On the up and up

Turns out, I needed that bout of fussing. As soon as I wrote that piece, things started looking on the up and up. After what feels like weeks of below-30 weather, we got a balmy day. Cloudy, yes, but almost warm. I did piles of laundry and hung them on the line. Three of the kids went outside (no shoes, even) and played for an extended period of time. Two psychology students from the local university came to play with my little ones. (It’s for a basic developmental psychology class—I let them play with my kids and they give me a break. It’s what I call a win-win situation.) I spent some concentrated time with my older two. I had a nice chitty-chat with my mama. I had a nice chitty-chat with a friend. I made plans to go for a walk and then canceled them in favor of a trip to the library and grocery store. The new Bon Appetit came in the mail and it had a stack of brownies on the cover. Miss Beccaboo came down with a bug and turned into a bug on my living room rug. Maybe it’s not cool to say it, but I kind of like it when my kids come down with a fever and just lay there all lethargic and pathetic-like. They don’t talk, they don’t eat, they don’t fuss, then don’t make messes. Is this taking The Pollyanna Approach too far? Perhaps, but it’s true.

This is where Pioneer Woman and I differ. Up until this point, we are exactly the same, but when it comes to sick children? Not so much. Ree says, and I quote, “…[When you know] that at any given moment, you’d remove any harmful microbe from their body and inject it into yours? That’s when you know you’re a mama.”

Actually, no thanks. I get her point, and I imagine that would be true for me if we were talking about some really serious illness, but for just the common cold? Or a stomach flu? No way, Jose. I much rather it’d be them than me. Little kids handle illness way better than grown-ups. Plus, when I go down, everyone and everything suffers. It’s not cost effective for me to get sick.

Let me just be clear here, serious illnesses are no walk in the park. I’m only talking all nonchalant about non-serious illness. The bad stuff? Heaven forbid. I am not a callous mom. Take this story, for example:

Once Miss Beccaboo had a high fever and couldn’t move her head, and I freaked and tore into the ER. This was back when she was four or five and her temperature was sky-high. Even when the mercury was at the top of the thermometer (!), we still hesitated (I’d made far too many routine-disrupting trips to the doctor only to get the yeah-it’s-probably-just-a-virus verdict), preferring to make several calls to the doctor on call (who didn’t say “come in”). But after a couple days of raging fever, she couldn’t/wouldn’t open her eyes, her body was all stiff-like, and then—horrors of horrors—she failed my touch-your-head-to-your-chest test. (I have several tests to see if an illness is severe: can you stand upright and walk without limping? Yes? Then it’s probably not appendicitis. Can you touch your chin to your chest? Yes? Then it’s probably not meningitis.) That’s when I split for the hospital.

It was a horrible couple hours. The ER doctor, his face tense, hovered. This, his close attention, both terrified and comforted us. White blood counts were soaring. There was a brutal spinal tap. I cried my eyes out in the waiting room, certain she was dying. She lived, obviously, thankfully. It was just (though not “just,” as we learned) a case of pneumonia, one without any of the typical symptoms.

Good heavens. This post has no point. Except to say I’m feeling better. There will be fresh library books to read. I’ll belly dance with renewed vigor. I’ll—

Oh, YES! Now I remember the point. I was going to list off all the ways that my day got better and then culminate with the big highpoint (is that redundant to say “culminate” and “highpoint” in the same sentence?), which is, THE COOKIES I MADE!

(So maybe I was going through chocolate cream pie withdrawal after all?)

After posting my whiny post, I got an email saying that so-and-so was now following me on twitter (not because of my whiny post, I assume). I clicked over to that person’s blog and scrolled down. A picture of peanut butter cookies caught my eye, and the words “This recipe will be my new go-to recipe for when I must. have. cookies. NOW” jumped out at me and smacked me upside the head. I mixed them up right then and there and didn’t even read the rest of that particular post until after I had disappeared three of the gooey, warm, chocolate-y peanut butter cookies.

And then I splatted out this whole post. Sugar makes me prolific. Profound, no. Prolific, yes.

I’ve heard many good things about the flourless peanut butter cookie. While they are quite different from the classic peanut butter cookie (and those cookies certainly do have a place in the cookie choir), these little gems are definitely a keeper. They are like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups that have been turned inside out—mostly sensual peanut butter creaminess with bits of sexy dark chocolate studded throughout.

So now I’ve got a good thing going. I’m on the up and up.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The Craving Chronicles

1 cup peanut butter
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Stir together the first six ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. (I put mine on parchment paper, but a greased baking sheet would probably do just fine.) They should still be quite soft and just flecked with bits of brown. Allow them to set up on the baking pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

This same time, years previous: random thoughts


  • mary5017

    I happened across this recipe last night and couldn't resist trying them out. Most of my coworkers are gluten free so I've been looking for a gluten free cookie recipe that isn't dry or crumbly. These were PERFECT! My coworkers have been raving about them all day and they are so so simple! They come out soft and melt in your mouth. I've shared this recipe with everyone, and btw, the recipe as is yielded 21-24 cookies.. I'm doubling the recipe next time 🙂 Thank you for sharing

  • elizabeth

    At first I thought this cookie batter was all greasy and gross. My husband liked them a lot and he doesn't usually go for pb cookies. I put most of them in the freezer and ended up eating all those myself from the freezer. Recently I made regular pb cookies and they were okay, but not as good as these, the pb flavor was not as intense. So I think the texture of these is different, but great!

  • Suburban Correspondent

    Oh, and for appendicitis, test for rebound pain. That is, if you press on the part that is hurting and it hurts MORE when you let go, that's your clue.

  • Jennifer Jo

    Thank you, Amanda!

    Jodi, you crack me up.

    Thedomesticfringe, yes, I realize that there are other symptoms to watch for (and certain ones might not be present—Miss B's pneumonia, case in point). My little tests just give me something to do so I don't feel quite so helpless. Good luck finding some psychology students!

  • Marie M.

    Glad to hear you're having a sunny day. I vote with you. When my son was sick with a cold or flu I felt bad he felt bad. I never thought "better me". But like every parent out there, if my baby were seriously ill, I'd change places in a heartbeat. I remember when my son was three days old I had this overwhelming feeling — I was a mother lion. I'd single handedly battle armies to protect my child, I'd throw myself under the proverbial Mack truck to save him. But if he had a cold? Better him.

  • teekaroo

    I am just finishing eating the last of my peanut butter blossom cookies and thinking of how wonderful chocolate and peanut butter are together. I think I need to try these.

  • Anonymous

    The cookies look ah-mazing! I get what you're saying about kids and illness, but I must warn you. My husband had emergency surgery one week before Christmas for his apendicts (don't even know if I spelled that correctly, sorry)and he was walking without limping. Thank God he went to the hospital "just in case" or he would have died. So maybe the walking without limping test should be revised. Just a thought. 😉

    Now I'm off to go find a psychology student. Heck I may invite the whole class over!

  • Margo

    mmmmmm. I want to make these cookies, but I'm afraid I'm putting on some winter weight and I'm worried that I'll eat the whole batch. ding nab it.

    I love when my kids are a little sick. Then I can be their mother in the most satisfying way and I get to hold them too.

  • Anonymous

    I was reading the lead up to the flourless P B cookie and thinking 'duh, your own mother's Monster cookie recipe is flourless, just skip the m&m's and add peanuts instead.' and than I read the ingredient list. NO FLOUR AND NO BUTTER! Wow, these will get made today in my very own kitchen. I made 3 pumpkin pies last evening but I really would like a cookie instead. never was a huge fan of pumpkin pie anyway.

    Aunt V.

  • Starr

    Oh my goodness. We are hitting high season at work and will require lots of sugar and caffeine induced energy to make it through…I'm thinking these cookies will do the trick.

  • Anonymous

    That was dumb. Just re-read the recipe and saw it doesn't call for butter at all. Guess I need to up my coffee intake.

  • Anonymous

    Perfect. I was feeling the need to bake something warm and comforting on this dreary, cold, sleety day. And you've given me the perfect solution. Off to soften my butter . . .


  • Theresa

    Aren't those cookies amazing? I love how quickly they bake up because some days you just need cookies, stat. A friend sent me the link to your blog yesterday – I believe you and I live around the same area! And oh, I've already bookmarked a couple of your recipes to try, like your Pepperoni Rolls 🙂

  • Amanda

    I've only been reading your blog for a few days now and I have to tell you how much I'm enjoying it.

    Refreshing and REAL.

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