Monday, November 24, 2014

My Mom's Moist and Juicy Roast Turkey

I had a request last night for my recipe for Roast Turkey. Last year I deep fried my turkey in my butterball deep fryer but this year I have decided to go back to basics and make my Mom's wonderful recipe for Roast Turkey. Just the good old fashioned traditional way of making the juiciest turkey ever.

My Mom's Moist and Juicy Roast Turkey

For the Turkey

1 fresh turkey (12-14 pounds)
salt and pepper
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 whole lemon, halved
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator about an hour before you are ready to roast it so that it can come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. This is just to get the oven nice and hot before roasting. You will turn the heat down later.

Take the bag of giblets and the neck and rinse the turkey inside and out. Pat the turkey down all over the outside with paper towels to dry it thoroughly. Lift the turkey and generously salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity.

Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, the lemon, the onion, and the garlic. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.

Next, make an compound herb butter.

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 tablespoon of fresh sage leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

In a small bowl, combine the softened butter, fresh herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper, and garlic. Stir together with a spoon until well blended. Next, run your hand between the skin and meat of the turkey, gently separating them and being careful not to tear the skin. Do the same from the other side, loosening the skin around the thighs and legs. Use about two thirds of the compound butter to rub over the actual meat that is under the skin of the turkey. Remember, the butter will melt as it cooks so don't worry too much about smoothing it out. Save the remaining butter and set aside.

Next place your turkey on a roasting rack inside a large roasting pan. Pour 2 cups chicken broth in pan under rack, making sure not to allow the turkey to make contact with the broth. The juice will steam the turkey keeping it moist and tender through roasting process. Cover tightly with foil.

Transfer the pan to the oven and cook at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and and continue to roast for about 2 hours. Then take turkey out of oven and remove foil. Melt the remaining compound butter in the microwave and then brush it all over the turkey. Continue to roast for another 30-40 minutes or until you get a reading of 160 degrees when you insert an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the breast.

For those last 30-40 minutes, you want to monitor the browning of the skin and once it has reached the desired shade of golden brown, after about 30-40 minutes, tent loosely with foil throughout any remaining cooking time.
(A 12-14 lb. bird will take approximately 2-2½ hours). Another way to tell if your turkey is done, is to make sure the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh.

Most important: you want to allow the turkey to rest before carving. If you carve the turkey immediately out of the oven it will be tough and dry. Remove turkey from oven and Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 20-30 minutes before carving.

Photography Source:  The food network
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Snickers Roll Ups

It all started with that half a bag of Snickers fun sized candy bars leftover from Halloween.  And that can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls in the refrigerator that was  getting close to the expiration date.  It ended up being so incredibly good!

Snickers Roll Ups

1 (8 ounce) can Pillsbury Crescent Dinner rolls
6-8 snack size  Snickers candy bars
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Glaze (optional)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 teaspoons milk

Heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Separate dough into 8 triangle pieces. Cut each candy bar into quarters. Place chopped candy on the widest side of triangle and then roll it up. 

Start at shortest side of each triangle and roll to opposite point. Pinch edges of dough to seal. Brush each roll with melted butter and place them on an ungreased baking pan. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Cool slightly. 

In small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients until smooth, drizzle over warm rolls. 

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

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Caramelized Shallots

I saw this recipe the other day while watching the cooking show. Ina Garten made it look so I said why not?  I looked up the recipe and saw glorious reviews of this dish. I had some wonderful Star Fine Foods Red Wine Vinegar in the pantry and some fresh shallots. It sounded good. It looked I made it.  And oh my gosh was it delicious.  You will love this simple recipe my friends and I promise you will make it often.  Shallot are glazed and so sweet their almost like candy!  Savory sweet!  I ate a whole bowl!

Caramelized Shallots                                                 

6 tablespoons butter
2 pounds fresh shallots, peeled, with roots intact
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Star Fine Foods Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof saute pan, add the shallots and sugar, and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the shallots start to brown. Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss well.

Place the saute pan in the oven and roast for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots, until they are tender. Season to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, The Food Network

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!

Photographs are the property of and copyrighted to Welcome Home.
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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

My Mom used to make the best Boston Cream Pie...wonderful pastry cream sandwiched between two layers of yellow cake and topped with wonderful chocolate. But I could never eat an entire pie so I decided to play a little with her recipe and make some Boston Cream Whoopie Pies and they are just perfect! You'll love this recipe! 

Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a larger bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Add in the oil and the eggs one at a time beating to blend in each egg. Stir in half of the flour mixture and then add your buttermilk and vanilla extract. Finally, add the remaining flour, mixing just until all ingredients are blended well.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop batter into rounds onto prepared baking sheet, as you would for cookie dough. Cakes will spread out while baking. You can make these as large or small as you like. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cake is set and springs back when lightly pressed. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Pastry Cream

1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream (whipping cream or full cream)
7 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
pinch of salt

In bowl, combine eggs, sugar & cornstarch. Whisk until light in color and set aside. In heavy bottom saucepan, bring the cream, milk and the butter to a boil. Then turn down your heat to low and slowly pour in your egg mixture whisking as you pour. Continue stirring for about a minute until custard has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt. Pour custard in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so film does not develop. Refrigerate for several hours until thickened.

Chocolate Ganache

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter

Break up the chocolate into small pieces & place in medium bowl. Heat the cream & butter until very hot, but not quite boiling. Pour the cream & butter over the chocolate & whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is shiny, creamy & smooth. Let the ganache sit for just a few minutes to thicken.

Now pair up the whoopie cakes matching them up to equal sizes that will fit together well. Take one half of each of the whoopie pies and spread about 1 tbsp chocolate over the rounded portion of the cake. Allow to set up at room temperature. You can also dip them in chocolate as I did.

Fill a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off with the pastry cream and pipe a generous amount (2-3 tbsp) onto the flat portion of the cakes that are not covered with chocolate. Top each with a chocolate covered cake.


1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon half-and-half or 1 tablespoon cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the powdered sugar and half and half or cream and stir until the sugar is completely absorbed by the cream. Add the teaspoon of vanilla extract. I went a little nuts with my drizzle but you can make it as pretty as you like!

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Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Now we can't have Thanksgiving dinner without these, can we? I'm sure you all have your own recipes, tips and tricks for making these but I will share my own basic recipe. It is simple and yet always a crowd pleaser.

Creamy Whipped Potatoes

4 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and peel your potatoes, then cut them into large chunks and place in a large pot. Pour in enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 to 2 inches and then add a generous amount of salt. You want the water to taste salty. Place the potatoes on a burner and set to high heat and allow the water to boil rigorously. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Usually about 20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes in a large colander and return them to the pot and cover them to keep them warm. In a sauce pan, combine the butter and cream and heat on low until butter has melted and mixture is hot.

With a hand mixture, begin to whip the potatoes. Add small amounts of butter and cream as you continuing mixer until the potatoes are fluffy and creamy and when you get the right consistency you like best. I usually use it all. As you are mixing add your salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with butter or gravy.

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♥ Deep Fried Turkey Breast with Butterball Fryer

I posted a photo of my whole 12 pound deep fried turkey that I made last year with my counter-top Butterball Deep Fryer. I also posted the link so that you could get the fryer for a special price through Amazon when you order it here at Welcome Home. So many of you are asking if the turkey comes out moist and tender. The answer is YES.

 I took this photo of the 11 pound deep fried turkey breast I just made with the same fryer. It took just 35 minutes to make and freed my oven up for all the other dishes I needed the oven for. I wanted to show you first hand just how moist it is. Again, this is just the turkey breast and not the whole bird. This little machine is amazing! I have added the new link for the fryer that will hold up to a 20 pound turkey in case you might want to buy it.

Deep Fried Turkey Breast

2 and 1/2 gallons of Peanut Oil (oil can be reused)
1 fresh turkey breast (10-12 pounds)
salt and pepper to taste

Remove the giblets from the turkey. Rinse the turkey in the sink under cold water (inside and out). Then completely and thoroughly dry the turkey inside and out with paper towels. You want to eliminate as much water as possible.

Season the inside and outside with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you might want to add. I stick with just salt and pepper for that true turkey taste. Simply rub the salt and pepper all over the inside and outside of the turkey. Put turkey in deep fry basket.

Heat the oil in your deep fryer. It took mine 35 minutes to heat to 375 degrees. Gently and carefully lower the turkey into hot oil and close the lid. Time it 4 minutes per pound of turkey. However my turkey breast was a little over 11 pounds and it only took 35 minutes. The temperature should be at 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thigh and breast.

Lift the basket and drain the turkey for at least 20-30 minutes before removing to platter to carve. Enjoy!

Here is the link for the Butterball Turkey Fryer at an incredible low price to all Welcome Home fans.  The price has been reduced by $90.00 and is only applied while supplies last.  This won't last long.  Remember,  whenever you buy at Amazon using our Welcome Home links you support my efforts to feed the hungry and save the lives of dogs and cats in this country who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in shelters for a new home.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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SALE! Butterball Masterbilt Indoor Turkey Fryers

Okay, Thanksgiving is only 21 days away and it's time to get serious. It's time to talk turkey! I am getting ready to tell you about one of the best values I have ever brought to you at Welcome Home. But you need to hurry because this price will be gone within hours.

