books 2017

Published December 31, 2017 by lisaolisa

See the covers of these books on Goodreads.

  1. A Burglar’s Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh
  2. After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back as Honored Guests: Unembedded in
  3. Afghanistan by Ted Rall
  4. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
  5. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
  6. Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz
  7. Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard
  8. Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied
  9. Hospital by David M. Oshinsky
  10. Born Both: An Intersex Life by Hida Viloria
  11. Carthage by Joyce Carol Oates
  12. Cockpit Confidential by Patrick Smith
  13. Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History by Dan Flores
  14. Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies–How What We Eat Defines Who
  15. We Are by Sophie Egan
  16. Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson
  17. Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time by Steve Jenkins
  18. Final Girls by Riley Sager
  19. Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt by Arthur T. Vanderbilt II
  20. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  21. Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius
  22. Heft by Liz Moore
  23. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
  24. Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff by Michael Nesmith
  25. Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night by Jason Zinoman
  26. Lost & Found (Rocky Pelligrino, #1) by Jacqueline Sheehan
  27. Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
  28. Nevertheless: A Memoir by Alec Baldwin
  29. Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah
  30. Parrots For Dummies by Nikki Moustaki
  31. Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of
  32. America by Charles Ferguson
  33. Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With
  34. Narcissists, Sociopaths, & Other Toxic People by Jackson MacKenzie
  35. Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik
  36. Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know by Robert Peter Gale
  37. Secondhand Souls (Grim Reaper, #2) by Christopher Moore
  38. Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin
  39. Armstrong
  40. Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight
  41. About Animals by Hal Herzog
  42. Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets by Joanna Blythman
  43. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
  44. The Case for Impeachment by Allan J. Lichtman
  45. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  46. The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests by Chris Smith
  47. The Elephant in the Room by Jon Ronson
  48. The Inheritor’s Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science by Sandra Hempel
  49. The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston
  50. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
  51. The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria
  52. Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson
  53. Trump and Me by Mark Singer
  54. Trump Revealed by Michael Kranish
  55. Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche by Haruki Murakami
  56. Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill
  57. What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
  58. Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill
  59. Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin

oatmeal raisin quick bread (lacto-vegetarian)

Published December 3, 2017 by lisaolisa

This recipe is from my mother’s much used Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book, c. 1955. Image from listing.

This is not too sweet and is dense enough to be used as a weapon against home intruders. The recipe says to serve warm; we serve from the fridge for breakfast, using a very sharp knife and putting an arm into it.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1  1/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons  melted shortening (I use margarine)


  1. Sift flour; measure; add baking powder, soda, and salt; sift again. Add rolled oats and raisins; mix well.
  2. Combine milk, brown sugar, molasses and melted shortening, slightly cooled.
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. Do not beat.
  4. Turn into a greased loaf pan (8×8 by 2 inches) and bake in a hot oven (425 degrees F) about 40 minutes.
  5. Cut into squares and serve hot.

Source: My mother’s Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book, c. 1955

buckwheat pancakes (lacto-ovo vegetarian)

Published November 26, 2017 by lisaolisa

For my first first attempt, I followed the original recipe. It was way too much cloves, so I swapped in pumpkin pie spice for the individual spices. Instead of buttermilk, which I never have in the house, I use sour milk. If pure buckwheat flour packs too much buckwheat punch, use half buckwheat flour and half all-purpose flour.

Yield: 4 servings.


  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together the egg, milk, and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  2. Preheat over medium heat a nonstick griddle or pan coated with cooking spray, oil, butter, or margarine. I tend to use a light smearing of grapeseed oil. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto griddle/pan; turn when bubbles on top begin to pop. (I use a lower heat setting, otherwise I burn them, so I turn when the bubbles form, the sides are beginning to cook, and the cooking side is golden brown.) Cook until the second side is golden brown.
    Yield: 4 servings.


Adapted from

dog treats – peanut butter banana (vegan)

Published November 26, 2017 by lisaolisa

We don’t give our dogs glutenous meals, but they can eat it in treats. These idiot-proof treats were a big hit with our three, but two of them will eat poop, so their tastes are not discerning. They no doubt would eat these with water substituted for stock. Because these have fruit in them, they need eating up fairly quickly.

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup flour

Drop by smallish spoonfuls onto a baking sheet that you’ve either not greased or greased for easier cleanup.

Bake 16-18 minutes at 350° F.


ultimate pizza sauce (lacto vegetarian)

Published November 23, 2017 by lisaolisa

I don’t know if this is the ultimate, as the recipe is billed, but it’s really good! The Parmesan gives it some tang, and the anise seed is a welcome change.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed


  1. In a large skillet, melt butter with the oil. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute until soft and transparent.
  2. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir until smooth.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to slow simmer.
  4. Simmer for 30-60 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaf and spread the sauce on prepared pizza dough.


“danboy357” had some advice for us:

“i see alot of people substituting alot of ingredients in this recipe, which kinda defeats the purpose. ive been using it for years, this is a genuine sauce recipe from someone who knew better than us. for instance, the fennel is a key ingredient so dont skip it. once i didnt have any so i added a bit of vodka which to my suprise worked ok but not the same, dont be lazy go get the fennel. a can of puree tomatoe is the same as a sauce/patse mix or try diced tomatoe’s ran through a good chopper for a chunkier juicer style sauce. other than that you can sub fresh parsley and a bit of celery salt for celery in a pinch. i always increase the sugar and black pepper for a nice contrast. and maybe even add some red pepper to taste for a spicier version but dont go nuts with it.”

roasted cauliflower with thyme (vegan)

Published November 23, 2017 by lisaolisa

Simple and fast, this is the perfect side dish for any meal.


  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into bite-size florets (about 8 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves, but that’s never in this house)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Sprinkle with the salt and thyme, and then toss again.
  4. Turn onto baking sheet and roast until golden and tender, about 20 minutes.