Friday, August 1, 2014

Pasta Caprese

A simple little summer salad for lunch or dinner. So easy to make and so pretty to look at! I love the fresh flavors of my garden herb and tomatoes and the Olive oil brings it all together.

Pasta Caprese

1 pound of thin spaghetti or Angel Hair pasta
1 ripe tomato, diced small
3 Cloves Garlic, sliced in thin slivers
1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced in small cubes
2 tablespoons Star Fine Food Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon of fresh parsley, chopped
A pinch of salt 

Saute the garlic in a the olive oil over medium heat until just beginning to turn brown on the very edges. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Next boil your pasta as directed on package, making sure you salt your water well. 
Next, add your diced tomatoes, diced fresh mozzarella and basil to a bowl. Drain your pasta leaving just a little of the pasta water in your pot. Then add the tomato and cheese mixture and toss.  Finally, add the oil and garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste; if you used enough salt in your pasta water, you won’t need any in the finished dish.
I serve this dish warm or cold. It's good both ways.  I like to also drizzle on a little balsamic vinegar to bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes.  Enjoy!

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Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice

1 pound medium uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
5 cups left-over cold rice,
1 cup frozen carrots and peas, defrosted
2 tablespoons soy sauce (more if needed)
1½ teaspoon sesame oil
In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp, cornstarch, salt and pepper and set aside. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. When oil is hot and begins to sizzle, add the shrimp and cook for about a minute on each side stirring constantly. Remove to bowl when shrimp just begins to turn pink.

 Add another tablespoon of oil to the same skillet and when hot, add the onion and the green onions and cook until fragrant and tender.  Then add the rice and mix well. Spread rice evenly over the pan and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stir and saute another 1 to 2 minutes. Rice should sizzle.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of soy sauce over rice and stir well. Add sesame oil and vegetables and mix well. Add cooked shrimp to the pan and mix well. Continue to cook until the rice is hot, stirring frequently. Add more soy sauce to taste, if desired.

Photographs are copyright and owned by ©Welcome Home 2014

Mom's Slow Cooked Pot Roast


When I think of comfort food, I immediately think of pot roast. Tender beef and vegetables with a smooth thick gravy. Maybe some crusty homemade bread and a nice salad...yum. That's what I'm having on this cold winter day...it's cooking now and my house smells wonderful!

Mom's Slow Cooked Pot Roast

1 boneless beef chuck roast, about 3-4 pounds
4 slices bacon
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut into pieces
4 carrots, peeled, cut pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme, divided
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

Place uncooked bacon across the bottom of the empty crock pot. Arrange potatoes and carrots over the bacon. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and half of the thyme. Place the pot roast on top of the vegetables, then add the onions all over and around the roast. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and the remaining thyme.

Combine beef broth and tomato paste; pour over the pot roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. Once the roast is fork tender, remove to a warm platter. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables and arrange around the roast. Cover with foil to keep warm while making your gravy.

Skim fat off the top of the broth; discard fat. Put the broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. In a cup of small bowl, whisk cornstarch with water until smooth. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the broth until thickened and bubbly. Serve gravy with the meat and vegetables.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake

This is one of those desserts that you take a bite and automatically close your eyes and take it all in. Cheese cake so creamy and smooth that it just makes you want to delay swallowing! And then with that decadent topping of chocolate, and caramel and nuts. Really. Seriously. Is there anything better? 






The Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake

Crust: 
1 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (about 40 cookies)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling:
3-8 oz pkgs Cream Cheese
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Topping:
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped peanuts or pecans

Mix crushed vanilla wafers and melted butter in a bowl and press into bottom of spring a form pan. At this point you can completely wrap the bottom and half way up the sides of the pan with heavy foil to keep any water from seeping in, or you can find a slightly larger sized pan and set your spring form pan inside it.

Next place your springform pan into a larger pan filled a quarter way up the sides with very hot water. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with and condensed milk until creamy. Add the sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix until combined. Remove about a cup of the filling mixture and set aside. Then melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for about a minute or until just melted and mix with the cup of reserved filling.

Pour 1/2 of the white filling into crust, then top it with the chocolate filling, then top that with the last 1/2 of the white filling mix. If desired you can take a knife and gently swirl colors. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes on the middle rack of your oven. Your cake will be done when it is set on the edges but the middle should be a little jiggly. Turn off the heat but leave the cake in the oven. Open the door and allow to cool for another hour. Then chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Remove outer ring from the spring form pan and top with mini chocolate chips and nuts. Then drizzle caramel sauce all over the top and allow to drip down the sides. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home 2014

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

I love a fresh summer salad and one of my favorite greens to use is Kale. It's so rich in healthy nutrients and makes an amazing salad. The dried cranberries and slivered almonds give it that crunch and the warm vinaigrette dressing is fantastic!   All Star Extra Virgin Olive Oils are great for making salad dressings. The Extra Virgin Olive Oil for vegetables has a very smooth, slightly almond flavor, with touches of green apple.  This olive oil is meant to enhance the natural fresh flavors in vegetables and salads without  being overpowering. This is a keeper my friends!

