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Cornmeal Pancakes

Here's a recipe I like to make when I want something a little different for breakfast. Enjoy!

1 cup flour
3/4 cups cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons melted butter

In mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in melted butter. Batter will be thick. Cook on greased skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Makes 8-10 pancakes.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Cherry Pie

Here's a yummy recipe to try when you have fresh cherries. I made this with sweet red cherries, but we also like tart cherry pie. Enjoy! 

Cherry Filling:
4 cups pitted cherries
3 tablespoons tapioca
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Pie Pastry Recipe:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold water (2 parts)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, combine cherries, tapioca, sugar, and almond extract. Stir until mixed well. Allow to set for 15 minutes while you prepare the pie pastry. 

To make pastry, in medium sized bowl mix together flour and salt. Add shortening and cut in with a fork until crumbly. Add 1/4 cup water and mix, then add the rest of the water to finish mixing the dough. Dough should hold together in a ball. Roll out on floured surface the size of your pie plate. For top crusts, remember to make slits in the dough so your pie can breathe while it is baking

Add cherry mixture on top of bottom crust. Dot with bits of butter. Smooth water along edge of pie crust with fingertips (to help seal the pie). Add the top pastry to pie and crimp edges. I always like to smooth 1-2 tablespoons of milk over the top of the pastry and then sprinkle with sugar to make a pretty crust. Bake for 50-60 minutes until top crust is golden.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Lena Nelson Dooley's Bread Pudding

Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 700,000 books in print.

Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with over 20 signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins, and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books.

Her 2010 release Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, won the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western Fiction. Maggie’s Journey appeared on a reviewers Top Ten Books of 2011 list. It also won the 2012 Selah award for Historical Novel. Mary’s Blessing released in May 2012. It recently appeared on a review site’s Top Five Reads in 2012 list. 

In addition to her writing, Lena 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 blog radio show.
Lena has an active web presence on Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin and with her internationally connected blog where she interviews other authors and promotes their books. Find her online HERE.

Lena's Most Recent Book Release: Catherine's Pursuit

The search for her sisters will become a spiritual journey for the entire family.

Raised by her father, Catherine McKenna has never lacked for anything, surrounded by people to take care of her every need. On her eighteenth birthday she discovers that not only did her mother die when she was born, but she has two identical sisters. Although her father vowed not to look for his daughters, Catherine made no such promise. Setting out on her own with one clue and her maid in tow, she's determined to find her sisters.

Collin Elliott has seen better days. After losing his ship to a violent and unexpected storm, he is trying to recover--physically and emotionally. When Angus McKenna sends him to find, follow, and protect his daughter, he wants nothing more than to finish his task and return home. Can he help her find her sisters? And will the discoveries they make along the way teach them both what's most important in life? Buy Lena's book HERE

Lena's Recipe for Bread Pudding

3/4 - package King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread white rolls
3/4 - package King's Hawaiian Honey Wheat rolls
1 stick real butter
1 3/4 cup sugar (we use raw sugar)
2-3 cups milk
4 eggs
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Mace
1 bottle San Saba Pecan Company's Peach, Pecan, and Amaretto sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a rectangular cake pan. I use the kind that has a snap-on plastic lid. It's best if the bread is slightly stale. In a large mixing bowl, break up the rolls into small pieces. Whisk the eggs until well beaten, then set aside.

In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the stick of butter along with the sugar and about a couple cups of milk, stirring frequently. When it is all melted and combined, stir in the eggs a little at a time. Remove from the burner and add vanilla and mace. Then stir in more milk until the saucepan is about 3/4 full.

Pour over the bread and stir until all the bread is thoroughly saturated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake pan. Bake about 35 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Empty bottle of sauce onto top of cake and spread until all the top of the bread pudding is glazed. Can server 20 or more people, according to how you cut it.

Pistachio Caramel Cookies

 Here is a delightful cookie recipe I think you'll love! Enjoy!

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup caramel bits
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shelled pistachios

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in caramel bits, coconut, almonds, and pistachios. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Makes 4 dozen.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Peanut Apple Dip

Here's a recipe that's so easy and delicious, you'll want to add it to your favorites list. Serve some to your family soon! I think they'll love it. 

