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Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix

A new twist on an old favorite!

5 cups Corn Chex cereal
5 cups Rice Chex cereal
5 cups Wheat Chex cereal
2 cups mixed nuts
2 cups pretzel sticks
2 cups bite-size cheese crackers
2 cups wheat cracker
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 package (1 oz) ranch dressing mix
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. In large baking pan, mix cereal, nuts, pretzels, and cheese crackers. Gradually pour melted butter over cereal. Mix together ranch dressing and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over cereal mixture and carefully stir. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Golden Pecan Pie

Here's an easy recipe for pecan pie that our family loves. Great for the holidays or for family gatherings. Delicious! 

3 eggs
2/3 cups brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped and halved
1-unbaked pie shell

In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Stir in sugar, salt, corn syrup, maple syrup, butter, bourbon, and vanilla until blended. Stir in 1 cup pecans. Pour into pastry shell. Add additional 1/2 cup halved pecans to fill in top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 25-30 minutes longer until lightly browned and puffed across top. Cool. Serve with whipped topping. Serves 8-10. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Cheesy Bread Sticks

Here's a recipe I serve our family when we want a little something special to go with spaghetti or lasagna. Enjoy! 

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm water
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried chives
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In medium bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Measure out water and add to it 2 tablespoons oil. Stir into flour and mix well until dough forms a ball. Let rest 10 minutes. On floured surface roll out to a 12"x15" rectangle. Transfer dough to a greased sheet cake pan. Sprinkle remaining olive oil on surface, spreading to edges. Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with garlic powder, chives, and grated cheese. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Cut into finger slices. Makes 15 slices.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Kim Vogel Sawyer's Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Berries

Highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope, Kim Vogel Sawyer is a bestselling author of thirty titles with more than a million copies of her books in print. A Kansas girl at heart, Kim enjoys writing stories set on the plains of her home state. She and her retired military husband operate a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their four feline companions and relish time with their three adult daughters and ten grandchildren. Please learn more about Kim and her writing and speaking ministries at
Kim's newest release: What Once was Lost
On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house uninhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”
With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God? Buy the book HERE.
Kim's recipes for Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Berries
3/4 cup steel cut oatmeal
½ cup almonds, pecans, or walnuts, toasted and chopped (if you use almonds, no need to toast first)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I tend to like lots of cinnamon!)
½ teaspoon salt
¾ to 1½ cups blueberries (fresh or frozen, but if using frozen thaw and drain first)
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup maple syrup OR honey
1 large egg, well beaten
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients until they're well blended. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the milk mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. (I usually store this in the fridge overnight and bake in the morning--it softens the oats a bit and makes a creamier texture.) 
Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the top third of the oven. (If it rested overnight, give mixture a good stir.) Scatter berries into an 8-inch square baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick coating. Pour milk-oat mixture over the berries. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes (I advise checking after 30 minutes, and if it looks as though it is browning quickly, turn oven down to 350 and check periodically for doneness), or until the top is golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Makes about 6 servings.
I like to put this in a pasta bowl, add a dollop of vanilla yogurt and a few berries on top for a garnish. Serve with bacon or turkey sausage...or just as is! Scrumptious! (And since this is apple season, you can substitute peeled, chopped apples in place of the berries. It's yummy, too.)

Slow-Cooked Spaghetti Sauce with Sausage

Once I tried this recipe, I vowed never to go back to canned spaghetti sauce--ever again. I hope you'll enjoy it too. Serve with Cheesy Bread Sticks. 

1 pound ground pork sausage, browned
2 - 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes, Italian style
1 - 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, regular
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon parsley, dried
1 tablespoon basil, dried
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

In large skillet, brown sausage; drain and set aside. Saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil until tender. 

In slow cooker, combine tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, wine vinegar, bay leaf, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir together. Add browned sausage. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve over cooked spaghetti. Delicious! Serves 6-8

Wine Recommendation: Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages 2012

Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Hamburger Cabbage Skillet

Here is an easy recipe to fix for your family. Serve with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

1 1/2 pounds ground hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 head medium cabbage, chopped
2 - 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

In large skillet, brown hamburger. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add cabbage, tomatoes, carrots and water. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add wine vinegar, basil, parsley, pepper, and salt. Cook another 10-15 minutes.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Here's a recipe for you to try when you want something a little different for supper. Great with Salmon or Rice and Barley Pilaf with mixed vegetables.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, and diced into 2" cubes 
1/3 cup Russian salad dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, pour dressing and oil over cubed sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir well to coat evenly. Prepare a square baking pan with cooking spray and place mixture in pan, spreading to edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender. Serves 4-6. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Sourdough Banana Bread

Here's a delicious recipe to use with your sourdough "starter". It has a crisp sweet crust and is moist on the inside. Try some!

