Happy Thursday!


Another ‘hot one’ – just got back from a few quick errands and the car thermometer read 87 degrees F.  and that’s only around 10 a.m.! No rain in sight until Saturday (oh goodie, I have a picnic to go to then…) so we’ll see what happens.

Gas prices have dropped a little in the area; from $2.29/9 to $2.19/9  so that’s a good thing!


Lush Strawberry Shortcake Dessert

1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix*
1 1/2 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
25 GOLDEN Oreo cookies, or other vanilla-
flavored cookies/graham crackers
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 (8 oz, ea) tubs Cool Whip, thawed
1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled/sliced &
patted dry
Whisk pudding mix, milk & vanilla in medium
Crush cookies in large gallon-sized ziplock bag.
Reserve 1/2 C. crumbs; place 2 T. melted butter
in bag & press, using your hands to work the
butter through remaining cookie crumbs.
Pour crumbs into a 9 X 9″ baking dish – crust
will be crumbly. Fold 8 oz. Cool Whip into
pudding; place half pudding mixture on top
of crust. Place sliced strawberries in a single
layer over pudding. Spread remaining
pudding mix over top of berries. Top with
more Cool whip & sprinkle remaining cookie
crumbs over top. Chill at least 4 hours
before serving.

*You can also use cheesecake or lemon
instant pudding mix, instead of vanilla

(recipe: crazyforcrust.com)

Lemonade Chicken
(oven or grill)

1 (12 oz) can frozen lemonade
concentrate, defrosted/divided
5-6 sprigs fresh oregano (or)
1 tsp. dried*
3 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 whole chicken (about 3 lb),
cut into parts (or) equivalent
amount of parts

In small bowl mix 1/2 can lemonade,
oregano, oil, salt/pepper – mix well.
Place chicken in a zip-lock bag &
pour marinade over chicken, turning
bag a few times to coat chicken; place
bag in refrigerator at least 4 hours or

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Drain chicken & discard marinade.
Place chicken on a baking sheet & bake
45-60 minutes (time depends on size
of parts). while chicken is baking, prepare
Place half of lemonade concentrate in
small saucepan & reduce by 50% over
medium heat, 5-8 minutes. About 5
minutes before chicken is done, glaze
each piece with prepared glaze.
Serves 4

NOTE: *you can use any herb you like

Chicken can be made & grilled on outside
grill, also

(recipe: bakeatmidnite.com)

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

6 pattypan squash, approx. 3 inches
in diameter
2 C. roughly chopped kale
1 T. olive oil
1/3 C. chicken or vegetable broth
2 C. corn, fresh or frozen
1/2 C. diced white onion
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 C. grated Cotija cheese*,
plus more for garnishing
1/4 C. basil, sliced thin

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place olive oil, kale & broth in
pan & cook over medium-high
heat until all of liquid is absorbed
(about 8 minutes). Once cooked,
set aside. Cut stems off tops &
bottoms of squash, removing as
little of the flesh of the squash as
possible – scoop out seedy center,
leaving a squash ‘cup’. Mix kale,
corn, white onion, garlic, salt/pepper
& 1 C. Cotija cheese in bowl. Lightly
spray a large casserole dish with nonstick
spray & evenly place squash in dish,
cup side up. Squeeze together a ball
of stuffing in your hands (like you’re
making a snowball) & place in squash
cups. (balls will be the size of a medium
ice cream scoop) – continue until all
squash are filled. Bake 35-45 minutes
then remove from oven & sprinkle tops
with cheese & sliced basil.
Serves 6

*can substitute Parmesan or feta

(recipe: simpleseasonl.com)

Cool Fruit/Shrimp Salad

1 lb. cleaned shrimp, cooked
1/4 C. thinly sliced red onion,
separated into rings
1 C. (Kraft) Raspberry vinaigrette
salad dressing, divided
1 (10 oz) pkg. salad greens
1 medium papaya, peeled/cut into
2 medium kiwi, peeled/sliced
1 C. fresh raspberries

Toss shrimp & onion with 1/2 C.
dressing; cover & refrigerate 1 hour
to marinate. Drain & discard
marinade. Divide greens to 4 salad
plates & arrange fruit & shrimp over
greens. Serve topped with remaining
1/2 C. dressing. Serves 4

(recipe: Kraft recipes)
Orange Julius
(recipe via Dairy Queen)

1 (6 oz) can frozen orange juice
concentrate, thawed
1 C. whole milk
1 C. water
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
ice cubes
orange slices, (optional garnish)

Chill 2-4 glasses in fridge before

In large bowl mix together orange
juice concentrate & 1 C. water until
smooth. Transfer mixture to blender &
pulse 5 seconds to make sure it’s
thoroughly combined. Pour in milk,
sugar, vanilla & 6-8 ice cubes – pulse
another 30-45 seconds or until smooth &
frothy. Divide into 2-4 chilled glasses &
serve immediately.

(recipe: 12tomatoes.com)

Oven-Fried Zucchini Chips

3 medium zucchini cut into
1/4″ thick slices
1 egg
2 T. Italian salad dressing
1/2 C. dry breadcrumbs
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven 475 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick
Combine egg & Ital. dressing in
small bowl, stir well. Combine
bread crumbs, Parm. cheese &
pepper in small bowl; stir well.
Dip sliced zucchini into egg
mixture, dredge in bread
crumb mixture & place on sheet.
Bake 5 minutes, turning once &
baking an additional 5 minutes or
until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Serves 8

(recipe: food.com)

Grilled S’Mores Packets

6 whole graham crackers, broken
into pieces (2 C.)
1 1/2 C. miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 c. crumbled fudge brownies
3/4 C. milk chocolate morsels
1/3 C. creamy peanut butter
(optional: Reddi-whip spray
whipped topping)

Preheat gas grill to medium heat.
Stir graham crackers, marshmallows,
brownies & morsels in large bowl.
Place one 18″ X 18″ piece of heavy
duty aluminum foil on counter; spray
with nonstick spray. Place mixture in
center of foil; drop dollops of peanut
butter evenly over top. Double fold
top & ends of foil, leaving space for
steam to gather. Place packet on grate,
cover grill & grill 5 minutes until
marshmallows & morsels melt. Carefully
open pack & top with Reddi-Whip, if
desired. Serve immediately.
Serves 6

(recipe: readyseteat.com)


Weight-wise, I’m back down to where I
was a few days ago (before the BIG pig-out
at my son’s on Tuesday) – that makes 9.8
lb. lost in about 4 1/2 weeks. I haven’t
measured myself (according to the diet
‘stuff’, you’re supposed to lose inches
before you lose pounds – we’ll see.

The last blog entry was so BIG I forgot to
mention a book I just finished that was
REALLY GREAT! It has excitement/adventure/
it’s pretty intense – a really GOOD read! The
author is: Lincoln Child and the book is:
“Lethal Velocity”. The concept is the opening
of a new theme park totally operated using
cutting-edge holograms & robotics. Of course
there are ‘bad guys’ which really keep the
story moving – I would HIGHLY recommend
it! (It’s a library book, written in 2002, so
it should be easy to locate). I’ve read quite
a few of his other novels (some co-written
with another author) and I would say this
is the BEST I’ve read by him – read it in a day.

Well, the “Grandma” (second time through)
bought my first “new baby” item – I tend to
be very conservative when buying baby items,
maybe you’d say more ‘conventional’? I found
two water-filled teething rings (shaped like
little butterflies) – I still have several like that
in my freezer. They’re great for teething babies
AND for small burns/hurts as they cover a
small space. Knowing that for the other
Grandma this is her FIRST grandbaby, I’ll let
her go crazy with the gifts (and I know she
WILL!). I like to take my time and find things
that are useful and sometimes, unusual – hey,
we’ve got SEVEN months to plan this, right?
It’s fun looking through all the NEW things
they have out for babies – some are totally
for the purchaser, and have little to no real
use other than eye-candy (I avoid those).
Then there’s the commercialism of baby stuff-
if you go in for a Disney item, you can guarantee
it’s going to cost twice as much (another thing
I avoid). I know that, in the future, we’ll be
needing (for my house) a changing table,
pack ‘n play and, later, a high chair – those,
I’m sure, I’ll be able to find at thrift stores –
it’s always nice to know that I have a good
amount of time to plan for this!

Anyway, hoping you’re having a good day;




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: foodnetwork.com – 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

(recipe: recipesthatcrock.com)

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

(recipe: mrfood.com)

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

(recipe: myrecipemagic.com)

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

(recipe: realhousemoms.com)

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

(recipe: 12tomatoes.com)

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!




SO nice to finally see – SPRING!


The sun is out, the sky is a beautiful blue (no clouds), birds are singing (I can hear a Red Winged Blackbird in the distance) – a simply GORGEOUS Spring day! Oh, and did I mention the temperature is at 73 degrees F.? We’ve opened all the house windows and are letting the fresh air in – makes me sleepy (in fact I caught myself snoring while ‘attempting’ to read a book!).  THIS is the weather I’ve been waiting for – not to ‘go outside and garden, etc’ but just to experience the bright sun & singing birds – I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!


