Recipes—An Arsenal of Love

“Food is an implement of magic, and only the cold hearted rationalist could squeeze the juices of life out of it and make it bland.” -Thomas Moore

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Food is indeed an implement of magic. Except when it’s not and that can happen too. Fact is, whenever we cook for someone, including our children it’s an effort that comes from the heart. Whether it turns out perfect or not. (my meals hardly turn out perfect as you’ll see). Confession: I spend more time thinking about dessert than food in
general…so it won’t surprise you that one of my recipe arsenals is a cookie recipe, which I share with you at the end of this post.

We all have our favorite recipes and those recipes somehow become a part of us. Especially as we get older and start making recipes, typically our children’s favorites, right out of our head. Ya, we have our arsenal of special recipes we repeat time and again, evoking warm memories and seasonal events.

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I don’t know about you but it sure came in handy during my divorce. Maybe it was a dinner recipe or cookies, but whatever it was, it never ceased to comfort. The smell of chocolate chip cookies in the oven after school or upon your children’s arrival back to you, can send a very loving message.

Don’t underestimate your home spun, unique recipes either. Although, I won’t mention the time my kids complained about one of my ‘stand by’ recipes. Haha—it turned out to be a good lesson though. I’ll get back to that one in a bit.

One of my kids’ favorites was a crock pot recipe. I started making this particular dinner out of desperation, one Halloween. It so happened that Halloween fell on a Wednesday that year, the same day as the kids’ piano lessons (that teacher really was mean) and of course, the Halloween carnival…nuts? Yes. So, in the morning I threw together a delicious concoction of ingredients which included some Campbell’s soups (no this is not a sponsored post), red and green peppers, celery, chicken, potatoes and some generous seasonings. Anyway, dinner was ready the minute we walked in the door. This allowed for a healthy meal, getting into costumes and just in time for trick or treating.

Brilliant.

Ha.

So, every mom seems to have her specialty recipes.

Of course, there was the time(s) the kids complained about my cooking. The nerve. The gall. There are children starving in Africa, ya know. I lost my patience. When my daughter sighed deeply at my reply to her never ending question “What’s for dinner, mom?”, I looked blankly at her. Then my son chimed in, “Not again!!”

Ex-scuuu-zzzzze me? frankie heck

I was so mad I dropped what I was doing. Since I hadn’t even begun preparing dinner I told the kids they could do what they wanted with the chicken in the fridge and I stormed out of the kitchen. Here’s where the story takes an interesting twist.

I was in my room, lying on my bed enjoying the silence of my ‘time-out’ when a light rap, rap, rap on my door startled me. In came my son holding a glass of wine. “Here mom. Have a glass of wine, relax and whatever you do, DON’T COME DOWNSTAIRS. Stay out of the kitchen. We’re making you dinner and it’s a surprise.”

Me: speechless but managing a “Thank you.”

recipes-an arsenal of love

Half an hour later, rap,rap,rap on my door: “Mom, you can come down now.” He ran down the hall and I heard his footsteps tromp down the stairs. I was hoping there wasn’t a fire in the kitchen.

When I returned to the kitchen, I saw my daughter at the stove preparing quesadillas, bless her heart.  My son was in charge of chopping and ‘helping’. They really pulled through and the meal was tasty.

It was a good lesson for the kids and they really stepped up to the plate.

Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of food in your home. During divorce or any difficult time, your arsenal of recipes can really come in handy. It can provide comfort and familiarity for your children. Even if you’ve had to move to a smaller home, the kitchen might change but the food served in it stays the same. It’s the one constant during an ever changing time. That’s why food is the glue that holds together a broken family. Well, let me rephrase that. I don’t like the term ‘broken family’.  Food is the glue that helps mold and re-shape a new family structure.

Take the casserole, for example, it’s synonymous with comfort. It’s a gesture of love.

Comforting, warm, melty, spicy, zesty, gooey, sweet, chocolatey…Mmmm, what’s cooking in your kitchen?

Here’s my cookie recipe that has never failed to please.

