Patience & Gullibility


Today is turning out to be one of “THOSE” days – went to the bank to clear up a ‘mess’ (will speak on that in a minute) and found that they were short on people, especially the Bank Managers – sigh. I sat down in a chair with three other people and waited; apparently the bank people thought I was with that ‘group’ and just ignored me. I just kept saying (in my head) remember-Patience is a Virtue! Finally that ‘group’ got taken care of, leaving 3 chairs vacant. In comes a little old lady who starts telling me all about her checks and the bank’s mistake (sigh). Wait, wait . . . Manager becomes FREE and I get up – little old lady does an End Run and cuts me off! (sigh – add in more “Patience is a Virture”). Her problem was pretty easy to solve so I think it will only take a few minutes . . . totally forgot that MOST older people are LONELY and just want to TALK! A good 20 minutes later she FINALLY leaves, bringing me to the subject of Gullibility. I know we all have ‘weak’ moments – those times when you do something that (at any other time) you wouldn’t. Insert me about 3 weeks ago: sitting in front of computer looking at Facebook and happen upon a blurb for a weight loss product: Only $4.99 for a TRIAL SIZED Bottle! (Garcinia Cambogia) – GULLIBLE me hits OK! and charges it to my credit card ($4.99) . . . you can see where this is going, right? They sent me the bottle in a plain white box – no paperwork, no return address. (I don’ know exactly why, but that flagged a ‘somethings not quite right here’ thought and I never opened the bottle). Time went by and yesterday I was going over my checking account just to compare my spending to what the bank has and THERE IT WAS: $89.74 charged to my card from that company! YIKES! Of course, I freaked. Today went to the bank to clear it up; fortunately I know the bank manager (for many years) so she knew I wasn’t making this up. Turns out there was another lady a few weeks before me who did the same exact thing! She said that when they went to the web site (IN VERY TINY PRINT) was a ‘disclaimer’ something about you are agreeing to a 3 month membership – cost $89.74 per month! CRAZY! It took the manager a good 25 minutes on the phone trying to get that company (which kept hanging up – it was all recordings and they said they would forward you on IF YOU HIT #1 WHICH WOULD CHARGE YOU ANOTHER $1.99! CRAZY! She finally called my banks Fraud department and they were able to dispute this charge (I get my $$ back, but had to cancel that card – fine with me.)NOTE HERE: the company that did this is listed as PURITYGARCINIA)   YAY, all’s well . . . you’d think!

Episode #2: I leave the bank to go grocery shopping at Meijers. I should mention I have another ’emergency’ credit card which I hardly EVER use. I told the bank manager I’d be using that one until my new regular debit card comes in the mail. Get up to the check out (another LOOOONG wait – remember: “Patience is a Virtue!”). Get all the groceries bagged and use the card – cashier says: “I’m sorry, but that card has been denied.” WHAT? I try it again, this time hitting Debit instead of credit – same thing! I tell her “Believe me – there’s  money in the account!” Finally I end up writing a check for said amount. Cashier tells me: “This happens ALL THE TIME with customers of that bank.” LOVELY – right? You guessed it – another trip back to the bank to see just what’s going on. Get same manager (YAY) and she calls it in – the problem is that since I very rarely USE this card, the bank’s alert system guessed that my card had been stolen so it blocked the transaction. She had to call in to the main branch and get it opened up again. Lesson to me: USE the darned card every so often so this doesn’t happen again!

Two lessons here: #1: ‘PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE” (don’t lose your cool) and #2: Try to listen to that little voice in your head that says: “Don’t DO THIS!” when you’re about to do something that you KNOW might be questionable (like charging your credit card on a site you know nothing about!) I KNOW BETTER! SOoooo grateful the bank was able to clear this up for me. WHEW!  After that I stopped at Tim Horton’s for coffee and a pumpkin donut – I really felt I’d earned them this time!


Breakfast “Lasagna”

1 box lasagna noodles, cooked
8 eggs, scrambled
3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
12 sausage links, cooked/cut in half
6 strips bacon, cooked
3 C. spinach

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. Arrange 3 noodles
lengthwise in prepared dish. Layer
half of eggs, half sausage, one C.
each cheese, half of spinach; repeat
layer. Top with layer of noodles &
bacon; sprinkle with remaining
cheeses (make sure to cover
noodles completely with cheese).
Bake 15-20 minutes; serve warm.

(recipe: “The Food in My Beard” =

Caramel Apple Crisp Bites

2 C. graham cracker crumbs
12 T. butter, melted*
1/2 C. powdered sugar
4 C. peeled/cored, finely chopped
1/3 C. sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
2 1/4 T. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray mini muffin pan with
nonstick BUTTER spray. Melt butter
in small pan. In medium bowl mix
graham cracker crumbs, powdered
sugar & butter using a spoon. Slowly
add butter, mix well & evenly
distribute to 24 mini muffin cups;
press mixture on bottom & up
sides to make a ‘crumb cup’. Bake
5 minutes; let cool completely.

Change oven temp. to 375 degrees F.
Mix apples, sugar, brown sugar, flour,
cinnamon & nutmeg together & pour
into an oven-safe baking dish. Bake
15 minutes until apples are slightly

Lower oven temp. to 350 degrees F.

Scoop a teaspoon of apple
mix & place on top of graham cracker
crust cups (keeping crust in muffin
pan). Sprinkle any extra graham cracker
crumbs on top of apples; bake 5 minutes.
Let cool completely. Use a knife to loosen
from pan; place on serving plate & drizzle
caramel topping on each. Makes 24
mini cups.

*You may want to start by using 1/2 C.
butter; melt butter & add slowly to crumbs,
a little at a time making sure it’s not too wet.
You can always add more. You want a soft
dough that sticks together slightly when you
try to form a ball, not a wet dough.


Hot Cheesy Bacon Dip

3/4 C. (Kraft) 3-cheese shredded
cheese, divided
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled,
2 green onions, finely chopped,
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/3 C. mayonnaise

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Reserve 2 T. cheese/bacon/
onions for garnish.
Mix remaining ingredients until
blended & spread onto 9 inch
pie plate sprayed with nonstick
spray. Bake 15 minutes until hot
& bubbly around edges. Garnish
with reserved ingredients.
Makes 12 (2 T. each) servings

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Skinny Pumpkin Bars

2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C. sugar
3/4 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. butter, softened
1/3 C. applesauce
2 eggs
4 egg whites
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin, mashed
1/3 C. water
3/4 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 1/3 C. flour

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
In medium bowl combine flour, cinnamon,
baking soda, baking powder & salt. In large
bowl cream butter & sugars together. Add
applesauce & mix well. Add eggs, one-at-
a-time, beating with each addition. Add
egg whites & pumpkin, mix well. Alternate
dry ingredients with water & wet ingredients.
Fold in chocolate chips & pour into cookie
sheet. Bake 27-30 minutes until a toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean. Cut
into bars.


One-Pan Lemon Chicken Bake

4 chicken breasts, boneless
2 T. lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
3 T. garlic chopped
zest & juice of 2 lemons
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. thyme, crushed
1 tsp. salt
1/4 C. olive oil
1/3 C. white wine
lemon pepper seasoning

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Pour olive oil into small saucepan over
medium/low heat. Add garlic & cook 1
minute. Add white wine, zest of 2 lemons,
lemon juice, oregano, thyme, & salt. Pour
mixture into a 9 X 13″ baking dish. Pat chicken
dry & place in pan. Brush tops of chicken with
olive oil & sprinkle liberally with lemon pepper
seasoning. Cut lemon into wedges & tuck among
the chicken. Bake 30-40 minutes until chicken is
no longer pink. If chicken isn’t browned enough,
place under broiler for 2 minutes. Serves 4


Crockpot Party Beans

1 1/2 C. ketchup
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
2 bay leaves
2-3 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/8. tsp. pepper
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans- drained/
1 (15 oz) can Great Northern beans,
1 (14 oz) can lima beans, drained/
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained/
1 (16 oz) can black eyed peas, drained/

Combine all ingredients (except beans &
peas) in crockpot; mix well. Add beans &
peas, mix well. Cover & cook on Low
5-7 hours. Remove bay leaves before
serving. Serves 12-14


4-Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

1 box chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 C. oil
1 C. sugar

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine cake mix, oil & eggs. Pour
sugar in small bowl. Take 1 T. dough,
form a ball & roll in sugar. Place
balls on ungreased cookie sheet
1 inch apart. Bake 10 minutes. Let
cool completely. Makes about
30 cookies.

Note: can use any flavor cake mix;
another poster said they put 1/4 C.
sugar in a ziplock sandwich bag &
added 2 drops food coloring to sugar,
then placed balls in sugar & shook.



Our weather, today, has taken a turn to
more “Fall-like” – it’s 65 degrees F., gray
& lightly raining.

Gas prices are staying at $2.41/9 – I’m
still at a little under half tank, so really
hoping they’ll drop soon – we’ll see . . .

Tonight is Knit Night with my group and,
after the day I’ve had so far, I really think
I DESERVE a night out with the girls! Finished
the Diagonal Box stitch baby blanket (for
Crisis Prenancy Center) and am about 1/4th
done with the other knit blanket. Bought
2 big skeins of baby/sport weight yarns at
Meijers today: one white and one white/
blue twist – we’ll see what comes of those.


Diagonal Box Stitch (crochet)

Hope YOU’RE having a good day – I intend
to just keep plugging away and reciting my
little ‘mantra’ PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE in my
head – keeps me from getting upset/angry/
etc. Life’s too short to let all those little
irritations get to ya, right?




Groovin’ to the Move!


I missed wishing you a Happy Groundhog Day!

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


Smothered Chicken w/Mushroom Gravy

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

1/2 bunch green onion, diced

Hot cooked rice or potatoes

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


Cranberry-Rice Pilaf

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

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

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


15-Minute Creamy Bowtie Noodles

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

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


Mixed Vegetable Casserole

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

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

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Tamale Bake

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

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


Blueberry Crumble Bars

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

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

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


Crabmeat Stuffed Salmon

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

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


Banana Pudding Poke Cake

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

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


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

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



Topsy-turvy Day –


Ever have one of those days where you just can’t seem to get a handle on it? You HAD things planned you wanted to get done but somehow, things just keep getting more complicated? That’s my day, today. Got up with every intention of doing several ‘business-type’ things, straightening out middle son’s insurance issues (ie: getting him signed up on Obamacare), working at other little ‘things’ – every time I turned around, things got all goofy! Told my husband that I almost feel like I’m procrastinating (something I rarely do) just because I was afraid of which ‘shoe would hit the floor next’! Crazy – I ‘think’ I got most of it done – not entirely sure. Went grocery shopping – think I got everything I intended, but again – not exactly sure. UGH! Not liking that feeling, for sure! (I’m more of a ‘make a list, make sure everything is in order & checked off’ type of person, so chaos is NOT my friend!)


Baked Potato Casserole

8 medium potatoes (about 2 1/2 – 3 lb),
peeled, cut into 1″ chunks
1 C. evaporated milk
1/2 C. sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese,
6 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled,
sliced green onions, garnish (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place cut potatoes in large saucepan;
cover with water; bring to boil. Cook
over medium-high heat 15-20 minutes
until tender; drain. Spray a 2 1/2 – 3 Qt.
casserole dish with nonstick spray. Return
potatoes to saucepan; add evap. milk, sour
cream, salt/pepper; beat with elec. mixer
until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 C. cheese &
half of bacon. Spoon mixture into prepared
dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until heated
through. Top with remaining 1/2 C. cheese,
remaining bacon & green onions. Bake an
additional 3 minutes until cheese is melted.

(recipe: coupon flyer)

Baked Ziti with Homemade Sauce

1 T. olive oil
1 C. chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 C. red wine (or chicken/vegetable
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 T. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Baked Ziti:
12 oz. rigatoni, penne, or ziti pasta
3 T. olive oil
3 spicy Italian sausages, casings
1/2 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded/diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 C. marinara
1 C. mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
salt/pepper to taste

Pour oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add
chopped onion, saute 5-10 minutes; once
translucent, add garlic & cook 1 minute. Add
wine or stock, turn heat to High, making sure
to scrape brown pieces from bottom of pan.
Cook until nearly all liquid evaporates, about
3 minutes. Add tomatoes, parsley, salt/pepper;
stir well. Cover & simmer
on Low 15 minutes;
set sauce aside for baked ziti.
Preheat oven 350 degrees
Fill large pot with salted water & bring to a boil.
Add pasta; boil 7-10 minutes (until al dente).
Drain & toss with 1 tsp. olive oil before pouring
into a large mixing bowl. Pour 1 T. olive oil in
large pan over medium-high heat to cook
sausage. Add sausage & cook until evenly
browned, breaking apart with spatula or spoon
about 5 minutes; drain/ add to pasta mixture.
Discard grease from pan; add rest of oil & saute
onion, bell peppers, garlic, salt/pepper 3-4
minutes then add to sausage/pasta mixture –
toss everything together. Add marinara sauce,
1/2 C. mozzarella & 1/4 C. Parmesan cheese;
fold everything together. Season to taste, then
pour mixture into lightly greased 8″ X 8″ baking
dish. Top mixture with rest of cheese & bake
20-25 minutes or until cheese is brown &
bubbly. Serves 6-8


5-Ingredient Pot Roast

3 lb. beef chuck roast
1 packet Ranch dressing mix (dry)
1 (dry) Au Jus seasoning packet
6 T. unsalted butter
1/4 C. water

Pour water into crockpot; place
meat on top. Sprinkle meat with
Ranch & Au Jus packets, placing
butter on top. Cover & cook on
Low 8 hours, shredding into the
sauce after 7 1/2 hours. Serves 6-8

NOTE: The drippings can be made
into gravy by heating them in
saucepan with a little extra water.
Once boiling, add 1 T. cornstarch
that has been mixed with 1 T. cold
water. Whisk mixture into pan until
it boils again & turn down heat to
simmer until thickened.

Raspberry Cream Pie

1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
3 C. Cool Whip, thawed

1 T. cornstarch
1/4 C. sugar
1 (6 oz) pkg. frozen raspberries
(OR) 1 heaping cup fresh
1 1/2 tsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 T. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

Preheat oven according to
temperatures listed on pie crust.
Prick bottom & sides of pie crust
with a fork & bake crust accordg.
to pkg. directions; cool completely.
Pour 1 T. cornstarch & 1/4 C. sugar
into medium saucepan; stir. Add
frozen raspberries (or fresh), 1 1/2
tsp. water & lemon juice; stir. Over
medium-high heat, bring mixture
to boil, stirring constantly. Let boil
a few minutes until desired
consistency is reached (should be
just a little thinner than pudding).
Remove from heat; add 1 T butter,
1/2 tsp. vanilla & dash salt. Let
butter melt a little, then stir in.
Let mixture cool completely (if you
are in a hurry, you can pour it into
a bowl & refrigerate). Place softened
cream cheese in stand mixer or
medium-sized bowl; beat until smooth.
Add 1 C. powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla,
dash salt; mix 2 minutes. Add 1/2 C.
sour cream & 3 C. thawed Cool Whip;
mix until well combined, 2 minutes.
Pour filling into cooled crush (might
have a bit leftover, depending on
how deep the pie crust is). Once
topping has cooled, pour over filling.
Refrigerate 1 hour, then serve.


Pizza Nachos

Garlic Cream Sauce

1 1/2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/4 C. milk
pinch salt
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

your favorite crispy tortilla chips
garlic cream sauce (above)
1/4 C. diced onion
1/2 C. sliced pepperoni, cut into
bite sizes
1 to 1 1/2 C. Colby-Jack cheese,
(optional toppings):
1/2 C. sliced black olives
1/2 whole green bell pepper, chopped
sliced mushrooms or any other pizza
toppings you may like

Melt butter & olive oil on medium to low
heat; once melted, toss in garlic; stir.
Raise heat to medium or medium-high;
add cream & milk; stir – continue stirring
until it comes to a boil. Add salt, pepper &
chili flakes, Parm. cheese; continue
stirring (sauce will thicken quickly, keep
stirring). Once thickened, remove from heat
& set aside.
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Using an oven-proof dish sprayed with
nonstick spray, add chips to bottom of dish;
drizzle garlic sauce over chips. Top with
onions & pepperoni and other toppings
of your choice.Top with shredded cheese; cook
until cheese is bubbly & veggies are warmed
through, about 7 minutes.


Chicken Stuffed Crescent Rolls

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
2 (12 oz, ea) cans chicken; drained
1/3 C. green onions, chopped
salt & pepper
2 (12 oz, ea) pkgs. Big & Flaky
crescent rolls
4 T. melted butter
2 C. crushed corn flake crumbs

1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
3 T. sour cream
2 T. butter
1 T. milk

Place cream cheese in large mixing
bowl or stand mixer. Add chicken, green
onions, salt & pepper – using 2 forks,
mix all together (or mix on Low 2 minutes
until all ingredients are combined, if using
stand mixer).Spray 2 large cooking sheets
with nonstick spray.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Open roll pkgs. Gently pull
one triangle of dough from roll; spray a
rolling pin with some nonstick spray &
roll triangle out just a bit. Scoop about
3 T. chicken mixture into center of dough,
roll from bottom up to top making a ball,
pressing corners in & making sure all
filling is securely inside dough. Place
corn flakes in food processor; pulse until
they resemble coarse crumbs; pour into
a loaf pan. Flatten stuffed dough ball a
little & gently dunk into 4 T. melted butter.
Dip buttered roll into corn flake crumbs,
making sure both sides are coated well.
Place roll onto prepared pan making sure
there is about an inch space between each
roll. Bake 20 minutes until dough is cooked
& a bit crispy & chicken mixture is heated
In medium saucepan combine chicken soup,
3 T. sour cream, 2 T. butter & 1 T. milk; whisk
ingredients together. Heat sauce over medium-
high heat, stirring occasionally. Pour sauce over
baked rolls. Makes 16 rolls

NOTE: recipe can be made ahead & frozen:
assemble & bake rolls as instructed. Allow
to cool then carefully place in freezer-safe
ziplock bags. When ready to use, remove
from bag & microwave 2-3 minutes or place
in 350 degrees F. oven 10 minutes until
heated through.
Sauce does NOT hold up to freezing well –
best made fresh when ready to serve


Crab Guacamole

2 diced avocados, coarsely
1/4 C. diced red onion
1 jalapeno, seeded/minced
2 T. fresh cilantro
3 T. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
6 oz. canned lump crabmeat, drained
& flaked

baked chips, crackers, tortilla chips,
etc. for serving

Mix all ingredients together;
refrigerate, if desired, before serving
Makes 2 C. (or 6 servings – 1/3 C. per


Texas TNT Dip

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter
2 lb. Velveeta, cut into cubes
1 C. salsa
2 T. chili powder

In saucepan over medium heat, cook
ground beef about 8 minutes until
browned; drain. Add remaining
ingredients; reduce heat to Low,
cook until cheese is melted & mixture
is warmed through, stirring
occasionally. Makes 8 C.

Crockpot Taco Soup

2 lb. ground beef
2 onions, diced
2 (15.5 oz, ea) cans pinto beans
1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed/
1 (15.25 oz) can corn
3 (14.5 oz,ea) cans diced stewed
tomatoes with green chilies (like
2 (4.5 oz,ea) cans diced green chiles
1 (1.25 oz) pkt. taco seasoning mix
1 (1 oz) pkt. Ranch salad dressing mix

tortilla chips
shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
sour cream
diced green onion

In skillet brown hamburger with
diced onion; drain & add to crockpot.
Add rest of ingredients (except
toppings) to crockpot; stir to combine.
Cook on Low 6-8 hours or High 3-4.
Serve in bowls with toppings of
choice. Serves 6-8


We have still been very fortunate
with our weather – understand that
New York is due for a real nasty storm
coming this evening. We’re still in a
cold front (averaging 25 degrees each
day – but clear & sunny). With the sun
shining, our accumulated snow & ice
on driveway & roof is almost gone! YAY!
(I know – don’t hold your breath – there’s
always more where that came from and
it’s only the end of January!).

Started reading the Alphabet series of
murder/mysteries by Sue Grafton; they
are so named because she started her
first book with “A is for Alibi” and went
from there: “B is for Burglar”, “C is for
Corpse”  – just finished “C” – not sure if
she ever finished the alphabet, but am
pretty sure she’s close to the end so I’ve
got LOTS of reading ahead of me.

Next month is the last meeting of the other
knit group (the one that does hats/scarves/
mittens/gloves for the four homeless shelters
in our area). I’m not exactly sure if I’ll be with
them next ‘season’, I have a tendency to be
a bit compulsive when it comes to jumping
on the charity bandwagon (I can hear my
friends saying, in jest, “NO! Not YOU, Pammie!”)
and this last ‘season’ I tended to get a bit too
wrapped up in trying to make as many hats &
scarves as I could possibly make – which, in
turn, made me rather cranky and feeling
stressed. (Yep – I’m crazy like that). We’ll see
how I feel about it in the Fall when, I’m
guessing, they take up the mantle of crafting
for the shelters again. I had enough scrap
yarn to probably make another scarf but
had to actually tell myself “NO! STOP!!!
You’ve done ENOUGH for now!” so then I
picked up my bag of knitting for the cancer
center chemo caps. I have one about 1/4th
done – that will keep me busy for awhile.
Some of my ladies in my knit group are
already working on baby blankets for this
September’s Detroit Veteran’s Baby Shower!
One lady told me she already had two made,
another said she’s set her goal at FOUR and
has three already done! Wow! (I haven’t even
STARTED THINKING about making them yet!)

Tomorrow I have the privilege of going out
to lunch with two of my high school friends;
one I rode the bus with in high school and the
other was in Girl’s Choir with me in our junior
year – both are in my Adult Bible Sunday School
class at our church. We like getting together
every couple months just to chat – we’re all
almost the same age; one is a widow, the other
cares for her husband who has some major
medical issues – we all have kids, so we can
relate! Tomorrow we’re going to Big Boy; they
have good food at reasonable prices and none
of us is actually going for the FOOD, anyway!
The location of said restaurant is VERY close
to both JoAnn Fabrics AND Michael’s stores –
both of which sell yarn! I ‘might’ check them
out just to see if I’m ‘inspired’ by some baby
yarn to start my first Vet’s baby blanket –
we’ll see.

One of my members/friends in my knit group
is expecting their first child in June; they’ve
tried for a long time – she & I have spent much
time talking over what it’s like to NOT be able
to become pregnant (we tried for 8 years: many
meds – single & double fertility pills/surgeries,
etc. and ended up adopting, so I understand.)
It is a HUGE blessing that she & her husband
are now expecting in June – they’ve been
through a LOT. Knowing that she loves to knit
and has already made up quite a few hats,
snug sacks, socks, etc. for her baby, I’m NOT
going to be one to knit her a baby blanket. I’ve
decided to knit up a toy bunny (I made one
last year and posted the photo), a set of knit
baby blocks (yep, did that, too & posted) and
then maybe some baby headbands (like the
ones I knit last year for the Vet’s shower). We’ll
see where this takes me – another one of my
ladies & I are planning a baby shower for her
sometime in the beginning of May. Not sure
just what gifts the other members of the knit
group will create for her, that’s why I’m not
doing a blanket. She’s kind of like a little sister
to me and I’m just THRILLED for them – she
just found out last week it’s going to be a
girl! Anyway, we’ll see where tomorrow’s
‘yarn checking out/shopping’ goes!

Hope you’re having a GREAT day! Keep
keeping on – take care of yourself & your



Chilly Temps Tuesday!


It’s chilly here – right now it’s around 19 degrees F. but the wind chill makes it feel like around 5 degrees F. – it’s so cold that the leader of my special needs group called to cancel our usual meeting tomorrow. We have more group homes now with more students in wheelchairs and when the temperatures get really low it’s very hard for them to maneuver students & their chairs/chair lifts on vans/pushing them up ramps, etc. – much easier to wait for a warmer night. (example of the effect of cold temps on pizza deliveries: youngest son came home last night and said his store did a total of around $80 for the entire day/night – not good – he gets paid regardless, which is good, but bad for tips).

Tonight is my Knit/Crochet group and I KNOW those ladies will brave the cold temps. just to come sit, chat, eat/drink, and knit/crochet, so it looks like I’m going ‘out in the cold’ anyway – sigh.  Right now I’m sipping part of my Christmas present from oldest son: he got us a Keurig 1-cup coffee maker and also the K-cups of Tim Horton’s coffee AND Panera’s Hazelnut Creme coffee (yum!). I’m not sure if our local Panera HAS the hazelnut flavor, but will have to check tonight – it’s nice & creamy (and I LOVE hazelnuts!!!). Great choice, son!

