Family Friends & Farm

Jalapeño Popper Dip

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It’s football season! Which for a lot of us mean it’s chip and dip season! Here’s a favorite of mine and for the studio folks. Jalapeño Popper Dip - so crispy, so cheesy, so packed with flavor!

Serve it up in the den, on the tailgate, or in the studio break room - no matter where or when, it’s going to be gobbled up and enjoyed!

Ingredients:

  • 2 8oz packages of cream cheese

  • 1/2 cup mayonaise

  • 12 cup sour cream

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 4 medium Jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped (for extra spicy dip, leave some seeds!)

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 3/4 cup chopped green onion

  • 1 cup crispy bacon (or turkey bacon) bits

Topping:

  • 6 Tblsp melted butter

  • 2 1/2 cup Ritz crackers crushed

  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, black pepper, and chopped jalepenos. Stir well making sure all ingredients are well blended.

  3. Add cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, green onion and bacon bits to cream cheese mixture and stir well again.

  4. Place mixture in a 7x11” oven proof pan. (Any casserole or baking dish that is at least 1” deep will work.)

  5. In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, Ritz crackers, parmesan cheese, and spread over top of dip mixture.

  6. Cover pan with foil and cook for approximately 45 minutes, remove foil and cook for approximately 10 minutes more or until topping is crisp.

The next step is to grab your favorite bag of chip and get to dippin’! This dip also is the bomb to top your tacos or any Tex-Mex sorta meal!

Cheesy Jalepeño Loaf

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Fall is in the air, in fact, we tried to have a BBQ at the studio recently and even though the sun was shining brightly, the wind was from the north and so cold we picked up our plates and headed in to eat in the dining room!

I can't think of a better way to eat my way through this transitional time that with a mix of fresh veggies and fruits from the garden and some warm comfort foods like soups. Paired with those items, there can be nothing better than a thick slice of this dense cheesy bread.

Made with a beer batter base, and incorporating a little spice (not too much) with jalepeño peppers, it's just the ticket to a tailgater, an office potluck, or your next family meal.

It's "Steve Made" of course, so you know it's been tried and tested.  Here ya go!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup packed shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalepeño peppers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green onion (green part), chopped
  • 12 ounces of beer 
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing


Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Grease a 9 x 5 bread loaf pan with butter.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, garlic salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
4. Add the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, jalepeños, and green onion, stir until combined.
5. Add beer to mixture, using a spatula stir until combined and batter is wet.
6. Transfer the batter to the greased loaf pan. Use the spatula to level the top.
7. Add the melted butter to the top of the batter, making sure to cover the entire top of the batter.
8. Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the middle of bread comes out clean.
9. Remove bread pan from oven to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Then remove bread from loaf pan and let cool on wire rack for 5 more minutes.


Mmmmm. Thanks Steve!

September Book Club | One Heart At A Time

Visit the One Heart At A Time page

Let me tell you about my new book, One Heart At A Time!

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At Rosetta Books urging, I began the process of putting my personal journey, referred to by many as "philanthropy," (but something I simply call giving back) down in written format.

It's something I believe we should all be encouraged to do, and what my goal was and is with this book. It's also my belief that giving back is something that we are born understanding. Humans are social creatures and intrinsically know that we need one another to survive. That God-given knowledge is often discouraged however, in deference to "becoming successful" and "getting ahead" and from and early age we become conditioned instead to be ego-centric beings. 

One Heart At A Time is all about my personal philosophy; big change happens by small measures. One. Heart. At. A. Time.

In my book, I'll tell you about my family, my childhood, my upbringing, and my many life experiences - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the down right hilarious - and I'll talk about how this life I've led, and the people in it, have shaped me into the person I am today. 

"If we are going to change the world, one heart at a time, we must make sure we and those closest to us are fully engaged and aware of the beauty of the natural world, fully engaged in real life, real connections, real human and nature interactive experiences. We should be more excited about reality than reality shows...

...What if you took it upon yourself to spend time with a young person, instilling in them something to care about?

...Believe in a young person, and you will change the world for  that person. Teach a young person that talking is better than texting and reality is better than virtual reality - and indeed you will be doing that child and this world a great service."

(pg 181-182)

One Heart At A Time was a true labor of love. Finishing it was a true labor! Continuing to write after I'd lost my Zacky was difficult, to put it in the mildest terms, taking every ounce of effort I could muster. But One Heart, is also a tribute to my son, who has challenged and shaped me from the very moment he was conceived, and will continue to do so until our glorious reunion in the house of Our Father.

We’re going to change the world with love, one person at a time, one heart a time. Take the time in your life to know the person you’re next to, to know your neighbors, to care for your friends, and know what is on their heart.