Fod an arsenal of love
these are not my cookies. I don’t take pictures of my food so I borrowed this from allrecipes.com
Lisa’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (this is the secret ingredient)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
Cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Blend into creamed mixture. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Using one tablespoon of dough for each cookie, drop onto lightly greased baking sheets, leaving about two inches between cookies. Flatten each cookie with a fork.
Bake at 350 degree oven for 9 minutes. Cool on sheet for two minutes, then remove and cool fully on racks.
*I use good quality, non stick cookie sheets which makes a big difference in the baking results

What’s in your recipe arsenal? Are you implementing some magic?

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34 Replies to “Recipes—An Arsenal of Love”

  1. It’s funny but during my “divorce” years, I actually think my cooking faltered. It was such a dark time in my life. There was a lot going on with the kids’ activities and so I wasn’t exactly whipping up gourmet meals. The one thing I do remember that the kids loved was chicken tenderloins that were breaded with chopped pecans and bread crumbs. It sounds weird and was a Rachel Ray recipe–I am no fan of hers either, but this recipe turned out great. This post was great “food” for thought!

    1. Hi Catherine, I think that’s normal to have cooking take a back seat during the stress of divorce. As you mention you had one recipe that your kids liked (which sounds yummy by the way) and I guess that’s exactly what I’m getting at. We don’t have to be gourmet, but one or two simple recipes our kids like that we can whip up is VERY handy in times of change. You don’t like Rachel Ray?

  2. Aww, what a sweet story! Your kids really rallied, and bonus that it tasted good. Quesadillas are a favorite around here. The cookies look good! I like chocolate chips 1,000 times more than raisins.

    1. 🙂 Delivering a glass of wine to me was the funniest. My son will make a good husband one day although I must give my daughter credit as it was probably her idea. My kids learned not to complain about my cooking and I learned they were very capable in the kitchen—plus they have compassion. That story although happened several years ago still makes me smile. I take chocolate chip over raisin ALWAYS—lol.

  3. ***The smell of chocolate chip cookies in the oven after school or upon your children’s arrival back to you, can send a very loving message****

    Lisa, O’, Yessssssssssssssssssssss!

    I’m making your cookies this week! They look fab. Thank you! xxx

  4. That cookie recipe sounds so good. I am bookmarking this page so I can bake those some time. YUM!

    Cooking can be a form of therapy. I like to bake and try to invent new vegetarian pastas. I enjoy the creativity behind it and the sense that I MADE something, which I will soon devour. LOL

    I remember when my family had dinners together at the table. Then we all went our separate ways eating wherever we wanted. I missed eating at the table as a family. That’s one thing I’m going to make sure I do with my kids.

    1. Yes, I find it therapeutic as well. Once you’re in the kitchen and have faced the fact that you are indeed making dinner tonight (as opposed to being taken out—lol), the chopping and prepping is therapeutic. Aw, that’s sad that your family fell out of the habit of sitting down to a meal. It’s so important especially when there is a divorce. I tried to maintain that tradition. Of course, the sports and activities sometimes got in the way of it.

  5. I’m waiting for that day when my kids can make me dinner. Definitely not my favorite thing to do. I really wish there was a machine for that. 😉

    Those cookies look amazing.

  6. Hi Lisa,

    What an aromatic, lip-licking post! I love the way your son calmed your nerves with a glass of wine and even cooked dinner. I have no memories of my girls cooking for me as we always had a domestic help when they were growing up.

    The chocolate cake I baked was a great favorite with everybody and you won’t believe how it vanished within minutes when all the cousins were around, celebrating holidays during summer!
    Thanks for sharing this cookies recipe, seems like it should be tried 🙂

    1. Haha, yes he’ll make a fine husband one day. Ooh, domestic help sounds like the right way to do things. Your chocolate cake sounds yummy. that’s one of my favorite desserts but I haven’t made one in quite a while.

  7. One of the worst parts (in jest) about my divorce was losing my great cook! We married young, and I never really developed my cooking know-how. It doesn’t mean I couldn’t follow recipes, etc. but he just had that magic food touch. He would cook, I would clean. I ate like a queen for years. So when he flew the coop I had to buckle down and get serious about learning to make the things I was used to eating. It still hits my ears strangely when I’m complimented on my cooking.

