The Texture Of Things

The Incredible, Edible Oatmeal Scotchie

January 31st, 2007

As promised, here are the steps to making Oatmeal Scotchies:

1. Purchase Nestle Tollhouse Butterscotch Morsels. Turn bag over.

No, I’m not kidding.

2. Complete recipe as written on package.
3. Profit.Eat cookies.

For those of you who are simply interested in the recipe and don’t plan on purchasing the bag just to see what they were like, I will now copy the recipe here, with some adjustments to indicate how I have done them. I will leave the post up until Nestle threatens to sue me for copyright infringement or something.

1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Cup (2 sticks) room temperature butter (or margarine)
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar (dark or light works)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or grated peel of one orange)
3 Cups old-fashioned, one-minute oats
1 2/3 Cups (11 oz) Nestle Toll House Butterscotch Morsels

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

**I have had the best luck if I beat the flour mixture a bit; otherwise, the cookies tend to spread in the oven. I think that’s the butterscotch’s fault. I’ve also had good results when I use parchment paper. When I made the cookies for KLee, I did both, and they turned out beautifully.**

The bags says, “Bake for 7-8 minutes for chewy cookies, 9-10 minutes for crisp cookies.” I’m pretty sure that is a load of crap. At 8 minutes in, these cookies are still raw in the center. Plan on at least 9 minutes.

Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookies (unless you make them big, like I do).

Eat them.

Hey, I just noticed there’s a bar-cookie version on this recipe. Given the propensity of these cookies to spread during baking, I might try this method next time. Huh, how about that.

Pan Cookie Variation: Grease 15×10″ jelly-roll pan. Spread dough into prepared pan. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 4 dozen bars. (We’ll see about that.)

For Anyone Still Wondering, Plus Random Stuff

January 31st, 2007

No, I have not received a WHOYCBE gift yet. Believe me, I will post something in way of celebration when it does arrive. Trust me.

And now, random stuff…
I occasionally sell stuff on e*B*a*y. I have 100% positive feedback score of 99, and I am proud and defensive about it. I’ve been selling stuff lately and I just had my first buyer not pay and not cooperate, so I left him bad feedback, also a first for me. I swear to god, I am downright twitchy about my feedback rating making it to 100 before I get a neutral or negative that I’m checking my stupid “my e*B*a*y” page about 400 times a day, waiting to see if a positive will come through before that loser dude realizes I gave him a negative and retaliates.

Sometimes I really hate people. But I like getting money for stuff I’d otherwise cast off, so I keep doing it. Sporadically.

This post is not spell checked. Normally I write posts in my word processor and paste it over, but it’s early morning and I’m feeling cavalier about everything. The tot is blissfully sleeping the next room over, and I got a full night’s sleep and have had two cups of coffee. The World Is Mine!

Last, I promise that cookie recipe that KLee loved from her WHOYCBE gift. I also promise that you’re all going to be disappointed, because it’s neither hard nor original. Tasty, though, yes.

Crickets…

January 22nd, 2007

Can you hear them chirping? Well, okay, it’s January and it’s frozen solid in my part of the country, but if it were warm, you’d totally be able to hear them chirping on my front porch. You know. The place I’m watching, hoping for a WHOYCBE package to arrive.

It’s not here yet, and while before I figured it was a delay on the delivery side of things, I’m beginning to worry something went wrong.

I’ll keep watching and I’ll post a celebration when it arrives. Meanwhile, I’m working on a follow up to the downed tree from last week, with pics.

Making a Gift

January 19th, 2007

This entry is a total scroll-a-thon. No, I’m not sorry. You should see how much I edited out.

It began with an email from Andrea at a garden of nna mmoy, in which she revealed that my WHOYCBE Spoilee was KLee of Reluctant Prophet. I had not read KLee’s blog before, but I quickly hopped over to read the questionnaire. I learned a lot. And then, I still had no idea what I was going to do for her.

See, Andrea is crafty and most of the people whose comments I’ve read on her craft entries are crafty, and those names looked to me an awful lot like the list of Spoilee names. To top it off KLee is crafty and I am, well, I am not. I can bake. That’s about it.

I dedicated myself to reading all of the Reluctant Prophet archives and scouring the blog for details. Some themes emerged: a love of holidays (particularly Christmas), reading, crafting (many varieties of), penguins, and baking; a love of teaching, her family (of course), and the color royal blue.

