Gingerbread Hula Dancers

IMG_1086Gingerbread Hula Dancers

My daughter Dani decorates these whimsical cookies around the holidays and they always make me smile.  The dough is easy to make thanks to Trader Joe’s.  We make the dough with their  Gingerbread Cake and Baking Mix.   Here is the easy recipe…

Cookie Ingredients

1 box Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Cake and Baking Mix
1 stick melted butter (1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup water

Frosting Ingredients

3 egg whites
1 box powdered sugar (1 lb.)
1 tsp. cream of tarter


Preheat the oven to 375degrees. Combine the mix, butter, egg in a medium sized bowl.  Form into a ball and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Roll out the dough on  a floured board about 1/8 inch thick  Cut into desired shapes.

IMG_7678 at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  Cool 2-3 minute and transfer to a wire rack.  Yields 4-5 dozen small gingerbread cookies (Less if you use large cookie cutters)





Just before you are ready to decorate the cookies, mix up the frosting ingredients using a high speed mixer until it peaks.  Place in a decorator bag with the smallest tip you can find.  This frosting is great for gingerbread house decorating too!  The recipe makes more than enough.



Mini Blueberry, White Peach & Goat’s Cheese Galettes (a lower sugar recipe) + GBBO 2015

I can’t wait to try this! It looks fabulous and I bet, tastes even better.

food to glow

This easy to make, light as a feather spelt pie crust dough is the perfect beginner's baking recipe. Filled with blueberries, peaches and complementing goat's cheese make it sophisticated enough for company too. Apologies for non-UK readers. I’m going to gush a bit about something you won’t have seen. Recipe below! Plus SPOILER ALERT!!

‘I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say “I can’t do it”. I’m never gonna say “maybe”. I’m never gonna say “I don’t think I can”. I can and I will.’ Nadiya Hussein’s rousing response to winning the 2015 Great British Bake Off

Over 12 million people tuned in to see Nadiya storm the GBBO final in her usual soft yet steely fashion. But the creme de la creme (or the “creme pat”, if you will) was her astonishing response. Astonishing in a good way. It was the best acceptance speech I’ve ever heard (take note Hollywood: the city, not the grumpy, silver-fox GBBO judge).

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Meyer Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Lemon and rosemary shortbread cookies

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Yield: approximately 32 cookies (depending on size)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

With an electric mixer, cream the butter, salt, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and rosemary. Stir until the mixture comes together.

Drop Cookie Method:

Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake in a 350° oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow cookies to fully cool on parchment.


Ice Box Cookie Method:

Roll the dough into a long cylinder with a 1 1/2″ to 2″ diameter. Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze until firm. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 300°. Unwrap the roll of dough and slice the cookies 1/4″ thick. Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and prick each cookie with a fork 2 or 3 times.

Bake for about 20 minutes, watching carefully to ensure that the cookies don’t burn. When done, the cookies will be a light sand color on the bottom and the edges will be just beginning to brown.

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack immediately.

Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container. These cookies actually get better with age!

Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

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Fruity Pizza

Fruity PizzaCan’t wait until summer to have this pizza!  Packed with vitamins and minerals, this Fruity Pizza is the bomb.

The Watermelon “crust” is full of nutritious benefits. It is a high lycopene food. Lycopene is especially important in cardiovascular health and an increasing number of scientists are finding that it is beneficial in bone health too.  It also has amino acids known to promote strong kidneys and other organs.

The Kiwi  topping is one of the healthiest foods.  It has the equivalnet vitamin C of an orange  and its available year round.  The California crop is from November thru May and then we get them from New Zealand.  Their crop hits the market June thru October.  Kiwis are a great source of dietary fiber and also provides great antioxident protection.

Blueberries are full of nutritious benefits as well.  Chock full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, calcium, potasium and magnesium, these colorful fruits make a great pizza topping that is good for you and your body.

Dried  shredded coconut not only adds fiber, it adds iron which helps with healthy circulation and tissue maintenance.



watermelon (large slice) cut into eight pie slices
kiwi, peeled and sliced
strawberries, cut in fourths
nectarines, sliced
green grapes, cut in half
whole blueberries
shredded cocunut

Key Lime Tartlets

key lime tartlette

Key Lime Tartlets

I love these pretty little bite-sized treats as they get oohs aahs at a dinner party, and provide the perfect sweet ending to a delicious meal. They are so easy too.  Just three ingredients.


Shortbread tarlet shells (by Private Selection)
Key Lime fruit filling (by Private Selection)
Fresh raspberries (16)

Easy Directions

Place tartlet shells on a baking sheet with a lip
Add a spoonful of curd
Top with a raspberry.
Place in refrigerator.

When ready to serve, place tartlets on a decorative tray and Voila!

Mom’s Cranberry Bread

Mom's Cranberry Bread


This is an easy quick bread that is a staple at our house during the holidays.   The hard part is letting it fully cool before slicing as the delicious aroma has everyone in the family sneaking into the kitchen to grab a taste.  Let them indulge.  After all, it is the holidays.


Mom’s Holiday Cranberry Bread

1 ¼ cups cranberries (halved)
½ cup walnuts (chopped)
2 cups flour (sifted)
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shortening or butter (softened)
1 egg (well beaten)
1 tsp. grated orange peel
¾ cup orange juice



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Rainbow Rounds

Rainbow RoundsI bake these cookies every year for the Annual Holiday Cookie Exchange at my girlfriend, Suzanne’s home.  They are always a hit.  One year I broke tradition and made a different variety of cookie. My friends missed the colorful treats and now they request Rainbow Rounds every year.  They are a delicious sweet treat even in the morning with a cup of coffee.

I sometimes change the color of sugars when I bake them during different holidays (Halloween – orange and purple; Valentine’s Day- pink and red; Easter – lavender, pastel pink and mint green).  They are even fun to make using your favorite sports team colors.  Enjoy!


Rainbow Rounds


2 cups butter, softened
2¼ cups sugar
3 egg yolks
1 large egg
1Tbs. Vanilla
1 tsp. Salt
5¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup each red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple crystal sugars

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