Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Apple Pie Roll Ups

Apple Pie Roll Ups

1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 package refrigerated pie crust
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 medium tart apples (Granny Smith), peeled and cut into 6 wedges each

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Set aside.

Unroll the pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Sprinkle with all but 1 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar. (reserve for a few minutes) Cut the sheet into 12 inch strips along the long side. Lay a wedge of apple on the short end of each pastry strip and roll them up, with the sugared side of the pastry against the apple. Place them onto the lined baking sheet. Brush with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar evenly over top.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm, with or without custard. Delicious!


8 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup of whole milk
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until well blended. Place the milk and cream in a saucepan with the vanilla. Scrape the insides of the vanilla bean into the mixture before you add it. Bring the mixture just to the boil.

Pour a little bit of this mixture into the eggs to temper them, and beat it together well. Pour this back into the pan and whisk together. Return to the heat and using a whisk, lightly stir until it begins to thicken. DO NOT BOIL.

As the egg yolks warm, the cream will get thicker and create a custard. Keep stirring until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and pass through a fine sieve. Leave to cool a bit before using. Serve warm or allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally.

NOTE: Be sure not to let the mixture boil once the eggs are added, or you will end up with a curdled mess. You only need to heat it up enough to cook the eggs. The custard is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Marie's blog: http://theenglishkitchen.blogspot.com/2011/10/apple-pie-roll-ups.html

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Cheesy Bacon Fries

I know...I am shameless! But a girl gotta eat! In moderation of course!

Cheesy Bacon Fries

1 (32 ounce) package frozen french fries
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded...
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
ranch salad dressing

Bake the frozen fries as directed on package. Although sometimes I do deep fry them to get them even more crispy! Then place fries on a broiler-proof dish or platter. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with ranch dressing.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home
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Spinach-Feta-Bacon Torte

I whipped this together for lunch today and it turned out really good. A soft pastry dough filled with spinach and bacon and feta cheese with just a hint of sun dried tomatoes.

Spinach-Feta-Bacon Torte
1 tablespoon olive oil ...
2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1 small onion, minced
1/4 cup canned sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup cooked bacon, chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste
3 eggs
1 cup Greek style yogurt
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup grated Reggiano or Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a heavy, large skillet over a medium flame, then add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and turn down the heat so the onion sweats but doesn't brown.

Meanwhile, put the spinach in a bowl and add onion and the orange zest along with the red pepper flakes and the pepper. Cook over low heat for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and put the spinach mixture into a large bowl to cool. When the spinach is room temperature, whisk in the eggs, then the yogurt, the bacon, mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes, and bread crumbs. Set aside while you make your torte shell.

Torte Shell

2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter plus 2 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk

Line the bottom of a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Spray the bottom and sides of the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the flour and salt in a food processer or mixer bowl and briefly combine. Pulse in the butter pieces until crumbly. Add the eggs and milk and blend until dough forms. Remove about 2/3 of pastry dough and shape into a ball and flatten into a circle. Repeat with the remainder of the pastry.

Roll the larger amount of pastry into a 14 inch round and place in the prepared pan leaving an equal amount of overhang around the edges. Fit into the corners of the pan by pulling the dough on the side toward the center and laying it into the bottom and edge of the pan. Continue all the way around.

Pour the spinach mixture into the lined pie plate and then pull the corners up so they lie on top of the mixture. Put the tart in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes turning once so that it cooks evenly. The torte is done when the pastry is golden brown and the center of the spinach mixture has puffed up and is set.

Allow the torte to rest for 10 minutes or so before cutting it as the filing will be piping hot. It is also good served at room temperature or cold. The tart serves 6-8 as a main dish, or it can be sliced thin for appetizers.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Friday, January 17, 2014

Cherry Mini Cakes

Cherry Mini Cakes

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix plus the
water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box

1 package (0.13 oz) cherry-flavored unsweetened Kool-Aid
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 bag (2 lb) powdered sugar (8 cups)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 to 3 teaspoons hot water
Miniature red candy hearts

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottoms only of about 58 mini muffin cups. In large bowl, beat mini cakes ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about half full). (If using one pan, refrigerate batter while baking other cakes; wash pan before filling with additional batter.) Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove cakes from muffin cups to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Place cooling rack on cookie sheet or waxed paper to catch glaze drips. In 3-quart saucepan, mix all glaze ingredients except hot water. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons hot water. If necessary, stir in up to 1 teaspoon more water so glaze will just coat cakes.

