Thursday, August 29, 2013

Buckets (and buckets) of Blueberries

You should know by now that my favorite color is blue.  You may also be aware of my more than slight obsession with fresh fruit and the fact that I'm a sucker for a good deal.  Well it turns out if you combine something blue, something fruity and something that's a super good deal, I get more than a little carried away. And by a little I mean a lot.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Flashback Friday: Camp Cookies

Flashback Friday: Revisiting a recipe from long ago

Camp cookies are a longstanding tradition at our house.  Most of my growing up years we went camping for several weeks each summer.  Whether it was a week at a state park or a 3 week road trip packing in as many national parks as possible, we made lots of memories.  No matter where we went these cookies were a part of each trip, which is exactly why we call them camp cookies.  I know, brilliant, right?

The best thing about these cookies is we were allowed to eat them for breakfast.  Loaded with oats, peanut butter and raisins + the fact that we were on vacation made these a perfectly acceptable breakfast.  Many an early morning my parents would carry us to the car still in our sleeping bags.  Breakfast on the road meant reaching over the backseat and into the trunk to find the ice cream pail full of camp cookies.  Of course they also doubled as dessert, hiking snacks and "are we there yet?" silencers.

Let's see, what else do you need to know about this tradition? True to our last minute form, a gigantic batch of these monster cookies found their way to the oven late into the night or in the wee hours of the morning before we left.  While the cookies baked there was plenty of time to cram things into the car, finish laundry and stuff it into suitcases and gather all the camping gear.

Oh, you also need to be a strategic spiller when you make these.  The M&M's are never measured, just dumped and spilled into the dough.  I usually tried to make sure my mom spilled in a few extra.  Depending on the length of our trip we would make up to 3 big batches. Penciled into our cookbook are measurements for a double and triple batch, which I've included in the recipe below.  I'm not sure we ever made just a single batch, they disappear too quickly.

Three week road trips definitely meant a triple batch, which barely fit into our trusty yellow mixing bowl.  When the bowl is literally so full the dough falls out, you had better eat some.  And trust me when I say this dough is seriously good.  It's probably a good thing cookie dough doesn't travel well or I'd never have had room for smores. Though the days of family camping trips are long past these camp cookies are still a family favorite.

Camp Cookies
adapted from an old church cookbook recipe submitted by Miriam Fokema Rogers to "Our Favorite Recipes, United Methodist Church of Kasson"

Ingredients: (double recipe, triple recipe)
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 c, 1-1/2 c)
1/2 cup peanut butter (1 c, 1-1/2 c)
1 cup granulated sugar (2 c, 3 c)
1 cup packed brown sugar (2 c, 3 c)
2 large eggs (4, 6)
1/4 cup milk (1/2 c, 3/4 c)
1 tsp vanilla (2 tsp, 1 Tbsp)
1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour (3-1/2 c, 5-1/4 c)
1 tsp baking soda (2 tsp, 1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp salt (1 tsp, 1-1/2 tsp)
3 cups oats (6 c, 9 c) (I used 1-1/2 cups quick oats and 1-1/2 cups rolled oats....or whatever you have on hand at midnight the night before your camping trip)
1 cup peanuts (2 c, 3 c)
1 cup raisins  (2 c, 3 c)
1 cup candy coated chocolate pieces  (2 c, 3 c) (please don't measure here, just dump generously or spill in some extra.  We usually use both plain and peanut candy coated chocolate pieces...which doubles the spilling opportunities.)

Instructions: (if making a triple batch, use an extra large bowl)
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
* In a large bowl cream together butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla.
* In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir into wet ingredients.  Mix in oats then stir in peanuts, raisins and candy coated chocolate pieces.
* Using a cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop for monster cookies), scoop dough onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes (slightly longer for larger cookies) or until edges are golden brown and centers are almost (but not quite) set. Let stand 3 minutes before transferring to wire cooling racks.  When completely cool, store in airtight containers. (We always used 5-gallon ice cream pails for camping trips.)

Food for Thought: "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." -John Muir

Monday, August 12, 2013

Farmer's Market Finds

Hey! It's been a while hasn't it?  I'm smack dab in the middle of transition stage right now, but I'm back for a little bit.  Endings, beginnings, life is so full of changes and transitions.  Anyway, blogging just didn't seem to fit in the puzzle over the past few weeks.   I'm honestly not sure where my blogging will go from here.  The posts certainly won't be as frequent, but I don't quite want to stop all together either.

Oh, and I've been stress-baking a lot lately.  You know, when you have a million things to do and somehow end up doing none of them but just bake cookies instead.  Yeah, that kind of baking.

A few of those...occurrences, were captured on camera, but most were the non-recorded throw in some of this and that type thing.  I will have a few recipes for you in the near future, but for today we'll just go with some (rather careless) snapshots of this weekend's Farmer's Market Finds.  One of these days I'll bring my camera to the market instead of taking pictures of wilted produce that's sat in a hot car for an hour.  One of these days, but not today. 

Fresh green beans, which I prefer to eat raw.  Is that weird?  Whatever, that's just what my family does. 

Zucchini and yellow summer squash at 50 cents a piece.

I fell for this Swiss Chard at only $1 a bunch.  I wasn't really sure how I was going to use it, but the vibrant pink stalks were so pretty.

Mmmm, fresh basil smells so good.  Again, only $1 for a large bunch...much cheaper and more efficient than the $4+ plants I can only keep alive long enough to grow 6 leaves.

Crunchy cucumbers.  I made a batch of pickles yesterday, but really I just prefer to munch on the raw cucumbers.  One day I will like pickles, especially if I keep making them.  

This Russian Kale came from the garden of a generous friend.  She also shared her sweet corn and tomatoes.  Thanks!

Everything  but the green beans and cucumbers went into a super tasty quinoa dish based off of these Farmer's Market Skillet and Easy Summer Quinoa recipes from Iowa Girl Eats.  I've made this twice in the past two days and both times I inhaled it quicker than the click of a camera.  Don't skip the honey-lemon dressing.  Fresh basil is also a must.  And now that we've eaten our vegetables, I'd say it's time for some baked goods.  Cookies are coming up next.  

Food for Thought: "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With an unfailing love I have drawn you to myself." -Jeremiah 3:31 (NLT)