No nationality to call my own (recipe for Slow Cooker Kalua Pig/Pork with Cabbage))

I have known since I was little that I am a “mutt” – meaning, there’s a little bit of just about everything that makes up my heritage – English, German, Dutch, Scott, Native American, and a tad bit of this, and a pinch of that.  I have also know that I have a pretty indiscriminate palate when it comes to trying new foods – I enjoy a bland English banger just as much as a fiery Louisiana hot link or Mexican chorizo.

Growing up our next door neighbors were Japanese – she was born in the US, he was born in Japan.  We played over there with their kids just as much as they played at our house.  When we were there and wanted a treat we were often given a sweet, salty, stringy snack she called candy but what was really dried cuttle fish or octopus (depending on what she’d used for meals that week).  I loved tearing up and munching a sheet of seaweed or scooping the pickled rice (sushi) kept in an old pottery crock in the garage into a bowl, dousing it with soy sauce and eating it with chopsticks.

My uncle traveled the world and often brought back candies from his trips.  My favorite was a toffee candy that came in a bright purple foil with cellophane twisted around it that was almost crumbly when you put it in your mouth because it was so full of toasted coconut – I wish I could remember what country it came from so I could look for it, but I can’t.  We got the Japanese rice candy wrapped in edible paper – it was fresh and so soft when he brought it home and had the toy in the 2’nd box that came with it; he brought chocolates from Spain, dried fruit and nut candies from the Middle East, and candies that looked like mushrooms from France but were actually made of meringue and filled with chocolate truffle.

My favorite international foods are Japanese and Greek, but I love German, Mexican, and Cuban too.  I have raised my girls to at least try something once before they turn up their noses at it.  Thing 1 is my risk taker, finding that she likes something different more often than not.  Thing 2 has more English tastes (their father’s heritage is almost purely English) and shies away from too much strong spice or heat.  I’m afraid all 3 of us suffer from a strong need for chocolate, but even here Thing 2 is less adventurous, preferring milk over the stronger, deeper, dark chocolate that Thing 1 and I crave.

Harley Guy says he’s just a plain, old “Americaner” and I think like most guys his likes are anything grilled, anything with meat, and nothing with the dreaded coconut, parm cheese, ricotta cheese, or cream cheese.  Luckily he does like his veggies and an occasional piece of fruit (nothing really exotic – bananas, apples, and oranges mostly).  I’ve found that if I want him to try something different, its best to not name it or tell him it’s origins.  This way I’ve gotten away with a French cassoulet, a Japanese teriyaki and tempura, English bangers and mash, and Irish colcannon.  By accident he bought me a Norwegian lefse pan at a garage sale thinking it was an electric grill and when I used the other night for homemade lefse he enjoyed them slathered with butter.

We have a friend that was born and raised in Hawaii but moved to the mainland because it was too expensive to live there.  This is a dish she brought to a Christmas pot luck we attended last year.  It was very good, but for my family I knew I’d need to make just a few adjustments – less pork, more cabbage, more garlic and so on.  NOTE:  It is best to start this recipe the night before.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Kalua Pig/Pork with Cabbage

3 pound pork butt/shoulder roast

1/2 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt (I used red)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 cup Hawaiian soy sauce (Aloha recommended)

1 Tablespoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon olive oil

dash powdered ginger or small amount fresh grated

5 cloves garlic, minced finely

1 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup water

1 large head cabbage, chopped

Season pork with Hawaiian salt and black pepper.  Place in slow cooker (do not add any liquid), cover, cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove pork and dispose of melted fat in pot.   Shred pork and put back into pot with soy sauce, liquid smoke, oil, ginger, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.  Add shredded cabbage and continue to cook for an additional 4 hours.  Use a slotted spoon to remove pork and cabbage from pot – discard liquids.

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After 2 weeks of crazy back to our new version of “normal” (and my take on Dump Cake)

What a weekend – we have 2 dogs, Dezee, a 50 pound female catahoula leopard dog and Gertie, an 8 pound female black and brown phantom toy poodle.  Friday night Dezee, came down with a stomach virus of some sort and at 3 a.m.  I had to clean the carpet in our room (because both dogs, of course, sleep with us).  She had to spend the rest of the night in her cage and as Saturday was absolutely beautiful, we kept her outside with food and water all day while we weeded, mowed the lawn, cleaned the fountain, and enjoyed the good weather. Saturday night the little one came down with the same thing and both dogs ended up spending the night in their cages with Gertie having to spend the majority of Sunday outside (once again beautiful weather had us doing some work outside so she wasn’t alone).

