Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It all started about two months ago when Ben kept getting bug bites all over him.  With the stories in the news about bedbugs at UT Medical Center, he was convinced we had them.  I was not getting bitten and was tired of him complaining and spending hours on the internet researching bedbugs so I told him to go to the dermatologist.  He went and the dermatologist told him he believed, based on the large size of the bites, that they weren't bedbug bites but instead were likely bird mites or some other kind of mite.  We found this believable as we did have a bird's nest in the garage just below our bedroom.  We removed the nest and Ben felt better for about a day.  But then he kept getting bitten.  I still showed no signs of being bitten.

We searched the bed for bedbugs several times, removing the mattresses, looking at the seams, etc., as I had been taught to do by my Hall Director training on bedbugs.  We never saw any.  Ben even vacuumed the bed and surrounding and saw nothing.  By this time he was washing the sheets twice a week and started sleeping in the other bedroom sometimes.  And he continued to get bitten and get hives. 

One morning he found a bug in the bed, very tiny and red.  Nothing like the pictures of bedbugs.  I put it in a ziploc bag and took it to the UT Entomology department (to Dr. Karen Vail- who was the one who did my bedbug training as a Hall Director).  Dr. Vail was really excited.  It was still alive and she rushed it to the microscope.  It was running around trying to get out of the light.  It was a cimicid nymph.  Meaning it wasn't yet fully developed and she couldn't really tell what it was.  She went to the other room and got out this tray of dead bugs on pins, trying to identify it.  She had her assistant on the internet looking up various bugs.  It was a bedbug.  And this is where the nightmare really begins...

We use Russell's Pest Control for our regular pest control service so we called them out to look.  Sure enough they found one or two adult bedbugs and several eggs on the back of the headboard of our bed.  At first they said it would be $200 per room and recommended treating at least William's room and our room and probably the guest bedroom too.  I can handle $600.  Then they called back and said they would have to treat the whole house and it would be $950.  So I called Dr. Vail who couldn't recommend a specific pest control company but told us to get estimates.  So we did...Orkin was $600 for the first room and $300 for each additional.  Cooks was $1,500 for the house plus you had to buy a mattress cover FROM THEM for every bed in the house and we have 4 beds.  I didn't even ask how much that would be.  Then Allied came out and said it would be $350 per room but we could just do our room and William's room, so this was really the cheapest option we had at this point ($700). We choose Russell's for $950 for the whole house simply because they offered a year warranty and the other companies only offered 30-60 days. 

Russell's came out Friday (Ben and I both had to take the day off work) and started bagging up every soft thing in our house for us to take to the laundromat and dry (and some to wash).  Evidently drying kills the bugs.  Anyway, we have a lot of stuff, and a lot of it is soft.  Stuffed animals, tons of clothes, curtains, sheets, comforters, towels, etc.  It was literally 500 lbs or more of stuff.  The bed of our truck was overflowing with trashbags and the double cab was full too.  I had to drive separately.  Right before we left it was time to sign the contract.  I told Ben, in front of the Russell's manager, to make sure it said we got a year warranty.  He immediately says, "Oh.  We don't do year warranties on bedbugs.  60 days is the max."  I'm like, "We chose you because of the warranty.  You were not the cheapest option.  We also have our regular service through you.  Call the salesman and put the warranty in the contract or leave and we'll get someone else."  They had just spent two hours bagging up all this crap and we still hadn't signed the contract.  So the manager calls the salesman and he confirmed that he did say it was a year warranty.  (Ben had asked him like 4 times so we knew he had said it.)  The manager decided to honor the warranty, we signed the contract, and off we went to the Family Bubble on Sutherland, which was recommened because it's fairly new and has free wi-fi. 

I naively brought my computer like I would have any time to get on the internet.  When we got there the place was full of Mexican women taking up almost all the machines, likely doing laundry for pay.  Ben wanted to leave but we decided to stay and luckily they left after about 30 minutes.  We spent the next 6 hours or so taking up every dryer in the place, folding sorting, re-bagging our soft stuff.  My mom even came to help.  I was dizzy and exhausted from being on my feet all day.  It was what I imagine hell to be like.

