Last night was the Pick Up date for all of the lovely knitted & crocheted baby items for the upcoming Detroit Veterans Hospital’s Annual Baby Shower. The lady who is the Women’s Coordinator for the event told us there will be 17 Moms attending the shower. This year our group donated 87 knit & crocheted items! 24 blankets, 42 hats, 11 sets of booties, 2 snuggle sacks and 8 baby headbands – I’d say we MORE THAN covered the moms this time! (I was going to post all of the photos, but there are 17 photos, so I decided not to). The ladies in my group continue to amaze me with their generosity – so happy they participated in showing love to these Vets Moms!


Caramel Apple Slab Pie

2 1/4 C. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2/3 C. butter-flavored shortening
8 T. cold water
1/3 C. flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 1/2 lb. Granny Smith apples,
peeled/cored & cut into 1/4″
thick slices (10 cups)

Crumb Topping:
1 C. quick-cooking rolled oats
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. butter

Homemade Caramel:
1 C. brown sugar
4 T. butter
1/2 C. Half & Half
1 T. vanilla
pinch salt

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 15 X 10 X 1″ rimmed
sheet pan with nonstick spray.
In large bowl combine flour &
salt; using pastry blender or
2 forks, cut in shortening until it
resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle
1 T. cold water over mixture & toss
with a fork. Repeat, using 1 T. water
at a time until it is  moistened, then
knead dough into a ball. On lightly
floured surface, roll dough into a
19X13″ rectangle. Wrap dough around
rolling pin & unroll dough into prepared
pan. Ease dough into pan & up sides,
being careful not to stretch it. Trim
dough to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pan.
Fold dough edge over & flute as desired.

In extra large bowl combine sugar,
1/3 C. flour, cinnamon & apples – toss
to coat. Spoon mixture onto dough &
spread evenly.

Crumb Topping:
In large stir oats, brown sugar & flour.
Using a pastry blender, cut in butter
until topping resembles coarse crumbs –
sprinkle on top of apples in pan. Bake
40-45 minutes until apples are tender. If
it is starting to brown too fast, cover top
with foil the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
Cool slightly.

Homemade caramel:
Place all ingredients in medium saucepan
over medium-low  to medium heat. Cook,
while whisking gently, 5-7 minutes until
thicker. Turn off heat. Serve warm or
refrigerate until cold. Drizzle caramel on
top of apple slab pie then serve.
Serves 25



Cheesy Baked Zucchini

4 C. shredded zucchini
1 C. Bisquick baking mix
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. chopped scallion
2 T. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C. vegetable oil
4 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick cooking spray. In large
bowl combine all ingredients &
mix well – pour into prepared
dish. Bake 25 minutes until
golden brown. Cut into squares
& serve. Serves 15


1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. butter, melted
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

In large skillet bring 1/2 inch
of water to a boil. Add asparagus &
garlic; cook, covered, until asparagus
is crisp-tender, 3-5 minutes; drain.
Toss asparagus with butter & cheese.
Serves 4


Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

12 oz. elbow macaroni
1/2 C. grated carrot
1 rib celery, finely diced
1 C. mayonnaise
3 T. pineapple juice
2 T. apple cider vinegar
salt/pepper, as desired

Cook macaroni per pkg.
directions; drain/cool.
Add grated carrot & celery &
mix. Whisk mayo, pineapple
juice & vinegar then pour over
noodles – toss to combine. Add
salt/pepper, to taste. Chill until
ready to serve. Serves 6


 Crockpot Pepper Steak

2 lb. beef sirloin cut into
2″ strips
garlic powder
3 T. vegetable oil
1 beef bouillon cube
1/3 C. hot water
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 large roughly chopped green
bell peppers
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes
with juice
3 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt

Heat oil in large skillet over medium
heat; season beef strips with garlic
powder then brown in oil. Once
browned, place strips in crockpot.
In large bowl mix bouillon cube with
hot water – dissolve then add cornstarch
& stir to dissolve; pour mixture over meat
in crockpot. Add onion, green peppers,
stewed tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar &
salt – stir to combine. Cover & cook
3-4 hours on High or 6-8 on Low.

Homade Pimento Cheese Spread

2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
4 oz. diced pimentos, drained
1/2 tsp. dried mustard

Using elec. mixer, in bowl mix
cheese & cream cheese together –
mix 2-3 minutes. Add mayo &
mix again. Add in seasonings –
stir everything together then
mix in pimentos. Refrigerate
at least 10-15 minutes before


Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake

8 oz. uncooked rigatoni pasta
1 T. olive oil
1 C. chopped onion
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen spinach,
3 C. cooked/cubed chicken breasts
1 (14 oz) can Italian-style diced
tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz) container (Philadelphia)
chive & onion cream cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions;
drain. Spread oil on bottom of 9 X 13″
baking pan & add onion in single layer.
Bake 15 minutes just until tender.
Transfer onion to large bowl. Drain
chopped spinach well, pressing between
layers of paper toweling. Stir in cooked
rigatoni, spinach, chicken & next 4
ingredients – into onion in bowl. Spoon
mixture into prepared dish & sprinkle
evenly with shredded cheese. Bake,
covered, 30 minutes. Uncover & bake 15
minutes more until bubbly.

(recipe: facebook)

Crockpot Blueberry/Lemon Cobbler


32 oz. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 C. sugar
3 T. lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
1 T. lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon)
1/4 C. flour


2 C. flour
3/4 C. sugar
1 T. lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 C. butter (2 sticks, chilled/
cut into bits)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla

vanilla ice cream or whipped cream,
for topping cobbler, if desired

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Place blueberries in bottom of
crockpot; sprinkle lemon juice on top.
In medium bowl mix sugar & lemon
zest, working zest into sugar with your
fingers to release the lemon oils in the
zest. Add flour & stir with a fork to
evenly combine flour with sugar. Sprinkle
mixture evenly over berries & toss to


In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, lemon
zest, baking powder, salt & nutmeg using
a fork until well combined. Using 2 butter
knives or a pastry cutter, cut in cold bits
of butter into flour mixture until it
resembles a coarse meal with small pea-
sized pieces of butter. In small bowl whisk
eggs & vanilla with a fork & gently toss
egg mixture into flour/butter mixture
until moistened & dough starts to hold
together & create clumps of dough.
Sprinkle cobbler topping evenly over
blueberries in crockpot. Cover opening
of crockpot with paper towels or a clean
kitchen towel; cover with lid. (toweling
will absorb any condensation that will
collect on lid while cooking, preventing
it from dripping onto cobbler.) Cook
on High 3-4 hours until you can see the
juices from the blueberries bubbling
around edges of crockpot. Check
cobbler at 3 hour mark & only cook
for additional time if needed. Turn
off crockpot & carefully remove lid
& toweling. Let cobbler cool slightly
before serving. Serve with vanilla
ice cream or whipped cream, if
desired. Serves 8



I know that this week has been very trying
for SO many people in our country – prayers
sent out for all those that battled the storms &
fires – I can’t even imagine.

I noticed in our local paper that they are saying
the gas prices will rise due to the recent weather
situations; yesterday I observed our local station’s
prices are up to $2.59/9 (from $2.39/9) – it’s
understandable. I would imagine produce will
greatly increase in price as well as other items
that would normally be shipped by land; we’ll

Our weather is in the low 70’s during the day,
sunny (supposed to rain tomorrow).

Hoping you are all in good healthy and safety;




Another Fun Day in July


   Our middle son took our grandson (10) out looking for “Pokemon” – (they are imaginary creatures in a tv series/game, etc. There is a new phone ‘app’ called “Pokemon Go!” which is sort of like geocaching where you enter in your area into your phone and then go ‘walking’ – it shows up on your phone where the ‘Pokemon” are located. Not sure just which Pokemon is in the above photo (since it’s imaginary, it only shows up on your phone) but grandson & son had a good time doing it!

Our wild black raspberries are at their peak now – going to let the grandson know in a little while; he LOVES picking & eating them (with sugar & Cool Whip on top, of course!)