It’s Monday – both dogs are better, Harley Guy has settled nicely into his new job, T2BF has blended into our family pretty seamlessly, and the girl’s dad is doing better and staying with his sister for several days before making the 10 hour drive home.  Everyone went to work or school and I’m catching up on the laundry and dishes.  I’m also making a simple but special dessert just because I feel like it.

I like this version of dump cake because it is baked in a casserole dish and uses about half the butter of the typical recipe.  I also like the texture and flavor the coconut adds. You can use any flavor pie filling, cake mix, and nuts.  These are some of the combination that we like:  apple or peach pie filling with walnuts and spice cake mix, cherry or strawberry pie filling with almonds and chocolate cake mix, blueberry pie filling with cashews and lemon cake mix, and when we can find it cranberry/berry pie filling with pecans and orange cake mix.

Dump Cake

1 large can crushed pineapple, drained

1 can extra fruit pie filling

1 box cake mix

1/2 to 1 cup nuts, very finely chopped

1/2 to 1 cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup butter

Grease 2 quart casserole dish.  Pour pineapple into the bottom.  Pour pie filling over the pineapple.

Using a pastry blender mix the cake mix with the nuts and butter.  Sprinkle this over the fruit.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

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Scary news for the girls (and Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe)

As though life here hasn’t been crazy enough changing (probably temporarily) from a household of 4 to 5, and Harley Guy adjusting to the new job, last evening my sister-in-law (actually my “ex” SIL but we all agreed that I divorced him not his family) called to let us know that while traveling at night to visit them for a birthday, my ex stopped at a rest-stop about halfway there and called 911 because he was having the symptoms of a heart attack.  Paramedics reached him and stabilized him before taking him to the nearest hospital – about 50 miles away – where he was taken into surgery and given 4 stents due to blockages.  The bad news is he did, in fact, have a heart attack, the good news is no open heart surgery needed and he should be able to travel soon.

I sat both girls down on the couch along with T2BF and told them what had happened and that their aunt had given me a phone number for them to call if they wanted to talk to him.  Thing 2 took the news in stride, thinking about it for a minute then asking if she and T2BF could go to the park.  I could have anticipated this as her relationship with her dad is right up front and out in the open – she loves him but is angry and wears her emotions on her sleeve.  Thing 1 has a much more complicated relationship with him and, following me out to the kitchen where I was working on dinner, I wasn’t surprised when she put her arms around me, hid her face in my neck and held on tight.  She didn’t cry, didn’t want to talk; we just stood there holding each other for a good 5 minutes until she was ready to let go.  We are so much alike in our hurt from our relationship with him that I knew the confusion she was feeling.  She didn’t want to call him either, she needs to get her bearings and decide what and how much she wants to say to him.  Plenty of time for that while he recuperates with his family although, I know a phone call while he’s in hospital would be appreciated.  We’ll see what happens this afternoon.

Now for the recipe – understand this is a pretty “English” dish, the flavors of the meat and vegetables should be the stars with just a little boost from the herbs and spices:

Tracy’s Pot Roast

3-4 pounds chuck (steak or roast) or 7 bone roast

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 onions, sliced

4 large ribs celery, sliced in half lengthwise, then into 1″ chunks

4 large carrots, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, then into 1″ chunks

4 large potatoes, peeled, sliced into quarters lengthwise, then in half

generous sprinkle of ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 small bay leaves

2 beef bouillon cubes

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup red wine (or substitute with 1/4 cup water)

2 Tablespoons gravy flour or 1 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/3 cup cold water


Remove the majority of large fat deposits on meat and dispose of.  Season meat with salt and pepper, set aside.

Place vegetables in bottom of slow cooker.  Sprinkle with cloves, rosemary, thyme, garlic, add bay leaves, bouillon cubes.

Lay seasoned meat over the top of the vegetables.

Pour water and wine over all.

Cook low 8 hours.  Move meat so it is up against the side of slow cooker pot.  Turn up heat to high.

Make a slurry of flour or cornstarch and cold water.  Add to vegetable/liquids in slow cooker and stir.  Cover for 5 minutes.  Stir again – mixture should be thicker than broth but thinner than gravy.  Spoon liquid over meat.  Serve.

