Saturday, February 08, 2014

Fettuccine Alfredo



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
How could anything that takes so little time to cook taste so wonderful? Sometimes I make my Fettuccine Alfredo with grilled chicken or seafood, but there are those times that I don't have time for all that and want something quick. You
can't get much quicker than this. Add a nice salad and some Italian bread and you've got a meal fit for a Queen!

Fettuccine Alfredo

1 pound dried fettuccine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped (just a handful)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Cook the fettuccine in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well in a colander, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute until tender. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and add chopped spinach and cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in, set over medium-high heat. Add the reserved 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Next add the butter-cream mixture and half of the cheese and toss to combine thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.



Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Best Non-Stick Skillet

While I do a lot of cooking in cast iron skillets, I would be lost without a non-stick pan. I use them for quick frying food that usually stick to everything else. I use one for omelets and fried eggs and a lot of other foods. The problem with non-stick cookware however, is that eventually it starts to stick...and flake....and peel and get scratched. I cook a lot and I go through them about every two to three years and it was time to get a new one. So when I saw Cooks Country highly recommend this 12.5 inch Skillet and say it was by far the best one out there for the price, I immediately went to Amazon to order it.

Not so fast...whenever Cooks Country recommends anything, everyone sells out of it. I searched for weeks for this skillet and everyone was out of it. So my wait began....it took over 3 months for Amazon to get it back. But the wait so worth it. I have been cooking with it now for a week and I can honestly say I have never had a non-stick skillet I liked better. This thing is amazing and it does what all the big top of the line expensive cookware does for only a fraction of the price. For less than $30, you get everything you could possible want in a non-stick big 12 inch skillet and more.

It's called the T-fal Professional Total Nonstick 12-1/2" Sauté Pan and it features the unique Thermo-Spot heat indicator so you always know when the pan is perfectly heated to seal in the flavor of your food. A red dot in the center of the pan will turn solid when the pan is hot enough to match what you have your heat set to.

The nonstick interior and exterior and advanced metal-safe coating guarantees durable nonstick performance for heavy use and fast, easy cleanup. With a heavy stainless steel disc base, the heavy-gauge aluminum base provides superior heat distribution and maximum protection against warping.

Nonstick sauté pan - 12-1/2"
Thermo-Spot heat indicator shows when ready to use
Expert nonstick interior
Stainless steel disc base for even heat distribution
Remarkably easy clean up
Riveted silicone "stay cool" handles
Metal utensil safe
Dishwasher safe
Oven safe up to 450 degrees!

They are back in stock now and the price is only $28.34 while supplies last. But I can promise you they won't last long. So order yours today.

Remember, the proceeds from anything you buy here at Welcome Home, goes to the NO KILL Advocacy Group to save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever homes. If you look at the link you will see Welchome08 is there to let Amazon know you are from Welcome Home.

Click on this link for more information and to purchase.....I think this is a fantastic buy!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GWG0T2/ref=as_li_ss_sm_fb_us_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=399837&creativeASIN=B000GWG0T2&linkCode=shr&tag=welchome08-20
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There"s No Place Like Home

It's here! The fourth book in the Welcome Home series and it was just released a few seconds ago. I wanted to get the news to my Welcome Home friends!

This is the 4th book in the Welcome Home series and in this one you'll find Salads, Sou...ps and Stews, and delicious Main courses. It comes in both e-book for your phone, computer or tablets and you can download it to as many devices as you own. The cost is only $24.99 and the proceeds go to the No Kill Shelter Advocacy Group. So many of you enjoy having the recipes with you on your phones or tablets or printing recipes from your computer and taking them with you to the store to buy your ingredients. This is the perfect way to do it.

You can purchase the new e-book for $24.99 and have it in seconds by clicking on this link.

http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/461076-there-s-no-place-like-home

The book is also available in Softcover and hardback with a dust jacket (my preference) and hardback with an image wrap and no jacket. It 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. In other words, your print book is handmade upon order and will ship anywhere in the world for a very low shipping price. It usually takes about a week to ten days to arrive.

Here is the link to buy the print book in soft cover or hard copy:
http://www.blurb.com/b/5066832-there-s-no-place-like-home

I do not set the pricing for the books, the publisher does and I cannot do anything about the price they set. However, I will tell you that over 10,000 books have sold and there has never been a return. Please do not discuss pricing in the comments.

♥For a limited time there is a 25% discount when you spend a total of $50. At check out you simply enter this code in all caps: 25OFF50 when you spend $50 or more and you will see the immediate savings in your order total.

