Tuesday, July 12, 2016

S'mores Brookies

A little over a week ago I was blessed to have some time with Mom all to myself. We had a great chat and as she left my home, I had a flood of gratitude for the feeling that she's always there for me and can understand my concerns and my joys better than most. 
When I was a young girl, Mom arranged all of the music for our church congregation's Sunday worship service. My sisters all loved to sing, some even took voice lessons and had notable musical talent. After one particular Sunday's number included my two youngest sisters who were quite young, I asked Mom when it would be my turn to sing in church. She was surprised by my question and my desire. She asked me what song I wanted to sing. 
"Teach Me To Walk in the Light" was my favorite primary song and I told Mom it's what I wanted to sing. 
As I reflected on this experience in my adulthood- I understand I must not have stood in the long line in heaven to acquire musical talents. 😉  Simply stated- I can't carry a tune. The concepts and importance of harmony, pitch, key, and pretty much all other choir like skills eluded me.   Although Mom must've been a tiny bit relieved that the song is a duet between parent and child, the first verse is a solo by the child. Mom suggested that it's often beautiful when the piano plays the music and the soloist speaks the words of the hymn in poetic form. (She was clearly trying to save the congregation from hearing me sing...)  I didn't understand her suggestion was to preserve the quality of music and thus I insisted on singing my favorite song with all the energy and zest that I felt the words in my heart to mean. 
My angel mother encouraged me to do just that...
Bless her perfect mother heart...

If you're feeling s'more gratitude for your angel mother or someone else in your life-
Make these amazing S'mores Brookies.  And don't be afraid to sing out with all the energy and zest of your heart!!

S'mores Brookies
Make a brownie mix or two - depending on your size of pan- as directed. 
I used two mixes in a 15.5 x 10.5 Airbake baking pan. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 34-38 minutes or until done. 
Spread 14 oz. of marshmallow fluff onto hot brownie. Place enough Hershey milk chocolate candy bars on top of marshmallow to cover it (I used 10 1.55 oz. bars). 
Pat together pieces of Graham Cookie Dough to cover chocolate bars. 
Return to oven and bake an additional 14-18 minutes. 

Graham Cookie Dough
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Cream sugars and butter. Stir in egg and vanilla. Add flour, graham crumbs, salt and baking soda. Stir together until well mixed. 

These will take several hours to "set up" as marshmallow and chocolate layers will be very soft. When set, cut and share with anyone you want to express s'more love or gratitude for. My mom didn't just allow me to sing out that day in church, she sang the second and third verses with the same love in which she taught us kids the very message of the lyrics. 

Teach Me To Walk In The Light


  • 1. (Child) Teach me to walk in the light of his love;
    Teach me to pray to my Father above;
    Teach me to know of the things that are right;
    Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.
  • 2. (Parent) Come, little child, and together we'll learn
    Of his commandments, that we may return
    Home to his presence, to live in his sight
    Always, always to walk in the light.
  • 3. (Both) Father in Heaven, we thank thee this day
    For loving guidance to show us the way.
    Grateful, we praise thee with songs of delight!
    Gladly, gladly we'll walk in the light.
  • Words and music: Clara W. McMaster, 1904-1997. (c) 1958 IRI.
    Obbligato by Darwin Wolford, b. 1936. (c) 1989 IRI

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Caramel Apple Dip

The other night I settled in to watch a little college football. J had just finished homework and was jammin’ to some Colbie Caillat in her room.  Between a couple of offensive snaps, I jetted out to the garage to grab a soda.
There was a glitch in the door lock and I found myself locked out. I ran to the front door- locked!
I banged on the door, rang the doorbell over and over, but by this time, J was in the shower and my pleas for help went unheard.  I ran around back and tried both the back doors- Locked! And locked!
I quickly ran back to the front really wishing I had paused the game before retrieving my soda.
Unfortunately, the fortress was secured and I was literally on the outside looking in. With no other obvious choice, I cracked open my soda and commenced watching the game from outside on the front porch, looking in through the window.
J surfaced awhile later and the look on her face when she saw me peering through the window with a tipped up soda being slurped was priceless!
This apple dip goes together almost quick enough to whip some up in between snaps!

Caramel Apple Dip
4 oz. softened cream cheese (I use fat free if I intend to eat it all... Which I do...)
1/2 cup caramel dip or ice cream topping (I like Smuckers Salted Caramel)
8 oz. Cool Whip
Blend  together softened cream cheese and caramel sauce until smooth. Stir in Cool Whip.
Drizzle with more caramel sauce.
Chill and serve!

This is a quick way to serve up some crisp fall apples! But if you have to retrieve your apples from the garage fridge- pause the game!  ...just in case!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Deb's Oatmeal Pancakes

Back to school!  It’s time - and I've spent my fair share of efforts “liking” pictures on social media of friends near and far as they post the pics to indicate this change in the seasons of life.  

The best advice I ever received when my kids were young was to “Be in the season you are.”  I translated that to mean do a thousand “under ducks” at the park, one-on-one hoops and endless games of horse in the driveway, and blow bubbles until they no longer chase them.  Many days this took a disciplined effort, and some days, I unfortunately chose laundry (with Oprah) as a rationalized replacement.  

Often I found that this meant if dinner wasn't planned and preparations begun early in the day, I was scrambling (usually literally with eggs….) to put something on the table.  Here is a great supplement to those scrambled eggs that are quick and packed with nutrition, allowing you to “be” in your season.  

The recipe was mastered by and therefore I named it after my sister.

Deb’s Oatmeal Pancakes

2/3 cup oats (steel cut, old fashioned or quick)
1 cup white or wheat flour- or some of both
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 T oil
1 cup buttermilk
2-3 T water

Combine dry ingredients together and stir.  Add egg, oil, and milk and water.  Stir until combined, without over mixing.  Spoon batter onto hot griddle sprayed with Pam and cook until browned.  Flip and cook on the other side. Makes 8 6-inch pancakes.

Top with your family’s favorite pancake syrup, peanut butter, or really enjoy your season by topping with cinnamon apples glazed with salted caramel “syrup”.

For the cinnamon apples, I peel, core and cube them.  Then I sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and simmer them in a few tablespoons of water.  I thinned the "secret" recipe pictured below with a little milk for the syrup.  

“Be in the season you are.”
Because before you know it, it'll be more than a decade later.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Triple Chocolate Cookies

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

I literally need to take this message to the core of my being. And this scripture means to me-

Hie to the kitchen, make these cookies, eat them, share them, and count your blessings!!

Triple Chocolate Cookies
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa. (I mix Hershey's Special Dark with regular)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. grated dark chocolate
2+ cups chocolate chips

Cream Crisco, butter and sugars. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and grated chocolate and stir until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until done.

Ok. Maybe that's not exactly what the scripture means to me. But it's my interpretation for today :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Protein Waffles

