Cranberry-Apricot Glazed Party Meatballs


Make these delicious party meatballs for your next holiday gathering.

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground sausage
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs

1 cup jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/3 cup jalapeno relish or jelly

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the turkey, sausage, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, onion, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir in egg, milk and bread crumbs. Roll into balls, about 1 tablespoon each. Place on a greased baking pan. Set aside. 

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberry sauce, broth, apricots and relish. Bring to a boil. Pour over meatballs and bake for 30-45 minutes. Serves 8-10.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Clusters

Here's a recipe I like to make every Christmas season to share with our family and give as gifts. Enjoy!

14 oz. caramels
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2-3 cups pecans, chopped
12 oz. package chocolate chips
6 oz. white chocolate

In large glass bowl, combine caramels and evaporated milk. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes at a time until melted, stirring after each session. Stir in pecans. Drop by tablespoons onto waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator until set, approximately 15-20 minutes.

In medium glass bowl, combine chocolate chips, and white chocolate. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes at a time until melted, stirring after each session. Dip caramels into chocolate and allow to cool on waxed paper until set. Makes 36 pieces.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

New Year's Eve Recipe Ideas

Whether you entertain lots of friends or just a few loved ones, here are some recipe ideas for your New Year's Eve celebration. 

Have a Happy New Year! May God bless you in the New Year!

Bacon-Wrapped Little Smokies

Here's an easy recipe we love to make during the holidays, which also works well for a little savory something at tea parties. 

22 oz. bacon
24 oz. little smokie sausages
1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Cut bacon slices into thirds. Wrap each bacon slice around a sausage and secure with a toothpick. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat for each sausage. Sprinkle sausages with brown sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until bacon is crispy. Serve immediately or keep warm in a crockpot. Makes 56-70 little smokies. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Golden Pecan Pie

Here's an easy recipe for pecan pie that our family loves. Great for the holidays or for family gatherings. Delicious!

3 eggs
2/3 cups brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped and halved
1-unbaked pie shell

In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Stir in sugar, salt, corn syrup, maple syrup, butter, bourbon, and vanilla until blended. Stir in 1 cup pecans. Pour into pastry shell. Add additional 1/2 cup halved pecans to fill in top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 25-30 minutes longer until lightly browned and puffed across top. Cool. Serve with whipped topping. Serves 8-10. 

Tamera Alexander ~ Tempy's Southern Teacakes


Tamera Alexander is the USA Today bestselling author of numerous books, including A Lasting Impression, A Note Yet Unsung, To Whisper Her Name, and To Wager Her Heart. Her richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide, as well as multiple industry awards. These awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Bookseller’s Best Award, and being listed among Publishers Weekly and Library Journal’s Top Inspirational Fiction, among others.

She hopes readers who pick up one of her novels will be swept away into another time and place, that they'll fall in love with the characters and gain insights into the history of the setting and people of yesteryear. But most of all, when a reader turns that final page in one of her novels, she prays they will have taken a step closer to Christ. Because He's what it's all about.

After living in Colorado for nearly two decades, Tamera and her husband now make their home in Nashville where they enjoy life with their two adult children who live nearby, and Murphy—a rambunctious but oh-so-lovable Australian Terrier. Learn more about Tamera HERE.

Tamera's Next Book Release: With This Pledge

What can a woman—a mere governess—do against the scourge of slavery?  

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Clouston's quietly held principles oppose those of the Southern Cause—but when forty thousand soldiers converge on the fields of Franklin, Tennessee, the war demands an answer. The Carnton home, where she is governess, is converted into a Confederate hospital, and Lizzie is called upon to assist the military doctor with surgeries that determine life or death. Faced with the unimaginable, she must summon fortitude, even as she fears for the life of Towny, her fiancĂ© and lifelong friend.

As a young soldier lies dying in Lizzie's arms, she vows to relay his final words to his mother, but knows little more than the boy's first name. That same night, decorated Mississippi sharpshooter Captain Roland Ward Jones extracts a different promise from Lizzie: that she intervene should the surgeon decide to amputate his leg.

Lizzie is nothing if not a woman of her word, earning the soldiers' respect as she tends to the wounded within Carnton's walls. None is more admiring than Captain Jones, who doesn't realize she is pledged to another. But as Lizzie's heart softens toward the Confederate captain, she discovers his moral ground is at odds with her own. Now torn between love, principles, and pledges made, she struggles to be true to her own heart while standing for what she knows is right—no matter the cost. Pre-order the book HERE.
Tamera Alexanders' Tempy’s Southern Teacakes

No matter how many times I make these, I still love them! They’re more akin to a cookie than cake, and the story of where these cookies originated from varies depending on whose kitchen you’re in. Likely, some frugal Southern cook found her cupboards on the meager side and whipped something up anyway. These cookies are—by nature and circumstance of situation in the Civil War—usually fairly bland. To dress them up, cooks would add either a little cinnamon, or nutmeg, or (my favorite) lemon zest! But I do encourage you to try these little jewels. They’re especially delicious with—you’re reading my mind, I can feel it—a warm cup of tea.