Strawberry Delight

1 (16 oz) container fresh strawberries
1/4 C. sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. butter
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
2 (8 oz, ea) tubs Cool Whip, thawed

Wash, hull & slice strawberries; place in
small bowl & add sugar & lemon juice;
mix well.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In medium bowl combine
flour & brown sugar. Cut butter into
mixture using a pastry blender or two
knives until butter resembles small peas.
Pour flour mixture into bottom of
prepared pan, spread evenly & press
flat to form crust. Bake 10-12 minutes
until firm; allow to cool completely.
In large bowl combine cream cheese,
powdered sugar & 1 tub Cool Whip; stir
well to combine. Spread mixture evenly
over cooled crust. Drain strawberries;
layer drained berries evenly on top of
cream cheese layer. Top with remaining
Cool Whip. Refrigerate at least 2 hours
before serving. Serves 10-12

(recipe: southernbite.com)

Bacon Ranch Potatoes

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp/crumbled
1 (28 oz) bag frozen O’Brian potatoes
(with chopped green/red peppers &
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 C. milk
1 envelope dry Ranch salad dressing mix
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 C. cracker crumbs (about 1 sleeve
Ritz crackers)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
LIghtly spray a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. Place potatoes in prepared
dish; cover with plastic wrap & microwave
on High 5 minutes. Combine soup, milk
& dry dressing mix; stir well. Add about
half of the cheese & stir; pour mixture
over potatoes & stir. Sprinkle top of dish
with remaining cheese & bacon. Sprinkle
top with cracker crumbs & bake 30 minutes
until lightly browned & bubbly.
Serves 6

(recipe: allfreecasserolerecipes.com)

Stir-Fry Garlic Butter Shrimp

& Asparagus

1 C. quinoa
2 lb. asparagus, trimmed/cut
into 2″ pieces
2 lb. large shrimp/deveined
1/2 C. pinenuts (optional)
3 T. butter, divided
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt, divided

Cook quinoa as per pkg. directions.
In a wok, add pinenuts & toast until
golden (if using) stirring occasionally,
about 4 minutes – transfer to a bowl.
Return wok to medium heat; melt
1 T. butter; add half the garlic & stir
10 seconds. Add asparagus & sprinkle
with 1/2 tsp. salt; stir and cover. Cook
5 minutes & transfer to bowl with nuts.
Return wok to medium-high heat & melt
2 T. butter. Add shrimp, sprinkle with
1/2 tsp. salt & cook until pink & no grey
in sight, stirring occasionally. Turn off
heat, add half garlic & stir well; sprinkle
with black pepper, if desired. Add
asparagus, pine nuts & quinoa to wok;
stir gently & serve hot. Serves 4

(recipe: ifoodreal.com)

Tex-Mex Dip

2 (9 oz, ea) cans bean dip
3 medium ripe avocados, peeled
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 C. (8 oz) sour cream
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 C. sliced ripe olives
4 green onions with tops, sliced
1 large tomato, chopped/seeded
tortilla chips

Spread bean dip on a 12 inch serving
plate. In small bowl mash avocados
with lemon juice, salt/pepper & spread
over bean dip. Combine sour cream,
mayo & taco seasoning; spread over
avocado layer. Sprinkle top with cheese,
olives, onions & tomato. Serve with
tortilla chips, for dipping. Serves 8-10

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Santa Fe Chicken Casserole

1 (8 oz) tub cream cheese spread
2 T. taco seasoning mix (about 1/2 pkg)
2 T. milk
3 C. shredded, cooked chicken breasts
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 green onions, sliced
3 (6 inch) flour tortillas
3/4 C. Mexican-style finely shredded Four
Cheese (Kraft)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix cream cheese spread, taco seasoning
& milk until blended. Combine next 4 ingredients
in large bowl. Add half cream cheese mixture; mix
lightly. Spread 1/3 chicken mixture onto bottom of
9 inch pie plate; top with 1 tortilla, half remaining
chicken mixture & 1/4 C. shredded cheese. Cover
with second tortilla, remaining chicken mixture, 1/4
C. shredded cheese & remaining tortilla. Top with
remaining cream cheese mixture & shredded cheese.
Cover & bake 25 minutes or until heated through,
uncovering for last 5 minutes. Serves 6

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Triple Cheddar Mac & Cheese

2 C. dry elbow macaroni
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 (10 3/4 oz) can Cheddar cheese soup
8 oz. sour cream
1/2/ C. (1 stick) butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. white pepper (or black)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 C. Triple Cheddar cheese,
shredded/ divided

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Parboil macaroni in salted water
6 minutes then drain well before adding
to crockpot. While macaroni is cooking, in
small bowl whisk melted butter, evap.
milk, Cheddar cheese soup, sour cream,
eggs & seasonings. Pour sauce on top of
cooked macaroni along with 3 C. Triple
Cheddar cheese; stir all ingredients until
macaroni is coated & sauce is evenly
distributed. Cover & cook on Low 2 hours,
remove lid & check middle for doneness.
Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover &
cook another 15 minutes to allow cheese
to melt. Serves 8-10

(recipe: melissassouthernstylekitchen.com)

Easy 4-Layer Chocolate Dessert

1 C. flour
1/2 C. cold butter
1 C. chopped walnuts, divided
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
2 (8 oz, ea) tubs Cool Whip, thawed,
2 1/2 C. milk
2 (3.9 oz, ea) pkgs. instant Chocolate
pudding mix
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
chocolate syrup

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In small bowl place flour & butter –
cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in
1/2 C. walnuts & press mixture
into bottom of ungreased 9 X 13″
baking dish. Bake 12-15  minutes
until light golden brown. Cool
completely on wire rack.

In small bowl beat cream cheese &
powdered sugar until smooth. Fold
in 1 tub Cool Whip & spread over
cooled crust. In large bowl whisk milk
& pudding mixes 2 minutes; gently
spread over cream cheese layer &
top with remaining Cool Whip.
Sprinkle top with chocolate chips
& remaining nuts. Refrigerate 1 hour
until cold then cut into bars. Just
before serving drizzle with chocolate
syrup. Makes 15 servings.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)


Still working on the mint green baby blanket
and have added another very simple crochet
baby blanket pattern – keeps me busy. I finally
got in touch with the lady that has the other
knit group that creates hats/mittens/scarves/
gloves for the homeless. I have been holding
on to a 39 gallon garbage bag full of yarn from
our last yarn swap (a good 2 months ago). Since
that time either she was too busy to connect
or I was too sick – FINALLY this Monday we’re
meeting in the Meijers parking lot so that I
can give her the yarn. Just for the comfort of
making sure I really didn’t ‘need’ any of it, I
went through it again today. Ended up saving
out about 4 skeins of various light green
yarns which will go into making 1-2 more
baby blankets for either Detroit Veteran’s
Baby Shower in September or more for
Crisis Pregnancy Center – works both ways.

Went back to the library the other day and
checked out 2 books by an author I had
written down on a list – I’m really not sure
IF I had read any of his books or not, but
started one last night at around 6 p.m. and
finished it this morning – YES, it’s a good read!
His name is Brad Meltzer and he’s written
about 10-12 books – I started on #2 earlier
today and am about half-done with it – I think
his will be the next list of books I read; he does
a nice job of unique twists – I like that. I just
finished: “The Book of Lies” (which, I felt,
started out very slow – almost didn’t continue)
and am now reading: “The Inner Circle”. I love
finding an author that has written a lot of
books BEFORE I discover them – that gives me
a big list to conquer! If you’re a reader, do you
feel that way?

We’ve finally finished all of the leftovers in
the fridge so tonight I’m making a big batch
of Enchiladas – the guys like them and there’s
usually enough for at least two meals (I’m

Hope you’re in good health and are able
to see some of this really nice SPRING weather!



Lotsa little checks!


Today is the day to get those last little things done! Called Panera Bread to order 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies for my knit group tomorrow night(check) every year I get choc. chip cookies, put them on a platter along with mini candy bars – my Christmas present to the group. Called Purple Heart to find out why they DIDN’T pick up our stuff Friday (they’re coming tomorrow – now check); took the 21 lb turkey out of the freezer, into downstairs fridge (check); went to Arizona Saddlery to order mooseskin moccasins for husband’s birthday (Jan 23) – check; visited library for the next three books by my new favorite (joint)  authors David Preston & Lincoln Child – ended up buying one of their books at a used book sale; they are certainly ‘different’ – their usual theme involves a police captain, an FBI agent and some bad happenings/murders at unusual locations (libraries/museums, etc.) – after about 4 books they’re kinda predictable, but still enjoyable so I plan on reading through their entire collection written thus far (think I’ve read about 4-5 now). Got gas at Clark $1.76/9 – had some trouble with the pump so I had to go inside to pre-pay – told them $22.00, ended up I could only fit around $21.39 in the tank – the remainder (if they use it) is a gift to the next one at that pump – just didn’t feel like trudging back into the building again. OH! Got myself a Christmas present! I’m not usually one to do that BUT – while at Kroger (picking up the few remaining items – especially the stuff to make that Cranberry-raspberry Salad I posted yesterday) I spotted a Christmas Cactus! If you’re a frequent reader of my blog you know that I have a BLACK thumb when it comes to growing things – am really hoping I can keep this alive! My dear friend Mary/Momma on her blog posts photos of HER cactus each time it blooms – I kinda wanted one but had no idea where to even look to find one . . . and there were 2 at Kroger’s: one really bald and the one I bought RESPLENDENT WITH BLOOMS! Score!


isn’t the clearest, but you get the idea


Pralines & Cream Fudge

3 C. white chocolate chips
1 (14.5 oz) can sweetened
condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. heavy whipping cream
1/4 C. salted butter (1/2 stick)
1 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C. chopped pecans

Line an 8 X 8″ square pan with
parchment paper. Get 2 medium
saucepans – in one add white
choc. chips, sweetened. cond.
milk & 1 tsp. vanilla. Heat,
stirring constantly until completely
melted – Pour half of mixture into
prepared pan.
Using second saucepan, pour brown
sugar, whipping cream, butter &
1 tsp. vanilla – bring to boil over
medium heat, stirring constantly.
Boil about 1 minute, remove from
heat. Immediately whisk in powdered
sugar & gently stir in pecans. Allow
mixture to thicken & cool slightly
them pour most of it over first layer
in pan. It will slightly set up – you
don’t have to wait for it to completely
set up before pouring on remaining
fudge then remaining nut mixture.

