Add half
of flour mixture & half milk to butter
mixture & mix just until incorporated.
Repeat with remaining flour mixture &
milk. Divide batter evenly between prepared
pans & bake 25-30 minutes until center
springs back when touched & a wooden
toothpick inserted into center comes out
clean. Remove from oven & cool completely
in pans on wire rack. Prepare filling while
cakes are cooling.
Whip butter & powdered sugar until completely
incorporated and no lumps remain. Add Marsh-
mallow Fluff; whip until incorporated. Add
vanilla, salt & milk – whip until light & fluffy,
2-3 minutes. Remove cooled cakes from pans
& remove parchment. Place first cake upside
down on a cake plate. Place all filling in center
of bottom layer & spread evenly towards edges
using a spatula or butter knife. Place cake top
carefully (right side up) on filling, pressing
gently to position. Slice & serve.


So far, lately, things around here have been rather quiet/
slow. Saturday I went to another Mom-2-Mom sale with
the expectant Mom’s Mother – we had a good time together –
she bought a changing table for a really good price. I bought
one of those little flannel squares with the ribbon tabs all
around it (not sure what they call them, but they’re like a
soft sensitivity thing) – cost me a dollar – big expense, right?
We have two more Mom-2-Mom sales coming up in the
next few weeks – I’m still looking for a small high chair &
walker. Saw 2 walkers pretty close to what I want but I’m
not paying $35 for it USED, when I can get a new one for
that price! We’ve still got time; she goes to the doctor
in 2 weeks and will probably find out then what sex it
is – I’m still hoping for a girl! It’s fun going to those sales
BUT if you don’t know the sex, buying any clothing just
doesn’t work. The other grandmother bought 8 ‘onesies’,
which were kind of gender-neutral (but they were 3-6
months size). I tried to tell her that if this baby is BIG
when it’s born, those will only work for about 1-2
weeks . . . sigh. (That’s why I’m holding off).

Hope you are having a great week so far;
stay warm (if you’re in a chilly place), relax a
bit & take a little time to stop & ‘smell the roses’
(OR, if you’re here, smell other people burning
their leaves! . . . which is against our local
ordinances, by the way)



PS: My dear friend Mary (Momma) is going to be
reading the books that the movie I went to see
last Thursday is based on: “Mrs. Perragrin’s
Home for Peculiar Children.” She emailed me
asking what I thought of the movie. I LIKE
Tim Burton creations and have seen probably
3; this movie was NOT like those – much darker,
kind of scary theme (I would NOT recommend
young kids going to it – it’s rated PG13). There
were a few parts where I even covered my eyes,
just too weird/gorey/yucky. The plot was interesting
but I didn’t care for the movie, itself EVEN THOUGH
Samuel L. Jackson (who played the BIG bad guy) and
Dame Judith Dench, one of my favorite actresses –
she only had a very tiny part) were in it.

Gloomy, Rainy Day – sigh


Well, Fall weather has descended upon us – woke up at 6:30 a.m. to pouring rain – it’s now 2 p.m. and gloomy, gray and chilly: 61 degrees F. I’m still in my jammies (yep, with a sweatshirt hoodie, just to keep warm). Total of things done today: some knitting, some reading, boiled some eggs, cooked breakfast & put together a salad (on the fly) for son going to work – that’s it. Last night was the Fund Raiser for special needs group followed by our meeting – by the time I got home I was ‘on my knees’ exhausted. Didn’t get the amount of people we thought we would for the fund raiser – we estimated 100 – 150 people; had TONS of hot dogs left and total monies raised: $88.50, total spent: over $100. Oh well – at least we can take back about 7 pkgs. buns and one pkg. uncooked hot dogs – that’s ‘some’ monies recovered, right? We’re planning on freezing the cooked dogs & using them for the Fall Harvest Party end of Oct., then we’ll buy new buns. Hey – ya win some/ya lose some, right?


Pumpkin Spice Cookies w/Cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 C. butter (sweet/salted)
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 C. canned pumpkin
2 C. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 C. chopped walnuts or pecans


1/2 C. butter (sweet/salted)
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 tsp. vanilla
4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cream butter & sugar until light &
fluffy. Add eggs & pumpkin – mix well.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt & spices
together & fold into cookie batter. Mix
until well blended (add nuts now, if using).
Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet & bake
15 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, butter & vanilla
using an elec. mixer until blended. Add
powdred sugar, 1 cup at a time, until all
is incorporated then add cinnamon. Frost
baked cookies with frosting using a knife.
You can sprinkle a little ground nutmeg on
top, if desired.  Makes 3 dozen cookies


Crockpot Pork Chops w/Caramelized
Apples & Onions

4 pork chops
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled &
2 yellow onions, sliced into rings
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
salt/pepper, to taste

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Layer onions on bottom, then
apples. Sprinkle brown sugar on top.
Season chops with salt/pepper
generously on both sides & place
on top of apples. Cover & cook on Low
4 hours. Serves 4


Zucchini Ricotta/Basil Pasta

1 lb. ziti or other dry pasta
3 T. olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 lb. zucchini, sliced 1/4″ thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz. basil (about 2 C. loose
8 oz. ricotta (1 C.)
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
zest of 1 lemon
2 oz. grated Parmesan, Pecorino or
a mixture of both (about 1 C. plus
more for serving)

Place large pot of water to boil. In
large skillet over medium-high, cook
onions in 3 T. olive oil until softened,
5-8 minutes Reduce heat, add zucchini,
season generously with salt/pepper &
continue cooking, stirring occasionally
until rather soft about 10 minutes.
Turn off heat. Using a mortar & pestle
(OR a food processor), grind garlic,
basil & a little salt into a rough paste;
stir in 3 T. olive oil. Salt pasta water
well & cook pasta, stirring. Boil
accordg. to pkg. directions keeping
pasta al dente. Drain, reserving 1 C.
cooking water. Add cooked pasta to
zucchini in skillet & turn heat to
medium-high. Add 1/2 C. reserved
cooking water, then ricotta, crushed
red pepper & lemon zest, stir to
distribute. Check seasoning & adjust;
cook 1 minute. Mixture should look
creamy. Add a little more pasta water
if necessary. Add basil paste & half
grated cheese – quickly stir to
incorporate. Spoon pasta into warm
soup plates & sprinkle with additional
cheese. Serve immediately.
Serves 4-6


Family Recipe Goulash

1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 lb. beef round steak,
cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large onions, quartered
2 potatoes, peeled/quartered
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 C. water
1/ 3/4 C. beef broth
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped

Cooked medium egg noodles
for 4

In large pot melt butter over high
heat. Add steak & onion; cook 6-8
minutes until meat is browned,
stirring frequently. Add remaining
ingredients (except tomatoes).
Cover & reduce heat to Low – simmer
45 minutes. Add tomatoes & simmer,
uncovered, 25-30 minutes longer until
beef is tender & sauce is thickened.
Serve over cooked egg noodles
Serves 4


Grandma’s Potato Pancakes

4 baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 lb.)
3/4 C. finely chopped onion
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 C. vegetable oil

Coarsely grate the potatoes & put
them & onion in a strainer – press
down with back of a large spoon to
extract excess moisture. (If they’re
still watery, wrap them in a clean
dish towel & squeeze to extract
moisture.) In large bowl combine
potatoes, onion & egg; mix well.
Gradually add flour, baking powder,
salt/pepper & mix well. In large
skillet over medium heat heat 1/4
inch oil. Using about 1/3 C. batter
per pancake, add batter to hot oil,
being careful not to crowd pan.
Fry 3-4 minutes until golden; flip
& fry an additional 3-4 minutes
until cooked through. Add more
oil as needed until all batter is
used. Remove pancakes to a
paper towel-lined plate – serve
hot. Makes 7-8 pancakes.

NOTE: serve with applesauce,
sour cream, minced dill or any of
your favorite toppings


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

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

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


Marbled Orange Fudge

1 1/2 tsp. plus 3/4 C. butter,
3 C. sugar
3/4 C. heavy whipping cream
1 (10-12 oz) pkg. white baking chips
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
3 tsp. orange extract
12 drops yellow food coloring
5 drops red food coloring

Grease a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
1 1/2 tsp. butter. In large heavy
saucepan, combine sugar, cream &
remaining butter. Cook & stir over Low
heat until sugar has dissolved. Bring to
a boil; cook & stir 4 minutes – remove
from heat. Stir in chips & marshmallow
creme until smooth. Remove 1 C. and
set aside. Add orange extract & food
coloring to remaining mixture; stir until
blended then pour into prepared pan.
Drop reserved marshmallow mixture
by tablespoonfuls over top. Cut through
top with a knife to swirl. Cover &
refrigerate until set then cut into
squares. Makes about 2 1/2 lb.



I’ve noticed that our gas prices have
shot up again to $2.29/9 (from $2.11/9) –
just when I needed gas – figures . . .

Not much else new here – going to the
new movie “Mrs. Perrigrin’s Home for
Peculiar Children”
tomorrow with  middle
son. He thought it was odd that I would
want to go see it – I told him: “Hey! YOU
introduced me to Tim Burton movies –
why WOULDN’T I want to see it?”

Have a good rest of the week;



Wednesday Wonderings


Nice, quiet day so far – finally turned on the air conditioning because it was getting stuffy in the house. The ‘guys’ are all gone for awhile, each to their separate event (Husband got to attend his class reunion – he loves going) – I had a nice time getting a few things done, straightening up one corner of the ‘computer/husband’s MAN LAND’ room (it’s too awkward to do while he’s IN it – and he’s ALWAYS in it) so I’m happy it’s a little neater.

Last night was my knit group’s Knit/Movie night and we had 10 come – good food/good movie. I rented a movie I’d only seen the preview to: Mom’s Night Out” and it turned out to be a big hit – funny with a really good message (basically if you’re a Mom you HAVE a great job and lots of people depend on you, don’t give up!).

Finally got a call from the appliance people – the part will come in Thursday, so they’re coming between 11 – 5 p.m. FRIDAY to FIX MY WASHER!(would like it sooner, but … sigh) The boys are going crazy because they can’t wash their clothes (of course I suggested them going to a laundromat, but they wouldn’t want to spend real MONEY, would they!) . . . sigh . . .


Pudding Cookies
(makes 32)

1 C. butter, softened
3/4 C. brown sugar, packed
1/4 C. sugar
1 (3.12 oz) pkg. vanilla pudding mix
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips, semisweet,
divided (or any you might prefer)
3/4 C. sprinkles, divided
1 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment
paper. In bowl using elec. mixer, cream
butter & sugars until light & fluffy. Add
pudding mix, eggs & vanilla, mix until
combined. In medium bowl whisk flour,
baking soda & salt; add in flour mixture
to pudding mixture in 3 parts, mixing
just until combined. Stir in 1 1/4 C.
chocolate chips & 1/2 C. sprinkles until
combined. Using small cookie scoop,
place cookie scoops on prepared sheet.
Bake 8-9 minutes until just set (they
may look under cooked, but that’s OK).
Immediately add remaining  chocolate
chips, sprinkles & sea salt to tops of
cookies. Let cool on sheet at least
5 minutes then remove to cooling
rack. Makes 32 cookies

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Tomato/Mozzarella/Avocado Salad

4 ripe tomatoes, cubed
3 (4 oz) balls fresh mozzarella
cheese, cubed
2 avocados, peeled/pitted/cubed
3 T. balsamic vinegar
3 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. white sugar
salt/ground black pepper, to taste

Lightly toss tomato, mozz & avocado
cubes in large bowl. Mix bals. vinegar,
red wine vinegar, basil, sugar, salt/pepper
in separate bowl. Pour dressing over salad
& mix to coat.


Bacon-baked Chicken & Potatoes

2 lb. bone-in chicken thighs or breasts
8 potatoes, cut into wedges
1 C. crispy-cooked bacon, crumbled
1/3 C. olive oil
2 T. garlic powder
1 T. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
kosher salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Lightly spray baking dish with
nonstick spray. Place potatoes in
an even layer in dish & season
with salt/pepper. Season both
sides of chicken generously with
salt/pepper. In small bowl whisk
together garlic powder, paprika
& cayenne – dredge each piece of
chicken in mixture. Heat 2-3 T.
olive oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat & brown chicken on all
sides – transfer to prepared dish &
place on top of potatoes. Whisk
remaining olive oil into spice
mixture & mix until smooth; drizzle
over browned chicken & potatoes &
top with bacon. Bake 30-35 minutes
until chicken is completely cooked
through & potatoes are tender. Remove
from oven & let stand 5 minutes before
serving. Serves 8


Turkey Meatball Skillet

1/4 C. plus 2 T. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. chopped fresh rosemary
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
kosher salt/ground black pepper
1 lb. ground turkey
1 C. breadcrumbs
1 large egg
3 T. chopped fresh parsley,
plus more for garnish
1 C. shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

In large pot over Low heat, heat
1/4 C. oil; add half of garlic & all
rosemary. Stir until fragrant (making
sure it doesn’t burn) 1 minute. Add
crushed tomatoes & season with salt/
pepper. Let simmer while making

In large bowl combine gr. turkey, bread-
crumbs, egg, remaining garlic & parsley;
season with salt/pepper. Roll mixture
into meatballs.

