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Thumbnail image for julia.jpg(PHOTO: Nikki Limberis (left) of West Dundee prepares baklava with other volunteers on Monday in preparation for Greek Fest this weekend at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Elgin. Andrew A. Nelles | For The Courier-News)

As promised in our story today about St. Sophia's Greek Fest this weekend in Elgin, here's a tasty recipe, compliments of the women of St. Sophia, for anise slices or paximathia. Kalí óreksi! (Enjoy your meal!)

greek.jpgPaximathia (anise slices)
Prep. time: 3 hours
Makes: 9 dozen slices

7 cups all-purpose flour
7 tsp. baking powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups vegetable oil
7 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. anise extract OR 1/4 cup ouzo
Sesame seeds (optional)

Sift flour and baking powder in bowl. Set aside.

Combine sugar, oil, eggs, salt and extract in large electric mixer bowl. Beat at high speed 10 minutes or until light and creamy.

Remove bowl from mixer. Gradually add the sifted flour, folding with a spatula until the flour is blended into a soft dough. Cover and chill for at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 11x13" cookie sheets. Divide dough into six equal portions and place on a well-oiled surface. Shape each portion into a 13" x 2" slightly-flattened loaf. Place two loaves, about two inches apart, on each cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake 25 minutes or until done. Remove from oven. Slice each loaf, crosswise, into 3/4" thick pieces and spread apart on cookie sheet. Return to oven and back 10 minutes longer or until lightly golden.

-- Julia Doyle, Community News Editor

Thumbnail image for julia.jpgDO NOT ADJUST YOUR COMPUTER MONITORS.

bigbird.JPGThe photo at right was not taken from a scene in "Big Bird Earns Her Diploma." It's me on my graduation day - way back in 1992 - at Waukegan High School.

I'm no fashionista, but pasty, pale redheads - like me -- should NEVER wear the color yellow. But there I was graduating high school, forced to wear this gold, shiny polyester monstrosity, and I was not a happy camper. As a result, this is one of the few photos that exist of me in the gown.

I never thought this photo would again see the light of day, but when we got to talking about high school graduations and getting readers to send in photos for our online gallery for the Class of 2010, I immediately thought of my own high school graduation day. I figured there had to be some old school graduation photos that were as awfully colorful as mine.

So I'm sharing this photo and throwing down the graduation gauntlet. Can you top my garish gold graduation gown? Send me your jpg-formatted photos at Please include your name, year of graduation (be honest), and your current city of residence.

We'll pick some of our favorites and post them on the blog!

-- Julia Doyle, Community News Editor

julia.jpgAs an apartment dweller, I'm always looking for unique ways to recycle because my Elgin complex didn't offer a way to recycle until this week.

I almost did cartwheels in the middle of the newsroom on Tuesday when they put a note on Facebook they were bringing in a Dumpster for recycling. And lucky me, it's right behind my building! No more loading trash in my car and driving it all over town.

Anyway, here are a few suggestions for recycling here in the Elgin area...

  • Elgin Recycling: Today we featured Elgin Recycling's newest location in Gilberts in our OurTowns section, renamed OurEarth, just for today. (See "Watching their waste.") In addition to aluminum cans, did you know Elgin Recycling also accepts strands of Christmas lights, cell phones and cell phone batteries, old computers (including monitors,) radios, lawnmowers, gas grills and lawn furniture? For details, click to
  • The Courier-News (yeah, that's right!): Paper piling up? Did you know there's a paper recycling Dumpster behind The Courier-News building at 300 Lake St., Elgin? As a consumer of massive quantities of paper, it only makes sense that we try to recycle as much of it as we can. And what's nice is the recycling company donates money to our Newspapers in Education program based on the amount of paper recycled in this bin. So if you've got a bunch of old newspapers, magazines, papers, junk mail, etc. lying around, consider bringing it to the yellow and green Dumpster behind our building.

Find more ideas, share your own, after the jump.

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