Pumpkin Crunch

**From my Dear Friend Kimmie L.**
Pumpkin Crunch

1 package yellow cake mix
1 can (16oz) solid pack pumpkin
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs 
3/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon salt
 1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
½  cup melted butter
 Whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9x13 pan. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. Serve with whipped topping.  Refrigerate leftovers J

Blessings ~  Juju

Taco "Muffins"

Sundays are busy around here, and I need meals that are quick and easy, so I made this for Sunday Lunch today. EVERYONE loved it!

Taco "Muffins"

1 T. olive oil
1  lb 95% lean ground beef
1 T taco seasoning
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
6 flour tortillas, softened and quartered
1 C chunky salsa
1 C reduced fat shredded Colby Jack cheese

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 375. Lightly mist 12 cups in a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
2.    To brown the meat, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and taco seasoning, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook until no pink remains. Add drained black beans and salsa and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
3.    Form a cup using 2 quarters of the softened flour tortillas into the bottom of each of the 12 sprayed cups in the muffin tin. Spoon a teaspoon of cheese into each tortilla. Then spoon some of the meat, bean & salsa mixture into each cup, until all cups are full. Sprinkle all of the remaining shredded cheese evenly over the top of each cup.
4.    Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin. Serve with additional salsa, sour cream and guacamole, if desired.   You could serve this on top of a bed of cool, crisp lettuce.   Yields 12.

Blessings, Juju

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

Cooking spray (I have the Olive Oil kind)
One 24 oz can of Hunts Pasta Sauce ( I used Traditional flavor)
16 oz Penne Pasta
About 2 cups Monterey Jack or Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
1 cup Water
Grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

Spray the crock with the cooking spray.
Rinse the pasta with cool water in a colander.
Put in about 1/3 of the pasta (a couple of handfuls-ish), then spoon on some of the sauce (about 1/3 of the can), then top with about 1/3 of the cheese.
You get where this is going, dont you? Yeppers, just keep layering this way until you have 3 layers.
At this point I then took about 1 cup of water and put it in the sauce can, and swished it around to pick up the remaining sauce. Then I poured that around the outside edge of the pasta. {The reason I did this is because several of the recipes I researched said that the pasta had a few dry spots. I figured the water would help out a bit.}

**Confession time: I didnt have any ground beef, so I did put in some leftover cooked, shredded chicken in the first two layers.  If I had ground beef, I probably would have cooked up about a pound of it instead, and layered it in with the sauce and cheese.**

Plug in the slow cooker and set it on high for 2-3 hours. Because of our schedules today, I had to set it on high for 2 hours, and then 2 hours on low.

MMmm!, this is cheesy, creamy, and so simple! 

EASY Chicken Soft Tacos

Aloha! Since schedules are a bit different in this active household, I've sometimes had to cook ahead to accommodate when we eat.  Once again, I used the Crock Pot {slow cooker} to cook the chicken. It kept the apartment somewhat cooler, and right before assembling the tacos, all I had to do was shred!

Easy Chicken Soft Tacos
One pound of chicken {I used boneless, skinless thighs}
2 cups of water
Taco seasoning {I use a homemade one, but you can use what you like}
Lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, cheese
6 to 8 Flour tortillas {I used the medium size}

Place the chicken in the slow cooker and cover with the water. Plug it in. {why did I just put that in, any guesses?} Set to cook on high for 4 hours OR low for 6 hours.
An alternate way of cooking the chicken is to boil a pot of water on the stovetop, and cook the chicken for about 15-20 minutes. {In case you forgot to plug in the slow cooker!}

Shred the cheese {that is, if you're a penny-pincher like me and you bought a block of cheese. Skip this step if you went hog-wild at the store and bought the pre-shredded bag of cheese}.
Then, of course you will have to tear or chop up some lettuce, too. And the tomato will need diced. You know the drill... I dont need to tell you all of this, do I?

Once your chicken is done, you'll need to shred it. Here is a really cool way to shred your chicken:

Yep, its that simple. Just put the HOT chicken pieces into the mixer bowl, use the paddle attachment and it takes about 30 seconds to a minute. Mind blown? Yep!
Unfortunately, my DIL doesn't have a Kitchen Aid mixer {yet! Christmas is commin}, so I just shredded using 2 forks. The chicken was so tender, it was very easy.

You can add the taco seasoning at this time, if youd like. Add whatever amount makes you happy, but still makes your family happy, too. Around here, "less-is-more" so I actually went with none today.