In large skillet over medium-high heat,
heat remaining 2 T. oil. Add meatballs &
brown, moving occasionally so they don’t
stick, about 5 minutes. Ladle sauce into
skillet & over meatballs; top with cheese
& bake until meatballs are cooked through,
10 minutes more. Garnish with parsley &
serve. Serves 4


Creamy Ranch Chicken (crockpot)

2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
or breast
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 envelope dry Ranch salad dressing/
seasoning mix
1/2 C. water
1/4 C. finely diced sweet red bell pepper
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into small cubes
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Mix soup & dry ranch dressing mix together
in crockpot. Gradually add water, stirring
so it doesn’t get lumpy. Stir in red pepper;
add chicken, cover & cook on Low 6-8 hours
or High 3-5 hours. About half hour before
cooking time is done, add cream cheese cubes
& Parm. cheese. Cover & continue cooking about
30 minutes more. Stir well so cream cheese is
well blended into sauce. Serves 4-6


Cheesy Baked Shrimp Scampi Dip

2 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. dry white wine
1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
2 T. chopped fresh parsley,
plus more for garnish
1/2 lb. medium peeled/deveined
shrimp, defrosted
1 C. ricotta cheese
1 C. shredded white Cheddar cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

sliced baguette, for serving

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet over medium heat melt
butter. Add garlic & cook 1-2 minutes.
Add wine, lemon juice, parsley & shrimp.
Season with salt/pepper & cook until
shrimp are no longer opaque & wine is
reduced, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to
cutting board & finely chop shrimp.
Add ingredients to large bowl with
ricotta, Cheddar & Parmesan cheeses;
stir to combine. Transfer to greased
baking dish & bake 15 minutes. Place
under broiler 3 minutes, if you prefer
a darker top. Garnish with parsley &
serve with bread. Serves 4


Strawberry Bread

2 C. fresh strawberries
3 1/8 C. flour
2 C. sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 C. vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 C. chopped pecans

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Butter & flour two 9 X 5″ loaf
pans. Slice strawberries & place
in medium bowl; sprinkle lightly
with sugar. Combine flour, sugar,
cinnamon, salt & baking soda in
large bowl; mix well. Blend oil &
eggs into strawberries – add
strawberry mixture to flour
mixture, blending until dry
ingredients are just moistened.
Stir in pecans & divide batter into
pans. Bake 45-50 minutes until
a toothpick inserted into loaves
comes out clean (test each loaf).
Let cool in pans on wire rack 10
minutes; turn loaves out of pans
& allow to cool before slicing.



Weather-wise we’re supposed to be getting
thunderstorms this afternoon/evening and
on into tomorrow – so far it’s just gray out
with temps around 77 degrees F. Tonight is
my special needs group so I’m really hoping
the thunder/lightening holds off until after
8:15 p.m. when we adjourn (those things
really scare the kids and it can be a bit difficult
getting them calmed down when that happens.)
Yes, they are all adults (ages range from 20’s
all the way up to around 65 – mentally from
about 4/5 yrs. old to ‘you wouldn’t know they
have mental issues if you didn’t spend time
with them’).

Nothing much new – still working on both
baby blankets. The “pink squares” one
I have to knit 6 pink squares, 10 plain ones
and 2 white “X” in the middle squares –
working on pink #5 now – all the rest are
still ‘to come’.

Enjoy your day – remember to smile a little!



Couldn’t Ask for Better Weather!


Just got back from doing a few errands – the weather is GORGEOUS! Sun shining, slight breeze and almost EIGHTY degrees F. out! Can’t be beat! My husband was just out cutting the grass for the first time this year – I have to remember to go water the hanging geranium (I tend to forget!).

One of my stops was Gordon Foods – we really love their broccoli salad ‘kit’ and (to my knowledge, anyway) they stopped carrying it last year (BUMMER!). This is a BIG kit that feeds about 15 people – and it was GREAT for taking to parties! I noticed that in their mail flier it said they have it – I searched the entire area where they used to have them and couldn’t find it anywhere. The manager said: “Sure! We have it – and it’s right here!” Well, that was a surprise. Apparently they stopped marketing it in a big black plastic box with clear lid – now it’s all in a clear bag; same PRICE but almost 2 lb. LESS! UGH! It used to be about 5 lb. and the box it came it was the serving container after you put the kit together! Great idea, right? After the manager left there was another couple there who had heard my conversation and they joined in talking to me about it. They, too, used to purchase it and their first comment was: “IT’S SMALLER AND the same price!” ($14.99) – I told them to go on line and type in Broccoli Salad – there are TONS of recipes to make it yourself. The cool thing about this one was: it was all cut up for you! Oh well – guess it’s ‘buy at your own risk’, right? I’m going to do the research & see if I can come up with a recipe that’s close – for you.


 Broccoli Salad

8 oz. bacon, cooked & crumbled
5 C. small, chopped broccoli florets
1/3 C. chopped red onion
1/2 C. sunflower kernels

1 C. mayonnaise
1 T. cider vinegar
1/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. raisins

Bring a large saucepan of salted water
to a boil; add broccoli & blanch until
bright green & slightly softened, about
3 minutes. Drain well, run under cold
water to stop the cooking & drain again.
Combine all dressing ingredients. Add
broccoli & toss to coat with dressing.
Refrigerate 1 hour.
Just before serving, fold in sunflower
kernels & bacon crumbles. Serve
immediately. Serves 10

(recipe: – Trisha

Pineapple Orange Cake

1 box yellow cake mix (regular size)
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges,
4 large egg whites
1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (1 oz) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. In large bowl beat cake mix, oranges,
egg whites & applesauce on Low speed of
elec. mixer for 2 minutes – pour into prepared
pan. Bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean. Cool
on wire rack. When cake is cool, prepare

In a bowl combine pineapple & pudding mix.
Fold in Cool Whip just until blended & spread
over cooled cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour
before serving. Makes 15 servings.

