Thursday, August 08, 2013

♥ Welcome Home Casey

Hello Casey. He was supposed to die today. But his hopes and dreams of finding a new friend came true this afternoon. I believe every living thing comes into our lives or crosses our path for a reason and it is so well plan...ned in advance. Here is Casey's story.

On the first day of every month for the last year, I have been driving about 40 miles up North to the No Kill Advocacy Group to drop off these big 50 pound bags of dog and cat food along with a check for any of the proceeds that come in from the sale of my books. But I have been feeling a little under the weather for the past few days so I decided to wait until I felt a little better and had more energy to lift all those heavy bags.

Today my brother stopped by to ask if I needed anything while he was out shopping. I told him that it would be most appreciated if he could load those big bags of food and take them to the shelter for me. He said he was going right by there and wouldn't mind doing that for me at all. So he loaded up the bags and I handed him a check for the proceeds from the sale of my new cookbook, made out to them.

These are such good people who are so dedicated to saving the lives of dogs and cats who are put to death while waiting for a friend to come find them. They appreciate whatever you can do to help and so I am always happy to do whatever I can. I was especially eager to present them with this big donation as I had never donated that much before. Those of you who bought my new cookbook made that happen. I usually say hello, hand them the food and the check and stay and chat about all the good things they have done. I never go back to the kennels where the dogs are waiting because I can no longer bear to see them or hear them cry. I always feel happy when I am there and sad when I leave.

I went on about my day and then a few hours later there was a knock at my door. It was my brother who had come to introduce me to his new life long friend Casey. You see the SPCA had picked up Casey after someone spotted him on a 5 lane highway dodging cars. He was scared and hungry and lost. His fur was long and dirty and so matted that he couldn't see. So they cornered him and put him in a cage to transport him back to the kill shelter.

No one claimed Casey. It had been 150 hours and today was the day that his time at the kill shelter was over and his life would end. But that wouldn't be. Because today also just so happened to be that day each month that the NO KILL group goes to the SPCA and rescues dogs that are no longer welcomed Casey. He was the only one scheduled to die today and so they took him back to their facility and gave him a bath and a haircut and all his vaccinations. They checked him out and gave him a clean bill of health and started calling around to find him a foster home.

So in walks my brother....he told them he was there to drop off a check and some food for the dogs and cats. They told him to have a seat and someone would be out to help him unload the bags. He said he heard one of the volunteers on the phone talking about this little dog named Casey and how badly he needed a home. He said he listened for a few seconds and then this overwhelming feeling came over him that said, "stand up and go over to the counter and ask if you can adopt the dog."

He said he began to argue with himself that he already had a dog that he had adopted three years earlier and that he didn't need another one. But he said the conviction was strong and didn't leave. He began to fight with himself and had this hilarious internal dialogue that kept going back and forth. "I don't have the time for two dogs." "Dogs are expensive." "Dogs demand far to much time and energy and I have more than I can handle with one dog."

He stood up and heard himself say, "where is this little dog Casey?" "How long is the adoption process?" "I'm in a hurry but maybe if it wouldn't take too long, I might consider adopting another dog."

They brought Casey out on a leash and he took one look at my brother and broke free to run to him as if he had known him forever. He looked up at my brother as if to say, "where you been?" "What took you so long?" And it was love at first sight. They were meant to be.

My brother brought him straight to my house to tell me what he had done and to introduce me to his new friend. Later he called to tell me that when he carried Casey into his house to introduce him to his other dog, it was an instant friendship and they have played all afternoon until they were exhausted and both snuggled up side by side sound asleep.

The No Kill Shelter decided to waived the adoption process and all the fees in exchange for the chance to save Casey's life. I snapped this picture of this newest member of our family for all of you to see. Click on the photo and feel the love. This was meant to be. It was well planned out and it played out perfectly. Casey was supposed to die today but instead he will be loved more than he could ever imagine for the rest of his life.   Welcome Home Casey. Welcome Home.
Story and photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ Black Tiger Swallow Tail

Black Tiger Swallow Tail

Look what was sitting on my deck this morning. He was laying very still and he let me take his picture before he flew away. This is a beautiful Black Tiger Swallow Tail and he is so handsome. Click on the photo and look at his two red dots on his lower wings. Butterflies develop what are called "eyes" to scare their predators.

Photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ The beautiful Monarch Butterfly

The beautiful Monarch Butterfly

"If nothing ever changed, there wouldn't be butterflies."
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♥ Perfect Home Fries

Perfect Home Fries

2 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 tablespoons butter
5 medium/large red potatoes, diced
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
1-2 teaspoons seasoned salt
 black pepper to taste

Melt bacon grease in heavy skillet (I use my cast iron skillet) until it begins to sizzle. Add the butter. Carefully add the potatoes and onion to the skillet.

Sprinkle the salt and plenty of black pepper over the potatoes and stir gently until all of the mixture is coated in the grease.

 Cover with a lid and cook for 25-30 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Turn up heat to medium high and brown potatoes until brown and crisp. Continue to stir potatoes every few minutes or so to prevent burning/sticking.

If you don't have bacon grease on hand, fry 5-6 bacon strips until crisp and drain on paper towel. Use the grease to fry potatoes and if you'd like add crumbled bacon to recipe.
You can also add green or red peppers, sausage, cheese or anything else you desire to this dish.
Photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ Fresh Panko and Coconut Crusted Tilapia

Fresh Panko and Coconut Crusted Tilapia

4 tilapia fillets (or any other firm, white fish, such as cod)
1/2 cups coconut cream or milk
½ cups almond meal, ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
Old Bay Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together Panko and coconut, salt and pepper and set aside. Pour coconut milk in shallow bowl for dredging.

Pat and dry fish fillets. Sprinkle both sides with a pinch or two of salt and pepper and just a light sprinkle of Old Bay. Dredge fillets first in coconut milk and then in panko and coconut mixture. Turn to ensure everything is coated well. Let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and carefully lay the fillets on pan. I also use parchment paper to cover my pan before baking fish. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until fish is white and flakes easily in the center.

NOTE: Coconut Cream or Milk is found where they sell ingredients to make mixed drinks at your grocery or liquor stores.

Photography ©Welcome Home

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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

"Life's Lessons...What God Would Have Wanted Me To Know By Now."

 As I get older each year, I find that I think a lot about my past. I often wonder if I've truly learned any lessons from past experiences in my life. I decided to ask God what are some of life's lessons that he would have wanted me to learn... by now. And God replied.....

"I would have wanted you to learn that it's important to hold hands and cherish the moment, for some day that person will not be there again."

From My Book, "Life's Lessons...What God Would Have Wanted Me To Know By Now."
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From my garden...

"It's the end of the world," said the catepillar. "It's just the beginning," said the butterfly.

Photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake

Another one of my favorite dishes to make. I love my pasta in a rich creamy alfredo sauce. This sauce is wonderful and I use it with different types of pasta. I might add shrimp and linguini or Italian sausage and penne pasta. I like to change it up from time to time for a whole new look and taste. This time I used chicken and rotini pasta. It is delish! Don't forget to click on the photo for drool mode!

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake

1 lb spiral pasta (cooked according to package directions and drained)
2 cups of diced chicken breasts (I use Tyson Grilled chicken strips or I use a rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese for top
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese for top
Alfredo Sauce

½ cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup mozzarella cheese for sauce

Boil pasta as directed and drain well. Return to pot but off the heat just to absorb excess liquid.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, cream, white pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir often. Add parmesan cheese and simmer the sauce for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and become smooth. Add the mozzarella cheese and cook until smooth.

Combine chicken with the cooked pasta, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Stir in alfredo sauce. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Mix together the 1/2 cup of parmesan and the 2-3 cups of mozzarella cheese. Cover top of casserole with the cheese mix and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cheese has melted and starting to brown.

Recipe and photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ White Chocolate Cheesecake with Glazed Raspberries

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Glazed Raspberries

For the crust

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 sticks salted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened.
Pour into a spring form pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides.
Bake for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.


