Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bites

Who ate the cookie?  Last night we made chocolate chip cookies – 2 per person.  For some odd reason, David ate half of each of his cookies and left the other 2 halves on the cookie sheet.  The half cookies were still sitting there in the morning.  Then sometime after breakfast, only 1 cookie half remained.  But no one would admit to eating the cookie.  The Great Inquisition began.  David interrogated everyone before, during and after dinner.  No one would admit to eating the cookie.  He threatened to withhold cookies after dinner.  4 against 1 – cookies were consumed.  There are so many oddities in this story and still the unknown.

(Some) readers have suggested that I post healthier recipes.  Fine.  My parents actually sent this one to me.  The recipe comes from Dr. Jaclyn Albin, M.D., Director of the Culinary Medicine Program at UT Southwestern.  Elizabeth and I made them – three times now.  These bites are quite addictive (unless you are Andrew and don’t like peanut butter) or perhaps he’s just full from eating the cookie half. 


  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats (old fashioned or quick cooking)
  • 4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup 
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Pour the oats in a bowl and add in the peanut butter.  Pour in the honey (or syrup) and vanilla). Mix well.  Pour the chocolate chips and stir together.

Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before forming them into balls.  Using a 1 inch (or 1 tablespoon) spoon, scoop out the mixture, press down to compact, and then pop out into a storage container.  You can store in the refrigerator for up to a week or at room temperature for a few days.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

French Toast "Omelet" Sandwich

BrenĂ© Brown.  Sort of heard of her.  Selected as the keynote speaker for the University of Texas at Austin’s commencement address.  Watched her Netflix documentary: The Call to Courage.  Am now obsessed with her message about courage, vulnerability, fear, shame, empathy, and leadership.  “Having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.”  “Just do the joyful thing.”  “Practice gratitude.”  "Show up, be seen, answer the call to courage... 'cause you're worth it. You're worth being brave." She incorporates a lot of life stories to deliver her message.  My favorite story of this documentary is the last one about swimming.

“Sometimes winning is not coming in first. Sometimes winning is doing the really brave thing. Maybe winning for you, is just coming off the block and getting wet.”  Give yourself a gift and allocate 75 minutes to watching her presentation.  Her TED talks are next on my list.  

All of the kids have been courageous and trying new foods and recipes recently.  Sometimes it feels like an episode of Chopped – what can you make from the ingredients in the refrigerator.  Andrew did some research and found a recipe from “I made only egg recipes for a day.”  It has been declared a winner in our house.


  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ tablespoon milk
  • Pat of butter
  • 2 slices of brioche bread
  • Add-ins like chopped bacon, cheddar cheese, avocado slices, salsa, mushrooms, chives... whatever you like in an egg sandwich or on an omelet

In a 10” skillet, melt a pat of butter.  Beat the eggs and mix in a half tablespoon of milk.  Pour the eggs into the skillet.  Place the brioche slices in the eggs to coat one side (like french toast) and then turn the bread over and leave it there to cook.  When the eggs are cooked part way, like an omelet, run a spatula under the egg “disk” and flip it over (make sure your spatula picks up both slices of bread).  On top of the eggs which are cooked on top of one of the slices of bread, place your choice of toppings.  

Continue cooking the eggs and the bread, which is now skillet side down to a nice golden brown.  To create a nice and neat, square sandwich, fold over the edges of the egg “disk”.  With your spatula, flip one slice of bread on top of the other to make a sandwich.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

This is definitely not how I expected the day to go.  I mean, when have you not paid taxes on April 15 (or the day closest to 4/15 when it fell on a Saturday or Sunday)?  

In honor of this day, I will list my top 50 favorite things - - or let’s go with 29 (forever!), that’s all you need to know…

  1. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens (I must admit that I’m not the biggest fan of cats, except for you, JoJo)
  2. Brown paper packages tied up with string (I’m mastering the art of online shopping)
  3. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes (I feel like my childhood was incomplete without a dress like this)
  4. When one door closes, another one opens.  
  5. Lobster Rolls
  6. “You could cook and shell your own lobsters, but why?” – Ina Garten
  7. Holiday cards
  8. Challah French Toast
  9. Raspberry French Toast Casserole
  10. Chocolate Sheath Cake
  11. Mini-Cheesecakes
  12. Salted Caramel Cheesecake
  13. Baskin Robbins
  14. “Be Silly, Be Honest, Be Kind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  15. Lattes
  16. Banana Bread
  17. Coffee Cake
  18. Bruschetta
  19. “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein
  20. Camp Longhorn
  21. Hydrangeas
  22. HGTV and Food Network
  23. “I'm just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.” – Maya Angelou  
  24. New York City
  25. Hamilton 
  26. Billy Joel and Elton John
  27. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  28. “There’s no place like home.”  – L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
    Moving and rental homes
  29. David, Travis, Elizabeth, and Andrew
Be safe and stay well.  Thanks for being on this journey of life with me!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Twice Baked Potatoes

It was a nerve racking day.  My shipment from Target was supposed to arrive.  The tracking email said that it had arrived yet there was no package on the front porch as it had indicated.  I walked to the neighbors’ homes on both sides – no errant package on their porches.  Do you know how long the wait time is for Target’s customer service?  Did you know that phone numbers to local post offices are not listed any more?  When all hope was lost, David (aka, the worst searcher in the whole wide world) walks by the front door “hey, there’s a package on the front porch” and takes all the credit for “finding it.”  Ok, kudos to you.  Bring that inside – there’s brown sugar in that box (and have you tried to find brown sugar at the grocery store recently?)!!

To use up the 15 pounds of potatoes from Costco, we have made these twice baked potatoes twice – so does that make them quattro baked????

  • 3 medium/large russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 1 c cheddar cheese
  • Salt, pepper, garlic salt
  • Optional: cooked and chopped bacon, chives
Preheat oven to 375.  Scrub potatoes.  Bake in the oven (unwrapped but on a piece of aluminum foil to catch any drips) for 1 ½-2 hours until the inside is soft.  Remove from the oven and cool.

Once cool, slice the potato in half.  Remove the inside of the potato with a spoon and place in a bowl.  Do your best not to puncture or tear the potato skin shell.

In the bowl, add the milk, butter, sour cream, cheese, and a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic salt to the potato.  Use a potato masher or a fork to incorporate all of the ingredients together.  Once combined, spoon the mixture back into the potato skin shell and press down with the spoon to fill in the gaps.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and reheat in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes until heated through.  Top with chopped pieces of cooked bacon, chives and/or more cheese.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Potato, Potahto

When you order potatoes from Costco and a 15 pound bag arrives at your door, what do you do (after trying to pawn them off on friends and neighbors)?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

A Bounty with Bread

No joke.  Shopping these days is stressful.  Costco – item is sold out.  Central Market – no available pick up or delivery dates for the coming week.  Tom Thumb – random assortment of options.  Target – item is out of stock.  So, when I find a loaf of bread, is it weird that I feel like I have won the lottery?  (Imagine the feelings if I actually found some Clorox Clean Up, 409 or Wet Ones!)  Back to food.  Now that you have that loaf of bread, you start to strategize about how to use every slice of bread.  Thank goodness there is a freezer and after 20 seconds on defrost in the microwave, those frozen slices of bread will be brought back to life.  

If you are lucky enough to score a loaf of bread, here are some tasty recipes to make with and maximize your prized possession:

Challah or Brioche

French Bread



Hot Dog Buns