Category Archives: Lifestyle Recipe for the Holidays

Recipe and article courtesy of

Here is a tasty appetizer idea from Ann and Jane Esselstyn. Give these Smoky Little Devils a try this holiday season!

12 small red potatoes (roughly the size of large walnuts or small clementines)
Pinch of smoked paprika, for garnish
1 green onion, finely sliced, for garnish
Baby kale leaves, for garnish (optional)

Hummus Filling:
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1½ tablespoons brown mustard, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Set a steamer insert in a saucepan and add about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat; then place the potatoes in the steamer basket and steam for about 20 minutes. Plunge them into cold water in a big bowl or just run cold water over them.

2. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon, mustard, pepper, and 2 Tablespoons water. Process until uniformly smooth.

3. Slice each potato in half. With the small end of a melon-baller or a small spoon, scoop out a hole in the center. (Save the little scooped-out potato balls to put into a salad or just pop them into your mouth!)

4. Fill each hole with hummus. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. It is easiest to take a tiny bit between your fingers and sprinkle just enough for the color to show.

5. Garnish with green onions or, for a really fun look, use a tinybaby kale leaf as a “sail” in each little potato “boat.”

Recipe from: The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook

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CBHarper Family Kitchen: Lasagna Extraordinaire by Janette Springer

This recipe and story is brought to us by Janette Springer, REALTOR®, GRI and 2015 Eagle Award Winner.

988_4172684Well I couldn’t pass on this topic because my family has been making and passing this recipe on for generations. I even taught both my sons and we have added something extra to the tradition.

Our recipe is made with a combination of ground hamburger and sausage just to start but the major unique item in this is we don’t use noodles of any kind.  We have been taught to use crescent rolls on the top & bottom of this dish.  It is best if you make sure to roll these out and line your pan, thin is the best or else you end up eating a lot of bread and not a lot of goods in the middle.

Since you can do a lot with crescent rolls something special we like to do is when we were finishing off the top is take and spell out a message; Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Love you, Happy Father’s day and so on…..

Well enough of the family stories please enjoy this awesome recipe.

Lasagna Extraordinaire
From the kitchen of Janette Springer

The adults and kids love to eat this as well as make it.  Zachariah, and now Matthew say it is easy for them to make and favorite to eat with the tradition being to spell out something on top with crescents when making it.


1 lb. Hamburger Meat (90/10 works well)

1lb. Favorite Breakfast Sausage
(I use Owens) Cook, drain continue

Add in the following spices to start building the flavor:
2 tbsp. Oregano

1-1/2 tbsp. Basil

Freshly minced garlic to liking

(A LOT) 3 tbsp. Parsley flakes
Parsley flakes should cover pan twice. Parsley is important to this recipe so please use plenty.  Once this has cooked together then add tomato sauce.

One can of tomato sauce

Crescent rolls (3-4 small cans or 2-3 large cans/you can use the garlic flavored ones)

Spray Pam Non-Stick Spray

1-8 oz. container of small cottage cheese

1 egg

8 oz. cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Mozzarella cheese


Once meat has browned together (drain) then add in spices and one can of tomato sauce.

Let this simmer for about 15 minutes for the meat to absorb the flavor.

Now while this is simmering you should prepare the pan.
You will bake this in which is 9 ½ X 11.

Take Pam Non-Stick and spray the bottom and sides.  Then take your crescent rolls and a rolling pin and line the inside of the pan.  The key on this is rolling the crescents very thin so the rolls don’t mask the inside.

In separate bowl mix together 1-8 oz. container of small cottage cheese with 1 egg, parsley flakes just enough that you can see and 8 oz. fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

The final step is to take the pan lined with crescents and start layering the cheese mix, meat and mozzarella cheese until all used and finish it off with a final layer of crescent rolls for the top.  Remember to only place crescents on the bottom and top only.  Place in oven for 25 minutes to 30 minutes if the crescents start browning before you feel it has been long enough to melt the inside just place foil on top to prevent burning.


Whenever Zach or Matt makes this they always write a message on the top with crescents… Happy Birthday, or whatever the occasion.  This is a tradition Zach started and now we all do it.  This recipe was printed in the last HEB cookbook as well.


CBHarper Family Kitchen – Autumn Squash Soup

This Autumn Squash Soup is so delicious and creamy that the photo doesn’t do it justice. This vegan friendly recipe offers all tasters an enjoyable meal. If you’d like to substitute out some of the ingredients for the original butter and milk version see our added notes on the instruction section. No matter which option you go with this is certainly a soup you can feel good about!

Autumn Squash Soup:

4 cups peeled and diced butternut squash, preferably fresh
1 large Honeycrisp apple; peeled, cored and cubed. (substitute your favorite variety of apple)
1/2 Yellow or Vidala onion finely diced
1 tablespoon coconut oil (can substitute 2 tablespoons butter)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (add more to taste)
3 1/2 cups of vegetable broth (may substitute chicken broth)
1/2 cup almond milk, either sweeten or unsweetened depending on taste
(Can replace almond milk with heavy cream)
1 tablespoon salt
a pinch of cinnamon

1.) Roast cubed butternut squash on baking sheet with cinnamon and salt for about 30 minutes at 425ºF.

