Curves ladies offer support and recipes

This is the second of two columns on the lovely ladies from Curves workout center in Ocean View. If you want to know all about the workout schedules, check out the first column online at Today, I’m delighted to share uplifting stories from some of the Curves’ breast cancer survivors and the Breast Cancer Heart Pillows’ project to which they are dedicated.

Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook: Some of the women from Curves stand in front of heart-shaped pillows they donated to Beebe Medical Center and the Tunnell Cancer Center. They were kind enough to share recipes for this week’s column.Special to the Coastal Point • Marie Cook
Some of the women from Curves stand in front of heart-shaped pillows they donated to Beebe Medical Center and the Tunnell Cancer Center. They were kind enough to share recipes for this week’s column.

Sandy Talarico lived in York, Pa., for 41 years. She worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a retail specialist in Lancaster, Pa., and then as retail manager in Harrisburg, for a total of 22 years. She’s the mother of two and grandmother to three. She moved to Ocean View in 2007 and was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2011. She had surgery in December 2011 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Tunnell Cancer Center in Lewes.

“During my surgery, I had several lymph nodes removed,” she said. “When I placed my arm against my breast, I had terrible discomfort. So, I went online and discovered a pattern for a heart-shaped pillow designed in Denmark to place under my arm. I read about it, but couldn’t comprehend how it would really help that much. But believe me, it sure does,” she added.

She then told Nancy Maupai (owner of Curves) about the pillows, and the rest is history. Many of the women who work out at Curves now make pillows and put each one into large plastic bags. Sandy has donated pillows to Dr. James Spellman, surgical oncologist at Beebe Medical Center, as well as to the Tunnell Cancer Center.

When I visited Curves for today’s photo, 201 pillows were piled in front of three breast cancer survivors and others who helped stitch the pillows. And, after the photo, they were packaged for delivery to the infusion center at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md., and possibly Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Md.

Sybil Anderson is a life-long Delaware resident. She is battling her third round of breast cancer and is currently undergoing radiation therapy at Tunnell Cancer Center.

“I’m extremely pleased with the outcome,” she said.

She’s been married to Ron for 46 years. They have three children and five grandchildren. She worked for DuPont for 22 years before retiring and moving here.

“The support and care I receive from the members and staff at Curves is so appreciated,” she said.

Mary Anne Macielag is a mother of four, grandmother of two and great-grandmother of one. She was born in Wilmington, Del., but always vacationed here. She and her husband, Stanley “Buddy” Macielag, moved here in 1995. Unfortunately, Buddy passed away from prostate cancer in 2001. She also worked for DuPont and owned a printing business with her husband, as well as working for Curves for a few years.

First diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, she has endured two surgeries and has battled cancer three times since then. She, too, receives treatment at Tunnell Cancer Center.

“I continue coming to Curves even during treatment, because it makes me feel so good,” she said.

Norma Sevick is a 20-year-breast-cancer survivor, first diagnosed in 1992 in Baltimore, Md., where she then lived.

“I moved to Dagsboro 13 years ago,” she said. “I have three children and four grandchildren who live in Baltimore. I’ve been a Curves member for nine years. I love coming to Curves and love all the members.”

Nancy Maupai, owner of Curves, says it best: The attitudes of these four remarkable women are so inspiring, and I know that the friendships they’ve made here at Curves helps, too.

In my last column, Nancy offered all ladies a super deal, and she is repeating the offer in this column as well. If you want to become a Curves member, she’ll cut the $99 sign-up fee by 75 percent, to just $25. All you have to do to qualify is call her at (302) 541-4400 to schedule an appointment and bring a copy of this column with you. Curves is located at 29K Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View, in the UPS shopping center and where Blockbuster Video used to be. The hours are 7 a.m. until noon, Monday through Friday. They reopen from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Saturday hours are 8 to 11 a.m. The facility is closed on Sunday.

And more good news! If you need one of these lovely pillows or know of someone who does, call Nancy to arrange to pick one up. They are lovingly handmade by the ladies at Curves and are given away free of charge. According to Sandy, the pillows are most helpful immediately after breast surgery and also after radiation treatments, when sores can be painful.

I am so grateful to the courageous women of Curves for sharing their stories with me (and now with you). And if you’re handy with needle and thread, I’ll bet that an offer to make pillows to add to the collection would not be turned down.

Now to the recipes. Curves’ owner Nancy Maupai, originally from Boston, Mass., shares her recipe for Boston Brown Bread made in empty 14- to 16-ounce cans. If you don’t like raisins, Nancy suggests substituting dried cranberries or cherries; soak them along with the dates.

Boston Brown Bread

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.


6 empty 14- to 16-ounce cans cleaned, labels removed and inside of cans sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray

1 pound pitted dates, chopped

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups boiling water

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs, well blended

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

Method for Boston Brown Bread:

Prepare baking cans. Mix the chopped dates with baking soda and 2 cups boiling water; mix and set aside.

Mix sugar, butter and eggs; blend well.

Mix flour, date mixture (with all the liquid), and the sugar/butter mixture. Fold in the raisins and walnuts.

Fill cans two-thirds full and set them on a cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. You can either run a knife around the bread and remove it from the can, or you can remove the bottom of the can and push the bread through. Serve warm or wrap tightly to serve later. This bread will last for several days. The bread also freezes well.

Nana’s Melanzane Alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmigiana) is the creation of Kathleen Thompson’s mother-in-law.

“She made the best melanzane, as she referred to it, so it became one of our favorites, especially in the summer, when eggplant is plentiful,” Kathleen said.

Nana never had a written recipe, so they just put it together the way Nana did.

“This dish is frequently requested by friends when we have covered-dish suppers or during holiday seasons,” she added.

But as the years passed and the Thompsons began fixing healthier meals, they adapted the recipe, adding some olive oil to the beaten egg and after dredging in flour, egg and bread crumbs, they broil the eggplant slices rather than frying them. But Kathleen cautions cooks to be careful when broiling the eggplant.

“You turn your back, and the slices could burn,” she said. “So sometimes I bake the slices at 400 degrees F. instead of broiling them.”

Nana’s Melanzane Alla Parmigiana

Preheat broiler for eggplant slices, but when ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


2 firm medium to large eggplants

3 large eggs (at least and maybe more depending on the quantity of eggplant)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Italian-style dried bread crumbs

All-purpose flour for dredging eggplant

1 quart, plus a little more of your favorite tomato sauce

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, or more if you like it really cheesy

Grated cheese like pecorino, Romano or Parmesan

Method for Nana’s Melanzane:

Peel the eggplant and cut into slices about 1/8-inch to 4 or 5 mm thick. Place the slices on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let slices stand for at least 15 minutes to draw out the water. Dry the slices with paper towels.

Beat the eggs in a shallow dish and add the olive oil. Place the bread crumbs and flour in two separate shallow dishes or in two piles on wax paper. Dip each slice of eggplant first in the flour, then in the egg, and then in bread crumbs and place each slice on a cookie sheet.

Broil the eggplant, turning once after the first side has browned (do the same turning procedure if you’re baking instead of broiling). This bears close watching so the eggplant does not burn. Continue broiling the eggplant until all slices are lightly browned and tender.

Spread some sauce on the bottom of a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Place a layer of eggplant on the sauce. Cover with sauce and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Continue alternating layers, sauce and cheese until all is used. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of the casserole. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the top is browned and sauce is bubbling. Let the casserole sit for about 10 minutes so that it sets up and can be cut easily. Yield: 4 to 6 servings for a main dish; 6 to 8 for a side dish.

Mary Martinez, who lives in Ocean View, says that her New York Cheese Cake recipe has been in her family for over 45 years.

“I cut it out of a church newsletter when I lived in Long Island, N.Y.,” she said. “I have shared this recipe with my four children, granddaughters and many friends. It is best cooked the day before serving.”

Mary and her husband, Joe, moved here in 2002.

“We love living at the beach and doing surf fishing,” she added. Plan ahead: the cream cheese, eggs and sour cream must be at room temperature before you begin making the cake.

New York Cheese Cake

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Ingredients for crust:

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Method for Crust:

Mix all ingredients; press crumbs on the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust for 5 minutes at 375 degrees. Allow to cool.

Ingredients for cheesecake –
all at room temperature:

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pint sour cream

Method for Cake:

Cream the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and gently fold in sour cream (do not beat it in).

