recipe: White Chocolate Chip Cookies





My sister and I are making plans for our cookie baking day. Instead of mimosas this year, we’ll make Kir Royales with the blackberry liqueur I got in Normandy. She wants to add a pound cake to the gift mix and we need to raid dollar stores for cute holiday gift containers.

So, here is one of my recipes. This is the Nestle Toll House Recipe that has been tweaked with white chocolate chips. See there where it says ‘butter’? That really means butter! For flavor, use butter! I’m beginning to think it’s healthier than the polyoxidesubstitutes in margarine, too!  All things in moderation!!



  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.


book review: Gangsta Rap

book review: Gangsta Rap

author: Bejamin Zephaniah

publisher: Bloosmbury, 2004

main character: Ray, aka “X Ray X”

Our story begins with a shouting match between Ray and his dad. This scene displays the anger, tension and miscommunication that propels Ray and his friends Prem and Tyrone to act irrationally and rudely. RaLater tht morning, Ray explodes on his teacher and threatens him, I guess carrying on the anger from home. Ray is permanently excluded from school as Prem and Tyrone already have been. We don’t really get to the root of Ray’s anger. We know that his dad drinks a lot, has a temper and doesn’t understand his son. We know that his mom does everything she can to hold the family together. At a final meeting before the boys are given their walking papers, they’re given the option of attending an alternative school. It’s a very new school, the mothers are skeptical, but it is seems to be their only hope of getting a diploma for their sons.

This school will build a curriculum around students career interests and for these boys, it’s hip hop music.

At this point, it’s easy to think that the boy’s main problem is a lack of male presence. While a poor relationship with their dad is a crucial part of the story (because little is more important to young men than their relationship with their dad) there is an abundance of men supporting these boys. Marga Man, a local record shop owner is their surrogate dad and manager.  School administrators, business people and musicians all work with the boys to help them finish their education while they begin a hip hop career. Despite all that is being done to help them, the boys manage to maintain rather surly attitudes.

Almost too quickly, the boys release a successful CD. While they don’t get the glamour and bright lights that most Americans expect, they do begin to get attention and realize they have to surround themselves with people they can trust. They’ve been educated about the music business and are aware of contracts, obligations and all the work involved with maintaining success. They are also well read on hip hop, knowing its origins, messages and format. They want to be true British hip hop stars. The down sounds of the industry are presented, as the boys are dangerously used just for the money they generate. This bit of suspense is good for moving the story along.

I didn’t really like these boys. I was glad to see them successful and did see them grow up a little bit, but they were not developed enough for me to understand and accept them. I would like to think that young people can be successful without having to limit their development by focusing on a career that may or may not be successful and I found their poor attitudes towards every adult unjustified. I do think the story will give young people a lot to consider and more than that, it will give them hope of succeeding with their own dreams.

review: Fresh Girl

review: Fresh Girl

author: Jaïra Placide

publisher: Wally Lamb Books, 2002

main character: Mardi Desravines


While reading Fresh Girl, I couldn’t help but remember Uma Krishnaswami’s musings on trends in YA books set in countries other than the US, although this book is set in the US. Placide was actually born and raised in the US but was so affected by events in Haiti during its coup d’etat that she wrote Fresh Girl.

Mardi is a young teen who spent much of her childhood in Haiti in her grandmother’s home. Her favorite uncle is politically active and as the political condition deteriorates, her family decides to buy first class tickets to return to the US. But something happens while the family is in transition, something that causes Mardi to no longer trust her favorite Uncle. Desravines builds our suspicion as she drops crumbs about Mardi’s past. I don’t want to remember too much, but these things are like sleeping hiccups in my head. We see the goodness in Uncle Perrin and wonder what he could have done for Mardi to despise him so much.

Mardi is also crushin’ on Santos. Haven’t we all had that love we gush on from afar? That dreamboat who, should he ever dare speak to us would leave us so tongue tied that we could do nothing but make a fool of ourselves? We see only his perfection and could easily look foolish because of him. Today I think my heart will stop. Santos blew me a kiss. That’s not what I prayed for in church but it’s just as good. Through Mardi’s eyes, we see how good and wonderful Santos is, although those around her warn her about this boy.

Mardi’s story is rich with well developed characters who depict bits of Haitian culture. Some speak only patois. Many have been in the US for quite some time, but are considered to be ‘boat people’. Families try to protect their young girls from any sexual knowledge or experience, yet the children are as inquisitive as most growing teens.

When Mardi is finally able to reveal secrets she’s buried deep within, she’s able to firmly, comfortably and bravely by herself. She can finally see things as they really are and she’s able to say what she means and mean what she says. She’s given up her childhood.