    1. That’s quite a transition to make, Jeri. I’m sure you’ve surprised yourself at your skill in the kitchen. Did you get some recipes from him in the divorce 🙂

  8. Jerk chicken with rice, chicken soup, and a baked pasta casserole were my go-to’s that the kids loved when I had first separated. Now they’re older (17 and 20) and don’t seem to be home as much for dinners anymore, but my boyfriend and I love cooking together. I definitely got a keeper this time!

    Thanks for the memories Lisa. We all had/have our moments where we need something that is still our touchstone when we’re going through a separation and divorce. Cooking was definitely my therapy too.

    1. Your recipes sounds delicious, Michelle. That’s nice you and your Beau like to cook together. That’s quality time for two in the kitchen 🙂

  9. Isn’t it wonderful what a warm baked cookie can do? Anything baked – just need to find someone to clean up the damage in the damn kitchen.
    That recipe sounds amazing.

    1. Can’t beat homemade cookies,fresh out of the oven. The smell….yum. Ya, super messy especially when the kids want to ‘help’.

  10. This is awesome Lisa. I love when you said “Even if you’ve had to move to a smaller home, the kitchen might change but the food served in it stays the same. It’s the one constant during an ever changing time” – that is so true.

    I love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies – I’m definitely going to try this recipe – thanks for sharing it!

    I like to cook foods my grandmother taught me – like homemade flour tortillas. I also make chocolate chip cookies but it’s from the cookie log, I hope that counts, hehe.

    Hope you’re having a great week hun!

    Cori

    1. I hope you enjoy the cookies! Homemade tortillas sound awesome, Corina. And yes, a recipe from the bag counts 🙂

  11. I love that you used Campbell’s soup that Wednesday for Halloween dinner I love the canned soups and they always make a hearty meal. There is something amazing about coming home and tucking in to familiar food. It doesn’t even have to taste delicious. Sometimes it is the company or setting that makes a meal so much more tastier, enjoyable and entertaining 🙂

    Love how you used butter in your chocolate chip cookies. I like butter a lot 😉 I like cooking pasta – boiling it, throwing it in a pan and adding a whole bunch of vegetables. Quick and easy, non-greasy and healthy. That is usually my dinner on weekdays when I get home from work 🙂

    1. That good old Campbell’s soup is great in a pinch 🙂 Plus it’s kind of comfort food. It’s the company and setting indeed that make a meal. Your pasta sounds great, Mabel. Pasta is a great dish to experiment with.

  12. I’d love to try the recipe Lisa. Thank you for sharing it. Cooking for ourselves is a way to say “i’ll take good care of you”. We need it.
    To be true cooking is something I enjoy a lot now; years after the mariage and separation. It was a big source of stress when I was with my ex. It took me some time to walk into the kitchen with happy feelings.
    The recipe I love these days is Hummus…With some homemade bread.
    Have a lovely summer.

    1. Ah, did your ex complain about your cooking? That will certainly blow your confidence. I LOVE hummus. I could eat a whole container in one sitting Ha. Have a good one, Marie. Enjoy!

  13. As an Italian we love spending time in the kitchen and it often turns into a family event. To me these moments are priceless and make the meal taste that much better..as memories attach to them.
    Your kids rock..love the have some wine from your daughter 🙂

  14. Cookies! Cookies! Although I want to know why, these days, my husband can eat all the cookies he wants, and not put on weight and me?

    But YES. Kids take their family recipes with them wherever they go. Proud of your kids! Cheers—

    1. Hi Julia, ya, that isn’t fair. Why can they eat cookies and not put on a pound? Furthermore, when they want to lose weight they lose it really fast. SIGH.

  15. Thank you so much for this, Lisa. I totally want to try your cookies–they sound delicious and who doesn’t love chocolate chip and oatmeal together? Mmmm…

    Also the story of your son bringing you wine and then your children making quesadillas… hit me in the feels. I dunno why but I’m emotional about it 🙂 It’s incredibly sweet and it was such a sweet gesture on their part <3

    Hope you are having a lovely week, my sweet friend.

    1. Those cookies are melt in your mouth goodness. You’ll LOVE! Aw, I know. I love that story so much. It’s a great memory. Although I was frustrated no end, they really pulled through. They were only about 13 and 15 too. Now they’re 21 and 23…time flies. Have a great week, Charlotte!

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