Archive for the 'Holidays' Category

September 6, 2021 | Holidays

To all our friends,

Wishing you a fun holiday!

from the Taylor family


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June 9, 2021 | Cooking, Holidays, Uncategorized

Father’s Day is June 20 this year. Show dad some love with this flavorful dinner fit for a king and definitely enjoyed by the queen and all the princes and princesses. Easy to make and oh, so good.


Grilled Sirloin Steak

Twice Baked Potatoes

Sautéed Mushrooms

Caesar Salad

Dry Red Wine – Burgundy

Grilled Sirloin Steak

Sirloin steak, cut 1 – 1½ in. (2.50 – 3.80cm) plan ¾ lb. (375g) per person

1 cup (240ml) garlic infused oil (recipe below) or 1 cup (240ml) olive oil and 3 lg. garlic cloves, sliced

½ cup (120ml) dry red wine

2 tbsp. (30ml) basil

2 tbsp. (30ml) oregano

Cut slits in fat around the meat so it doesn’t curl when cooked.

Combine all ingredients into a plastic bag or glass bowl. Marinade 5 – 12 hours in fridge. Sirloin can be tough. A long marinade is needed to make the meat tender and juicy.

Remove meat from fridge 1 hour before grilling.

Preheat grill on medium-high.

Pat meat dry. Discard marinade. Place steak on grill and close lid.

Grill first side 4 – 5 minutes. Turn meat (you only turn meat once) and final grill the second side as listed:

2 – 3 minutes rare

3 – 5 minutes medium-rare

5 – 7 minutes medium

6 – 9 minutes medium-well

Garlic Infused Oil

This is a wonderful oil to sauté vegetables or fry meat and poultry. It’s especially good to swipe a thin coating on burgers before frying or grilling.

2 cups (450ml) good quality olive oil

5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

Drop garlic into a glass bottle or jar. Pour in oil. Cover tightly.

Set the bottle on your counter, away from the sun, for at least three days before you use it. Remove garlic after 5 days and discard. The flavored oil is good for two months.

This method works well with all herbs. Be sure to cover the herbs with oil so they don’t mold.

Twice Baked Potatoes

The amounts of the following ingredients are left up to your taste, but don’t be sparing if you want great flavor.

1 baking potato per person

Olive oil


Extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Sour cream

Freshly ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400° F (200°C).

Wash potatoes under cool water. Pat dry. Rub skins with a little olive oil. Make a small slit across their tops. Lay on a cookie sheet. Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick is easily inserted.

Combine butter, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and pepper into a small bowl.

When potatoes are tender, lay them on a cutting board and slice them in half. They’ll be very hot so use pot holders for this. Scoop the pulp into the above mixture. Be careful not to rip the skins. Whip the mixture well.

Refill the shells and set them back on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a little paprika for color.

Stop here if you plan to serve the potatoes the next day. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator at least one hour before baking.

No matter which option you use, preheat reheat oven to 325° F (160°C).

Bake uncovered 25 – 30 minutes. You only want to heat the potatoes so don’t overdo the baking time.

Sautéed Mushrooms

8 oz. (250g) mini bella mushrooms

1 tbsp. (15ml) olive oil

2 tbsp. (25g) butter

½ small onion, sliced thin

2 tbsp. (30ml) dry vermouth or white wine

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms with a paper towel to remove bedding soil. Slice them in half lengthwise if medium or into thirds if large.

Over medium heat dribble olive oil into a medium-sized frying pan and add butter. Stir in onions and mushrooms. Sauté until almost tender, 3 – 6 minutes.

Pour vermouth or white wine over the mushrooms and continue to heat.

To serve, grind pepper across the top and spoon into a warm serving dish.

This dish is best cooked and served on the same day. Leftovers are soggy.

Caesar Salad

1 egg, coddled
1 lg. clove garlic
½ tsp. (2.5ml) anchovy paste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice, preferably fresh
3 drops white vinegar or as close to as possible
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
Romaine lettuce, 3 leaves per person, washed and dried
½ cup (37g) Parmesan cheese, grated

1 bag croutons, optional

Remove egg from refrigerator well before assembling all other ingredients on your counter. Eggs cook better for any recipe when at or close to room temperature.

Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Place egg in water and boil 2 minutes. This process is called coddling.  Rinse under cold water, crack shell, and then scoop the runny egg into a small bowl. Break up the solid white pieces and lightly mix. Later, you will add some of this to the salad dressing.

In a large glass or wooden serving bowl, mash garlic with a spoon and fork into coarse pieces. Rub pieces against the sides of bowl to spread the oil they have released.

Add anchovy and pepper. Mix well. Pour in lemon juice and vinegar. Mix well. Add in ½ – ¾ of the coddled egg. Mix well. Blend in olive oil until the dressing thickens. Remove this mixture from your bowl and set aside to use right before serving.

Tear lettuce into bitesize pieces. Add to salad bowl. Pour in some of the dressing. Toss well. Add more dressing if the lettuce looks too dry. Sprinkle on ¼ cup (28g) or so of Parmesan. Toss again.

Arrange salad on individual chilled bowls or plates. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and croutons. Serve immediately.

