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Here's a recipe I've worked long and hard on to get "just" right. I'm happy to report that this one pleased our family perfectly--with the exception of my youngest daughter who thought it needed more meat.

1 package active dry yeast
1 cups warm water (105 degrees)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into a ball and place in large greased bowl. Cover, and allow to rise for 30-40 minutes. Punch down dough and roll into 12x15" rectangle.

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Creamy Italian Dressing
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
oz. Canadian bacon or ham
6 oz. pepperoni
4 oz. provolone cheese, sliced
4 oz. Swiss cheese, sliced
4 oz. Mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, dressing, and garlic, and Italian seasoning. Spread mixture down center of dough, about 4" wide. Sprinkle with onion, peppers, and black olives. Layer Canadian bacon and pepperoni, and then top with cheese slices. Gently fold sides of dough up and over to lap. Pinch seams together and fold ends of dough to seal. Carefully turn Stromboli over so seam is on the bottom. (I used a piece of wax paper for easier turning.) Brush with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 4-6. Yum!

Wine Recommendation: Bogle Vineyard Petite Sirah 2010

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Sour Cream Cheese Biscuits

Here's a yummy recipe to try with your favorite soup or any meal. Enjoy! 

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add cheese. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add sour cream. Mix until blended. Transfer dough to floured surface. Knead gently 8-10 times. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter. Bake on ungreased baking sheet for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Makes 8-12 biscuits.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Baked Custard with Blackberries

Here's a favorite recipe I've enjoyed since childhood. 

3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla (or seeds from 1" vanilla bean)
dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and salt. Whisk together. Slowly stir in milk and vanilla. Fill 6 6-oz custard cups and set in shallow pan. Sprinkle each with a dash of nutmeg. Pour hot water (not boiling) into pan 1" deep. Bake for 50-60 minutes until custard is set and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with fresh blackberries and whipped cream. Yum!

Camy Tang's Savory Steel Cut Oats with Spring Vegetables

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She grew up in Hawaii and now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious mutt, Snickers. She graduated from Stanford University and worked as a biologist researcher for 9 years, but now she writes full-time. She is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.On her blog, she ponders knitting, spinning wool, dogs, running, the Never Ending Diet, and other frivolous things. Visit her website at to read free short stories and subscribe to her quarterly newsletter.

Camy's newest book release: A Dangerous Stage

Tessa Lancaster worked for her uncle in the Japanese mafia until she was sent to prison for a murder she didn't commit. Now, after finding God behind bars, she takes odd jobs as a bodyguard to keep her distance from the family business.

In A Dangerous Stage, the second book in Camy Tang's Protection for Hire series, Tessa gets caught up in the web of lies surrounding a shady singing competition. Hired by one of the contestants, she works with Charles Britton---the lawyer who sent her to prison---to discover the dark figures manipulating the contest from behind the scenes.

Tessa's abilities will be tested like never before as she's forced to balance the safety of her client's family and her deepening relationship with Charles. In the midst of the chaos, she holds on to her faith to keep her safe and bring down the shadowy organization.

Camy's Recipe: Savory Steel Cut Oats with Spring Vegetables

This all started because I made vegetable risotto in my rice cooker, although I added more veggies than the recipe indicated, which added more water to it, which made the rice mushy.

Several months ago, I tried making a savory steel cut oats recipe from The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, but didn’t much care for it because it had too much honey in the recipe, and I didn’t like the taste of the olive oil, steel cut oats, and honey together. But I liked the texture of the steel cut oats, so I decided to combine the veggie risotta and steel cut oats recipe for a savory breakfast dish. I rather like eating savory steel cut oats for breakfast, and this ensures I get some veggies with breakfast.

I did a combination of the risotto recipe from the cookbook and the savory steel cut oatmeal recipe. Here it is:

1 tablespoon butter
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 diced onion
1 cup chopped leafy greens--I used kale, you could also use spinach, chard, beet greens instead
1-2 small carrots, finely diced, or 1 large carrot finely diced
1-2 small summer squash or zucchini, finely diced
1-2 small tomatoes, diced

(Note: You can pretty much add any veggies you like, although I’d suggest you chop them up well so they’ll cook thoroughly. If you like them more crunchy, you may want to chop them less fine and see if that gives them a harder texture, but I haven’t tried that.)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup steel cut oats
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin (I actually used more than a 1/2 teaspoon, I just kind of shook it in)
Dash of cayenne pepper

Throw the butter, garlic, and onions in the rice cooker and hit the start button, then close the lid and let it cook while you cut up all the veggies.

Add all the veggies to the rice cooker, give it a good stir, and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir it all and reset the rice cooker. Put it on the regular rice setting.
After cooking, stir it again and then cover it and let it steam for 10 minutes before eating.

Note from Camy: It ended up needing a little more salt for my taste, but for those of you who don’t want too much salt in your diet, you can omit the salt entirely. It has a texture similar to rice or risotto in that it was sticky, but it has that nice steel cut oats texture. The veggies and spices make it a good savory side dish, although I eat it for breakfast. It has a slightly Southwestern flavor to it because of the cumin. If you don’t like that style, you can omit the tomatoes and switch the cumin to something else to make it less Southwestern.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Here's a sweet treat to make using your cast iron skillet. Perfect for a party with family or friends! 

