Monthly Archives: December 2010

wednesday wisdom: i’ll be home for christmas

Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.
John Ed Pearce

Oregon bound…happy holidays!


meatless monday: for the dogs

And now for something completely different. Meatless dog biscuits, adapted from a recipe by my friend Hannah. Hannah is a devoted dog lover, and despite having no canine companion of her own, loves my German Shepherd Bella as if she were a beloved niece. Hannah shared this recipe a while back, and I’ve since made snowflake- and snowman-shaped dog biscuits for all the dogs in my life (no pun intended) as Christmas treats. (SL NOTE: these are actually edible for humans, as you’ll see, although not particularly delicious. Stick with Ritz or Wheat Thins, guys.)

Bella, all Warhol-ed out, holiday 2010.

Bella Biscuits (a la Hannah Elliott):
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. cornmeal
2/3 c. Brewer’s yeast (optional; can be omitted and substituted with 1/2 c. whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. boiling vegetable broth
1/4 c. peanut butter (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll into 3/8-inch thickness on floured surface. Cut into desired shapes, and bake at 375 F for 20 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets. Turn oven off but leave biscuits in oven until crunchy. Yields about 1 pound of tasty dog biscuits.

wednesday wisdom: trilingual LES graffiti wisdom

meatless monday: happy sankta lucia day!

December 13th is St. Lucy’s Day, one of the few saint days observed in Scandinavia. In the Swedish tradition, St. Lucia represents light and sweets (and given it’s also the season of Advent, what could be better than light and sweets?). Lucia is draped in white robes with a red sash, wearing a crown of candles and leading a procession of other young girls, singing the “Sankta Lucia Song.” She is also the bringer of coffee and Lussekatter, or Lucia buns.

Lussekatter buns are traditionally made with saffron and raisins, but other spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, and dried cranberries or currants, can be swapped out. You’ll notice the recipe calls for measurements in grams, how very European! Have fun converting, Americans.

Lussekatter (Saint Lucia Saffron Buns)

  • 300 ml whole milk
  • 1 g saffron threads
  • 50 g baker’s yeast
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 125 g butter
  • 700 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • salt
  • raisins
  1. Melt butter in a pan and add the milk and the saffron.
  2. Warm the mixture to 100F (use a thermometer; the correct temperature is important!).
  3. Pour the mixture over the yeast in a large bowl; add the remaining ingredients (except for the egg and raisins).
  4. Mix into a smooth dough.
  5. Cover the dough with a piece of cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Knead the dough, divide it into 25-30 pieces and form each piece into a round bun.
  7. Let the buns rest for a few minutes, covered by a piece of cloth.
  8. Form each bun into a string, 6-8 inches long, then arrange the string in an S or double S shape. Regardless of the shape, the ends of the string should meet.
  9. Press a few raisins into the dough.
  10. Cover the”Lucia cats” with a piece of cloth and let them rise for 40 more minutes.
  11. Whip the egg together with a few grains of salt, and paint the”Lucia cats” with the mixture.
  12. Bake them for 5-10 minutes in the oven at 475 F until golden brown.

wednesday wisdom: for elizabeth edwards & john lennon

bodh gaya, india.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

meatless monday: cookiefest 2011

Yes, cookies are meatless too! (Well, not all of them). Today I’m featuring a friend’s recipe for one of my fave holiday cookies: Pepparkakors! If you’re a fan of crunchy gingersnaps with a Swedish kick, you’ll adore these. A total childhood throwback for this Scandinavian. Thanks, Kari!

crunchy, pretty, gingery pepparkakors, courtesy of Kari and her lovely blog.

Kari’s Pepparkaker Cookies (from her blog A Minute on the Lips…)

  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup OR molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom (optional)
  • 1tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp all-spice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (you can use lemon in place of orange if you prefer)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in egg, corn syrup, orange juice, and orange zest. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; stir into the creamed mixture until combined.
  3. Place dough in the fridge over night.
  4. Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness, and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies on wire racks.

wednesday wisdom: poetry!

Monet Refuses the Operation
Doctor, you say there are no halos
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
– Lisel Mueller