Monday, December 28, 2009

Easy Fudge

Easy Fudge

3 ¾ Cups Confectioners Sugar
½ Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons - butter or margarine
¼ Cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Grease a 9x5x2-inch loaf pan; set aside.

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, add all ingredients except nuts. Over very low heat, constantly stir mixture until well combined and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in nuts. Quickly spread into pan.

Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Cut into squares.

Makes 24 pieces.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Homemade Cherry Mash Candy

My friend Deb sent me this classic candy recipe--just in time for Christmas!

Cherry Mash

2 sticks margarine
4 Cups sugar
1 can evaporated milk
10 oz bag miniature marshmallows
2 12-oz bags cherry chips
2 12-oz bags chocolate chips
1½ cups crunchy peanut butter

Mix together milk, sugar, and margarine in a sauce pan; bring to a full rolling boil. Stir often as it will scorch easily. Boil for 7 minutes. Add the miniature marshmallows, stirring until melted. Add the two packages of cherry chips, stirring again until melted. Put in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Chill.

Topping: Melt 2 packages chocolate chips with 1 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter. Spread over top of chilled cherry mixture.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Quick Tip: Place Cards at Dinner

Place cards that can be eaten are always fun. Cut cookie dough in rectangular or other desirable shapes, bake carefully and then write the name of each guest on a cookie with icing, using a pastry tube. Have the cookie place card on a small paper doily and put it in place on the table.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Quick Substitute for Baking Powder

There’s nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of a recipe and realizing you’re out of an important ingredient. Some things you can substitute, but others, like baking powder, you can’t. The chemistry in baked goods just doesn’t work out right. But, if you happen to have baking soda, cornstarch, and cream of tartar, you can make your own baking powder. Mix one tablespoon baking soda, one teaspoon cornstarch, and one and a half tablespoons cream of tartar together.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

10 Uses for Newspaper

“Newspaper, by design, is a very absorbent product, because it has to absorb ink. But that also means it is equipped to absorb all sorts of moisture, including moisture and the resulting odors found in shoes and vegetable drawers," says Chris Morrissey, vice president of marketing for Sun Chemical, in Northlake, Illinois, the world’s largest printing-ink manufacturer.

Use Newspaper to:

1. Deodorize food containers. Stuff a balled-up piece of newspaper into a lunch box or thermos, seal it, and let sit overnight.

2. Ripen tomatoes. Wrap them individually and leave them out at room temperature.

3. Pack delicate items. Wrap frames and figurines with several pieces of newspaper, then crumple the remaining sections to fill extra space in the box.

4. Wipe away tough streaks on glass. Use newspaper with cleaning fluid to clean mirrors and windows.

5. Preserve antique glass. Some older frames have finishes on the glass that can be damaged by cleaning solutions. Remove smudges by rubbing with newspaper dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and one part warm water. Let air-dry.

6. Dry shoes. Place crumpled paper in them overnight.

7. Wrap gifts. Use the comics to wrap a child’s birthday gift, or try the wedding announcements for an engagement gift.

8. Create a spot for slushy snow boots. During the winter, keep a pile of newspaper near the entryway. When your little snowmen come inside, they can toss their winter wear onto the newspaper instead of creating puddles on the floor.

9. Prepare a garden. In the fall, mow a patch of lawn to make room for a dedicated bed. Cover it with four layers of newspaper, then a four-inch layer of shredded leaves or bark mulch. Hose it down. Come spring, the compost blanket will have smothered the grass roots, and the bed will be primed for planting.

10. Keep the refrigerator vegetable drawer dry and free of smells. Line the bottom with newspaper.

5 Lessons from Geese

I think I've posted this before...but it's one of my favorites.

Lessons From Geese

Note: "Lessons from Geese" was transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network and was based on the work of Milton Olson. It circulated to Outward Bound staff throughout the United States.

As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies to the point position.

It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.

