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Spice up your Val with cookies, cakes and fruit salads

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Most cupids enjoy the season dining out in the most special restaurants, bars and so on, just to have fun.

Celebrity Tummy Talk takes a look on how best people can spice up the season with cookies, cakes and fruit salads and take a time-out to prepare at least one of them. Enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Salad

This fruit salad combines chopped peaches, strawberries, bananas, and red and green grapes, dressed with a simple fresh lime and pineapple juice dressing.


Peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped

Pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and slice Pound seedless, green grapes Pound seedless red grapes, Bananas, peeled and sliced Granulated sugar, or less, to taste


juice of one lime Cup pineapple juice Teaspoon ground ginger Preparation Combine chopped and sliced fruits in a large serving bowl; toss gently. Sprinkle with sugar. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl or 1 cup measure. Pour dressing mixture over fruit and toss gently to combine. Cover and chill the fruit salad thoroughly before serving.

This fruit salad recipe makes enough to serve about 10 to 12 people.



Vegetable oil for the pans

Two and half cups all-purpose flour

One and half cups sugar

One teaspoon baking soda

One teaspoon fine salt

One teaspoon cocoa powder

One and half cups vegetable oil

One cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Two large eggs, at room temperature

Two tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)

One teaspoon white distilled vinegar

One teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Crushed pecans, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil and flour three (nine by one and half inch round) cake pans.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.

Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a one -quarter to one and half inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with the pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting:


One pound cream cheese, softened

Four cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Two sticks unsalted butter (one cup), softened

One teaspoon vanilla extract


In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for three days.

Apple Cookies

Nothing calls the family to the kitchen like the aroma of fresh baked cookies. Serve these delightful treats with a hot mug of coffee or a cold glass of milk, and your family will beg for more.


Package frozen escalloped apples, defrosted according to package direction.

Cup granulated sugar

Cup packed brown sugar

Cup vegetable shortening

Cup butter

Large eggs

Teaspoon vanilla extract

Cups all-purpose flour

Teaspoon salt

Cup chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

Mix granulated sugar, brown sugar, shortening, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract in large bowl.

Stir in flour, escalloped apples, salt and nuts.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Cool for 1 minute.

Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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