The holidays are a busy time of year, what with the end of my semester and the steep increase in work at my mom’s store, so I often find myself stretched thin come the middle of December with grading and helping out at the shop. Fortunately, I do my best thinking while immersed in white noise, like road noise or, say, the noise of the sewing machines at my mom’s embroidery shop. EMBROIDERY SHOP?! OMG, I could SEW her something! Genius!

Oh, I could totally make her a scarf or a sweater – no wait, I don’t know her size – so, a scarf or a blanket or something with snowflakes on it, and it would be toasty and snuggly and…

Crap. She lives in the south. /sigh.

Start over.

What could I sew? I went snooping around in the archives, looking for posts about baking, to see if she really is a cooker/baker, and I found a post from Thanksgiving weekend, in which she describes the process of decorating for Christmas. Ah, I know. I could sew some Christmas towels. I wouldn’t have to know what color her kitchen is because with a Christmas or snowy picture on it, it would hopefully fall outside the ironclad color coordination rules of home decorating because it would fall under the easy-going, festive rules of holiday decorating. Meh. It was what I had to go on.

The quest for towels began.

I personally own lots of off-white kitchen towels, and I hate how they always show everything and I don’t care to bleach things if I don’t have to, so white and cream were out. Besides, if I picked a darkly colored towel, something like snowflakes would show up. But what color?

Oh. Of course. Royal blue.

Do you know how freaking hard it is to find royal blue anything? Let alone towels? I can’t even remember how many stores I looked at before I found some beautiful bright royal kitchen towels at Meijer.

Along the journey to find them, I also decided that the gift should have some kind of unifying theme. I chose penguins, ergo when I found the towels, I sewed penguins on them.

Here are some shots of the towels coming together. Pardon the quality of the in-process ones, taken with my econo-camera phone.


the machine.


penguin, 70% sewn. the plastic stuff is water-soluble and keeps the towel loops from sticking through the embroidery.


penguin, nearly done. i’d like to say i purposefully chose a dark pewter thread for the penguin in order to make it look more like a fuzzy, juvenile penguin, but really, i didn’t realize when the book called for “charcoal”, it meant “nearly black.” sheesh.


penguin, still in the hoop, but finished, with plastic peeled.

With the towels done, I turned my attention to gathering the other gifts (to be shown a bit later) and then to making the cookies. But there was a little problem of the $25 limit. By the time I got to making the cookies, I had hit the limit, which meant the cookies had to be made from ingredients existing in my cupboard. Because I had depleted my stores making holiday cookies before Christmas, only one cookie could emerge from my pantry: Oatmeal Scotchies.

As with nearly all cookie baking projects in this house, the Oatmeal Scotchie Event began with me making Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies. This is a proactive attempt at keeping Husband Guy happy and/or off my case, for God’s sake I’m making cookies here, will you quit bitching that there’s no chocolate in what I’m making? Please. Now, stand back already.


no-bakes in the background. not pictured, cinnamon and baking soda.

Then it occurred to me that it was Saturday afternoon. Saturday, December 30th, to be exact, and the post office was closed for the day, and for Sunday and Monday for the New Year. And, crap. Tuesday, too, for President Ford (may he rest in peace). So the cookies that I made were going to sit around until Wednesday for me to mail them.

I was already kind of disappointed in them. They spread a lot and a number of them caramelized (read: burnt) on the edges and were probably thereby rendered unsendable. I decided to eat a couple in order to boost my blood sugar while I pondered what to do. Ultimately, I didn’t make any decision about the cookies until Tuesday, as I wrapped up the gifts.

The towels:


if you look closely, you’ll see it says “Seasons Greetings” in the ice

I also chose a penguin pin for its whimsy and royal blue sled. I just hope KLee is a pin person. It didn’t occur to me until after I sent the gift that she works with small children who might use it as a weapon. I hope they don’t.

Because I’ve done my time at English teacher conferences, I always have a pile of goodies lying around, suitable for teachers, so I decided to share. Attention: This cost me no money. I am openly acknowledging these things were already in my possession, thus they are are regift.* I chose the sticky notepad because of a post from last year (can’t find it now) wherein KLee was distressed at the loss of all of her post-it pads after a spill on her desk. I added the cd because it is of children’s poems being read. I included the radish seeds because growing stuff with wee tots like those in her classroom is fun and cool. I selected a bookmark that reads “Those who can do. Those who do it better teach” because it’s totally true. Dammit.

The truly risky inclusion in this gift pack are the stamps I found. I ‘m not really sure if KLee does stamping regularly, but I think it’s at least something she enjoys after seeing the picture of the candles she made for people this past Christmas.


very solid, hefty stamps. i was happy to find them, especially mr. penguin in his wee little hat.

