Gingerbread Cake and Cream Cheese Topping


Piece of Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread was one of my mother’s favorites, which she made, as usual, from memory (I am not sure she ever used a recipe). After trying many different versions, this is the one that I like the best.

This spicy, sweet cake usually falls into the “bread” category, but since it is a generations-old favorite with children and adults alike, I wanted to include it with the traditional cakes. It can be served plain as an in-between meal, packed in a lunch for the office, or after-school snack; and it is equally delicious for dessert when dressed up with lightly sweetened whipped cream, ice cream or Whipped Cream Cheese Topping (Recipe below).


1 cup boiling water, coffee, or orange juice

1 cup butter (do not use margarine)

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup light or dark molasses

(Maple syrup or honey can be substituted for molasses)

3 large eggs

2½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon salt

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg


  • Have all ingredients at room temperature.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 325º F.
  • Generously butter a 9” X 13”-inch baking pan.
  • Place the butter, sugar, and molasses in a large bowl.
  • Pour the boiling liquid over the mixture – stir until butter is melted and set aside to cool.
  • When the mixture is cool, beat in the eggs.
  • Combine the flour, salt, soda, and spices and sift into the liquid mixture – beat just until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
  • Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Serve plain with a dusting of powder sugar, with whipped cream, ice cream, or frost with Whipped Cream Cheese Topping (Recipe Below)


Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

This is an excellent topping for spicy cakes that are served in the pan, such as the Gingerbread Cake recipe above.

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#a3062e”]Ingredients[/typography]

3 ounces cream cheese, cold

¼ cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon sugar-free Tang drink mix

½ teaspoon grated lemon peel

(OR – 1 tablespoon grated orange peel)

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#a3062e”]Directions[/typography]

  • Place all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.
  • Spoon over squares of your favorite cake served from the pan.



Taken from: Cake Making Made Easy – Instructions and 60 Cakes [button link=”” bg_color=”#c72e42″]Get Your Copy NOW![/button]


Lobster Bisque a la Naturale

Lobster Bisque SoupOn Mother’s Day I enjoyed a lovely dinner prepared by my daughter-in-law, Michelle. The first course was this amazing Lobster Bisque. I was a little hesitant since I am not generally a fan of bisque – but this one is absolutely delicious! It is a perfect first course when entertaining; or could be served with warm crusty French bread and a crisp green salad for a wonderful lunch with friends. The preparation is a little complicated, but well worth it!

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#bd7f13″]Ingredients[/typography]

  • 2 lobster tails (10 oz. each), fresh (can substitute frozen  if completely thawed)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons quality virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups Chardonnay (or any good white wine)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 cup fennel, chopped
  • ½ cup shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons white rice, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1 whole sprig thyme
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 small bunch of fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#bd7f13″]Directions[/typography]

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#bd7f13″]Step One (Can be completed in advance):[/typography]

Split the tails in half with a sharp knife starting at the fan and slice the knife down and through the meat.

Carefully devein the split tails. (The vein can be found along the edge of the shell, between the shell and the meat.)

Using a regular steaming basket, steam the lobster tails, shell-side down, over 4 cups salted water with 1 tablespoon sea salt. Steam for 5 to 7 minutes – remove the tails and set aside to cool slightly.

Set aside the water to use for making the stock.

Note: Steaming with the shells protects the meat from the intense heat of the steam and the salt in the water adds a little extra flavor to the stock.

When cool enough to handle, use a fork to pull out the meat from the shells in one piece. Chill the lobster meat until ready to use. Save the shells for Step Two.

When the meat has cooled, slice into pieces (size is personal preference).

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#bd7f13″]Step Two:[/typography]

Sauté lobster shells in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat for five minutes to release the flavors. Use a large heavy-duty pot.

Add the Chardonnay and 1 cup of chicken stock to deglaze the pan (scraping bits at the bottom – do not remove the shells at this point).

Add the remaining 2 cups chicken stock and reserved lobster water from the steaming of the tails. Simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to 6 cups. Then strain the shells from the stock.

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#bd7f13″]Step Three:[/typography]

While the stock is simmering prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Blanch the tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for about 45 seconds, then peel, seed and dice them. (After blanching, the skin will pull away easily. Cut the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds, then dice.)

Rinse and chop the fennel.

Peel and chop the shallot.

Sauté both in ¼ cup unsalted butter for about 5 minutes – use a large heavy pot.

Stir in strained lobster stock, diced tomato, brandy, uncooked white rice, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, whole bay leaf and sprig of thyme; simmer 45 minutes – remove bay leaf and thyme

Using either an immersion blender or regular blender, puree all the ingredients – blend until smooth.      (Please, read the notes on blending hot liquids, which can be found in the “Tips Section”)

Reheat over a low heat, if necessary. The heavy cream will cool it down.

