Friday, November 15, 2013

Memories of Thanksgiving


Good morning....and what a cold morning it is here in Maryland. Just a few weeks ago, I was sitting outside on my deck, having coffee in short sleeves and barefoot. Now, as I sit here looking out my window at the frost still clinging to my window panes, I am getting out a pen and paper right now so that I can add my electric portable heater, my pink furry bunny slippers and my pink chenille robe to my list of "Things To Be Thankful For This Year!"

Only 14 days left until my favorite holiday. I read over some of your menus yesterday on the good morning post and some are quite ambitious. Many of you will make the old fashioned traditional Thanksgiving goodies, while others will experiment with new recipes that change things up a little. I like to do both. This weekend I will be doing a trial run with a couple of new dishes I haven't made before, just to make sure they turn out perfectly for the big day. But for the most part I will stick with tradition and put out the same wonderful foods I remember as a kid.

My Mom would really put out a spread every Thanksgiving. What a joyous time with friends and family gathered all around. She was the star that day and all those oooohhs and aaaahhs would just make her light up when people would take that first bite of her wonderful home cooking. She loved Thanksgiving and she planned every single detail out perfectly. I can still remember her basting that gigantic 30 pound turkey that she pushed in the oven hours before the rest of us even got out of bed that morning. And the focal point of that dinner was always her homemade dressing that she would make in a big gray baking pan wrapped tight in aluminum foil, and every single person at that table couldn't wait to taste it, as it was passed around the table each year. She was truly in her element and she just loved cooking for so many at one time.

It really was a wonderful occasion when all of us gathered around her on that day. So much laughter and so much love surrounded her. And in later years, when she just didn't have the energy to host those big Thanksgiving feasts anymore, I carried on in her place and did my best to put out all the wonderful dishes she taught me how to make. She would feel so proud when people around that table would take a bite and say, "oh my, you cook just like your Mom" She loved that I had learned so much from her over the years.

Times have changed now. There are no big gatherings anymore. Divorces and funerals changed the guest list dramatically. Kids grew up and had families of their own now and celebrate their own Thanksgivings. People moved away for jobs in other states. Time really took it's toll on our family gatherings.

After my Mom moved to Heaven, it was all I could do to hold the family together. People just went their separate ways. So now it's a small gathering with only my Dad and my brother and my best friend Randy and of course me and my immediate family, Katie and Cooper, my two dogs, and Squeak, my outdoor cat.

The crowd is small and the turkey is not 30 pounds anymore. There are no huge bowls and platters of all "the fixins," as my Mom would say. It is not loud with laughter and different conversations all going on at the same time. It is not and will never be the same as I remember. It is a little more reserved as we quietly roll those memories around in our head of days gone by. There is an overall sadness as my Dad says our Thanksgiving prayer and breaks down and cries when he thanks God for those days with my Mom. And we all hold hands and cry with him as we honor her memory and give thanks for what we have.

This is my family and the room is filled with love and laughter and good food. We have fun and are fully aware of how precious time can be and we cherish every single moment. We play games and talk about the new topics of the day as we pass around the mashed potatoes and gravy and all our favorite dishes. And somewhere during that course of time, someone will say it....and I wait for it every year...."oh my gosh, you cook just like your Mom." And life is good and I know she would be proud that her family has gathered to share this new Thanksgiving day.
~Marty
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Kiwi and Berries
























Look what I made for you this past weekend. I like to make these perfect little 6 inch cheesecakes instead of the much bigger cheese cakes that end up in the freezer. I have included a link at the bottom of the recipe so you can find the little ...spring form pans I use.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Kiwi And Berries

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 up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.


























For the cheesecake

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 45 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 blueberries and slices of kiwi with a drizzle with raspberry glaze

NOTE: I bake my cheesecakes in a spring form pan that has the bottom and sides wrapped in multiple layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. I use at least 4 layers of foil to make sure that no water leaks in and ruins the crust of my cheesecake. The aluminum foil wrapped pan is then placed inside a larger baking pan; I usually use a 12 inch cake pan. Then I pour boiling water into the larger pan filling it 1/2 of the way to the top. I find it best to pour the boiling water into the pan after it is placed on the rack in the oven as you are less likely to splash water onto the cheesecake or inside the aluminum foil.

