Thursday, July 12, 2018

A nice ride in the country

It was hot sitting on the porch so Pat suggested a ride. He drove a few roads we've never been on. It surprises me there are any left.

We saw 7 bunnies in different areas. A couple Sandhill Cranes, a fox, a hawk being chased away by a very small bird, horses and cows. I only took pictures of the Cranes.

Then we stopped for an ice cream cone. A no sugar added, low fat Moosetracks was delicious and refreshing. First ice cream in over a year. (I don't count Halo Top as ice cream even though I like it.)

It was a nice night.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Shrimp Boil with Crack Sauce!

Shrimp boil season is here! It is one of our favorites.  So easy and so good.

6 Smart Points with Shrimp, corn, onion, 3 pieces of sausage (1 link), 1/2 cup potatoes and 1/4 cup crack sauce on the side.

Put large soup kettle filled 3/4 full with water on to boil.

     Add lots of Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
     Add lots of Trader Joe's Chili Lime Seasoning
     Squeeze 1 lemon and add all of lemon to pot
*   Add lots Cracked Pepper
     Add potatoes cook 10 minutes
** Add onion (cut in chunks)
     Add corn (cut in half) cook 10 minutes
     Add sausages cook 5 minutes (cut in thirds)
     Add shrimp cook 1 minute

*   The Chili Lime is very salty so I don't add salt.
** You may want to add more seasoning when you add the corn and onion.


Serve with crack Sauce
1 cup Fage FF Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Walden Farms Honey Mustard
1/8 cup Walden Farms Ranch
1/4 cup Ketchup
1/2 tsp Pepper
2 TBS Worcester Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce

Thursday, June 28, 2018

And the new book begins

I'm working on my next book. Still can't decide if it's going to be a series or a stand alone. It also is nameless! But... I really am enjoying writing again after my year long break.

I decided to spend a year focused on supporting others on Connect and Facebook who are on this Weight Watchers journey with me.

I found I got more out of helping others than I ever imagined could happen. So I'm liking my characters. Dawn of 'dawn of a new day' gave permission to use her coffee house in the book. That makes me very happy because it is a great place in downtown Saginaw.

So as I work on this please pray the words continue to flow from my heart.

Here is the beginning:


The child hid behind the putrid trash can. Crouching even lower, she silently put one foot behind the other inching farther back towards the cold brick wall. She shivered with fear, as much as from the cold and when her tummy rumbled loudly, she was terrified it could be heard.  She hadn't had anything to eat since yesterday morning. This afternoon her mother had ordered her to stay hidden in the dark alley until she returned with food, but that was a long time ago.

 Now there was someone with a flashlight at the end of the alley searching for something. As he pulled boxes away from the building the beam of light jerked back and forth on the wall creating monster shadows. She squeezed her eyes shut hoping if she couldn't see him then maybe he wouldn't see her.

 When the trash can in front of her was pulled away she screamed and tried to push past the man. She stumbled over his feet as the laser flashlight momentarily blinded her. She felt his huge hands grab the back of her jacket lifting her off the ground. Just as her Mom had taught her she kicked her feet and swatted the air with her hands and tried to bite the stranger when she heard him say, "It's okay your mom sent me to find you."

 She dropped her hands and made her body go limp in his arms. Constantly warned not to trust strangers, especially strangers saying she had sent them, the child tried this last maneuver her mom had taught her to use in a bad situation. The man assumed the little girl was going to give up and set her on her feet as he pressed the radio button attached to his coat announcing, "This is 134. Found her, heading back to the station."

 Now that she could see again she shuddered as her worst nightmare unfolded in the dark alley. It was a Policeman!  When he let go of her hand to put the flashlight back in his belt she bolted. The police officer shouted with terrifying authority, "Get back here, now!"

