Hi Readers,

We are in the thick of summer, and I just love it!  This body cannot tolerate the cold, but heat…no problem!  I know some of you are saying, “What about the humidity?” With all of the air conditioning available, i.e. homes, cars, stores, etc., I wonder what the problem really is. Up north, during the summer, I had an air conditioner in each end of the house, and if you were in the middle, you had a problem!

I am a reader, and I am thoroughly going through two and three books a week.  This is my time of the year.  Give me a cold drink, a cool spot and a good book, and I believe I have gone to heaven.  I just got through the series, “Kent Chronicles,” plus “North and South,” authored by John Jakes.  I know it is an old series, but you have to understand, when these books were popular, I was working twelve hours a day, seven days a week, plus caring for house, home and family.  There was absolutely no time to savor a book; magazines were my cure for stress. Don’t ask me how I accomplished all of this, but I did.

Some time ago, a reader wanted to know what books others were reading or had read that they could recommend.  Now, it’s my turn.  If you are reading, or have read, a book that made an impression on you please let me know the title and author so I can continue my summer in bliss reading good books.  (I am one of those who, if the book is not one I would seriously recommend, I still have to finish reading it, hoping it will get better.)

I do hope you, too, are enjoying these lazy days…we certainly have earned this down time in our lives, haven’t we?  Happy July!                                                                           PAT


Hello Pat,

This is a great recipe to make when you are in a hurry and is wonderful for pot luck suppers:



1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small cabbage, chopped

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes, I use low sodium

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook, stirring, until ground beef is no longer pink and onion is tender.

Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.

Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8.                                                                                                  LADY JANE


Dear Pat,

I would love to have more recipes using a crock pot.  Anyone have a good recipe to share?





Hi Pat:

This is one dessert that is a cool cake.  I make this often, all year around, as it is so easy and delicious, plus I always have extra bananas that have ripened too quickly.


1 package (3.4 ounce) Banana Instant Pudding   (Can use vanilla.)

1 1/2 cups cold milk

15 graham crackers, broken in half, 30 squares   (Chocolate grahams can be used.)

1 tub (8 ounces) Cool Whip, thawed, divided (I use whipped cream>)

3 bananas, sliced

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate


Beat pudding mix and milk in large bowl with whisk for 2 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, cover bottom of 8-inch square pan with 10 graham squares, overlapping as needed to form even layer.


Stir 2 1/2 cups Cool whip or whipped cream into pudding.  Spread half over graham squares in pan; cover with layers of half each of the bananas and remaining graham squares.  Repeat layers of pudding mixture, bananas and graham squares.  Refrigerate for 3 hours.


Microwave remaining Cool Whip with chocolate in microwaveable bowl on High for 1 minute or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended when stirred OR microwave 2 tablespoons butter into chocolate until melted; spread over dessert.  Refrigerate 15 minutes.


NOTE FROM PAT:  The above cool recipe has been around for years and is always enjoyed.  You mentioned bananas ripening too quickly, SUZY Q.  I have found if you wrap the ends of the stalk of bananas with plastic wrap, the bananas last longer.  Why not try it?



Dear Pat:

These cakes were developed during the depression, as a lot of ingredients weren’t available to cooks and they improvised.  With all of the allergies people are complaining about, I thought this would be a recipe that would help lactose intolerant and those who cannot eat eggs.


By the way, have you tried a chocolate cake mix using a can of Dr. Pepper?  It turns out the same as regular cake but without the eggs and it has a slight cherry flavor from the soda.



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup water or coffee for mocha taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a greased 8″ square baking pan.  Make 3 depressions in dry ingredients; two small and one larger. Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in third larger depression. Pour water over all. Mix well until smooth. Bake on middle rack of oven for 35 minutes. Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool. Top with your favorite frosting. Enjoy!

1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup raisins (optional, but I like them)

Mix first 8 ingredients together with a fork. Add oil, vinegar and water. Stir quickly, batter will be thin. Add raisins if desired.
Bake in 350°F oven for 30 minutes.                                                                 ANONYMOUS


Hi Pat,

I purchased a Power Pressure Cooker and was disappointed to find a cookbook was not included.  Can anyone help with some recipes or a way to get a cookbook?  I cooked a chicken in a half an hour; my husband could not get over how tender and juicy it was.  I would love to have more recipes, please.                                                            ROSE FROM INVERNESS



Hi Pat,

I am sending this wonderful recipe, with love, to you for your readers.  It is delicious! Hope family is well…


1 pound sweet Italian sausage

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 green Bell pepper, diced

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup long-grain rice

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook sausages in 12-inch skillet until browned on all sides, over medium high heat, turning frequently.  Remove sausages to plate; reserve drippings in skillet.  When cool enough to handle, cut sausages into half-inch slices.  Add celery, green pepper, onion, and garlic to same skillet; cook 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Combine tomatoes, chicken broth, rice, hot sauce, salt and vegetable mixture in 3 quart casserole.  Bake 40 minutes.  Stir in shrimp; cook 5 minutes or until rice is tender and shrimp is cooked.  8 servings.                                                                    COUSIN HEATHER, MA.