For the glaze and topping:

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tablespoon water
raspberries and blueberries and kiwi for garnish

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. Drizzle over raspberries and blueberries and then store in refrigerator. If the sauce thickens too much, simply reheat it on the stove for a minute or two and allow it to thin.

























Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home. 





 If you are interested in these little 6 inch spring form pans you can click on this link to find them. Remember, anything you purchase on Amazon through Welcome Home will help me save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever homes. Note the Welchome08 in the link.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000DIX7U/ref=as_li_ss_sm_fb_us_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=399837&creativeASIN=B0000DIX7U&linkCode=shr&tag=welchome08-20&qid=1378240341&sr=8-1&keywords=6+inch+spring+form+pans

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Basic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

























I just posted that delicious homemade Tomato and Pancetta Soup and what goes better than a hot grilled cheese sandwich? So simple and good anytime. Now I know you are know how to make one...but remember I also have a young audience that follows me and are just learning how to cook. So this one is for them!

Basic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

4 slices white bread
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 slices Cheddar cheese

Preheat skillet or griddle over medium heat. Generously butter one side of each slice of bread. Place bread butter-side-down onto griddle or in skillet and add 1 slice of cheese.

Butter a second slice of bread on one side and place butter-side-up on top of sandwich. Grill until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining 2 slices of bread, butter and slice of cheese.

























You can use any type of bread. You can use any type of cheese. You can add bacon, tomato, a fried egg, or anything else you can think of to create the perfect sandwich just for you! Great with that tomato soup recipe I just put up!

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Caramel Apple Crostada

























These are so pretty and so easy to make. They are out of this world good when you take them out of the oven and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or two...or three.... Oh Yum!

Caramel Apple Crostada

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup frozen butter, cubed
1 egg
4-6 tablespoons of very cold ice water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
half and half or milk for brushing dough

Blend together four, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix in cold butter and pulse a few quick times. I usually use a food processor for this so that I can keep the butter cold..
Add egg mix until combined. Slowly add water, until crumbly/clumpy consistency is reached- add more water if dough doesn't start coming together. Turn out dough on lightly floured surface and continue to knead with hands for a few minutes (the consistency will be much like pie dough). Form the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Put it into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill. In the mean time, start making apple filling.

Apple Filling

2 Fuji or Gala apples, peeled, and sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6-7 pieces of Kraft caramels, cut into smaller chunks
powdered sugar
slivered almonds

Place prepared apple slices in a bowl and add cinnamon and sugar. Using your hands, evenly coat apples with cinnamon and sugar. Mix in pieces of caramel.

Preheat oven to 425 and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut dough in half and then wrap second half with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Cut dough in half again and on a floured surface roll out to make two 4-5 inch wide crostadas. Place circles of dough on prepared baking pan.

Pile apple/caramel mixture in center of dough. Fold dough over apple mixture about 1-2 inches. Pinch your folds to seal dough.
Brush exposed crust with half and half or milk. Place crostatas in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until apples and the caramel start bubbling. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and slivered almonds if desired. Add vanilla ice cream or frozen whipped cream! Enjoy!

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home

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Taco Bowls























I love making taco salads and it is so much fun to make your own golden brown taco bowls and then fill them what you like. I use anything handy to make them and you will see some photos in the comment section. But for these I used an oven proof bowl and I laid a flour tortilla on the outside and then pinched it a little on the edges. I have used the back side of a muffin tin, empty aluminum cans make great ones too.

 
Taco Bowls

Flour tortillas                                                                                   
olive oil or butter flavored cooking spray

Brush the inside of the tortilla with olive oil or spray the inside of each tortilla with butter flavored Pam. Then turn an oven safe bowl upside down and lay a tortilla on top of the bowl to get the shape you prefer. This makes the tortilla edges wavy like a seashell.

Bake in oven at 450 degrees for about 5-7 minutes or until Tortilla becomes rigid and lightly browned. Remove the tortilla from the oven and let cool. Fill with your choice of ingredients and top with cheese, lettuce tomatoes and sour cream.



My Taco Bowl pictured above:














Leftover pot roast, shredded
leftover rice
Colby and Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon minced onion

I simply took leftover pot roast and warmed it in a skillet with the seasoning. I added some leftover rice and filled the taco bowl. In this photo you see shredded leftover pot roast, rice, cheese and nothing else. I melted the cheese in the oven and after I snapped the photo, I added some shredded lettuce and tomatoes and some sour cream for the top. Delicious!