 She ran as fast as her little legs could carry her, but it wasn't fast enough. This time when he lifted her off the ground he carried her under his arm to the police car, deposited her in the backseat and shut the door. When he walked around the car to get in the driver side she reached to open the door to run again. She screamed in frustration when she realized there was no handle on the inside of the door; no way out. Tears ran down her cheeks faster than her filthy hands could brush them away leaving streaks of dirt on her face. The officer got in the car and looked in the review mirror at the little girl. He knew without a doubt this would be a night he would never forget.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

Kay and Jerry gave us Rhubarb. A search for recipes found a hot strawberry shortcake that I revised. It's delicious.

7 servings
1 Smartpoint

2 lbs. fresh or frozen strawberries
2 cups rhubarb cut in small pieces
7 tsp Truvia
1 tbsp cornstarch
Juice of one lemon
3/4 cup self-rising flour
A little less than 3/4 cup Fat Free Greek yogurt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat the oven to 400°

Put strawberries, rhubarb, 2 TBS Truvia, and lemon juice into saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. When boiling mix cornstarch with a little water and add to fruit. Simmer to reduce. Pour into casserole dish.

Combine the flour, yogurt and applesauce in a mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Use a small cookie scoop to add the dough to the casserole dish with the strawberry mixture.

Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon of Truvia and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over the biscuits. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are lightly browned.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Just don't know what to do

So I'm just going to post my opinion on this. I don't want your opinion, post it on your own blog. 

My arms ache thinking of a parent with empty arms. My heart breaks thinking of a lonely, frightened child. My anger flares when God's word is twisted.

No matter what the reason, forcefully separating parents and children, then holding the children as political pawns, is immoral.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

***Not Tested Yet***

***Not Tested Yet***

12 servings - 1 pt each

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 TBS Fat Free Cream Cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1/2 lemon
3 TBS Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 TBS Sugar Free Jello Pudding Mix (cheesecake)
4 TBS Fat Free Redi Whip

Mix together, frost cupcakes

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes

Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes
Serves 6 - 4 Smart Points each

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
15 garlic cloves
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 cups fresh cherry tomatoes cut in half (I used heirloom)
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs regular butter
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs basil
1 cup onions, chopped
1 tsp Thyme
3 wedges Laughing Cow Cheese
2 cups shredded fat free Mozzarella
6 Tbs Trader Joe's Bruschetta Sauce

Preheat the oven to 425

In Ziploc bag add 6 cloves crushed garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, pepper flakes, salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, Italian Seasoning.  Mix together and split chicken breasts and spread 1 Tbs Trader Joe's Bruschetta and 1/2 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, roll up and add to ziploc bag. 
Marinate for a couple hours or overnight.

After chicken is done marinating.  In the pan you are going to bake the chicken in, add the tomatoes and push the chicken breasts into the center of the tomatoes.

Saute onions in Pam sprayed pan, add remaining crushed garlic, balsamic vinegar, thyme, butter, honey.Turn off heat.  Add basil.  Pour over tomatoes and chicken.

Bake uncovered for 25-55 minutes - it depends if you have assembled this dish before and had it in the refrigerator or putting it into the oven warm.  I always check the temperature.  It should be close to 165).  Cover with mozzarella.  Spray with Pam.  Broil on high for 5 minutes.

There will be lots of tomato gravy.  Delicious over rice.  Served this with 2-ingredient dough made into Naan bread (adding chives and garlic).

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Pat and I are up early every morning, on Saturdays we watch U.S. Farm Report. We always enjoy the John Phipps commentary. This morning it was on a serious note about death by suicide. He showed statistics from survivors.

A study of survivors by Harvard School of Public Health showed these statistics:

70% decided less than 1 hour before
25% of those decided 5 minutes before
82.5% chose to use a gun
90% of survivors feel regret and do not repeat

John suggested we should seriously look at the role of impulse. We could do this by building in a 5 min delay sort of like counting to 10 before speaking in an argument.
  • Keep the guns locked with the key somewhere else
  • Keep guns and ammunition in separate places

This will not save every victim, but even one life saved by using prevention steps would be worth the small inconvenience of these suggestions.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

800 273-TALK

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Centennial Edition of the Saginaw Diocese Catholic Weekly

A friend sent me the Centennial Edition of the Catholic Weekly published, May 25, 1952. Interesting reading.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

An Aunt Mary Ellen Saying!

