Catherine Castle's Emelia's Spiced Peach Pie


Catherine Castle is a multi-award-winning author who loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she quilts and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place is in her garden. She’s a passionate gardener who won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. 

Her latest release, Bidding on the Bouquet, from Forget Me Not Romances, is an inspirational contemporary romance and is part of the boxed set Trying Out For Love. Catherine’s books are available on Amazon. Visit Catherine HERE.

Catherine's Latest Book Release: Bidding on

the Bouquet

Two people from different social classes. Two different philosophies. One bridal bouquet to unite them.

The chance to catch a bridal bouquet containing a solid gold rose makes underprivileged, down-on-her-luck grad student Marietta Wilson pawn everything she owns to come up with a bid to win a bridesmaid spot in the most prestigious wedding of the season.

When he discovers his sister is auctioning off bridesmaid spots in her wedding party, wealthy, elitist Chip Vandermere is appalled. Not only is it in poor taste, but no self-respecting lady would stoop so low as to bid. Convinced Marietta is a gold digger, Chip sets out to thwart her plans.

A social climber and a social misfit. Can a bridal bouquet unite them? Or maybe it will be Emelia’s Spiced Peach Pie that unties them. To find out, you can go to Amazon for your copy of Bidding on the Bouquet.

Catherine's Recipe for Emelia’s Spiced Peach Pie

2-crust pie pastry, homemade or store bought
7 cups sliced peaches, fresh or frozen, thawed
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon orange zest

In a large bowl, sprinkle sugar over peaches and mix well. Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch and orange zest in a small bowl and add to peaches, mixing well.

Place bottom crust in a glass pie pan and pat against the sides and bottom of the pan. Pour peaches onto crust and arrange evenly in the pan. Trim bottom crust leaving pastry about ½ inch from the edge of the pie pan. Top with second crust, turning top crust under bottom crust. Crimp or flute crust edge as desired, making sure you have sealed the two crusts together to prevent leakage. Cut several slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent burning.

Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake pie for 70 minutes longer or until crust has browned and filling is bubbly. Remove pie from oven, take off aluminum foil strips, and let pie cool completely before slicing. This pie will cut better after is has been refrigerated.

Note: If you prefer a juicer pie, let the peaches sit after sugaring them, stirring several times, until juice has formed in the bottom of the bowl. If you do this you may want to protect the bottom of your stove from filling spillage.

Ragu Bolognese Sauce with Homemade Pasta


This past year I've been trying my hand at some classic Italian and French dishes. Here's my take on Ragu alla Bolognese Sauce. I tried this recipe three different times. The first time, we didn't care for the taste, the second time (made with homemade tagliatelle), we liked the taste, but it was overly greasy. The third time was wonderful. That time, we switched out a paste of bacon and garlic with Italian sausage and garlic, used ground venison instead of 80% ground beef, and changed the pasta to a pappardelle--a wider noodle, which added even more to the dish's homey, comforting taste and texture.

8 oz. ground Italian sausage
16 oz. ground venison or lean burger
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup shredded sweet onion
1/2 cup shredded celery
1/2 cup carrot, peeled and shredded
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds fresh pasta (See recipe HERE.)
1 tablespoon butter
Parmesan and Parsley

In a large Dutch oven, brown the Italian sausage and hamburger. Cook until golden brown. Place meat into a bowl and set aside.

In Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter and add the garlic and onion. Cook over medium heat until tender. Add celery and carrots. Cook for an additional two minutes, stirring well. Finally, add the tomato paste and stir-fry for five minutes. 

On a high heat, add the meat to the vegetable mixture and pour in the wine, stirring frequently for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Lower heat to simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. The ragu alla Bolognese must simmer very gently during this cooking time. Add beef stock only if necessary. 

After at least three hours, when the sauce is well done, pour the warmed milk over the sauce and stir well. Cook for an additional 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in nutmeg. Season with more salt and pepper as desired. (May drain excess fat from the dish, if desired.)

