Thursday, May 30, 2013

♥ Homemade Crescent Rolls

I have a weakness for homemade bread....especially just out of the oven! I love to make rolls and slather them with butter while they're still about you? And there's that added bonus of the smell of bread baking in the oven. Here are some homemade crescent rolls just for you....

Homemade Crescent Rolls

 2 packets active dry yeast or 4-1/2 teaspoons
2 cups of warm water
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
6 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup mashed potato flakes or cooked potato
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons salt
6-6 1/2 cups of flour
¼ cup butter, softened

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water with a tablespoon of sugar for about 10 minutes until foamy. Add the butter, rest of the sugar, potato flakes, dry milk powder, eggs, salt and 3 cups of flour, knead until smooth using the dough attachment of your mixer. Stir in enough remaining flour ½ cup at a time to form a firm dough but still pliable.

Form into a ball, put in a greased bowl, lightly cover with kitchen towel, set aside in a warm place until double in size about 2 hrs. When dough it ready, deflate the dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll out each round into two 12-inch circles and cut each circle into 16 wedges (I used pizza wheel to cut this). Brush with softened butter. Roll up wedges, starting at widest end first, to form a crescent shapes.

Place in lightly greased baking sheets with points underneath. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

NOTE: If you don't have a stand mixer, you can mix by hand if necessary or use a bread maker. If you choose to use a bread maker, use the instant yeast.

Photo and recipe copyrights ©Welcome Home
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Bowl Of Beauty Peony

This Peony is quite dramatic. It called the "pink bowl of beauty" and it's the first to bloom in spring and the last to die out in the fall. It is just strikingly beautiful and I am fortunate enough to have a garden full of them!
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

♥ Triple Layer Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rainy days

Good morning friends. It is a another rainy day here in Maryland. A day to sit back and watch God water my flowers. Saves me a lot of time and work trying to get them all!

Rainy days serve another purpose for me...they slow me down and ...force me to take life just a little slower. Seems I'm always on the go or involved in far too many projects at once, and I rarely take the time to relax and reflect like I should. This morning I went outside and stood for a moment watching the rain. I thought about all my friends here at Welcome Home that I have never met in person, and yet there are so many of you that I feel I've known all my life.

My Mom once told me that in life there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you and some will teach you. Some will love you and some will use you. But the ones who bring out the best in you are the most important. They are the rare and amazing people who remind you why it's all worth it.

Have a good day my friends, take some time to do some soul searching today and to reflect on things that really matter. 
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My Mom's Rose Bush

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

♥ Southern Peach Bread with Vanilla Glaze

I got up early this morning to make this for you. This was one of my my Mom's favorite breads to make when we were little. I can remember her being so excited to find fresh ripe peaches at a local produce stand and coming right home to make... it. She would take it out of the oven slice it thick and while it was still warm, she would put just a little honey butter on top. It was out of this world good. I am so blessed to have had a Mom who taught me so much. Here is my glazed version of that same recipe.

Southern Peach Bread with Vanilla Glaze

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2~3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1~1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups sliced fresh peaches (you can use frozen or canned)
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In a large mixing bow, cream the butter and gradually add the sugar, mixing well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in orange juice concentrate and vanilla. Next chop the peaches to whatever size chunks you like. Then with a spoon, fold in the peaches and pecans.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and allow to cool completely before glazing.

Vanilla Glaze

4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract

To prepare glaze combine the powdered sugar, vanilla, and butter. Slowly add milk, stirring until smooth. Extra milk can be added if you like your glaze thinner.

Photo and recipe ©Welcome Home
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It was her favorite flower....

It was her favorite flower....

This is a picture of the Cosmos, my Mom's favorite flower...which says a lot in her garden filled with so many other beautiful flowers. I never knew why she loved this one so much, when she had so many other...s that were far more beautiful and more fragrant. And then one day she told me why.

She said the word Cosmos in Greek is translated as, beautiful and ornamental. The Greeks called it the "love flower." It is the flower of October. The month that I was born. They believed this flower illustrated one's deepest feelings of love, and when it was handed to someone it meant, "walk with me hand in hand for the rest of our days and share this beautiful life."