And worse, I had posted on Craigslist that we would be having a garage sale the next morning (which Ben thought was unethical considering our bedbug problem).  We had been advised to keep William out of the house for the night due to the chemicals used to treat the bedbugs.  William and I went to mom's house while Ben went home and stayed up half the night putting all the stuff back where it went.  I got up and left mom's house at 5:45am the next morning to get ready for the garage sale.  I was already physically exhausted from the day before but got it together.  And we sold lots of junk.  We didn't, however, sell the problem bed (which, by the way, was the only place in the entire house they saw evidence of did we really need to pay $950?).  If you are interested in a queen sized leather bed, queen boxsprings, and queen mattress give me a call.  I'll give you a deal. 

Ben is still getting bitten.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Playdate Chaos

This week was Fall Break at UT.  This means that I am not off work but the Early Learning Center is closed.  I guess they assume all parents are either students or faculty, but unfortunately I am staff.  I wouldn't have even known that it was Fall Break except that I got an email from one of the moms of William's classmates, Natalia, asking us to come over Friday for a playdate.  She invited us and a couple of other children and moms.  In her email this is what she said (I cut and pasted this from the actual email):

OK, let’s shoot for Friday after nap.  I’ll pick Anna up and then plan to be back around 2:30 – 3:00 pm.

She never gave any other time and another mother responded that she would be there around 3 so Kate, Natalia's mom, wouldn't have to rush to pick up her older daughter, Anna, from Sacred Heart.  William had a terrible day sleepwise the day before with no nap and he didn't go to sleep until midnight so I was really worried that we wouldn't make it by 3pm.  However, he did go to nap around 1:30pm so I woke him up at 2:45pm to go.  We got ready and made it there a few minutes after 3pm.  I thought I had the right address but I hadn't printed the directions so I wasn't sure.  We went up and knocked on the door several times with no answer.  So I called Ben and he looked in my email for Kate's cell number.  I called her and she said "Wow.  You are prompt."  She's British so I guess they say "prompt" in Britain.  She said she was about 20 minutes away.   As I hung up the phone a second mother, Maha, and her daughter, Avani, showed up.  So we just stood in the front yard while the kids played on a dirt-covered cobweb filled plastic castle with a slide in the side yard and waited.  As we stood there Maha got hit in the head twice by falling acorns.  Then Kate and her daughters arrived, as did Sissie and her son Nicholas.  Within minutes Sissie was stung by a wasp, the kids were all covered in mosquito bites, Nicholas rode the tricycle off the front porch and got hurt, and William knocked over the entire table that Kate had brought into the front yard, spilling all the strawberries, homemade brownies, organic milk and apple juice that Kate had put out.   It was total chaos.  A little more background- the front yard was completely overgrown, yet that was where we were playing.  It was also quite steep, hence the reason the table fell over, as did the bounce house that Kate also brought out.  The backyard was a cliff and it was completely wooded so that wasn't an option.  I forgot my camera so I used Kate's but she said she hadn't uploaded pictures from it in years so I didn't take many since I assumed they wouldn't make it off the camera.  A little more background: Kate and her husband are both Nuclear Physicists, as is Avani's dad.  Kate is from England and her husband is from Poland.  Avani's mom is from India and her dad is from Germany.  Nicholas' mom is from Greece and his dad is from Pakistan/Germany.  I actually really love this and I'm so glad they include us even though we are the "ugly Americans."  Back to Nuclear Physicists, they are incredibly smart but don't pay much attention to detail.  Anyway, we finally went inside and I was pleased to see that their house is as cluttered as ours.  Unlike us, though, they didn't try to hide the clutter.  It probably didn't even cross their mind, because they are Nuclear Physicists.  The funny thing is- we had a great time!  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I am ungrateful.  I'll attribute it to the fact that I'm an only child.  I expect to get my way and get everything I want... and generally I do.  I definitely believe part of that is simply believing that I will get what I want while Ben rarely gets what he wants because he doesn't believe he'll get it.  But that's a post for another day.  This post is about being ungrateful. 

