Monday, August 3, 2009

Mark it with a B!

On Saturday I got to have a "don't leave the house day". I used to run-run-run, always planned, always going somewhere, doing something...ugh. I get exhausted just thinking about it! I took a year off teaching when Tommy was born, and we were running the wheels off the car. Play dates, mommy-and-me swimming, music class. I mean, come on. He was 6 months old! Holy cow.

To be sure, there were many things worth doing. That year, we went to Gram's house every Tuesday, and that was precious time with a very important person; I wouldn't trade it for the world. I also went once a week to my mom's house, so I could clean. She wasn't home, because she was working like, 70 hours a week, at her small business. It was a small thing that I liked doing, because she has always done so much for us. So, I'm not saying I'd like to be a hermit. But there were an awful lot of things that I see now go completely against my magic formula for "getting it done".

The point is that now, when I can be home for days at a time, I am in heaven. Saturday was one of those days for me. I puttered around the house, working on a sewing project and a crocheting project in fits and starts. I folded fabric and organized my sewing table. We ate on the patio. We played Risk and Trouble and watched a movie. Tommy and I drew cartoon characters. And in between, I baked.

I made loaves of bread, banana nut bread (just to use some bananas that had turned the corner), and lots of peanut butter cookies. I gave most of it away to our neighbor Lior. Lior, who cut down my trees for me, as you may recall. I ask you? Who wouldn't want that handsome duck up there to show up on your porch, with a loaf of bread, a banana-nut treat, peanut butter cookies, and fresh, homemade jam? I could eat him up, too.

I have a tip for you. If you use eggs from your backyard (or your mom's backyard), it's a good idea to crack them into a small bowl instead of directly into whatever you're cooking. I'm sorry to have to tell you this so bluntly, but you are in charge of quality control with your own hens. There are some truly unnerving things that can happen (Grandma Dot once cracked an egg for scrambling straight into the fry pan and found a wee chick inside, only partly formed. That was a bad day for Grandma Dot.) but there are also some standard, easy to spot problems that can happen. When it gets really hot, sometimes the eggs just 'turn' righto there in the coop. Or it turns out there was some kind of crack in the shell, a hairline fracture that you may not have noticed, and that can turn an egg too, if the crack has caused a tear in the membrane just beneath the shell. A bad egg, when you break the shell apart, will smell appalling. Just crack them right into a bowl, and if they don't smell fresh, you can dump them right into the composting. Then you don't ruin the food you're cooking.

It's rare that I get a bad egg, but it really only has to happen once. Let me save you the trouble.

I made my favorite peanut butter cookies, from my favorite baking cookbook. It is so easy, it's almost embarrassing. And, they are so old-fashioned! It's the kind of peanut butter cookie that you mush down with a fork dipped in sugar, making criss-cross hash marks? Love that!

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In large bowl, beat sugar, brown sugar, and margarine until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter, milk, vanilla, and egg; blend well. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased (I spray with cooking spray) cookie sheets. Flatten in crisscross pattern with fork dipped in sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10 – 12 minutes (I cook them for 9:45 minutes, in my gorgeous oven, and it works like a charm) or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely.

Yummy with cold milk.

You should probably also know that Tommy would eat the whole bowl of dough if I let him. He actually asked me, this time, if he could have the last baking sheet of cookies before they went into the oven. Er. No, son, that's not going to happen. But I'm glad you like it so much.


  1. When I get home, I am going to make these cookies and think about you!! xoxo

  2. I too have had that egg cracking experience, we get a lot of eggs from our friends who have a farm, and have since I was 15...

    it is a big disgusting yuck....a bowl is a good idea.