J went for a run yesterday. I can’t keep up, but I walked in the same direction. I passed a large park where there were two different young kids’ teams practicing football. I saw parents coaching, watching, and waiting in cars. I used to have that role. And I was reminded of my limitations of that role as a mom.
It was B’s senior season. He had suffered what eventually became a season ending injury the previous week. I recall the next Friday night was rivalry week. There was some hype: the pep band led a parade of the team followed by the mass of students into the stadium. I looked for B. He was easy to spot- only two kids were injured and thus just wearing their jersey with street clothes. He was the one with a high and tight haircut and black sweats. He stood next to the coaches during the warm up sprints, and then was very busy on the sidelines managing the defensive play clip board, and always holding a football with his other hand.
I sat in the stands watching him walk out to take his usual spot next to his quarterback lined up for the Nation Anthem. As my eyes fixated in the lights by the flag, my thoughts turned to an experience I had when I was 5 years old. It was just a few weeks before Kindergarten when my dad told us the empty house next had sold and we would be getting new neighbors. To my sheer delight he told us that they had 2 daughters, one of which was my age. My new neighbor quickly became my best friend. Her dad was the new principal at the high school which was adjacent to the elementary school we would soon attend. As my friend and I readied for Kindergarten our mothers wanted us to have no doubts in the course we were to walk to and from school. They walked it with us many times, making sure we knew the way. Several weeks into Kindergarten, the library was introduced to us. I quickly found a book to borrow and take home. The librarian reminded us to take special care of these books and return them next week in exchange for another. We agreed. The next week, my friend and I met out in front of our homes on the sidewalk. She was so excited to tell me that her dad told her of another way we could go to school. I tucked my book beneath one arm and clasped my hand in my friend’s as we skipped down the sidewalk on our NEW way to school. At one point conflict arose as the sidewalk’s concrete was broken. It was marked off and we could not pass. We noted our options and justified that since no cars were coming and it would be a short walk into the street, it was okay. As I stepped off the curb, I tripped. Immediate fear overtook me. My fall caused me to drop my library book which fell into the water run-off grate beneath the street. I cried. I cried for my disobedience in going the wrong way to school, walking in the street, and failing to take good care of my library book. My friend insisted we should continue on to school and that her dad would take care of everything. I didn't listen. Instead, I broke another rule. I turned around the other direction and ran home as fast as I could sobbing the entire way. Unexpectedly my dad was still home. I poured my regretful heart out to him. I recounted the tragedy as it had unfolded. My dad made a phone call, then took my small hand securely within his. I did not understand what we were going to do, but I knew I could trust him and did so by following him. A man from the city met us there. He removed the large bolts and the grate. My dad borrowed his ladder and retrieved my library book. Then without a word but of gratitude to the city worker, he walked with me to school.
My dad was my hero that day. He made all the fear and sadness go away.
As the team took the field, I felt sad for B, that he couldn't be out there with them- that he couldn't finally get to play a position he had worked so hard to be good at. I felt bad that I couldn't be his hero and make all the hard parts about this go away. Then I thought about how this trial is one more part of the refiner’s fire that my son has the opportunity to work through. I thought about how much stronger he could be if he chose to remain faithful during this adversity.
I was okay with not being able to rescue him. After all, he is no longer five. I prayed that the Lord would be generous in compensating him, and that we can all be patient with the Lord’s time schedule and His perfect wisdom.
That was years ago. My role of hero definitely continues to have its limits. But these healthy waffles will allow you to at least bask in momentary hero status :)

Protein Waffles

½ cup steel cut oats blended in food processor (or a full cup omitting flour)
½ cup flour (I use whole wheat)
3 egg whites
1 cup of cottage cheese (I use fat free)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Scoop out about 1 cup of batter and cook in a waffle maker. Top with fresh fruit, maple syrup, peanut butter, or whatever is your family’s favorite topper.
These waffles are packed with protein and lean carbs delivering the right kind of energy to keep your family playing football, recovering lost library books, or fighting through adversity.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

S’mores Bar Cookies

My morning walk took me past a large park where I saw a young girls' soccer team practicing.  All three of my kids played soccer growing up and all three eventually traded it in for a sport they loved a little more.  I recall the season that would be J’s last.  The league was a rec league that only went through age 11.  She wasn't interested in competing on the travel team because of the Sunday conflict so she opted for the only opportunity to play another year- a co-ed rec team.  One game was especially rough.  She was matched up against a very fast, very aggressive, developmentally advanced BOY.  We encouraged her to get in there and not hold back and battle.  She did fine, but was physically out matched.  Towards the end of the game, I could see her tiring.  Her overzealous cheering section of parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins cheered a little louder for her as she dribbled the ball down the field.  Then it was snatched away and booted in the opposite direction.  As she and the BOY jogged down the field, trailing all other teammates and the refs, I kept my eyes on her worried she might burst into tears as the pressure was great.  Instead, what I witnessed seemed nothing short of a mental toughness miracle.  She ran a bit closer to that BOY and elbowed him- hard!  Without even thinking about it or the level of appropriateness or the fact that I was an influential adult in her life I threw my hands into the air as I leapt from my seat and screamed at the top of my lungs, “J- You are awesome!!!!!”  I lingered in my proud mama bear moment well past the appropriate amount of time and only quieted at the stern urging of my husband.  Right or wrong-that day became my favorite soccer mom moment ever.
So, as we head back to school and back to sports fields, courts, studios and whatever lessons or activities those we love are engaged in this fall, let’s cheer them on s’more with these delightful bar cookies. 