Ben's aunt, a former nun who essentially moved to Knoxville the first summer William was in this world to help us out and babysit, came up this weekend from Nashville to get William a wooden playground.  So as I was researching playgrounds I came upon a trampoline.  From that very moment forward, a playground was out and a trampoline was a "must have."

Here's my justification for a trampoline over a playground:
1) They are half the price of the kind of playground Cathy planned on buying. (Cathy is Ben's aunt which, by the way, is pronounced "ant" not "ont")
2) They can be more easily moved if we move houses, which is real possibility if you look at our moving history.
3) They have a longer useful life.  For example, I am 32 (almost) and still love to jump on a trampoline but I wouldn't be caught dead on a playground.  Okay, so if you know me, I probably would but that's beside the point.  I prefer trampolines and kids use them into high school.
4) William and I could enjoy the trampoline together rather than me watch him on a stupid playground.  As Ben mentioned, though, it might be good for me not to play with William every second of the day.
5) There are other reasons that aren't coming to me right now but reasons 1-4 should be sufficient by themselves.

Ben mentioned the trampoline substitute to Cathy but she wasn't interested.  Of course this made me mad.  Cathy has been talking about getting William a playground for a year now so I could have guessed this would happen.  Nevertheless, I was mad.  I didn't participate in the shopping or the 16+ hours of playground construction over the past two days.

I was mad, mad, mad.  And certainly ungrateful for the money and hard work that Cathy and Peter put into that stupid thing in our back yard.  I mean this was all about me, right? Oh wait... it's about William but I know he would prefer a trampoline too.

You think I'm going to come around and say that I shouldn't have been so ungrateful or should have been glad just to have it but when you think about the fact that William won't use that stupid thing past the age of 5, it cost an arm and a leg, and trampolines are more fun, you have to reach the same conclusion.

It turns out William likes the playground.  I knew he would but still know he would prefer a trampoline.  And... William is ungrateful too.  After he played on it all night tonight we got in the car and he found a booklet of other bigger playgrounds and said he wanted those instead.  I don't blame him. He's like me.  He's rational.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Recipes for Ben's Birthday

I am not very tech savvy and I'm lazy so I wanted to  have an easy way for everyone to access the recipes repeatedly.  Thanks to everyone who participated!  Here you go:

Amy Gipson Wingo January 7 at 10:25am Reply
Green Bean and Corn Casserole

1 Can of Shoepeg corn
1 Can of French style green beans
1 8 oz. sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small onion diced into very small pieces
1 can cream of celery soup
1 roll of Ritz crackers crushed
1 stick of butter
1 small bag of slivered Almonds

Drain corn and spread evenly on the bottom of a 9X 11 pyrex dish. Then drain green beans and spread evenly on top of corn. Then take cheese, cream of celery soup, and sour cream and mix in sepreate bowl. After those ingredients are mixed, spread evenly on top of green beans. Then take the stick of butter and melt it...then add almonds and crushed crackers to the butter. Sprinkle the mixture on top. Bake for apprx 20-30 minutes at 350 or until casserole starts to bubble.

Happy Birthday!
Amy, Robert, and Clara Grace

Charlie Sharbel January 7 at 10:40am Reply
The Chocolate Toast

1 cup any kind of chocolate flavored coffee (I made this originally with chocolate macadamia nut coffee)
1/2-1 shot Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
1/2-1 shot Prichards rum liqueur (can substitute an whiskey / bourbon)
Add Bailey's until desired taste / coloring is reached (along normal creamer lines, you can also substitute flavored Bailey's to augment taste)

As a variant, you can start with pure chocolate coffee and use mint flavored Bailey's to make a mint chocolate toast. Also, the overall kick can be varied by using 1/2 shots of the liqueur but it must be consistent or the end product won't taste quite right.

