Friday, May 30, 2014

MIRACLES

Good morning friends. Do you believe in miracles? I do. Mostly because I have seen so many in my own life. I am absolutely sure that God hears and answers prayers. Whether it's a whisper of a prayer from one or a gathering of prayers from many, I am certain beyond any doubt that he hears them all.

And he heard them yesterday when so many of you were praying for my little fur-baby Katie who was suffering in pain from some mysterious thing that hurt her paw last week. She came in from a quick run in the back yard and was in obvious pain. She had become lame since last week and could not bear to put any weight on her paw. It was swollen and so tender and painful and she had obviously just given up. She would not eat and slept most of the day, whimpering while she slept. Even as late as the day before yesterday, after the second visit to the Veterinarian, we had no answers.

So Tuesday morning, when the doctor still had no clue what it was or what to do for her, I reached out to all of you to ask your advice. It was breaking my heart to watch her suffer and many of you offered prayer for us both. I want you to know your prayers were heard.

Yesterday afternoon, Katie just stood up on her own and walked over to me and tapped me on the leg with her injured paw. I had to do a double take. She wanted my attention to let me know she had to go out to take a bathroom break and when I turned my chair she was walking again as if nothing was wrong. Not even a limp. She was not only walking on all fours, she was running around and wanted to play with my other fur-baby Cooper who was just as excited as I was to have her back.

Cooper has also been very worried about his best friend Kate and has tried everything to get her attention so she would get up and play with him. He has nudged her and brought her toys to play with but nothing worked. So he had also been very sad all week. But now he was so excited and running all around the house to find her toys to play with.

I tried to keep her calm and pick her up to get her off that foot, but she would have no part of it. She wanted to run and play again and I couldn't even catch her. She came back from her quick run outside and went right to her food bowl and ate her breakfast from earlier that morning. She had been so sick all week and was barely eating at all and now she was famished and ate every bite. Last night she ate her dinner and wanted more. Katie has a little pink ball that she never parts with...she carries it wherever she goes. She had given it up when she got so sick. Cooper found it and brought it to her last night.


Katie is back. There is no swelling whatsoever in her paw. There is no sign of injury...no fever...no pain. What was different in the treatment I had been giving her all last week and what the doctor prescribed on Tuesday? Nothing much...I had only given her one dose of the new anti-inflammatory medicine that replaced the one that was making her sick. That's it. So I doubt that one dose did the trick.

Her recovery was as instant and mysterious as the instant and mysterious injury that had everyone so puzzled. We will never be sure what it was that caused this injury, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God heard your prayers loud and clear yesterday and ended her pain and suffering.

Suddenly I realize that Welcome Home has more power than I could ever imagine. It has the power of love. The power of prayer. There is a source of energy here...a force so positive and so comforting that we seem to be drawn together. We come here for comfort. Whether it's food for the appetite or food for the soul, I understand why over half a million followers come here now. Welcome Home has the power of love.

Thank you all for loving me enough to pray. You have brought me great comfort and peace.....and I will always remember it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Strawberry Caprese Bruschetta





























Strawberry Caprese Bruschetta

baguette, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Star Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup diced strawberries
tablespoon STAR Raspberry Creamy Balsamic Glaze
¼ cup basil leaves chiffonade

See the recipe here:

http://www.starfinefoods.com/strawberry-caprese-bruschetta/











Friday, May 23, 2014

Old Bay Peel and Eat Steamed Shrimp


























Marylanders love their seafood and Old Bay Seasoning is pretty much a staple around here!  This is what we call a little "appetizer."  At most of our summer get together's you'll find a huge platter of Old Bay steamed Shrimp in beer!



Old Bay Peel and Eat Steamed Shrimp

3 pounds of large shrimp, cleaned
1 tablespoon celery seed
3 cups of water
1 cup of cider vinegar
3 cups of beer
1/2 cup of Old Bay Seasoning for steaming liquid
1/2 cup or more of Old Bay seasoning for top of shrimp

Heat liquid to a full boil in large steam pot. Add shrimp to steamer basket and sprinkle generously with OLD BAY. (Add more for spicy shrimp!). Steam for 4-5 min. Remove and add more Old Bay if you prefer. Enjoy!

























