Aug 19


With the end  of summer rapidly drawing near, my mind starts wandering back to the “Good Ole Days”. In my hometown of Stevens Point, Wisconsin our summer tradition was Crazy Days. What is Crazy Days? Well, if you ask my mom, it was crazy, but you ask any kid, preteen or teenager it was 3 days uptown that you couldn’t miss.

Crazy Days are basically sidewalk sales. All the merchants in town dig through their back stockrooms and drag out all their leftover stuff from the current season and seasons past, way past. Everything they thought was going to sell during the year that is still sitting the shelves or hanging on the racks, most of it so blasted ugly that’s the reason it’s still hanging around there.

I loved Crazy Day’s, I’d save my allowance and babysitting money for months just for these 3 days. It was a cacophony of laughter, shouting, babies crying, polka music, country music, live broadcasts from the radio stations all mingled with the  tantalizing smells of popcorn, corndogs, French fries and caramel apples from the food wagons, pizza, cotton candy and hot peanuts in the shell.

There would be live local entertainment, the scouts might be putting on a demonstration on camping safety, 4-H would be showing how to do projects and the Town Clown would  be zipping around on his unicycle making balloon animals and passing out suckers from deep within the endless pockets in his red and white striped pants.

The town “square” would be overflowing with all the local farmers and their  tables loaded with everything from apples to zucchini for sale. Homemade preserves, jelly’s, pickles, baked goods, fruits and veggies galore. If you were there early enough you could always count on Josie, among a few others, to have fresh brown eggs and chickens that were butchered that morning.

The highlight of the entire “festival” was the shopping! Mom and grandma would head for Spurgeons and Montgomery Wards first for the best deals on new sheets, pillowcases and towels. That was the best place to buy those ungodly rubber sheets that were underneath the mattress pads incase you or the dog had an accident in the middle of the night. Those miserable things crackled all night long and made you sweat like a pig during the summer, but you had to have rubber sheets on the bed.

My mom always  and still actually has had a lifelong love affair with those miserable flour sack towels for the kitchen. Not really sure why, they aren’t very practical for drying dishes as they get soaking wet after the first dish is dried. But she loves them and has drawers full of them.

Grandpa would head to Coast to Coast for seeds, garden tools and the ever elusive perfect nut or bolt. He had coffee cans full of nails, screws, washers and the such, but when he needed something, he never had the right one. So he was like a kid at Christmas when he was faced with an extensive selection of several dozen gross of penny nails.

My brother and dad would head to whatever had Michael’s interest at that time. My dad was a patient shopper, Mike would drag him to the fishing stuff, baseball, and every toy display there was and dad just followed along. They would come home with some interesting treasurers.

Me, I would hightail it over to Ben Franklin and Woolworths. Where else could you find nail polish in every color of the rainbow for a nickel. Wet and Wild was new back then and I loved the hot pink and blood red hues. You could always find deals on Love’s Baby Soft perfume, which was what every sophisticated pre-teen and young lady wore. I also wore Muguet, the Lily of the Valley scent. Of course if you wore a fragrance with a fancy French name, that just made it all the better.

Who could ever forget the 70’s classics, Spoon Rings, Mood Rings and the loyal, faithful to a fault Pet Rock. Yes I unashamedly had them all and wish I still had them.


The stores would start out at one price on Friday, on Saturday, the prices would drop and what ever was left on Sunday went to rock bottom deals. After the weekend was over, it went back into the “vault” until next year when it stood a good chance that it would be scooped up by someone who was looking for just that item.

We would head home each day tired, our tummy’s filled to the gills with all that amazing street food and clutching our treasures close to our hearts all the while, sending up a little prayer that the pair of sandals or the drill bit set would still be there the next day and priced just a bit lower so we could grab it and feel like we got the most amazing deal of the century.

Those really were the ” Good Ole Days “, fun, laughter, friends, great food and fabulous deals on stuff we just could not live without. With all the online shopping we have now, this is one memory I would love to go back and redo.

Sit back and think of your summer memories, it will make you smile.

Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! ”




Aug 07


We all remember our school lunches whether those memories are good or bad. I loved the school lunches and back in those days, they were actually cooked by real lunch ladies. For the first 6 years, I went to public school and all morning long you would get a wiff of warm baked bread, soups or casseroles and those days the homemade chocolate cake was the best.

After a few years at a Catholic School that didn’t do meals and we took sack lunches, which were a nice change, high school brought me back to the lunch line. Those nuns could cook like nobodies business. I was always amazed how they could have goulash on Monday and by Thursday it had magically morphed into something total different just by them adding a spice or something and suddenly goulash was replaced  by a pizza casserole or cabbage casserole and viola, no leftovers or waste.

