Soup Ingredients

  • 3 medium beets, peeled and shredded
  • 3 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 medium head cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 8 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar, or to taste
  • topping options: sour cream, mayonnaise, or horseradish cream
  • garnish options: parsley, chives, tarragon, or dill

Horseradish Cream Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup creme fraiche or thick sour cream (I thickened regular sour cream by combining 1 cup of sour cream with half a tablespoon of gelatin, stir and heat until its temperature reaches 140 degrees, cool)

Soup Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in tomato paste and 3/4 cup water until well blended. Add garlic and cook one minute more.
  2. Add 6-8 cups of water (depending on how brothy you want it) to the Dutch over and stir. Add the beets and cook until they are more pink than red. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook about 15 minutes or until tender. Add cabbage and diced tomatoes. Simmer until the cabbage cooks down. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
  3. Ladle into bowls and serve with your desired toppings and garnishes.

Horseradish Cream Directions

  1. Put the horseradish, lemon juice, salt and sugar in a small bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir in creme fraiche or sour cream.

I am in love with this Borscht! I have been searching and searching for a Borscht that I really like. I always compare it to the Borscht I had at my friend’s aunt’s house when I was 14 and nothing has ever measured up. But FINALLY, I found a recipe that I really love.

I tried all the different toppings and garnishes and they are all really good. I thought mayo was going to be weird, but I liked it. The horseradish cream was great! Sour cream will probably always be my favorite because it gives me that sense of nostalgia. Dill with the sour cream is probably my favorite.

I chose to make this vegetarian because that is how my friend’s aunt made it, if I am remembering correctly. You can make it with sausage, too.

I read that German riesling goes really well with Borscht, so that is what I got. Out of my options at Giant Eagle, the Von Wilhelm Haus Spatlese got the best review. It was very yummy. Nice and light and paired well.

Hands down; one of my favorite soups. My mom loved it, my boss devoured it, and even my husband loved it and he’s so darn PICKY! lol


Joy – 1 Peter 1:8-9

Though you never saw him, you love him. Though you do not see him now, yet you exercise faith in him and are greatly rejoicing with an indescribable glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, your salvation. – 1 Peter 1:8-9

I find the story that has been woven for us in the Bible is just so romantic! The Bible is God’s love letter to us. He loves us. And we cannot see Him, but we believe in Him and love Him back. This story can only be from an amazing, almighty God.

When I am trying to glorify God, I tend to think that I am doing it because I love God and He loves me, not so much that I am doing it for salvation. I feel like when I think of it in the first way, my intentions are a little bit more where they are supposed to be. But yes, the ultimate goal is to be able to live with God forever.

I have learned that God’s number one commandment is to love God with our whole heart and soul and then to love others. Then, everything else kind of falls into place. That seems pretty simple to me and that brings me joy.

I am joyful that God loves me and that I have an awesome God to love back. He is my Father and my best friend – He is the best friend I could ever have. That is a reason to feel joy.

All I have to do is love Him and believe in Him and love my neighbor and I can live forever with Him. That is a reason to feel joy!

I am joyful that His promises are good and true.

Whenever looking at a scripture or passage I like to use SPECK so that I make sure I am understanding it and applying it to my life.

S – Sin to avoid

P – Promise to trust

E – Example to follow

C – Command to obey

K – Knowledge of the Lord

I think this scripture tells me that Jehovah is a loving God – love is His main quality – and He wants our love in return and He wants us to have faith in Him. If we do this, He promises us eternal life. And, yes, this brings me joy. I joyfully worship and serve God.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your beautiful promise for eternal life. As I work on your quality of joy this month, what could make me happier? Thank you for being an amazing, loving God. I could not ask for a better friend, confidant, Father. I am sorry for the times that I forget about your amazing promises because I am so caught up in this world. Please fill me with Holy Spirit and make me mentally and emotionally stronger so that I will always be rejoicing in You. I never want to lose sight of what You have done for me and all I have to do to be joyful is think of You. Please help me to rejoice in every situation, the good and the bad, because no matter what my situation is here on earth, I still have You and Your love and promises. I thank you for that! You are love and joy and please allow me to glorify You and let others see these qualities in You so they can rejoice in You as well.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Spaghetti with Sausage