1/3 cup whipping cream
1 cup good quality white chocolate chips
3 eight ounce packages ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream for cheesecake batter
Over low heat in a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup of whipping cream until scalding. Stir in the white chocolate until melted. Set aside while you make the rest of the batter.
Cream together cream cheese and sugar until creamy and then add one egg at a time beating well after each one. Add the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate. Finally blend in the 1 cup of whipping cream.
Pour your batter into your prepared crust and bake in a water bath at 325 degrees for about 60 minutes depending on the size of your pan. The cheesecake will be slightly brown around the edges. It will be slightly wobbly just at the center. Allow the cheese cake to cool on a wire rack at room temperature. When completely cool remove the cheesecake from the spring form pan by running a sharp knife around the outside edge before removing the sides of the pan and then run a knife under the crust to release it from the pan’s bottom. Cover the top with fresh raspberries and drizzle with raspberry glaze
                                                                                     For the raspberry glaze
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

1 tablespoon water
Place the jam in a small saucepan. Heat the saucepan over low to medium heat on the stove, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add about 1 tablespoon of water and stir constantly over low heat, until the berries begin to break down and the sauce develops a thinner, pourable consistency. Taste and add sugar or a little honey if you want it sweeter. Turn off the heat when the sauce has reached the consistency you desire. Let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes or until it's still thin enough to pour but no longer piping hot. If the sauce thickens too much, simply reheat it on the stove for a minute or two.

Photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ Baked Rotini in Meat Sauce

I love making different pasta bakes with different sauces and cheeses...they are the ultimate comfort food. Lots of gooey cheese and rich sauce. Serve it up with garlic bread and a salad and you have a great meal. And Pasta bakes are always even better the next day! Click on photo for drool mode.
Baked Rotini in Meat Sauce

1 lb ground beef
1 lb sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small can diced tomatoes in juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste (if you want a thicker sauce)
2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (see my choice below)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz sour cream
2 cups whole milk shredded mozzarella
2 cups of shredded Provolone cheese
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1 (16 oz) box of Rotini pasta

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and then saute onion and garlic until just tender. Add sausage and ground beef and break up into pieces with a wooden spoon. I like my ground beef chunky so I leave large pieces. Drain any excess oil from meat mixture and return to stove. Add the canned tomatoes, your favorite sauce (I only use Ragu Chunky Tomato Onion and Garlic). 

Turn the heat to medium high and add basil and oregano to suit your taste. If you want a thicker meat sauce add in your two tablespoons of tomato paste. Cover and let the sauce come to a low boil. Then turn down the heat to a low simmer for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime boil pasta according to directions and then drain well and return to pot.

Mix the cheeses all together in one bowl. Pour half of the pasta into bottom of buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle half cheese mix on top of pasta. Layer half the meat sauce on top of cheese. Spread sour cream on top of sauce all the way to the sides of the dish. Add the remaining pasta. Add another layer of cheese, reserving some for the top.

Pour the remaining meat sauce and then finally add the remaining cheese all over the top. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted on top and has started to brown.

Recipe and Photography ©Welcome Home

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

♥ Four Layer Red Velvet Cheesecake

My elderly neighbor, Jack Dulaney, stops by from time to time to bring me something from his garden. He turned 90 last Friday and I wanted to make his favorite cake and invite him over to celebrate his special day. Jack is a widower and I have kind of adopted him as the grandfather I never had the chance to meet and it has been a joy calling him my friend. Usually people make this wonderful cake for the holidays because of it's rich red color, but Jack loves it anytime! I decided to add a little twist and make it a cheesecake and he loved it. We enjoyed coffee and cheesecake last Friday afternoon for Jack's 90th birthday.

Four Layer Red Velvet Cheesecake

For the cheesecake:
10 ounces cream cheese , room temperature
3/8 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons red food coloring,
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in lemon zest and juice, and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream.

Line the bottom of four 8 inch spring form cake pans with parchment paper cut in circles. Then wrap each cake pan bottom and sides with heavy aluminum foil. Pour in filling into the pans then place in a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the side of spring form cake pans. Bake until just set in center, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from water; let cool 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge and let cool completely without removing the cheesecake from the pan. Cover the pan and chill for at least 3-4 hours, then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar until well combined. Add dry ingredients in three additions and beat at low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes after all the dry ingredients have been added. Divide batter evenly between 4 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely.


Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5–7 minutes.

Putting it all together

Place one of the 8 inch cakes on a cake stand. Remove one of the cheesecakes from freezer, unwrap, and remove from the pan and peel off parchment paper. Place cheesecake layer on top of the bottom layer of the red velvet cake. Place another 8 inch cake on top of the cheesecake, and continue doing this with all four layers of cake and cheese cake. Then frost entire cake with cheesecake frosting. I topped it with a maraschino cherry but you can decorate how you'd like it. Try some shaved white chocolate or some sprinkles of red cake crumbs.

