There are a lot of problems with ObamaCare.  The roll-out was a disaster.  You can’t keep your doctor after all. And now that the employer mandate is adding thousands of workers small business owners are braced for soaring costs. Perhaps it’s time to look at direct care as another option for quality, affordable, care instead of just coverage.

Regulatory reform has been a key piece of transformational changes in NC, improving our economy and creating jobs.  But there is still plenty of work to do. Beekeepers, deer farmers, Uber and banks could use a little less government interference and a little more freedom.

The Common Core Standards Committee has no money. It is important to get the standards right.  $250,000 from the General Assembly will give the Commission tools to help the job done.  Let’s do it.

Starbucks Gingerbread is one of the best things I have ever eaten.  It is only available during the holidays. I want it in October. I want it in front of a fire on a snowy January afternoon. I want it for Valentines Day. I want it at the beach in July.  I want it over the holidays when Starbucks is closed.  I must find a way to make this at home.

Problem solved with this…..

Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf

for the loaf:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon orange extract, or 1/4 teaspoon orange oil (I used Boyajian Pure Citrus Orange Oil)

1 egg at room temperature

1 cup natural applesauce

1 teaspoon baking soda

for the frosting:

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste

1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1/8 teaspoon orange oil

2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

chopped candied ginger or candied orange peel for garnish (optional)

Let’s make it…

For the loaf:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″x5″ bread pan or use baking spray. You can also use two smaller loaf pans if you want one for you and one for a friend. (Your friend will love you!!)

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in orange extract. Add egg, and mix well.

Mix the baking soda into the applesauce. Stir into creamed butter mixture. Add the flour mixture and mix until smooth.

Scoop the batter into prepared loaf pan(s).

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. If baking the 2 smaller loaves, bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

For the frosting:

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add vanilla and orange extract. Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar.

Once the cake has cooled, evenly spread the frosting on top. Garnish with chopped candied ginger or orange peel, if desired.

This makes a lot of frosting.  Use the leftover between store-bought ginger cookies. Or if you’re home alone and feeling decadent, just eat it with a spoon.

Once frosting has set, loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. I feel it tastes so much better chilled, but this is not necessary if eating the up the same day.