*****These books are not available in bookstores. They are only available online through the publisher who offers and safe and secure site for purchasing it. You will receive your new e-book within 5 minutes if you order the e-book and within 7-10 days or so when you order hard or soft cover. Each book is handmade for you as you order.

*****As with all my books, proceeds from the sale of "There's No Place Like Home" go to support the NO KILL Advocacy Group in their efforts to save the lives of dogs and cats in this country who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in shelters for their forever home. Over 6 million dogs and cats were killed last year because no one adopted them in time. We can change that. Please help me in my efforts and my support for animal rights and bring change to this serious issue.  Consider your purchase a donation and look at the book as a bonus.
 
 
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I miss my Mom today.

I miss my Mom today. I can't help it. These feelings hit me in waves and when I least expect them. It seems I'm at the mercy of whatever brings them on. It doesn't take much. They come when I see her favorite flower, or when I hear her favorite song. They come when I remember something she said to bring my spirits up when I was feeling low.

They come when I smell her favorite perfume or when I make one of her favorite recipes. They can come on suddenly with the change of a season or when it rains or snows or even on a bright sunny day.

There is no warning....they just come over me and take my breath away. The sadness is so overwhelming at times and when I am so low and feel I can't go on another second without her, I pick myself back up and say these words out loud....

You can shed tears because she's gone.....or you can smile because she lived in this world and left so many wonderful memories for all those that knew and loved her.

You can close your eyes and pray with all your heart that she'll come back.... or you can open your eyes and see everything she left in your heart to keep forever.

You can allow your heart to be empty..... or you can allow it to overflow with all the love she gave you and then go out and share it with others.

You can remember only that she's gone forever.... or you can keep her memory alive with the things you do in her honor.

You can feel lost because you can't see her or touch her or feel her hand holding yours..... or you can feel the comfort in knowing she's right beside you and has been there all along.

You can cry and feel empty without her.....or you can smile and listen closely to hear her telling you....."Smile baby girl. Open your eyes. Be in love with life. Be happy and go on, knowing that I'll always love you and that I'm right here next to you."

~Marty
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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

It's here! The fourth book in the Welcome Home series and it was just released a few seconds ago. I wanted to get the news to my Welcome Home friends!

It's called "There's No Place Like Home," and this is the 4th book in the Welcome Home series. In this one you'll find Salads, Soups and Stews, and delicious Main courses. It comes in both e-book for your phone, computer or tablets and you can download it to as many devices as you own. The cost is only $24.99 and the proceeds go to the No Kill Shelter Advocacy Group. So many of you enjoy having the recipes with you on your phones or tablets or printing recipes from your computer and taking them with you to the store to buy your ingredients. This is the perfect way to do it.

You can purchase the new e-book for $24.99 and have it in seconds by clicking on this link.

http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/461076-there-s-no-place-like-home

The book is also available in Softcover and hardback with a dust jacket (my preference) and hardback with an image wrap and no jacket. It 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. In other words, your print book is handmade upon order and will ship anywhere in the world for a very low shipping price. It usually takes about a week to ten days to arrive.

Here is the link to buy the print book in soft cover or hard copy:
http://www.blurb.com/b/5066832-there-s-no-place-like-home

I do not set the pricing for the books, the publisher does and I cannot do anything about the price they set. However, I will tell you that over 10,000 books have sold and there has never been a return. Please do not discuss pricing in the comments.

♥ For a limited time there is a 25% discount when you spend a total of $50. At check out you simply enter this code in all caps: 25OFF50 when you spend $50 or more and you will see the immediate savings in your order total.

*****These books are not available in bookstores. They are only available online through the publisher who offers and safe and secure site for purchasing it. You will receive your new e-book within 5 minutes if you order the e-book and within 7-10 days or so when you order hard or soft cover. Each book is handmade for you as you order.

*****As with all my books, proceeds from the sale of "There's No Place Like Home" go to support the NO KILL Advocacy Group in their efforts to save the lives of dogs and cats in this country who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in shelters for their forever home. Over 6 million dogs and cats were killed last year because no one adopted them in time. We can change that. Please help me in my efforts and my support for animal rights and bring change to this serious issue.

Consider your purchase a donation and look at the book as a bonus.
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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

















I just made these this afternoon. They are probably still warm and just perfect for a late night snack with a cold glass of milk. What do you think?

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup butter...
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
2 cups miniature Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
1/4 cup melted chocolate chips

Beat peanut butter and butter. Beat in sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in flour. Stir in peanut butter cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Scoop dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake 12 minutes at 375. Cool. Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Coconut Custard Slice


























In the mood for something cold and creamy? How about some sweet vanilla custard...some smooth and creamy and cold coconut custard. I love this old fashioned recipe that my Mom used to make...especially when I don't feel like making a pie shell. Now that we have ready made pastry dough it is so easy!

Coconut Custard Slice

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1½ cups whole milk
1½ cups light cream
4 tablespoons cold butter, chopped
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
⅔ cup sugar
⅓ cup cornstarch
½ cup cold water
6 egg yolks
2 cups of Bakers shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pastry sheet in a 9 x 9 baking pan lined with parchment paper, leaving an overhang of paper on each side that you will use for handles later when lifting from pan. Top the pastry sheet with another sheet of parchment paper and place another baking sheet of the same size over as a weight. Or you can use pie weights if you'd like. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Cool on rack.

Spread 1 1/2 cups of the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in oven at a low 250 degrees until very lightly toasted. Remove and allow to cool.

























To make the filling, whisk the milk, cream, butter, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until hot but not boiling. Mix the cornstarch and cold water to a smooth paste and whisk into the hot milk mixture. Temper the eggs by scooping out a little of the hot mixture into a bowl and then slowly mixing each egg in one at at time. Then pour back into the saucepan and whisk very quickly to incorporate. Simmer and stir custard for about 6 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.

Add in the 1/2 cup of un-toasted coconut and stir well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour the custard over pastry crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle with remaining lightly toasted coconut. Chill in the refrigerator for two hours before serving.

























Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Silver Dollar Pancakes





























What's for breakfast this morning? Breakfast is my favorite meal. Not only because it's so simple to make, but also because we have so many choices. Whether it's something sweet like these delicious silver dollar pancakes from my friend Marie over at the English Kitchen or muffins or cake or eggs...which I can eat at any time of day or night!  

 Silver Dollar Pancakes

2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon of baking powder
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups of buttermilk
5 tablespoons of oil
more oil and butter for greasing the pan

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, soda and salt together in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy in another bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk and the oil. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the liquid ingredients all at once. Stir until just combined, without over mixing. The batter will have small lumps.

Heat a griddle pan or heavy skillet over medium heat until a drop of water skips across the surface. Lightly grease with some butter and oil. Using a ladle, spoon batter onto the griddle in scant 2 tablespoon measures, leaving a few inches between each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on the surface and the edges are dry, with golden brown bottoms. Flip over and cook for about 30 to 45 seconds longer until golden brown on the other side. Keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve. Repeat to use up all the batter. Serve hot with butter and plenty of real Maple Syrup!

http://theenglishkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/05/silver-dollar-pancakes.html
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The Law Of Mirrors

It has taken me a long time to fully accept this and apply it in my own life. I read it on a regular basis and it makes perfect sense and it brings me comfort when someone brings me pain.

When people insult you, don't take offense and don't take it personally, but do listen carefully to their words. They are telling you the exact qualities that they actually possess. It's called the "Law of Mirrors" and it says that one can only see what's in themselves, regardless of whether it is actually reality or not.

Therefore you must release the need to defend yourself or even try to explain that you are not whatever insulting comment they have thrown at you. Instead evaluate all of their insults and realize that this is who THEY are.

Then you simply need to decide if a person with those qualities is someone you want in your life.

~Doe Zantamata

Source: www.doezantamataquotes.com
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Custard Filled Horns

























Who doesn't love creamy custard filled horns? And now that you can buy puffed pastry in the grocery store, they are easier than ever to make. My Mom used to make these for Christmas and decorate them with colored sugar. Sometimes she filled them with whipped cream and strawberries. I love them with custard. I have included a link for a set of horn molds in case you need them to make this wonderful dessert! 


 Custard Filled Horns

1 sheet Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry), thawed
10 metal cream horn molds (metal cones)
1/4 cup whole milk
course sanding sugar or Turbinado
White chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly grease cream horn molds. Place sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a pastry wheel or a knife, cut the puff pastry sheet lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips. Beginning at the tip of the cream horn mold, fold the end of the dough around the tip. Wind the pastry strip around the mold, overlapping the layers slightly to almost cover the mold. Repeat with remaining molds.