Beth Ilana Newman January 7 at 11:28am Reply
Cheeseless Cheesecake!
(Its less fat and more delish)

* 2 containers of Tofutti cream cheese (make sure to get plain... Can get at Kroger)
* 2 eggs
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1/2 cup of sugar
* 1 teaspoon of vanilla
* Ready to use graham cracker pie crust (I like to use the Oreo chocolate kind! It's soooo good!)

*Mix together (easiest with like a hand mixer that you plug in, you know?
*Put mix on crust and bake at 350 for 30 minutes...
*Put it in the fridge for a long time until its really cold!

If you really like chocolate - drizzle hot fudge on top before eating!

Hope Ben has a great birthday! Miss you Elizabeth!

Kenzie Ownby Blackwell January 7 at 6:57pm Reply
Curried Squash Soup
You can keep this in the fridge for up to 4 days or up to 2 months in the freezer.
(do not add the milk until you are simmering and about to serve)

3 Cups fat-free, less-sodium chix broth
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
2 tsp bottled minced garlic (I used fresh)
1 1/2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp salt (optional - I didn't use)
1 tsp red curry powder (or any curry powder)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1;2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs cubed peeled butternut squash (3 cups) - I buy the frozen kind pre-cubed
2 medium apples, cored, peeled, and diced (2 cups)

THE RECIPE calls for the use of a slow-cooker for 8 hours (you place all ingredients in on "low").
I don't like to use a slow cooker, so I just put in a small dutch oven or other soup sized pot and simmer for about 2 hours on medium-low. Works the same!
Then, you scoop out 1/2 of the mixture and puree in blender / food processor...repeat with the rest - return to the pot and simmer 1/2 an hour longer on low.
You can put in fridge / freezer as is - or - add 1/2-1 full cup of skim milk (depending on how creamy you like it) - and simmer another 10 min so the creamy is warmed through- and serve!

Dixie Cavier
First, drain the following:
2 cans white hominy
4 cans black eyed peas

Place the above ingredients in a large bowl.

Next, chop the following veggies:
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
1 Orange Pepper
1 bunch green onion
1 red onion
2 jalapeƱos
2 cloves garlic
2 medium tomatoes

Stir into bowl with hominy and black eyed peas.
Cover mixture with 1.5 cups of Kraft Zesty Italian dressing (the fat free option is also good) and stir.
Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.
Melanie Sharbel Lockhart January 7 at 9:29pm Reply
White Chicken Chili

1 lb. Chicken, cooked & shredded
1 onion, diced
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained
1 can chicken broth
1 8 oz can green chilis
1/2 t garlic powder
1 T oil
1 t salt
1 t oregano
1/2 t pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

Combine all ingrediients, except sour cream & whipping cream. Cook 1 hour. Add creams & cook 20 mins.

Bryan J. Murphy January 8 at 9:54am Reply
2 Regular Items (2 Desserts Coming Up)

Corn Casserole
1 can whole kernel corn (dump around 1/2 of juice)
1 can cream corn
1 cup Velveeta cheese (cut into cubes)
1 cup thin spaghetti (break into 1/3s or 1/4s)
1 stick melted margarine
Put all ingredients into a 2 quart casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Bake in oven for 1 hour at 350, stirring every 15 minutes. (Or you can use a Crock Pot, stirring every 15 minutes. 1 hour on HIGH, 2 hours on LOW.)

Hamburger Quickie (Hamburger Pie)
1 unbaked 9 inch pastry shell
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 TBLS cornstarch
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 chopped green pepper (optional)
Brown meat over medium heat. Combine & stir mayo, milk, eggs, and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in beef, cheese, onion, and pepper. Pour into pastry shell. Bake in oven at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted at center comes out clean.

Kelly Cash Keen January 8 at 10:24am Reply
The Best Way to Get Your Veggies: Cauliflower Gratin
1 (3lb) head of Cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup or more bread crumbs

Boil cauliflower florets in salted water till firm, 5 to 6 mins. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in med. saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring constantly with wooden spoon for 2 mins. Pour hot milk into mixture, stir till boiling. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 min. or until thick. Remove from heat and add: 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup Gruyere, & Parmesan.
Pour 1/3 of sauce on the bottom of 8X11X2 baking dish. Place drained cauliflower on top, then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine remaining 1/4 of Gruyere with bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle on top. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 mins. until top is brown. Serve hot or at room temp.