NOTE: In the photo, I used only two layers and with a serrated knife, I sliced them in half to form the four layers. I did the same thing with the cheese cake after allowing them to thaw a little before slicing them to fit the cake layers. But for a more impressive tall cake, use all four layers of each.

Photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ Shrimp Cocktail

My lunch today. I love shrimp cocktail as an appetizer before a meal when I go out to dinner but why not have it as a main course for lunch? Here's how I make mine.
Shrimp Cocktail

First I brine the shrimp. I buy them raw but already cleaned at the seafood counter.

For the brine:
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups cold water

For the cocktail sauce:

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup prepared chili sauce
4 tablespoons prepared horseradish (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil
Sprinkle Old Bay seasoning, optional

Rinse the shrimp in cold water. Then add them to a bowl with the brine mix and refrigerate them for about half hour.

Mix tomatoes, chili sauce, horseradish, sugar, pepper, and salt in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate cocktail sauce until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a baking sheet in hot oven and heat for 5 minutes. Remove shrimp from brine and drain thoroughly. Rinse the shrimp under cold water and dry on paper towels. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning, if desired, or a little salt and pepper.

Place shrimp onto a sizzling hot sheet pan and roast at 425 degrees for about 5-7 minutes or until just starting to turn pink. Turn the shrimp when they come out of the oven and let the heat from the pan finish cooking them until they are cool enough to place on your serving platter. Eat warm or you can chill them to serve later.

Photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ Garlic Shrimp Over Pasta

 Can you tell I bought too many shrimp this past weekend? It was on sale at my local grocery store, But shrimp is so versatile and you can use it in so many ways. This dish is one of my favorites One of my favorites. It's simple, fresh an...d soooo good! It's one of those dishes that gets better the second day! I think you'll love this on the photo for drool mode!

Garlic Shrimp Over Pasta

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 lb medium to large shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 cups farfalle pasta, uncooked
Salt & pepper
Dried red pepper flakes (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook pasta until al dente and drain well but reserve about 1/4 cup of pasta water and set aside.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the minced garlic and shallots for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add the shrimp to the skillet along with 2 tablespoons of the pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Saute and stir constantly until shrimp have turned pink. Add the pasta to the skillet and mix until cheese melts and blends in well. Using a vegetable peeler, shave sheets of Parmesan cheese onto pasta and serve immediately.


Photography ©Welcome Home

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Giant Ornamental onion plant

 From my garden...these are Alium also known as Giant Ornamental onions. They are definitely a show stopper in the garden with their purple softball-sized flowers and strong stems that reach 3- 4 feet tall.

Ornamental onions perform beautifully, blooming late spring through early summer; they add a different, spectacular architectural dimension to the garden and they are also wonderful for cut and dried flowers.
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♥ Fried Cornbread

Fried Cornbread (Also Called Hoe Cakes)

1 ½ cups of Yellow Self-Rising Cornmeal
2/3 cups Buttermilk
1 Egg, whisked
½ teaspoon of salt
... Oil for frying
Place the cornmeal in a medium sized mixing bowl. Crack the egg, whisk it with a fork and add it into a well formed in the center of the cornmeal. Add the buttermilk. Add the salt. Stir the mixture just enough to incorporate the ingredients. If the batter is dry, add a little more buttermilk as needed for a smooth consistency.

Test your oil for proper frying temperature. Drop a spoonful of the batter into your skillet. Adjust the amount depending on the size you desire. If necessary, use the back of the spoon to spread the batter out. You want thin hoe cakes. Watch for the edges to brown then, carefully flip the hoe cake over. Fry until the hoe cake is golden brown on both sides. Remove from oil, place on folded paper towels and let drain.

Repeat the process. You need two hoe cakes for each sandwich. Serve warm and enjoy.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

If you can't see anything beautiful about yourself....

get a better mirror,
look a little closer,
stare a little longer....
Because there's something inside you that made you keep trying, dispite everyone who told you to quit. You build a cast around your broken heart, and signed it yourself. It says.... "They were wrong."

The author is Shane Koyczan. The poem is called, " To This Day." It is powerful. Watch it:
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♥ Peaches and Cream Bread Pudding

What did I whip up in the kitchen yesterday? I finally got rid of all those a good way! Love this recipe from my Mom's collection. Click on photo for full drool might need a napkin for this one! It's as good as it lo...oks!

