Sunday, March 18, 2018

Week 117, 3-18-2018

Thoughts and Quotes: The advantage of being 80 years old is that one has many people to love.                                                               Jean Renoir

And I find that to be true. The problem is that when you're eighty, chances are that many of your loved ones are as old as you are, and you start losing them. So my advice is to always be on the lookout for new people to love and make sure that some of them are much younger than you are.

And who is Jean Renoir? I had to know. If you don't know either, click HERE.

Tasting: The Very Exclusive Cooking Club met at Mim's on Monday.

March 12, 2018, at Mim’s



Chopped Salad
Poppy Seed Dressing

Swedish Meatballs 

Noodles with Meatball Gravy

Asparagus-Squash Medley

Sister Shubert Rolls

Lemon-Orange Pound Cake
Vanilla Ice Cream

Iced Tea      Coffee



Gouda Cheese, Orange-Fig Spread, Lavender Soap


The Swedish Meatballs recipe can be found HERE.


1/2 lb. asparagus
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder or 4 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 Tbs butter

Wash asparagus, remove tough ends (about 2 inches), cut in half, and place in a large bowl.

Wash yellow squash and zucchini, cut into thin slices (1/8”), add to asparagus.

Add salt, pepper, dried oregano, and garlic to the vegetables and toss.

Melt butter in a large skillet; add vegetables. Cook and stir constantly until vegetables are tender but not mushy.


1 pkg of your favorite chopped salad mix

1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground dry mustard
1 tsp grated onion
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp poppy seeds

Serve desired amount of salad mix.

Mix dressing ingredients in a blender or shaker – serve on the side.

The Lemon-Orange Pound Cake can be found HERE.

Tasting: Lots of tasting this week. Here's my soup of the week. Simple yet delicious.


1 15-oz can cream style corn
1 15-oz can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups milk (preferably whole milk 4%)
4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter
Salt and pepper
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled for topping, optional

Combine all but bacon in a medium saucepan.

Heat to boiling; ladle into bowls.

Sprinkle with bacon bits (optional).

Note: Crudites make a nice accompaniment as this is a very rich soup. 

The salad of the week:

1 bunch of kale
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 unpeeled apple, diced
2 Tbs light honey
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Wash kale well and pat dry. Remove stems and discard. Tear leaves into small pieces and place in a large salad bowl.

Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over kale.

Using both hands, firmly squeeze and massage the kale for 30 seconds to tenderize. Messy hands, but worth it.

Add apple and honey; toss well. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Note 1: Buy prewashed and prepared kale in a bag for convenience.

Note 2: If you don’t care for the robust taste and texture of kale, use half kale and half spinach or lettuce.

Muffin Tin Monday recipe: of the week:


1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk 
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Zest of 1 orange

Juice of 1 orange (you won’t need all of it)
Sugar for sprinkling

Heat oven to 375°F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.

Beat in the eggs and buttermilk.

Add the baking soda to the flour and stir in just until moistened.

Fold in pecans and orange zest.

Pour into paper-lined muffin cups (15-18).

Bake 18-20 minutes. While hot, brush with orange juice and sprinkle with sugar.

Cool 5 minutes before removing.

Note: You may substitute 1 cup of plain yogurt for the buttermilk, if desired.

Tissue Box Cards: Finally, I'm up to date. I made this card, forgetting I'd used this same tissue box last week, so I still needed one for this week, and the four I was behind.

 The camera distorted the color; it looks better than this.

This is the one I meant to make.

Sometimes you just need to add some bling.

Tips: Listen up Cardmakers. I learned this from Joey. The snowman already had a plaid scarf, and I wanted to color it to blend with the card. Tricky coloring to get the tan evenly spread, so I stamped it again on tan paper (paper, not cardstock), colored the reddish lines, went over the black part with a ballpoint pen, cut out the scarves and hats and glued them to the white snowmen. 

Tissue boxes aren't the only things I recycle. This is the wrapping paper from Bev's gift.

I used it to make her thank you card.

And this base was an Easter card which didn't work out, so I turned it into a thank you card.

Thank You: For my continuing birthday calls, cards, and gifts.

From Cardmaker Bette' - if it's purple or butterflies, you know it's from Bette'.