1/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
20 oz. pineapple slices, reserve juice
Maraschino cherries
1/2 cup pecan halves

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large cast iron skillet, melt butter. Add brown sugar and stir until combined. Arrange pineapple slices and cherries on top of sugar mixture. Sprinkle with pecans. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Pour over pineapples. Bake for 40-45 minutes until cake tests done. Scrape sides of pan with knife, then, invert cake onto a serving plate. Serves 12-14. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Beef and Noodles

Here's a favorite recipe I like to make in the fall and winter. You may also opt to cook the pot roast in a slow cooker. 
Serve with Garlic Mashed Potatoes. 

2 tablespoons oil
3 pounds boneless arm roast
1 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
2 bay leaves
1 cup water (add more as needed)

16 oz. package frozen egg noodles or homemade recipe
4 quarts water
2 cubes beef bouillon
2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup water

In large dutch oven, heat oil and brown roast on each side to sear in juices. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender. Season with salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, basil, parsley, and bay leaves. Add water as needed, keeping about 1" of water on bottom. Simmer for 3 hours until meat falls away from fork when pierced. Remove from pan and keep warm.

To prepare noodles, add water to meat juices. Add beef bouillon cubes. Bring to boil. Add egg noodles and return to boil. Continue cooking for 7-10 minutes until tender. In small bowl, combine flour and 1/2 cup water to make paste. Stir into boiling noodles to thicken. Shred beef and add to noodles. Serves 8-10.
Wine Suggestion: Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Amber Stockton's Hash Brown Casserole

Amber Stockton began her publishing career as Amber Miller, using her middle and maiden names. Now, she publishes under her married name. Her first is Tiffany, and most people call her Tiff. She married the love of her life in July 2007 and lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband, their daughter and son, and their Australian shepherd, Roxie.
She firmly believes a good book can take you away from your present reality into a world you've never seen. With a passion for history, her books take you back to the worlds that once were and give you a slice of life amidst the adventures and faith of her characters. Learn more about Amber and her books HERE

Amber's Newest Release: Colonial Courtships

Collection Description: Unexpected adventure catches the Ingersoll brothers by surprise-and brings unexpected love into their lives. Nathaniel has his sights set on becoming a master figurehead carver, until he risks everything for a woman. Jonathan's merchant trade and his new love are in jeopardy from a brother's animosity. Micah expects to settle down to peace after a life of fighting on the frontier but finds a young woman hiding from an abductor. Alden is press-ganged into tending an ailing naval captain, then catches sight of the captain's fetching niece. Will the unexpected end in four courtships?

About Trading Hearts: Jonathan Ingersoll is a successful merchant trader along the Great (Connecticut) River. When flooding forces him to take sanctuary in an unfamiliar inn along his route, he meets the innkeeper’s daughter, Clara Marie Preston. Immediately attracted to her shy, yet caring spirit and quiet faith, Jonathan makes a point to return. But animosity from her brother gives him pause. Learning the source of the resentment only spurs Jonathan to try that much harder to prove his worth. Doubts are cast upon his character, and his trade sales begin to decrease. When he tracks down the pirates who attacked Clara’s brother and sees justice served, things take a turn for the better. Finally, he can accept the full blessing for a union of marriage and make plans once more for the future.

Amber's Recipe - Hash Brown Casserole

3 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cups frozen shredded hash browns
1 pound bulk sausage, mild, hot or sage
8 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups (1/2 pound) grated Cheddar
2 cups (1/2 pound) freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a deep 13 by 9-inch casserole dish with vegetable/canola/olive oil cooking spray. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
In a second frying pan, brown the sausage, breaking apart large clumps. When the sausage is cooked through, remove it from pan. Can substitute bacon or sausage links, or ham. Make certain meat is chopped or crumbled for easy layering.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, briskly to blend.
To assemble, spread the onions and hash browns evenly at the bottom of the greased dish. With a slotted spoon distribute the sausage as the next layer. Pour the egg mixture over these layers. Add Parmesan as the next layer, while then adding the Cheddar.
*Note: Save a few tablespoons of Cheddar for the last 10 minutes of baking, where you can add a fresh topping of melted Cheddar.

Bake the casserole, uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Here's a delicious recipe we enjoy in the fall or winter. We hope you will too! 

1 pound boneless chicken, cooked and sliced into bite-sized pieces
5 1/3 cup water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons crushed thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (16 oz) frozen egg noodles
5 cups mixed frozen vegetables
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk

Place chicken, water, onion, parsley, bouillon, thyme, pepper and bay leaf in a large pot. Bring to boiling. Add noodles and mixed frozen vegetables and return to boil. Simmer covered for 20-25 minutes until noodles are almost tender. Stir in 2 cups milk. In small bowl, combine flour and 1/2 cup milk until smooth. Stir into noodle mixture. Cook and stir until soup is thickened and bubbly. Serves 12. This is a delicious soup for a cold winter night. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.