March 19, 2013

Monster Cookie Recipe (For Real)

Tree Guy's dad is one of 10 kids.  His parents were/are masters of cooking for a crowd.  Tree Guy remembers going to his grandparents' house in the summer as a kid and getting one of those jumbo ice cream buckets full of Monster Cookies.  It's just one of many happy memories he has of his North Dakotan grandparents.  I've tried to duplicate some of his grandma's results and failed every time.  (Although I have her bread machine now, and I've figured out how to get the loaves just right. Thanks, Grandma!)  The recipe below is a definite win.  Even for me.  

Brought to you by Tree Guy's Norwegian/German grandparents


1/4 lb shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 lb peanut butter
4 1/2 cups oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
chocolate chips, M&Ms, peanuts, shredded coconut, raisins, etc.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix wet and dry ingredients.  Roll into balls and press down onto cookie sheet lined with foil.  [Below is a picture showing you what the cookies look like if you press them down as instructed (because you are a rule follower and probably have a whole gold star sticker collection) and if you don't (because you're a rebel and anyway, this recipe is not the boss of you).  I recommend pressing them down.  They're less crumbly.]

Bake until lightly brown, about 12 minutes.

To make into a cookie "cake",  plop cookie dough onto a round pizza pan lined with foil, and press dough down into a circular shape, about a half inch in thickness.  Bake until lightly brown, about 14 minutes.

Monster Cookies and Humble Pie

So, four score and seven years ago I promised you guys the recipe for Monster Cookies.  And then I totally failed to deliver.  Sorry!  I'll post the recipe right after I post this blog post, I swear!

I've been failing to deliver on le olde blog for a while now, and all I can say in my defense is that it's a side effect of my overall shift to less computer time and more real life time.  I'm such a slacker that I didn't even participate in the yearly blog meme in January about my word of the year.  (Last year it was balance.  This year it's present.)

Most of my computer time is spent on Facebook.  There's a lot of interaction there.  I like having virtual conversations.  Maybe even more than I like having real conversations, because I can just step away from the computer when people get on my nerves I have some important work to do.  I cherish my Facebook friends.  I'm a word girl, but I'm also a bit of an attention whore, so I'm drawn to the instant feedback on Facebook.  In summary, I believe that in a Facebook/Blog smackdown, Facebook would totally kick Blog's ass.

And speaking of ass-kicking, my current fibromyalgia flare is kicking mine.  It's been going on for 6 years weeks!  Enough already!  I've got an audition for Godspell in less than two weeks.  I can't be walking into the audition room like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

And this is a rock opera (whatever than means).  I'm assuming some dancing will be called for.  Not that I have any dancing skills to speak of, but my right thumb is affected by the fibro, so I can't even manage jazz hands right now!  Nature Boy is auditioning too, by the way.  We're all about the opportunity to do a musical together.  It doesn't happen very often.

Cripply and all, I still managed to throw my second swap last Sunday.  The first swap was about spice cake and swapping clothes and accessories.  Nine friends showed up.  It was a great time!  This time I asked my friends to bring a variety of stuff.  Household stuff.  Garden stuff.  Kid stuff.  Books.  Since the swap was on St. Paddy's Day, I had Celtic music in the background, green (vanilla) and yellow (lemon) cupcakes, and leprechaun turds (jelly beans).  Only one friend got pinched for not wearing green.  She pinched me back though, and then flashed me her green undies.  The same friends came to this swap as last time (minus two Ren Faire-in-training folks and one Cuban Homeskool Mafia slacker who didn't even RSVP...).  I donated all the left over stuff the next day.

Ahh.  Friends+cupcakes+decluttering=good times.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures!  Again.  But here's a poster I made for the old guess-how-many-are-in-this-jar-and-win-a-prize game.

[Editor's Note:  I totally misspelled the word "leprechaun".  Fock!]

Also, my mom purposely tore down the towel rack in the guest bathroom in a fit of rage because I didn't have her and Nature's Boy's favorite TP on hand (Charmin Sensitive).  Tree Guy repaired the wall, but my crazy fibro thumb made fixing the paint in there before the swap a no-go, so I also hung up this poster.

I have a slight hostess rant to inject here.  I invited 40-odd people to each of my two swaps via Facebook Events, and the vast majority didn't RSVP.  That's annoying, y'all.  I don't mind a "no" at all, but for the love of all that is proper and southern, at least respond to the invite!  Of course it's possible that these friends don't check their Facebook notifications, and I hear a few gave up Facebook for Lent, but I see my Facebook Event invite experience as a microcosm of society at large.  Of the disappearance of social graces in general.  (Not really, y'all.  Actually, I'm just bitter about people not responding to MY invites.  I don't really have a position on other people's invites.  :D )

What do you think?  Am I right to be planning a large-scale cupcake bombing of the no-RSVPing people's houses?  Or is it ridiculous to expect an RSVP to an e-vite in the first place?  21st century problems!

I bet you guys would totally come to a swap party at my house, wouldn't you?!

Whew.  And THAT, dear readers, is what the inside of a bipolar mind sounds like.  Similar to the ADD mind, but with more--feeling.



March 06, 2013

Hey 13. How YOU doin'?

