Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Icing..... and not on the cake!

Finally!!! Our tree!!!!I should have blogged last Christmas. Wow... seven trees, and they were spectacular. This year I have this one little one, but we decided to just go small this year and let next year see for itself. This one has little dolls and the collection of Hallmark village houses on it....

Hey, any of you in the midwest region of the US? We are experiencing kind of a series of sleet/ice spells. My weather bug is chirping and warning us of about two more days of this! I personally don't mind it IF I can be inside, all my loved ones and everyone is safe, and.... the electricity stays on.... This little photo was taken by me... just sticking my head literally out the door. haha... I'm not qualified to be such a snow lover when I stay in like the bottom feller, bake cookies and generally have a great time of it... Today was a great day to bake, so we made "Hello Dollies." My mother always doubles the graham cracker crust, and that's the favorite way I love them....
Mmmmmm... She was baking it while I took a nap on Saturday morning. Delish with a cup of Gevalia Coffee and Toffee creamer. Wow.
Hello Dollies (Mom's Way)
3 c. crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 sticks butter melted.
Mix together and pat in a 9 x 13 pan
1 pkg. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. crushed pecans
1 c. flaked cocoanut
Pour 1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk over top
Bake at 35o until top is browned.

Now for today's lunch! I made both chili and stuffed shells. I know. One would have been enough, but my son enjoys left-overs since he's "bacheloring" it at home. My chili is the easiest chili in the whole wide world. I use a pound and a half of ground beef, and our little market in Bevier sells the best hamburger anywhere. You couldn't drain it if you tried! So lean and ground just right while you wait. Matt's Market is "da bomb" for all kinds of meats PLUS during the ice storm on Friday, I called him and asked for the chili ingredients, and he brought it out to the car and took my check through the window.. Now, he does deliver, too, to little old ladies in town (and I'm not in town, but I WAS his teacher many moons ago, so I qualify, I'm sure.) Here's the recipe:

Shady Peanut Lane Chili

1 1/2 pound browned hamburger

1/2 to 1 chopped onion, (simmered in small amount olive oil until tender)

2 huge cans hot chili beans in sauce. I use this amount, but sometimes less or more, depending on what's available. It's about four of the fat cans or five of the small ones.

1 large can V-8

1 can cushed tomatoes or about 1 1/2 c. marinara sauce

1/3 c. sugar (optional)

1/4 c. ketchup to taste

2 T. beef boullion or beef soup base or a little extra salt

Simmer in crockpot or on top of stove until ready to serve. I don't use any extra chili powder, and some times I usespaghetti sauce instead of the tomatoes if I have it... about half a regular jar.

Then the shells recipe:

Italian Christmas shells

For the stuffing:
I large carton Ricotta cheese

2 egg yolks

1 large frozen package chopped frozen spinach (thaw and wring out all the juice)

1/2 c. parmesan cheese

1 T. salt

1 t. cracked black pepper

1/2 c. browned chicken pieces (you can use ham, turkey, bacon, proscuitto, or whatever.

Mix all together.

Boil 1 box large shells in salted water for about seven minutes. Drain.

Stuff each shell with about a heaping tablespoon of the stuffing and place in buttered pan. Pour 2-3 c. jarred marinara sauce over it and add a little extra water if it seems dry. (Mine is usually too dry, according to Mom... and me, too... actually). Top with a small package mozarella, some grated parmesan... and bake for about 30 minutes... Yum-o!

----- AND ..... my son flipped the switch, so my daddy's lights are beaming from his barn loft.... It looks so pretty with the new snow and frosty window panes.... I'm glad somebody in this family has a little gumption. I take pride that I gave all mine to him... ?????

He has been on the slick roads way too much this weekend. He drove from one end of the state on Friday to take a computer programming exam.. (which he aced!).... to the extreme Southern end to take a friend on an errand! I was on pins and needles until he finally made it home and called me last night. I now see why my gramma and mom always worried when I was out. I didn't fear a thing when I was younger. I drove like a trouper on all this kind of slush and yucky roads. now I'm a big baby. Coming home on Thursday left me in tears by the time I'd driven the 16 miles with zero visibility and no traction. I kind of miss my old spunk.... and my rear wheel drive car with the two hundred pound sacks of sand in the trunk... What would it take to get the old girl to come back and haunt this body again???? Can it even happen? Too late tonight to get that started. I'll save that thought for another time. Have a good week. Take care and stay safe!

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