(recipe: Mary’s Recipe Exchange)

Hot Dogs in a Crockpot

20-60 hot dogs
buns for dogs

shredded cheese, chopped onion,
mustard, ketchup, pickles

Place hot dogs in crockpot & cover.
Cook on Low 3-4 hours or High 1-2
hours. Turn heat to warm while

NOTE: Poster stated they fit 20
hot dogs in a 2.5 qt. crockpot


Chinese Chicken Bites

1 lb. ground chicken
3 scallions, finely chopped
(about 1/2 C.)
2 T. flour
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. water
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

peanut oil-for frying

In medium bowl combine all
ingredients except oil – mix well.
Cover bottom of large skillet with
about 1/2 inch peanut oil & heat
over medium-high heat. Drop chicken
mixture by teaspoonfuls into hot oil.
Reduce heat to medium-low & fry 5-6
minutes until golden brown, turning
once. Drain on paper towels & serve
immediately. Makes 30-35 pieces


Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

1 (6 oz) box stuffing mix for chicken
6 small boneless skinless chicken
6 slices sliced smoked ham
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken
1 T. Dijon mustard
6 slices Swiss cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Prepare stuffing mix accordg. to box.
Place chicken in 9 X 13″ baking dish
sprayed with nonstick spray & cover
with sliced ham. Mix soup & mustard;
spoon over chicken & top with
prepared stuffing. Bake 25 minutes
until chicken is done (165 degrees F.)
Top with cheese & bake 5 minutes
more until cheese is melted. Serves 6

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Quick & Easy Pizza Pockets

1 C. warm water
3 tsp. active dry yeast
1 T. sugar
2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 T. olive oil

Combine yeast & sugar with warm
water; allow to sit 5-10 minutes until
bubbly. Add flour, salt & oil to yeast.
Combine wet ingredients into dry in
a mixer bowl & knead 5 minutes until
dough is smooth & just slightly sticky.
Allow to rise 1/2 hour.
Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Divide dough into 6 pieces.
Roll each piece into a circle. Layer
one half of each piece of
dough with desired toppings.
NOTE: If you are using marinara or
any other pizza sauce, be sure to
keep sauce at least an inch away from
edges or they will be difficult to seal.
Once filled, pull other half of dough over
top of filling & seal edges to close (either
by slightly wetting edges of dough &
pressing together or pressing edges
together using tines of a fork). Place
‘pockets’ on a slightly sprayed baking
sheet. Lightly spray tops of pockets
with nonstick spray & bake 12-15
minutes. Serves 6

Suggested fillings:
sliced pepperoni
sliced black olives
sliced mushrooms
chopped green pepper
shredded cheese: mozzarella or
pizza sauce – marinara or jarred
pizza sauce


Lemon Garlic Shrimp Fettuccine

8 oz. fettuccine noodles
1 lb. large shrimp, deveined/tails
3 T. butter
2 tsp. minced garlic

2 T. butter
1 T. flour
2 C. milk (or heavy cream/Half & Half)
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
juice of 1 small lemon (2-3 T.)
salt/pepper, to taste
fresh chopped parsley, garnish

Cook fettuccine noodles accordg. to pkg.
directions; drain. In large pan or skillet
melt 3 T. butter over medium heat; add
garlic & stir 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add shrimp & saute 5-7 minutes until
pink & hot; transfer shrimp to a plate.
Prepare sauce by adding 2 T. butter to pan
(no need to clean pan before); melt over
medium heat. Sprinkle flour over melted
butter & stir until mixture clumps up.
Gradually whisk in milk; simmer a few
minutes, stirring throughout, until sauce
is thickened. Add Parm. cheese & stir until
melted. Stir in lemon juice, salt/pepper. Top
fettuccine noodles with sauce & shrimp;
garnish with parsley, if desired. Serves 4


Healthy Yogurt Berry Cake

3/4 C. flour
3/4 C. whole wheat flour
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 C. frozen berries (raspberries,
blackberries, strawberries, blueberries
or mixed)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Melt butter in small saucepan on
medium-low heat until it turns golden
brown, keep an eye on it so it doesn’t
burn. Remove from heat & let cool. In
medium bowl whisk flours, baking powder
& salt. In separate bowl whisk browned
butter, sugar & brown sugar until light &
fluffy. Add eggs, lemon juice & vanilla –
whisk until well combined. While stirring,
slowly add flour mixture into egg mixture.
Once combined, mix in yogurt. Using a
large spoon, gently fold in berries & pour
mixture into prepared pan. Bake 30
minutes until a toothpick inserted into
the center comes out clean. Let cool
then slice. Serves 10-12


Had to get gas today and, once again, was a bit
‘blown away’ by the increase: regular at Clark
is now up to $2.59/9 (so I only got $25.).

Tonight is Knit/Crochet Night and I’m ready with a
new knit baby blanket; this is a pattern I’ve done
before but with a bit of a twist. I had purchased
a large (1 lb) skein of white and also got 3 smaller
skeins of a teal blue/medium green/white variegated
to use for the ‘bumpy’ rows only to discover when
working with it that the white was too thick AND
the variegated kind of got ‘lost’ in all the white.
The variegated skeins were on sale and I can still
use them for baby hats but the distance between
each ‘color’ versus the amount of WHITE they chose
to use was way too big for my project. The ‘bumps’
would end up with a tiny bit of color swimming in
tons of white – unacceptable to my way of thinking
so it was back to the ‘drawing board’ so to speak.
Went to Meijers (a store about 5 minutes from my
house – they are sort of like a WalMart – they carry
just about anything you might want all under one
roof.) Bought a big skein of sport-weight white yarn
ON SALE! (ended up buying 3 of them, great price and
I can ALWAYS use it). Got home and searched through
the yarns I already had and found a small skein of
baby pastels – variegated so I’m using that for the
‘bumps’.  I’m going to place a picture of one of the
blankets I’ve made using this pattern so you’ll kind
of get an idea of what I mean:


In the afghan I’m making, the bumps are
pastels and the background is all white.

PS: Just discovered a new (to me)
author: Michael Palmer; he writes
mystery/fiction – so far I’ve read
2 of his books: “The First Patient”
(about the President of the United
States” – fiction) and “The Fifth Vial”.
I like his style of writing – keeps you
constantly wondering what comes
next (my favorite!). I was just strolling
through the fiction/mystery section
at the library and grabbed 2 of his
books, read the back cover & checked
them out. I’m happy to report that he’s
written quite a few books and I plan on
checking them all out!

My sons introduced me to a new (to me)
animated movie: “Big Hero 6”; it’s rated
PG – it’s funny, has a good plot and keeps
you on your toes throughout the entire
movie – I would HIGHLY recommend it!
It’s 2015 – Disney.

Hope you are having a good day – AND I
hope that your weather is really nice,
as well. Husband informs me it’s supposed
to rain tomorrow, but from all I’ve seen of
our weather forecasts, we’re in for the 70/
80’s all week – YAY!




Had a LOVELY Day!


