Winter is coming slow and steady.  The last of the color on the trees is slowly falling to the ground with each breeze and covering the precious plants that have hidden their faces to protect from the winter’s cold.  I give thanks to the wind for letting those leaves protect the coming spring beauty and keeping their feet warm beneath the coming snows.  At least I hope the snows come.  I’d rather have the snow than the ice and freezing rain.  Ice is much to difficult to travel in, via auto, bus, train, plane or foot.  Give me snow any winter day.

Winter, Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area. Williamsburg, Virginia

Winter, Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. Williamsburg, Virginia

Yes, I live close to Williamsburg.  It’s just “down the road” and a place I love to walk and visit.  It’s so serene even in the middle of tourist season when everybody is out and enjoying the sights and sounds.  In winter, it’s even more serene.  I have visited it in all seasons, but my favorite, by far, is autumn.  I love purchasing a cup of spiced cider, perhaps a pastry, and walking along the lovely little streets and shops.

The whole area of Virginia is a very historic place.  A place where my husband and I decided to settle, mainly because we both feel that “we belong” here.  We have some sort of unseen and unrecorded history here.  I don’t know if it’s a longing for the life of decades and centuries gone by or if somehow our hearts are saying “here” but we definitely feel at home in this area.

We retired here in the 1980s after a long, long enduring life as a military family.  Our birthplaces were both in Ohio, but Virginia has become OUR place.  OUR place of solitude.  I give thanks to the Air Force for planting us here back in January and February of 1980.  Our children have really enjoyed being in this area and have learned to love history as much as anyone else.

Yes, I’m a thankful person.  Every night I give thanks and every morning a new round of thankfulness appears.  I’m also thankful for WordPress.


Country Ribs Deluxe

1/2 cup General Tso’s sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup water

1-2 T. red pepper flakes

1 T. Worcestershire

2 T. minced garlic

6-8 pieces of country ribs

Mix all except ribs and place in a microwave-safe bowl or pan.  Place ribs in sauce and rotate them so all are coated.  Let stand 1 hour.  Place in microwave and cover with plastic wrap or lid and microwave on 50% power for 30 minutes.  Remove from microwave and turn pieces around and over.  Cover again.  Place on 30% power for 30-45 minutes or until juices run clear.  Place on sheet pan, broiler pan or on grill and grill and brush with BBQ sauce or more General Tso’s sauce and bake, broil or grill until lightly browned about 10-15 minutes.



Tender Corn on the Cob

For delicious and tender roasted corn on the cob, leave corn in husk.  Carefully pull husk back and remove “silk”.  Soak ears of corn in a large pot or kitchen sink for at least 30 minutes.  Place on hot grill and roast, turning occasionally, until tender.  Soooo sweet and roasted well this way without being overly scorched.

Mom’s Crispy Chips

I’ve made several pans of these over the past few years and they’re always a big hit!

Slice potatoes (your choice) about 1/4″ thick.  Place in large bowl with 1/4 cup of melted butter, 1 t. salt and 1 t. garlic powder.  Stir well.  Place on lined cookie sheet (I use a silicone mat) and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or grated cheddar.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until crispy on edges and browned well.


Spiced Up Baked Beans

1 can chili beans

1 can cannelinni, black or kidney beans

1 can any pork and beans

1 can Rotel, drained

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 small onion, diced

1 T. Worcestershire

2 T. mustard (I used Dijon but you can use any)

3 T. ketchup

1/2 t. cumin or liquid smoke

1 clove minced garlic or 1/2 t. garlic powder

Place all in oven-proof pot, stir well, cover and bake at 350 for 60-90 minutes.

Ma’s Cooked Slaw

1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced or grated

1 large carrot, grated

1 onion, sliced thin

1 or 2 hot peppers (I used 2 jalapeno), diced

1/2 green bell pepper

1/2 red bell pepper (optional)

1 green onion, sliced

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 T. sugar

2 T. vegetable oil


sliced mushrooms is optional to add with cabbage in this recipe.


In large heavy skillet, cook onion, carrot and bell peppers for 3-5 minutes.  Add remaining except for green onion, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes.  Add green onion and serve.

Mexico Mix-up

29 oz. tomato sauce

3 T. flour

3 T. oil or butter

2 t. smokey paprika

2 T. basil

2 T. chili powder

2 t. cumin

1 t. salt

1/2 t. cayenne (if desired)

1 pkg vegetarian grounds

1 cup Salsa (optional)

2 cups corn

1 can black beans

1 can Rotel (optional)

1 1/2 cups crushed flavored chips

2 cups cooked rice (optional)

12 flour tortilla

2-3 cups cheddar cheese

black or green olives (optional) for topping

sour cream (optional)

In pot, place oil and flour.  Cook until flour browns to a medium shade.  Add tomato sauce, seasonings and continue to cook and heat until heated thoroughly and slightly thickened.  Add salt or sugar to taste, if needed.  Add grounds and heat through. Add salsa, if desired.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan.  Dip 6 tortilla in sauce that you just made and place in bottom of pan.  Add black  beans in layer, then a layer of corn.  Add a little of the sauce.  Next, add crushed chips and dot with Rotel, if desired.  Add rice, if desired.   Dip remaining tortilla in sauce, place 6 on top layer.  Add remaining sauce of all.  Add cheddar cheese and sliced olives.  Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Uncover and cook another 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serve with sour cream or more salsa.


Layered Dip

I made this over the weekend, especially for the Super Bowl fans in our house, but it’s good any time of year for a dip/snack.

1 can vegetarian refried beans

1/2 cup sour cream

1 avocado, diced and mashed

1/2 tsp garlic powder

juice of 1 lime

1 can black beans, drained

taco seasoning or homemade seasoning made of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

diced green onions

1 can of Rotel, drained

diced black olives

6 oz (or more) grated cheddar cheese

1 can creamed or whole corn

In bottom of pie plate or other serving dish, spread your refried beans.  On top add black beans and taco seasoning to taste.  Mash lightly.  Mash the avocado with the juice of the lime; add sour cream to the mashed avocado and garlic powder to taste.  Spread on top of the beans.  Next layer on the corn.  Soften the cream cheese and add the can of Rotel to it.  Mix well and spread that next.  Sprinkle with green onion pieces.  Mound grated cheddar on top.  Slice black olives and place atop the cheese.  Cover and chill 1 hour before serving with corn chips or vegetable sticks.