Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mom's Southern Fried Chicken

I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that no one made fried chicken like my Mom. I can close my eyes and still see her hands dropping those battered chicken pieces in that hot oil in her big old cast iron skillet. I can still hear the sizzle of that hot oil and seeing her nod of approval as she flipped each piece over to expose that beautiful golden brown skin. My Dad always gets tears in his... eyes when I make it....he remembers too.

Mom's Southern Fried Chicken

1 (5 pound) whole frying chicken, cut into pieces
1 quart whole buttermilk (secret to moist, tender chicken)
vegetable oil or Peanut Oil for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
a pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you want a kick)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine chicken and buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. In a large cast-iron skillet, add enough oil over low heat to come 1 inch up side of skillet.

In a shallow dish, combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Shake buttermilk off chicken and discard. Dredge chicken in flour mixture to coat, gently shaking off excess.

Turn heat up to medium high. Place chicken in skillet, arranging thighs in the center and breasts and legs around edges. Fry chicken for 10 to 12 minutes per side or until golden brown. Turn down heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for about 40 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Turn heat back up to medium high and allow chicken to get as crispy as you like it. Serve and enjoy!

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


END OF SUMMER SALE!  Use promo code SITEWIDE15 at checkout and save 15%!  Only $79.99!  Offer valid thru August 28, 2015  

Get yours Today!  Click on this link to go to the ThermoWorks Webpage.

Every now and I then I write a review about one my favorite gadgets or products. However, it takes a lot for me to get so excited about a product that I take the time to share my opinion about it here with you.  This will be one of those reviews.  This is a product that I absolutely love and am so excited about that I can't wait to share it with you.

I only want you to read this review if you are a serious home cook. By that I mean,  you're serious about having  those $14 a pound Rib Eye steaks come off the grill perfectly every single time!  By serious, I mean if you want that Thanksgiving Roast Turkey or that "company's coming" roast chicken to come out of the oven moist and juicy and tender without a chance of  being overcooked and dry.  By serious I mean, if you want that pork shoulder, smoked brisket or those barbecue ribs at your next cookout to be one that everyone raves about.

That's this if you want that expensive Prime Rib Roast or Tenderloin to come out of the oven, cooked to perfection. Or if you're a bread baker or a candy maker and you want to take the guess work out and be certain you have the right temperatures for perfect results. Finally, read this review if you are tired of wasting money from overcooking your food or taking risks with under cooking your food! Because this my friends is the answer. 

 The only answer.

I bought my original Thermapen four years ago. Back then they were just as expensive as they are today. I remember wondering why I would even consider buying a thermometer that cost almost $100.  

Was it because I kept seeing it in the chef coat pocket of nearly every celebrity TV chef?   Was it because Emeril LagasseAlton Brown and Bobby Flay, just to name a few,  wouldn't even consider using anything else? Or did I decide because it was recommended by America's Test Kitchen and every single product that I have bought on their recommendation has been 100% perfect?   Did I decide after staring in the oven at one too many expensive roasts or was it because of my fear of salmonella poisoning from possibly serving under cooked chicken. 

 Yes, all those things came into consideration when I was trying to decide on whether or not the Thermapen was a good investment. 

However my final decision was made the day I opened my kitchen drawer and counted 9 thermometers, all ranging in price from $15 to $40 and none of them worked. I had digital thermometers and analog. I had candy, meat chocolate, and even grill thermometers. I had over $300 of inaccurate pieces of non-working junk.

I decided I only needed ONE thermometer.  One fantastic thermometer that would give me the fastest, most accurate temperature of meat, vegetables, casseroles, desserts, candy, custards, bread dough, and sauces and anything else I prepared.  I only needed ONE thermometer for what I roasted, grilled, smoked, deep fried, baked, microwaved or any other preparation choice I chose.  And I found that ONE thermometer with the Thermapen.

Recently when asked if I like to upgrade my older reliable Thermapen to one of the new The Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapens, I couldn't say yes fast enough!  And while it came in 15 different colors, I chose the red one. 

This is quite simply the best thermometer on the market. There is no contest, no comparison, no challengers that can even play in the same ballpark. I'm not kidding.  It's faster and more accurate that any other thermometer out there.  I mean have you ever owned the best of something?   This is truly the Rolls Royce of thermometers my friends. This is a serious tool for serious cooks.

It's handmade in England and it's faster and more accurate than any other cooking thermometer on the market. Competitors have tried to copy the Thermapen with mass-produced products made in China and have flooded the housewares market with slower, less-accurate knock-offs. However, when compared to true competing commercial thermometers, the Thermapen is not only faster and more accurate, it's also less expensive!

I love the design of it.  There's not a lot of buttons and dials to figure out. You simply unfold it to turn it on and fold it to turn it off!  I love the big display that you can see at every angle.  Simply stick the probe in your food or liquid and get an accurate reading in less than 3 seconds!  And because the temperature range goes from -58 degrees for cold things, to a high temperature of 572 degrees for hot foods, I can use it for everything I might make in the kitchen.

