Monday, September 27, 2010

Train Tracks and Chocolate Chip Cookies

a photo taken from my train ride to Montreal this weekend
-- using my new iPhone 4 --
this photo reminds me that life moves forward,
and it may not be perfect, but there's beauty in it

I got some bad news this week.
I have to repeat my surgery since they didn't get all the thyroid tissue the first time.
For some as yet unknown reason, all the thyroid tissue wasn't removed.
There is still a large enough portion that they need to remove
before proceeding with the radiation treatment.
The good news is I can drive again and eat whatever I want.

After telling my girls about this next step, we all went out to balance on the train tracks.
My oldest said on the way that she's not usually unsure about things, but she was about this
...trespassing on active tracks and all...
but we had lots of laughs.
We did races,
choo choo trains,
tried to see how long we could balance.
It's a good memory.

So are all the warm wishes and inspiring quotes from friends
on Twitter and Facebook.
Thank you.

"The rose is fairest when it is budding new, and hope is brightest when it dawns from fears."
- Walter Scott @hornedfroggy

"Yesterday is History. Tomorrow is Mystery. Today is a Gift. That's why we call it the Present." @AMWATERS

"Life is tenacious; it is endowed with the power to heal. The decision to undertake this battle arises from within."
- Ikeda @michaelsdolce

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"
- Vincent van Gogh @cailinash

"Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it."
- Tori Amos @DragonsKitchen

"Not everything happens for a reason, but there is a reason for everything."

"One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star."
- Nietzsche (Lynda on iPhone)

"Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow."
- Teresa on Facebook

"Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down."
- Charles F. Kettering (Kelly from Facebook)

"If you're going through hell, keep going."
- Winston Churchill (Sandy and Melanie on Facebook)

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward."
- Soren Kierkegaard (an email from someone last week)

The sterotypical comfort food has always been cookies and milk; cookies fresh from the oven milk straight from the fridge. So goes the myth: you arrive home from school, heavy with the burden of strict teachers and challenging school situations and there is Mom, waiting for you with cookies and milk, and as you eat the cookies, you spill out the problems of the day, and the world begins to look brighter.
Apparently there was a time Before Chocolate Chip Cookies (BCCC), though it’s hard to imagine it.

That BCCC time was prior to 1933, which was the year Ruth Graves Wakefield, who owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusettes, was making chocolate cookies when she realized she had run out of regular baker’s chocolate. Not wanting to leave her customers wanting, she substituted broken pieces of semi-sweet chocolate from NestlĂ©, thinking that this chocolate would simply melt and mix into the batter as the baker’s chocolate had. However, to her surprise, the chocolate did not melt and what came out of the oven were the world’s first ever chocolate chip cookies. Her customers were delighted and asked for more. The love affair with CCC had begun. Wakefield sold the recipe to NestlĂ© in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate chips.

The cookies gained popularity during World War II when GIs from Massachusettes, who were stationed overseas, received care packages from home which included CC cookies. They shared these cookies with other GIs from various places around the country and before long Wakefield was inundated with letters from around the world asking for her recipe.

Today, 25% of all cookies baked in the United States are chocolate chip cookies. And out of all the CCC recipes I’ve tried, this one is definitely our favorite.

Recipe for Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies (aka Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies)

Makes 112 cookies (This recipe can be halved.)

2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
24 ounces chocolate chips
1 8 ounce Hershey bar, grated
3 cups chopped nuts (optional)

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar, and nuts. Bake on a greased baking sheet for 8 minutes at 375°F.

Can be frozen in plastic wrap, if desired, and then thawed and cut into rounds. Bake on a greased baking sheet for 8 minutes.

Tasting Notes
The proof of the pudding (or in this case, the cookies) is in the tasting. This is what two-thirds of my daughters have to say (Anna, my 11 year old, declined to comment since she doesn't like chocolate chip cookies!):

“I like chocolate chip cookies because
when mom takes them out of the oven
the chocolate chips are melted
and the cookie is soft and moist.
Also because they're sweet with chocolate
and well, they're cookies!” ~ Sarah (12 years old)

i like the choclity part
and its fun to eat them to
there really really REALLY good! ~ Jennifer (8 years old)
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    One of Ottawa's Real Foodies said...

    I thought about you today and your train trip and I also thought about Ralph Waldo Emerson. I am a huge fan. Of both of you. This quote of his seems appropriate considering what you did with your blog entry today. [The train part and the quotes part. ]

    “Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.”

    Jennifer said...

    I love the picture and your thoughts on the meaning behind the train moving forward. I'm sorry about surgery again, Shari. Best wishes sent your way! These cookies look great!

    Mardi Michels said...

    Thinking healing and calm thoughts for you Shari. You will get through this. You are strong. And we're all here to "listen" and support you {hugs}

    Chelsea said...

    It's inspiring to read how strong you are and to know that other people react in the face of adversity the same as I do- by baking :)

    Di said...

    Hang in there, Shari! I'm definitely sending positive thoughts your way. Thanks for sharing all the lovely quotes. Oh, and the cookies. =)

    lisa is cooking said...

    So sorry you have to repeat the surgery. Wishing you the best. Sounds like such a fun day, and I love how much you're enjoying moments like this one. Delicious-looking cookies too!

    Anonymous said...

    Good luck with your next surgery. It sounds disheartening to say the least but seems as if you're taking it all in stride. I haven't tried out this chocolate chip cookie recipe yet but I've seen quite fantastic reviews and will have to soon!

    Kayte said... know the rest in my heart, just hugs for all the outside stuff. You are strong, dear friend, you will be just fine...more than fine, you will be victorious! What is it that guys always say in cases like this: "Go out there and Kick Ass!!!" Love ya.

    Unknown said...

    Oh no. You'll get through that surgery amazingly too, and then you're on the road to recovery :)

    I love CCC, you're right, it's the ultimate comfort food. Really need to try that recipe out. Have had it bookmarked since forever.