We had another ‘fun experience’ last night (seems this is becoming a ‘every winter’ thing): Husband was up late playing his video games on his computer, decided to ‘turn in’ for the night – went in the bathroom – toilet wouldn’t flush – frozen pipes! To attempt to make this story short – our main water pipe is directly under our cement front porch steps. There is a 4″ hole cut in the cement from when the original well was here (before we lived here). We keep a large plastic black ‘caldron’ over the hole (in summer it holds geraniums) to cover the hole. This also keeps any water/cold air from going directly onto the water pipes. It seems that (somehow) the caldron was moved about a foot OFF of the hole, allowing rain & cold air onto the pipes (this happened LAST YEAR, too!) Dear husband had to get out the hair dryer and slowly warm up the pipes to allow water flow, replace the 4″cut foam plug (which had fallen into the hole under the stairs) and replace the caldron over the hole in the cement. All this happened around 4:45 a.m.! Let’s just say he was NOT a happy camper (his grumbling woke me up!). Water was restored within a half hour; he’s still angry about ‘who would have moved that caldron!???) Who knows – go figure. Ah, the fun life I lead sometimes, eh? To add to the ‘fun’, around this same time youngest’s cell phone went off: it seems a friend of his ran out of gas and needed someone to bring him some – out went son, outside went husband. 1 1/2 hours later all was fixed/solved and everyone was home, safe & sound. Sigh . . .


 Too Easy Creamy Apple Dessert

1/4 C. butter or margarine
1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
milk (like Eagle Brand)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. lemon juice
1 (21 oz) can apple pie filling
1/4 C. chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place butter in a 1 1/2 qt. baking
dish & melt in oven. Remove from
oven & sprinkle graham cracker crumbs
over butter; mix well then press into
bottom of dish to make crust. Mix
sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese
& lemon juice in a bowl; spread evenly over
crust. Spoon pie filling evenly over creamy
layer; bake 25-30 minutes until set. Cool
slightly. In small dish, mix nuts & cinnamon;
sprinkle over pie filling & serve warm or cold.


Creamy Burrito Casserole

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (1 1/4 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix
6 large flour tortillas
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
2-3 C. shredded taco cheese or
2-3 C. Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom
4 oz. sour cream
jarred hot sauce, if desired

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Brown ground meat & onion; drain.
Add taco seasoning mix & stir in
refried beans. Mix soup & sour
cream in separate bowl. Spread
1/2 sour cream mixture in bottom
of a casserole dish. Tear up 3
tortillas & spread over sour cream
mixture. Place the meat/bean
mixture over that; add a layer of
cheese. (you could add some hot
sauce now, if desired). Repeat
layers. Sprinkle cheese over top &
bake 20-30 minutes. Serves 8-10


All-Day Creamy Cheesy Chicken

1 1/4 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1/4 C. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Cheddar cheese soup (or
8 oz Velveeta or 1 1/2 C. shredded
Cheddar cheese)
garlic powder, to taste

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Place chicken in pot. In mixing
bowl, combine soups, sour cream &
garlic powder; mix well then pour over
chicken. Cover & cook on Low 6-8
hours or High 4 hours.


Chicken ‘n Peppers Pasta Skillet

2 C. penne pasta, uncooked
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut
into bite-sized pieces
1 large green bell pepper, cut into short,
thin strips
1 large red bell pepper, cut into short,
thin strips
1 small onion, chopped
2 C. spaghetti sauce
1 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed on pkg, omitting salt.
Heat large nonstick skillet sprayed with nonstick
spray on medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook &
stir 2 minutes. Add vegetables; cook 6-8 minutes
or until chicken is done & vegetables are crisp-tender,
stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; add to chicken
mixture along with spaghetti sauce. Cook 5 minutes
or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Top
with mozzarella; cover. Remove from heat; let stand
1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted; top with
Parmesan. Serves 6, 1 1/3 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)

 Biscuit Cinnamon Roll

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring
2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk
biscuits OR 1 tube Pillsbury Grands
buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 C. pancake syrup
1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. chopped pecans, optional
1/4 C. chopped almonds, optional
Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray.
Combine the melted butter and syrup
in a small bowl and set aside. In another
bowl, combine the brown sugar,
cinnamon, and nuts (if desired). Place
about half of the syrup mixture in the
bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half
of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay
the biscuits on the bottom of the pan,
overlapping edges (closely together) to
form a ring. Top with remaining syrup and
sugar mixtures. Bake at 375 degrees for
approximately 20-25 minutes or until
golden brown. Cool for 1 minute in the
pan, then invert onto a serving platter
and enjoy!
** I ended up using 1 1/2 tubes of the
Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits
(1 tube didn’t seem like enough) and
baked it for about 30 minutes. It needed
a bit longer to bake since I used more.

(not sure where I found this recipe!)

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Casserole

1 lb. bacon, fried & crumbled (save grease)
2 lb. boneless/skinless chicken thighs
2 1/2 T. ranch dressing mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 lb. bow-tie pasta, cooked al dente
2 jars alfredo sauce
1/3 C. evaporated milk or regular milk
3 roma tomatoes, diced
4 C. shredded Italian cheese blend

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces; coat with
1 1/2 T. ranch dressing mix. Saute in skillet
with 1 T. bacon grease with peppers & garlic.
When chicken is completely cooked, drain
grease, return chicken & vegetables to skillet.
Pour milk into jar of alfredo sauce then into
skillet with chicken. Stir in 1 tsp. ranch
seasoning mix; simmer 5 minutes. Layer
casserole with remaining 1/2 jar alfredo on
bottom of 9 X 13 pan. Layer 1/3 each: pasta,
chicken sauce & tomatoes. Use 1/4 of fried
bacon; spread 1 C. cheese over top & repeat
2 more times. Cover with alfredo sauce, 1 C.
cheese & remaining bacon. Bake 30 minutes.
Serves 4-5


Spinach Cheese Bars

1 pkg. frozen, chopped spinach,
thawed & squeezed dry
1 C. milk
1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 lb. butter, softened
1 lb. Monterrey Jack cheese, cubed
2 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix together all ingredients in bowl,
spread in to a greased 9 X 13 pan.
Bake 40-45 minutes. Cut into squares
& serve. Can be eaten cold.


Zesty Italian Soup

1 1l2 lb. beef stew meat, cut into
small pieces
2 (14.5 oz,ea) cans diced tomatoes,
with juice
2 (15 oz., ea) cans kidney beans
1 C. bottled Italian salad dressing*
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 C. beef broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (16 oz) box rotini pasta

Add all ingredients to crockpot
except pasta. Cover & cook on Low
6-8 hours or High 3-4 hours. Cook
pasta accordg. to pkg. directions;
drain & add to soup; stir. Serves 6-8

*You can use any type bottled Italian
salad dressing: fat free/low fat/organic,



That’s all the ‘fun’ for today – hope
you are nice & warm, able to enjoy
these winter temperatures while
sipping something warm (maybe?),
relaxing and having a GREAT day!



Of Cops and Coupons


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

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

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


Spiced Pudding Squares

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

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

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Queso Dip

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

Corn chips, tortillas, etc. for

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

*Ro-Tel works well for this


Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

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

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

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

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

(recipe: Facebook)

Mock Pizza Casserole

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

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


Cranberry-Orange Pork Roast

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

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

FOR BEST RESULTS: Do not cook meat on HIGH

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Coconut Balls

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

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

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

(recipe: Facebook)
Braised Paprika Chicken

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

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

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

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

(recipe: diabetic connect/Facebook)

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

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

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

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

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

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

(recipe: the

Turkey Meatball/Spinach Tortellini Soup

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

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

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



Breakfast Biscuit Bake

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

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

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

(recipe: Facebook)


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

Hope you have a wonderful day!



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


Scrambled, but getting better!


Early today, while sipping my coffee and looking out our kitchen window at the back yard and all the many different colors of trees/leaves I suddenly spotted some movement – we had a FULL GROWN DEER in our backyard! Our yard is fenced with metal chain-link fencing about 4 1/2 feet tall and here was this (either young male or female) deer just standing looking around – I was flabbergasted! Yelled to my husband and ran to get the camera. I attempted a shot (thought I had shut off the flash – but no) – only photo I got was really blurry, so no posting here. Husband decides (for WHATEVER reason) to knock on the window to get the deer to look our way – you guessed it – it fled – sigh. We have lived here for 34 years and NEVER have I seen a deer near our house or even in our immediate neighborhood – amazing! That really ‘made my day’!