Our nieces and nephews will hear Uncle Pat say something and then they quote him for years to come. We'll.... here is my Weight Watcher original:

"You always win when you don't quit, but you can lose!"


Friday, June 1, 2018

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

These are delicious. Just right with a salad for lunch. 1 Freestyle pt for one. 3 pts for two.

You might have to bake longer. Check with toothpick.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Blueberry Compote

This is so yummy on the cheesecake. It makes 11 servings at 0 pts. It also would be great mixed into Fat Free Greek yogurt or on pancakes I put it into little cups and put half into a Rubbermaid container in the freezer.

Tried raspberry too and made another blueberry - so delicious. Used frozen raspberries and a pint of fresh at the end. Also skimmed the foam off the top before adding cornstarch.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Yummy Polenta

I was starving when we got home from the gym. So I made polenta.... Not from scratch... I use the tube. Slice it up. Saute with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and Mrs. Dash. Turn slices over.

Rinse a can of black beans. Add to pan. Add a can of diced tomatoes. Top with 1/2 cup fat free mozzarella and 1/2 cup reduced Mexican blend. Cover pan.


There are 5 servings in the skillet. 3 Freestyle points for each serving.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Finally, porch time

 Opossum who didn't have a care in the world.
 A flock of geese. They kept following the lead goose just like if they were flying in the sky.

First one deer, then another who stopped at the trees and kept looking back. Then ran back to the other end of the condos and waited. Two more came and they ran back to the trees and followed the first.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Meat Pie Makeover

Meat Pie Makeover - yum. My husband's family has a delicious French Canadian Meat Pie traditional recipe. They all love it. Potatoes, ground beef, beef fat.... Not Weight Watcher friendly. So I decided to give it a try for our dinner tonight. It was so delicious. It's not the original but we both liked it.

4 servings - 4 Freestyle points each 

I started with the 2-ingredient dough. Lessened the yogurt and added an egg. It was very sticky but workable. Add a little more flour on your hands as you make the ropes.

I always have ground turkey cooked and frozen in sandwich bags. I used one of those and added onions, celery and shredded zucchini. The spices are Mrs. Dash, salt, pepper, garlic, sage, celery seeds. Cook in pan until onions are translucent.

I added 2 Laughing Cow cheese wedges to add creaminess missing from not using fat.

I cooked the filling. Put it in a small casserole and put most of the crust on top. I used my fingers to pat it all over the filling. Then I made ropes out of leftover dough and put it around the pie to form the edge of the crust.

Bake 350 for 40 minutes.

1/2 cup self rising flour
1/3 cup Fage FF Greek yogurt
1 egg

Mix together. Knead in bowl. Will be sticky.

Cover 2 cups baby potatoes with water and microwave until tender. 

8 ounces cooked 99% FF ground turkey
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 cup shredded zucchini, drained
2 wedges Laughing Cow cheese
The potatoes that you microwaved.

Seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Mrs. Dash, sage, garlic, celery seeds.

Bake 40 minutes at 350

Thank you for this mrscooby1!

How did we ever work?

My goodness! We are so busy right now I don't know how we ever had full time jobs.

Several of the commitments include meals - it's a minefield of points waiting to sabotage my plan.

All I gotta say is don't be offended if I say no thank you to offers of food. I'm done eating points that make you feel better!

Love ya...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


I can't imagine my life without aunts and uncles and cousins. My aunt's and uncle's enriched my life while they were alive.  Family means so much to me.

My cousin Mary Lynn is more a sister than a cousin. If I need to ask a family history question Mary Lynn knows the answer. She was the first person to encourage me to write and offered to edit my first book. Twelve books later she still is the first person to read and edit each book.

