Thursday, December 24, 2009

Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost: A Memoir of Hampshire College in the  Twilight of the '80s Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost: A Memoir of Hampshire College in the Twilight of the '80s by Richard Rushfield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed the book about a guy who started college the same year I did: 1986. While liberal, make-up-your-own-education Hampshire College is very different from the traditional, state school that I went to, he captures the "feeling" of that era very well. It made me nostalgic for some of the funnest years of my life.

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Confections of a Closet Master Baker Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A sweet, light read about a woman (who happens to be Sandra Bullock's sister) who gave up a profitable career in Hollywood to be a baker in Vermont. She cooks German style pastries and cakes and describes the joy of living out your dream, rather than doing what you're "supposed" to do.

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Wintergirls Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

My rating: 4 of 5 starsI wish I could give this 4 1/2 stars. It was a haunting and painful book that I know will stick with me for awhile. I listened to the CD version, which was produced very interestingly. It had "tricks" that annoyed me at first, but once I understood them, it really added to the experience. I found myself looking forward to my commute so that I could listen to this book.
It's a story about an 18 year old anorexic, self-mutilator, who is not only dealing with her illness(es) but the death of her ex-friend who died from binging. Not a book for the faint of heart, but beautifully written.
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cranberry Bars

I've been terrible about blogging lately. I have lots of yummy things to post, and will hopefully get to it over the Christmas break.

Right now, I'm posting this recipe for posterity. I posted a link to it last Christmas and went back to get it today because it's holiday baking day in our house. Unfortunately, I had only posted a link and the magazine it was in is now defunct! That'll learn me. Thankfully, I found it posted somewhere else, but here it is. These are truly delicious and easy.

Cranberry Bars


1 C flour
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/2 C (1 stick) of cold butter, cut into tablespoons


2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
1/3 C flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 C whole berry or jellied cranberry sauce (I use whole berry)
1/2 C slivered almonds


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides of an 8 inch square baking pan.

2. Make the crust: In a food processor, combine the flour and granulated sugar. Add the butter and pulse until evenly combined.

3. Press the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven to add the topping, but leave the oven on.

4. Meanwhile, make the topping: In a bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Stir in the cranberry sauce and almonds.

5. Pour the topping over the cooked shortbread bottom and return to the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until set and evenly browned on top.

6. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into 12 bars.