Thursday, May 08, 2014

"Home Is Where The Heart Is"

It's here! My newest cookbook has just been released and is now available only at and soon to be on iTunes. It's called "Home Is Where The Heart Is" and it is a collection of my Mom's favorite recipes. It's a beautiful 100+ page limited edition cookbook with vibrant full page photos to match each completed dish. This is the 5th book in the Welcome Home series.

In this book you'll find salads, soups and stews, main dishes and some of her best homemade Pies, Cakes, and other delicious desserts. You can see a free preview of it now on the right side margin where all the other free preview are shown of each of my books.

The new book comes in both ebook and print. The ebook is available for downloading as many times as you want to as many devices as you have....desktop or laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPad Touch, or your Android Smartphone.  If you buy it now there is an introductory price of only $11.99. You save $10 and you will have it in seconds by clicking on this link....we are standing by to help you if you need us. 

Here is the link to the e-book:

Also available at iTunes:

 As with all my books, proceeds from the sale of Home Sweet Home go to saving the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in kill shelters for someone to come and give them a new 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 be the voice for animal rights and help me bring change to this serious issue. Consider your purchase a donation and look at the book as a bonus. Proceeds also go to feed the hungry. 

My new book is also available in Softcover and hardback. These books are bookstore quality and meant for those who are sticklers for top notch binding, gorgeous high gloss heavy 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 ships anywhere in the world for a very low shipping price. Again, you are donating to saving lives so consider the book a bonus.  Type in this code at check out and get 15% off any print book: MAY15

Here is the link to buy the print book in soft cover or hard copy:
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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

My Prayer

People always ask me why I work so hard to write and publish Welcome Home cookbooks. Maybe it's time to tell you why I spend 16 hours a day working hard to entertain you with my stories and my recipes and other things that might inspire you and touch your heart. I write cookbooks so that I can donate proceeds from the sale to save the lives of dogs and cats in America. Let me explain....some of you will not want to read this because you don't like the hard stuff...the hard realities of life and the way America handles unwanted dogs and cats. But I encourage you to read it.

About 12 years ago, I read this quote somewhere on the Internet. It said...

"I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter...the cast offs of human society. I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal and I was angry. "God," I said, "This is terrible! Why don't you do something?" God was silent for a moment and then He spoke softly. "I have done something," he replied. "I created you." 

It was on that very day, I walked into the local animal shelter in my county and asked if I could volunteer. I asked if there was anything I could do that day until I might be assigned something to do that might make a difference. It was a day that changed my life forever. 

The woman at the desk said there was so much work to be done but if I really wanted to do something right away that would make a difference in my life and the life of another, then I needed to listen carefully. So many people volunteer and then can't handle it and walk away. She said if I needed something to give me the conviction and the strength to follow through with my commitment, then I should come with her. 

I followed her back to the area where they kept the dogs. She took me to a pen that was large enough to hold 10 huge dogs and pointed to the far back corner where a little dog weighing every bit of 15 pounds was curled up in a little ball, shaking on the cold concrete floor. The little dog looked up at me and wagged her tail for a second and then laid her head back down. 

The lady grabbed a folding chair and opened the cage. She said that this would be the last day that this little one would be spending time there at the shelter and it would be wonderful if she could feel some human love and comfort one last time. She had been there for 5 days and no one had come to claim her and so her time had come. I went over and picked up the little dog and held her close to me as I held back tears. The woman began to tell me stories of how people just drop off their pets and walk away. I am going to share something she said to me that day ...a view from the inside, if you will. 

She said, maybe if some of these people could see the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, they would change their mind about "dropping" their dog off at the local shelter. Maybe people might think twice about buying from a breeder or from a pet shop and adopt a dog from a shelter before it's too late. She went on to say that there is a 95% chance that a dog will never walk out of the shelter he or she was dropped off at. The most common excuses people give are: "We're moving and we can't take our dog." Or, "he got bigger than we thought he would." And then the classic: "We just don't have time for her." They usually say, “We just don't want to face the stress about finding a home for her. We know she'll get adopted - she’s a good dog. Some nice family will adopt her." 

She told me the odds are against that dog ever getting adopted. She asked if I could imagine how stressful it is for a dog in a shelter until she dies? She said the dog has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment a person drops her off. Sometimes she can live a little longer if the shelter isn't full and the dog manages to stay completely healthy. If she even starts to sniffle, she will be killed sooner than 72 hours. 