**If I have tomatoes that need to be used I slice them up into little chunks and throw them in with the veggies – only a couple though, this is not meant to have a tomato based sauce.

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Tired (and my recipe for Chili)

Harley Guy has decided to take the new position; we stayed up late last night talking about it and even though there is a big financial downside, it will mean weekends are his own (he won’t be on call), he can take full week vacations without losing any income (there was a mandatory overtime day per week in his previous position) and he shouldn’t see any more 18 hour days.  I had told him Friday he should take it and we’d just do what we had to to make it work but he worried all weekend and had to talk it through with a few close friends but now that he’s formally accepted I think he’s really happy.

So, I stayed up late and woke up early because I jumped out of bed when I heard the front door close at 5:30 – it meant T2BF’s ride was half an hour late.  I texted her when I got to Thing 2’s school to make sure she’d made it to school ok and she told me she just got there.  Whew!

But now I’m tired so I decided dinner should be something that I could put together this morning in my slow cooker and just let cook (and perfume the house) all day.  My favorite “go to” slow cooker dish is chili and my girls think my recipe is so good they had me write it down in their personal cookbooks.  Another reason I love this dish is that it’s a dish that begs for modification allowing me to clean out my veggie bin.  Tomatoes that need to be used get chopped up and added, if I’m short on celery I can use celery tops to make up the difference, sometimes I have a chunk of jalapeno pepper that needs to be used so I’ll chop that up fine and add it.  Anyway, all I’ll need to do tonight is throw together a quick buttermilk cornbread and we’re set.

The Girls Favorite Chili

1 lb dry beans (kidney, pink, red, pinto – whatever is on hand)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 lb ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, even veggie crumbles – whatever you like to use)

29 ounces canned whole tomatoes, undrained (1 large or 2 small cans)

29 ounces canned diced tomatoes, undrained ( 1 large or 2 small cans)

2 large onions, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

1/2 cup celery, finely diced

1/2 cup carrot, finely grated

1/4 cup chili powder

1 teaspoon each: cumin & (salt – optional)

1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon white sugar (to take away the “canned” flavor of tomatoes)

1 teaspoon dried cilantro (or 1 Tablespoon fresh),

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Surprise ingredients to be added the last hour of cooking because you want to wait until the beans have finished absorbing all the liquid they can so these ingredients only flavor the “juice”:    2 Tablespoons each: dark brown sugar and cider vinegar

Mix beans with baking soda and soak in large bowl of water overnight or cook over medium heat until boiling, cover, and allow to stand for 2 hours.  Rinse well.  Place beans in slow cooker.

Cook meat, crumbling into small pieces, until done.  Drain and add to beans.

Add tomatoes with juice, onions, celery, peppers, and carrots.  Add spices.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.  Add brown sugar and vinegar and cook an additional hour on low or 1/2 hour on high.

If thicker chili is wanted add up to 1/4 cup cornmeal or masa harina along with the brown sugar and vinegar.

Serve with your choice of shredded cheese, chopped onion, sour cream, fried tortilla strips or crumbled tortilla chips.

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Unexpected addition to the family (and one of my favorite spring cheese ball recipes)

We started the weekend with some stress – Harley Guy interviewed for a job he really wants but the salary limitations would make things very difficult if everything else remains at status quo – he has until this morning to give them his decision.  Then Friday night Thing 2 got a phone call from her best friend (T2BF)  telling her that she was no longer living at home and her phone would be turned off any minute.  We worried all night about her, hoping she would show up at our door, but she didn’t.  Saturday Harley Guy and I made a decision and went to her mother offering to help out during their difficulties by taking T2BF into our home.  We are currently emptying out the room that will someday be our spare room/craft room but has most recently been our catchall so she will have her own room like my girls.

Food at her house was sometimes scarce but stretching meals here won’t be a problem and I try to keep a good variety of snack foods, fruits, and veggies; I make most meals from scratch, always shop for the best deals, and am really trying to become coupon savvy.  I don’t see that the extra laundry will be that big a deal either, Thing 2 and T2BF have been sharing clothes back and forth for years (which can be pretty funny when you consider T2BF stands just over 5′ while Thing 2 is almost 6′ tall).  What I am worrying about is her schoolwork because she doesn’t really apply herself (her grades are a huge point of contention at her house) and with only 9 weeks left of this school year I’m hoping this change in “home life” won’t negatively impact her.  I’ve already told my girls that starting today we will be implementing mandatory homework/studying/reading time after school because I don’t want T2BF to feel singled out.  I’m kind of hoping her mom holds off on putting her on ADHD meds as our house is much quieter and more orderly than what she’s used to and she won’t have to compete for attention with or be responsible for much younger siblings as she is at home.  I don’t want you to think I believe I can “fix” things, I’m just hoping in a different environment there might be some positive results.

