My Review of “Starting from Scratch” by Kate Lloyd

Soups, suitors, shenanigans, and suspense!  Did that grab your attention?


In Kate Lloyd’s “Starting from Scratch”, her second book in her Lancaster Discovery Series, these “s” words will keep you mesmerized and reading until the very last page to find out what Eva decides to do and with which suitor.

A little about the book:

An Old Flame Brings a Spark of New Hope

En Alt Maedel—an old maid.

At age twenty-nine, that’s what Eva Lapp considers herself. And who could argue with her? Finding a good Amish husband at her age will be next to impossible. Plus, Eva’s unwarranted bad reputation in Lancaster County precedes her. Maybe living the Englisch life would be better.

Squeezed out of her childhood home by her brother’s boisterous family, Eva finds lodging and a new job managing a small café at a local plant nursery. But the challenge of her new position isn’t enough to distract from her current predicament.

To Eva’s surprise, her first love, Jake Miller, suddenly returns to Lancaster County. Flooded with emotions and filled with questions about Jake’s past, can Eva trust what she’s feeling?

Jake and Eva face many obstacles in their quest for a fresh start in the community, but perhaps with God’s help, they can find the redemption they both desperately need.

Lancaster, PA is my favorite escape, so when Kate’s series first came out, I knew it would be a must read for me.  This wasn’t your typical Amish romance from the start.  This story had its ups and downs & twists and turns throughout.  It kept my attention so much that I’d read late into the night and pay for it the next morning.  And I loved the title since I love to cook and bake, so that part of the book I really enjoyed too.

If you want a great book to read, make sure you pick up a copy of “Starting from Scratch”.  You won’t be disappointed.


Tasty Tuesday – Brownies

Happy Tasty Tuesday!  This week’s recipe is for some yummy brownies.  I had attended a scrapbooking crop two weeks ago, and we were asked to bring along a snack to share.  So I thought about making brownie bites – easy to grab and pop in your mouth.  So I looked through my cookbooks and found this recipe in a new cookbook I picked up in Dover, DE Amish Country, “Blessed Beyond Measure”.


If you are looking for something to fix for school or work lunches as a special treat, check out this recipe…

Brownies, Wilma, page 231, “Blessed Beyond Measure”

1 1/3 c. butter, softened

2 2/3 c. sugar

4 eggs

3 tsp. vanilla

1 c. cocoa

1/2 tsp. salt

2 c. flour

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, vanilla, cocoa, salt, and flour.  Do not overmix.  Bake in a greased 10×15″ pan at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.  Great with vanilla ice cream!


Since I made brownie bites, I used my mini muffin tins instead of the jelly roll pan.  This recipe made a few dozen brownie bites, so it was the perfect amount for the crop.


This cookbook is chock-full of yummy recipes from the Yoder family.  I picked up my copy in a little Amish owned store, Shady Lane Selections, when Mom and I did a road trip to Lewes, DE.  We took the scenic route to the beach through the outskirts of Dover, DE.

Hope you have a good week.  Let me know if you give this brownie recipe a try.


Tasty Tuesday – Creamy Broccoli Bake

Welcome to this week’s Tasty Tuesday blog post!  This week’s recipe again comes from, the cookbook, “Our Favorite Recipes from Masonville Mennonite Church”.  It’s for a Creamy Broccoli Bake and was one of the side dishes I fixed for our Easter dinner.


If you like broccoli (or even cauliflower since you can also use that), here’s the recipe…

Creamy Broccoli Bake, Elva Hunt Martin, page 21, “Our Favorite Recipes from Masonville Mennonite Church”

3 to 4 c. broccoli spears or cauliflower flowerets

1 (10 3/4 ox.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/4 c. milk

1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1 c. Bisquick baking mix

1/4 c. margarine or butter

Boil broccoli in salted water for about 10 minutes; drain.  Place broccoli in ungreased 1 1/2 quart rounded casserole.  Beat soup and milk until smooth; pour over broccoli.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Mix baking mix and margarine until crumbly; sprinkle over cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.


This graced our Easter dinner table and was okay.  It was easy to fix and have baking while other things filled up the oven too.


We usually have the green bean casserole, so this took the place of that.  It’s not a definite keeper recipe like some I’ve tried, but it’s possible that I’d fix it again to change things up.


If I do fix this again, I think I’ll use broccoli and cauliflower and add extra cheese to it as well as some type of seasoning in the topping.  I enjoy doctoring up recipes given the chance.

Hope you have a great week!





Tasty Tuesday – Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Welcome to the first Tasty Tuesday of April!  Hope you all had a nice Easter if you celebrate.  One of our Easter desserts was this delicious carrot cake.  My dad’s favorite cake!

This week I have two recipes to share – one for the cake and one for the cream cheese frosting.  I had two cookbooks going at the same time…

The carrot cake recipe comes from “Our Favorite Recipes from Masonville Mennonite Church”, and the frosting recipe comes from “The Cook’s Book – Miller Family Hospital Fund”.

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Here are the recipes if you have a carrot cake lover in your house…

Carrot Cake, Miriam Murillo, page 67, “Our Favorite Recipes from Masonville Mennonite Church”

4 eggs

1 1/2 c. oil

2 c. flour

2 c. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

3 c. raw grated carrots

1/2 c. nuts (if desired)

Mix dry ingredients.  Beat eggs and add oil.  Mix everything together.  Add carrots and nuts last.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Makes 3 (9 inch) layers.

Cream Cheese Frosting recipe (taken from the Carrot Layer Cake recipe), Miss Lucy Beachy, page 67, “The Cook’s Book – Miller Family Hospital Fund”

3/4 c. butter, softened

2 pkg. cream cheese, softened

3 c. confectioners sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Frost sides and top of cake.  Store in the refrigerator.

