Monday, June 22, 2015

Rainbow Bridge

Saying goodbye is never easy. Today was one of those days when it was necessary to bid farewell to a good friend.

Probably tougher than it was on us, it was harder for Tony who has watched the recent decline in his constant companion.

She's been with him since the day he arrived as a nine-week old puppy who wanted nothing more than to play with and lie next to his big sister for the past five years.

His surrogate mother, nursemaid, friend, playmate and bunny- chasing pal left for Heaven today.

For a couple of weeks she's been unable to walk after a few months of needing help to get up and get outside. We've been dragging her around on a comforter to whatever room we happen to be occupying. Otherwise, she let us know with her constant barking that she was not happy to be left behind.

Over the past week, she's lost interest in food. That and her whimpering and heavy panting, gives us indication that she's not at all comfortable. As the last of the fearsome foursome - Slick, Dolly, Buddy and Cookie - it was a tough decision to let go. It's not one for the feint of heart, probably the worst phase of pet ownership, this responsibility.

Our veterinarian is a kind, compassionate man who has cared for Cookie for the past fifteen years. I do not envy his task in this part of his practice. But it is done and as we made our way back home with reddened eyes and sore noses, we did not look forward to breaking the news to Tony.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Four Star Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

With the possibility of our first ninety degree day of the year, I decided to bake cookies in the cool of the morning.
Of all the recipes I've tried that include oatmeal, this one is my favorite. It comes from my old Farmersville Garden Club Cookbook published in 1994.

The book is full of amazing food ideas, recipes, emergency substitutions and household cleaning tips. This recipe came from Mary Pope.
The recipes remind me of pot luck dinners and social gatherings where families would bring their favorite casseroles and desserts tightly covered in aluminum foil, ready to peel off and share.

The ingredients are simple, the prep time is quick and the results are delicious.

1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Unsifted All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Quick Cooking Oatmeal (Not instant)
2 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 Cup (1 1/2 Sticks) Butter or Margarine softened
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 6 oz. Package Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts or Pecans (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Stir together the flour, baking soda and cocoa in a small bowl.
Beat together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until it's light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture and blend at a low speed until combined.
Hand stir in the oatmeal, the chocolate chips and the chopped nuts.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets and bake for ten (10) minutes.
I like to use two cookie sheets and prep the second one while the first one is baking.

Remove the cookies from the oven and leave them on the warm baking sheet for about three (3) minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool.

This recipe makes about four (4) dozen cookies.

To change it a bit, I deleted the nuts, substituted two (2) sticks of butter and added a couple of Tablespoons of additional flour rather than grease the cookie sheets. The cookies come out firm and round and disappear quickly.