Karen Witemeyer's Persimmon Cookies


Christy Award finalist and winner the ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, and Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes Christian historical romance for Bethany House, believing the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Karen's Latest Book Release: No Other Will Do

Men are optional. That was the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts taught her and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive the women out, Emma is forced to admit they might need a man after all. One who can fight. And there is only one she trusts enough to ask.

Malachi Shaw has finally earned the respect he's always craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s telegram arrives, he leaves his job behind and rushes to Harper's Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.

As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive. Purchase Karen's book HERE. 

Karen's Recipe for Persimmon Cookies

A Note from Karen - No Other Will Do is dedicated to my grandma who is turning 100 years old this year. Her persimmon cookies hold a place of honor in my childhood memories. She knew I loved them and always had some on hand whenever we came to visit. This isn't her exact recipe, we weren't able to find that, but it is a recipe I've made that comes very close to what I recall.

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup persimmon pulp*
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt and spices; set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the shortening with the sugar using a hand mixer. Beat in egg then beat in persimmon pulp.  Slowly beat in the flour mixture until everything is combined.  By hand, stir in the nuts and raisins. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. They can be placed close together because these cookies don’t spread much. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 24-36 small cookies

*Note – Use hachiya persimmons for baking. Let them get overripe (you'll need about 3) and squeeze the pulp right out of the skin and puree with a blender or food processor.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp


Try this easy recipe when you're craving shrimp--which I do often! This is wonderful served with Sourdough Baguettes to soak up the delicious garlic butter. Enjoy!

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
16 oz large shrimp
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon dried parsley
sea salt and coarsely ground peppercorn melange

Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring until garlic is golden brown about 20-30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook 1-2 minutes until meat is opaque. Sprinkle with the juice of half a lemon. Season with parsley, salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Wine Suggestion: Sterling Sauvignon Blanc
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Sweet Cucumbers and Onions

Here is a recipe to use up all those cucumbers in your garden. I ate these at nearly every meal when I was pregnant with my youngest. It's a wonder she didn't turn into a pickle!

1 cup vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 sliced onion
1 chopped green pepper

Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt and mix until dissolved. Place vegetables in a large pickle jar and pour vinegar mixture over it. Refrigerate overnight. Can store in refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
Click here for a printable view of this recipe.

Zucchini Casserole

Wondering what to do with your excess garden zucchini? Here is a great recipe I like so well I sometimes eat it as a meal in itself. I hope you'll enjoy it, too!

2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup green pepper, chopped
12 tablespoons butter (divided)
2 1/4 cups stuffing mix (divided)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

In small saucepan, cook zucchini in saltwater till tender. In medium saucepan saute carrots, onion, and peppers in 6 tablespoons melted butter till tender. Stir in 1 1/4 cup stuffing mix, soup, and sour cream. Gently stir in zucchini. Pour into greased square baking dish. Melt remaining butter and add remaining stuffing mix. Stir together. Sprinkle over top of casserole and top with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Elizabeth Goddard's Easy Slow-Cooker Lasagna

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty-five romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES--a 2011 Carol Award winner. She is a double finalist in the 2016 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for her novels BURIED and BACKFIRE in the Mountain Cove series. 

A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time. She currently makes her home in Minnesota with her husband and children.To get book news sign up for her newsletter at her website: http://elizabethgoddard.com

Elizabeth's Latest Book Release: DECEPTION

Mountain Cove Series: In the Alaskan wilderness, love and danger collide

Jewel Caraway thought she'd left her mistakes in the past—but then her past arrives at her door. Though she's thrilled to reunite with her estranged sister, something about her sister's new husband makes Jewel uneasy. Does he know her secret? Is he the one behind the growing list of attacks against her? And if he is involved…does that mean her sister is, too? With nowhere else to turn, Jewel must rely on police chief Colin Winters—the first man to make the widow question her resolve to never love again. But will he stay by her side when her guarded secrets are revealed? Purchase Beth's book HERE. 

Beth’s Easy Slow-cooker Lasagna

A Note from Beth: I especially love this recipe because the lasagna is moist and doesn’t dry out with baking. I used to be terrified of lasagna—it seemed so complicated. But I started making it and discovered it’s as easy as making spaghetti with sauce. Plus, variety is the spice of life. Once you learn what lasagna’s all about, you can experiment and/or use what you have in your pantry, mostly.

6 whole wheat lasagna noodles (you don’t have to cook them ahead of time and you don’t have to buy no bake. Also, if you prefer regular noodles instead of whole wheat, go for it.)
1 pint of ricotta cheese (more or less, to taste, or use cottage cheese)
2 cups of mozzarella cheese (more or less, to taste)
1 cup of Parmesan cheese (again, to taste)
Spaghetti sauce of preference. (Sometimes this is two cans of crushed tomatoes seasoned with basil. Other times I brown beef and/or sausage and make marinara sauce. Just make a big sauce pan full so there’s plenty)
Chopped kale (optional). This is kind of a fun addition and makes me think I’m trying to be healthy by getting a super food into the lasagna. The kids thinks it’s parsley or the green flecks you sometimes see in pasta. You can’t taste it. 

Now, you’re ready to go. In a medium size bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese) with one cup of the mozzarella and half the Parmesan cheese.  Set aside. Pour enough sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker to cover it. Layer noodles. (I put two down in the center and then break another up to fill in the spaces since noodles don’t exactly come shaped for slow-cookers) Then drop a few dollops of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles and press down to cover them completely if possible, the best you can. The cheese will melt and spread out even more with the cooking. Pour half the sauce on. Layer noodles over the sauce and then last of the ricotta. Your last layer should be sauce.