She will be confined to a cage and have to hear the loud noise of other barking or crying animals. She will be so frightened and lonely and depressed because the family she loves with all her heart is missing. She will have no other choice but to relieve herself where she eats and sleeps. She will cry constantly for the family that abandoned her. It doesn't matter if she is a 90 pound German Shepard or a tiny 5 pound Chihuahua, they all cry for their family. 

She will stay there for those long hours and no one will talk to her because no one wants to get involved or attached before the inevitable happens. She won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of her pen with a high-powered hose. If she is a big black dog or any of the “bully” breeds (Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman, etc) her life was pretty much over when she walked through the front door. 

If she shows any signs of aggression she will be destroyed sooner. She said that even the sweetest dogs show aggression after a day or two in this place because they are so confused and frightened. If she makes it over all of the hurdles, there is still a strong chance that she will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed right away. And then she stood up and looked me in the eye and said...

"And when that horrible day comes and they open that cage, she will go willingly...all excited... with her tail wagging and her body wiggling because someone is finally coming to play with her or maybe they have brought her family back. She will then be led to her death never knowing what was about to happen."

And with that she walked away. I held that little dog and cried for a solid hour and begged God to let her live just one more day until I could find someone to love her. I prayed that God would help me by touching someone's heart before it was too late. I didn't want to let go of her and was trying to figure out a way to bring in another dog when I was only allowed one where I lived at the time. I thought of everyone I knew and decided to go call them and tell them where I was and how they had to help. 

And then it happened. Someone came. He was a tall gentleman maybe in his late 30's and he wore a jacket with the words NO KILL written on the back. I looked up at him and he told me I could stop crying and let her go now and that she would be okay. He took her from my arms and wrapped her in a soft blanket and whispered in her ear that no one was going to hurt her. She looked up at him and licked his face. He then told me the story about a group that he belonged to and how they randomly come to county shelters to save the lives of dogs and cats that are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever home. He said she was about to go to temporary loving home until her forever family came along. 

As I watched him take her that day, I knew that I had found my calling. I knew I had to do something to save these lost souls. In that cage that day, I found the strength and courage to never give up and to do whatever I could to help this wonderful group of people across the country who work so hard to save these lives. 

As he drove away with that little dog that day, I closed my eyes thanked God for answering my prayer ......

"Dear God, if I could do one great thing in my life, it would be to rescue every dog that someone has left on the side of the road to starve and die.

If I could have power for one day, I would use it to make it as illegal and punishable to abandon a dog as it would be to abandon a child. 

If I could have one wish, I would use it to find a home for every abandoned dog and cat in the world. 

If I were rich, I would fund every animal shelter in the nation so they wouldn't have to end the lives of healthy dogs and cats.

If I could hope for anything in my lifetime, I would hope that all people can see a dog or cat as a living soul that has the ability to love unconditionally for a lifetime.

And God, if you are listening right now, I pray that you will touch the heart of someone out there right now, and motivate them to go look and find this tiny soul that needs them so badly before it is too late. And I pray that you will bring them together for a lifetime."

And that my friends is why I write books and do other things to raise money for animal rights. I am the voice for those that cannot speak. Over 6 million dogs and cats are killed each year in this country as they sit in cages and wait for someone to come and love them. I cannot accept that cruelty. I know we can make a difference. We can stand up for animal rights and bring change and when you buy any of my e-books for just $14.99, or any of my print books, you help support this great cause that means so much to me. I like to think you are donating your money to this worthwhile cause and getting a free book as a bonus! 

Please give. If you can't buy a book, at least donate a bag of dog or cat food and some blankets and treats and toys to your local No Kill Shelter. If you can foster a dog or cat until they these volunteers can find them a new home, that would be wonderful. And if you have the courage, go hold and comfort a dog at your county shelter. It will change your life forever. 

For those of you who would like purchase any of my e-cookbooks click on the links in the comment section below. My newest cookbook, "Home Is Where The Heart Is" was just released on Friday. The link to buy that one is 

Or you can go to iTunes and buy it with this link:

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Broccoli Salad

I really enjoy this salad. I am not a big broccoli lover but I do like to nibble on fresh broccoli when there is a good dip around. This is the perfect dressing to bring just a touch of sweetness along with the savory bacon and cheese. I could eat an entire bowl in one sitting! 

Broccoli Salad

1 head broccoli, trimmed and into bite sized florets 
6 to 8 slices fried or baked bacon, crumbled
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise, I use Hellman's or Dukes
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place broccoli in a large bowl. Add the crumbled bacon,and cheese and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar salt and pepper and blend to combine. Add in cherry tomatoes and broccoli mixture and toss gently. I also add in 1/2 cup of dried cranberries for a change. You can also add sweet onion and shredded carrots. Make it like you like it!

Note: You can omit the honey and/or use less sugar if you want a more savory than sweet dressing.

Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Welcome Home Recipe Club

Has everyone here at Welcome Home joined the club? The Welcome Home Recipe Club?

If not, you don't know what you're missing! Meet 6 of the best cooks on the Internet everyday as they share their favorite dishes with us. It's free to join. It only takes seconds. You get to learn how to make some incredible recipes.  So far we have over 4,700 members who love it there! 

So....what are you waiting for? Click on this link and join the club! I'll be waiting at the front door to let you in! See you there!
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Four Cheese Mac and Cheese

I have several recipes for Mac and cheese here at Welcome Home that are my go to recipes for most occasions. So why did I choose this one for Easter? Because when you want a really cheesy and creamy mac and cheese dish, this is the one. Absolutely delicious!

My Four Cheese Mac and Cheese
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
Pinch of cayenne powder
1 (16 ounce) box of elbow or spiral macaroni
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Fontina cheese
1/2 Gruyere cheese
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

In a medium saucepan melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the half and half a little at a time. Stir 3-5 minutes while sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, season with the salt, pepper, dried mustard, cayenne and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmesan. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Cover and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a generous amount of salt and then pasta. Cook for about 5 minutes, until pasta is just slightly under cooked. Drain in a colander and return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir until melted and pasta is coated. Set aside

Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter or non stick cooking spray. in a large bowl mix all the remaining cheeses and toss lightly to blend. Place on-third of the pasta in the bottom of the greased baking dish. Top with one-third of the mixed cheeses. Top with another third of the macaroni and another third of the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining macaroni and cheese mixture.

In a small bowl combine the Panko bread and a tablespoon of melted butter. Mix with fingers until crumbs are moistened. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees on center rack of oven for about 45 minutes until cheese is hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Pan Seared Ribeye Pork Chops

When I was growing up my Mom made a lot of pork chops...probably as much as she made chicken. I loved her simple fried pork chops she fried in that cast iron skillet. Nothing fancy but oh so flavorful! She always served them with creamy mashed potatoes, fresh green beans from her garden, cornbread and there was always a bowl of homemade apple sauce on the table.
My Mom taught me how to buy them..., trim them and cook them. I always buy bone-in ribeye pork chops and I look for the ones with the most tenderloin still attached. Then I pretend they are ribeye steaks and cook them exactly the same way. I made these today and they are just out of the oven....

Pan Seared Ribeye Pork Chops

4 bone-in ribeye pork chops
2 tablespoons Star Fine Foods Extra Virgin Olive Oil    
2 tablespoons of butter
2 cloves of garlic, whole                                                    
1 sprig of rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel to absorb all moisture. Generously salt and pepper each side. In a large Cast Iron skillet or a heavy saut√© pan, heat the skillet till it’s extremely hot. Add oil and butter and wait for it to sizzle.

Add the pork chops and then lay the garlic and rosemary around the chops. Make sure they are not crowding each other too much. There should be space between the chops in the pan or the meat will steam and not sear properly. Arrange the chops in the pan with the thickest, boniest parts towards the center of the pan where they get the most heat.

Sear the chops on high for about 2 minutes, watching carefully to get a nice golden color. Then flip on the other side and do the same thing. Turn off the heat. Cast iron hold heat and there will be more than enough heat to finish cooking them.

