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Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

Here's a recipe I enjoy making for family gatherings. So easy and can be prepared a day ahead.

5 pounds red potatoes (9 large), diced and unpeeled
6 oz package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons onion salt
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain. Mash until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Place in oblong baking pan. Cool, cover, and place in refrigerator. May be used anything within two weeks. May reheat in microwave or a 350 degree oven until heated through, about 20-30 minutes.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Tracey Lyon's Pumpkin-Spice Angel Food Cake

An Amazon Top Ten bestselling historical romance author of the Adirondack Pinkertons and the Women of Surprise series, Tracey Lyon's novel A Changed Agent was a 2017 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award finalist. She sold her first book on 9/9/99! Her books have been translated into several languages and are available in print, digital and audio formats. A true upstate New Yorker, Tracey believes you should write what you know. Her historical romances are all set in the New York State area. Tracey considers herself a small town gal who writes small town romances. You can learn more about Tracey and her books by visiting her website at

Tracey's Latest Book Release: The Heart of An Agent  
Former Pinkerton spy Lily Handland has always dreamed of a quiet, safe life, free from chasing criminals and putting herself at risk. So when the opportunity to invest in a failing Great Camp in the Adirondacks comes to her attention, she quickly jumps at the chance.

Filled with grief, widower Owen Murphy wants to run away from it all. Though he’s worked hard to forge a future for himself, his guilt has kept him mired in the past. But all that changes when a headstrong, mysterious woman shows up at Owen’s door. Together, as Lily and Owen restore the beauty of the Great Camp, he begins to finally see a future. But will learning about Lily’s past destroy it all? Buy the book HERE.

Tracey's Pumpkin-Spice Angel Food Cake

1 package boxed Angel food cake mix (I use a 1-step brand)
1 ¼ cup water
½ cup canned pumpkin
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using an electric mixer, beat cake mix, water, pumpkin and spices. Pour batter into a tube pan/angel food cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool cake completely before removing it from the pan. Serve with orange sherbet.

Creamy Vegetable Soup

Here's a recipe I like to make when I serve Christmas Chicken Pie. Enjoy! 

1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
2 cups half and half cream
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
5 cups chopped cooked mixed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower)

In small saucepan, melt butter and saute onion until tender. Add flour, then cook and stir till bubbly. Gradually add broth to this mixture. Cook and stir until thickened, about five minutes. Stir in the milk, cream and seasonings. Add vegetables. Cook gently until heated through. Makes 8-10 servings.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Carrot Cake

Here's another delicious recipe from my childhood that reminds me of autumn.

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
1 cup chopped nuts

Cream Cheese Frostin
8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9 inch cake pans with waxed paper and spray with grease. In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time along with vanilla extract. In small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to butter mixture, mixing well. Fold in carrots, pineapple, and nuts. Pour batter into pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes until edges have pulled away from sides and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on cake rack.

In small bowl, mix cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. May add more powdered sugar to desired consistency. Frost layers. Sprinkle top with chopped nuts. Serves 12-16.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Pumpkin Recipes

It's November and time to get out your pumpkin recipes.
Here are a few of our favorites to make for your family!

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters

Here's a delightful recipe, and so easy to make. Enjoy at any time of the year! 

11.5 oz. Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate
6 oz. roasted Macadamia nuts, chopped

Line mini muffin pan with mini baking cup liners. In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in microwave in 2 minute increments until silky smooth. Stir in chopped nuts until combined. Spoon into baking liners and allow to dry until chocolate has set. Makes 24 cups.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

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 cranberries
1 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.

Slow-Cooked Recipes

Here are a few recipes to make in your slow cooker.

Cabbage Roll Casserole

Here's a great recipe to take to your next potluck dinner.

2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/2 cup brown rice
2-14.5 oz diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Cajun Spice
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef, onion, and green pepper 5-7 minutes. Add cabbage, rice, tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, and water and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun spice, celery seed, salt and pepper. Pour over meat mixture and stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer until rice and cabbage is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Line a serving dish with cabbage leaves and place rice mixture inside. Serves 8-10.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Molasses Rye Bread

Here's a hearty bread to serve with steaks, salads, or soups. Sweet, dark, and rich. Yum.

