Strawberry Lemon Fizz

Here's a delightful recipe to make for your family.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
4 fresh mint sprigs
1 quart fresh strawberries, halved
2 lemons, sliced
3 limes, sliced
Ginger ale or sparkling cranberry apple juice

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and mint. Bring a rolling boil. Cook for 2 minutes until dissolved. Allow to cool. Discard the mint.

When ready to serve, fill glasses with strawberries, lemon and lime. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon syrup. Add cold ginger ale or sparkling cranberry juice to each. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ Platters and Boards

Platters and Boards, by Shelly Westerhausen

An inspiring resource for throwing unforgettable get-togethers: Platters and Boardsis the guide to entertaining with effortless style. Author Shelly Westerhausen shares the secrets to creating casually chic spreads anyone can make and everyone will enjoy (and envy). Organized by time of day, 40 contemporary arrangements are presented with gorgeous photography, easy-to-prepare recipes, suggested meat and drink pairings, and notes on preparation and presentation.

With recipes and presentation ideas for breakfast, brunch, appetizer, antipasto, charcuterie, and cheese boards to share with friends and family. Makes an inspiring bridal shower, housewarming, or hostess gift. Celebrated cookbook author and food blogger Shelly Westerhausen is the author of Vegetarian Heartland and the founder of the blog Vegetarian Ventures. Fans of Cook Beautiful, The Art of the Cheese Plate, InStyle Parties, Magnolia Table, and Cravings will love Platters and Boards.

A visual cornucopia of a cookbook with 40 contemporary arrangements presented with gorgeous photography, easy recipes, and helpful tips including:

Tips on portioning
Guides to picking surfaces and vessels
Recommendations for pairing complementary textures and flavors
A handy chart featuring board suggestions for a variety of occasions from holiday parties to baby showers

Buy the cookbook HERE.

Lemon Curd

Here is a delicious topping to serve on your next batch of scones, or used in tarts or even a lemon meringue pie!

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon zest

In a medium saucepan, mix together the eggs and sugar until combined. Stir in the lemon juice, melted butter and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes until thickened and reaches 160 degrees. Allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 1 2/3 cups.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Slow-Cooked Barbecued Pork Chops

Here's an easy recipe to make in your slow-cooker. Serve with Steamed Potatoes with Parsley or Corn and Macaroni Casserole. Delicious!

6-8 loin pork chops
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place pork chops in slow-cooker sprayed with cooking spray. In glass measuring cup, combine remaining ingredients, stirring well. Pour over pork chops. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, depending on your choice of tenderness. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Mother's Day Brunch Ideas

Here are a few ideas for a Mother's Day brunch.

Weekend Brunch Casserole (love this recipe)

English Scones and Clotted Cream

Last month we hosted an English Tea Party for our youngest daughter's bridal shower that included traditional British foods. Here is the recipe for our scones and cream. Delicious! English scones are not like the big sugary scones in America (that I have here on my blog). They are more like a biscuit and so very delicious with clotted cream and strawberry jam!

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter, cold
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons dried black currants, optional
1 egg yolk, beaten + 1 tablespoon milk (for glaze)
Strawberry jam
Clotted Cream, at room temperature (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into little pieces  and add them to the flour mixture, rubbing the butter together with your fingers to break up the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. (I found this part of the recipe very relaxing and fun!) Add the milk and dried black currants and mix in, using just enough milk to make your dough come together. The dough may be sticky. 

Spoon the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 2-3 times to coat with flour. Press the dough into a round that is about 1-inch thick. Using a floured biscuit cutter, cut the dough into 2-inch circles. Press the cutter straight down and up, without twisting, to ensure a nice rise in your scones. Place the rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush each with the beaten egg and milk mixture for a glaze. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and place them in a lined bread basket and cover with a tea towel to keep warm until ready to serve. *You may also freeze the rounds of dough after they are cut for use later. Just thaw and bake as directed. Makes 10-12 scones.

