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Advent Calendar Cookbook—Day 4: They’re Just Ranger Cookies

Advent Calendar Cookbook—Day 4: They’re Just Ranger Cookies
Submitted by Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication & Marketing 

“My grandmother used to make these, and I used to eat them like it was my job! When people asked her what kind of cookie they were, she always answered ‘Oh, They’re Just Ranger Cookies.’ My dad, who’s 87, still asks me to make him a batch each Christmas.”

Image courtesy of Fantabulosity.


1 cup shortening.
1 cup sugar.
1 cup packed brown sugar.
2 large eggs, room temperature.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
2 cups all-purpose flour.
1 teaspoon baking soda.
1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
2 cups quick-cooking oats.
2 cups crisp rice cereal.
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut.


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  • Stir in oats, cereal and coconut.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake until golden brown, 7-9 minutes.
  • Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.


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Advent Calendar Cookbook—Day 3: Christmas Bark

Advent Calendar Cookbook—Day 3: Christmas Bark

Recipe submitted by Anna Jankowski, ’22 CLAS

Image courtesy of Joe Lingeman.


  • 48 saltine crackers (about 1 sleeve; enough to line a rimmed baking sheet).
  • sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter.
  • 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar.
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 11 ounces).


  • Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the saltine crackers in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Place the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring just a few times, for 3 minutes. The mixture will be thickened slightly and homogeneous.
  • Working quickly, pour the hot toffee mixture over the crackers, spreading it so most of the crackers are completely covered.
  • Bake until the toffee is bubbling and both the crackers and toffee are beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let the chocolate melt for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer. Set aside to cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into 30 pieces.

For more bark recipes visit this website.


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Advent Calendar Cookbook—Day 2: Creamed Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts

Advent Calendar Cookbook—Day 2: Creamed Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts

Recipe submitted by Darren Poley, Theology & Religious Studies; Humanities & Classical Studies Librarian

Image courtesy of The Charming Detroiter.

Hardware needed:

  • 14-inch heavy skillet with lid.
  • Wooden spoon.
  • 2 quart serving dish with lid.
  • Serving spoon.


  • 3 Tablespoons butter (or cut one half of a stick of butter into thirds).
  • ½ Cup pine nuts (or one 2 oz. bag).
  • 1½ Pounds fresh brussels sprouts (or two 12 oz bags). Trim stems and halve.
  • 1 Cup low-salt chicken broth (or one half of 14.5 oz can of chicken broth).
  • 2 Shallots minced (or one bunch of 6-8 small green onions. Trim roots and dark green stems and mince white and light green bottoms).
  • 1 Tablespoon (or two 0.25 oz boxes) fresh marjoram, chopped.
  • 1/3 Cup heavy whipping cream (or one pint of light cream).


  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add nuts and stir until golden, about 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer nuts to small bowl.
  4. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in same skillet over medium heat.
  5. Add sprouts; stir 1 minute.
  6. Add broth; cover and simmer until sprouts are almost tender, about 7 minutes.
  7. Uncover and simmer until broth evaporates, about 5 more minutes.
  8. Using wooden spoon, push sprouts to sides of skillet. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in center of same skillet.
  9. Add shallots; sauté until tender, about 2 minutes.
  10. Stir in marjoram, then cream.
  11. Simmer until Brussels sprouts are coated with cream, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.
  12. Season with salt and pepper.

Above can be done 4 hours ahead. Just cover and chill. Then stir over medium heat to rewarm.

  1. Transfer warm Brussels sprouts mixture to serving platter.
  2. Mix in half of pine nuts.
  3. Sprinkle remaining pine nuts on top.



Advent Calendar Cookbook—Day 1: Buckeyes

Advent 2022 begins today (Sunday, Nov. 27) and ends Saturday, Dec. 24. The season is a time of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ. For more on Advent, read this blog by Darren Poley, Librarian for Theology & Religious Studies; Humanities & Classical Studies. Join Mission and Ministry for Advent reflections from the Villanova community. Sign up to receive seasonal reflections via a daily email, PDF booklet, or print booklet (limited quantity). Explore previous reflections here.

To celebrate the end-of-year tradition, Falvey Library staff are sharing their favorite holiday recipes. Enjoy these daily dishes, and maybe try making one (or two) of these recipes with your friends and loved ones. Happy Holidays, Wildcats!

