Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sarah's Chocolate, Strawberry Cake

Our new Bridge friends, Steve and Kathy, recommend this luscious and easy to make cake created by their daughter, Sarah.

Sarah's Chocolate, Strawberry Cake
1 chocolate or devil's food cakemix, made according to package directions and baked in a Bundt-style pan.
1/3 cup cocoa liquour
Chocolate buttercream frosting
Sliced strawberries
Whipped cream

Slice cooled cake in half and sprinkle both cut surfaces with cocoa liquour. Put cake together and frost with buttercream frosting. Serve with strawberries and whipped cream.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stuff the bus! for kids

Our Pencil Box Club donated $85 to the 2011-12 LESA Backpacks for Kids project today. Thanks to our members for helping to make that first day of school a happy day for Livingston County kids. We encourage everyone to donate to this wonderful project that distributes free back-to-school supplies to Livingston County students grades K-12. You can Stuff the Bus from 10-2 p.m. on August 5 at the Fowlerville Walmart, and 10-2 p.m. August 13 at the Howell Walmart or drop off your donations at Livingston Educational Service Agency, 1425 West Grand River, Howell, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The distribution date for free back-to-school supplies will be from 6-8 p.m. August 18 at LESA. Program coordinator Robin Schutz tells all about it here:

Stuff that Bus!
from: Robin Schutz
                LESA Early Childhood Programs
                Phone:  (517) 540-6840
                E-mail: robinschutz@livingstonesa.org

We are pleased to announce TWO locations and TWO days of Stuff the Bus for the Tenth Annual “Fill Backpacks for Kids” Campaign at Livingston Educational Service Agency

An LESA Bus will be in the Fowlerville Wal-Mart Parking Lot on Friday, August 52011, and in the Howell Wal-Mart Parking Lot on Friday, August 13, 2011.  You can Stuff the Bus at either location from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Families, who are shopping for school supplies can pick up an extra set of pencils, pack of paper, or even a backpack as a contribution to the Tenth Annual “Fill Backpacks for Kids” Campaign.

Last year, over $6,000 in monetary donations and supplies helped us distribute over 1,800 backpacks to students from Preschool through 12th Grade. The goal this year is to distribute 2,000 backpacks full of basic school supplies for Livingston County students whose families may be experiencing financial difficulties.  Residents, churches and local businesses contribute to this effort through donations, volunteer time, and serving as drop-off sites for supplies and backpacks to make it a success.

Donations for LESA’s 2011 Backpack for Kids Campaign can be dropped off at the Livingston Educational Service Agency, 1425 West Grand River, Howell, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Date of distribution is August 18, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the LESA Education Center.

For additional information call the Hot Line at (517) 540-6833 or visit the website at: www.livingstonesa.org . Click on the Green Tab labeled Community Resources.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011-12 "LESA Fill a Backpack for Kids" project launched

Thank you note from Rex for his new backpack last year.

We received a letter from Robin Schutz of Great Start Livingston announcing the kick-off of the 2011-12 "LESA Fill a Backpack for Kids" project. This is a great project that the Pencil Box Club supports with donations, and we encourage everyone to help now. Back packs will be distributed to schoolchildren at LESA, 1425 W. Grand River Avenue, Howell MI 48843 from 6-8 p.m. August 18, 2011. Schutz said:
Livingston Educational Service Agency employees are gearing up for our tenth annual "LESA's Fill a Backpack for Kids" project. The goal of this project is to provide Livingston County students with basic school supplies at no cost.
LESA implemented this project in 2002 and, thorugh support of local businesses and families, has distributed over 5,000 backpacks filled with supplies. Our goal is to distribute at least 1,800 backpacks for the 2011-12 school year.
In order for the 'LESA Fill a Backpack for Kids" project to be a success, we need support from the community. There are many opportunities for community members to be involved with this project, including serving as a collection site for donated school supplies, volunteering to fill backpacks with school supplies, and donating school supplies and backpacks. . . . Any assistance you can provide will be appreciated.
Community-wide support will make this project a success and help children have a positive experience . . .. For additional information, call 517 540 6833. We appreciate any support you can provide for this project.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bridge for kids?