Bryan J. Murphy January 8 at 10:42am Reply

Puppy Chow (You may have made this before under another name.)
12 oz chocolate chips (semi-sweet morsels)
3/4 cup peanut butter (creamy)
1 stick margarine
1 box of Crispix cereal (at least 12 oz, not more than 18 oz)
16 oz unsalted peanuts (optional)
2 cups powdered sugar
Melt chocolate, peanut butter, and margarine together. Pour box of Crispix into a large bowl along with peanuts (optional). Mix (if you use the peanuts). Pour melted mixture into bowl and stir with a large plastic spoon until mixed well. Pour 2 cups powdered sugar into a paper or plastic bag. Pour bowl into bag and shut. Shake well until cereal is covered in powdered sugar. Use more powdered sugar as necessary.

Caramel Layer Chocolate Squares
50 light caramels
1 pkg German chocolate cake mix
1 small can evaporated milk
1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet morsels)
3/4 cup margarine
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Combine caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk over low heat until caramels are melted. Set aside. Grease (with margarine) and flour an approximate 13 in X 9 in pan (so that things don't stick to it later). In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix with 3/4 cup melted margarine and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Stir until dough holds together. Press half of dough into greased/floured pan. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes. Set aside for a few minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked crust. Spread caramel mixture over chocolate. Sprinkle chopped nuts over caramel (optional). Press remaining half of dough mixture over caramel. Return to oven and bake 15-18 minutes. Remove and set aside for 3 hours. Place in refrigerator to finish setting caramel.

Joel Kramer January 8 at 11:15am Reply
Blue Cheese and Bacon Mac and Cheese

1/2 pound dried pasta (I use penne)
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, beaten
2 and 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded/grated
1 cup milk
5 eight inch pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (I use turkey bacon)

1) Heat oven to 350 F, and grease a casserole dish. (I just spray mine with Pam.)
2) Cook the pasta in salted water, drain, and put in a large bowl. Add butter, and pepper to taste. Add the egg, and mix it all together so everything gets coated.
3) Add the cheese and bacon, and mix again. Pour it into the baking dish, and then pour the milk evenly over the top.
4) Bake for 45 minutes.

If you don't like blue cheese, swap out all the cheese for 3-4 cups of shredded cheddar, and it makes a really nice oven baked mac and cheese.

Betsy Kampas Henderson January 8 at 10:45am

Cheese Grits Casserole
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Grits
1 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 stick of butter
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or dash of tabasco sauce

Preheat Oven to 350. Bring water and salt to a boil in large sauce pan. Slowly stir grits. Cover. Reduce heat and cook 15 min., stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Stir in 1 cup of cheese and butter until melted. Add eggs, milk, pepper and blend well. Pour mixture into greased 2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 1 hour or until cheese is golden brown. Cool 10 min. before serving. Makes 6 - 8 servings.

Lemon Cookies (Taste pretty much like the Ham n' Goodies version) - so look out, they are addicting :)

1 pkg lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
1 Cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablesoon milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with foil. Mix together cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto baking sheet and bake for 5-8 min depending on your oven. Do not overbake. Place cookies on a wire rack to cool.

mix together confectioners sugar, lemon extract and milk. When the cookies are cool drop as much icing as you like on them!

Happy Birthday Ben!!! xoxo, Scott, Betsy and Logan

Joel Kramer January 8 at 6:21pm Reply
Easy Hummus

2 cans chickpeas/garbonzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
3-5 cloves garlic*, to taste
1 C. vegetable/canola oil

Throw everything into a food processor and blend the hell out of it.