Peaches and Cream Bread Pudding

For the pudding:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 cups 1-inch cubes of day-old bread
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
2 pounds fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (you can use canned or frozen)
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the sauce:

1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, heavy cream and milk and let sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the bread is soaking, heat 3 tablespoons of softened butter in a large skillet. Add the peaches and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peaches are golden brown around the edges and softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg and whisk well to combine. Stir the egg mixture into the bread mixture and fold to combine. Add the warm peaches and fold gently but thoroughly to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Melt three tablespoons of butter in microwave and drizzle the melted butter on top. Bake until golden brown, puffed, and slightly firm when pressed in the center, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack until just warm, about 20 minutes.

Almond Cream Sauce

In a small saucepan, over medium low heat, add a stick of butter and cook until melted. In a small bowl combine the cream, sugar, and egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add the cream mixture to the melted butter and stir well. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately and add the almond extract. Transfer sauce to a small heatproof bowl and serve hot or warm over warm bread pudding.

Photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ Brown Sugar and Apple Glazed Ham slices

Ham and Egg Biscuits

Instead of making a whole ham, I sometimes buy the slices and make my own glaze before baking. This time, I made the ham and some cream biscuits and added a fried egg on top....oh so good!
Brown Sugar and Apple Glazed Ham slices

2 fully cooked thick ham slices
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
dash of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil and boil for about 2 minutes Place ham on rack in a foil-lined roasting pan. Brush with hot glaze. Bake at 325° for about 10 minutes. With tongs, flip ham slices over and brush glaze on other side. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve any leftover glaze on the side.

Cream Biscuits

3 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter in a microwave dish, and set aside. Sift two cups flour, the baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Fold in 1 1/4 cups cream. If the dough is not soft or easily handled, fold in the remaining 1/4 cup cream, little by little.

Turn dough onto a floured surface, mound it into a ball and, using your hands, press it to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds. Dip the top of each dough round into the melted butter and arrange on the baking sheet. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes and serve hot.

Photography ©Welcome Home
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♥ Sunny Side Up Eggs and Homemade Biscuits

This was Sunday morning breakfast yesterday. We had eggs, brown sugar ham, homefries and buttermilk biscuits. I like eggs anyway you choose to cook them. I usually fry mine over medium, or scramble them, but yesterday I decided to make them... Sunny Side up. Here's how you make the perfect sunny side up eggs.

 Sunny Side Up Eggs and Homemade Biscuits

Add butter to a heated skillet set to medium high. When the butter starts to sizzle, crack your eggs on a flat surface and add them to the pan. Slip the egg into a saucer first if you have trouble keeping the yolks from breaking. Salt and pepper the eggs and cover the skillet. Turn down heat to medium. Leave covered until egg white around yolks is opaque, usually 3-5 minutes. Uncover and carefully run spatula under egg, and serve on plate.


Butter Milk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, very cold
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 450. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal. Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined. At this point if it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet touching each other. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until they are a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom. Do not over bake.

Hints: Your dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits. So work quickly. If you use a food processor the ingredients stay colder and there's less chance of over mixing. You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly. Don't roll these with a rolling pin or you will have tough biscuits.

You can also make them up and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen, drop them into a ziploc bag or container for up to one month. Then just bake frozen biscuits as you need them in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Photography ©Welcome Home

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Every Woman Should Know

A set of screwdrivers,
A cordless drill, and
A black lace bra...

One friend who
Always makes her
And one
Who lets her cry...

A good piece of furniture
Not previously owned by
Anyone else in her family...

Eight matching plates,
Wine glasses with stems,
And a recipe for a meal that will
Make her guests feel honored.

A feeling of control over Her destiny...

How to fall in love Without losing herself...

How to quite a job
break up with a lover
and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

When to try harder
and when to walk away

That she can't change
The length of her calves,
The width of her hips, or
The nature of her parents...

That her childhood
May not have been Perfect
But; It's over.

What she would and Wouldn't
Do for love or money...

How to live alone...
Even if She doesn't like it...

Whom she can trust, Whom she can't,
And why she shouldn't Take it personally...

Where to go...
Be it to her best friend's kitchen table...
Or a charming inn in the woods...
When her soul needs soothing...

