Wednesday, July 30, 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 2 tablespoons 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 tablespoon of 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



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!

Monday, July 28, 2014

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.

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

Penne with Grilled Chicken



























What would we do without pasta? It is the ultimate comfort food no matter what you make with it. I love to make creamy pastas with lots of cheese and then throw in some chicken or shrimp or whatever else I have on hand. This is one of my favorites and it's always a huge hit when friends come to dinner. Serve it with a nice tossed salad and some crusty home baked bread. That's what I call a meal!

Penne with Grilled Chicken

(8-oz.) package penne pasta
1 package Tyson Grilled chicken strips
small onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup half-and-half or milk...
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup (4 oz.) shredded Provolone cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup (8 oz.) shredded Gruyere cheese, divided (or Swiss)
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saut√© onions and garlic until just tender. Whisk in flour, whisking constantly for about a minute.; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in cream while whisking constantly. Continue stirring for about 3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in Parmesan cheese and half the mozzarella and half the Gruyere cheese until melted. Add in peas and salt and pepper to taste.

Add pasta and chicken and pour into a lightly greased baking dish (I used a 11 x 7). Top with remaining Gruyere and mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is hot and bubbly.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


























Photographs are copyrighted and the property of Welcome Home.

She Would Have Loved My Garden

She Would Have Loved My Garden

My Mom moved to heaven 12 years ago and there are days that I still cry deeply over missing her so much. I need her in my life and never imagined my life without her. Often times my mind wanders off to a diff
erent time. A time when I still had her with me to share my life. We were inseparable and I am told that our love for each other was unusual...almost too deep and too perfect. While I have no idea what that means, I do know that I loved her beyond measure and she felt the same way.

I miss her most when I am in the kitchen making one of the recipes from the little cards in her old collection of favorites and reading the little love notes that she knew I would read someday when she had moved on to her new home. I miss her when I try to step in and cover for her on those special occasions like my Dad's birthday party or a some special occasion for my brother. I know I can never be her. But I do the best I can to bake that cake or cook that meal that always makes him cry.

I miss her most when I am in the garden. After she moved to Heaven I brought her old bird bath to my garden and some of her favorite flowers and I created a special garden in her memory. And it is the prettiest garden you've ever seen. The flowers are vibrant and colorful and there is so much activity there. Butterflies, birds, lady bugs and some of God's tiniest creations gather there to share her memory with me.

She would have loved my garden ....she would have stood there in silence looking at every single flower, studying every petal, stem, and leaf. She would have taken big breaths and let out deep sighs at the miraculous wonders of God's work all around her. She would have looked up at the Heavens and silently praised God for his beautiful work. And she would have taken my hand and squeezed it tight to let me know she was so grateful that she taught me the gift of gardening.

She is in her own garden now. A garden so magnificent that words cannot describe the beauty. She sees far more flowers and far more colors and she now talks to God up close and personal. And I know she is watching me walk alone in my garden now and she sends these thoughts to me to let me know...."she would have loved my garden."

I want to share that garden with you my friends. I will post some photos in honor of her memory here at Welcome Home. Like this small patch of African Daisies that are supposed to an annual that blooms only one time each year during summer. However, this is a patch that came up on their own this year. I did not plant them. They were one of her favorites.

The Lilac Bush

The Lilac Bush

When I was about 7 years old, I remember my Mom chatting with a neighbor over the fence about a bush she was admiring in her yard. The neighbor handed my Mother a tiny stem from the base of that bush and wished her luck.

My Mom was so thrilled and told me that the stem was from a Lilac bush, her Mother's favorite of all flowering bushes and that we had to run and find the perfect place for it. So, we got our garden gloves and our diggers and we went to a spot in the front yard where she imagined seeing it one day when she sat on her front porch swing.

We dug the hole carefully and put in the seedling and she carefully put some rocks all around it to protect it from weeds growing close and from my Dad cutting it down with the lawn mower. Then she stood back to admire that little stick in the ground. She said it would be something that we could watch grow together and it would symbolize our love for one another. And it rooted and it began to grow.

