Count your blessings

Well, the big day is finally over and I am sure a lot of you like me are still stuffed from all the great food and desserts you consumed on Thanksgiving. I am sure many of you had special family and friends in for the holiday and fortunately we had very nice weather that made it easier for the ones traveling to get here.

Just look how lucky we are to live in this great country and all the blessings we have and are in stored upon us. My thoughts this year were with all the families that had loved one far off and over seas and not able to join us on this special occasion, so we can hope that things will work out where they can celebrate Christmas with their loved ones next month.

Hopefully you had a chance to visit the Blennerhassett Hotel and view all the beautiful decorated Christmas Trees and Wreaths. If not, you will still have time to check them out since the trees will be on display at the hotel until December 7. On December 7, all the trees will be auctioned off with all the proceeds going to Easter Seals for the disabled children and adults in our area.

I personally want to thank my very generous sponsors: Camden Clark Medical Center; Jan Dils, Attorney at Law and Chuck Hughes; Dr Peter Filozof, Stephanie D. (Dzintra) Epling; Der Dog Haus and Salvey Specialty Polymer. Thanks to my wonderful sponsors I was able to decorate seven trees this year for the auction.

I would like to share with you one incident that we experienced on our flight to Las Vegas last August that made me stop and count my blessings. Because our seats were at the bulk head in the airplane where there is more space, they asked if we would mind if a lady with a dog could be seated with us. I did not care for the idea of a dog and especially a large dog next to us in an airplane, but to find out it was a very well trained seeing eye dog for the 40-year-old blind lady traveling alone, and the dog was no problem what so ever. It turned out to be a blessing and a very enjoyable flight and pleasant conversation to Vegas. Because she was blind and the weather and snow was so bad in Chicago and caused her numerous falls, she was moving to Vegas with her dog to a warmer climate. I helped her with everything I could during the flight and also when we landed at the airport.

I learned not to judge a situation, as I did when they first mentioned seating a lady with a dog with us, until you know all the circumstance and I counted my blessings.

Be sure to check out the Festival of Lights at the Parkersburg City Park and in Belpre and South Parkersburg. Until next week!

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Honey Mustard Chicken

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup prepared mustard

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

6 chicken drumsticks

6 bone-in chicken thighs

For sauce: In a small bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Set aside 1/2 cup for serving. Place chicken in a greased 15x10x1 baking pans; brush with remaining sauce. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 180 and chicken juices run clear, basting occasionally with pan juices. Warm reserved sauce; serve with chicken.

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Baked Blueberry Pancake

2 cups pancake mix

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

butter and maple syrup

In a large bowl, combine the pancake mix, milk, egg, oil and cinnamon just until blended (batter will be lumpy.) Fold in blueberries. Spread into a greased 15x10x1 baking pan. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with butter and syrup.

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Holiday Brunch Casserole

4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes

1 pound bulk port sausage, cooked and drained

1/2 pound bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1 medium green pepper, chopped

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 green onion, chopped

1 cup baking mix

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

3 cups milk

In a large bowl, combine the hash browns, sausage, bacon, green pepper, 1 cup cheese and onion. Transfer to a greased 13×9 baking dish. In another bowl, whisk the biscuit mix, salt, eggs and milk; pour over the top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 30-35 minutes or a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

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Colorful Vegetable Bake

3 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed and drained

2 medium green peppers, chopped

6 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded

2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

3 cups chopped zucchini

1 cup baking mix

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

Place beans and peppers in a greased 13×9 baking dish. Layer with tomatoes, cheese and zucchini. In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix, salt, cayenne, eggs and milk just until moistened. Pour over the vegetables. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until puffed and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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Chicken Ham Casserole

1 package long grain and wild rice mix

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 cup cubed fully cooked ham

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 can evaporated milk

1 cup shredded Colby cheese

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the rice mix according to package directions. Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish. Top with chicken and ham. In a large bowl, combine the soup, milk, Colby cheese and pepper; pour over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

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Piggies in Blankies

2 cups baking mix

1/2 cup water

1 can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained, divided

1 pound hot dogs

In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix and water until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 5-10 times. Roll dough into a 13-inch circle; cut into 10 wedges. Place 1 tablespoon sauerkraut on each wedge. Place a hot dog at the wide end; roll up each wedge tightly. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Heat remaining sauerkraut; serve with the hot dogs.

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Au Gratin Sausage Skillet

1 pound smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 package au gratin potatoes

2 1/2 cups water

1 package frozen California-blend vegetables

1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook sausage in oil until lightly browned; drain. Add potatoes with contents of sauce mix and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 18-20 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender, stirring occasionally. Add vegetables; cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

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Beefy Hash Brown Bake

4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 pound ground beef

1 cup water

1 envelope brown gravy mix

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

1 can french-fried onions, divided

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, oil and pepper. Press into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are thawed and set. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, cook beef until no longer pink; drain. Stir in water, gravy mix and garlic salt. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add vegetables, cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in half the onions and cheese. Pour over potatoes. Bake for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining onions and cheese; bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

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