You can use your choice of any ingredients:

Chicken
ground beef or turnkey
refried beans
Spanish rice
black beans
black olives


The list can go on and on! Be creative!


















Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

























Just a little treat I made for you this past weekend. These are so easy to make and you always seem to have the ingredients in your pantry to whip up a batch for emergencies! Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate? Click on photo in the comment section of this post for a close up of the filling. YUM!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

1 (18 oz) jar of smooth peanut butter 
1 (16 oz.) box or bag of confectioners sugar
1/4 cup of butter, melted
1 (12oz) bag of semi-sweet milk chocolate chips
1 (12 oz) bag of white chocolate chips
2 teaspoons of shortening (like Crisco)

In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, confectioners sugar and melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Continue to mix until smooth. I use my hands to mix and form into 1 inch balls.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Place the peanut butter balls on the cold baking sheet in rows, but not touching each other. Return to the freezer for another 5-7 minutes until they are set and ready for dipping.

While the peanut butter balls are chilling, melt the two chocolates in separate heat proof bowls over a sauce pan of simmering hot water. You can also use the microwave to melt the chocolate but set on low and only for 30 second intervals and keep stirring. When chocolate has melted, add the shortening and stir well.

Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Insert a toothpick or wooden skewer into a peanut butter ball and then dip it into the chocolate, turning quickly to cover the entire candy. Place onto the baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate had completely dried. Store the candies in a sealed container in the refrigerator.






















Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Be like the single blade of grass.



“Be like the single blade of grass. For she too, has been trampled on, mowed down, and hit with such bitterly cold stretches that she had to shut down to survive. Yet still she stands upright with dignity, knowing that she endures, and still she dances with the wind.”

~Sandra Kring
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pay It Forward

Good morning friends. I want to share a pay it forward story with you today.

There was a woman and her little girl at a check out line at a local supermarket here in town. The clerk had totaled up her grocery bill for the food she had already bagged and with her hands on her hips and a judgmental smirk on her face, she was impatiently waiting for the rest of the balance to be paid.

A stranger, who was standing nearby, was watching as the woman dug through her purse and her pockets nervously searching for any left over cash or change or food stamps that might finish paying the balance the clerk so loudly stated that she still needed to pay. The woman continued to say how sorry she was for thinking the total would be less and for holding up the line, but the clerk continued to tap her fingers on the counter and roll her eyes so the other customers in line could see her frustration. The young woman began to cry and asked if she could go through the bags and return a few things that would have to wait until next month.

At that point her little girl looked up at her Mother and touched her cheek to wipe away a tear. "Please Mommy, don't cry, I have some money." The little girl reached in her little pink vinyl purse and attempted to hand the irritated store clerk several sheets of play money. She looked at the clerk and said, "Take this money and keep the change. My Mommy is sad and I need to get her home."

The clerk completely ignored the little girl and yelled out for someone to call a Manager. People in line began shaking their heads and going to other check out lines to pay for their items. The stranger saw all of this and went to find that Manager. They stepped aside and chatted briefly and then walked back to the manager's office.

In a few moments an announcement was made over the loud speaker for a stock clerk to go to checkout line 10 to assist a customer. When the young man reached the woman and her little girl, he asked her if he could help her load her groceries into her car. The young mother said, "We have a problem, because I was unable to finish paying for my items."

The young man shook his head and immediately said, "no Ma'am, your daughter more than covered the remaining balance. You even have some change coming your way."

He then proceeded to count out $500 in store credit vouchers for future purchases. The woman looked at him in disbelief and began to cry. She then followed the young man out to her car. The stranger continued to look on as the manager relieved the cashier of her duties for the day.

The stranger smiled and remembered a quote that she had read at some time in her life. It said, "I learned not give because I have much....but because I know exactly how it feels to have nothing."

Pay it forward my friends. The feeling that you will walk away with is incredible. The stranger was me this morning and I cannot even describe how it felt to see that little girl's face as she comforted her Mother and told her it would be okay. I found more joy in that single moment that I have found in the last year.

Pay it forward today my friend.... it doesn't have to be with money....my Mom used to say, "Smile at a stranger today or say something nice. You just never know when something you say or do might fit perfectly in the empty space of someone's heart."
~Marty
Story is copyrighted and the property of  Welcome Home
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Three Cheese Broccoli Bake
























Here's a simple and easy to make dish that can dress that plain old broccoli up and make it delicious!