For a larger salad, increase ingredients proportionally, but do not exceed two eggs.

These recipes plus many more fun holiday menus are available in my Recipes to Cook Holidays Extraordinaire cookbook.


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May 31, 2021 | Holidays

Can you find it in your heart?

As your day advances into fun-filled activities with family and friends,

please take one moment to remember the men and women who served.

They gave more than any of us can ever imagine.

Thank you,


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May 24, 2021 | Holidays



to all our Canadian friends!


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May 5, 2021 | Holidays

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Party hearty, eat well, and stay safe.

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March 17, 2021 | Holidays

Sure and Begorrah!

Wishing you all a safe and fun day!

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March 8, 2021 | Author Friend Promo, Holidays

from Catherine Castle

I’m channeling Martha Stewart today with a home décor post, so bear with me this morning.

As we head into another year of unusual holiday entertaining chances are there will still be fewer people around your table. Fewer guests don’t mean you should back down on the fancy arrangements.  Instead, why not get creative and try something different?

I don’t know about you, but when I have company, I like to set a decorative table. It’s one of the reasons I have ten different sets of dishes and several different sets of glassware. I can set a Disney table, complete with themed flatware and napkin rings; go native American with my Indian patterned dishes; have an indoor garden party with my garden dishes; set two different themed Christmas tables; or celebrate the Fourth of July Americana style. I also have two sets of patterned Corelle®, a plain white Corelle set, and plain colored stoneware that will span several seasons.

I know, I know. That’s way too many plates, cups and bowls for one person to own. But, much to my hubby’s chagrin, it’s a quirky fetish of mine. I collect dishes like most women collect shoes. I can’t bypass a single display of dishes without lusting after them. I realize most women don’t have access to such a wide variety of dishes, aside from Martha Stewart perhaps. But even if you don’t have a bazillion complete sets of dishes, you can still set a decorative table.

Having said that, I decided to challenge myself and my overabundant dish fetish. Instead of using a complete set of one of the ten dish settings I have, could I create four seasonal table settings using only four white dinner plates, 8 solid primary color luncheon plates, and 8 assorted bowls and 4 clear glasses?

With no patterns in the dishes to help set the seasonal mood, I decided to use patterned placemats. Placemats take up less storage room than dishes and cost less to replace if they get stained or you just want a change. Seasonal paper napkins and decorative elements gathered from around the house for centerpieces rounds out the table. Since white contrasts best with colored or patterned placemats I used the white dinner plates as the base for the place settings.

Spring bursts onto the table in shades of yellow, white, and turquoise. A vase of airy pink flowers adorns the center of the table, and a cocktail napkin containing all four colors ties the place setting together. If you’re having an Easter dinner, a pretty Easter basket filled with battery operated candles would be the perfect centerpiece, or unwrap that giant chocolate bunny you bought, set him on a plate with your homemade Easter eggs and fill in the empty spots with Easter grass. This is one centerpiece you won’t have to store.


Celebrate summer’s freedom holiday with a red, white and blue theme. A candle in a star shaped dish sets center stage. If you have them, a few sparklers set in small balls of clay around the candle would be an interesting touch. (I didn’t, so I just went with the single candle.) Placing blue and red napkins in the glasses gave the hint of fireworks to the table settings.

I was sorely tempted to break out the garden dishes to create a summer garden party theme, but since I figured most people don’t have an assortment of flower and veggie shaped dishes, that would be cheating on the challenge.

When the temperatures drop and autumn rolls around, bring out the warmer colors of yellow and red to contrast with the warm wood tones of your table. A circle of leaves around a tall candle works as a centerpiece and draws in all the colors of the plates into the palette. If you have fall placemats they can be used under the dishes. I only had two matching autumn placemats, so I chose to forego them on this table setting. Instead of white bowls I used some red and green ramekins to pull in more fall color.


Christmas brings out the traditional, cheery colors of red and green. I interspersed green ramekins with the white bowls for a touch more green in this palette and to make the bowls pop on the red plates. Using green napkins in the glasses looks like you have tiny evergreen tree on your table.



With 20 dishes, not counting the clear glasses, I’ve created four attractive seasonal place settings. Now, the trick will be to not let the hubby see what I can do with only 20 dishes. Because if he finds out, I’ll have no more excuses to buy tableware.

Which one of these table settings do you like best? I can’t decide. I may just have to see how many more I can create using a few unusual pieces. Oh! New antiquing idea—searching for unique seasonal serving pieces to set off my five-color scheme place settings. Then I think I’ll have some dinner guests over—once COVID is gone.

What about you? How do you create inviting dinner tables?

Now that you’ve got some great table settings lined up, relax with Catherine’s multi-award-winning inspirational romantic suspense novel The Nun and the Narc.

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

The Nun and the Narc is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.

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December 30, 2020 | Holidays

To Everyone All Around the World


from Studs, Sloane, and all the Taylors
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December 23, 2020 | Holidays

Wishing You and Yours
a very Merry Christmas



Along with
Pleasant memories of holidays past!
From the entire Taylor family
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November 25, 2020 | Holidays

The Entire Taylor Family

Wishes You and Yours

Happy Thanksgiving
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