Homemade Playdough

My grandma always made playdough when I visited her house. Here is a recipe I enjoyed making for my daughters--and now my grandchildren!

3 cups water
6 tablespoons oil
5 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons alum
1-2 drops peppermint flavoring (for a delightful scent)
food coloring of your choice

In large saucepan, boil water and add oil. May also add food coloring at this time if you only desire one color. Remove from heat and add flour, salt, and alum. Mix well. When cool enough to work with hands, may divide dough for more colors. Work color in by kneading dough. Keeps fresh in refrigerator for several months. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Alexis Goring's Cherry Pecan Bread

 Alexis A. Goring is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing. Learn more about Alexis on her Website HERE. 

Alexis' newest book release: Hope in My Heart
In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love. Purchase the book HERE. 

Alexis' recipe for Cherry-Pecan Bread
(Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-by-Step Cookbook (c)1978 by Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa)

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
One 10-ounce jar of maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (1 cup)

Lightly grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, soda and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl cream together sugar, butter or margarine, eggs, and vanilla till light and fluffy. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to creamed mixture. Beat just till blended after each addition. Fold in nuts and cherries. Turn batter into prepared pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from pan and cool. If desired, glaze with Confectioner’s icing.

Southwest Fiesta Chicken and Rice Skillet

Here's a delicious recipe to try when you want an easy dish to serve your family.

6-8 chicken tenders, 1" chunks
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
4 oz. green chiles, chopped
1 cup canned corn, drained
1 cup salsa
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 cups chicken broth
15.5 oz black beans, drained
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated

In large skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Cook chicken until golden brown. Add rice, garlic, onion, green chiles, salsa, and spices. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in black beans and sprinkle with cheese.

Cook an additional 5-10 minutes until heated through and cheese has melted. Serve with warm Skillet Cornbread. Serves 6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Peanut Butter Kisses

Here's another version of Joan's Peanut Butter Cookies. We love to make these during the Christmas holidays--or anytime really!

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter, chunky
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 package Hershey's Chocolate Kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and then peanut butter; mix well. In small bowl, mix together flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix well.

Roll into walnut sized balls and dip in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press one Hershey's Kiss in the center of each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden around edges. Makes 4 dozen.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2015

Now you can enjoy hundreds of mouthwatering, tried & proven recipes from the past 2014 of Taste of Home-plus bonus recipes-all together in one, gorgeously photographed, hardbound cookbook. More than a variety of 500+ Family Favorites in All! There are appetizers, main dishes, sides, soups, salads, desserts and more. There is also special chapters for quick fixes, mom's best meals, weeknight solutions, holiday celebrations, cooking lighter, potluck pleasers and more!

Every recipe is a proven dish from a real home-cook person. Plus they're all made with easy, everyday ingredients and with simple, step-by-step instructions...including prep and cook times. Inside 2015 Taste of Home Annual Recipes you'll find: * 500+ family-favorite recipes from Taste of Home magazine, * Huge variety: Main dishes, side dishes, appetizers, desserts & more! * 350+ gorgeous color photos, * Prep & cook times for every recipe. Buy the book HERE.

Cheesy Ham and Rice Casserole

Here's a good recipe when you need to use up your ham leftovers.

2 cups water
1 cup rice
8 oz. cheese spread (like Velveeta), divided
2 cups shredded ham
1-16 oz. package frozen Broccoli Normandy, thawed in microwave

In large saucepan bring water to boil. Add rice and follow rice cooking instructions. When rice is tender, add 4 oz. cheese spread and cover with lid. Allow to melt. Add shredded ham and Broccoli Normandy. Mix together with wooden spoon. Transfer ingredients to microwave safe dish. Top with remaining cheese spread. Heat in microwave for 3-5 minutes until ham is warm and cheese has melted. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Michelle Griep's Espresso-Cocoa Almonds


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager.