Apple Donut Mini Muffins

1 1/2 C. flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 C. butter, cubed into small
pieces, softened
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. grated apple (poster used Gala)
1 egg
1/4 C. plus 1 T. milk

Cinnamon-sugar coating:

1/2 C. butter, melted
1/4 C. sugar
1 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray mini muffin pan with
nonstick spray; set aside.
In large bowl, add flour, baking
powder, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg;
whisk together. Cut in butter until
incorporated. In medium bowl, add
egg, milk, & grated apple; whisk
together. Pour wet ingredients into
dry; stir together. Using a cookie
scoop (or a spoon) evenly fill all 24
muffin wells with dough. Bake 10-15
minutes until just golden. While
baking, melt butter for coating in
a microwaveable bowl. In another
small bowl, add cinnamon & sugar;
mix together. Once muffins are done
and slightly cooled, dip each muffin
first into melted butter, then roll
in cinnamon sugar mixture, fully
coating each one. Makes 24

5-Ingredient Dijon Chicken

1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of
chicken soup
1/4 C. water
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 C. Dijon mustard
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
6 boneless, skinless chicken

Cooked rice

Combine soup, water, lemon
juice, mustard & garlic in small
bowl; mix. Place thighs in bottom
of crockpot; pour soup mixture
over thighs. Cover & cook on
Low 4-6 hours. Serve over rice
Serves 4


Best Mexican Beef

Casserole EVER!

1 lb. beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans rinsed/drained
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
8-12 corn tortillas
3/4 C. sour cream
2 cans Ro*Tel tomatoes w/green
chiles, drained
1/3 C. Mexican blend or Taco cheese,
sliced jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Brown hamburger & onions together,
10-12 minutes; drain. Add corn, beans,
tomatoes & taco seasoning mix; simmer
5 minutes. Spray a 2 qt, 8 X 12″ baking
dish with nonstick spray. Place half of
tortillas in bottom of dish; spoon half of
beef mixture on top, cover with sour
cream. Layer last tortillas & beef mixture.
Bake 25 minutes; remove from oven & sprinkle
top with cheese & jalapenos. Cook 5 more
minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand
5 minutes before serving.
NOTE: Make sure all is well drained

(recipe: facebook)

Bacon Breakfast Cupcakes

1 (20 oz) refrigerated shredded
hash brown potatoes
2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 eggs
2 T. milk
3/4 C. crisp-cooked & crumbled
3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
Sriracha sauce (optional)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place foil liner in each of 12 regular-
sized muffin cups; generously spray
with nonstick spray. In large bowl
mix potatoes, oil, salt & pepper;
divide evenly among cups, press lightly
Bake 44-55 minutes until golden brown.
In medium bowl beat eggs & milk; stir
in bacon & cheese. Firmly press potatoes
in muffin cups with bottom of a 1/4 C.
measuring cup. Top each with slightly
less than 1/4 C. egg mixture. Bake
13-16 minutes or until a knife inserted
into center of egg comes out clean. Cool
5 minutes. Serve with sriracha sauce,
if desired. Makes 12 ‘cupcakes’

Buttermilk Cheddar/Bacon Bread

2 1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1 C. buttermilk*
1/4 C. butter, melted
8 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 C. chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix first 4 ingredients in medium bowl;
whisk egg, buttermilk & butter in
separate bowl until blended; add to
flour mixture along with bacon, cheese
& chives. Stir just until moistened. Spray
loaf pan with nonstick spray; spoon
dough into pan. Bake 45-50 minutes
or until toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes;
remove to wire rack; cool completely.

*If you don’t have buttermilk, pour 1 T.
lemon juice or vinegar in a 2 C. measuring
cup; pour enough milk in cup to bring to
1 C. measure. Stir & let set 5 minutes –
you now have ‘buttermilk’!

(recipe: kraftfoods)

Pumpkin Bars w/Cream
Cheese frosting


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


3/4 C. butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 C. powdered sugar
dash salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place 2 C. sugar & 4 eggs in stand
mixer bowl; add pumpkin & cooking
oil – mix 2 minutes. In medium bowl,
combine flour, cinnamon, baking
powder, baking soda & salt; stir well
then add to pumpkin/oil mixture and
mix 2 minutes, scraping bottom of
bowl with spatula. Spray a large
jelly roll pan (or other shallow pan)
with nonstick spray and pour batter
into it, spreading evenly. Bake 30
minutes or until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool


Place butter, cream cheese, milk, vanilla &
1/2 C. powdered sugar & salt in a bowl;
beat until smooth. Add a little more
milk if frosting is too stiff. When cake is
cooled completely, spoon frosting on
top and smooth out. Serves 24 (or more
if cut smaller)


Lasagna Soup

1 lb. ground sausage or beef
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. thyme
1 T. brown sugar
4 C. chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced
stewed tomatoes
2 (8 oz, ea) cans tomato sauce
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
7 lasagna noodles, broken up
1 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 C. mozzarella cheese, grated

Place sausage, onion, bell pepper
& garlic in large soup pot. Cook
over medium-high heat until sausage
is browned & onions are translucent.
Add thyme, brown sugar, stewed
tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian
seasoning, salt & chicken broth;
bring to boil over medium-high
heat, then reduce heat & let simmer
about 20 minutes. Add broken
lasagna noodles to pot & simmer
until noodles are tender, about 10
minutes. Add Parm cheese & stir,
allowing a few minutes for cheese
to melt. Remove pot from stove,
ladle soup into bowls & sprinkle
tops with mozzarella cheese.
Serves 8


Snickers Rice Krispy Treats

12 Snickers fun-sized candy bars
3 T. butter, browned
4 C. mini marshmallows
1/2 C. peanut butter
6 C. Rice Krispies cereal
1/2 C. mini chocolate chips
6 oz. chocolate chips
4 T. heavy cream

Unwrap Snickers; chop into
small pieces, set aside. Grease
a 9″ X 9″ pan with Crisco or
cooking spray. Melt butter in
saucepan & stir until it starts
to turn brown (you will smell
a nutty aroma). Add marsh-
mallows & peanut butter; stir
until marshmallows are melted
& mixture is creamy. In large
mixing bowl combine cereal with
melted marshmallow mixture;
mix with a spatula & add chopped
Snickers & mini choc. chips. Pour
mixture into prepared pan & smooth
with back of spatula until firm.
To make chocolate top layer:
Combine choc. chips & heavy
cream in microwaveable bowl.
Microwave 60 seconds; stir until
melted. Pour over Rice Krispie
treats & spread evenly. Set aside
until firm. Serves 9


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

2/3 C. water
1/3 C. uncooked white rice
8 cabbage leaves
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 C. chopped onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (10.75 oz) can tomato soup

In a medium saucepan, bring water
to boil; add rice & stir. Reduce heat,
cover & simmer 20 minutes. Bring
a large, wide saucepan of lightly
salted water to boil; add cabbage
leaves & cook 2-4 minutes until
softened – drain. In medium bowl,
combine ground bee, 1 C. cooked
rice, onion, egg, salt & pepper along
with 2 T. soup; mix well. Divide bee
mixture evenly among cabbage leaves,
placing a dollop of mixture in center
of each leaf. Roll up leaves, tucking in
sides and securing with wooden
toothpicks. Place cabbage rolls in a
large skillet over medium heat; pour
remaining soup over top. Cover &
bring to a boil. Reduce heat to Low &
simmer about 40 minutes, stirring and
basting with liquid often. Serves 8


I’m still plugging away at knitting the coffee mug
wraps – one more to go & I’m done with that!
The white & blue scarf (the SUPER EASY – 4 STITCH)
scarf that I had the problem with? I finally sat down
today and said: “One way or the other, I’m going to
figure this out!” Started to rip out a row (now, mind
you, by this point I had already ripped out a good 15
rows or so, done the other day at the car dealership).
As I’m ripping, I’m suddenly struck with the idea: “What
happened to the Yarn Overs? As I began to slowly pick
apart the stitching I realized that there WASN’T a
mistake, it’s just the way the Yarn Overs look when
I knit them (I knit Continental Combined – a different
style/way of knitting than  most people). I unwrapped
a Yarn Over stitch, repositioned it and repeated to the
end of the row. When I began knitting that row ALL
CAME OUT PERFECT! Boy – what a bozo! Oh well,
each day is a learning experience, yes??? Now I know.

Our weather is staying in the 50’s & 60’s, kind of
cloudy/gloomy in the early hours followed by sunny
& breezy during the afternoons – not bad.

Gas prices are still hovering at $3.19/9, making me
wish I’d gotten gas a few days ago when it was
$3.09/9! (Live & learn, right?)

Last night was my special needs group’s Harvest
Party – we only had 17 kids but learned, later,
that another group that sometimes caters to our
kids was having a dance same day/same time. Let’s
just say I had a TON of corn chips & melted cheese
leftover, 1 1/2 gallons of cider and 39 frosted
donuts. We saved the donuts for our regular
Wednesday meeting, split the cider between
the leader & me, and did the same with the
chips/cheese. It was a good night; couldn’t
quite figure out why I felt so tired & achy
today until I realized I was on my feet for
3 1/2 hours last night, running around helping
with the food, putting fake cobwebs on a
candelabra (we had two tall ones with
real lit candles – the kids had a great time
squirting squirt guns to put out the flames!),
and generally attempting to ‘cover all bases.’
Today has been a ‘just relax’ day – there will
always be another day to get done those
things which need doing. (Oh, I did run the
50+ newsletters to the Post Office this morning!)

I’m going to close for now: dinner is either
leftover potato soup or pork roast (which is
good shredded on a bun with melted
cheese & bbq sauce!) I’m NOT cooking!!!



Scrambled Week so far!


Have you ever had a week that seems to sort of self-arrange? You have (what you thought) was all things arranged on your calendar and then things start happening differently than you planned? Yep, that’s the kind of week I’m having. Tuesday was Knit/Crochet Movie night – I had 2 soups coming and (I thought) 2 salads – what I got was chili, coleslaw, 3 bean salad, ambrosia and a few other ‘weird things’ – it all worked out, but it sure was goofy! Nine people came, 2 went over to the other side of the room to talk during the movie, several went home, three of us were ‘going’ to watch the movie – one fell asleep immediately, one kept frowning during it, and 2 of us watched it (“Red” – great retired CIA spy flick with Bruce Willis, Helen Miran, Morgan Freeman, Ernest Borgnine & John Malcovitch – lots of action (I brought it – everyone else forgot to bring a movie!)

Attempting to finish up the next 2 months spcecial needs group’s newsletter (it’s printing as I write this); another ‘goofy stuff’ adventure attempting to get dates solidified for several events, and who’s bringing what for the Harvest Party – sigh.

Husband & I drove to the dealership this morning to take my van in for an oil change and to find out why I had a rather loud (intermittent) squeak which was coming from the back right tire area. Husband decided we’d both drive so that if they needed to keep my van, we had an extra vehicle instead of renting. When he got into his Jeep the light came on Low tire pressure – as he went to check that the Valve Stem broke off in his tire pressure hose! GREAT! We still both drove – they fixed my van (oil & replaced rear brakes $300) and kept HIS Jeep! Great – more driving back & forth in the next day or so. To add to the fun – our internet is still acting slow/goofy. Husband ended up ordering Uverse to be installed tomorrow which will, hopefully, give us better computer speed (and for his on-line gaming, too).

Been a crazy week – tomorrow is my special needs Harvest Party – that’s usually fun for my kids; we have lots of floor games for them to play, corn chips & warm cheese dip, frosted donuts, cider/pop – should be fun.

Oldest son started the new restaurant yesterday and asked if I would pick up grandson today (he was supposed to have Thurs. off on the new restaurant schedule, but he wants to work just to get a hang of the whole ‘running your own restaurant’ thing.)

How’s your gas prices lately? Ours were ‘just fine’ in my opinion – they WERE $3.09/9 – then yesterday they jumped to $3.18/9 IN ONE DAY! Great – oh well, I wouldn’t be happy unless I had something to complain about, right?


 Pan Roasted Butternut Squash & Apples

3 T. margarine
1 (12 oz) pkg. refrigerated butternut
squash pieces* (about 3 C.)
1 1/2 C. chopped Granny Smith apples,
about 1 large apple
1/2 C. apple juice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt

Melt marg. in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Add squash & cook 5-7 minutes
or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Add apple, apple juice, cinnamon, ginger &
salt; stir to combine. Reduce heat; cover &
simmer 15 minutes or until squash is
tender. Serves 4 (about 1/2 C. each)

*Fresh butternut squash may be used in
place of refrigerated. Peel & cut squash
into pieces then follow recipe.


Chicken Tamale Casserole

4 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz. Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack
cheese, grated
1/3 C. milk
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5 oz) box corn muffin mix (Jiffy)
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 lb. ground chicken, turkey or beef
salt & pepper, to taste
fresh chopped cilantro or parsley,
to taste

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 baking pan with nonstick
spray. Combine cheeses in small bowl.
In large bowl, stir 1/4 C. combined
cheeses, milk, egg, cumin, red pepper, corn,
muffin mix & green chiles; stir until
just combined; pour into prepared pan
& bake 15 minutes or until just set. While
baking, cook ground meat in skillet over
medium heat until completely cooked;
drain, if necessary & add salt & pepper.
Remove cornbread from oven & pierce
all over with a fork. Pour enchilada
sauce over corn bread & top with
chicken & remaining cheese. Return
to oven another 15 minutes. Sprinkle
top with cilantro or parsley. Serves 6


Easy Apple Cake

8 oz. applesauce (plus more for
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs, room temp, beaten
1/2 C. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice* (plus
more for sprinkling)
1 box yellow cake mix
8 T. unsalted butter, melted/cooled

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9″ square or round baking
pan; line with cross-hatched sheets of
parchment paper, greasing in between
papers; set aside. In medium bowl,
place applesauce, condensed milk, eggs,
sugar & apple pie spice; beat until well
combined. Add about 1/3 of dry cake
mix to mixture; mix to combine. Pour
mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle
rest of dry cake mix on top & smooth
carefully until cake mix covers the apple-
sauce layer evenly. Pour melted butter
evenly on top; sprinkle on a bit more
apple pie spice & scatter a few dollops
of applesauce on top of cake. Cover cake
with foil & bake 20 minutes. Remove foil
bake about 10-12 more minutes, until
cake has begun to pull away slightly from
sides of pan and is set on top. Remove
from oven & let cool completely before
slicing into squares or wedges.

*To make your own Apple Pie Spice:
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground allspice


Autumn Sausage Casserole

1 lb. sausage
1 large or 2 small apples, chopped
1/2 C. chopped carrots
3 C. cooked long-grain rice
1/2 C. raisins or craisins
1 T. dried parsley flakes
1 T .brown sugar
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 C. chicken broth (or water)

Cook sausage in skillet on medium
heat until browned; drain & place
in crockpot with other ingredients.
Cover & cook on Low 5-7 hours or
High 3-4. Serves 4

Bell Pepper Dip

4 T. butter
4 T. white vinegar
4 T. granulated sugar
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream
cheese, softened
1/2 large green bell pepper,
1/2 large yellow or red bell
pepper, chopped

Bring butter, vinegar & sugar to
a boil in a small saucepan. Beat
in cream cheese then fold in
chopped peppers. Mix well &
place in a serving bowl. Garnish
with a little chopped pepper on
top, if desired.


Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins

1 C. butter, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C. cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 C. chopped pecans, (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large mixing bowl, cream butter,
cream cheese, sugar & vanilla. Add eggs,
one at a time, beating well after each
addition. In another bowl, combine flour,
baking powder & salt; slowly mix into wet
batter until combined; fold in cranberries
& nuts, if using. Fill greased or lined muffin
cups 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen

Savory Squash & Bean Side Dish

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 C. chopped onions
2 C. cubed 1″, peeled* butternut squash
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 C. shredded Colby & Monterey
Jack Cheeses (Kraft)
2 T. chopped parsley

Cook bacon & onions in large nonstick
skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes
or until bacon is crisp; stirring frequently.
Add squash & broth; bring to boil. Reduce
heat to medium-low & simmer 10 minutes
or until squash is tender. Add beans; stir &
cover. Cook 8-10 minutes or until heated
through. Stir in cheese & parsley just before
serving. Serves 8, 1/2 C. each.

*Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds with
a spoon. Use a vegetable peeler to remove
outer skin, then cut into cubes.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Caramelized Pumpkin Soup

2 small pumpkins, about 3 lb
2 C. vegetable broth
2 sweet red peppers
1 1/2 T. olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion
1 T. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 T. cinnamon
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum
foil. Cut top off pumpkins & slice in
half; scoop out seeds & membranes.
Brush insides & outsides of halves
with 1 T. olive oil. Cut each half into 1
inch slices. Slice red pepper into 1/4″
slices. Add slices of pumpkin & pepper
to baking sheet & sprinkle with coarse
sea salt & black pepper. Roast pumpkin
& peppers on middle rack 30 minutes;
flipping half way through. Allow to cool
slightly; set peppers aside. Remove skin
from pumpkin & mash flesh; set aside.
In pan on medium-high heat, add 1/2 T.
olive oil & red pepper flakes. Cut onion
in 1/8″ slices & add to pan. Lower heat
to medium & cook onion 10 minutes
until caramelized. In large saucepan add
onion, peppers, pumpkin, vegetable
stock, 1 T. cayenne & cinnamon; blend
all ingredients using an immersion
blender (or, in batches, in a blender).
Heat soup through & simmer 5 minutes.
Add more vegetable stock for thinner
soup. Adjust salt & pepper to taste.
Serve soup & sprinkle with remaining
cayenne, if desired.


Pumpkin Bars w/Cream Cheese frosting


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


3/4 C. butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 C. powdered sugar
dash salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place 2 C. sugar & 4 eggs in stand
mixer bowl; add pumpkin & cooking
oil – mix 2 minutes. In medium bowl,
combine flour, cinnamon, baking
powder, baking soda & salt; stir well
then add to pumpkin/oil mixture and
mix 2 minutes, scraping bottom of
bowl with spatula. Spray a large
jelly roll pan (or other shallow pan)
with nonstick spray and pour batter
into it, spreading evenly. Bake 30
minutes or until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool
Place butter, cream cheese, milk, vanilla &
1/2 C. powdered sugar & salt in a bowl;
beat until smooth. Add a little more
milk if frosting is too stiff. When cake is
cooled completely, spoon frosting on
top and smooth out. Serves 24 (or more
if cut smaller)



Craft-wise still working on the coffee mug
covers – three more to go. As far as the
‘easy’ 4 stitch scarf pattern – I somehow
made a mistake; have ripped out probably
10 rows now and still can’t find it. Driving
me nuts! Took it with me to the dealership
today and did row – ripping; got totally
frustrated and put it in my bag & went
back to knitting the mug covers (at least
with those, I can spot a  mistake!) I find,
for me, anyway, that patterns with Yarn
Overs are my nemesis – if I make a mistake
with a Yarn Over in a row, I just can’t seem
to fix it!!! UGH!

Weather-wise, we’re doing good for this
time of year: right now it’s bright & sunny,
a little breeze and 55 degrees F. Originally
at the beginning of the week they were
saying we would have 30’s and rain for
most of the week – glad that changed! I
know that winter is just around the corner,
but so far the weather is OK by me.

Have a GREAT day/week!



“The Day of the Keys”


You know, sometimes, how you will have a really GOOFY day? Well, I’m dubbing this the really stupid, goofy day. Earlier in the afternoon youngest son called home to ask if we would drive his extra set of car keys up to his work, as he’d locked his keys in his car. Sure – why not . . .

A little later on middle son went to go on a job fair at Krogers, then called home to say (you guessed it) he locked HIS keys in HIS car! Great – I’ll drive over & give you your extra set. No problem – I thought, until he reminded me – his extra set of keys was in his APARTMENT a good 20/25 minutes away. Great . . .sigh. Dad drove to Krogers, picked him up & drove him to the apartment – then called me. It seems his roommate was NOT HOME! I tried calling the roommate, only got his answering machine. They eventually drove home; middle son is spending the night and he & my husband will drive BACK over to the apartment after church (husband was going to skip church and do it in the morning – I said: Since son inconvenienced YOU, HE can wait until after church! So that’s what they’re doing).

See what I meant about it being “The Day of the Keys”???

Goofy, huh!


Published in: on October 4, 2014 at 7:57 pm  Comments (1)  

Look who came to visit!


Baby bunny in front yard!

Lately I’ve been a bit concerned about our ‘bunny population’ – every year we have two rabbits who make their home in our ‘briar patch’ in the backyard (wild black raspberry bushes) and we usually see their offspring in mid summer. This year we saw the rabbits, but then we spotted a big, mangy UGLY cat lying on our picnic table and began to suspect where our rabbits went. Haven’t seen a rabbit in about 2 weeks – until today! Husband got back home from a quick doctor’s office (routine) visit, came in and said; “COME HERE – YOU’VE GOT TO SEE THIS!” Here was this BABY bunny – he was on the grass about 3 feet from my van – husband walked right by him and he didn’t move! I ran & got my camera,  still he didn’t move, only munched on clover! Either he was totally scared or ONE VERY BRAVE BABY BUNNY! It just made me super happy to see him – even IF he was in the front yard instead of the back (our front yard, remember, is on a MAJOR highway – not very safe for animals, for sure!).

Woke up to rain and a wee thunderstorm last night – temperatures are cooler today (64 degrees F.) and cloudy/grey – good for staying home & knitting or reading a book! (I’m working my way through another ‘quilter’ book by Jennifer Chiaverini (she writes the Elm Creek Quilts series); no, I’m NOT a quilter (all thumbs when it comes to sewing) but I really enjoy the way she weaves a story. Very much like the Debbie Macomber knitting series about Blossom Street – both are very enjoyable reads. The book I’m reading now is a compilation of the first 3 books in the series, so it’s not only very thick, but VERY HEAVY! Still, I’m partial to reading a BOOK (as opposite reading a tablet – just sayin’).


Watermelon/Mozzarella Salad

3 C. cold watermelon bite-sized
balls or cubes
1 C. bite-sized fresh part-skim
mozzarella balls or cubes
2 T. honey
2 1/2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. freshly chopped mint leaves
pinch salt
pinch crushed red pepper

Place watermelon & mozzarella in a
serving bowl. In separate bowl, whisk
together honey, lemon juice, chopped
mint, salt & crushed red pepper. Pour
dressing over melon & cheese/toss to
combine & serve immediately.
Serves 4


Crockpot Taco Dip

2 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
2 (13 oz, ea) cans chili
2 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 pkgs. Taco seasoning mix
2 T. chili powder
Tabasco sauce, to taste

Brown ground beef & onions;
drain. Add to crockpot with
remaining ingredients. Cook,
on Low, 2 hours or until
Velveeta is melted.

(recipe: Crockpotladies)

Chocolate Cherry Bars

1 pkg. Devils Food Cake mix
1 can cherry pie fruit filling
1 tsp. almond extract
2 eggs, beaten

2 C. sugar
8 T. butter
1/2 C. milk
1 1/4 C. chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour 15 X 10″ jelly roll
pan. Mix cake mix, cherry pie filling,
almond & eggs together; pour into
pan. Bake 20-30 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted in center comes
out clean. Boil sugar, butter & milk
in a saucepan 1 minute then add
chocolate chips; stir until chips
are melted then spread on warm


Summer Cherry Chicken

2 1/2 lb. bone-in chicken (leg quarters)
2 C. whole cherries pitted & chopped
1/4 C. sugar
1 small onion, halved/sliced
salt, pepper & garlic powder, to taste

Place chicken in crockpot; sprinkle
with spices. In a bowl mix cherries,
onions & sugar; mix & pour over
chicken. Cook on Low 7-9 hours or
High 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours.


Three Cheese Stuffed Zucchini

6 zucchini ( 3 1/2 lb)
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1 (4 oz) pkg. crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp. oil
1 onion, chopped
3 arbol chilies, stemmed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

3 C. hot, cooked long-grain brown rice
if desired, as side dish)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook zucchini in boiling water in
large saucepan 5-7 minutes or until
tender; drain, reserving 1 C. cooking
liquid; cool zucchini. Cut thin slice off
stem end of each zucchini; carefully
scoop out centers, leaving 1/4″ thick
shells. Chop removed zucchini; combine
with mozzarella & feta cheeses. Heat oil
in medium skillet over medium heat. Add
onions, chiles & garlic; cook & stir 3 minutes
or until onions are crisp-tender, remove
from heat. Add half onion mixture to
zucchini mixture; spoon into zucchini shells.
Place in greased 9 X 13 pan. Blend reserved
water, tomato sauce & remaining onion
mixture in blender until smooth; pour
over stuffed zucchini shells. Cover & bake
25-30 minutes or until heated through.
Sprinkle tops with Parmesan & serve
with rice (if desired). Serves 6

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crisp Refrigerator Pickles

1 C. white vinegar
1 C. granulated sugar
1 C. water
1-2 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. salt
3 C. sliced cucumbers
3 small onions, thinly sliced

Place sliced cucumber & onions in a
large container or bowl*. In a separate
bowl, stir vinegar, sugar, water & salt
together until dissolved; add celery
seed. Pour mixture over cucumbers &
onions & refrigerate.
Makes about 6 Cups.

*in photo, mixture was put in a glass
canning jar.

Poster notes that they taste
best after 1-2 days in fridge. Keeps
for 2-3 months.


Grilled Asparagus

1/4 C. Balsamic vinaigrette
salad dressing
1 lb. fresh asparagus spears,
1 t. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat grill to medium-high heat.
Pour dressing over asparagus in
shallow dish; turn to evenly
coat asparagus with dressing.
Remove asparagus, reserving
dressing in dish. Grill asparagus
5 minutes or until crisp-tender,
turning & brushing occasionally
with reserved dressing. Serve
topped with cheese. Serves 4

Note: Thicker spears are better
for roasting or grilling; the bigger
the spears, the longer they take to
cook & the more grilled or roasted
flavor they will have.

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Spaghetti Casserole

1 envelope onion soup mix
1 pkg. angel hair pasta
1 1/2 qt. boiling water
1 lb. ground beef
1 can tomato sauce
1 T. parsley flakes
1 tsp. sweet basil
1 C. grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large saucepan, combine onion
soup mix & spaghetti with water;
cook until pasta is tender, DO NOT
DRAIN. In large skillet, brown meat,
stir in tomato sauce & paste, parsley
& basil; add to spaghetti; heat through.
Place in casserole dish; top with cheese &
bake 20 minutes. Serves 6


Tortellini/Sausage Soup

1 lb mild bulk Italian sausage
2 garlic cloves,minced

1 cup water
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp basil
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
8 oz frozen tortellini
1 cup chopped onion
5 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 tsp oregano
1 medium green pepper, chopped

Brown sausage and drain grease. Place sausage,
onions, garlic, broth, water, tomatoes, carrots,
and tomato sauce in slow cooker. Cover; cook on
LOW for 6 hours. Add basil, oregano, zucchini,
green pepper, and tortellini to slow cooker.
Cover; cook for another hour on HIGH or until
tortellini are done. Makes 8 servings.

(recipe: Facebook)

Skinny Shrimp Salsa

16 oz. cooked/peeled shrimp, diced fine
4 vine-ripe tomatoes, diced fine
6 T. red onion, diced fine
3 T. jalapenos, diced fine (more or less,
to taste)
2 T. minced cilantro
juice of 2 limes (or more, to taste)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Combine onion, tomatoes, salt &
lime juice in a large non-reactive bowl;
let stand 5 minutes; add remaining
ingredients; taste for salt & adjust as
needed.Refrigerate to let flavors
combine at least 1 hour before serving.
Serves 8


Cake Mix Apple Cobbler

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (20 oz) can apple pie filling
6 T. butter, melted

Place pie filling in bottom of crockot.
Spread cake mix over top then spoon
butter onto cake mix; DO not mix.
Cook on High 4 hours.
VERY GOOD with vanilla ice cream!



Lately it’s been nice & quiet around here, so I’ve been
catching up on knitting; still have the rest of the ‘big ball’
of yarn before the (pain in the neck) baby afghan is done.
I like the way it looks, it’s just that (and I chose this pattern!)
it’s ‘fussy’ – every other row is constant counting of each
stitch – by the time you’ve done the four-row pattern, you’re
ready to put it down for a LONG time! I’m determined to get
it done before the Vet’s Baby shower delivery (hoping that’s
Sept 16th – still awaiting a solid date). Worked on my shawl
some – since it’s just knit & purl, it goes quickly AND since it’s
not due until NEXT June, I’m taking my sweet time on it. Knit
another baby hat yesterday, just to keep ‘in the loop’. I’ve
been ‘thinking’ about crocheting another baby blanket before
September – but, mind you – just ‘thinking’ at this stage. Yes,
I know – I’m NUTS! Don’t know WHY I like challenging myself
to get something done with a very short deadline – guess I
just like the thrill of the chase! Maybe . . .

Last night youngest son came home extremely frustrated –
it seems his (old) truck’s brakes totally failed just as he
was coming up our driveway (foot to the floor, no brakes)
and he ‘gently’ drove into the fence – no big deal, no dent
to truck or fence. He/WE have been pouring $$$ into this
vehicle ever since he got it; he still owes us $ for previous
repairs – I was at a quandary, so asked husband. He said:
Let’s just get it done – call a tow truck in the morning and
take it to Belle Tire and get it checked out – he needs the
vehicle and I need the peace.” End of story – Ah, the ‘fun’
of parenthood – right? (I was thinking, last night, of how
many times we’ve been this ‘route’ with the other two
sons and their vehicles – too many times to count. Life –
sometimes it’s struggling to keep your head above water
and others it’s maintaining the ‘dog paddle’ – either way,
it’s got to be done! Son was lamenting that it seems that
he never ‘gets a break’ so I gave him the ‘Mama’ story
about how I VERY WELL remember being VERY broke at
his age – at that time, I remember as a treat to myself,
attempting to save up enough $ to be able to buy a
Burger King Whopper – that was ALL I could afford, as a
treat! Back then (1969) Kraft Macaroni & cheese was
19 CENTS a box and I lived on the stuff – IF I had enough
$, it was made with milk, if not – water (not very tasty, but
I survived.) I was living with my best friend in a small
apartment and IF we had a little extra $, we added a
cooked, cut up hotdog to the mix – that was “LIVING!”
BUT – moral of the story: I SURVIVED JUST FINE!

Today is VOTING DAY in our area; husband & I are
going in a few minutes. It’s mostly local issues, but
I really want to vote on maintaining our Police/Fire
Millage. The way I see it: those guys put their lives
on the line EVERY DAY for us – we need to support
them any way we can.

Have a GREAT DAY! Remember to smile a little,
maybe listen to some music that makes you happy,
or just go take a nap! YOU are IMPORTANT –
remember that!

Big Hugs;


I May Be Crazy BUT . . .



In my last post (today) I mentioned a particular yarn I really like using for baby hats: Bernat Baby Jacquards – after writing my post I thought: “Perhaps I should order some more” – that lead me on a 45 minute search through tons of sites until I wrote the Bernat Company and discovered THEY ARE NOT MAKING THAT YARN ANY MORE AND ARE NOT GOING TO IN THE FUTURE, EITHER! Oh NO! (If you know me, I tend to be a ‘bit’ tenacious/undaunted/fearless/headstrong, etc. when told the word NO (only at times, mind you) – Out of a good 20+ sites that ‘said’ they carried this particular color, NONE of them had it! That sent me to my other two trusty sites: Amazon & EBay. Amazon had a few skeins, but not that color. Ebay – THANK YOU, EBAY! First listing I saw was for EXACTLY what I wanted (see above) – mind you, it was not cheap – but I WON THE BID!!!  Ended up paying about what it used to cost per skein if I bought it at JoAnn’s or Michael’s WITHOUT a 40% off coupon – about $6.00 a skein – above is equal to 4 skeins. Each skein makes about 2 1/2 baby hats, so I’m good for a while – until it runs out. To my knowledge there are no other companies making any yarns that do the ‘self patterning’ like the one above. I’ve seen a sock yarn that makes really neat black & white squares, but that wouldn’t work well for baby hats (in my opinion).

See? Tenacity pays off! I’m super happy – there were a few sites that had a few skeins of their lavender colored jacquard yarn – not sure if I’m going for that or not, at this time.