This beautiful store card from Brother Danny

And a new baking dish from Bev

Tidying: If you're wondering what happened to my clearing out goals, I stopped taking photos when clearing out socks, gloves, scarves, and sweaters. On top of clearing out placemats, I was up to June with my discards. Now with the birthday gifts and these fun pedestals I bought for myself (see the Muffin Tin Monday photo) -

And the new stamps I bought on Clearance -

plus the two Joey gave me, I think it's time to go back to my weekly schedule.

Thank you also to Cardmaker Jean for this adorable St. Patrick's Day card. I ran out of time and didn't make even one card. I also got two of the cutest ecards. I'd love to share the one Linda sent with a note that I could put it on my blog as my St. Patrick's Day table, but I don't want to be sued for breaking copyright laws. The table had a teapot set covered in shamrocks and a full Irish breakfast. 

And I did eat my corned beef and cabbage when experimenting with corned beef soup last week.

The Pepper and Pals Report: I noticed that Pepper didn't eat much of his breakfast, and in the late afternoon, he started drooling. I couldn't get him in to see his regular vet for several days, as one vet was on vacation, but I could get an appointment for the next day at another vet I've used. 

He didn't eat his dinner and started drooling more, so I was eager to get him in right away. She did a physical exam - no temperature, no problems except a small ulceration in his mouth. She took a blood sample - no problems. She gave him some fluids, a shot of antibiotics and a shot of painkiller.  We left with $214 less money and two shaved places on Pepper - one under his chin and one on his leg where she took the blood sample.

Thirty minutes after we got home, he went over and started chowing down on his wet food.  I guess the sore was really hurting him, and that was all that was wrong. The next day he was back to his old Bad Boy ways, trapping Stormy under the loveseat in my bedroom.

Of course, when I walked in, it was "Hi, Aunt Patsy. How's it going? No, I wasn't doing anything wrong".

All the other kitties are doing fine, but now I have the two new tabbies AND Hercules trying to steal the feral kitties food.

Things That Grow: Daffodils look so pretty in the yard, but spoil yourself and bring a few into the house to enjoy.

Tidbits: Friend Barbara sent me a list of Ten Additional Commandments which I feel are worth sharing.

1. Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but a "steering wheel" that directs the right path throughout.

2. So why is a car's windshield so large and the rear view mirror so small? Because our past is not as important as our future. So look ahead and move on.

3. Friendship is like a book. It takes a few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.

4. All things in life are temporary. If it's going well, enjoy it - it won't last long. If it's going badly, don't worry - that won't last long either.

5. Old friends are gold! New friends are diamond! If you get a diamond, don't forget the gold, because to hold a diamond, you always need a base of gold.

6. Often when we lose hope and think this is the end of the road, God smiles from above and says, "Relax, Sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end!"

7. When God solves your problems, you have faith in His abilities; when God doesn't solve your problems, He has faith in your abilities.

8. A blind person asked St. Anthony, "Can there be anything worse than losing your eyesight?" And St. Anthony replied, "Yes, losing your vision!"

9. When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them. Sometime when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

10. Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles; it takes away today's peace.

Don't you love these? I think 7 is my favorite. 

So I bid you adieu for now, wishing you warm sunny weather, lots of blooming flowers, safe travels, and good health.







Sunday, March 11, 2018

Week 116, 3-11-2018

Thoughts and Quotes:  From Robert Browning

The year’s at the spring,
And day's at the morn; 
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven- 
All's right with the world!

All's right with the world. That's how I'm feeling right now. My flu is gone, my kitchen faucets drip no more, I've finally cleared all the debris from my new computer, and my roof problem is under control.

When I searched for the origin of "God's in his heaven - All's right with the world," I found that I'm really a literary wimp. I had no idea it came from a poem known as a verse drama. Interesting reading, so I've supplied the link HERE. Be sure to read the part about "A distressing blunder". A good chuckle.

Tips: Now about my roof problem. The howling winds did this:

The shingles started flying off at 3:00 p.m. The winds finally started dying down at 7:00 p.m.  I called the roofing company and they had an estimator out the next morning.  I saw this huge repair bill in my future.  

The estimator checked the damage and we sat down at the table to discuss his findings. He told me that the repair would be $562 and for an additional $150 they could come out and do a temporary cover in case it rained before the repair could be done.