*If you use the pre-minced garlic that comes in the little jar, 1 clove = about 1/2 teaspoon

Eric Andrews January 8 at 8:20pm Reply
Someone just sent me this recipe... so since I am never around a kitchen, I'll submit it in my name. (I trust the cook who sent it to me!)

Instant Gourmet Noodle Bowl
Recipe is for one serving

1 (3-oz.) package Oriental flavored ramen noodle soup pack
1 Chopped green onion
2 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
½ Cup fresh trimmed snow peas
6 Peeled and deveined, medium-sized raw shrimp
½ Cup shredded napa cabbage (optional)

Stir together flavor packet from ramen noodle, 2 cups water, green onion and fresh cilantro in sauce pan. Bring to boil, add noodles and snow peas. Cook 1 minute, and stir in shrimp. Cook 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving soup bowl, and top with napa cabbage.

Makes 1 serving.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Lynn Keen
Durkee Chicken

8-10 chicken breasts, deboned and skinned
1 Jar Durkee Sauce
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup

Spray dish and put in chicken. Mix sauce and soup and pour over chicken. Cover and cook at 350 about an hour. Serve with rice. Pour gravy on rice.

Lynn Keen

Apple Pie

Pastry for double-crust 9 in pie
5 to 6 cups pared, sliced apples
2 T flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 t ground cinnamon
2 T butter or margarine

Into pan filled with pastry, unbaked, arrange the apples. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples. Dot with butter. Arrange top pastry and slash to let steam out. Seal and flute edges. Bake a 375 or 350 for glass pan for 1 hour and 15 min. or until crust is brown and apples tender.

Lynn Keen

1 onion, chopped
1 T oil
1 can tomatoes, l lb 4oz
1 lb shrimp
1/2 lb. ham
1/2 pound sausage, hot
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 T flour
2 cups stock or water
1 cup raw rice
1 T parsley
1/2 tsp. chopped thyme
salt and pepper

In a large pan with a lid, put the oil,add chopped onions. When they have wilted a little, add flour and brown slightly. Add ham, cut in l in pieces, the sausage (browned), the shrimp and the tomatoes, chopped. Simmer in covered pot about 30 minutes. Add garlic, pepper, rice, parsley, thyme and salt and pepper. Cook with cover on till rice is done but not gummy. Watch to see if more water is needed.
(can use Andoulie sausage)
Lane Jarrett January 8 at 10:01pm Reply
This is one of Jonathan and my favorites. It freezes great!

Chicken Divan


* 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen broccoli, chopped
* 6 cups shredded chicken, cooked
* 2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
* 1 cup mayonnaise
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon curry powder
* Salt and pepper
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open 1 end of each box. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes, until thawed. Drain the broccoli and put into a casserole dish. Add the shredded chicken.

In a medium bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken. Mix well with a spatula.

Place the mixture into an 11 by 7-inch casserole dish or 2 (9-inch) square disposable aluminum foil pans that have been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes.

You can also top it with Cheddar or Gruyere cheese.

Michael Griffith January 9 at 12:30am Reply
Shrimp Louie

1 Cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Grated Onion
2 Teaspoons Minced Green Onions
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Worcheshire Sauce
½ Cup Chili Sauce (~1 bottle)
Dash Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
Elbow Macaroni (~16 oz. box)
1 Package of Small Bite-Size Shrimp (Frozen)
1. Cook Macaroni, drain, place in large mixing bowl.
2. Thaw shrimp in strainer under luke-warm water, lay out on paper towels and pat shrimp to remove excess water.
3. Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl (this creates your sauce).
4. Finally, mix the sauce with the macaroni and shrimp.
5. To personalize dish to your taste, you may add additional lemon juice, worcheshire sauce, cayenne, salt, pepper to taste.
6. Refrigerate until chilled, ENJOY !!!!!!!!!!

Southern Chocolate Pie

Ingredients are for one pie, double everything for two pies
• 3 Eggs
• 3 Tablespoons Cocoa
• 1 & ½ Cups Milk
• 2 Tablespoons Flour (Heaping)
• 1 Cup Sugar
• 1 Teaspoon Butter
• 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
• 1 Frozen Pie Crust (Pillsbury Pet-Riz brand)

• Separate egg white from yolks. Then, mix milk with egg yolks. Mix cocoa, flour, and sugar in separate bowl. After mixing, then combine wet and dry ingredients together and whisk thoroughly. Warm over medium heat while whisking to prevent sticking. Whisk until thick, and then add vanilla and butter.
• After thawing pie shells, poke vent holes in pie crust and bake until golden brown. After cooling, add chocolate filling to pie crust.
• Beat egg whites on high speed until stiff then add 1 Tablespoon of sugar for each egg white gradually while mixing. Add meringue to pies and bake @ 350 degrees until meringue is golden brown.

Kim Payne January 9 at 10:05am Reply
Hi Elizabeth - I love quick recipes after a late night at work and the gym or if Adam works super late so we copied created these favorites from restaurants around town!

Shrimp-Apple Salad (serves 2)

1/2 lb. of 26-30 medium count raw shrimp
pinch of Old Bay Seasoning
pinch of Garlic Powder (or fresh garlic minced if you have on hand)
pinch of salt and pepper
1 granny smith apple
1 bag of prepackaged spinach
Feta cheese
Sliced Almonds or Chopped Pecans, toasted
Balsamic Vinaigrette (preferably Maple Grove Fat Free)

Remove shrimp from outer shells and mix with seasonings, spray a skillet with cooking spray and pan fry the shrimp until done. Place a generous amount of spinach on two plates; chop the apple and divide among both plates; toast either the almonds or pecans in a separate pan and divide among both plates, top with cheese and dressing - ENJOY!

Variation: Substitute strawberries and rotisserie chicken for the shrimp and apple for a different and yummy taste!
Robert J. Wingo Jr January 9 at 12:07am Reply
how about my recipe for a jam sandwich. Take 2 pieces of bread and jam them together. Serve at room temperature

Kate Gower January 9 at 12:40pm Reply
Aunt Jeanne's Garlic Mashed Potatoes

4 medium sized Idaho potatoes
3 cloves fresh garlic or 2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup milk
2-4 tbsp butter
course ground pepper

Peel and cut potatoes into even pieces. Rinse potatoes and place into sauce pan. Cover with water, and add garlic and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Cook until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, and pour off all of the water. Add milk, butter, salt and pepper, and mash everything together. With a hand mixer, whip to desired consistency.

Suzanne Perry Wright January 9 at 1:54pm Reply
Here you go...enjoy! None of these are terribly healthy...there, you have been warned! Happy Birthday, Ben!

Swiss Chicken (we use Mozzarella or Pepper Jack)

2-3 pieces boneless chicken breasts
sliced cheese (1 per piece)
1 can cream of chicken soup (optional! I do it both ways)
1/4 cup white cooking wine
Pepperidge Farm stuffing (sprinkle 1/2 cup on top)
1/2 stick melted butter poured on top

Bake 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes.


1 roll/can pizza dough (like Pillsbury's)
1/4 lb. pepperoni (sandwich-large slices are the best)
8 oz. pkg. mozerella cheese
1 egg
1 tsp oregano
Parmesean cheese (topping)
Optional toppings: mushrooms, peppers, onion, broccoli or asperagus (steam first).

Beat egg with oregano. Spread dough into large rectangle. spread 1/2 of the egg mixture on dough with a pastry brush. Cover with pepperoni and cheese, other toppings. Roll lengthways, put on greased or oiled cookie sheet with seam on bottom. spread remaining egg mixture on top. sprinkle with parmesean. Bake 350 for 30 minutes or for browning!

Suzanne Perry Wright January 9 at 2:53pm Reply

Asperagus with Ginger

1 1/2 lb (or less) asperagus, trimmed
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp sesame oil

Saute asperagus in 2 tsp oil over med-high heat in a large nonstick skillet for 7 minutes. Add ginger, and saute 1 min. Stir in rest of ingredients, cook 1 minute.

