Friday, November 30, 2012

A Fall Family Tradition: Pumpkin Chip Cookies

Ok, I know that Fall is pretty much over and that it's almost Christmas time.

Oh, who am I kidding?  Thanksgiving has come and gone, Black Friday is over, and we are basically counting down the days 'til Christmas.

 Nonetheless, I've had it floating around in my cluttered, exhausted brain that I wanted to share this little  pumpkin story/recipe.  Finding the time, however, is another story entirely. So although we have pretty much said goodbye to pumpkin and have welcomed cranberries into our pantries, please indulge me for a moment, k?

Growing up in the South, we always looked forward to that first cold snap of the season.  If you've never experienced a southern summer, then you cannot fully appreciate the relief that the first "cool" day brought.  And when I say cool, I mean when our temperatures actually dropped below 80 degrees.  By Canadian standards, it was still summer.  But, oh boy...let me tell you: for those of us born and raised in the south, that first Fall day had the power to make you forget the heat and humidity and it would suddenly feel like Christmas was on its way.  If Starbucks had existed back then, that first fall day would have warranted a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

But, we didn't have Starbucks.  (Age revealer?).  We did, however, have my mom.  My dad, brother, and I, that is.  And she made THESE on the first cold day of every fall:

Behold pumpkin chip cookies.  If it's possible to bundle fall in a cookie, then these do it!  And because it's now a family tradition that both my brother and I have passed on to our kids, I wanted to share my favorite part of fall with you.  Here's the step-by-easy-step of my childhood. I mean my favorite cookies:

First, you mix up the stuff that should be in any good cookie: butter and sugar.

Mix it 'til it's nice and fluffy.

Then you add some pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla...

And mix it until it looks like this:

Then have your kid come help you mix up the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon).  And maybe, if you're lucky, they'll throw up a peace sign like mine did.  

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones....

...but just a little bit at a time. You don't want your fancy mixer to break under all the stress!

Once it's all done mixing, it should look like this:

But, then you add the "chip" part of the cookies...chocolate chips.  Mix it by hand. And by hand I mean with a spatula.  Unless you actually want to do it with your hands. I trust you'll make the right decision.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an un-greased baking sheet.

And bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and congratulate yourself for making your house smell so good. And if your kids are anything like mine, food is their love language and they will sing your praises and beg you for "at least 5 cookies...because they're so small."  At least that's what my oldest tries to pull.  

So there you have pumpkin chip cookies.  Some of my favorite memories growing up involve these little guys...making them, eating them, giving them away for teacher gifts (which I now do with my boys teachers), and coming through the door from school on that first cold day of the fall and smelling these.

Spoiler alert! I'm crying now. Because I'm so grateful for memories like these.  They carry me through this season of being apart from my parents and my brother.  We still group text each other on that first cold day of the season and say "it's a pumpkin chip cookie day!"  It warms my heart and makes me so grateful that, although we live in 3 different cities, the 4 of us still have a strong bond that no distance can take away.

Now go make some memories and bake some cookies!!!

Pumpkin Chip Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips (I always use a little less...closer to 3/4 of a cup)

  1. Cream butter and sugar together 'til fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla.
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon).
  4. Add the the dry ingredients to the wet ones a little bit at a time and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and mix until well incorporated.
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or 'til lightly browned.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Joy of A Boy

So, I was deleting some pictures off of my i-phone because, apparently, they have a 2,000 picture limit.  Who knew?! And as I was scrolling through the last year and a half, I realized how many pictures I had of my boys playing in dirt, playing with worms (or some other kind of bug), or just being all-out boys.  Case in point:  

And I realized, while looking at all of our weird and wonderful memories,  that my boys have taught me how to have joy in such little, seemingly insignifcant things. Like finding a dead worm on the sidewalk.

Don't get me wrong.  I do not enjoy finding dead worms on the sidewalk.  But they do!  It's like Christmas morning for them.  How they stop and lay down on the ground and hover their noses above the nasty dead thing before them.  It's kinda funny to think of an adult doing the same thing, right?  Totally socially-unacceptable for a grown man or woman to lay on the sidewalk and just stare at something for an inappropriate length of time.  But for a kid, its ok.  Right?

Seth prefers catching ants. I have no answers for these things. I fail to understand my kids.

Finding slugs are just as good as finding worms.  Better, actually. 

Ladybugs are ok in a pinch

So go find some joy with your kiddos today!!  Maybe it's a worm walk (as we call them in our house) or maybe a splash walk through the rain (because if you are near me, it is raining. every day. until at least next June.)  But whatever you do, do it joyfully!!