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Confessions of a Childhood Cook

I grew out of a lot of things I liked to do as a child, as most people do. One thing I never outgrew was liking food and cooking. One of my confessions from my days as a young cook involves multiple confessions. So I might as well just get right to it. Mom? Dad? I’m sorry. I was not the angelic child you believed me t….sorry, I can’t finish that sentence with a straight face, even typing it instead of speaking it. Angelic? Middle child of 6 girls? Not likely. I’m sure these confessions won’t even raise an eyebrow from my folks.

Confession #1: The recipe I’m about to share has always been my guilty pleasure. From the moment I discovered it… I would sneak out of bed many nights to make it after everyone else was long asleep (or at least I assumed they were asleep)

Confession #2: After making the recipe, I plopped down in front of the TV to watch late night Nick at Nite shows like Donna Reed and Mr.Ed (such a rebel)

Confession #3: I ate the recipe straight out of the pan and drank 2 big glasses of milk along with it.

So, what is this glorious recipe? I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I’m sure you’ve even made it many times yourself. And I’m sure you even have eaten it straight from the pan. Perhaps not the entire pan of it like I did, though (please, do confess if you did, though! I’d love to not be alone on this one….)

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE MOUNDS (a.k.a No Bake Cookies)

Your Ingredients:

1/4 lb butter, 2 c sugar, 1/2 c milk, 1/4 c peanut butter, 6 Tbl cocoa powder, 3 c quick oats, 1 tsp vanilla

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In a large saucepan, mix together butter, sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes. Imagine a child waiting for 2 minutes for sugar to boil. I think that kind of torture should be enough that no punishment for the crime of sneaking out of bed to make this yummy treat is necessary. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Add the remaining ingredients to the pan.

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Stir until well combined. And then, if you’re like a normal person, you’ll want to work fast to drop the mix onto wax paper before it begins to harden. (The cooler it is in your house, the faster they will harden.) [Note, mine are on foil instead of wax paper…because I don’t have wax paper. This is the only recipe I have that needs it, and well, I usually eat the dang things right out of the pan and never make it to this step!]

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Oh, don’t worry. I saved some for myself. I have it sitting right here next to me while I type. So, Mom and Dad? Now I guess you know why you seemed to always run out of oatmeal (and sugar, and cocoa powder, oh and milk….) quicker than expected. Loves! xx

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As I was remembering my late-night snacking adventures this morning on the way to work, it reminded me of other recipes from my childhood that I am now officially on the hunt for! Children’s books with recipes in them! There is one out there somewhere with cranberry cookies and I am determined to find it, along with many others I remember from my childhood. I will keep you updated on what I find. What are your favorite childhood food memories?

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Filed under Cooking With Love, Dessert, Recipes

Traditionally Non-Traditional

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my kids? They are fun and quirky, just like their Mama, but in their own unique ways. We all embrace each other’s individuality, bringing out the best in each other, making every day life fantastically fun together. Part of our fun is that we love tradition, but we also love to break tradition!

Color Me Happy

It’s Easter. So we obviously had to color some eggs. We even made some tea eggs after seeing my sister’s post about making them. Coloring eggs is one of my favorite things. I don’t know why. I don’t even really enjoy hard boiled eggs all that much. But there’s just something about the fun, bright colors of Easter Eggs that bring a smile to my face. I’ll be coloring eggs long after my kids have grown up and moved away from home. It’s a Holiday tradition I enjoy very much.

Baskets o' Plenty

Let’s not forget the candy, of course. Our baskets were left in front of the fireplace for the Easter Bunny last night. This year, we all have “proper” baskets. I have struggled every year with the fact that my kids don’t have nice baskets that they will enjoy bringing out year after year, even as adults, like I have. I’ve just never found nice ones that we liked. Some years we didn’t even have a basket, so the Easter Bunny would leave their treats in new lunch boxes or new baseball caps. Always fun, but this year when we looked, the kids decided they both really liked the plain wood ones. They are sturdy enough that I think they will last a long time for them! And we awoke to our baskets filled with candy, candy, and more candy, plus some notebooks, coasters, books, and even new toothbrushes for the kids (their Dentist will surely be happy to hear that! lol)

Traditionally Non-Traditional Easter Dinner

So, what does a silly family like ours have for dinner on Easter? I’m so glad you asked. Cheeseburgers, of course. I was asked by someone today if I would be having a big ham dinner. He seemed a bit taken aback when I said “No, we’ll be having cheeseburgers for our Easter dinner tonight.” He asked me if that was a family tradition. It was then that I realized our “tradition” is that we like to be “non-traditional”. He seemed pleased with my response, and thought it was a pretty cool way to enjoy Holidays. [By making a tradition of breaking traditions.]