At the end of its cooking time, prepare pasta. In a large kettle, heat water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and carefully fold into meat sauce. Place in a large serving dish. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and parsley. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Egg Drop Soup


This is a very easy recipe to serve with Fried Rice or Egg Rolls.

2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pepper to taste
2 well-beaten eggs
2 tablespoons sliced green onion, optional

In medium saucepan, slowly stir the chicken broth into the cornstarch. Heat, and stir constantly until slightly thickened. Slowly add beaten eggs, stirring once gently. Remove from heat. Garnish with onion if desired. I like to serve this soup with strips of fried won ton wraps. Makes 4 servings.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

National Peanut Butter Day

In honor of National Peanut Butter Day, here are a few of our favorite
Peanut Butter Recipes. Enjoy! 

See more peanut butter recipes HERE.

Hamburger Hash

 Here's an old family recipe that we always enjoy. Easy and delicious!

1.5 pounds lean ground beef
3 cups diced russet potatoes
1 cup minced onion
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium high heat. While hamburger is cooking, place diced potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons water and cook on high for 5-10 minutes, until fork-tender.

Add onion and bell pepper to ground beef and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown potatoes. Sprinkle in Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to season. Add peas and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes. Cover and allow to simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cheddar-Bacon Scones

Here's another delicious scone recipe and just goes to show that scones don't always have to be sweet to be enjoyable! 

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 teaspoons dried parsley
5 pieces bacon, cooked, and crumbled
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add cheese, onion, parsley and bacon. Mix together until evenly distributed. Add sour cream and mix well until dough forms together. (I use my hands for this.) Pat the dough into a circle and divide into 8 triangles. Place each into portion of scone pan and spread to edges. Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with butter. Yum!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Karen Witemeyer's Easy Cherry Salad

Christy Award finalist and winner of the ACFW Carol Award, National Reader's Choice 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 HERE.

Karen's Latest Book Release - Hearts Entwined, novella

Hearts Entwined is a fun novella anthology that I had the

honor of working on with some great author friends—Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears. The four stories are loosely connected by the theme of how love can tie you up in knots. We had fun with the titles. My story is The Love Knot. Mary's is The Tangled Ties That Bind. Regina has Bound and Determined, and Melissa has Tied and True.

The Love Knot is the final story in the Ladies of Harper's Station series. It stands alone, so you don't need to have read the other stories in order to enjoy this one, but for those who have been looking forward to Claire's story and finally discovering what led her to become a runaway mail order bride in No Other Will Do, all is finally revealed.

The Love Knot: Claire Nevin has identified herself in many ways during her brief eighteen years: Irish immigrant; professional embroiderer; jilted fiancé; runaway mail-order bride; and most recently, apprentice healer for the ladies of Harper's Station. The one role she treasures above all, however, is sister. When her troubled younger sibling sends her an unexpected package by rail, the gift, and the man who delivers it, threaten to redefine her life once again. Fighting to hold on to all she has built, will she lose what matters most? Purchase the anthology HERE.

Karen's  Easy Cherry Salad

My mother-in-law passed this recipe down to me early in my marriage and it's become a family favorite. It's perfect for winter gatherings because of the festive red color and the easy to acquire ingredients. I serve it at nearly every Thanksgiving feast, and it's a favorite at church potlucks. Enjoy!

20 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
21 oz can cherry pie filling
2 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup mini marshmallows

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, chill in refrigerator, and serve.

Tangy Sourdough Bread


Here's a sourdough recipe we adore and make quite often. If you don't have a sourdough starter, you may make your own HERE. This makes wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches, or use for Sourdough Croutons.

