Monday, December 22, 2014

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples

This is a side dish that my Mom made often with pork roast or pork chops and usually always with Ham at Easter. The combination of baked sweet potatoes and apples is so good! Now when I have time I make my Mom's exact recipe....but I have been known to take some shortcuts now and then. So I put both the long and short cut version up for you....both are equally as good.

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples

8 medium sweet potatoes, cooked until just tender
4 medium Gala or Fuji apples, sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup pecans, halves or pieces (optional)

Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high until just tender. Or you can pierce them and boil them whole. When cool enough to handle, peel sweet potatoes and cut in lengthwise slices about 1/2" thick.

Arrange layers of potato, apple slices and pecans (if using) in a greased baking dish. Melt the butter, brown sugar, salt, and nutmeg together and add the maple syrup. Pour over layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples (Shortcut)     

8 medium sweet potatoes, cooked until just tender
1 21 ounce can apple pie filling
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, mix together cooked sweet potatoes, apple pie filling, brown sugar and cinnamon. Transfer to a medium microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high 5 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and bubbly.

Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home

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Friday, December 19, 2014

♥ Cranberry Orange Bread

This is the best bread! The orange zest and cranberry combo make it out of this world good! It is a beautiful holiday bread and I make it for breakfast and serve it warm out of the oven with coffee or tea. I toast it up the next day (if there is any left) and slather it with butter...yum! I love it because it's easy to make and especially because it never dries out. I bake it and I don't have to worry about leaving it out on the counter. I give this one away as Christmas gifts too! You'll need a dutch oven for this one....I use my lodge combo cast iron dutch oven (see link below).

Cranberry Orange Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon quick rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
zest of 1 large orange
Turbinado Sugar for topping (or any course sugar)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, yeast, cranberries and orange zest. Add water and almond extract. Mix until well combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours in a warm draft-free spot. I make mine the night before so that it will be ready to bake in the morning.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place Dutch oven with lid in the oven, and heat for 30 minutes before adding dough. While the dutch oven preheats, pour dough on a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap until Dutch oven is preheated. Remove the Dutch oven, and drop in the ball-shaped dough. Cover, and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and sprinkle with coarse sugar topping and then bake an additional 15 minutes. Next, remove bread from oven and Dutch oven. Allow to cool on a wire cooling rack before serving.

This recipe makes one round loaf. I use my Lodge Combo Cooker that I got at with my Welcome Home fan discount. Click on the link for a fantastic buy on this combo and order yours today. Proceeds go to the NO KILL Advocacy group to help save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever homes.

 Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Cinnamon Swirl Loaf with Vanilla Drizzle

I love this recipe and make it often. I tried it when I first saw it over at my friend Marie's blog at the English Kitchen because it looked so tempting. It was so good, I stayed with almost all her same ingredients with only a a few changes, like adding a brown sugar topping and a vanilla drizzle that made it just my perfect cup of tea! Thanks Marie! I love your recipes!

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf with Vanilla Drizzle 

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt

♥ Filling

6 tablespoons of light brown sugar, packed
2 full tablespoons of cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg

♥ Topping

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons of melted butter

For the Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bread and Filling:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your loaf pan (9 x 5 standard pan) with butter and then line it with parchment paper. I like to leave a slight overhang of paper on each end to use as handles to lift bread out later. Mix the butter, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, sugar, flour, soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Beat together until well combined, but do not over-beat.

Next, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread half of the batter into the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar filling mixture. Then spread the remaining batter over top of that filling. Finally, sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar filling mixture. Now, using a round bladed knife gently cut through the batter to swirl the cinnamon sugar through.

Topping:   Sprinkle the brown sugar topping on the loaf and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. 

Glaze:  Make your glaze by whisking together sugar, milk, vanilla extract and softened butter in small bowl until well blended. Brush or drizzle on to warm bread allowing it to run over sides. Cut in slices and serve plain or toasted with butter.

 Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Microwave Grill Pan

Have I told you all how much I LOVE this Microwave Grill pan?  Talk about a gadget that saves you time and still gives you the wonderful look and taste of using the grill! This Microwave Grill pan is a must have kitchen gadget!

