Monday, October 24, 2016

Memories Wilkes-Barre, Pa and EHS All Class reunion, September 2016

I hadn't been to a class reunion since my 20th and had no intention of going now but my hubby really wanted to go see his classmates so I agreed at the last minute to hit the road and bite the bullet so to speak and attend this reunion with a smile.

 This was an all class reunion.  Several classes combined together to share some memories and hopefully a very good time.

My school memories are not very uplifting to say the least.  It was a small school where everyone knew everybody and cliques were prevalent.  I did not feel like I fit in any where.  I wasn't the one who wanted to hang out to be popular.  I just wanted a good friend.  It was hard and I really till this day don't understand it.  Pretty sad, right?

I was an average student who tried her best but even teachers were more partial to those who caught on quickly and got it!  It took me a lot to comprehend most times.  I had to read a particular topic over and over and math was a big challenge.  Basic math?  That was not a problem.  It was all the other more advanced math and chemistry that were my challenge.

Business and art turned out to be my strength so I pursued Business college and turned that into a rewarding profession.  I guess the moral to the above story is find what is important to you and pursue it.  There will be obstacles that stall you but keep on going.  I did and I'm here to say I am proud of what I've done and continue to aspire and be an inspiration.  What else could one ask for?

 The reunion turned out to be such a nice event.  I saw a lot of people who I remembered and several who I did not.  Everyone was cordial and friendly.  It was a very good time so I was very glad I decided to go.  

I certainly went on way too much but as I look at it , I must have needed to finally get this out in the open hoping it'll show others that even though we feel different or don't think we fit in, it shouldn't stop us from accomplishing our goals in life. Nothing should hold us back...We need to have confidence.  It took me many years to be confident and now I wish I would have not let my fears of embarrassment stand in the way.  You have to take one step at a time and be persistent.  Don't let your insecurities hold you back.  It did hold me back to an extent but I rose to be a better me..........

Thanks for reading this post.  I'm hoping your enjoyed it and just maybe it'll help someone reach for the stars and be able to achieve their very best.   Life is good...Don't ever forget that!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Quick Chicken /Gnocchi Soup! OOH LA LA!!

This sure was easy!  and PERFECT for any day of the week!  I just love it when I can put something so easy and tasty together quickly. Using store bought gnocchi made this soup an easy and fast way to make soup a fun way!  You can always add more gnocchi to the soup if you like a hearty type thick kind of soup.  Add lots of diced or sliced carrots too!

Have a great day!


I package (16 oz.) gnocchi (cut in half and leave several whole)
1-48 oz Chicken Broth or more (**you can add 1 can cream of chicken soup to it if you like) or better yet skip the cream of chicken soup and make your own with a few T melted butter, flour and half and half)(whisking all together and when incorporated add to broth).
2 cups of water if adding cream of chicken soup 

1 + cup chicken  (I used tenders and cut them in small pieces)
1  to 2 small carrot diced or sliced
celery tops chopped
chopped fresh baby spinach (optional)
Italian grated cheese (optional)

**Note:  I prefer most times all chicken broth which can be easily thickened with a roux of  equal parts of butter and flour and when bubbly adding some broth to thin it slightly then adding the mixture to your broth.

  In a large pot place chicken broth, water and cream of chicken soup.  Bring to a slow boil stirring with each addition.   Add carrots, celery tops and chicken.  Cook slowly until chicken is tender..Note:  Chicken cooks quickly.  Add gnocchi and cook until gnocchi are tender.  Add spinach (optional) a few minutes before serving.  ***All in all I think this meal can be completed in less than 1 hour using stove top method.

Celery and carrots make this a hearty healthy dish.  If you like like the cream of chicken soup to thicken it or do the roux.
Happy Cooking from my kitchen to yours,

updated 10-23-16

Friday, October 21, 2016

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

It's new soup time.  Fall is in the air and summer is just a happy thought away so as I like to start off today with a new cream soup. I had to add my touch so I can make it mine.

I have to admit I looked though a few recipes and none were exactly the way I would make mine so I combined a few of their suggestions and added a few of my ideas and here is my recipe.

It was delicious.........**quick can easily substitute cooked small acne de pepe instead of tortellini if desired.  