And so began the love affair between my Mom and the Lilac Bush. It was slow growing and she tended to it daily. I can remember how excited she was to see the first flower and she cut it and put it on the kitchen table to admire. As years went by, the bush got bigger and she would go out and cut it's sweet, fragrant flowers and make an entire arrangement that would make the house smell so beautiful. She would sit out on her front porch swing and stare at that Lilac bush with such love that you could actually feel it.

But It continued to grow. And grow. And grow. That Lilac got to be 20 feet tall and my Dad's biggest nemesis. Many times I would watch him get slapped with branches as he tried to mow the grass around it. He hated that bush and he would come in with scratches and welts where it looked like it had literally attacked him. He was having his own little affair with it and I can assure you it wasn't one of affection. He would threaten to cut it down every time he mowed the grass. My Mom would stand her ground and dare him to touch it. So there were some heated arguments over the Lilac Bush.

Over the next 10 years, it continued to grow to a point where you could not see above it or around it. It was huge and out of place. It had even invaded the neighbors yard and the bottom of the overgrown bush had become scraggly and unsightly with only sticks and branches. But the top half was just abundant with beautiful flowers and the fragrance filled the air to the point of taking your breath away when you first came in the yard. It was beautiful and she loved that bush and the memories of us planting it and what it stood for. We spent many days sitting on that front porch swing admiring the Lilac Bush. All the while my Dad continued to hate it and fight with it and swear that one day it would come down.

Another 10 years or so passed and I went over to visit my Mom one morning. I pulled up to the house and saw her crying on the front porch. Not just teary eyed and shedding a few tears. She had her face in her hands and was sobbing uncontrollably. I had never seen my Mother so heartbroken. I tried to console her but nothing helped. She could only point in the direction of her beloved Lilac bush.

He had finally done it. My Dad, in a fit of anger while mowing the lawn and getting slapped one too many times, took a chainsaw and cut it down all the way to the ground. To him it was just a bush and an eyesore that my Mother was being unreasonable about. I was furious that he could hurt her that way and confronted him head on.

He was in the house, with his head down and with tears in his eyes he tried to explain his wrong doing. He just saw it as a bush and thought she might get a little angry with him, but then she would get over it. He never in a million years thought he would break her heart and it was killing him that he had made her cry. He was sorry he had done what he's done and feared she would never forgive him.

Time went on and she did get over it and he was forgiven. The place where that symbol of my Mother's love for me stood was now bare and the wonderful fragrance was gone. But life goes on. It really does...because you see, the following Spring, that bush came back. And it came back with a fury. That spring it was 5 foot tall with beautiful leaves and flowers twice the size. The fragrance of Lilacs was back too and my Mother was convinced that it was a symbol of her love for me and that no matter what, it would never die. Many times, when I would come to visit, we would sit on that front porch swing and laugh about how that old bush probably needed some trimming anyway!

Four years later my Mom moved to heaven. It was in March just before the Lilacs bloomed, so she never got to see how much her beautiful 15 foot Lilac bush had grown and how even more lush and fragrant it was that year.

Well, I take that back. I'm sure she is watching from above each spring when my Dad goes out every morning with tears in his eyes and cuts those flowers. I know she watches as he carries them to the cemetery and painstakingly arranges them on her grave. I am certain she is watching.

It has now become a ritual. Every spring when that bush is in full bloom he takes those fresh Lilac flowers to her daily. He kneels at the grave and cries as he tells her how sorry he was for breaking her heart that day and isn't sure she ever really forgave him. I went with him once and I thought my heart would break as he asked her forgiveness for the one time in their sixty years together that he broke her heart.

This morning I went to visit my Mom and there were Lilacs on her grave. And just like old times, I'm sure we were sharing them together. Her love for me has never died and my love for her has grown even stronger.