I got this last winter when it was too cold to grill outside and I just love it! I was skeptical at first. I am not a fan of the microwave other than heating up coffee and warming up left overs. We all know that steaks usually taste horrible reheated in the microwave and they come out grey and tough. But not with this! 

I put the empty microwave grill pan (with the lid on) in the microwave and heated it for 3 minutes. Then I took it out of the microwave and added a little olive oil and butter to the grill plate on the bottom. Added my rib eye steak and cooked it for about 3 minutes on each side. Took it out of the microwave, and it had grilled and sizzled to absolute perfection. I had the grill marks on the outside, and a perfectly cooked steak on the inside. You could never tell it was made in a microwave!

I use mine to make a fast grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis too! And if you love grilled veggies this is just perfect for onions, peppers, and all those things that you want to serve on the side with your sausages and hot dogs! Steaks and chops are slightly charred and tender. And if you use it for nothing else, try using it for chicken. Oh my goodness. So moist on the inside and wonderfully crisp on the outside!

I can't say enough about it and I think you'll love it too! Comes in green and white and red and the cost is marked down to only $37.82 while they last.

Thought I would share my find with you's the link if you'd like to buy it while it is on a special sale price for Welcome Home fans. Remember, anything you buy through Welcome Home at Amazon, helps me save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while they wait for their forever homes. 

The Welcome Home code is already attached to the link so you will get the special price. Once you are at Amazon after clicking on a Welcome Home link, you can go on to shop for other things you might want too. Everything counts and helps me save the fur babies and feed the homeless.

Here is your link....
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Snowflake Rolls

I have been making these rolls for my Christmas dinner for as long as I can remember.  My Mom always served Snow Flake rolls with Christmas dinner and I just carried on the tradition.  But I do one thing different.  I use Star Butter Flavored Olive Oil and it makes my rolls so soft with a mild buttery flavor. And I cut back on saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol too without losing that buttery flavor.  My Mom would have loved using it too!  Sometimes I use a little lace snowflake doily and then sprinkle on my flour to really dress them up for the holidays.

Snowflake Rolls

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (or use 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast) 
1 1/8 cups lukewarm water (about 110 degrees) 
3 cups all purpose flour 
1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
3 tablespoons sugar 
13.5 teaspoons Star Fine Food Butter Flavor Olive Oil (about 1/4 cup) 
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk 
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

Dissolve yeast it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.

Combine the dissolved yeast (or instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 5 to 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, until it's nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Rising may take longer, especially if you've kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to become quite puffy.

While the dough is rising, lightly grease two 9" round cake pans, or a 
9" x 13" pan. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a rough ball by pulling the dough into a very small knot at the bottom, then rolling it under the palm of your hand into a smooth ball. 

Place eight rolls in each of the round cake pans (or all 16 rolls in the 9" x 13" pan), spacing them evenly; they won't touch one another. Cover the pan(s) with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise till they're very puffy, and have reached out and touched one another, about 1 hour. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Bake the rolls until they're a deep golden brown on top, and lighter on the sides, about 25 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven, and after 2 or 3 minutes, carefully transfer them to a rack. Gently shake four from a sifter or shaker on top of warm rolls.

You can buy Star Butter Flavored Olive Oil here:  Raley’s, Walmart, Stater Bros., Food Maxx and online at

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©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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Monday, December 15, 2014

Olive Tapenade

I love Italian Food. I mean good Italian food served in an authentic Italian restaurant. I love the smell when you walk in and the ambiance with warm glowing candles lit on top of white linen table cloths one each table. I love the soft music playing in the background.  I especially love the look and smell of fresh made bread sticks. One of the first things served in a real Italian restaurant is an Olive Tapenade with fresh rounds of Italian bread or those warm bread sticks.  It's usually just chopped olives, a little garlic and a good quality olive oil.  

When I am having guests over for one of my homemade pasta dinners, I like to give them that same feeling. My Lasagna is in the oven. The candles are lit and I bring out my own Olive Tapenade for all the enjoy! I start with Star Fine Food Spanish Olives and add sweet roasted peppers, zesty capers, garlic and spices and it's so good! 