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad

1 (3.4 oz) box cheesecake or white
chocolate pudding mix
1 (12 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
3 (6 oz, ea) tubs strawberry yogurt
1 lb. fresh strawberries, sliced
3 bananas, sliced (slice just before
serving or they will turn brown)
3 C. miniature marshmallows

Place Cool Whip, pudding  mix &
yogurt in large bowl; whisk, cover
& refrigerate until just before
serving (at least 1 hour). When
ready to serve: slice strawberries &
bananas. Remove pudding mixture
from fridge & gently fold in fruit &
marshmallows (if using) – stir gently
to combine. Serve immediately.
Serves 8-10


Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells

30 large pasta shells
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts, cooked/shredded
1 1/2 C. cottage cheese
1 C. freshly grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 C. shredded Romano cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz) jar garlic alfredo sauce
fresh parsley – chopped, garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. Prepare shells to al dente accordg.
to pkg. directions; drain & pat shells dry
with paper towels. In large bowl combine
Mozz, Parm & Romano cheeses. Remove 1/2
C. for topping. Add cottage cheese, egg,
pepper/salt & stir until combined. Add
chicken & stir until completely combined.
Spoon 1 C. alfredo sauce on bottom of
prepared pan. Stuff shells with chicken
mixture either using a spoon or small
scoop. Arrange shells in pan in single
layer; spoon remaining sauce over shells.
Sprinkle tops with reserved cheese. Bake
20 minutes until cheese is lightly browned &
bubbly. (garnish top with parsley, if desired)
Serves 6


Lemon-Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

1/2 C. frozen lemonade concentrate,
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2/3 C. vegetable oil (do not us extra
1 T. poppy seeds

To the container of a blender add
lemonade concentrate and mustard;
pulse to blend. Add vegetable oil a
little at a time, slowly & in a steady
stream. (Takes about 60 seconds to
fully emulsify). Add poppy seeds &
pulse to combine. Refrigerate until
ready to use. Makes 1 Cup


Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

1 lb. chicken thighs
1 lb. early potatoes
juice & zest of 1/2 lemon (or to taste)
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 cloves garlic
1/4 C. olive oil
1/2 C. chicken broth

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large bowl mix lemon juice,
lemon zest, oregano, salt/pepper,
garlic & olive oil. Add chicken &
potatoes & toss to coat. Transfer
everything to a sheet pan with a
rim. Add chicken broth, cover with
foil & bake 20 minutes. Uncover &
continue baking at 390 degrees F.
for 25-35 minutes until chicken &
potatoes are done. (Optional:
place pan under broiler 3-5 minutes
until golden). Serves 2-3


Watermelon & Spinach Salad

1/4 C. white wine vinegar
1 T. grated lime peel
2 T. lime juice
2 T. canola oil
4 tsp.  minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper

4 C. fresh baby spinach or arugula
3 c. cubed/seedless watermelon
2 C. cubed cantaloupe
2 C. cubed English cucumber
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, chopped

In small bowl whisk dressing
ingredients together. Place all
salad ingredients in large bowl
& drizzle with dressing – toss to
coat & serve immediately.
Serves 8


TLC Barbecued Ribs
(oven and grill)

4-5 lb. pork baby back ribs
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 C. ketchup
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 C. firmly packed  light
brown sugar
2 T. white vinegar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. prepared yellow mustard

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
Place ribs, meat side up, in
large roasting pan. In small bowl
combine garlic powder, paprika,
salt/pepper – sprinkle on ribs then
tightly cover with foil. Roast 2 1/2
In medium bowl combine remaining
ingredients;  mix well & set aside.
Preheat grill to high heat. Brush
ribs with sauce & cook on grill until
sauce begins to caramelize. Cut into
individual ribs & serve with
remaining sauce. Serves 3


Spinach Dip-stuffed Meatballs

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1/4 C. cooked spinach
1 T. garlic powder
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 large egg
1/4 C. chopped parsley
1/2 C. Italian bread crumbs
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 C. marinara sauce
1/2 lb. cooked fettuccine or
your favorite pasta

Mix cream cheese, spinach, garlic powder
& mozzarella until smooth. Mix ground
beef, ground pork, egg, parsley, bread-
crumbs, salt/pepper until evenly combined.
Take a golf ball-sized handful of the meat
mixture & press it flat in palm of your hand.
Place a spoonful of the spinach dip in center
of meat & fold edges over the dip, sealing
it & rolling it into a ball – repeat with
rest of mixtures. In a skillet over medium-
high heat, sear meatballs about 1 minute,
flip to cook all sides. Add marinara & stir;
cooking about 15 minutes until meatballs
are thoroughly cooked & sauce is thick.
Serve over cooked pasta. (Makes 15-18


5-Ingredient Pie Crust Cookies
(4 hour or overnight recipe)

1 1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. butter, chilled
1/4 C. water
cinnamon & sugar mixture

Combine flour & salt in food processor.
Add butter in slices until mixture
resembles coarse crumbs. Add water,
1 T. at a time, until dough forms a ball.
Wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate 4
hours or overnight.

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Roll dough onto floured surface as thin
as you can get it. Cut off rounded edges
so you’re left with a square. Cut dough
into thin slices (1/8-1/4″). Pinch three
slices together at one end, using a
dab of water to help seal ends. Braid
the 3 pieces together until you reach
end of strips. Using your sealed end as
a base, wrap entire braid around that
base. Tuck braid under the cookie &
gently press flat in your hand. Repeat
with rest of dough strips; arrange
cookies on greased cookie sheet. Brush
each cookie with melted butter, then
sprinkle with cinn/sugar mixture. Bake
10 minutes until cookies are just starting
to brown. If you prefer crunchy cookies,
cook a few minutes longer.



Our weather has been great – still
in the 80/low 90’s but sunny; if
you were doing a picnic or going
to the beach it would be perfect
weather for that (me? I stay inside
in my nice air conditioning & knit or
read – Yep – I’m officially a GRANDMA!)

I presented the idea of knitting/crocheting
at the other historical society’s Ice Cream
Social to my group – so far only 2 other
people wish to join me, but that could
change as the date (July 30th) gets
closer – we’ll see. After reading all the
many things you can go see/do there,
I’m anxious to check out their gift shop &
Curiosity Sale (pretty neat title – sure
sounds intriguing!).

Just started another charity knit (Yes, I
hear you – ANOTHER ONE???). This one
caught my eye on Facebook – I’m thinking
this will be a one-time-thing for me, but
it’s knitting scarves for our service people.
The ‘neat’ thing is: they are only 4 inches
wide and 36 inches long – I can do that in
a few hours! I’ve done one and am about
a little over half way done with the second.
They ask for blues/browns/olives/grays/
maroon & black (no red/white/blue) – these
scarves are for service people when they are
OFF duty, more as a “We’re thinking of you”
type of thing. If you think you might be
interested, here’s their website:

Our weather has been great – still
in the 80/low 90’s but sunny; if
you were doing a picnic or going
to the beach it would be perfect
weather for that (me? I stay inside
in my nice air conditioning & knit or
read – Yep – I’m officially a GRANDMA!)

I presented the idea of knitting/crocheting
at the other historical society’s Ice Cream
Social to my group – so far only 2 other
people wish to join me, but that could
change as the date (July 30th) gets
closer – we’ll see. After reading all the
many things you can go see/do there,
I’m anxious to check out their gift shop &
Curiosity Sale (pretty neat title – sure
sounds intriguing!).

Just started another charity knit (Yes, I
hear you – ANOTHER ONE???). This one
caught my eye on Facebook – I’m thinking
this will be a one-time-thing for me, but
it’s knitting scarves for our service people.
The ‘neat’ thing is: they are only 4 inches
wide and 36 inches long – I can do that in
a few hours! I’ve done one and am about
a little over half way done with the second.
They ask for blues/browns/olives/grays/
maroon & black (no red/white/blue) – these
scarves are for service people when they are
OFF duty, more as a “We’re thinking of you”
type of thing. If you think you might be
interested, here’s their website:


Not much else new – we have a Sunday School

picnic to attend Saturday – I have NO idea what
to prepare food-wise! (We’re pretty much tired
of baked beans/potato salad & cole slaw here).
I signed up under the Salad category – who knows?
I have TONS of recipes at my disposal, just can’t
seem to wrap my mind around which to make!

Hope you’re having a great week so far!




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



Doin’ the Happy Dance!

dancing woman

A few years ago I bought a Big & Tall Office chair for my husband; a few months ago one of the arms on the chair just up and broke off! You could see, looking at the cut off part, where there had been a fault in the pouring of the plastic which probably caused the break. Husband was non-plussed about it – “It’s OK, I don’t really need both armrests.” I was thinking “I paid over $200 for that chair, we should take it in!” When we were in Office Depot/Office Max awhile ago one of the guys there accessed my account and said: “Your guarantee is still good!” (Husband still – “Don’t bother” – UGH!) Today I looked at the wear on the one good arm and said: “You know, we could STILL take it in” – got him to thinking about it. I wasn’t really sure just when I bought it or whether the warrantee was still in effect so I set to checking – YES! SUCCESS! I bought it sometime in December, 2012 and it was a 3 year (extra purchase) warrantee so I just relayed that information to husband and he replied: “Fine – we’ll take it in tomorrow!” YES!!! My thoughts were: “Why keep a broken armed chair that could be replaced with an entirely NEW one, especially since that’s WHY I bought the extra coverage!!!? (Now hoping that it doesn’t snow a lot tomorrow which might make him decide not to go – sigh).

Speaking of that ‘white stuff’, we got a small amount of snow last night. It was sort of light snowing today, but still nothing significant enough to make me not want to drive in it.