Turn each cake so top side is down on cooling rack. Pour about 1 tablespoon glaze over each cake, letting glaze coat sides. Let stand until glaze is set, about 15 minutes. Top each cake with candy hearts. Store loosely covered.

Properly linked to: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/cherry-mini-cakes/81125efc-7c82-4b40-a69b-cb9f27cea7ca
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Chocolate Peppermint mini cupcakes

Chocolate Peppermint mini cupcakes

1 pouch Betty Crocker® chocolate chunk cookie mix
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon water
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies (about 14)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
2 to 3 drops red food color
Powdered sugar

Lightly spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. Prepare cookie dough as directed on package except--use 3 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon water, 1 egg and the peppermint extract. Shape dough into 24(1-inch) balls; place in muffin cups.

Bake at 375° F for 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately make indentation in center of each cookie with end of wooden spoon to form a cup. Cool 30 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.

In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar, crushed peppermint candies, butter, milk, and red food color with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Spoon frosting into decorating bag with large star tip (#5). Pipe into each cookie cup. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Store in refrigerator.

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Vanilla Cupcakes With Caramel Buttercream Frosting

How could a simple little cupcake be soooo good? These are just delicious with a touch of salt in the caramel frosting. One of my favorite cupckakes. If you love caramel you will love this one!

Vanilla Cupcakes With Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg yolks , room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.

Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar

Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add in about a tablespoon or two at a time of the cream and vanilla and carefully stir until smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Beat the butter on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce to low speed and add the powdered sugar, and mix until completely blended. Turn off the mixer, and add caramel. Then turn the mixer back on and combine the caramel then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and airy.

I decorated with melted Kraft caramels and added a chocolate malt ball candy on top of each one.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

♥ Custard Buttons

Delicious and buttery with a luscious custard cream center. Fabulous!

Custard Buttons 

1 1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
4 1/2 tablespoons Crisco, cut into bits

3 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1 large egg

For the filling:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla (or more if needed)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
few drops of hot water if necessary

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment and set aside.

Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and sugar together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and Crisco and cut into the flour using a pastry blender or two knives until you have something the consistency of sand. Beat the egg and vanilla lightly and then stir into the dry mixture, mixing it in well.

Scoop out Tablespoon size pieces of the dough and shape lightly into balls between the palms of your hands. Place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Press down with a fork which you have dusted in flour each time. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until well risen and set, but not browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.


Cream the butter and vanilla, cornstarch and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Be patient, it will come together eventually. If the mixture still seems a bit stiff, add a few drops of hot water and beat until you have the consistency you want.

Sandwich two cookies together with the custard filling and set aside to enjoy later!

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Who Am I?

While praying one day, a young woman stopped and asked this question, "God, who are you." And God replied, "I am."

"But I don't understand, she said. "Who is, I am?"

And he replied, " I am love, I am peace, I am joy. I am forgiveness, ...I am compassion and I am patient. I am hope and I am benevolent. I am omnipotent, I am omniscient and I am the almighty. I am strength and I am safety. I am the creator. I am the Alpha and Omega. I am the beginning and the end. I am the most high. I am the way, the truth and the light. I am the answer.

The woman listened and with tears in her eyes she looked toward the heavens and said, "Now I understand who you are God, but then who am I?"

And God tenderly wiped away her tears and whispered, "You are mine."
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Orange Roasted Chicken


One of the many recipes I made over the weekend and one of my favorites.  I use Orange marmalade or Apricot Preserves. This is a keeper my friends....you'll love the flavors. See more photos in the comment section under this post. Be sure and click on the photos for drool mode!

 Orange Roasted Chicken

1 chicken cut up (With the bones and skin. You can use breast, thighs or legs or the whole chicken)
2 cups orange marmalade or apricot preserves
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest
pinch or two of red pepper flakes (or more if you want it spicier)
1-2 teaspoons of liquid smoke (more if you like that smokey grilled chicken flavor).

Arrange your chicken in a deep dish. Mix preserves, soy sauce, orange zest, pepper flakes and liquid smoke in a saucepan over low heat and cook until preserves have melted down. Pour only half of the sauce over the chicken and set the remaining sauce aside. Cover chicken and place in the refrigerator for an hour.               