Ok, so this is an original recipe so I’m sorry if I am all over the place. šŸ˜‰


  • 1 box spaghetti – or whatever your favorite pasta is
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dried basil
  • butter
  • 1 jar of your favorite sauce or homemade sauce – for this we used “Cleveland’s Own Little Italy Pasta Sauce” (I have a “recipe” for homemade sauce, but that is for another post)
  • a blend of your favorite sausage, 5 links total, sliced – we used Johnsonville Italian sausage: cheese blend and hot
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound mini sweet peppers, seeded and chopped – or you could use bell peppers
  • 1 package sliced brown mushrooms
  • sprinkle of salt
  • sprinkle of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • cheese for topping – we used mozzarella and goat cheese


  1. Pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil into a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, salt, pepper and italian seasoning. Add peppers about 4 minutes after onions. Cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until they start to get dark and shrink up a little bit. Add minced garlic and cook a couple more minutes.
  2. Add sauce and stir. Taste to see if you would like more seasoning. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
  3. Add sausage links to a saute pan. Fill the pan with water until the links are half-way covered. Saute over medium heat until the water level gets low and the sausage is almost cooked through. Keep adding water if you need to. When they are almost cooked through start adding olive oil instead. When finished, remove from pan and slice into bite size pieces.
  4. Add the sliced sausage to the sauce and continue to lightly simmer.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a sprinkle of salt, a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a tablespoon of dried basil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain pasta and return to pot. Coat with butter.
  6. Place pasta in a bowl. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with sauce and sausage mixture. Top with goat cheese (or whichever cheese you prefer).


Wine. I love wine. I can’t even eat anything Italian without wine. Ha! With this we had Duckhorn Merlot. (Duckhorn Chardonnay is really scrumptious by the way.)

Serve with garlic toast. We were feeling lazy so we got the freezer stuff for this, but I can post homemade garlic toast later on.

Yes – goat cheese. We are obsessed! It adds a creaminess to it that is pretty awesome! I feel like goat cheese is one of those things you either love or hate, it can be an acquired taste, but oh man was it good in this. šŸ™‚

Yes, we always put basil in with our pasta water. A bunch of it will stick to the pasta. We also butter our noodles before putting the sauce on. We have a butter obsession, too. And we don’t seem to notice any issues with the sauce sticking or not sticking with the butter on there.

My husband claims that if you slightly cut the spicy italian sausage and cook it that way, it makes it taste better. I have no idea if there is any truth to that. LOL!

Also, if you are ever in Cleveland, Mia Bella in Little Italy is the best Italian place to go – make sure you make a reservation first. šŸ˜‰

Joy – Psalm 16:11

Each month I am trying to work on a characteristic of God in myself.

Galations 5:22-23

On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

For December I was working on joy, but I have to admit I did not get very far. So, I am expanding the study of this quality in scripture into January. In general, I feel like a happy person, but I am subject to bouts of depression usually sprung on by worrying too much. I need to do a whole study on not worrying! For now: joy:

You make known to me the path of life. In your presence is abundant joy; There is happiness at your right hand forever. – Psalm 16:11

First of all, I am happy that I have God’s Word to direct me to the path that leads to Him. What an awesome, caring God He must be to have provided this for us instead of just leaving us in the dark. And second, this is a fallen world. Satan conspires against us constantly to try to bring us the exact opposite of happiness. Or he disguises himself as light and we think we are happy, but we are really sinning. Falling into his trap. I am content knowing that I will achieve real and perfect happiness when I am in the presence of the Lord forever. For now, there are so many blessings that I can take joy in and I can take joy in serving the Lord.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for providing your Word for us so that we know what to do in this fallen world. We know how to get to You and that in itself is something to be so joyful about. Please give me the motivation to stay in Your Word every day so that I will never forget the path to You. Please help me to turn from my sin and help me to see hidden sins that I might not even realize I am doing. Let the Holy Spirit constantly remind me that this is not my true home and true and perfect and eternal happiness is not here, but with You. Allow me to see my blessings and be joyful for them and convict me to serve You more and more. I will take immense joy in that. Thank you Lord. I love you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!