I know she’s sad, she misses her mom and siblings and until this seems “normal” for her I expect her to grieve.  One positive, I fell yesterday and sprained my ankle so that it really hurts to walk (no, that’s not the positive).  When it got dark I noticed a blind wasn’t drawn and when I got up to go across the room to close it she told me she didn’t want me to walk so she’d close it for me.  The reason I look at this as a positive is that she has always seemed to be more comfortable around Harley Guy and kind of afraid or standoffish  of me – Harley Guy is very outgoing and has told her about his dysfunctional home life growing up and I think she feels he can relate to what her life has been like.  I tend to be a bit reserved and quiet but I’m very affectionate with my girls giving hugs, saying “I love you”, and making it obvious that I enjoy just being around them.  Last night I told T2BF that I didn’t expect it right now but that I’d like it if in the future I could give a good-night hug to her just like I do to my girls.  Much to my delight she got out of bed and gave me a hug and when I told her I love her (because I do) she told me she loves me too.  I also found out last night that she has me listed on her phone as “Mom 2” and I like that.

Hawaiian Cheese Ball

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

8 ounces finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, room temperature

2 Tablespoons tropical relish like guava, mango, or papaya (ok to sub with pickle relish)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup finely minced sweet onion

2 bacon strips cooked crisp, finely chopped

chopped macadamia nuts

Mix all ingredients except nuts until combined.  Refrigerate until firm enough to handle then form into a ball.  Roll in chopped nuts.

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Cactus Garden (and St. Paddy leftovers casserole)

We live not too far from a beautiful cactus garden that is attached to a famous candy makers factory.  When I need time to myself I occasionally drive over there and walk around enjoying the peace and beauty and ending my excursion with a piece of candy.  When the girls were young we spent a lot of time there – it was a great place to bird watch and we always saw lizards or rabbits or squirrels, and of course we always ended our visit with a piece of candy.  One spring day when she was about 4 years old I took Thing 1, it was so long ago I can’t remember why I didn’t have her sister, and we spent quite a while walking around and talking.  At that time of year there are quite a few insects that fly around from flower to flower, bloom to bloom and that day there seemed to be more than usual.  Anyone that knows my girls knows they are terrified of bugs, and beyond terrified of two kinds in particular – ladybugs and butterflies.  Crazy stuff – the two bugs I can totally guarantee are not creepy looking and will not bite or sting.  So, Thing 1 had wandered a little ahead of me and was bending over looking at some flowers in her favorite shades of pink.  I notice a butterfly had begun to flutter around her head and shoulders, I think it was drawn by the bright colors of her floral dress and her sweet little girl smell.  I began to hurry toward her, knowing what would happen if she saw the butterfly but before I got to her it had decided to land – on her leg.  I took her hand just as she reached down with the other because something was tickling her leg.  She smiled up at me then turned her head to see what tickled and then she screamed.  Not just a little girl shriek, it was loud and continuous so I scooped her up and rubbed the backs of both legs with my open palm to show her the butterfly was gone.  It didn’t help, she continued to scream and now people were looking at us wondering, I’m sure, what I had done to her.  The screaming didn’t stop and I began to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.  I looked into her face and she continued to scream and I wondered for just a second what I was going to have to do to stop her hysterics.  I know they show people in movies being slapped but I couldn’t even imagine doing that; I don’t spank because I know I wouldn’t like the way it would make me feel, I couldn’t even imagine how I would feel if I were to slap her.  Finally I could see that she recognized me and her screaming settled into sobs so I pulled her face against my neck to shield her from the people who were still watching her.  She wrapped her little legs around my waist and I carried her as I slowly walked around the paths, her skin was damp from perspiration and soon my neck was wet from her tears.

