All Posts for October 2018

Radiance by Barbara Crooker

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

My Note: I feel fortunate to have two Douglass College (Rutgers University) classmates who are poets in the true sense of the word. (I consider myself a “rhymnast,” a gymnast with rhyming words, rather than a poet). 

Radianceis one of Barbara’s earlier books, but like all the other books I have of hers, the poems strike a chord in my heart. I am not sure if this is because she is a women and mother, or just because she has a way with words. Whatever the reasons, I love her poetry and eventually plan to have all of them on my poetry shelf. After all, they don’t take up a lot of space!!!

Here are a few samples of Barbara’s words on Life. I chose “October “ because it is my favorite month of the year and since this is the last day of October, I better post it now, even though I was going to post it in early November.  Also, I took some photos this morning and one is posted with the poem. I chose A Woman is Pegging Wash on the Line because of my love of clotheslines. (My newest book For the Love of Clotheslines, is available on Amazon.)


Some October by Barbara Crooker

Some October, when the leaves turn gold, as

Me if I’ve done enough to deserve this life

I’ve been given. A pile of sorrows, yes, but

Joy enough to unbalance the equation.


When the sky turns blue as the robes of heave,

Ask me if I’ve made a difference.

The road winds through the copper-colored woods;

No one sees around the bend.

Today, the wind poured out of Canada,

A river in flood, bringing down the brilliant leaves,

Broken sticks and twigs, deserted nests.

Go where the current takes you.


Some twilight, when the clouds stream in from the west

Like the breath if God, ask me again.



A Woman is Pegging Wash on the Line ”
by Barbara Crooker

This photo by Jockie Loomer-Kruger is in my book, For the Love of Clotheslines. I also reviewed her book with similar art, entitled Valley Child: A Memoir. Link to the review:…ie-loomer-kruger/ 


She is hanging sheets on a row of rope,

hitching them down with wooden pegs.

She might be pinning clouds to the sky.

They billow and snap like spinnakers.

She is bending over the willow basket,

Pegging up sock sock undershirt

sock sock boxers

sock sock bra.

She knows the use of the singing line

Sure as any fly fisher.

A family of underwear soaks in the sunshine,

Bleaches and whitens, like the Day of Redemption.

On the outer circle, the dark and heavy,

Denims and flannels, arms and legs free

To dance a reel and a jig to the fiddling wind.

When the breeze dies down and shadows lengthen,

She reels them in, pulling and tugging.

Squares the corners.

As she hefts the basket, she smells the sun’s hot breath,

Fresh cut grass, lavender and thyme. She sees the evening

Star rise over the roof, and she brings her cargo in.



Radiance is published by Word Press and is available from:

Halloween Appetizer

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Sweet Potatoes and Back Beans make a good Halloween culinary combination that can be used as an appetizer or side dish for lunch or dinner. This recipe was inspired by a “slider” recipe in Clean Eating Magazine, but there is no meat in this dish, just delicious sweet potatoes and hearty black beans.


Utensils: Cookie sheet, cutting board and knife, spatula, serving dish,
parchment paper (optional)
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: About 20 min. with cooked black beans
Category: Vegan, Gluten Free, No sugar added


large, organic sweet potato (Look for a sweet potato that is somewhat uniform
in its thickness.)
cooked black beans*, well-drained
sliced leek
oil (optional)
cheese or vegan cheese (optional)
hot pepper flakes cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. While oven is heating, scrub and slice one large sweet potato into 1/2″ thick rounds, trimming off the pointed ends first an (Use these ends in soup stock or stew.)
  3. Place sweet potato circles on a lightly oiled cookie sheet or on parchment paper without oil.
  4. Place in heated oven and allow to bake about 10-15 minutes, turning over once. Bake until you can piece with a fork, but the slices should still be firm, not mushy.
  5. While sweet potatoes are baking, peel and slice 1/2 of an avocado into slivers that will fit onto your sweet potato circles. (Maybe cut each avocado slice in half.)
  6. Remove cookie sheet and add a slice of leek, then one slice of avocado on each potato circle. Next, add cooked black beans (drained), maybe one tablespoon, depending on the size of your circles. Add hot pepper flakes or cayenne, if using. And if you are using cheese or vegan cheese, sprinkle some on top.
  7. Bake another 5-7 minutes, until cheese melts. (For crisper texture, you can broil for a couple of minutes, but keep watch that the circles and toppings don’t burn!)
  8. Place on a serving platter, add sprouts or place sprouts in center of platter, and serve warm.*If you are using canned black beans, be sure the cans are BPA free. You can also try tetra-packed beans in a paper carton; no BPA to worry about! See posting for Artichoke Salad to learn about tetra-packing.