Squash and apple casserole

Squash and apple casserole

1 butternut squash (baked and skin removed)

1 tart apple red or green (cored and sliced in thin circles)

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ cup chopped pecans

3 tablespoons melted real butter (salted or unsalted)

Grease a 9×9 inch glass baking dish. Add squash and layer over apples. Mix together all dry ingredients in a small bowl add melted butter, mix well and sprinkle over squash and apples. Cover and bake at 350 until apples are soft approx. 30 minutes.

*To add a little more nutrition try adding a tablespoon full or two of flax seeds.

*To bake squash preheat oven to 400 cut squash in half remove seeds and  place in grease pan cut side down. Bake at 400 for approx. 40 min or until squash is soft.  Let the squash cool remove to a plate cut side up and let cool until you can handle it. Using a table spoon scope the squash from the shell.

Simple Living Tips

Simple Living Tips


Limit your media consumption.  Try a media fast. TV, radio, internet, movies, etc.

Purge your stuff. If you can spend a weekend purging the stuff you don’t want, it feels really good. Use old boxes and trash bags for the stuff you want to donate or if donating means just letting the stuff collect dust in a spare room just toss it.

Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate the unnecessary.  Once you’ve gone through the main parts of your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time.

Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Are your drawers so stuffed they can’t close. Do this by getting rid of anything you don’t actually wear.

Spend time with people you love. Whether those people are a spouse, a partner, children, parents, other family, best friends, or whoever, find time to do things with them, talk to them, play, or just be close.

Eat healthy.  Think about the opposite: if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs throughout your life. Might be years down the road, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots … can get expensive not to mention you just won’t feel good.  Eating healthy simplifies all of that over the long term and the present.

Exercise.  For the same reasons as eating healthy, it simplifies your life down the road, but for the present: exercise helps burn off stress and makes you feel better.

Find an outlet for self-expression. Whether that’s writing, painting, drawing,creating websites, dance, skateboarding, etc. We have a need for self-expression, and finding a way to do that brings joy to your life.

Play. Find ways to have fun in your daily life. Be it playing with your kids or grandkids or creating a weekly game night with friends, adding more play time to your life will reduce stress and give you the ability to burn off excess energy (physical or intellectual).

Organization. Everything has a place and everything in its place. There’s much to be said for not having to search for things.

Living simply means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. Start small and try one step at a time.

Your Baby Can Read Review

Your Baby Can Read Review

Your baby can read is an early learning reading system designed for babies as young as six months. There have been lots of reports about this product both good and bad and most recently a lawsuit filed for false advertising. The FCC and the people against the system are fighting over the use of the word read. Does this system teach your child to read or just recognize words, I don’t know. We tried this system, we bought ours at Wal-Mart one level at a time and Sophia loves it. We don’t watch TV so watching these videos is a treat for her. They are pretty poor quality DVD, they don’t have any animation or special effects so they are pretty tame when compared to mainstream media.

The system includes different things depending on where you buy it at, ours came with the DVD’s and interactive flashcards. The system you buy on line includes interactive books and a parent’s guide showing you how to use the system in addition to the DVD’s and flashcards. I would suggest that one, just for the parent’s guide because the one you buy from the store doesn’t tell you anything except to watch the DVD’s and use the flashcards. The flashcards have a pull out picture that illustrate the word on the card. Such as the word cats has a picture of three cats on it.   The DVD’s are between 20 and 30 minutes long and include a question and answer game at the end that is optional to watch.

How we use the system; we bought the first set when Sophia was 9 months old and she would watch the DVD one time per day and use the flash cards 1 to 2 times per day. Within 2 months we bought sets 2 and 3. We continued to let her watch one of the DVD’s not more than twice a day and used the flash cards 1 to 2 times per day. After a few months of this she would get really excited when we asked her if she wanted to watch her movie and would point if the flash card said point, clap if it said clap etc.  At about 14 months she loved to do the flash cards and would do them as many times a day as I would let her so we would do it a bunch but still only watched the DVD’s one DVD at a time not more than twice per day. By now she was pointing to body parts such as eyes, ears, fingers etc. She would say some of the words on the cards such as dog and hi. By 16 months she knows all 25 cards that we have by sight of word only (not looking at the picture). And her verbal skills have exploded she now will say all the words, do the actions and point out all body parts that we have cards of. She says words that are only on the DVD’s that we don’t have flashcards for and she says new words every day.  We just discovered we could write any word that she has a flashcard for and she will ‘read’ the word to you. She will also ‘read’ the words she has flashcards for if she sees them in a book. She is also now singing along with the songs like old McDonald and the itty bitsy spider.  She acts out what she sees on the video such as when they say shake your head yes or no she does. When they sing the song head and shoulder she touches the appropriate body parts.  Outside of the system we do read lots of books and talk to her all the time, she asks “what’s that” about anything new she see and we tell her what it is.

So my opinion of the program is favorable, does it teach her to read? I don’t know that she is reading just yet or if it is word recognition but she enjoys it. It has help with her vocabulary; she loves to be read to, she really enjoys watching the DVD’s, especially when I act them out with her, she asks to do the flashcards at least 3 times or more per day and gets upset when I refuse to do them. So she likes the program, and has learned things from it. I will continue with the program through all the sets and will do the program with any future children. All kids are different so they might not like it as much as she does but that is ok. All in all I suggest this program to other parents and would buy it again myself.

