Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chocolate Rum Balls

Rum balls are not only delicious, they can make a great gift for family and friends. Wrap them in clear bags, put them in jars or tins or boxes tied with a ribbon and they become a delightful surprise.  I put them in mini papers and then in a small box with a bright red ribbon at Christmas and they are always a hit. They are so easy to make and you don't need an oven for these no bake goodies! 
Chocolate Rum Balls
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans 
1 1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup rum

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 oz melted white chocolate
In a large bowl, mix together nuts, cookies, sugar and cocoa. Add in corn syrup and rum and mix until everything sticks together. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.  Once chilled, make 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Place 4 ounces of chocolate and 2 tablespoons of butter in a heat proof bowl. Over a pot of simmering water, stir until melted. Pour into shallow bowl and dip balls into chocolate. Place back on cookie sheet. Then, they go back into the refrigerator until chocolate is set. 
Once they are set I like to melt some milk chocolate and drizzle over some of the balls and some white chocolate on the others.  But you can also roll the balls in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, coconut, chocolate jimmies, etc.

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

Cranberry Orange Chutney over Warm Baked Brie

When it comes to making  holiday appetizers, everyone needs just one very reliable  crowd pleaser.  Here is a pretty and easy appetizer that will be on your favorite list for every holiday get together. I mean, who wouldn't love warm cheese topped with a wonderful citrus flavored sweet cranberry sauce.  It's warm, sweet, savory and's the perfect holiday appetizer.

Cranberry Orange Chutney over Warm Baked Brie

1 (12 ounce bag) fresh cranberries
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
zest of 1 orange
dash of cinnamon
juice of one orange

Heat water in medium saucepan and add cranberries.  Add orange juice, sugar, cinnamon and orange zest and bring to boil over medium high heat. Cranberries will begin to pop open and sauce will begin to thicken as you stir.  Continue to stir for another 10-15 minutes on low as mixture thickens. 

Remove from heat and into a heat proof bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour. It will become jelly-like as it cools.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Unwrap your wheel of brie and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet or oven proof pie plate. Bake the Brie for about 8-10 minutes until soft and warm. 

Spread the cranberry chutney over top and serve.  You can also add some chopped pecans or walnuts on top if desired.  Serve with crackers or warm bread rounds.

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion and Walnuts

Brussels Sprouts are one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. I happen to fall into the love category.  

I’m not sure why they fall into the hate category…I think mostly because of the way they are prepared. I think boiling or steaming makes them soggy and bitter. But when you oven roast Brussels Sprouts, they become amazing!  Roasting brings out the sweetness in them and changes haters into lovers instantly!  

I like to add a little red onion and some walnuts for a little extra nuttiness and crunch. Then I drizzle them with a little Star Fine Foods Olive Oil with garlic and roast them until they are tender on the inside and the edges of the leaves on the outside become perfectly crispy. This is the perfect recipe for a love/love relationship!

 How to pick out the right sprouts:  Look for hard, bright-green sprout heads and try to choose roughly the same size so they'll cook evenly.  Buy them lose in the produce section and not on the stalk. That way you can pick the ones you like best.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion and Walnuts

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 small red onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup shelled walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small to medium skillet over medium heat, toast your walnuts for 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently so they don’t burn. Set aside.
Clean and trim Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Slice your onions and chop your walnuts.

In a large bowl, combine sprouts, onion, salt and pepper. Add Star Fine Foods Olive Oil with Garlic and toss to coat well. 

Spread on sprouts and onions on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are tender and caramelized.

Remove from baking sheet and add the walnuts and toss well. Drizzle with more olive oil with garlic if desired. Serve immediately.

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

STAR Garlic Infused Olive Oil is available at Raley's and Save Mart stores and online at:

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Doggie Salmon And Rice Bites

I love  Dr. Harvey's Fine Ground Veg To Bowl.  This mix of healthy vegetables and herbs is wonderful for those of you who want to start feeding your fur babies a delicious healthy diet. I can't say enough good things about it's affordable, it's convenient to use and so easy to make, and it's so healthy for your babies! 

You simply scoop it out and add a little hot water and your favorite oil.  You can use olive oil, canola oil...I use Omega 3 fish oil and a Vitamin B complex oil that blends in perfectly and makes it even healthier. 

Then simply add your meat. You can use beef, turkey, chicken, salmon or any other fish.  Sometimes I buy cube steaks or I often use ground beef.  I also use turkey cutlets or tenderloins or I buy ground turkey. You can make it anyway you like and then just add it to your mix. Sometimes I add some chopped apples or pears or blueberries. You can make it as delicious and healthy as you want.

Lately I have been using Dr. Harvey's fine ground Veg to Bowl to develop my own homemade recipes for my fur babies. Here's one I want to share you with you today....

Doggie Salmon And Rice Bites 

1 1/2 cups brown or white rice
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups fresh cooked salmon 
1 scoop of Dr. Harvey's Fine Ground Veg-To-Bowl 
1 scoop of water for mixing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook rice and set aside to cool. Microwave sweet potato until very soft. Split and mash with unsalted melted butter until smooth. Set aside to cool. 

In a skillet melt olive oil over medium high heat and then sear the salmon on one side until lightly browned. Flip salmon over and sear on the other side and allow it to cook for about 2 minutes longer. Begin breaking up salmon with a fork into small pieces and stir while cooking. Reduce heat to medium. You want the salmon under cooked and still pink in the middle. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

Add one scoop of Dr. Harvey's pre-mix to bowl. Add just enough water to moisten. Stir and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. 

Add salmon, rice, and pre-mix to a large bowl and using hands mix until all ingredients are well blended. 

Form into small balls and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Serve warm or cold.

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home

You can buy Dr. Harvey's wonderful products online at The Dr. Harvey Store or at and many other online sources.  Or you can visit his site, type in your zip code and find the store nearest  you that carries Dr. Harvey's products. 

Visit Dr. Harvey's blog and Facebook page to read more about their products and how they came to be such a fantastic company! 

Disclaimer:  Dr. Harvey’s provided several products at no cost for me to review. I am not being compensated for helping spread the word about Dr. Harvey’s products, although they did make a donation to my Save A Life program. My goal is to spread the word about Dr. Harvey’s products so that pets can live a better, healthier life.  I received no additional benefits for writing this review and the opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I Am A Pet Lover!

This Is Katie and Cooper. They Own My Heart. 

Okay, so I'm a pet lover.  For those of you who follow my page on Facebook and here at the Welcome Home Blog, you already know that. My babies are my family and I love them more than anything.  I will do whatever it takes to keep them healthy, safe and happy. I don't care what it takes or what lengths I have to go, I want to do whatever it takes to make sure I am doing my part to prolong their lives and keep them happy and healthy. 

 And so today I bring you some exciting news.  But first let me give you a little background....

My Katie, the love of my life.

As all of you know Katie was diagnosed in October with Congestive Heart Disease. Since then I have done weeks and weeks of research on this fatal disease and I am working as hard as I can at keeping her healthy and happy and prolonging her life.  It can be done. Throughout my research I have found thousands of cases where dogs and cats have beaten the odds with the proper medications and a healthy, very low salt or no salt diet.

That’s easier said than done.  Over the last 10 weeks, I have searched everywhere for dog food with little or no salt in it.  And that’s near impossible. You see, pet food companies load their products with salt because salt acts as a mold inhibitor. Doesn’t matter that it is unhealthy for pets and that it can make them sick with kidney, heart and other diseases. It matters that they save money by adding tons of salt to keep the food less perishable. 

But how much salt?
The sad part is that these companies are not required to let you know how much salt they add.  Oh, they will tell you if you call and ask, but they are not required to print it on the labels. And they won't!  So, after calling over 100 pet food manufacturers in my search for food that has little or no salt,  I found only two companies. And each had only one or two canned foods that had less salt. How could that be?  I have never been so frustrated and so alarmed for our pets.  Even those companies out there that say their food is healthy and grain free with no byproducts or chemicals are misleading us.  Besides, these foods are super expensive and my pets are not crazy about either of two I finally found.  I had to do something.

So I decided to make Katie my own low salt or no salt diet.  I set out to buy the proteins she needed. She is allergic to chicken so I had to buy turkey, beef, salmon and other fish. Then I had to pick out the fresh veggies.   I bought fresh carrots, potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and spinach.  And the fruits and berries too…I was determined to get her on a healthy diet fast. 

I found myself each Sunday spending hours chopping, slicing, dicing, roasting, poaching, and preparing the right blend. I would puree and saut√© and mix and combine and taste it to see if I liked it and would eat it myself.  Finally, I would spoon it into individual containers and pray that she would eat whatever concoction I had made that day.  And it was a 50/50 chance that she would even go near it.  Sometimes I got it right, other times I had a complete miss.

And then one day, I went to see a pet nutritionist. She said the first thing I need to do is simplify everything.  Spend more time with my fur baby and not in the kitchen trying to create dog food diets.  She introduced me to a product that promised to make my life so much easier.  

It’s called Dr. Harvey’s Veg to Bowl.  She highly recommended it and said she thought it was the perfect choice for what Katie and I needed.  Not only is it the ultimate choice in a healthy pre-mix for pets, it is loaded with vitamins and supplements that are perfect for Katie right now. 