Today's NYT article by Winnie Hu, "For students raised on iPods, lessons in Bridge", tells about efforts to teach Bridge to schoolchildren. Hu said:
The Lakeland district in this northern Westchester County town began teaching bridge this year as a way to both reinforce math and problem-solving skills and to socialize a generation of children raised on solitary pastimes like playing video games and listening to iPods. Now kindergartners here learn to sort suits and high and low numbers, while older students play in bridge clubs and compete online in virtual tournaments.
Maybe we should put cards in those backpacks!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chicken in paprika sauce

This is so delicious and easy to make -- an excellent holiday buffet dish. I adapted the recipe a friend gave me at a holiday party.

Chicken in paprika sauce
3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin and cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
2-3 tbl. olive oil
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup or more)
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
2-3 tbl. paprika
10 oz. can condensed chicken broth
8 oz. white wine
1 cup sour cream
(noodles or spaetzle)
  • Saute chicken pieces in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Remove chicken to large bowl. In same pan, saute onion till soft and remove to bowl with chicken. Add olive oil as needed to saute. Saute mushrooms seasoned with salt and pepper in same pan and remove to bowl with chicken and onion.
  • Add paprika into bowl with chicken, onions and mushrooms and stir to coat.
  • Return to pan and stir in condensed chicken broth and wine.
  • Bring to simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  • Remove lid and simmer on low heat until sauce is reduced slightly. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Allow to cool slightly and stir a little sauce into sour cream. Add sour cream to chicken and sauce in pan and stir thoroughly.
  • Heat as needed, but do not bring to boil or sour cream will curdle.
  • Serve over cooked noodles or spaetzle.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy holidays!

Our Pencil Box Club had a lovely holiday luncheon at Kathleen Z.'s on Wednesday with all the most luscious of comfort foods on a blustery December day.

Greek salad
Beef barley soup
Cheese straws
Rice pudding
Chocolate dipped shortbread cookies

We delivered our holiday donation of $72 to the LESA Backpacks for Kids project, and told LESA Administrative Assistant Judy Paulsen about our new Pencil Box Club Cookbook that also highlights LESA's Backpacks for Kids project (although the entire cost of the book goes to the manufacturer, Blurb.com). A paperback copy of the 38-page book is $12.95 plus shipping from Blurb.com. To order go here at Blurb.com. Click here to see a preview of the entire cookbook.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Robin's get-together

Our Bridge group got together to fete our friend and former Bridge partner Robin Y. who was in town recently for a short visit. Lunch was delicious and everyone wanted Sally's and Kathy's recipes, so here they are. We also had four kinds of olives for an appetizer -- very popular, and easy!

Chicken Pasta Primavera
from Sally S.

Penne pasta (I used 16 oz. box of Barilla whole wheat penne)
1 cup broccoli or asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
Carrots, 1 cup cut in chunks
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 cup yellow squash, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped with juice
8  Baby Bella 
mushrooms, sliced
6 tbl. butter
1 envelope dry Italian Salad Dressing Mix
2 cups whipping cream or heavy cream
1/2 cup, or to taste, grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks, rotisserie is fine
Salt and pepper.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions
  • In a large skillet, saute broccoli and carrots in butter for 3-4 minutes
  • Add mushrooms, zucchini and squash and saute until crisp tender, 3-4 minutes
  • Stir in chicken, tomatoes dressing mix and cream. 
  • Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes. 
  • Drain pasta, mix with vegetable mixture. Toss to combine.
  • Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and toss again. You can pass more grated cheese.
NOTE: This best heated before serving - low heat in oven.
You can make the day before, bring to room temperature, then heat. Serves 8 plus leftovers. You can add whatever vegetables you like. It's a little bland. I would add onions and celery.

Cashew Salad with Dressing
from Kathy T.

Dressing (This will make more than you need):
1 cup Miracle Whip (no substitution)
1/2 cup sugar (I always use less)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tbsp. celery seed
1 tsp. dry mustard

Romaine lettuce (as much as you like)
1 cup cashews
1 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup sliced, green onion

Add the dressing just before serving.  Use less dressing than more.