Clotted Cream
2 cups heavy cream (It's best if you can find cream that is "pasturized" and not "ultra pasturized". However, we were unable to find such cream and used Organic Valley Heavy Cream that has 6 grams fat and it did quite well.)

Pour the cream into a 12x12 casserole dish and bake in a preheated 175 degree oven for 12 hours. Carefully remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours. Drain the milk from the dish and then spoon what is left--the clotted cream, which has a thick skin on top and a creamy underside--into a dish. If desired, you may gently stir the clotted cream to create a smoother texture. Store the cream in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Serve on scones at room temperature. 

*Use the leftover milk for baking or in your coffee. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Thousand Island Dressing

I'll always remember making Thousand Island dressing as a girl at my 4-H cooking meetings. Here's a similar recipe for you to enjoy.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sweet relish
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
dash hot pepper sauce
pinch salt and pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, sugar, lemon juice, onion, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in egg. Serve over your favorite lettuce salad. Serves 10
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Molly Jebber's Mom's Easy Chicken Casserole

Molly Jebber’s award-winning books have been featured on Publishers Weekly’s Best Ten Recommended Reads, in USA Today’s HEA, RT Book Reviews and many other media sites. You’ll also find her on RWA’s Honor Roll. She tours and speaks about Amish history/traditions, writing, marketing, publishing, and about her books. She loves God, her family, friends. She enjoys swimming, golf, reading, and says yes to butterscotch pie and parasailing, but no to coconut and skydiving! Visit for a complete list of her books and speaking events.

Molly's Latest Book Release - Ellie's Redemption

Ellie Graber couldn't be happier working at Amish Charm—and making good on a precious chance to reunite with her Amish community. Grief over her mother’s death made her rebel and try the Englischer world, but now she’s home to start again. And quiet, thoughtful Joel Wenger is one of the few willing to understand her as their unexpected friendship develops into something much more . . .
But no matter how hard Ellie tries, Joel’s mother resolutely refuses to approve of her—much less accept her as a potential daughter-in-law. And as painful misunderstandings and a beautiful rival for Joel’s affections threaten to separate the couple for good, can they bridge the gap between distrust and faith to secure a lifetime of love? 

Molly's Mom’s Easy Chicken Casserole

Pam Spray
4 Chicken Breasts (cut and lay flat)
4 slices of Baby Swiss Cheese
1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 jar of mushrooms (optional)
¾ cup of water
1 Tablespoon of Parsley
1 cup of Bread Crumbs
½ cup of butter (melted)
Salt and Pepper as desired

Spray bottom of glass dish with Pam Spray. Layer chicken. Place cheese slices on top of chicken. Mix soup, mushrooms, water and parsley together and pour mixture over the chicken and cheese slices. Cook in the oven for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove dish from the oven and sprinkle bread crumbs and then drizzle with hot butter. Put back in the oven for 5-7 minutes.  Take out of the oven, sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper. This chicken dish goes with most of your favorite vegetable and potato side dishes.

Honey-Mustard Pan Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

Here's an easy weeknight dinner to make for your family.

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium sweet onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, carrots, onion, oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spread out the vegetables onto the pan. Roast vegetables on pan for 15 minutes. Place chicken in a single layer over vegetables. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Roast for another 15 minutes. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, honey and brown sugar. Drizzle over chicken and vegetables. Roast for another 25 minutes until chicken is cooked (165 degrees) and vegetables are tender and golden brown. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cheesy Bread Sticks

Here's a recipe I serve our family when we want a little something special to go with spaghetti or lasagna. Enjoy!

