Blood Orange Margaritas

Hands down my FAVORITE drink!!! If you didn’t know, blood oranges are a seasonal fruit available between January and March.  So right now is the season!  We found our first bags of blood oranges last week.  You can buy blood orange juice, but it tends to be pricey.


We fresh squeeze 3 to 4 bags at a time and freeze the juice.  We freeze enough juice so that we can have margaritas well into the summer.  It is a sad day when the juice runs out.



3 ozs. tequila (which ever tequila you like best)
2 ozs. grand mariner
3 ozs. simple syrup (1 c. water & 1 c. sugar)
2 ozs. fresh lime juice
3 ozs. blood orange juice

Put everything in a cocktail shaker and shake it up.

Rim the glasses in sugars crystals using lime – we use Wilton


Fill the glass with ice and pour in the beautiful margarita.  Squeeze in lime juice and garnish with the lime.


Aunt Margaret’s Dilly Bread

Not sure why this is called Aunt Margaret’s Dilly Bread, I don’t have an Aunt Margaret, but here is what I know – my mom made this every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and it is delicious!!  I now make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas and everyone LOVES it!!   It is so incredibly easy to prepare and it always turns out great.


  • Combine 1 package of dry yeast and 2 tbls. sugar in 1/4 c. lukewarm water.  Let sit until bubbly – 5 to 10 minutes.
  • While waiting for yeast to activate, combine the following ingredients:
    • 1 c. cottage cheese – room temperature
    • 1 tbls. minced onion – I used dried
    • 1 tbls. butter – room temperature
    • 2 tsp. dill seed
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 egg
  • Mix together until combined.  Add yeast mixture and combine.
  • Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and mix

Put in a bread pan and let rise in a warm area for 2 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve warm with butter!  Yummy!


Sweet Potato Casserole

I HATE sweet potatoes, but apparently I make that best sweet potato casserole ever made.  I wouldn’t know because I have never tried it!!  When I first started making it, it was way too sweet.  With my husband’s help I altered my original recipe to make it what it is today.  Instead of the traditional marshmallow topping, which my husband HATES, this has a crumbly, nutty topping. We celebrate Thanksgiving Day with our dear friends and I am required to bring this every year!!


3 cups mashed sweet potatoes, fresh or canned (I always use canned)
1/2 c. white sugar
1/3 c. melted butter
1/2 t. cinnamon (Saigon cinnamon is my favorite)
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs

2/3 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar  (I like dk. brown, but this is to your taste)
2 c. pecans
2/3 c. melted butter

Beat sweet potatoes, sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla and eggs.  They should be the consistency of brownie mix.  Try to get all of the lumps out of the sweet potatoes.  Pour into a buttered, 9X13 baking dish.

For the topping, stir dry ingredients together.  Add the melted butter & stir.  Spread on top of the sweet potato layer.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Serve warm!


“Go To” Dinner

We all have that one dinner that is our “Go To” dinner.  Mine is parmesan/breaded chicken breasts and orzo & rice pilaf.  Add a salad to that and you have a great dinner that is quick and easy to prepare.  My family never complains when I make this meal.  This is also the meal I make to take to friends when they need meals.  Again, never any complaints.

Crispy Baked Chicken

3/4 c. bread crumbs or panko
1/4 c. grated parmesan
3 T. butter
1 egg, beaten
3 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Grease baking pan.

Melt butter in microwave and add bread crumbs and parmesan.

Dip chicken in the beaten egg, then dredge in bread crumb/parmesan mixture.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until done.  Will depend on the thickness of your chicken.


Orzo & Rice Pilaf

2 T. butter
1/4 c. orzo
1 very small white onion, minced
3/4 c. white rice
1 can chicken broth
1/8 tsp. black pepper, or to taste

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter.  Add orzo & cook, stirring occasionally until orzo is browned.  Add onion & cook until onion is soft.  About 5 minutes.

Add rice & pepper, stirring to coat.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Rice should be soft and fluffy.



Homemade vanilla is so easy and so delicious.  Once I discovered how easy it is to make your own vanilla I won’t use anything else.  The one thing to keep in mind is that it takes three (3) months to brew.  I try to make a new batch as soon as the previous one is done brewing.  That way I never run out!

Ingredients for Vanilla Extract, Titos vodka, natural vanilla beans
Ingredients for Vanilla Extract

Here are the ingredients:

2 cups vodka – I use Tito’s – it is my absolute favorite vodka for all purposes.
24 Madagascar Vanilla Beans

Pour vodka in a Ball jar.  Slice the vanilla beans down the center and scrape out the caviar.  Put the caviar and the remainder of the bean in the Ball jar.  This process is a tad tedious, but so worth it!


Once you have finished, seal the Ball jar and shake.  Put in your cupboard and shake once a week.