I have been roasting turkeys in the oven for years. It's always the same routine .... butter it, stuff it, tie it up, put it in a roasting pan that takes up all the room in the oven so you can't use it for anything else. Then heat up the whole house while the thing takes forever to roast! Oh and then wait with baited breath to see if it will be dry or moist. Not last year.

Last year I bought one of these new Butterball Masterbilt Indoor Turkey Fryers and I loved it! Instead of doing all that prep, I simply heated my oil and put my 20 pound turkey in the basket and set it for only 75 minutes. Out came the most delicious moist turkey I have ever tasted in my life. The skin was crisp and the juices just flowed when I sliced into it.

Now you can get one too...for a lot less that I paid for mine by using the code here that Amazon providers for Welcome Home fans to get a discount. Just click on the link and you will get this beautiful counter top machine for only $119.99 and free shipping. That is a $90 savings but only while supplies last today!

It comes in two sizes. One for up to a 14 pound turkey for only $99.99 and one for up to a 20 pound turkey for the $149.99. Because of the sale price, I recommend the 20 pound capacity fryer.

Masterbilt, along with Butterball, the experts in turkey, collaborated to bring a collaborative product line of indoor fryers that provides a safe, hassle-free way for people to enjoy delicious fried turkey - all in the comforts of your own home. No one disputes the delicious flavor of a deep-fried turkey, but stories of house fires and near misses can discourage even the biggest fried turkey fan. The Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer by Masterbilt, an electric fryer that's so safe it's certified to operate indoors, on your kitchen countertop, any time of year. Not only does the stainless-steel fryer and porcelain-coated inner pot keep oil safely contained, but it also uses 33 percent less oil than conventional fryers. As a result, you can cook turkeys as large as 20 pounds safely and efficiently.

Operating the Butterball couldn't be easier. Simply set the cooking temperature via the user-friendly analog control panel; a green ready light will come on when the oil is heated and the fryer is ready for use. The fryer even includes a couple of extra safety controls, including a thermostat control to keep the temperature steady (up to 375°F) and an automatic shutoff function that activates when the cooking temperature gets too high.

Additional turkey fryer highlights has venting located in the back of the fryer, a drain valve for easy cleaning, and a space-saving design that takes up minimal space on the counter.

Hurry! I predict these will sell out fast today! Remember whenever you buy anything through Welcome Home at Amazon, it helps me feed the homeless and save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in shelters for a new home. This is a fantastic buy and a wonderful way to spend your money! Great value.
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Crusty Homemade Bread

I don't always make my own bread but this weekend I did because I love to bake this time of year and I also wanted to share my Mom's recipes with you. Bread baking isn't really that hard and once you bake one and smell that hot fresh bread baking in the oven, you get hooked!

Home Baked Bread

1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast...
1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees but no warmer than 115 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg yolk

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast with a quarter cup of the lukewarm water and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.

In a large bowl of electric mixer, or by hand, mix the sugar, olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of the flour. Add the yeast and mix in until well blend. If using a mixer, attach a dough hook, and add flour until dough starts to form. If too sticky, add a bit more flour. Mix until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.

Turn out onto flat surface and knead for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Put dough into an oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with a thick towel, and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in size. Usually takes about 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Punch down the dough with your fist and turn out onto large cookie sheet that has been dusted with corn meal. Shape into 2 oblong loaves and then cover and let rise again for 40 minutes. Loaves will then double in width.      


In a small dish, add egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water. Slit tops of risen bread 3 or 4 times, making slits that are a quarter of an inch deep. With a brush, paint tops with egg wash. Bake 400 degrees for 40 minutes, until golden and baked through. To check if it’s done, thump the bottom of each loaf; if it sounds hollow, it’s done. 

Makes two loaves. One for now and one to freeze for later!    

 What bread pans do I use?  The secret to the perfect crust for Italian or french bread is high hydration dough.  This allows for perfect texture, a wonderful crust and few crumbs. These pans provide great support so you bread doesn't go flat and perfect venting for a crisp crust. The size and shape allow for perfectly formed bread.  You'll be happy with the results.  Click on this link to get them at a great price from

Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home


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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Jewish Apple Cake

I can remember my Mom making this cake every year during apple picking season and it was amazing. This is not always the prettiest cake you'll make because it is so moist that it sometimes has a hard time making it on the cake plate all in one piece. But it is by far the best apple cake you've ever tasted. I found a way to make come out all in one pieces and it is so much easier to work with. My Secret? I use a Springform Bundt pan and it come out in one piece and is just gorgeous. I have included the link below for the special bundt cake pan so you can make it too! 