Apple Spice Cookies

3 medium apples
2 1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 C. brown sugar
1 T. apple pie spice*
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 C. milk
1 egg
1/2 C. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 C. total of any of the

* Apple Pie Spice
Make your own:

2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Peel & dice apples finely; set aside.
In large bowl of hand (or stand) mixer
combine butter, sugar & milk; mix until
smooth. Add egg & mix. In separate
bowl, combine flour, apple pie spice,
cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda & salt.
Add flour, a little at a time, to wet
ingredients until fully incorporated; mix
in vanilla. Fold in diced apples & any
optional ingredients at this time. Scoop
dough by heaping tablespoons onto baking
sheets lightly sprayed with nonstick spray
or covered in parchment paper. Bake
10-12 minutes until tops are golden brown.
Remove from oven & allow to cool
completely before storing in an airtight


Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

2 T. oil
1 C. chopped onion
2 small celery stalks, chopped
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb),
peeled & cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
3 C. vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. fresh thyme (more for garnish)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
cubed apples – garnish

In Dutch oven saute celery  onion in
oil until tender; add remaining
ingredients (except apples) & bring to
boil over medium heat. Reduce heat &
keep soup at a simmer 25-30 minutes,
until potatoes are tender. Discard bay
leaf & cinnamon stick. Cool soup
slightly then process in a blender or
food processor in small batches until
smooth. Return to a pot & heat through.
Serve in bowls with garnish. Serves 4


Cheesy Beer Smokies
(Crockpot Appetizers)

1 (14.5 oz) jar cheese sauce
1/2 C. beer
1-2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
2 (14 oz, ea) pkgs. Lit’l smokies

Combine cheese sauce, beer &
tabasco sauce in crockpot until
combined. Add smokies & stir
until coated. Heat on Low 3-4
hours, stirring occasionally until
heated through. Serves 8

Shredded Potato Casserole

1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 C. sour cream
1/2 C. milk
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. butter, melted/divided
1 (30 oz) pkg. frozen shredded hash browns,
1 C. Rice Krispies
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, combine soup, sour cream,
milk, Chedd. cheese & butter; stir in hash
Grease a 9 X 13 pan; pour mixture into
pan & spread evenly. Combine Rice
Krispies, Parm. cheese & remaining
butter; sprinkle over top of mixture.
Bake, uncovered, 50-60 minutes.
Serves 8.


Lemon Chicken & Rice with
Roasted Corn

1/4 C. olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 C. dry white wine (or water)
zest from 2 lemons (2 T.)
juice from 1 lemon
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves,
sea salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
4 boneless chicken breasts,
skin on
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
2 C. white rice, cooked
1 C. roasted corn

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Warm olive oil in small saucepan
over medium-low heat; add garlic &
cook 1 minute but don’t let it turn
brown. Remove from heat & add
white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice
oregano, thyme & salt; pour into a
baking dish. Pat chicken breasts dry
with a paper towel & place them,
skin side up in wine sauce. Brush
them with olive oil & season with
salt/pepper. Tuck the lemon wedges
inside & around the pieces of
chicken. Bake 30-40 minutes or until
the chicken is done & skin is lightly
browned. If the chicken isn’t browned
enough, place under broiler 2 minutes.
Cover pan tightly with foil & allow to
rest 10 minutes. Serve with the juice
from the dish & a side of white rice
& roasted corn. Serves 4


Cranberry-Orange Cheese Ball

A Sweet/Tart ball

(overnight recipe)

1 C. dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 C. frozen orange juice concentrate,
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. confectioners sugar

Caramelized pecans:
3/4 C. pecans, coarsely chopped
1 T. butter
2 T. sugar

In food processor add cream cheese,
OJ and sugar; blend until smooth. Place
a sheet of waxed paper on counter &
place cream cheese mixture on paper.
Shape mixture into a ball the best you
can. Refrigerate and let mixture set
overnight to stiffen up a bit; you can
shape it better the next day when
it’s a little harder.
Candied Pecans:
Melt butter in a pan on medium heat;
add pecans & sugar – mix well, stirring
frequently, about 3-5 minutes. Do not
let them burn! Lay out a sheet of waxed
paper on surface and place nuts on sheet,
spreading them out. Let them cool.
When you are ready to serve cheese
Remove from refrigerator & shape better.
Take pecans with your hands and press
them onto the cheeseball until covered.
Place on a serving plate & serve.


Easy Creamy Spinach Bake

1 stick butter
8 T. flour
1/2 onion, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 C. milk
salt & pepper, to taste
1 pinch ground nutmeg
3 T. butter
24 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 C. French Fried onions

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Melt 1 stick butter in a pot; sprinkle
in flour & whisk together; cook over
medium heat 5 minutes or until
light golden brown. Add onion & garlic;
stir, cooking 1 more minute. Add milk,
whisking constantly; cook 5 minutes
more. In separate pot, melt 3 T.
butter; add spinach in batches until
all are incorporated. Cook until wilted,
but not soggy, about 4-5 minutes.
Season cream sauce with salt/pepper/
nutmeg; add spinach to cream sauce,
stirring gently to combine. Pour mixture
into a 9″ X 9″ pan; spread out & top
with French Fried onions. Bake 20


“Jiffy” Cornbread Casserole

1 (17 oz) can whole corn, drained
1 (17 oz) can creamed corn, drained
1 C. sour cream
1/2 C. margarine, melted
1 (8.5 oz) box Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
2 eggs

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients in large
bowl; mix thoroughly. Pour into
a 2 qt. greased casserole d ish.
Bake 1 hour 40 minutes.

Note: if you’d like added ‘zing’:
add prepared green or hot
chilies to mixture


Cream Cheese/Pimiento-
stuffed Celery

celery stalks
3 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1 to 1 1/2 T. diced pimientos

Clean & cut celery stalks into 3-4″
pieces. In small bowl stir together
cream cheese & pimientos. Fill
celery with cheese mixture. Serve,
refrigerate leftovers.


2 Ingredient Pumpkin Cake
w/Apple Cider Glaze

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
3 T. apple cider
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place dry cake mix & pumpkin
puree in large bowl; using elec.
mixer, beat until well incorporated.
(batter will be very thick). Pour
into a greased 7″ X 11″ x 2″ pan.
(this is a small rectangular pan)
Bake 28 minutes until a toothpick
inserted into center comes out
clean. Do not overbake. Let cool
5-10 minutes in pan, then flip out
onto a platter.
Combine glaze ingredients in a bowl;
it will be thick but pourable. Add more
sugar or cider if needed. Pour over cake
while still warm. Reserve some to pour
over each slice when serving. Serve
warm or at room temperature.


Nothing much new around here;
started another men’s loomed hat
for the homeless shelter. Checked on
the website for the other knit group &
discovered they’re not meeting in
December – darn! I was kind of hurrying
up to get more things made to give them.
Oh well, there’s always another time, eh?

Stay warm, rest & relax when you can;
try to ENJOY yourself, at least once a
day! (for example: husband had a routine
doctor’s check up today and he came home
with Tubby’s Philly Steak & cheese (plus
mushrooms) sandwiches for us! YES! The
other ‘good’ thing is: I can’t eat a whole
12″ sub in one sitting, so I just finished
the other half for my dinner! Bonus! My
tummy is super full and I’m happily
writing to you!



Monday Mutterings


Really nice Fall day here – 57 degrees F., somewhat sunny; spent the early part of the day running around shopping. Our local Sears store will be closing (I think, in December) so I stopped in there; happily discovered that a lot of their clothing was 50% off! I visited there last week but really wasn’t thinking straight and came out with nothing. Later in the week I thought: “Wait! CHRISTMAS!” so today I very happily scored flannel pajama bottoms for both younger sons, socks, a polo shirt for middle son and a flannel shirt for youngest – score! Then I traipsed over to the perfume/jewelry aisle and bought myself a Christmas present: a $20 perfume box (perfume/body lotion & dusting powder) for $10, and a nice pair of cubic zirconium earrings for $8! This girl was HAPPY leaving Sears today! Went to Office Max and bought printer cartridges then took advantage of their “Get a $10 gift card for over $59 in HP ink purchases” – another score! Finished up with grocery shopping; I don’t know about you, but every once in awhile I tend to draw a complete blank when it comes to what I’m going to cook for the week – same here, today. Oh well – we won’t starve.

Our gas prices are down to $2.96/9 (they went up to $3.09/9) for a few days – glad they’re coming down again!


Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

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

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


Butternut Squash Lasagna

3 lb. butternut squash peeled/
seeded/ cut into 1/4 -1/2″ thick slices
3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 C. milk
1 T. snipped fresh rosemary
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 1/3 C. finely shredded Parmesan
cheese (5 1/2 oz)
1 C. whipping cream

Preheat oven 425 degrees. Lightly grease
a 15 X 10 X 1″ baking pan. Place squash
in pan; add oil & 1/2 tsp. salt – toss gently
to coat then spread in an even layer. Roast,
uncovered, 25-30 minutes until squash is
tender, stirring once. reduce temp. to
375 degrees F.
In large sauce pan, heat butter over medium
heat; add garlic, cook & stir 1 minute. Stir in
flour & 1/2 tsp. salt. Gradually stir in milk.
Cook & stir until thickened & bubbly. Stir in
squash & rosemary. Lightly grease a 9 X 13
pan or 3 qt. rectangular casserole dish. Spread
about 1 C. sauce into prepared dish. Layer 3
of the noodles in dish; spread with 1/3rd
remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 C. Parm.
cheese. Repeat layering: noodles, sauce, Parm.
cheese two more times. Pour whipping cream
evenly over layers in dish then sprinkle with
remaining 1/3 C. Parmesan cheese. Cover with
foil & bake 40 minutes. Uncover & bake 10
minutes longer until edges are bubbly & top
is lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before
serving. Serves 8-10


Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Sweet Peppers

28 mini sweet peppers
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. hot sauce
2 T. powdered Ranch salad dressing
28 strips bacon
(wooden toothpicks)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat cream cheese until smooth; add
hot sauce & powdered Ranch dressing
mix; mix until well blended. Cut sweet
peppers in half lengthwise (scoop out
seeds) fill with cream cheese mixture.
Wrap each pepper with a piece of
bacon & secure with a wooden
toothpick. Bake 25-30 minutes on
broiler pan. Remove toothpicks &
serve immediately. Makes 28


Crockpot Italian Chicken

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cans cream of mushroom or chicken
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 envelopes dry Italian salad dressing
1 pkg. extra wide egg noodles

Place chicken in crockpot. Pour dry
dressing mix over chicken. In small bowl
cream together soup & cream cheese;
pour over chicken. Cook on Low 4-6
hours. Boil noodles; drain & serve with
chicken. Serves 4


Easy Overnight Ham & Cheese Caserole

1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped
spinach, thawed
4 eggs
2 C. milk
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 (20 oz) ham steak, diced
3 c. shredded sharp Cheddar
cheese, divided
2 medium carrots, grated
2 medium turnips, grated
1 (20 oz) pkg. refrigerated
shredded potatoes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick
spray. Place spinach in a mesh
strainer & squeeze out as much
water as possible; set aside. In
large bowl beat eggs with milk,
mayonnaise, mustard, salt/pepper
& onion powder until smooth. Stir in
squeezed spinach, ham, 2 C. cheese,
carrots, turnips & potatoes. Spoon
mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle
remaining 1 C. cheese over top.*
Bake 45-60 minutes or until puffed
& golden and a knife inserted into
the center comes out clean. Serve
warm. Makes 12 servings.

*At this point the casserole can be
covered & refrigerated for up to
1 day


Baked Pears w/Walnuts & Honey

2 large ripe pears
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. honey
1/4 C. crushed walnuts
(optional): yogurt or frozen yogurt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cut pears in half (top to bottom) &
place on a baking sheet. (you can
also cut a small sliver off of the outside
skin to make them sit flat). Using a
measuring spoon or melon baller,
scoop out seeds. Sprinkle cut sides
with cinnamon, top with nuts &
drizzle 1/2 tsp. honey over each.
Bake 30 minutes. Remove, cool &
eat. Serves 4


3-Ingredient Chicken & Gravy

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken
thighs (frozen is OK)
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 (13.75 oz) can cream of
mushroom soup

Cooked rice, noodles
or mashed potatoes

Place chicken thighs in bottom
of crockpot; sprinkle onion soup
mix on top. Spoon soup over
chicken. Cover & cook on Low
4-6 hours. Remove lid, shred
chicken. Serve chicken & gravy
over rice, noodles or mashed
potatoes. Serves 4

(recipe: 365daysofcrockpot.
Green Chili Cheesy Rice Bake

1 lb. ground beef or turkey sausage
2 C. cooked rice
1 1/2 C. salsa or picante sauce
2 (4 oz, ea) cans green chiles
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

In large skillet brown sausage over medium-
high heat; drain. Add in cooked rice, salsa &
green chiles; stir & heat up rice & salsa. When
heated through sprinkle cheese on top &
serve when melted. Serves 6

NOTE: You can also pour mixture into a baking
dish (8 X 11), sprinkle cheese on top & bake
400 degrees F. 10 minutes, then serve.


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!


Pepperoni-cheesestick Roll Ups

1 (8 oz) pkg. refrigerated crescent
foll dough
4 cheese sticks, halved
1 (3.5 oz) pkg. sliced pepperoni
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

(optional: marinara or ranch sauce
for dipping)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Take each crescent dough triangle &
place about 6 pepperoni on bottom
of triangle (wide end). Place 1 half-
cheese stick on top & roll up. Place,
seam side down, on a cookie sheet;
repeat using all dough. Bake 10-15
minutes until golden brown. While
cooking, combine melted butter,
Italian seasonings, garlic powder &
cheese in small bowl. Remove baked
triangles from oven; brush with garlic
mixture. Serve with marinara or ranch
for dipping.


Craft-wise I’m back ‘at it’ with my ‘wanting to
make all things for all charities’ – to my chagrin.
(I know, by now, you are probably getting tired
of me repeating this, I’m guessing it’s my
Type A personality – wanting to please all
people all the time). I finished the easy-stitch
white scarf (see photo below) and wanted to
make another scarf. Since the white scarf was
too thin for a homeless person, it’s going to
the Historical Society for their December
sale. I remembered I had another bright red
(but rather thin) fuzzy yarn, so I thought I’d pair
up the thin/white with the thin/red – that was
a disaster – ended up ripping that out after
about a foot of knitting (You couldn’t see the
variation in the two colors – it just sort of
blobbed together!). Remembering I had more
red, I tried putting two strands of red together –
you guessed it – another disaster! I went up
to size 11 needles (those are rather big); still
ended up with the yarn tangling (too many
fuzzies) AND it was difficult/hard on my
wrists to knit. After about a foot knitted I
said to myself: “Do you REALLY want to
struggle through a good week of knitting
LIKE THIS???” (answer: Heck NO!) so I ripped
that out, too. Feeling totally frustrated and
a tad sorry for myself, I grabbed my ‘old
faithfulls’ – my needles used for knitting
baby hats and knit up a white & (thin)
red baby hat – that did the trick in
satisfying my need to create! Think I’ve
decided, for now, to stick to knitting
children’s sized hats for the homeless
and maybe looming adult hats. Don’t
know if you remember my posting a
photo of what’s called “Broomstick
Lace” a few months ago; I saw a
video on YouTube on how to do it
(I had done it a good 30+ years ago).
When shopping the other day I got
a great buy on a Red Heart Super
Saver skein of yarn for $2.99 in
BRIGHT yellow – I grabbed that and
set off to make a child’s scarf in
Broomstick Lace. I’d forgotten just
how quickly this goes (it IS a bit
of a difficult maneuver using this
HUGE plastic knitting needle and a
crochet hook, but once you get the
hang of it, it’s not too bad (done in
short time spurts, of course!). I’ve got
about 3 feet done now and will
probably finish it soon. (now I don’t
feel quite so clumsy/awkward doing
it). Ah, the things I do for crafts – eh?


Hope you’re having a great day – just looked
at our weather forecast for the rest of this
week (not sure if you’ve heard that the Arctic
Blast is coming our way). Here’s what’s to
be coming for Michigan:

Tues 70% chance showers, high 67
Weds rain & snow likely
Weds flurries, high 35
Thurs. 60% chance of snow high 34

Oh, goody, right? Ah, weather –
what can ya do? For those of us who
grew up in Michigan, you just kind of
learn – if it’s Michigan – it’s gonna be
COLD in winter!

Have a great day!



Election Day!


Early today my husband, grandson & I visited the polling booths and voted. (Grandson got a “I voted” sticker and some candy – nice touch!). Even if I don’t fully understand all the various views on all the candidates, I still feel it is very necessary to exercise my right to vote.

Our weather is still holding at ‘Fall’ – in the 50’s, rather overcast and possible scattered rain – but as long as it’s not the ‘white stuff’, I’m good.

Not much going on this week – still knitting the white, fluffy ladie’s scarf (really easy pattern) but kind of wanted to do something ‘else’ – then I spotted the loomed hat I made my husband several years ago and a light went off! I have two skeins of dark blue really fuzzy yarn that just does NOT want to be knit (I attempted using it for a scarf but the fuzzies kept twining together and making it VERY hard to separate the stitches, so I gave up). I have a large, adult-sized hat loom and paired that yarn with a cream worsted weight yarn – working just fine! I like the look & weight of the loomed hats, but using the loom and the little crochet hook-like tool make my hands ache something awful. I’m thinking maybe a loomed hat every few days, just to give my hands a rest. I have lots of worsted weight yarns that can be used for this project. Saturday I had the privilege (already posted) of helping out the ‘other’ knit group with tagging & packing their hats/scarves/mittens and that got me to thinking: I noticed LOTS of scarves, some mittens but not a lot of MEN’S hats (lots of womens/girls) – so I think that’s where I’ll focus for awhile. I like doing scarves, but actually looming hats goes much quicker (hence MORE items done to donate!). We’ll see how this goes. I’m just so grateful that the Lord allows me to have the health and experience to be able to use my crafting to benefit others who are in need.


