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HAPPY NEW YEAR! RECIPES : Penzey’s Chicken and Bacon Poppers and Rum Balls December 31, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in Back of the Fridge Recipes.
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I made Spiced Rum Balls and Penzey’s Chicken and Bacon 3000 Poppers for snackin’ tonight.

Penzey’s Chicken Bacon 3000 Poppers

Penzey’s Chicken Bacon 3000 Poppers
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lb. sliced bacon
  • 2 TB. BBQ 3000 ( I used Northwoods Fire)
  • 1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a flat roasting rack with non-stick cooking spray, place on a foil-covered roasting or broiling pan and set aside.

Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. It is easiest to do this before you separate the bacon into slices. Wrap a piece of bacon around each chicken cube and secure with a wooden toothpick. Combine the BBQ 3000 with the brown sugar. Drop each meat skewer into the mixture and toss gently with your fingers until completely coated. Arrange the poppers on the rack and bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the topping browned.

Prep. time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: 45-48 pieces

Rum Balls

1/2 lb Vanilla wafers
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup Spiced Rum or bourbon (I used Admiral Nelson’s Spiced Rum)
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Crush vanilla wafers in a large freezer bag or chop in a food processor until pulverized. Add all ingredients except powdered sugar and mix all together until sticky. Form into balls and drop on foil-lined cookie sheet; let stand 1 hour or until dry. Roll in powdered sugar and enjoy!

My 1-year Rav-anniversary : December 26, 2009 December 30, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in A Stitch in Time | Projects.
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I just noticed the date today in Ravelry- I joined the Rav Community the day after Christmas, 2008. That was the day I picked up my knitting needles again after a 30-year haitus, and posted all the things I had made over the years, mostly doilies.

And so I blogged.  My blogs become my written history from that day, forward~

I went on an Easter Egg hunt for all my mother’s knitting needles, but came up empty-handed and finally gave up. I just simply can’t figure out where I packed them, or if I even packed them away or simply donated them to someone. I just cannot believe I did the latter; it would not be something I’d do, considering I did try to learn to knit once, in my youth.

So, I snarfed up a whole batch of every size knitting needle, in one big lot on eBay one day. I felt so proud of myself that day, as I set off on my new Adventure.

Then I posted everything I ever made, on Ravelry, and kept knitting like there was no Tomorrow.

I posted my first project I knitted, a dishcloth. Boy, the feeling of accomplishment was infectious~

My Favorite Face Cloth

WOW. I’ve been knitting a whole year! Just looking through all my completed projects, I am so happy I didn’t quit when things got lousy in the Mentor department…

I’m back to work on the Ribby slipper some more. I ripped out one half of the first one last night, it was ridiculously too long, just by looking at it, I could tell. So I ripped the cuff out and took the foot back by 2 inches. How I managed to make it so long in the first place, is beyond me…I must’ve been watching Cold Case that night, distracted again, as usual.

Mom always said, TV was my biggest distraction. Heck, the commercials were a riot, back then~ now I get to watch them again on ME TV! WOOT!

I’ll post a picture when I get the first slipper finished.

Merry Christmas from the Poodles December 24, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in Dog House.
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We’d like to share a  cute Christmas video by Poodle Pride of Bristol, WI and their Working Dogs. Enjoy!

Thank you Jeanne Marie and Merry Christmas to you all! Smooches from Igor!!!

Merry Christmas from the Poodles

Stuffed Grape Leaves and Egg-Lemon Sauce (Greek Dolmades) December 24, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in Back of the Fridge Recipes.
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Stuffed Grape Leaves

Stuffed Grape Leaves

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 teaspoon dried mint (substitute with Allspice, Egyptian version)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 eight ounce jar of preserved grape leaves
or leaves picked fresh from the vine
1  large container (3 cups)  chicken stock
2-3  lemons, cut 4-5 lemon slices, save the lemon for Egg Lemon Sauce (below)

Mix by hand, meat, rice and spices together in a large bowl.
Drain and remove grape leaves from jar, set liquid aside for later.  Lay out leaves flat and layer bottom of deep pot with leaves and lemon slices.

