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Recipes help to spice up the holidays with flavor

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A few years ago, a dear friend gave me a taste of a wonderful quick bread, that I thought was out of this world.

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I was fortunate because Pam Eskew gave me the recipe.  Her mother, Mary Biehl, gave it to her.

Pam is an excellent cook herself and has helped me many times when I was catering, sometimes on a last minutes notice. One time in particular, when my husband ended up in the hospital with a ruptured appendix, and I had not even prepped my food for a special Valentine’s dinner the next night, Pam came over and helped me pull it off. Then Pam’s son, Jared, Brenda Price and Brenda’s son, Jared, helped with delivering the heavy load and serving. I don’t know what I would have done without all of them, but Pam pulled me through the cooking. I will always be grateful for their support  and I will never forget.

Mary, Pam and I give you:

Spinach Orange Bread

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 medium orange, unpeeled

3 extra-large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Wash spinach, remove stems, drain well. Chop into 1/4-inch pieces.

Quarter orange and remove seeds. Grind unpeeled orange in meat chopper or blender.

In mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add oil and sugar. Mix well. Add prepared spinach and orange; blend lightly.

Sift together dry ingredients, add to spinach mixture and blend.

Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Makes two loaves.

 It is really good to make a glaze of orange juice and confectioner’s sugar, then pour over loaves while still a little warm.

I also have a new twist on making gingerbread men that will be loved by children, since they are not so spicy. This is a great recipe to make with your children or grandchildren and dance around the kitchen to Christmas music while you smell them bake. Decorate to your heart’s content. These are so easy:

Pudding Gingerbread Men

1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3.5 oz. package regular butterscotch pudding mix (not instant)

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In mixing bowl cream butter, brown sugar, and dry pudding mix. Add egg; beat well. Stir together flour, soda, ginger and cinnamon. Stir into creamed mixture. Chill.  Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 4-inch gingerbread man cutter. Place on ungreased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet and decorate with raisins, or colored sugar. Leave them plain if you want to frost and decorate after baking.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes.  Most importantly, have fun; I sure did.

Here’s my special recipe that I have made for over 50 years.  I won grand champion in my division in 4-H with this recipe for:

Lemon Squares

Mix in order listed:

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup flour

1/2 cup butter or margarine

Bake in 8-inch square cake pan for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and spread with the following mixture.

Mix in order listed:

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. lemon zest

Return to oven; bake 20 minutes longer . Cool, then spread with following mixture at room temperature:

2 tbsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tbsp. butter

Enjoy!

Lonnie Sundermeyer is a retired professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.