Friday, May 23, 2014

Old Bay Peel and Eat Steamed Shrimp

Marylanders love their seafood and Old Bay Seasoning is pretty much a staple around here!  This is what we call a little "appetizer."  At most of our summer get together's you'll find a huge platter of Old Bay steamed Shrimp in beer!

Old Bay Peel and Eat Steamed Shrimp

3 pounds of large shrimp, cleaned
1 tablespoon celery seed
3 cups of water
1 cup of cider vinegar
3 cups of beer
1/2 cup of Old Bay Seasoning for steaming liquid
1/2 cup or more of Old Bay seasoning for top of shrimp

Heat liquid to a full boil in large steam pot. Add shrimp to steamer basket and sprinkle generously with OLD BAY. (Add more for spicy shrimp!). Steam for 4-5 min. Remove and add more Old Bay if you prefer. Enjoy!

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Vanilla-Orange Cream Pops

There's nothing more refreshing than a cold cream pop on a hot summer day. I love these little molds I got from Amazon because you don't miss a drop!  You can eat your cream pop and drink your smoothie at the same time! 

Strawberry Cream Pops

1 cup strawberries, pureed
6 tablespoons whole milk
1 (5.3-ounce) container Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup diced strawberries

In a large bowl, combine the strawberry puree, milk, yogurt, honey and vanilla. Stir in the diced strawberries. Scoop the mixture evenly into the molds. Place into freezer and freeze until hard, at least 5 hours. Remove from freezer and run the mold under warm water to loosen, about 20 seconds. Serve immediately.

Vanilla-Orange Cream Pops 

1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl; divide mixture among freezer pop molds and freeze until completely firm, about 6 hours. Makes ten. 

You can get these molds at Amazon for only 
$14.99. Click on this link:

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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.

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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.

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