Three Cheese Broccoli Bake

2 large heads of broccoli (enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish)...
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons thyme
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
3 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Trim broccoli of heavy stems and cut into florets. Place them in baking dish. Over medium heat, warm up cream, stirring frequently. Dissolve bouillon cube in the cream, and add thyme, stirring to blend. Pour cream mixture over the broccoli and sprinkle with the onion. Season broccoli generously with salt and pepper and garlic powder.

Cover the broccoli with 3/4 of the Jack and cheddar cheeses. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until tender, approximately 30 min. Cover with remaining cheese, and sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Bake just until the top layer of cheese melts, approximately 5 minutes. Add additional cream on top of broccoli after serving if desired.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Pineapple Topped Cheesecake
























Oh Yum.  A wonderfully creamy cheesecake topped with quartered pineapple rings on top of a graham cracker crust that melts in your mouth. Enjoy it with friends and family or keep it all for yourself!  That's why I like to make these perfect little 6 inch cheesecakes.  I have included a link at the bottom of the recipe so you can find the little spring form pans I use.


Pineapple Topped Cheesecake 

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.

























Cheesecake

  • 5  pks (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1  3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In large mixer bowl, blend cheese, sugar, flour, lemon and orange zest and vanilla at high speed.  Beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time; beat until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with spatula.  Next beat in cream until batter is smooth and creamy.

Pour batter into your prepared crust and bake in a water bath at 325 degrees for about 45 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. Drizzle with glaze. 





















Glaze and Topping                                          
           
1 small can of pineapple rings, cut in sections
1/3 cup of pineapple jam or preserves
2 teaspoons water

Place the jam or preserves in a small saucepan. Heat the saucepan over low to medium heat on the stove, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add water and stir constantly over low heat, until the sauce becomes thinner, pourable consistency. Add more water if necessary to get a consistency of thin honey-like syrup which you can easily brush over the pineapple with a pastry brush. Let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes or until it's still thin enough to pour but no longer piping hot. Generously brush over pineapple and allow it to run down the sides of the cheesecake.







If you are interested in these little 6 inch spring form pans you can click on this link to find them. Remember, anything you purchase on Amazon through Welcome Home will go to the NO KILL Advocacy group to help save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever homes. Note the Welchome08 in the link.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000DIX7U/ref=as_li_ss_sm_fb_us_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=399837&creativeASIN=B0000DIX7U&linkCode=shr&tag=welchome08-20&qid=1378240341&sr=8-1&keywords=6+inch+spring+form+pans

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.


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Squeak


Good morning friends. It's bright and sunny but very cold here in Maryland this morning. I could see my breath this morning when I went outside to feed my cat. Yes, I have a cat...her name is Lola but I call her squeak because she doesn't... meow like most cats. She opens her mouth like she is going to meow, but this little squeak comes out.

I rescued Squeak last fall when she and her three siblings were left on my back deck by their mother who never came back to feed them. That is a whole different story that I won't get into right now. All died except for Squeak who I bottle fed and kept alive. I had her spayed and vaccinated and a chip put in her ear and bought her a pink rhinestone collar. She grew up to be a long haired, green eyed beauty and the sweetest cat I've ever known.

She was an outdoor cat then and is an outdoor cat now. I brought her in over the winter months last year and provided her warmth and shelter and lots of food and toys and all the luxuries that indoor cats usually don't appreciate. Nor did she...she was miserable all winter and cried all the time to go out. The vet said let her outside, so this past April, I let her out on the deck and within a second she was gone. I searched everywhere. I put up posters and called out her name for days. But she was nowhere to be found and I cried and blamed myself and mourned her loss.                                                                                            

  

Then, 9 weeks to the day, she came back. There she was, sitting on the back deck waiting for me. She looked tired and worn out as if she had gone through a lot trying to find her way back home. She had become very feral in nature and didn't trust anyone to come near her. But after a week or so, she jumped in my lap one morning when I was sitting out having my coffee. And she's has never left since. Every morning she greets me with a squeak to say she's hungry and we sort of hang out together out in the garden.