Begin rolling grape leaves as follows:
Lay out 1 grape leaf, vein side down, shiny side up.  Place 1 T. meat in center of grape leaf. Fold in  sides of leaves toward center, one over the other, then roll leave up into a tight little bundle, (like a little burrito) starting at the stem end.
Place roll in bottom of pot and continue to make and roll leaves, lining bottom of pot tightly. Continue to roll and layer grape leaves until all meat is rolled up.

Pour chicken stock over all to cover. Lay a small plate or smaller lid, on top of grape leaf rolls, to prevent rolls  from floating or moving around while immersed.
Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat  to medium low and simmer for 35 minutes.  Remove rolls from pot and lay in a casserole dish until ready to serve. Save the stock.

About 10 minutes before serving, prepare the Egg Lemon Sauce.

Avgolemono ~ Traditional Greek Egg-Lemon Sauce

Serve with stuffed grape leaves

Egg Lemon Sauce (Avgolemono Sauce)

Traditional accompaniment to Stuffed Grape Leaves

3 egg yolks
1/3 cup lemon juice, strained
1 cup hot broth from the cooked stuffed grape leaves

Whisk the yolks until pale and frothy. Slowly add the lemon juice and whisk for another minute. Add one third of the broth, constantly whisking. Add remaining broth. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan and heat gently. Whisk while heating, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Serve immediately.

NO. 28—”HAT” PINCUSHION To Crochet December 23, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in A Stitch in Time | Patterns.
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Hat Pincushion

MATERIALS—Lily Pearl Cotton, size 3:—2-balls Blue: 1/2 ball Lily Sil-Tone Mercerized Crochet Cotton in White (or other colors)

Crochet hooks size 3 and 10

1/2 yd. White ribbon 1/”2 wide

In Blue and size 3 hook, ch 2, 7 sc in 1st st. In both loops, (2 sc in next sc) 7 times. (1 sc in next, 2 sc in next, 2 sc in next) 7 times. (Sc in 2 sc, 2 sc in next) 7 times.

Make 5 more rows with 1 more sc between widenings in each row (63 sc in final row). Make 8 rows even.  Sl st in 6 sts. Fasten off.

BRIM: In Blue, ch 2, 8 sc in 1st st. In back loops, (2 sc in next sc) 8 times. (1 sc  in next, 2 sc in next) 8 times.

Make 6 more rows with 1 more sc between widenings in each row ) 72 sc in final row.

In Rows 8 and 9, put widenings between those in previous row. Sl st in next, ch 3. dc in 7 sc (2 dc in next sc, dc in 8 sc) repeated around. Sl st in ch-3. Ch 3 and in both loops, widen in every 5th st. In next row, widen in every 6th dc. (Ch 5, sc in next 4th dc) 27 times, ch 2. dc in next 4th dc. (Ch 5, sc in next loop) 28 times. Fasten off.

FLOWER:  In Sil-Tone and size 10 hook, * ch 9, tr in 9th st from hook, (ch 5, sc in 5th st from hook for a p, ch 1, tr) twice in same st with tr, ch 6 sl st in same st. Repeat from * 15 times. Roll up in 2 complete turns and tack. Make 2. Stretch and pin Brim right-side-down and wet with hot starch. Press thru cloth.

Remove when dry, sew crown on top to loops on edge of Row 9, stuffing hard with cotton. Tie ribbon around crown. Tack flowers on bow.

Lily Crochet Book No. 1300 - 1945

Celebrating Together, Home for the Holidays December 23, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in California Dreamin'.
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I was writing an email to a dear friend in Australia today and  she was telling me of some of the Holiday celebrations she remembered.