Thought it was funny that both recipes were on page 67 in two different books.

I used some of the colored sugars from the Amish bulk food stores to decorate the top like an Easter egg.

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For the frosting recipe, I cut it in half since I was not making a layer cake.  With cutting it in half, I had plenty for my cake and still have some left for another cake I need to make this week.  A double win!

The cake was very moist, and I pretty much pureed the carrots.  They were too big for my liking, so I put my food processor to work a little too much.  You still had teeny bits of carrots, but nothing like it was probably supposed to be, but it still tasted fantastic, and my dad loved it, so that is all that mattered.  All he kept saying was how fresh it was.

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I have to share hubby’s dessert plate…he loves his sweets.  He had a piece of cake, some of the trifle I had made, and butter crunch ice cream.  And he ate it all even after eating a huge dinner.  It took all I had to eat a small piece of cake from being so full – not my hubby!  Or my dad either – he had cake and trifle – passed on the ice cream which was a shocker.  Ha!

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Hope you have a great first week of April.



Tasty Tuesday – Meatloaf

Happy Tasty Tuesday!  It’s hard to believe that this is the last week of March.  The first three months of the year have flown by.  This week’s recipe is for a yummy meatloaf, and the recipe comes from the cookbook, “Our Favorite Recipes from Masonville Mennonite Church”.

There is one ingredient in this recipe that I have never included in any of the meatloaves I have fixed – sour cream.  Have you ever fixed a meatloaf recipe with that in it?  I was skeptical about it, but followed the recipe, and it was really good.


Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try…

Meatloaf, Dianne Souders, page 35, “Our Favorite Recipes from Masonville Mennonite Church”

2 lb. ground beef

1 c. dried bread crumbs

1/2 c. sour cream

2 eggs

1/2 c. chopped onion

2/3 c. chopped mushrooms

1/2 c. ketchup

Mix all ingredients up and shape into a loaf.  Put in baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.


I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, panko bread crumbs instead of regular, and a small can of mushroom pieces instead of fresh mushrooms.  I also added shredded cheddar cheese to the mixture as well.

It was a really yummy and moist meatloaf and easy to mix up.  And you have an hour and a half to figure out what sides you’ll have with it.   And it fixed such a large meat loaf that we had it for dinner and have each had it twice for work lunches.  My kind of meal – lots of leftovers to enjoy for lunch!


Hope you and your family have a blessed Easter if you celebrate this holiday.  See you in April!


Tasty Tuesday – One Dish Chicken Bake

Happy Tasty Tuesday!   And happy first day of spring!  Well, the calendar says it is the first day of spring, but outside is saying something different with little ice pellets falling from the sky and snow in the forecast through tomorrow.  Hopefully once this moves out, spring will be here to stay for a while.

This week’s recipe is for a good comfort food casserole perfect for this type of weather called One Dish Chicken Bake.  It comes from a brand new cookbook that I just picked up Friday in Dover, DE Amish Country titled “The Cook’s Book” which benefits the Miller family’s hospital fund.


One Dish Chicken Bake, Miss Mary Miller, Delaware, page 25, “The Cook’s Book”

6 oz. pkg. Stove Top stuffing mix

4 boneless chicken breasts

10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

1/3 c. sour cream

Prepare stuffing mix as directed; set aside.  Place chicken in 12 x 8-inch baking dish or 2-quart casserole.  Mix soup and sour cream.  Pour over chicken; spoon stuffing evenly over top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.


It was really easy to fix and was yummy.  The chicken turned out so tender, and with just a vegetable or two on the side, dinner was ready.  Definitely a recipe I’d fix again especially since I normally have these items on hand.


“The Cook’s Book” is filled with 116 pages of recipes plus the index and cooking tips in the back.  I picked it up since it has some different recipes than some of the other cookbooks I have.  And I already have three different main dish recipes marked to try.  I like when something is easy to whip up after a long day at work.

Hope you have a great first day of spring, and if you are lucky enough to already have spring temperatures, enjoy them for me.  And if you are here in the Maryland or surrounding areas getting hit with this storm, please be careful.




Tasty Tuesday – Peanut Butter Blossoms

Happy Tasty Tuesday!  This week’s recipe is for Peanut Butter Blossoms – some yummy cookies with chocolate and peanut butter.  The recipe comes out of “The Esh Family Cookbook – The Humps”.  One of my favorite cookbooks, and probably my most loved cookbook – the marked up pages show me that.

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Here is the recipe if you’d like to make a batch of cookies.

Peanut Butter Blossoms, John Ervin Fisher (c/o Steve and Marianne), page 110, “The Esh Family Cookbook – The Humps”

1 c. white sugar

1 c. brown sugar

1 c. margarine

1 c. peanut butter

2 eggs

1/2 t. salt

1 t. baking soda

3 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. milk

Hershey Kisses

Bake at 350 degrees.  When almost done, take out and put Hershey Kisses on top.  Return to oven for a few minutes.

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Here’s my take on this recipe:

I used butter instead of margarine.  I baked the cookies for nine minutes and then removed them to put on the candy.  Then I returned them to the oven for an additional two minutes.  This recipe made seven dozen cookies, so if you don’t want to bake so many, it’s an easy recipe to cut in half with the measurements.  No fancy math needed!  And since I had both Hershey Kisses and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, I used some of both.

Don’t they look yummy?

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Do you know someone who might need a bright spot in their day?  Why not bake up a batch of these cookies and give them a reason to smile…

Have a super duper day!