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John Hardin High School really knows how to encourage students to read.
In the spring, teachers select a book they want to read during the summer; they advertise the book in the Library Media Center with the teacher’s picture and a quote from that teacher explaining why they chose that book. The school then purchases multiple copies of the books for the students to check out during the summer. In August, the school hosts a Big Read Café, with literature circles, live acoustic music, door prizes and homemade desserts provided by the teachers, all in a cozy, coffeehouse setting. This year, the Big Read Café was Aug. 21. More than 20 books were discussed in a book circle format, each facilitated by a John Hardin teacher. The teachers not only facilitated the book discussions but provided homemade treats to be served at the Big Read Café. Other goodies that were served as refreshments this year were provided by Golden Corral bakery, Ryan’s Steakhouse bakery, Kroger, Dairy Queen and Whistle Stop’s Caboose. This year, one of the books being discussed during the Big Read was a book named “Dairy Queen,” so the local Dairy Queen offered a Blizzard for each person in that group. What an incentive to read. Amy Flanagan, media specialist and National Honors Society adviser at the school, first told me of the event. She had sent in her recipe for Chocolate Chippers and said she planned to prepare them for it. Several other teachers agreed to share their recipes with us as well. Last year they even made a cookbook. Some of their recipes are printed here. All of them can be viewed on The News-Enterprise Web site. Books featured this summer were “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, “The Choice” by Nicholas Sparks, “Color of the Sea” by John Hamamura; “Dairy Queen” by Catherine Gilbert Murdock; “Deadline” by Chris Crutcher; “Dreamquake” by Elizabeth Knox; “Hole in My Life” by Jack Gantos; “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult; “Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham; “Pretties” by Scott Westerfeld; “School of Dreams” by Edward Humes; “Septimus Heap Book 1: Magyk” by Angie Sage; “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield; “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini; “World Without End” by Ken Follett; “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin; “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer; “Tyrell” by Coe Booth; “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen; and “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” by Max Brooks. I want to go back to high school. This sounds like fun. Mary Alice Holt can be reached at (270) 505-1751, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Chocolate Chippers Submitted by: Amy Flanagan ½ cup shortening ½ cup sugar ¼ cup brown sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup all-purpose flour ¾ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon baking soda Cream together with a wooden spoon shortening, sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix all-purpose flour, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the shortening/sugar mixture and stir well by hand with a mixing spoon. Do not use a hand mixer as this incorporates too much air into the mixture and the end result isn’t as good. Once thoroughly mixed, add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. An optional add-in is ½ cup chopped nuts, but Amy says she never does this. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Yields 12-15 large cookies, or approximately 20 smaller ones. When Amy was young, she and her best friend always made these cookies at sleepovers. The recipe came from her friend’s mother who had made them herself as a little girl. It appeared in the original “Better Homes & Gardens Jr. Cookbook” as well as later editions of Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks. Amy says she has been making the cookies for nearly 25 years. It’s a Sunday night tradition at her home, and it makes “the best cookie dough, even unbaked!” 'Twilight' Brownie Bites Submitted by Melissa Case, assistant principal (who facilitated the discussion of “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer.) 1 box of brownie mix ¼ cup raspberry jam, room temperature ½ block cream cheese ½ cup powdered sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla Mix brownies according to package directions and put into greased 9 x 9-inch pan. Before baking, drizzle lines of raspberry jam onto the brownies. Use a butter knife to swirl the jam around in the brownie mixture, but don’t overdo it. While brownies are baking, make icing by mixing together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Let brownies cool, then cut into bite-sized squares. Use pastry bag with star tip to ice brownie bites or just use a teaspoon to dollop a bit on them for less fancy events. In this recipe, Melissa says the brownies represent food Bella (from the Twilight series) would want, the red jam represents the blood Edward would want, and the white icing represents everlasting love uniting the two. Missouri Mouthful Cookies (Trail Mix Cookies) Submitted by: Dave Swartz, English Collaboration teacher ¾ cup dark brown sugar ¾ cup white sugar ½ cup canola oil 2 eggs 1 cup natural peanut butter (crunchy or creamy) 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup quick oats 1 cup old-fashioned oats 1 cup coconut ½ cup raisins ½ cup dark chocolate chips First mix dark brown sugar, white sugar, canola oil, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla. Then, add whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine quick oats, old-fashioned oats, coconut, raisins and dark chocolate chips; then add to mixture. Drop heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheet and press down slightly. Bake at 350 degrees (325 degrees if your cookie sheet is black) for eight to 10 minutes. Cool for two minutes before removing. Enjoy. Dave Swartz says that when he and his wife Sarah worked in Yellowstone National Park, they sometimes treated themselves to a Montana Monster Cookie at the Cooke City General Store near the park's entrance. Years later, when they lived in Missouri, Sarah tried inventing her own version of those cookies. Since “peanut butter oatmeal raisin chocolate chip coconut cookies” was too much of a mouthful to say, she called them Missouri Mouthful Cookies. A friend later renamed them Trail Mix Cookies, a fitting name for hikers like the Swartzes. Mrs. Mitchell’s Brownies Submitted by: Kathryn Spalding, AP English teacher 1 cup sugar 1 stick melted butter (so much tastier than margarine) 2 eggs ½ cup (rounded) all-purpose White Lily flour 3 rounded tablespoons cocoa 1 teaspoon vanilla dash of salt 2/3 cup English walnuts or pecans Mix together sugar and melted butter. Stir in eggs and all-purpose flour and blend well. Next, add cocoa, vanilla, salt and nuts. Bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees in a greased and floured 9-inch or 8-inch square pan, or until toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar; cool 25-30 minutes; cut with a plastic fork or knife. This recipe is easily doubled. Kathryn’s college roommate’s mother used to make these and send them in a tin. A mixer isn’t necessary. Grandmother’s Molasses Cookies
Submitted by: Kathryn Spalding, AP English teacher 1¼ cup oil 2 cups sugar ½ cup Grandma’s molasses (the Grandma’s brand is essential) 2 eggs 4 teaspoons baking soda 4 cups sifted flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon ginger 2 teaspoons cinnamon Add sugar, molasses and eggs to oil and beat well with a mixer. Sift together the dry ingredients and add a few tablespoonfuls at a time. Mix well. The batter may become too stiff to mix completely with a mixer. Chill several hours or overnight. Roll into small balls, then in granulated sugar. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in 350-degree oven until barely golden (under 10 minutes, depending on oven). Watch closely so cookies do not get too dark, or they will be crisp. The best cookie has a crackled surface and is soft. Kathryn’s mother kept two red cookie jars on her kitchen counter. One was always full of cowboy cookies; the other held these favorites. Chocolate Chip Cookies
Submitted by: Heather Coogle, math teacher 2 sticks of butter 2 eggs ¾ cup brown sugar ¼ cup white sugar 1 box vanilla instant pudding 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon baking soda 2¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 (12-ounce) bag of chocolate chips Mix together melted butter, eggs, sugars, pudding and vanilla. Add baking soda and flour. Last, add chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 7 to 10 minutes. Note: You may convert this recipe to a pie by pouring the mixture into a pie shell and baking for 20 minutes at 350. Heather says her mom has made these chocolate chip cookies as long as she can remember. Everyone loves them. When she moved out on her own, she was determined to learn how to make them herself. After several attempts, she was finally able to recreate her mom’s masterpiece. Brainy Banana Bread
Submitted by: Nancy Kotarski, ESL instructional assistant ½ cup vegetable oil 1 cup sugar 2 eggs, well beaten 3 mashed bananas 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 3 teaspoons milk ½ teaspoon vanilla ½ cup chopped nuts Beat oil and sugar. Add beaten eggs and bananas; beat well. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add to this to the first mixture with the milk and vanilla. Beat well. Stir in chopped nuts. Bake in a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan, lined on the bottom with waxed paper, at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. This recipe came from Nancy’s very first cookbook. She’s been making this bread since 1984. She likes to give it to friends as gifts. Sour Cream Tea Cake
Submitted by: Hope Boback, science teacher 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla ¼ pound butter ½ pint sour cream 2 eggs Cinnamon sugar (2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon) Combine the cinnamon sugar mix in a separate bowl. Cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Once mixed, add sour cream. Line a tube pan with greased, waxed paper. Pour half of the batter in, then sprinkle on half of the cinnamon sugar mix. Pour remaining batter on top and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool; invert and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Hope’s mother gave her this recipe when she first got married. She got it from a Hungarian friend. It’s a favorite at Hope’s house. They eat it for breakfast, and it goes well with coffee and tea. It keeps fresh for about a week.