She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones. Follow her adventures at her blog WRITER OFF THE LEASH or visit michellegriep.com

Michelle's latest book - BRENTWOOD’S WARD

Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge. Available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine booksellers.

Michelle's recipe for Espresso-Cocoa Almonds

2 1/2 cups raw almonds 
1 ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoon pure maple syrup 
1 packet Starbucks Via Ready Brew Coffee
3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Pike Place Roast)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350. Toss the ingredients together in a large bowl until the almonds are evenly coated. Spread onto the baking sheet and put in oven for 8 minutes. Remove and stir almonds around, then bake for 8 more minutes. Cool and eat. No, really. Cool it first or you will burn your tongue. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Venison Jerky

This is a recipe I found that easily compares to what you buy at specialty shops. Very good and not hard to make.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon hickory smoke
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 Tablespoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
7 pounds venison, cut thin across the grain (store in gallon ice cream pail)

Combine first ten ingredients and mix together. Pour over sliced meat and marinate for 24 hours. When ready to cook, place slices in dehydrator and cook for 8-10 hours at 145 degrees. Turn meat occasionally. May store in ziplock bags up to three months in cool place.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ The Soup Club Cookbook

Food-sharing is the hot new thing in the "getting dinner on the table" conversation, and in The Soup Club Cookbook, four busy moms share not only their formula for starting a soup club--which gives you at least three meals every month when you don't have to worry about dinner--but also 150 fantastic recipes for soups and sides and storing tips for stretching those meals across the week.

The Soup Club began when four friends (who, between them, have four husbands and ten hungry kids and several jobs) realized that they didn’t actually have to cook at home every night to take pleasure in a home-cooked meal. They simply had to join forces and share meals, even if they weren’t actually eating them together. Caroline, Courtney, Julie, and Tina happen to be neighbors, but a soup club is for anyone: colleagues, a group of workout buddies, a book club. All you need are a few people who simply want to have more home-cooked food in their lives.

In a soup club each person takes a turn making soup—and sometimes other dishes for sides or for when everyone needs a break from soup, so if a club has four people, in a month each person will have dinner delivered three times—a dish that can start as a full meal and stretch into more dinners or lunches or even morph into a sauce. Soup is forgiving, versatile, and perfect for sharing; it can be spiced to taste, topped elaborately or not at all, and dressed up or down. It travels well and reheats beautifully. The Soup Club Cookbook also has dozens of tips for cooking in quantity and for tailoring soup to individual tastes and needs. Here, too, are simple guidelines for starting your own soup club, anecdotes, and a few cautionary tales that will inspire anyone to share food and eat well.

Recipes include quick and easies, classics, twist on favorites, and dozens of flavor-rich new crowd pleasers:

• Carrot Coconut and Chicken Chili,
• Senegalese Peanut Soup
• Faux Ramen
• Red Lentil Curry Soup
• Potato Cheddar Soup
• Sun Dried Tomato Soup
• Jeweled Rice Salad
• Cheddar Cornbread
• Summer Corn Hash
• Soy Simmered Chicken Wings

Buy the cookbook HERE.

Honey Bun Cake

Here's a recipe reminiscent of my childhood days eating Honey Buns with my dad at the county fair. Enjoy!

1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon powdered French Vanilla Creamer
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously spray 10 inch Bundt cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine cake mix, oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix well. In small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Pour half of cake batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle sugar mixture over batter then pour remaining batter over sugar mixture. Swirl batter with a knife, being careful not to touch edges or bottom of pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool on wire rack.

When cake is cool, prepare icing: In small bowl, combine powdered sugar, French Vanilla creamer, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk together well. Drizzle over cake. Serves 10-12.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Spinach Dip

This is a yummy recipe for holiday get-togethers.

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1 envelope vegetable soup mix
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
Assorted raw vegetables

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream and soup mix. Stir in spinach and water chestnuts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with fresh vegetables. Makes 3 cups.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.