In the spring and summer when the Cosmos were in bloom, my Mom would go to her garden and pick the most beautiful pink Cosmos she could find and put it by my bedside so that it was the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning. And when I was older I understood.

My garden is full of them now, in every color. I always cut them fresh when I honor her memory at the cemetery. I am certain that she looks down and smiles.

How to Grow Cosmos

Cosmos are annuals that need to be planted by seed or by small plants each spring. One of the easiest to plant seeds in the world are Cosmos seeds. They will reseed themselves and come up again the following year in places where winters are mild. They usually grow to about 18 inches tall, but I have some that grow as high as 4 feet. The secret is to remove the dead flowers as often as you can so that they will continue to bloom through October or until the first frost. Do not over fertilize or over water, as this reduces the flower production. These plants are tolerant to drought, but make sure you water them during a long dry spell.

Photo: From my garden Spring, 2013
©Welcome Home owns all copyrights
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

♥ Stars and Stripes Cake

Stars and Stripes Cake

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy or Whipped vanilla frosting
1/3 cup fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh strawberries

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Make and cool cake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan.  Frost with frosting. Arrange berries on frosted cake to make flag design. Serve immediately.
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♥ Strawberry Trifle

Strawberry Trifle

3 lbs. strawberries
2 packages JELL-O vanilla pudding (3-4 cups)
4 cups cold milk
4 cups Fresh Whipped Cream
2 (11.5 oz) Entenmann’s All Butter Loaf Cake

Make the pudding first according to package directions
Wash and chop the strawberries into small bite size pieces.
Once the pudding has set, remove it from the fridge and add in 1 cup whipped cream – blend well. If you want to decorate the bowl with large slices, put those aside as you’re chopping and use the largest strawberries for those slices

Add in the chopped strawberries 1 cup at a time until you’ve reached the desired blend of pudding to berries. Slice your pound cake into 1/2″ slices. Using a large glass trifle bowl, put down a layer of pound cake.

Next, if you’re decorating with strawberry slices, line those up against the glass sides of the bowl. Spoon in an even layer of the pudding mixture. Top that with a layer fresh whipped cream (use about 1 1/2 cups). Repeat these layers until you’ve reached the top.

NOTE: Keep in mind that you cannot make this too far in advance because the longer it sits, the soggier it will get. Assemble the trifle the day you plan on eating it, but prep the pudding and berries ahead of time to speed up the process.

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♥ Slow Roasted Beef Ribs (or Short Ribs)

This simple recipe for beef short ribs or regular beef ribs will make you wonder why you ever eat Baby Backs! The succulent fall off the bone beef on these ribs is to die for. I do not put these on the grill. Instead I slow cook them all in the oven until they are fork tender.

Slow Roasted Beef Ribs (or Short Ribs)

1 slab of Beef Ribs
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory and Brown Sugar Barbecue sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 ounce) box of beef broth or beef stock.
3 cloves of finely minced garlic

Lay ribs out flat and rub both sides generously with salt and pepper and minced garlic. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put a rack inside a shallow roasting pan to keep the ribs off the bottom of the pan. Lay ribs across rack and fill pan with beef broth under the ribs making sure the ribs are not touching the broth.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes in a hot oven. Turn the temperature down to 300 degrees and allow ribs to cook slowly for at least 4-6 hours until the meat begins to fall off the bone.

Remove from oven and carefully remove foil so that steam escapes. Brush ribs generously with Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory and Brown Sugar Barbecue sauce. Return to the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Carefully use tongs to lift ribs in one piece and place on platter.

