Friday, December 31, 2010

Thrifty Housewife

For a couple of years now, I've been a real advocate for thrift store shopping. Being unemployed and then becoming a student sort of encourages saving money!

I like to show off my finds every now and then to encourage others to give thrift shopping a try.

NineWest purse, $3.69 from a Goodwill store, very clean, appears to have never been used.

Harley Davidson leather boots, would retail for over $100.00, looked like they were worn once. I got them for $6.60 at a Goodwill store.

Ann Taylor evening bag with rhinestone button closure, like new, $1.69 at Goodwill.

Liz Claiborne handbag - I got this one over a year ago at Park Avenue Thrift store for about $6.00

High Sierra backpack was purchased at Goodwill for $3.93. The main zipper was broken, but Eddie figured out how to fix that for me. Ironically, this $4 backpack carries over $400 worth of my schoolbooks now!

Chain and pearl necklace was a belt that I converted to a necklace. I got it for about $2.00 at Value Village Thrift.

Seriously, go try it! If one of your New Year's resolution is related to saving money.....

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Best Christmas Present

Eddie brought this little guy home two weeks ago. We adopted him from a local shelter.

This is Sheldon! At this time he is 3 months old, weighs 2 1/2 pounds. He is full of energy and adjusted to his new home within hours.

Sheldon brought so much holiday joy! I hope he's here for 17 or 18 years like my other cats were.

Mango Chutney Cheese Spread

I took this to a holiday party recently. It's an interesting mix of flavors, but so good. Try it out at your New Year's Eve gathering.


16 ounces cream cheese (from a tub, reduced fat)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup bacon pieces, cooked until crispy
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons sour cream
9 ounce jar mango chutney (Major Grey’s)

Stir together the first 5 ingredients. Spread mixture in a shallow dish or make a shape on a serving plate. Spread a thin layer of chutney on top. Serve with crackers. (I like Wheat Thins with this.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Red Velvet Truffles

This is a really simple recipe. Easy, but a little time consuming. Delicious!


1 box red velvet cake mix (Duncan Hines)

ingredients needed according to cake mix

1 "regular size" container whipped cream cheese frosting

white/vanilla candy coating (I use the kind that comes in a big 16 ounce rectangle, need about 1 1/2 packages)

Bake the cake according to directions on package. Let the cake cool completely. Crumble the entire cake.

Mix in the cream cheese frosting (I used a mixer, but it could be done by hand). Refrigerate for a couple hours. Scoop out into balls (I made mine about 3/4 inch round with a very small cookie scoop). Freeze balls for a couple of hours or overnight (I like to divide up the work over a couple of days, so I freeze them overnight).

Melt candy coating according to package directions. Dip balls and place on wax paper to harden.

Keep refrigerated.

Yield: a whole lot, about 100!!

Christmas Decor

Being busy with school kept me from putting up the Christmas decorations as early as I usually do. I decided to keep it simple so taking them down before school starts again will be easy.

My little tree... fewer ornaments than usual.

The fireplace, nothing but lights and pinecones on the garland.

These are plain white, velvety stockings that I bought last year (or the year before?). I added the satin fabric to match my color scheme. It can easily be changed out when the color scheme changes in the future.

Pretty reindeer...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday Goodies

It doesn't look like I'm going to find very much time for making goodies this year. (I'll make a few) These are my favorites that I usually make over and over.

Follow the link to the original post.

Chocolate Covered Cherries

Espresso Crunch Cups

I'll let you know if I come up with some new ones for this year.

Southwest Stuffed Peppers

This recipe came from The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife.

I just made two stuffed peppers and baked the rest in a casserole dish to have another night.


4-6 green bell peppers
1 pound ground beef
1 (14 ounce) can Ro-tel, undrained
1 1/2 cups water
1 (5.4 ounce) package Knorr Fiesta Sides Mexican Rice (rice & orzo blend)
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

Cut tops off of bell peppers; remove seeds. Cut bottom of bell pepper so that it will sit up straight. Put bell peppers in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Heat in microwave for 2 or 3 minutes.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef until no longer pink; drain well. Return meat to skillet. Add the Ro-tel tomatoes, water and rice mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Spoon meat/rice mixture into bell peppers. Top each with a small portion of cheese. Place in a greased or sprayed baking dish. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with additional cheese and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner 2010

We had a somewhat quiet, simple Thanksgiving this year. It was nice to have Eddie's son Nick with us. Still trying to get to know him better.

We roasted a turkey breast. I made a new version of sweet potatoes by combining three different recipes. The dressing was also a combination of recipes. The old favorite broccoli casserole made an appearance. To finish the meal we had Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip!


3 to 4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup bourbon
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup half-and-half
2 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cook sweet potatoes in a large pot in boiling water for about 30 minutes or until tender. Mash potatoes. Combine mashed sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup brown sugar and next 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth (or mash together by hand). Spoon into a greased 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.

Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and flour. Cut in 1/4 cup cold butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in cereal and pecans. Sprinkle streusel mixture over sweet potato.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until streusel is lightly browned.

Make ahead: Prepare sweet potato filling and spoon into a greased microwave-safe dish. Cover and chill overnight. Microwave at high for 10 minutes or until hot. Prepare streusel and sprinkle over filling. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until streusel is crispy.


8 bacon slices
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 1/2 cups diced celery
4 cups dry cornbread stuffing mix (Pepperidge Farm)
3 cups cubed herb seasoned stuffing mix (Pepperidge Farm)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 cups chicken broth
1 large egg (mix into some of the chicken broth)

Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, drain on paper towels, reserve drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon; set aside. Sauté celery and onions in bacon drippings until tender.

Combine stuffing mix, bacon, vegetable mixture and all other ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Spoon dressing into a 9 x 13 x 2 pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown. I like to cover it for about half the time to retain moisture and uncover the last half so that it gets crispy on top.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've started my Thanksgiving Day with Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts! So delicious... They also have Gingerbread flavor for the holidays. I found them at WalMart.

Later on, we'll be having turkey, dressing, a new version of sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole and pumpkin pie.

I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Ideas

I'm still deciding what I'm making for Thanksgiving this year...

Here are a few ideas for you. Follow the link to the original post.

Gingersnap Sweet Potatoes

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Recent Meals

What we've been eating lately...

Follow the link to the original post.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake

Another great recipe I found at Cassie Craves. That girl knows what I like to eat!


2 cups cooked chopped chicken (about 2 large boneless breasts)
8 ounces diced ham
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 box stuffing mix for chicken
butter and water called for on stuffing box

Cook stuffing according to package directions; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, ham, cream of chicken soup, and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Go light on the salt, since the cream of chicken soup and ham are pretty salty on their own.)

Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

Sprinkle cheese evenly over the chicken mixture. Carefully add stuffing in an even layer on top of the cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Yield: about 6 servings

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Caribbean Jerk Chicken Chili

Another addition to the growing soup and chili chapter of my cookbook...

This has a great combination of spices reminiscent of Jerk chicken that we've had in Jamaica. I just served it with some cornbread, it made for a very filling meal.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper ( I used a green one)
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded (about 6 cups)
4 cups chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, partially drained
1 (15 oz) can Great Northern beans, partially drained
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ounce semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (totally forgot to add the cilantro, even though I had it in the fridge!)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, thyme, cinnamon, and allspice. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add chicken and stir to coat with spices. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, jalapenos, garlic and chocolate. Bring to a boil, cover partially, reduce heat, and simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.

Stir in cilantro and serve.

Yield: at least 6 servings, depending on size

I found this recipe at Smells Like Home.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another Death in the Family

Rest in Peace
Ashley Princess Hood
May 1992 - November 13, 2010

She was 18 years old (that's 88 cat years). She just couldn't go on without Woodrow. I love you and miss you Ashley.

My heart is broken... both of them gone just 3 weeks apart.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cold Weather Favorites

Since I haven't been trying very many new recipes lately, I thought I'd remind you of a few from the past that would be great this time of year. I've made some of these in the past few weeks.

Follow the link to each recipe.

Last night, we had Chicken and Dumplings.

Five Bean Chili - makes a good size batch for the freezer.

Seven Can Chicken Tortilla Soup - so easy to keep ingredients on hand for last minute needs.

Fiesta Ravioli Bake - much more delicious than you will think based on the ingredients.

And here's a big Soup and Chili Recap.....

Keep warm!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Apple Squares

So, I started my clinicals last week at the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Atlanta. What timing! This week, November 7 - 13, is National Radiologic Technology Week. And what a great way for the staff to haze the students! We have been told that we must bring food every day that we are there this week. Not really a problem for me, just an excuse to try a new recipe.

I'm having so much fun anyway. It's a pleasure to take a little gift of food to my new friends.

This is a recipe I found at Sprinkled with Flour.


3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups chopped apples (I like Granny Smith)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Cake:

Coat a 15x10-inch jelly-roll pan with nonstick baking spray with flour; set aside. (I used a 9x13x2 and a 9x9.)

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine eggs and salt. Beat at medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and oil, and beat until blended. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and beat just until combined.

Fold in the apples and vanilla. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Set the pan on a wire rack, let cool.

For the Glaze:

In a medium bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter, lemon juice and enough milk to make a spreadable consistency. Mix until smooth. Drizzle over the mostly cooled cake. Let the frosting set, then cut into bars.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Please indulge me for a moment...

Rest in Peace
Woodrow Wilson Hood
May 1993 - October 23, 2010

He was with me for 17 years... My longest love affair was not with a man, but with the greatest kitty ever! I love you and miss you Woodrow.