Saturday, December 24, 2016

My Mom’s Honey Buttermilk Bread

Let's face it, there is nothing in this world like the taste (and the smell) of fresh homemade baked bread still warm from the oven. I grew up on this wonderful heavenly comfort food and watched my Mom make her own bread many times. Making her own bread was like second nature to her and she did it with such confidence and knowledge.  I thought it was so much fun to watch and could hardly wait for it to rise so I could watch her punch it down and shape it into that loaf that made the best sandwiches.  But my favorite way to eat my Mom's bread was hot out of the oven with butter and jelly.  I make my own bread now and serve it the same way.

My Mom’s Honey Buttermilk Bread

1 envelope yeast (or 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup warm water
2 cups warm buttermilk
 cup honey
¼ cup butter, melted and still slightly warm but not hot
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
6 cups white bread flour
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, yeast, and water and set aside for five minutes.  Then mix in the buttermilk, honey, salt, baking soda with the yeast mixture.  Add three cups of flour and mix with an electric mixture for about five minutes on low speed.  Mix in the warm butter until you see no traces of it.

Add the remaining flour one cup at a time and keep mixing on low speed.  When the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl remove it from the mixer to a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth.

Place in greased bowl and brush a little melted butter all over it. Cover with greased plastic wrap put in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and form it into two loaves. Then place the dough into greased loaf pans and brush more butter on top of each loaf.  Cover again with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, covering tops with foil if they brown too fast. Remove loaves from oven and brush with more melted butter. 

Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out and cool slightly on a rack. Cover the loaves if you want soft crusts.

Makes 2 loaves

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Home For The Holidays

My new Christmas book is out today. 

"Home For The Holidays."    

The tradition I love most is that big Christmas dinner where families gather to share laughter and love. Growing up, the meal rarely changed and the table was set with Mom’s beautiful Christmas dinnerware all full of the same wonderful food. At the center of the table was her huge honey glazed ham or her golden brown turkey. I hope this cookbook takes you down memory lane and that the recipes transport you back home for Christmas.

To buy this book in E-book format for only $9.99, click on this link: 
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Homemade Cannoli's

Calling all Cannoli lovers out there! I don't profess to be a great Italian cook but I sure can make these disappear when I put them out for friends and family. You can't save these. You can't store them or freeze them. You have to eat these right away. Any objections?

Homemade Cannoli's


4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup white wine
Oil or shortening, for frying

To make shells, mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter.
Add egg yolks; stir with a fork. Stir in wine, 1 tablespoon at a time, with a fork until dough clings together. Form a ball with the dough and let stand for 30 minutes. Roll dough almost paper thin, on a well-floured surface.

Using the rim of a wide glass such as a margarita glass (about 3-4 inches across), make circle imprints into rolled dough. Using a paring knife, make sure circles are cut all the way through. Roll each circle of dough around a metal cannoli tube, overlapping the ends and press to seal, flaring out the edges slightly.

Fry one or two at a time in hot melted shortening for about one minute, turning to brown all sides. Remove from hot grease and drain on paper towels, seam side down. 

Let cool a minute or two before trying to remove metal tube. To remove the tube hold cannoli shell down on the paper towel and carefully slide the tube out one end. Leave cannoil shells on paper towel, seam side down to cool completely.


3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (excess liquid drained or squeeze dry with cheese cloth)
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (at least a couple of hours). When ready to serve, use a Ziploc bag with the bottom corner snipped off or a pastry bag and pipe filling into one end of a shell to the center, then into other end. Repeat with remaining shells and filling. Serve immediately.

You can dip these in whatever topping you like. I sometimes dip them in mini chocolate chips and dust with confectioners' sugar.

I use the Norpro 3660 Stainless Steel Cannoli Forms, Set of 4
to make my shells.  Only $5.65 on Amazon.  Click on the link below to buy yours.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

JUST RELEASED: My Country newest cookbook


My Country newest cookbook in the Welcome Home Series. As a special introductory price you can get the E-book for only $9.99 while supplies last. This price won't last long, so hurry and click on the link to order yours today.

In this, the seventh cookbook of the Welcome Home series, you will find some of the best southern classics from my Mom's country recipe collection. These are the classics I grew up with and every single one of them takes me back in time.

I purposely chose the quick and easy to make recipes with wholesome ingredients you usually have on hand in your pantry and refrigerator. I feature recipes like her Sausage Gravy and Buttermilk Biscuits, Country Fried Steak with Milk Gravy, Southern Fried Chicken and Cornbread, Her Creamy, Cheesy Mac and Cheese, and her Oven Roasted Pot Roast with thick, rich gravy, and her Southern Greens with Bacon. 

And let's not forget her Southern Peach Bundt Cake and her Perfect Devils Food Chocolate Cake! Over 100 pages of goodness! And each recipes is proceeded with a bright and colorful full page photograph!

To purchase your E-Book at an introductory price of only $9.99, click here:

Then download it to your desktop, Android phone, Tablet, or iPhone and iPad. Just use the Book reader you have installed on your device.
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Thursday, December 08, 2016


First of all, I want to let you know that I do not get paid by these big manufacturers when I post something about a product like this one I'm about to tell you about. If I like something a lot...I enjoy sharing it with you. Simple as that. And I like this one so much that I just have to tell you about it.