I think Placide wrote this story so that young adult readers would know that while Haitian Americans don’t all have one story, they do have a common history and heritage. I look around the kitchen. In the dark my eyes can still recognize the big cooking spoons, the I LOVE HAITI wooden machete souvenir, the local bodega calendar of a topless woman, the three pictures of fruits, the floral plastic tablecloth, toaster, blender, Brillo, Palmolive, and the patchwork quilt rag that hangs on the refrigerator door. I have good eyes. I can even see the fading crack on the wall in the shape of Hispaniola.

What I think?

I think I will be all right.

Because I am good.




In Memory: Effie Lee Morris

Children’s Champion Effie Lee Morris Dies

Effie Lee Morris, 88, children’s librarian extraordinaire and advocate for children’s literature and library service to youngsters with impaired vision, died of cancer November 10 at her home in San Francisco.

Calling Morris the “Grand Dame of children’s librarianship,” Andrew P. Jackson, former president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), made the announcement on the BCALA discussion list. “As it was with our founder, E. J. Josey, it was with Ms. Effie Lee, for she made the most of her years,” said Jackson, executive director of the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center in Queens, New York. “She was a true activist librarian, committed to establishing and improving children’s services and black children’s literature and collections throughout her long illustrious career.”

“Ms. Morris was pure class,” said BCALA Newsletter Editor S. D. Harris, children’s librarian at Norwalk (Conn.) Public Library’s South Norwalk branch. “I’m sure she was dear to all of us. She provided great leadership worthy of being imitated. She was upfront, well studied in children’s work.”

Born in Richmond, Virginia, April 20, 1921, Morris spent her youth in Cleveland, Ohio. She received a bachelor of arts degree in 1945, bachelor of library science in 1946, and an MLS in 1956—all from Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland.

She began her library career in 1946 at Cleveland Public Library and established its first Negro History Week celebration for children. Morris moved to New York in 1955 and became a children’s librarian for the New York Public Library, going on to serve as children’s specialist at NYPL’s Library for the Blind from 1958 to 1963.

In 1963, Morris moved to San Francisco to become the first coordinator of children’s services at San Francisco Public Library. In 1964, Morris established the Children’s Historical and Research Collection at SFPL’s Children’s Center, which features titles that depict the changing portrayals of ethnic and minority groups during the 20th century. The collection was subsequently renamed in her honor. She remained at SFPL for 15 years, and then served as editor of children’s books at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich from 1978 to 1979.

Active in ALA since 1949, Morris chaired the Social Responsibilities Round Table and was an early supporter and chair of the Coretta Scott King Awards. She became the first African-American woman to become president of the Public Library Association, serving from 1971 to 1972. Morris served on the Advisory Board of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book in 1983, became the recipient of the BCALA Trailblazer Award in 2005, and in 2008 was named an ALA Honorary Member, the organization’s highest honor, in recognition of “her vision, advocacy, and legacy to children’s services in public libraries.”

Other tributes to Morris include her receipt of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association’s Silver Spur Award for enhancing the city’s quality of life and economic vitality; the National Book Award “for extraordinary contribution to the world of books” from the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA); and ALA’s Grolier Award. In 1996, WNBA’s San Francisco chapter named an annual lecture series after her: Among the children’s authors and illustrators featured at the Effie Lee Morris Children’s Lecture Series are Nikki Grimes, Milly Lee, Pamela Munoz Ryan, Tomie dePaola, and Pat Mora.

Jackson concluded the announcement of Morris’s death on the BCALA discussion list by calling on colleagues to let her contributions “inspire all of us that knew her, worked with her, were mentored by her, encouraged by her, and maybe more so to those who were not fortunate enough to know Ms. Effie Lee personally.”

Pamela A. Goodes, American Libraries;
Posted on November 16, 2009.

Sunday Morning Reads

Actually, it’s a bit late in the day. I watched the Colts earn their 10th win of the season while my thoughts for this post began to come together and take meaning. I’ve written a few times about my experiences with Twitter. I feel kinda sad for professionals who say they don’t have time for Twitter. It really doesn’t have to be about posting your every considered thought and movement. Twitter can be an important way to network with like minded people.

As a media specialist, I enjoy finding out about innovative ways to use tech tools, communicating with authors and getting breaking news from a variety of sources. Tweeters during the recent AASL conference convinced me to go back to and as they’re both incredible tools for the classroom. Tuesday, I was part of #edchat, discussing how to implement technology when teachers aren’t always eager to do so and Wednedsay I discovered  #yalitchat. Each of these has a group site on Ning for the further sharing of information. From these ‘tweetups’ it’s easy to connect to people and make meaningful additions to my friend list.  There are numerous other groups on Twitter, probably for any interest you can imagine. Classroom teachers could use this site to create classroom collaborations, discuss methodologies, virtually attend conferences and so much more! BUT I can’t teach this to my staff because my district blocks Twitter. Learning to network through this “microblogging” would a valuable tool for students, but they too are blocked.