1 cup softened unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat the softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer (or if you’re feeling particularly toned, by hand). Gradually add the sugar and mix until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Then stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk well. Gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture, beating at lower speed until the mixture is fully combined. Then divide the dough into halves and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for about 30-45 minutes. Roll chilled dough out on a floured surface. Then using a biscuit cutter (or cookie cutter of choice), cut the cookies and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until the edges have started to brown. Watch closely so they don't burn. The cookies pictured have a confectioner sugar glaze on the top, but that’s not mandatory. It’s delicious, mind you. Simply not mandatory. ; )

Glazed Cornish Hens with Grand Marnier Apricot Stuffing

 I love to serve Cornish hens during the holidays. Here's a delicious recipe to make for your Christmas Eve dinner. 

1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup Grand Marnier orange-flavored liquor
6 oz. cornbread stuffing mix, prepared as directed
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced onion
1 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 Cornish Hens
1/2 cup butter
1 jar apricot jam, heated
salt and pepper to season

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, heat dried apricots and Grand Marnier over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside. 

Prepare stuffing mix as directed. In a small skillet melt butter and saute celery and onion until translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer stuffing mix into a large bowl and mix in celery and onion. Stir in apricot mixture and almonds. Season with thyme, salt and pepper. 

Stuff hens with cornbread mixture and tie legs together. Place on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Smooth butter over each hen. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Brush hens with jam and bake, uncovered, for an additional 30-45 minutes or until meat juices run clear, basting every 10-15 minutes. Serves 4.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Chocolate Cream Cake


Here's a delicious cake recipe our family enjoys.

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in water. Pour batter into two greased and floured cake pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let set for 10 minutes, and then remove cakes from pans and cool on wire racks. Frost with fudge frosting below:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup baking cocoa
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In small mixing bowl, mix butter and baking cocoa. Add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency. Blend in vanilla. Makes enough to frost a two-layer cake. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Baking Christmas Cookies

Every Christmas our daughters and I become Cookie Elves when we bake a bunch of cookies and pack them up as gifts--leaving some in the freezer for our own enjoyment, of course. We have our old standby recipes, which I'm including below:


And a few new favorites:

See even more cookies HERE.

Baked Cheesecake with Almonds

Here's a delicious cheesecake our family loves. Serve as is, or top with canned fruit filling of your choice. 

1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

3-8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press the mixture to line the bottom of a lightly greased springform pan to create the crust. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice. Pour over crust. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until center is almost set. Turn off oven and allow cheesecake to set for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle top with slivered almonds. Cool for one hour then chill before serving. Serves 8-10.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Orange Cranberry Cookies

Here's a chewy cookie recipe with loads of flavor.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, orange rind, and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir into butter mixture. Add oats, nuts, and cranberries. Place by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets and flatten with fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Makes 4 dozen.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Jean Peterson's Elk Chili

Jean Petersen is excited about her January release of her children's picture book, Kind Soup with Little Lamb Books. She recently released The Big Sky Bounty Cookbook-Local Ingredients and Rustic Recipes with Arcadia Publishing and The History Press as a part of their American Palate series with Chef Barrie Boulds this summer, and her first non-fiction children's picture book, Moose Shoes, was released in 2007.

Jean is Colorado State University-Journalism alumni, and has been a freelance writer and weekly columnist for 12 years with Western Ag Reporter covering a host of topics. Her weekly children’s column is called Life on the Ranch with Banjo celebrated 10 years this past spring, and some of her feature articles can be found published in Distinctly Montana magazine and Raised in the West Magazine.

Jean lives near the Beartooth Mountains in scenic southern Montana on her small farm with her husband, four children, and a host of animals knocking at her door, all of whom give her lots of fuel for all her writing. Learn about Jean and her books HERE.

Jean's Latest Book Release - Kind Soup  

Kate and her mom are in the kitchen and their making something delicious-a special soup wrapped in prayer and ladled out with love, composed of the Fruits of the Spirit, Kind Soup is as much a joy to make as it is to share. Release scheduled for January 2019 with Little Lamb Books.

Jean's Elk Chili
Ground elk is great for chili, You don't have to drain the fat because the fat content is so low!

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds ground elk
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (15.5 ounces) chili beans
1 can (15.5 ounces) red beans, rinsed & rained
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, with juice, crushed by hand
1 small jar (about 8 ounces) of you favorite salsa 
1/4 to 1/2 cup grape jelly
3 to 5 cups of water (or to whatever consistency of chili you want)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch over over medium-high and add elk, onion and celery. Saute until meat has browned and the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cayenne, ground cumin and chili powder and stir for 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and immediately turn down to low, partially covered, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 
Serves 8-12

Smoked Whitefish Spread

This past summer, we had a chance to taste smoked whitefish while traveling through Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It was delicious! Here is a recipe similar to one we tried at Legs Inn. If you aren't able to find whitefish, you might try substituting smoked salmon. Enjoy! 

8 oz. smoked whitefish, skin and bones removed
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish

In a medium bowl, mash together whitefish, cream cheese, and mayo with a fork. Stir in minced onion, dill weed, celery seed, mustard, and horseradish until combined. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Serve with crackers or flatbread. Serves 10-12
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.