2 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups rye flour
2 1/2-3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/3 cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup melted butter

In large bowl, mix together yeast, cocoa, brown sugar, salt, and rye flour. In glass measuring cup, combine warm water, molasses, and oil. Mix into flour ingredients. Add
enough all-purpose flour to make a smooth dough that is no longer sticky. Knead dough for 4-5 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl and cover. Allow to rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour. Punch down dough and divide in half. Roll each into torpedo-shaped loaf. Place loaves a few inches apart on a cookie sheet that has been greased and dusted with wheat germ. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon wheat germ on top of each loaf. Let rise in warm place until double, about 30 minutes. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until crust makes a hollow sound when tapped. Brush hot loaves with melted butter. Makes 2 loaves.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ Come and Get It

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It
by Ree Drummond

For home cooks, nothing beats preparing a long, leisurely dinner for your family, stirring slowly, seasoning gradually, and savoring every flavorful step.
Screeeeeech! Reality check! Okay, let's face it: With school, sports, work, obligations, and activities pulling us in a million directions, not many of us can spend that amount of time in the kitchen anymore! What we really need are simple, scrumptious, doable recipes that solve the challenge of serving up hearty,satisfying food (that tastes amazing!) day after day, week after week without falling into a rut and relying on the same old rotation of meals. Cooking should be fun, rewarding, and it definitely should feed your soul (and feed the people in your household in the process)!
Here are some of my favorite make-it-happen dishes, pulled from my nonstop life as a busy wife, mother of four, and lifelong lover of food! The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! includes more than 120 of my best solutions for tasty, wholesome meals (with minimal fuss!) for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. (And let's not forget the glue that holds it all together: desserts! There are some dandies in here, friends.)

With a mix of categories and flavors that will please everyone, this book has everything you need to whip up delicious, down home recipes that you can get on the table without a lot of stress. Now that's something to get excited about! Buy the book HERE.

Ree Drummond is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier,  and The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays. Ree’s beloved website, The Pioneer Woman, was founded in 2006 and showcases her cooking, photography, and anecdotes about country life. Her cooking show, The Pioneer Woman, premiered on Food Network in 2011. Ree loves Ethel Merman songs, Lucille Ball, and The Godfather. She lives on a working cattle ranch in Oklahoma with her husband and four children.

Apricot Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Here's a delicious cake recipe to make for your family this weekend. I found this recipe at Kraft Recipes.

2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3.4 oz. instant vanilla pudding
1/4 cup water
4 eggs
3/4 cup apricot preserves
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add dry pudding mix and water. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended. 

Pour 2/3 of the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Using a wooden spoon, make a "trench" in the center of the batter; spoon preserves into trench and cover with remaining batter. Gently spread batter over top, being careful not to touch sides of pan. Bake for 60-90 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake for 12 minutes. Loosen cake from sides of pan with knife and carefully invert onto a wire rack. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serves 16-20.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

This is one of the first meals my daughters made when learning to cook. A very kid-friendly recipe. Goes especially well with Quick and Easy Breadsticks.

1 pound ground sausage
1/2 cup saltine crackers, crushed
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Favorite Spaghetti Sauce
10 oz. spaghetti

In large bowl, combine ground sausage, crackers, Italian seasoning, minced onion, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Form into "golf ball-sized" meatballs. Spray a large skillet with cooking oil and heat. Add meatballs and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally until browned all the way through. Add your favorite spaghetti sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large cooking pot, boil 4 quarts water with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook spaghetti as directed for 10-11 minutes. Drain. To serve, pour meatball sauce over spaghetti. Serves 4-6. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Featured Author Carmela Martino's Bread Machine Panettone

Carmela Martino ( is an author, speaker, and writing teacher. She wrote the middle-grade novel, Rosa, Sola (Candlewick Press), while working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. The novel was a Booklist "Top Ten First Novel for Youth" and received a Catholic Press Association Book Award in the "Children's Books" category. Her second novel, the young-adult historical romance Playing by Heart (Vinspire Publishing), took first place in the Young Adult category of the 2013 Windy City RWA Four Seasons Romance Writing Contest. Carmela's credits for teens and tweens also include short stories and poems in magazines and anthologies. Her articles for adults have appeared in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Catholic Parent, and multiple editions of the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market. Carmela has taught writing workshops for children and adults since 1998, and she blogs about teaching and writing at  

Carmela's Latest Book Release: Playing by Heart

Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the “second sister” means she'll likely be sent to a convent instead. Emilia's only hope is to prove her musical talents crucial to her father's quest for nobility. First, though, she must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. Too late, Emilia realizes that her success could threaten not only her dreams for her future but her sister's very life.