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I hope the book inspires and motivates you to reach inside yourself, through the web of personal experiences, triumphs, and tragedies, and take just one step outside your own reality in order to make a difference in another's life. In doing so you will feel your own weight lifted, and be awed at the domino effect of good and ever expanding love that you've initiated. 

One Heart At A Time will be available on October 12, in paperback, digital, and audio formats.

Please take a moment to visit the One Heart book page, which has more information about the book, its author (me!), endorsements from the likes of Debbie Macomber and Robin Roberts, and pre-order your copy today!

Pre-Order One Heart At A Time

Thank you, my dear friends! I hope you enjoy reading One Heart At A Time and it inspires you to open your heart to the vast possibilities of loving others into better lives!

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A Berry Good Day!

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There is a little gravel pathway near my studio that is flanked along one side by the back of the city's stables, where the mounted police keep their horses, and on the other by a woodland; a large patch of green towering trees and low brambling undergrowth.

I often walk this short foot path to stretch my legs and get some fresh air after a long recording session. It's maybe only 50-60 yards long and opens to an expansive park with couple of different play areas, a neighborhood P-patch, fields planted with wildflowers, paved sidewalks, and a large wooded area with trails for exploring nature right in the middle of the city. The city scape can be seen by peering beyond, but it is easy to forget where you are and imagine yourself in a forest primeval once you're under the shade of the large copse of Douglas Fir.

The other day after only a few steps onto the gravel, I noticed a plethora of berries growing along the wooded side.  Forever the forager (thank you Mom) I did less stretching of the legs and more stretching of the arms as I reached for sweet morsel after sweet morsel.

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I saw first the little wild blackberries, native to the Pacific Northwest, and favored by my Grandpa Luke. These are smaller and not as abundant as the more ubiquitous Himalayan blackberry that was brought here as a cultivar and now dominates the berry scene. The little dewberry, as it's also called, trails gently along the ground and packs a powerful punch. Oh the memories I have of hunting this little gem down, pail in one hand, picking with the other! It was a chore to get enough for a pie, but boy was it worth it!

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Next, I was really surprised and delighted to find a rare wild raspberry cane; I've only come across them once or twice out hiking or camping, and here they were in a city park! They look and taste just like the ones you're used to seeing in the grocery aisles, but perhaps just a bit sweeter on the tongue because the thrill of finding them makes your tastebuds stand up and applaud!

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I also happened upon some thimble berries, deep red and velvety. It's not really my favorite because of the texture, I think, but others love it, and I appreciate the bright red color, next to the green, green leaves. Speaking of leaves, the thimble berry grows on a thornless bush with wide soft, velvety smooth leaves. The plant seems to invite you in as an honored guest and serves you up the best portion it has to offer. I gladly accepted it's hospitality!

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A salmon berry hung just above my head; it was a later hanger-on'er,. Like some of the guest at an outdoor bbq on a warm summer night, this one was just having too much fun. It didn't realize that the shin-dig was over quite some time ago. I helped it on it's way by picking and eating it on the spot!

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And lastly a single red huckleberry. It was a early arrival, and as welcome as the friend that comes before the cook out to help you clean the grill and set out the paper plates and napkins! I also, uh, embraced, this bright little morsel with a friendly hug. 

It took me as long to reach the park on this day, than it normally does to make a full circuitous route, but I was happy, finger stained, and most definitely re-energized! 

Are you a berry-hound? Where do you pick, what's your favorite? As always, I love it when you write to me at D@Delilah.com! We all have things we can share with others to spark conversation, warm memories, and new connections!

I hope, as you read this, you too are having a berry good day! With much love and the Lords blessings,

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Balsam Hill | "Christmas in July" benefitting Point Hope!

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I have some wonderful friends at Balsam Hill!

We met in the realm of the business world, and the relationship quickly developed to be so much more than an opportunity to showcase their amazingly realistic faux florals, greenery, and Christmas trees!

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For the last two years, Balsam Hill has made the NGO I founded, Point Hope, a recipient of their charitable giving several times over. They have underwritten my annual Farm to Feast garden party, where people come together to eat fresh, locally sourced, and deliciously prepared foods, and learn about the work of Point Hope. In addition, they've made Point Hope a benefactor of their on-going philanthropy work.

This month, we've teamed up for their Christmas in July campaign. All month long, Balsam Hill has been giving back to different charities, and the week of July 22- July 29, they will be focusing on Point Hope!

Here's how it works. Visitors like you help to drive awareness and raise as much money as possible for Point Hope by engaging on my social media posts about Balsam Hill's charity campaign and by visiting their blog.