Place the pastry-covered molds seam side down on the prepared baking sheets. Brush each pastry horn lightly with milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden about 15 minutes. Transfer pastry horns to wire rack and let cool on the molds. Remove the baked pastry from the molds and place on the rack to cool completely. Line another cookie sheet or baking sheet with parchment paper. Once horns are cool, dip the bottom of each one into white chocolate and lay on parchment paper to cool again. Then drizzle chocolate back and forth over horns. Chocolate will harden.

Custard Pastry Cream

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups whole milk or half-and-half (half milk/half cream)
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. In a bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolks. Whisk milk mixture into sugar mixture. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and optional liqueur. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then refrigerate until cold.

To assemble the cream horns:

Transfer the pastry cream or whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain or star tip. Insert the tip into pastry horn and pipe in the pastry cream to fill. If you don't have a piping bag, fill a Ziploc bag with the cream and squeeze it down to the bottom of the bag. Snip off the corn and squeeze into horns.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

*** NOTE: You can also fill with chocolate pastry cream. Just add 4 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate to the hot pastry cream as it comes off the heat. Stir and allow to sit for 2 minutes, then whisk it in until smooth.

♥♥ If you need a good price on Pastry Horn Molds check out this price that Amazon makes available to Welcome Home fans. Click on this link and get a set of 6 for only $5.66. This recipe makes 10 so you might want to pick up two sets. Remember anything you buy at Amazon through Welcome Home using our special code will support the NO KILL advocacy group who save the lives of dogs and cats in this country who are being killed unnecessarily while waiting in shelters for a new home.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MRJSMW/ref=as_li_ss_sm_fb_us_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=399837&creativeASIN=B000MRJSMW&linkCode=shr&tag=welchome08-20&qid=1390609925&sr=8-2&keywords=horn+molds

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

♥ Humanity

 
A question was once asked of a great man. "What surprises you most about humanity?" And his reply was profound.

"Man. Because he sacrifices his own health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. He is so anxious about the future that he doesn't take the time to enjoy the present. And the final result is that he doesn't live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived."

~The Dalai Lama

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♥ Lemon Creme Cookies























If you love lemon, you'll love these cookies.  A sweet little cake-like cookie filled with creamy lemon goodness! 

Lemon Creme Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/4 tsp. orange extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 1/3 cups. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Lemon Filling

1 stick butter, softened
2-3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream together 1 stick butter with sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating between additions. Beat in extract. Beat in flour and salt until fully incorporated. Dough should be the consistency of a soft clay – workable with some stretch, but not runny. Put dough through a large frosting tip into a rosebud. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until tops are just beginning to turn golden brown, then remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

In a medium bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar a half cup at a time, beating to fully incorporate between additions. When frosting is stiff but workable. Add lemon juice and beat until incorporated. Test for flavor, adding more lemon juice if necessary. Add more powdered sugar until frosting hold soft peaks. Pipe frosting onto cookie bottoms and then press another cookie evenly against the center to create a sandwich. Pipe a dot of frosting on top of each cookie. Enjoy!

Photograph property of ©Welcome Home 2014

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♥ Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars




























Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies
Pinch kosher salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted

Filling
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/3 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 11 x 7 inch pan.
Stir together crushed cookies, salt and melted butter. Press into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Beat cream cheese for 2-3 minutes until softened and fluffy. Add in sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in eggs and extracts on low speed until incorporated, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. Pour batter into pan. Use an offset spatula to spread evenly.

In a small bowl, stir preserves and lemon juice together until preserves have loosened. Place into a piping bag or freezer zip top bag. Snip corner pipe lines onto batter. Use a knife or offset spatula to swirl preserves lightly.

Bake the bars for 22-26 minutes, or until set. The bars will still jiggle a bit when pan is shaken, but should not be wet.
Cool on a wire cooling rack until cooled, then cover and transfer to refrigerator for at least one hour before cutting and serving.


http://www.dixiecrystals.com/print-recipe/Raspberry-Swirl-Cheesecake-Bars

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♥ Citrus Potpourri















I love to mix different things to make my own potpourri and simmer it in my slow cooker or on the stove all day. There is nothing that smells more fresh and clean. 

Citrus Potpourri

2 whole oranges, cut into pieces
4 sticks of cinnamon, broken into 3 pieces each
1 tablespoon whole cloves
water to cover

Add orange, cinnamon, and cloves to pot to simmer on top of the stove or in your slow cooker. Then add water until pot is almost full. Monitor water level frequently, adding more water as needed. Store in the refrigerator each night and it will last you for about a week.

