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Old Man Winter Coming

Waiting for our first taste of winter this season. Right now it is in the upper 70’s but should get down into the mid to upper-30’s tonight – and near freezing tomorrow night.  WOW – what a change.




Knowing this was coming, I’ve been busy all week trying to get all my outdoor chores finished. Main thing was to get the goldfish pond (right now sans goldfish)  working as Bear has been missing his water fountain.  Surprisingly, everything is working and fortunately there were no cracks or other damage to the biological filter.  This is especially amazing since the tree fell right on top of it.




Plan on waiting until Spring to get any goldfish . . . plus want to come up with a way to have a floating garden in the pond as there will be no shade for them next summer. Guess I need to do a little research on what the max temperature goldfish can take ?!


Made Bear some of his favorite dog biscuits or as we call them . . . ‘cookies’ . . . this morning.  Need peanut butter for them and while I’ll use the regular peanut butter for the recipe, I’m still on the hunt for a peanut butter for me  that does not have rapeseed in it.  I do NOT like GMO foods and rapeseed is right at the top of my list for GMO foods.


apple-cinnamon-muffinsWith cold weather right around the corner plan on making some apple-cinnamon muffins for breakfast. This is another on of those boxed-mixes that I like to gussy-up.  So easy, and so tasty.  Taste like homemade.

Apple-Cinnamon Muffins

What you’ll need:

  • 1 box of Cinnamon-Streusel muffin mix
  • 1/2 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • Homemade streusel *

* For homemade  streusel, mix together about 2 tablespoons cold butter, 3-4 tablespoons regular flour and 3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar. Mix with fork until you have pea-sized granules. Adjust amounts to taste. When baked, the topping comes out crunchy.  Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container to use later.


Follow box directions for baking, i.e., oven temperature, lining muffin pan, etc.

  1. Mix ingredients (except packet of streusel from box)
  2. Add finely chopped apple to mix
  3. Add packet of streusel into wet batter and swirl with knife (do NOT mix in completely)
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan
  5. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of homemade streusel (recipe above) on top of muffins
  6. Bake as directed


Any leftovers can be frozen for later.

Easy, Spicy Shrimp Gumbo

roux_2016Another cold-weather food we enjoy is shrimp gumbo. I always make this from a can of Campbell’s Chicken Gumbo soup but per usual . . . just add in stuff.

My original recipe for making shrimp gumbo from soup is at this link  but I’ve taken to spicing it up a bit using the recipe below.

Note: I’ve found that I can have roux on hand for gumbo, gravy, etc.  most of the time  by keeping the browned flour from the bottom of the frying skillet when I make fried chicken.  I simply pour off the excess oil, spoon the ‘roux’ into a covered container and store in the refrigerator.  Saves a lot of time and works great. I’ve left a bit of the oil on top to keep the roux moist. 




  • 1 can Campbell’s Chicken Gumbo soup
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons roux (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1 stick Boudain ** (pre-cooked) ( use boudain that has been smoked on the BBQ if you have the time to do this before hand – it will add a fantastic flavor to the gumbo)
  • 12-18 shrimp – peeled, de-veined (depends on size and how many shrimp you want to have per serving)

** If you like your gumbo really spicy, you can buy the hot Boudain vs. regular boudain.  And, if you don’t like shrimp, you can use chicken.



  1. Heat roux in heavy sauce pan
  2. Add in onions, celery, and bell pepper – cook until they begin to soften, stirring continuously
  3. Add in can of Campbell’s Chicken Gumbo soup and broth – continue to heat
  4. Add in shrimp and cook until pink
  5. Add in pre-cooked boudain that has been cut into bite-sized chunks – do not over stir


Enjoy with some hot French bread !!



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