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to the remaining sauce and stir over medium heat until warm and thicker than original sauce. Remove chicken from the refrigerator and place on raised rack inside baking or roasting pan. Pour 1 cup of chicken broth under rack. Brush the thickened warmed sauce on top of the chicken and cover entire pan or dish with aluminum foil to keep the steam inside the pan while roasting. Make sure chicken is not laying in the broth.

Bake for 40 minutes and then remove from oven. Remove foil and generously brush more sauce all over chicken. Turn heat down to 350 degrees and bake another 10-15 minutes uncovered. Baste once more until chicken is done. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve any additional sauce on the side.


Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Fastest Dessert Ever!

Fastest Dessert Ever!

1 dozen large strawberries, rinsed and paper towel dried
1 bag of chocolate chips
half & half

Pour some chips into a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of butter and a splash of half & half. Nuke for about 45 seconds and then stir with a fork. If its not creamy, add more butter and cream and nuke for another 20 seconds and stir again. When creamy and glossy looking, dip the berries and set on wax paper. Refrigerate if you need them to harden quicker.
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

♥ Caramel Bread Pudding with Rich Caramel Sauce












Warning:  For anyone who might have gotten lost while looking for a low calorie, low fat, low carb, low sugar or low anything else, RUN!  This recipe is for those who like to indulge in the good things in life ...in moderation of course.

Caramel Bread Pudding with Rich Caramel Sauce

1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
4 1/2 cups 1-inch cubes brioche, preferably stale with crust removed
7 large eggs
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 pinches of salt

Spread brown sugar evenly in bottom of 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish (or other 9- to 10-cup dish). Sprinkle bread cubes evenly over. Combine eggs, cream, milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend well. Pour custard through sieve over bread in dish. Let pudding stand 30 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to submerge.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Place baking dish in roasting pan. Pour enough lukewarm water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of baking dish. Bake pudding until set, brown on top, and small knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool in water 20 minutes. Spoon bread pudding into dessert bowls and serve warm. Top with nuts and caramel sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature with caramel sauce. See recipe below.

Rich Caramel Sauce

1 cup white sugar
6 tablespoon good quality unsalted butter (use Kerry Gold if you can find it)
1/2 cup heavy cream (double cream)
1 teaspoon Sea Salt 

 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

Add the dry sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook on low until it melts. Keep swirling the pan so that the sugar can cook evenly. Once the sugar has reached a deep brown color, remove from heat and add all the butter. It will foam up, so make sure you're using a pan with high sides. Stir until it's completely melted into the sugar. Next, pour in the cream and whisk in until you have a consistent sauce. Stir in half the salt.
Let it cool completely. Stir in the remaining salt.

Caramel Sauce can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Great over bread puddings, cake, ice cream, etc.

 Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home 2014.
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Friday, January 10, 2014

Coca Cola Slow Cooked Ham

Remember this morning when I mentioned I was going to slow cook a ham today. This is a ham you will never forget....moist and tender and great for sandwiches...which I will be putting up soon. Well....what are you waiting for? Suppers ready...come and get it!

Coca Cola Slow Cooked Ham

5 lb. fully cooked boneless ham (I bought a spiral sliced)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey mustard
2 (12 ounce) cans Coca-Cola

If you get a pre-sliced ham you are ready to unwrap it and cook it. On the other hand, you need to do a little prep work on a ham that has not been pre-sliced. For a non-sliced ham, lightly score in diagonal lines first one way, then crosswise, to form a diamond pattern, being careful not to cut any deeper than about a eighth of an inch.

Make a paste of brown sugar and mustard and rub it into the sliced or scored ham. Do not rub it on the bottom or it overcook and burn. Move your ham to a large crock pot and pour both
cans of coca all around the outside of the ham...being careful not to wash away the brown sugar glaze. Set your slow cooker on low and let the ham cook for about 8 hours.

Hot Ham on a toasted potato roll with melted Oh yum Monterrey Jack cheese and a touch of mayo. 

 Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Story Of Glory

"Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever."

This is 3 year old Glory. She was adopted 10 months ago from the local SPCA, who was about three hours short of putting her to sleep forever. You see she had been dropped off a few days earlier and her 72 hours was almost up. That is what the Humane Society and the SPCA do. They give a dog or a cat 72 hours to find a home before they kill them unnecessarily. This is why I support the NO KILL advocacy group who work so hard to save those lives.