Swiss & Bacon Dip

8 slices bacon, chopped
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 rounded tsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 C. shredded Swiss cheese
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 C. smoked almonds, coarsely
baby carrots, sliced celery, crackers,
cocktail-sized breads

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Brown bacon in skillet over medium-
high heat; drain grease, place bacon
on paper towels. In mixing bowl combine
cream cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon, Swiss
cheese & scallions with cooked bacon;
mix then transfer for a shallow baking
dish. Bake until golden & bubbly at
edges, 15-18 minutes. Top with smoked
almonds & place on a platter with
dippers. Serves 6

Variation: stir in 2 rounded tsp. prepared
horseradish when combining cheese &


Kielbasa Pasta Casserole

1 (16 oz) pkg. dry ziti pasta
1 lb. polish sausage cut into bite-
sized pieces
3 (14.5 oz, ea) cans Italian-style
stewed tomatoes
3 (8 oz, ea) cans tomato sauce
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 C. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 C. Italian bread crumbs
8 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Boil large pot of salted water; cook
pasta 8-10 minutes until al dente;
drain. In medium skillet over medium-
high heat, cook sausage in oil until
browned, about 5 minutes. In large
bowl, combine cooked ziti, sausage,
stewed tomatoes, sauce, oregano,
parsley & pepper; mix well. Pour into
greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Sprinkle
top with bread crumbs & top with
cheese. Cover with foil & bake 30
minutes. Remove foil & bake 10-15
minutes more until golden brown.
Serves 8

(recipe: Thelma –

Creamy Squash Soup

2 (10 oz, ea) pkgs. frozen pureed winter
1/4 C. margarine
1 C. unsweetened applesauce
1 (14 oz) can vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. onion salt
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 C. Half & Half

Cook squash in microwave accordg.
to pkg. directions. Melt marg. in
large saucepan over medium-high
heat. Add squash, applesauce, broth,
onion salt, sage & pepper; stir to
combine. Bring mixture to boil, reduce
heat & simmer 10-15 minutes until
mixture thickens slightly, stirring
occasionally. Stir in Half & Half, simmer
over Low heat 1-2 minutes more.
Serves 4 (1 1/4 C. each)


Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon-
Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (2 layer) box spice cake mix
1 C. sour cream
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/4 C. oil
3 eggs
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (16 oz) pkg. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat first 5 ingredients with elec.
mixer until blended; spoon into
24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake
20-22 minutes or until toothpick
inserted into center comes out
clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes;
remove from pans & cool
Beat cream cheese, butter & vanilla
in large bowl using mixer until blended.
Gradually beat in sugar; blend in
cinnamon & spread over cupcakes.
Makes 24.

(recipe: Kraft Foods)

Farm Fresh Vegetable Gratin

1/3 C. Caesar or Italian salad dressing
2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise
into 1/4″ thick slices
2 medium yellow summer squash
cut lengthwise into 1/4″ thick slices
2 red or yellow bell peppers(or one
of each) quartered, lengthwise
4 (1/4″) slices sweet or yellow onion
1 3/4 C. shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 C. breadcrumbs
1 T. chopped fresh or 1 tsp. dried
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Prepare grill or preheat broiler
Brush salad dressing on all sides of
vegetables. Grill or broil, 8-10 minutes,
turning once, until vegetables are
browned &crisp-tender. In medium
bowl, combine cheese, breadcrumbs,
rosemary & pepper; mix well. Grease or
spray an 8 or 9 ” baking dish with non-
stick spray (or 1 1/2 qt. shallow casserole
dish). Cut squash & bell peppers into
chunks; separate onion slices into rings.
Layer half of grilled squash, pepper &
onions in dish. Sprinkle half of cheese
mixture over vegetables. Repeat layering
with remaining vegetables & cheese
mixture. Bake 20-22 minutes or until
cheese has melted & crumbs are golden
brown. Serves 8 (as a side dish)


Crockpot Cinnamon Applesauce

4 lb. apples, peeled/cored/sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 T. cinnamon
1 C. water
2 T. sugar, or to taste

Place apples in crockpot; add cinnamon &
sticks. Cook on High 4 hours. Stir after 2
hours. Applesauce will be done when it has
little or no chunks. Remove cinnamon
sticks & add sugar, to taste.

NOTE: this is not a canning recipe: eat,
refrigerate or freeze


Curried Vegetable Stew

1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen cauliflower florets
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 (14.5 oz) can (Hunts) Fire-roasted
diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans,
drained & rinsed
3/4 C. canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 C. water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. frozen green peas

Cooked rice or couscous

Place cauliflower in covered microwave-
save container & microwave on High
8 minutes or until tender, stirring after
4 minutes. Cut or break large florets
into smaller pieces. Place curry powder
& cumin in large nonstick skillet & heat
over medium heat just until fragrant.
Add undrained tomatoes, beans,
pumpkin & water; bring to boil over
medium-high heat. Add cooked
cauliflower & salt. Reduce heat to
medium; simmer 15 minutes, stirring
in peas the last 5 minutes. Serve
over cooked rice or couscous.
Serves 4 (1 1/2 C. each)


Smothered Swiss Steak

2 tsp. cooking oil
1 1/2 lb. boneless beef top round steak
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, thinly
1 carrot, shredded
1 (4 oz) can mushrooms (pieces & stems)
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat
until hot. Sprinkle steak with salt & pepper; place
steak in skillet. Cook 4-6 minutes per side or until
well browned. In 3 1/2 – 4 qt. crockpot combine
onion, carrot & mushrooms; stir well. Cut browned
steak into 4 pieces; place in crockpot over vegetables.
In same skillet, combine soup & tomato sauce; mix well
then pour over beef. Cover & cook on Low 8-10 hours
or High 4-5 hours. Stir sauce well before serving over beef.
Serves 4

(recipe: Pillsbury)

Easy Taco Beef Rigatoni

1 lb. ground beef
4 oz. taco blend shredded cheese
8 oz sour cream & onion dressing*
1 lb. rigatoni
1 C. salsa
about 2 tsp. taco seasoning mix

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Boil pasta accordg. to pkg. directions.
Brown ground beef; drain grease.
Drain pasta, return to pot. Add
sour cream/onion dressing to pasta &
mix. Add 2 oz. shredded cheese to pot;
mix well. Add ground beef; mix well. Spray
a large casserole dish with nonstick spray;
add casserole mixture to dish. Top with
remaining cheese; bake 20 minutes or until
cheese is melted.

*Poster used sour cream DIP or sour cream
with 1 pkt. onion soup mix combined


Pumpkin Pie Crunch

1 (15.5 oz) can solid pack pumpkin
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 box Yellow cake mix
1 C. butter or margarine, melted
1 C. chopped pecans

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour 9 X 13″ pan.
Mix pumpkin, evap. milk, eggs,
sugar, pumpkin pie spice & salt
in large bowl; stir well. Pour
mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle
dry cake mix evenly over top &
drizzle with melted butter. Bake
25 minutes. Remove from oven &
sprinkle top with chopped nuts.
Tightly cover with aluminum foil &
bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool
completely. Cut into squares.

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe

Yesterday I went grocery shopping at Meijers and
saw something that surprised me: they had (almost)
the exact copy of the knitted coffee mug wraps I
posted & made a week ago! They were commercially
made (of course) but other than being thinner yarns,
they were pretty much the same as mine! They were
selling them for $6.99 (and my mugs were bigger!).
Guess that really IS a new crafting craze, eh?

Hope you are staying safe & warm now that we’re into
colder weather. While working on the loomed hats I
had a good discussion with my 8 yr old grandson about
what it means to be homeless. No, I didn’t try to scare him,
but just make him aware that we are not ALL blessed
with a house/place to live, food when we’re hungry, a
place to keep clean/brush your teeth, have deodorant, etc.
He did say that perhaps they could jump in a lake if they
needed to get clean – it’s a thought (but doesn’t work in
this cold weather).  We are truly blessed to have those
things we need as well as some of the things we WANT.
Have a great day;



Great Time Yesterday!


(we were at a sports bar – hence the ‘decorations’)

This is just part of the people at the “All Operator Reunion” – some of the people I & my husband worked with at Michigan Bell/AT&T (I’m second row far left/rust colored shirt & glasses, my husband is top row -right end, only guy!). I would guess we had something like 30 people there – nice lunch, great company. You’ve heard me mention my dear friend Mary/Momma before – she was my boss for many years when we both worked all nights (and then, later, when we both transferred to a different office) – she came (a good 1 1/2 hour drive from her house) – here she’s chatting with another friend – she’s on the left:


We’ve been friends for 45 years now – (my husband is in the background in this photo – just noticed!). We all had a nice time catching up – can’t wait for next year’s reunion!

Saturday also found me with the other knit group, helping out. They had collected 300+ knit/crocheted hats/scarves/mittens for the four homeless/warming shelters in our area and some of her group gathered together to put little tags on each item and also to wind yarn into balls. It was a fun time for me getting to meet more of her group (they only meet for 2 hours once a month). The time flew by, we got everything done in 1 1/2 hours! So many nice/lovely hand made items – very nice to see all the work done. I’ve started another scarf for them, this time it’s a thinner white fuzzy yarn done in a very simple pattern. Also working on some bigger baby hats – there was only one tiny baby hat in her collection, so I thought I could ‘beef that up’ a little and make some more. It’s a great group with a great mission: keeping the homeless warm this winter!


Crockpot Pumpkin Pie Dump Cake

1 C. granulated sugar
2 (15 oz, ea) cans pumpkin puree
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (18.25 oz) box white or yellow cake mix
1/2 C. butter

vanilla ice cream

Combine sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice
& salt in bottom of crockpot; stir. In separate
bowl combine cake mix (dry) & butter. Using a
fork or pastry blender, cut butter into cake mix
until butter is pea-sized & cake mix is crumbly.
Sprinkle mixture on top of pumpkin puree in
crockpot. Sprinkle cinnamon on top & place a
double layer of paper towels on top of crockpot
(Under lid). Put lid on & make sure it is secure.
(Paper towels will prevent condensation from
dripping onto cake). Cook on Low 3-4 hours or
High 90 minutes – 2 hours. Remove lid & turn
on Warm. Let set on Warm 20-30 minutes then
serve with vanilla ice cream. Makes 8-10

(recipe: 365

Green Bean/Corn Casserole

1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of celery soup
1 C. sour cream
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans French style
green beans
2 C. thawed frozen corn
1/4 C. crushed cheese crackers
butter flavored spray

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine soup, sour
cream, cheese & onion; mix in
corn & beans. Transfer to 2 qt.
baking dish sprayed with nonstick
spray. Cover & bake 25 minutes.
Uncover & sprinkle crushed crackers
around outside edges of pan; spritz
crackers with butter flavored spray;
bake 15 minutes more. Serves 8


Sweet & Sour Sesame Chicken

10 oz. raw boneless skinless chicken
breast, cut into nuggets
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 egg
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. chicken broth
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. pancake syrup
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. ketchup
1/2 T. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tsp. sesame seeds
2 T. thinly sliced scallions
(red pepper flakes – optional)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Place chicken in large bowl; season with
salt & pepper; add egg, mix well to coat.
Pour flour in a wide bowl. One at a time,
add nuggets to egg mixture; shake to
remove excess then dip into flour –
coating thoroughly. Evenly lay nuggets
on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes until
chicken is cooked through.

Combine broth with cornstarch in a nonstick
skillet; whisk to dissolve. Heat pan to Medium-
Low; add syrup, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce,
sesame oil & garlic; mix well. Cook & stir until
thick enough to coat a spoon, 2-3 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat; add chicken & toss
to coat. Plate chicken & sprinkle with sesame
seeds & scallions. (and red pepper flakes, if using).
Makes 2 servings.


Garlic Shrimp Tortellini Toss

1 (19 oz) frozen cheese tortellini,
1 1/2 C. peas
2 T. olive oil
1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp,
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2/ tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper

Prepare tortellini accordg to pkg.
directions. During last 5 minutes
of cooking, add peas; drain. While
tortellini is cooking, heat olive
oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Add shrimp; cook 2
minutes. Add garlic & cook
another 2 minutes until shrimp
turn pink. Add tortellini mixture
to skillet; stir in seasonings &
toss to coat. Serves 4


Bacon-Double Cheese Dip

8 slices bacon, chopped/cooked
2 (8 oz, ea) cream cheese, softened
1 C. mayonnaise or Plain Greek yogurt
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. shredded cheese
(your choice, poster used Swiss &
sharp Cheddar)
2 green onions, finely chopped

Beat together cream cheese &
mayonnaise (or yogurt). Stir in
shredded cheeses; add remaining
ingredients, reserving a little bit
of bacon for topping. Cover &
cook on Low 3 hours until hot &
smooth. Garnish with reserved
bacon. Serve with chips and/or
crackers. Serves 10-12


Crockpot Pepper Steak

1 to 1 1/2 lb. beef round steak, cut into
bite sized pieces
1/3 C. flour
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 onion, sliced
1 green and/or red bell pepper, clied
1 (14.5 oz) can Red Gold diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
3 T. soy sauce

Hot, cooked rice (recipe serves 4-6)

Place meat in crockpot & sprinkle with
flour & pepper. Stir well to coat then add
rest of ingredients (except rice). Cover &
cook on High 1 hour. Reduce heat to Low
& continue cooking another 8 hours.
Serve over hot rice. Serves 4-6


Poor Man’s Philly Beef & Cheese

2 lb. ground beef
2 pkgs. onion soup mix
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. butter
1 onion, sliced
8 small sweet peppers or
2 large bell peppers, sliced
6 slices provolone cheese
8 crusty dinner rolls

Cook ground beef in large skillet;
drain grease. Add onion soup mix,
Worsc. sauce & stir. In another deep
skillet over medium-high heat. Add
2 T. butter, dash salt & peppers; cook
until golden & wilted, stirring
occasionally. Once meat has browned,
take 6 slices provolone cheese & lay
over top of meat. Turn off heat & cover
with lid; once cheese has melted, remove
pan from stove. Slice buns in half & spoon
some of the cheese/meat mixture onto the
buns; cover with some sauteed peppers/
onions mixture & serve. Makes 8 sandwiches.


Sauerkraut/Potato Casserole

8-10 medium potatoes
1 large bag or can sauerkraut, drained
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 C. sour cream
1 can sausage links

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook potatoes, then peel & slice medium
thick. Place a layer of potatoes in bottom
of 9 X 13 pan. Slice sausage into 1/4 – 1/2
inch thickness. Place half in single layer
over potatoes. Mix together sauerkraut,
soup & sour cream; spread half over
potatoes/sausages. Repeat with another
layer of potatoes/sausages & kraut
mixture. Bake 30-40 minutes, until hot.
Serves 4-6



3 cups sugar…
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 pinch salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 quart pecans

Combine sugar, buttermilk, corn syrup and salt
in a very large pan (it will foam considerably when
soda is added), and bring to a nice rolling boil.
Add soda, stir and cook until soft-ball is formed when
dropped in cold water. Then remove from heat and
add vanilla. Beat until color changes and candy thickens.
Stir in pecans. Drop by teaspoons onto greased cookie
sheet. (DO IT FAST before the candy hardens).

(recipe: Facebook)

Rustic Tuscan Soup

1 loaf Italian bread (18 inch) cut into
1″ pieces
1 T. olive oil
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese,
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 (15 oz, ea) cans cannellini beans,
2 (14.5 oz., ea) cans diced tomatoes,
2 (14.5 oz ea) cans chicken broth
6 C. loosely packed fresh chopped kale

Preheat oven 400
degrees F.
Spread bread onto baking sheet; drizzle
cut sides with oil; sprinkle with 1 T. Parm.
cheese & crushed pepper; bake 10 minutes.
Cook & stir bacon in large saucepan on
medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon
from pan with slotted spoon; drain on
paper towels. Discard all but 1 T. bacon
drippings from pan; add onions & cook,
stirring, 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Return bacon to pan along with beans,
tomatoes, broth & 1/4 C. remaining cheese;
stir. Simmer on medium-low heat 20 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Add kale & cook 10
minutes longer. Serve soup topped with
Italian bread croutons & remaining cheese.
Makes 10 (1 C.) servings.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

3 Ingredient Peach Cobbler

6 large peaches, peeled & sliced
1 box white cake mix (unprepared)
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, softened

Place sliced peaches in bottom of
crockpot. Cut butter into cake mix
with a pastry blender until crumbly;
sprinkle over peaches. Place a paper
towel (or dish towel) over top of
crockpot & place lid on top. Cook on
High 2-3 hours or Low 4 hours. Remove
towel & serve.

Great with vanilla ice cream!
Makes 8 servings


Our gas prices (happily) are staying the same:
$2.99/9 – YAY!

Our weather has turned a typical Michigan
Fall – clear and about 45 degrees F. right now
at 2:30 p.m. When we left for church this
morning at around 8:40 a.m. it was a ‘balmy’
29 degrees! I’ve heard, from friends, that it
actually snowed a bit on Halloween – I wouldn’t
know, we don’t ‘go out’ and because we live on
a major highway, there are no trick or treaters, so
we both just read or watched tv (totally oblivious
to any ‘white stuff’ that might have fallen from
the sky – must have been very little because it
was gone by morning – YAY!

Stay warm, enjoy your day –



PS: This is now my 1,001 st post! (WordPress keeps track for me)


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!!!



Happy Monday!


