In front, from left, are Shayla Robertson and Crystal Myers. In back are Allison Blackburn, Jennifer Eubanks, Jennifer Collins, Laura Sistrunk and Emily Moran.
In front, from left, are Shayla Robertson and Crystal Myers. In back are Allison Blackburn, Jennifer Eubanks, Jennifer Collins, Laura Sistrunk and Emily Moran.
The Junior Auxiliary of Philadelphia is sponsoring a book drive in memory of Ann Marie Graham.

JA is seeking new or gently used books as part of "Read for Ann Marie," under way now through April 26.

JA members will read to students at the Exhibit Hall Headstart Center on April 29, the day after Ann Marie's birthday.

A donated book will be distributed to each Headstart student on that day.

"We are promoting reading and remembering Ann Marie," said JA member Emily Moran. "She loved books. She could read all of the 'No, David' series of books. She loved Dora the Explorer and the color yellow. By donating books, we hope to instill the love of reading into other preschool children."

The books may be dropped by at Cadence Bank, Commercial Bank, Gipson's Cleaners, Merchants and Farmers Bank and The Citizens Bank (all locations) or given to any JA member.

Monetary donations will be also accepted.

Any extra books will be distributed to other area daycares.

Junior Auxiliary of Philadelphia is a part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA), a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville. The NAJA slogan is "Care Today - Character Tomorrow."

Junior Auxiliary Chapters are working more than ever to provide care to those less fortunate in order to make their tomorrows better.

Junior Auxiliary works year round helping families and children through our many service projects including Camp Rising Sun (camp for children with cancer), the local Summer Library Reading Program, Stuff the Bus (donating school supplies to area schools), the Crown Club (club for high school girls), Breakfast with Santa (donate toys to area children), Distinguished Young Women, Easter Egg Hunt, Welfare Project (help area family in need), and scholarships (provide two scholarships to seniors in our area).

JA would like to thank all of the citizens of Philadelphia for supporting us in all of our projects, Emily said.

Meanwhile, members have shared some of their favorite recipes with our readers.

Rotel Chicken Mexican Casserole

3 split fryer breast cooked and cubed

1 bag of tortilla (or Nacho Doritos) chips crushed

1 can of Rotel

1 can of cream of chicken soup

1 small can of chopped green chilies

1 pound of Velveeta or American cheese

Cook and dice your chicken. Mix together your Rotel, soup, green chilies and cubed cheese, heat this mixture in microwave until melted and then add your chicken. In a casserole pan layer 1/2 your chips and 1/2 of your cheese mixture. Repeat these layers and top with a few crushed chips. Bake at 350 degrees until and a bubbly.

Poppy Seed Chicken Dip

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast-cooked and shredded 

1 (8 ounce) cream cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise 

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt 

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Place in airtight container and chill until ready to serve. Serve with Ritz crackers. 

Easy Pasta Salad

1 box angel hair pasta

1 bottle Italian dressing

1 small can mushrooms

1 small can chopped black olives

Chopped green onions (if desired)

1 tablespoon Accent

Boil noodles as directed and drain. Mix Italian dressing, mushrooms, black olives, green onions, and Accent and add in with noodles. Put in fridge and chill. Best if left in refrigerator over night.

Mashed Potato Bake

5 cups water

4 cups hash brown potatoes

One 7.6 ounce package Betty Crocker Butter and Herb Potatoes mix

1 stick butter

4 ounces cream cheese

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups canned French-fried onion rings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring the water to a boil, add the hash browns, and cook for 5 minutes; drain. Prepare the mashed-potato mix according to package directions. Soften the butter and cream cheese together in the microwave. In a large bowl, mix together the hash browns, mashed potatoes, butter and cream cheese, Jack cheese, sour cream, garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Place in a greased 2-quart casserole. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden on top. Sprinkle the onion rings over the casserole and bake for about 5 to 8 minutes longer, or until onions are golden brown.

Perfect Chicken

2-4 boneless chicken breasts with or without rib meat

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika in a small bowl (I use my old 1/4 cup). Coat the chicken breasts in the seasoning, rubbing in to coat. Pour olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven, and heat to med-high. When nice and hot, add chicken to the pan (in batches if necessary). Cook 2-3 min per side. If any chicken has been removed, add it back to the Dutch oven. Place uncovered Dutch oven in a 350 degrees oven for 25 minutes or until juices run clear. Let sit on a plate 5-10 minutes before cutting, shredding, or eating.

S'more Cups

7 whole graham crackers (1 cup finely crushed)

1/4 cup powdered sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

4 bars (1.55 oz each) milk chocolate candy, divided

12 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag. Finely crush into crumbs. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Place 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture in each cup of a mini muffin pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Meanwhile, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup. Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using shears dipped in cold water. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly softened. Remove pans from oven to cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely. Break remaining candy bars and place in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 to 60 minutes or until set. Makes 24 cups.

Note: Store the cups in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freezing is not recommended.

Lemon Lush

1 stick butter - melted

1 cup flour

1 ½ cup pecans - chopped (reserve ¾ for topping)

16- ounce container Cool Whip

8-ounce cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

2 boxes Lemon Instant Pudding - regular size (made to directions and refrigerate)

Making 4 layers in a 9 x 13 glass dish.

1st layer - butter, flour and ¾ cup pecans mixed together and pressed into the bottom of glass dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until light brown. Cool completely.

2nd layer - cream cheese, sugar, and 2 cup Cool Whip. Blend until creamy and spread over 1st layer.

3rd layer - Lemon pudding (made to box directions) spread evenly over 2nd layer.

4th layer - extra Cool Whip spread evenly over third layer and topped with remaining pecans.

Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.