girltalk Blog

Jul 26

Summer is for Salad Dressing

2017 at 6:58 am   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

A little-known fact about me is that I actually like salad. In fact, I make salads all summer long. Now, I may be a teeny-weeny bit picky about veggie toppings. I don’t eat tomatoes or asparagus. I only eat carrots if they are NOT cooked and broccoli if it IS cooked. I won’t touch cauliflower with a ten-foot pole, but give me cucumbers and peppers all day long. However, if we are being honest here, the main reason salads dominate my dinner menu every summer is for the dressing. And the bacon. And the cheese and the homemade croutons. But back to dressing. We girltalkers have a few go-to salad dressing recipes that are too good to keep to ourselves. I’ve become such a homemade dressing snob that I can’t eat store bought dressing anymore. Take a look at these yummy recipes and join me in my summer of salad eating. You’re welcome!

Thousand Island Dressing:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon white onion, finely minced

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 dash black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well.

Place dressing in a covered container and refrigerate for several hours, stirring occasionally, so that the sugar dissolves and the flavors blend.

Greek Salad Dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano

2 tablespoon peperoncini juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Chill in fridge for a couple of hours before using to blend flavors.

Spinach Salad Dressing:

½ of small-med onion

½ cup cider vinegar

½ cup sugar

1/3 cup catsup

1 cup oil

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

In blender place the onion, vinegar and sugar. Blend until the onion is pulverized. Add the remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate.

Greg’s Special Dressing

1 qt. mayonnaise

3 t. lemon juice

4 T. cracked black pepper

2/3 c. water

1 t. A-1 sauce

10 drops L & P Worcestershire

5 drops Tabasco sauce

½ t. dry mustard

1 T. garlic powder

½ c. Parmesan cheese

2 T. granulated sugar

2 T. chopped parsley

Mix together all dressing ingredients. Chill in fridge for a few hours before using to blend flavors.

Morton’s Blue Cheese Dressing:

2 cups mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons sour cream

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon Durkee’s sauce (sold in the condiment aisle or with the dressings)

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

7 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1.5 C)

salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and sour cream. Add the buttermilk, Durkee sauce, and seasoned salt. Whisk until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and whisk again. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the blue cheese. Transfer to a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least a day and up to four days.

Jun 19

Summer Couscous Salad

2013 at 10:18 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

Here is our new favorite side dish that we served with brats as part of this past Sunday’s Father’s Day menu. It should be noted that Nicole and Mom prefer to substitute (extra) cilantro for the parsley. Oh, and you can add shredded chicken to make this a main course. Add yummy rolls and it makes a perfect summer meal!


  • 1 box couscous, cooked
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 3 limes, juiced


In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients except the olive oil and lime juice. Add olive oil and lime juice right before serving.

Feb 20

Steve’s Orange Julius Recipe

2013 at 8:06 am   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Family Meals | Recipes

Growing up, my sisters and I always wanted a big brother. You know, to defend us against bullies and for other equally important reasons. Well, it just so happens that I inherited two such big brothers when Nicole and Kristin married Steve and Brian. They have never had to defend my honor against bullies but they have come in handy over the years.

And one such time happened last Sunday night when Steve pulled a blender full of orange yumminess out of the refrigerator and gave me a taste. Score one new recipe! Steve has been making homemade Orange Julius and it is easy and delicious. I now have a blender full (or at least it was full last night) sitting in my fridge. And you should have a blender-full in your fridge too.

chair bible

Steve’s Orange Julius Recipe:

  • 1/2 12 oz. can of OJ concentrate
  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 tbsp vanilla

  • 12 ice cubes

  • Blend until ice cubes are gone

Oct 16

Baking Some Crusty Bread

2012 at 4:50 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Holidays | Recipes

My sister, Kristin, and I both love working in the kitchen, but Kristin loves to cook and I love to bake. Honestly, we should work out some kind of system with each other. She makes all my meals and I make all her breads and desserts. Sounds fair, right? I’ll have to call her about that later.

Recently, I found a bread recipe that I have been really enjoying. It’s called “Crusty Bread” and it’s really simple. Simple ingredients and only a few simple steps to pull off the finished product. And it comes out looking so pretty and professional. I don’t know which I love more, the simplicity or the fact that it makes me feel like one of those Panera Bread makers. It’s not a sweet bread. It’s a bread that you would pair with soup or use to make grilled cheese. And the link below provides many different ingredient combinations that you can use to mix it up and make it unique. I’m trying sharp cheddar next.

Another reason I love this bread is that it would make a really fun gift. Check out the post where I found the recipe. I love how the author wrapped each loaf in a tea towel to deliver to friends. So I’m tucking this idea away for Christmas, but also plotting how I can use it now to bless someone in our new church.

So check out this recipe and see if you get as inspired as I did. I’m off to call Kristin.

Sep 26

Fall is Here

2012 at 2:46 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Recipes


Here is a yummy pumpkin recipe for fall, and a poem to go with it:

Colonial Pumpkin Bars

3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup pecans, chopped

Cream butter and sugar together. Blend in pumpkin and eggs. Mix remaining ingredients together and add to creamed mixture. Spread in a greased 10"x15” pan, or (for a cake) in a 9"x13” pan. Bake at 350* for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the pan. When cooled spread with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 lbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend cream cheese and butter well. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and blend well.