Glory was so scared and so sad. She had no idea where her family was and she cried constantly because she missed them and was so worried about them. She was so hungry but afraid to eat. Her coat was so dirty from laying on that cold and dirty concrete floor. She would soon be led to the rear of the shelter and put into the gas chamber or given a lethal injection. She had done nothing wrong. She just ran out of time. And then a miracle happened.

You see, one of my new friends who had just moved here to Maryland from North Carolina, went out shopping one day and made a wrong turn. She soon discovered that she was completely lost on a country road and the only place she could find to ask for directions was an animal shelter. So she pulled in the parking lot and went in to ask for directions to find her way back home again. Becky told the person behind the counter she was lost and he was kind enough to write down the directions to get her back on on the right road leading her home again. She started to leave but she heard barking and crying and curiosity got the best of her. She said she had this overwhelming conviction to take a peek at the "cute little puppies." You see Becky has never owned a dog before and she had no clue what these shelters were all about. She expected to see a pet shop environment with cute little puppies up for adoption. She asked if she could go see the puppies and the person at the counter shrugged his shoulders and said, "sure go take a look."

And that is when Becky's heart broke into a hundred pieces. She saw dogs that were so frightened and so starved for attention. Big dogs, little dogs, old and young. Shy dogs, sad dogs and dogs that were so shaken and scared. She walked quickly towards the exit door fighting back the tears and then she saw Glory. She was all the way in the back of that cold concrete cage, lying with her head down and not giving anyone any eye contact. Her food bowl was full and untouched and her water bowl was empty. She had no blanket or toys or anything to comfort her.

Becky stopped suddenly and said she was instantly drawn to that cage. She said she realized that she and Glory had a lot in common, for she too was very sad and and lonely in a new town with very few friends. She was also very unsure of the future and she missed her family so much. She knew right then and there that she needed to take this beautiful dog out of this God forsaken place and love her for the rest of her life. They would be good for each other. They would be best friends forever. She needed to let Glory know this right away.

She went back and asked the person behind the counter if she could visit with Glory to talk to her and to reassure her that she was going to be safe now and that she already had fallen in love with her. They let her in and gave her a chair to sit on and Glory eventually looked up and wagged her tail. That night they developed an instant bond like no other.

They made her wait for three more days and it was agonizing for Becky to leave Glory there alone wondering where her new friend went. But finally that day came and they have been inseparable ever since. Becky introduces Glory always with the same words, "This is my best friend Glory. She saved my life."

I hear these stories all the time and I really believe that these are God's miracles. I truly believe one of God's greatest gifts to mankind is a dog who loves you unconditionally and is a friend for life.
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Easy Pork Roast

I love the smell of roast pork as it slow cooks in my oven on a cold snowy day. I want to show you just how easy it is to get a perfect roast every time. 
Easy Pork Roast

 1 (6-8 lb). boneless rolled Pork Loin or Sirloin pork Roast
1-2 cups of apple cider or chicken stock

Dry Rub

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
2 tablespoons course salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons celery seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground allspice

Mix all dry seasonings and ingredients together until blended. Lay roast on plastic wrap and coat with olive oil. You may also pour olive oil in spices and blend for a wet rub. Generously rub entire roast with spices. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Remove roast from refrigerator and set oven to 450 degrees. Place the roast on a rack inside a roasting pan with the fat pad on the top side up so you have a natural basting throughout the cooking process.

Roast on center rack of oven for about 15 minutes to sear the meat and activate the flavors of the spices. Carefully remove hot roasting pan from oven and pour chicken broth or apple juice under rack, making sure meat is not sitting in liquid. Cover entire roasting pan and rack with heavy foil to keep in steam. Reduce temperature down to only 250 degrees and bake for 60-90 minutes or until you reach a temperature of 145 degrees in the center of the roast.

Remove roasting pan from oven and carefully remove foil so that steam escapes. Carefully use tongs to lift the roast to a platter. Do not puncture with a fork. Tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before carving. Remove foil, slice, and serve.

 Photo credit http://www.primemeats.com/pork/pork-loin-roast/
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You Are One Of A Kind

You Are One Of A Kind

God made you just the way he wanted.

You weren't an accident. You weren't mass produced. You aren't an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the earth ...by The Master Craftsman.