2.) While the squash roasts, sauté apple and onion in coconut oil (or butter) with curry powder and salt until softened. About 10 minutes.

3.) Add broth, milk and squash to the apple/onion mixture in skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Stir and salt to taste.

4.) Transfer soup to blender or use immersion blender/food processor and blend until soup is smooth and creamy. Optional: Top with fresh herbs like thyme or green onions and a dollop of fresh cream.

5.) Enjoy with crusty French bread or grilled cheese!


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CBHarper Family Kitchen: Lasagna Boats

This time of year is the season of the squash. We typically see pumpkin, butternut and acorn – but not a whole lot of spaghetti squash recipes. One of our CBHarper Family members shared this delightful dinner recipe for lasagna boats. Great for children, vegetarian diets, carb-free and all-around food lovers. This version happens to be vegetarian, but add pancetta and you’re golden.

4-6 small spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise with seeds scooped out
splash of olive oil
1 head garlic
1 lbs. italian tofu meat crumbles (or chicken sausage for the non-vegetarian version)
1/2 sweet Vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh sage
1 tsp. fresh basil
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper (or to taste)
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup provolone shredded cheese (fontina cheese also works well)
1 cup mozzarella shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 400º

988_4172684Drizzle olive oil, plus add salt and pepper all over the cut side of both squash halves. On a baking sheet place sliced squash cut-side down. Slice the top of garlic head and also place on baking sheet next to squash. Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until squash is tender.

Remove both items from oven.

Squeeze the roasted garlic from its husk into a bowl and set aside.

Scrape inside of squash with fork until it breaks down into noodle-like strands.

Reduce the oven to 350º

While the squash bakes it’s time to prepare your sauce. In large skillet, heat roughly 1 tablespoon of olive oil (you can add the pancetta at this time or opt for just the veggies.) Addthe onion, bay leaf, thyme and sage – cook stirring gently until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Push the onion herb mixture to one side of the pan.
Add a splash more olive oil to the center of the pan and add in the tofu crumbles (or meat). Heat until browned about 3 minutes.


Add tomatoes, basil and water, then combine everything while stirring. Reduce to simmer about 15-20 minutes. Once sauce has thickened a bit remove bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in mashed roasted garlic.

In medium sauce pan, we will make a bechamel sauce. Melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour, blend constantly for 1 minute. Should form a thick but smooth paste. Slowly add in milk, continue whisking throughout. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in provolone, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let cool but stir occasionally.


Assembling the boats is next. Layer the squash strands with the tomato (meat) sauce, cheese sauce and top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350º or until cheese is melting and slightly browned. Garnish with basil and enjoy!


Inspired by this recipe.

New Braunfels Celebrates Dia De Los Muertos

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-10-31-51-amOctober 29th — New Braunfels’ inaugural Dia De Los Muertos Festival was held on October 29th at the New Braunfels Farmers Market.

A free festival filled with fun, cultural food, art & crafts, shopping, live music and entertainment, the Dia De Los Muertos New Braunfels Festival was an educational insight for the history of the day. This event was hosted by the Hispanic Business Alliance, a part of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce.

One of our Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, REALTORS® New Braunfels Sales Agents, Cynthia Leos, was there to enjoy the festivities. She was kind enough to share some snap shot from the days events. There is even a rumor that next year will host a costume contest!

Pictured below is Cynthia Leos and her son in costume from this year’s event, along with [right] a clipping of the news article in the Herald-Zeitung.




unknown-3’s “A Mother’s Complete Guide to Halloween Safety”’s “A Mother’s Complete Guide to Halloween Safety” is a thorough but simple guide that provides a complete checklist to keep your kids safe on Halloween.

Did you know that child pedestrian accidents increase by 4x on that day? The guide is going to walk you through the steps that you can take to make sure your children will avoid injury, but won’t miss out on the fun.


Read the full story here:

A special thank you to Deborah Hall from for sharing these helpful guidelines to ensure everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

A Gardening Story by Denise Barnhill

When a message from Denise Barnhill came across the email, we were so thrilled. She wanted to share photos of her garden and how much joy its brought her. It is these stories of simplicity and happiness that warm our hearts.

In her own words… Here is my gardening story. 

The "before" shot when we got everything planted.

The “before” shot, when we got everything planted.

I would like to share with others my story to inspire the love of gardening. The books say ‘home is where the heart is’ and ‘your home is your castle’. This REALTOR® has found a refuge in her own backyard.

On August 23rd, 2016 my youngest daughter Catherine said she would like to grow some eggplant. So we went to the nursery and purchase some plants to plant in the ground. One of those being an eggplant. So we dug up the dirt, made holes and placed the seedlings in the ground. In all, we planted 2 eggplants, 2 tomato, 2 strawberry, 1 zucchini and 4 pepper plants. We also placed 4 kinds of herbs into a pot – rosemary, peppermint, cilantro and basil. They are doing very well.