  • 1- (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes ( I only had diced tomatoes so I placed mine in blender to pulse on grate)
  • 1 (16 oz.) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 4 cups chicken stock(+ 1 can of chicken broth if needed to thin)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon basil/garlic olive oil fresh pesto or (if you do not have the pesto use depending on your taste either 1 tsp. dried basil or 3 fresh basil leaves chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced(use only if you do not have basil garlic pesto)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and  sliced or diced very thin(you can even grate it)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  •  salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Pecorino Romano cheese grated, garnish

In a large dutch oven pot place olive oil, add onion and carrot.  Simmer slowly until onion is translucent and carrot is tender. Add garlic or pesto and simmer a little longer or until fragrant. Add tomatoes, stock, red pepper flakes and cook slowly until tomatoes start to reduce about 30 minutes.  Slowly add milk and and half mixture and cook  a few minutes or until slightly thickened. Add tortellini, salt and pepper to taste and cook on low a few minutes for tortellini to cook.  **Note: Refrigerated tortellini should not be overcooked.  Ladle to large soup bowl and garnish with cheese if desired.

Note:  My soup was not super thick which is the way I wanted it to be.  I figured the uncooked tortellini might absorb some of the broth.  Having said that keep an extra can of chicken broth to thin if your soup gets too thick.

If desired use an emulsion blender to puree all ingredients before adding tortellini.


  Happy Cooking from my kitchen to yours,

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chocolate Brownie cherry cheesecake

Our Saturday social is going to be this Saturday and although I had several soup and dessert recipes to choose from I decided a new one I saw on the Hugs and Cookies site appealed to me and it really didn't require a lot of ingredients to make so I decided it was a dessert that would appeal to many....mostly me. lol

Last week I made wonderful cherry and chocolate morsels cookies (what's up with me)? and now I'm into the chocolate cherry cheesecake.  Don't have a clue why but hope you enjoy this recipe.  If I like it I may choose it for a holiday dessert.  Enjoy! Easy Baking from my kitchen to yours, M.j.

  •  1 box Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix, prepare according to directions
  • 1 can cherry pie filling(reserve 1/2 cup to top cake before serving if desired )

  • Cheesecake Filling
  • One 8 oz package cream cheese softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • Hot Fudge sauce for topping (optional)

  1. Grease a 9" spring form pan, line it with parchment and grease again.
  2. Preheat oven 350.
  3. Spread half the brownie in the pan.
Cheesecake filling:

  1. Beat cream cheese, egg, vanilla and sugar,
  2. Spread this over the brownie batter.
  3. Dollop scoops of the cherry pie filling on top, reserving a bit for the tops.
  4. Use the rest of the brownie batter to top the cherries.
  5. Spread carefully with offset spatula.
  6. Bake about approx 60 minutes until baked all the way though.
  7. Cool to room temp and then chill a few hours before cutting.
  8. Top with extra cherries you reserved or use an extra can if you want a lot!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Crockpot beef and pork cubes with sweet potatoes

Here's another crockpot meal for you.  I'm thinking crockpot meals are the way to go now that I have settled in for fall and feel like taking it easy.  They take the "what am I going to make for dinner tonight"? out of your day.  You do have to plan ahead but I think that 's a good thing.

Today's meal I took a little from a friends'recipe suggestion and added some ingredients I had in my refrigerator. 

 This is the kind of meal you can add in lot's or a little amount of vegetables (I used sliced peppers because I had them and they give the sauce a nice flavor.  Quite honestly I think sliced carrots or corn might be a nice addition as well.

Here's my recipe:

1 1/2 lbs. beef and pork cubes
1 whole onion cut in 4
salt and pepper to taste
1 large sweet potato peeled and cut in cubes
1or 2 garlic clove minced
1 small can tomato paste
1 small can beef broth
green, red or yellow peppers sliced large
1 cup mushrooms sliced(optional)
bay leaf(optional) 

Optional:  Note:  If you want your broth to be a little thicker in a small bowl place 2 T cornstarch and 2 T water.  Stir well until combined and add to crockpot to thicken your sauce about 5 minutes before serving.

Saute beef and pork cubes in small amount of olive oil until slightly browned.  Add onion and cook until browned slightly. Add garlic and cook a minute or two. 

In a separate bowl whisk together tomato paste and broth until blended.

 Add all to crockpot including thickly sliced peppers, sweet potato and bay leaf. Set crockpot to high for two hours and then to low for 3 hours or on low for approximately 5 to 6 hours.Remove bayleaf.  Add cornstarch mixture and stir until combined and slightly thickened. Serve immediately.  Fresh bread or a side salad adds a nice touch.

P.S. the sweet potatoes add a nice touch to this meal.