To heat the flour tortillas, put a stack of 6 in between 2 dampened paper towels, and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Zap it for about 1 minute, flip the stack over, and give it another 1 minute zap. 
To make everyone happy, I put all the ingredients out in separate bowls and let them assemble their tacos to their own liking. {Three adults ate two tacos each, and they were satisfied.}

Blessings ~ Juju

Gooey Oreo Bars (No Bake!)

As I’ve promised, I am posting about the challenges of cooking in a teeny-tiny kitchen.   As you will see from the photos, there is basically one small counter to use to prepare food. There is no dishwasher, so the other counter has the dish drainer on it, which is in constant use…you can’t leave dirty dishes out in this warm tropical climate, the smell will overpower this small space within minutes. ‘Nuf said. On to the good stuff ~

Gooey No Bake Oreo Bars
1 (16 oz) package Oreo cookies (yes, you can use the flavored ones!)
1 bag Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows (about 5 cups)
4 Tablespoons Butter (or margarine, but not in this house!)
Extra butter, about 1 Tablespoon
Waxed or parchment paper

Butter an 8x8” baking dish.  Then, line it with some waxed paper or parchment paper, allowing some overhang. Butter the paper, too. You’ll thank me later.
Grind the cookies in a food processor until they resemble coffee grounds. I had to use my DIL’s small food processor, and do small batches, putting the ground up cookies into an extra bowl.
Put the marshmallows and butter into a microwave safe bowl, and heat in the microwave for about 2 minutes (it will puff up!). Again, since the microwave is small, so I had to use a smaller bowl than I normally would, but I just kept an eye on it, so it didn’t puff over the bowl.
Immediately stir the ground cookies and the marshmallow mixture together. By hand. You’ll get a good 2-minute workout.
At last you can plop the mixture into your prepared dish, and using an extra piece of waxed paper, press it into the pan.
I put it into the fridge for about 15 minutes, but it doesn’t really get very firm. Cut into pieces; you can choose how big or how small you want to cut ‘em. I won’t judge.

It is oooey, gooey Oreo goodness! Enjoy!

Blessings, Juju

{Slow Cooker} Mashed Potatoes

Serves 6 really hungry people

About 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed (whatever variety you have: redskins or russets, I like the kind from Idaho.)
Enough regular ol tap water to cover them in the crock pot (about 4 cups)
Salt & Pepper
Milk  (non-fat or full fat, whichever you like or anything in between. Some people like Almond milk)
Butter  (real or fake-margarine-butter-tasting-spread stuff, your preference)

I like simple. And perfectly simple. So heres the simply perfectly simple recipe:
1. Peel & cube the potatoes. Toss em in the crock-pot. If you dont like the word crock-pot, call it a slow cooker. Cover them with water.

2. Turn the whatever-you-call-it on Low for about 6 hours, and then check the taters with a fork to see if they are soft enough to mash. If there is any water left in the crock, you will probably need to drain it off, unless of course you like watery mashed potatoes.
3.  Yep, you guessed itMash em. (Boil em, mash em, stick em in a stew”….Name that kids movie!)
4. Now, add some butter, salt, and pepper so that theyll taste the way you like em. Thats what they mean by to taste.
5. Finally, add some milk to make em creamy, and at this point I would get the mixer out and whip em, whip em good.  Enjoy making this simple potato dish!
Blessings ~  Juju

Burlap-Trimmed Muslin Curtains

Burlap trim (found mine at Hobby Lobby)
Lace trim (found on clearance at Hancock Fabrics)
Buttons (had most on hand, bought some at Walmart)

1. Measure windows for curtains &/or valance. Cut 2 panels for curtains, OR one long valance. I am making 2 valances for the kitchen & dining room windows. General rule of thumb: use 1 - 1/2 times the width...if windows are 24 inches wide, cut the fabric 36 inches.
2. Sew raw edges neatly. On my muslin, there is one edge that is finished, so Im going to let that be my bottom edge. If yours does not have a finished edge, then you will need to hem it.  First, on each side, I made a narrow hem. Then, I turned down a narrow hem for the top of the valance. I am using curtain clips, but if you are using a curtain rod, you will also need to create a pocket for the curtain rod; make sure the rod will slip easily through the pocket.
 3. Sew burlap onto muslin then, sew on lace on top of burlap. Finally, hot glue buttons on top of the lace.
4. Hang curtains &/or valance.  You might want to see my post about homemade window washing solution, so your windows will look their best with the new curtains!