Yesterday was Mother’s Day and, THIS YEAR, I had a great day! At church our Sunday School teacher’s wife brought giant chocolate dipped strawberries for all the Moms. After church every Mom got a frosted vanilla ‘tulip shaped’ cookie from the local bakery. We drove to Southfield for my ‘request’ of the day: Shields Pizza. Got home, oldest son came over & joined us for lunch (youngest had to work, middle son was off so there were 4 of us for lunch). Oldest also brought a box of Tim Horton’s coffee pods for me – middle son brought flowers – NICE lunch! When youngest finally got home at around 11:30 p.m. he brought me a Whopper Jr (my favorite) and an order of onion rings! Can you tell all those close to me KNOW I love good things to eat? There’s still leftover vegetarian pizza, bread sticks & Greek salad, so guess what I’m having for lunch today? Hope all of my readers who are Moms had a great day as well – you deserve a little ‘pampering’!


Pineapple Dream Dessert

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

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
Melt butter in glass dish in microwave;
allow to cool Combine crumbs & butter –
toss until incorporated. Press 2 C. of
crumb mixture firmly into 9 X 9″ baking
dish & bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire
rack. Using elec. mixer, beat cream cheese
& butter until creamy. Turn down speed
to Low, add powdered sugar – one cup
at a time, until incorporated. Turn up
speed & beat 1-2 minutes. Add a
heaping tablespoon of drained pineapple
& stir in using spatula. Spread cream
cheese & pineapple mixture over crust.
Fold remaining pineapple into Cool Whip
& spread on top of cream cheese. Sprinkle
remaining graham crumb mixture over top.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably

(recipe: Mary Free- Mary’s Recipe Exchange)

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

1 small zucchini, sliced thinly
1 (8 oz.) pkg. fresh mushrooms,
1 T. olive oil
1 dozen medium eggs
1/2 C. milk
salt/pepper, to taste
4 THICK slices bread (like Texas Toast)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, cubed
into small pieces
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 C. sausage crumbles or cooked
1/2 C. shredded Mexican blend cheese

In skillet over medium heat, cook zucchini
& mushrooms until golden. Spray insides
of crockpot with nonstick spray. Place
bread & cream cheese cubes, evenly,
on bottom. Top with tomatoes & season
with salt/pepper – top with zucchini mixture.
In a bowl whisk eggs & milk, seasoning with
salt/pepper, to taste – pour over casserole.
Top with sausage & cheese, cover & cook on
High 2 to 2 1/2 hours. When eggs are set &
cheese is melted, it’s done. Serves 8


Rosemary Chicken Salad with
Avocado & Bacon

3 slices bacon, diced
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. fresh rosemary
3 C. chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 C. baby arugula or watercress
1/2 C. cherry tomatoes, halved
3 T. red onion, chopped
4 oz. avocado, sliced (1 small)

Rosemary Vinaigrette
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 tsp. olive oil
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. fresh  minced rosemary
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Cook bacon in large heavy skillet until
crispy, about 7 minutes; transfer to
paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from
skillet but don’t wipe out skillet. Season
chicken with salt & rosemary; cook in
skillet over medium-high heat until
golden & cooked through, about 5
minutes on each side. In large serving
bowl place a bed of romaine & arugula
(or divide between 2 plates). Scatter
tomatoes, red onion & bacon on top.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt on avocado slices
& place on salad. Slice cooked chicken
& add to salad.
Prepare Vinaigrette:
In small bowl whisk all dressing
ingredients & pour over salad – serve
immediately. Serves 2


Crockpot Pork Chop Stroganoff

1 1/2 lb. pork chops*
2 (.87 oz, ea) pkgs dry pork gravy mix
2 C. water
1/2 C. diced onion
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. pepper

Add at end:
1 (16 oz) tub sour cream
1/2 lb. fettuccini noodles cooked
accordg. to pkg. directions

Add gravy packets, water, onion, thyme
& pepper to crockpot; stir until a smooth
sauce. Add pork chops into sauce. Cover
& cook on Low 6-8 hours without removing
lid during cooking time. When cooking time
is done, remove pork chops to a plate. Stir
sour cream into gravy in crockpot; add hot,
drained noodles & stir. Add chops back
into crockpot & stir with sauce & noodles.
Serves 4


Easy Won Ton Soup

6 C. chicken broth
1 T. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated ginger (fresh)
1 C. shredded carrots
4 green onions, thinly sliced
20 frozen pot stickers
1/4 tsp sesame oil
salt/pepper, to taste
chopped cilantro, to taste (optional)

In large Dutch oven bring chicken broth,
soy sauce, garlic & ginger to a boil. Add
carrots, green onions & pot stickers to
pot; simmer until pot stickers are tender,
8-10  minutes or accordg. to pkg. directions.
Remove from heat & stir in sesame oil;
season with salt/pepper, to taste. Ladle into
bowls & sprinkle with chopped cilantro, if
desired. Serves 6


Almond Danish Swirls

2 (8 oz, ea) cans crescent rolls
1/2 C. slivered almonds chopped fine
1 C. powdered sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg white
1 tsp. water
4 tsp. milk

In small bowl beat cream cheese,
1 tsp. almond extract & 1/2 C. powd.
sugar until fluffy. Fold half of chopped
almonds into  mixture. Open one can
of dough & divide into 4 rectangles,
firmly pressing perforations to seal. Press
or roll each piece of dough to form a
7 X 14″ rectangle; spread each with about
2 T. cream cheese filling to within 1/4″
of edges. Starting with short end, roll
each rectangle tightly into a cylinder;
repeat with other dough & filling. Place
‘rolls’ on a plate, cover with plastic
wrap & refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Remove rolls from fridge, cut each roll
into 4 slices & place, 1/2 inch apart, on
ungreased cookie sheets. In small bowl
combine egg white with 1 tsp. water; brush
over tops of slices & sprinkle tops with
remaining chopped almonds. Bake 18-20
minutes until lightly brown. While they
are baking combine 1/2 C. powdered sugar,
4 tsp. milk & 1/2 tsp. almond extract in
small bowl. Cool swirls 3 minutes on wire
racks placed over a sheet of waxed paper.
Drizzle icing over warm swirls. Makes 32

(recipe: Paula Dean)

Balsamic Garlic-roasted Green
Beans & Mushrooms

1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed/
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned/
8-10 whole garlic cloves, halved
2 T. olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 450 degrees. Line a
large rimmed baking sheet with foil
& spray with nonstick spray. Spread
green beans, mushrooms & garlic in
an even layer on sheet. In small bowl
whisk olive oil & balsamic vinegar;
drizzle over vegetables in pan & toss
to coat evenly. Season with salt/pepper,
to taste. Bake 20-25 minutes until beans
are tender-crisp.



