Friday, September 19, 2014

Soft Shell Crabs

For all my true seafood lovers out there...I bring you Soft shell Crabs today! Oh My goodness! If you have never tried them you have no idea what you're missing!

Soft-shells are actually just blue crabs that have shed their shells in a massive warm-weather growth spurt. If they stay in the water, they grow new, larger shells, but when they’re harvested, that process comes to a halt and the crabs stay soft and edible. 

Soft-shell crabs are sold live when in season and we just love them here in Maryland. What people don’t know is that it’s actually really easy to make at home. It’s incredible in summer food—a classic.  I am convinced that Maryland restaurants cook the best soft-shell crabs in the world - after all, we invented the recipe. Crispy, crunchy and beautifully browned, with sweet succulent crab meat inside.

Soft Shell Crabs
4 soft shell crabs

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup four

½ cup panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

½ teaspoon pepper

After the crabs have been cleaned soak them in the buttermilk for about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, mix together the flour, panko, Old Bay, and pepper in a platter for dredging.  Heat the butter for frying.

Remove the crabs from the buttermilk and allow the excess to drain off then dredge in the flour mixture.  Make sure they’re coated very well.

Add each crab to the butter and cook until the shell looks pink, and the coating is nicely browned.  If cooking more than 1 at a time, don’t overcrowd the pan. When nice and golden brown, transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

Serve on a sandwich with Lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise!  YUM! 

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jumbo Streusel Muffins

It's getting near the time that we bring out those left over cans of pumpkin from last year!  I always seem to have a can or two so today I decided to try this Star butter flavored Olive Oil with my Pumpkin muffins to see how they turned out!  Oh My Goodness!  They are so moist and the topping is to die for!   I made a dozen of the jumbos because they are just the right size for that mug of hot coffee!  You can't have more muffin than coffee nor can you have more coffee than muffin, right? These are the perfect size.  I have even added a link for the size I used so that you can order it for only $8.95 at Amazon! 

Jumbo Streusel Muffins
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1-15 ounce can pure pumpkin (not pie filling and not puree)
2/3 cup water


1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons melted butter
pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees put your muffin liners in your muffin pan.  I used a jumbo tin and jumbo lines. (See below).
In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients and set aside, (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves).  Set aside.
With an electric mixer, combine the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin. Mix until not quite combined. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula. Add water and blend until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and again mix with the electric mixer until just combined enough to moisten. Finish mixing the batter with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 with the batter. Set aside while you make the topping.
Stir together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter, and salt.  I use my finger tips so that I don't break up too many lumps.  Top each muffin cup with a spoonful of topping, spreading so the tops are evenly coated and press down slightly. 
Bake at 350 for 25-32 minutes.  If you decide to make regular size muffins change the time to 18-24 minutes for regular size muffins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  Makes 12 jumbo and 20-24 regular muffins.

You can find Star Fine Foods Butter Flavored Olive Oil at these stores: Raley’s, Walmart, Stater Bros., 
Food Maxx and online at

Click on this link and check out this great price for a Wilton 6-Cup Jumbo Muffin Pan at Amazon!  

Need liners for your jumbo pan?  Click here:

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mini Toffee Streusel Apple Cakes

These make such a pretty little individual dessert for each of your guess and they are so good. Decadent little mini apple pies with a Streusel topping and a wonderful toffee sauce that will have your guests asking for more! Top with ice... cream while they are still warm for an added treat!

Mini Toffee Streusel Apple Cakes


Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
4” spring form pans

Roll out and cut the dough into four 6-inch circles. Ease into four 4-inch spring form pans, chill in the refrigerator while you make the filling.


4 baking apples, (Gala, Golden Delicous, etc),  sliced or grated
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder (depending on your taste)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.


3-1/2 tablespoon cold butter, diced
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

Mix the streusel ingredients in a bowl until crumbly.


 ¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Bring cream, brown sugar and butter to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Take the saucepan out of the heat, stir in vanilla.


3 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
Whisk everything in a bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide apple combination into prepared pans, put streusel over apples. Set the small spring form pans on a sheet pan or any large oven tray. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let them rest for about 15 minutes. Then remove pies from pans and place on serving plates. Drizzle with toffee sauce and sugar glaze on top.

 *** Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Friday, September 12, 2014


One of the many never before seen recipe in the magazine!

It's finally here! And as promised, it is gorgeous and bright and colorful and informative, and fun, and full of brand new recipes you have been waiting for! 

The first issue has now been released and I know you'll love it.  You'll find recipes of course.....lots of them. Most are from my Mom's collection with big vibrant pictures to match every dish. I have how to's and lots of kitchen tips and advice. I have a Recipe Swap Corner and in our first issue we learn step by step on how to make a wonderful recipe from one of the fans here at Welcome Home!

I have a Fur-Baby corner of course...and an Ask the Cook segment where I answer a tough question each month from one of the readers. And we have fun gifts and gadgets and other cool items at discounted prices when you buy through Welcome Home.

Each issue is just full of great recipes and how to's and I am certain you will instantly see the value that your $2 a month brings. And it's exclusive. It's only for you. It is so private that no one can even find it out there unless you know me....or know of me. Unless you know my mission and why I do what I do at Welcome Home you will never see this online publication. As always, some of the proceeds from The Welcome Home Kitchen Magazine will help me save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in Kill shelters for someone to come and adopt them. And some of the proceeds will help me feed the homeless.

That's right....only subscribers who pay the $24 annual subscription (only $2 an issue) will be able to see this online's that private. So, there are some steps I will walk you through next so that you can see it for the first time in just a few minutes.

Step 1: If you do not already have a free gmail address, you want to create one first. This is the most important step.  You do NOT have to change your existing email address. What you have now can stay the same. You just need to create a new Gmail account to access the magazine IF you do not already have one.Get paper and pen so you can remember what username and password you choose and then go to this link and create a new Gmail address:

Again, you can keep your same email address to use as you always have. This is Gmail address is just the key to get to the magazine.

Step 2: Under the cover photo collage here at the blog, click on the tab that says, MY STORE. Or click on this link:

Step 3:   Click on the little tab that says BUY FROM 2CO

Step 4: Enter your name and your new Gmail address and your other information and then go to the next step. Enter your payment information for the $24 annual subscription. You can choose a credit card you'd like to use or you can click on PayPal.  If you do not want to use either method, contact me at and we can make other arrangements.  Please rest assured that this is the safest online payment processing system online today.  No need to worry.

Step 5: Complete your order and within seconds you will receive a receipt and email confirmation at the Gmail address you created and typed in when you were ordering.

Step 6. Within a few minutes, as soon as I get your purchase confirmation, I will send you an invitation to become a private member of The Welcome Home Kitchen to your new Gmail address. Click on the orange button that says ACCEPT.  You must still stay logged into your gmail account when you go to the magazine.  Then you will be directed to the link of the new magazine. And you're all set.

Step 7:  Each month....around the 1st of the month, you will be notified that a new issue has just been released. You will always have access to all past issues just by visiting and each month will shown so you can go back and find whatever you are looking for.

And it will only get better. As I listen to your suggestions, I will add new features. Like contests and give-a-ways. Best recipe submitted by a fan. Best fur baby picture submitted by a fan. An open forum for you to chat with other members and so much more. I am open to new ideas and suggestions! 
Please help me save lives...and enjoy this bright new magazine today.

Marshmallow Fudge Brownies

Here's a recipe that dates back to my Mom's oldest recipes. I can remember her making these when she thought we deserved a real treat and we loved them!

Marshmallow Fudge Brownies

2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
4 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper leaving extra paper on each end to use as a handle for removing brownies later. Then lightly grease the parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, combine cocoa, shortening and butter. Heat over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until thoroughly blended. Stir in flour, blending well. Fold in chopped walnuts and spread batter evenly into bottom of the lined and greased baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

Fudge Marshmallow Icing

2/3 cups Hershey's cocoa
4 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
4 cups miniature marshmallows

In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa, shortening and butter. Heat over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add eggs, vanilla and powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in the marshmallows.

While mixture is still warm, pour over the cooled brownies.

Chill in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before cutting.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf with Vanilla Drizzle

I love this recipe and make it often. I tried it when I first saw it over at my friend Marie's blog at the English Kitchen because it looked so tempting. It was so good, I stayed with almost all her same ingredients with only a a few adding a brown sugar topping and a vanilla drizzle that made it just my perfect cup of tea! Thanks Marie! I love your recipes!

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf with Vanilla Drizzle 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
6 tablespoons of light brown sugar, packed
2 full tablespoons of cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons of melted butter

For the Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your loaf pan (9 x 5 standard pan) with butter and then line it with parchment paper. I like to leave a slight overhang of paper on each end to use as handles to lift bread out later. Mix the butter, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, sugar, flour, soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Beat together until well combined, but do not over-beat.

Next, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread half of the batter into the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter over top. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Using a round bladed knife gently cut through the batter to swirl the cinnamon sugar through.

Sprinkle the brown sugar topping on the loaf and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Then make your glaze by whisking together sugar, milk, vanilla extract and softened butter in small bowl until well blended. Brush or drizzle on to warm bread allowing it to run over sides. Cut in slices and serve plain or toasted with butter.

 Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Espresso Butter Cream Frosting

I call these my grown up cupcakes and they are always a big hit for those who love chocolate and coffee flavors blended together....or those who love Mocha. These were a huge hit this weekend for my friends Baby Shower. I think you will be surprised at just how good they are!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Espresso Butter Cream Frosting

1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 1/4 cup Sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup whole milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla extract and mint extract and mix well. Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Add half of the milk and mix well. Next add another third of the flour, mix, and then add the remaining milk. Finally, add the remaining flour and continue beating until well mixed. Using a measuring cup and pour batter into a lined or greased cupcake pans.

Espresso Buttercream Frosting

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
pinch of fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
3-6 tablespoons heavy cream

In a large bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar/cocoa powder mixture, and continue creaming until well blended. Add salt, vanilla, 2 tablespoons heavy cream and espresso/water. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.


3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Chocolate covered coffee beans

Place semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the chips on 50% power in 30 seconds increments until chocolate is melted. Drizzle over cupcakes and finish with a couple of chocolate covered coffee beans.

Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Panko-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes

I love these things and I can hardly wait until the end of summer when I can go to my garden find the perfect tomatoes and fry them up!  I grew up eating them and loved the way my Mom use to make them with a crusty corn meal coating. But I wanted to try them coated in crispy panko this time and boy am I glad I did!  Moist and juicy on the inside with just that light crunch to make them so delicious!  My Mom would have loved them this way!

Panko-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes

3 tablespoons of Star Fine Foods Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Vegetables
1 tablespoon of butter
3-4 medium-sized firm green tomatoes
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 eggs

1/2 cup milk
2 cups panko bread crumbs

Slice green tomatoes about 1/2 inch think and lay them out on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and set them aside for about ten minutes.  

In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, salt, garlic powder and black pepper, stir to combine well. In another medium bowl whisk the eggs with the milk. In a third bowl, place the panko breadcrumbs.

First dredge the tomato slices in flour mixture, shaking off excess.  Dip in egg mixture making certain to completely coat the tomato slice.  Dip in panko breadcrumbs turning to coat evenly. 

In a large heavy skillet, melt the oil and the butter over medium high heat until it starts to sizzle lightly. Fry in the tomato slices until crisp and golden brown on each side.  Drain on paper towels, serve! 