In grade school, at lunch in the gym, as was usual for the that time. The ” lunch room ” monitors walked around with no smiles and made sure that nothing was wasted or food fights were started. If you misbehaved you got the dreaded ” wall “. Nothing was more embarrassing as being told to go stand on the wall until you were told to leave which was usually when the monitors had made sure everyone was done eating and garbage was picked up and thrown away and it was time for her to patrol the playground.

The lunch room monitor scared the hell out of me. She was a hulking, amazon sized lady with big brown orthopedic shoes and military  clothes and if she would have smiled, it  would have cracked her face……well that’s how she looked to an 8 year old. In later years, I would run into her and she was a sweet grandma who smiled all the time. She made me stand on the dreaded wall once and only once and it was  because of fish sticks of all things. I couldn’t stand those nasty, dried out, overbaked, fake sticks and still can’t to this day.  So being as brilliant as I am, I tried to fool her and hide those disgusting things in my milk carton. Damn it, she was like mom with eyes in the back of her head and I got busted.

My very favorite meal was SLOPPY JOE day, those sandwiches were the best thing I ever ate and mom would give me 50 cents extra so that I could get another one if there was enough left. The cooks had to make sure those mean old 6th graders had enough to eat, like they didn’t have enough strength to push us little kids off the swings and steal our playground balls. The lunch lady made these SLOPPY JOE’S from scratch, no canned sauce for this cook. When I left grade school that was the memory that stuck with me through to adulthood. My mom made great SLOPPY JOE’S, but they weren’t like the ones I had at McDill School.

I thought I’d never get to taste those wonderful sandwiches again and then one day, my boyfriend took me home to meet his mother. Low and behold it was the never forgotten lunch lady.  Her first words to me were, ” You’re the little girl that always wore dresses! ” My first words were, ” You’re the lunch lady that made the SLOPPY JOE’S! 

For almost 20 years she would make these for me and I did finally the oh so simple and surprising recipe from her. These yummy sandwiches will put a smile on your kids faces when you serve these for dinner with buttered corn, a side salad and chocolate cake with white frosting, just like the lunch lady used to.

Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! “


3 lbs ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped small

1 15 3/4 oz can tomato soup

1 15 3/4 oz can cream of celery soup

1 cup ketchup

1 small can tomato paste

2 tbl sugar

2 tsp Accent

Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, brown meat until no longer pink, no need for oil, add onions and saute’ until tender.

Add tomato and cream of celery soups, ketchup, tomato paste sugar and Accent. Salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer until thickened, adjusting seasoning if needed.

Serve with fresh buns and let the fun begin.

Go Ahead….” Just Try It ”




Jul 18


My mom loved to try new things so there was always something fun in the kitchen to taste test when we got home from school. This TUNNEL OF FUDGE CAKE has been a favorite for my brother and I and now his daughter has it in her top 5 favorite treats.

This cake can be made in 15 minutes and with another 15-30 minutes in the fridge it’s ready to dive into. Use any kind of pudding to suit your tastes or the season.

Pumpkin or caramel with chopped nuts during the fall will pair nicely with a warm mug of apple cider.

Crush up some peppermint candies and mix in with the chocolate fudge pudding and serve it with a steaming mug hot cocoa topped with extra marshmallows.

In the springtime, lemon pudding and decorate the top with fresh lemon twists and a cup of tea will be a sweet treat with a good friend and an overdue chat on the front porch.

No matter what flavor profile you choose, it’s sure to be a hit.








1 Angel Food Cake

1 3 oz box instant pudding, your choice of flavor

1 1/2 cups milk

16 oz container Cool Whip thawed

Cut about 1″ off top of angel food cake and set aside.  Hollow out bottom portion of cake reserving the pieces you’ve removed. Slightly press inside of hollow to compress the cake a bit and to make the tunnel a little larger.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, mix the milk and pudding mix together and let stand 5 minutes to soft set. Gently stir in the pieces of cake you saved from the center of the cake.

Put filling into the tunnel and place top of cake back on. Frost cake with thawed cool whip and set in refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.

Decorate as desired and pull your hands away fast when you set it on table!


Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! ”



Jul 04


The 4th of July; parades, picnics, food, bands, speeches, food, carnivals, food….food? well of course food. When you think about it, what would any celebration be without food. Family favorites, grandma’s specialties, burgers, brats, hot dogs, chicken, ribs and brisket on the grill. Salads of every  flavor and texture,

When I was a kid, we would go to my Uncle’s cottage on Silver Lake in Wisconsin.  During the course of the day there would be Aunts and Uncles showing up with gaggles of cousins to play with. I was pretty young but I remember the men would play horseshoes, the boys would always have a ball game of some sort going on, the volleyball net was set and ready for a match and there was always a half a dozen Frisbee’s sailing through the air.

