Monthly Archives: August 2017

Hurricane Prep

On Sunday the Sun News ran my article on hurricane pantry–things you should have on hand.
Remember, we are most at risk during Sept and Oct here on the NC coast

Girl Scout Presentation!

On Saturday, Aug 19, I read my book, Rosa and the Red Apron to a group of Girl Scouts at the Lowe’s Food in Monkey Junction in Wilmington, NC (Lowe’s obtained permission to use photo on FB) . Thank you, Alexandra , for inviting me!
It was a fun way to spend a morning.
We had such a good time! The girls enjoyed acting out the book with me as I read it. We did not have time to talk much about writing–Lowe’s had arranged a wonderful cookie decorating session for them–yummy!
I am available to speak to scout groups on writing, on cooking, on story performance and speaking! I have some dates left before the end of the year. More open in January and February!

Book Review! Small Batch Baking



175 Best Small-Batch Baking

Treats for 1 or 2

By Jill Snider

Robert Rose Press

ISBN-13: 978-0778805618

Retail : $24.95

Review by Joan Leotta

Baking is not what I am known for. The careful chemistry of ingredients, exact measurements–all of this does not jive with my little of this, little of that style of cooking. I do bake–cookies mostly, and when I do, I am careful to follow the directions no matter how much my inner spirit wants to rebel.

Cookies are one of my favorite things to make and eat (if you check out my photos you will know the truth of that!). However, now that we are a family of two, cookie making is restricted to holidays, parties and church or community functions. Even then, I am often faced with a large amount that need to be frozen. When I pull them out months later, even if frozen in small batches, I feel as though it is a chore to eat them. I prefer fresh.

Cutting a recipe for 24, 36 or more cookies into batches of 6 or nine is more than an exercise in simple math. The chemistry of the cookie requires, adjustment of certain ingredients, a smaller pan, a different baking time. Jill Snider has done all of the experiments to make sure that the recipes she has included meet those criteria. These are not oddball cookies–oh no! She has many of my holiday favorites in this book and there are others, related to them, chewy and crisp, bar cookies, min pies, mini loaves and more that are perfect for a romantic dinner, afternoon spur-of-the- moment snack (without days of required eating or gifting of leftover cookies).  My freezer is already smiling at not having to bear the burden of tiny bags of cookies that will be lost behind roasts and veggies until dried out. Many of the recipes are for things that are my personal faves–dream bars, apricot and fig pinwheels, and even pecan balls.

Author Jill Snider has decades of baking experience  in her resume, including 25 years as a test kitchen manager for a major flour maker. This Toronto, Canada resident is the author of two other cook books as well. She has recalculated cooking times and pan size. She knows how to split an egg! (several of my cookie recipes call for one egg and to halve the recipe….) Snider’s recipes are calculated so this issue is resolved.

The 175 recipes in this book–well, this means I can pick up the book and find something I want to make any time I am in the mood for something sweet–and home-made, no chemicals.

Small batch also means lower cost and fewer sugary calories to be consumed at one sitting. Such calorie avoidance, by eating fewer cookies, does not make this a health cookbook, but certainly no one can argue it is good for mental health, providing the means for a small sweet treat when the psyche needs it. This book makes a wonderful gift for anyone who has a smaller household.

With permission of the author the publisher I am printing one of the recipes from the book. Try it, But try it at your own peril, because like all delicious things, once you try one, you will want more!

Raspberry Coconut Pinwheels

Makes 8 medium or 6 larger cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Line baking sheet with parchment


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons quick oats

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup butter ,softened

1/4 cup pack brown sugar

3 Tablespoons  granulated sugar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1 1/tablespoon raspberry jam


In a small bowl, whisk together flour, oats and baking soda and salt

set aside

In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat together, butter, sugars, the egg and the almond extract until creamy, Add the coconut and the flour mixture.

Set aside 3 tablespoons of the dough for topping. Then drop by spoonsful onto prepared baking sheet. make an indentation in each cookie. Put the jam in the indentation and then partially cover with the reserved dough

Bake in the preheated oven, 10-14 minutes or until golden.

Let cool for five minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.