The times I spent in Owosso with Elise, Roger and Rick or when they were staying with us we're the best of times. When we were little and my Dad was sick my little sister, Jane, and I sometimes stayed with Rob, Nancy, Sue, Mike and Ed. As we got older we had our family reunions at there house on the 4th of July and our children found out how wonderful extended families can be.

A few times our cousins came from California and it was such a celebration. It was the only time I remember seeing Grandma Brandi making the Palm Sunday spaghetti with ground walnuts sprinkled on top. I remember John, Maria and Jim visits would mean lots of family time which I loved.

My Dad was an only child so you would think that would mean no cousins. Wrong. We had Maureen and Kevin and Kerry. Their Dad was my Dad's cousin. I can't say how much it meant when their parents stepped in after my Dad died and included my sister Jane and me in so many good times. We also went to school together and the shenanigans Kerry and I caused still make me laugh.

Ed, Kevin, Elise, Maureen and Mike have passed away, even though they are still in my heart, I still miss each of them so much. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

New Phone Angst

It took me several times trying to get into this account. I would hate to lose all of my blogs! But I'm back.

My Samsung Galaxy7 started acting up for the third time. I had enough when I plugged it in to charge and the battery percentage started going down.

The person who always goes with me to buy a phone is in Ireland so Pat dropped me off and I was on my own.

After looking at a few Samsungs I told the clerk I love to take pictures and he said I should look at Google's Pixel XL. It was on sale so cheaper than a Samsung. The photos go right to Google photos. It is a bit bigger, but not too big. So I decided to get it. I double checked by calling my friend Amy who has one. She loves hers and said the added benefit is it doesn't have a ton of preloaded apps you can't get rid of - that was the best news.

So after buying it I had to wait for Pat to get back. I started setting it up and ran into trouble with only 7 of my contacts transferring. One of the Verizon employees waiting for someone to come in took the phone and within 20 seconds my contacts were there! Then for the first time ever my calendar was transferred too. I love the Verizon cloud.

Using it for the first day I already like it. The keyboard letters are not as close together, the screen is sharp and clear and it does take great pictures.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


This is really good cheesecake.

Preheat oven to 350°
Spray pie dish with Pam

3 cups FF Greek Yogurt  (I use Fage because it is so thick and creamy)
3 eggs
1 TBS Vanilla
1 TBS Truvia or other sweetener
1  small pkg  (3.4 oz) Jello Pudding Cheesecake flavor
Optional 1/4 cup PB2

Mix all Ingredients. Pour into pie dish. Smooth out the top to be even. Bake 30 minutes. Turn off oven and let cool in unopened oven. Cover with plastic or press and seal and refrigerate several hours or overnight. We like it with fresh blueberries.

6 servings - 1 Freestyle SP

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Shrimp Scampi

Someone posted on Facebook that she missed having shrimp scampi so I revised a recipe for her. This recipe serves six and I got it down to 6 points. Instead of putting the reduced amount of butter into the sauce I think drizzling it over the dish at the end will keep the buttery flavor more present.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Full Circle

Today I had such a great moment in culinary memories. I love cooking shows and thankfully, Pat does too. We started watching Julia Child on PBS in the early 80's. On Friday nights after the kids went to bed we would sit next to each other on the sofa and soak in the cooking. The joy of learning different techniques from Julia was magical for me.

In 1997 I was still watching Julia in "Baking with Julia," but now she had guests on the show. Nancy Silverton was the guest and this was what was reported by the Los Angeles Times:

"Silverton, who appeared in "In Julia's Kitchen With Master Chefs" and "Baking With Julia," remembers one particular taping including a moment of sheer terror, followed immediately by total bliss.
"Before the show, Julia took me aside and explained that she was not big on editing and that when I needed to wrap up my segment, she would tap me on my hip with her hand.
"Well, I am making this brioche tart with stone fruits and a hot wine syrup. I'm sauteing the fruits and putting the tart together when I get the tap. So, I quickly finish it off and cut a forkful and hand it to Julia who tastes it. There is silence.
"Then I see tears in her eyes and then she starts crying. I am thinking 'Oh my, I've burned Julia Child.' But, then Julia says, 'That is the most delicious dessert I have ever had.' "

When I saw that episode I cried too. I couldn't imagine being that baker. It has always been my favorite show.

