Just a short column today, seems like there is too much work left at the end of the week than week left at the end of the work!
I want to update everyone on my friend Patty Erdeski's Boxes of Love project. For those who may not have read my earlier column, Patty, who lives in Stamford, Vt., has a son, Arich, stationed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. Arich told her many of the men and women in his group never received care packages from home. And Patty, being the loving caring woman she is, decided to rectify the problem by sending out her "Boxes of Love": small shoebox-sized parcels with snacks, personal items and fun things to do.
When I talked to Patty Friday morning, she reported she has mailed 61 boxes to date -- she had just mailed box 7 when we last talked in early December.
She is extremely grateful for the response from the community, telling me, "It was amazing how quickly people responded after the column appeared."
She added she is still sending packages -- and that means she still needs donations. A list of items can be found at www.stamfordelementary.com. Log on and then scroll down to Boxes of Love. Items may be dropped off at Stamford Elementary School, Zumba of the Berkshires at 69 Union St., North Adams; Planet Fitness in the Steeple City Plaza, North Adams; Nassif's on Ashland Street, North Adams, or at the North Adams Post Office.
To make a monetary donation, which Patty will use for postage ($13.95 per box) or for items she needs to fill the boxes, send them to Patty at 38 Autumn Lane, Stamford, Vt., 05352.
If anyone in the area knows of a serviceman or woman who needs a Box of Love, they may message Patty on Facebook. Remember to include the serviceman or woman's name and address.
She stresses messaging on Facebook in order to keep the information private. She will message back when she mails the package.
On another note, I want to share a recipe with you that comes from The Berkshire Eagle Managing Editor Kevin Moran's wife, Melanie, who occasionally treats the newsroom staff to her wonderful cookies.
As anyone in the business knows, the way to a reporter's or editor's heart is through their stomach. Nabisco once mailed me, in my role as food editor, a store display rack of their Snackwell cookies and candy. Sad to say, the newsroom wiped it out in under 24 hours.
Melanie's cookies were unbelievable -- rich, moist and to-die-for. It was love at first bite. What's not to like about cookies with milk, semi-sweet and white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, M&Ms and Reese's Pieces?
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips (1 cup milk chocolate & 1 cup semi-sweet)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup M&M's
1/2 cup Reese's Pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add pudding mix, eggs and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips and remaining candy.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on racks.
Margaret Button is the city editor of the North Adams Transcript. Send recipes for inclusion in future columns to the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, Mass. 01247 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.