This week's column is dedicated to the birds of spring who come back to us regardless of temperatures.

A nice change from "top of the stove" oatmeal is:

Baked Oatmeal

Mix together:

1/3 cup oil

1/2 cup sugar (can use less if desired)

1 large egg, beaten

Then, in large bowl, mix:

2 cups quick oats

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients together and place in 9-inch or 10-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until middle is firm. Serve with milk, maple syrup, or fruit of your choice.


Orange Pecan Bars

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

pinch of salt

small amount sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans

1 1/4 cups orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. In large mixer bowl at medium speed beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar, egg and salt. At low speed, gradually beat in flour and nuts until moistened and well blended. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mixture for topping. Pat remaining mixture into pan and press lightly. Evenly spread marmalade over dough to within 1/2 inch of all edges. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over marmalade. Sprinkle surface with sugar. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until medium brown. Cool pan on a wire rack. While warm, cut into bars. Cover and store in cool place.


Cabbage Salad

Boil together: 3/4 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 3/4 cup salad oil, and 1 cup sugar. Shred 3 pound cabbage with 1 large onion into large bowl. Pour boiled, mixed well, vinegar mixture over cabbage and onion mixture. Keep in refrigerator.


Apple Cider Doughnuts

1 cup apple cider

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Vegetable oil or shortening for frying

Boil 1 cup of cider in a small saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 to 10 minutes; let cool. In large bowl beat sugar with solid shortening until smooth. Mix in eggs, then add buttermilk and cooled cider. In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add to wet ingredients and mix well.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured board and pat to a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 3-inch doughnut cutter. Re-roll the excess doughnut holes and put scraps back into the dough. Refrigerate formed doughnuts on baking sheets for 20 minutes to help firm dough prior to frying.

Set out plates with several layers of paper towels for draining the donuts after frying.

Add enough oil or shortening to fill a deep (3-inch, at least) pan. Heat to 375 degrees or until oil is bubbling. Fry several donuts at a time, turning until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Place on paper towels for draining and cooling.

If desired put a cinnamon and sugar mixture in a large zip-top bag, add doughnuts one at a time and shake. Place finished doughnuts on a wire rack to continue cooling.

The Spring Fling Grange supper is Saturday, May 17, 4 p.m. at Tranquility Grange, Rte. 52 in Lincolnville.

Our thought for the week: "Courage is very important. Like a muscle, it is strengthened by use." — Actress Ruth Gordon