Carefully stir in the heavy cream.

Add the fresh lemon juice , and the bisque is ready to be served – preferably in a heated tureen.

Just before you serve the soup – sauté the sliced lobster over medium-high heat in the extra tablespoon of unsalted butter. Sauté just until the meat is warmed through.

Place the lobster in the bisque and serve immediately –  garnish slightly with finely chopped fresh parsley

Yield: Makes 6 cups; double for a large group

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#bd7f13″]Recipe Tips[/typography]

Be safe when pureeing hot liquids. The process can be dangerous because steam causes pressure to build inside the blender and gushers of hot liquid can erupt if the blending is not done in small batches – and gradually blended from low to high speed. Recommendation is to puree in at least three batches and return the bisque to the pot to reheat.

An immersion blender is a little safer and easier to control, but you do not need one – a regular blender works fine.  An immersion blender makes the bisque a little thicker, and a regular blender creates a slightly smoother bisque.  They both taste great.





Hearty Healthy Muffins

Hearty Healthy Muffins for Breakfast

Hearty healthy muffins are perfect for grab and go when there is no time for a full breakfast, or to eat as a pick-me-up when you hit the late afternoon energy dip. This recipe is quick and easy to prepare and very tasty. They freeze very well, warm them up for 60 sections straight from the freezer and enjoy. 

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#ad0232″]Ingredients[/typography]

  • 1¼  cups whole wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (Greek yogurt is best)
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups walnuts or pecans
  • ½ cup applesauce (fresh or bottled)
  • ½ cup raisins or dried cherries
  • ½ cup finely grated carrots

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#ad0232″]Directions[/typography]

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
  2. Prepare the muffin tin by spraying each well evenly with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt – set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, cream together the yogurt, brown sugar, egg, oil, and vanilla – mix with electric hand-held mixer until smooth.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, stir the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients – mix just until blended – lumps are OK.
  6. Fold in the nuts, applesauce, raisin (or cherries) and carrots.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes – test by inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffin (should come out clean).
  8. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes – then remove from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Keep in a sealed plastic bag or container. Freeze some to keep them fresh – unless they disappear too quickly to save.

Yield: 12 muffins (242 calories per muffin)

[typography font=”Myriad Prol” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#ad0232″]Recipe Tip[/typography]

For a slightly different flavor substitute mashed ripe bananas for the applesauce. For a slightly different texture substitute drained can pineapple for the applesauce.


Apple Curried Chicken

Apple Curried Chicken is made with apples and spices layered over tender chicken breasts – a quick and easy, delicious dinner for the family. Serve with Basmati rice and buttered steamed broccoli.


  • 4 fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~5 ounces each)
  • (I recommend Red Bird from Colorado if you can find them.)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 medium onion – peeled and chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple – peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup raisins



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small bowl combine chicken broth, salt, curry, ginger, turmeric and pepper – set aside.
  3. Rinse chicken breasts, pat dry, and dredge in flour.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. (Optional: Coat skillet with vegetable cooking spray)
  6. Add chicken and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total
  7. Layer the chicken in a baking dish.
  8. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the water and sauté the onion for 5 minutes.
  9. Add the apple and cook 1 minute longer and spread evenly over the chicken.
  10. Pour the broth and spice mixture over the chicken.
  11. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  12. Add raisins, replace cover, and bake for 5 minutes more.
  13. Serve immediately over hot Basmati rice.

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour


Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies – YUM!  Butterscotch has always been one of my favorite dessert flavors. So, this was a recipe I had to try. Some members of my family actually prefer these to traditional chocolate chip cookies. I have to admit, they are mighty tasty. Try them, and see if you agree.


Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

[typography font=”Lucida” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#ab0929″]Ingredients[/typography]

  • 1 cup butter, softened (do not use margarine)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1½ cups butterscotch chips


[typography font=”Lucida” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#ab0929″]Directions[/typography]

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt – set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla – mix with electric hand-held mixer until smooth.
  5. In 3 parts, add the flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture – mixing well after each addition until all ingredients are well blended.
  6. Add the oats and butterscotch chips – stir until thoroughly mixed.
  7. Drop rounded tablespoonsful (large balls) of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie to allow for spread.
  8. Bake for ~10 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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[typography font=”Lucida” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#ab0929″]Recipe Tip[/typography]
Use oat flour instead of regular flour, or use a food processor to grind the oats to right consistency. It will give the cookies an interesting texture and nice flavor.


Eat Well – Be Well – Live Well