Ah, a pile of gifts…

two stamps, two towels, a pin, a pile of teacher stuff.

Then it was time to package up the Scotchies.

“Crap. Is that a tall one keeping the lid from sealing? (sigh.) It is. Okay, fine, I’ll eat it.”

“Ugh. It’s chewy already. It’ll never keep until the 10th. Drat.” Start over.

yes, my counter is clean. not pictured, self-restraint in buying alcohol.

The upshot is that KLee ended up with a LOT more cookies. And since I beat the flour a little longer and used parchment paper, they didn’t spread or burn. Very tasty.

this is a gallon-size ziptop bag.


ah, the power of cookies…

So, come Wednesday morning, I packaged the whole caboodle up and sent it to the south, with love.

may it reach you safely, KLee. may you enjoy it all and may the cookies still taste good.

*KLee, I do hope you’re not offended by the inclusion of this stuff. It’s absolutely fine with me if you regift items. Honestly. Except the cookies. Unless they’re gross.

WHOYCBE Gift Watch Continues… w/ Update

January 18th, 2007

Update: No gift Friday either, although there was an exciting moment when I saw a box on my porch and thought it was mine. It was HG’s. Um, who gave him permission to order stuff while I’m waiting on this gift?

No gift today. Also, no update from my giftee. I have my post all ready to put up and it’s burning a hole in my word processor.

Geez, I hope she liked it. I really really do.

WHOYCBE Gift Update – Updated

January 17th, 2007

Update: no gift yet. Maybe tomorrow. Will post immediately on its arrival.

I’m sitting at my computer doing class prep this morning. I just watched the postal dude (the good one – not the sub who usually screws things up) drive up, deliver mail to the box, and drive on. No package, I think.

I’m going to give him a few more minutes to drive through the sub to see if he comes back with a box. I’ll update after some lunch. (mmmm, bachelorette chow….)

And a Happy New Beer!

January 2nd, 2007

Between the Holiday Gauntlet (doing my and my mother’s Christmas shopping, attending 3 gift-exchanging gatherings, preparing for and taking one trip to Chicago, surviving New Years), being sick, getting ready for the new semester, and working with HG on basement purging/organizing, the blog has taken a backseat. It’s okay. I’m logging tons of stupid junk to write about, including texture therapy updates and my theory on why the tot is deciding to stop her practice of napping now, when I really need to get something done. My post on the WHOYCBE gift is also coming together. The pictures are done, but the text isn’t yet finished.

Merry Chrishmish!

December 25th, 2006

Wherever you are, whatever holiday you might celebrate, I hope today is peaceful and bright.

Merry Christmas! And a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Nine Random Weird Things About Me

December 5th, 2006

1. I absolutely hate loose or baggy socks on my feet, so HG’s favorite way to keep me from walking away from him (during the winter – I rarely wear socks in summer) is to stand close to me and pin down one of my socks with his toes. No matter how badly I want to get away (you know, smooches and whatnot) I will resist making my own sock loose or stretched out. (This game usually ends in me pulling off both socks and hurling them down the hallway in a snit over ruined socks and HG laughing until he’s got tears in his eyes.)

2. I love cookie dough more than I like cookies.

3. I must count the number of steps in a staircase when I’m going down them. Not up, though. Just down.

4. I am happy to argue, debate, explain grammar, punctuation, and mechanics rules over a meal, out to coffee, while driving to the mall, just about anywhere.

5. I almost always have earrings in, usually small hoops. If I don’t, the holes in my lobes will grow closed even though I got them pierced when I was 6. I know other people whose holes stay open for years, so I don’t know why this is the case for me. It happened when I had my nose pierced, too. The few times I changed the jewelry out myself, I ended up back at the piercing shop because the hole closed up in only a couple of minutes.

6. I can pick up just about anything with my feet and toes. I’m so good that I can often do it even while wearing socks.

7. I refuse to let my cereal bowl out of my sight once the cereal is poured. If I think anything will interrupt me, I will delay pouring the cereal into the bowl until I can commit myself to pouring the milk on and then immediately eating it. The reason for this is an unhappy experience from my early childhood, when I left my Froot Loops unattended for a moment next to the television some Saturday morning. When I returned to it and my cartoons and began eating again, I found a spider riding a Loop. Scared the bejeezus out of me. What scared me more was that I had eaten several bites before spotting her.

