The Best Sloppy Joe (Barbecue) Recipe Ever

When I was about 11 years old, we moved from suburbs of Chicago to the sticks of west central Wisconsin. We actually experienced culture shock. Water fountains were bubblers. Creeks were cricks. Lunch was a snack you had after a 4-H meeting in the evening, and the noon meal was dinner. The same foods had different names, too: pop was soda, casserole was hot dish; and sloppy joes were barbecues!

I can’t remember the source of the recipe I am going to share with you. It was one that I “lightened” when I was doing Weight Watchers and cooking for a family of five. Yes, all the kids liked it, and lots of people I served it to wanted the recipe. This recipe serves six, and each 4-ounce serving, excluding the bun, is 162 calories.

Sloppy Joes

  • 1 pound ground turkey (at least 80 percent lean)
  • 3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  1. Brown turkey and onion together and drain.
  2. Add all other ingredients and simmer until turkey is completely cooked and all ingredients are heated through.
  3. Serve on buns while hot.

I like to serve these sandwiches with sour dill pickles and oven-roasted potato wedges. You could also use lean ground beef instead of the ground turkey. The calorie count would be a bit higher. Please don’t make the mistake of using cheap ground turkey or fatty hamburger because the results would be yucky.

So there you have it–the best sloppy joe recipe! Enjoy! Begonia




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Valentine’s Day Yarn Haul

The day started out like this.

It ended like this.

Is it any wonder that I crochet a lot?

I have a place in the closet of my library where finished projects and my stash of yarn both reside.

It has been bulging, and yarn has been overflowing everywhere.

In early February, I donated a sack of hats and mittens to a local organization that distributes warm items to people who need them.

Then I went out and got more yarn!

I was given a Christmas gift card and decided to use it ALL at a yarn sale on Valentine’s Day at one of the area St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores. I ended up with a garbage bag of yarn, needles, and magazines.

Here is all my loot:

We all had a good laugh when we found this orange peeler in one of the jars full of crochet hooks for sale!


41 skeins of yarn in various weights: super bulky, bulky, worsted, DK, and sock weight. (Average price $2-$3 per skein)

6 crocheting magazines (25 cents each)

6 Susan Bates crochet hooks (set) (All hooks $4 for 6 or $1 each)

1 double hook

7 Tunisian crochet hook in various sizes and lengths                                                                                                        

It was exhilarating to be able to pretty much buy whatever I wanted. I usually only pick up yarn at garage sales or occasionally a bit of this or that at a thrift store. I rarely buy yarn from the big box hobby stores and almost never from the specialty fiber shops–unless they have a clearance bin.  (I also have had some wonderful “yarn fairies” gift me yarn from time-to-time.)

There are so many great free patterns available now on Ravelry, YouTube, blogs, and from the public library in magazines and books. Now I have the materials to go crazy and make tons of stuff for myself, friends, family, charity, and gifts!

I’ve made a number of lovely things already, including this crib blanket out of Bernat Baby Blanket. I’d never had the opportunity to work with this yarn before. It’s super soft and thick. I’m making some mittens with it right now! I got enough yarn to make a sweater and I’ve almost finished it. I’ve also made a super long chunky chevron scarf out of a Lion Brand Thick and Quick.

So let it snow! Begonia

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Bulk Jewelry Bargain!

Besides maple sugaring, lately, I’ve been filling some of my time watching (among other things) junker and thrifter videos on YouTube and learning a few things. For instance, I didn’t know that you could buy costume jewelry by the pound on e-bay from Goodwill!

I do have some experience buying costume jewelry in bulk from the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store near me. We have quite a few in this area of southern Wisconsin.

This past Christmas I found the components for several Christmas and birthday presents in a bulk bag of costume jewelry I purchased. I was looking for plenty of nice jewelry appropriate for my six-year-old granddaughter to fill a jewelry box I had found for her during an earlier visit. Decent costume jewelry isn’t hard to find at any thrift store, but I needed enough to fill a three-tiered box without breaking the bank.

Do you think it is tacky to give your grandchild used stuff? New wasn’t really the point. I wanted her to have the feeling I had as a little girl when my jewelry box was full.

I remember being six years old and going to the Ben Franklin–our dime store–and looking at all those collections of stuff for kids that imitated grownup things: sets of baby care items for your doll; small vinyl purses with plastic lipsticks and rouge; vanity sets of comb, brush, mirror, and those plastic barrettes that never stayed in your hair.

Most of all I remember the cards of colorful jewelry: bangles, necklaces, and those rings with a plastic jewel and an adjustable metal band that you squeezed to make fit your finger. I found all of those things in my big bag o’ bulk jewelry!

I ended up with several categories of items in untidy piles on my bed:

  • Bracelets, necklaces, and rings to fill my granddaughter’s jewelry box
  • Silver and semiprecious jewelry pieces for me (two pair of silver and onyx earrings, a peridot and amethyst bracelet, and a couple of silver pendants.
  • A stocking stuffer for my daughter: a nice gold-plated bracelet
  • Pieces that could be deconstructed and used to make new jewelry
  • Pieces that will be used to complete a framed jewelry Christmas tree on velvet
  • A nice cultured pearl necklace for my daughter in law–this was a surprise and the most valuable item in the bag!
  • A very nice sterling silver bracelet that I cleaned up and am saving for when the little girl is older. I think it will make a nice birthday present.
  • Finally, a small pile of items–rosaries, stick pins, and brown necklaces made of seeds–that I donated back to charity.

How much did I pay for all this plunder? $14.50!

This definitely was one of my best buys this year. I’m very fortunate to live in an area with so many great places to shop in the off (garage sale) season. Begonia

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