Friday, December 31, 2010

The December Devil

Holiday weight gain is the devil and I work hard to gird myself against this wickedness.  Our cupboards are full of yummy gifts from friends, students and choristers.  I also baked like a maniac this month filling their cupboards with similar temptations - Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Cookies, Blackbottom Coconut Bars, Cranberry Nut Bread, Banana Nut Bread, and the previously posted Montana Monster Cookies (see Simple Gifts). 

Today my weight is one pound below normal.  (not below ideal, but below normal)  It is the magic 139.  I have two diet tricks that I can recommend to any of you wishing to be one pound below your normal weight:

Diet Trick # 1 - Delay breakfast as long as possible.  That way, instead of 2nd breakfast you can eat lunch.  There is also a special rule that if you eat a certain food that is not ordinarily in the house, such as the homemade fruitcake Pat sent from Georgia, it doesn't count for either breakfast or 2nd breakfast.

Diet Trick #2 - There are invaluable "No-Calorie" foods, such as celery, grapefruit and skim lattes.  Samples at Whole Foods also have no calories, so this morning I tried no-calorie Tzatziki as well as Roasted Red Pepper Hummus on Pita Chips.  The store also offered no-calorie Cranberry Pound Cake and samples of no-calorie Irish Butter (salted or unsalted) served on baguette.

I decided to pass on the samples of no-calorie Hand Lotion.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Simple Gifts

Gift-giving is annoyingly complicated.  We have so many THINGS already.  If I give them a gift they'll feel they have to give me one.  She gave me a pair of earrings.  Now I feel bad that I didn't bring something for her.  Even presents for children are complicated.  Plastic toys.  Plastic packaging.  The children I know have the equivalent of toy stores in their rooms already.

Today though, for a moment, gift-giving was simple and joyful.  I bought a 49 cent thrift store tin and filled it with homemade cookies.  I tied a ribbon around it and taped a label on it.  To Sam.  Happy Holidays.  From Diane.

Sam is the manager of Hot Yoga.  He's the person who checks students in.  He's the one who fields complaints about the music, the room temperature or the new teacher.  I talk to Sam a fair amount since I always arrive early and often leave early as well.  Do I complain?  Let's leave that between me and Sam.  But I hear about Sam's pleasure in hot weather and his pleasure in the cold.  I hear about his family and his accomplishments at his job.  One day Sam even gave me a hand massage!  He has such Aloha spirit that I asked where he was from.  Who would have thought they grew them like that in Minnesota?  It must be all the yoga.

And so it was a blushing pleasure to give him a little box of cookies on December 10.  A surprise to make him even happier because somebody thought about him, likes him, and brought him a gift.


Warning:  This recipe requires a VERY VERY large mixing bowl.


2 lbs brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
1 T vanilla
8 t baking soda
1 lb butter, melted
3 lbs crunchy peanut butter
18 cups of quick oatmeal, which = 42 oz plus 3 cups (or some regular ok too)
1 lb chocolate chips
15 oz (2 1/2) cups raisins
1 dozen eggs

Mix together butter, sugars and eggs. 
Add peanut butter and vanilla. 
Add soda, oatmeal, chips and raisins. 
Dough also freezes well.  (small containers for small batches of cookies are nice)

Form dough into medium sized balls and flatten slightly onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. 

Thank you, Jane, for this much-loved recipe.