Saturday, May 10, 2014

Family Favorites with Belle Calhoun!

Family Favorites  -   By popular demand

Hi everyone! Belle Calhoune here.  I'm very excited to be visiting the Yankee Belle Cafe.

Frankly, I love to cook, which is a good thing since my family loves to eat. 

In Forever Her Hero, my May Love Inspired release, the Trask family gathers for a family celebration on the beach to enjoy a clambake and fellowship.  When my own family comes together in Cape Cod, I tend to make family favorites.  Seafood.  Chicken kabobs on the grill.  Grilled corn on the cob.  One of my main goals is to satisfy the taste buds of the adults as well as the younger crowd (teenagers and the 11 and under crew).

First, let me say that I am a crock pot gal.  Call me crock pot crazy.  It fascinates me how many things I can make in this magical cooking device.   Last year we had a tragic moment where I dropped the lid of my crock pot, causing it to shatter on the kitchen floor.  Yes, there were tears.  And a hushed silence as my husband and two girls waited for me to lose it.  That's how much I loved my crock pot.  Happily, a few weeks later a brand new one was sitting under my Christmas tree.  Might I add that it was nicer than the one I broke.  Score!

Savory Chili.  This happens to be my all time favorite meal.  Good thing the rest of my family loves it as well.  Throw in some cornbread and I'm in heaven.  I consider this the ultimate comfort food, perfect to put on the table all year round.  My mother used to make it for us all the time.  I love how easy it is to make.   You can also choose an alternative to ground beef for a different taste and a healthier option. 

Hamburger, Ground Turkey or Ground Chicken Meat. 
1 can of tomatoes
2 can of tomato paste
1 cup marinara sauce
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 chopped onion
1/4th of a tsp of pepper
1/4th of a tsp of salt
1 tsp of oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
Chili Pepper (as needed)
1 Can of Kidney beans, strained
Packet of Chili seasoning. 

Brown meat in skillet.  Once browned and fat drained off you can start adding whole tomatoes, tomato paste and marinara sauce.  Then add the kidney beans, onion and garlic.  Mix in all the seasonings.  Let the chili simmer for a half an hour on low for best results. 


My Aunt Josephine was born on the island of Monserrat in the West Indies, along with my grandmother.  Aunt Jo was a fantastic cook.   She was a baker extraordinaire.  My one major regret is that we didn't record all of her recipes in a family cookbook.  I can still taste her rice and beans,  as well as her carrot cake and almond cookies.  Her recipe for lemon squares is one I still have the recipe for.

Lemon Squares with a tropical twist:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4th a cup of sifted powdered sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ tsp of finely grated lemon peel
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/4th tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Powdered sugar

Set oven to 350.  Mix flour and powdered sugar.  Add butter to mixture.  Once mixture clings together place in baking pan.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  While crust is cooking beat eggs with a mixer, adding in granulated sugar along with lemon peel, vanilla and lemon juice.  Beat until smooth and mixture thickens. Set aside. Stir together 2 tablespoons flour and baking powder then add to egg mixture.  Take out crust from oven.  Pour mixture over warm bottom crust.  Place back in oven for 30 minutes.  Once out of oven sift powdered sugar on top. 

Voila! After the lemon bars cool, cut them into squares and enjoy.

Clabber Girl.  I recently discovered this product.  Can you believe it? My husband brought it home from the supermarket and I just stared at it because I thought it was the cutest thing.  I then posted it on my author page and discovered that Clabber girl is famous.   As a New Englander born and bred, I hadn't seen it or used it.  All I can say is, I'm now a fan.  Where has Clabber Girl been all my life?

Apple crumble.  A favorite dessert often requested by my youngest daughter, Sierra.  She could eat this every day, and it's my go-to dessert when I have lots of apples to use up.


  I've used all kinds of apples to make this, which results in a sometimes sweeter and other times tarter taste. 

Now that Spring has finally sprung in Connecticut, my mind is beginning to wander to family barbecues and get togethers.   What's your family favorite recipe?

Belle Calhoune grew up in small town outside of Boston.  An avid reader since she was a child, she was known to always have her nose buried in a book.  Thankfully, her Physician mother and Biologist father never discouraged her from reading romance novels.  While at Syracuse University, Belle met her future husband and majored in English literature.  After graduation Belle became a Federal Investigator in Boston, celebrated the birth of her first child and worked full-time as her husband attended law school.  After the birth of her youngest child, Belle moved to southern Connecticut where she began to focus on her writing dreams while being a stay at home mom.  Writing for Harlequin Love Inspired is a dream come true. Being able to work in her pjs and stay home with her mini poodle and Chocolate Lab are huge perks.  Busy writing and plotting her next novel, Belle loves to hear from readers. Visit Belle at:


  1. YUM! I also like chili year round - if I waited for long periods of cold in Houston to have it I would never know what it was (though I have to say this year got pretty cold for down here!)
    OK I don't bake but I know what Clabber Girl is LOL! my mom used Calumet but I was always fascinated with this can in the grocery store - the name, picture, the whole works (plus it's not the one my mom used whch made it ok to claim as my own..IF I were gonna bake!)

    will have to look for your book - I like reading about food LOL! not into clams - shrimp's about my only seafood adventure and even then I don't wanna see the whole thing- deveined and no head on it is what I go for...Louisiana is next door and I don't even do the crawfish stuff but I like gumgo (minus certain ingredients - shrimp, chicken and sausage are enough for me)

    you have quite a doggy combo- a quilt-friend of mine has big black lab and little yorkie! they even play together. I have a 13 yr old german shepherd and last year lost my 12 yr old black lab - still miss my sweet baby and enjoying what I have with my shepherd.
    Susanna who's gonna try to get a little more sleep before work..sigh...

    1. Have a good day at work, Susanna!

    2. Hi Suzy. The funny thing about Clabber Girl is that I seemed to be the only human on Earth who didn't know of it's existence. And I promise you, when my husband brought it home a few months ago I just sat and stared at the can. My husband was born in Mississippi so he had memories of his grandmother baking with it. And chili is my all time favorite. It's a lucky thing my kids always ask me to make it. They love it with plain white rice and cornbread. Mmmm. Yes, my dogs are a strange combination. The mini poodle was the leader of his pack and is able to harass the older, bigger chocolate lab. When we got him as a puppy we'd already had our chocolate lab for many years. For the first few weeks the mini poodle puppy was really bothering our lab...biting, nipping...among other things. Happily things settled down.

  2. What a great post!!

    And NOT one I needed to read at 2:30 AM and just about to go to bed because now dinner seems VERY far away and I'm starving!

    These are great recipes!! And congrats on your book, which I got to see in person in my local Walmart in Walla Walla, WA! There was only one copy left... Just sayin'. :)

    1. Oooh, that's good to hear about the books selling so quickly, Virginia!

    2. I love hearing that my book landed in Walla Walla! And the icing on the cake is that there was only one copy left. Yessss!

  3. What a yummy post!!! I love my crock pot too so I gasped over your crockpot mishap. I felt your pain!!! I LOVE lemon bars. Drooling over that picture. Glad spring has arrived in your part of the world. It's working on it up here --- had some close calls this week. :-)

    1. I know, Kav! I cringed over the Crock Pot too. Of course, I used a broken one for a long time. Had to use pliers to turn it on and off because the knob broke. :)

    2. Hi Kav. The crock pot episode was awful. I'm not ashamed to admit a few tears were shed. It was one of those moments where it happened in fast motion and I just couldn't hold on to the top before it fell...and of course smashed. Luckily I have a pretty savvy husband who knew the value in keeping his wife happy...and of course it allowed him to continue to be the recipient of all the yummy crock pot meals. I know one thing for sure. I will always have a crock pot in the house.

  4. Oh my goodness, Belle, I'm with Sierra. That cobbler looks amazing!

    1. It does, doesn't it, Mary! I love the crust best. Who needs fruit! LOL

    2. Thanks Mary. I've only recently been a baker of cobbler. And it was inspired by Sierra. She is the child who loves apples. As a snack she loves apples and caramel. She also is the one who always makes sure we have apple pie on Fourth of July, Christmas and any other holiday she can think of. I started making the cobbler to see if it was something she would enjoy. No big surprise there! She loves it. And Missy, I love the crust too. Delicious.

  5. Welcome to the cafe, Belle!

    All of your recipes look fabulous. I'm a chili lover, too. We don't have it as often as I'd want to put it on the menu, but I don't want an anti-chili revolt in the house :)

    And the crock pot! The lid broke on mine several years ago, but I couldn't wait to get another one - went out that day and replaced it. It's too important to live without!

    We also have dogs - big and small - but they're similar enough that they don't look mismatched. The corgi has the same sticky-up ears as the husky, and looks like her little shadow when we go for our walks.

    1. Thanks for the warm welcome Jan! I understand about the anti chili revolt. My husband likes it, but not as much as the rest of us. He's a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

      A crock pot is definitely something I can't live without. I gave one to my father for Christmas and he keeps updating me with all the things he's made. Lots of soups and pork chops.

      I love corgis. They are adorable. I am constantly tempted to add a third dog...but then I correct myself. They are a lot of work!

  6. Man those lemon bars look so yum. I'm going to have to keep that recipe to make! : )

    1. They are really good. And a little addictive. The recipe is good because it's not too complicated. Nice and easy. And delicious.

  7. Thank you for sharing - I'm making those lemon squares - they look like they don't stay around to long.

    1. Hi Jolene. Let me know how the lemon squares turn out. You have a lot of kids so I'm sure they'll go quickly lol.