You can add other things to the brew as well. Sometimes, I throw in a couple of slices of lemon. You could also add cranberries, nutmeg, pine needles, or whatever you like. Experiment with it and let me know what you try!

http://do512family.com/2011/11/christmas-time-is-upon-us-like-it-or-not/
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♥ Homemade Meatball Subs


Sometimes I like to make meatballs ahead of time so that I can use them for spaghetti and other pasta dishes. Today I made Meatball Subs. Sometimes I like to just serve them with rice and call it a meal. 






Meatball Subs

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 large eggs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon of milk
 

Marinara Sauce (or use your favorite store bought brand)

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes, with their juices
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

For the sauce: In a large pot, warm the olive oil at low heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the basil. Pour in the tomatoes with their juices, bring the sauce to a boil, and then add the salt. Simmer on low heat for at least an hour. The sauce will thicken as it simmers. At the end of cooking time, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the pork and beef along with garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, a couple of grinds of pepper and milk. Mix together well with hands. Roll into 1 and 1/2-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Place the meatballs into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to firm them up slightly.

Heat a olive oil and butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, turning to brown all sides. They do not need to be cooked through. Add the meatballs and marinara sauce and stir gently. Heat over medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring very gently a couple of times during simmering.  Serve meatballs and marinara sauce into stuffed toasted sub rolls. Add Mozzarella or Provolone cheese on top and toast until rolls are warm and toast and cheese is melted.


Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home 2014. 
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♥ Spaghetti and Meatballs
























Sometimes I just get a craving for good old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs with a nice tossed salad and some warm, fresh out of the oven, garlic bread. I have made my own sauce for years and it takes a little time and work. But when I don't have that extra time, I go to what I feel is the next best sauce to my homemade ...now don't get all persnickety on me...but I love Ragu Chunky Tomato Garlic and Onion Sauce in a jar. I love the texture and flavor in that sauce and have been using it more and more often. It has all natural ingredients and mostly the same ingredients that I use in mine. Try it and see for yourself.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 28 ounce can tomato sauce + 1 ½ cans water
2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions, oregano, thyme, and basil. and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, cook for one minute. Add tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add canned tomatoes, water, sugar, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer. Stir every 10-15 minutes for an hour. Allow sauce to continue simmer over low heat while you prepare the meatballs.

Meatballs:

1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup ground veal (optional)
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of your tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and egg in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs or smaller if you like bite size as shown in photo.  Melt butter and then add olive oil to large 12 inch skillet. Place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch you make. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.  Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.


Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home 2014.
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Friday, January 24, 2014

♥ Peanut Butter Bundt Cake




















One of my many projects today was to make you my peanut butter bundt cake with vanilla glaze and peanut butter drizzle. This cake is so incredibly moist and delicious...f you like peanut butter you don't miss this one.

Peanut Butter Bunt Cake

1 cup plain yogurt
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and lightly flour your bundt pan. Using a fork or a whisk, combine the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a fork or whisk. In the bowl of a mixer or a large mixing bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Using a mixer, cream for about 3 minutes on medium-high. With the mixer on low, add a third of the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, then half of the wet mixture, then another third of the dry mixture, then the last of the wet mixture, and finally the last of the dry mixture. Scrape the sides of your bowl between additions.

Turn the mixer on medium-high and beat the mixture for about 1 minute. Scrape the batter into your prepared bundt pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way. 

Vanilla Glaze 

1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted                                                                           

1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Stir together sugar and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together butter, milk, and vanilla, and stir into sugar until mixture forms a smooth paste. Keep glaze at room temperature until ready to drizzle over cake. Before using, whisk until smooth.

Peanut Butter Drizzle

1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a small bowl, mix peanut butter, 1 tablespoon milk and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over cake.

NOTE: For the cake in the photo I used a 2 small 6 cup bundt pans, which was a perfect size to share one and keep one. But you can make a full size cake using a 12 cup bundt pan. Here is the link for the 

Nordic Ware 2 Piece Non-stick Bundt Pan Set, 6 Cup & 12 Cup. It's on sale right now for only $20.50 for both pans while supplies last. Once this item is sold out, Amazon will stock it at regular price. Keep in mind whatever you purchase through Amazon through Welcome Home, you donate to the NO KILL Advocacy group to save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever home.

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♥ My Homeless Friend

"I Give Not Because I Have Much. I Give Because I Know What it's Like To Have Nothing."