Photography is copyrighted and the property of  ©Welcome Home.

Maryland Steamed Crabs





















What's a Maryland girl serve at her summer holiday parties and cookouts?  If you're from my neck of the woods you already know!  My family and friends will arrive and my table will be set just as you see in the photo. My menu will include Maryland Steamed Crabs and sweet corn on the cob. Some coleslaw and potato salad and maybe some hot crab dip and steamed shrimp on the side. There's always newspaper for the tablecloth of course and lots of paper towels and mallets and melted butter. A meal like no other and a true Maryland tradition! Sweet and succulent tender crabs steamed in Old Bay Seasoning and Beer. Sweet corn Basted in melted butter and sprinkled with more Old Bay!  Oh My!

Maryland Steamed Crabs

36 fresh blue crabs 
 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning 
 1/2 cup salt 
 3 cups beer 
 another 1/4 cup Old Bay for topping 

Combine 1/2 cup seafood seasoning, salt, beer, and vinegar in a large stockpot over high heat. If you have a steamer with a basket that's even better. Bring to a strong simmer. Fit a screen over the beer mixture and layer the crabs on the screen. Be sure that the crabs are above the simmering liquid. Cover.Steam crabs until they turn bright orange and all of the blue/green color is gone, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup seafood seasoning before serving. 

Photography is copyrighted and the Property of Welcome Home. 

Vanilla-Orange Cream Pops
























There's nothing more refreshing than a cold creamsickle on a hot summer day. I love these little molds I got from Amazon because you don't miss a drop!  You can eat your creamsickle and drink your smoothie at the same time! 

Strawberry Creamsickles

1 cup strawberries, pureed
6 tablespoons whole milk
1 (5.3-ounce) container Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup diced strawberries

In a large bowl, combine the strawberry puree, milk, yogurt, honey and vanilla. Stir in the diced strawberries. Scoop the mixture evenly into the molds. Place into freezer and freeze until hard, at least 5 hours. Remove from freezer and run the mold under warm water to loosen, about 20 seconds. Serve immediately.


Vanilla-Orange Cream Pops 

1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl; divide mixture among freezer pop molds and freeze until completely firm, about 6 hours. Makes ten creamsickles. 
























You can get these molds at Amazon for only 
$14.99. Click on this link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CI9WIA6/ref=as_li_ss_sm_fb_us_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=399837&creativeASIN=B00CI9WIA6&linkCode=shr&tag=welchome08-20&linkId=4TGVPQ3WKT2RSYAD&qid=1400872534&sr=8-3&keywords=popsicle+molds+with+sip

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

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Home Is Where The Heart Is"

It's here! My newest cookbook has just been released and is now available only at Blurb.com and soon to be on iTunes. It's called "Home Is Where The Heart Is" and it is a collection of my Mom's favorite recipes. It's a beautiful 100+ page limited edition cookbook with vibrant full page photos to match each completed dish. This is the 5th book in the Welcome Home series.

In this book you'll find salads, soups and stews, main dishes and some of her best homemade Pies, Cakes, and other delicious desserts. You can see a free preview of it now on the right side margin where all the other free preview are shown of each of my books.


The new book comes in both ebook and print. The ebook is available for downloading as many times as you want to as many devices as you have....desktop or laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPad Touch, or your Android Smartphone.  If you buy it now there is an introductory price of only $11.99. You save $10 and you will have it in seconds by clicking on this link....we are standing by to help you if you need us. 

Here is the link to the e-book:

  
http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/472005-home-is-where-the-heart-is


Also available at iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/home-is-where-the-heart-is/id873181857?mt=11



 As with all my books, proceeds from the sale of Home Sweet Home go to saving the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in kill shelters for someone to come and give them a new home. Over 6 million dogs and cats were killed last year because no one adopted them in time. We can change that. Please help me be the voice for animal rights and help me bring change to this serious issue. Consider your purchase a donation and look at the book as a bonus. Proceeds also go to feed the hungry. 