Even though it’s lightly raining outside, I’m all ready for a GREAT day! Yesterday, being Sunday & church, I didn’t get much sleep so last night (after I fell asleep ‘watching tv’) I decided to go to bed early (for me). Early for me was 10 p.m. (I usually go around 1-1: 30 a.m.). That being said, I woke up FULLY at 4 a.m.! (I usually only require 6 hours sleep) – Great – 4 a.m., NOW WHAT!? Well I sat there for a good half hour before deciding to get up, go in the other room so as not to wake my husband, and knit or read. Did both for about an hour and then decided to get some coffee & toast with peanut butter & raspberry jelly. Having perused all of my regular ‘haunts’ on both my emails, Facebook and “Lumosity” (a brain strengthening site) I’m now UP with you, writing this blog entry! It’s 4 minutes after EIGHT and I’m ready to tackle the world! At noon I’m going out to lunch with my two friends from High School (we’re also in the same Sunday School class at church) – we try to get together about every 3-4 months; we’re all about the same age and mind set, so it’s a nice ‘girl’s time out’ for all of us.

Not much new going on; middle son stopped by after working his first shift with older brother in the kitchen; he did both prep work and dishwashing and came home beaming! He said he’s SO happy to be just working WITHOUT any paperwork to follow, fill out and file/fax in, that he’d do dishwashing every day, if asked! “Clock in, work, Clock out – GREAT!” (WE’RE just glad he’s back to WORKING!) Youngest son got through his double shift at the two pizza locations – now that he has a vehicle, they’re really using him to their advantage (and HIS paychecks)!

How are your gas prices lately? When driving home from church last night I noticed my favorite place (Clark) had their lowest gas at $3.21/9 . . .  WOW! Who would have guessed, earlier this year, that we’d get that low? (Don’t quote me, but I’m guessing it will go up closer to the holidays – hope not, but that’s what usually happens).


Cheesy Potato Soup

2 lb. red potatoes, peeled/cut into
2″ chunks
3/4 c. finely chopped carrots
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 C. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. whole milk
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Place potatoes, carrots, onion, broth &
salt in crockpot. Cover & cook on Low
6-7 hours. Stir in milk & pepper; cover &
cook on High 15 minutes; turn off crockpot.
Stir in cheese until melted. Serves 6

(note: if you have some leftover ham,
dice some up & add to soup)

No-Bake Raspberry Lemon Bars

2 (6 oz, ea) pkgs. fresh raspberries
(about 2 1/2 C., divided)
6 graham crackers, crushed (about 1 C.)
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 (7 oz) jar Kraft Marshmallow Creme
1 T. lemon juice

Reserve 20 raspberries for garnish;
refrigerate until ready to use. Mix
graham crumbs & butter until well
blended; press onto bottom of
9″ square pan; refrigerate.
Beat cream cheese, marshmallow
creme & lemon juice with elec.
mixer until light & fluffy. Stir in
remaining raspberries & spread over
crust. Refrigerate 4 hours. Top with
reserved raspberries just before
serving. Makes 20 servings.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe

Cider-glazed Brussels

Sprouts w/ Bacon & Almonds

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 T. butter
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed &
3/4 C. apple cider*
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 C. sliced almonds, toasted**

Cook & stir bacon in large skillet on
medium heat until crisp; remove form
skillet & drain on paper towels. Discard
all but 1 T. drippings. Add butter, onion
& Brussels sprouts to skillet; cook & stir
on medium-high heat 1-2 minutes until
sprouts are lightly browned. Mix in next
5 ingredients; pour over sprouts. Cook
5 minutes until liquid is evaporated &
sprouts are evenly glazed, stirring
occasionally; stir in bacon. Spoon sprouts
into a bowl & top with nuts. Serves 8,
2/3 C. each.

*can substitute apple juice
** Toasting nuts:
Place up to 1 C. nuts in a microwaveable
shallow dish. Microwave on High until
fragrant & crisp, stirring every 30 seconds

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Pumpkin – Maple Dip

4 oz. room temp. cream cheese
1/2 C. canned pumpkin puree

1/4 C. Greek yogurt (plain)

3 T. maple syrup
2 T. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger
pinch salt

Place all ingredients in a food
processor &
process until smooth.
Makes 2 Cups

Serve with:
sliced fruits (apple, pear),graham
crackers or vanilla wafers.

(recipe: newspaper flyer)


Honey Jalapeno Cornbread


1 1/2 C. white or yellow cornmeal
3 T. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 C. shredded Monterey Jack,
Pepper Jack or sharp Cheddar cheese
1/8 C. chopped, pickled jalapenos
1 C. frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 T. honey
1/2 C. cooking oil
2 large eggs
2/3 C. buttermilk*

1/4 C. butter, melted
2 T. honey

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Butter an 11 X 7 inch baking dish.
Combine dry ingredients; add
cheese, jalapenos, corn & honey.
Beat eggs in a bowl with oil &
add to batter. Add buttermilk &
gently fold until blended – do not
beat. Pour into prepared baking
dish. Bake 30 minutes untl top
is golden & a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Blend
honey & butter together & pour
over top of cornbread. Let stand
10 minutes before slicing.

*If you don’t have buttermilk,
pour 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar
into a 2 C. measuring cup. Add
enough milk to reach the 2/3 C.
measure (for the recipe). Stir &
let set 5 minutes – now you have

Sweet & Sour Pork

1 (2 lb) pork roast
1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 T. olive oil

1 1/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. vinegar
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/3 C. ketchup
2 T. soy sauce
1/2 C. pineapple juice
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
(chopped green onions, optional)

cooked rice

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Slice pork roast into strips about
2″ thick. In a loaf pan or small bowl
combine 1/2 C. flour, salt, garlic
powder & pepper. In hot, deep skillet
heat 2 T. olive oil.
In separate loaf
pan whisk eggs until frothy. Dip each
pork strip into flour mixture, then egg
making sure both sides are covered.
Carefully place breaded pork strips in
hot oil, browning them on both sides.
When strips are browned, place in 9 X
13 pan sprayed with nonstick spray.
Mix together sauce ingredients in a bowl
& whisk to combine; pour over pork
strips. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour.
Serve with rice & sprinkled with green
onions, if desired. Serves 6-8


 Pumpkin Spice Spoon Cake

1 stick butter (1/2 C)
1 C. milk
1 C. sugar
1 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
1 (28 oz) can pumpkin pie filling
(not just plain pumpkin)

Melt butter & pour in bottom of
crockpot. In bowl, combine
remaining ingredients except
pumpkin pie filling; pour into
crockpot. Spoon pumpkin pie
filling on top of batter – do not
mix. Cook on High 1 1/2 hours
or until top of cake is set.
(NOTE: you may want to put a
paper towel under the lid while
baking to catch steam)
Serves 6


Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

1 medium onion, diced
1/4 C. butter
1 large head cauliflower (2.5 lb)
3 C. water
2 tsp. chicken bouillon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2/3 C. warmed heavy cream
1/2 C. grated pepper jack cheese

crumbled, cooked bacon, chopped
green onions, croutons, grated Cheddar

Melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat;
add onions & saute 5 minutes until trans-
lucent & soft; add to crockpot. Cut cauliflower
into florets; add to crockpot. Add water,
bouillon, salt & pepper to crockpot. Cover &
cook on Low 6-8 hours or 3-4 hours on High,
until cauliflower is very soft. Carefully pour
or ladle contents into a large blender (might
have to do this in batches). Puree until creamy
& smooth, then pour back into crockpot.
Add warmed cream to crockpot; stir in mustard
& cheeses until melted. Serve with desired
toppings. Serves 6

Harvest Pasta Bake

1 butternut squash (2 lb) peeled/
cut into 1″ cubes
1 onion, sliced lengthwise in half
& sliced crosswise
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 T. olive oil
3 1/2 C. rigatoni pasta, uncooked
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed & softened
1/4 C. milk
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded Three Cheese
(Kraft), divided
1/4 C. croutons, crushed

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Combine first 4 ingredients in 9 X 13
pan. Bake 30-40 minutes or until
squash is tender. Cook pasta as
directed on pkg., omitting salt.
Drain pasta, return to pan. Add
cream cheese & milk; stir until cream
cheese is melted & sauce is well
blended. Add to squash mixture
with 1 C. shredded cheese; mix
lightly. Top with crouton crumbs &
remaining shredded cheese. Bake
20 minutes or until heated through.
Serves 8, 1 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Craft-wise I finished the raspberry scarf (not happy –

it still curled on both sides); am still working on the

striped brown/cream mens scarf. You know me &

projects – I get ‘antsy’ when I see a new pattern –

Yep, it happened again! Found a REALLY REALLY

simple pattern that could either be used for a scarf

or a baby blanket: it’s ONE ROW, 4 stitches – over

& over! You knit 2 stitches at each side for a border,

then just keep repeating the 4 stitch pattern! How

easy can that be? I had one medium ball of a colonial

blue yarn and a ‘super saver’ skein of cream, so this

one is blue on the ends and cream in the middle –

I’m almost 1/4ths done already! Let me tell you,

after the raspberry & multi browns scarves, I’m

really READY for a simple pattern! (I have to

admit, sometimes my pride gets the best of me

and I decide to go a little ‘fancy’ on patterns;

that’s fine BUT the ‘fancy’ cable stitches tend

to really slow me down!) Now I’m happily

knitting this super-easy pattern and smiling!!!

