Uncommonly Good

Grandma’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

There were a couple of things we could always count on when we arrived at Grandma’s house in Key West. There was a Key Lime Pie in the freezer, and the cookie jar was full. Grandma made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for dad, and she put chocolate chips in them for us kids.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grandma's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think the original recipe came off the back of one of those round oatmeal boxes. I have a scribbled copy under a magnet on my fridge. It’s on a 3 x 5 card with a couple of sticky notes with modifications I’ve made in different batches.

Until today I always made them by hand, first combining the sugars with the shortening and then using a sturdy wooden spoon to work in the flour, oatmeal, chocolate chips and any nuts I added. Today, however, I used the fancy smancy second-hand Kitchen-Aid Mixmaster I got at an estate sale a couple of weeks ago. Paid $15 for it.

Cookie Dough

A small ice cream scoop is just the ticket for making cookies all the same size.

So here’s the scoop, so to speak.

Grandma’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3/4 C shortening
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 C oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 C chopped pecans
  • 1 C chocolate chips or 3/4 C raisins
  1. Mix shortening and sugars until creamy.
  2. Add egg, water and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Dump in flour, salt, soda. Mix well.
  4. Add cinnamon.
  5. Fold in oatmeal.
  6. Add chopped nuts and chocolate chips or raisins as desired.
  7. Bake at 350° 8–10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Cookie dough goes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Cookie dough goes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Some of the alterations on the sticky notes attached to my recipe card include:

  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1 C mixed walnuts/pecans
  • 1/2 C wheat germ

Another note says: “used molasses with brown sugar ~made a softer cookie~ 1 C almonds” As I recall I was nearly out of brown sugar so I added molasses to make one cup.

Today I used cinnamon and nutmeg, 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1 cup crumbled slivered almonds, and 1/2 cup raw coconut.

Cookies ready to come out of the oven

Cookies ready to come out of the oven.

The cookies don’t spread much, and they don’t get very brown so keep an eye on the clock and pull them out within ten minutes. Leave them on the cookie sheet a few minutes. They’ll fall part if you try to move them while they’re still hot.

Broken Cookie

Let the cookies rest before moving them off the cookie sheet.

Sometimes you can push them back together and they’ll stick as they cool… or you can just eat the crumbs.

Cookies Cooling

Let cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.

After the cookies cool completely put them in an airtight cookie jar. They’ll last several weeks unless you eat them first. You can sprinkle the crumbs on top of ice cream for a crunchy topping.

This batch made exactly 4 dozen cookies.


May 8, 2011 Posted by | Cookies, Dessert | , , , | Leave a comment

Snack Mix: Healthy and Tasty!

This is my new favorite snack food. I accidentally came up with it a few days ago.

It’s raw almonds, roasted, salted soybeans, and mixed dried berries.
I found raw almonds in the bulk grains and nuts at Homeland at less than $6/lb. It’s the best price in town and they’re always in stock. I checked out the other bulk offerings and came across the roasted, salted soybeans. They’re under $3/lb. so I tried them.
First bite is sort of …eh.  But one bite leads to another. They seem to want to be combined with something so I added a few almonds to a handful of soybeans. And it never hurts to add some dark chocolate to the mix.
Last week I was shopping for dried fruit to add to a batch of granola and found what I wanted at Dollar General.  Dried Mixed Berries at $1.50 for 4 oz. Made by Amport Foods, it includes cranberries, golden raisins and cherriesAntioxidants the package reminded me. Sold.
I’d already eaten most of the granola and I was out of dark chocolate. I wanted something sweet so I opened the fruit and tossed it into the mix. Good call!
Crunchy, sweet, salty. Healthy.

July 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eighteen Ingredient Salad

I took a few days off work last week, so I was out of practice when it came to getting my lunch together this morning, but it was worth it when it came time to eat. I’ll do better tomorrow. I listed all the ingredients below since it’s so deep you can’t see everything that’s there.

Salad, Monday, April 19

Eighteen ingredients plus a deviled egg made this tasty Monday salad.

For me, salads taste better when there is a lot of color, a lot of texture, and a variety of flavors. I like something unexpected in amongst the greens, something that pops when I bite into it. There were two pops in this salad. Craisins, and grape tomatoes.

I also prefer salads that aren’t a lot of trouble to eat.  I want to be able to stab my fork into the pile and pull up a little of everything, which is why I make paper thin slices of carrot, radishes, zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers.

I don’t want to have to use a knife to cut my lettuce so I tear all the leafy greens into bite sized pieces. Broccoli or cauliflower gets cut or broken into small bites.

I use grape tomatoes for several reasons. They don’t make the salad soggy like cut tomatoes do, and they are bite sized. Sometimes even cherry tomatoes can be a mouthful.