Set your crockpot on high for four hours or so. You might have to play around with it—slow cookers vary, but I find about four hours on high does the trick. Check it at 3 hours or 3 and a half to be sure. The last step is to spread the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top and let the hot lasagna melt the cheese. Then let it sit for at least 20 minutes or until slightly cooled so that when you cut it, the layers stay in place. 

Fried Okra with Ranch Dip


The first time I tried fried okra was at Lambert's Cafe in Ozark, Missouri. Here's a delicious homemade recipe using whole fresh okra and served with a yummy ranch dip. Make some for your family today!

12 oz. fresh okra
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Canola Oil
Cajon Spice - Recipe Here

Ranch Dip
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Ranch Seasoning - Recipe Here
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons hot sauce

To make the Ranch Dip, in small bowl mix together sour cream, mayonnaise, ranch seasoning, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Set aside until ready to use.

In a large bowl, soak fresh okra in buttermilk, enough to cover. Allow to soak for 10-15 minutes. On a large plate, stir together flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Dredge wet okra in the flour mixture until well-coated. I pressed and rolled the mixture around the okra and it seemed to hold together very well. Prepare 7-10 at a time to boil.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven to 350 degrees, using a fry/candy thermometer to ensure that the temperature stays consistent. Cool okra in the hot oil until crispy and light golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, gently turning after 2 minutes or so. Remove fried okra with a slotted spoon and drain on baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season with Cajon Spice and keep warm in a 200 degree preheated oven until all are done. Repeat as needed. Serve with Ranch Dip. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Kenny's Cowboy Beans


My brothers are both good cooks. Here is a recipe my oldest brother concocted, which turned out fabulous. My favorite go-to recipe when I want a pot of cowboy beans. Enjoy!

2 cans red beans (drained)
2 cans pinto beans (drained)
1 1/2 cups diced ham
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 can chopped chilies, or 2-3 diced jalapenos (depending on your taste for hot and spicy)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup beef broth
1/8 cup mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In large baking dish combine all ingredients and mix well. Bake uncovered for 2-3 hours at 225 degrees, adding more broth if needed. Serves 12-15. Delicious! 
*Add 10 oz. sliced Kielbasa to this dish for a great one-pot meal.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ It's All Easy

It's all Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook, by Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow is back to share more than 125 of her favorite recipes that can be made in the time it would take to order takeout (which often contains high quantities of fat, sugar, and processed ingredients). All the dishes are surprisingly tasty, with little or no sugar, fat, or gluten. From easy breakfasts to lazy suppers, this book has something for everybody. Yummy recipes include Chocolate Cinnamon Overnight Oats, Soft Polenta with Cherry Tomatoes, Chicken Enchiladas, Pita Bread Pizzas, Quick Sesame Noodles, and more! Plus, an innovative chapter for "on-the-go" meals (Moroccan Chicken Salad Wrap, Chopped Salad with Grilled Shrimp, and others) that you can take for lunch to work or school, to a picnic, or to eat while watching soccer practice! Buy the book HERE.

Gwyneth Paltrow is an Oscar winner and author of the New York Times bestselling cookbooks My Father's Daughter and It's All Good. She is founder of the website Goop, which covers food, fashion, fitness and travel. Paltrow is a mother, businesswoman, and actress, who lives in Los Angeles.

Baked Homemade Fish Sticks

Here's a recipe to serve your little ones for lunch or dinner. (Much better than the frozen versions you buy at the grocery store.)

2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups Italian panko
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 pound cod fillets, sliced into 3/4 inch strips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide eggs, panko, and flour into three shallow bowls. Add lemon pepper and paprika to the flour and mix together. Dredge fish in flour, coat with egg, and then dip into panko. Place onto greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fish. Bake for 10-15 minutes until fish are browned. Serves 4.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Iced Mocha

Here's an easy and delicious recipe for those who love chocolate or iced coffee. I like to keep a tray of coffee ice cubes (the stronger, the better) in the freezer for whenever the craving attacks! Enjoy!

8-10 coffee ice cubes
1 cup strong cold coffee
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 cup half and half
whipped topping for garnish

Combine coffee ice cubes, sugar, chocolate syrup and milk in blender or mixing container. Blend until coffee cubes are completely crushed. (I like to use my stick blender for this, as it really chops up those ice cubes.) Pour into 2 serving glasses. Garnish with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Yum!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Rose McCauley's Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Rose Allen McCauley has been writing for over a decade and has four books published. She is thrilled for this to be her second novella collection with Barbour. A retired Kentucky schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for over forty years, she enjoys their growing family of three children and their spouses and five lovely, lively grandkids! She loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website www.rosemccauley.com

Rose's Latest Book Release: Courageous Brides
Ride into adventures alongside nine determined women of yesteryear whose acts of compassion and bravery attract male attention. Marcy helps displaced Indians. Emmy tends wounds at Fort Snelling. Ronnie stows away on a cattle drive. Daisy disguises herself as a Pony Express rider. Elinor becomes an abolitionist. Mae tames wild horses. Hannah gets help for accident victims. Lucy’s curiosity unnerves criminals. Kate nurses soldiers on the battlefield. Will real dangers douse the sparks of love?
My story is the one about Elinor. The story was inspired by a hidden room her grandparents found when they re-did the house where Elinor now lives. Although there is no proof, some have said it may have been a station on the Underground Railroad since KY was a border state on the way to Ohio. Pre-order the book HERE. 
Rose's Recipe for Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies

1⁄2 cup butter, softened
1⁄2 cup lard (or substitute additional butter or margarine)
11⁄2 cups sugar, plus extra for dipping
1⁄2 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 cups flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cloves
11⁄2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and lard (or substitute) with sugar. Beat in molasses and eggs. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to creamed sugar mixture and blend. Dough will be stiff. Shape dough into small balls. Dip into small bowl of sugar. Place sugar side up on greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Cool and store. Makes about 4 dozen.