It would be interesting to celebrate the Holidays in a warmer climate, like Australia, for example. It’s hot this time of year, and most are on the beach enjoying the sun and sand. The barbies are blazing, and yes, there will be turkey roasts smoking.

Growing up, I always thought California was the last place on earth one would feel the Christmas Spirit, what, with no snow or a blazing fire in the hearth to warm us.

It was 60 degrees outside on Christmas morning, when I was growing up and still,  my dad would always start a fire in the fireplace, (mostly so he could burn all the wrapping paper that was discarded in the frenzy of presents being unwrapped. I thought we were the only house in Citrus Heights with a fireplace-who needs a fireplace when the winters never got below 52?

I recall one Christmas when we gave our Cocker Spaniel, Lady, a bone in her own personal Christmas stocking. She went off into a corner of the living room, with her chew-bone, and dared anyone to get near her. I purposefuly threw all my gift wrap in her direction, to isolate her so she wouldn’t feel so threatened by anyone who might want her bone. It was hilarious watching her lay there guarding her bone, growling at anyone who dared look her way. She was such a bitch in the true sense of the word~ LOL!

Dad would get a fire going in the fireplace and it was customary that I would stay in bed until he had the fire roaring. Mom would then call me to get up, and we would have pancakes, waffles, eggs and bacon for breakfast, before presents would be opened. Could she have presented a more elaborate buffet, to keep me detained as long as possible??? It was maddening and I think she enjoyed making me wait to open my presents. If she only knew (and I’m sure she did) the one time I sneaked a peek and ruined my own Christmas. I had to pretend to be surprised-that must have been a real show!

I hope my kids read this. Our memoirs are precious and somebody has to hear them. Women were the Original Story-Tellers from the Beginning of Time, and we must keep our history to pass down to our children, and their children ~ 🙂

Baked Stuffed Manicotti Recipe December 21, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in Back of the Fridge Recipes.
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I baked this one year with my older daughter-we had a blast making it and even more fun eating it~

Baked Stuffed Manicotti

1 lb. Ricotta cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 lb  mozzarella cheese
1/4 lb. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. italian bread crumbs
1 Tbsp parsley
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 jar Spaghetti sauce, I like Bertolli, it’s not acidic
1 small can Contadina Pizza sauce

Combine all ingredients except sauces, mixing well. Fill uncooked manicotti shells using a small spoon, or fingers-make sure you work any air bubbles out during the filling process.

Mix the sauces together.  Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch glass casserole, to prevent the pasta from sticking. Add a heaping spoonful of sauce and spread around pan.
Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer, cover with remaining sauce.
Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 40 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes.

Buon Apatite!

*NOTE TO CJ:  fee free to post a pic in here when you make it or send me the pic and I’ll post it!


MyWristie-Cuffs© No. 1 completed! December 18, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in A Stitch in Time | Projects.
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MyWristie-Cuffs© #1 is done!


The second one is already almost half completed.  I did the Elizabeth Zimmerman double strand cast-on, and then the Cat Bordhi join this time, to eliminate the sloppy “join in the round” I got on the first one. I’ve included links to YouTube videos to help out~ E. Zimmermann can be found on InterweaveVideos Channel; the Estonia Cast-on is very nice.

sloppy join

I got the ends woven in, so it’s not noticeable at all now.

*Disclaimer: The use of the word “wristie” is generic to mass media and is not affiliated with a business or article for sale for profit in this or any blog under my name. “MyWristie-Cuffs©” should not be confused with “Wristies®”, a registered trademark of http://www.wristies.com

I had a chance to catch the Mail Lady out on her route today and was able to  present her with her Mail Lady Fingerless Gloves.

Mail Lady MyWristie-Cuffs©

I glanced at her hands, and was happy to see hers are about the same size as mine~whew!

It’s finally feeling like things may return to normal again; the holiday rush is on the downside now and we can relax a little. No more wishing for more hours in the day, or fast trips to the coffee pot between phone calls.