1/2 cup roasted peanuts 
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

In food processor, chop peanuts until they are finely ground. Add bits of cream cheese along with brown sugar and vanilla. Process again until mixed well. Serve in bowl with your favorite sliced apples, such as Honey Crisp, Gala, or Red Delicious. Enjoy! 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cherry Cheesecake

Here's an easy dessert when you have last-minute company or want something special for a family gathering. 

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 - 8 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 - 21 oz. cherry pie filling

In small bowl, combine cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Mix well. Place in glass pie plate and form crust using a spoon or your fingers. Bake in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Allow to cool. 

In mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into cooled crust. Top with pie filling. Refrigerate. Makes 6-8 servings. Enjoy! (This is also great with blueberry pie filling!) 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Italian Sausage and Rigatoni

Here's another easy recipe to enjoy. Serve with French Bread or Soft Bread Sticks

8 oz. rigatoni
1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups red, yellow and green peppers, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
16 oz. Italian sausage, sliced
32 oz. spaghetti sauce
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

In large saucepan, boil 3 quarts water with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook rigatoni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In large skillet, melt butter. Saute peppers, onions, and garlic until tender. Place vegetables in bowl and set aside. Brown Italian sausage in skillet until both sides are cooked. Add your favorite spaghetti sauce, along with the cooked vegetables and rigatoni. Stir well to coat. Top with fresh basil. Makes 4-6 servings. 

Wine Recommendation: Ghost Pine's Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Jessica Keller's Hot Cocoa

 As a child Jessica possessed the dangerous combination of too much energy coupled with an over-active imagination. This pairing led to more than seven broken bones and countless scars. Oddly enough, she’s worked as a zookeeper, a librarian, camp counselor, horse wrangler, housekeeper, and finance clerk, but now loves her full-time work in law enforcement.

Former editor of both her college newspaper and literary journal at Trinity International University, Jessica received degrees in both Communications and Biblical Studies. She lives in the Chicagoland suburbs with her amazing husband and two annoyingly outgoing cats that happen to be named after superheroes.
Jessica writes Young Adult fiction and Romance.  Her debut, Home for Good, releases Feb. 2013. Learn more about Jessica and her writing HERE

Jessica's debut novel: Home for Good

“I made a promise to protect you.”

But pregnant Ali Silver’s husband broke his vow and walked away from her. After being injured in combat, Jericho has finally come home to Bitterroot Valley to make peace with his father and regain Ali’s trust. But the single mom’s keeping secrets of her own. And someone’s killing off Ali’s cattle and sabotaging her horse therapy business. Jericho will do whatever it takes to protect his wife and be a real father to his son. Because when it comes to love and second chances, he’s one determined cowboy.

Jessica's recipe:

As each day draws colder than the last I finally throw up my hands, crying uncle. I live in the Midwest, so winter’s breath has been prickling my skin all season.
And with that thought I rush to the kitchen to warm up, because a good woman knows there are only two things that can cure the constant chill of the season: soup and hot chocolate. And who doesn’t like to wrap their hands around a mug of hot cocoa? I’m not talking the store-bought package variety—do yourself a favor and chuck the stuff. No, I’m talking from scratch spoon-licking-good hot chocolate.

Homemade Hot Cocoa

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream (heavy or half-and-half)
To the boiling water, add cocoa, sugar, and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil while you stir then simmer, stirring for two minutes. Do not scorch! Stir in the milk and heat until very hot (but don’t bring to a boil or the milk will spoil). Remove from heat and add vanilla and cream. Ladle into mugs and top with whipped cream and/or chocolate shavings. Enjoy! 

Raspberry Vanilla Scones

Here's a delicious recipe to serve your Valentine this month. 

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup half and half 
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry jam + 1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter with knife or fork until mixture is crumbly. Add half and half, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir into flour mixture and work together until completely mixed. Pat out onto a floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cut first half into eight pieces and place each in lightly greased scone pan. Press to form into the pan. In small bowl, mix together jam and water. Spoon half of the raspberry jam onto dough. Create a second layer by repeating the process with remaining dough. Sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons sugar. Bake 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.  

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

We love chocolate covered caramel pecan candies --chewy caramel, pecans, covered in delicious chocolate. A quick search through my cupboards revealed all the ingredients, so I decided to try a cookie version of the candy. We LOVED them. I hope you will too. 

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup caramel bits
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix in well. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture in three parts. Stir in caramel, chocolate chips coconut, and pecans. Scoop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on racks. Makes 5 dozen. Enjoy! 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.