Sunday, May 6, 2012

Leader Enterprise - May 2, 2012 - Mother's Day/Cookies





Happy Mother's Day to all Moms! Even if you aren't a mom, we certainly all have, or had one, and this is always a wonderful time of year to remember them and their influence in our lives. As the saying goes "Once a Mother--Always a Mother".


In the past, I've done presentations for a number of Mother's Day banquets. One of my favorite things to share is ideas to make memories with your child. But of course, I have to begin by sharing a humorous story. This is a favorite that I've read in email: My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo while I asked "No, how are we alike? "He replied, "You're both old".

Then of course there's that wonderful thread of thought that if being a mother was going to be an easy job, why does it begin with something called labor?

We grandmas, nanas, grammys - whatever you are privileged to be called by your grandchildren, have a wealth of riches to share with our families. We may not have much material wealth to give, but our time,our wisdom, our ability to listen, or simply to love, are the best things we can give to our family now to leave a legacy of love behind when we are gone.

Here are a few practical ideas to help make memories with your kids and grandkids:

Put notes in their lunch or on their pillow: it helps keep communications open. Children will oftentimes turn off our voices, but will soak in words on a piece of paper. And it can be read and reread.

Make sure you give plenty of hugs: proper touching improves a child's development. Touch their head, shoulder, hand, etc.and smile when you do. Silence sometimes speaks louder than words.

Turn off the tv and play games; simple games like I Spy say to your child that they are worth your time. Try drawing letters on their back and having them guess which one it is. Giving a back-scratching while playing a game can be meaningful too.

Teach your kids to be responsible: chores are good for a child. Turn on the music, give them a dustcloth,and see how much work you can do together in 15 minutes. Many hands make light work, but learning to do things on their own teaches them character also. Even young children can learn to gather the trash.

Make a fort over the dining room table. Remind them how it was a popular thing to do when you were younger.

Make birthdays special: share a memory from their childhood and tell them one from yours.

Be a good example: Saying 'I'm sorry' isn't a weakness - it shows incredible strength. Use good manners. Children learn what they live.

Have fun in the kitchen. Teach your children to care about family recipes. Share details about what you remember your grandma doing in the kitchen. Allow them to stir, chop, plan and bake. I have a recipe book in my files that our youngest son wrote his name in as he sat on the counter next to the book while I made homemade granola. He was only 3-1/2 and that book will someday be his. Share favorite recipes and show the splatters on those pages that show the recipe has been used much. Teach your kids how to measure and mix. They'll be more likely to eat something new if they've helped prepare it.

In honor of my own precious mom, who passed on when I was only 38, I'm sharing some favorite cookie recipes. My mom was a great baker and would fill the freezer with cookies several big baking days a year. We were always ready for drop-in company. How we enjoyed homemade cookies in our lunches. (To this day,I still love a frozen cookie too!) It makes sense to me that we spend time baking cookies now, so when it gets too hot to have the oven on, we can still enjoy those yummy homebaked goodies.

This is the cookie my brothers and I remember most from my mom's kitchen. I've always loved oatmeal in chocolate chip cookies. These freeze well.


COWBOY COOKIES

1 c. shortening (margarine)

1 c. white sugar

1 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

2 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 c. dry oatmeal

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 (12 ozs) bag semi sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Blend shortening and sugars until smooth; add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add dry ingredients; mix well. Add oats and vanilla, then stir in chocolate chips. Bake 12 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet. Yield:  about 8-9 dozen.


Using a cake mix (stock up when they're on sale!) to make cookies makes it easier to whip them up. This next recipe has been made and enjoyed by granddaughter's as we made them for a tea party one summer.

BUTTERSCOTCH COOKIES


1/2 c. butter,melted

1/4 c. (dark) brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 (18 ozs) box yellow cake mix

1 Tb. baking cocoa

1 c.  butterscotch chips (or your favorite)

1/2 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350.In large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and eggs; beat until smooth. Add cake mix and cocoa; mix well. Stir in butterscotch chips and nuts .Drop on ungreased baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.

I recently came across this delicious recipe and it reminded me of a favorite bar cookie mom use to make. Mouth-watering! I am not sure though that these would freeze very well. They have a light colored layer on top of a dark base.


SUNSHINE & SHADOW BARS


2 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

16 TB.(2 sticks) butter, softened

2 c. packed brown sugar, divided

1/2 c. white sugar

2 lg. eggs, separated

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tb. water

2 c. semisweet chocolate chips


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350. Grease 9" X 13" baking pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. In large bowl, beat butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and white sugar on medium speed until fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks, vanilla and water. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until combined. Spread dough evenly in prepared pan. Press chocolate chips lightly into the dough.

In clean bowl, whip egg whites to stiff peaks and slowly mix in remaining brown sugar. Spread egg white mixture over dough and bake until golden brown,about 30 minutes. Cool in pan 1 hour. Bars can be stored in airtight container for 3 days).Yield: 16-20 bars.