*If your fudge has hardened – you can
put it back on the stove for a minute &
stir gently to reheat & soften (be
careful not to scorch it). You can swirl
the nut layer into the other layers, if
desired. Allow fudge to set up at least
4-6 hours at room temp. or at least
2 hours in refrigerator before cutting.
You can use a knife to slide around
edges of pan then lift out parchment
& fudge – cut into squares.
Makes 36 squares.

(recipe: rosebakes.com)

Cheesy Black Bean Spinach Dip

2 T. canola oil, divided
1 (12 oz.) pkg. frozen spinach,
thawed/drained well
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
2 (15.5 oz, ea) cans black beans,
3 chipotle peppers in adobo
sauce (can) minced plus 2 T.
adobo sauce*
1/4 C. salsa
8 oz. light cream cheese
6 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
6 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated
salt/pepper, to taste

cherry tomatoes, chopped (garnish)
cilantro, chopped (garnish)
tortilla chips, for dipping

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray an 8 X 8″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Briefly saute spinach until cooked
through. Add remaining oil to skillet; once
hot reduce heat to medium – add onion. Saute
until softened, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic &
ground cumin. Saute, stirring, 1 minute. Add
half of black beans, chipotles & adobo sauce,
3/4 C. water – bring to boil. Cook mixture,
stirring occasionally, until liquid has almost
entirely absorbed & evaporated, 3-5 minutes.
Remove from heat & let cool 2-3 minutes. In
bowl of food processor, combine bean mixture,
salsa & cream cheese – process until only a few
small chunks of bean remain. Add cooked
spinach, half of remaining black beans & half
of cheeses. Pulse until evenly combined but
not smooth. Fold in remaining black beans &
season with salt/pepper. Pour dip into prepared
baking dish, top with remaining shredded cheese.
Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese bubbles & begins
to brown. Garnish with chopped cherry tomatoes
& cilantro. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Serves 6-10

*if you are sensative to spice, reduce the amount
of chipotle peppers – you can always add more,
to taste

(recipe: hostthetoast.com)

Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Chip Cake

Cake base layer:
1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted

Filling layer:
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted

1 C. chocolate chips
1 C. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease 9 X 13″ pan. In bowl
of elec. mixer combine cake mix,
egg & butter; mix well & pat into
bottom of pan, set aside. Still using
elec. mixer, beat cream cheese until
smooth; add egg & vanilla. Add
powdered sugar & beat well. Reduce
speed of mixer & slowly pour in
butter; mix well. Pour filling onto
cake mixture & spread evenly. Sprinkle
chocolate chips & nuts on top of
filling. Bake 40-50 minutes. (check
with toothpick inserted into center
as to ‘doneness’ – you want the center
to be a little gooey).

(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)

Crockpot Sausage Dinner

2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans green beans
4 (14.5 oz, ea) cans whole new
potatoes, drained
salt/pepper, to taste
1 -2 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
2 (10.75 oz, ea) cans cream of
mushroom soup
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Pour green beans into crockpot;
pour potatoes over beans & sprinkle
with salt/pepper. Place sausage
slices on top & pour soup over
that. Top with cheese; cover &
cook on Low 4-6 hours. Stir before
serving. Serves 8

(recipe: recipesthatcrock.com)

 Confetti Pasta

1 (16 oz) pkg. linguine
1 C. chopped sweet red pepper
1 C. chopped green pepper
1/3 C. chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, peeled/thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 C. olive oil
2 lb. cooked small shrimp, peeled/
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook linguine accordg to pkg. directions.
In Dutch oven, saute peppers, onion,
garlic & seasonings in oil until vegetables
are tender. Add shrimp; cook & stir
2-3 minutes longer until heated through.
Drain linguine; toss with shrimp mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese. Serves 8

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Bread

1/2 C. apple juice
4-5 apples, peeled & chopped
1 egg
1 T. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 T. cinnamon
1 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. flour
1/3 C. oil
1 tsp. salt

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Mix all ingredients together &
pour into crockpot. Cover & cook on
Low 5 hours until firm. NOTE: the
middle was slow to cook in this recipe
so make sure that the middle is
completely firm before serving.
Serves 5-6

(recipe: wannabite.com)

Baked Jalapeno Popper Chicken Sliders

12 potato rolls (poster used Hawaiian rolls)
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese,
5 strips bacon, cooked crispy & chopped
2 chicken breasts, cooked/shredded
1 large jalapeno, seeded/diced
1 1/2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Remove rolls from pkg. – do not separate.
Use a serrated knife to cut in half horizontally
so all bottoms & tops are separated. Place
bottoms in a 9 X 13″ baking dish. In large
bowl combine cream cheese & 1 C. Jack
cheese. Add bacon, chicken & jalapeno –
mix until ingredients are evenly combined.
Spread chicken mixture over roll bottoms in
an even layer. Sprinkle remaining 1 C. Jack
cheese evenly over chicken mixture. Place
tops on rolls & brush tops with melted
butter. Sprinkle tops evenly with garlic
powder. Bake 20 minutes until butter
bakes into rolls & cheese is melted.
Carefully remove from pan. Use a
spatula to cut between all the rolls,
separating them from each other.
Serve warm. Makes 12 sliders.

NOTE: You can double this recipe-

(recipe: realhousemoms.com)

Cranberry Caramel Bars

1 C. fresh cranberries
2 T. sugar
2 1/3 C. flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 C. uncooked regular oats
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 C. firmly packed light brown
1 C. butter or margarine, melted
1 (10 oz) pkg. chopped dates
3/4 C. chopped pecans
1 (12 oz) jar caramel sauce

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 X 13″ baking pan with
heavy duty foil – leave a little
overhang so that you can lift bars
out to cut with no problem. Combine
2 T. sugar in small bowl with cran-
berries. Combine 2 C. flour, baking
soda, oats & rest of sugars; stir in
melted butter until crumbly. Reserve
1 C. mixture. Press remaining
mixture into bottom of prepared
pan by placing a piece of waxed
paper over top of mixture in pan &
pressing down to flatten mixture.
Remove waxed paper & bake
15 minutes.
Remove from oven & sprinkle top
with dates, pecans & cranberry
mixture. Stir caramel sauce &
remaining 1/3 C. flour together
until smooth & spoon over top.
Sprinkle top with reserved 1 C.
flour mixture & bake an additional
20 minutes until lightly browned.
Cool on wire rack. Lift out of pan
using foil overhang then cut into
24 small or 18 large bars.

(recipe: ebay.com)

Later today I get to pick up grandson from
the bus stop – we’ll have him for a few
hours. They will be coming over Christmas
day for dinner, but this was an extra
visit (Yay!).

Only a few ‘things to do’ left on the list:
dust/vacuum dining & living rooms, dust/
wash glass on china cabinet, bake the 72
sugar cookies & box ‘o gingerbread men
then frost them (Yes, I ‘could’ do that with
grandson, but if you remember I’m a
“Type A” personality with loads of
OCD (obsessive/compulsive behavior) –
read that as “I HATE MESSES!” Baking with
a child is NOT something that rings FUN
to me! Even IF he’s my grandson! Sorry-
no can do! Not much else to do – maybe
a half hour left on the white baby blanket
knitting – I’ve been reading more than I’ve
been knitting these past few days. Oh –
still have to wrap the presents and (on
Christmas Eve) stuff the stockings on the
mantle/fireplace – but we’re pretty much
ON SCHEDULE for the events – YAY!

Hope your plans & dreams are coming
together just as you dreamed/wanted
them to! Remember to get some rest –
everyone needs a little extra ‘zip’ this
time of year!



Still leary . . .


After yesterday’s fiasco with the Social Security fraud/mess I’m STILL VERY leary going on any sites. There is one more site we need to report this to, but I’m waiting for my son’s input before I type in ANYTHING! (it’s the Internet Crimes Complaint Center (through the Federal Govmt) – just READING the form gave me the creeps! SO afraid to enter any data!

