Thursday, November 27, 2014


Today is Thanksgiving, a favorite holiday of mine because of the company of family, the delicious meal we will enjoy, and the start of the Christmas season. It seems appropriate and necessary to give thanks for all the blessings, gifts, and opportunities I have been given.

And today I want to thank you, the readers of my blog and the pinners of my recipes. Whether you stop by once or many times, I appreciate you and the time you have given  Just yesterday my humble little blog exceeded 100,000 page views since I started on March 24, 2014. Seems unbelievable to me!

So, sit back and enjoy your family and turkey dinner and know that you are appreciated. Blessings to you and your family during this season of joy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I could dive right into this delicious casserole.

Does your family quickly tire of Thanksgiving leftovers?  Are you looking for a flavorful casserole to satisfy the entire family?  Look no more.  I found it, made it, and my little family LOVED it!  Best of all, you can use some of that left over turkey or use chicken, either tastes great.

Shredded chicken or you could use turkey

Delicious chopped, cooked bacon

Jasmine rice

The Roux - melted butter plus flour and pepper

After adding broth to the roux, stir in the cheese

Add the wing sauce to the cheese sauce, oh yeah!

Pour the cheese sauce over the rice and chicken, then mix

Then add another cup of shredded cheese to the top of the casserole

The fantastic full of flavor Bacon, Chicken or Turkey, & Cheese Casserole

Now here is the recipe for this plate full of yummy:



8 slices of bacon
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
1 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 to 2 tablespoons of Buffalo wing sauce
3 cups of shredded, hot chicken or turkey
3 cups of cooked jasmine rice
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Cook bacon and crumble, set aside.  Keep 2 tablespoons of bacon grease aside to use later in the recipe.

Cook rice and set aside.

Cook and shred chicken and set aside (I usually make mine in the crock pot, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then covered with chicken broth on high for 4 - 5 hours.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, stir in flour and pepper until smooth and bubbly. Slowly stir in chicken broth. Stir until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Stir in wing sauce. Taste for spiciness and add salt, pepper, or more wing sauce if necessary.

Place reserved 2 tablespoons bacon grease in a Dutch Oven or other oven safe casserole dish.  Stir cooked rice in the bacon grease, add shredded chicken or turkey and cheese sauce, mixing to combine.  Top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, then top with crumbled, cooked bacon.

Place casserole in a 375 degree oven until top cheese is bubbly and melted.  Serve immediately with additional wing sauce on the table for those family members who like it extra spicy.

This dish serves approximately 6.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe on Picky-Palate.

Monday, November 24, 2014


The other day I received the 2015 Amish Service Guide - America's Guide to Amish Businesses in the mail.  I don't recall sending for it, but who knows?  This 32 page booklet contains some gorgeous photographs as well as four pages of very handy maps of the main Ohio Amish areas.  This would be a must have for any tourists to Ohio Amish communities.  During the cold winter months I plan on spending time making up my itinerary for my Springtime trip to Ohio Amish Country with the help of this 2015 Amish Service Guide.

Detailed maps of Ohio Amish Country

The main gist of this booklet is to highlight Amish businesses in Ohio.  There are so many entertaining ads in this booklet, like this one for Mary C. Miller's Bulk Food Country Store in Dalton, Ohio:  Her hours are Mon - Sat 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Evenings by chance.  I love that!  Maybe Mary will be in after 5:00 pm and maybe she won't.  Mary's Bulk Food Country Store has quite the delicious variety of food and other items.

Pages 24 and 25 have photos of charming Amish one room schoolhouses.  Elsewhere you can find photos of Amish farmers baling hay, several horse pictures, and my personal favorite is the cover depicting a huge Amish home with clothes hanging on the line by beautiful trees changing colors in the Fall.

If you are planning a trip to Ohio Amish Country, this booklet will certainly give you some new ideas on what to do while there.  The Directory of Businesses and Calendar of Events by County are very worthwhile to consider while planning your trip.

Page 2 gives you information on where this publication is created.  They have a Facebook page at  You can see the entire booklet on line at

Sunday, November 23, 2014


By request I am posting the recipe for the Best Macaroni and Cheese Ever with no pictures to make it easier to print out.  This recipe has been viewed almost 75,000 times since it was originally posted in April, 2014.  

Also see this update to the recipe.

Start by reading the entire recipe, then butter a 9” x 9” glass pan, and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Gather the following ingredients:
Large pot of boiling water
8 ounces elbow macaroni (half of a 1 lb. box)

Cook the elbow macaroni in boiling water for approximately 7 – 8 minutes.  Drain, and set aside.