The novel was inspired by two amazing sisters who were far ahead of their time, one a mathematician and the other a composer. At its core, Playing by Heart is the story of two teens struggling to follow their true calling, even when it conflicts with their father's goals. It's a clean historical romance appropriate for ages 12 and up. See the publisher’s website for the book’s buy links:

Carmela's Bread Machine Panettone
Panettone is an Italian fruit bread said to have originated in Milan, where my novel Playing by Heart is set. The bread is briefly mentioned in the novel when Mamma offers it to her two eldest daughters. Panettone is traditionally served only at Christmastime. The original recipe I had called for candied fruit in addition to the raisins, but since no one in our house likes candied fruit, we eliminated that. Panettone is also known for being a tall, often mushroomed-shaped loaf. When I was a girl, my mother baked it in a 3-pound coffee can she’d washed and saved just for this purpose. I adapted her recipe as follows for use in a bread machine. Note: this recipe makes a large loaf and requires a machine with a 2-pound loaf capacity.
1 cup milk, lukewarm
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon lemon extract
1 whole large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoon butter
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups bread flour
2 teaspoon yeast
½ cup raisins
¼ cup golden raisins

Place all ingredients except the raisins in the bread machine in the order specified for your machine. Combine raisins and coat with 1 tablespoon flour, then shake off excess. Use the machine’s raisin bread cycle, adding the raisins according to manufacturer instructions. If your machine has a crust setting, use the “light crust” option.

Hamburger Cabbage Soup

Here's an easy recipe to make for your family when you need something quick and filling.

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 cup diced onion
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
5 cups beef stock
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large red potatoes, cubed
3 button mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup frozen peas

In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the ground chuck. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook until tender. Add tomatoes, beef stock, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are slightly tender. Add shredded cabbage and peas and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Serve with crusty bread. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Apple Delight Cheesecake

Here's a delicious recipe I enjoy making in the fall when I want something a little extra special to serve my family or friends.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

3 packages (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


2 cups chopped peeled apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
Whipped cream

Combine the first five ingredients; press onto the bottom of a lightly greased springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes; cool. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour over crust. Toss apples with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon; spoon over filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons caramel topping. Cool for 1 hour. Chill overnight. Remove sides of pan. Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 12 servings. Delicious!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Octoberfest Recipes

Being Lutheran, our family always enjoys Octoberfest and German food. Here are a few of our favorite recipes to try this month.

Apple Fritters

See more German recipe ideas HERE.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Here's a delicious recipe to make for breakfast this weekend! 

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add buttermilk, milk, eggs, and butter. Gently stir together until just combined. (Do not over mix.) 

Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. (Flick a bit of water across the surface and if it sizzles, it's ready.) Pour a spoonful of batter onto hot griddle for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot with hot maple syrup. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

German Spaetzle

Here's a recipe my mother-in-law shared with me. Goes great with Corned Beef, Bierocks, or German Style Meatballs. Enjoy!

3 cups flour
3 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium head cabbage, shredded
2 cups whipping cream
salt and pepper to season

In small bowl, mix together flour, salt, and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk eggs until foamy. Add milk. Add to flour a little at a time and mix well. Dough will be stiff.

Fill basket on spaetzle maker. Place over pot of salted boiling water. Slide basket back and forth. Tiny dumplings will fall into water and float to the top when they are done (after about 30 seconds). Dip them out and place in large bowl. Keep warm.

In large skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Add onion and cabbage, mixing well. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender. Stir in whipping cream and dumplings. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8-10.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Time for Soup

October is the month I get out my soup pot to start making delicious soups for our family.
There are so many soup recipes to choose from, but here are our Top Twelve Favorites. Enjoy!