I guess my mouth dropped open and I looked shocked, because he then told me that, "Well, they could do the temporary job for free." I'm sure he thought I was a little old lady who was wondering where I'd get the money to pay. Actually, I was shocked that the price wasn't more. So here's the tip: The next time you get a price for having your car (or anything else) repaired, just get a shocked look on your face (try to make your eyes get really big), and see if there's some "padding" in the price.

Now - kudos to Dale's Roofing because the very next morning someone came and did the temporary fix, and then picked up all the shingles lying around and took them away. It was cold in the morning, so I had planned to pick them up in the afternoon. For sure, once the job is finished, there will be a great review on their website, but I won't mention the tip I gave you.

Tips: I've changed the recipe I posted last week for Upside-Down Muffin Cakes. I hope you haven't used it already, because I figured the amount of butter and brown sugar incorrectly. I also improved on the method so that the upside-down cakes have less batter, which makes them taste better, and you also end up with a dozen regular-size plain cupcakes for another use. 

Theme Dining: Now that I have all my photo files in my new computer, I can show you my Back to School Dinner. I did this with kids in mind, but adults who are kids-at-heart will also enjoy the food. They might even get a kick out of the party favors. My brothers got a chuckle.








3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup mini-marshmallows
1 small banana, quartered length-wise and then sliced
1 8-oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
1/3 cup mayonnaise

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, marshmallows, and banana.

Mix pineapple and mayonnaise and add to cabbage mixture.

Mix well and refrigerate, covered.

Stir gently before serving.


1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, quick-cook is okay
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 400°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, oats, and buttermilk.

Add the egg, brown sugar, and melted butter. Beat with wooden spoon until well blended.

Add flour mixture and stir until moistened.

Spoon into a 12-cup regular muffin tin.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until nice and browned.

Note: If you reheat, wrap in foil and use a regular oven. Microwaving makes them soggy.

The recipes for Meat Loaf and Quick Cobbler are already in the pull-down menus above.

The Pepper and Pals Report: Pepper and Stormy continue to rule the roost. Stormy is still working on destroying everything in sight. I can't leave anything out for more than a minute.

Hail, hail, the gang's all here. Midnight the mother, her daughter from an older litter BJ, and the three from the latest litter Flower, Fred and Ginger.  

BJ is the only one I haven't been able to trap and spay, but now there are new kids in town.

I'll bet one of these two is Stormy's father. You think?

And there's this pretty lady(?). She looks well-kept, so maybe just visiting from the neighborhood. I've seen her only once.

Hopefully, it will warm up so the trap can go out again to get BJ, (and maybe one or both of the tabby-cats).

Thank You: I received this beautiful teapot in a beautiful gift bag from Nancy, a lady with a beautiful soul.

Time for Others: I made my very fist bendi-card for a birthday. Three tries before I figured it out. If you haven't made one, listen up. If you're using a template instead of a die, use pencil to draw the lines so you can erase them if need be. Ballpoint lines are difficult to hide and make the folds come out evenly at the same time. And if you're using a template, complete the cut lines with a ruler before you attack with the scissors.

Thank yous: To my friends and family for the birthday calls, e-cards, store cards, and these handcrafted cards:
Jean - this is an explosion card. 

Side view




Susan - I believe this is called a "swing" card

To my Special Girls in the North Woods for these beautiful birthday roses. I said to plant a rose in my post on Sunday, and these arrived on my doorstep the next day. They say we're connected mentally to those we love, and maybe it's true, because these were ordered before I created my post.

Don't you just love mini tea roses? They can be planted outside when the weather warms.

To Martha for lunch at the Springfield Family Restaurant. Our lunches weren't photo-worthy, but the desserts were.

And then she, Nancy, and I went to the aquarium at Wonders of Wildlife. I just can't stop taking pictures there. If I get redundant, please forgive me.

We found Nemo; as a matter-of-fact, we found his entire family.

The speckles on the piranhas are sparkly gold.

There's an entire room of shells.

These jellyfish remind me of mushrooms.

Love her high-fashion print.

To Joey for the new gadget she brought me when we celebrated our birthdays (hers is in February) with two for $6 Whoppers at Burger King (and then we spent the afternoon at Hobby Lobby, wrecking our budgets).

And to Nancy for - sound the trumpets - my birthday cake (Yes, it's a cake).

She even fringed the table-topper cloth.