The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Short Hint: Fabric Softener Sheets

Here is just a short hint for today--I've been busy packing for a road trip (more on that later!), so I hardly have time to sit at the computer!

Take a fabric softener sheet that has been used in your laundry and after cleaning your TV, rub it all around the area that you don't want to dust anymore. Instead of attracting dust, your TV will repel it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Free Headset for your phone

Save money and be safer on the road with a free wireless “hands-free” headset from This site promotes safer driving by distributing headsets for hundreds of cell phones. The only charge is a $3.94 shipping charge.

They have been doing this since 2003, and they have distributed over 200,000 headsets nationwide. They have been written about in the New York Times, Popular Science Magazine and featured on the CBS News. You can see their media stories on their website.

Select the make and model of your phone on the website. They offer two types – an earbud with a hanging microphone that is at about neck level and the other type is a microphone that wraps around your head.

For $3.94, get one for you and for someone you love.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Granny's Favorite Cookies

Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie--if you recall I posted a recipe for Snickerdoodle Muffins on November 6, but here is the original cookie recipe:


  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or 2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Heat oven to 400. Beat eggs with fork, stir in oil, vanilla and lemon rind (if using). Blend in 3/4 cup sugar until mixture thickens. Blend flour, baking powder, and salt; add to mixture. Roll into 1 inch balls. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls in sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet, cris-cross with fork. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove immediately from baking sheet.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homemade Chex Mix for the holidays

A friend sent me this website--there are over 140 different ways to make Chex Mix!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Granny's Easy Hamburger Casserole

Hamburger Casserole

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Peel the potatoes, cut in to small pieces and boil until nearly done. Cook onion and meat until brown. Drain off excess fat. In a 9 x 13" sprayed casserole dish, layer potatoes and then meat. Spread the mushroom soup on top of the meat mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Cook 30 minutes in a 300º oven or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.

This is great served with a side of green beans or peas or a garden salad and some crusty bread.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Granny finds some good deals at all 3 grocery stores!

We are so snowed in! Our area got over 10 inches of that white stuff yesterday. So, as I sit here waiting to see if the snow plows come our way, I’ll look at the online grocery ads (the newspaper didn’t make it yet today). All the major stores put their weekly ad online, so go to their website and find the right link. They usually have them up by midnight (or earlier) Tuesday night….

Oh, look! HyVee has sugar for 99¢ this week with a coupon. And, there are two other 99¢ coupons: for flour and butter! Time to start those Christmas Cookies!

The HyVee produce department has pears for 88¢ a pound and a bag of oranges for just $2.48—when I was a little girl, we always got an orange in the bottom of our Christmas stocking. We could open the stocking on Christmas eve, and then get the presents that were under the tree early Christmas morning….such excitement!

The HyVee meat department is featuring a spiral cut ham for just $1.99 a pound, and cut chicken breasts for only 99¢ a pound. Post boxed cereals are 3/$5 and Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk is jut $1.88. Coke products 12-packs are 3/$10 (good time to stock up).

Skagway’s flyer shows red delicious apples for just 58¢ a pound and a 3 lb bag of onions for 99¢. Store brand cake mixes are great—49¢ each. It’s easy to make cookies with a cake mix—check out my recipes!

Skagway bakery has some good bread prices: a loaf of sourdough for $1.49 and a loaf of Bialy bread for just $1.19. And since you are in the bakery department, the meats are close by—boneless round steak is priced at $2.19 a pound, ground beef is $1.79 a pound, and pork end roast is just $1.29 a pound.

Canned beans and canned tomatoes are 50¢ each this week at Skagway. I like to keep both on hand to make chili. This is perfect weather to stay inside with a big bowl of chili (Gramps likes his topped with grated cheese, which is also on sale for just $1…). I also see Campbell’s chunky soups for $1.59 each—another good “stock-up” item. Their store brand chunky soups are 9¢ less than that—so I’ll be looking for some different flavors there.