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Almonds
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons honey
the juice and zest of half a lemon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
sprinkling of sesame seeds
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and saute until tender. Add the garlic and continue to cook for about a minute. Next add the vinegar, honey and lemon juice and stir.  Add the cranberries and then season with salt and pepper.  The cranberries will begin to plump up nicely. Remove from heat and set aside.
Toss Kale with the remaining olive oil in a large bowl, using your hands to make sure it is blended well throughout.  Add the cranberry mixture and sprinkle with almonds and toss well to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

NOTE: STAR Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Vegetables can be found at Raley's, Save Mart, Food Lion, select Walmarts and online at http://bit.ly/ArbequinaEVOO.

Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home 2014

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Monday, July 28, 2014

Homemade Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

One night I saw a commercial from a big potato chip company out there that was advertising chocolate covered potato chips? They were only available for a limited time at Target. I thought, “Wow!  This sounds interesting.  Here’s a sweet and salty chip that I must have.”  So I ran to Target and they had one bag left on the shelf.  I bought them and ate the entire bag because they were crazy good!  Of course the bag was only 5 ounces.  Later I would go back a buy more!

Target doesn't have them anymore. But I do! Look what I decided to make when I got that next craving for chocolate covered potato chips. I mean, what was I thinking back then?  They are so easy to make! And mine are even better!

Oh My Gosh these are fantastic! Just a little salt with chocolate...yum! Caution: very addicting.

Homemade Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

1½ cups chocolate chips
1 (15 ounce bag) bag rippled or ridged potato chips

Place chocolate chips in a heat resistant bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Don’t put too make water in, you want to make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl.

Completely melt and stir the chocolate just until smooth. Do not overcook.  Remove from heat and begin dipping the chips, about half way. Shake off any excess chocolate and place chips onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper.

Allow chocolate covered chips to dry completely before serving. You can put them in the fridge for about 10 minutes to speed it up!

Next, eat the whole container!  Just kidding!  Wait until nobody's watching.


Mini Chocolate Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Filling

Mini Chocolate Eclairs with Vanilla Custard Filling

1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream 
1/3 Cup sugar
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 egg yolks

Pastry

1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of water
1 cup of all purpose flour
4 large eggs 
1 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

Custard: 


Combine both the whole milk and the heavy cream in a saucepan and place over low heat for about 5 minutes. Do not allow it to boil or overcook. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a heatproof medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with a tablespoon of cornstarch and the sugar until well blended. Next whisk just a little of the warm milk with the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Then whisk in 1/2 cup and whisk constantly while doing so. Slowly pour the rest of the milk mixture over egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add the mixture to your saucepan and over low heat, cook stirring constantly until sauce thickens and coast the back of a metal spoon. Watch your custard carefully so that it doesn't boil or overcook. Cover custard and set aside in the refrigerator to cool.
Puffed Pastry:

Next, make the pastries. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Start by putting the cup of water and the 1/2 cup of butter in a medium saucepan and heat up until the butter is completely melted. Add the flour in and mix thoroughly until it becomes a round ball. Next add the dough to a big bowl and with a hand mixer on medium speed, add in the 4 eggs, one at a time until well blended with the dough.
Next, put dough in a piping bag or in a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped out. Line a
cookie sheet with parchment paper land pipe your eclairs to whatever size you want. I usually make mine about 1 1/2 inches wide and maybe 3-4 inches long. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Take out of oven and let them cool completely.

In the meantime, melt your chocolate in a small saucepan on low heat, mixing constantly. Pour your melted chocolate in a wide bowl for dipping your eclairs. 
With a sharp knife, slice the top of your eclair from end to end, deep enough to be able to stuff it with a lot of custard but not all the way through. Put your custard in a piping bag and pipe your eclairs. Then you are ready to pick them up and dip the tops in chocolate. Place back on your parchment paper and allow them to set before serving. Oh Yum!

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

MEMORIES OF HOME

So here's my big news for today! My newest book, "Memories of Home", was just released last night and is now available in both print and E-book format. This photo of my delicious Peach Fritters is just a sample of what's in the new 100 page book!

I feel this is my best book of the entire 6 book series of Welcome Home cookbooks and this one might likely be my last. So much work goes into these books that I think I am never going to do another one...but I do. Because I have to...because when you buy them, you help me save lives. But we'll see if I continue with the series!

I really think it is my best work yet, with never seen before recipes that are some of my favorites. These have never been on Facebook, the webpage or any place on the Internet so each recipe will be a delicious surprise for only those who buy the book. Over 100 pages with recipes you've never seen before!

The pictures are beautiful, the colors are vibrant in both the E-book and the print versions, and each recipe has a full color photo that shows the completed dish. Each book is handmade to order with beautiful heavy glossy papers and top notch binding. And they ship all over the world for one low price.