Tasting: Only a few days until St. Patrick's Day, so I made Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup as my soup of the week. I always start with a recipe from a book, a magazine, or the internet and then revise it to suit my tastes by adding or subtracting ingredients, adjusting the measurements of the ingredients, the baking temperature, etc. I made this soup posted by Kevin at Closet Cooking (a really fun blog with great photography), and it was good, but basically the same as corned beef and cabbage but with a lot more work. I won't be making it again. I'll just cook mine the old way. If you'd like to try it, or check out Kevin's recipes, here's the LINK. He's a delightful young man who lives in Toronto, and his kitchen really is the size of a closet. I can't even imagine how he creates such imaginative dishes and produces such wonderful photos in that small space. Take a look.

In the meantime, here's a soup from my archives.


My friend, Katie Sue, and I attended a demonstration on scarf tying at the library one evening.  I sat next to a delightful young lady named Priscilla, who sent me this recipe, and I’m glad she did – it’s delicious.

3 Tbs unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
6 celery ribs with leaves, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs flour
4 cups chicken broth
3 – 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs basil or a handful of chopped fresh
1 cup whipping cream (or a little more if you wish)
Salt and pepper to taste
Croutons and/or shredded Parmesan cheese for topping

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic; cook for 4 minutes.

Stir in flour over low heat.
Add broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, bay leaves and basil.

Bring to a boil.  Turn heat to medium and simmer ten minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Puree half the soup in a blender (I used my immersion blender, but be careful that you don’t splash yourself with hot soup).

Return to saucepan and stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.

Top with croutons and/or Parmesan.  I had cornbread in the freezer, so I made cornbread croutons.

And in keeping with the St. Patrick's Day theme, I made:


1-1/2 to 2 cups cooked and cubed corned beef
2 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled, and cubed
3 boiled eggs, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs mustard
2 tsps sweet pickle relish

Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, and relish.

Put the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Gently stir in mayonnaise mixture and refrigerate.

Note: This is a good way to use corned beef leftover from your St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage. Or just add the corned beef to your favorite potato salad recipe.

Muffin Tin Monday: I made up a recipe for breakfast muffins using sausage, eggs, cheese, onions, and spinach. I baked them a little too long, because I don't like browned eggs.

And then I thought, "Why am I doing this? I don't like warmed up eggs; I certainly can't eat a dozen at once; this is a lot more trouble than sausage and eggs since I used pre-cooked frozen sausage patties; I hate washing muffin tins; and besides, oatmeal and fruit is better for you.

So instead, I made chocolate cupcakes. This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe. It's a Hershey's Cocoa recipe I've used for years.

From Hershey’s Cocoa
1-3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1-1/2 tsps baking soda
1-1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 tsps vanilla
1 cup boiling water
Heat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour baking pan(s) or put paper liners in two 12-cup muffin tins.
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixer bowl.
Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.
Beat 2 minutes on medium.
Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
Pour into baking pan(s).
Bake suggested times below, until done when tested with a toothpick.

Note: Can be made in a Bundt or tube pan (33-36), 8” layers (26-31), 9” layers (23-28), 13 x 9 (33-36) or cupcakes (24 regular)(18-21).

I frosted them with Chocolate Pudding Mix Frosting

Tissue Box Card of the Week:

Yes, I know I'm still four behind. 

Tough Decision 1: I've decided that this is the last week I'll be sending an email to my blog list to let you know that I've published. I don't have my old computer back, so I'm not sure my list is correct yet. Some of you might be getting notifications in two places and some of you have inadvertently been omitted.  

It's simple to sign up for notification from Blogger, but they cycle some time in the wee hours, so if I publish on Sunday evening, you will be notified on Monday morning. Just remember that I always publish on Sunday. If you wish, you can check earlier by just going to the link at to see if I've posted yet.

To sign up for notification, go to the box near the top of the right hand column and enter your email address. You'll be asked to click that you're not a robot, and you'll receive an email to which you must respond to become connected. 

Tough Decision 2: My Easter cards are ready to mail, thanks to Nancy, who did 90% of the work. This will be my last group mailing of holiday cards. I'll still be making cards on a limited basis, so those of you on my card list will be getting handmade birthday or anniversary cards sometimes and cards from the store sometimes. It all depends on the time I have for card making.