Blessings, Juju

Happy Fall, Y'all ! Crispy Apple Crisp

It's early Fall here in North Idaho, and apples are everywhere.  Today our house smells like apples & cinnamon...   

Crispy Apple Crisp

5 apples
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp margarine, cold
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup oats

Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel, core & slice the apples. (I use my handy-dandy "Apple-Corer-Peeler-Slicer" from that home party company that pampers chefs. Makes fast work of the apple prep.)
Place apples in a 9 X 13-inch baking dish.
Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl, using a pastry blender to cut in the margarine. It should look like coarse crumbs when you are done.
Sprinkle the mixture over the apples.
Bake at 350° F for about 20 minutes.

The apples won't be mushy, but still firm and crisp.
And yummily-deliciousily-fresh-Fall-tasting.

Blessings, Juju

Homemade Window Washing Solution

Don't you just love it when the morning sun comes streaming in through the windows? I do, but only if the windows are clean.....

(for OUTDOOR use only!)

½ small bottle of Jet Dry (yep, the stuff you put into your dishwasher)
¼ cup rubbing alcohol
¼ cup ammonia
1 tablet dishwasher soap, crushed into powder
           (OR about ½ cup dishwasher powder)
2 gallons steaming, HOT water (boil it, if necessary)

Put all of this into a bucket; stir until dissolved.
Pre-Rinse windows using the “jet” spray nozzle.
Dip window washing tool into the solution and scrub the window, top to bottom. (If you don't have a special tool with a long handle, you can put on a rubber glove and use a microfiber cloth to wash the window.)
No need to squeegee the window !

Rinse windows again using the “jet” spray nozzle, top to bottom.  Allow to air dry.
Step back and enjoy the sparkle!
Do NOT use this indoors, the fumes might knock you over!
Blessings, Juju

Refreshing Watermelon Summer Drink

My BFF shared this simple recipe with me, and now it's a favorite in our house, too!


  • 1 "personal-size" seedless watermelon
  • 1 empty plastic pitcher with a lid (at least 40 oz.) 
  • 1 32 oz. empty bottle (a clean Gatorade bottle works perfectly)
  • ice & water
  • Stevia or other sweetener of choice


Cut up the watermelon into chunks, discarding the green rind.

Put about 1/2 of the chunks into a blender and "liquefy" it for a few seconds.
Go ahead and add the rest of the chunks and "liquefy" it again.
Pour the pureed liquid into the pitcher. Store in the refrigerator. 

To Serve:

Add ice to the empty Gatorade bottle, almost to the top.
Add cold water to that, about 3/4 full.
Add about 1/2 cup of the watermelon liquid, put the cap on & shake it up!
Sweeten to taste with your favorite sweetener & shake!
I hope you enjoy this Refreshing Watermelon Summer Drink as much as we do.

Summer 2012 Projects

We had a late start to summer here in North Idaho, and once it arrived, we've been busy!  Here are a few of the projects I've been working on:

Cork Board made from thrift store frame
11 Jars of Strawberry Jam using homegrown berries
Pallet-wood Bakery Sign
Pallet-wood Pantry Sign
Updated Pantry Door
Pallet-wood Paris Wall Art (over new desk)
Pallet-wood Paris Wall Art
 How has YOUR summer been?
Blessings ~ Juju

ReStore Revival: Potting Bench

The Hubs and I went up to ReStore today, and by "thinking outside of the box" and making a few clever purchases,
we were able to make a potting bench for Twelve bucks!
ReStore Revival: Potting Bench

Hubs helped me out on this one, since
I'm not very familiar with his power tools.
ReStore treasures:
Cabinet: $10.- Board & 2X4 Frame: $1.50
Check out this funky flower-a-delic
contact paper interior! 
Hubs trimmed off the sides of the board
with his circular saw, a tool I have not yet
worked up the courage to use alone.
Then, after some measuring, together we
drilled some pilot holes and drove some
long wood screws to attach the frame
to the top and to the cabinet.
We attached some large cup hooks around
the frame to hang the small tools on.
I removed most of the 70's contact paper
(it was on every interior surface).
I kind of like the way it revealed the
black paint and raw wood underneath.
Yay! I transplanted these brave little
Pansy flowers (from the cracks they
were growing in) into this hanging bowl.
I love my new Potting Bench!