But now it's getting cold and I worry about Squeak. So I went out and bought one of those Igloo dog houses. I packed it full of blankets and a heated pet pad to make it all cozy and warm. I bought a swing door for it so she could go in and out when she wanted. I put it up high on my table so she would feel safer. I put in her favorite toys and some treats and munchies and waited to see what she would do.

Didn't take long for her to get in and start her cat ritual of kneading the blankets and snuggling up with her toys. She loved her new accommodations instantly and sleeps there peacefully every night and most of the day. She peaks out and squeaks each morning when I bring out her breakfast. I pick her up and she is toasty warm and happy after a good night sleep and she purrrs and let's me know how grateful she is that we came up with a solution. Squeak is happy. All is well.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chicken Ravioli in Mushroom Marsala Cream
























I love to experiment in the kitchen. Sometimes I imagine a dish and the way I would like it to taste and then set out to make it. My Mom always said the best cooks are fearless in the kitchen. I made this for lunch today and it turned out... just the way I imagined. So elegant and yet so easy to make. Especially when you start off with a good quality frozen Ravioli.

Chicken Ravioli in Mushroom Marsala Cream

1 bag or box of frozen chicken ravioli ( I only use Buitoni)
1 lb baby Bella mushrooms
1 1/3 cups Marsala wine
1 small onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced Portabella mushrooms
salt and pepper

Fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water. Set the burner to high. When water begins boiling, add the frozen ravioli to and boil for 6-8 minutes. The ravioli are done when they float to the top of the water. 


























While cooking your pasta, make your sauce. In a large skillet, over medium heat, saute onion, garlic and mushroom in olive oil until tender, about 3 minutes. Next, add the Marsala wine and bring to a full boil for about 2-4 minutes. Slowly stir in heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes until heated. If sauce is thicker than you'd like, add a little milk until you thin it out the way you want it.

Drain ravioli very carefully with a slotted spoon onto plate or bowl. Spoon mushroom Marsala sauce over ravioli and serve. Enjoy!

NOTE: I used Buitoni frozen Chicken Marsala Ravioli for this recipe. You could also try Buitoni Cheese Ravioli or their Wild Mushroom Agnolotti, which would be just perfect fro this dish. If you're feeling real ambitious and have the time, make your own ravioli from scratch!


 Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Homemade Won Ton Soup
























I always order won-ton soup when I go out for Chinese food. I just love the broth and those wonderful little pillows of goodness. So one day I decided to try and make it at home. I went to the store and bought some won ton wrappers and googled how to fill and fold them. Then I put together a recipe for my own broth and in no time flat I had the best soup! It ended up being so easy to make and even better that what you get in a restaurant. Now I can have Won Ton soup whenever I want. You will love this recipe.

Homemade Won Ton Soup

For the pork filled wontons:

1/2 lb ground pork
1-2 scallion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
30 wonton wrappers
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cool water

For the Soup:

2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste

Stir together pork, scallions, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, salt, and white pepper in a bowl in 1 direction with your hand until just combined (do not overwork, or filling will be tough).


Put 1 wonton wrapper on a work surface (keep remaining wrappers covered with damp cloth). Spoon a teaspoon of filling in center of square, then brush cornstarch slurry around edges. Lift 2 opposite corners together to form a triangle and enclose filling, pressing edges firmly around mound of filling to eliminate air pockets and seal. Moisten opposite corners of long side. Curl moistened corners toward each other, overlapping one on top of the other, and carefully press corners together to seal. Make more won tons in same manner.



























Fill a medium sized pot with 6 cups of the chicken broth. Bring broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add wontons and stir lightly to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the broth begins to boil again, add another cup of broth. When water begins to boil again, add the final remaining cup of broth. When the broth boils for the final time, the won tons & should be done. Serve hot.
























Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Shrimp Bisque






















I love seafood and especially in soups this time of year. I make my base rich and creamy and fill it with wonderful buttery crab, shrimp and lobster. Typically, a shrimp bisque has a thin base with just the taste of shrimp. I make mine thick with chunks of shrimp in every bite. Try it. I think you'll like it!

Shrimp Bisque

1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and chopped
2 cups half and half (half milk/half cream)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons of onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (more if you want a kick)

Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Blend in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add half and half and stir until base starts to thicken. Add cream and the tomato paste and stir until thick and creamy. Stir in salt, paprika, old bay seasoning and chopped shrimp. Check seasonings and add more if desired. Add more Old Bay seasoning taste. Garnish with whole shrimp.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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You don't know what you have until it's gone?"