What would I be doing? Getting fished out of the lake by dad. Every single year I fell into the lake. Usually it was because I was walking along the pier looking at the fish or frogs or whatever and KERPLUNK! there I was in the lake yet again.

Once I was dried off and my clothes were changed, it was time for food, and oh the food there was. The grills were loaded with burgers, hot dogs, brats and chicken, of course the men were manning those grills making sure everything was done perfectly and each one bragging on how their technique was better than the next.

The ladies would start to bring out the Tupperware bowls of anything and everything, hot and cold, sweet and savory. We are a people of the potluck frame of mind so even in the middle of summer, hot dishes were the norm.  You could always count on there being at least 6 different variations of deviled eggs and as many or more Jello treats. Oh the Jello dishes, molds, layers, creamed, fruited, nutted even marshmallowed and of course Knox Blox ( today the kids call them Jigglers ).

Those ladies would all hover nearby watching to make sure no serving bowl ever got more than half full before dashing into the cottage to get more. You could almost see their ears swiveling to catch a comment or compliment on their contribution to the meal.

My brother and I couldn’t wait until the evening and the highly anticipated fireworks both at home and show at the fairgrounds. In our front yard we would have sparklers that we waved around and wrote our names in the air with those glittery, glowing sticks, those little black charcoal pellets that; when lit became snakes,  (and dad griped for weeks after because they left that black stain on the concrete driveway ), the all to famous Floral Fountain, which sprayed the different color sparks into the sky, cherry bomb’s, bottle rockets and so many other brightly colored, exploding surprises. Mom always managed to have several packets of firecrackers which scared the hell out of me.

Once it was dark enough, we’d get in our pajamas and pile into the car. We’d head towards the fairgrounds but never actually went there. Dad ( and lots of other smart dad’s ) always had several places that we could park and see the whole show. I always wondered why we couldn’t go to the fairgrounds and be with the other spectators, mom said it was because it was easier to stay away and not have to fight traffic. As I got older and did go see them with my friends and later boyfriend, I realized it really wasn’t as much fun because the smoke that rose from those fireworks made it difficult to enjoy.

The celebrations changed as I got older and the fun went away with the disappearance of the carnivals and charcoal snakes at home. The family picnic was replaced by standing around a beer tent listening to eclectic folk music being plinked out.

The food, while it started coming  from food trucks sold a variety of tasty morsels from the basic burgers to egg rolls, and the always desired deep fried cheese curds and French fries. You could get the elephant ears, corn dogs, candy apples, caramel apples, cotton candy, and the rest of the fair fare. But local business’ were entering the scene with pizza, sandwiches, the afore mentioned egg rolls.

Yes, times changed, but one thing always remains the same, the food and while it may alter during the changing times, it is still a prominent part of celebrations. So go to the picnic, take something from your childhood and while you are chatting with old Aunt Margaret and Uncle Buster, make them smile with a memory of a 4th of July of past. Make sure she knows that her 3 bean salad and Uncle Buster’s hamburgers were better than anyone else’s and you would love to have a taste of them once again.

Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! ”

Happy 4th of July my foodie friends!!!!!


Jun 18


Spring and early summer bring a variety of seasonal fruits and one of my favorites is RHUBARB.  This tart, stalk fruit has the texture of celery and can  be turned into amazing deserts from pies to cakes to sauce for ice cream or bread pudding.

Is RHUBARB a fruit? Technically it is a vegetable because it does not have seeds to reproduce which is what differentiates fruit from vegetable, in the 1940’s it was reclassified as a fruit as it prepared as a sweet instead of a savory food.

Do you peel RHUBARB? That question is a conundrum, some people do not peel, I myself prefer it peeled. If you choose to peel, it’s very simple and lickety split, it’s done, the “strings” pull off just like celery and the bottom or flat part will generally come off in one thin sheet.

Freezing RHUBARB takes no special work. Just dice it up in 1/4″ pieces, place on a tray and freeze. Once frozen transfer to  freezer bags or seal in your food saver bags. I freeze in 2 and 4 cup portions.

My favorite ways for RHUBARB is cooked into a sauce for over ice cream or RHUBARB CUSTARD CAKE. This cake is so simple your family will think you slaved all day over it…..Let them think that, only you and I will know the truth.

