Books & Cookies!


Hey there– It’s reading weather around here– cooler, calling for mugs of tea and books on the couch.  I wonder if you’re in the middle of a good book these days.  What are you reading??!

“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.”
– Lena Dunham

If you’re a reader (and I think a lot of you are!), get read to be charmed by Anne Bogel’s new book, I’d Rather Be Reading, the Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. You’ll see yourself on these pages in chapters like Confess Your Literary Sins or Bookworm Problems (so funny!).
Here’s a quote from Anne:
“It took me thirty-five years to find my twin… We’re no bound by blood or formal ties. We’ve never shared a last name or an address or Thanksgiving dinner. Our twinness is confined to our reading lives: she’s that remarkable reader whose taste bears an astonishing resemblance to my own.”
The good news is that Anne also has a well curated book blog at Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Check it out!!

I discovered Kate Morton this year and am starting to make my way though her engaging stories.  Mostly recently, The House at Riverton.  In this book, is the recounting of a 98 year old woman with the family who lived in the house and the tragic death that shaped their history.  It was written before Downton Abbey but feels very much the same in detail and characters (I wonder if Julian Fellowes read the book!).  The narrator tells the stories of Hannah and Emmeline, sisters, whom she served as a lady’s maid.  The story pulls you along right until the end when the mystery unfolds. Now I’m waiting for her newest book, The Clockmaker’s Daughter!

I have a special affinity for Fatiima MIrza’s book A Place for Us. Rafiq and Lyla are the parents of 3 grown children who were raised in their conservative Muslim family in the Bay Area.  When the oldest daughter marries, the prodigal son, Amar, returns to the family.  Different family members recount incidents in the the growing up years of the children with tenderness and sometimes sorrow.  I loved the parents hearts for their three children and the last section of the book, the father’s recounting of his interactions with his son, had tears streaming down my face.  Beautiful complicated characters and the beautiful telling of one family’s story.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain describes of the tumultuous love affair and marriage of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway.  Mostly told from the point of view of Martha, third of Hemingway’s four wives.  She is a writer and journalist and strong personality who comes to love Hemingway when they are both war correspondents, in war torn Madrid, as Franco captures the country.  They made their home together in a writer’s get away in Cuba and travel and write around the world.  Fascinating picture of their relationship– and of course, it sent me to Wikipedia to see home much of the story was actual.  MacLain also wrote The Paris Wife, the telling of Hemingway’s first marriage, also a worthwhile book.

Last month’s book for our was Lit group was Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward.  This story was a difficult one, narrated by sturdy 13 year old Jojo and his drug using mother Leonie.  Living in southern Mississippi with Jojo’s grandparents, they set off on a road trip to collect Jojo’s father who is being released from prison.  The story is populated by Jojo’s younger sister, his steady grandfather, Pop, an ailing grandmother and a pair of ghosts from the past.  The book is at points disturbing and at others hopeful.  Not an easy book, but a worthwhile one.  Winner of the National Book Award.

I’ll end with a sweet story, Dear Mrs. Bird by A J Pearce.  Emmeline is a young woman, living with her best friend Bunty, in war torn London during WWII.  She spends her nights at the phone bank for the Auxilary Fire Services, which responds to nightly bombings.  And by day, she is the assistant to crotchety Mrs. Bird, an advice columnist for a women’s magazine.  When Mrs. Bird discards letters from people who truly need help, Emmy can’t help responding to them.  It’s a story of deep loss and firm loyalties, of the courage of two young women.  I’m not sure why, but this book reminds me of a 1940’s Katherine Hepburn movie– girls with spunk!  Very enjoyable

   To read more book notes (all my books from the the last 3 years)–
Click on Booklist

 

 

And to go with a good afternoon read on the couch, it’s pretty essential to include a mug of hot tea and perhaps a plate of cookies.  Here’s a chewy chocolaty cookie that came out of our kitchen this week.  You might like them along with a good book…

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE OATMEAL COOKIES
3/4 cup butter (1  1/2 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup whole oats (uncooked!)
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar to make a creamy paste.  Then beat in the egg, water and vanilla.  When that’s blended, mix in the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and oats.  And finally beat in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop the batter by large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray (or has a silpat mat).  Bake them up at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until they feel firm.  Let them cool a couple minutes on the cookie sheet before you lift them onto a cooking rack.  So chocolaty good!

*I used Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa

 

And here’s a couple other cookie recipes that could accompany your reading:


Chocolate Toffee Slice and Bake Cookies


Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies


Lemon Nut Shortbread Cookies

 

And to finish up– a few of my favorite pictures of people reading:
     
The Lady in the Polka Dot Pants by Rae Andrews
Self Portrait by Michelle Ranta


Little Girl and her bedtime books– Claire Fletcher


Daniel Gerhartz

   
Yuri Petrovic Kugach
Young Clergyman Reading by Martinus Rorbye


Henry Loved Eating all sorts of books!  Oliver Jeffers

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
– Henry David Thoreau

The brilliant painting at the top of the post is by Karen Cooper.  thanks.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars


Hi all–  Tonight we’re wrapping up our Monday ladies study and prayer time for the year.  I love those ladies. When they walk in the door on Monday evening, my heart feels happy.  They come in for a mug of tea/coffee and a little something sweet– and then the talk begins.  Little groups of friends, catching up all across the room.  It’s the best.  And here’s what we’re snacking on tonight:

OATMEAL FUDGE BARS

Oatmeal Layers:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tab. milk
1 cup flour
1  1/2 cup whole oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnuts chopped for on top.

Fudge Layer:
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips (6 oz.)
3 tab. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir together the melted butter, brown sugar and egg until blended.  Then mix in the vanilla and milk until it’s thoroughly mixed.  Finally stir in the four, oats, baking powder and salt.

Spread 2/3 of the oatmeal batter in a 9″ square or 11″x8″ rectangular baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Then make the fudge layer.  In a sauce pan melt together the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter and vanilla, stirring until it is all melty and blended.

Pour the fudge over the oatmeal layer in the baking dish, smoothing it with the back of a spoon to cover the whole layer.

Then break up the remaining oatmeal batter with your fingers to little bits and drop them over the fudge. It won’t cover completely, little bits of fudge will show through.  Sprinkle the chopped walnuts evenly over the top.

Pop the whole things into a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Let it cool at least half an hour and then cut it into neat little squares.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi Cookie Eating Friends– I know, I really do, that there are SO many chocolate chip recipes out there.  But I happened on this one that combines 3 favorite cookies– peanut butter, oatmeal and chocolate chip!!  And they are just the right amount of crispy edges and softy centers.

I made them for my Monday ladies yesterday evening.  And Kendall, our student friend staying with us, just about polished them off during his late long studies last night.  They’re pretty great.

OATMEAL, PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1/2 cup butter softened*
1  1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1  1/4 cup flour
1 cup whole oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla until it’s thoroughly blended.  Then beat in the flour, oats, baking powder and salt.  Finally mix in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Makes about 3 dozen smallish cookies.  And pop them in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Delicious hot from the oven!!

*10 to 12 seconds in the microwave makes refrigerated butter just right.

Cranberry Almond Baked Oatmeal

Good morning!!  Baking up a pan of oatmeal is a favorite when kids are in the house.  This was our Thanksgiving morning breakfast.  Bake it up.  Set it out with a basket of  berries, brown sugar, bananas and cream and as people wander in one by one breakfast is ready when they are.  Hearty, easy and delish!

CRANBERRY ALMOND BAKED OATMEAL
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup  almonds, toasted, chopped*
1/3 cup dried cranberries, minced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1  3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
serve with cream or milk

In a large mixing bowl stir all the ingredients together.  Spoon the mixture into a 2 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and pop it all into a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is firm.

Serve with milk or cream and berries or bananas (or if grand-girls are in the house– chocolate sprinkles).

*Sliced, toasted almonds in bags ready to use at Trader Joe’s.

Jessica’s Morning Oatmeal

 

Good morning!  We were staying with our kids recently and Jessica pulled this dish of oatmeal from oven, hot & fruity & just a bit crunchy.  Add some warm milk and it’s the loveliest breakfast.

So I brought that recipe home and here’s my version– the best baked oatmeal yet!  (and we’ve eaten our share of baked oatmeal, let me tell you…)

JESSICA’S MORNING OATMEAL
2 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup kefir or buttermilk
1 cup water
1 egg
3 tab. unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
2 tsp. vanilla
1 pound fruit (pears, nectarines, blueberries)*
garnish:  a pitcher of cream (or milk) to serve/more syrup (optional)

In a bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In another bowl, stir up the maple syrup, buttermilk, water, egg, vanilla and 1/2 of the melted butter.  Set aside.

Cut the fruit to small chunks and spread it on the bottom of a 9″ square of 9″ deep round making dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Spoon the oat mixture over the fruit.  Then carefully pour the liquid mixture over the top of it all.

Bake the oatmeal at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes until the oats are cooked through.  Drizzle the remaining butter over the oatmeal and serve with cream and syrup if you want a little more sweetness.

*I used 2 nectarines, 1 pear, 1 cup of blueberries (all unpeeled–easy!)

Oatmeal Granola Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Hello Cookie Lovers–  We have an old family favorite when it comes to cookies around here.  The page in my cooking notebook that has this recipe is stained and faded from so much use.  The original recipe from a friend in Spain called for granola (like here), but over the years we’ve thrown in any flakey cereal in it’s place (no Cheerios please!)  Sometimes we added in nuts or currants or dried cranberries white chocolate chunks.  It’a a basic recipe you can mix up to suit your cookie preferences.  Just trying to say– it’s a good cookie, soft on the inside an crispy around the edges. I think it could become a favorite of your family too.

OATMEAL GRANOLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup while sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1  1/4 cup oats
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut
1 cup granola
2 cups chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, beat together butter, 2 sugars and eggs until they are smooth and creamy.  Then beat in the flour, oats, salt and baking powder.  Finally mix in the coconut, granola and chocolate chips.  It will be a stiff batter.

Then drop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Will make about 3 dozen medium cookies.  Put them in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes until they are beautifully browned on top.  Best eaten (at least one or two) hot from the oven!!

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Caramel Pecan Oatmeal Bars

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Hello Baking Buddies– This year for my birthday, my father-in-law wrapped up those hugs bags of walnuts and pecans from Costco for much appreciated birthday gift!  I feel rich with all those nuts sitting in the cupboard, just waiting to be baked into something yummy.

So last week it was Chocolate Pecan Bars– and today I’m trying out these Caramel Pecan Oatmeal Bars.  I’m heading over to my in-laws house for a little lunch in a bit, so I’ll take Stu a little plateful to show him how I’m putting his pecans to good use!

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CARAMEL PECAN OATMEAL BARS
3/4 cup butter (1  1/2 stick), room temperature*
1  1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2  1/2 cups oatmeal
1  1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup caramel sauce**
1 cup pecans, chopped

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth.  Then mix in the oatmeal flour, baking powder and salt.

Take 1 cup of the mixture out and set aside for the topping.  With your fingers spread the rest of the oatmeal mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray to completely cover the bottom.  Pop this into a 350 degree oven for just 12 minutes.

When the bottom layer comes out of the oven, drizzle on 1 cup of caramel sauce.  Crumble up the one cup of oat mixture that you set aside into coarse crumbs over the top of the caramel.  Sprinkle on the pecans.

Put the whole thing back into the 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until it’s lightly golden on top.  Let the bars cool completely before cutting them into little squares.

*If you’re taking the butter from the fridge (like me), put it into the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it up.
**The recipe I worked from gave instructions for making your own caramel sauce from scratch, but I love Hershey’s caramel sauce and also saving a little time, so that’s what I used.  But if you’re a caramel making whiz, you can stir up your own caramel!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

IMG_2412Hi friends– Well, I had one last can of pumpkin lurking in my cupboard after Thanksgiving and since the grand-girls (and their dear mom) were here for the weekend, we pulled it out to make Saturday morning pancakes.  Had some good mixing and stirring help and, of course, happy pancakes eaters.  Good way to start the day…

PUMPKIN OATMEAL PANCAKES
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whole oats
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
3/4 cup yogurt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  Then mix in the pumpkin puree, yogurt, milk, eggs, vanilla and oil.  Add the nuts if you like them (I do– but the grand girls no!).

The batter will be thick, so cook it in 4″ rounds over medium heat– not too hot to let it cook clear through.

Makes about 20 pancakes– Good morning!!

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Here’s my morning pancake stirrer-uppers (Nice morning hair Jobay!!) and later in the day I drafted the girls to help me decorate Christmas cookies (heavy on the sprinkles!)
Love hitting the kitchen with those 3 girls!

Buttermilk Oat Waffles

IMG_3407Hi all– When I know I should be having oatmeal for breakfast, but really want a waffle, this is the recipe I can turn to.  oat-y, tender and a happy receptacle for all that maple syrup.

Larry and I had a batch last Sunday morning while we watched football.  Not exactly “football food” (where’s the wings??) but it suited us just fine.

BUTTERMILK OAT WAFFLES
1 cup flour
1 cup quick oats*
1/4 cup brown sugar
2  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2 cups buttermilk**
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

First, separate the egg yolk/whites.  Set the yolks aside in a small bowl and beat the egg whites in another bowl with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks.

Then in a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Next mix in the egg yolks, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.  Then fold in the beaten egg whites (I used a whisk to blend them in well.

Het the waffle iron and coat it the surface with cooking spray and pour batter to cover the surface.  Close the lid and cook until the waffles are golden, 3 to 5 minutes.***

*Quick oats come in the large box and say –cook in 1 minute.
**In place of buttermilk, pour 2 tab. into the measuring cup and fill to 2 cups with milk.  Let it sit 5 minutes to thicken.
*** I use a Nordicware stove top waffle iron (that I got for a wedding gift 40 years ago!) and do 2 minutes on the first side, 3 on the second.

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cake with Cream Cheese Caramel Frosting

FullSizeRenderHi friends– have you noticed the uptick of pumpkin recipes on Pinterest?  Well, I’m joining right in.  Picked up a few cans of pumpkin at the market this week to see me trough til Thanksgiving and it’s been fun to pour over the possibilities.

Here’s a homey little cake that just seems right with a mug of tea on a cool fall day.   It’s pretty and hearty and has that sweet caramel to set it all off.  Happy fall to you!!

PUMPKIN OATMEAL CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE CRAMEL FROSTING

Cake:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2  cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup whole oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. butter (1/2 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tab. whole milk or half & half
2 tab. caramel sauce (I like Hershey’s)

Stir together the brown and white sugar.  Then mix in the oil, vanilla, pumpkin and egg.  Add in the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice and stir just until it’s all blended.

Scoop the batter into a 9″ cake pan* and pop it into a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until it’s firm to the touch.  Set the cake aside to cool.

For the frosting, mix together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk

Spread the frosting over the top of the cake.  Then drizzle on the caramel and swirl it with the pointed end of a knife to make it pretty!  Real autumn food!

*I use a springform pan, so it’s easier to remove the cake from the pan for serving.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

IMG_1930Hi breakfast eaters– There’s a walk we like to take down across Balboa Island, over the channel on the ferry and then along Newport Beach.  And there we end up at that “fine dining establishment”– Mutt Lynch’s.  Long rustic wooden tables, lots of hustle & bustle, blaring sports from multiple tvs, views out to the beach, and pancakes,really great pancakes– my favorite being their banana chocolate chip pancakes.

So here’s our at home version, whipped up when the grand-girls came to stay.  I could eat these things all day.

BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES
2 smashed bananas
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 stp. salt
3/4 cup unflavored yogurt
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Smash those bananas to a pulp in a large mixing bowl.  Then stir in the oatmeal, flour,brown sugar, baking powder & salt.  Mix in the yogurt, milk eggs, vanilla and oil.  And finally fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter (it will be fairly thick) onto a medium heat griddle that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Will make about 15 fluffy, sweet, thick pancakes.

Just typing this up, makes me want to go stir up a batch!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cake

DSC01324Hello all– I’ve been making this cake forever.  It’s from a seminary wives cookbook that we typed out on a type writer (!!) and printed and collated all by hand back in 1978.  It’s favorite old stand-by.  Goes together fast.  The oats and nuts make it hearty and the chocolate makes it just sweet enough.  It’s a good little cake to have in your file to pull up when you need a homey dessert in a hurry!

CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL CAKE
1 3/4 cup boiling water
1  1/2 cup whole oats, divided
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 eggs
1  3/4 cup flour
1 rounded tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided*
1 cup walnuts (or pecans), chopped to bits

In a heat proof mixing bowl, pour the boiling water over just 1 cup of the oatmeal.  Cut the butter to 8 or 10 pieces and drop them into the hot water too.  Let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes.

After the oatmeal has softened and the butter has melted, stir it all together.  And add in the 2 sugars, and eggs.  Stir quickly so the eggs don’t set in the warm water.

Then mix in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally fold in 3/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips.

Spoon the cake batter into a 9″ x 13″ pan– or a large 10-11″ springform pan –that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup oatmeal over the batter in the cake pan, followed by the walnuts and the remaining 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.

Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cake is firm to the touch.

Lovely served up warm and, of course, always good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

*I use mini chocolate chips instead of the standard size because they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake while it’s cooking.

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Honey Pecan Oatmeal Cake

IMG_2343Hello there–  What’s more warming and wholesome than a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast?  My Larry has Olympian size bowls of oats most mornings for to start off this day.  And I occasionally brew up a bowl of my own.

But when Glenda asked me to bring along something for breakfast with friends at her house one Saturday morning I knew I couldn’t just be oatmeal in a bowl. So I did they only thing that made sense– Oatmeal in a cake!  Not too sweet and oatmeal hearty.  Just about right for a sunny fall breakfast with friends around the table.

HONEY PECAN OATMEAL CAKE
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tab. light corn syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup old fashioned oats
1  1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shopped pecans (again)
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk*
1/4 cup butter, melted
1  1/2 tsp. vanilla
extra honey to drizzle on the cake

IMG_2371In a small bowl combine the 1/2 cup honey, the 1/3 cup melted butter, corn syrup and 1/2 cup of the pecans.  Pour this mixture into a 9″ or 10″ cake pan sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the eggs, buttermilk, 1/4 cup melted butter and vanilla.  The batter will be a little lumpy (in the nicest sort of way).

Carefully spoon the batter over the top of the of the pecan mixture in the cake pan, spreading it evenly.

Bake up the cake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the cake is cooked through and firm to the touch.

Then immediately invert the cake pan on to a pretty plate.  Scoop any pecan mixture that sticks to the pan and add it to the cake.  Drizzle a little extra honey on the cake if you want it to be extra good.  Best eaten with friends!

*If you don’t have that a carton of buttermilk in your fridge, just pour 2 tab. of cider vinegar into your measuring cup and fill with milk to the 2/3 mark.  Let is sit a couple minutes to thicken.

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

IMG_9765Hey there– My mom can make a sensational peach cobbler–  you now the kind, with those tender-on-the-inside and crunchy-on-the-outside little biscuits floating on top of the spiced peaches.  When I was growing up, when we’d have this for dessert, and the next morning my dad would scoop up a big bowl of it.  He’s remark, “Without the ice cream on top, it’s breakfast!!”   (and, of course, we’d all join in)

Well, here’s my current peachy breakfast (without ice cream!).  It’s in the oven right now.  We have have 7 of our kids/grand-girls soundly sleeping in the house and when they’re up, it will be a peachy breakfast together!

PEACHES AND CREAM OATMEAL
3 plump ripe peaches peeled, pitted & cut into little chunks
2 1/3 cups old fashioned oats
4 cups cream (or whole milk)*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 rounded tsp. of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix together all the ingredients and pour them into a 9″x13″ pan that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it all up in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  Serve it up hot with lots of add ons to sprinkle on top—

Here’s some suggestions of things to top off your bowl of peach oatmeal–
a splash more of milk
blueberries
banana
pecans
brown sugar
currants
strawberries
almonds
dried cranberries
granola
black berries raisins
(and if you have 3 grand-girls in your house) sprinkles!

Enjoy it on a sunny summer morning with a table full of family– or all alone with a good book.

*You can use cream, milk, half & half…  I’ve used nonfat milk when that’s what we had on hand.

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes

IMG_9476Hi there- Sunday night pancakes!  When our kids were small, just about one hundred years ago, we’d often have Sunday night pancakes to start off the week.  And now that we have our Micah and Jodi along with 3 little girls staying for a bit, it’s back to pancakes.

It’s pretty nostalgic (and also delicious) for me flipping them on the grill.  Good to have a full Sunday night table again…

BLUEBERRY OATMEAL PANCAKES
1 cup flour
1 cup uncooked oatmeal (quick oats)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unflavored yogurt
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup oil
1 pint (little more than a cup) blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the yogurt, milk, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Last fold in the blueberries and walnuts.*

Pour out the batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a medium hot griddle sprayed with cooking spray.  These are a little thick** so cook them til they’re golden and cooked through.  Makes 12 to 14 medium sized pancakes.

Serve them hot with lots of syrup or powdered sugar– or as my grand-girls prefer, with both (and maybe a few sprinkles) !

*I used and extra big handful of walnuts, because I love those things.
**If you want thinner pancakes stir in a couple more tablespoons of milk.

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Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

IMG_8519Hello all–  When our 3 grand-girls (and their parents) were packing to move to California from Shanghai, I emailed the girls and said, “I’m about to go grocery shopping to get food for when you come.  What should I buy for you?”  They emailed right back, “peaches, cookies and strawberries!”

Lucky for us strawberries are just coming into season here.  So strawberries in hand, Charlotte and I baked up these fruity muffins last weekend.  Hot from the oven, they were oatmeal homey and strawberry sweet.  We thought they were A-OK!

IMG_8514STRAWBERRY OATMEAL MUFFINS
1 cup oatmeal– regular oats or quick oats
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 to 8 large strawberries, cut to small chunks

Mix the oatmeal, milk, brown sugar, oil and egg.  then stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally fold in the strawberries.

Scoop the batter into the muffin pan lined with muffin papers.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes–until they are browned and firm to the touch.   Makes 10.

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Crispiest Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_8359Hello there fellow cookie lovers–  I know.  I know.  There are definite preferences when it comes chocolate chip cookies. Some people like them thick, doughy and soft.  But not me.   This is an old family fave–and this version is crunchy crispy.  Delectable!

Whipped them up with the grand-girls this afternoon– for a good munch while we watch the new Tinkerbell movie.  Simple pleasures.

CRISPIEST OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1/2 cup butter*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup flake cereal**
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar and egg with an electric mixer.  Then blend in the flour, oatmeal, salt and baking powder.  Finally mix in the cereal and chocolate chips.

Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls onto a baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray– about 1 1/2 ” apart–these guys spread!!

Pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until they are nicely browned around the edges.  Immediately eat 2 or 3 straightway not from the oven.

*If you a getting the butter cold from the fridge, microwave it 4 or 5 seconds to bring it down to room temperature.
**Any flakey cereal will do– We had Special on hand, but corn flakes of oat flakes are A-OK.

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Lazy Day Oatmeal Cake

IMG_7956Hello Cake Lovers–   A couple weeks ago our Lit Group went to a newish place in town for dinner and a lot of book talk.  It was “Sue Ann’s Kitchen” and you’d think you had stepped right back into the 1950’s– decorated mid century kitchen “artifacts” including a vintage double oven built in to the wall and a line up of old wooden rolling pins above a doorway.  The menu featured meat loaf and homemade apple sauce and cakes, lot of cakes.

So when I saw this recipe later with this thoroughly 1950’s title– I couldn’t wait for a little more cake nostalgia.  It tastes like something I remember eating when I was ten.  If you like good old fashioned cake–this might be just what you’re looking for…

LAZY DAY OATMEAL CAKE

Cake:
1 cup oats
1  1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1  1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Topping:
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tab. milk or cream
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts

Put the oats in a heat proof bowl and cover them with the boiling water.  Let the whole thing sit for 20 minutes. Then mix in  the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  And next, stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Scrape the batter into a 9″ square or round baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and pop it all into the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  Until the cake is firm to the touch.

While that’s baking mash together the butter, brown sugar and milk with a fork.  Then work in the coconut and nuts til it’s all bended.

Spread the topping over the cake warm from the oven and then put it under the broiler on the lower rack fro just 3 or 4 minutes until it just starts to toast the coconut.  Keep your eye on it–so easy to burn!

 

IMG_7659Hello friends– Here are some nubbly little cookies that start with hearty oats, but quickly fill up with extra little goodies– apricots, chocolate and coconut.

They are the kind of little bars a grandma should have around the house when the grand-girls arrive,  wait!! —like mine who are coming from China end of the month!!  I’m jumping up and down.  Can you feel the vibrations of my computer as you read?

But back to the cookie bars, they’re fast and easy and just sweet enough to satisfy.  I think you’ll like as much as I’m hoping Charlotte, Maryann and Josie do…

IMG_7646APRICOT CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL BARS
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped to smallish bits
2/3 cup coconut
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil (or melted butter, if you prefer!)
2 eggs
3 tab. milk

In a mixing bowl stir together the oatmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.  Then add in the “goodies”–apricots, coconut, chocolate chips, sugars.  Finally add the wet ingredients–oil, eggs and milk.  Mix is tip blended and spoon it into a 7″x11″ pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake it at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cookie bars comes out clean.  Cut them into tidy little squares and enjoy!

Oatmeal Brownies

IMG_7039Hello Chocolate Loving Friends–
These might be the most intriguing brownies you’ve had in a long time.  You throw 2 cupfuls of oatmeal right into the brownie batter and then add a fudgey layer on top– and then there’s all those walnuts (my personal favorite).  These are real hearty brownies– I think you’ll like them just fine.

OATMEAL BROWNIES
1 family size brownie mix (for a 9″x13″ pan)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups chocolate chips
14 oz. can condensed milk

IMG_7041Stir together the brownie mix, oil, water and eggs.  Then mix in the oatmeal and walnuts.  Spread 3/4 of the batter into a 9’x13″ baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.

Then put the chocolate chips and condensed milk in a glass bowl and melt them together in the microwave (about 1 1/2 minute).  When you pull it from the microwave, stir the chocolate and milk together until smooth and melty.

Then spread the chocolate mixture over the brownies in the pan.  And top it all with little blobs of the remaining brownie batter.  Swirl it together with a knife.

Drop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Do not over bake– it will dry out!  Cut these rich bars into small squares.  Delish.