Last year I wanted to roast my turkey the old fashioned way using my Mom's old traditional recipe that I grew up knowing so well. The kind of turkey that you roast slowly in the oven and baste in it's own juices. The problem was I needed my oven for all the other dishes I was making. How could I possibly bake my mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, roasted Brussel Sprouts, and all those other dishes with a big bird in my oven all day?

I found myself wishing I had another oven instead of the one that came with my stove. Don't get me wrong, I have a big oven in the LG range and even a small oven at the bottom. But I was wishing I had another separate oven to make my Hams and Roast Beef and Crown Pork Roast and especially my Turkey every year. I certainly didn't have room to add another oven to the kitchen, nor the money. So I set out to find a solution. And I found one! And I love it! And I was so impressed by it that I want to share it with you! I am in awe of this thing and it cost me less than $50! And it freed up my entire oven for the day.

It's called the Oster 22-Qt Roaster Oven and it will roasts up to a 26-lb Turkey. It is really pretty too.... with it's clean and shiny stainless steel finish. It has a removable enamel-on-steel roasting pan for fast, even heat distribution and easy clean-up; plus a steel roasting rack to raise your turkey above the juices. I love this thing!

First, I set it for 450 degrees to get it really hot. Then I put the turkey down in this deep roaster and covered it with the lid. After about 15 minutes I turned it down to 350, anticipating that my 16 pound turkey would get done in the 3 1/2 hours it said on the Butterball label. I set it and then I just walked away to prepare my Thanksgiving meal. I didn't even have to baste it because it has a self basting lid!

After about 2 hours I just had to look under that lid to see how things were going. I opened the lid and just stared in amazement! I was so shocked at what I saw that I was speechless. There was the most beautiful golden brown picture perfect turkey I had ever seen in my life! How did that happen? How did this turkey get so beautiful in an electric roaster? I still have no idea!

I decided to take it's temperature, even though according to Butterball my turkey would need 3 1/2 hours to cook. I inserted the probe from my reliable instant read thermometer from ThermoWorks into the thickest part of the breast and it showed my turkey was perfectly cooked at 165 degrees! How could that be? This big beautifully browned 16 pound turkey had cooked in only 2 hours!

So, I turned the dial to "Keep Warm" and the roaster then became a slow cooker. By the time my dinner was ready 90 minutes later, I had a turkey unlike any that I had ever cooked before. It was fall off the bone tender. It was so easy to carve. And the turkey was so moist you couldn't believe it. I now know that as a self-contained roaster, it uses the steam from cooking to lock in juices. The self basting lid and the steam browns the skin as if you roasted in a hot oven. All I can say....and with no reservations.... this was the best turkey I have ever made in my life! And my guests could not get over how good it was.

I can say that this Oster Turkey Roaster is way up on the list of one of the best investments I have ever made. Get yours on sale today at Amazon with the Welcome Home code....just in time for your next holiday meal. I plan to make my Christmas Ham and Prime Rib Roast in this for Christmas!

Order it with the embedded Welcome Home code in the following link and not only will you get the sale price, you will be helping me save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed in shelters while waiting for a new home.

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Sunday, December 04, 2016

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

The first time I ever ate at PF Changs, my friends told me the chicken lettuce wraps were a must.  I noticed everyone around me was ordering them and so I thought why not?  Oh my gosh! They were so good that I ended up ordering them for my appetizer AND my dinner.  I couldn’t get enough of them that night.  I decided to make them at home and so I went online to find a copycat recipe. I added a few of my own things to make them even better.  Now I make them all the time!  I even grow my own Butter Lettuce so I can have them as often as I want! They are so good and so easy to make, I eat them a couple times a week all summer long!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

1 head butter lettuce (also called Boston Bib)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks; drain excess fat.

Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes. 

Stir in chestnuts and green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, taco-style. Delicious! 

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Beans and Rice with Smokey Kielbasa

I love one pot meals.  You know ...those recipes where  you throw all the right ingredients into one skillet or pot and leave it to become delicious all by itself.  This one is the perfect example of what a one pot meal should be. It's a perfect blend of rice and beans with the right seasonings and then I added some smoky kielbasa to the mix.  Oh My Goodness what a quick and easy one skillet meal that will become a family favorite.  And here's a bonus:  It only gets better each day!

Beans and Rice with Smokey Kielbasa

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 package (14 ounce) polish kielbasa, sliced into rounds
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup white rice
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 ounce) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
 1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil and butter together in a large skillet until melted.  Add the sliced kielbasa and fry until lightly browned and caramelized. 

 Add the onion and saute until just soft and tender. Add in the minced garlic and stir for about a minute until golden. Stir in the rice and chicken broth.  Add the beans along with the oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. 

Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.  Cover the skillet and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is tender.  Fluff up the rice and stir to make sure all is mixed well.  Season as needed with salt and pepper.

I love to serve cornbread with this meal! What could be better?   Sprinkle with parsley and serve!   YUM!

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