Ever have one of those nights/days where you just don’t sleep? I went to sleep around 1:30/2 a.m. after reading my book. Woke up around 5 something a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep so finished the book & knit a bit. Tried to go back to sleep – think I got around 45 minutes before I was wide awake again . . . this time I gave up & went on my computer. The next newsletter for Nov/Dec. is due for my special needs group in a little over a week and that was playing on my mind. Good news: I’m pretty much done with the layout, next comes the printing, etc. Our December issue is packed full of information which means this particular issue requires lots more attention than a regular ‘every 2 month’ issue. Our group is collecting non-perishable goods for our missionary, collecting scarves, hats, mittens & socks for a homeless shelter in the local area and also working on our program for the Christmas ‘Gathering’ (read that: dinner & a program). It all seems so RUSHED – not quite ending October and I’m already planning for DECEMBER! Oh well . . . part of the ‘job’, I guess.


Pumpkin Delight Dessert

1 C. flour
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C (plus 1/4 C.) chopped pecans
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
3 C. Cool Whip, divided
2 1/2 C. milk
3 (3.4 oz, ea) pkgs. white chocolate instant
pudding mix
(or vanilla)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Layer 1:
Mix flour, butter & 1/2 C. pecans together;
press into a greased 9 X 9″ or 9 X 13 baking
dish. Bake 15 minutes; remove & let cool.

Layer 2:
Blend cream cheese & powdered sugar. Add
1 C. Cool Whip then spread over cooled crust.

Layer 3:
Mix milk, pudding mix, canned pumpkin,
pumpkin pie spice & 1 C. Cool Whip until
smooth. Spread over layer 2

Layer 4:
Spread remaining 1 C. Cool Whip over top &
sprinkle with remaining chopped pecans.
Let chill 3 hours or until set

(recipe: lilluna.com

Baked Pepperoni Pizza Dip

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs cream cheese,
room temp.

1/2 C. sour cream
1 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
(more for topping)
1 C. pepperoni, sliced into halves
(extra whole slices for topping)
1/4 C. chopped basil
2 T. olive oil

tortilla chips
sliced bread
party bread rounds

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large bowl mix cream cheese,
sour cream, mozzarella, pepperoni,
basil & olive oil – place in a casserole
dish & smooth top evenly using the
back of a spoon. sprinkle extra
mozzarella cheese & cover top. Place
whole pepperoni rounds on top.
Bake 25 minutes until bubbly & cheese
has melted. Serve hot. Serves 6-8


Crockpot Tuscan Chili

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans,
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1 1/2 C. (Kraft) shredded 5-
cheese blend

Crumble sausage into large skillet;
add onion & cook until browned,
stirring frequently. Drain & transfer
to crockpot. Add tomatoes, peppers
& tomato paste; mix well. Stir in
beans. Cover & cook on Low 3 1/2 – 4
hours (or High 2 1/2 -3 hours). Stir in
herbs; cover & cook on High 10 minutes.
Stir & serve topped with cheese.
Serves 6 (1 C. each)

(recipe: kraftrecipes)

Reuben Crescent Bake

1 tube crescent rolls
8-10 slices Swiss cheese
3/4 lb. sliced deli corned beef
1/2 C. Thousand Island salad dressing
1 (14 oz) can sauerkraut, drained &
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds (optional)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Unroll crescent roll dough; place half
in a baking dish sprayed with nonstick
spray; seal perforations. Bake 8-10
minutes until golden brown. Remove
from oven; layer half of cheese on top.
Layer all of corned beef. Combine
1,000 Isl. dressing & sauerkraut &
spread over corned beef, top with
remaining cheese. Top with rest
of crescent dough, seal perforations.
Brush top with beaten egg white &
sprinkle top with caraway seeds
(if using). Bake 12-16 minutes until
top crust is golden brown. Let stand
5 minutes before cutting. Serves 4

(recipe: Mary Free-Mary’s Recipe

30-Minute German Beer Cheese


4 T. unsalted butter
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. flour
1 C. milk
1 C. Half & Half
1 (16 oz) bottle beer
1 T. Dijon mustard (or stone-ground)
10 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat.Add
carrot, onion & garlic – saute 10 minutes. Add
flour & stir well. Cook, stirring frequently,
3 minutes until flour turns golden brown.
Combine milk & Half & Half; slowly pour into
flour mixture, whisking constantly until
combined. Turn heat up to Medium-High &
add beer & mustard. Bring to boil, whisking
frequently until foam subsides. Simmer on
Low heat 10 minutes until thick. Remove
from heat & whisk in cheese, a handful
at a time. Taste & adjust salt/pepper, as


Pumpkin Quick Bread

3 1/2 C. flour
3 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 C. vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 C. water
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all dry ingredients together;
mix all wet ingredients together,
separately. Make a well in the dry
ingredients & add in wet ingredients;
blend together. Grease & flour 3
large bread loaf pans. Pour batter
into pans & bake 45-55 minutes
(watch closely so it doesn’t get too


Roasted Winter Squash Medley

1 T. onion powder
1 T. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 lb. mixed winter squash: butternut,
kobocha, etc) peeled & cut into 3/4 –
1 inch cubes
1 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 T. olive oil

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In small bowl combine onion powder,
garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne,
salt & brown sugar. In large bowl toss
squash with butter & olive oil. Add 1 T.
of spice mixture to bowl & toss well to
coat. Place squash on a sheet pan lined
with parchment & bake 40-45 minutes,
tossing every 15 minutes to allow for
even browning. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 tsp.
more of spice mixture. Toss gently to coat
& serve hot. Serves 4

(recipe: skinnytaste.com)

Amazing Puff Balls

1 (8 oz) pkg. sliced pepperoni,
diced into tiny pieces
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
2 (10 1/8 oz) pkgs. refrigerated
crescent dinner rolls

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Remove rolls from pkg; separate
into individual triangles. Flatten
each triangle & slice it into 3
small triangles. Mix diced
pepperoni into cream cheese-
mix very well so that all pepperoni
pieces are mixed in. Place a small
spoonful of pepperoni mixture &
place in middle of each roll/triangle.
Pinch up all sides around filling &
place on a cookie sheet; repeat
with rest of mixture & rolls. Bake
11 minutes. Let cool a few
minutes before serving.
Makes 48 ‘puffs’

NOTE: Poster remarked that
she used “Garlic Butter” crescent
rolls & sprinkled some shredded
Parmesan cheese into the filling
before filling the triangles.

(recipe: food.com)


Our weather is still the same Fall-
in the 50’s, a little gloomy but the
leaves are turning gorgeous colors
and falling all over the yards. We
have had a really cute dark grey cat
with a white face & ‘boots’ visiting
our yard but ‘it’ runs away the minute
you open the porch door – awww, darn.
The buck deer has not returned – I got
to thinking about it – he did the same
thing last year-came once and then
no more. That’s OK, it gives me an
opportunity to check out the yard
many times a day (just hoping . . .)

Reading another Catherine Coulson
book: “Double Jeopardy” (2 books in
one) – I really like the way she writes!
(yep – another murder/mystery).

Have a Great FALL DAY!!!



RESTING! JUST resting!


Had a fun (but busy) weekend; Saturday husband & I attended an annual fund raiser for a friend’s son – great food and got to see some of the people we both used to work with at good old Michigan Bell Telephone Company! Sunday was HECTIC! Went to Sunday School, quickly left/came home/changed clothes & went to grandson’s last football game (45 min. away). It was a COLD one out there (46 degrees F) and they lost: 27 to 0, but at least we were THERE and got to see son & grandson! Came home, took a very brief nap (didn’t sleep well the night before), changed clothes & went to choir practice & evening service. Husband had a great idea that afternoon: we stopped for Jet’s (square deep dish) pizza so there was enough for lunch/dinner AND a little for ‘brunch’ today! YAY! Let’s just say I REALLY slept in today – husband came (at 8:30) to ask if I was OK – you’re REALLY sleeping LATE! (My thoughts? “YEP – why didn’t you just leave me sleep some  more?” but I got up). Have NO plans for the day other than making dinner and probably knitting some so finally caught up on the 87 emails & one entire day of Facebook – whew! That took some TIME! We were VERY lucky over the weekend as other places near us got some S-N-O-W (not a lot, just a dusting) – SO GLAD we DIDN’T!! That stuff comes soon enough – just not ready for it YET!


Pumpkin Oatmeal Choc.

Chip Cookies

1 C. butter
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. canned pumpkin puree
2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. instant/quick cooking oats
1 C. milk chocolate chips
1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven
Place butter, brown sugar & gran sugar
in mixer or large mixing bowl. Beat until
light & fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg &
mix to combine. Add pumpkin puree &
vanilla; mix to combine. In another
medium-sized bowl combine flour, baking
soda, cinnamon & salt; toss with fork. Add
oats to dry ingredients mix & then add to
creamed ingredients in mixer. Add both
choc. chips & mix on Low speed until all
is incorporated. Spray cookie sheet with
nonstick spray. Using two spoons (or small
scoop) place round balls of dough on sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes. Makes 48 cookies

(recipe: jamiecooksitup.net)

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes & green
chilies, undrained
2 carrots, cut diagonally into slices
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
4 C. tortilla chips
3/4 C. Mexican-style shredded

Place chicken in crockpot; add all other
ingredients (except tortilla chips & cheese).
Cover & cook on Low 4-5 hours (or High
2-3 hours). Using a slotted spoon, remove
chicken, cool slightly then shred & return
to pot & stir. Crush tortilla chips. To serve:
place some chips in bottom of bowl, ladle
soup on top & sprinkle with cheese.
Serves 8 (1 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Creamy Corn Salad

1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn,
1 medium tomato, seeded/diced
2 T. chopped green onions
1/3 C. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. dried basil (optional)

Mix all ingredients in small bowl;
season with basil or other herbs;
salt/pepper to taste. Cover &
refrigerate until ready to serve.