Southerners are well acquainted with this cake.  When I was up north, I read about it.  Apparently, the cake is so sweet the hummingbirds will eat it.  It doesn’t last long in my house; the hummingbirds are out of luck!


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups oil (I used Canola)

1 (8 ounce can) crushed pineapple, undrained

2 cups bananas, mashed or about 3 large bananas

1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped


Combine flour, sugar, soda, salt, cinnamon.  Mix together with whisk.  Add eggs, vanilla extract, oil, pineapple, bananas and pecans and mix with a spoon until all ingredients are wet.  Spray 3 (9 inch) round cake pans or a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Add batter and bake in preheated 350 degree oven 30 to 35 minutes until cake is done in center.  Frost with cream cheese frosting.  Enjoy!



1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1 stick butter or margarine or 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip all frosting ingredients together with mixer until smooth and of spreading consistency.


Dear Pat,

This is a quick and easy crochet afghan pattern that you can make in just an evening using Red Heart Comfy Chunky yarn.

Crochet Hook: L/11 or 8 mm hook

Yarn Weight: (5) Bulky/Chunky (12-15 stitches for 4 inches)


  • RED HEART® “Comfort® Chunky”: Art N405, 1 – 360g ball solid color
  • Crochet Hook: 8.00 mm (US L-11)
  • Yarn sewing needle.

SIZE: Throw measures approximately 30” x 30” (76cm x 76cm).

For Larger Afghan (39“ X 45”) purchase 2 balls of yarn and chain 108.

TENSION: 2 repeats = 9” (23 cm); 6 rows = 5 1/4” (14 cm) in pattern. CHECK YOUR TENSION. Use any size hook to obtain the tension.

2trcl = * [yo] twice, draw up a loop in st, [yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] twice; rep from * once more; yo and draw through all 3 loops on hook.

Ch 82.
Row 1 (Wrong Side): Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next 2 ch, * ch 3, skip next 3 ch, sc in next ch, ch 3, skip next 2 ch, sc in next ch, ch 3, skip next 3 ch, sc in next 3 ch; rep from * across; turn.
Row 2 (Right Side): Ch 4, skip first sc, 3 tr in next sc, skip next ch-3 sp; (2trcl, ch 3, 2trcl, ch 3, 2trcl) all in next ch-3 sp – tr shell made; skip next ch-3 sp, *skip next sc, 5 tr in next sc, skip sc and ch-3 sp, tr shell in next ch-3 sp; rep from * to last 3 sc; skip next sc, 3 tr in next sc, tr in last sc; turn
Row 3: Ch 1, sc in next 3 tr, * skip next tr, [ch 3, sc in next ch-3 sp] twice, ch 3, skip next tr, sc in next 3 tr, rep from * across working last sc in top of ch-4; turn.
Rep Rows 2 and 3 14 more times, then rep Row 2 once more.
Last Row: Ch 1, sc in first 3 tr, * skip next tr, ch 3, sc in next ch-3 sp, ch 2, sc in next ch-3 sp, ch 3, skip next tr, sc in next 3 tr; rep from * across working last sc in top of ch-4; turn. Do not fasten off but work edging as follows:

Edging-Rnd 1: Ch 1, * (sc, ch 1, sc) all in first sc, sc in next 2 sc, ** 2 sc in ch-3 sp, sc in next sc, sc in ch-2 sp, sc in next sc, 2 sc in ch-3 sp ***, sc in next 3 sc; rep from ** to last 3 sc, end at ***; sc in next 2 sc, (sc, ch 1, sc) all in last sc; turn to work down side edge; **** work 3 sc over tr at edge, sc in st at end of next row; rep from **** to next corner st; turn to work across bottom edge; work in same manner across bottom and then next side edge; join with a sl st in first sc

ABBREVIATIONS: beg = beginning; ch = chain; dc = double crochet; lp = loop; mm = millimeters; pat = pattern; rep = repeat; rnd = round; sc = single crochet; sl = slip; st(s) = stitch(es); tr = treble crochet; yo = yarn over; * or ** or *** or **** = repeat whatever follows the * or ** or *** or **** as indicated; [] = work directions in brackets the number of times specified.                                                                                                                      LOVES TO CROCHET






Keep smiling!


Contributing is easy. Answer a request for someone who needs assistance, ask for assistance from the readership, share a recipe that brought raves, tell us about something you read about in a magazine that bears repeating, share your summer book author, let us know about a pattern for something you knitted or crocheted, tell us about an idea for an occasion or craft, let us know of a date for a happening… anything that sounds good to you is good for us. Send your contributions to Pat Gratton, Boomtown Media 11928 N. Williams St., Ste.3 Dunnellon, FL 34432 or email me at [email protected]