A Homemade Life – Book Review

A Homemade Life - Book Review

“I have a lot of cookbooks and they demand my attention.  You wouldn’t believe how pushy they are.  They lie next to my bed like fat, lazy dogs.  They stretch and yawn all over my lap.” – An exert by Molly Wizenberg, author of A Homemade Life and creator of her blog, Orangette.

A while back I read a review of this book by Tracey Hagen, creator of her blog, Salty Sweet Life. Tracey has a beautiful site, and is an amazing writer and creator of amazing recipes.  Her comments regarding this this book include “What I loved about this book is that it is essentially a love story built around food and family and I am a sucker for a good love story.”  I knew I wanted to read it too, and ordered my copy immediately. Continue reading

Cookie Monday and a Guest Post: Caramel Stuffed Snickerdoodle

20150123-DSC04134Today I am doing a guest post for a very loving friend of mine, Prudy @ Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs.  Prudy is one of those people that you feel like you’ve always known the instant that you meet her.  Her heart shines in every comment that she makes.

When she asked me to do a guest post for her Cookie Monday series, I knew exactly what recipe that I wanted to make.  So, I hope you will head over to visit Prudy for a glimpse at this delicious recipe.

Cinnamon and Caramel Rolls

Caramel Rolls1 - HostessAtHeartIf I had the knowledge and life experiences when I was young and just starting out on my own as I have now, I would have gone to culinary school or better yet, studied to be a pastry chef at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Oooh la la…. Continue reading

Train Your Brain to Become More Positive

Julie is HostessAtHeart:

I love everything about the happiness concept and my blogging friend Ana who posted it. It says you are good enough right now, and everything else is just cupcake sprinkles with a cherry on top.

Originally posted on Celebrating Sunshine:

I truly believe that positive emotions shape not only our social relationships with others and our psychological growth, but also our health and our everyday life in general. This is the reason I like to read up on and understand more about the way everything works. Few days ago I came across a video that was so captivating that I went back and watched it several times, again and again. The speaker in the video is the famous positive psychologist Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, and he delivers lectures on how to increase happiness and meaning to his students at Harvard. He is brilliant, charming, funny and so right!

He states that 90% of our happiness is predicted by the way our brain processes the world, and 70% of job successes are predicted by your optimism level, social support and your ability to see stress as…

View original 309 more words

Love, Hope and Friendship

Bike for Sight

Bike for Sight 2014

I wasn’t sure how to do a post about me.  I can be a private person, and I never mind someone else taking center stage.

A week ago I had surgery to remove hardware from my hip that had been placed when I was 10 years old.   Continue reading

Poppy Seed Bread with Orange Glaze

Poppy Seed Bread with Orange Glaze - HostessAtHeartI was going to make soup the other day, and when we have a savory soup, I like to have a sweetened bread to go with it.

I don’t know why I did it, but I pulled out this little recipe book that my son made for me in school when he was 8 years old. It was actually a compilation of recipes where each child brought a recipe to contribute. Some children explained how to make a peanut butter sandwich or box macaroni and cheese. I found these contributions adorable!  There were also recipes that I think a parent helped with copying a dish that they enjoyed.

I came across this recipe called Poppy Seed bread. I knew the family that contributed this recipe, and have enjoyed anything that ever came out of their kitchen, so was pretty sure it would be delicious. It was definitely delicious, moist, and went great with my soup.  I loved the nice little crunch that you get from the sweet orange glaze.  I will definitely make this bread again.Poppy Seed Bread with Orange Glaze

Poppy Seed Bread with Orange Glaze

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print
Bread Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon poppy seed
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/8 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour two bread pans.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside
  3. In a large mixer bowl, combine sugar, milk, oil, eggs, salt, and vanilla, butter, and almond flavorings. Mix until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined. Add poppy seeds and mix until combined.
  5. Fill loaf pans evenly. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes, turning pans half way through baking. Cover with foil the last 5 minutes if tops get to dark. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Pour glaze over the top of the bread. Allow to sit in the pan for 5 more minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Glaze Ingredients

1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

Stir together until smooth and completely blended.

Oh by the way, my son’s recipe was for pumpkin pie.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Easy Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Cilantro Lime Shrimp - HostessAtHeartShrimp is one of those ingredients that we, in the midwest, have to buy frozen.  That being said, “fresh frozen” can be enjoyed year around.  Even though it makes me want to sit out on my patio and enjoy it in a ceviche, I’d be as frozen as the shrimp right now if I did.

We love shrimp.  Is is healthy and I can serve it in so many different ethnic dishes because it picks up flavor profiles very quickly.  If I marinate it, I generally limit the marinating time to 15 to 30 minutes.  Longer, and I believe you loose that actual flavor of the shrimp.  Most of the time I will do a quick spice rub with a little oil, which is what I did in this recipe.

Shrimp is overcooked very easily.  When it overcooks, it turns to a rubbery texture which is not pleasant.  For this reason, most of the time I bake it.  Some time ago I watched Ina Garten do this and that has been my chosen method ever since.Cilantro Lime Shrimp1 - HostessAtHeart

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

  • Servings: 4” Difficulty=“Easy
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Print
1 pound of raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon cumin (I use 1/2 tsp but that may be too much for you?)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, drizzle raw shrimp with olive oil until they are lightly coated. Add cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Mix until coated.
  3. Lay shrimp on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake undisturbed for 8 to 10 minutes. Promptly remove from the hot baking sheet to a serving tray or bowl. Coat with lime juice and fresh cilantro.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin