Reminders of Grandmama

My grandmother's health hasn't been well and has little to no chance of getting better. Makes me very sad. Also makes me glad I took the time to learn some of her specialty recipes when I could, so I would be able to carry on her traditions and I would always have comfort foods that reminded me of her.

One of her specialities is Hawaiian spareribs, a meal requested at just about every birthday gathering we have as a family, and one I have shared with many friends. It is fairly simple to make, and I use it for a variety of things, not just spare ribs. I've made the sauce and used it on meatballs, chicken pieces and boneless pork tenderloin. But it's best use is with spare ribs, where you can get your hands in there and are able to lick up all the sweet sauce.

I had a pacakge of center cut short ribs in my freezer, and with my grandmother in mind, whipped up a batch of her sauce for a weeknight meal this week.

The sauce is fairly simple to make:

3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
pinch of salt
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 10 oz can crushed pinapple, with juice

(I hope that is right, I am doing it now by memory instead of the carefully protected paper I have where my grandmother wrote it out for me.)

Mix all these ingredients in a sauce pan and mix well. Cook over medium heat until it is thickenec and glossy (you will see the color change from cloudy to glossy as it boils.) Pour over ribs (or chicken, or meatballs, or whatever else you want to use it on), cover and bake at 350F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Reduce the time if you aren't using the ribs.

We always serve this with rice, to soak up the extra sauce so you don't miss any of its sweet, goodness. Even my children like this recipe.

P.S. Be sure to put extra napkins out on the table when you make these ribs. Or finger bowls.

It was a quiet and lazy Sunday afternoon

So I actually started this post on the Sunday, as in relation to the tittle. Then things got really busy and I'm just getting to look at it now, Friday night. Hopefully things will settle down here soon (I am starting a new job, part time, but time consuming in the prep portions.)

So I decided on Sunday afternoon it was time to finally make my husband his favorite recipe, one I like as well, jambalaya. I had bought the hard to find sausage for it several weeks earlier (it comes vac packed and has a very long shelf life in the fridge.)

I like this recipe, but it does involve a fair bit of prep work, chopping up all the vegetables, then the chicken and sausage, prepping the shrimp and then stirring along the way. Sometimes chopping is relaxing though, so I was happily "playing" with my good chef's knife, cutting up my pile of veggies into a good dice, when I was interupted by children.

Children wanting to help me.

While I was cutting.

With a very big, sharp knife.

Time for a bit of a detour from our regularly scheduled cooking!

So I took a break from dinner preperation and made playdough for the kids. They were happy because they got to help (or at least my little one, the real "I want to help!" kid did - see, that's him pouring the koolaid powder in the bowl,) and then they were even happier because they got to play with it right away.

Now normally I'd only post recipes for things that are edible here, but technically this playdough can be eaten, I just don't know why anyone would want to unless they were starving to death! So here is a recipe for "edible" playdough:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup salt (don't waste your good salt on this, not even kosher)
2-3 packages of koolaid, one color only
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups boiling water

Mix the flour, salt, koolaid and oil together in a large bowl. Pour the water over top (your children will love this part because the water instantly changes color to whatever color of koolaid you use.) Mix it well, or as best as you can, then let it cool for a bit. When it has cooled some (don't wait too long), knead the mixture together well until it is uniform in color and fairly smooth. Keep in an air tight container or bag. Can be frozen if necessary.

So two batches of playdough later (aren't they pretty colors?) I finally got to go back to making my jambalaya.

Distraction for me was not a good thing. I got it made, it looked pretty too, but I ran into a little misstep along the way.

I forgot to peel the shrimp.

You'd think I would notice something as obvious as shells on my shrimp. I didn't. I took out frozen, uncooked, deveined shrimp and put it in a bowl to defrost some while I was doing my prep work. Sprinkled some spice on them to soak into the shrimp. Noticed the tails but wanted to keep them on so it would be easier to find the shrimp in the pot later (I like lots of shrimp, my husband does not - hence I wanted to find the shrimp so I could eat it, and he wanted to find it so I could eat it!)

Dinner was tasty. Once you took out the shrimp, which btw, ended up being perfectly cooked, not chewy at all, it was easy to de-shell them and add them back in. I really did end up with the majority of the shrimp, something I have no complaints about. Despite that bounty for me, I doubt I'll deliberately throw shelled shrimp into the pot again.

Next time I just won't let batches of playdough distract me.

Egg-less pancakes

Before sending my oldest son off to school this morning, I made him pancakes to put into his lunch. He tends to like breakfasty-type things for his lunch, so why not pancakes?

I still had to make them egg-free, so I found a recipe that didn't include them here.

The batter for these was wierd. I don't know what else to call them. It was white and thick, even after I added an extra spash of milk into it. I couldn't ladle it out into the pan, I had to scoop it and spread it with the back of a spoon.

The picture of the left is the first batch of pancakes, shortly after going into the pan. They never did get the tell-tale bubbles around the edges that the recipe said would be there.

The picture on the right is after they had been flipped. This was still the first batch, and I always find my first batch looks golden like this, almost patchy, rather than a uniform color. All the rest of the batter cooked up normally, color wise.

Both children liked them, neither even noticing the lack of anything in them. I tried one as well, it was okay, but I usually don't eat pancakes without lots of blueberries in them (which I can't find anywhere, fresh or frozen, right now), so they tasted bland to me.

I bet the kids would like them with crushed up banana chips in them. Or chocolate chips. Or maybe banana chips and chocolate chips. Nah, that would be too much like dessert!

Making dinner for family

One of my cousins, along with his wife and two daughters, recently moved to Ottawa, having been out West for many years. He is the next oldest after me, so we are close in age, but have never been close. Partially because we have never, ever lived in the same city before.

Now that we do, I am hopefull that we will be able to get to know each other better, not just for our own sakes, but also for our children. Having family in the same city as we are is great, since family is very important to us.

To start things off, I invited them over for dinner, to give us a chance to get to know the girls, and to give them a chance to get to know us.

For example, I don't think they knew I liked to cook. So they were in for a surprise at dinner.

I started out with a roast, which I smeared all over with a paste of garlic, salt, pepper and oil. I used vegetable rather than olive oil because I intended to sear the roast at a very high heat. I wanted to hear the sizzle as the roast hit the pan, telling me I would end up with a deep, rich flavor. After searing the roast on all sides, I put it into the crock pot of my slow cooker and smeared a bit more garlic paste on it. I added a touch of water so it wouldn't scorch before the juices began to flow, and left the roast alone for 5 hours, turning it once.

Later on I pulled the roast out so I could get to all the juices that had collected around the roast. I turned those juices into a tasty garlicky gravy (without having to add any more garlic to it.) By then the roast itself was beginning to reach the stage where it could almost be carved with a fork. Tender and delicious.

Served with mashed potatoes and some steamed veggies, we had a nice meal. Add in the salad that they brought, sweet with manadrin orange segments, red onion pieces, crunchy with cashews, it was quite the huge meal!

Despite the fullness of the adults, there was still dessert to come!

Having picked all those wonderful apples the day before, I wanted a dessert that would include them. Apple crumble pie was at the top of my list. Layers of sliced apples, sprinkled with a bit of sugar and cinnamon, topped with a crumble made from flour, salt, brown sugar and butter. The crumble was nice and crispy, golden brown, and the apples still had a touch of toothiness to them. Served warm with cold ice cream. By the end of our plates we were so full and in need of some excercise!

We were able to follow up on our dinner with time spent outside, playing children's games like skipping and drawing with chalk, giving both families more time to get to know each other.

Cheers to my cousin and his family! Here is hoping we get lots of opportunities to share a meal together and enjoy each others company!

Apple Crumble Pie

(This makes 2 pies, though the crumble part is actually a double recipe of what I would use to make a 8x8 inch pan of apple crumble without the pie - and when I do that I like to drizzle caramel sauce over the apples instead of using the sugar)

2 9-inch deep dish pie shells (Frozen, pre-made pies are great for this!)
sliced, peeled and cored apples, about 5-6 per pie depending on the size of the apples
sugar and cinnamon to taste

Put pie shells on a cookie sheet. Fill each shell with apple slices, being generous with the apples. They will shrink down some in baking, so don't be nervous about going above the edges of the pie shells.

Sprinkle about 1/4 cup sugar and a teaspoon or so of cinnamon on each pie, more or less sugar depending on how sweet your apples are (or how sour you like your crumble.)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine (I actually find margarine works better in this)

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together well. Cut in the margarine/butter until it is crumbly. Spread on top of apples, trying to cover the entire top without packing it down.

(At this point you can freeze the pies on the cookie sheet until solid, then slide them into ziplock freezer bags until you are ready to bake them. When I do this I bake from frozen, adding to the time until I get the results I want.)

Bake at 375C for about 30 minutes until crumble is golden and a knife inserts easily into the apples. Let cool a bit before serving with ice cream.


Apple picking

The entire family went with friends to pick apples at a local orchard today, Mountain Orchards.

We had more choices than we had expected: McIntosh, Spartan, Lobo and Honey Gold, a type of Golden Delicious.

One of our bags ended up mostly filled with Macs, with the occassional Lobo. The Lobo was simply because we weren't always looking for the tag on the tree that indicated Lobo. The children didn't care what kind we got, as long as we got lots of apples.

Our second bag was filled with the Honey Gold apples, which come from much smaller trees. These apples were sweet, crisp and oooh so goood!

In addition to wonderful apples, Mountain Orchards also pulls you in with it's wonderful aroma. You can almost smell these from the parking lot! Apple cider donuts, made fresh and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar while still warm. It looked like this was a four person operation - two girls in the kitchen, each at different stages of making small batches of the batter, one person to operate the machine and release the batter into the hot oil, and one final person to pick up the still hot donuts, place them into the bag and sprinkle with the sugar.

No one in line in front of me ordered less than a dozen at at time. At $6 for a dozen, these warm rings of dough are alot pricier than the donuts you can get at any local donut shop, but nothing compares to the freshness and flavor. (And just a little note - I don't eat donuts anymore but really enjoyed these!)

And for a little giggle here. In addition to all kinds of homemade products like pickles and jams, plus the expected apple cider and pies, they also sell dog biscuits! I guess they couldn't resist the tie-in of the apples!

Tomorrow I'll be tackling some of the mountain of apples we brought home, making apple crumble pies, apple sauce and apple cakes.

Making dinner for the grown ups (and dessert too!)

I wanted to make a different dinner tonight, but knew the children wouldn't eat it. So I fed them something else and went on to make a nice dinner for the grown ups in this house.
Inspiration for this meal came with this month's issue of Canadian Living, (I'd link the recipe but it doesn't seem to be on the site yet since the issue is still being sold,)
for stuffed peppers.

These peppers are stuffed with toasted bread cubes, garlic, fresh basil and then topped with monterey jack cheese. And amazingly enough, I actually had every item in my house and didn't need a special trip to the store for anything, not even the fresh basil!

And they were so good that I will be making them again. I served them quite cool, almost at room temperature, but the flavors were still vibrant and distinctive. The melted cheese did not over power the peppers, but worked in harmony with them. The toasted bread cubes were subtle but a nice textural contrast to the soft peppers and cheese. And the basil just popped flavor with every bite!

I served these peppers with a pork tenderlion, roasted in the oven with a simple seasoning of salt and pepper. In the last five minutes I basted the loin with a raspberry honey dressing I happened to have in the fridge. The flavor of the raspberry was subtle, but was a nice sweetness to the lean pork.

To go along with this grown up meal, and in need of something warming and comforting on a cold, rainy September, I decided to make a peach-raspberry crumble, served with ice cream. The children were allowed to have this if they wanted, and one of them did. The other just wanted the ice cream but forgot to mention it before I scooped him some.

I don't have a recipe for this because I just winged it. I tossed peeled and slice peaches with a bit of sugar, then added the raspberries and let them meld for a few minutes while I mixed together a crumble made from flour, brown sugar, salt and butter. I baked them until the juices from the fruit were popping up through the browned crumble.

This was not a sweet dessert, which worked well for serving it with ice cream. The peaches weren't quite at peek yet, and the raspberries were tart, making the fruit mixture a good contrast for the slightly sweet crumble and the smooth ice cream. My oldest son was amazed I could make this without a recipe and his response to the taste was, "This dessert Rocks!" I think that means he liked it. :-)

Despite the chaos that went on around me in the kitchen, making three things at once, only one with a recipe, all of them new, I was quite content cooking tonight. Things felt good and the end results made me feel even better about things.

Hope everyone else ate as well today!

Update on the egg-less banana bread squares

I really wasn't happy with how this recipe had turned out when I made it a few days ago. As I mentioned at the time, I found it gummy and rather blah. It was bugging me, despite the fact that my son, who I made it for, liked it, liked it enough to ask for it in his lunch again today.

I made it again anyways.

This time I made two changes to the batter, adding cinnamon to it and adding a handful of dried banana chips that I crumbled up. Then I baked the cake for about 10 minutes longer than the recipe called for.

The change was dramatic. The cake was not only darker, I found it lighter in height. The flavor of the banana was enhanced, better. Occassionally you get a crunch from the banana chips, but mostly they seemed to melt into the cake, further enhancing the banana taste.

This was a much better bread, one that I wouldn't hesitate to make again for an occassion where allergies weren't a problem, it was that good.

I'm glad I decided to listen to my instinct to remake this cake.

More meatballs

Making meatball subs yesterday got me thinking. I like having meatballs on hand to cook with, and I prefer them to be my own meatballs when I can't get them from my favorite butchers (which I will never get again because they decided to close down! Boohoo!)

With that in mind, I decided this afternoon to make a big batch of meatballs, something I do several times a year, to be frozen and used at a later date.

I mixed together about 5 pounds of ground beef with two eggs, panko breadcrumbs, dried parsley, salt, pepper, onions and garlic.
Using a scoop, I rolled them into balls and lined them up neatly on my largest baking sheet.

I don't know how it happened, but I actually ended up with just enough meatballs to make six rows of 10 each! I never get even numbers when making meatballs. My karma today must be good. :-)

Currently the tray is still in my chest freezer, with it's six rows of red balls. Later when they are frozen solid, I will devide them into ziplock bags and store them for future use. Like honey garlic meatballs, sweet and sour meatballs (my grandmother's recipe for ribs, which I also use it for), or spaghetti and meatballs. Or whatever new inspiration I happen to stumble into.

Messy food is good food

When I'm really up on things around here, I try to plan ahead my menu for the week, usually leaving a day free for whatever night. I plan specific things, but I'm always flexible, so I write my plan in pencil.

Normally I have this done on a Wednesday, leaving me free to go shopping on Thursday morning with a good list in hand. I didn't make it shopping last Thursday, nor did I do my menu on Wednesday for a week, but instead for a few days. Instead I planned to do some real shopping on Sunday, sitting down Sunday morning to plan out what I wanted for the week, and what I'd need for baking that afternoon. Meatballs came to mind before I'd gone grocery shopping on Sunday, always good when lean ground beef is the meat special for the week, but as I'd planned to make butter chicken with rice on Sunday, I really didn't want to make my usual sweet and sour meatballs with rice the next day. Too much rice does not go over well with the rest of the family.

Instead I decided on meatball subs, an idea that came out of nowhere for me as it isn't something I would normally make. I mentioned it to my husband, and his face lit up, so I assumed he liked the idea and went shopping.

I made my own meatballs, combining lean ground beef, salt, pepper, dried parsley and parmesan cheese together before rolling them into balls. I also made my own sauce, combining canned diced tomatoes, onion and garlic together, simmering until slightly thickened before pureeing it into a smooth sauce. Then I added the meatballs, threw in a parmesan rind, and let them marry together.

This was not a clean eating dinner. The sauce and the meatballs oozed out of the buns, the cheese turned gooey as it melted on the hot meatballs. There was alot of finer licking, but just from the adults as the children chose to eat their meatball subs deconstructed with piles of cucumbers on the side.

Still reasonably new to the food blog world, I forgot to take a picture of the constructed sandwich, remembering after I had eaten the first half of mine. So I whipped out a new plate, and in true blogger fashion, took my pictures!

I served this dinner with a few fresh veggies, cuccumbers as mentioned, red pepper strips and a few carrots picked from my garden.

Egg-less recipes

To go along with my previous post that talks about allergies in schools, here are some of the recipes I was able to find and make for my son's lunch box. Finding some of these was not easy. Despite the huge folder of recipe websites (and the huge stack of cookbooks in my own shelves), most searches for egg-free baking came up empty. And since my family is not vegetarian or vegan (though I do own a vegetarian cookbook that I sometimes use), I don't have alot of information on how to replace non-vegan items in recipes.

This recipes was for banana bread squares, which I found on the website The Post Punch Kitchen. I was directed to this site by Jennifer, everyone's favorite vegan, from the Vegan Lunchbox blog. When my own search came up with minimal items, and no recipes for waffles, I emailed Jennifer and begged for her help. She came to my rescue with the website, which provided me with a good amount of recipes that took no eggs. (Thanks again Jennifer!)

I found this banana cake rather gummy in texture, though it was very bananaey (is that a word?) in taste. Don't know yet what the verdict is from the 7 year old. (Edit - He liked it just fine!) If he likes it and I end up making it again for him, I will be adding in some cinnamon, and I think I will also top the cake, or crunch up and add into the batter, some dried banana chips. I just think it could use the additional texture. I also will be baking it for a few extra minutes longer than the called for 45 minutes.

This recipe came from Today's Parent magazine and is for Glazed Cinnamon Pinwheels, though as you can see, I didn't glaze them. I didn't really think the kids needed the extra sugar in a glaze on a cookie.

These remind me of when my grandmother used to make pies and roll the scraps of dough with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. The look isn't quite the same, but the flavor was pretty close, though I think I like my grandmother's pastry dough better than this pastry. Feedback from this was, "Yummy! I got two cookies and they were good!"

This is the recipe I initially asked Jennifer for, a waffle recipe, specifically Apple Waffles. They will be featured in tomorrow's lunch box, probably without the side of syrup though. These cooked up brown and crispy without a hint of the green from the granny smith apple shredded into it. And my kitchen smelled so good! My three year old and I taste tested them (after he helped me make them) and found them to be quite flavorful with the mix of spices (cinnamon, allspice, nutmet and cloves) as well as nice and crispy. He liked them better cold, I probably would have liked them with butter on them and warmer. For now the remaining live in the freezer to be toasted up in the toaster before being cut into sticks and placed into lunch.

One thing to note about both the waffle and the banana bread recipes - both call for using soy milk and soy yogurt. I replaced both of those with regular 1% milk and regular vanilla yogurt. We've found that when my son has too much soy in his diet, he tends to have severe mood swings, perhaps because of the affects of the soy on his hormones. Since I've been much more vigalant about reading labels on packaged products such as cereal to check for the addition of eggs, I've noticed that most cereals, and a few other surprise items, include soy in them already. There may be no connection between soy and mood swings, but I think for now I'll just avoid additional soy in his diet, just to be sure.

This is the lunch he went to school with this morning: green apple slices, 2 cinnamon swirl cookies, banana bread square, strawberries, a sesame seed bagel with strawberry cream cheese, a small box of raisins, just in case (the same box has been to school 3 times now - sooner or later I won't pack enough and he'll eat them,) and a yogurt tube. He was happy with the selections and came home with a few strawberries left that he ate as a snack, and that same box of raisins.

I'll keep posting recipes as I make them!

School snacks - the Great Debate!

The first week of school has come and gone, and already there is controversy!

So the question of the day is: Are schools going too far in banning foods on the basis of allergies?

The school my children attends is a public school, very multi-cultural, and has over 700 kids in it. With the increase in children having nut allergies, it is acceptable that the school ban nuts and products with nuts in them. In the front office of this school is a room that contains pictures off all the children in the school who have allergies, along with their spare epi pens (which is copied in each of the classrooms.) This room is full, every wall filled with pictures of smiling children.

This is a reasonable request and one that is fairly easy to comply with. My oldest son isn't happy with the no peanut butter, but he is also old enough to understand it and accept it. His best friend being allergic to nuts certainly doesn't hurt the situation in our case, and because of it, we too have made our home nut free.

Then the requests become unreasonable.

On the first day of school, my oldest child, in grade two, went off with his new lunch box with a reasonable lunch. He had waffles that had been toasted and cut into sticks. He had fruit, a yogurt drink, two homemade cookies and a homemade banana blueberry muffin. Enough food for energy, enough "treats" to satisfy him (and since I made them and loaded them with fruit, I was okay with them too), and enough fruit and dairy to make me happy.

Then he came home with a note stating that there was a child in his class with allergies to eggs, potentially life threatening allergies, so please do not send lunches that include items such as egg salad, devilled eggs, anything with eggs. Including baked goods.

Many of us were confused by this? You mean those cookies I sent in his lunch, or even the muffin or waffles, could have killed this child? (No one knew the answer, they hadn't spoken to the parents of this child yet.) In the case of the cookies, the recipe made 3 dozen cookies and included 1 egg. We sent the note back asking for clarification on this portion of the letter. (And note that the letter came home after the first day of school, when 1/3rd of my son's lunch, and probably most of his classmates, lunches could have caused a problem.)

The response we got was to please include more fruit and vegetables in the children's lunches.

Sure I can swap out his muffin for a second fruit, or a vegetable (assuming I can find one he'll eat for lunch,) but what do I do about the main portion of his lunch? He doesn't like sandwiches often (except peanut butter), likes bagels sometimes (which could have egg wash on them), likes pasta in a thermos (egg in the pasta dough) and loves his waffles (which contain egg.) I can't swap those items out for fruit or vegetables. Or I could, but I would be getting home a half eaten lunch and a child who was starving and not doing well.

Which raised another issue for some parents - when your child is allergic to nuts, the safest treats to put in your childs lunch are those that are home baked. Now we were a bunch of parents scrambling to find items to put in their lunches that didn't involve egg anywhere in the ingredient list.

To add to the confusion, at least one class came home with a similar note where the allergen in question was milk, milk products and milk derivatives such as whey. It had the same request, no milk products, and no baked goods containing any kind of milk products.

No you may not send a milk to drink as a snack for your growing child. Send juice instead.

So have these kinds of food bans gone too far? What are we teaching our children, and those children who have the allergies to begin with? Would it not be better to teach the children about food safety, washing hands and tables, not sharing food, building in time to have the children brush their teeth?

I will be following up this post with a post that shows some of the non-egg containing recipes I managed to find to make for my son's lunches, but in the mean time, pass this blog along, make a comment, and if you have any egg-less baked goods recipes, please pass them along to me!

The picnic that wasn't

Summer is coming to a close, with the kids going back to school and the weather getting cooler and cooler.

With that in mind, I had decided to "host" an outdoor picnic with friends and family at a nearby park where we could all pretend it was still summer, get in a round of kid-friendly baseball and whatever other games the kids wanted to play. I promised fresh baked goods, which is why I filled the cookie jar in the previous post.

Then the rain came. And came, and came. And came. We didn't get quite the tropical rainstorm we were called to get, but it did rain alot, and didn't stop for almost two days.

Goodbye summer. We will have say our farewell without the picnic.

Three of the older children who were supposed to be coming to this picnic, my own oldest son and two of his best friends, were determined that they weren't going to be done out of an afternoon playing together. School starting was two whole days away - yes they would see each other at school every day but they needed to be together now!

So we had an indoor picnic.

Since it was cold and raining outside still, I opted to remake the Asian Meatball soup I had made a few weeks ago, and blogged about here. Only this time I had the chance to take a picture.

Despite the fact that everyone had brought their own picnic suppers, all the adults ended up eating the soup instead. The soup was warm, with a nice spicy tingle, providing a nice comfort on a cold day. Copies of the recipe were duly forwarded on, as requested.

We followed up our soup with a variety of desserts: all three types of cookies that I had made, the cupcakes I had made by request of my children (who actually begged me to make cupcakes from a boxed mix, with canned icing), and little cupcakes brought by another friend.

The kids ran around the house, toys scattering in their wake. Dress up costumes came out and were shared around. Occassionally a child would come into the kitchen for something to eat before running off again. Their were child like fights from flared up tempers, highly dramatic, followed by very un-dramatic making up shortly after.

All in all, the "picnic" was a good time for all those squeezed into my little house, despite the rain, despite the no baseball game. Spring is only months away - maybe we can try again then?

Filling up the cookie jar

School starts in a few days, and if the weather holds out tomorrow, we will be going to a group picnic where I promised to supply some form of dessert, so it was baking day today.

Nothing fancy, no new recipes, just good, old fashion cookies that were kid friendly.

I had made my ginger cookies a few days ago, in prep for another outing that would require a sweet snack, so the left overs of those were the first to go in the container.

Next came oatmeal raisin cookies, from this recipe found at Today's Parent. Except I add a bit of cinnamon and raisins in mine. Lots of raisins. These got lots of hmmmmm's and yums! from both children.

The last batch of cookies, finished only minutes ago, was for chocolate chip cookies, the same ones I made here but with only one kind of chocolate this time. I think I had all three kinds of chips available but since I wanted them to be kid friendly, one type was enough. Again lots of praise from my two toughest critics.

I may end up making another batch of cookies, probably a rolled sugar cookie in the shape of either a hand or a foot or a frog, before school officially starts on Tuesday. I made the promise to each of my children that they could pick a type of cookie for me to make, for lunches, before each of them started school. If my oldest can't figure out what he wants (oh the pressure of such a difficult decision!), I will pick for him and just make sugar cookies.

Now, for the really important part of this little baking binge today - I really need to go get a nice, big, proper cookie jar! (In the meantime, big tupperware containers will have to do!)

Weeee! It's here! (Blogger's Postcards from around the world)

I admit, I wasn't very patient waiting for this card to come in the mail, courtesy of my new blogger friend Priya, who's blog Sugar and Spice can be seen here. Yes, Priya, it sure does look like this would be a great place to go for a picnic! If I ever make it to Arkansa, I will do my best to make it to the caverns and hope my clausterphobia is in mild form that day so I can explore them!

When Meeta from What's for Lunch Honey suggested this back in July, it sure looked like alot of fun! And what a great way to learn about a whole bunch of new food blogs out there! In the end, 64 of us chose to participate in the first ever Blogger's Postcards from around the world! Alot of work for Meeta, the fun of shopping, blogging, receiving and blogging for the rest of us!

Can we do it again soon Meeta? :-)