I use my Thermapen for every single thing I make.  I cook, grill and roast meats to a safe temperature. This saves me money when there is not a chance of me over cooking expensive cuts of meats.  More important, it takes the guesswork out of making sure my food is cooked to a safe temperature so no one gets sick.

I check the temperature of my warm water or milk  added to my yeast to make sure it is perfect to make my dough rise when making homemade bread. And I check the temperature of my bread while it's in the oven to make sure it is finished baking before I take it out.  I use it for my homemade fudge and caramels and other candy. I use it for making my custard for my Mom's famous Egg Custard and coconut Custard pie. 

Bottom line,  I highly recommend this product!  Because cooking without a great digital thermometer is like driving a car without headlights. No kitchen is complete without one. I know, at $96 dollars, the Thermapen is an expensive kitchen tool, but I promise it is well worth every single penny. It's the perfect example of how it pays to invest in a tool that will not let you down. I think it is essential and I highly recommend it to anyone that is serious about cooking.

Get yours Today!  Click on this link to go to the ThermoWorks Webpage.

SITE-WIDE SALE! Use promo code:  SITEWIDE15 at checkout and save 15%! Offer valid thru August 28, 2015

Over 15 colors to choose from! 

Click on the link below to order yours today. You’ll be glad you did!

Disclosure: This product review is purely based on my own opinions of the product discussed. I was not paid to write this review, and all opinions are based on my personal experience with the product.  I was provided with the product by the manufacturer to make this review possible, and there are affiliate links within this post. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ambrosia (AKA "The Pink Stuff")

Remember this pink stuff?  That's what we called it when we were kids. My brother and I used to pick out the marshmallows and cherries and leave the rest.

My Mom never made Ambrosia but it was always on our holiday table.  A friend would bring it for Easter dinner. A coworker would bring it to the company picnic. The in-laws would bring it for Christmas and Thanksgiving an the neighbors would bring it to potluck. It used to just show up at every gathering. It still does!   But the Ambrosia I make today is very different from the old recipes that used mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. This is the modern day pink stuff!

Ambrosia (AKA "The Pink Stuff")

1 (8 oz.) tub of whipped topping, thawed
1 cup sour cream
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 (15 oz.) can mandarin orange segments
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 (10 oz.) jar of maraschino cherry halves
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 cup red or green seedless grapes, sliced in half (optional)

The most important step in making Ambrosia is to drain your fruit. I don't mean just put your hand over the can and allow some juices to run through. I mean dump it all out in a colander and let it drain in the sink for at least 3-4 hours. There is nothing worse than wet and soggy Ambrosia.

 In a medium bowl, combine whipped topping and sour cream. Add in coconut flakes and marshmallows. Then gently fold in the crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries and grapes and nuts, if using. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

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

Apple and Fennel Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Apple and Fennel Salad

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 3-4)
2  fennel bulbs 
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup celery, chopped or sliced thin

Slice apples into quarters, remove seeds. Slice thinly and place in a large mixing bowl. Thinly slice fennel crosswise and chop celery and add to apples. Stir in raisins, set aside.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette 

2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup white sugar 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a separate bowl combine balsamic vinegar and lemon juice and whisk until well combined.  Slowly whisk in olive oil until smooth. Whisk in sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Put apple mixture in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, pour in vinaigrette and seal tightly. Lay the bag flat in a baking dish and Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, turning Ziploc bag after a half hour or so to ensure vinaigrette gets distributed evenly.  

Serve salad cold and garnish with fennel leaves.

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

Look for STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the olive oil section of our local grocery store or online at:

Star Fine Foods now has a promo code for all Welcome Home fans that will give you a 10% discount on anything you order online. Just enter WELCOMEHOME10 at checkout!

STAR Golden Balsamic Vinegar is available at Safeway (Northern California), Acme, Roundy’s, Schnucks, Bashas, Kroger, King Soopers, Ralphs, Smiths, Supervalu, select Walmart stores and online at

Disclaimer: I have an ongoing relationship with STAR Fine Foods for my recipes and photography using their wonderful products. This post is sponsored by STAR. I am compensated for my time and work and I am sent products as I request them. However, all opinions of the product stated in this post are 100% my own. I truly love their products!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Peanut Butter Pie

Who doesn't like peanut butter pie? My mom loved baking pies and I think this was one of my favorites. She would chop up frozen candy bars for the top and drizzle it with thick chocolate...this is her recipe.

Peanut Butter Pie


2 cups. graham cracker... crumbs
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped honey-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup butter, melted

In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, very finely chopped peanuts with the melted butter. Grease a 9-inch pie plate or spray with non-stick cooking spray and then firmly press the graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely.


1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup of any brand creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup whipping cream, divided

Beat cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of whipping cream with an electric mixer at medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat remaining whipping cream and vanilla extract at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold about one-third of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to loosen it up; then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spread the peanut butter mixture in the baked pie crust. Cover and chill at least 8 hours before serving.


2 frozen Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped
1 tablespoon honey roasted peanuts chopped fine
1 tablespoon of peanut butter chips or butterscotch or caramel chips
1 tablespoon chocolate chips
Chocolate syrup or chocolate Shell for drizzle

You can use any topping you wish for this pie. I like to freeze candy bars and then chop them up to sprinkle on top. Then drizzle with chocolate syrup or better yet, Reese's Chocolate Shell. Oh My Gosh!

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Perfect Size Cakes By Duncan Hines! Red Velvet Cream

How many times have you felt like baking a cake but knew it wouldn't all get eaten? Like when you bake that Birthday layer cake or sheet cake for that one person knowing it’s just too much cake for one. How about that anniversary cake you wanted to bake for just the two of you knowing that you both would get tired of the same cake day after day.

Have you ever gone out to dinner with another couple and wanted to invite them back to your place for coffee and dessert but didn't want to keep the leftovers around for days? 

Well now you can put all the hesitation to rest because our friends over at Duncan Hines have created the Perfect Size Cakes! Why make a whole cake when you can make delicious little cakes that are the perfect size for 2-4 people. These are the right sized cake for that small luncheon with the girls, family game night, or for any occasion or celebration. 

Duncan Hines Perfect Sized Cakes. The name says it all. They bring us the perfect solution for those times when a full size cake is too much. Each kit comes with a cake mix, frosting mix, and a disposable 6-inch round pan made just for the cake. Simply prepare as directed for a moist and delicious cake that is topped with a rich, smooth and creamy frosting. Now you can enjoy a fresh baked cake anytime! All you have to add is an egg, water and butter and what you get is better than just an easy boxed's a moist, buttery cake with delicious creamy frosting!

But there’s more! Duncan Hines has made life easy because in every box you not only get the cake mix, and the frosting but also a perfect 6” disposable non-stick pan that has a push up bottom to release your cake!  There’s no need to buy a special pan to make these perfectly sized cakes and there’s no pan to clean up.

Here's how I made the Red Velvet Dream Perfect Cake. Pour your package of cake mix to a large bowl. Add an egg, some water, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Mix it all up with an electric mixer.

Mix the cake mix, butter, egg and water.  Then pour the batter into the perfect non-stick pan included in the kit and bake it for a little over 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and using the disc on the bottom of the pan, push it up and out of the pan. Genius idea Duncan Hines!

Place cake on a wire rack to cool. It has to cool completely before frosting. When cooled place it on a serving plate. Next make your frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat your butter until fluffy. Add your packet of frosting mix and some water and beat until thick and creamy. 

Using an off set knife or spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.  I used leftover crumbs from my pan to decorate my cake.

A moist and delicious Red Velvet Cake for any special occasion!  Why waste a big layer cake or sheet cake when you can make the perfect sized cake for two or four people?

Now you can celebrate the little things in life with a perfect-sized cake for two, not ten. I love these cakes! So far I have made the Lemon Bliss and this Strawberries and Cream and I can say they are PERFECT!

Try all 5 flavors and see for yourself!

Golden Fudge (golden cake with chocolate frosting)

Chocolate Lover’s (chocolate cake with chocolate frosting)

Lemon Bliss (lemon cake with lemon frosting)

Red Velvet Dream (red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting)

Strawberries & Crème (strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting)

Sold in your grocer’s baking aisle

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to Welcome Home.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Stuffed Peppers

I can remember when I was a little girl and I would come home from school and walk into the house to find the most incredible aroma coming out of the kitchen.  My Mom was making stuffed peppers and I knew that smell well. I also knew that my Dad would be hanging around the kitchen asking her over and over again,  how long would it be until they were ready.  Stuffed Peppers were his favorite.  Tonight I made these and took them to my Dad.  He was so excited he had tears in his eyes!

Stuffed Peppers

6 bell peppers, tops cut away and seeds removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups white rice, cooked
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 cups mozzarella or  provolone cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling water, boil the cleaned peppers for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and dry on paper towels. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, pork, salt, black pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. 

Cook until the meat is no longer pink and break up lumps while browning. I usually cook mine about 5-6 minutes. Add parsley, rice and tomato sauce and stir. Taste mixture and add more salt and pepper as needed. Pour enough water into the bottom of a baking dish to about 1/8-inch deep.

Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, 35 to 40 minutes. 

Hint: crinkle up small pieces of aluminum foil and tuck between peppers if you are having a problem with them sitting upright. Then tightly cover with foil 

Remove from the oven sprinkle with both cheddar and mozzarella a cheese on each pepper. Place back in the oven and broil until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Photography owned and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home