You know that saying...."You don't know what you have until it's gone?" The truth is...you knew exactly what you had. You just thought you'd never lose it.

~Marty

From my book, "Life's Lessons" (What God Would Have Wanted Me to Learn By Now)....

Note: You can download any of my ebooks to your computer, your iPhone or iPad or Android smartphone, for only $24.99. Hard copies are also for sale.

http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/195682-life-s-lessons

Proceeds from the sale of my All my books go to the NO KILL Advocacy Group to support their efforts in saving the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in a shelter for someone to rescue them. Over 6 million dogs and cats will die this year. We can change that.
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

♥ White Chocolate Key Lime Pie

White Chocolate Key Lime Pie

1 cup whipping cream
1 bag white chocolate morsels
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/3 cup key lime juice
Zest of one lime
one pre-packaged graham cracker crust
sliced limes and canned whipped cream for garnish

On the stove, heat whipping cream and morsels on medium heat, stirring continuously until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add sour cream, key lime juice and lime zest. Stir well until smooth. Pour mixture into pie crust, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and lime slices.




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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

♥ Pecan Upside-Down Cake


Pecan Upside-Down Cake

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract...

1½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup pecan halves
1 recipe Brown-Sugar Brandy Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift twice. Add fl our mixture to butter mixture, alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with fl our mixture. Fold in chopped pecans. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter and brown sugar, mixing well. Add cream, stirring until smooth.

Pour brown-sugar mixture into bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Arrange 1 cup pecan halves in brown-sugar mixture. Spoon prepared batter over pecan halves. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of cake pan to loosen cake edges. Immediately turn cake onto a serving dish. Serve with Brown-Sugar Brandy Sauce if desired.

Brown-Sugar Brandy Sauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup heavy whipping cream

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, whisking to combine. Add brandy, whisking to combine. Add cream, whisking until smooth. Cook, whisking frequently, until sauce is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Sauces can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave before serving.
http://www.tasteofthesouthmagazine.com/content.aspx?id=21176
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♥ Chicken 'N Dumplin' Soup


I love this soup! It's not my traditional chicken and dumplings that I made for dinner but close. This is a soup that is full of good things that comfort the soul on a cold winter day. I made this over the weekend and who's waiting for winter?
I am having it now as I type this up for you! 
Chicken 'N Dumplin' Soup

Soup

4 cups chicken stock or broth
4 carrots, diced small
1 stalks celery, diced small
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cups chopped chicken breast (I use a rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the soup: In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium high heat, mix the chicken broth, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, oregano, and celery salt. Add the diced chicken and the cream and lower the heat to medium and simmer for at least 30-40 minutes until soup is thick and creamy. In the meantime, make your dumplings.

Dumplings:

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 to 1 cup milk

For the dumplings: For dumplings, combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir in egg, butter and enough milk to make a moist stiff batter. Set aside and when soup has finished cooking, drop dumplings teaspoonful's into soup. Cover and cook without lifting the lid for 18-20 minutes until dumplings are tender.

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♥ She's Strong




She's strong because she knows what it's like to be weak. She keeps her guard up because she knows what it's like to cry herself to sleep at night
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♥ Fried Potato Pancakes


















I love making these little potato pancakes as a side dish instead of french fries or baked potatoes. They are so easy to make and so crisp and delicious.

Fried Potato Pancakes

2 large russet potatoes (or a bag of refrigerated hash browns...
)
½ large onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoons all-purpose flour
salt + pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of butter

If you are using whole potatoes, peel, rinse and then grate them or shred them over a large bowl. Then place them in a bowl of cold water and let them soak for a few minutes. Drain potatoes using a colander and then squeeze out as much water as you can by pressing them against the colander walls with paper towels. If you are using a bag of hash brown potatoes, you can skip the soak and just press squeeze the moisture out as much as possible.

In another bowl, grate onion on the smallest holes of the grater. Then mix in the potatoes, egg and salt and pepper and flour and mix well so that everything is blended together.

Heat oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon potato mixture into oil and then flatten slightly with a spoon. I make mine small for a side dish but you can make them as large as you'd like. Fry until golden brown about 3 minutes, then flip over fry the other side. Remove potatoes from skillet and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

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