Neesha Meminger and Zeeta Elliot have been blogging reactions to Brooklyn Arden and Ta-Nehisi Coats who discuss why people of color are noticeably absent on television, in movies and writing for either of these fields as well as writing books. Excuses like certain standards … small percentage of the population …history …it takes a particular person … not so much a lack of talent as lack of endurance …  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that too many in this country are still able to exist in a monochromatic world which allows the ‘one world fantasy’ to exist where it concerns those of color.

The ‘one world’ where Africa is one country and Latin American is another. The ‘one world’ where all black people are either Precious (Precious) or Michael Oher (The Blind Side), underprivileged, undereducated, homeless and hopeless. Oh, I know the Preciouses and the Michaels and I work with the educators and social workers (often of color) who help them. I work with administrators and educators who have taught verbal skills to Harvard educated students of color. In my polychromatic world, the ability to write and read and do ‘rithmatic are treated like the basic skills they are because there are people of color who create their own industries, develop treaties, enact laws and lead nations. But daggone if book publishers will ever want to unlock the doors and let our words be written, thoughts be shared with people who want to hear, need to hear what we have to say!

There’s a theme here. I’m talking about schools that filter Twitter and every possible social networking site rather than educating students on how to effectively use these tools, thus perpetuating a 21st century illiteracy.  While urban districts are stuck with scripted curriculum, teaching and reteaching basic skills, our counterparts are able to look at gaming (one of the latest phenomenons in education) and correlate character development, networking skills and plot analysis to improving writing skills.

Says the Unquiet Librarian

Continue reading

Recipes from bloggers around the world making a difference

For a little while now, I’ve been following Anali’s First Amendment blog. Her recipes and pictures are wonderful enough on most days to satisfy my sweet tooth without any caloric indulgence on my part, her stuff is just that good! She even throws in an occasional book review. She recently blogged about a recipe book she and fellow bloggers created to fight children’s hunger around the world, a cause worthy of support. Hmmm…I’m thinking ‘Christmas presents’!

By BloggerAid-CFF, Rhonda Renee, Mark Haak, Peter Georgakopoulos, Deeba Rajpal

Food does not simply nourish the body; food also celebrates what makes the world diverse, as well as, what unites us. The BloggerAid Cook Book is a collection of international recipes illustrating that we can work together and unite for a greater cause. The authors of this cookbook are food bloggers from around the world who have endeavored to make a difference by raising funds for the World Food Programme and encompassing their passion for “all things foodie” at the same time. Through these recipes they share their traditions and insatiable curiosity about new flavours. They pay tribute to the home cooking of our grandmothers, while celebrating the exoticism and richness of a world brought closer together by their hopes to make a difference. With recipes such as Tomato-Cheese Ravioli with Eggplant Sauce, Spicy Serundeng Tuna and Peanuts, Serrano Ham Paella with Oyster Mushrooms, Raspberry Mascarpone Bites and Triple Layer Orange-Passion Fruit Tart we are doing our part to say that bloggers can change the face of famine.

We chose the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) to receive the funds generated by the cookbook because of the wonderful work this organization does. The WFP has touched the lives of our members, many of whom are from countries where poverty is often a way of life. More specifically, 100% of BloggerAid’s proceeds from the cookbook will benefit the WFP’s School Meals Programme, which benefits an average of 22 million hungry children each year. School meals are important on many levels. In countries where school attendance is low, the promise of at least one nutritious meal each day boosts enrollment and promotes regular attendance.
This book is a virtual way for all of us, wherever we may be and however rich or poor we may be, to pull up a chair at the same table and share what we have.

Japan Study Tour Deadline Extended

New Perspectives: Japan (NP:J) is a three-phase program that is centered around a 15-day summer study tour to Japan. There is NO COST for the teacher/chaperone with seven students in the group. NP:J includes homestay, school visits, customized “study tours” in Tokyo and Kyoto and more. Financial assistance is available. Schools can enter in a $250 – $1000 scholarship drawing online. If your name is selected, you may use this scholarship toward any NP:J participant in your group.  For more information, please contact Shelley Namiki at or go to

Program Dates

Tour 1 June 4 to 18, 2010

Tour 2 June 10 to 24, 2010

Tour 3 July 9 to 23, 2010

Program Cost $3895

Deadline: November 30, 2009 (scholarship materials arrive by Nov 30) for students interested in applying for scholarships; Dec 21, 2009 for all other materials for teacher/chaperone and students not applying for scholarships. Students do not need to be in Japanese class. They should have an interest learning and experiencing a new language and culture.