As the temperature crept past 100 yesterday, I knew we were in trouble. I tried to get the heathens outside with me to weed the garden, but after fifteen minutes, even I was whimpering in defeat. 100 degrees with 90% humidity drove us back inside, and I think we all had tempers that were noticeably shorter.
Unfortunately, the more bored my children got, the more inclined they were to pick on each other for sheer entertainment. Pretty soon, all-out war erupted, and one bloody nose and some severe punishments later, I knew I needed some methods of distraction…or rather a Plan JJ, since I had already exhausted Plans A through II.
When my mom was my age, our family moved to Los Angeles as a result of my stepdad’s job. This big move was quite the adventure, but it also took my small town Louisiana mother far away from her friends and family, and plopped her into a strange and frightening world. Her driving skills were the first major casualty of the move, as she realized that the freeway was actually an insane asylum moving at 70 miles an hour. To this day, my mom still drives like Andretti, even though we are back in Louisiana… it really is frightening. The second, and more lasting effect of the move was that my mom was often lonely and homesick, and treated this condition in the best way a Southern Lady knows…she cooked, she baked and then she cooked some more. My mom used cooking as the ultimate distraction and Band-Aid for her homesickness. It’s amazing that we did not turn into Weebles, but we did have a gaggle of neighborhood kids who turned up conspicuously around dinner time. My mom rocked, especially when she was a little obsessive around the kitchen.
I am nothing, if not my mother’s daughter. When WWIII erupted yesterday, my first instinct was to drag the heathens into the kitchen and turn on the oven. Cookies are a great distraction for the kids, because they take a while, and the recipes have enough steps to divide up between the two kids, thus keeping them distracted for an hour of blessed peace. Yesterday, we made Cowboy cookies. The original recipe calls for pecans, but I had to leave those out to avoid a picky-eater freak-out. We started with the basics:
And in traditional cookie fashion, creamed the butter and sugars:
While the mixer was accomplishing creamy bliss, we did a quick mix-up of the dry ingredients:
We added the eggs and vanilla to our butter mixture:
After mixing in the dry ingredients, we added the oats and the chocolate chips. I like adding the oats because it stretches the recipe, makes the cookies more filling and makes me feel about 0.01% better about feeding my kids a pile of cookies instead of something healthy.
After baking them up, we had a lovely pile of cookies:
But more importantly, we bought ourselves a little peace, and the boys were distracted from their driving need to annoy each other to death.
Want some peace of your own?
Here it is:
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 2 cups oats
- 1 (12-ounce) pkg. chocolate chips
- ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
1. Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until fluffy.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Gradually add this to the butter mixture, mixing well after each addition. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and pecans.
3. Drop dough onto a baking sheet in large tablespoon size amounts (use parchment paper if you are smart…easy clean-up). Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, or until cookies are pretty-pretty.
Serve them up and enjoy the blissful silence, at least until the ceasefire ends and they are back to their shenanigans.