I used to be what I considered a “Crisco Mom” which, to me, meant that I was also a pretty “Heavy Mom”. That also translates to “Seriously High Cholesterol Mom”. It was easy to cook with it and the kids seemed to love my fried chicken and one day I had my cholesterol checked (and stood on a scale) and finally said, “Enough”. So I switched to extra virgin olive oil, lean meats, and cut out a ton of carbohydrates in my life and voila! I got healthier. Baking, however, is another matter entirely. I’m never giving up my baking.
There’s just something about baking. First, doing that with kids means that everyone gravitates toward the kitchen area and spends more time with me. Second, it means that their friends come over more often because they know I always have something to munch on in the cookie jar. That, of course, leads to empty cookie jars which leads to much more baking on my part.
The only downside to this is that my busy schedule doesn’t always allow for baking. Many of my nights are eaten up with basketball games and volleyball games and choir concerts for my students. Sure, it’s a mandatory part of the job but it’s a part that I truly enjoy because I get to see my students in a different light. They are thrilled when they see me show up (and they don’t ever realize that I have to be there, but I don’t spoil the fun!). On occasion, I show up with goodies and a few of them have begun to recognize my Goody Bag and coyly ask, “Do you have anything good in there?”
Last weekend, I baked a ton of items with all three kids and none of us want to keep it in the house. When Mallory left to go back to her house I tried getting her to take several bags of them but she refused. After all, it’s the holidays and she naturally has a ton of goodies there already. Any time I’ve asked the boys if they want to take some back to their dad’s house they tell me there’s stuff there already and they know I won’t eat them all so there’s yummy treats at my house quite often. That leaves me to take them with me to school and drop them off in the teacher’s lounge.
Mason helped me make the Cheesecake Swirl brownies but we followed the recipe on the box that had us add chocolate chips and almonds to them. We made them in cupcake tins and it was a super easy variation of the original recipe. For the most part, I don’t follow the “extra” steps on a box mix but this was probably more fun because I had help. It’s just the brownie mix, a dollop of the cheesecake mix from the box, and then a sprinkling of chips and almonds. The good news is that they’re ridiculously delicious. Perhaps that’s the bad news, too. Oh, and you can shove an entire one in your mouth at once. Try it! You won’t regret it.
Look. Teacher’s love treats. This week already I’ve taken in brownies and a loaf of bread for one of the teachers who brought me deer meat from his hunting weekend. Every day there are new treats in the lounge from grateful families who want to share. Look. I am going to have to start working out even more if I aim to keep off the pounds I’ve just lost.
Which brings me back to having hungry kids at home. Somehow, my boys keep growing and the youngest has cleared SIX FEET THREE INCHES. (The only good part about this is that they make me feel petite and tiny standing next to them and that isn’t true about me at all.) My family is close and my kids couldn’t be any more close to me emotionally. Every one of them seems to find a reason to stop by, sit down at the kitchen table, and share a cookie or two while we chat. Every one of them makes time in their busy lives to see to it that we don’t grow apart so they can ask my opinion or share their lives with me. Every one of them is pretty darn cool and special. That comes from a lot of hard work and patience and love and laughter.
The cookies? Well, they help a whole lot, too.