Today I was watching my new favorite cooking show on Netflix, Chef's Table. Half way through, it shows the featured baker as a young woman on "Baking with Julia." It was my favorite episode! It was Nancy Silverton!

This made me inordinately happy this morning. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Lunch with Great Friends

BACK: Kay Conklin, Kate Cole, Mary Ellen Shea Clifford
Middle: Suzy Schwark, Jackie Medema, Meg Kennedy Shaw, Bethany Cronk
Seated: Dorothy Komarmy, Marj Kunz

In the early 80's I was on the Michigan Council of Cooperative Nursery Board. For three of the years I was Chairperson of the Spring Conference held at Michigan State University for over 1,000 parents and teachers of preschoolers.  I learned so much from these women.

Even though I was brand new and didn't know much about running a conference, they gave me the opportunity to get speakers to fill 40 workshops, find a keynote speaker (The three while I was chair were:

Fredelle Maynard
Author of Raising Creative Children; Raisins and Almonds; and The Child Care Crisis Also a Canadian television show, Parenting 

Louise Bates Ames
Psychologist and co-founder of the Geselle Institute of Human Development at Yale. Author of many books about developmental books by age (and hosted one of the first television shows on child development. 

David Elkind
Child Psychiatrist and professor at Tufts University and author of The Hurried Child and The Power of Play and Miseducation. His research and books were about the importance of play in development). 

With this group I learned how to run a meeting each month overseeing volunteers from all over Michigan who put on a bazaar, brought in vendors, ran a raffle, put on an annual meeting, found hostesses for each workshop, registration, welcoming, and made everything run smoothly.

No one hovered over me, the Board and our mentors were there to help if we asked. It was the most amazing group of people.

I always told the volunteers that the work we did should be on their resumes. After I left the Board to go to my paying job I became one of the speakers at Spring Conference presenting a workshop called, "It Will Look Good on Your Resume."

For the first time since I left the Board to go to work for the City of Saginaw in 1986, nine of us got together for lunch at the Kellogg State Room at MSU. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with memories and friendship.

Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16th

April is half gone. We've only been on the porch two times. Now the river is flooding. But.... We left the condo to go exercise this morning and the roads are okay.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


What to do the second day of ice and sleet? Make inspirational posts!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Oprah reported on 60 minutes that Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and professor at NYU, founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. 

This month the EJI will open a Lynching Museum. While watching the segment I got goosebumps on my arms and my stomach turned. The last time that happened I was at the Holocaust Memorial in Boston.

This was the most important lesson in American history I've seen on 60 Minutes. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Aunt Janie Eggs

One time when we went to visit the Noble Family, my sister made the most delicious scrambled eggs. She added cream cheese and dill.  Over the years they came to be known as "Aunt Janie Eggs."

Many years later my sister had breakfast at our house and I told her we were going to have "Aunt Janie Eggs." She didn't remember making them. What? All those years she was famous at our favorite breakfasts and she didn't even remember them!

Here is an updated Weight Watcher version.

Eggs, Dill, Salt, Pepper, Mrs. Dash and 
1 wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese
for each person.

         I always end up adding more dill

Cook the eggs smashing and smushing the wedges of cheese to incorporate it into the eggs. When the eggs are still very wet, but mostly set, turn off the flame. Continue stirring the eggs and plate them while they are still creamy.

Eggs - 1 pt
Joseph's Pita Bread - 1 pt
4 slices Al Fresco Chicken Bacon - 1 pt
3 Freestyle Smart Points 


Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Thanks Barb Sharma for sharing this on Facebook. I miss my Mom, but she's always with me.

Live Production Jesus Christ Superstar

This was such a great television show on Easter Sunday. I love the music and was surprised I still knew all the words. The set was fabulous. The casting wonderful. Well done!