My new book is also available in Softcover and hardback. These books are bookstore quality and meant for those who are sticklers for top notch binding, gorgeous high gloss heavy paper, and professional printing. This is not just an average cookbook. It is a limited first edition book and the production team at this publishing house produces each high quality book as they are ordered. In other words, your print book is handmade upon order and ships anywhere in the world for a very low shipping price. Again, you are donating to saving lives so consider the book a bonus.  Type in this code at check out and get 15% off any print book: MAY15


Here is the link to buy the print book in soft cover or hard copy:

  
http://www.blurb.com/b/5280287-home-is-where-the-heart-is

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Prayer

People always ask me why I work so hard to write and publish Welcome Home cookbooks. Maybe it's time to tell you why I spend 16 hours a day working hard to entertain you with my stories and my recipes and other things that might inspire you and touch your heart. I write cookbooks so that I can donate proceeds from the sale to save the lives of dogs and cats in America. Let me explain....some of you will not want to read this because you don't like the hard stuff...the hard realities of life and the way America handles unwanted dogs and cats. But I encourage you to read it.

About 12 years ago, I read this quote somewhere on the Internet. It said...

"I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter...the cast offs of human society. I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal and I was angry. "God," I said, "This is terrible! Why don't you do something?" God was silent for a moment and then He spoke softly. "I have done something," he replied. "I created you." 

It was on that very day, I walked into the local animal shelter in my county and asked if I could volunteer. I asked if there was anything I could do that day until I might be assigned something to do that might make a difference. It was a day that changed my life forever. 

The woman at the desk said there was so much work to be done but if I really wanted to do something right away that would make a difference in my life and the life of another, then I needed to listen carefully. So many people volunteer and then can't handle it and walk away. She said if I needed something to give me the conviction and the strength to follow through with my commitment, then I should come with her. 

I followed her back to the area where they kept the dogs. She took me to a pen that was large enough to hold 10 huge dogs and pointed to the far back corner where a little dog weighing every bit of 15 pounds was curled up in a little ball, shaking on the cold concrete floor. The little dog looked up at me and wagged her tail for a second and then laid her head back down. 

The lady grabbed a folding chair and opened the cage. She said that this would be the last day that this little one would be spending time there at the shelter and it would be wonderful if she could feel some human love and comfort one last time. She had been there for 5 days and no one had come to claim her and so her time had come. I went over and picked up the little dog and held her close to me as I held back tears. The woman began to tell me stories of how people just drop off their pets and walk away. I am going to share something she said to me that day ...a view from the inside, if you will. 

She said, maybe if some of these people could see the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, they would change their mind about "dropping" their dog off at the local shelter. Maybe people might think twice about buying from a breeder or from a pet shop and adopt a dog from a shelter before it's too late. She went on to say that there is a 95% chance that a dog will never walk out of the shelter he or she was dropped off at. The most common excuses people give are: "We're moving and we can't take our dog." Or, "he got bigger than we thought he would." And then the classic: "We just don't have time for her." They usually say, “We just don't want to face the stress about finding a home for her. We know she'll get adopted - she’s a good dog. Some nice family will adopt her." 

She told me the odds are against that dog ever getting adopted. She asked if I could imagine how stressful it is for a dog in a shelter until she dies? She said the dog has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment a person drops her off. Sometimes she can live a little longer if the shelter isn't full and the dog manages to stay completely healthy. If she even starts to sniffle, she will be killed sooner than 72 hours. 

She will be confined to a cage and have to hear the loud noise of other barking or crying animals. She will be so frightened and lonely and depressed because the family she loves with all her heart is missing. She will have no other choice but to relieve herself where she eats and sleeps. She will cry constantly for the family that abandoned her. It doesn't matter if she is a 90 pound German Shepard or a tiny 5 pound Chihuahua, they all cry for their family. 

She will stay there for those long hours and no one will talk to her because no one wants to get involved or attached before the inevitable happens. She won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of her pen with a high-powered hose. If she is a big black dog or any of the “bully” breeds (Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman, etc) her life was pretty much over when she walked through the front door. 

If she shows any signs of aggression she will be destroyed sooner. She said that even the sweetest dogs show aggression after a day or two in this place because they are so confused and frightened. If she makes it over all of the hurdles, there is still a strong chance that she will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed right away. And then she stood up and looked me in the eye and said...