(recipe: Mary Free-Mary’s Recipe

Zucchini Bundt Cake w/Orange Glaze

1-2 zucchini (need 3 C. grated)
2 1/2 C. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 large eggs, room temp.
1 1/4 C. sugar
12 T. butter, melted/cooled slightly
1 T. orange zest
2 T. fresh orange juice

Orange Glaze:
1 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. orange zest
3 T. fresh orange juice

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Squeeze grated zucchini in a kitchen
towel to remove excess water – measure
out 3 C. Grease & flour a 6 C. Bundt pan.
Whisk flour, baking powder & cinnamon.
Stir eggs & sugar together; gradually mix
in melted butter, zucchini, orange zest &
juice. Stir mixture into flour mixture until
just combined – pour into prepared pan.
Bake 55-65 minutes until a toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean. Let
cake cool on wire rack 10-15 minutes before
inverting cake pan & turning cake onto a
wire rack – cool an additional 30 minutes
before glazing.
Whisk glaze ingredients together & drizzle
over slightly cooled cake. If glaze is too
thick, add more orange juice – if it’s too
thin, whisk in more powdered sugar.

(recipe: momontimeout.com)

Lemon Dill Potatoes

1 1/2 lb. small potatoes
3 T. butter, melted
2 tsp. snipped fresh dill
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

Place potatoes in a large pot of
water; bring to boil. Reduce heat
& cook, uncovered, 15-20 minutes
until tender. Drain & return to
pan. Mix remaining ingredients
& drizzle over potatoes – toss to
coat. Serves 4

(recipe: realhousemoms.com)

Cheesy Garlic/Butter Noodles

2 1/4 C. shell pasta
2/3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. butter, melted
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Cook noodles accordg. to pkg.
directions; drain. Add remaining
ingredients & mix until cheese
is melted. Serves 4

(recipe: julieseatsandtreats.com)

Crockpot Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled/cubed
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 T. minced onion

Place all ingredients in crockpot; cover
& cook on Low 8 hours. Serves 4-6

(recipe: stockpilingmoms.com)

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

2 C. Bisquick
1/2 C. canned pumpkin (not
pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. milk
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 C. raisins

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Grease bottoms only of 12 regular-
sized muffin tins (or place paper liners).
Stir all ingredients (except raisins) just
until moistened; stir in raisins & fill
muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake 10
minutes until golden brown. Immediately
remove from pan. Makes 12 muffins

(recipe: Carol-“Betty Crocker”)


Our weather is supposed to warm up a
little in the next few days – up to a High
of 67 on Wednesday, then showers &
colder temps.

Gas prices have dropped again (YAY!)
to $2.29/9 – I did see some CASH ONLY
prices at around $2.18/9 – that’s

Hope you’re staying warm & cosy –
just finished another book by
Catherine Coulter: “The Cove” and
beginning the next “The Maze” (this
one is a 2-books in one). I like her
writings – murder/mystery.

Enjoy your day!


I Survived the Night! Whew!


Western-style Gym Night with my

Special Needs Group!

Those in the picture are most of the people who helped out last night; it was a good turnout – I’m guessing about 80 people came. We had at least 3 new group homes and 3-4 students with their parents. The food was great: sloppy joes, green beans, chips, cookies/cupcakes/cake – too much! The lady who planned this whole thing planned for 150 people – needless to say there was TONS of leftover food (I have NO idea what she did with it all – that was HER ‘baby’). To introduce you to our regular (Board Members) group who are in charge of Friends Group:

Back row, standing: me (in hideous shirt – will talk about that later); blond lady peaking out Jackie;  next to her peaking out Cheryl; standing with cowboy had: Lois (our leader) and the big, tall guy is Pastor Dave. Those sitting in front of us were helpers for the night. Great turn-out; to put it mildly I’M EXHAUSTED TODAY! The event was from 6 – 9 p.m. (about an hour too long, in my opinion). We ate first then everyone went to the gym to dance & chat; I just had fun walking around talking to the new people and watching our kids dance – they had a ball! (My hideous shirt: given to me by a good friend a good 12+ years ago – it’s 2 sizes too big. On the front (in glaring/gaudy glitter) are 2 huge cowboy boots, 2 horseshoes and at the bottom (in glitter, of course) some barbed wire. It’s been in the back of my closet ever since she ‘gifted’ me with it – I AM NOT a glitter/cowboy type person! She also gave me a light blue top (not quite as gaudy) in glitter, etc. with a big carousel horse on it (I wore that in 2000 for my oldest son’s graduation party – haven’t worn it since). The shirt fit with the theme (think I was the most glittery/gaudy person there!).


Crockpot Honey Pork & Apples

1 (3-4 lb. pork tenderloin
2 large Granny Smith apples, sliced
1/2 C. honey
2 T. cinnamon

Slice slits in tenderloin; place 1-2
apple slices per slit. Place 3/4 of
remaining slices in bottom of
crockpot. Drizzle 1/2 the honey over
slices; place pork roast over apples-
sprinkle cinnamon over everything.
Place remaining slices on top &
drizzle with remaining honey. Cover
& cook on Low 8 hours. Remove loin
from crockpot & slice; serve with
apples on top. Serves 6

(recipe: stockpilingmoms.com)

Pumpkin Bars w/Cream Cheese

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 eggs
2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. oil
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

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

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 X 9″ pan with parchment
paper & spray lightly with nonstick
spray. In large bowl whisk flour, sugar,
ginger, baking soda, baking powder,
salt, cloves & cinnamon – create a
well in center of dry ingredients.
In bowl of stand mixer combine eggs,
vanilla, oil & pumpkin, beating at
Medium speed until light & fluffy;
stir gently, just to combine – pour
into prepraed pan & bake 30-35
minutes until toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Place
on wire rack, cool completely.

Combine cream cheese & butter in
medium bowl using elec. mixer, until
smooth. Add sugar; mix on Low speed
until combined. Stir in vanilla – mix
again. (you may need a little milk to
make it spreadable if your butter wasn’t
soft enough). Spread frosting evenly
on top of cake; cut into bars.

(recipe: sugarapron.com)

Oven-Baked Chicken Risotto

2 C. chicken broth
2 C. cooked chicken, cubed
1 C. uncooked arborio rice
1/2 C. dry white wine
1/2 C. fresh or frozen peas (thawed)
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 C. cooked/cubed pancetta (or
crumbled bacon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter
kosher salt/ground black pepper,
to taste

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
In large Dutch oven or oven-proof
pot, heat butter & oil over medium-
high heat; saute onion until softened
6-7 minutes. Season with salt/pepper,
add garlic & cook 1-2 minutes. Stir in
arborio rice & cook 2 more minutes
until toasted but not burned. Mix in
white wine & cook until almost
evaporated; pour in chicken stock &
bring to boil. Place pot in oven &
bake 20-25 minutes until liquid is
mostly evaporated. Stir in chicken,
peas, pancetta (or bacon) & Parm.
cheese; mix together. Taste & adjust
seasoning, if needed. Serve hot.
Serves 6

(recipe: 12tomatoes.com)

Crockpot Creamy Hash Browns

1 (32 oz) pkg. frozen cubed hash
brown potatoes
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of potato
soup, undiluted
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Colby-Jack
1 C. sour cream
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1 (8 oz) carton spreadable chive &
onion cream cheese

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray; place potatoes inside. In large
bowl combine soup, cheese, sour cream,
pepper/salt – pour over potatoes & mix
well. Cover & cook on Low 3 1/2 – 4 hours or
until potatoes are tender. Stir in cream
cheese. Serves 12-14

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Spicy Chicken Lasagna Roll-ups

1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 C. shredded, cooked chicken
2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese,
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
12 rinsed cooked lasagna noodles

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix first 3 ingredients; combine
1/2 C. with chicken, 1 C. mozz.
cheese, Parmesan cheese & eggs;
spread 1/4 C. onto each noodle &
roll up. Pour 1/2 C. of remaining
sauce into bottom of 9 X 13″
baking pan. Top with lasagna rolls,
seam-sides down. Cover with
remaining sauce & mozzarella. Bake
25 minutes until heated through.
Serves 6

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Grilled Chicken/Summer Veggie Skillet

1 T. oil
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 yellow pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C. instant white rice, uncooked
1 1/4 C. water
1/4 C. barbecue sauce
4 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 C. (Kraft) finely shredded Italian
5-cheese blend
2 green onions, sliced

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high
heat. Add peppers, cook 7 minutes stirring
occasionally. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute.
Add rice, water & barbecue sauce, stir &
bring to boil. Top with chicken, tomatoes &
cheese. Cover & simmer on medium-low
heat 10 minutes until rice is tender & cheese
is melted. Top with onions before serving.
Serves 4

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

4 C. marshmallows
3 T. butter
1/8 C. pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 C. rice krispie cereal
pinch of salt

Line a brownie pan with waxed
paper or nonstick spray.
Melt butter & marshmallows in
nonstick pan over low/medium heat.
When melted, turn off heat & add
pumpkin, salt, vanilla & pumpkin pie
spice. Stir in rice cereal & press in
prepared pan. Let set 15-20 minutes.

