Saturday, July 4, 2009

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and Baby Baths

I'm sitting here in my living room filled with smoke. You see, I live in a community of rednecks that absolutely love to set off fireworks. I'm not talking about a couple of teenagers with sparklers here. It seriously looks like a professional show, except that the ones in charge of the explosives are very drunk and have no idea what they're doing. The smoke has drifted into our living room, and we just had to close all of the windows. I also had to take out my contact lenses because of the smoke. Greg was just saying he wished it hadn't stopped raining. I cannot believe that so many people, in the middle of an economic recession, can afford to blow up so much money.

Incidentally, Greg and I are just party animals tonight (eyes rolling). We're sitting here watching a National Geographic special that I checked out from the library. Guns, Germs, and Steel, based on the book by Jared Diamond, is an amazing movie that combines history, geography, anthropology, and biology. I'm loving it so far. Greg made me dinner, which was brown rice with black beans and tomatoes and the apple gouda chicken sausage I got from Costco last week. It was delicious!

On to the cookies. I don't feel quite so guilty when I make these cookies, because they have veggies, fruits, fiber, and whole wheat. How much do you have to change a recipe before it becomes your own? I have the Deceptively Delicious cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld, but since I don't have to trick anyone into eating the recipes (not yet, anyway), I have tweaked them quite a bit. I like the original recipe, because it has both zucchini and banana, but I've switched out the raisins for chocolate chips, added more cinnamon and golden ground flaxseed, exchanged the walnuts for crushed almonds, and used a whole egg. I also made about seven other minor changes. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. They're delicious and very moist. The flaxseed and ground almonds are very healthy, too.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (with flaxseed, banana, and zucchini)

1 c. white whole wheat flour
1 c. oats
3 T. of ground golden flaxseed
1/2 cup of almonds (I grind them in my Magic Bullet)
1 t. of baking soda (heaping)
1/2 t. salt (heaping)
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. of brown sugar (or brown sugar Splenda blend)
6 T. of butter (or Promise spread)
1/2 c. of pureed banana
1/2 c. of pureed zucchini
1 egg
2/3 cup of chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set the butter out to soften (not necessary if you're using promise spread).
2. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, flax, salt, almonds, and cinnamon in a big bowl and stir to mix. Do not use a mixer of any kind for these cookies, or they'll be too tough.
3. In another bowl, beat the sugar and margarine together by hand. Be careful not to overmix, stop when they're just combined.
4. Add the banana, zucchini, and egg, and stir lightly just to mix.
5. Pour in the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and stir just enough to make your dough.
6. Drop onto a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
7. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool for another ten. Don't eat them all before they're cool. I especially like the way these taste when stored in the fridge. :)

Nicholas has been requiring tons of baby baths lately. He is all about grabbing the spoon (full of blueberries or some such) and then smearing the contents on his hair, face, and body. He really loves his baths, though, and there comes a point after each meal where I have to decide: Is it worth it to try to scrub him off with a wet cloth, or would it be easier to just dump him in the tub? If Nick had a vote, I'm sure he'd opt for the tub. In the first picture, you see him chewing happily on one of the tub toys my friend Trina brought him. He loves to sit in the warm water and have me soap him down. I don't blame him. It does sound relaxing. In the second picture, you can see Nick's favorite way to recline. He likes this position because his feet are free to kick water at me. He has recently learned that he can kick a large amount of water out of the tub, and thinks that it is absolutely hilarious. Me, not so much, although it is pretty cute.

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