Jewish Apple Cake      


4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a small bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup light brown sugar and cinnamon, making sure the butter has been completely absorbed by the ingredients. Clump the mixture together with your fingers to form large crumbs. Set aside.


3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup of smooth apple Sauce
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon baking powder
5 Fuji or Gala Apples, sliced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

Mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the apple sauce, eggs, vanilla and orange juice. Then mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients together by hand until the batter is smooth and well blended. Set aside. Next, mix the cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of sugar together. Peel and slice your apples and toss with the cinnamon and sugar.

Spray your bundt pan with non stick cooking spray and then sprinkle with flour to coat. I use Pam Non-stick Cooking Spray with Flour and it works! Next take some of your struesel mix and spin it around in the pan to coat. Pour one third of your batter into the pan. Then on top of the batter, add a third of your apples slices. Then do the same layering to the top, ending with the apples. Sprinkle struesel mixture all over the top of the cake.

Place in a 350 degree oven for approximately an hour and 20 minutes. When finished baking, place on a counter to cool for about 30 minutes or so. If using a spring form pan like the one I have, there will be no need to invert the pan and worry about the cake collapsing. I just run a butter knife around the edge and lift the sides and get one beautiful cake.

If you don't have a spring form pan,run the knife around the pan and then take a deep breath and invert your bundt pan onto a plate. Sometimes it slides right out and you have a beautiful cake and other times it doesn't come out in one piece. Either way, I promise your guests will absolutely love this cake no matter what it looks like! I serve it warm with vanilla ice cream! So good!

For the Spring form bundt pan I use, go to:

Remember whenever you purchase something at Amazon through Welcome Home, the proceeds go to Animal Rights groups that save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in shelters for a new home.

  Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Good morning friends. Another beautiful bright and sunny day here in Maryland. The air is cool and brisk and perfect for just a sweater. I walked around my garden this morning and it was raining leaves all around me. There was that familiar smell of someone burning leaves somewhere in the distance. I could hear the crunch and crinkle of the leaves at my feet and my senses were waking up to the crisp clean smell of autumn air. The crab apples have fallen and the birds were all around me trying to gather them. Squirrels were out digging up the nuts they had stored for this time of year and I even saw a chipmunk filling his cheeks for of berries and seeds to take back to his little home.

Welcome Home turns two years old today. And what a thrill it is to see that over half a million followers come here to find comfort. Whether it is in my cooking or my stories or the fact that I am on a mission to save lives and spread kindness. I would like to hope that you are all on this journey with me and that we can work together to make this world a better place.

I have to say that my experience here on Facebook over the last two years has not always been easy. It has been challenging and full of set backs to say the least. However, every setback, whatever it was here at Welcome Home, turned into a blessing and created an opportunity of commitment and renewal. I have to remember that God is sovereign and there’s a peace that comes from my knowledge that God is in control and things will work out in their own time. When we believe that our lives have purpose and that every trial comes to make us stronger and wiser, we will be able to accept each “setback” as a “setup” for future blessings. And blessings here at Welcome Home over the last two years have far outweighed the setbacks.

My Mom used to say, "May all those tough times bring out the best in you baby girl. I pray that they make you stronger and make you even more diligent. She would say, "I hope that someday you will realize that your instincts and gut feelings have great value and you should trust every one of them. These are God's whispers that allow you to prepare when disappointment is approaching."

She would always tell me that blessings are everywhere.... even when we can't see them.... and God always has a bigger plan. She would remind me that my attitude will effect the outcome of my disappointment. Read that took me years to understand what she was saying. My attitude will greatly effect the outcome of my disappointment. Now I know that she meant those challenges are often gifts in disguise and a positive attitude will make things go much smoother.

Even when I was very young, I knew that my Mom was a wise woman and I would hang on her every word. As I look back and reflect on so many of the lessons she taught me about life, I can see their meaning more clearly now. She used to tell me that God had given me skills and talents that I am unaware of now, yet someday I will use those very skills and talents to be a positive influence on many people, and one day it will bring me great comfort in knowing that I have changed lives in some way. She used to say, "life is not as fulfilling if you don't use it to bring comfort and joy to others." How profound those words are to me now as her prophecy has come to pass.

So today I will not think of the setbacks. I will know that my Mom and my God have something else planned for me here at Welcome Home as they gather so many people from every corner of the earth to cross my path and bring them to a place of comfort. I will wait for the blessings to come. I will value today as a blessing to be enjoyed and I will see that each person that crosses my path is put here for a reason and that they are unique and important. I will see that each moment of my life has meaning.

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