They also have a bunch of items for $1: Knorr pasta side dishes, Tony’s frozen pizza, Parkay margarine, saltine crackers, store brand facial tissues, store brand pasta, store brand oatmeal…and more! Remember to take your reuseable grocery bag to Skagway and they give you a 5¢ credit on your bill for every bag you bring in.

Super Saver is having a fish sale--$5 for shrimp, perch, mussels, tilapia, cod, and oysters. Check the meat department for the sizes. Shredded or chunk cheese varieties are just 98¢ for 8 ounces. Coke 24 packs are $5.98—not the best price, but for this time of year I suppose it’s good. We prefer Coke over Pepsi at our house. Which does your family insist on? It’d be fun to take a poll! Leave me a comment!

Rotisserie chicken is just $4.98—always an easy dinner. And then I have some left over for chicken and noodles the next day!

Super saver’s online coupons (get them here) still have one for a free package of hot dogs. There is also a coupon for $2 off a large package of Charmin, and $1 off a package of Frito individual packs. They are good just until the 15th, so don’t forget!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to be extra generous this Christmas

Many of the homeless rely on soup kitchens, shelters, and other charities to live from day to day. The holidays are no exception. The holidays are a tough time for the homeless, especially those with children. Even more people seem to need an extra hand at the holidays. Unfortunately, many people lose their jobs at this time of year, adding to the homeless population.

Shelters, food banks, and soup kitchens need a lot of assistance to keep helping people. Donations are one way to help the homeless. Donations of food, clean clothing, new toiletries and funds can help a great deal. Most charities can give you a list of the types of donations they are in need of.

Let your children pick out some canned goods or other non-perishable food items that you can take to a local shelter or food bank. Explain to them how charity has good effects on the people that will receive the food. That maybe the recipients just lost their home for one reason or another and have no food. By your giving these food items to the food bank, this family will have food to eat this week.

This is a special and generous way to spend part of your Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Quick & Easy Broccoli Chicken Casserole

With Christmas just around the corner, you might be too busy to fix a big dinner--here's an easy solution:

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

  • 1 (or more) Ibs fresh broccoli – steamed
  • 1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • 1/2 pack of crackers – crushed
  • 1 Ib boneless chicken breast tenders

 Begin breaking your broccoli into bite-sized pieces into a colander and begin steaming.

Melt tbsp of butter and mix in a bowl with crushed crackers.

Cook chicken in skillet on low heat with melted butter, garlic salt, onion salt, seasoning salt, and parsley flakes. Once chicken is browned on both sides, remove from pan and cut up into bite-sized pieces. Add can of soup and milk to the drippings remaining in the pan and mix together.

Arrange in a cooking dish: broccoli, chicken, pour on soup mixture, top with cheddar cheese, then top with cracker crumbs.

Bake at 400º for 30 minutes.


Making Cookies for Christmas?

Granny's thinking of making cookies! 

Here is an easy slice and bake recipe for sugar cookies.  Make them in shapes, or just go with the sliced cookies and have fun decorating them with the kids!

Easy Sliced Sugar Cookies


  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Icing

Quick Tip:
To chill dough quickly, place in freezer for 30 minutes.


In large bowl, mix sugar and butter. Beat in egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in flour and baking soda. Divide dough into halves. Shape each half into roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap and refrigerate 1 hour until chilled.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on wire rack. Frost cookies with Icing and add sprinkles.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

And, as always, there are many more cookie recipes in my online cookbook.  Click here to go try them out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fazoli's is giving a free cookie this week....

I get the Fazoli's email newsletter: they are always sending me coupons and goodies.  Just today they sent a coupon for a free cookie (when I buy an adult meal).  Sometimes I don't use what they send, but other times I do. 

Another great Fazoli's promotion (they did it last year, too--so it must be a Christmas thing) is if you buy a $20 gift card they will give you another $5 one for free!  They are figuring you will use the $20 one as a gift and keep the $5 one for yourself.   I buy myself gifts from time to time; that $20 card could just as well be a gift to myself!  (that's what I did last year...) It's like getting 20% off whenever you have a meal there! 

