PERFECT Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

Recipe by Charlene V. Martoni, inspired by a recipe from Mom on Time Out

Aunt Dot (my boyfriend’s aunt) hosts a cookie exchange party for the holidays, and I look forward to it each year. However, December is always a busy month for me, with school, family gatherings, and work. These sweet but tangy cookies are perfect because they are easy to make; you just slice them up when you want them!

Cranberry Orange Cookies

~2 dozen cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), very cold and cubed
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla extract if you don’t like the almond flavor)
1 heaping tablespoon orange zest (I use Penzey’s dehydrated peel and rehydrate it with a tablespoon of water.)
1 cup craisins
Continue reading “PERFECT Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies”

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Recipe by Charlene V. Martoni

This is a warm but bright soup that I love to make during those cold months of winter and early spring. The apples add a touch of sweetness to the silky butternut squash base, but the spices keep it savory. It’s completely vegan, too!


~4-5 12-ounce servings

1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other healthy cooking oil
2 garlic cloves
1 cup chopped celery
3 teaspoons Better than Bouillon vegetable base
4 tablespoons white wine
2 cups roasted butternut squash
3 small apples, peeled and chopped
1-3 cups of water, depending on how thick you like your soup
Salt, turmeric, and cumin to your taste. Continue reading “Apple Butternut Squash Soup”

Michael K. Buckland’s Liberation of the Information Sciences

Essay by Charlene V. Martoni

Kudu_antelopeInformation is pertinent in any discipline, which is why so many meanings for it exist. In his 1991 article, entitled “Information as Thing,” Michael K. Buckland, a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information, identifies three variant definitions for “information” in relation to the information sciences: information-as-process, information-as-knowledge, and information-as-thing. He then elaborates on the final of these definitions, information-as-thing, in his 1997 article, entitled “What is a ‘Document’?” Buckland shows, in these pieces, why it is necessary for information professionals to widen the parameters for what should be considered an informative document. In presenting his ideas, Buckland opens the information sciences to new possibilities, and so he opens the world to them as well. Continue reading “Michael K. Buckland’s Liberation of the Information Sciences”

Hot Chokola

Recipe by Charlene V. Martoni
Published in VISITvortex “What we love about winter”

Yield: 4 cups

“Here’s a simple hot cocoa recipe, a variation on the traditional Hatian Chokola Peyi, which you’ll love.” —Charlene

Image from

2 cups of milk*
1 four-ounce bar of 100%
unsweetened cacao
2 anise stars
1 cinnamon stick
1 fourteen-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk* 1 twelve-ounce can of evaporated milk* Continue reading “Hot Chokola”

The Meaning of Freedom for the Press

Essay by Charlene V. Martoni

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that no government shall make a law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.  A free press is essential to a democratic society because it provides a platform for the discussion of ideas and the exchange of information.  However, there have been circumstances throughout history where attempts to limit freedom of the press were made in order to protect other basic rights or to prevent certain harms.  Continue reading “The Meaning of Freedom for the Press”

Sonnet 2: Dawn

Written by Charlene V. Martoni

Since before the waking of us humans,
The circular cycle of day and night
Has been marked by the rise and set of sun
And moon: the presence or absence of light.

We trust what we see, and so we follow
Revolving embers in the sky, but we
Do have four other senses that can grow
And fade with the pattern of stir and sleep.

You can choose to abide by another
Sensation to regulate days and ground
Your routine.  I rotate wake and slumber
Through the sensation and cadence of sounds.

For in mornings I hear tiny birds tweet,
And in evenings, crickets sing me to sleep.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved

Sonnet 1: Orange Turnpike

Written by Charlene V. Martoni

Cars are just steel creatures with no patience,
The way they tend to zip past fast with no
Interest in lives within, no intentions
Toward taking time to see the faces—no.

It’s easy to get locked in speeding cars,
Caught in life’s lonesome traffic.  We rush past
The eyes we should want to pierce through, stare far
Into.  But through this window’s frame, at last,

Lights roll slow over us.  I lay my mind
On the chest of a boy I once loved—now
A man—whose soft, smoke-soaked breath tucks behind
My ear, and whose chin sets upon my brow.

Beneath crisp sheets, in an old attic high
Above the street, we rest as cars drive by.

© Charlene V. Martoni, all rights reserved