White Chocolate Popcorn Mix

Feel free to substitute other ingredients to suit your taste or use what's in your pantry. Other ideas are M&M's, raisins, peanuts, peanut butter chips, etc.

3 bags microwave butter popcorn, popped
2 cups pretzels
2 cups toasted almonds
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup toffee bits
20 oz. almond bark

In 2 large bowls, divide popcorn, pretzels, almonds, marshmallows, cranberries, chocolate chips, and toffee. In microwave-safe bowl, heat almond bark for 90 seconds at a time until melted. Pour over mixture in equal parts. Stir together with wooden spoon until ingredients are covered with almond bark. Spread onto two cookie sheets to cool. When cool, place in containers or plastic sacks. Makes great gifts.
Click here to view a printable version of this recipe.

Laura Hilton's Soft Caramel Candies


Laura Hilton ian award winning author, a pastor's wife, married over twenty-five years and has five children. She homeschools, writes book reviews and books. Her books include Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, Promised to Another, Healing Love, Surrendered Love and Awakened Love. The Snow Globe released in September and Swept Away will release this November. Learn more about Laura and her writing HERE. 

Laura's Latest Book Release: The Snow Globe 

Victor Petersheim has left the Amish and works on a river boat on the Mississippi River, spending three months on the river then having three months off. During his off-work months he returns home to his Amish community and helps out on his grandparents’ farm. When he returns home after his most recent absence, he discovers his grossmammi has developed health problems and they’ve hired Esther Beachy to be a “mother’s helper.” 

Victor is unsettled by this woman living in their home, but has to accept it. Esther loves listening to Victor’s grandmother’s stories and while puttering around in a store while the grossmammi’s in the hospital, she discovers a snow globe that depicts an area where the Petersheims used to live. She buys it as a gift for the grossmammi to cheer her up during her hospitalization. Victor is touched by Esther’s gift and her care for his grossmammi, and strives to be friendlier. Will Esther’s gentle heart draw him back to the community? Or will he return to the river once again? Buy the book HERE.

Laura's Recipe for Soft Caramel Candies

1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Prepare the caramel mold. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment so that excess paper hangs over the edges. Spray the parchment and the sides of the pan with nonstick spray.

2. Melt the butter in the cream. Over medium heat, warm the cream, butter, and salt in the 2-quart saucepan until the butter melts. Remove from heat, but keep the pan close by.

3. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. In the larger 4-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until the sugar is evenly moistened and you form a thick grainy paste. Wipe down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush so there are no sugar crystals above the surface of the sugar mixture. Clip the instant-read thermometer to the side of the pan so that the heat sensor is immersed in the sugar. Do not stir the sugar after this point.

Note: The large saucepan is necessary because the sugar will bubble up and triple in size when you add the cream. Do not substitute a smaller pan.

4. Cook the sugar syrup. Place the pot with the sugar mixture over medium to medium-high heat. Let the sugar syrup come to a boil without stirring. At first, you will see small bubbles around the edge of the pan, which will eventually move inward. Around 250°F, the sugar syrup will turn transparent and boil rapidly. Around 320°F, the syrup will darken slightly and smell caramel-like. You can proceed to the next step any time after the syrup reaches 250°F and before it reaches 325°F.

Note: If your instant-read thermometer isn't quite submerged into the sugar, you may need to tilt the pan to get an accurate reading. Simply tilt the pan by the handle until the thermometer is submerged a few inches in the sugar syrup. If the syrup hasn't reached 250°, wipe down the sides with a pastry brush again. If it has, there's no need.

5. Whisk in the cream and butter. Turn off the heat under the sugar syrup. Slowly pour the warm cream and butter mixture into the sugar syrup while whisking the sugar syrup gently. The sugar syrup will bubble up and triple in size. Stop whisking once all the milk and butter mixture has been added.

6. Heat the caramel to 245°F - 250°F. Return the pan to medium to medium-high heat. Let the caramel come to a boil without stirring. It will start off as a soft buttery yellow and eventually darken to reddish-brown caramel. Remove from heat when the caramel reaches 245°F to 250°F.

7. Whisk in the vanilla. Quickly whisk the vanilla into the caramel.

8. Pour the caramels into the mold. Immediately pour the caramels into the mold. Do not scrape the pan (there are sometimes hard burnt bits on the bottom). Knock the pan agains the counter a few times to help air bubbles work their way out.

9. Let the caramels set. Set the caramels somewhere out of the way to set, for at least two hours or (ideally) overnight. Once the caramels have cooled to room temperature, you can cover the pan.

