Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been chastised before for still making lunch for my boys every morning. For one thing, school starts at 8, so adding one more thing for them to do in the morning would make for one more thing to fight about (pick your battles, right?). And for another thing, I know if they made their own lunches their box would be filled with fruit snacks, chips, crackers, treats, candy, etc. and not be the least bit healthy. I pack their lunches to make sure they are eating healthy so their brains are properly fueled for the afternoon. Aren't I a good mom?
This morning, though, as I was packing Trevor's lunch, (it was breakfast for lunch today so Colin wanted a hot lunch - Trevor will never, ever get a hot lunch) I realized I had no treat to pack. He has to have a treat. My boys are all about their lunchbox treat. Colin will sometimes come home from school and tell me he had a fabulous day because of the treat I packed. The only thing I had to give to Trevor was a granola bar, so after they left for school I made cookies so they'd have something yummy for tomorrow. These cookies are my sister's recipe. She brought them to many of our swim parties last summer and I love them. My kids love them. Colin, who does not like chocolate chips in his cookies loves them, chips and all. I also pretend they are HEALTHY cookies because of the peanut butter and oatmeal. Sometimes I'll even use wheat flour. It's all about sneaking in some healthy things for your kids (and husband). So here is the recipe. Try them, you'll love them.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter (real butter makes for way better cookies. It took me many years to discover that)
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use smooth but you can use crunchy if you want)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
 1 cup flour
1/2 cup Quick Cooking Oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (or more if you want - I like the mini chips for these cookies)

Cream together sugars, butter and peanut butter. Add egg and vanilla and beat. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until mixed well. Use a cookie scoop or roll into balls. bake at 325 (yes, 325, that is not a typo) for 10 -12 minutes. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

What I did today

I've been playing with my new camera. I thought I would document what I did today (just for those people who think stay-at-home moms just sit around in their pj's all day watching TV, hanging out on Facebook and Pinterest, talking on the phone with their friends). It's been a busy day getting ready for family to get into town for the long weekend.

Cleaned the bathrooms so the in-laws think their grandsons have perfect aim when they pee

Did the boy's laundry because one of them had to wear dirty pants to school today

Made 2 loaves of bread. I don't buy bread anymore now that I have a fool-proof recipe. 

Made some Cranberry Almond granola so Dave could take some to work for a snack. He loves this stuff

Washed all the sheets, made all the beds, cleaned all the rooms so Dave's family have a nice place to stay while they're here
Let this boy stay in his pj's all day and watch TV and play the computer - I figure he'll be in school next year so why not give him some fun every now and then.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One year older

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 36. It seems strange because I don't really feel 36 and now I'm closer to 40 than 30. But it was a good birthday. Saturday Dave and I went out. We went shopping (I always want new clothes for my birthday since I rarely buy myself stuff any other time of the year) and out to dinner. I love getting nights out away from the kids. Monday my friends took me to lunch and yesterday we went to dinner as a family and then came home for cake and gifts. Here are pictures of my birthday gifts taken with the new camera Dave got me:
Dave brought home roses. Lovely. I love getting flowers even if they don't last very long.

Colin made me some party guys to help with the celebration. He's so creative.  And thoughtful.

My mom and dad got me tickets to see the ballet Romeo and Juliet. So excited. I have not seen a ballet in FOREVER.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stephanie's soup

This picture was taken by Stephanie and I hope she doesn't
mind that I borrowed it 
Yesterday my friend Stephanie made Zuppa Toscana soup for dinner. It looked good and the recipe looked pretty easy and I figured some day I would try making it for dinner. This morning I got my hair cut and on the way out to the car Logan commented on how cold it was outside. And it was cold. When we got home I kept my jacket on because I was still cold. I did some chores, made lunch for Logan and I was still cold. Finally, I decided I was going to make soup for dinner (I usually don't cook dinner on Fridays) and I decided to try Stephanie's soup. I had most of the ingredients, but I changed it just a little to go with what I had on hand. Here's the recipe along with reviews from the family:

Zuppa Toscana Soup (or Stephanie's Soup which it will be known as at my house)
1 lb Italian sausage
chopped onion (use however much you want - I can never bring myself to use an entire onion in recipes)
chopped garlic
about 3 potatoes peeled and diced
salt and pepper to taste
chicken broth (I used 2 cans)
1 cup heavy cream
some frozen chopped spinach - thawed
Parmesan cheese

Brown Italian sausage in a soup pot and then remove from pan. Place on a plate with paper towels to drain. Add a little olive oil to the pot if it's too dry. Saute the onions and garlic and then add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook a few minutes then add the chicken broth or water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until potatoes are cooked (about 20 minutes). When potatoes are cooked add the sausage, spinach and cream. I also added about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Stir and serve with bread sticks or hot rolls.

Trevor: 3 3/4 out of 5 stars "Not as good as cheese soup, but pretty close."
Colin: 5 stars "Mmmm, I like the chicken (then we told him it was sausage). Mmmm, I like the sausage."
Logan: 2 thumbs up after we forced him to take 4 bites or else he was not getting a treat later
Dave: "So good. Even better with the bread dipped in it."
Kasey: I love it, a new favorite. Perfect on a cold day

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book Review - Wonder

My mom gave me this book to read and told me how great it was and that I needed to read it and I needed to have Trevor read it too. I set it on my kitchen counter and went back to the book I was reading at the time. It kept sitting on my counter and she kept asking if I had started it yet. When I was cleaning the kitchen the other day I decided I needed to just read it. So I started it and I could not put it down. It took me three days to read but I would have read it in one if I didn't have kids to take care of and laundry to do and meals to cook. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio  is a book about a boy who has a birth defect that left his face disfigured. He is 10 years old and going into school for the first time. The book follows Auggie as he struggles through fifth grade and as he learns to stop hiding his face and realizes that there are people out there who like him because of who he is. This book is about kindness, plain and simple. It's well written with chapters from the points of view of different characters to give the reader a look at how each character really sees Auggie and their relationship with him. This is by far one of the best books I have ever read. It's one of those books that make me wish I was still teaching so I could read it with my class. I think this will be the book I read with Trevor over the summer before he goes into 5th grade. I would read it now but we're in the middle of Fablehaven and he won't let me stop that to read something else, even if it is super fabulous.