Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Good Reads: My Holiday Favorite

A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, & The Thanksgiving VisitorA Christmas Memory, One Christmas, & The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A unique group of holiday stories set in the deep South amongst Capote's eclectic mix of relatives and neighbors.

A Christmas Memory is a personal tradition for me. Every year I get it out to read after Thanksgiving. It never fails to touch me and get me emotionally ready for the Christmas holidays.

God bless,
Pam


Monday, November 18, 2013

Walgreens Christmas Deals

Almost every holiday season I end up buying many of my baking supplies at Walgreens on sale.  This week there are coupons in their weekly add for 5 lbs. of all purpose flour for $1.89, 4 lbs. of white sugar for $1.89 and spices for 79 cents.


I'll also be keeping an eye out for sales on other baking goods.  I often get vanilla, canned milk products  and baking powder there.

Walgreens also has some terrific sales on Christmas wrapping supplies and decorations.  I have found that their cosmetics section has some terrific stocking stuffers for less than $2.

I'll be stopping by my local Walgreens every week during the holidays with my coupons in hand.

God bless,
Pam

The Frugal Kitchen: Apple Crisp

Every year I order a 1/2 bushel of apples and enough pecans for holiday cooking from my local 4-H.  We picked up our apples at the end of October and have been enjoying them ever since.



My original plan was to make some apple butter, but in looking at the pantry I realized that I still had plenty of jars left over from last year.  So I have been adjusting some old favorite recipes to make them fast, frugal and easy.  Here's a quick and easy apple crisp.

INGREDIENTS

granola (I used Cascadian Farms brand)
5 large apples (firm cooking apples)
1/4-1/2 cup of white or brown sugar
2 heaping Tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
butter

Peel and core apples.  Cut into 1/4 inch slices.



Grease an 8 inch pan with butter then layer apple slices in the bottom.



Mix the sugar, corn starch,salt and cinnamon together, then sprinkle over the top of the apples.  Dot with butter.


Layer granola over the top.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Bake until the apples are soft and the granola is nicely browned.



Serve in a bowl with a dollop of whipping cream or a scoop of ice cream.

Enjoy!

God bless,
Pam

Friday, November 8, 2013

Visiting Relatives

Well, you didn't hear from me for awhile because I was quite busy with visiting relatives.  My dear brother and sister in law came to visit with us from California.

Now that our parents are dead my brother and I have decided to visit with each other at least once a year.  Since we live on opposite sides of the country we can't see each other as often as we would like.  In a perfect world we would live next door to one another.

Brother and sister are great guests and I like to give them the space to spend time alone along with the time spent with family.  I invited them to stay with us, but we have a very small home, so they asked me to find them a B & B nearby.

I chose a unique B & B that used to be on my husband's mail delivery route.  He always raved about how nice the owners were and the lovely facilities.  The Park Circle B & B is located in Redington Beach, Florida and is across the street from the gulf beaches.

One of the Cottages

View from Front Porch of Cottage 4
We spent a wonderful week together visiting, sharing meals and some site seeing.  They are the perfect guests; grateful for the little things and appreciative of your efforts.

I miss them so much and have spent much of the last week in a funk, but I am getting back to normal now.  I have much to be thankful for, especially my wonderful family.

God bless,
Pam

The Frugal Kitchen: Leftover Chicken Mexican Casserole

Since only my daughter and I eat meat, whenever I bake a chicken there are plenty of leftovers.  I needed something I could make easily and economically, so I mixed up this casserole.

INGREDIENTS

Pre baked chicken torn into bite size pieces
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
1 onion chopped
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
4 cups of cooked rice
1 jar salsa
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 Tbsp. oil

Cook the frozen vegetables in the microwave.  Saute the onion, vegetables and chicken in a small amount of oil.



Mix the soup and salsa together in a bowl.  Add about a half can of water to thin it to a sauce consistency.  You may not need to do this if your salsa has a lot of liquid.


Begin layering the ingredients in this order:  sauce, rice, veggie/meat mix and cheese.  Finish with a layer of cheese,



Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.  The cheese should be golden brown.  You can make this casserole in advance and hold it in the refrigerator, but add 15 minutes to the cooking time.


A super simple and nutritious meal.  You can substitute based on the leftovers you have on hand.  Enjoy!

God bless,
Pam

Good Reads: Diner Impossible

Diner Impossible  (Rose Strickland Mystery, #3)Diner Impossible by Terri L. Austin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just love the Rose Strickland Mystery series and Diner Impossible, the third book in the series, did not let me down. It is a very well written and well edited mystery with a romantic element.

My favorite thing about this book and the whole series is the heroine, Rose. She is a strong, intelligent, empathetic woman with a strong need to discover the truth in any situation. The truth is important to her because she grew up in a upper class environment where nothing is as it seems. She has left that fake existence behind, at great personal sacrifice, and is forging a new life for herself. I want Rose to be my BFF.

The secondary characters are eclectic and interesting. They have integral places in the plot and are not just in the story to create a distraction.

The mystery was exciting, frightening and kept me guessing. I didn't have any idea who the perpetrator was until the end.

Speaking of endings this one was very unexpected and is not a cliffhanger, but creates the expectation for more fun books in the series. Diner Impossible can be read as a stand alone, but I think you need to read the series to fully appreciate the story.

I highly recommend this book.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.