Roxie Kelley and Friends, Just a Matter of Thyme, (Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Pub., 1998), 115

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Come ye thankful people come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God’s own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field
Fruit unto his praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of the harvest! grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

God shall come,
And shall take his harvest home;
From his field shall in that day
All offenses purge away,
Give his angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In his garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
Bring thy final harvest home;
Gather thou thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
Come, with all thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest home.

Words: Henry Alford, Music: George J. Elvey

Jul 3

White Barbecue Chicken

2012 at 5:07 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

At the beach last week we made one of my husband’s favorite meals: White Barbecue Chicken on the grill. Taken from an old Southern Living cookbook of my mother-in-law’s, this super easy recipe uses mainly pantry items and tastes different yet delicious. The perfect main dish for a red, white and blue meal!

(Our photographer is busy unpacking today and I can’t take a decent picture to save my life, so you are just going to have to take my word for it that this chicken looks and tastes super yummy!)


1 ½ cups mayonnaise

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons white wine Worcestershire sauce*

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

I like to double the sauce, and use one third to marinade the chicken, one third for basting, and the last third to serve at the table. Score chicken and marinade for a few hours. To keep chicken from drying out, I cook it in the oven at 375 degrees and throw on the grill at the last minute. Serve with lots of extra sauce!

*This product is now called Lea & Perrins White Wine Worcestershire Marinade for Chicken but I have been unable to find it in my local store. To make your own decent substitute combine:

1 1/2 tablespoons white cooking wine

1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

May 22

Summer Sunday Lunch

2012 at 2:46 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

A few Sundays ago, some friends invited my and Kristin’s family over for lunch after church. Yes, do some quick math in your head and you’ll realize that’s a lot of people. 4 Adults and 7 children. And these friends have 5 children of their own. Tara-Beth, you are a brave and gracious hostess. I still laugh when I think of MJ coming into the living room covered in watermelon (which she was eating in some other part of your house) and you just smiling and saying no-big-deal. I obviously have a large amount of sanctification that still needs to occur in my life.

cobb saladAlong with the wonderful fellowship and the messy children, we enjoyed some very yummy food. Tara-Beth served us a Cobb salad that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since we left—3 weeks ago now. I know, I really have it bad for this salad. It was delicious. She got the recipe from the well-known cooking blog Smitten Kitchen. But more than just being out-of-this world good, it was a fantastic dish for hospitality. Almost all of the parts can be prepared ahead of time so there is very little last minute prep involved. And have I mentioned that it is so so yummy?

Would anyone like to come over this Sunday? Cobb salad is on the menu.

Oct 26

Marinara Sauce Recipe

2010 at 4:27 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

I’m racing to get some meals in the freezer before my baby gets here (update coming soon). As you saw on 52home last week, Mom and I made a large batch of marinara sauce. Since you asked for the recipe, here it is. A longtime family favorite!

Basic Marinara Sauce

¼ cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, pressed

2 28 ounces cans whole tomatoes, preferably imported (give tomatoes a quick whirl in food processor)

1 12 ounce can tomato paste

½ cup fresh basil, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

In a large heavy pot, saute garlic in olive oil over medium high heat for about 1 minute. Do not brown! Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Add remaining ingredients, adding parsley last, and simmer 20 minutes.

Meat Sauce Variation: Brown 1 pound meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork, and veal). Drain. Prepare marinara sauce as directed above. Add meat mixture after adding the tomatoes.

Oct 11

Tomato Basil Soup

2010 at 4:23 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

So many of you asked for the Tomato Basil Soup from Janelle’s 52home picture the other day, so here it is. Enjoy!

La Madeleine’s Tomato Basil Soup

4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
12 fresh basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick (1/4 lb) of sweet unsalted butter
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Simmer tomatoes in saucepan for 30 minutes. Puree, with the basil leaves, in small batches, in blender or food processor. Return to saucepan and add cream, butter, salt and pepper while stirring over low heat. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with your favorite bread.

Jun 17

Bitter-Sweet Appetizer

2010 at 3:14 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

It may be summer, but a cold March wind still blows through our hearts when we remember this year’s Maryland v. Michigan State tournament basketball game.

Wearing Maryland red, the Mahaney family all crowded into Dad and Mom’s living room. We were on our feet—bouncing up and down, calling out plays to the television as the Terps overcame a nine point deficit in the last two minutes to clinch the lead.

Then, with only a few seconds left, and Maryland ahead by two, the MSU player took one final three-point shot.

He made it.

We sat down, hands to our faces, and looked at each other in disbelief.

Did that just happen?

“We are heartbroken,” Dad emailed a friend and MSU fan.

As sad as that day was (and still is), it had two redeeming aspects:

1. We were all together, and

2. Mom laid out a delicious spread.

One of the appetizers (which will always remind me of that game, but there is no reason you can’t enjoy it) is a perfect summer starter. It will make a great lead-off to whatever you’re cooking up for Father’s Day.

And, if you would be so kind, observe a moment of silence for our Terps. Your dad will understand.

salsaFruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

3 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and diced
12 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
Melted butter
1 2/3 cups cinnamon sugar (1 1/3 cups sugar and 1/3 cup cinnamon)

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Granny Smith apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brush one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter. Sprinkle buttered side with cinnamon sugar mixture. Then cut into wedges (with pizza cutter) and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.