One of my favorite cookies, especially around the holidays! My mom’s side of the family is polish so we have always had these.


  • 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 2 cups jam of your choosing
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter, flour and cream cheese until it is fluffy.
  2. On a well floured surface, roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for an hour.
  3. On a well floured surface, roll the dough out into a thin, flat piece. Cut the dough into even sized squares. Place jam in the center of each square. Fold the sides of the squares in, pinching the corners together.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until corners just start to brown.
  5. After they have completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

In the picture I used apricot jam, strawberry jam, and fig jam. I would say apricot and raspberry are the most popular. You can also make your own jam.

Cream cheese is a pretty popular filling too:

  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoom vanilla extract
  1. In a bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to fill pastries.

You can store these cookies in airtight containers with parchment paper in between the layers or in the fridge. I definitely like to put the cream cheese ones in the fridge.

What is also great about these cookies is you can customize them however you like. You can make them bigger or smaller. I always thought that there was never enough jam in these cookies so I loaded mine up. šŸ˜€

Honey Pineapple Upside Down Cake


  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 15 oz. can pineapple slices in juice, drained
  • 1 can seeded black cherries in juice, drained
  • 1 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plain yellow corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour honey into a buttered 10 inch cast iron skillet or a pineapple upside down cake pan. Tilt to spread evenly. Top with pineapple and cherries.
  2. Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with stand mixer until fluffy. Stir in vanilla. In one bowl, whisk together flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended. Spread batter over pineapple.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Shield with foil after 45 minutes if necessary to prevent over browning. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  4. Invert cake onto serving platter. Drizzle with honey glaze and let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Honey Glaze

  1. Bring 1/4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter to a simmer. Stir lightly. Cook 1 minute, then remove from heat.

Honey Maple Glazed Carrots


  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced on a long angle
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • decorative flowers, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a sheet pan. Place carrots on prepared pan and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup and honey. Sprinkle with coriander, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread in an even layer.
  2. Roast for 10 minutes, stir to redistribute. Continue roasting 15-20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Look for caramelized edges and tender carrots.

Make sure you use pure, quality maple syrup. The generic stuff just burns.

Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash


  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place veggies on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and stir. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir.
  2. Arrange brussel sprouts cut side down. Roast 20-30 minutes. Toss gently a couple of times during cooking.
  3. Whisk mustard and vinegar. Slowly pour olive oil and whisk. Season to taste.
  4. Toss veggies with vinaigrette. Serve warm, luke warm, or cold.

If you like your veggies very soft you can cook them in the pressure cooker with a cup of chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. You can also add about 4 cloves of minced garlic.

Buffalo Chicken/Jackfruit Stuffed Peppers

In these pictures I used jackfruit.


  • 4 medium multicolored peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded chicken, or jackfruit
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded low moisture part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 tablespoons blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Brush all sides of bell peppers with oil. Arrange cut sides down. Bake until slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir chicken or jackfruit, yogurt, mozzarella, hot sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne and 2 tablespoons scallions in a large bowl.
  3. Remove peppers from oven, pour off remaining juices. Flip peppers. Spoon chicken/jackfruit mixture evenly into peppers (about 1/3 cup each). Bake until tender and heated through, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with dressing and scallions.

Amish White Bread


  • 2 cups warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
  2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes and divide in half. Shape into loaves and place into 2 well oiled 9×5 loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

My husband says that this bread tastes overly yeasty, but I think it is supposed to. I like it and it is a little bit sweet. The second loaf I wrap and put in the freezer until I am ready for it. I read somewhere that if you turn the oven on for 20 seconds and then place the dough inside the oven it will rise faster.