Chips and More Cookies

The 2nd Annual Ward-Meade Bake-Off was held eighteen years ago this summer.  This event is memorable to me for so many reasons–my very little girls were awarded 2nd place for their Chips and More Cookies,  the fronts of my kitchen cabinets were stuccoed with a layer of cookie dough every time the little bakers got distracted and tipped churning blades out of the mixing bowl.  But it is the time we spent together passing a skill from one generation to the next that makes the memory of these cookies extra sweet to me.


Recently, my great-niece was searching for a recipe for something special to enter in the Trego County Fair.  She is just a little older than my oldest was when she and her sister made these cookies for the Bake-Off. Naturally, we passed the recipe along to a our newest family baker, a member of the next generation.  Judging was Tuesday; Chips and More Cookies are official purple ribbon winners at the fair.


I originally found the recipe in Midwest Living magazine which regularly features fantastic recipes.  It makes a large batch.  It is the unexpected crunch added by coconut flakes and crisp rice cereal that make these a stand out treat.


1 cup softened butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups flour

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup crisp rice cereal

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup coconut

1/2 cup nuts

In a large mixing bowl beat butter for 30 seconds and then beat in sugars and oil until well combined.  Beat in egg.

Add soda, cream of tartar, vanilla and salt to mixture and beat well.  Mix in flour until well combined.

Stir in oats, cereal, chocolate chips, coconut and nuts.  Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 12 to 14 minutes.


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Pull the Shades

paris windowToday was enrollment at the Middle School where I practice Social Work.  It was fun to reunite with friends on staff and to see how much the kids grew over the summer.  I love the kids.  I believe in the importance of my work; but these first few days back nearly kill me.

Some people think I am gregarious, and that I thrive on contact with people.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I am an introvert.  That does not mean that I lack skill in dealing with people.  It means that dealing with people in the intimate way that my job must be done to be done well, drains me.  To be introverted does not necessarily indicate shyness.  I can speak up for myself and for others, but after I have spoken, I need to be silent as well.

I need to recharge from time to time–to withdraw from others in a quiet, private healing space.  The place I recover best is my home.  I return at day’s end spent.  I pull the shades, dim the lights and breathe deeply.  Tomorrow I will face the world again, but tonight I am home and there is nowhere I would rather be.



My Memory Art
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TToT:Crazy Bunny Lady Edition


My cousin is married to a minister/gentleman farmer.  His most abundant crop is bunnies.  He is the person who first fueled the love–some would say addiction–to bunnies at my house.  I am fully aware that my children have voted me Most Likely to Become The Crazy Bunny Lady.  So, I was somewhat surprised when my daughter asked me to check if there were new baby bunnies in need of some holding and petting.

In what is always a dangerous proposition, we headed out to check out baby bunnies this evening only to discover that my cousin has a new client.  In the past his customers have been people looking for pets and photographers looking to “rent a bunny” for children’s spring portraits. Recently, a new client signed on to purchase a number of bunnies from each litter to use as food.

Now, I am all for eating locally.  In fact, we are about to take delivery of beef from a farmer my husband knew of.  We feel good about the meat because we know how the cow was fed and cared for–no doubt the same way the client feels about the bunnies he is about to purchase.  Although, I personally choose not to eat rabbit, I understand the appeal of these healthy, robust bunnies to someone who is looking for a good meat source.

At the end of the day, however, there were two bunnies that neither my daughter nor I could walk away from.  Meet Opal (named because opal is the type and color of fur she has) and Bugs (because he looks a heck of a lot like Bugs Bunny).  I think it is clear from the photo that these two were never meant to dress anyone’s dinner plate.

bugs and opal

This week I am thankful for cuddly creatures.

I am thankful for healthy food sources. (And for Bugs and Opal-the two who got away!)

And vegetables.

I am thankful that my husband will soon fall under the spell of these two balls of fur and forgive me for needing to stay their executions.

With enrollment at my middle school being next Wednesday, I am extra thankful for summer days.

I am thankful for love.  And for joy.  And for small things that make a big difference.


Ten Things of Thankful

#653-662 of my One Thousand Gifts

workshop-button-1 Something new.

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The Window Sill


Summer, more than any other season reminds me of my childhood in a time and place where you could expect to be invited into someone else’s kitchen for a cold glass of kool-aid when their mother noticed you looked bedraggled after playing outside all afternoon.  You and whatever group of kids were along for the fun that afternoon would stand by the kitchen sink gulping down the sweet, candy colored liquid.  Invariably, a line of voluptuous tomatoes lined the window sill in the kitchens of my childhood.

Something about a row of tomatoes soaking up a final day or two of sunshine to top of their juicy ripeness,  signals my brain to slow down.  Maybe it is the fact that you can’t rush a tomato.  They are going to reach the peak of flavor in their own sweet time.


Whatever it is, those red orbs resting on the sill remind me of what is best about summer: long, slow-paced days filled with laughter and play; sweet icy drinks sliding down parched hot throats; the first tantalizing bite of a homegrown tomato so ripe that its juice runs down your chin.  tomato

I spent some time working in the garden this morning.  When I came inside I lined my own kitchen window sill with a few tomatoes hoping they will remind me it is summer once more.


My Memory Art

Posted in Just thinking | 4 Comments

妈妈 māmadays: Technical Difficulties

There was a thunderstorm in Taigu which debilitated wifi and caused a power outage making it impossible for my son to send his māmadays photos.  Meanwhile, in Topeka I was picking zucchini and grating them for his favorite summer treat, zucchini bread.


When he was a little boy, zucchini bread was the closest thing to a vegetable we could get into the kid.  I planted the squash in our garden this summer mostly for him.  It seems a little unfair that they should be ready for harvest while he is in China


But I promise, son, we will think of you with every moist, delicious bite!


Edited July 23, 2014

Power has been restored in Taigu.  The photos my son sent alongside the shots of zucchini from our backyard seem to suggest that Topeka is a bit less dense than Taigu.



I was noticing how similar most of the vehicles are to what we drive in the U.S., until I noticed this funky little pick-up truck…


Posted in Daily living, Just for Fun, Lessons my Children Have Taught Me | Tagged | 2 Comments