Most have bought what they need for gift projects and are in no hurry for personal items they want for themselves now. The frantic last-minute shoppers dwindle and time can slow down for a change. These are the people I love gifting little items to-they have worn themselves out worrying about everyone else, and now it’s time to give back a little, make it all worth it~

DH and I talked about going to Lake Geneva after the holidays, set a spell at the bar and look out over the lake, while sipping Pinã Coladas…

Popeyes, Lake Geneva, WI, 12/31/2008

Lake Geneva, WI Dec. 31, 2008

Lake Geneva, WI New Years Eve 2008

Back to Woodland Ferns and Lace #3,  a present for DD32- sorry, Darlin’, it’s going to be a little late this time.

I got caught up in my memoirs… you understand~


World’s Best Huevos Rancheros- It’s What’s for Dinner! December 17, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in Back of the Fridge Recipes.
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I found an awesome website for making Huevos Rancheros, homemade tortillas, along with some great brands of Chile sauces, and variations to the recipe!

Flour Tortilla Recipe

  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4-6 Tbsp. lard
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Add lard and mix in with both hands.
  3. Add warm water slowly until your dough is soft.
  4. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
  5. Pull dough into a dozen balls.
  6. Roll out balls with a rolling pin to 1/8 inch thick. The thickness is important for the tortilla to be crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside.
  7. Lay raw tortilla in a very hot skillet or griddle for about 5 seconds each side, just until brown spots start to appear on the surface.

Best Huevos Rancheros, Michael-style

Start with a warm tortilla, you can microwave for 15 seconds to loosen it up. Place on an oven-safe plate. Cook desired number of eggs per person, until a little crispy around edges but not runny; place in center of warm tortilla. Spoon chile sauce around eggs, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, a few chiles, and cook under broiler for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Eggs should still come out soft in the center, like over-easy do.

Perfect for a cold Thursday night!
Bon Apatite!

PS: Sorry, no picture this time- didn’t even make it off the skillet~ YUM!

Cookie Bakeoff Completed | Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe December 16, 2009

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in Back of the Fridge Recipes.
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and the winner is………………….whoever gets the cookies!

Sunday, I baked cookies until I was blue in the face, and as I pulled sheet after sheet out of the oven, I felt a growing sense of accomplishment as my task neared completion. Once the baking was complete, I looked over my work, and said to myself, “Yep, another Christmas Success.” I wondered who would find a new favorite among the treats.

Here we have Walnut Chocolate Chip:

Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Penzey’s Peanut Butter Cookies, (only THE BEST recipe in the entire world!), and Oatmeal Butterscotch.

Penzey's Peanut Butter (foreground) and Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies (back)

I packaged them all up this morning in individual Glad containers, which held about 8-10 cookies in each,  and had enough for 4 boxes to go out this week, and and even had enough left over for us! WOOT!

Penzey’s Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookies

These are the best PB cookies I’ve ever made:

1/2 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 T vanilla (I used Mexican vanilla)
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter (Jif Creamy)
1 tsp  salt
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

Preheat over to 375°.
Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla, blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt and soda together with a wire whisk.  Add dry ingredients gradually to the butter/sugar mixture and blend until moistened. Add peanut butter and complete mixing.

Drop by small ice-cream scoops onto ungreased cookie sheet, then slightly flatten by making a criss-cross with a fork. Bake 10-13 minutes until just golden. Let stand 1 minute, then remove from pans onto cooling racks. Makes 6 dozen.

The Oatmeal Butterscotch cookies cooled hard, while the Chocolate Chip cookies stayed nice and chewy. The Peanut Butter also crisped up, but is a good thing to have when transporting via the Postal Service-they packed firmly in the Glad containers, and shouldn’t jostle around at all.

Guess who’s getting these? 😉

Grabbin’ a glass of milk, and headin’ for bed~ have a good night, all~