I am on my way to Pike County this Friday morning to open up the Imagination Library to all the children under 5, and I am pretty excited because I know these kids will really benefit from the books. So many of them don’t live close enough to the library and don’t have transportation, so just imagine how happy they will be when their books start arriving in the mail! From there I’m going to Scioto County and Jackson County.
I’ve spent the last couple of days preparing food for a gathering at our Cedarville home. I made some of my old standbys that freeze well so I can make them early — like my friend Elaine’s buttermilk brownies and my carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. I’m experimenting with a new recipe, too: a slab pie. I put pie crust in a 13 inch by 17 inch sheet pan and I’m going to make a mixed berry pie filling, which I will partially pre-cook and cool. I cut out little pastry stars, in place of lattice, to place on top of the filling before I bake it. I’m hoping it will be both pretty and delicious, and easy to cut into squares to serve. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
I looked through my old cookbooks for more recipe ideas and chose a few simple favorites of our children, including a cheese ball recipe and butterscotch brownies. Since we’re still in cold winter weather I think I’ll serve Janet Voinovich’s recipe for hot spiced cider as well. It will make the room smell so good!
I’m back in the car now to report that we just signed up Pike County. I read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to the cutest kids — or should I say — they read it to me! It is just wonderful to see how excited the city leaders are, and most importantly, how excited the parents are. It’s a rainy day but there’s sunshine in the future.
Janet Voinovich’s Hot Spiced Cider
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
2 cups apple cider
6 cups orange juice
Put in crockpot and stir well. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours. This can also be done on the stove.
Alice’s Butterscotch Brownies
1/2 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Melt butter in bowl in microwave. Add brown sugar, egg, and vanilla, and stir. Stir in dry ingredients. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts if desired. Spread evenly into greased 9-inch square pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool. Cut.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.