Tasty Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving! With cranberries readily available at the market, why not make cranberry cake? This luscious recipe is one of many sweet treats in the Ivy Bake Shoppe Cookbook by Martha Wolf.

Cranberry Cake
4-1/2 tbsp. butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1-1/2 cups milk
1 (12-ounce) package cranberries (no need to defrost if frozen)
3 tbsp. grated orange or lemon peel

Cream Sauce
1-1/3-cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup butter

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light; beat in eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, and nutmeg. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Stir in the cranberries and orange or lemon peel. Pour batter into a 9 x 13-inch greased glass pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted  in the center comes out clean.

While cake is baking, mix all the Cream Sauce ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until heated thoroughly. While cake is still hot, poke holes all over the top using a straw. Slowly pour the sauce over the cake, taking time to allow the sauce to be absorbed. Sweet and tart! Makes 12 to 15 servings.


Call for Submissions

The Gibbs Smith editorial team would like to announce a call for submissions of children's activity books.

We're seeking writers with great ideas for activity books for children anywhere from 6–14 years old. Submit a detailed outline of the proposed project and a writing sample (generally the first three chapters) using the online submission page. We will invite you to send the entire manuscript if we are interested.

To get an idea of what children's activity books can include, here are a few titles we've recently published:


Pink Princess Cookbook

Easy Christmas Cut-Up Cakes for Kids


Pocketdoodles for Girls

Pocketdoodles for Boys

Fun(ny) activities

The Pocket Guide to Magic

The Pocket Guide to Mischief

Just for boys/girls

The Big Book of Girl Stuff

The Big Book of Boy Stuff

Visit the online submission page for further details and to upload your submission. We look forward to seeing your proposals.

Best wishes and good luck!

Please note: We are not accepting submissions for children's picture books or fiction of any kind. We will only contact you if we are interested.


Tasty Thursday

With the busy holiday season fast approaching, everyone needs some quick dinners that are easy and delicious. This recipe from Faster! I'm Starving! by Kevin Mills and Nancy Mills is ready to eat in 20 minutes!

Chicken Chili
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Time-saving tip: Use frozen chopped onions.

1 large onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
1/2 cup beer or chicken broth
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon bottled crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, plus more if needed

Peel the onion and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside. Drain the beans and rinse under cold running water; set aside.

Without adding oil, brown the chicken in a medium-size pot over medium heat, stirring frequently to break the meat into small clumps. After the meat has browned, drain off and discard the fat.

Add the onion, beans, beer or broth, ketchup, chili powder, garlic, salt, pepper, and pepper sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Taste to see if the chili is spicy enough. If not, add a few more drops pepper sauce. Serve immediately, or set aside until ready to eat, and then reheat briefly.

Serves 4

Tip: Chicken Chili makes a good filling for tortillas. Sprinkle grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese over the filling, if desired, and roll up burrito style.


Tasty Thursday

This recipe, featured from Betty's Best by Betty Rohde, is the perfect way to sweeten up your Thanksgiving spread!

Candied Sweet Potatoes
4 to 6 sweet potatoes, skins on
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut amaretto
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter, thinly sliced

Wash and boil potatoes to crisp tender (not quite done); cool, peel, and cube. Place in a buttered casserole dish, and then pour all remaining ingredients except butter evenly over potatoes. Place butter slices over top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until fork tender. May add marshmallows and brown if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Variation: Candied Carrots
Make the same using two to three 1-pound bags of baby carrots. Can be started raw but may need to cook a little longer.


Pumpkin Fromage Blanc Cheesecake
with ginger-pecan crumb crust

(serves 12)
recipe by Maggie Foard, author of Goat Cheese, Gibbs Smith, 2008

If you can’t decide between pumpkin pie and cheesecake for your holiday dessert, then this might be the one for you. It’s has all the flavor of pumpkin pie but dolled up in a little black dress! One of the many great things about cheesecake is that it’s flavor actually improves while it sits overnight in the fridge so go ahead and get it out of the way the day before your holiday event. Plan about 45 minutes to prepare it and then another hour and fifteen minutes to bake it. Chill overnight, if possible.

For the crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon raw or granulated sugar
3-4 coins crystallized ginger
1/2 cup pecan halves

For the filling:
1 pound Harley Farms Pumpkin Spice Fromage Blanc http://www.harleyfarms.com/
(or 1 pound plain chevre, plus 2/3 cup pumpkin puree and 1 T. pumpkin pie spice)
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
4 large, free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is warming, place the nuts on a small, baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Break the graham crackers into the food processor and pulse until you have coarse, fairly even crumbs. Measure out 1-1/2 cups and place in a medium bowl. Place the ginger, the tablespoon of sugar and the pecans in the same food processor bowl and pulse to mince. Add to the bowl with the cracker crumbs. Melt the butter and whisk in the honey. Pour over the crumbs and stir to mix thoroughly. Press into a buttered 9-inch springform. Wrap the springform tightly in foil. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the pumpkin fromage blanc (or the chevre, pumpkin and pie spice) and beat to soften. One at a time, add the yogurt, brown sugar, maple syrup, then the eggs, beating until smooth after each addition. Finally, add the vanilla and the salt. Once the mixture is thoroughly smooth, pour into the slightly cooled crust and bake for 1-1/4 hours. At this point, the cheesecake should be pretty much set in the center. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar for another half an hour. Remove from the oven and when completely cooled, place uncovered or loosely wrapped in the fridge. Chill completely; overnight if you have time. Run a knife around the rim before removing the outer ring to ensure a clean edge. Serve with a dollop of whip cream for garnish, if desired.


Tasty Thursday

Try one of the most popular desserts in Southern Louisiana at your next holiday party! This sweet recipe is from the amazing Cooking in Cajun Country by Karl Breaux and Cheré Dastugue Coen.

Bread Pudding
3 eggs
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
4 cups cubed stale French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the eggs, then add the milks, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Add the sugar and mix well. Place the French bread with the raisins, if using, in a 9 x 9 x 2-inch greased pan, covering the bottom. Pour egg and milk mixture over top, making sure bread is thoroughly soaked and covered. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Serves 8