Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ghirardelli cookie disappointment--call for recipes!

I know, I know, I should have known better. In my search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, I tried the recipe off the back of the Ghirardelli bag. This would be the 3.5-pound, super-sized bag of Double Chocolate chippers sold at Costco only around the holidays. If you've been reading my weekly Friday (sometimes Saturday!) cookie posts, you know I'm a fan (well, fanatic) of Ghirardelli chocolate chips. For some reason I thought that by merely being on the back of the shiny gold and brown package the recipe would somehow be better than other back-of-the-bag offerings. I mean, it had to be, this is Ghirardelli were talking about here.

As I made the recipe, I knew I was in trouble--standard cookie recipe/technique. Cream the butter, sugars (equal parts brown, granulated). Add the dry ingredients. The batter wasn't stiff enough so I put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so, hoping some chill time would hold the cookies together in the oven. Nope. As I feared, the cookies spread apart in the heat and came out thin and lifeless. What a waste of two whole cups of delectable chocolate chips!

I love making cookies, but I've never found that go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. The kind of cookie that's slightly crisp on the outside, chewy and thick on the inside (yes I've tried the Mrs. Field's recipe with some success but with that much oatmeal, it's just not traditional in my book). So I'm wondering if RM readers could pass along their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes for me to try. Please, help me find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe so my kids can actually dip them into their milk glasses without them falling apart...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is TIME the best medicine for kids?

At a recent sick visit to the doctor with my youngest we made several trips to the potty. The goal was for her to give a urine sample for testing. (Wish I would have known that before she used the bathroom on the way to the office!)

Of course, the bathroom was on the opposite side of the office as our exam room. We’d pass by the staff desks on our way—the nurses looking up to smile and cheer my daughter on. The first time it was encouraging—by the third, not so much. As we spent several minutes in the potty (all told we were at the doctor’s office for two and a half hours), I got to know each wall—my daughter didn’t want me “looking” while she peed (or rather, didn’t!). There were several posters on the walls. One describing how to get a clean urine sample—I memorized that one first. And the other picturing a young boy, about five, dressed as a superhero, cape around his neck. The tagline read something along the lines of “keep superbugs at bay, don’t use antibiotics unnecessarily.”

I’m usually the last mom to request a quick fix for my kids when they're sick (not that antibiotics would have helped in our situation anyway), but with all the illnesses running through my kids’ school lately, I wish there were a pill for all their ills. My youngest has been battling two back-to-back bouts with stomach flu. Swine flu was nothing compared to this!

Before our run-in with the tummy bug, I’d read an article describing how time is often the antidote to illness. My daughter’s bug was viral, no doubt, so the doctor’s advice—essentially antacids, rest, and TIME. (Through several pokes, prods and a blood test when my daughter’s scream broke the sound barrier as the nurse inserted the needle, the doc ruled out more serious illnesses.)

According the article, “Parents are often extremely eager to ‘do something’ for children who complain of sniffles, stomach aches, scrapes and fevers. Yet kids are generally very resilient.” That describes our situation well. I’d love to ‘do something,’ or ‘give something’ to my daughter to make her tummy ills go away, but our prescription is time. And maybe that’s the best medicine anyway…

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Best Ever Banana Muffins

Cookie Friday had to be put on hold this week—sick kids in the house. The request from my youngest? Banana muffins, without chocolate chips or nuts. That’s when I knew she wasn’t feeling good. So soothing banana muffins it is.

I know everyone has a favorite banana muffin or bread recipe. This one has withstood the test of time in my recipe collection. It’s fast and easy—one bowl!

3 large bananas
¾ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups flour (I use half whole wheat)
1/3 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375. In a medium-sized bowl mash the bananas. I often freeze bananas that are getting ripe. When I’m ready to cook, I simply let them thaw slightly on the counter, cut off the top then squish them into the bowl.

Add the sugar and mix well with a blender. Mix in the egg, followed by the butter and finally the dry ingredients. That’s it! (You can add chopped walnuts or chocolate chips to the batter.) I often sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top of the muffins. Spoon the batter into muffin cups; fill until they’re 2/3 of the way full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until just slightly golden.