I have learned there are magic moments with my children that can’t be anticipated and when they happen I have learned not to question the circumstances that make them up.  My strongest memory from that day is how tender I felt toward her due to her fear of the butterfly but also how protective I felt of us, shielding her from the prying eyes, laying my cheek against hers, and remembering the strange feeling of helplessness that made me laugh at her mindless screaming unable to do anything to stop her.  I also remember how close I felt to her, how tiny and dependent on me she was, and how I knew I would do anything in my power to protect her

St. Paddy’s Casserole

(substitute the ingredients with any leftovers you have)

1 large onion, chopped into large dice

1/2 large head of cabbage, chopped

4 large carrots, chopped into large dice

4 potatoes, chopped into large dice

1 pound lean corned beef, chopped into large dice

2 Tablespoons yellow mustard

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 splash hot sauce (recommend Irish Scream)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

Steam cabbage, onion, carrots, and potatoes until  soft (or cook in covered microwave dish).  Cool.  Add corned beef, mixing well.

Stir together mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, pepper, and caraway seeds.  Mix into vegetable mixture.  Turn into greased covered casserole or 9×13 baking dish, covered with foil.  Bake 375 degrees for 45 minutes (350 degrees if using glass or dark colored pan).

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Mean Mom (and a St. Patrick’s Day Recipe – for cabbage)

I feel like such a mean mom today.  Thing 1 woke up with a headache and I made her go to school.  This isn’t an unusual occurrence – she and I both get quite a few headaches especially at this time of year.  Mine are usually just plain old sinus headaches (I have lots of allergies) that are taken care of with a decongestant and a couple of ibuprofen.  Hers can also be sinus, but sometimes they are migraines.  When she was in the 5’th grade and I was losing a day of work just about every other week because I had to stay home with her I took her to the doctor’s office.  Our regular pediatrician was not available so we saw one of the associates we had seen once or twice over the years.  Things were going great, Thing 1 was able to do everything the doctor asked, answer all his questions, even laughed at a really bad joke he made when out of the blue he announced “I’m afraid we can’t rule out a brain tumor”.  Just like that, with her sitting on the table in front of him.  Fortunately I have pretty quick reflexes and was able to catch her before she fell off the table sideways in a faint.  And just like that I told him he was fired, and I walked out with my daughter – past the back/front office area – and announced that they were all fired and that I would let them know where our records could be sent.  I’m pretty sure they all thought I was a mean mom just then.

A really good pediatrician was recommended by a friend.  She gave Thing  1 a pretty thorough going over including additional neurological tests and told us that in her professional opinion Thing 1 did not have a brain tumor *but* that she was pretty sure that the next time Thing 1 had a headache she wouldn’t think about what this doctor said, she’d only be able to remember what our old doctor had said so she ordered an MRI to put her mind to rest.  The technicians at the diagnostics center told Thing 1 they were really proud of the way she laid so still, hardly breathing, while the test was being run.  Our doctor called us as soon as she had the results to tell us the radiologist had been very thorough in his review of the x-rays and found nothing.  Of course this was what we wanted to hear more than anything, and of course we have teased Thing 1 ever since about the doctors looking but “finding nothing” in her head.

So, because today she didn’t have a migraine, and because she has already missed 3 days of school this year due to migraines, I had to be a mean mom and tell her she had to go to school even though her head hurt and she just wanted to go back to bed and sleep.  I could tell all was forgiven when she climbed in the car after school and told me she felt fine.  What I don’t think she realizes though is that those times I tell her she has to go, when she thinks I’m just being a mean mom, I’m trying to teach her that we all have days when we’re tired or don’t feel good, when we’d like nothing better than to go back to bed until we feel better.  Sometimes it’s hard to teach your child responsibility; and sometimes being responsible makes me feel like a mean mom.

St. Patrick’s day is just three days away (yay!) and while we love corned beef and cabbage, we don’t love the way the cabbage tastes when it’s actually cooked with the corned beef.

Fried Cabbage

1 head cabbage, shredded about 1/2 inch thick

peanut oil (takes high heat well, lends no flavor of it’s own)

Heat a large skillet (cast iron works great) over medium high heat.  Pour in about 3 tablespoons peanut oil, spread to cover bottom completely.  Add the cabbage and fry a couple of minutes then flip with a metal spatula.  Continue to fry and flip until the cabbage is limp, darkens, and the edges are almost black, adding oil a tablespoon at a time to keep from sticking too badly to the bottom of the pan.   Makes @ 6 servings.