What she can and what she can't accomplish
In a day...
A month...
And a year...
~Pamela Redmond Satran
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

♥ Brussel Sprouts in Butter

Brussel Sprouts in Butter

Who out there loves Brussel sprouts? I snapped this photo and then ate this entire bowl of them tonight. I didn't leave room for the steak and other vegetables I
put up in the last post

These were boiled in water with a teaspoon of added. i did a slow boil until they were tender then I drained them...added butter and salt and a little pepper. Yum!
I also grill them, roast them, steam them. Sometimes I add bacon and onions and garllic...sometimes I just like them with butter! My Mom used to tell me I called them baby cabbage balls when I was really little. LOVE my brussel sprouts! Do you?
Photography Copyright Welcome Home

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♥ Roast Chicken

Moist and Tender Roast Chicken

5-7 pound roasting chicken
Kosher salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 whole head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons butter, melted for outside rub
1/2 stick of butter for cavity
1 large yellow onion, cut in half
2 cups chicken broth or use water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Generously add salt and pepper to inside of cavity. Then add thyme, rosemary garlic, onion. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. I use my hands to make sure every part of the outside of the chicken is covered in butter. Tie the two legs together with kitchen string Place chicken on rack in large roasting pan. Pour chicken broth or water under rack but not touching any part of chicken. This way the chicken steams and stays moist, yet the skin gets crisp.

Roast the chicken for 90 minutes to 2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.... Or when the chicken registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove to platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve.

Photography ©Welcome Home
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

♥ Apple Swirl Streusel Bread

I used Gala apples for this one however, you can use Braeburn, Pink lady or Honey Crisp apples. Don't forget to click on photo for drool mode!

Apple Swirl Streusel Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups apple, peeled and diced
2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

With a mixer, beat sugar, and eggs until creamy. Mix in lemon juice and the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt and then gradually stir it into the flour mixture until it is just moistened. Next fold in apples with a rubber spatula and scrape down sides of bowl.

In a small bowl add Streusel topping ingredients. I usually cut them in with two knives until blended and crumbly. Pour half the batter into a standard greased 8 x 5 loaf pan. Sprinkle half of streusel topping over batter. Repeat layers for 2nd half of batter and ending with rest of topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Let cool completely.


1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar(powdered sugar)
1-2 tablespoons milk

Mix powdered sugar with a little milk at a time to get the consistency you like best. Drizzle over cooled bread.

  Photography ©Welcome Home

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Welcome Home Cooking....Recipes From My Mother's Collection

It is an exciting day for me as I have just released my first cookbook. It's called....
"Welcome Home Cooking....Recipes From My Mother's Collection."
 It's a beautiful 196 page full color high quality cookbook with a complete recipe to match each photo.

"There's nothing like a home cooked meal made with love that can spark old memories of our childhood. Welcome Home Cooking is a collection of recipes left to me by my Mom, who now lives in Heaven. It is filled with down-home country recipes that a Southern Mom would teach her daughter. Recipes that have created memories that will never fade. Like her wonderful chicken and dumplings and her delicious homemade cornbread she used to make in her old cast iron skillet. Or, her Sunday after church suppers of Buttermilk Fried Chicken and her incredible Peach Cobbler, fresh out of the oven. I've put together a cookbook for those who yearn for those memories of good old fashioned, uncomplicated home-cooked southern food. The kind of food that memories are made of; and it comes to you straight from my Mother's recipe box. I hope you enjoy some of my Mom's favorite recipes and that you'll make some memories of your own."

It's available today in ebook format for your desktop or laptop (Windows and Mac) and for your iPad, iPod Touch and iPhones for only $24.99. You simply click on the link below to find it. Then you purchase it with a credit card or PayPal and you will receive an immediate email with a link that you can use to download the book to any or ALL of these devices. If you have an Apple Device, you will need to download the free ibooks app first. If you want to also download it to your computer, I suggest you download the free app for Calibre or any other ebook application.

That's all there is to it. You will have your new book in just a matter of minutes. Why an ebook? First it is the most economical way to purchase a book. It's convenient in that you can carry your book wherever you go. My ebook is on all my's on my phone when I go to the grocery store and need the ingredients to make something for dinner. It's on my iPad for when I know I have a long wait in the doctor's office or when I go to the beach and I want to read a book. And it's on my computer when I want to print something off to take to the kitchen to make a recipe instead of getting my beautiful hardback all dirty and smudgy. Ebooks are the way to go today.

The print book is also available today, however as I projected earlier this year before it was published, it is very pricey and you might find it outside your budget. Unfortunately I have no control over the Publisher's set price but I know that usually when I give much of the proceeds to a charity, they usually charge more. With this book, as well as all my books, I support No Kill Shelters across America in their effort to save the lives of healthy dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever homes.