You can find Star Fine Foods Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Vegetables at these locations:

Raley’s, Savemart, Food Lion, select Walmarts and online at

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"Look....I Made It Myself"

For those of you who have purchased a subscription to the Welcome Home Kitchen Magazine, here's the first of many fun contests to come! First, let's talk about the prize:

This beautiful handcrafted candle features the painting of Wendy Bentley, a world renowned artist whose work you'll find at art galleries across the country as well as Lang's, Cracker Barrel, and Target. Wendy wrote to me to say she is so excited to have her work presented as a prize for this contest in the new Magazine!

She has created this large 26 ounce double wick candle that will radiate enough fragrance and light to fill an entire room! The fragrance is a mixture of apples, cloves, oranges & juniper berries and burns 120-140 hours leaving a clean, even burn. And the best part is the name: It's a Welcome Home candle!

The Contest Name: "Look....I Made It Myself"
Your Mission should you choose it: Make any recipe that is currently shown in the Welcome Home Kitchen Magazine between now and September 30th. Put it on your prettiest plate. Take a close up picture of your masterpiece! Submit it to my Welcome Home messages!

Your objective:  Catch the eye of the Welcome Home Friends committee with your photograph! We will be voting on the photograph that we feel best represents the recipe and the finished dish! Choose any recipe you want to make...we are not voting on the recipe.... we are looking for the best photo. You can use my photograph as a guide or use your own imagination to create your own.

The Prize: Win this beautiful Welcome Home Candle and see your beautiful work in the October issue of The Welcome Home Kitchen Magazine for all to see! Only one winner will be selected. Prize will be shipped directly to winner! See more photos in the comment section.

NOTE: Look for my lesson on how to take beautiful photos with a simple easy to use Point and Shoot Camera coming this week. I will feature the lesson over at the Welcome Home Kitchen Fan Club and also add it to the September issue of the magazine this coming week. I will show you how easy it is to get the perfect setting and lighting to take a picture just like mine!

Who wants to play?  We must have at least 15 entries to make it a real contest. If no enters, the contest will automatically forfeit. If no one plays... no one wins! Get in the spirit! Go choose a recipe!

WAIT! Haven't subscribed to the magazine yet? Not a member of the fan club yet? 

You have to subscribe to the magazine first to be a member. Read these easy how to steps:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Chicken Caprese

Sounds like something you would order at a nice Italian restaurant doesn't it?  I make it at home and it is one of the easiest and most delicious dishes you'll ever make. Tender succulent chicken covered in pesto and topped with vine ripened tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.  It’s so good!  It's my go to recipe I make when I have dinner guests I really want to impress. Serve it with a nice Cesar salad and a side order of roasted asparagus and you've made a meal to remember! 

Chicken Caprese

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup or more of basil pesto (make your own or use your favorite brand)
2-3 ripe tomatoes, sliced (Roma tomatoes are perfect for this dish)
1 block fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into rounds
fresh basil--I used a mini leaf basil but you can use any kind
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Mix breadcrumbs with 2 teaspoons of garlic olive oil and set aside.

Rub each chicken breast with a little olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to taste.  Lay chicken breasts flat on baking sheet. 

 Spread about a tablespoon of pesto sauce on top of each breast.  Next, lay slices of tomato and cheese on top of each breast and top each tomato with about a tablespoon of moistened breadcrumbs. 

Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for  about 30 minutes or until temperature reads 165 degrees.

Homemade Fresh Pesto Sauce

1/2 pound (about 3 cups) of basil leaves, washed and dried
4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cups walnut halves
1-1/4 cups Star Fine Food Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt
1  1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic 

Heat walnuts and pine nuts in skillet over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes constantly stirring until golden brown . Remove from heat and allow to cool. Chop the garlic cloves finely, sprinkle a teaspoon of salt on top and mash to a fine paste with a fork. Place garlic and half of the basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor and Process for 15 seconds. Add the rest of the basil leaves and with the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan cheese and toasted nuts and puree for one more minute.  Makes about 2 /2 cups.

You can buy Star Fine Food Infused Olive Oils at Walmart, Raley's, Savemart and online at

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home 2014