Pie – Ritz Cracker – Mock Apple

Pie – Ritz Cracker – Mock Apple                                                                               LHC from late 1940’s or 50’s

2 cups Water

1 ½ cups Sugar

2 tsp Cream of tartar

24 Ritz crackers

2 Tbsp Butter

1 tsp Cinnamon

Boil water, sugar, cream of tarter

Add crackers and simmer for 2 min.

Add butter and cinnamon

Put in raw shell

Cover with crust

Bake at 400 for 25 min.

Growing spinach indoors for the winter

Growing spinach indoors for the winter

You can grow your own fresh spinach indoors even in the winter.


Potting soil

Something to plant it in (I used a left over seed flat from the spring plantings)



I started the seeds by soaking them in water over night then transferred them to a wet paper towel sealed inside a baggie until they sprouted.

Then I prepared my seed flat by adding the soil, getting it good and wet and adding my sprouted seeds.

Spinach likes cool weather so I leave the seed flat outside unless it is going to frost in which case I bring it in and put it near a window.

Come winter when it is below freezing just place in a sunny spot in your house and it will take off.

As you harvest plant more sprouted seeds so that you will have yummy spinach all winter long.

Growing your own is cheaper and these days safer than buying it from the store.

Good luck and happy harvesting!

Cookies – Pumpkin Squares

Cookies – Pumpkin Squares

As copied from a publication in 1984

[Modifications by NCC & TWC]


1 29 oz can Pumpkin pie mix        [use 29 oz plain Pumpkin (no MSG)]

1 5 oz can Evaporated Milk

3 Eggs lightly beaten

1 cup Sugar         [1 cup too sweet – use up to 1/3 cup Brown Sugar]

½ tsp Salt             [1 ½ tsp]

2 tsp (up to) Cinnamon  [use ¾ tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ginger, ¼ tsp mace]

Line 9 x 14 pan with wax paper

Mix above together

Pour into pan

1 pkg Yellow cake mix with pudding in mix

1 cup chopped Nuts

½ lb butter or margarine

Sprinkle cake mix over the top

Distribute nuts over cake mix

Drizzle melted butter overall

Bake at 350 for 65 – 75 min.


Invert and cut into bars.  Small bars can be eaten with fingers.  Larger bars can be served on a plate, topped with a dollop of whipped cream.




Muffins – Blueberry

Muffins – Blueberry                                                                                       NCC


1 ¾ cup Flour

1/2  cup Sugar

2 tsp Baking powder

½ tsp Salt

1 Egg

¾ cup Milk

1/3 cup real butter (salted or unsalted)

1 cup Blue Berries

Bake at 400 for 20 – 25 min.

Makes 12

Pork – Orange Dijon

Pork – Orange Dijon – Slow cooker                                                          TWC

1 ½ lb. Pork chops (boneless loin)

Salt to taste

Black pepper (ground) to taste

½ tsp dried Thyme, crushed

¼ cup Grey Poupon (dijon mustard, any works)

1 cup Orange juice

1 cup Brown Sugar (packed)

1 orange (peeled and torn into chunks)

Cut pork into ½ to ¾ inch cubes into cooker pot

Add salt, pepper, thyme and toss to coat in bottom of pot

In small bowl, combine mustard, O.J. & sugar – pour over pork

Add orange

Cook on low 6-7 hours or on high for 3-3 ½ hours

Stir occasionally to break up clumps of meat cubes

Discard liquid and serve


Pecan crusted chicken

Pecan crusted chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breast cut in ½ width wise

½ cup maple syrup (can use pancake syrup but not quite as good)

½ cup plain bread crumbs

½ cup chopped pecans

Salt and pepper to taste

Veggie oil to cook in.

Mix bread crumbs with pecans, salt and pepper, cover chicken breast with syrup press into pecan mixture turn over and repeat. Fry until golden brown and turning once be sure chicken is cooked all the way through. (I cut in half at the thickest point and make sure it is all done) that’s it great with baked sweet potatoes and a veggie. This is an impressive meal to serve guest and easy too.

One Chicken Three Meals

One Chicken Three Meals

Start with one whole chicken approx. 5 pounds remove and discard skin or cook it up and serve it to your pets. Rinse the chicken well with warm water and place in roasting pan. Cut up carrots, celery, onion, potatoes and whatever other veggies you family likes. Stuff some inside chicken and place the rest around the bird in the roasting pan Season; I like Knorr Garlic Parmesan & Italian Herb roasters (they come with a bag to cook the chicken in but I throw it away). Use whatever seasoning you have on hand. Cover the roasting pan with foil and bake for 2 hour in a 350 degree oven. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Then carefully pour off liquid and reserve. Melt 2 tablespoons of real butter in a sauce pan add 2 tablespoons flour then stir in the liquid that you reserved from the roasting pan. I found using a whisk works best mix until gravy forms. Serve chicken breast with the veggies and gravy. This is meal #1. Next remove all meat from the chicken bones (don’t throw the bones away though) cut up into bite size chunks and use in chicken alfredo, cheddar broccoli rice with chicken, chicken tacos, etc.  This is meal #2. For the third and final meal take whatever chicken you have left and the bones and put into a large sauce pot add water to cover and boil until reduced by half. Add any leftover veggies from the first meal and some fresh to fill out the soup cook until veggies are soft add cooked rice or cooked noodles and you have chicken soup for meal #3.  So 1 chicken = 3 meals and money saved. I usually have enough to send some of the first meal with my husband to work for his lunch and can still make the other 2 meals.