Blessings ~ Juju

5 Pinteresting Fast~Fixes

This weekend we are finally having some really nice, sunny weather and we want to be outside enjoying it!  I didn't want to devote a lot of time to starting a new craft that I might get caught up with, but I found a few minutes to get these done:  
My Pinteresting Fast-Fixes:
And they are all cheap or free!
Ribbon Holders

2 Baskets from The Dollar Store: $2.00
2 Dowells from Walmart: $2.00 

1. Cut dowels to 12 inches long.

2. Slide one end of dowel through hole in basket; slide on the spools of ribbon; slide the other end into the opposite side of the basket.
Under Sink Organizer

Six-pocket organizer from The Dollar Tree: $1.00
2 Cup hooks (I had these on hand)

This is easy-peasy...
no explanation needed!
Under Sink Clean-Up

We had these peel-n-stick vinyl tiles left over from our bathroom floor makeover.  I spent about 15 minutes on my knees and I'm so happy 'cause it looks and feels so clean & neat now.
Maybe I won't be afraid to reach under the sink anymore!

                             Dinner Ideas Basket
Folding boxes from The Dollar Store: $1.00 each
Unlined Index Cards I had on hand

If I've had a bad day and forgotten to thaw something out, or just can't come up with a dinner idea, this is my new "Go-To" !

Vinyl Roll Sleeves 
Again, this was easy-peasy! And yep, it was FREE!

I used the cardboard insert from some wrapping paper,
cut it into 6-inch lengths, then slit it on one side.
They "clip" onto the rolls of vinyl to keep them neat!

Now I have time to enjoy the weekend!
Blessings ~ Juju

Summer Beachy Mantle Decor

At one end of our bedroom is a wood-burning fireplace…So Romantic!  However, with the brick color, it tends to look a bit “cave-like” down there.  I saw a beachy themed mantle from decorchick
that inspired me to bring some brightness to our mantle.
The Before!

The Wreath!

The Color!
My favorite color from childhood has come back into fashion...Aqua!
When I was at ReStore last week, I found these turquoise-colored shutters, and realized that I had my color inspiration...
but they needed to be toned-down a bit.
After The Hubs cut them to size (they are molded vinyl, not real wood!), I applied 2 very light coats of white paint. I used a dry-brush technique, so that the "wood grain" would show through, and look weathered.
(Cost: $4.00 for 2 shutters)
Mixing equal parts of 2 colors of acrylic paint (Apple Barrel "Key West" & "Laguna"), I  got this dreamy shade of blue for the little signs.
(Cost: $1.06 for paint & .30¢ for 2 boards)
Cricut vinyl lettering (had the vinyl on hand)
The Jar! 
Thank God for Goodwill! 
I found this OLD Aqua-Colored "Atlas E-Z Seal"
mason-style jar for just $2.99!
Filled with shells and wrapped with some netting,
ied up with twine and they look mighty fine!
Cost for the shells & netting: Zero!
(We've collected the shells for years, and the netting was the packaging for the spheres.)
The Spheres and Box!
The costliest part of this project were these spheres from Michael's. Originally $14.99 for a bag, they were mis-placed in a bin that said .99¢.
The store manager saw how disappointed I was when it rang up at full price,
and gave me 40% off=$8.99
The adorable wooden box with the rope handles
was found at a thrift shop=$2.99
The Little Jars!
When I was sorting through the 30 years worth of seashells, rocks, etc. that we have collected during our marriage, I found my sea glass 
and put them in this little spice jar that I've also had for about 30 years.  
The little pale aqua bottle came from the thrift shop. Cost: .59¢
The Driftwood Frame!
The Hubs and I went for a drive today, along the shores of
Lake Coeur d'Alene 
and we stopped to pick up some driftwood for crafts. 
I came home and hot glued & tied them together for a frame. Cost: FREE!
My Favorite Thing!
Do you see this GORGEOUS stemmed candle holder? I fell in LOVE with it at Michael's the other day but, because of my tight budget,
I almost walked away from it.
I mean, I just KNEW it had to be pricey. And then the heaven's opened
when I saw a miraculous sign (no, I mean a real sign) that said 60% off!!! Cost: $4.39
And since it's filled with shells that my Love and I have gathered on beaches all over the world, it's filled with happy memories of our Journeys.

Be Blessed~ Juju