NOTE: they might be a little more
gooey than regular rice krispy treats
due to the pumpkin.

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)


I have but one goal today: REST! Am
going to put a frozen pork roast in
the crockpot with a can of cranberry
sauce – that, plus some sort of potatoes/
pasta, will be dinner tonight.

Am working on 2 knit baby blankets-
one is all white, the other multi-baby
colors yarn. Both are about 1/4th
done at this time.

Finished reading 2 good books by
Catherine Coulter: “The Lost Key”
and “Power Play”. This is one of the
authors I really like: she deals in
murder/mystery as worked out by
the FBI (and, occasionally Scotland

Our weather is slowly going towards
typical “Fall” – low 50’s, cloudy/gloomy
& chilly/windy. Not looking forward
to winter, but guess we’ll just have to
‘like’ Fall while it’s here (at least it’s
not SNOW!)

Have a great weekend!



Casual Day


Today is another ‘gentle’ day – early morning found husband and youngest son take son’s car to dealership – it’s not running right. Since I finished the grey scarf yesterday I started another one; guess I should preface this: was given a good amount of darker grey yarns (a few cream) and thought I could put them together for some more scarves for the homeless shelters. The one I started today is another pretty easy pattern – it’s dark grey for about 4 inches, then 4 inches medium grey then a sort of fluffy/soft black & cream mix. I’m going to use up all of the black/cream mix yarn (it’s a medium sized skein) then end with a copy of the other end: medium grey to dark grey.

Finished my book – not really happy with the ending but hey, I’m not the author so I don’t have much ‘say’ in how he wrote it. Don’t have another author/book in mind right now so I’ll just wait & see what piques my interest.

Last night was Knit/Crochet night and was happy to see a lady who used to be a part of our group many years ago (she still lives in the area but doesn’t drive) – she immigrated to the US 9 years ago from Peru and is an expert knitters AND crocheter – was SO good to see her again. Along with her visit we got the thrill of seeing our first ‘Knit Group Baby’ – one of our members had her first baby almost 2 months ago and she brought her last night. Lots of “Ooooooh’s/Ahhhhhhs’ were heard. I love my group – the people are friendly and we seem to form a close-knit (pardon the pun) bond with each other. It’s nice to know we’re not just a ‘club’ but a group of like-minded ladies who invest time in each other as well as our joined craft.


 Cheesy Yellow Squash & Ham Casserole

1 1/2 lb. yellow squash, thinly sliced into
1/4 c. diced yellow onion
1/4 C. diced red bell pepper
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar
1 C. diced cooked ham or turkey,

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 2 qt. baking dish with nonstick
spray. Layer bottom of dish with half
yellow squash slices & lightly sprinkle
with salt/pepper. Top with half of onions,
red bell pepper & dollops of 1/2 cream
cheese plus half Ched. cheese. Repeat
layer, ending with rest of Cheddar cheese.
You can add diced ham/turkey at this point.
Bake 40-45 minutes until top is beginning
to brown & squash is fork-tender; let rest
5 minutes before serving.

*can also substitute one cooked spaghetti
squash (strands) in place of yellow squash

Note: You can cut down on the cooking time
by lightly steaming, boiling or sauteing the
squash before baking until nearly tender.
Using this method, simply bake until cheese
is melted.

(recipe: facebook.com)

Death by Chocolate Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 box chocolate instant pudding mix
4 eggs
3/4 C. oil
1 C. sour cream
1 (12 oz) bag semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients (except choc. chips)
together for 2 minutes. Pour half batter
into a greased Bundt pan or 9 X 13″ pan;
top with half the chocolate chips. Pour
rest of batter on top, smooth then sprinkle
with remaining chocolate chips. Bake 50

(recipe: Facebook)
Fresh Tomato Pie

1/2 of one (15 oz) pkg. refrigerated
pie crusts
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried chives
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place piecrust into 9″ pie plate; fold
edges under & crimp. Prick bottom &
sides of crust using a fork. Bake 9
minutes – reduce oven temp. to 350
degrees F.
Arrange tomato slices in crust bottom.
Combine basil, chives & pepper; sprinkle
over tomatoes. Spread top with mayonnaise
& sprinkle top with cheese. Bake, uncovered,
20 minutes until cheese melts & pie is
thorouhly heated. Let stand 10 minutes
before slicing. Serve warm or cool on wire
rack. Serves 6

(recipe: mrfood.com)
Homestyle Beet Salad

3 whole fresh beets, stems removed
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
1/4 C. olive oil

Place beets in medium saucepan; add
enough water to cover. Bring to boil over
high heat, then reduce heat to Low &
continue cooking 35-40 minutes until
tender. Drain; let cool 10 minutes. Remove
skins from beets*, cut into quarters, then
into 1/2″ cubes. In small bowl whisk
remaining ingredients & pour over beets –
mix well. Cover & refrigerate 4 hours or
until ready to serve. Serves 6

*when preparing beets it’s recommended
that you use rubber gloves so your hands
do not get stained

(recipe: mrfood.com)
Foil Packet Fish Florentine
(oven recipe)

2 C. instant white rice, uncooked
2 C. warm water
1 lb. flounder filets, cut crosswise
in half
4 c. tightly packed fresh spinach,
coarsely chopped
1/4 C. (Kraft) Philadelphia Chive &
onion cream cheese spread
1/2 C. (Kraft) Sun-dried tomato
vinaigrette salad dressing

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine rice & water; spoon onto
centers of 4 large sheets heavy-duty
aluminum foil. Top evenly with half
fish, cover with spinach, cream cheese
spread & remaining fish. Drizzle tops
with dressing. Fold foil to make 4
packets & place on rimmed baking
sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Cut slits in
foil to release steam before opening
packets. Serves 4

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Upside-Down Cheescake Apple Pie

2 Pie crusts (like Pillsbury)
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
6 large apples, peeled/thinly sliced
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 T. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon

caramel ice cream sauce (for serving)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line pie plate with one pie crust. Using
mixer on High, combine cream cheese, sugar
& vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs; mix until
combined. Pour  mixture into pie crust.
In large bowl combine apples, lemon juice,
sugar, flour & cinnamon. Gently place
apples on top of cream cheese mixture. Top
with second pie crust, turning crust inward
to bake. Cut a few small slits in top crust
for steam. Line a pan with parchment paper &
place pie on the pan. Cover pie loosely with
a piece of foil & bake 30 minutes. Remove
foil & bake an additional 30 minutes until
the apples feel soft when a knife is inserted.
Remove from oven & cool 10 minutes.
Place a large plate over top of pie & flip it
upside down, releasing the pie onto the
plate. Cool 1 hour on counter top then
refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Serve
cold with caramel sauce.

(recipes: thegunnysack.com)

Crockpot Pork Chops w/
Golden Ranch Gravy

4 center-cut pork chops (bone-in,
or boneless)
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 T. butter

cooked rice

Melt butter in large heavy skillet over
medium heat. Brown pork chops well on
both sides; remove & place in crockpot.
Add soup & ranch mix to pan chops were
browned in; mix well & heat. Pour over
pork chops in crockpot. Cover & cook on
High 3-4 hours or Low 4-6 hours.
Serve over cooked rice.  Serves 4

(recipe: bakeatmidnite.com)

Sassy Sweet ‘n Sour Cabbage

1 tsp. vegetable oil
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 medium green cabbage, cored/
cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 C. cider vinegar
1/4 C. granulated sugar
3 T. soy sauce

Heat oil in large heavy pot over
medium heat. Add bacon; cook
until brown & crisp, stirring
frequently. Using a slotted spoon
transfer bacon to a plate. Add
onion & cabbage to pot; cook-
stirring often, until cabbage is
wilted (about 10 minutes). Add
vinegar, sugar & soy sauce; cook
until cabbage is crisp-tender, about
10 more minutes. Stir in bacon &
serve. Serves 4

(recipe: spicysouthernkitchen.com)

Not much new going on – they called on
son’s car – seems it has a pinched line going
to the catalytic converter; they’re ordering the
part and it should be good to go tomorrow
afternoon. Son needs his car to go to work
so getting him back on the road is a necessity
around here – for all of us!

The weather’s still holding at Typical August:
mid 80’s & sunny. If I were a beach-goer I’d
be in my glory (but I’m not – burn too easily
and, at my age, just don’t feel like going
through all the ‘preparations’ to get there,
etc. Yep – I’m LAZY!

Enjoy your summer day;





While reading our local paper yesterday I saw an ad for a new store in our area: Foreman Mills – they mostly sell clothing. At the bottom of their ad was a 50% off one item, one day only coupon – SCORE! I’ve never been there before (it’s really close) – I was pleasantly surprised. They carry LARGE sized clothing for both men & women! I went, looking for a few more pairs capri pants – found two. The really nice thing was: One pair was $4.99 and the other $12.00 – using the coupon I came out paying very little! As I mentioned before, they carry large sizes – while I was in the Plus Size Women’s section I noticed shorts at 5X – never seen those before! In the Large Men’s section there were 8 & 9X items! Again- never seen that in a regular store before! (I must say – most of their clothing was geared for the ‘younger set’ – lots of sequins/glitter/slits, etc. – you just have to wade through all that to find what you’re looking for.

Have you seen the gas prices lately? I was really needing gas; had gone shopping at KMart the other day and got a 30 cents off per gallon coupon (YAY!) so using the coupon it took $4.50 off my total bill. Gas prices that day were $2.49/9 – great!

Husband & I decided to check out a little restaurant pretty close to our area: The Royal Diner; it was recommended by a friend.  The Royal Diner, 6540 Dixie Highway, Clarkston, MI. It’s got all you would want in a diner: booths, counter seating, the ‘diner atmosphere’ – HUGE menu! Husband got a Patty Melt & I got a Philly Cheese Steak – let’s just say we REALLY got our monies worth! I managed to eat half my sandwich – it was chock-ful of HUGE fresh mushrooms, big slices of green peppers and lots of meat & cheese – YUM! The prices were really good, also – told husband I would like to go there again – he was pleased. (I also noticed a lot of ‘seniors’ there so you pretty well know their prices are good for the quality/quantity of meals!).


Chocolate Zucchini Coconut Cake

2 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. cocoa (Dutch process)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 C. coconut oil, melted & cooled
to room temp.
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
3 C. shredded zucchini
1/2 C. sweetened flake coconut
1/2 C. chocolate chips

Coconut Frosting:
1 C. unsalted butter, room temp.
3 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. toasted coconut (for garnish)

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 13″ pan with nonstick
spray. In large bowl whisk flour, cocoa,
baking soda, baking powder & salt.
In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter,
coconut oil & sugar until smooth,
about 2 minutes. Add eggs & vanilla,
beat until smooth. Add yogurt & mix
until combined. Slowly mix in dry
ingredients; mix until just combined.
Fold in zucchini, coconut & choc. chips.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake
40-45 minutes until top springs back
lightly when touched & a toothpick
inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove cake from oven & cool completely
on wire rack

In bowl of stand mixer beat butter until
smooth. Gradually add sugar & mix until
creamy & smooth, about 3 minutes. Add
coconut & vanilla, beat until smooth.
Frost cooled cake with frosting, sprinkle
toasted coconut on top.


Crockpot Lasagna

1 1/2 lb. hamburger, cooked/drained
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 box lasagna noodles
3 C. cottage cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Stir spaghetti sauce into cooked meat;
add diced tomatoes with juice. Add
seasonings; stir & remove from heat.
In bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs &
Parmesan cheese. Spread 1 C. meat sauce
on bottom of crockpot; top with noodles
broken to fit. Layer remaining ingredients:
Cottage cheese mixture
mozzarella cheese
meat sauce
broken noodles
repeat – making last layer meat sauce.
Cover & cook on Low 4-6 hours until
noodles are tender. Sprinkle top with
remaining 1 C. mozzarella; cover & let
stand 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
Cut into pieces & serve.

(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)

Crockpot Lasagna

1 1/2 lb. hamburger, cooked/drained
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 box lasagna noodles
3 C. cottage cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Stir spaghetti sauce into cooked meat;
add diced tomatoes with juice. Add
seasonings; stir & remove from heat.
In bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs &
Parmesan cheese. Spread 1 C. meat sauce
on bottom of crockpot; top with noodles
broken to fit. Layer remaining ingredients:
Cottage cheese mixture
mozzarella cheese
meat sauce
broken noodles
repeat – making last layer meat sauce.
Cover & cook on Low 4-6 hours until
noodles are tender. Sprinkle top with
remaining 1 C. mozzarella; cover & let
stand 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
Cut into pieces & serve.

(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)

Chickpea, Pesto, Tomato Mozzarella

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained/rinsed
1/4 C. pesto
1 C. chopped grape tomatoes
1/4 C. chopped fresh mozzarella
salt/black pepper, to taste
2 T. chopped fresh basil

In medium bowl combine chickpeas,
pesto, tomatoes & mozz. cheese; gently
stir & season with salt/pepper, to taste.
Garnish with fresh basil. Serves 4

(recipe: twopeasandtheirpod.com)

Santa Fe Chicken Foil Dinner

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed/drained
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes w/green chilies,
2 C. corn, frozen
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. onion salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C. shredded Mexican-blend cheese
4 squares foil: 18″ X 12″
Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Mix beans, tomatoes, frozen corn,
cumin, onion salt, chili powder,
paprika & salt in a bowl. Spray each
foil square with nonstick spray on one
side. Pound each chicken breast using
a meat tenderizer then cube & place
one each, in center of foil square. Spoon
1/4th bean mixture on top of chicken
bring short sides of foil together & fold
at the top. Bring long sides together &
fold again. Make sure you leave a little
room inside the packet for steam
expansion. Place packets on a baking
sheet & cook 17-20 minutes. Carefully
open packets so you don’t get steam
burn. Place about 1/8th C. shredded
cheese in each packet, reseal to melt
cheese. Serves 4

(recipe: highheelsandgrills.com)

Zucchini-Parmesan (side dish)

4 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4″
1 T. olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp. minced garlic
1 (14 1/2 oz) can Italian diced
tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

In large skillet saute zucchini in oil
until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook
1 minute longer. Stir in tomatoes,
salt/pepper. Simmer, uncovered,
9-10 minutes until liquid is evaporated.
Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.
Serve using slotted spoon. Makes 6

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Fresh Raspberry Pie

2 C. flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C. shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 T. cold water
1 T. white vinegar

1 1/3 C. sugar
2 T. quick-cooking tapioca
2 T. cornstarch
5 C. fresh or frozen raspberries,
unsweetened (thawed)
1 T. butter

1 T. milk
1 T. sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine flour, sugar &
salt; cut in shortening until mixture
resembles coarse crumbs. Combine
egg, water & vinegar; stir into flour
mixture just until moistened. Divide
dough in half so that one ball is slightly
larger than the other. Wrap each in
plastic wrap & refrigerate 30 minutes
until easy to handle.
In large bowl combine sugar, tapioca,
cornstarch & raspberries; let stand
15 minutes.
On lightly floured surface, roll out larger
ball of dough to fit a 9″ pie plate. Transfer
dough to pie plate; trim & even edge. Add
raspberry filling & dot top with butter. Roll
out remaining dough ball to fit top of pie;
place over filling. Trim, seal & flute edges.
Cut slits in top, brush with milk & sprinkle
top with sugar. Bake 50-55 minutes until
crust is golden brown & filling is bubbly.
Cool on wire rack. Makes 6-8 servings.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

The weather has been pretty steady this
past week – hot! In the mid to high 80’s,
sunny & clear. I shouldn’t complain, cold
weather is coming pretty soon (hate to
think of that just yet!).

It’s been a pretty calm week – middle son
gave us a bit of a ‘reprieve’ – he said he’ll
move back sometime in the next 2 weeks.
Said his older brother is not pleased with
the move but middle son doesn’t make
enough money to cover all his bills, so
this is the best solution for now. (He just
popped by to watch his favorite TV shows-
oldest son doesn’t have cable).

Nothing else going on at the moment –
still working on the gray scarf, about 3/4ths
done with the last of the trilogy by Ken
Follett – I really like his writing. Didn’t
know I’d enjoy history that much but
right now it’s up to the Nixon impeach-
ment – I lived that era so it’s more
relevant to me.

Hope you’re enjoying this day –
take a quick break: grab a quick
nap/snack/something cool to drink.
ENJOY YOUR LIFE – it’s the only one
you get!



PS: Almost forgot to mention:
  Husband was
eager to get this installed on
both our computers – it became
available Weds. so he installed
it on HIS computer. Took forever
to install – got to the regular
screen (the one you have before
you click on what you want to
go to) – the picture background
was there but NONE OF HIS
FOLDERS! THEN the entire screen
began to flash. I should insert here:
husband knows quite a bit about
computers – he did everything he
could THINK OF to get it to stop –
nothing worked. We ended up
taking it to Best Buy – their
“Geek Squad” – the guy there did
everything HE could think of –
same results. They ended up
keeping it – (still there today);
got a call yesterday saying they
think it’s cleared, something
about a Trojan Horse (not sure
if it was on OUR computer OR
the program from Windows 10).
They are going to attempt to
re-install Windows 10 – if they
can’t, we’ll go with them re-installing
Windows 7 (think that’s the right
SOoooooo glad he didn’t do it
to my computer, too! (Husband
said he knew that all my business
accounts were on my computer
and he didn’t want to mess with
those until we were completely
sure it works without glitches!

Anyway – just saying BE CAREFUL
if you decide to install Windows 10.

Whew! It’s a HOT one out there today!