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Winter (and Microwave Scalloped Potatoes)

It’s still winter.  I don’t care that it reached 70 degrees outside today; in 3 months it will be 30 degrees warmer, a month later it will be 40 degrees warmer every day. Please don’t take winter away from me, not yet, not while I’m still craving hearty soups, stews, and casseroles.  I know 70 probably sounds pretty nice to those of you that still look outside and see snow, and you won’t be very sympathetic when I tell you that at night it gets down into the low 40’s.  That’s cold to us, we’re still sleeping under down comforters and craving a hot cup of tea before bed.  The calendar says we still have eleven days of winter – I’m going to take advantage.

Microwave Scalloped Potatoes

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

dash cayenne pepper or small splash hot sauce

1 3/4 cup milk

1/2 pound ham, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

2 cups grated cheese

1/8 teaspoon dried dill (optional)

In microwave safe bowl melt butter.  Whisk in flour, mustard, chives, salt, pepper, and cayenne or hot sauce, and milk.  Microwave high 2 minutes.  Whisk again then microwave 2 more minutes or until a thick white sauce has been achieved.  Stir in ham and onion.

In large microwaveable casserole spread 1/4 cup white sauce.  Layer half potatoes evenly in bottom.  Spread 1/3 of white sauce over the top and sprinkle half of the cheese.  Layer the rest of the potatoes, spread on the rest of the white sauce.  Cover and microwave on full power 20 minutes.  Check for doneness with a knife.  If needed, continue to cook at full power in 5 minute increments until knife inserted in several places meets no resistance.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and dill over the top and cover, cook full power 30 seconds.  Makes 6-8 servings.

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Sick baby at home (and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe)

My baby is sick today.  Technically, I guess, she’s not a baby – she’s a freshman in high school, 14 years old and five foot ten inches tall – but she is my youngest, she’s not feeling well, and as far as I’m concerned, she’s still my baby.

She came home from a birthday/sleep-over yesterday afternoon with a sore throat which by the time she went to bed had become sniffles and a cough.  She barely got any sleep so when she came into my room at 6:30 this morning showered and dressed for school to ask if she could stay home (for the first time this year) I took one look at the dark circles around her eyes, her red nose, her dry cracked lips and said “go put on your pj’s, take some cold medicine, and crawl back into bed”.  What else could I say?  She’s my baby and I love her to pieces.

I’d already promised Thing 1 I would make peanut butter cookies next, Thing 2 requested that I add chocolate chips and make them today.  She’s my baby and she’s sick, what else could I do?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups flour

1 cup oats finely ground in food processor or blender

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses* or honey

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 12 ounce package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a bowl

In a mixing bowl cream butter with peanut butter.  Add sugar and continue to cream.  Add molasses, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Stir in flour mixture just until mixed.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Use 1/2 ounce cookie scoop or use hands to roll into 1″ balls and place on parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet.  Using fork tines, press dough balls until slightly flattened.  Bake for 9 minutes.  Let cool on sheet.  Makes about 80 cookies.

*Molasses will make the cookies taste like they were made with brown sugar, honey will lend it’s own flavor.

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Harley Guy’s favorite Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Poor Harley Guy.  Last night he went looking for the white chocolate, macadamia, and chocolate covered cranberry cookies I made a week ago – and they were gone, the empty container sitting in the dish drainer drying.  Why did it take him a whole week to decide to try a cookie anyway?  I’d made a double batch so there were about 80 large cookies.  Thing 2 had a friend that came over and spent the whole weekend with us, and Thing 1 spent one night at a friend’s house and took a baggie with a dozen cookies to eat and share.  As I said in my post these are one of the girl’s favorites, and to be honest I’m a little surprised they lasted a whole week!

Harley Guy’s favorite cookie has always been oatmeal.  Back in high school you could buy a homemade sugar, peanut butter, or oatmeal cookie in the cafeteria for a nickel.  They were big cookies, about the size of your open hand, and thin as though they had been poured like a batter.  When I bought cookies I usually alternated because I liked them all but I was much more apt to buy a slice of fresh homemade bread with real butter melting into it.  Harley Guy however always went for the oatmeal cookies.

The girls aren’t very happy with me right now – there’s a batch of these cookies sitting on the sink cooling – they hate raisins and these cookies are loaded with them.  I figured though that since he didn’t get any of the last batch I baked he deserved a batch of his own.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup molasses

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon ginger

5 cups oats

2 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter with sugar.  Add molasses and vanilla, beat well.  Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Stir into batter. Mix in oats and raisins.

Drop by large tablespoonfuls (I use a 1 ounce scoop) onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes.  Makes approx 60 cookies.

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