Food is quite the memory jogger. A trigger of sorts. Much like music. Or certain smells.
I don’t know if everyone is like this, but I want to think that a warm chocolate chip cookie takes everyone back to their childhood – I think my first memory of a chocolate chip cookie and looking back, probably the first time I took comfort from food or felt love through its simple preparation, was when our first childhood dog – ‘Puppy’ – original, I know…died.
I was curled up on dad’s lap in our old gray (it wasn’t old yet) recliner and I was sobbing and mom, from the kitchen, offered to make cookies – ‘maybe that will make us feel better’. I don’t remember the taste of the cookies or if we even ate them that night – I am sure we did, with large glasses of milk and spoons to fish out soggy lost bits and pieces. What I remember, as dad sat reassuring us that Puppy was in heaven causing ruckus up there, was that mom, while also mourning the loss of her beloved dog (even though she would holler and throw spoons in his direction from the back door when he would bark and howl), took time to bake us cookies – hoping they would ease our tears and cheer us up a bit. Which, I am sure they did.
Cookies have that sort of power. Especially if mom is making them.
Oatmeal Scotchies … guess what..you got it, comes with a memory. Like any cookie, they remind me of my grandma. As most things I bake do, but these are most definitely a Shirley memory. On Wednesday evenings, grandma had church choir practice or perhaps it was the Women’s Society meeting…all I know, is that she was at church on Wednesday nights and the church was just 2 blocks from our house. Therefore, Wednesday nights always guaranteed a visit from grandma and she normally brought a bake good ( and I wonder where I get this habit from). Cookies or pie. And if it was cookies…4 out of 5 times, they would be chewy oatmeal scotchies.
As grandma and mom sat and chit chatted and gossiped … we 3 kids scarfed down cookies, leaving just crumbs behind. Sore jaws and crumbs.
I hadn’t had an oatmeal scotchie in years. Years! Quite devastating, seeing how the recipe for these magic little guys are on the back of the bag of Nestle butterscotch chips. And when something is this good, there is really no need to tinker with the recipe. Well, I kinda did…I added roasted pecans, because pecans kind of rock in cookies. No?
Of all the cakes, cookies, and pies I have taken into work…I believe these cookies received the most hubbub. The container was returned with a pleading of it being refilled with more. People were hiding and stowing away cookies in lockers. They were being eaten 2 and 3 at a time. I wanna believe it was because these cookies were not only chewy and delicious, but because their flavor and texture and slight hint of cinnamon took them back.
Back to grandmas, school lunches, after school snacks, Wednesday nights.
Adapted from Nestle TollHouse
Well, Hello there!
Katie from Katie at the Kitchen Door and I are joining forces today. If you have never been to her blog – you must, you just have to head over there. Katie is oh so talented…her talents in the kitchen and behind the camera are out of this world. When she asked me to write a guest post for her blog, while she is on vacation, I couldn’t but jump at the chance.
And if you are visiting my little space on the Internet because you are wandering over here from Katie’s blog….then you totally know what I am talking about. She is awesome, right?!? And welcome! I am so very glad to have you here today.
Let’s get going!
The sun is shining. The trees are budding. Daffodils are waving ever so slightly in the breeze. Tulips are testing the waters…soon to be in full bloom. The grass is growing fast and furious, aided by the April showers. Spring is starting to slowly and finally roll into Ohio. It has been a long winter and we want nothing more than warm afternoons and long lazy evenings. Spring in Ohio requires us to practice patience.
In the spring, we have this internal urge to clean out the old and bring in new. Start fresh – Spring, to me, has always represented a new year more so than January 1st ever has. Something takes hold and before we know it windows are being cleaned, floor boards scrubbed, closets sorted and organized, and if you are me – fridges and freezers are overhauled. It has been a long winter – heaven only knows what I have stocked and stored away over the cold months. I am like a squirrel hoarding nuts. So it was no surprise to me when I found 2 extra bags of fresh frozen cranberries in my freezer last week. Left over from Thanksgiving/Christmas. Stored away just in case. Just in case I needed to whip up a cranberry sauce. Or jam. Or needed a another loaf of orange cranberry bread.
Honestly, I had forgotten about them. Big Surprise. So, when Katie asked me to guest blog and I was scratching my head and standing in front of my refrigerator wondering what recipe I would offer her readers…I spotted the cranberries. And instantly thought…I bet there are more people out there like me. Spring cleaning and finding extra bags of cranberries (among many other things… why do I buy so many packages of frozen spinach?!?).
I know, I know…cranberries are generally eaten around winter holidays, but I think they are perfect this time of year ( and I am not just saying this because I have an abundance). They have a bright tart flavor, matching the feeling of an early spring afternoon. A coffee cake with a thin layer of sweetened cranberries and a coconut streusel top is just what a Sunday afternoon calls for. A lazy Sunday afternoon spent on your porch, soaking up the sunshine, getting lost in a good book, with baseball on the radio in the back ground. All while you nibble away on an extra large piece of coffee cake that is studded with little flecks of vanilla bean. And coffee. Lots of coffee. Always coffee.
Adapted from Gourmet December 2008
We did it. Again.
You may remember last year.
We are all a year older….and none the wiser.
Apparently we didn’t get enough of mud, dirt, and grime.
Didn’t get enough of the camaraderie and team work.
Didn’t get enough of the 20 foot walls and electrical shock.
First, as the picture above shows….we have added a member to our small crazy team.
Matt, Shawn, Me, and Jeff.
Second, if you aren’t familiar with the Tough Mudder. Check them out.
It always begins (and will end) with a bus ride.
Yellow school bus, bus ride.
Followed by packet pick up and baggage drop-off.
Then, bib numbers on forehead.
And always, me finding my inner-Elvis.
And this year, Jeff and I were chosen to record a bit for a Tough Mudder commercial.
Fingers crossed we make the cut!
To make it to the starting line…there is a wall to climb, or in my case, a wall to be boosted over.
Remember at the end…my socks were once PINK.
Overall, there are about 20 obstacles within the 10 mile course.
Monkey bars and rings ( I consider them swimming events) to muddy trenches and log carrying.
Andrea, my awesome sister-in-law, traipsed through the muck and the mud – along with Matt’s mom, girlfriend, and sister – and took all the pictures you are about to see.
Huge kudos goes out to them!!
We might be crazy. This dude was bonkers.
Keep Calm and Chive On!
Kiss of Mud or army crawl under barbed wire. No bigs.
Nice and muddy brings a smile to my face.
aka…fill a construction sight waste bin with ice and a touch of water.
Cold is an understatement.
Or…claw, dig, climb over loosely packed muddy mounds and slide/jump/fall into water filled trenches (of unknown depth)…and repeat x 8.
Post muddy mile.
Stairway to Heaven. Or was it Hell? Glad I climbed fences when I was a kid.
Conversation between Jeff and I at the top…
“mom can never come to one of these” – me
“yeah, no joke” – Jeff.
Claustrophobics need not apply.
Matt just dove in.
You go in and down…
Across, in, and back up.
Being short has its advantages here…
Everest. Oiled/mud slicked quarter pipe. Same thing.
It takes a bit of contemplation.
Some game planning.
A bit of praying.
First up, Jeff.
Boom. Boom. Pow.
With one of my guys up there…it was my turn.
With Jeff pulling UP and some random guy grabbing my ass…I made it up and over.
Hands out…ready for Shawn.
This is my favorite shot.
It sums up the entire event.
Shawn. Up. and Over.
We are 4 for 4.
The guys hung out up top for a bit…until their spots were taken by other tough mudders…
Without the help of others, 99% of us would never be able to complete this obstacle.
Next up, Electroshock therapy…
Matt bites it first.
And then Shawn goes down.
I get it on the hay bales…
Goes down Jeoff.
We. Are. Tough. Mudders.
The electrical shock may have caused damage.
Michigan, you are next.
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