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Sweet Cucumbers and Onions

Here is a recipe to use up all those cucumbers in your garden. I ate these at nearly every meal when I was pregnant with my youngest. It's a wonder she didn't turn into a pickle!

1 cup vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 sliced onion
1 chopped green pepper

Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt and mix until dissolved. Place vegetables in a large pickle jar and pour vinegar mixture over it. Refrigerate overnight. Can store in refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

Click here for a printable view of this recipe.

Summer Picnic Ideas

It's summer and there's no better time to get outside and have a picnic. Here are a few ideas for a fun picnic with your family.







Click HERE for more picnic ideas. 

Creamy Spiral Pasta Salad


Here's a yummy recipe to make when you want something cool and light for dinner. Enjoy!

2 cups veggie spiral pasta, cooked and drained
3 large radishes, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
1/3 cup red onion, minced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place drained pasta in large bowl. Add diced vegetables and sprinkle with parsley. In small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, cider vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour over vegetables and mix to cover. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Zucchini Casserole


Wondering what to do with your excess garden zucchini? Here is a great recipe I like so well I sometimes eat it as a meal in itself. I hope you'll enjoy it, too! 

2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup green pepper, chopped
12 tablespoons butter (divided)
2 1/4 cups stuffing mix (divided)
1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese



In small saucepan, cook zucchini in saltwater till tender. In medium saucepan saute carrots, onion, and peppers in 6 tablespoons melted butter till tender. Stir in 1 1/4 cup stuffing mix, soup, and sour cream. Gently stir in zucchini. Pour into greased square baking dish. Melt remaining butter and add remaining stuffing mix. Stir together. Sprinkle over top of casserole and top with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Elizabeth Goddard's Easy Slow-Cooker Lasagna

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty-five romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES--a 2011 Carol Award winner. She is a double finalist in the 2016 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for her novels BURIED and BACKFIRE in the Mountain Cove series. 

A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time. She currently makes her home in Minnesota with her husband and children.To get book news sign up for her newsletter at her website: http://elizabethgoddard.com

Elizabeth's Latest Book Release: DECEPTION

Mountain Cove Series: In the Alaskan wilderness, love and danger collide

Jewel Caraway thought she'd left her mistakes in the past—but then her past arrives at her door. Though she's thrilled to reunite with her estranged sister, something about her sister's new husband makes Jewel uneasy. Does he know her secret? Is he the one behind the growing list of attacks against her? And if he is involved…does that mean her sister is, too? With nowhere else to turn, Jewel must rely on police chief Colin Winters—the first man to make the widow question her resolve to never love again. But will he stay by her side when her guarded secrets are revealed? Purchase Beth's book HERE. 

Beth’s Easy Slow-cooker Lasagna

A Note from Beth: I especially love this recipe because the lasagna is moist and doesn’t dry out with baking. I used to be terrified of lasagna—it seemed so complicated. But I started making it and discovered it’s as easy as making spaghetti with sauce. Plus, variety is the spice of life. Once you learn what lasagna’s all about, you can experiment and/or use what you have in your pantry, mostly.

6 whole wheat lasagna noodles (you don’t have to cook them ahead of time and you don’t have to buy no bake. Also, if you prefer regular noodles instead of whole wheat, go for it.)
1 pint of ricotta cheese (more or less, to taste, or use cottage cheese)
2 cups of mozzarella cheese (more or less, to taste)
1 cup of Parmesan cheese (again, to taste)
Spaghetti sauce of preference. (Sometimes this is two cans of crushed tomatoes seasoned with basil. Other times I brown beef and/or sausage and make marinara sauce. Just make a big sauce pan full so there’s plenty)
Chopped kale (optional). This is kind of a fun addition and makes me think I’m trying to be healthy by getting a super food into the lasagna. The kids thinks it’s parsley or the green flecks you sometimes see in pasta. You can’t taste it. 

Now, you’re ready to go. In a medium size bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese) with one cup of the mozzarella and half the Parmesan cheese.  Set aside. Pour enough sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker to cover it. Layer noodles. (I put two down in the center and then break another up to fill in the spaces since noodles don’t exactly come shaped for slow-cookers) Then drop a few dollops of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles and press down to cover them completely if possible, the best you can. The cheese will melt and spread out even more with the cooking. Pour half the sauce on. Layer noodles over the sauce and then last of the ricotta. Your last layer should be sauce.

Set your crockpot on high for four hours or so. You might have to play around with it—slow cookers vary, but I find about four hours on high does the trick. Check it at 3 hours or 3 and a half to be sure. The last step is to spread the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top and let the hot lasagna melt the cheese. Then let it sit for at least 20 minutes or until slightly cooled so that when you cut it, the layers stay in place. 

Fried Okra with Ranch Dip


The first time I tried fried okra was at Lambert's Cafe in Ozark, Missouri. Here's a delicious homemade recipe using whole fresh okra and served with a yummy ranch dip. Make some for your family today! 

12 oz. fresh okra
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Canola Oil
Cajon Spice - Recipe Here

Ranch Dip
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Ranch Seasoning - Recipe Here
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons hot sauce

To make the Ranch Dip, in small bowl mix together sour cream, mayonnaise, ranch seasoning, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Set aside until ready to use. 

In a large bowl, soak fresh okra in buttermilk, enough to cover. Allow to soak for 10-15 minutes. On a large plate, stir together flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Dredge wet okra in the flour mixture until well-coated. I pressed and rolled the mixture around the okra and it seemed to hold together very well. Prepare 7-10 at a time to boil.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven to 350 degrees, using a fry/candy thermometer to ensure that the temperature stays consistent. Cool okra in the hot oil until crispy and light golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, gently turning after 2 minutes or so. Remove fried okra with a slotted spoon and drain on baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season with Cajon Spice and keep warm in a 200 degree preheated oven until all are done. Repeat as needed. Serve with Ranch Dip. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Kenny's Cowboy Beans

My brothers are both good cooks. Here is a recipe my oldest brother concocted, which turned out fabulous. My favorite go-to recipe when I want a pot of cowboy beans. Enjoy! 

2 cans red beans (drained)
2 cans pinto beans (drained)
1 1/2 cups diced ham, pork loin, or bacon
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 can chopped chilies, or 2-3 diced jalapenos (depending on your taste for hot and spicy)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup beef broth
1/8 cup mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard seed 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In large baking dish combine all ingredients and mix well. Bake uncovered for 2-3 hours at 225 degrees, adding more broth if needed. Serves 12-15. Delicious! 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ It's All Easy

It's all Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook, by Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow is back to share more than 125 of her favorite recipes that can be made in the time it would take to order takeout (which often contains high quantities of fat, sugar, and processed ingredients). All the dishes are surprisingly tasty, with little or no sugar, fat, or gluten. From easy breakfasts to lazy suppers, this book has something for everybody. Yummy recipes include Chocolate Cinnamon Overnight Oats, Soft Polenta with Cherry Tomatoes, Chicken Enchiladas, Pita Bread Pizzas, Quick Sesame Noodles, and more! Plus, an innovative chapter for "on-the-go" meals (Moroccan Chicken Salad Wrap, Chopped Salad with Grilled Shrimp, and others) that you can take for lunch to work or school, to a picnic, or to eat while watching soccer practice! Buy the book HERE.

Gwyneth Paltrow is an Oscar winner and author of the New York Times bestselling cookbooks My Father's Daughter and It's All Good. She is founder of the website Goop, which covers food, fashion, fitness and travel. Paltrow is a mother, businesswoman, and actress, who lives in Los Angeles.