You are unique...in your appearance, your character, your beliefs, your principles, your talents, and your gifts. There is no one or nothing else exactly like you.

He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. He gives you the moon at night and warm summer breezes. He gives you the song that birds sing to enlighten your days and the snow covered mountains to liven your senses. He brings you miracles every day to let you know he's nearby.

You are a miracle. He created you and he thinks you are wonderful and beautiful and he made no one else in this whole wide world like you. Remember that the next time you feel you are not good enough...thin enough...smart enough....pretty enough...You ARE enough.

You are one of a kind.

By the way, each day of your life God gives you a gift of 86,400 seconds. Have you used one of them today to tell him thank you?
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Honey Sesame Chicken over Sticky Rice

I love this dish...I order it often when I go out for Chinese food. I also love making my own Chinese food at home and last summer I decided to try and come up with the right ingredients to copy the recipe of my favorite restaurant. I would say this is right on the mark. Tender moist chicken in a thick Asian honey sauce over a bed of perfect sticky rice. Sometimes I even add a little orange zest and orange juice to make orange chicken from the same recipe. This is a keeper my friends!

Honey Sesame Chicken over Sticky Rice

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pinch each salt & pepper
4 tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil (for frying)


2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup honey
½ tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for heat)

In a large bowl, coat chicken well on all sides in the cornstarch and add a pinch of salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet, add the peanut or vegetable oil and fry the chicken over medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until it is golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Once all chicken is cooked, place it all back into the skillet with the heat turned down to simmer.

In a small bowl stir together soy sauce, water, sesame oil, brown sugar, honey, rice vinegar, fresh grated ginger, minced garlic, cornstarch, and sesame seeds. If you want to add spiciness or heat to your dish, now would be the time to stir in the red pepper flakes. Pour the sauce over the top of the chicken and toss to coast well. Sauce will start to thicken as it warms in the skillet. When it is the consistency you like, turn off the heat. Serve the chicken over a bed of rice and sprinkle with additional sesame seeds if desired.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Saturday, January 04, 2014

♥ Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner

Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner

From Marie over at the English Kitchen who is always so kind to share her recipes with us."This is one of those great family style dishes that not only tastes delicious, but is also quick, easy and feeds a crowd. You can cut the quantities in half if you like, but I'd also like to add that it freezes very well and so it's one of those things you can have in the freezer, ready to whip out at a moment's notice!"

1 box (16 0z) uncooked pasta
2 pounds extra lean ground beef
1 pound of bacon
1 onion, peeled and minced
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 cans of tomato soup
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mixed herbs (dried basil, oregano, parsley, marjoram)
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove with and set aside to drain. Add the beef, onions and garlic to the drippings. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the beef is lightly browned and the vegetables are soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the herbs. Crumble in the cooked bacon. Add the ketchup and tomato soup. Bring to the boil, then simmer while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted water according to the package directions until tender. Once tender, drain well and then stir into the beef mixture. Add 3/4 of the cheddar cheese and stir it in to melt, then sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top and allow to melt. Serve right from the pan with lots of crusty bread and a tasty salad on the side.

Make sure you stop by Marie's webpage for some of the best recipes and step by step directions on how to make them! Let her know Welcome Home sent you!

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♥ Hash brown Egg Nests

Hash brown Egg Nests

1 box (5.2 oz) Betty Crocker® Seasoned Skillets® hash brown potatoes with hot water, salt and margarine called for on potato box
1/4 cup crumbled bacon or ham
6 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 6 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.

Make potatoes as directed on box. When done, place in medium bowl. Stir in crumbled bacon. Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups. Bake about 15 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown on edges. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Crack 1 egg over each muffin cup. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350°F about 18-20 minutes or until egg whites and yolks are firm, not runny. Cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin cups.
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Friday, January 03, 2014

Dear God

Dear God,

Help me to put aside the things that are breaking my heart, long enough to think and pray about all the things in this world that are breaking yours.


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♥ It's A New Year

Good morning friends. Well, we have a whole new year ahead of us now....and the question is, what do we plan to do with it? I would like to offer you a suggestion and challenge you to take a pledge.

What major change can we make in our liv...es to better the life of others? Even one other person. I'm not talking about New Years Resolutions or Weight Loss Diets or rearranging furniture. I am talking about making a difference in other's lives in some way. Oh it's easier said that done....you really have to take the initiative and get involved and make it happen.

Having a cause that you believe in can make your own life richer in so many ways. I'm not talking about donating to the Church. I hear that all the time..."I give to my church and they take care of all that stuff." I am talking about getting personally involved and doing something for someone that will make a difference in their life and in your life.

As you all know, I support the No Kill Advocacy Group who are out there everyday, working diligently to save the lives of innocent dogs and cats who are being killed unnecessarily while they wait in shelters for someone to love them and give them a new home. There is nothing for fulfilling for me than knowing I may have saved the life of an animal today. There is nothing that enriches my life more than seeing a dog trapped in a shelter go out the front door with a loving family than the rear door to it's death.

Some of you know that I have a homeless friend who walks the highway near where I live and I have sort of adopted him without him knowing. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about his safety and his care. I go out and search for him each week to give him food and things to keep him warm. That my friends has enriched my life more than you know. The other day I saw him walking down that same stretch of highway in the rain and bitter cold. On his
head was the new furry wool hat that I had given him on Christmas Eve. I am still smiling.

This year I pledge to do more....because God has blessed me in so many ways, why shouldn't I share those blessings with others? I'm not rich by any means. But I have a roof over my head and food on my table and God has always taken care of me. I think he expects me to do the same. I cannot imagine going to bed hungry or sleeping outside in the cold and it breaks my heart that a country as rich and prosperous as ours allows it. So it is up to me to make a difference.

I have always wanted to start a program where funds could be raised to pay the mortgage or rent payments of someone who is about to lose their home due to job loss or illness. I can't imagine anything being worse than losing your home and having nowhere to go. It literally hurts me to think about the indignity of being told you have to leave your home, knowing you have no place to call home anymore. I think of all the gifts God gives us, Home is the one we are most grateful for. Home is our sanctuary. Home is a place where we can go to feel safe. So this year, I will set out to search for such a program or create of my own.

You might be asking what you can do this year. I look at the power in numbers. Look at how many followers at Welcome Home on Facebook....over 465,000. What would happen if each and every one of us decided that everyday for the next 364 days, we were going to do something...anything...to make a difference in a life out there?

What if we kept a few dollars in our car to give to someone who we saw holding up a sign on a street corner? What if we baked bread or cookies to give to a shelter or mission in your area? What if we gave canned goods to a food bank in town or we dropped off a bag of dog or cat food to your local animal shelter? What if we handed out blankets or coats to the homeless? What if we just handed out a box of groceries to someone standing in the unemployment or welfare line?

And it's not always the needy or the hungry we can help. What if we set out to make someone's day better? Like buying that cup of coffee for the person in line behind you at your local coffee shop or paying the toll for someone at the toll booth. What if you see someone who might need help buying groceries at the local market and you help pay the bill? What if you can help that elderly neighbor in some way this year with chores he or she can no longer handle? What if we actually smile at people and say hello to a stranger at least once at day this year?

Judy Garland once said, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could be a little more gentle with each other, a little more loving, have a little more empathy, and maybe next year at this time, we'd like each other a little more...."

So there is a new chapter for Welcome Home this year and I challenge you to take the pledge to do something for someone on every single day of it. At the end of every day... just before the goodnight baby post... I will feature a post that will talk about kindness and goodwill towards each other. It's purpose will be to allow you to comment on what YOU did to make a difference that day. Like it?

I hope you will take the pledge and get involved....don't just say it. Do something today that will make a difference even in the slightest way...and tonight be ready to share it with all your friends here at Welcome Home. Together we can make a difference my friends. Let work together to do just that.

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♥ Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

Going through my photos this morning and realized I forgot to share a few of my holiday dinner recipes with you. So even though the holidays are over you can file them for the next holiday! Starting with my Sweet Potato Casserole with Pec...an topping I made on Christmas Day....yum! So easy to make and so good, you wonder why you don't make these more often!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

3 cups cooked sweet potatoes ( I used a drained 29 ounce can)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup half and half or whole milk
1/2 cup melted butter
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients and with a hand mixer beat until smooth and creamy.

Pecan and Brown Sugar Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

NOTE: You can cut up your own potatoes and boil them until tender or use them straight from a can as I did for this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour mashed sweet potatoes into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and pecan pieces in a small bowl, using your fingers to create moist crumbs. Sprinkle generously over the casserole. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the top is golden brown. Let stand for the mixture to cool and solidify a little bit before serving. 



 Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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♥ Sometimes we just need to be a kid again.

Sometimes we need to go where we can hear that screen door slam, and bring back memories of Mom calling us at supper time. Sometimes we need to wish on a falling star and lay in the grass and make shapes out of clouds. Sometimes we need to climb a tall tree, and skip rocks across a pond and catch fireflies in a jar. Sometimes we need to remember when life was simple and innocent. Sometimes we just need to be a kid again.

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♥ Savory Beef Stew

I think beef stew is the ultimate comfort food for fall and winter and it just gets better as the flavors meld each day. I don't put a lot of things in my beef stew because to me it is a stew and not a vegetable soup. In this version you will find that the true meat and potato girl comes out because I only do beef and potatoes...oh yea, and a few carrots just to say I added vegetables! LOL!

Savory Beef Stew

2 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32oz) carton of beef broth
1 packet Lipton Onion Soup mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil + 2 tablespoons butter for frying
4 tablespoons of flour
1 bag small baby carrots
1 can of whole kernel corn, drained
1-2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon corn starch as necessary for thickening gravy

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic until tender and lightly browned. Add flour, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Dredge beef cubes in flour and fry in same skillet until brown on all sides. Set aside. Transfer everything to your crock pot.

Sprinkle packet of Lipton onion soup over meat. Add peeled potatoes, baby carrots and corn, (you can add other vegetables such as celery, mushrooms, pearl onions, etc) at this time. Next pour entire carton of beef broth over everything and set your crock pot on high. Cook for 6 hours on high (or 8 hours on low).

At this point, your meat and vegetables will be fork tender and your gravy will thickened because of the flour you dredged your meat in. However, if you would like thicker gravy as seen in the photo, you can spoon about 1 cup liquid from your stew into a bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons of corn starch until smooth. Pour mixture back in your crock pot and cook for an additional 30 minutes until gravy is thicker.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Monday, December 30, 2013

My Mother's Gift

As we all celebrate the holidays this year, please take a few minutes to think about those who have nothing to celebrate. Those that are less fortunate and have no place to call home.

I know you have heard this time and time again and you always intend to help...but someone else's sorrow is not always on the forefront of our minds. If you truly want to change your life this coming year, then make it a point to help others who have nothing.

Look for opportunities everyday and everywhere you go. I mean really set a goal to help one person anyway you can at least once a week. Your life will change for the better. The joy that comes from helping others is unlike any other emotion. All my young life I was taught to give and I am a better person because of it. I thank my Mom for that. It is one of the greatest lessons of my life.

My Mother's Gift

My first lesson came when I was only 7 years old and a drunk driver going 80 miles an hour on a local street struck and killed my Dad in front of me as I ran to greet him. It was pretty traumatic for a little girl. It was devastating to a young mother of two children who was left alone without any way of supporting us until she met my Step father three years later. But she managed on her own and we had food on the table, a roof over our heads and she made all our clothes.

One night, just a few days after my Dad's death, we went to visit the wife of the man who killed him. I can remember walking a short way to this old house and my Mom telling me to hold on to the hem of her skirt as her arms were carrying a big heavy box. With my other hand I was pulling my old red wagon behind us which had another box. When we reached the house, my Mom sat the box down and knocked on the door as I hid behind her still holding on tight to her skirt.

A woman answered the door and instantly buried her face in her hands and began to sob. My Mom reached in and hugged her and told her not to cry and asked if we could come in. She then struggled to pick up the heavy boxes and we went inside. The woman told my Mom that she was so ashamed of what her drunken husband had done and wished she could do anything to change the circumstances. She apologized for having nothing to offer us to drink and for the house being so cold that February night.

Even at 7 years old I knew that these people were poor....there was an infant with just a diaper on and the house was so cold you could see your breath. There were homemade beds made of old rags and worn blankets on the floor where the bedrooms were. There was a little girl about my age, hiding behind the curtains, her face was dirty and her clothes were ragged and torn.

I stayed right next to my Mom as she opened the box and told the woman that we wanted to give her a token of love and friendship. She reached into the box that was filled with my old baby clothes and clothes that might fit the little girl my age. She had packed some of her things too for the woman to wear. In the other box she had packed canned food and blankets and household goods. She even thought to pack a hair brush and some ribbons for the little girl's hair.