This is our first garden and all of the plants are thriving and growing. Our recipe for success is to just add water and watch the plants grow.


Buying and living in a home gives the homeowners a chance to sow gardens, works in their yards and learn about herbs and flowers to expand their knowledge and love of nature. It has been truly rewarding, looking forward to continue my journey in gardening.





The "after" shot as you can see the plants are quite a bigger larger and full of vegetables.

The “after” shot, as you can see the plants are quite a bit larger and full of vegetables.

All the photos above were supplied and taken by Denise – what wonderful pictures!

Have questions for Denise? Or perhaps you’re looking for your next home to start your first garden? She can help with that too – give her a call or send an email:

Denise Barnhill, REALTOR®
(210) 865-5116


CB Harper Family Kitchen – Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Are you busy but still love to make delicious food? Us too! It is nice to be able to make recipes from scratch but with work schedules and family, those made-from-scratch desserts do not often fit in the schedule.

These delicious muffins are perfect for breakfast, plus one can never have too much pumpkin during the Fall season! In fact, this is so easy you might already have all the ingredients you need right in your pantry.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins (with optional Cream Cheese Frosting)

1 Box cake mix, spice flavor – Betty Crocker is the one we used
1 16oz. Can pureed pumpkin (the puree pumpkin and not the pie filling)
1 Package cupcake liners or non-stick spray.

1.) Preheat oven 350º
2.) Line cupcake pan with decorative paper liners (or use non-stick spray).
3.) Combine the Spice Cake Mix with the pumpkin puree and mix thoroughly until a thick batter consistency.
4.) Fill the cupcake pan and bake for about 18-20 minutes. Test for doneness.

While the muffins bake you can prepare this equally simple cream cheese frosting.

Easy Cream Cheese Whipped Frosting

8 oz. Cream cheese softened
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
(quality vanilla extract makes a huge difference, we used Rodelle brand)
1 1/2 Cups heavy cream

1.) In a non-plastic or porous bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
2.) In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese with sugar and vanilla until smooth.
3.) Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Can use a large ziplock bag with hole cut in the corner to pipe frosting onto cooled muffins. Post pictures of your finished muffins here – we would love to see your culinary efforts!


CB Harper Family Kitchen – Homemade Cornbread

Served on those Fall evenings with some Texas style chili, this cornbread is sure to warm you up! There’s that blue box of cornbread mix that you can’t go wrong with of course. We’ve all had it in our pantry because it’s inexpensive and simple to make. Recently though, we wanted to test out some homemade recipes. It isn’t loaded with jalapeños, bacon or anything Texas cornbread might have but it’s absolutely delicious!

Homemade Cornbread

4 eggs with the yolks and whites separated
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(quality vanilla extract makes a huge difference, we used Rodelle brand)
3/4 cup melted butter
(again, you will want to use a good-quality  salted butter we used Kerrygold)
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1.) Preheat oven to 350º and grease a 9×13 baking pan.
2.) In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract and melted butter. Whisk together until combined thoroughly.

3.) In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients; cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

4.) Combine the dry ingredients into the egg/milk mixture until just blended – do not over mix.

5.) In a non-plastic or porous bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

6.) Fold the egg whites into cornmeal gently until just combined.

7.) Pour batter into prepared 9×13 baking pan.

8.) Bake for 26-58 minutes, test with toothpick to ensure it comes out clean in the center.

9.) Remove from oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Optional: Add a small pat of butter atop slice when serving.

We want to hear from you – what are your favorite recipes? Would you like to see them published? Email them to

CB Harper Family Kitchen – Pumpkin Halloween Cups

These ghoulishly delicious treats are perfect snacks for Halloween parties of any size. October is truly the season of the pumpkin so in this edition, the CBHarper Family Kitchen brings you a sweet treat!

You can make these ahead of time for your Halloween or Thanksgiving party, plus they are really easy to make and customize. The recipe below is one we tried at home and customized a bit.

Pumpkin Pudding Cups

1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1 can of 15oz. pureed pumpkin
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (can be adjusted to taste)
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup vanilla sandwich cookies
1 can or container of whipped cream topping
8-10 Ball canning jars or other decorative serving container
* Individual spices can be substituted for premixed “pumpkin spice”

1.) In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk. Let set for about 5 minutes – if you place in fridge it will set faster.

2.) Mix pureed pumpkin with spices. Then slowly stir in vanilla pudding into pumpkin until blended. (May or may not have a swirl pattern)

3.) Crush the vanilla sandwich cookies in a blender/food processor until its a crumb material.

4.) Set out your containers and add the pumpkin pudding about 3/4 way full. Then add a layer of cookie crumbles.

5.) Top with the whipped cream.
add caramel or chocolate drizzle to the top.

6.) Chill until you are ready to serve and enjoy!

We want to hear from you – what are your favorite recipes? Would you like to see them published? Email them to