Olive Tapenade

1 cup Star Fine Food Spanish Manzanilla Olives
1 cup pitted black olives, such as kalamata
1 roasted sweet bell pepper, chopped fine  (any brand in a jar)

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup Star Fine Foods Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup basil, loosely chopped
3 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and dried
1 medium French or Italian baguette, sliced (about 25 slices)

First, infuse the olive oil:

Put the olive oil, garlic, basil, and lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan or frying pan, and warm the mixture over moderately low heat for about five minutes (the garlic should appear softened, but not golden.  If it starts to bubble, turn down the heat and remove the pan from the stove top for a few seconds).  Set the mixture aside until cooled.

Next, make your Tapenade

Pulse the green olives in a food processor until finely chopped and place in a medium bowl. Then pulse the black olives in the food processor and add to the bowl. Add the capers, almonds, sweet roasted red pepper and olive oil mixture to the medium bowl, and stir well to combine. 

Spread on baguettes and/or crackers. Enjoy! 

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!

Photographs are the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

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Good morning friends. Hope everyone had a pleasant weekend and that you're finding the spirit of Christmas somewhere in the midst of all the commercialism out there this time of year. 

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this past weekend, cooking and baking, writing new recipes and taking photos for the new January issue of the Welcome Home Online Magazine ready for release on the first day of the year. That's where you will find all my new recipes now. Recipes I do not share anywhere else.

What is this online magazine you ask? 

Well, it's not an actual print and paper magazine that comes in the mail each month. The kind you get in your mailbox and leaf through it in a few seconds and put it away to look at later....if you ever get to it. No, this is an online blog magazine. It's a private website that you can visit as often as you like on your computer, laptop, cell phone, tablet or iPad, Kindle, Nook....whatever device you have the Internet on.

It is exclusive to only those people that subscribe to it. It is a very private website that we give you a key or link to access. You hold on to that key and it unlocks the door so you go browse through it as often as you like. Each month a new issue comes out and because you become a member of an exclusive private fan club or group, you are the first to know about it.

What's in this online magazine? 

Lots of recipes you've never seen before. Each issue is just full of great recipes I save only for this online magazine. Many are from my Mom's collection with big vibrant pictures to match every dish. I have illustrated step by step recipes and a lot of how to's along with kitchen tips and advice. You'll find contests and give a ways and even a gift shop where you can get great bargains on wonderful things.

I'm certain you'll instantly see the value that your $2 a month subscription brings. The magazine website is so private that no one can even find it out there unless you know me or know of my mission here at Welcome Home and subscribe to it. As always, some of the proceeds from The Welcome Home Kitchen Magazine will help me save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in Kill shelters for someone to come and adopt them. And some of the proceeds will help me feed the homeless.

If you haven't subscribed yet, you really should. It is a great way to help those in need and in return you get so much. Not only the satisfaction of knowing you have saved a life but you get great recipes too! 

So I'm off to finish writing recipes for those great Peach Thumb print cookies and Chocolate Macaroons I made yesterday and that gorgeous Cheesy pasta dish I made the day before. There are some really good recipes in this next issue and there is so much left to do to get it ready for January 1st. Remember the second you subscribe, you'll have instant access to all the past issues too. You'll find over 150 recipes and tips so far.

How do you subscribe?

IMPORTANT:  First set up a Gmail account.  You can keep the email address and account you have now.  This gmail account is just your key to the magazine.

Step 1If you do not already have a free gmail address, you want to create one first. This is the most important step.  You do NOT have to change your existing email address. What you have now can stay the same. You just need to create a new Gmail account to access the magazine IF you do not already have one.Get paper and pen so you can remember what username and password you choose and then go to this link and create a new Gmail address:

Again, you can keep your same email address to use as you always have. This is Gmail address is just the key to get to the magazine.

Step 2:   At the top of this page, under the cover photo collage, click on the tab that says, MY STORE. Or click on this link:

Step 3:   Click on the little tab that says BUY FROM 2CO

Step 4: Enter your name and your new Gmail address and your other information and then go to the next step. Enter your payment information for the $24 annual subscription. You can choose a credit card you'd like to use or you can click on PayPal.  If you do not want to use either method, contact me at and we can make other arrangements.  Please rest assured that this is the safest online payment processing system online today.  No need to worry.