Megan Grindstaff January 9 at 6:00pm Reply
Apple Dip:

8 ounce pkg cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup of white sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

1 tsp of vanilla

1 (8oz) pkg Heath Bar Toffee Bits (found near the choc chip morsels at grocery)

Mix together the cream cheese, white sugar, brown sugar & vanilla. Fold in the toffee bits. Chill. Serve with the Granny Smith Apple Slices.

Variations: You can play around with the amount of sugar you add. Some people use less...losers.

Quick, easy, delicious! Happy Birthday, Ben! Feel free to invite me over when you try these recipes ;)

Scott Frith January 9 at 6:09pm Reply
"Frith special"

Small empty glass
Add four cubes of ice
Add double shot of Jack Daniels, Single Barrel Whisky


Lizzie Kinard Kelly January 9 at 10:45pm Reply
What a fun project! You guys will have lots of fun trying all of these great dishes! Here are some of my favorites from my recipe file....Lizzie

Emilou's Shrimp Creole

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
4 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup celery chopped
1/2 cup green pepper chopped
1/2 cup onion finely chopped
2 cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/4 makes it spicy, 1/8 will satisfy most folks)
1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp
3 cups cooked rice

Heat oil and flour over medium high heat stirring constantly until it is smooth and the color of peanut butter. Add garlic, onion, celery, and green pepper and cook in this mixture until tender. Add tomato sauce and seasonings. Cook for 20 minutes stirring frequently. Add shrimp and cook 25 minutes more. Serve over rice.

Corn Chowder

4-6 slices of bacon cooked and set aside
1 red pepper finely chopped
2 stalks celery finely chopped
1/2 cup onion finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons oil
1 can corn
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
milk (fill each soup can with milk after emptying the soup)
oyster crackers

Chop vegetables and saute them in the oil. When the veggies are tender add the corn, 2 cans of soup, and milk. Crumble bacon and simmer until the soup has thickened (about 10-20 minutes).

Herb and Betsy Sharbel

Magically Moist Chicken - Makes 4 servings

1 Chicken, 2.5 to 3.5 lbs, cut in parts
1/2 cup Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise
1-1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (Kroger has them)

1.  Brush chicken parts on all sides with Hellmann's real mayonnaise.

2.  Place bread crumbs in large plastic food bag...add chicken one piece at a time;
shake to coat well with bread on rack in broiler pan.

3.  Bake in 425 degree F oven 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Herb and Betsy Sharbel

Coca-Cola Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour, unsifted
2 sticks butter
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp soda
1 Tbsp vanilla
1-1/2 cup miniature marshamallows

Combine flour and sugar...heat butter, coke, and cocoa until boiling
pour over sugar and flour and mix.
Add milk, eggs, soda, vanilla, and marshmallows...beat well (everything with this cake is done by hand, not mixer).
Pour into a greased and floured oblong pan, 13x9x2
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a tooth pick in center of cake comes out clean.
Ice while hot.


1/2 cup butter
3 Tbsp cocoa
6 Tbsp Coca-Cola
1 box powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola, and bring to a boil
Pour over powdered sugar, and beat well
Add nuts, and mix
Ice cake while cake is hot

Melissa V. Griffith January 10 at 7:31pm
Macaroni and  Chicken Casserole

2 cups raw macaroni
2 cups cooked chicken
4 hard boiled eggs
2 tbsp. chopped onion
2 teas salt
2 teas accent
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheese
2 cans mushroom soup ( I use cream of chicken since I alergic to mushroom)

Mix all ingredients - Let stand in refrig for 24 hours.

Bake in 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes.

Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

This is one of the recipes that Ben's grandmother - Grandmom - gave to me and it was a favorite of hers. Please give her credit.
Priscilla P. Griffith

Chocolate Chip Pie

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 stick margarine - soft
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts - pecans, walnuts or none at all
1 deep dish pie shell

Mix first 5 ingredients together, fold in chips and nuts. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until brown.

Serve with cool whip or vanilla ice cream

This is from me and it is a great pie.

Love to you all