Recipe: Welcome Home

Photograph by: Kevin Hill, Surrey NOW
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♥ Three Step Barbecue Chicken

Three Step Barbecue Chicken

Chicken Marinade

2 cut up chickens or use chicken parts that you like best. Leave the skin for crispy barbecue chicken.
1 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 cove garlic – Minced
1 teaspoon fresh oregano – Chopped

Mix all of the ingredients in a plastic zip top bag until well blended. Add the chicken and refrigerate over night. I prefer to use bone in skin on chicken pieces because they tend to hold the moisture in better when grilling.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees 15 minutes prior to putting in chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off excess liquid. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Lay chicken on rack in a deep roasting pan. Brush chicken with Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce. Fill bottom of pan with water under the rack but not touching chicken. Cover entire pan tightly with heavy foil and place on middle rack in oven. Turn down oven heat to 300 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Now you're all set to lay the chicken breasts evenly over the grill. Brush the chicken again with Sweet Baby Rays at the beginning and again halfway through the grilling process.
For a boneless chicken breast, you will want to cook each side for about 5 minutes, for a total of 10-12 minutes or until the juices are running clear. You’re looking for a happy point where the meat is cooked, but not dried out – this will require a lot of attention. Make sure the outside of the chicken is golden but not darkening, as that will give it a burnt taste. When pressed with the back of a spoon, the breast should give in and be soft. If hard, it probably overcooked.

After removing the cooked chicken breasts from the grill, it is good to make sure it’s been properly done. Slice it open in the center to check if it’s white; if pink you will want to put it back in the grill or an oven to finish cooking.

Recipe Welcome Home
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Glaze

Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Glaze

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups fresh strawberries, diced and lightly coated with flour

Vanilla Glaze:

1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch tube pan or a square or round cake pan. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the oil, sugar and eggs until light and thick, about 3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, beating after each addition until smooth. Fold in the strawberries. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

In the top of a double boiler, over barely simmering water, combine the sugar, cream and vanilla. Stir until the ingredients are well blended, about 2 minutes. Pour into a glass measuring cup and cover until ready to use. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze decoratively over the cake. Allow the glaze to set for 1 hour before slicing and serving the cake.

Photo and recipe copyrights ©Welcome Home
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Ham and Egg Baskets

Ham and Egg Baskets

1 large tomato, cut into 6 thin slices
6 large eggs
6 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
12 slices Hormel® Natural Choice® Honey Deli Ham
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place oven rack in upper third of oven. Heat oven to 450ºF. Lightly coat 6 (6- to 8-ounce) custard cups or muffin cups with cooking spray.

Place tomato slices on paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Gently press tomatoes to soak up excess juice. Gently press 2 slices ham into each custard cup, overlapping to fit. Place 1 slice tomato over ham, cutting to fit; top with 1 egg. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each egg with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Bake ham baskets 10 to 15 minutes or until eggs are desired doneness. Gently remove ham baskets from custard cups. Place on warm serving platter; sprinkle with chives.
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Shake The Hand of a Veteran

Yes I know it is Memorial Day weekend and not Veterans day. But let's remember all those that have defended our country while we still can. Walk up to a veteran this weekend and shake their hand. Ask them when they served and let them know how much their sacrifice means to you. Watch for the glow in their eyes and the smile that follows, as they stand proud and tell their story.
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Southern Berry Cobbler

This is from my Mom's old recipe box. One of the first recipes listed under her favorites. I want to share it with you today.

Southern Berry Cobbler

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose Flour
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter in the oven while it is preheating. Once the butter is melted, remove the skillet from the oven.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk the buttermilk into the flour mixture.
Pour the batter over the melted butter in the hot skillet. Sprinkle the berries evenly over the batter. Bake for 50 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature...and don't forget the vanilla ice cream!

Photo and recipe copyrights ©Welcome Home

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Remembering The Fallen

As we move about our day preparing for memorial day activities this weekend. Let's stop for a few minutes and remember what this holiday is all about. We are honoring those men and women and K-9's who gave their lives for our freedom. We salute them and respect them and will never forget the sacrifice they made for us. I will be posting in honor those that have fallen throughout the weekend.
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Homemade Butter

Why buy Butter when you can make it yourself in just minutes? I started making my own butter about a year ago when I discovered how easy it is to make.

Homemade Butter

16 ounces of heavy cream, chilled
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pour cream and salt into bowl of stand mixer and mix on high speed. You can use a regular hand mixer too but make sure you use a large deep bowl as this will splash. In essence, you'll be making whipped cream...but you will continue to go beyond that stage. It will take about 5 minutes of high speed mixing to reach that stage.