Anyway, sign up for their newsletter:  there's a box marked Join our eFamily right on their home page:

(Don't you just love those warm bread sticks?)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Easy to make Bread Sticks

Soft No-Yeast Bread Sticks Recipe

Soft breadsticks are as easy to make as biscuits, and quick enough to whip up almost at the last minute. They make a nice addition to a soup, stew, or salad.

1 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
⅔ cup milk
3 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

Combine dry ingredients and gradually add milk to form a soft dough.
Knead gently 3 or 4 times on a floured surface.
Roll out into a rectangle about 10″ x 5″ and cut into 12 sticks.
Put the melted butter into a large baking dish and turn the breadsticks to coat them with the butter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if you like.
Bake at 450°F for 14 to 18 minutes.

Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Granny's grocery list for this week

Time to get started on those Christmas Cookies: Skagway has 4 pound bag of sugar for $1.38 and a 5 pound bag of flour for the same price. If you don’t want to make the cookies from scratch, Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough (16 ounce pkg) is priced at $2.50. You can still say you baked them yourself!

Speaking of stocking up for Christmas, 2-liter coke products are 89¢ each. Lakeside butter is $1.69 for a pound package (not quite as good as Thanksgiving prices, but still under $2, so that’s a good buy).

Skagway’s meat department is featuring split chicken breasts for 99¢ a pound, and chicken leg quarters for 89¢ a pound. They also have Wimmer’s ring bologna for $2.99 (a 14 ounce ring is usually $4.39).

Do you make your own guacamole? HyVee has Avocados for $1 each. They also have certain varieties of apples for just 98¢ a pound. HyVee has Korean Pears this week. I’ve heard of them, but not too familiar with that variety. If you’re like me, go by on Friday (late afternoon: 4-7pm) or Saturday (10-2) for some samples.

Look at the coupons throughout the HyVee flyer: there’s store brand tuna for 39¢, Ramen noodles are 8 for $1, and 18-count large eggs for $1.88.

Hot Pockets (I just love them for Gramps’ lunch box) are $2 a package, HyVee yogurt is just 40¢ each, frozen veggies (16 ounce bag) are just 88¢, and those little handy Michelina’s snack meals are just $1 each.

It seems like the grocery stores don’t have much of what I need this week; or may-be I just have such a lot of left-overs from Thanksgiving that I’m not really into looking for more groceries. But then, I see the canned beans at Super Saver are 44¢. I like to keep them on hand for when I want to make a big pot of chili.

Super Saver has Meadow Gold gallon milk for $1.97 and their store brand mac & cheese for 3/$1, selected pasta varieties are 68¢ for a 12-16 ounce bag, Best Choice cake mix is only 58¢ (remember my page about what you can do with a cake mix?), and frozen potatoes are just $1.43 for a 2 pound bag.

Super Saver produce department has bananas for just 38¢ a pound (great price: they’re usually 60¢), avocados are also 38¢ each, and a 3 pound combo bag of apples & oranges (they put Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Navel oranges in the bag) is just $2.22.

Super Saver doesn’t usually put coupons in their ad (they have some online coupons all the time: this week they have free hot dogs!) but they have these in their flyer: $1 off Kraft dressing, $1.50 off Kraft Mayo or Miracle Whip dressing, $1 off Oscar Mayer cold cuts, and more.

Don't forget your list and your re-useable grocery bags! 

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Tonight: Free Movie at CCC

Free Movie (and snacks!) at our local Central Community College tonight: It's a Wonderful Life.

This is part of the college's series called  Beyond the Screen.  It is an opportunity to watch the movie and discuss the behind the scenes knowledge.

Call Judy at 308-398-7445 or Margaret at 308-398-7441 to reserve your seat!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quick Freebie for you

Here's a link to a free memo cube.  It has the company's logo on the side, but hey--free is free!