Step 5: Complete your order and within seconds you will receive a receipt and email confirmation at the Gmail address you created and typed in when you were ordering.

Step 6. Within a few minutes, as soon as I get your purchase confirmation, I will send you an invitation to become a private member of The Welcome Home Kitchen to your new Gmail address. Click on the orange button that says ACCEPT.  You must still stay logged into your gmail account when you go to the magazine.  Then you will be directed to the link of the new magazine. And you're all set.

Step 7:  Each month....around the 1st of the month, you will be notified that a new issue has just been released. You will always have access to all past issues just by visiting and each month will shown so you can go back and find whatever you are looking for.  The announcement will come to you in the exclusive group that you will be a member of called The Welcome Home Magazine Fan Club.

OR you can contact us and we will help you get there in seconds.....

You can send a message through the contact box on the right margin of this page.

OR you can message us through Facebook at

Or you can email us at the Welcome Home gmail address at:
You can email us at 

We will walk you through step by step to get you in the magazine!
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Monday, December 08, 2014

♥ Chocolate Raspberry Brownies



Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

4 large eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cups unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract...
1 1/2 cup all purpose
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper and then butter the paper. Set aside.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and frothy. Whisk in the sugar and then slowly whisk in the melted butter and vanilla. Sift together the flour, cinnamon and cocoa powder. Gently stir it in and then stir in the nuts. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, level the surface and bake for 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely.

Once they are cool, carefully remove from the pan and cut in half horizontally with a sharp knife. Warm the jam and spread it onto the bottom half of the brownies. Sandwich with the top later. Frost with some butter cream frosting. Cut into squares to serve. Delicious! Makes one 9 inch square pan.

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by 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.
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Jumbo Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

They're oooey, goooey and rich and they're jumbo for that oversized mug of coffee! I am particular about my cinnamon rolls. They have to be soft and sticky and especially buttery. I use Star Fine Foods Butter flavored Olive oil now for most of my baking because I get the same buttery taste and at the same time I can cut back on saturated fats, sodium, and cholesterol without sacrificing that buttery flavor. Here's a tip for you: Use dental floss method to cut the rolls and you'll get perfect slices. Another tip: You can freeze these for later: Follow the instructions and slice you dough and then place them in a greased foil pie pan. Cover them with foil and then put the pie pan in a ZipLoc freezer bad. Later, when you want to make them, take them out the night before and remove the pan from the bag. Remove the foil and place them into your oven. Don't turn on the oven....just turn on the oven light for slight warmth. By morning, they have risen and are ready to bake.

Jumbo Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
1.5 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
3 tablespoon Star Fine Food Butter Flavored Olive Oil
1 egg
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
7 cups all-purpose flour


3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/8 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1.5 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand 5 minutes. Add the milk, butter flavored olive oil, eggs, honey, salt and 1.5 cups flour; beat on low for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a large greased bowl; turning once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide into two pieces. Roll each into a 14-in. x 8-in. rectangle; spread with butter. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 in. of edges and press into dough. 

Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut each into 12 slices. Place cut side down in four greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dishes. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.

For glaze, in a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over rolls.

Photographs are 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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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

♥ Cream of Turkey and Rice Soup

I usually make my soup more like a chunky stew with a thick and creamy base instead of a thin broth. I had this for lunch the other day and it was so good. Rich and thick and full of tender moist turkey breast....yum!

Cream of Turkey and Rice Soup

1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
6 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
4 cups already cooked and shredded boneless turkey breast.
2 (4.5 ounce) packages Uncle Ben's quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk

Saute’ onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Add carrots and celery and continue cooking until tender.

In a large pot over medium heat, combine chicken broth, water, the carrot and celery mix you have set aside, and the cooked shredded turkey breast. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet and then reduce heat to low. Next whisk in flour in briskly to make a paste like consistency. Allow to cook for one minute and then whisk in cream and milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir cream mixture into chicken, broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.

If base is too thick, add a little more milk and stir.

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