  • Each like is worth .50 cents.

  • Each comment and/or share is worth $1.

  • If you mention Point Hope on Balsam Hill's BLOG, it's worth $2!

There is no commitment on your behalf, just your social media involvement. I so appreciate the extra minute or two of your time it will take, and, believe me, the underserved children and communities the funds will go toward supporting, appreciate it even more!,

Want to know more about Point Hope? Visit us HERE.
For more about Balsam Hill's philanthropy, visit them HERE.

Many many, thanks to my dear friends at Balsam Hill, a company that is making a difference in the world, one beautiful bouquet, wreath, and tree at a time!

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Hooray for Special Dads!

Ok, ALL dads are special! 

But earlier this month, I shared some gift ideas for the dad (or dads) in your life. I also promised to give away two bundles of every item I'd recommended; all you had to do is write to me and tell me about the man that brings inspiration and honor to the title "Father."

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Your responses came flooding in and wow, are there some amazing men out there! I so love to read your stories! 

I'm going to share two of them with you and I bet you'll agree that the gift bundles they will receive in the mail are well deserved.

 
Dear Delilah,
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My husband, John, was not raised with a Dad. His parent divorced when he was an infant. Bad blood, meddling grandparents, and selfish thoughts (on both sides) kept him from having a relationship with his father. Growing up, he had his grandfather as a male role model. Unfortunately, his grandfather left the family when John was 10, again plunging him into the “fatherless” role.

Growing up, he wasn’t able to participate in the traditional father-son activities: father-son cake bake in Cub Scouts, Dad & me events, fishing on the lake, playing catch in the backyard, teaching him how to fight off bullies, showing him how to defend himself, how to tie a tie... the list goes on. 

Flash forward: A little over nine years ago, after five years of marriage, countless negative results-I’m pregnant. John bounced from feelings of elation right down to bone chilling fear. His biggest fear? He didn’t know how to be a father. 

He. Didn’t. Know. How. To. Be. A. Father. 

What did he have to look to? How was he going to show his daughter or son what a father looks like, when he didn’t know himself?

This man wept when he was finally able to look into the eyes of his son. He was overcome by a sense of the need to protect this innocent baby who was securely tucked into his arms. He proudly proclaimed to everyone that he was a father of a baby boy. 

Within the past eight years, he’s shown our son what it means to be a father. He’s present EVERY SINGLE DAY! He’s participating in all of the activities that he missed out on, with our son. Important life lessons, philosophical discussions, silly notions, and life’s quandaries are discussed around the workbench as they build their latest project. 

Sometimes, if you can catch him in just the right moment... you can see that lost little boy within my husband’s eyes and catch him smiling. For those moments, I am grateful. 

~ Shelby

Wow, what a powerful message! This man was determined to set a different course for himself and his child. I am so very proud of him, and all men who make the same choice to be a strong, unwavering presence in their children's lives! Please pass along a high five Shelby!

Dear Delilah, 
I am writing to you about my dad, Henry. I am one of 8 children. Yes I said eight! Four from birth and four born from the heart. Never was there a hesitant moment when my parents thought they couldn't take in another child from foster care that needed a home. My dad was always the one saying, "Let's do it. "
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My dad took on two jobs for a bit to help cover expenses of so many children. He worked hard keeping the family afloat. 
Now I'm almost 40 and he is retired, yet he is still working so hard. He helps take care of my sister's children while my mom is at work, (she is a paraprofessional at a charter school in northern Michigan and has been doing it for 20 years or more.) He helps build props and sets at the school for no pay. He also plays in the church band every Sunday, participates in men's group, and sings for specials.
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This past couple of weeks my father decided to use some of the money they had saved for renovations to create a fun outdoor area for the grandkids. He moved the fence to make the yard bigger, hand built the gate so his riding lawnmower would fit, set up new play areas and built a teeter-totter. He is so hand around the home and loves to do wood working and activities to make others happy. 
I just believe he is the most deserving father ever. I love him so! 
~ Thanks, Erin

Thank YOU, Erin, for telling us about this Super Dad. Taking on eight kids is not for the faint of heart (props to your mamma as well!) It sounds to me like your dad has discovered the secret to a happy life; loving unconditionally, keeping busy, and giving back.  Please give him my love and thanks for a job superbly done!

Enjoy your gift bundles fellas - there are great books, music, candy, and gift cards all packed up for you.

And now that you've read these, dear visitors, perhaps you understand why I ask you to write to me!

There are millions of amazing stories out there that delight and inspire. I want to hear them all! Please share yours with me too!

Drop something in my mailbox D@Delilah.com.

 

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