First you will see fresh white whipped cream, but keep mixing and it will start to change to a pale yellow and look like scrambled eggs. Keep beating a few more seconds. You'll notice liquid start to separate from the butter. This is actually fresh buttermilk and can be saved for future use. I usually pour mine in a jar and use it for homemade buttermilk pancakes.

Next set a mesh strainer over a deep bowl. Pour all the contents of the mixer into the strainer and let the buttermilk drain through to save. Simply set a mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the contents of the mixer into the strainer and let the buttermilk drain through. Make sure the butter that you have made is not touching the liquid.

Now with clean hands, knead and squeeze the butter to force out any remaining buttermilk. Knead until the texture is dense and creamy, about 5 minutes. Strain the excess liquid into the buttermilk in the bowl below the strainer.
This step is important so your butter will stay fresh longer.

Refrigerate the butter milk and place the butter into a container. A bowl or square mold will do. Press it down firmly with a large spoon or spatula. This may cause more liquid to come out of the butter. Drain the liquid before storing. You can eat the butter now. It has a fresh light taste.

Cool in the refrigerator. The butter will be immediately ready to use, but as with any dairy product, it needs to be refrigerated when not in use. Store in covered container in the fridge - butter will keep for about 5 days or so

Photo credit:
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Blueberry Lemon Streusel Coffee Cake

I love this little recipe. As a matter of fact I have just taken my cake out of the oven and can't wait to have a slice with a fresh cup of coffee.

Blueberry Lemon Streusel Coffee Cake

Crumb topping

1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, cubed, at room temperature

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add the butter, using a fork or your fingers to cut in the butter until it is reduced to the size of peas. Loosely cover the bowl, and place it in the freezer while you mix the cake batter.


6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided
Crumb topping, chilled
Juice of 2 lemons (about 6 tablespoons)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.

In the bowl, using a mixer, cream together the butter, three-fourths cup sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir the flour mixture into the bowl, a third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk, until both the flour mixture and buttermilk are evenly incorporated into the batter. Gently fold 1 cup of the blueberries into the batter.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and distribute the remaining blueberries evenly over the top of the batter. Remove the crumb topping from the freezer and sprinkle it over the berries. Bake the cake until it is lightly golden and firm on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through for even baking.

Lemon Glaze

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining one-third cup sugar with the lemon juice and whisk until blended. Heat the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens to a syrupy consistency, 6 to 8 minutes. (The glaze will bubble while cooking and may need to be removed from the heat to check that it is the proper consistency.) Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.

Remove the cake from the oven and drizzle the warm glaze over. Cool to room temperature. The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, covered in plastic wrap.

Photo and recipe ©Welcome Home
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1/4 cup all-purpose flour for coating
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves minced garlic
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded 1/4 inch thick
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup Marsala wine (or use extra 1/2 cup chicken broth)
½ cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

In shallow bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper, dried thyme and Italian seasoning. Dredge both sides of chicken pieces in flour mixture.

In a large skillet, melt butter in oil over medium heat. Place chicken in the pan, and lightly brown on both sides. Remove from pan. Add minced garlic and mushrooms to the pan and cook for about two minutes.

Pour in wine and de-glaze the pan. Let the wine reduce a little bit then add chicken broth and cream, stir and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add chicken back to the pan, cook until chicken is done. Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli on the side.

Photo and recipe copyrights ©Welcome Home
Photography Ramela Jimenez
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Daddy's Girl

Daddy's Girl

He is there to spill tears of happiness when his eyes look upon his baby daughter for the first time. He is there with arms to catch her when she takes her first steps or stumbles. He is there to teach her at the youngest age..., even though she might not understand half of it.

He is there to help her color inside the lines, make her grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and tie her shoes when Mom's not around. He is there to hug her and kiss her on her first day of school. He is there to teach her how to ride her first bike and drive her first car.