10. Cut the caramels. When the caramels have set, lift them out of the pan by the parchment paper flaps and onto a cutting board. Cut the caramels into candies with a very sharp knife. If the caramels stick to your knife, spray your knife with nonstick cooking spray.

11. Wrap the caramels in wax paper. Cut squares of wax paper a little longer than your caramels. Wrap each caramel in wax paper and twist the ends closed. Caramels will keep at room temperature for about two weeks. Makes about 55 candies.

Additional Notes:

• Softer Caramels: The softness of the caramels is mainly a result of the cream. This recipe makes fairly firm, chewy caramels. For softer, taffy-like caramels, experiment with adding an extra 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of cream to this recipe.

Caramel Variations:

• Salted Caramels - Add two teaspoons of salt to the cream mixture at the beginning of the recipe and sprinkle the finished caramels with coarse sea salt.

• Gingerbread Caramels - Add 2 tablespoons of molasses to the sugar mixture. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves along with the vanilla at the very end of cooking.

• Chocolate Caramels - Increase the amount of cream to 1 1/2 cups. Melt 10 ounces of good chocolate into the cream mixture along with the butter.

Pan Fried Wild Turkey Cutlets

This past year, hubby brought home some wild turkey for me to cook. Here's one of the recipes I tried that turned out rather tasty. Enjoy!

1-2 pounds turkey cutlets, tenderized
2 cups flour
1-2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon black ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

On a large plate, mix together flour, seasoned salt, and pepper. Dredge both sides of cutlets In flour mixture. In large skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Add cutlets to oil and allow to cook until dark golden brown, approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with mashed potatoes. Serves 4.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Sarah Sundin's Candy-Cane Cookies

Sarah Sundin is the author of six historical novels, including In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014), plus a novella in Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook, September 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and choir, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. You can find her at http://www.sarahsundin.com

Sarah's Latest Book Release: Where Treetops Glisten 

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime. Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas.

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In Sarah Sundin’s novella I’ll Be Home for Christmas, World War II fighter pilot Lt. Pete Turner is running on empty, but coming home for Christmas doesn’t help him fill his tank. When he encounters a precocious little girl in need of his friendship, can he convince her widowed mother, Grace Kessler, that he’s no longer the bully she once knew? And will Pete’s Christmas gift fill the empty places in their hearts?

The stories in Where Treetops Glisten are bound together by the Turner siblings’ Grandma Louise, who loves to bake. Despite wartime shortages and rationing, she makes Christmas cookies a priority! Linnie Kessler, the six-year-old daughter of my heroine, is very fond of the famous candy canes from Glatz Candies in Lafayette, Indiana (now called McCord’s), so she’d adore these candy-cane cookies. My family certainly does! This is always a fun recipe to make with kids—they love rolling out the ropes. Purchase the book HERE. 

Sarah's Candy-Cane Cookies

1 egg
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon red food coloring
Red sugar sprinkles
Egg white

Beat together first five ingredients until fluffy. Add flour and baking powder, and beat well. Divide dough in two equal portions. Mix food coloring into one portion. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven 375˚. For each cookie, roll 1 teaspoon of each color dough into 4-inch ropes. Twist one red and one white rope together, bend into candy cane shape, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with red sugar sprinkles. Bake at 375˚ for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 36 cookies.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Here's a simple recipe to make for your family when you're craving some comfort food.

6-8 chicken breasts, boneless skinless
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup water
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 1/2 cups rice

In large bowl, mix together butter, water, creamed soups, vegetables, and rice. Pour half into a greased oblong baking dish. Place chicken on top of rice. Cover with remaining rice mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 3 hours at 275 degrees. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Jodie Bailey's Russian Tea

Jodie Bailey writes novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it. Her novels include Freefall and Crossfire, from Love Inspired Suspense, as well as Quilted by Christmas, from Abingdon Press. Her devotions have appeared in Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. She is convinced a camping trip to the beach with her family, a good cup of coffee, and a great book can cure all ills. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband, her daughter, and two dogs. Learn more about Jodie and her writing HERE. 

Jodie's Latest Book Release - Quilted by Christmas 

Taryn is keeping a secret she never should have kept.

You’re needy. Manipulative. You used me. In Taryn McKenna’s last conversation with high school sweetheart Justin Callahan, his angry words rooted themselves deeply into her heart. After Justin abandons her to join the army, Taryn vows to never love again. And she decides to keep a closely guarded secret from him—forever.

Focused on being completely independent, Taryn pours herself into teaching high school in Hollings, North Carolina and helping her spunky Grandma Jemma. But when Jemma’s health takes a turn for the worse, and Justin reappears, Taryn’s emotions get more tangled than a knotted piece of thread. A hand-stitched Irish chain quilt holds the message of healing Taryn needs. But will she realize the depth of God’s unconditional love for her? Purchase the book HERE. 

Jodie's Recipe for Russian Tea

When I was growing up, my Aunt Shirley and my grandmothers mothered me. One of the things I remember is Aunt Shirley teaching me how to make Russian Tea. It’s a super simple recipe, but I make it nearly every year. It’s the perfect blend of spice and warmth and just something that tastes like home. When I was writing Quilted by Christmas, I wanted Taryn to have a simple memory of her mother, much like I have of my Aunt Shirley, who died so young at 43. In one of the early scenes in the novel, Taryn is talking to her grandmother and searching for comfort. She reaches for the Russian Tea her mother taught her to make.

1 cup instant tea powdered mix (WITHOUT lemon or sweetener)
2 cups of Tang or another orange flavored drink mix
1 packet of unsweetened lemonade mix
2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of cloves

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. To serve, mix 3 tablespoons (or more to taste) in a mug of hot water. I always add more, because I like mine strong.

Cranberry Muffins

Here's a recipe I like to make during the holidays. They make great gifts for your loved ones.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup orange juice
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, salt, and orange peel. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Stir in orange juice, eggs and vanilla until moistened. Fold in cranberries and nuts. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden. Makes 18 muffins.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Pork Lo Mein


Here's a delicious Asian recipe to try for your family. Enjoy!

12 oz package uncooked linguine
2 tablespoons canola oil
12 oz pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cups cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
5 white mushrooms, sliced
2 small carrots, peeled and julienned
2 garlic cloves, minced

Cook linguine according to package directions, 8-9 minutes. Drain.

In large skillet, heat oil and cook pork until no longer pink, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together, broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, oil, pepper, ginger, and cornstarch. Set aside.

In medium hot skillet, cook onion, cabbage, green pepper, mushrooms, carrots and garlic until tender, about 2-3 minutes, adding more oil if necessary. Add soy sauce and cook, stirring until sauce thickens. Add cooked pork and linguine, tossing to coat. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Pecan Tarts

This is a recipe my mom makes every Christmas. They are so yummy, they practically melt in your mouth! Perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup flour

1 egg
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, cream softened butter and cream cheese. Add flour. Mix well. Chill dough for 20-30 minutes. Divide dough into fourths and then roll each into six balls. Place one ball in each cup of a mini tart pan. Use your fingers or a tart tamper to press out into a tart shell.

In medium bowl, combine egg, sugar, melted butter, salt, vanilla, and pecans. Mix well. Fill tart shells 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes until delicately browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Makes 24 tarts.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ My Paris Kitchen

A collection of stories and 100 sweet and savory French-inspired recipes from popular food blogger David Lebovitz, reflecting the way Parisians eat today and featuring lush photography taken around Paris and in David's Parisian kitchen.

It’s been ten years since David Lebovitz packed up his most treasured cookbooks, a well-worn cast-iron skillet, and his laptop and moved to Paris. In that time, the culinary culture of France has shifted as a new generation of chefs and home cooks—most notably in Paris—incorporates ingredients and techniques from around the world into traditional French dishes. 

In My Paris Kitchen, David remasters the classics, introduces lesser-known fare, and presents 100 sweet and savory recipes that reflect the way modern Parisians eat today. You’ll find Soupe à l’oignon, Cassoulet, Coq au vin, and Croque-monsieur, as well as Smoky barbecue-style pork, Lamb shank tagine, Dukkah-roasted cauliflower, Salt cod fritters with tartar sauce, and Wheat berry salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate. And of course, there’s dessert: Warm chocolate cake with salted butter caramel sauce, Duck fat cookies, Bay leaf poundcake with orange glaze, French cheesecake...and the list goes on. 
David also shares stories told with his trademark wit and humor, and lush photography taken on location around Paris and in David’s kitchen reveals the quirks, trials, beauty, and joys of life in the culinary capital of the world. Buy the cookbook HERE.

Pumpkin Bars with Chocolate Chips

Here's a yummy dessert to make for the holidays.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 cups coarsely chopped Hershey bar
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add pumpkin. Mix in dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in chocolate chunks and pecans. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares. Makes 20.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.