Advent Calendar Cookbook—Day 1: Buckeyes

Recipe submitted by Kallie Stahl, Communication & Marketing Specialist

O-H! The (un)official dessert of the state of Ohio, Buckeyes (basically a homemade Reese’s peanut butter cup) are named after the nuts of the Buckeye tree (the state tree of Ohio). Though the actual nuts of the Buckeye tree are poisonous, their look-a-like peanut butter balls are a delicious delicacy! Served during every THE Ohio State University football game, many Ohioans expect these treats to be featured on holiday cookie trays. If you enjoy peanut butter and chocolate, check out the simple recipe below.


  • 2½ cups creamy peanut butter (Jif if possible).
  • 4 cups powdered sugar.
  • 1 stick margarine.

Roll into balls (about a tablespoon of the mixture) and chill overnight.

The next day:

  • Melt Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares (bricks or pellets) in a double boiler or in small batches in the microwave.
  • Use toothpicks to dip the peanut butter balls into melted chocolate.
  • Chill overnight.

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.





Peek at the Week: November 22

By Jenna Renaud


Recipe of the Week: Thanksgiving Pumpkin Dump Cake 

In lieu of a word of the week, we’re sharing an easy Thanksgiving recipe that you can try out this holiday season! For students (and just busy people), it can be difficult to find time to contribute to Thanksgiving, but you also don’t want to show up empty-handed. This recipe from Cookies & Cups by Shelley Jaronsky offers an easy solution! 

Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 45 minutes / Serves 12 


1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin 

1 (10 ounce) can evaporated milk 

1 cup light brown sugar 

3 eggs 

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 

1 box yellow cake mix 

1 cup (2 sticks) butter melted 

1 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers or pecans 

1/2 cup toffee bits (optional) 


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine and pour into your prepared pan. 
  3. Sprinkle the entire box of cake mix on top, followed by your nuts or graham crackers and toffee chips. 
  4. Pour your melted butter evenly on top. 
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes until center is set and edges are lightly browned. 
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

 This Week at Falvey  

Monday, Nov. 22  

Mindfulness Mondays / 1–1:30 p.m. / Virtual / 

This Week in History 

Nov. 26, 1941–FDR establishes modern Thanksgiving holiday.

The following Thanksgiving information comes directly from’s “This Week in History” post. 

“President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.  

The tradition of celebrating the holiday on Thursday dates back to the early history of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, when post-harvest holidays were celebrated on the weekday regularly set aside as “Lecture Day,” a midweek church meeting where topical sermons were presented. A famous Thanksgiving observance occurred in the autumn of 1621, when Plymouth governor William Bradford invited local members of the Wampanoag tribe to join the Pilgrims in a festival held in gratitude for the bounty of the season. 

Thanksgiving became an annual custom throughout New England in the 17th century, and in 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first national American Thanksgiving following the Patriot victory at Saratoga. In 1789, President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday, when, at the request of Congress, he proclaimed November 26, a Thursday, as a day of national thanksgiving for the U.S. Constitution. However, it was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to officially fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.  

With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president—until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.” 

A&E Television Networks. (2009, November 24). FDR proclaims Thanksgiving a national holiday. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from 

jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.

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Quarantine Cooking With Kallie: Grape-Nuts Fruit Pudding (1923)

Welcome back, Wildcats! ICYMI: For the past few weeks, I’ve been cooking recipes featured in the Villanova University Digital Library while teleworking from home during the pandemic. With the fall semester back in session, I wanted to feature a simple recipe that could be easily made in residence halls and apartments; which bring me to the exciting reveal of this week’s recipe…Grape-Nuts Fruit Pudding!

Yes, Grape-Nuts.

And don’t be fooled by the title, the recipe is made with Jell-O, not pudding.

I was familiar with the wheat and barley cereal prior to the discovery of this recipe. My grandmother would put Grape-Nuts in her yogurt, and I sometimes ate Grape-Nuts with milk and multiple spoonfuls of sugar (which defeated the purpose of Grape-Nuts as a healthy alternative to sugary cereal). For those of you unfamiliar with the whole-grain cereal, it was “developed by C.W. Post in 1897 and has remained a fixture in American culture.”