And she was absolutely right, Dr. Harvey left nothing out as far as all the right blend of nutrients. And he doesn't add salt and unhealthy byproducts or chemicals.  

While my heart was in the right place as I stood in my kitchen doing all that food prep, I couldn’t even come close to making sure she was getting ALL she needed to improve her health.  So I said, let’s give it a go.  I bought the Fine Ground Veg To Bowl and brought it home. 

Dr. Harvey's Veg To Bowl with added Roast Turkey Breast, and Apples

Since then, there has been no more slicing and dicing and chopping. No more long hours in the kitchen and no more guesswork.  I am in and out of the kitchen in no time and watching Katie enjoy her favorite meals without any salt!  I simply add some hot water to a scoop of Veg To Bowl and a little oil. Then I add some turkey, beef, or whatever protein I want her to have and sit back and watch her lick the bowl clean!   I even add some fruit, like apples or pears!

My beautiful Katie... Getting stronger every day!

And Katie is thriving.  She is doing so much better than when she was first diagnosed. Can I say that her improvement is due to her new diet of Veg To Bowl. No, I can't say that with all certainty. But I can tell you that it is far better than her prior diet of high quality dog food that was just full of unnecessary salt.  I can tell you that her Cardiologist is thrilled with her progress and loves that she is on a salt free diet and says this will definitely prolong her life! I can tell you that she is happy and vibrant and has that sparkle in her eyes again. Her energy level has doubled and I see her getting stronger every day. 

Please Note: This is not a prescription diet. It's not a special needs diet for dogs that are ill or need special diets. This is for ALL dogs. It's super healthy and just good food!  It's an incredibly healthy alternative to what's available on the market today. 

I strongly encourage you to consider making your own pet food.  It’s so much better than buying commercial canned and dry foods out there and less expensive too.  You know what your fur babies are eating when you prepare it yourself.  And with Dr. Harvey's you know it’s super healthy!  And with this Veg To Bowl pre-mix, it's easier than ever! 

Just look at this list of ingredients in the Fine Ground Veg To Bowl:
Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Potatoes, Broccoli, Peas, Green Beans, Zucchini, Beets, Parsley, Dried Yeast, Lecithin, Alfalfa, Dried Kelp, Ground Flaxseed, Calcium Citrate, Dried Ground Fenugreek, Dried Ground Fennel, Dried Ground Ginger, Dried Ground Peppermint, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.  And NO SALT!  

Okay, so now for the Big News:

You all know that I will not even talk about a product unless I love it myself. Unlike some bloggers, I will not endorse, represent or add my name or the name Welcome Home to any product unless I am completely sold on it myself. My standards are very high and so you will rarely see me promote much around here.  But I love this stuff!  I love that Katie and Cooper and even my cat Squeak loves it too! 

My homemade Salmon and Rice Meatballs made with Dr. Harvey's Veg To Bowl! 

Being a recipe developer, I have now gone on to create some delicious homemade recipes for my babies!  Katie loves my Turkey Casserole. My cat Squeak loves my Salmon and Rice Meatballs. And my other furbaby Cooper loves it all...but his favorite is my Beef and Orzo Bake! All made with Dr. Harvey's Veg to Bowl! 

I was so enthusiastic about this product, that I decided to write to Dr. Harvey's. I wanted to tell them about my difficult challenge to find the answers and how their product has made my life easier. They were as excited as I was and after talking with them, I knew instantly that I had found a company that truly cares about our pets. We shared a common bond and just this week they asked if I would like to be an Ambassador for their company and share their products with my fans.

My answer was an instant YES!  Not only because I believe in their products, but because I love my fans and their pets!  So, starting today, I am an Ambassador for Dr. Harvey's products.  And I am so excited!  I am excited to introduce you to their other foods too.  Like Miracle Dog food, a holistic blend of organic grains and vegetables.  And Oracle, the perfect freeze dried pre-mix for dogs and cats that contain no salt, sugar, wheat or soy! 

I love Dr. Harvey's products. I highly recommend them. It's an easy way to make your own homemade pet foods at home and know that you are including all the nutrients they need. As I said earlier, I have been creating my own recipes with Dr. Harvey's pre-mixes and I can't wait to share them with you! They will be coming here to the Welcome Home Blog soon.

In the meantime, visit Dr. Harvey's blog and Facebook page to read more about their products and how they came to be such a fantastic company! 

Disclaimer:  Dr. Harvey’s provided several products at no cost for me to review. I am not being compensated for helping spread the word about Dr. Harvey’s products, although they did make a donation to my Save A Life program. My goal is to spread the word about Dr. Harvey’s products so that pets can live a better, healthier life.  I received no additional benefits for writing this review and the opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business.