Cheese Sauce Ingredients:
¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
¼ cup of flour
A generous pinch of ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups half and half
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Mix together the flour, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt.

In a 3 ½ quart saucepan melt the ½ stick of butter over medium heat.  Add in the flour mixture and stir until it is smooth.  
Add the half and half in small amounts, stirring well after each addition to keep the mixture smooth until all 2 cups is added.  
Keep stirring while bringing the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  The mixture will thicken. 
Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir for about another 5 minutes.  Take the saucepan off the heat and add the 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted.

Add your cooked, drained elbow macaroni to the cheese sauce, stir well, and taste for seasoning.  Some people may like the dish just like this, but if you prefer at crunchy topping, continue on.

Pour into your prepared 9” x 9” glass pan.

1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup panko bread crumbs

Stir the panko bread crumbs into the melted butter.  Sprinkle the mixture on top of your macaroni in the 9" x 9" glass pan.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes until it is bubbly and the top begins to brown.

This dish tastes best when first served and should easily serve 6.  This dish is based on a recipe from

Monday, November 17, 2014



Naomi King continues to write wonderfully appealing Amish romance novels including her newest offering, Emma Blooms at Last (Penguin Group).  Emma Blooms at Last continues the story from Book One, Amanda Weds a Good Man of the One Big Happy Family series which takes place in Cedar Creek, Missouri.  Readers may want to read Amanda Weds a Good Man prior to starting Emma Blooms at Last so as to be familiar with all the character's back stories.  Both books are excellent reads and very entertaining.

As the book begins, Emma Graber is feeling like she is always the bridesmaid, and never the bride as her friend Abby Lambright prepares to marry Emma’s brother, James.  Emma has spent her life caring for her aged parents and she has no prospects for a husband in sight.   Naomi King perfectly captures Emma's feelings of being left behind while everyone else is dating someone special.
One young man, Jerome, has been looking Emma's way, but he is so flashy and sure of himself, which is not the Amish way.  It seems people keep pushing Jerome towards Emma as they play matchmaker.  Their blatant and clumsy attempts at matching Emma to Jerome irritates Emma and only causes her to back away from him.  And Jerome doesn’t help his cause with his constant pressure to see and date Emma.  Will Jerome be able to let his true self shine in front of Emma?  Will Emma come out of her shell and let herself love again?

Meanwhile Wyman and Amanda Brubaker and their combined brood of children from Book One are back in Emma Blooms at Last.  Money troubles mount for the Brubakers and each member of the combined family face new sacrifices.  Can Wyman discover a way to fight back “Amish style” to get his family and business back on their feet?

Emma Blooms at Last is such a charming book; readers will love the families within its pages.  Naomi King gives us excitement, romance, challenging situations, and good, old fashioned Christian values in this page turning delightful novel.  Emma Blooms at Last was published November 4, 2014.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Saturday, November 8th, 2014 - the wedding of Jillian Johnson to Ryan Wiesner could not have been any more beautiful or perfect.  The weather cooperated and we had mild sunny skies during the day for the church service.  The evening reception at Great American Ball Park (home of the Cincinnati Reds) was so wonderful.  The best part was seeing just how happy and in love my daughter and son-in-law are.  They blissfully danced the night away.  And somehow, magically, all day I felt so calm and happy.  I wasn't the nervous wreck I feared I may be.  Thank you God for everything!

Monday, November 3, 2014


Jillian & Ryan on the day they got engaged at Tybee Island, GA, surrounded by family and friends.

I have been pretty quiet lately, my posts have dwindled to once a week, but I have a pretty good reason.  My only daughter is getting married on Saturday, November 8th to a wonderful young man that we love as well.

Any of you with married daughters know how time consuming and of course, expensive, weddings can be.  I can't even believe how many last minute changes we had to make to the guest list and table seating.  Oh well, surely it is finalized now (fingers crossed!).

These last 15 months, since she got engaged, have been such a precious time to spend with my daughter.  She has proven to be very organized, willing to bargain with vendors to keep within her budget, and most days, definitely not a Bridezilla.

They are getting married in a small church that we attended during her growing up years.  She attended kindergarten through eighth grade at the parochial school there.  My heart is full with all the good memories from that time.

So I ask for your forgiveness for my meager posts while I complete the last minute details on my daughter's wedding.  And I ask for your prayers for a happy, sunny day on Saturday, November 8th and a lifetime of joy and love for Jillian & Ryan.  Many thanks!