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With spring comes a time for festivities - graduations, family get togethers and other venues for sharing good eats.

Carrot Cake

Extraordinaire

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 eggs, beaten

¾ cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups grated carrots

1 cup coarsely chopped nuts

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 (3 ½ ounce) can flaked coconut (1 ¼ cup)

Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together and set aside.

Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla; mix well.

Add flour mixture, pineapple, carrots, coconut and nuts. Stir well.

Pour into two well-greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.


Buttermilk glaze:

1 cup sugar

½ cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup butter (1 stick)

1 teaspoon vanilla (after cooking)

While cake is baking, prepare glaze by combining the first five ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Slowly pour buttermilk glaze over hot layers. Cool in pans until glaze is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.


Cream cheese frosting:

½ cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon freshly- squeezed orange juice

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, orange juice and orange peel. Mix until smooth.

Spread cream cheese frosting between layers, on top and side. Refrigerate until frosting is set.

Curried Turkey Salad

with Cashews

2- 2 ½ pound turkey breast halves with skin and bones

Olive oil

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons curry powder

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 celery stalks

2/3 cup roasted, salted cashews

1 ½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup mango chutney

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 green onions

½ cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place turkey in baking pan. Brush turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 180 degrees, about an hour. Cool. Remove skin and bones. Cut meat into ½-inch cubes.

Whisk mayo, wine, chutney, curry powder, lemon juice and ginger in a large bowl. Add turkey, onions, celery and raisins. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Mix cashews into salad.

Can be made one day ahead. Cover; chill.

Homemade Granola Bars

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed

½ cup toasted wheat germ

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup honey

¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup chopped pitted dates

½ cup chopped dried apricots

½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8X12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the tasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 or 3 hours before cutting into squares.     Serve at room temperature.