He is there to approve, disapprove, accept and forgive. He is there to give her a big bunch of flowers when she graduates from school, and to smile when her name is called and feel so proud. He is there to embrace her and kiss her before she goes to live far away to learn new things. He is there to walk her down the aisle with tears in his eyes as he wonders how his little girl grew up so fast.

He is there to watch her grow as the lines on his face deepen. He is there to welcome her home for visits with arms stretched wide to give her a hug. He is there with open arms and an empty lap to listen to life's problems and stroke her hair to tell her it will all be okay.

And she remembers this loving man from her childhood with big strong hands that were as gentle as a whisper. She remembers how he was always there to protect her and make her feel safe. She remembers how smart he has always been and how much she has learned from him. She remembers his kind eyes and how they would tear when he looked at her sometimes. She remembers his wide smile and his big laugh that always made her feel happy.

But most of all, she remembers how much he has always been there to love her and how she has always been there to love him back.
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The first picture of my Clematis are in full bloom and have wrapped themselves completely around my banister leading up to my back deck. I love this flower! I will be bringing you more glorious photos of God's work soon....stay tuned!
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coconut Cream Lemon Cookies

A light lemony cookie filled with wonderful creamy butter cream frosting and coconut! Yum!

Coconut Cream Lemon Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
 (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
zest of 3 lemons
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and kosher salt. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and lemon juice and beat until well-combined, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Gradually add dry ingredients and beat on low or stir with spatula until just combined. Press plastic wrap over dough in bowl, cover bowl with another piece of wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place about 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a bowl or plate. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in sugar. Place balls on cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake large cookies for 10 to 11 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking time.

Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then place cookies on wire rack to cool completely. When cookies are completely cool, place a spoonful of coconut cream (recipe below) on the bottom/flat side of one cookie and top with the flat side of a similar-sized lemon cookie. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

White Chocolate Filling with Coconut

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 (3.4 oz) Lindt White Chocolate Coconut bar, melted and cooled
1 cup confectioners' sugar

In large bowl, beat butter on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate until well combined, about 2 minutes. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and beat on low until combined. Beat on medium-high until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.
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Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler

Made a peach cobbler on Sunday and it turned out just like my Mom's. It was just old fashioned goodness in a bowl! Here...let me share it with you.

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler
1 cup flour (self rising)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 stick of butter
1 large can (20+ ounces) of sliced peaches.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, sugar, and milk then set aside. Melt the butter, then pour it into a 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking dish and tilt so that it is evenly coated. Next pour in peaches at the center of dish, and try to distribute the peaches evenly. Make sure you add all the juice from the can with the peaches. Sprinkle cinnamon all over top of batter.

Pour the batter in at the center. the batter will even out when you bake this, and yes, it’ll be enough, though it may not look like it.

Now place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the top should be golden brown when the cobbler is done. Serve warm with Vanilla ice cream! Enjoy!

©Welcome Home photo and recipe
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Do Not Regret Growing Older

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

♥ Chocolate-Strawberry Cake

Chocolate-Strawberry Cake

1 box milk chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Greek Fat Free strawberry yogurt
1 container whipped fluffy white frosting
3/4 cup frozen Cool Whip, thawed
10 fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Generously grease or spray two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. In large bowl, beat cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pans.

Bake as directed on box for 8- or 9-inch rounds. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In medium bowl, add frosting; fold in whipped topping.
On serving plate, place 1 cake, rounded side down. Spread with 1/3 cup frosting almost to edge. Cut about 5 strawberries into 1/4-inch slices; arrange on frosted cake. Top with second cake, rounded side up. Frost side and top of cake with remaining frosting. Garnish with about 5 halved strawberries in center of cake. Sprinkle chocolate chips around outside edge of top of cake. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.
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♥ Homemade Caramel (Dulce De Leche)

Homemade Caramel (Dulce De Leche)

I love making my own homemade caramel and wouldn't think about using those little candies for any recipe when it is so easy to make your own and it tastes so much better. It's like magic watching a can of... sweetened condensed milk turn into the best caramel you have ever tasted in your life! I will show you three ways to make it...