Gently spoon the cream cheese mixture into the crust. Place the pan on a cookie sheet and add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Turn off the oven, but do not open the oven door. Let the cheese cake sit in the oven for one hour.

Remove from the oven and cool thoroughly. Refrigerate. Before serving, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

Lynn Andrews is a retired bank teller who loves to quilt.

“I’ve been going to Curves three times a week for many years doing the cardio workout,” she said.

Both her mother and father taught her how to cook, but she especially loves to bake. Family and friends often ask her to bake her Gingersnaps, the recipe that Lynn shares with us today.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


3/4 cup shortening

1 cup sugar (plus a bit extra for rolling before baking)

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

Method for Gingersnaps:

Beat shortening, 1 cup sugar, molasses, egg, cinnamon and ginger until fluffy. Add the flour and baking soda; mix well.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls into reserved sugar and roll until covered. Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing to racks to finish cooling. Yield: 3 to 4 dozen cookies.

Rose Marie Suttmiller and her husband moved here from Maryland in 2000.

“I’ve loved every day of living here,” she said.

She’s new to Curves – a member for just two months.

“I saw an ad on the Internet and decided to join,” she said. “I have never felt so welcomed as I have here at Curves. It’s a great exercise program and great socialization.”

Rose Marie learned how to cook from her mother.

“She cooked everything from scratch,” she said, “and everything was so delicious.”

Rose Marie, who grew up in the Johnstown, Pa., area especially enjoys Italian cooking and loves to experiment. She also enjoys music and gardening. The recipe she shares with us is Gobs, a Western Pennsylvania favorite that shows up at all family events and is loved by everyone.

“The other name for Gobs is Whoopie Pies,” she added. Her mother recommends making and refrigerating the Gobs’ filling two or three days ahead of making the cookies.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients for cookies:

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup Crisco

2 eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup sour milk (See note below on how to make sour milk.)

1 cup hot water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Method for cookies:

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa. Mix sour milk, hot water, vanilla and salt. Add the flour mixture and the sour milk mixture alternately to the sugar mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto a ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Yield: About 3 dozen cookies.

Note: To make sour milk, combine 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice in each cup of whole or 2-percent milk. Let sit for 15 minutes or more until you see the milk begin to curdle.

Filling Ingredients:

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup Crisco

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method for Filling:

In a double boiler, combine flour and milk, stirring constantly until thick. Cool.

Cream the confectioners’ sugar, butter, Crisco, salt and vanilla. Add to cooled mixture.

Gobs should be totally cooled before filling them. Put some of the filling between two Gob cookies. Wrap each one separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Yield: About 3 dozen.

Carolyn Godfrey is a retired public school teacher who also ran G.G.’s Tapestry Creations.

“The economy undermined the business,” she said. “I made lovely things that people could live without.” “Needless to say, I sew, but I also enjoy reading, flower arranging, yard work and volunteering at Camp Pecometh Christian summer camps.”

Carolyn strives to workout at Curves three times per week.

“I’ve been a Curves member for 11 or 12 years,” she said, “and I’ve earned the 1,000 T-shirt!” (Members log hour-long workouts and receive T-shirts for each 100 hours logged.)

As a late teenager, Carolyn managed a camp kitchen each summer.

“I can scarcely remember not cooking, but have fond memories of cooking with my mother and her sister (my aunt).” Now she enjoys making “yummy desserts for potluck dinners and shut-ins. I rarely deviate from a printed recipe,” she added. “This Pecan Pie has truly become my signature dish.”

Pecan Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups pecan halves

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Method for Pecan Pie:

Using a spoon, thoroughly stir corn syrup, sugar, eggs, melted butter and vanilla; pour into pie crust and arrange the pecans in concentric circles atop the pie. Bake at 350 degrees on center rack in oven for 60 to 70 minutes. If the pie is browning too much, cover lightly with aluminum foil. Cool on rack for two hours; store in the refrigerator.

(Editor’s note: If you have recipes to share, or recipes you want, contact Marie Cook, Coastal Point, P.O. Box 1324, Ocean View, DE 19970; or by email at Please include your phone number. Recipes in this column are not tested by the Coastal Point.)