Went out a little earlier to do a few errands and was surprised at the temperature: 87 ! Bright sun (NO BREEZE), a little cloudy – not the kind of day you want to spend in your car (but it WAS one of those days where I seemed to get stuck at red lights or just when the light turns green you hear a siren and here comes two fire trucks – you guessed it – gotta wait for the next green – sigh). One of my quick trips was to the hardware store to get a key cut – no problem. Finish my errands, get back home & hand husband the little bag with key and say: “Here’s your key!” He opens the bag and says: “Where?” No key! Have NO idea where it went; call store & they check – no key . . . drive back and get another one cut (free) – in the hot car – sigh. I decide that THIS TIME I deserve a little something for me, so I stopped at Tim Horton’s and got a Iced Cappuccino with caramel drizzle – now THAT cooled me off!

Dinner is in the crockpot: BBQ’d ribs; mac & cheese & cole slaw go with. Am going to try the Strawberry dessert I posted a few days ago (substituting blueberry pie filling) – was ‘going’ to make it the other day only to discover I didn’t have 8 oz. of cream cheese – sigh.

You know how, sometimes, life kicks ya in the boo-tay? Well, that’s me today. Our knit group is working out well on Facebook except that one of my members kind of took it on herself to ‘help’ me out by posting the Knit/Movie night on FB – I didn’t WANT it posted on a (PUBLIC) Facebook – friend who hosts the event has a basement that only holds about 15, plus her parking leaves a bit to be desired. UGH! Yes, I’m moderator of the group but because SHE posted the event, only SHE can erase it! Frustration! One good thing: she didn’t post the address/date/time – whew! I had a (new to the group, so far only on Facebook – has never come to a group meeting at Panera Bread) person get a bit ‘touchy’ with me about it – still sorting that one out. Double UGH! Yep, I deserved the iced cappoccino today!


 Peaches ‘n Cream Dessert
(overnight recipe)

1 (16 oz) pkg. pecan shortbread
cookies, crushed
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 C. sugar
1 (3 oz) pkg. peach Jell-O
2 T. cornstarch
1 (12 oz) can lemon-lime soda
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) Tub Cool Whip, thawed
6 C. fresh or frozen sliced peeled
peaches, thawed
1/3 C. unsweetened pineapple juice

In small bowl combine cookie crumbs &
butter; press onto bottom of ungreased
9 X 13 pan. In small saucepan, combine
sugar, Jell-O & cornstarch; stir in soda
until smooth – bring to boil & cook,
stirring, 5-7 minutes until slightly
thickened. Cool to room temp, stirring
In large bowl beat cream cheese & powdered
sugar until smooth; beat in Cool Whip until
blended & spread over crust. Combine
peaches & pineapple juice; arrange over
cream cheese layer. Pour Jell-O mixture over
top, cover & refrigerate overnight.
Makes 15 servings.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)

Crockpot Cowboy Casserole

1 onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef, cooked &
6 medium potatoes, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans,
rinsed & drained
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of mushroom
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 C. finely shredded Cheddar

Mix all ingredients (except cheese)
in 6 qt. crockpot; stir well. Cover &
cook on High 4 hours or Low 8 hours.
Uncover & sprinkle cheese over top;
cover & cook an additional 1 hour.
Serves 6-8

(recipe: crockpotladies.com)

Meatball Sub Casserole

2 tubes Pillsbury refrigerated
crusty French loaf bread
1 (32 oz) bag frozen fully cooked
Italian meatballs, thawed
1 jar marinara sauce
2 T. garlic spread, divided
2 C. shredded mozzrella cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ pan with nonstick spray.
Remove bread loaf from tube & use a
sharp knife; slice down the middle
lengthwise (without cutting all the
way through). Open up bread & lay
flat on prepared pan. Press out to the
edges using your fingers-just get it to
the edges as best you can; if it doesn’t
stay or holes break apart in center, that’s
OK. Bake 20-25 minutes until bread begins
to slightly brown. Slice thawed meatballs
in half & place in large pot along with
marinara sauce; stir to cover meatballs with
sauce. Cover & heat over medium heat,
stirring occasionally 20 minutes while bread
is baking. Remove pan from oven; spread
1 T. garlic spread over top of bread. Spoon
meatballs & sauce over top of bread making
sure meatballs lie as flat as possible (even
into parts of pan that might not have bread
on it.) Evenly sprinkle with mozzarella
On greased flat cookie sheet lay the second
bread roll using the same process as the
first: slice roll down the center, etc to form
a 9 X 13 rectangle. (holes are OK). Carefully
take bread rectangle & lay over top of
cheese layer; using fingers, try to spread
to edges as best you can. Place pan back
in oven & bake 20-25 minutes until bread
begins to brown on top. Remove from oven
& spread remaining garlic spread over top.
Slice into 18 slices.

(recipe: two-in-the-kitchen.com)

5 Ingredient Spinach/Parmesan Pasta

8 oz. uncooked pasta
3 T. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 C. packed fresh baby spinach
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
salt/pepper, to taste

Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions,
cooking until al dente. Drain, reserving
1/2 C. of pasta water; set pasta aside.
Using same pot, melt butter over medium
heat; add garlic & cook 2-3 minutes. Add
pasta & spinach, gently tossing & cook
until spinach leaves are wilted. If pasta
starts to dry out, add some of reserved
pasta water (usually about 1/3 C.). Stir
in 1/4 C. Parm. cheese; toss until combined.
Season with salt/pepper, to taste.
Pour pasta into a large bowl, garnish with
additional Parmesan cheese & serve
immediately. Serves 4


Avocado Crab Dip

2 avocados, mashed
2 (6 oz, ea) cans crab meat
2-3 T. Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy
seasoning blend

Combine all ingredients in small
bowl; mix well. Taste – if you like
it extra spicy, add a bit more
seasoning. Cover & refrigerate
30 minutes; serve immediately.


Quinoa Biscuits with 2 Cheeses

3 eggs
2 C. cooked, cooled quinoa
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C. minced green onions
2 tsp. minced thyme
2 T. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In bowl whisk eggs until light. Stir
in remaining 8 ingredients until
combined. Shape 2 T. portions of
mixture into balls. Arrange on
greased baking sheet & bake
18 minutes or until done. Serve
warm. Makes 9 servings.

(recipe: Russie-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Peanut Butter/Pretzel/
Choc. Chip Bars
(no bake)

1/4 C. unsalted butter
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. honey
1/4 C. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. quick oats
1/2 C. crispy rice cereal
3/4 C. chopped pretzels
1/4 C. mini chocolate chips

Cut out a 8″ X 8″ square of parchment
paper; place in bottom of 8″ X 8″ baking
pan. In large saucepan, add butter, brown
sugar, honey & peanut butter; heat over
medium-low heat, stirring occasionally,
until mixture starts to bubble. Cook 2
minutes while stirring; remove from
heat & stir in vanilla. Stir in oats, rice
cereal & pretzels; stir until well coated.
Pour into prepared pan, pressing mixture
evenly. Sprinkle mini choc. chips over top
& gently press into bars using your hands.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before
cutting. Makes 8-10 bars
NOTE: bars should be refrigerated; they
will keep up to one week.

(recipe: twopeasandtheirpod.com)


I noticed today that gas prices have jumped more
probably in anticipation of the holiday weekend;
our local Clark (which I think is about the lowest)
was at $2.65/9 for regular (a week ago it was
$2.46/9). Oh well – not much choice there, eh?

I’m still plugging away at the yellow crocheted
baby blanket; I’m guessing another few days
and it will be done (then will have to do the
white crocheted border). Like other people,
I have sites I like to peruse; some people like
looking at shoes/purses or gardening stuff –
I like looking at knitting or crochet sites for
more easy/free patterns (as if I don’t have
enough already, right?) Ran into a few sites
yesterday that had some (new to me) sort
of easy stitch patterns – right now I’m sort
of trying to figure out exactly what stitch
to use for the NEXT baby blanket. I have
3 colors of yarn available: white, lavender
and a darker purple. Not sure if I want to
try a new crochet pattern (practiced the
shell pattern in crochet this morning),
or if I want to do something with knitting.
Ah, the ‘fun’! There is a new (to me) Face
book group called Pure Michigan Knitters –
I’m really enjoying getting to see posts
& conversations about my favorite
craft! The ladies are very friendly
and helpful, so that makes even the
very new knitter feel welcome.

Discovered yesterday via the Sunday
newspaper that the Alphabet murder/
mystery series I’ve been reading by
Sue Grafton is NOT complete! I thought
I’d just cruise through A to Z  (I’m on
“V is for Vengeance” right now) and
according to the article she’s still
writing Xlooks like I’ll be waiting
awhile for the next one, eh? Darn.

I’ll let ya go now and get back to
either perusing craft sites or
working on finishing the baby
afghan. OH! Forgot to tell you –
after the Yarn Swap the other
night there was still a pretty
big bag of miscellaneous yarns/
a few knit/crochet booklets and
some needles & hooks. I called
the Senior Center near me and
she told me to bring them in.
Turns out they have a big box in
their foyer for donations; the
donations go to the local
Children’s Village (for troubled
children) – they use the donations
to teach the kids to knit & crochet!
So happy to be ‘playing it forward’!

Enjoy your day!