S’mores Bar Cookies

1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soft butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugars. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients at once and stir until well mixed. Flatten 1/2 of mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Layer with Giant size milk chocolate Hershey Bars. Spoon a 13 oz. jar of Marshmallow fluff on top. Gently spread with knife or back of a spoon. Flatten pieces of remaining dough and place on top of fluff. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 30 minutes.
You can stop here- or. Make 'em posh by sprinkling the top with mini marshmallows. Put them in oven on broil for just a minute or two. Watch them close so they don't ignite :) (That’s happened in my kitchen before :/ )
Remove from the oven and drizzle the top with a 1.55 oz Hershey bar melted in a freezer strength quart size Ziploc. (Cut small hole in the corner of the Ziploc.)

Now you are ready to share s'more cheers with someone you love!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

S'mores Cookies

In the 1970’s my parents had 5 daughters. Since there were no sons -yet- and Dad still needed a helper, that helper was usually me.  Working closely with dad helped me develop a deep love and adoration for him.  As an adult, the most powerful reasons I love my dad are not because of the things we did together, but rather the things he taught me.  My foundation of a fervent testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ lay in the faith I had in my dad- that wherever he went, I would follow.  Winters in the southwest Iowa town I grew up in were very harsh.  When it snowed, it was often measured in feet, not inches.  Oft times, I was the daughter selected to go out and help my Dad shovel the walks.  As winter skies darkened in late afternoon, by the time dad returned from work, the light from the street lamp reflected on the snow to give a strange illumination to the task.  The sounds of the shovel scraping the sidewalk and Dad’s breath as he worked hard and quick became sounds of comfort for me.  I remember a particular evening that Dad had assigned me to help shovel the walks.  I was eight years old, short and scrawny.  There had been at least a foot and a half of new snow that day.  As I tried to walk down the steps to the sidewalk, trying to catch up to Dad, I could barely move.  Every time I put my foot down, it sank up past my knee in the fresh snow.  My Dad kept turning around and calling for me to catch up.  I was trying to be tough (certainly a trait I was known for) and move quickly towards Dad, but I was truly having a tough time moving at all.  I began to get frustrated and tears fell down my cheeks.  Dad turned around again to call to me, and saw me crying.  He came back to where I was struggling in the snow and pointed to his footsteps in the snow.  He told me that if I walked in his footsteps, I wouldn't get stuck.  He had paved the way with his larger boot.  We were both headed to the same place and all I needed to do was follow him.  And I did.  Not just in the snow that night, but in learning to live the gospel, and learning to enjoy the happiness that it brings to my life as I feel the love of my Heavenly Father and enjoy the blessings He grants me as I obey.
Today is a shout out to Dads everywhere for their selfless love they render on our behalf.  Time to give them all s’more of our love and appreciation!

S’mores Cookies
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ cup soft butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup graham crumbs
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugars.  Stir in egg and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients at once and stir until well mixed.  Roll into 16 balls.  Place on greased baking sheet.  Gently flatten just a bit.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. 
Slice 8 campfire (the largest) size marshmallows in half.  Place the cut half down on the center of each baked cookie.  Return to the oven on the Broil setting for just a minute or until tops are toasty.  Place 1/16 of a Giant sized Hershey Bar in the center of each toasted marshmallow, slightly pressing down.  (You can also make smaller balls of dough, use regular sized marshmallows and portions of a 1.55 oz or Ling sized Hershey bar.)

I struggled in the snow—sometimes we are going to struggle in life.
As I began to cry, I received the comfort of a loving Father—this comfort is all of ours to claim, through the Holy Ghost, from a loving Father in Heaven.
I received guidance and direction as I was told to very simply follow in my Dad’s footsteps.—We have a brother who has gone before us, who has shown us how to live, all we need to do is follow Him.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, my dad was beside me helping me pick my row of peas, snap my bowl of beans, and retrieving volleyballs as they soared in every which direction; he did so for my siblings as well, in the manner they most needed.  My Dad served his children first.  Perhaps, this is why he was so successful in teaching us the gospel.
And for that I think I’ll express S’more gratitude.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!!

I love you!!