Not much going on – started on the decrease

side of the crocheted diagonal box stitch baby

blanket (YAY!) The blue & white twist yarn,

when worked together comes out looking like

a light blue denim color so I’m going to crochet

a white border to finish it off. (still plugging away

at the mint green blanket). I have several patterns

I’m eager to try for another blanket (of course).

Hope you all have a GREAT day!



Forgot to mention – just watched the

movie “The Life of Pi” on tv with my

middle son (he keeps encouraging me

to watch more movies and he’d seen

this one at the theater). Very interesting

movie – great cinamatography/scenes/

CGI work – I would recommend it.

PSS: Forgot to mention I even got

a phone call from one of my ‘extra’

sons! Haven’t seen him in a few

years, he lives out state working

for the government, but it was SO

nice to hear from him!


Another Rainy Day…


It’s about 50 degrees F., gray and rainy – a great day to stay inside, curl up with your favorite afghan, something warm to drink and a good book (OR knitting/crochet)! This is the first day this week I haven’t had something to ‘go do’ so I’m still in my jammies at 10:50 a.m.! (Bad part is: middle son is planning a picnic (you heard me right) a little later and they ‘might’ be stopping in to use the bathroom. I have yet to meet new girlfriend, but son is really excited/happy with her so far. He decided (a few days ago) to plan a picnic for her – we have a neighborhood park across the street from our house – nothing special, lots of trees, a lake – nothing big; I used to take our dog there to throw a frisbee many years ago (before kids) but then they built a water treatment facility on the property so now it’s just ‘there’. He asked to borrow a plastic picnic table cover, a small cooler and a few golfing umbrellas. He’s going to Kroger to buy some take out sushi boxes, bottles of tea and maybe some mini cupcakes – I thought it was a really sweet gesture on his part (he’s my really ‘romantic’ son). Hope she sees his efforts and appreciates the gesture.

I’m also planning another “Knit/Crochet MOVIE Night” for next Tuesday night (our ‘off’ night for knit group. This time I’ve decided we’re doing a Taco Night – that should be fun, we haven’t done that theme in a few years (I’m doing the taco meat). We usually average about 12 people attending – I’m going to try to check out a movie I saw previews on: “Mom’s Night Out“: ” Hardworking mom Allyson has a crazy night out with her friends, while their husbands watch their children.” – sounds like it could be fun (it’s a 2014 movie, so maybe I’ll rent it, watch it first, then decide). The other ladies bring movies they think we might like, also, and then we lay them out on a table & vote which one we’re watching that night.


Gooey Apple Pull-apart Bread

12 frozen dinner rolls
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
(peeled if you desire)
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 T. unsalted butter, melted &

1 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. milk
1/2 C. powdered sugar

Spray 8 X 4″ loaf pan with nonstick
spray. Place frozen rolls on a plate
& cover with plastic wrap; thaw
about 30 minutes until soft enough
to cut. In medium bowl mix apples,
cinnamon, sugar & 2 T. butter. Using
kitchen shears, cut each roll into 4,
roll into balls using your hands. Place
10 small balls on bottom of pan. Drizzle
about half remaining butter over rolls.
Cover with half apple mixture & repeat
layers until all ingredients are used up.
Let rise 1 hour or until rolls have
doubled in size.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Bake 30-35 minutes until brown on top.
Mix butter, brown sugar, milk & powdered
sugar together & pour all over top of
bread. If too thick, add a little more milk &
stir before drizzling. If too thin, add a little
more powdered sugar, stir then pour.

NOTE: If loaf starts to get too brown on top,
cover loosely with foil & continue baking to
allow center to finish baking.


3-Ingredient Chicken

2 pkts. dry Italian salad dressing mix
1/2 C. brown sugar
6-8 chicken thighs (or any pieces)
skin on

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Place brown sugar & seasoning pkgs.
in large ziplock bag & shake to mix.
Add chicken pieces, shake to coat &
place chicken on sheet, skin side up.
Bake 35 minutes for thighs, longer
for larger pieces until juices run clear.

(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)

Chive & Onion Hash Brown Potatoes

1 1/2 C. Half & Half
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.
In Dutch oven combine first 5
ingredients; cook & stir over medium
heat until blended; stir in potatoes.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Layer one third of hash brown
mixture on bottom & 2/3 C. Swiss
cheese; sprinkle with 1 T. chives –
repeat layers. Top with remaining
hash browns & cheese – dot with butter.
Bake, covered, 35 minutes. Bake,
uncovered, 10-20 minutes longer until
edges begin to brown & potatoes are
heated through. Let stand 10 minutes
before serving. Sprinkle with remaining
chives. Serves 12 (3/4 C. each)


Spinach & Mushroom Pasta Casserole

1 (8 oz) pkg. uncooked penne pasta
2 T. vegetable oil
1 C. sliced portobello mushrooms
1/2 C. butter
1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 C. milk
2 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen spinach, thawed,
squeezed dry
1/4 C. soy sauce

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray 9 X 13″ baking dish
with nonstick spray. Cook pasta
accordg. to pkg. directions for al
dente; drain. Heat oil in saucepan
over medium heat; add mushrooms
& saute 1 minute – set them aside.
Melt butter in saucepan; whisk in
flour, garlic & basil. Gradually mix
in milk until thickened. Stir in 1 C.
cheese until melted. Remove pan
from heat & stir in cooked pasta,
mushrooms, spinach & soy sauce.
Pour mixture into prepared dish
& top with remaining cheese.
Bake 20 minutes until heated
through & cheese is melted.
Serves 6-8


Almost Stuffed Pork Chops

4 pork loin chops (1 1/4 –
1 1/2 lb. each) 1 inch thick
2 T. lime juice
3 2/3 C. coarsely crumbled cracker
crumbs (about 4 oz crackers)
6 oz. fresh mushrooms, finely
chopped (about 1 C.)
3 scallions (green onions), chopped
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Brush both sides of chops with
lime juice & place in dish. In medium
bowl combine remaining ingredients.
Mix until well blended & spoon evenly
over chops. Bake 40-45 minutes until
chops are cooked through. Serves 4


Corned Beef Hash

1 1/2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled/
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. cooking oil
1 tsp. fresh thyme
8 oz. cooked or leftover corned beef,
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
eggs (optional, if you want poached)
1 T. vinegar (if making eggs)

Cook potatoes, onion, thyme, garlic,
salt/pepper in cooking oil in large
skillet. Gently turn occasionally about
20-25 minutes until potatoes are
cooked through & browned, adding
corned beef last 5 minutes – it only
needs to heat up, you don’t want it
breaking up too much.

IF you want poached eggs:
Heat 2 C. water in small saucepan with
1 T. vinegar until it just simmers. Keep
it at a simmer (little bubbles coming
up from bottom, not quite boiling).
Break eggs singly into small dishes.
When water is simmering, use a spoon
to swirl water around into a whirlpool.
While water is still swirling, bring egg
dish close to water & very gently tilt
it so egg goes in without a ‘plop’. Keep
a close eye on water & do NOT let it
boil. Turn it down if it tries, poaching
time should be 2-4 minutes. To gauge
doneness of your egg, put a spoon
beneath the egg & lift it just a little
bit – give it a little jiggle – how much
the yolk wiggles will let you know how
soft it is. A bit of jiggling for runny yolks,
less for a more cooked egg. When done,
lift egg out using a slotted spoon, onto
a bed of hot hash. (if you don’t use a
slotted spoon you’ll get water on your
plate). Serves 4-6


Asparagus/Roasted Pepper Frittata

6 eggs, lightly beaten
Half & Half, or cream (a splash)
2 T. butter
1 small red onion, sliced into half moon
8 oz. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed/
1 T. snipped fresh chives
1/4 C. hot water
1 roasted sweet red bell pepper, sliced
6 T. ricotta cheese
2-4 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Heat butter in 10 inch skillet; add onions,
cooking until they wilt. Add asparagus;
season with salt/pepper & add chives.
Cook 1 minute; add 1/4 C. hot water &
continue cooking until water evaporates,
about 2 minutes. Add pepper slices &
pour beaten eggs evenly over vegetables
in skillet. Add 6 dollops ricotta cheese,
evenly spaced*. Sprinkle top with Parm.
cheese & place skillet in oven. Bake 25
minutes until set. Allow to cool in pan
10-15 minutes then loosen sides if needed
before sliding frittata onto a platter. Slice
into wedges & serve. Serves 2-3 as a
main meal, or up to 6 as part of a breakfast

*No need to measure the cheese


7-Layer Dip Dessert

4 C. milk
3 bananas, sliced thin
1 lb. strawberries, sliced thin
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip,
1 C. honey-roasted almonds
1 C. pretzels, crushed
1 (5 oz) pkg. instant chocolate
pudding mix
1 (5 0z) pkg. instant vanilla
pudding mix

Vanilla wafer cookies
graham crackers

In small bowl whisk 2 C. milk with
vanilla pudding; in separate bowl
whisk 2 C. milk & chocolate pudding –
refrigerate both bowls & let set.
After pudding is set, add ingredients
in this order in a 9 X 13″ baking dish:

-chocolate pudding on bottom
-sliced bananas
-crushed pretzels
-vanilla pudding
-sliced almonds
-sliced strawberries
Spread Cool Whip over top evenly –
you can top with more almonds, if
Refrigerate & keep cold until ready to
serve. Serve with vanilla wafers and/or
graham crackers, for dipping. Serves 20

NOTE: You can use fresh fruit, or
more pudding instead of Cool Whip
and/or: a layer of chocolate chips,
if desired.



Had a fun night at Knit night Tuesday, one of my
friends from church had asked if I would mind her
9 1/2 yr old daughter joining us – she had just
taught herself how to knit and wanted a little
help. She came for about 1 1/2 hours and we had
a great time; she’s home schooled (very bright)
and ‘held her own’ sitting with two of our expert
knitters. I wasn’t too sure what they’d think about
having a young girl asking constant questions but
when she left they said they probably wouldn’t
have been as outgoing and confident when they
were her age – they were impressed. I know she
had a good time and her Mom was thrilled –
it all adds a little more ‘spice’ to our gathering!
We also had two other new ladies join us – both
nurses (one retired, one active). The older lady
said she used to knit socks and would need a
‘LITTLE’ help remembering – well, I sat her with
another expert SOCK knitter – after she left I was
told the lady hadn’t knitted in a good 20 years
and had a very old copy-of a copy- of – a copy
of a pattern which was actually unable to be
read. My friend gave the lady HER beginners
sock pattern and got her back on track. I gave
my friend a big HUG for all her efforts – you
just never know . . . some say they know how
to knit/crochet and really don’t…others just
need a little guiding help but in the end:

Not much else new around here; still working
on the two baby afghans. Monday I had to make
a quick trip to Office Depot for printer ink and
in the same shopping center is JoAnns – I ended
up buying 3 skeins of yarn on sale for $3.00 per
skein (YAY!) – they’re baby yarn in a variegated
bright blue, bright green & white. I’m thinking of
doing a pattern I’ve done before, using this yarn
as the ‘in between’ colors and a solid white for
the main pattern:

Hope your day is going well – remember to
smile a little – it helps exercise your face
muscles AND it just might lighten your
mood and the moods of others!



Spring-Like Today!


(Couldn’t resist posting the above – sure fits our weather here, lately!) Just got home from going to the movies with my husband – we saw: “Eye in the Sky” with Helen Mirren & Alan Rickman – VERY intense! If you like military movies, this one’s for you. This one deals with a split-second decision on when to launch a drone strike. Did I ‘like’ the movie? I’m not sure – it was very well acted, just not my type of movie. Don’t get me wrong – both my husband & I LOVE both Helen Mirren & Alan Rickman (that’s why we went – on the strength of their previous movies) – they are EXCELLENT actors. Let’s just say I ate a LOT of popcorn – that’s saying something, as I usually don’t at movies (husband let ME do the butter-applying and I really DOUSED it! YUM!)


