|No-Bake Chocolate Cookies (They're not what they look like!)|
Even though our children had a great first week at their new school, it was still an adjustment. We all had to get used to waking up each morning by 6 AM since it is a 45 minute drive to school. Dozens of papers were filled out and signed; four lunchboxes were packed in the morning; and there was a frantic shopping trip to numerous stores for book covers which seemed to be sold out everywhere (we ended up getting the last remaining ones at Staples.) They were introduced to new teachers, made new friends, and adapted to a new routine. Our youngest was such a proud first grader with real homework each afternoon that she eagerly tackled as soon as she got home. They even made it through a week of humid, ninety degree days in a school with no air conditioning.
By Friday, I wanted to have a treat waiting for them when we got home from school to celebrate their first week. Although I love to bake cookies, it was just too darn hot to heat up the oven for an hour. So I quickly cooked up a batch of chocolate no-bake cookies. I still remember making these annually in home economics class in middle school, and they were one of the first treats I learned to make. Okay, maybe they're not the most attractive cookie (I won't mention what my boys said the above photo looked like,) but they are yummy. They started the weekend off right.
No-Bake Chocolate Cookies
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
Mix the sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter in a pot. Cook on medium heat and keep stirring until it boils. Remove from heat and let cool for one minute. Add the vanilla, peanut butter, salt and oatmeal. Stir well. Drop by teaspoon onto wax paper or parchment paper. Chill in refrigerator, and if it's hot like it's been here this week, store in refrigerator too.
Our weekend continued to get better with the arrival of grandparents from out of town. Life is always a bit of a celebration when they come to visit, and they know that our children also look forward to their grandma's big red tin of "MeeMaw Muffins." No matter how busy she is before they leave their house, she always finds time to bake a variety of breakfast muffins: strawberry, blueberry, chocolate chip, cranberry, and brown sugar & cinnamon. This time she surprised us with banana nut muffins for the first time along with blueberry ones. I won't disclose her secret recipes here or they won't be exclusive MeeMaw muffins anymore.
These particular muffins held special significance as comfort food when our weekend took a sad turn. When we awoke Saturday morning, we discovered that our tiger-striped "barn cat" had died unexpectedly in the night. Life on a farm means we are exposed to both new life and unexplained death from time to time. With the livestock, we expect these occasional losses, even though every life lost is mourned here. However, it is rare for us to find one of our cats or dogs lifeless on the back porch. Many of our cats have gone off into the woods to hunt here on our mountain only to never be seen again. This young kitty, however, rarely left our porch because he always wanted to be the first one to be fed throughout the day, so his passing was quite a shock. Such a seemingly small loving touch of leaving homemade MeeMaw muffins on the kitchen table actually brought some comfort to our younger children upon their sad awakening and made the morning a wee bit better. While food alone certainly can't bring solace and heal all sadness, special foods made with the intention to share our love with others can truly be comfort food.
|Any food can be comfort food if made and served with love.|