I’ve kind of set my baby hats knitting to the

side for awhile; I’m sure I’ll pick them back

up soon; still have a chemo cap partly done

that I carry in the car for when I’m stuck

waiting – knit 2 rows yesterday when I

got to choir practice about 15 minutes early.

Our temperatures have been mostly in the

50’s, so you KNOW Fall is here. Rain or shine,

I’m excited about going out to lunch with my

‘girlies’. YOU remember to do something for

YOU every once in awhile – it helps lift your

spirits AND brings a smile to your face and

SMILING is a GOOD thing!



Welcome to October!


How’s your weather lately? Beginning to look like Fall yet? Just looked at our forecast for the rest of the week and it’s NOT making me happy! Today – High of 57 (oh, goody) Tomorrow 54 & foggy- rest of week: RAIN and 30’s/40’s and maybe some 50’s – Fall is here. In Michigan we generally know that once we start getting rain, the temperatures are going to drop and it’s finally Fall. I guess we had a good ‘run’ of about 5 days of Indian Summer, so I have no room to complain.

Last night was Knit Night again and 2 more new people! Once again we were pretty well crammed in like sardines with a total of 23 people! We had to add 2 tables – I’m not complaining! We’re beginning to average 2-3 new people each meeting; talk about the room was “What are we doing to do if we keep growing?” (My thoughts: Hey, YOU GUYS wanted to come back to Panera! I had a nice BIG, ROOMY church meeting room for you a few years ago”) Oh well – no sour grapes here. In fact, the lady that helped me get that church was there last night (she rarely comes, so it was nice to see her again!). She asked me that same question and, again, emphasized that the church would still take us, if we wanted to move. I thanked her, but reminded her that when we moved we lost almost half the group, so I guess we’re just going to have to get ‘CREATIVE” at Panera. I brought in the two garbage bags of donated yarn last night and it went – fast! (I ended up taking more chunky yarn for another scarf for the homeless – sigh, just can’t pass up a good deal!) One of my members mentioned that her husband volunteers at that particular homeless shelter (the one that the other knit group makes hats/scarves/mittens & gloves for) and if we wanted, HE could take our finished items to that shelter (thereby eliminating our need for that other Knit group) – I told her I’ll think about it. Am still planning on attending the other knit group’s meeting this Saturday – to see what they’re planning, see how they organize their group, etc. Sometimes it’s just nice to get another view on things. I’m about 3/4 ths done with the ladies scarf for the shelter; not happy with it, though: it’s curling! I discussed that issue with several other knitters last night and we all came to the same conclusion: it’s the pattern – the stitches and the WAY they’re formed tend to pull the sides in. If I do this pattern again, I’m thinking of using more than just 2 border stitches on the edges; perhaps that will help. The ladies agreed: a homeless person would still like the scarf, whether it curls or not. The pattern and color are pretty, I’m a perfectionist – sigh.


Spicy Pumpkin Soup

1 T. oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded/chopped
1 1/2 T. ground cumin
1 1/2 T. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. salt
8 C. vegetable stock
1 (29 oz) can pure pumpkin puree
1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. honey

Place large sauce pot over medium-high
heat. Add oil, onion, garlic & jalapenos;
saute 3-5 minutes until soft. Stir in cumin,
oregano & salt; saute another 2 minutes.
Add veg. stock, pumpkin puree & beans;
simmer 20 minutes, uncovered. Add vinegar
& honey, simmer another 3-5 minutes. Using
a blender, puree the soup, in small batches
until smooth. Be very careful – open the lid
vent & place a towel over it to protect from
hot splashing liquids. Serves 8

Toasted Pumpkin Seed Topping:
1/2 C. pumpkin seeds
1 C. (French’s) french fried onions

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spread seeds & fried onions on a
baking sheet. Sprinkle with a dash
of cayenne & a little salt. Toast
3-4 minutes.
Serve soup warm, sprinkled with
toasted pumpkin & onion.


Universal or Crazy Dough

for Everything

1 C. milk, lukewarm
2 tsp. sugar
4 T. active dry yeast or 1 tsp. instant
6 2/3 C. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 C. plain yogurt
2 whole eggs

In small bowl, combine milk with
sugar & yeast; let stand until yeast
activates (it will become foamy &
start expanding). Place yeast
mixture together with all other
ingredients in a bowl of your mixer
or food processor; mix well. You
should get soft dough, similar to
pizza dough. If dough is too dry, add
a little bit of milk or water; if it is too
soft, add a little bit of flour.
Dough can be used immediately. Shape
it into whatever shape you like; wait
about 15-20 minutes in warm kitchen
until it starts expanding, then pop in
hot oven.
Place Crazy Dough in a plastic bag, squeeze
the air out & close bag. You might want to
place it in another bag, a little later, because
the dough will continue to expand and the
first bag could burst. Keep refrigerated up
to 7 days, can be frozen, also. Makes about
4 lbs. dough; enough to make 5-6 pizzas; if
you don’t need that much dough, half the

Suggestions for use: pizza dough, focaccia,
panzerotti, dinner rolls/buns, scones, crescent


Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

5-6 potatoes, peeled & cubed
1/2 C. milk
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. tub sour cream
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
12 slices bacon, cooked crisp/crumbled

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place potatoes in large pot filled with
water to cover potatoes; bring to boil
over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer
20-25 minutes; drain well. Mash potatoes
until light & fluffy. In large bowl, beat all
other ingredients (except Cheddar cheese &
bacon) until smooth & creamy. Spoon into
lightly greased 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle top with
cheese & bacon. Cover & bake 30 minutes or
until heated through. Serves 10-12

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Butternut Squash Soup w/Sausage

2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce w/basil/
garlic & oregano (Hunts)
2 C. water
1 (12 oz) pkg. refrigerated butternut
squash pieces*
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. bullk Italian sausage
1/2 C. dry ditalini pasta**, uncooked,
(looks like fat tubes)
1 (6 oz) pkg. fresh baby spinach leaves

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Add tomato sauce, water, squash &
garlic powder to crockpot; stir to combine.
Pinch sausage into bite-sized pieces & add
to crockpot. Cover & cook on Low 7 1/2
hours or High 3 1/2 hours. Stir in pasta &
spinach leaves; cover & cook on High
30 minutes more until pasta is tender.
Serves 6 (1 1/3 C. each)

*If refrigerated butternut squash is not
available, use 1 (12 oz) pkg. frozen
chopped butternut squash.

**Any small pasta: macaroni, orzo or
small shells may be used in place of


Baked Eggplant Parmesan

1/4 C. Italian-style bread crumbs
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 large eggplant, peeled, if desired
1/4 C. margarine, melted
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with
basil, garlic & oregano, undrained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce with
basil, garlic & oregano (Hunts)

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray baking sheet with nonstick
spray; set aside. Combine bread
crumbs & Parmesan cheese in shallow
dish. Cut eggplant into 12 slices, about
1/2″ thick. Brush sides with melted
margarine then coat each side with
bread crumb mixture; place on
baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or
until tender, turning once. Top slices
evenly with mozzarella cheese.
Combine undrained tomatoes &
sauce in small saucepan; bring to
boil over medium-high heat. Reduce
heat to medium-low & simmer 10
minutes or until slightly thickened.
Spoon tomato mixture evenly into
4 shallow bowls. Place 3 eggplant
slices in each bowl, over sauce.
Serves 4


Frito Corn Salad

2 cans yellow kernel corn,
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced &
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
& chopped
1/2 purple onion, chopped
1 C. mayonnaise
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
5 oz. chili-cheese flavored Frito
corn chips

Mix all ingredients together in
bowl (except corn chips). Add
chips to bowl just before
serving (chips will get soggy if
added too soon).

Cinnamon Roll Casserole

2 (12.4 oz, ea) cans Pillsbury
refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
4 eggs
1/2 C. heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1/4 C. maple syrup

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ pan with nonstick
spray. Separate both cans of dough
into 16 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each
roll into 8 pieces; place pieces in pan.
In medium bowl, beat eggs. Beat in
cream, cinnamon & vanilla until
well blended; gently pour over roll
pieces in pan. Sprinkle tops with
nuts; drizzle with syrup. Bake 20-25
minutes or until golden brown. Cool
15 minutes. Remove covers from icing
& microwave 10-15 seconds or until
thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle icing
over top; if desired, spoon syrup over
individual servings.
Serves 12

Crockpot Chicken ‘n Dumplings

2 T. butter
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
(or 6 skinless chicken thighs)
1 onion, finely diced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 small pkgs. Grands Jr. biscuits
(10 biscuits)

Place chicken, butter, soup & onion in
greased crockpot; fill with enough
water to cover. Cover & cook 5-6 hours
on High. About 30 minutes before serving,
roll each biscuit piece in flour (to prevent
them from sticking together), then drop into
crockpot. Replace lid & cook remaining 30

(recipe: Facebook)

Hope you’re enjoying your day –
bundle up/wear a sweater if it’s cold/chilly
where you are!