"And when that horrible day comes and they open that cage, she will go willingly...all excited... with her tail wagging and her body wiggling because someone is finally coming to play with her or maybe they have brought her family back. She will then be led to her death never knowing what was about to happen."

And with that she walked away. I held that little dog and cried for a solid hour and begged God to let her live just one more day until I could find someone to love her. I prayed that God would help me by touching someone's heart before it was too late. I didn't want to let go of her and was trying to figure out a way to bring in another dog when I was only allowed one where I lived at the time. I thought of everyone I knew and decided to go call them and tell them where I was and how they had to help. 

And then it happened. Someone came. He was a tall gentleman maybe in his late 30's and he wore a jacket with the words NO KILL written on the back. I looked up at him and he told me I could stop crying and let her go now and that she would be okay. He took her from my arms and wrapped her in a soft blanket and whispered in her ear that no one was going to hurt her. She looked up at him and licked his face. He then told me the story about a group that he belonged to and how they randomly come to county shelters to save the lives of dogs and cats that are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever home. He said she was about to go to temporary loving home until her forever family came along. 

As I watched him take her that day, I knew that I had found my calling. I knew I had to do something to save these lost souls. In that cage that day, I found the strength and courage to never give up and to do whatever I could to help this wonderful group of people across the country who work so hard to save these lives. 

As he drove away with that little dog that day, I closed my eyes thanked God for answering my prayer ......

"Dear God, if I could do one great thing in my life, it would be to rescue every dog that someone has left on the side of the road to starve and die.

If I could have power for one day, I would use it to make it as illegal and punishable to abandon a dog as it would be to abandon a child. 

If I could have one wish, I would use it to find a home for every abandoned dog and cat in the world. 

If I were rich, I would fund every animal shelter in the nation so they wouldn't have to end the lives of healthy dogs and cats.

If I could hope for anything in my lifetime, I would hope that all people can see a dog or cat as a living soul that has the ability to love unconditionally for a lifetime.

And God, if you are listening right now, I pray that you will touch the heart of someone out there right now, and motivate them to go look and find this tiny soul that needs them so badly before it is too late. And I pray that you will bring them together for a lifetime."
_______________________________________________

And that my friends is why I write books and do other things to raise money for animal rights. I am the voice for those that cannot speak. Over 6 million dogs and cats are killed each year in this country as they sit in cages and wait for someone to come and love them. I cannot accept that cruelty. I know we can make a difference. We can stand up for animal rights and bring change and when you buy any of my e-books for just $14.99, or any of my print books, you help support this great cause that means so much to me. I like to think you are donating your money to this worthwhile cause and getting a free book as a bonus! 

Please give. If you can't buy a book, at least donate a bag of dog or cat food and some blankets and treats and toys to your local No Kill Shelter. If you can foster a dog or cat until they these volunteers can find them a new home, that would be wonderful. And if you have the courage, go hold and comfort a dog at your county shelter. It will change your life forever. 

For those of you who would like purchase any of my e-cookbooks click on the links in the comment section below. My newest cookbook, "Home Is Where The Heart Is" was just released on Friday. The link to buy that one is
http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/472005-home-is-where-the-heart-is 


Or you can go to iTunes and buy it with this link:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/home-is-where-the-heart-is/id873181857?mt=11


~Marty

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Broccoli Salad






























I really enjoy this salad. I am not a big broccoli lover but I do like to nibble on fresh broccoli when there is a good dip around. This is the perfect dressing to bring just a touch of sweetness along with the savory bacon and cheese. I could eat an entire bowl in one sitting! 

Broccoli Salad

1 head broccoli, trimmed and into bite sized florets 
6 to 8 slices fried or baked bacon, crumbled
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise, I use Hellman's or Dukes
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place broccoli in a large bowl. Add the crumbled bacon,and cheese and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar salt and pepper and blend to combine. Add in cherry tomatoes and broccoli mixture and toss gently. I also add in 1/2 cup of dried cranberries for a change. You can also add sweet onion and shredded carrots. Make it like you like it!

Note: You can omit the honey and/or use less sugar if you want a more savory than sweet dressing.





























Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.