Monthly Archives: April 2009

Anji’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some days you just need a cookie! I try to make them as healthy as possible without sacrificing the soft chewy cookie taste . . .

Cookie Base
1 c Butter
½ c White Sugar
¾ c Brown Sugar (or substitute 1c organic Sucanat sugar for both brown and white sugars)
1 Egg
1 tsp Sea Salt
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Vanilla
2 c Flour (add an extra ¼ c flour for high altitudes – I like to use spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour)

add:
1 c Chocolate Chips
½ c Oatmeal (I like to use Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain cereal)
½ c Chopped Pecans
Mix butter, sugar, and egg. Add salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix well. Mix in flour until mixed evenly. Stir in chips, oatmeal, and nuts. For other variations, try adding other things to the cookie base recipe—for example, white chocolate chips, dried blueberries, and chopped pecans. Be creative! Drop in spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for @ 8 to 10 min at 350°. (Do not overcook!)

Variations:

Fred’s Special Cap’n Crunch Cookies: add 1 c Captain Crunch Berries cereal and ½ c of chocolate chips
Oatmeal:
add 1 egg, 1 c oatmeal, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, and ½ c chopped nuts
Peanut Butter: add 1 c flour, 1 egg, and 1 c peanut butter
Carrot: add 1 c grated carrots, ½ c crushed pineapple and ½ c chopped nuts
Mocha Chunk: add ½ c flour, 1/3 c cocoa powder, 2 tsp coffee crystals dissolved into 2 tsp coffee liquor, and 2 c chopped semi sweet chocolate bars. Omit vanilla.
Ginger Snaps: add 1 tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp cloves, and ¼ c molasses. Omit vanilla, ¼ c sugar, and ½ c butter.
Pumpkin: add 1 c pumpkin, ½ tsp nutmeg, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Optional: add 1 c chocolate chips. Omit ½ c butter.
Thumbprint: Add 1 egg. Omit sugar and ¼ c of brown sugar. Roll in 2 c chopped nuts. (Indent and fill with jam after baking.)
Chocolate Thumbprint: add 1½ c flour and ½ c cocoa powder. Roll into balls and roll in 2 c chopped nuts. Press indentation and fill with filling: heat 1/3 c corn syrup and add 1½ c chocolate chips. (Fill before baking)

Some of these variations are still as of yet untested. So, try them and then leave a comment on how they turned out. have fun!

The Story Bag – Writing Fun for all Ages

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Raising a Writer

I went to a writing workshop a long time ago when I was teaching High School English. I don’t remember who it was that presented now (it was over ten years ago!) but there is one fun activity that I have used over and over again, with myself, my kids, the writing club that I was the advisor for, my writing group . . . it turns out to be a very useful tool to get over writers block, and for brainstorming new story ideas. I have modified the activity a little over the years, but the idea is still the same. All you really need is a small notepad and a pen, or a computer, if you prefer. But you can make it even more fun with a little bag and a small object to represent each story. Here is how you do it — Get out your steno pad and your favorite number two pencil and make ten lists:

  1. Make a list of all the teachers you have ever had.
  2. Make a list of all of the teachers you have ever had who were not at school or who did not carry the official title of “teacher.”
  3. Make a list of all the teachers you have ever had that are animals.
  4. Make a list of all the teachers you have ever had that are objects or things.
  5. Make a list of all of the strange or unusual people that you have known.
  6. Make a list of any strange or interesting creatures that you have met or seen.
  7. Make a list of all of the places where you learned something important.
  8. Make a list of all of the interesting or unusual places you have been.
  9. Make a list of any interesting problems you have faced, or any weird or uncomfortable situations you have ever found yourself in.
  10. Make a list of any interesting, quirky, accidental, brilliant, or just plain stupid ways that you or other people you know have solved problems.

Now publish list 9 to the internet with your name, address, and a photo of yourself. (Ha ha, just kidding)

If you like, you can add illustrations in the margins (this is a great excuse to doodle) Obviously some lists will be much longer than others, and some of these lists may be quite short, but each item on these lists is a story all by itself. It can get really interesting though if you choose a few from different lists, for example choose a setting from list 7; characters from lists 1, 5, and 6; a problem from list 9, and so forth.

Now, here is the next step, which is optional: get a small drawstring bag and choose a small object — a unique stone, a really small toy, a coin, a marble, slips of paper color coded for character, plot, and setting, etc. — to represent each item from these lists. Put all of these in the bag and then when you are having writers block, or just want to give yourself a fun writing experience, pull one out and write the story that goes with it. Or you can randomly pull out a few and mix it up a bit.

10 (not so easy) Steps for Teaching a Toddler How to Blow Her Nose

1. Hold out a tissue and say “Blow your nose, sweetie!”(the child daintily holds tissue to her nose and then sucks the boogers up into her brain with a loud glurping noise. She then blinks up at you with big innocent brown eyes and hands back the dry tissue.)

2. Say “No, don’t suck in, blow, like this.” (demonstrate for her, blowing in a loud, exaggerated fashion.)

3. Repeat steps 1& 2 randomly until you are ready to pull all of your hair out.

4. Take deep breaths and DO NOT pull out your hair. (It really hurts.)

5. Since she can barely breathe, the desperate thought of actually sucking the boogers out with your own mouth may cross your mind before you collapse in total frustration. If you actually try this step be prepared for it to work much better than you expected.

6. Scream and spit into the tissue you were holding for her as your life for the next several days, (or even months) flashes before your eyes (if she doesn’t learn to do this herself!) Blagh!!!

7. Very gently, yet firmly, hold one hand over her mouth and say “blow through your nose.” While holding a new tissue ready in the other hand.

8. She will try to blow with her mouth into your hand. Do not let her. Remind her to close her mouth before blowing. (If she doesn’t do it, or if she gets upset, move your hand for a minute to let her breathe, and then try this step again. This is one case where it is possible that screaming could work to your advantage.)

9. When she finally gets it, let her hold her own mouth closed, and let her hold the tissue. She will feel more in control this way, and less scared. (After a couple of times, if you live in an ideal world, she will figure it out and won’t need to cover her mouth anymore)

10. Proudly watch her blow gobbs of boogers out on her own and hear her say “mommy I blowed it all by mysewf!”

Start over the next day, but skip steps 1- 8 (thank goodness!) you may need to add a little reminder that she needs to blow through her nose and not her mouth, and you might need to remind her to keep her mouth closed by having her hold her hand over her mouth the first time . . . much easier!

Welcome to My Blog!

This is my blog about life, writing and all of the fun and frustration I experience as a mom, a wife, and a writer. I am hoping this will be a place for me to vent, get feedback, and supply helpful information, but not necessarily in that order.

The name is a twist on “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” but it actually comes from a true story too. . . and plays on my belief that life is not always soothing, but that the struggles that fill our daily existence can be finally pulled together to make a very satisfying cup of soup nonetheless.

The story behind the name starts with a small farm, a henhouse, four small girls, and one mean red rooster. After several months of taking turns fighting off this rooster every morning to gather eggs, one of the four girls found herself under attack without a weapon, and so she reached for the closest thing she could find. A small length of PVC pipe.  This turned out to be deadly for the rooster and extreemly tasty for the four small girls.

As it turns out, where my writing career is concerned, I am still battling my way past the rooster every day, but one of these days I hope to revel in a very fine cup of mean rooster soup!