In three months pour the brewed vanilla through a coffee filter and store in an air tight container.


After three months your vanilla will turn into this beautiful, rich liquid.  It smells heavenly and adds great depth to your recipes.  Once you make this, you will be like me, it will be the only vanilla you will use.


Deb’s Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls


I am known for my cinnamon rolls. The boys who hang at my house constantly request that I make cinnamon rolls.  Each year on Easter I bring these to church for the parking crew.  Over the years I have been asked many times to share my recipe, but I have been a tad selfish with it.  I’ve decided it’s time to play nice and share!



Ingredients for Deb's Cinnamon Rolls
Ingredients for Deb’s Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 7 ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 5 large eggs
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour


Heat the butter, milk, ¾ cup sugar and salt in a small saucepan until the butter is melted.  Don’t let the mixture get too hot.  Set aside to cool.  In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over warm water, add the remaining 2 tsp. sugar, stir.  Let sit for 10 minutes until bubbly.  Add the cooled milk mixture, the eggs and mix until combined.  Add the flour one cup at a time until it forms a stiff dough.  Knead by hand or with the dough hook on your mixer until the dough is satiny.  Butter a large bowl to put the dough in.  Turn the dough in the bowl until all sides are buttery.  Cover the bowl with a dish towel or plastic and let sit for an hour until the dough has doubled.  Punch down the dough and roll out into a 24” X 36” square.  (My boys make fun of me because I use tape to mark of the dimensions!)

Before, Unrisen dough
Before, Unrisen dough


After, Risen Dough
After, Risen Dough


Rolled Dough, Ready for cinnamon!
Rolled Dough, Ready for cinnamon!



  • 4 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I like dark brown sugar)
  • 1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) butter
  • 3 T. ground cinnamon (I love high quality Saigon Cinnamon)
Ingredients for Cinnamon Sugar
Ingredients for Cinnamon Sugar


Rub, Pat entire rolled out dough surface with cinnamon sugar
Rub, Pat entire rolled out dough surface with cinnamon sugar
Roll dough/cinnamon sugar into tube
Roll dough/cinnamon sugar into tube


Sliced cinnamon rolls into baking dish
Sliced cinnamon rolls into baking dish

Butter two 9 X 13 baking dishes.  Beat the brown sugar, butter and Saigon Cinnamon

together until well combined. Evenly spread the filling over the dough.  I use my hands to get it over the entire surface of the dough.  Roll the dough lengthwise and cut in 2 inch sections.  Makes 12 large rolls.  Place 6 rolls in each buttered dish.  Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic and let rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the rolls for 20 – 30 minutes, until lightly browned.

After baking, spoon icing over each cinnamon roll
After baking, spoon icing over each cinnamon roll



  • ½ pound cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup whipping cream, may need more to thin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract – (I make my own and will be sharing my recipe)
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
Ingredients for Cinnamon Roll Icing
Ingredients for Cinnamon Roll Icing

Beat the cream cheese, whipping cream and vanilla together until well combined.  Add the powdered sugar until creamy, you do not want stiff icing.  Ice the rolls and serve while warm.

Ice the rolls and serve while warm
Ice the rolls and serve while warm

 These are so big that sometimes I cut them into fourths!

Yummm! You can eat only a quarter of each cinnamon roll
Yummm! You can eat only a quarter of each cinnamon roll


Gran’s Pickles


My parents grew up in a wonderful town in the High Sierra mountains, Bishop.  I spent many summers in Bishop and have such precious memories of those days; climbing the tree in my Gran and Papa’s front yard, playing in the yard at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house and swimming at Keough’s Hot Springs.  One of my favorite things about Bishop is Mt. Tom!  Bishop has my heart like no other place.

These sweet pickles have such great memories for me.  My Gran always had these in her fridge.  They take nine (9) days to make, but are worth the time and effort.

Start with 14 cucumbers.  Place them in a large bowl.  Cover with boiling water and let stand for 24 hours. Repeat this process for five (5) days.  On day six (6) cut the cucumbers into pickle sized pieces, this is a personal preference.  Return the cucumbers to the bowl.

In a large saucepan boil the following ingredients:

8 c. sugar
2 T. pickling spices
2 T. kosher salt
4 c. apple cider vinegar

Boil these ingredients for 5 minutes being very careful not to let boil over – trust me on this!!

Pour hot liquid over cucumbers.

Let stand for 24 hours then drain off the syrup into a saucepan.  Bring the syrup back to a boil and let boil for five (5) minutes.  Pour the hot syrup back over the cucumbers, almost pickles!  On day nine (9) of the process, pour the syrup into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn down to simmer and add the cucumbers, heat until the cucumbers are warm.

Pack the pickles into jars and top with hot syrup.  I submerge the jars in boiling water to make sure that they are sealed.