8. I went almost three decades before eating Froot Loops again.

9. I used to peek through my calendars to see the pictures for coming months. Two years ago I made a resolution to try not to peek, and I’m proud to say that I have not peeked ahead in a calendar for two years. One weird thing is that it’s really hard to resist. Another weird thing is that I persist at it.

Saw this meme on Rocks in My Dryer and tagged myself. Feel free to consider yourself tagged.

Revisiting the WHOYCBE Questionnaire

November 29th, 2006

To the person who got stuck with my name in this drawing: Hey. How are you. If you’re doing what I’ve done at my Spoilee’s blog, you have read through the archive but are not commenting. That’s hard to do, I’m finding. And you – you’re stuck with blog entries only since there’s no conversation going on in the comments, so there’s really a limit to how much you can learn about me. Um, yeah. Sorry about that. That’s kind of the downside of a private weblog, I suppose. No audience. To alleviate my guilt about that, I have updated and amended a large chunk of the WHOYCBE Questionnaire.

My invention
I would still invent the Time-Freezer Machine, but instead of using it for petty, selfish reasons like showering in peace, I’d use it to hold the tot still while I administer fever-reducing meds. I’d dose her and then tilt her back while rubbing her throat to get the meds down. Then I’d rinse her mouth and unfreeze her. She’d never be the wiser that she’s been given medicine and I wouldn’t have to clean up medicine-anxiety-sensitive-gag-reflex-and-taste-buds vomit.

My unlike-me purchase is still clothes-related, but more specifically it’s cute, cheap shoes. My feet have been a mess since I was pregnant, and being overweight is hard on my back, so the truth is I will sacrifice fashion for quality shoes. And I’m not afraid of spending money on them.

My overprotective nature is still hard to rile, but please don’t pick up my cats or my beverage. Once someone else (other than husband – but only because he’s proven he’s trustworthy, mostly) has drunk from my beverage, I’m done with it. Period. End of story. And I hate it when people take food from my plate or hand without asking. Please ask. I will gladly share if you ask first.

As I’ve been trying to secure a holiday dress for the tot, I’ve come to realize that on the whole I prefer darker colors and muted tones. Burgundy or cranberry over red, for instance. Pastels are generally out, but I do often find myself in pink because I’m told I look good in it. Jewel tones are okay. Pretty much any form of blue or green is good, though. The most important thing, though, is that the colors look good together.

Gaggable offenses need to be amended to include all instances of Barney, K-Fed, bad lip-synching or overdubbing (kung fu movies not included), and daytime soap operas.

Phobias include baby dolls that look eerily lifelike.

Willies-inducers should include speaking in public (for some reason teaching doesn’t count) and seeing doctors and dentists.

Textures that are happily approved in this house are generally soft and fuzzy. At Kohls the other day, I discovered a micro-fleece blanket that felt exactly how I hope the clouds in heaven will feel like. Smooth is also good, but when you live in or around the Great Lakes, winter lasts a long time and requires much snuggling in with warm beverages. (Also, my cat sees fleece as his long lost mother and it’s a quick way to get him into my lap for a snooze.)

Apparently, no one should have to watch me eat chocolate chip cookie dough either because it seems I can’t quit once I get started. Of course, I am PMSing right now, so how I can be blamed for eating the last of the break-and-bake cookie dough, I don’t know.

It turns out that although I am a grown up and no longer have to eat things like black olives or almonds, I might actually like them more than I thought. The other day I ate a burrito (mmm, burritos) with black olives and it was nice. I’m still not eating seafood, though.

On the olfactory front, Glade is my new hero. I’ve always liked their holiday apple-cinnamon candle (not the one available all year long – that one is too much apple, not enough spice) and now I found a new smell I like in their scented oil holder. It’s called Glistening Snow, and it smells like a spicy pine tree. Bayberry maybe? I’m not sure, but it smells like Christmas to me and it makes me happy. Also, kudos to Glade on the scented oil thing. Once the pregnancy forgetfulness struck me back in 2004, it never left. I used to love to burn candles, but I don’t think I can be trusted with them anymore. The Glade thing will burn itself out and the holder remains cool. Cool.

Like everyone else, I like holiday music, but not until after Turkey Day. Please. I also like tortilla chips with salsa and a cold beer in the summertime.

Like no one else I know, I prefer mittens to gloves in the wintertime, and my favorite lunch IN THE WORLD is creamy peanut butter and strawberry or raspberry jam on fresh wheat bread with a side of incredibly fresh white corn tortilla chips. I don’t really like potato chips, but I do like the crunch, so I substitute tortilla. HG says I’m weird but I don’t see what’s so odd.

Seriously, what’s so odd about that?

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