~Marty

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Swiss Marinated Mushroom Burgers



























I love burgers. I especially love mushroom Swiss burgers and while preparing them for my last cookout I created a great new recipe. You see, I also like to serve these little Cara Mia Marinated Mushrooms as an appetizer and my friends and family eat them up as fast as I can put them out! So I added them to my ground beef mixture and Oh My Goodness they were awesome! Filled with rich creamy cheese and mushrooms and just the right zesty little kick that made them a huge success! 

Swiss Marinated Mushroom Burgers

1 cup Cara Mia Marinated Mushrooms, chopped
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 pound ground Chuck or Sirloin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
4 burger rolls

Add chopped mushrooms in a small bowl and add shredded Swiss cheese and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix ground chuck or sirloin with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Divide the meat into 4 sections then roll into 8 balls and form them into thin patties. Lay 4 of the patties on a lined baking sheet, scoop 1/4 of the mushroom cheese mixture into the center of each patty, top with another patty and pinch the sides to seal the mixture inside. Make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.

Grilling: Heat a gas grill to high or heat coals in a charcoal grill until they glow bright orange and ash over. Brush the burgers with a little olive oil and then grill the burgers for about 3 minutes. Flip over the burgers and grill for about 3-4 minutes on other side for medium rare. Do not flatten burgers while grilling.

Pan frying in cast iron or heavy skillet: Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to 12 inch cast iron skillet. Sear burgers over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare.

NOTE: Top each burger with a slice of Swiss cheese if desired and cover with a sheet of aluminum foil to help melt the cheese before putting the burgers on buns. Then top with your favorite toppings.































Photographs are owned and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home 2014


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!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I WRITE COOKBOOKS

I write cookbooks. I develop every recipe and test them over and over again until I get them right. I prepare the dish, design the food on the plate, and take all my own photographs for my books. I self publish in e-book format so that readers can have all the recipes to save on their computers and print out when they need them....AND on their phones and tablets to take with them to the store to buy the ingredients. I also publish beautiful full color print cook books in both soft cover and hardback for those of who collect cookbooks.

Each book takes me months to finish. I spend long hours, sometimes way into the middle of the night, getting them ready for Blurb.com and iTunes. There are many nights that I am completely exhausted from doing this work.

So why do I do it? If you are new to Welcome Home you should know......
_________________________________________

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. I am dedicated to raising money to save these lives and I will never let up. Over 6 million dogs and cats are killed unnecessarily each year in this country and I know we can make a difference. We can be the voice for these precious souls that cannot speak. We can stand up for animal rights and bring change.

Will you help me? My books are on sale this weekend for only $9.99 per ebook and there is a 15% off sale on print books when you use the discount code PRINTBOOKS15% .... You can preview each book on the right side of the margin here at Welcome Home and purchase from there as well.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mom's Peaches and Cream Pie

























I've been trying to re-create my Mom's Peaches and Cream pie for years. It is one of the best pies you've ever tasted with sweet peaches nestled in a creamy vanilla custard, cradled in a rich, buttery, and flaky crust.  I can get the pie crust right and the rich vanilla custard tastes just like my Mom's.  The problem is I just can't seem to turn out a pretty pie like she did. Her pie was absolutely beautiful every time she made it. Even so, it is so delicious and still one of my favorite of all the pies she ever made.

Mom's Peaches and Cream Pie


Basic Pie Crust

1-1/2 cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes. On a floured surface roll the dough, starting at the center and working your way out. (Sprinkle some flour over top of the dough if it’s a bit too moist.) If the dough is sticking to the counter top use a metal spatula and carefully scrape it up and flip it over and continue rolling until it’s about ½ inch larger in diameter than your pie pan.

With a spatula, lift the dough carefully from the surface of the counter into the pie pan. Gently press the dough against the corner of the pan. Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.


























Filling

8 large ripe but firm peaches
2 tablespoons of sugar for peaches
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Peel peaches with a vegetable peeler using the serrated edge. Slice peaches in half horizontally and remove the pit. Place them face side up and sprinkle sugar on the top of each one. Use more sugar if needed. Bake in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes and then flip peaches over. Continue to bake on other side.

While peaches are baking for the first 15 minutes, prepare your pie crust or use a frozen deep dish refrigerated pie crust. Cut a circle of parchment paper to cover bottom and add pie weights on top. I use beans to weight down my pie crusts. Bake pie crust in oven at the same time you are ready to flip the peaches over and bake on the second side for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and lift the parchment paper with pie weights from the crust. Cut peaches in half and place in a circle all around the outside of the crust and in the middle. Turn down the oven to only 325 degrees while you make the custard.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar, flour, salt, cream, vanilla and egg yolks mix with wooden spoon or whisk until smooth. Pour custard all over the peaches. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes or until custard is set. Cool completely before slicing. 



























Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Capers over Tagliatelle Pasta

























I created  this recipe  a few days ago and it turned out even better than I imagined.  I wanted to create a new dish using fresh shrimp and pasta but it needed too be and not  so heavy and rich with cream sauce as most are. I wanted a light dish with all the fresh flavors of summer.  So I added lime and cilantro and it was good! But it needed something...some  oomph...some pizzazz...something that would add some sharpness too my new savory dish.  I decided to add some capers and that was the  perfect touch!.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Capers over Tagliatelle Pasta

1 pound medium-size (30 count) raw shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
1 tablespoon STAR Fine Foods Butter Flavored Olive Oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon or a pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice from one line
2 teaspoons Star Fine Food Capers
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 16 oz package of Tagliatelle or Linguine style pasta

























Prepare pasta as directed. Drain well and toss with a tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Saute the shrimp in hot oil until just pink and add salt and pepper. Do not overcook.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Reduce the heat slightly and add the minced garlic to the same skillet. Cook the garlic for about 30 seconds until transparent and then add the lime juice. Add red pepper flakes if using and cook for about a minute. Remove skillet from heat.

Next add the cilantro and butter to the skillet and stir until it’s melted. Add the shrimp back into the skillet with the capers and toss to coat.  Add pasta and toss well. Serve warm or  chilled.

























Photographs are owned and copyrighted by ©Welcome Home.

Star Fine Food Capers can be purchased at the following locations:  



Costco, Stater Brothers Markets, Smart & Final, Bashas, Albertsons (So. Cal) and 

online at: http://bit.ly/STARcapers.


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!

EVELYN: THE LIFE OF A TOMATO


My First tomato sandwich of the season. A fresh red, ripe, juicy tomato from my garden. Then some fresh white bread...so soft it leaves your thumbprints when you pick it up to bite it! A good slathering of Hellman's or Dukes Mayonnaise. A little salt and pepper...and you have the best food on the planet! I broke a new record today! I ate this one in 30 seconds!



It all started out with a tomato on a vine. My very first tomato of 2014. I pampered her, fed her, dusted her off when she got dirty. I stood by her through the wind and the rain. She was my first of the season and I talked to her every day. I even named her Evelyn. 












Isn't she lovely?  Isn't she 

wonderful?  


I went outside and plucked Evelyn from the vine and brought her inside to take a picture just for you my friends!




Then I sliced her up. 


Big beautiful juicy slices of 



juicy ripe tomato!  

Somebody go get the white bread and mayo!




I mean really. Is there anything better? A big ripe juicy tomato picked fresh from the garden and sliced just thick enough to make the perfect sandwich on two slices of fresh soft white bread, slathered with Hellman's or Dukes and then sprinkled with a little salt and pepper?  

Nope!  Nothing better!  Best food on the planet!


Oh My Goodness!  My first bite of my first tomato sandwich made from my first ripe tomato that came from my garden in 2014. Evelyn is a winner!  Sweet and juicy and I enjoyed every succulent bite!  Let's have a moment of silence!
LOL!