Monthly Archives: January 2012

Free Kindle Book of the Day

The Free Kindle Book of the Day is The Odd Women by George Gissing.


Click here to read my review of The Odd Women.


Fig Walnut Bars


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped stemmed dried figs
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs


Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Place the oats, cereal, flour, walnuts, figs, dry milk, cinnamon andginger in a food processor; coarsely chop.

Add the honey and eggs; pulse until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to the pan; spread evenly with your fingers. Bake until lightly browned around the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then cut into 16 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months.

Photograph by Kana Okada


Per bar: Calories 149; Fat 6 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 27 mg; Sodium 31 mg; Carbohydrate 22 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 5 g

Swedish Chocolate Balls

Swedish Chocolate Balls

This is a classic Swedish recipe, beloved by every Swede. It is one of the first things children learn to make, and it’s enjoyed greatly by all ages. The balls can either be bite-sized or giant, whichever seems more appealing. Or make one big ball, and many small ones. Additional cocoa powder or chocolate can be added to intensify the flavor.”

Original Recipe Yield 48 servings 

4 cups regular rolled oats
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons strong coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1/3 cup coconut flakes

Mix the oats, sugar, and cocoa together in a bowl. Add the butter, and use your hands to mix the ingredients together to make a thick dough. Mix in the coffee, vanilla, and chocolate until thoroughly blended.
Place the coconut flakes in a small bowl. Pinch off small amounts of dough and roll between your hands to make small balls, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Roll the balls in the coconut flakes. Balls are ready to eat, or may be refrigerated 2 hours to become firmer

Free Kindle Book of the Day

The free Kindle book of the day is Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. Lewis’ satirical novel is one of my favorites because of its humor and wit.


Click here to read a short biography of Sinclair Lewis


2012 Focus

My 2012 reading plan is going to be focused on specific authors within literary traditions. The overall goal is to familiarize myself broadly with the “classics” and give myself a well-rounded base for reading and writing.


English (British) Literature – Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte…Thomas Hardy

American Literature – Herman Melville

French Literature – Stendhal

German Literature – von Goethe

“World” Literature – James Joyce

Russian Literature – Dostoyevsky

Italian Literature – Dante

Spanish Literature – Cervantes

Read more Here

Free Kindle Book of the Day

The Free Kindle Book of the Day is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. A darker and more romantic novel than any of her two sisters, Charlotte and Anne Bronte, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights received mixed reviews when it was published in 1847, but is now considered a classic of English literature, and its dark, yet romantic antihero (or hero, depending on how you read it), Heathcliff, is one of the most remarkable characters of nineteenth century literature.

Click Here

Applesauce Drop Cookies

1 c. Raisins

1 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 c. nuts, such as walnuts, chopped

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/2 c. shortening

1 egg

1 tsp. baking powder

1 c. lightly sweetened applesauce

2 c. flour, sifted


Pour boiling water over raisins to plump them, let stand a few minutes and drain well. Set aside. Mix sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Add the shortening and egg, then beat until light and fluffy. Stir baking soda into applesauce ans add to mixture. Stir in raisins and nuts. Add the flour and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with cinnamon and sugar mixture (1/2 t. cinnamon to 2 T. sugar). Bake at 375 degrees for 11-12 minutes.

See more of my favorite recipes Here

Sweet Milk Pancakes

Sweet Milk Pancake

Sweet milk pancakes is an old family recipe from my mom’s side of the family. They are an easy and filling breakfast, and can be used with a variety of fillings. My favorite is with my mom’s homemade peach syrup.


Sweet Milk Pancakes

5 eggs

2 cups flour

1/2 t. salt

milk to this to consistency of a thin cream.


mix ingredients together. Add milk until the mixture is thin, like a thin cream. Melt butter or oil in a non-stick skillet. Add just enough batter to coat bottom of the pan and cook.

 Click here for more of my favorite recipes.

Sweet Milk Pancake

Margarita Cake

My mom made this festive Margarita Cake for us in Oregon. It was easy to make, and a pretty good cake overall. I usually don’t make cakes from mixes, but I thought this turned out nicely.


Margarita Cake


1 white cake mix

1 (3.4 oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding

1 t orange extract

Zest of 1 large orange

4 eggs

½ c vegetable oil

2/3 c water

¼ c lemon juice

¼ c tequila

2 T triple sec liqueur


1+ c powdered sugar

1 T tequila

2 T triple sec liqueur

2 T lime juice



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan


In large bowl combine cake mix, pudding, eggs, oil, water, lemon juice

¼ c tequila, 2 T triple sec, orange extract and orange zest. Beat for 2


Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 45-50 min., or until a toothpick

inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for

10 min; remove to rack and very slowly pour glaze over cake while

still warm, making sure to give glaze enough time to soak in as you


To make glaze: In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar with 1 T

tequila, 2 T triple sec and 2 T lime juice (I used key limes). Mix until

smooth, adding enough powdered sugar to make a slightly thickened


 Click Here for more of my favorite recipes



Sweet and Sour Meatballs


Tonight’s dinner was sweet and sour meatballs, as adapted from the 1983 Betty Crocker cookbook.


1 lb hamburger

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup milk


2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 egg


1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 can pineapple chunks

1/3 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 small green pepper chopped


Mix meatball ingredients then shape into balls. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until brown, about 20 minutes. Or cook in ungreased oblong pan in 400 degree oven until light brown 20-25 minutes.


If cooking meatballs in skillet, drain and and remove. Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in skillet. Stir in pineapple with its juice, soy sauce and vinegar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and add meatballs. Simmer covered 10 minutes. Add green pepper and cook 4 more minutes.


I served the meatballs with brown rice, and some simple fruit salad-bananas, Greek yogurt, walnuts, cinnamon and sweetener such as Splenda or sugar.


I thought the recipe didn’t make enough sauce to go with the rice, so I recommend increasing by 1 1/2 ratio or something like that, maybe even double. I like sweet and sour sauce a lot though.

 See more of my favorite recipes Here

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, tenth edition. Minneapolis: Golden Press, 1983.