Gingerbread

Gingerbread can be used to describe cookies or cake. Here’s my favorite recipe for the cake.

Ingredients:

2 egg

1 cup sugar

1 cup molasses

8 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 1/2 cup cold water

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Combine egg, sugar, molasses, butter and water. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, ginger and salt. Add to the combined wet ingredients. Beat on medium speed until well mixed. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350° for around 20-25 minutes. Cut into squares. Serve with whipped cream or cream cheese icing.

Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

¾ cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

¾ cup molasses (pro tip- lightly oil the measuring cup to keep the molasses from sticking)

4 cups all-purpose flour

1½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground ginger

1½ tsp. ground cinnamon

¾ tsp. ground cloves

Directions:

Cream together the butter, brown sugar,egg and molasses. Mix until well combined.

In separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients and gradually beat into creamed mixture.

Divide dough in half and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to ⅛-in. thickness.

Cut gingerbread men using a floured 3½-in. cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake until edges are firm, about 8-10 minutes.

Traditionally, gingerbread is decorated with royal icing. It’s too humid where I live so I use buttercream.

Fairy Candy

Ingredients:

1 tsp. butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 Tbsp. baking soda

½ lb. dark chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped

1 tsp. shortening, divided

½ lb. milk chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Prepare a 9-in. square pan by lining it with foil and grease with butter.

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. The mixture will foam so it’s important to use a large pan.

Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Cover with a lid for a few minutes while the mixture comes to a boil. This allows the condensation to clear the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.

Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 300°.

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda.

Immediately pour mixture into prepared pan and allow to cool.

Lift the candy out of pan and peel off the foil.

Break candy into small pieces.

Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

1 cup dried lentils

1 ½ cups baby carrots

1 ½ cups celery, sliced

1 ½ cups onions, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon thyme

1 tablespoon parsley

1 bay leaf

4 cups vegetable broth

1 ½ cups water

2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

This can also be cooked in a pressure cooker on the “soup” setting.

Black Forest Fudge

Ingredients:

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

2/3 cup cherry preserves

4 tbs. unsalted butter

Directions:

Line an 8″ square pan with aluminum foil and spray with non stick cooking spray. In a microwavable bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, cherry preserves and butter. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate chips are melted. Spread the fudge into the prepared pan and allow cool before cutting

Cranberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen cranberries

1 banana, sliced

1 1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened

1 cup swiss chard, chopped

Directions:

Remove the stems and roughly chop the swiss chard.

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

Butternut Squash Soup

It freezes well so I usually double the recipe. It is also very easy to customize depending on your dietary needs.

Ingredients :

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 onion, diced

½ lb carrots, peeled and chopped

1 granny smith apple, peeled and cored

3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth to keep it vegan

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg

2 cups half and half or coconut milk for vegans

Directions :

Combine squash, onion, carrots, apple, broth and nutmeg in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours, or until veggies are tender. Process with an immersion blender. When smooth, add the salt, pepper, sage and coconut milk or half and half before serving.