And the woman cried. Her little girl came from behind the curtains and tears also rolled down her cheeks as she saw a doll my Mom had packed in the box. She picked up the brush and asked her mom if she would brush her hair. Then she went into the other room and she brought out a small toy from a box of Cracker Jacks and handed it to me. My Mom reminded me to say thank you and I hugged the little girl.

Now keep in mind we didn't have much when my father was alive and now we were facing even less, but I watched my Mom's face as she handed this woman our things and I could see the joy that it brought. I knew it made my Mother so happy. Later, when I was old enough to understand the message that night, I knew that I wanted to feel that same joy of giving and to this day I have never stopped.

Oh what a wonderful and generous human being my Mother was. Instead of feeling hatred and anger for these people who took her husband away from our family, she reached out to them to ease their pain. In my mind there has never been or never will be a woman like my Mom and I thank God she was the Mother he chose for me. I strive everyday to be just like her.

Please make a pledge to help those that have no one and very little of their own. And tell yourself that from this day forward you will try to make a difference. It will make a difference in your life. I promise.

My Prayer

"Oh, God, when I have food
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me
to remember the jobless;

While I am in my warm home,
help me to remember the cold and the homeless;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer.

And in remembering,
please help me to destroy my complacency;
please stir my compassion,
so that I am concerned enough to help;
By word and by deed,
those who cry out for the very things I might
take for granted.

By the way, for those of you who are new to my page, I always choose a pink rose when I write about my Mom. Pink roses were her favorite.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Cuisipro Herb Keeper

Are you a kitchen gadget lover like me? I am always finding neat gadgets that make my life easier. I decided to share some of them with you.

How often do you buy fresh herbs or even pick them from your garden and... have them wilt quickly before you use them? With this little gadget that has only two simple parts you can store herbs that will last for weeks.

The Cuisipro Herb Keeper Keeps herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, dill and so many other herbs fresh longer than just storing in the fridge. And it's great for keeping vegetables like asparagus and celery fresh and crisp. Slots in the removable tray hold and hydrate herb stems while keeping leaves above the water. Sized for storing large quantities of herbs; designed to fit in most refrigerator door shelves. Measures 4-3/4 inches in diameter and 9-1/2 inches tall.

Simply place herbs in tray and drop herb stems in water. Your leftover herbs will last for weeks. Two simple parts make this quick and easy. The tray suspends at midpoint of unit to load or take out herbs. The tray holds herb bunches together for easy access with no need to take the tray out of the container. The tray has holes so the water hydrates the herbs. Suspend the tray and holes are there for drainage making the Cuisipro herb keeper mess free.

No other herb keeper has a suspended tray that makes it easy to access herbs. The removable feature is also unique to refill with water or simply refresh water. There is no need to unscrew from the bottom to refill as other herb keepers do. This is difficult when your hands are wet and you need to juggle the herbs to keep them in the container. Other units require you to take container out of water then open to access herbs, dripping water as you collect more herbs.   

Watch the video to see how it works!

This price is only $20.99 while supplies last. And remember whenever you purchase anything from Welcome Home proceeds go to support NO KILL which is a group that is working hard to save the lives of dogs and cats in this country who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for a home.

Click on the link below to find it.


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Fast Cut Herb Tool, by Zyliss

What is that thing you ask? Well, it is just about the coolest kitchen gadget there is. With all the cooking I do, I got tired of chopping and snipping and cutting up herbs. So last summer I bought this herb cutter....and my life has changed! LOL!

The Fast Cut Herb Tool, by Zyliss, is designed to effectively cut herbs with a minimal amount of effort and mess. It features sharp, high grade stainle...ss steel cutting blades. The soft touch ergonomic handle provides comfortable use. The blades on the tool rotate 90 degrees to offer the versatility of palm and grip use. Blade cover protects blade as well as hands. Top comes off for easy cleaning; top-rack dishwasher safe. 

Click on this blue link and watch this video to see this little gadget in action. You won't believe it. If you're like me, you'll wonder where it's been all your life!   I have given you a link to click on to see this little gadget in action and you will see what I mean. It has been such a time saver for me and I love it!


 This price is only $14.99 while supplies last. And remember whenever you purchase anything from Welcome Home at Amazon, proceeds go to support NO KILL which is a group that is working hard to save the lives of dogs and cats in this country who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for a home. Click on this link to find it.
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