My experience in the kitchen started at a young age. I remember trailing after my Grandma when she was in the kitchen and “helping” lick whipping cream off the detachable beaters. On nights when I wasn’t doing homework, I would watch my Mom prepare supper and reluctantly set the table (my least favourite chore). I made chocolate chip cookies so often that I had the recipe from The Purity Cookbook memorized before I reached a double-digit age. But my real training in the kitchen didn’t occur until I was 11 years old and my Mom was pregnant with my sister.
For the past month I’ve been making a point of going through and cleaning up old files on my computer (call it spring cleaning if you will) and a couple days ago I came across the cookbook I made for my Grandma. I filled it with family photos, fun little snippets and of course, a round-up of her most loved, family favourite recipes. Last December I hounded my Mom to send me photos from her recipe notebook and then spent countless evenings transcribing her handwritten notes. The structure of each handwritten recipe was the same: title, ingredient list, oven temperature and then total minutes (i.e. 350*F – 11 minutes). That’s it. Luckily I spent a lot of my childhood and teen years observing her in the kitchen, so I was able to understand the lack of instruction for the most part, along with the help of a little kitchen intuition and of course, advice from my Mom.
Over the years I’ve featured a couple of my Grandma’s recipes here on the blog, but it wasn’t until I started the cookbook project that I was able to get her recipe for monster cookies. And after having a blast stacking cookies, taking photos and getting crumbs everywhere, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to finally share the recipe. Always a crowd pleaser, monster cookies are fun, chewy cookies that are notably made with peanut butter, rolled oats and filled with lots of chocolate chips and M&M’s. As former peanut butter loathing child, I always wondered why my Grandma had jars of the stuff in her pantry and now I think I have my answer.
It’s been pretty quiet here. My Feedly newsfeed has been pretty empty too, so I’m glad I’m not the only one taking some time away from the computer screen. There has been some baking going on, but nothing worth sharing for the last few weeks. And when I wasn’t in the kitchen last month, it was busy, busy busy.
So busy in fact that here is a list of 5 fun things I did last month instead of blogging. I tend to feel guilty now that I’m not maintaining a regular posting schedule, but I thought this would be a nice reminder that it’s always good to step away from the keyboard and enjoy life when things get busy.
I’ve had quite a few friends and family reach out since my last post went up and I want to thank everyone for their kind words. It’s been a difficult start to 2016, but I am starting to find that some days are easier than others. It also helps that I’ve been taking a little extra time to care of myself, whether it’s going for a 20 minute run after work, baking cinnamon buns on a Saturday morning or making travel plans for later in the year. It’s the little things, but they add up to so much right now.
The last few months have been difficult since my Grandma passed away. Late last year we were informed that her cancer had returned and then she left peacefully in the second week of January. I barely had a chance to register the former and then we were thrown head first into Christmas. Suddenly we were wrapping presents, baking and making the most of the holidays. On January 2nd, a couple hours before our plane was to leave, I hugged her and silently wished her goodbye in my head because I knew I would never be able to say the words outloud.