2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
Oven method: Safest way to make it. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Pour 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk in an
8 x 8 pan and cover with foil. Place that pan inside a larger pan and fill with hot water so that it is half way up the side of the 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 90 minutes. Cool for about 30 minutes. The mixture may be a little clumpy but it will even out as it cools. Store in glass jars in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Crockpot method: Line Crockpot bottom with foil so that the aluminum can doesn't rust and stain your interior. Remove the paper from the can of milk. Set the can of milk on the plate or foil and cover completely with water and cover with Crockpot lid. On HIGH: Cook 6 hours. On LOW cook for 8 hours. CAUTION: Make sure that the can remains covered AT ALL TIMES. Allowing the water to boil off could cause the can to explode. Allow can to come to room temperature before opening. The caramel tends to squirt out and will cause serious burns. Store in air tight container up to a week in the refrigerator.

Stove Top Method:   Remove label from can. Place the can on it's side in a large sauce pan and cover with water at least 2 inches above the can. Bring to a full boil and then turn down the heat. Allow the can to come to a light boil for 2 /2 hours, topping up with water as needed. Be careful and don’t let the water dry out or the can could explode.
Remove from heat and let cool thoroughly before opening can. Don’t open the can while its still hot as it will squirt and burn your skin. The condensed milk will be thick and a nice caramel color.
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It's hard to forget

"It's hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember."
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

♥ Healthier Lemon Blueberry Bread

Healthier Lemon Blueberry Bread

1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, beat together canola oil, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk. Fold in lemon zest and blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Remove bread from pan and drizzle with glaze. Cool on a wire rack.


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Monday, May 13, 2013

♥ Crispy Potato Bites

I love these! So easy to make and they go with anything. Kids love them too.

Crispy Potato Bites
1 Package Ore-Ida® Steam n' Mash Cut Russet Potatoes
3 Cups Vegetable Oil
2/3 Cup Evaporated Milk
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese Shredded
1 Cup Romano or parmesan Cheese Shredded
1 Cup Flour
1 Egg Lightly Beaten

Microwave Potatoes according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, preheat oil in a 3 qt. heavy saucepan over medium high heat to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together hot Potatoes, milk and butter, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. For a smoother consistency, mix with an electric mixer to desired consistency. Stir in cheddar cheese, Romano cheese, flour and egg, and mix well.

Drop 2 tablespoons of batter into hot oil for each and fry for 1-1/2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Fry 6 to 8 at a time to avoid overcrowding the oil. Drain on paper towels. Garnish with grated Romano or parmesan cheese.

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♥ Buttery Garlic & Onion Mashed Potatoes

Buttery Garlic & Onion Mashed Potatoes

1 pound Russet baking potatoes
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
8 cloves roasted garlic (see below)
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

Dice potatoes into cubes and place in a saucepan with cold water. Bring to low boil until potatoes are tender. Drain cooked potatoes in a colander and return to saucepan with heat turned off.

In the meantime, while potatoes are cooking. Saute onions in small fry pan until they are browned and caramelized. In large mixing bowl, add potatoes, butter, milk and salt and pepper and beat until potatoes are light and fluffy. Add more or less milk for the consistency you want. Add both the roasted garlic and onions to the potatoes and mix with spoon until well blended.

How to Roast Garlic Cloves

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Separate a head of garlic into cloves. Choose the larger cloves and rub any excess loose, papery skin off of each clove, but do not peel the cloves. Cut both ends off each clove, leaving part of the clove exposed through the skin on each end. Put the trimmed garlic cloves into a glass baking dish.

Pour olive oil into the dish until the oil comes at least 1/4 of the way up the cloves of garlic. The amount of oil you will need to do this varies greatly depending on the size of your baking dish, the number of cloves you are roasting and the size of the cloves. Stir the mixture to coat the cloves in oil.

Put the baking dish of oil and garlic into your preheated oven. Roast until even the largest cloves in the dish are soft and slightly browned. This should take 20 to 30 minutes, but start checking the cloves after 10 minutes to make sure you do not burn them. Allow the cloves to cool, then squeeze the garlic out of the skins and use as desired.

Recipe courtesy of Pro-Health Smart Potatoes
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

I'm Standing Next To You

I'm Standing Next To You
You can't see me or touch me
but I'm standing next to you.
It's sad to see you cry for me
I wish you only knew.
I'm standing next to you.
Even though you think I'm gone,
I've really never left your side
I've been here all along.

So please be brave and dry the tears,
don't let your grief show through.
I love you from a different place,
and I'm standing right next to you.

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Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter - room temp
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs - room temp
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats - not instant
1 1/2 cup grated carrots - about 3 large carrots
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 - 4 minutes in a stand mixer). Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium until well combined.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger; whisk to combine. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on low until just combined. Do not over mix.

Mix in oats, carrots, and walnuts. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until browned and crisp around the edges, 11 to 15 minutes rotating halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting filling.

8 ounces cream cheese - room temp
1 stick unsalted butter - room temp
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add butter and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners' sugar and cinnamon and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Then put frosting/filling into a large Ziploc bag and snip the lower corner. Lay out 1/2 of the cookies upside down and put some of the filling on the cookies. Put on the tops and press down a little and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and some sliced almonds and enjoy!
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♥ Banana Pudding Trifle

We all can remember that favorite dish our Mom's used to make...for me it was my Mom's Chicken and Dumplings for dinner and her wonderful Banana Pudding for dessert. I can still taste this banana pudding as if it was yesterday....unbelievably good!

Banana Pudding Trifle

4 tablespoons of flour
½ cup of sugar
4 cups of milk
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
7 Bananas (not overly ripe, no brown spots)
A box Nabisco vanilla wafers

Place the flour, sugar, milk, vanilla extract and butter in a large saucepan on high heat. Add each of the egg yolks one at a time into the saucepan and stir until mix well. Bring to a boil. After the ingredients thicken, simmer the ingredients on low heat until the mixture combines into a thick pudding texture. Cool for 2 minutes.

Cut slices of the bananas, place in bowl and set aside. In a clean baking pan, place a layer of vanilla wafers on the bottom. Then add a layer of sliced bananas on top of the vanilla wafers followed by the pudding mixture on top. Repeat this step until everything are used.

Whipped Cream Topping: Whipped Topping: Whip together 1 cup chilled heavy cream, 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Spread over cooled banana pudding.

If you want to make this in a regular 9 x 13 baking dish or 2 quart round oven proof casserole, you can use various
Various Toppings: My Mom used to take the whites from those eggs she used in the custard and whip them up to make the best Meringue. These two are not to be made in your Trifle dish.....

Marshmallow Topping: Top off the pudding with closely-spaced marshmallows and bake at 350 for 5 minutes until the marshmallows are golden brown. Cool and serve.

Meringue topping: Beat 3 egg whites with 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form, then spread onto top of pudding mixture. Broil with the oven door open so you can keep an eye on it, until golden brown.
Photo by Kar
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"Because You Loved Me"

For my Mom who I miss every single day...

Because You Loved Me
For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth you made me see
... For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right.
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you.
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me.
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'cause you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand so I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach.
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love I had it all.
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You were always there for me
The tender wind that carried me
A light in the dark, shining your love into my life.
You were my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world was a better place because of you
I was blessed to be loved by you

I'm everything I am today Mom,
because you loved me.

"Because You Loved Me" is a song sung by Céline Dion. It was written by Diane Warren as a tribute to her father. It was produced by David Foster, it was released as a single on February 19, 1996
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Missing my Mom today

Missing my Mom today, as probably many of you are who's mothers moved to heaven.

I loved my Mother with all my heart. She was the love of my life. She believed I could do anything and she was the truest friend I've ever had.

I always say that God sent me to the arms of an angel and her arms were always open when I needed a hug. Her heart always understood when I needed a friend. Her gentle eyes were stern when I needed a lesson. Her strength and love guided me and gave me wings to fly.

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my Mom. No one has ever loved me as much as she did, and I will miss her everyday for the rest of my life.

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