Friday, September 25, 2009

Super Yummy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (that are healthy, too!)

Ok, I've been going on and on about this recipe I found online for a healthy oatmeal raisin cookie... so here it is!
It is so chewy and yummy, you'd never guess its low-fat. I made a few variations to the original recipe, so I'm sure that changed the nutrition facts, but the original recipe (that calls for no cinnamon or cloves and uses regular flour, unsalted butter and light brown sugar) says it has a serving size of 2 cookies (rounded teaspoonfuls size) with 2g protein, 94 calories, 1g fiber, 2 g total fat and 10g sugar (hey, its a cookie - and some of that comes from the raisins)

When I think of the breakfast cereal that we would consume in this house, back when I bought it, even that is not as nutritious as these (which is why I've let my kids have a couple for breakfast once and a while, and even occasionally refer to them as breakfast cookies)

Applesauce Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
originally from www.foodfit.com, but I've made some changes:

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter (used salted)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar(used dark)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
just under 1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
(cooking spray)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 375°. Spray 2 cookie sheets generously with non-stick spray. (even with this I needed a sharp spatula to get these off).  I don't use non-stick pans, but they might do a better job.

2. In electric mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugars together for about a minute, until smooth.

3. In separate bowl (while mixer is creaming) combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. In mixer, when butter/sugar is done creaming, add in applesauce, egg and vanilla and mix until blended, about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and the cinnamon and ground cloves and mix well. Add the oats and raisins, mixing by hand, if needed.

5. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls (I used a disher that makes a ball about the size of one of those large gumball machine gumballs, or about 1 Tablespoon). Space about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake until slightly golden, about 11 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes on cookie sheet and then remove to baking racks.
--I'm trying out freezing the dough balls and will let you know how they do-- Update: not bad!  They are still a bit gooey to handle even when frozen, though.

--oh my gosh, if you wanted to totally make these bad for you they would be so good sandwiching a glob of cream cheese frosting!--

--if you only have regular cooking oats, you might want to let the dough sit in the fridge for a few hours and then try it. The first time I made these all I had was the regular rolled oats and the oats didn't absorb really any moisture so the texture was a bit off, but the flavor was the same. --

These are so very soft and chewy - and they stay that way for a few days in a ziploc bag. You can't even taste the applesauce in them. I made home made applesauce a week or so ago and used that - so yummy! I actually made a double batch of these today.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

No-cost fun!


My little DD3 was feeling left out today when her big sister got home from school today. DD3 doesn't start preschool until next week and told me she wants to go to her big sister's school (which also offers preschool) instead. So to help her think of all the fun she will have at her preschool, I copied a low/no cost game they had there...

I call them "I Spy Things" (real creative, I know!)

What you need:

Clear water bottle/soda bottle (I have 2 milk bottles from Burger King)
dry, non-perishable food, like rice (others that MAY work might be plain popcorn, or craft sand or maybe beads - I think dried beans might get corroded by sharp objects in the bottle)
Lots of knick-knacks that won't melt, rot or deteriorate

I kept my girls' bottles virtually identical because I didn't want them claiming one. I know that wouldn't stop the older one ("My alphabet bead has a "B" on it - not an "H"!! This is YOUR bottle!" so I had to make it clear that they aren't to be claimed. *sigh* kids.

Anyway, with two bottles, they can play I Spy with them. If you just had one made, you could write down or take pictures of each item and list them or cut them into cards. It depends how you want to use them. Mine will be (tightly sealed) in the car.

The preschool ones had Monopoly pieces and tiny animal figurines, quarters, etc. I'm too cheap for that - I used pennies :) Once I got going on our bottles, I was getting really inspired.

Types of I Spy bottles:
  • You could go with a theme (like office supplies for a fun stress-reliever for a co-worker) or legos and Knex for a little builder.
  • You also could spend a day or two looking for treasures on a walk around downtown or on a trip to make a fun keepsake or something.
  • Another idea, for a harder game for tweens and teens would be to put one of each letter of alphabet beads in the bottle and they could hunt out the letters to spell a word.
The more rice and the smaller the pieces (or similar color to the rice), the harder it is to find "new" pieces in the bottles.

Ours had about 20 items in that little 1 cup bottle such as:
  • Buttons (one each of 2 colors)
  • paper clip
  • a stick pin
  • popcorn kernel
  • small lego
  • piece of ribbon
  • sparkly bead
  • alphabet bead
  • craft eyes
  • penny
  • matchbox car wheels
  • small silk ribbon flowers
  • some scrapbooking charms
Some other ideas: Marbles, stray game pieces or toy parts (like that Polly Pocket's leg that has been floating around the house? lol), pop-tabs, pen cap, screw/nail, fishing lures, pebbles (pick a few colors!), acorns, etc. ..Don't forget the buttons that come on your clothing tags or a old shirt!

I tried to keep my objects identifiable to the kids to lessen the "need" to ask Mom a question while she is trying to drive.

If you make one of these I would LOVE to see a picture! I almost wish I hadn't made them with the kids because they would have made great stocking stuffers. But now I can make a set for my nieces and nephews for Christmas.

If you haven't been to Crafts Direct in St. Cloud, MN - you're missing out! They are hosing this scrapbooking/papercrafting weekend this weekend! I'm going to this with my SIL Sarah. I am SO looking forward to it! They said there are still a few spots available! Does anyone want to join us? --click the picture
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