Our Easter dinner, 2012: Cheeseburgers, piled high with plenty of melted sharp cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and some thinly sliced red onion. Paired with artichokes [with lemon butter for dipping!] and sweet potatoes, and of course some deviled eggs (gotta use those colored eggs somehow, right?)

And the weather for this day? PERFECT! We made great use of our deck for the first time since we moved in here, and enjoyed our fantastically fun dinner outside, giggling about our silliness and enjoying each other’s company and laughter.

I hope you enjoyed your Holiday as much as we did.

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Surprising Edible Goodness

Oh, what excitement I’m feeling today! I was squealing with joy last night as I read the following in Eat Pray Love 

“Then there was a pop-surprise bonus side order brought by the waitress for free– a serving of fried zucchini blossoms with a soft dab of cheese in the middle (prepared so delicately that the blossoms probably didn’t even notice they weren’t on the vine anymore).”

WHAT?! You mean I can actually eat the blossoms on the zucchini plants? It sounds divine! In my excitement I got all giddy, thinking of the beautiful flowers I had been looking at on our zucchini plants, and what a wonderful treat they are going to make. (And in my thoughts I continued on that next year, I will plant more zucchini plants! Neighbors, you’ve been warned.)

I am now researching to find what other plant parts might be edible from our smallish garden, and so far we are eating kohlrabi leaves & beet leaves and have discovered the leaves (but NOT the flowers) on tomato plants are edible, as are the broccoli leaves. I will share my research and our kitchen experiments and hope you will find that a happy side effect of having your own garden is getting more parts of the plant to use and share with your family.

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Windy Lake Day

Last week was insanity piled on top of more insanity. I promised the kiddos we would go to the lake on Saturday. I qualified this promise only with the requirement that they behave and clean their rooms… In hindsight, perhaps I should have mentioned “Depending on the weather”… Come Saturday morning I saw only clouds and felt only wind. But the lake was promised, so the lake received a bit of our family insanity.

We packed up some cheese & crackers (that’s an absolute must for any beach or picnic outing, if you ask me! Just grab a block of cheese and a knife to cut it with and your favorite crackers), watermelon and some cupcakes. The boy child packed up his beach toys and put on his swim shorts, despite the cold wind blowing through town. The girl child & I each grabbed a book for reading.

Arriving at the beach, we saw one lonely truck sitting near the water and the rest of the beach was empty. The empty beach made me want to walk to the far end of the beach, where I had never been, since it was usually crowded. The views were beautiful, even with dark clouds looming over the mountains. And the cold wind did not keep the boy child out of the water! He built his masterpiece near the water’s edge while the girl child walked the beach drawing pictures. I preferred to sit on my beach towel with the book* I just started reading, wrapped up in my blanket. (Once the wind let it go and allowed me to wrap it around my shoulders. We all enjoyed the afternoon sitting at the beach. The wind didn’t even bother us (well, once we got used to it, anyway)… it was the rain that drove us away, eventually, but not before getting our feet a little wet!

*I have just started reading Eat, Pray, Love and though I have not ventured far into the book, yet, I am in love with the writing of Elizabeth Gilbert. Perhaps because I remember some of the same feelings she has expressed in the beginning of her book, or perhaps she writes in the same way I think… but something about this book has drawn me in and I already know I will feel like I’ve been on the journey with her by the end of the book. (And I refuse to see the movie before finishing the book! My girl child has called “dibs” on reading the book after me, because I have told her she has to read it before I will take her to the movie… At least I know I’ll have a movie partner!)

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