Nature Boy just got back from a fabulous week-long vacation.  What a way to celebrate a milestone birthday!  First, he visited my uncle in New Orleans.  My uncle lives right on the French Quarter, so they were perfectly positioned for some N'awlins fun.

^^My Uncle Craig^^

Uncle Craig told me New Orleans would be a culture shock to Nature Boy, and I was all, "He'll be fine.  He used to take hip hop dance up on the north side of town."

But it totally was a culture shock.

The first thing that happened was a New Orleans looting of his checked baggage.  He was pissed!  I know this because he texted me in all caps with lots of exclamation points, "THEY STOLE MY STUFF!!!!!!"  

Welcome to New Orleans, buddy.

The next thing that happened was that their car was swamped by people wanting day labor.  We live in such a homogeneous suburban/rural area that my freaked out son immediately called me and said, "There are a bunch of Mexican guys surrounding our car!!!"  Like they were getting car jacked or something.

As it happens, my uncle did, in fact, need a day laborer, so it all worked out.  

The next bit of culture shock was all good though.  The FOOD, y'all.  He loved it all.  Except the beet gumbo.  But only because it was too spicy.  He also loved all of my uncle's tropical plants.  I call him Nature Boy for a reason!

^^Uncle Craig's tropical courtyard^^

(An aside:  My son excitedly brought home 3 or 4 of these plants.  "These are from Costa Rica!" he exclaimed.  Only thing is, we are in a different growing zone than New Orleans.  Those plants have to be indoor plants here, so Nature Boy brought them inside.  A couple days later, I discovered that they had a bunch of slugs on them!  Ahhhhh!  

See, I'm all about nature from a distance.  I have a rule that no pests are allowed in the house.  No roaches or mice or ticks or fleas or worms or lice.  I will turn into an OCD ninja if I even suspect an invasion.  So the plants are now in quarantine in the garage.)

The next couple days of his New Orleans trip were all about sightseeing.  They went to the awesome aquarium there, and a fascinatingly multicultural flea market where Nature Boy got yelled at by a Chinese guy for asking for a lower price on a jade carving and told by a Russian woman that he needs a haircut.  

Then they checked out a couple voodoo shops.  At first I was cool with it.  I was all, "Hey, it's part of the culture of the area.  He's learning.  It's social studies!"  But then other people around me were freaking me out by going, "You have to be careful around that stuff.  It's real."  

     ^^Place to avoid if you have OCD.  Or if your mom does.^^

Then they drove down to Houston to visit my cousin, who is a fishing guide in Galveston.  Tree Guy met them there and they all enjoyed a manly few days of fishing.

On the way back, my guys visited Tree Guy's parents and brother, Uncle Jake.

^^Wrestling action shot.^^

^^Tree Guy's mom.^^

Then, my guys were HOME!  Woohoo!!!!  It was time to get our birthday partyin' on!  And that we did.

^^Gettin' Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n' Fruity with it at IHOP with a pal.^^

^^Monster Cookie "Cake" and a fab new 'do, courtesy of Mom.^^

^^Tree Guy chomping on a slice of Monster Cookie.  It's his family's recipe.^^

^^LOVE these cute plates from Walmart.^^

Happy birthday, Nature Boy!  I love you!

P.S.  Stay tuned for the Monster Cookie recipe!

March 03, 2013

A long overdue update

I haven't been online much lately, y'all.  Still dealing with a sucky autoimmune/fibromyalgia flare, so I'm not as YAHOO! as usual.  More like, meh.

My super-awesome dog, Raven, has been taking it easy with me.  She's still Speedy Gonzales at 11.5 years old, but it seems that her last game of backyard tag with Tank resulted in a torn ACL for her.  Poor girl.  She was also diagnosed with arthritis in both hips, and with cataracts in both eyes.  She'd probably agree with Meemaw's oft-repeated lament:  "It's hell to get old."

Our vet recommended that we try 4-6 weeks of restricted movement and rest for her, with omega-3s and joint supplements and a couple weeks of Rimadyl to see if her leg will heal on its own.  We're 3 weeks in, and she is showing some improvement.  She's a lady o' leisure now, as you can see.

Oh, and Shrinky Dink found my first "official" grey hair.  Wasn't it, er, white of her to point it out?

In other--completely unrelated--news, I am now the mother of a TEENAGER!!!!!!!!

How do you feel about that?, you ask.  Well, a little bit like this:

TIME GOES BY TOO FAST, PEOPLE!  I absolutely can not imagine my kid driving in a few years.  And I definitely can't imagine allowing him to ride around in a car driven by one of my friends' hooligan kids!  He only has 5 more years of homeschooling until he graduates!  And then who will I be?  I "tease" my husband that I plan to deal with Empty Nest Syndrome by relying on pets.  Bring on the pets!!!!!  (He laughs, fearfully.)

I also feel like this:

I'm so happy that my son still hugs me and holds my hand.  That he says I understand him.  That instead of recoiling from my middle-aged momishness, he just explains to his friends, "My mom is crazy."

Whatever works, kid.

Yeah, but how do you feel about the Terrible Teens!?, you persist.

I'm happily in denial.  I figure, since I was a sweet, placid, rule-following teen myself, Nature Boy's teendom will go smoothly.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Stay tuned for a birthday-related bruhaha post coming up!