Advertisements for Grape-Nuts were frequently featured during “The Andy Griffith Show” in the 1960s. During the 1970s the company paired with “wild-food-expert-turned-spokesperson, Euell Gibbons as part of the return to nature movement sweeping parts of the country.” Gibbons’ most famous quote, “Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible,” was featured in a 1974 Grape-Nuts commercial.

Below is an advertisement for Grape-Nuts on the back cover of The People’s Home Journal, v. XXXVIII, no. 7, July, 1923. The entire magazine is available for reading in the Villanova University Digital Library.

ad for Grape-Nuts on the back cover of The People's Home Journal, v. XXXVIII, no. 7, July, 1923

Image courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.

The recipe I used for this blog is featured in the image above. Here are the original instructions:

  • One package of lemon Jell-O dissolved in one pint of boiling water.
  • One cup (half-pint) Grape-Nuts. One half-pound of raisins or dates.
  • As many walnuts as desired.
  • Mix thoroughly and pour into a dish or mould to cool and harden.
  • Serve with whipped cream.

I altered the recipe slightly:

  • Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
  • Add boiling water and Jell-O mix in a dish (stirring until mixture is dissolved.) Then add 1 cup cold water.
  • Mix in 1 cup of Grape-Nuts and 1 cup of raisins or dates.
  • Refrigerate for four hours.
  • Garnish with chopped walnuts and whipped cream.

Check out the finished product below.

Photo of Grape-Nuts pudding.

While this semester will be unlike any other, the staff at Falvey Memorial Library is diligently working to provide access to resources to help you succeed. For more recipes visit the Digital Library. Questions about the Digital Library, University Archives or Special Collections? Contact the Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement staff.

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.




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Quarantine Cooking with Kallie: Mendel Macaroni Salad with Lemon Thyme Dressing

Happy birthday, Gregor Mendel, O.S.A.! Instead of making a cake for the Augustinian Friar’s birthday, I decided to make a recipe shared by Access Services Director Luisa Cywinski. The recipe is not from the 19th century, but does feature an ingredient special to Mendel—peas. Mendel’s pea plant experiments with hybridization led to the discovery of hereditary laws ushering in the modern age of genetics. The featured recipe is not part of the Digital Library, however Mendel’s papers on “Experiments in Plant Hybridization” are available for reading. The Mendel Collection features “first editions of Mendel’s papers and earlier works about heredity and the importance of Mendel’s works around 1900 by such scientists as William Bateson, Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns and others.” 

Below is a preview of Mendel’s lecture on his experiments with hybridization of pea plants which he delivered before the Natural Sciences Society of Brünn on Feb. 8 and March 8, 1865.

Image of Mendel's papers on "Experiments in Plant Hybridisation" which he delivered before the Natural Sciences Society of Brünn on February 8th and March 8th, 1865.

Photo courtesy of Villanova University Digital Library.




























Luisa Cywinski, Access Services Director, first posted the recipe for Mendel Macaroni Salad with Lemon Thyme Dressing, which she based on a recipe featured on The Cozy Apron.

Mendel Macaroni Salad 

  • 12 oz macaroni pasta, cooked and cooled
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 4 oz diced and crisped pancetta (can be substituted with bacon, deli ham, etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

“Add the cooked and cooled macaroni to a large bowl, and add in the thawed petite peas and the diced, crisped pancetta; if serving immediately, toss with the Lemon-Thyme Dressing, and garnish with the thyme leaves; if making ahead, prepare all components and keep them separate, then toss the dressing with the pasta/peas/pancetta when ready to serve, to keep the pasta salad moist and fresh; keep cold.”

Lemon-Thyme Dressing

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

“Add all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Process the mixture until thick and completely creamy; store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve the salad, at which point you can toss the dressing with the pasta. Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme.”

Check out my cooking tutorial and the finished product below.

Photo of Macaroni Salad.






















Fore more pea-themed recipes explore Cywinski’s blog post. Additional recipes are also available for viewing in the Digital Library. Questions about the Digital Library, University Archives or Special Collections? Contact the Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement staff. Check back next month for another quarantine cooking tutorial!

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.




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Last Modified: July 20, 2020