Crockpot Caramel Apple Pie Dip

5 C. peeled/diced apples
1 (12.25 oz) jar caramel sauce (ice
cream sauce)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch salt

Combine apples, caramel, cinnamon,
nutmeg & salt in 3 qt or larger crockpot.
Stir, cover & cook on High 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Crust Dippers:
1 (14 oz) pkg. refrigerated pie crust/dough
1/8 C. milk
2 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
In small bowl combine cinnamon & sugar.
Spread out one pie crust at a time on a
baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, spread
on milk; sprinkle half of cinn/sugar on pie
crust. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut crust
into serving strips; spread strips on baking
sheet so they don’t bake together. Bake
10 minutes until golden brown; repeat
with other crust. Serves 8


Chicken Paprika

2 1/2 lb. bone-in, skin on chicken
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 T. butter
1 large onion, sliced
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
2 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika
3/4 C. sour cream (add at end)

cooked egg noodles

Sprinkle chicken with salt/pepper.
Using a large skillet, melt butter on
medium-high heat & brown chicken
on both sides (do not need to cook
through). Remove pan from heat.
Add onion, chicken broth & paprika
to crockpot & stir. Using tongs, add
chicken to crockpot in sauce. Cover &
cook on Low 5 hours without opening
during cooking time. When done,
remove chicken to a plate. Add sour
cream to sauce in crockpot & stir
to get as smooth as possible. Add
chicken back to crockpot. Serve
chicken & sauce over cooked
noodles. Serves 5


Southwest Beef & Peppers Skillet

1 lb. ground beef
1 (14.5 oz) can beef broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes & green
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large yellow pepper, chopped
2 C. instant white rice, uncooked
1 1/2 C. shredded Colby & Monterey
Jack cheeses

Brown hamburger in large skillet; stir in broth
& tomatoes & bring to boil. Add peppers &
rice; stir. Cover & simmer on Low heat 5
minutes or until rice is tender.
Heat broiler
Top rice mixture with cheeses & place
under broiler 6 inches from heat, 2-3
minutes until cheese melts.
Serves 6


Garlic Oil Pasta & Broccoli

1/3 C. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 head broccoli, sliced into
very thin florets, stalk peeled &
cut into matchsticks
kosher salt/ black pepper
2 T. red wine vinegar
few T. water or pasta cooking water
2 C. penne pasta, cooked al dente
Parmesan cheese, garnish

In large saute pan heat oil, garlic &
pepper flakes over medium heat until
fragrant. Once garlic has turned golden,
remove from pan; add broccoli to pan.
(be sure broccoli is completely dry before
placing pan). Toss broccoli to coat in oil;
season with salt/pepper & saute over
medium heat until broccoli barely loses
some of it’s crunch, about 5 minutes.
Turn heat to High & deglaze pan with
red wine vinegar; add a few T. water,
if needed. (Use pasta water if desired)
Add pasta to pan & toss to coat with oil.
Top with Parmesan cheese for serving.
Serves 4


Ham & White Cheddar Beer

Cheese Soup

4 T butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 bottle of your favorite beer
2 C. chicken stock
2 C. milk
6 oz. sharp white Cheddar, grated
6 oz. yellow Cheddar, grated
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 C. cooked, diced ham

cooked/crumbled bacon, chopped
green onions; shredded cheese

Heat large stock pot over medium
heat; add butter & melt completely.
Add onion & garlic, saute 5 minutes.
Whisk in flour, salt, pepper & dry
mustard; cook 3-4 minutes until
flour is nutty & golden. Add beer &
stir constantly 2 minutes until
mixture somewhat thickens. Add
broth & milk; stir to combine & bring
to boil. Reduce heat immediately to
simmer & cook 5-10 minutes until
soup is thickened. Remove from
heat & stir in cheeses & Worc. sauce.
Garnish with desired items. Serve
immediately. Serves 6


Mushroom/Asiago Chicken

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C. flour
4 T. unsalted butter
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. dry white wine or
chicken broth
3/4 C. chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp.
dried thyme
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/2 C. shredded Asiago cheese
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Place a large skillet over medium-
high heat & melt 2 T. unsalted butter.
Cut each breast into cutlets; lightly
season on both sides with salt/pepper
& dredge in flour – shaking off any
excess. Add as many cutlets as will fit
comfortably but be sure not to crowd
the pan. Saute 5 minutes until golden on
first side, then flip & cook 1 extra minute.
Remove from skillet to a plate & cover
lightly with foil to keep warm; finish with
remaining cutlets. Add remaining butter to
skillet along with mushrooms & 1/2 tsp.
salt; cook about 10 minutes, stirring
occasionally, until mushrooms are golden
& become softened. Add garlic & cook
2 minutes. Pour white wine (or broth) into
skillet & stir to scrape any bits sticking to
bottom of pan. Once liquid is almost all
evaporated, add 3/4 C. chicken broth &
thyme. Bring to boil, reduce heat to
medium & cook 10-15 minutes at rapid
simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
Reduce heat to medium-low & stir in
heavy cream. Sprinkle Asiago cheese over
top of sauce & stir constantly until cheese
melts. Gently place chicken back in skillet
& allow to simmer in sauce just until the
chicken is heated through & sauce has
slightly thickened. Sprinkle with a bit of
Parmesan cheese & serve immediately.
Serves 5-6

NOTE: This can be served by itself or over
a bed of cooked pasta, rice or potatoes.


Cannoli Poke Cake

1 box white cake mix plus
ingredients to make cake
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
1 1/2 C. ricotta cheese
1 1/2 C. mascarpone cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1/2 C. mini chocolate chips
powdered sugar, for dusting

Prepare & bake cake according to
pkg. directions for a 9 X 13″ pan;
cool cake completely.
Poke holes all over top of cake (you
can use a straw or handle of a
wooden spoon). Reserve half cup
of sweetened condensed milk – pour
rest of sweet’d milk over top of cake
& press into holes. Refrigerate 1
hour to absorb milk. Combine both
cheeses & vanilla in mixer bowl; beat
until smooth. Add powdered sugar &
cinnamon (if using); mix until combined.
Add reserved sweet’d cond. milk & mix
until combined. Spread mixture evenly
over cooled cake. Top with mini
chocolate chips & a sprinkling of
powdered sugar. Cover cake & allow to
set in fridge 2-3 hours.
Cake should keep, refrigerated, 4-5 days.

NOTE: Pour off any ‘water’ on top of ricotta
before using.
The texture of the topping is like whipped
cream at soft peak stage – if you prefer it
to be thicker you can do one of 2 things:
(a) leave sweetened cond. milk out of the
topping and/or (b) add up to about 3 C.
powdered sugar (which would thicken it).



Our weather is FINALLY more Spring-like,
today it’s partly cloudy and 44 degrees F,
nice enough to wear a jacket.

I’m writing you a quick post as I need to
go throw together a meatloaf for dinner
and then get organized for Knit/Crochet
Night at 6:30. Husband loves meatloaf
so it will be a good ‘fix’ – with some
leftovers, too (I hope!).

Gas prices are up again – they
‘were’ $1.96/9 a few days ago
and now they’re at $2.09/9.
I have enough Kroger gas credits
to get 20 cents off per gallon BUT
Kroger’s gas is $2.19/9, so even if
I DID use my 20 cents off, I’d still
be at the current price for my
regular gas station – go figure! Will
be going to Clark tomorrow – forget
the Kroger stuff for now…

Enjoy your day;