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm water
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried chives
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In medium bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Measure out water and add to it 2 tablespoons oil. Stir into flour and mix well until dough forms a ball. Let rest 10 minutes. On floured surface roll out to a 12"x15" rectangle. Transfer dough to a greased sheet cake pan. Sprinkle remaining olive oil on surface, spreading to edges. Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with garlic powder, chives, and grated cheese. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Cut into finger slices. Makes 15 slices.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview - Magnolia Table

Magnolia Table, by Joanna Gaines
Magnolia Table is infused with Joanna Gaines' warmth and passion for all things family, prepared and served straight from the heart of her home, with recipes inspired by dozens of Gaines family favorites and classic comfort selections from the couple's new Waco restaurant, Magnolia Table.
Jo believes there's no better way to celebrate family and friendship than through the art of togetherness, celebrating tradition, and sharing a great meal. Magnolia Table includes 125 classic recipes—from breakfast, lunch, and dinner to small plates, snacks, and desserts—presenting a modern selection of American classics and personal family favorites. Complemented by her love for her garden, these dishes also incorporate homegrown, seasonal produce at the peak of its flavor. Inside Magnolia Table, you'll find recipes the whole family will enjoy, such as:
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Asparagus and Fontina Quiche
  • Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Bacon, Toasted Pecans, and Balsamic Reduction
  • Peach Caprese
  • Overnight French Toast
  • White Cheddar Bisque
  • Fried Chicken with Sticky Poppy Seed Jam
  • Lemon Pie
  • Mac and Cheese
Full of personal stories and beautiful photos, Magnolia Table is an invitation to share a seat at the table with Joanna Gaines and her family. Buy the cookbook HERE.

Joanna Gaines is the cofounder of Magnolia, a home and lifestyle brand based in Waco, Texas, which she started with her husband, Chip Gaines, in 2003. Authors of the New York Times bestseller The Magnolia Story, Chip and Joanna have been remodeling homes for nearly two decades. Joanna is also the author of the New York Times bestselling cookbook Magnolia Table and editor in chief of the Magnolia Journal, a lifestyle magazine offering inspiration for your life and home.

Boston Cream Pie

Here's a delicious dessert to serve your family this spring. 

1 rounded cup sifted flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pastry Cream:
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter

8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Mix on low until combined and then an additional 3 minutes on high speed. 

In a clean large mixing bowl, whisk egg whites and cream of tarter on high speed until soft peaks form. Carefully, fold in the egg white mixture to the creamed mixture to combine. Pour the batter into a 9-inch round greased cake pan, lined with wax paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched. Allow to cool on a wire rack. 

To prepare the cream filling, in a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. In another bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch and whisk in the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until combined, then whisk in the remaining milk. Return the custard mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened and slightly boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Allow to cool slightly, then chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, covered the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. 

To make the ganache, place chocolate chips and half and half in a microwavable bowl. Cook for 60-90 seconds at a time, stirring until chocolate is melted and smooth. 

To assemble, remove the cake from the pan and cut in half, horizontally. Place bottom layer on a serving plate and spread with pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganach over the top and down the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 10-12. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Hamburger Cabbage Skillet

Here is an easy recipe to fix for your family. Serve with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

1 1/2 pounds ground hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 head medium cabbage, chopped
2 - 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

In large skillet, brown hamburger. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add cabbage, tomatoes, carrots and water. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add wine vinegar, basil, parsley, pepper, and salt. Cook another 10-15 minutes.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Easter Menu Ideas

Need a few ideas for your Easter dinner? Here are some recipes to cook up in time for this year's family event. 

Whatever you decide to make, may you have a blessed Easter with your family and friends.

Chicken Marsala with Noodles

 Here's a yummy recipe when you find yourself with a bottle of Marsala that you need to use up!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat (1/4" thick)
1/2-3/4 cups flour, for dredging
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
4 pieces bacon, chopped
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced onion
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
10 oz. wide egg noodles, prepared.

On a flat plate or shallow bowl, combine flour and seasoned salt and pepper. Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour and shake off excess flour. Heat oil in a large skillet and add the cutlets to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side until golden, turning once. Place chicken on a large platter to keep warm. 

Lower heat to medium and add the bacon to the chicken drippings. Saute for one minute, then add the sliced mushrooms and garlic. Cook until nicely browned, about five minutes. Season with more salt and pepper as desired. Stir in the minced onion, thyme, soy sauce, Marsala wine, and chicken stock. Allow to simmer and cook until the sauce has slightly reduced. Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes until the chicken has heated through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with prepared egg noodles. Serves 4.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Here's a yummy dessert to serve your family.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 eggs
1 cup blueberries, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon flour
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, butter, and sour cream. Cream together on high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add extracts. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture , mixing well. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour to prevent berries from sinking. Fold berries into batter. Pour into 9-inch loaf pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 60-65 minutes until center tests done with toothpick. Allow to cool on wire rack before removing from pan. Garnish with powered sugar. Serves 10-12
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Jennifer Slattery's Writer's Southwestern Skillet Dinner

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and international speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels maintains a devotional blog found at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Jennifer's Latest Book Release: Restoring Her Faith

She left belief behind…Yet this family could change her mind.
With two boys to raise, a fledgling contracting business to run and a family ranch to keep afloat, widower Drake Owens finds his hands aren't just full they're overflowing. When Faith Nichols is hired to help him renovate the church, he's drawn to the beautiful artist, but he can't fall for a woman who isn't a believer. Can love restore her faith and his heart? Buy it HERE. 

Jennifer's Writer's Southwestern Skillet Dinner

If you’ve been around writers for any length of time, you likely know two things:

1) It’s not the most lucrative profession, and 2) when deadlines hit, there’s likely time for little else. Therefore, we’re always looking for quick, easy, and economical meals that can allow us to feel as if we haven’t completely neglected our family. I suspect all women trying to juggle the demands of family, careers, and just plain life can relate. If so, I hope you find this time-and-budget friendly meal helpful.

5 red potatoes
12 oz frozen corn
2 lbs ground beef
2 cups salsa
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin

Optional additions:
JalepeƱo slices
2 cups of cheese (topping once cooked)

Cube potatoes and microwave, in a bit of water, for 2-3 minutes. Brown meat, drain grease, and mix in spices. Add corn and salsa and cook until thoroughly heated. Top with cheese if desired and serve. 

Poached Eggs

I grew up using a metal poaching gadget that fit into a skillet. Here's an old way that turns out delightful, creamy poached eggs. Thank you, Julia Child, for the lesson! Find a delicious breakfast dish that uses poached eggs HERE.

2-3 quarts water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (optional)
4 eggs (fresh is best)
sea salt and ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a simmering boil, adjusting temperature as needed to maintain a light boil. If you don't have fresh eggs, it is recommended that you add vinegar to the water, to help keep the egg from scattering into a horrible mess. Crack eggs, one-at-a-time, into a small bowl and carefully slip egg into the water. Repeat with remaining eggs. Allow to cook for 4-6 minutes, until you have the consistency of yolk that you desire. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a paper towel before serving. Season with sea salt and pepper. Serve with toast and bacon.

*I have found that if I spray the saucepan with a light cooking spray before adding the water, clean-up is swift and easy.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Sourdough Banana Bread

Here's a delicious recipe to use with your sourdough "starter". It has a crisp sweet crust and is moist on the inside. Try some!

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Princess Cake and Cookie Flavor (King Arthur Flour) *optional
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 medium)
1 cup sourdough starter (Recipe HERE.)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and flavoring and mix until well blended. Stir in bananas and sourdough. In small bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir into batter until just blended. Fold in pecans. Pour into small loaf pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes until bread is set in center. Cool on wire racks. Makes four small loaves. Freezes well.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Recipe Ideas ~ Make Tonight an Italian Night

I enjoy making Italian recipes and sharing them with my family--usually with a salad and a nice bottle of wine. Here are a few recipes to serve to your family. 

See more Italian recipes HERE.