Serve this cake warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream with a sprinkle of cinnamon and that’s all you need.


Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! ”







1 boxed yellow cake mix
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups fresh rhubarb cut in 1/2″ cubes or 5 cups frozen and thawed rhubarb
1 cup sugar
2 tbl cinnamon
1 pint heavy whipping cream
Whipped cream or ice cream for topping
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare cake according to directions adding the 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla.
Spread rhubarb over cake mix.
Mix 1 cup sugar with 2 tbl cinnamon and sprinkle over rhubarb.
Pour the heavy cream over entire cake.
Bake at 350 for 60 minutes or until done.
Let cool a few minutes before cutting to allow custard to set up a bit.
Serve with whipped Cream or ice cream.

May 30


It’s summertime and whether we want lo-cal, quick and easy or little to no cooking, you can’t go wrong with a pasta salad.  This LEMON PEPPER TUNA PASTA SALAD will cover it all. You’ve spent the day at the beach or pool or doing that dreaded yardwork or even a long day at the office; your family is hungry and they want to eat now, tell them to go take a shower and you can whip this up in no time.

Make some extra so you can take some to work for lunch the next day. You can switch it up for another meal by adding cooked, diced or shredded chicken and just add some lemon pepper seasoning.

This is so versatile, it’s a side dish for BBQ ribs or chicken or a meal in itself. If you want a bit more texture, add some broccoli or cauliflower.

So let the kids swim a little longer, work in your garden till dark and still know you will have a delicious dinner on the table in no time.




2 cups shell pasta
2 2.6 oz packages LEMON PEPPER TUNA
1/4-1/2 cup Hellmans
2 ribs celery, chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas
6 oz Cheddar or Colby cheese, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1/2 tsp Accent
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Cook pasta until al dente’ and drain well. DO NOT RINSE, dressing will cling better if not rinsed. Meanwhile in a small kettle of boiling water cook peas for 2-3 minutes and immediately rinse or plunge in cold water to stop the cooking.
Gently combine all ingredients, taking care not mush the peas.
Refrigerate 2-4 hours to allow flavors to meld.
Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! “


May 27


I was wandering around the salad dressing isle trying to get a new idea for a pasta salad when I saw Kraft had a new dressing out, Zesty Lime Vinaigrette and inspiration struck me hard and fast. I didn’t really want to do a vinaigrette dressing base, and the  ho-hum sour cream or mayo dressing wasn’t doing it for me either, but…..why not combine it with Ranch dressing?

I decide to experiment with several different varieties of pasta and found that the 3 cheese ravioli or tortellini provided the texture and slightly salty flavor that blended well with the dressing.

From that point on, it was simply, anything goes, whatever was in the pantry and fridge seemed fair game, by the time it was done, I had a pasta salad that continues to be the requested dish to any potluck or picnic I go to.

Add some cooked, diced ham, or bacon for an added flavor boost, just adjust  seasonings according to taste.

I did find that avocado does not work well, it is so delicate, that when you mix it in, it tends to mush up and doesn’t really lend any benefit to adding it.

Don’t use bottled Ranch dressing, the powdered mix combined with the buttermilk has a much better flavor and you need the mixture to be quite thin as the pasta will soak it up. If you make it to thick, you will end up with a pasty texture.

Take this to your next gathering along with a few recipe cards with the directions and the website on it and you too will getting asked to bring this CREAMY LIME RAVIOLI PASTA SALAD.





1/4 cup Kraft Lime Vinaigrette salad dressing

1 1/4 c Hellman’s

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix or 3 tablespoons if you have the bulk container

1 c buttermilk

1 8 oz small  dry cheese ravioli pasta or any filled pasta of your choice

2 small tomatoes, cut in 1/2″ chunks

1/4 c onion, finely diced

1 14 oz can black olives, drained

1 c small cauliflower flowerettes

1 c small broccoli flowerettes

1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half lengthwise

1 tsp accent

salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water. Drain well and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine Lime Vinaigrette dressing, Ranch dressing mix, Hellman’s and buttermilk. Mixture will be thin, don’t make it thicker as the pasta is going to soak up the excess.

Gently mix in remaining ingredients and room temperature pasta. Season to taste and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Go Ahead….” Just Try It ”

May 16


I am an ice cream addict, but I’m also an ice cream purist. I hate junk in my ice cream and unfortunately 90% of it in the grocery stores has more stuff in it than that sweet, luscious frozen treat.

Being that we live in an RV because of my husbands work, space is limited. Even though I have a full size refrigerator/freezer, one of those big ice cream makers that you have to keep the container frozen, takes up a lot of space.

I found this amazing product…..Mr Freeze Thermal ICE CREAM MAKER. This little gem makes 1 1/2 pints of any kind of ice cream or sorbet in about 45 minutes.   It freezes as it churns so it does not need to be kept in the freezer. You can add anything you want from chips, cookie pieces, nuts and candy. You also have the option of soft serve, which is my preference or hard frozen.


Mr. Freeze EIM-700 Maxi-Matic 1.5 Pint Thermoelectric Ice Cream Maker, White

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I love to use different flavors, I never know what kind of mood I’m in so I keep a huge variety of flavors on hand.  I get my extracts at  and I have not found a single flavor I don’t like.

They offer free shipping on orders over $50 and they also have several different free samples that you can choose from to try out.


There are many different recipes for your ice cream base, and believe me I experimented, hey, I have to make sure that I am passing along as perfect a combination of ingredients as possible to you.  If I’m not going to eat it, why would you.

I found if you use heavy cream, there is too much butter fat and you wind up with an unpleasant coating in your mouth. I also discovered that if you use milk, it crystalizes and you get a grainy texture. The perfect mixture, to me, is one part whipping cream ( not the heavy ) and one part half and half.  This freezes well at either the soft serve or the hard stage.

If you want to make it sugar free, just substitute Splenda for the sugar.  I make Butter Pecan for Bobbie like this and he loves it.

This is one of  my favorites and I make it often. It’s refreshing and if you’d like you can add some white chips or some vanilla sandwich cookie pieces to it.



1 cup whipping cream ( not heavy )

1 cup half and half

1/3 cup sugar ( more if desired )

1 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp lemon zest

Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pout into ice cream maker and set to desired hardness.

Serve with a lemon slice on top for a fresh, cool treat.

Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! ”

Apr 12


Typically BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP is pureed and has some type of cream  Sour, cream cheese, whipping cream and the like in it. My family likes a hearty chunky soup as opposed to a cream based one so that’s what I give them.

There’s no need to follow my ingredients, clean out the fridge, freezer and put in what your family likes. Use chicken or beef if you like. Prepare this differently each and every time you make it. Find out which ones are preferred and put those in your own personal recipe collection.

This particular version is perfect for the diabetic or for Lent, add potatoes or pasta for and even heartier meal. A sandwich or crusty bread on the side and dinner is served.



1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed into 3/4″ sized bites

1 medium onion, rough chopped

3 ribs celery, rough chopped

1 clove garlic smashed and minced

1 16 ounce package oriental stir fry vegetables

3/4 – 1 pound thick sliced ham, cut into 1/2″ cubes

2 tsp Accent

2 tsp vegetable bouillon base

2 bay leaves

3-4 kubabba’s ( whole allspice )

6-8 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot combine squash, onion, celery, garlic, bouillon, Accent, bay leaves, kubabba and water.

Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are tender.

Add ham and stir fry veggies and simmer until tender and heated through. Season to taste.

Go Ahead…. ” Just Try It! ”



Apr 11

Apple Cobbler w/French Vanilla Ice Cream

We all have that fruit bowl sitting on the counter that has the apples that look a little lifeless. There is always one or two different kinds, Gala, Delicious, Jazz and the ever loved Granny Smith. Not enough of one to make anything with right? WRONG, who said you have to have one flavor of apple in a pie, crumble or cobbler.

You can take all of those apples and wonderful aroma of apples and cinnamon will permeate your kitchen in very short time. Top that warm, succulent apple mixture topped with the crunchy COBBLER topping with some homemade FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM and you will find yourself buying extra apples next time you buy fruit.

I use VANILLA SUGAR in this topping and the ice cream, you can find the recipe on the November 16, 2016 post for how to make this tasty variation. If you don’t have any, regular sugar works perfectly fine.

I get all my extracts, flavorings and baking supplies at . Check them out for value and quality.



5-6 apples, any mixture of variety, peeled cored and rough sliced

3/4 cup vanilla sugar, plain sugar works just as well.

1 cup flour

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.

Place sliced apples in the baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine egg, sugar, flour and cinnamon and mix until it resembles a coarse crumble.

Sprinkle on top of apples and pour the melted butter all over the top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.



1 pint half & half

1 pint whipping cream (not heavy)

1/2 cup vanilla sugar

1 tsp FRENCH VANILLA extract.

Combine all ingredients until combined. If using an ice cream maker, follow manufacturer’s directions for freezing.

If not using a machine. Place in a freezer container and stir every 15 minutes until a bit more than soft serve texture. Serve as soft serve or continue in freezer until frozen.









































































































































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