Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dante's Inferno and Oatmeal Raisin Applesauce Cookies

 "If you are going through hell, keep going."- Winston Churchill

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the power of hope.  Can you imagine a world without hope?  If I had no hope getting up every morning would be near impossible.  What would be the point?  Can you imagine being told you would never walk again, or maybe never be able to bear a child of your own?  Completely eliminating hope from our lives is such a dismal prospect, and a terrifying thing.  I definitely take hope for granted.

Whenever I hear the word "hope"  I automatically think back to Dante's Inferno and the words he says are written above the entrance to hell.  "All hope abandon, ye who enter here." Hell really is the complete absence of hope.  Have you ever read Dante?  Have you ever met Dante?  I have to admit, at first glance Dante's Divine Comedy can seem so daunting...and trust me, it is.  I was fortunate enough to have an awesome professor in college teach me an entire class on Dante.  Dante paints such an incredible and vivid picture of his journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven.  The allegories are mind blowing, and so interesting.  When are they going to make a Dante movie trilogy?  Come on, it would be awesome!  The three things that I remember most about my Dante class are as follows:

1.  One of our assignments was to memorize the first few lines of the Italian and recite them in front of the entire class.  I immediately decided this was an impossible task for me, and had ironically no hope of succeeding.  My dear friend however had faith in me, and insisted I could do it.  She wrote out a copy of the lines we had to memorize, stuck it in a Ziploc bag and duct taped it to the wall of my shower.  So whether I liked it or not those lines starred me in the face every morning.  What a friend!  Really, who does that? : )  She is the best.  I was so nervous the day I had picked to recite the lines, and thought for sure I would fail.  I got up there freaking out having a psych out party in my head...I stood up quickly, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and forged ahead.  I basically kicked butt, didn't miss a beat, and surprised everyone including myself.  I was shocked when one of the smartest people in the class came up to me afterwards and congratulated me on a job well done...then he asked me if I had the answers written on my eye lids and was that why I closed my eyes so tightly. : )  I owe that "A plus" performance to my friend, she had hope for me when I couldn't find it myself.

2.  My second fond memory of Dante is when I was studying for finals and was trying to remember all the little details to each circle he travelled through.  I decided it would be funny to make a comic strip using stick figures to illustrate all the different levels.  I then went on to film these comics using a "Dante-ish" worked...I aced the exam.  I need to find that video, it was pretty funny if I do say so myself. : )

3.  My third favorite memory is when I decided to take a study break from cramming for my Dante final and play scrabble with some friends.  One friend placed the word "DATE" on the board, and I quickly and with full confidence informed them that 1-they had spelled "Dante" incorrectly, and 2-that they couldn't use proper nouns.  To this day I have not lived that one down.

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." - Romans 12:12

Recently we have begun the pursuit of poundage elimination in our house...aka...weight watchers.  In the past my Mom and I have tried weight watchers and succeeded.  So, here we go again, getting ready for summer vacations...bring it on..hope we have, and success we will find!  Did that sound a little too much like Yoda?
I immediately knew I would have to find a kosher cookie recipe to help get me through this journey.  I looked around and came up with my version of oatmeal raisin cookies made with applesauce.  These little guys turned out great, nice crispy edges and chewy centers.  If you are following the Weight Watchers points plus plan each cookie is 1.5 points.  If you aren't trying to watch the weight then by all means make the cookies bigger and eat them all.

 Oatmeal Raisin Applesauce Cookies
makes 40 cookies, 1.5 points each

2 TBS unsalted room temperature butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1 tsp vanilla 

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground flax seed
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup ground oats (pulse oats in a food processor or blender until fine)
1 cup raisins
In mixing bowl cream butter until creamy.  Add sugars, egg, applesauce, and vanilla mix until smooth and combined.  In separate bowl whisk together the rest of the ingredients then add to the wet mixture.  Mix until combined.  Scoop out using a 1 TBSP measuring spoon onto parchment lined pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

 Have hope in all things, and eat your heart out,
"Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
ché la diritta via era smarrita.
Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura!
Tant'è amara che poco è più morte;
ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai,
dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte.
Io non so ben ridir com'i' v'intrai,
tant'era pien di sonno a quel punto
che la verace via abbandonai."

 "Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of Power divine,
Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love.

Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here."
Such characters, in color dim, I mark?d
Over a portal?s lofty arch inscribed."


  1. I REMEMBER THAT VIDEO!!! It is one of my fondest memories of you from college. And one of the awesomest. Seriously, you must find it. I would love to see it again.

  2. Lauren can't believe you remember it! One of these days I am going to convert all my old tapes to digital format so I can send them to everyone : )