The plastic bowl I used came from Target. They make a pretty good Salmon Mango salad with poppy seed dressing that I’ve enjoyed a few times. I put the lettuces, and sliced veggies in the bowl, usually piled separately instead of tossed to keep from crushing the lettuce. A small block of feta cheese goes in too. I break it up as I eat the salad. Craisins and nuts go in separate small lidded containers and are tossed on when I’m ready to eat.

To make sure this lasts me all afternoon I make sure to add some protein. Today I piled on no-fat cottage cheese, and a deviled egg. Other, more filling options are well-drained tuna, salmon, baked or roast chicken, turkey, steak… and I’ll get into all that in another post.

Here’s my list of ingredients:

  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Red Cabbage, thin sliced like for slaw
  • Broccoli, small florets (better blanched than raw)
  • Zucchini, paper thin slices
  • Yellow squash, paper thin slices
  • Green onion
  • Carrot, paper thin slices
  • Radish, paper thin slices
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese
  • Craisins, in a separate container
  • Cottage Cheese, in a separate container
  • Sunflower Seeds, roasted, but not salted
  • Almond Slivers
  • Croutons, rustic, homemade
  • Deviled Egg: picked peppers with jalapenos also added a kick to the salad
  • Dressing: homemade, of course.

Tomorrow will be similar. I already have the lettuce in the bowl ready to go. I’ll try to remember mandarin oranges for tomorrow. I also have some baked chicken I want to add. If I go with the chicken and oranges I’ll probably use walnuts and almonds for garnish.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Brown Bag, Salad | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Make French Toast with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

French toast is one of the easiest breakfasts you can make. It can be as simple as dipping sandwich bread, even whole wheat, in a beaten egg and browning it on a hot griddle. It’s sort of “like” pancakes, but faster to get on the table. It can also be a decadent and elaborate brunch covered with whipped cream and fresh fruit.


  • French Bread
  • Eggs
  • Milk or half and half
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Strawberries
  • Whipped Cream
  • Maple Syrup
  • Powdered Sugar

Slice a loaf of French bread on the diagonal into as many slices as you plan to prepare.
Put a griddle or skillet on medium high heat.

Prepare the egg batter by using one egg for each person that’s eating, unless you’re cooking for kids, then adjust it according to their appetites. Add a little milk or half and half to the egg.
Flavor it with a splash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Beat it with whisk or a fork until it’s well blended. Dip a slice of bread in the egg mix and use a fork to turn it and soak the other side.

Put a pat of butter on the griddle and smear it around. Then put the soaked bread on the hot griddle. Be sure and put it on the “hot spot” so it will cook evenly. It won’t take long before it’s ready to turn. It’s done when it’s the right shade of golden brown. Drizzle with maple syrup.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cinnamon, and add a dollop of whipped cream.

Top it off with fresh strawberries.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Breakfast | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spicy Red Snapper with Mango Salsa


That’s the only way to describe this recipe. And it’s very easy!
With a substantial green salad it’s easily a full meal.

The original recipe called for Red Snapper, but I’ve made it with Orange Roughy, Flounder, and most recently with Talapia.

It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Start Rice
  2. Make Mango Salsa
  3. Bake Fish

Here are the details.

1. Start Rice

I generally use brown rice, which takes a bit longer to prepare. I use a rice steamer and follow the directions. I start the rice first, and the meal is usually ready to serve when the rice the steamer shuts off about 45 minutes later.

2. Make Mango Salsa

Combine in medium mixing bowl:

  • 1 mango peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 C thinly sliced green onion
  • Variation: (in this version) 2 kiwi, peeled and diced
  • Optional: 1 Scotch bonnet, or hot green chili pepper, seeded and diced very fine. I usually use a Serrano Pepper or a couple of Jalapenos, but I’ve also thrown in a Habanero, just for kicks.


  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1/2 t lime zest
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper

Stir together.
Just prior to serving stir in 2-3 T chopped cilantro.

3. Bake Fish
1 lb. Red Snapper, fresh or frozen (defrosted, of course)
Rinse, pat dry with paper towels.
Brush with 1 T lime juice, mixed with 1 T water.
Rub with Spicy Fish Seasoning*:

  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/4 t pepper

In shallow baking dish, bake uncovered in 450° oven until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Allow 4-6 minutes for each 1/2″ of thickness.

To serve brush with pan juices and serve with Mango Salsa
Garnish with lime slices and cilantro.

To pull it all together, start with a pile of rice, add fish to the side and top it all with the mango salsa. Garnish with lime slices and cilantro.
Oh. My. Gosh.

IF there are leftovers I put it all together in a plastic container. Usually the fish is gone, but there might be rice and mango salsa left over. I’ll eat the leftovers as a light snack within a day or so.

*After I realized how much I like this I made this Spicy Fish Rub in bulk and I keep it in a shaker bottle with my herbs and spices. It’s always handy to sprinkle on fish to use in this recipe.

June 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: