Best Ever Chicken Casserole

March 4, 2017

This unforgettable Chicken Casserole will make you the queen of your book club, Bunco night or potluck dinner. Right out of the pages of the 2004 Southern Living Recipes Annual, this is a totally delicious recipe that is guaranteed to please. It’s great served hot or at room temperature . . . I like it over rice, too. Plus, if you’re a retiree or baby boomer who forgets how to cook but knows how to use OpenTable, this is super easy and two-nights’ worth of dinner for you and your honey! Bon appétit!

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
2 cups finely-chopped celery
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
.5 cup slivered almonds
.5 cup light sour cream
.5  cup light mayo
1 (10.75-ounce) can reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup
1 (4-ounces) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1.5 cups French fried onion rings

DIRECTIONS:
1. Stir together first 8 ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Spoon into a lightly‐greased 11×7-inch baking dish.

3. Bake at 350º for 40 minutes.

4. Sprinkle French fried onion rings evenly over top. Bake 5 more minutes or until bubbly around edges.

5. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. (Makes 6‐8 servings.)

FRIDAY FAVORITES: FRENCH CONNECTION

March 3, 2017

Don’t you just love the Rossine Printed Peplum Tee on the left? It’s from French Connection, and it’s waiting for you at Bloomingdale’s. The modern kantha sheath dress in the middle is also from French Connection and comes in black, capri blush and summer white.

And, the knock-out venture vhari cold-shoulder sweater on the right is available in capri blush and dove grey mel. All at Bloomies and some on sale, girls!

ENTRY DOORMATS YOU SIMPLY CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT

March 2, 2017

Hello There 50 went gaga over this adorable Lulu & Georgia Hello There doormat and so will you. It’s on sale for only $20 (from $45). Check out their other doormat designs including: You Better Have Tacos, Cute Shoes, You Better Have Pizza and Ooh La La!

Be sure to sign up for Lulu & Georgia’s newsletter. It’s a great site for the latest in home furnishings and ideas. You’ll not only get exclusive offers, you receive 15% off your next purchase! You’re welcome.

THE BEST RECIPE FOR ASPARAGUS ON THE PLANET

March 2, 2017

If you’re looking for an easy recipe for asparagus that is sure to impress, you’ve got to try our all-time favorite!

LEMON PEPPER ASPARAGUS
Ingredients:
One bunch of asparagus
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
3. Wash and trim the stalks.
4. Spread asparagus out on the baking sheet, and drizzle olive oil on top of the asparagus.
5. Generously sprinkle lemon pepper over the asparagus.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender. Enjoy!

A GREAT WAY TO HELP OTHERS THIS LENT

February 28, 2017

So what are you giving up for Lent this year? Chocolate, soda or — please-no-mom — coffee? From Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, let’s approach these 40 days of preparing for Easter with a spirit of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Schedule time for silence. Visit an elderly relative. Bring in your neighbor’s trash can from the curb. Read a spiritual book. Feed the birds. Compliment someone. Pray more.

I heard a great idea on a SiriusXM Radio talk show this week that helped me decide what to do this Lent. It’s called “40 Items in 40 Days.” Place a trash bag or container in a corner of your closet. On each day of Lent, add an item that you no longer use or need to the bag. By the end of Lent, you’ll have a bag filled and ready to donate to Goodwill, Dress for Success, United Way or a local homeless shelter.

Added bonus: In addition to helping those in need, you’ll have less “stuff” as you pair down and make life simpler.

A VERY EASY DIY PROJECT: BEDROOM BENCH REDO

February 17, 2017

Here’s a super easy DIY home decor project that requires minimum talent and adds a little pizzazz to your bedroom. — plus the dog will love it!

I found a canvas-covered bench at Home Goods, and bought it at a great price. I really liked the “bones” of the bench but knew it needed a much nicer fabric covering.

Next step: Head to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics with the dimensions. (Don’t make me do Math.) I found a lovely neutral fabric that was attractive, sturdy and would be acceptable to my Yorkshire Terrier.

The project is a no-brainer. Turn the bench upside down and remove the stapled fabric. Center the fabric and use your staple gun to secure one long side and then the other. Tuck the fabric in nicely at the corners and staple the remainder fabric to the bench. Cut off any excess and be sure the staples are firmly in the bench. (You may need to hammer in a few.)

Voila! Place the bench at the bottom of your bed. Now you can store those throw pillows on the bench at night, sit on it to lace your running shoes, or bring out when you need  extra seating!

 

IT’S ALWAYS TIME FOR A LITTLE KINDNESS

February 17, 2017

As I was doing some volunteering at a local elementary school, this home-made sign jumped out at me. The art teacher in me knew it was made with some tempera paints and a lot of Elmer’s glue. But, really, doesn’t it say it all?

MEET MORRIE, AN INSPIRATION WITH AN AMAZING STORY

February 17, 2017

I came across a YouTube video in my Facebook newsfeed that touched me deeply. It was produced by Humankind, part of the USA Network, and they are to be truly commended for their exceptional work! Please click here to watch.

Last December’s video featured 91-year-old Morrie Bogart, a terminally-ill hospice patient, confined to a hospital bed. Morrie knits hats for the homeless using a round knitting loom. He says it gives him purpose and that he’s going to do this until he goes home to the Lord, according to the Humankind video.

The video went viral, touching the hearts of so many people. Morrie received an abundance of yarn donations, along with prayers, praise and thanks.

Then a new Humankind video was published a week ago. Please click here to watch. Having celebrated a birthday on January 2nd, 92-year-old Morrie has since left hospice care and is holding his own. Morrie is an inspiration.

Knit with a Loom and Make Hats for the Homeless
Inspired by Morrie, I decided to learn how to knit using a circular knitting loom. I bought my set of circular knitting looms at Michael’s. Hobby Lobby sells the looms and so does Walmart.

Michael’s has an excellent video that will quickly give you an idea of how to knit with a loom. This video by Denise Canela at Loomahat.com is also a great tutorial.

Where to Donate Hats for the Homeless
If you have a shelter in your county, try calling them first. Some organizations that would be happy to receive donations include:

Hats 4 The Homeless
Hats for the Homeless, Bangor, Maine
Hatbox Foundation
• Boston Healthcare for the Homeless
Bridge and Beyond
• The Yarnheads Project
• Warm Up America
• Project Warm

 

FINDING THE PERFECT HOLY COMMUNION DRESS

February 13, 2017

Mom and Grandma Alert: Now is the time to be shopping for a First Holy Communion dress for your little second grader! It’s a celebratory day for your favorite little girl and a major step in her life-long journey in the faith.

The angel in the above photo is my daughter Allison, and I remember when we bought her dress at Jacobson’s, a fabulous regional department store in Palm Beach County that has since gone to Heaven. Make it a special event when you take your own daughter or granddaughter to shop . . .  she’ll always remember the day Gram and Mom bought her a beautiful white First Holy Communion dress and took her out to a special lunch!

So what’s available right now in the stores and online? I suggest a phone call to your local stores before loading the kids in the car to shop. Stock is already depleted in several stores.

Macy*s has a lovely selection of First Holy Communion dresses. We found a very pretty Blush By Us Angels embroidered Communion dress with a sheer mesh skirt. Priced at $85, this appears to be a typical price for upper-end stores.

Here are a few online sites to visit:

Dillards’s (Great Zelia jeweled dress shoes.)
Chasing Fireflies (Beautiful veils on the site.)
Isabel Garreton (Subscribe and get 10% off.)
JCPenney (Sale in progress right now.)
Kohl’s (Several Bonnie Jean dresses. Shop with a coupon.)
David’s Bridal (Lovely lace flower girls dresses that work as First Communion dresses.)
Flower Girl Dress (Several Joan Calabrese dresses with same day shipping.)
Sears (Sweet Pea and Lilli sequined and embroidered dresses.)
Burlington Coat Factory (Very reasonably priced dresses.)
Target (Adorable Mia Sophia cap-sleeve dress.)
Catholic Faith Store (Classic satin and tulle to lace appliquéd dresses.)
Kids Formal (Excellent pricing and oh-so-sweet organza dresses.)
Von Maur (Dresses, flats and veils, too.)

Another thought . . . You might try bridal stores and look at their flower girl dresses. Some consignment shops also sell Holy Communion dresses. If you can sew, check out this site for Making a Holy Communion Dress. And, here’s a site called Simply.Catholic.net that shows how you can sew your daughter’s dress from your own wedding dress!

Do your homework. Call stores first and you’ll find that very special dress for your daughter or granddaughter.

Of course, Pinterest is filled with Holy Communion dresses and great ideas. We have to mention this awesome Pinterest post showing an easy-to-make Holy Communion Cake!

Then, you might be wondering what to do with the dress after First Holy Communion? This is the fourth year that the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, is collecting Holy Communion dresses and outfits to pass on to children in need. Check out this article for more information. Dresses and suits can be mailed to: Ms. Lynn Gully, Archdiocese of Newark, 171 Clifton, Avenue, Newark, NJ 07104.

 

FIVE TIPS TO BEGIN YOUR NEW WALKING PROGRAM

January 31, 2017

Are you a baby boomer who loves to run? Or, simply walk in comfort? Well, we’ve discovered Brooks GTS running shoes in super-cool, vivid colors. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a running shoe: stability, plush cushioning and great foot support. We are hooked on Brooks and they’ve even got a 90-day guarantee.

Brooks began as a family-owned shoe factory in 1914 and became tops in athletic footwear, from soccer cleats to bowling shoes. In the 1970s, the company created a shock-absorbing foam, a major innovation and bulls-eye hit for serious runners. Today, Brooks continues to shine as an award-winning running brand.

Lace up your Brooks running shoes! Here are five tips to start your very own walking program:

  1. Hello Doc: Check with your doctor to be sure you have no health problems and are cleared to hit the pavement.
  2. Get Out and Walk: Whether you dust off your treadmill or head for the pavement, walking will put less impact on your bones and joints than running. Walk briskly . . . no strolling through the park. Start with a 15-minute walk and work up to 35 minutes a week.
  3. Gear Up: You can keep track of fitness goals with a Fitbit, pedometer or use an iPhone app such as RockMyRun, a free workout music and running tracker. This app will gear your music to your activity du jour.
  4. Plan It: To make it happen, you need to schedule it. Mark your calendar for some me-time . . . and go take a hike.
  5. Buddy Up: Call a friend and plan a walk date. Your chances of staying with the program are better if you have your best bud at your side.
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