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Cranberry Almond Cookies

Here's a yummy recipe to try during the holidays.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda 
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries1 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Mix until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. In small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to butter mixture and mix well. Stir in dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, and almonds. Drop by teaspoon 2" apart on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Makes 4 dozen. Enjoy! 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Party Sausages

Here's a recipe to try this Christmas for a family gathering. Enjoy! 

2 - 14 oz. Lit'l Smokies smoked sausages
1 bottle (8 oz) Catalina salad dressing
1 bottle (8 oz) Thousand Island dressing
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup minced onion

Heat sausages in large skillet with 1 tablespoon oil. Transfer cooked smokies to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients to skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour over sausages. Heat on low for 1-2 hours. Serves 16. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Jolene Philo's Wild Plum Pudding

Jolene Philo is the daughter of a disabled father and the mother of a child with special needs. After a 25 years as an elementary teacher, she left education in 2003 to pursue writing and speaking. Since then her articles have appeared in regional and national publications including Focus on the Family, Home Cooking, and ParentLife. Her books, A Different Dream for My Child and Different Dream Parenting were released by Discovery House Publishers in 2009 and 2011. 

She speaks throughout the United States about parenting children and adults with special needs and post-traumatic stress in children. Her BLOG provides resources and encouragement for parents of kids with special needs. She also blogs about life on her dusty gravel road  at With their two children married and on their own, Jolene and her husband are kicking up their empty nester heels in Boone, Iowa.

Jolene's Latest Book: Different Dream Parenting

Parenting can be difficult and tiring, especially when you have a special needs child with medical, behavioral, or educational issues. In Different Dream Parenting, author Jolene Philo offers guidance and encouragement through biblical insights and her own personal experiences. Find spiritual wisdom, practical resources, and tools that can help you become an extraordinary advocate for your child. Discover how you can move beyond the challenges and experience the joy of being your child's biggest and best supporter.

Jolene's Wild Plum Pudding Recipe

This heirloom recipe came from my grandmother’s grandmother who lived in the late 1800's. In those days, wild plums were plentiful on the prairie. Wild plum trees still grace the fence rows and ditches of the Midwest. They flower in early spring and are ready to pick in late July and August. But, cooks without access to wild plums can substitute tart pie cherries for almost the same taste.

1 cup sugar                                                               
1 cup butter                                                             
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup canned wild plums (or canned tart pie cherries)  - pit, drain and keep juice

Pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar, butter and eggs. Combine dry ingredients (flour, soda, and spices) and alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk to creamed mixture. Carefully fold in plums. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 35 – 45 minutes.

Plum Sauce:  Drain plum juice into a two cup measuring cup. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and enough water to equal two cups. (My sister adds ¼ cup rum in place of some of the water.) Pour into a sauce pan. Blend together 1 cup brown sugar and 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch. Add to liquid in pan and cook over medium heat until it thickens. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. To serve: Cut into squares and serve with warm plum sauce.

Garlic Rosemary Braid

Here's a recipe our girls took to the county fair and won Grand Champion with. So tasty and smells divine. 

9 - 9 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 packages active yeast
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup water
3/4 cups butter, divided
1 egg
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

In large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. In a small saucepan, heat milk, water, and 1/2 cup butter until butter starts to melt. Add to dry ingredients and mix together until moistened. Add egg, garlic and rosemary. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic for 5-6 minutes. Cover and allow to rise one hour or until double. 

Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into thirds. Divide each portion into three pieces. Shape each into an 18" rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 30 minutes. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter and add garlic salt.  Brush over bread. Sprinkle with additional dried rosemary if desired. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks. Makes 3 loaves. Delicious! 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cheddar-Bacon Scones

Here's another delicious scone recipe and just goes to show that scones don't always have to be sweet to be enjoyable! 

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 teaspoons dried parsley
5 pieces bacon, cooked, and crumbled
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add cheese, onion, parsley and bacon. Mix together until evenly distributed. Add sour cream and mix well until dough forms together. (I use my hands for this.) Pat the dough into a circle and divide into 8 triangles. Place each into portion of scone pan and spread to edges. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with butter. Yum! 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Blueberry Kuchen

Here's a yummy German coffee cake to serve to your family! 

Crumb Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons butter

Coffee Cake:
2/3 cups sugar6 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries + 2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons teaspoons hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make crumb topping, in small bowl combine sugar, brown sugar, oats, pecans, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Set aside. 

In large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, along with vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Rinse blueberries and sprinkle with flour. Fold blueberries into batter. Spread batter into greased 9-inch square pan. Top with crumb topping. Bake for 50-60 minutes until wooden toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. 

To make glaze, in small bowl combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and hot water. Mix until smooth and creamy. Drizzle over warm cake. Serves 9.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Lena Nelson Dooley's Sour Cream Fudge

Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 700,000 books in print. Her book, Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, was given the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western literature. Lena is currently under two 3-book contracts with Charisma House/Realms. The first book, Maggie’s Journey released in October 2011 and received the 2012 Selah Award for historical novels, and the second book, Mary’s Blessing, released in May 2012.

In addition to her writing, Lena mentors other authors and received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award. She is a frequent speaker at women’s groups, writers groups, and at both regional and national conferences. She has spoken in six states and internationally. She is also one of the co-hosts of the Gate Beautiful blogtalk radio show. Lena has an active web presence on Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin, Pinterest and with her Internationally Connected Blog, where she interviews other authors and promotes their books. 

Lena's Latest Release: Mary's Blessing 

When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden?

Mary Lenora Murray knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her “God’s blessing.” But now that she’s gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.

As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can’t see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.

Will Daniel come to grips with God’s plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through?

Lena's Recipe for Sour Cream Fudge

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla (I use Mexican vanilla)
1/4 cup quartered candied cherries (green and red)
1 cup chopped pecans

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, sour cream, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking, without stirring, until reaching 236 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Let stand 15 minutes without stirring. Add vanilla. Beat until the mixture begins to lose its gloss. Stir in candied cherries and pecans. Pour into 8 inch X 8 inch pan. Cut when cool.