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Princess Cake and Cookie Flavor (King Arthur Flour) *optional
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 medium)
1 cup sourdough starter (Recipe HERE.)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and flavoring and mix until well blended. Stir in bananas and sourdough. In small bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir into batter until just blended. Fold in pecans. Pour into small loaf pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes until bread is set in center. Cool on wire racks. Makes four small loaves. Freezes well.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Laura Hilton's Shortcut Cinnamon Rolls

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love. Surrendered Love and Awakened Love. A nonAmish book The Appalachian Ballad Quilt will release November 2014 from Abingdon Press. She is contracted for another three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport, releasing in April 2014, September 2014, and April 2015. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites. Learn more about Laura and her books HERE.

Laura's Newest Book Release: Awakened Love

Katie Detweiler grew up Amish, never knowing she was adopted as an infant. Now an adult, her new job as cook at an Amish bed and breakfast doesn’t bring about the euphoria she hoped for. Just as she’s getting her menu perfected, the Englisch family and severely ill sister she never knew existed enter her life and strain her Amish relationships. Plus, Katie suddenly has two different men vying for her attention—one Amish, one Englisch—and she wonders if one of them could be the man of her dreams. But when her Englisch sister’s health worsens, Katie must find a way to balance her heart, her job, and her faith while risking her own life for the sister she never knew. Buy the book HERE.

Laura's Recipe for Shortcut Cinnamon Rolls

1 (26.4 oz) package frozen biscuits
1 (6oz) package dried apricots (or peaches or cherries)
flour - for "kneading"
1/4 cup softened butter (or 8oz cream cheese)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or 1 cup chocolate chips)

1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1.) Arrange frozen biscuits onto flour surface - sides touching - 
into 3 rows of 4 biscuits. Let thaw for 30-45 minutes (they should 
be thawed but still cool to the touch). 

2.) Pour boiling water over dried fruit pieces to cover. Let stand 
10 minutes. Chop fruit and set aside.

3.) Sprinkle biscuits with flour and with hands press edges 
together. Spread butter (or cream cheese) evenly over the dough. 
Stir together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the butter or 
cream cheese. Next sprinkle with fruit and nuts or chocolate chips.

4.) Roll into a log and cut into 12 slices. Place in a 10" round or 
9" square pan - the rolls will be touching. Bake at 370 degrees for 
35-40 minutes. Or if you prefer individual rolls place each slice 
into a muffin cup and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

To make glaze : mix together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. 
Drizzle over rolls.

Skillet Chili

Here's a new take on chili when you want an easy one-dish meal. Serve with Frito corn chips or corn tortillas. 

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cooked rice
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
15 oz. can chili beans
15 oz corn
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In large skillet, cook beef until meat is brown. Saute onion, pepper, and garlic until tender. Stir in chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add rice, tomatoes, chili beans, corn, and black olives. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Let melt. Serves 4-6
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Meringue Pie

Here's a yummy recipe I hope you'll enjoy. Delicious! 

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 single pie crust, prepared and baked

3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup toffee bits

In large saucepan, combine sugar, flour, salt, and milk. Cook and stir until thickened, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually add egg yolks stirring constantly to prevent eggs from cooking. Return to heat and cook until thickened 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract. Stir until thoroughly combined and chips have melted. Pour pudding into pie crust. 

To prepare meringue, combine egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar in large mixing bowl. Mix on medium high speed until whites turn frothy. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, mixing well between each. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form, 4-6 minutes. Add meringue to top of pie, touching sides of dish. Sprinkle with toffee bits. Bake at preheated 325 degree oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on cooling racks. Serves 8
Click here for a printable version of this recipe. 

Swiss Steak

Here's a delicious recipe that will have your taste buds tingling.

1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 - 16 oz. diced tomatoes with garlic and herbs

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup canola oil
2 pounds round steak
3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In medium skillet heat butter on low and saute garlic and onion until tender. Add carrots, celery and green pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add diced tomatoes,Worcestershire Sauce, wine vinegar, and beef broth and bring to boil. Set aside.

Combine flour, salt and pepper on a plate and mix together. Dip steaks in flour, both sides. In large skillet, cook steaks in heated oil for one minute until brown on each side. Drain oil. Cover steaks with tomato mixture and cook covered on low heat for one hour until steaks are tender. Great with potatoes or rice. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.