 My Homeless Friend

There is a homeless man that walks along a major highway in my town. I have seen him walking that same stretch of highway for more... than 10 years now. He doesn't beg. He just walks along the road with his old torn backpack strapped to one shoulder as the other strap is broken. He is so worn and tired and so cold during the winter months, but he never begs for a thing. I sometimes pull over and hand him a few dollars for a cup of coffee or I buy him a Burger King sandwich or breakfast if I see him during that time of day. I visit him frequently and he has become my friend. Not in the sense that you might think. For you see, he has never spoken to me.

For all the years that I have been visiting him, he has never acknowledged me. He doesn't give any eye contact and he never says a word. I see him walking along that major highway, and I pull over on the shoulder just ahead of him. He continues to walk with his head down. He will not come up to the car window or even stop walking so you have to time your stop just right in order to hand him anything. He keeps his head down at all times and he never speaks.

One day, I saw him walking in front of a gas station while I was pumping gas. Afterwards, I went inside to pay and asked the gas station attendant if he knew anything about the homeless man. He said he did. I asked if he could talk or if he was just shy. His answer broke my heart. He said the man was scared. He said that many years ago he actually did talk to the man and learned just how hard his life really was. He told me that the reason he keeps his head down and will not give you any eye contact is because he lives in fear.

He said there were many times when cars pulled next to him and spit at him or threw bottles at him. He said that one time a car stopped and called him over to give him food. As he stood there, the teenagers inside threw hot scalding coffee in the mans face and then drove off laughing. He has been doused with gasoline and a lit match caught his coat on fire. Another time, he was beaten and robbed of his food and blankets. He said the man has learned to hide his basic essentials under an underpass down the road and he never carries them with him. He no longer stops or speaks to anyone. He is alone and afraid and has no one. But he has me.

I became his friend a long time ago and twice a week I make him up a homemade meal with a jug of lemonade and take it to him. I have to search for him at times but it has become my weekly ritual and just a part of my life.

Last Christmas, I wanted to give my old friend a special present. So, I stopped at the Burger King that he walks past on that same stretch of highway and I bought some gift cards that would last him a while. Then I went next door to Costco and bought a brand new super sized backpack and I filled it with juice packs and some small canned goods like Vienna sausages and Spam. I added some crackers and cookies and some snacks like beef jerky and Slim Jims. I added some hand and foot warmers and 3 pair of heavy wool socks and some warm gloves and a wool cap. I put some chap stick and a pair of sunglasses to protect his eyes. Finally, I put a daily prayer and inspirational book inside along with some magnified reading glasses just in case he needed them. I wrapped the filled backpack in a soft wool blanket and tied a warm winter scarf around it.

I set out last Christmas Eve to find him, and as I drove along the highway I felt such a sense of excitement and joy. It was so cold and windy that day and at first I couldn't find him. I thought maybe he had found shelter from the cold and I looked under the underpass and he wasn't there. But after driving up and down that same stretch of road for about an hour, there he was on the opposite side of the road. I hurried and did a quick U-turn and slowed down the car so that I wouldn't scare him. He walked towards the car staying to the far side of the shoulder, with his head down as if I wasn't there. I rolled down the window and waited as he approached the side of my car.

"Sir, I am not going to hurt you. I will never hurt you. I have seen you walk this road for a long, long time and I am ashamed that I haven't done more for you, but tonight I would like to share the spirit of Christmas and give you this gift of love." 


He reached out and took the blanket wrapped gift and just kept on walking. He didn't say a word. He never looked up. He never made eye contact. He just kept on walking with his head down. My eyes filled with tears of both joy and sadness as I sat there and watched him continue his journey from my rear view mirror. And then it happened. As he got a little farther down the road, I watched as he just stopped and fell to his knees with his hands raised in prayer to the heavens above. He lifted his new gift in the air above his head as if to give thanks and glory to God. And then he stood up, turned and looked directly back at my car, nodded his head and continued his journey.

I will leave this world knowing that I may have impacted some lives in my time here on earth, but none like this man who needed so much love on that cold and windy Christmas Eve.

So please give to those who are in need. Please don't judge them or question their motives or think twice about who they are or might be. Just give from the kindness of your heart and know that it could be you one day. And don't make excuses.  I hear so many stories about how people don't give for fear that the person isn't really homeless or that the person will just buy alcohol or drugs. Alcoholism and drug addiction is a deadly and fatal disease and I can assure you that they don't want to be in the situation they are in. They have no choice and without that fix they can have seizures and convulsions and die. But if it makes you feel uncomfortable, then don't give money. Give them food or clothing.

Please give to those who have nothing. It will make such a huge difference in your life and God will truly bless you for helping and sharing your blessings with one of his less unfortunate children.


~Marty
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