Words to the Wise: Sharing Life, Lessons, and Observations

Words to the Wise is a collection of stories, observations and insight drawn from my own experience both in the past and in the present, together with my perspective on what I may have learned in the process. Occasional poetry and astrological insights will be included when appropriate. I welcome comments, suggestions and thoughts of all kinds and am happy to respond.

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Holiday Goodies for home or potlucks

Special Recipes for the Holiday Season


Thanksgiving is on the horizon and Solstice, Christmas and Hanukah are not far off. Many people cherish this opportunity to cook and bake special foods as well as to entertain family and friends. The season of celebration really does begin with Thanksgiving and run right through to New Year's Day. Potlucks and parties are the order of the day for many of us. Toward that end I thought I would share two of my special holiday recipes.Gluten free flour makes these acceptable for all.

This recipe is a great substitute for a traditional pecan pie. It is easier to make and just as good to eat: Brown Sugar Pecan Pie Bars. These look and taste much like a pecan pie though far easier to make. Preheat oven to 350, grease an 8X8 baking pan. Ingredients: 1st Layer, ½ cup soft butter, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 2nd Layer, 2 eggs, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, ¼ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 1 cup whole or chopped pecans, 1 Tbs flour.    

Method: Cream butter and sugar well. Add flour and mix well for first layer. Pat into greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. (325 for glass pan) Remove. Raise oven temperature to 375 (350 for glass pan).  While first layer bakes, beat eggs. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Take pan out of oven and pour second mixture over crust. Spread evenly and bake for 20 minutes more or until brown and firm. Cool and cut into bars.

This next recipe is a bit more trouble to make, however they are so good you'll be glad you did. Boy Oh Boy Bars. Grease a 10X15 jellyroll pan and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Ingredients: Bottom layer: 1 cup butter, ½ cup backed brown sugar, ½ cup white sugar, 2 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 2 cups unbleached white flour. Topping: 2 egg whites, ½ tsp vanilla 1 cup brown sugar packed, 1 cup chocolate chips.

Method: In small electric mixer bowl, beat egg whites stiff. Beat in vanilla, then brown sugar, a tablespoon or so at a time. Fold in chips. Scrape beaters, set bowl aside and use large bowl for next step. Cream together butter and sugars, add yolks, vanilla, baking powder, salt, in that order. Beat well. Stir in flour to blend well. Spread in well greased pan, using a fork dipped in cold water to spread batter better. Swirl meringue over top and bake 25 to 35 minutes. Once bars have cooled, cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch squares, then you’ll know why they are called Boy oh Boy Bars!

          There is a cute ad that says, "Nothin' says loving like something from the oven." While that may be true, what really matters is the attitude with which you prepare any food you will be serving to family and friends. I believe that food prepared and cooked with love and appreciation is tastier and more nourishing than any food, no matter how expensive or elaborate made without it. I really do enjoy cooking, and always have for as long as I can remember. My memories of the happy faces and joyful words that have accompanied some of my home cooked meals are some of my most precious..









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Practical mystic and poet Tasha Halpert writes a column called Heartwings Love Notes for a Joyous Life, as well as a monthly astrology column for the internet. She writes a weekly perspective column for the Grafton News called Good Earthkeeping.  Her poems and essays have appeared in Quest Magazine, For the Love of Life, Heart and Wings, The Unicorn, and other publications. She is staff poet and storyteller for the Unicorn, and a regular part of Granny Moon’s Morning Feast. Her book Heartwings: Love Notes for a Joyous Life is available; She has another in preparation: Up to my Neck in Lemons, as well as a poetry chapbook: Poems and Prayers. With her writings she hopes to be of help and comfort and perhaps even entertaining.  With her husband Stephen she lives in Grafton and is the mother of 5, grandmother of 7, and great grandmother of 2.  


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