Most important, your purchase will go toward helping me save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in Kill shelters for a new home. Over 6 million dogs and cats are killed each year in this country. We can change that. We can make a difference in the lives of some of these precious souls. We can be the voice for those that cannot speak. I personally hand deliver my donations from you in the form of prepaid veterinary services or in gift cards for food, toys, blankets, vitamins and whatever else they need. I only support the fur-babies, not advertising costs or fundraising efforts or any other administrative costs. So please give and consider a book your bonus!

If you order before July 31st, you can take an additional 15% off the price of any softcover or hardback book. Only 50 books will be released this month so be ready with the code or you'll miss the discount. Enter PRINTBOOK15% (all caps) at check out.

The e-book will be priced at $14.99 and available to download to any Android Smart Phone, Desktop computer, laptop, iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. We will help you download your new e-book if you message us.

 Here is the link for the e-book for $14.99:http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/481864-memories-of-home

 Here is the link to the print book:
http://www.blurb.com/b/5464341-memories-of-home for the print book.

Remember to type in PRINTBOOK15% for an additional 15% off the price at checkout!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Choose To Be Kind

Choose To Be Kind

We all have a choice in every situation. I have made my choice to be kind and I have made a commitment to keeping it that way for the rest of my life. 

As you know, I have injured my knee. I can hardly walk at this stage as it continues to get worse while I wait for an MRI and possible surgery. I want to share a story with you that I hope will stay with you as you travel thishard journey called life.

The other day, I had to go to a pharmacy to get a prescription for an anti inflammatory for my painful knee. It was very difficult for me to walk to the entrance and to stand while I waited for the medication to be filled. By the time I paid for it and began my painful walk back to the car, I was obviously limping and holding on to the shopping cart for support. The thought of walking with it all the way back to the store entrance was overwhelming at the time and so I found a place to park the cart so that it was locked in place and could do no damage or be in anyone's way. I seriously just could not walk another step.

From out of nowhere I heard a voice who yelled, "Hey lady! Please tell me you're not leaving that cart there. You wouldn't dare leave it there unless your just too lazy to take it back." I stopped and looked at his angry face for a second and tried to tell him my knee was injured and that normally I would never leave a cart, but today I can hardly walk. His angry reply was, "Then you ought to stay home and not go out shopping you idiot."

Needless to say, my frustration peaked and I wanted to go after him and give him a piece of my mind. I wanted to run up behind him and jerk him up and punch him in the face. I wanted to hurt him physically and with mean words, I wanted to attack his character and make him feel bad for what he said. But I chose to be kind. Hardest thing I've ever done. I chose to smile and say God Bless you my friend....I hope your day brings more joy and kindness your way. I chose to be kind. What does that mean?

He had that choice too. He had the choice of being mean-spirited like he was or a choice to be kind and do something good for another. He could have easily said, "Hey lady, I see that you're struggling to walk and in obvious pain. Can I take that cart back for you." But he didn't. He was angry and made a decision to spread that anger to others.

We all have the choice to spread kindness or anger. We can waive that person in front of us when they are trying to merge into traffic or we can choose to look the other way. We can stop to help someone at a grocery store reach that top item on a shelf, or we can pretend not to notice. We can help that senior citizen load her groceries into her car. We can pay for that cup of coffee for the person in line behind us. We can allow that person to have that parking space when we both got there at the same time.

We can smile and say hello to a total stranger or tell a mother how beautiful her baby is. We can offer to help someone who is short on cash pay for her groceries. We can hand a dollar or two to that homeless person holding up a sign and we can offer a cold drink to someone who is working hard in the hot sun. We can cut the neighbors grass or bring in the elderly neighbors newspaper or mail. We can bake cookies or muffins or even make dinner and share it with a friend who has no one.

That's right my friends. We can perform any act of kindness for anyone at anytime. That is our choice. We can choose to let life's frustrations make us angry and we can take it out on everyone that crosses our path. Or we can choose to be kind. That is our new motto here at Welcome Home. "Choose To Be Kind."

I put my challenge on the table. How many of you will choose to be kind from now on? For the blogger who attacked me this morning. For the man in the parking lot....it's not too late. The choice is yours.

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
Be the living expression of God's kindness:
Kindness in your face,
Kindness in your eyes,
Kindness in your smile."


~Mother Teresa

Quick And Easy Strawberry Shortcake

Quick And  Easy Strawberry Shortcake

1 pound of fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Dry the strawberries. Pat the fruit dry with paper towels to soak up any excess water. Slice the tops off with a sharp knife, so that you end up with a clean and flat top. Mix sugar with strawberries. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare cake.

Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature...


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper and sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in 3 parts and milk in 2, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, use a serrated knife, split the cake in half horizontally. Place bottom half, cut side up, on a serving plate. Pipe in whipped cream (below) on bottom and top with top half of cake. Fill top with strawberries and surround with more whipped cream.
                                                         
Sweetened Whipped Cream  

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup heavy whipping cream (also known as whipping cream or full cream)
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

In a small pan, mix together gelatin and cold water and let stand until thick.
Place over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat; cool but do not allow it to set up. Whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar, until slightly thick. While slowly beating, add the gelatin to whipping cream. Whip at high speed until stiff.



 Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home