Next transfer the cast iron pan to the oven and turn down the heat to 300 degrees. I like to slow cook mine on low oven heat for about 30 minutes with the skillet completely covered with a tight fitting lid or aluminum foil. Once the temp has reached 145 degrees, remove skillet from oven and transfer chops to a clean plate to rest for 5 minutes.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home

Disclaimer: I have an ongoing relationship with STAR Fine Foods for my recipes and photography using their wonderful products. This post is sponsored by STAR. I am compensated for my time and work and I am sent products as I request them. However, all opinions of the product stated in this post are 100% my own. I truly love their products!
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Here is one of those recipes that instantly brings back memories of my Mom. I loved watching her make this cake in her old cast iron skillet and I still make it exactly the same way today. It is one of the easiest cakes you will ever make... and it comes out just perfect every single time. You can take some short cuts here and even use a boxed yellow cake mix and you'll still get an incredibly moist cake that is so delicious! There's just something about warm pineapple cake with brown sugar that is so wonderful!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 can of whole pineapple slices (5-7 slices)
Maraschino cherries
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter and brown sugar in a 10 inch cast iron skillet and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook until brown sugar starts to caramelize. Remove from heat and arrange pineapple slices in a circle on top of the brown sugar mixture and if desired, add a cherry to the center of each pineapple slice. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture a little at a time alternating with the milk.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar just until the whites hold a firm peak. With a large spatula gently fold the beaten egg whites into the cake batter in two additions. Pour the batter into the cast iron skillet over top of the pineapples. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top of the cake has browned and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan (a toothpick inserted into the cake (not the pineapple) will come out clean).

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and then invert the cake onto your serving plate.

If you are looking for the perfect skillet for this recipe, look no more! Click on this link and you can purchase a seasoned, ready to use 10 inch Lodge Cast Iron skillet like the one I use. When you buy it here, proceeds will go to the NO KILL Advocacy group to save the lives of dogs and cats that are killed in shelters while waiting for their forever homes. Only $15.92.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Chocolate Mint Brownies

I will ask your forgiveness in advance on this one. But I do have my Chocoholics out there that need a fix now and then. This is for you my friends! Let's raise
our brownies in a toast to chocolate!

Chocolate Mint Brownies

1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 X 13-inch pan with foil or parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. I like to leave an over hang of foil on the short sides of the pan to use for handles when I want to lift out. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and salt. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring well to combine. Whisk in the vanilla and then the eggs. Blend well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Cool Completely for at least an hour and then cut into bars.

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 oz cream cheese
1/8 -1/4 teaspoon of mint extract (I use Spearmint or regular mint)
2-3 drops green food coloring if desired

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Spread on cooled brownies, top with another brownie and refrigerate 1 hour or until set.

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/3 cups semi sweet chocolate
1/3 cup butter

Heat ingredients over medium heat stirring constantly. When chocolate is melted and everything is combined, set aside to cool about 10 minutes. When still slightly warm, pour over the brownies spreading evenly. Return the pan to the refrigerator.

To serve allow to sit at room temperature about 10-15 minutes.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home. 
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Frosted Fudge Brownies

What's better than a decadent and delightful chocolate fudge-like brownie? That's easy...a decadent and delightful chocolate fudge-like brownie with a creamy rich chocolate buttercream frosting and a cherry on top!

Frosted Fudge Brownies

1/2 cup butter, diced
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt...
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 c. unsalted butter, diced
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and then spray the paper with non-stick spray. I like to leave excess paper hanging over the ends so they are easy to lift out of the paper after baking.

Stir the butter and chocolate in a large heavy saucepan over very low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, and then the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, and salt and stir. Next add the flour a little at a time and stir to blend evenly. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake brownies about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with just a little batter attached. Remove brownies using parchment paper on ends to life and allow to cool completely on rack. Using a biscuit cutter or any large cookie cutter, press firmly into the cooled brownie.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter at room temperature
3½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy (full) cream

Using a mixer, cream butter for a few minutes on medium speed. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed and mix until the sugar and cocoa are mixed well with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Photographs are the property of ©Welcome Home and are copyrighted.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pecan Coffee Cake

For those mornings when you want something in between a big egg and bacon breakfast but a little more than yogurt...I bring you my simple pecan coffee cake to have with your tea or coffee in the mornings. Love this recipe!

Pecan Coffee Cake


1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.


1 3/4 all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened                                                  
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 5 inch rectangle cake pan or baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the 1 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl. using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter for 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar and vanilla and then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to the batter, beating on low speed, after each addition until combined. Spread 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with filling and then gently spread on the remaining cake batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and add topping and drizzle.


1/4 cup of honey

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Brush honey on top of cooled cake and sprinkle with chopped nuts


1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 to 3 Tablespoons Cinnabon Gourmet Coffee Creamer (or use milk)

 Blend sugar and milk (or creamer) until smooth and add vanilla. Add more sugar or milk until you get the right consistency for drizzling. Serve cake warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Photographs are copyrighted and the property of Welcome Home
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