"Welcome Home Cooking" is also being released today in a soft cover, hardback with a dust jacket, and a hardback image wrap book without a jacket. This book is bookstore quality and meant for those who are sticklers for top notch binding, gorgeous paper, and professional printing. This is not just an average cookbook. It is a limited first edition book and the production team at this publishing house produces each high quality book as they are
ordered, which doesn't always lend itself to affordability.

But you be the judge. If you'd like to preview a few pages of the book before deciding to purchase, go to this link and click on the book and it will show you about 29 random pages. Then if you like what you see, feel free to order it and they will start production of YOUR book right away and ship it to you before the end of the month. The publisher is offering Welcome Home fans a coupon that will give you 25% off the purchase of any print book. That's on Print books only. See below

To purchase Welcome Home Cooking in ebook format for $24.99 today go to:

To Preview Welcome Home Cooking and purchase it in softcover or hardback go to:

For Print Books: Enter the code in all caps SAVE25BLURB and receive 25% off your purchase if used before July 31st.

Hope you like it!

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Sunday, July 07, 2013

♥ Roasted Sockeye Salmon

Roasted Sockeye Salmon

1 2-3 lb Sockeye Salmon Fillet (or any size you choose)
tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
lemons for garnish

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat salmon dry with a paper towel. your hands rub the fillet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and fresh minced garlic. Turn down oven heat to 400 and roast for about 15 minutes (depending on thickness of fillet) or until salmon flakes easily in the middle or thickest part. If you want to use a thermometer, it should register 125 degrees in the center of the fillet. Remove from oven and transfer to platter or cutting. Garnish with lemons.
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♥ Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup milk

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round baking pans. Set aside. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Set aside.

Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until creamy. Add 1 egg at a time; beat well after each addition. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition just until mixed.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake for 29 to 34 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes. Loosen edge of cake by running knife around inside edge. Carefully remove cake from pan; cool completely.

Pastry Cream Filling:

1 1/4 cups whole milk or light cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.

Meanwhile in a saucepan combine the milk and split vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.) Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture.

Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Refrigerate for at least an hour or until cold.

Once filling is cold, Remove plastic wrap and with spatula spread half on on bottom cake layer. Top with second layer. Using a long angled spatula smooth filling around edges so that it is flush with the cake. Your cake is now ready for frosting.

Thick Chocolate Ganche:

12 ounces chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat heavy cream on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate and stir until completely mixed and glossy. Allow ganache to completely cool and set up. The longer you allow the ganache to cool, the thicker it will set. When you are able to spoon the ganache and it can hold its texture, it is ready for piping.

Pipe ganache around the top of the cake in a circular motion to resemble a rose as shown in the photo or be creative and make your own design.

Photographs are the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home
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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

♥ Purple Cone Flower

I shot this with my little Samsung MB250 as I do most of my close ups of food and flowers. It is one single flower in my spread of Purple Cone Flowers also know as Echinacea. Who doesn't love the gracefulness of this flower. I love them at each stage of blooming from the time they bud to the point where all the petals start to point downward. Mine are about 3 feet tall and blend well in the back of my garden.
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♥ Balloon Flower

love this little flower....I know I say that about all the flowers in my garden, but I love this one for different reasons. It's called the Balloon Flower because the buds like little inflated balloons before they pop... open to reveal a beautiful bell shaped flower. Click on the photo for full effect.

It is a popular perennial that comes in shades of blue, white, purple, and pink and while the one shown is the dwarf variety, the common Balloon Flower can reach up to 3 feet in height. Flowers appear in mid-summer and last for at least a month before fading, although proper dead-heading can prolong the blooming season somewhat.

Photograpy ©Welcome Home
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Monday, July 01, 2013


Biscuits just like your Mom or Grand mom used to make! Some recipes should never change!

Butter Milk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, very cold
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 450. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal. Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined. At this point if it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet touching each other. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until they are a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom. Do not over bake.

Hints: Your dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits. So work quickly. If you use a food processor the ingredients stay colder and there's less chance of over mixing. You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly. Don't roll these with a rolling pin or you will have tough biscuits.

You can also make them up and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen, drop them into a ziploc bag or container for up to one month. Then just bake frozen biscuits as you need them in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Photography ©Welcome Home
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