1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
5 cups flour, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast

In medium bowl, combine the starter, water, and 3 cups of flour. Beat vigorously for 1 minute. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 3-4 hours. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. In large bowl, combine the starter with the remaining 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Knead to form a smooth dough 5-7 minutes. Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it has doubled. (This may take 1-3 hours). Gently divide the dough in half. Shape each into an oval ball and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Cover and allow to rise for 1-2 hours until puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spray the rolls with lukewarm water. Slice two fairly deep horizontal slashes in each. Bake on a hot baking stone for 20 minutes until they are a deep golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Beef and Noodles


Here's a favorite recipe I like to make in the fall and winter. You may also opt to cook the pot roast in a slow cooker. 
Serve with Garlic Mashed Potatoes. 

2 tablespoons oil
3 pounds boneless arm roast
1 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
2 bay leaves
1 cup water (add more as needed)

16 oz. package frozen egg noodles or homemade recipe
4 quarts water
2 cubes beef bouillon
2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup water

In large dutch oven, heat oil and brown roast on each side to sear in juices. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender. Season with salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, basil, parsley, and bay leaves. Add water as needed, keeping about 1" of water on bottom. Simmer for 3 hours until meat falls away from fork when pierced. Remove from pan and keep warm.

To prepare noodles, add water to meat juices. Add beef bouillon cubes. Bring to boil. Add egg noodles and return to boil. Continue cooking for 7-10 minutes until tender. In small bowl, combine flour and 1/2 cup water to make paste. Stir into boiling noodles to thicken. Shred beef and add to noodles. Serves 8-10.
Wine Suggestion: Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian

Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian: 220 Foolproof Recipes that Make Every Meal a Party

No one throws a party like Lidia Bastianich! And now, in this delightful new cookbook, she gives us 220 fantastic recipes for entertaining with that distinctly Bastianich flare. From Pear Bellinis to Carrot and Chickpea Dip, from Campanelle with Fennel and Shrimp to Berry Tiramisu--these are dishes your guests will love, no matter the occasion. Here, too, are Lidia's suggestions for hosting a BBQ, making pizza for a group, choosing the perfect wine, setting an inviting table, and much more. Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color photographs and filled with her trademark warmth and enthusiasm, this is Lidia's most festive book. Whether you're planning a romantic picnic for two, a child's birthday party, a holiday gathering, or a simple weeknight family dinner, Lidia's flavorful, easy-to-follow recipes and advice will have you calling to your guests: "Tutti a tavola a mangiare!" Buy the cookbook HERE.

LIDIA MATTICCHIO BASTIANICH is the author of 11 previous cookbooks and the Emmy award-winning host of Public Television's Lidia's Kitchen. She owns four acclaimed restaurants in New York including Felidia, Becco, Esca, and Del Posto, as well as Lidia's Pittsburgh and Lidia's Kansas City, co-owned with her daughter, Tanya. She is also a partner in the acclaimed Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world, in New York, Chicago, Boston, and São Paulo, and with a store opening in Los Angeles in 2017. Lidia is the founder and president of Tavola Productions, an entertainment company that produces high quality broadcast productions and she also has a line of pastas and all natural sauces called LIDIA'S. She lives on Long Island, New York.

TANYA BASTIANICH MANUALI is integrally involved in the production of Lidia's Public Television series as an owner and executive producer of Tavola Productions, and is active daily in the family restaurant business. She oversees the production and expansion of LIDIA'S food line alongside her husband, Corrado, and has coauthored six cookbooks with her mother, and one with her brother, Joe. She lives on Long Island, New York.

Roasted Chicken Stew


Here's a yummy recipe I tried when I had some roasted chicken and vegetables in the fridge to use up. It's an easy way to use those leftovers!

2 cups roasted vegetables (carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, pearl onions) cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups roasted chicken thighs, shredded
4 cups chicken stock
2 stalks celery, sliced
14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes. Serve with saltine crackers. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Here's a delicious recipe we enjoy in the fall or winter. We hope you will too!

1 pound boneless chicken, cooked and sliced into bite-sized pieces
5 1/3 cup water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons crushed thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (16 oz) frozen egg noodles
5 cups mixed frozen vegetables
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk

Place chicken, water, onion, parsley, bouillon, thyme, pepper and bay leaf in a large pot. Bring to boiling. Add noodles and mixed frozen vegetables and return to boil. Simmer covered for 20-25 minutes until noodles are almost tender. Stir in 2 cups milk. In small bowl, combine flour and 1/2 cup milk until smooth. Stir into noodle mixture. Cook and stir until soup is thickened and bubbly. Serves 12. This is a delicious soup for a cold winter night. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Gail Gaymer Martin's Lemon Chicken with Apple Salsa

Best-selling and award-winning author, Gail Gaymer Martin writes sweet and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Having written many novels for Love Inspired and Barbour Publishing, she is now with Winged Publications. She has over 4 million books sold. Her books have received numerous national awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers Choice and the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol for her romantic suspense, A Love for Safekeeping. Gail's novel The Christmas Kite, a Holt Medallion finalist, was optioned for a Hallmark television movie. She was awarded 2009 Heartsong Presents Author of the Year, and CBS local news listed Gail as one of the top four writers in the Detroit area. Gail is the author of Writer's Digest, Writing The Christian Romance. She is a founder of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a well-known keynote speaker. Her web site includes her books and also Gail's Kitchen for recipe fans, a blog on Writing Fiction where she provides articles on writing and getting published. Visit her website at

Gail's Latest Book Release: Mackinac Island Christmas

Josie Ryan arrives on Mackinac Island, looking forward to the Christmas season in the quaint setting with no automobiles and a back-in-time aura, but she learns that her longtime friend has to cancel her trip due to a family emergency. Disappointed, Josie decides to stay the day and then cancel her trip since it’s no fun being alone. But her plans change when Chris Barnes, visiting his grandfather, comes to her aid and offers to show her the sites. When she learns that Chris is raising his deceased brother’s child, she is touched. Amid snowball fights, snowmen, and snow angels, Josie’s life changes when she falls in love with the little girl, but Ellie wants a mommy. Even though Chris is a great guy with wonderful attributes, Josie has absolutely no plans to marry, or can this four-year-old change Josie’s plans. Buy the book HERE.

Gail's Recipe for Lemon Chicken with Apple Salsa

3 8 ounce fully cooked and chicken breast
1/2 cup wild rice
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Granny smith apples, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro and/or parsley

1 juice from a freshly squeezed lime
1 juice from a freshly squeezed lemon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon guar gum/or 2 teaspoons of corn starch added and stirred a little at a time
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoon olive oil

Pan-fried or grill chicken breast. (marinade with lemon and olive oil)
Cook wild rice and quinoa according to the packaging directions. (Approximately 45 minutes for the wild rice and 15 minutes for the quinoa). Layer wild rice, quinoa and chicken on a platter when fully cooked. Top with cranberries, apples, and pecans
Sprinkle chopped cilantro and/or parsley on top.

Place citrus vinaigrette ingredients into a microwave measuring cup, stir well. Microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is thoroughly heated and becomes slightly thickened. Drizzle over chicken. Serve immediately.

Hoppin' John with Shrimp


Here's a recipe to start your New Year out with! Serve with Skillet Cornbread. Enjoy! 

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup diced ham
10 oz bag frozen sliced okra, thawed and patted dry with paper towels
16 oz. frozen large or jumbo shrimp, thawed and peeled
3 teaspoons Cajun Spice (recipe HERE)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup long-grain white rice
15 oz. canned black-eyed peas, drained
2 cups chicken broth

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ham and okra and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Heat remaining oil and butter in skillet and cook shrimp, turning until all sides turn pink. Sprinkle Cajun spice over shrimp and stir to combine. Place shrimp in bowl with ham and okra. Cover to keep warm. 

Add red pepper, onion, garlic, and thyme to skillet and cook in oil that remains until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add rice and stir to coat. Stir in black-eyed peas and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice and add ham, okra, and shrimp to dish. Serves 4.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.