Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cream Pies ( Cookies)

I must say so myself, these are delicious! Merely the cookie without the filling would be great too!

 

 

Recently I was thumbing through my Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine. It’s been in my recipe collection for 17 years. It’s worn and torn in places, showing its age and constant use. It has been one of my favorite magazines to find cookie recipes all year. I say all year because many of the recipes are good for all through the year and why limit them to December and Christmas?

 

It was a Saturday afternoon and I wanted to whip up these peanut butter oatmeal cream pies ( cookies) for Tom and the girls at school. I try to bake for them all weekly and the weekend off is a great time to do it! I gathered my ingredients, lit my kitchen candles and away I baked!

 

Homemade Peanut Butter Oatmeal Pies

Taken from Better Homes and Garden Christmas Cookies publication

1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. quick cooking oats

Filling

2 tsps. hot water

1/4 tsp salt

1- 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream ( Fluff)

1/2 c. shortening

1/3 c. powdered sugar

 

My new mixer that I have used a lot!

 

 

1. Preheat oven to 350  degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. In a large bowl combine butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium until combined. ( I used my Kitchen aid mixer but you could use a hand mixer) Beat in sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until just combined. Stir in flour mixture and oats.

2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown and centers are set. Cool for one minute and then transfer to wire cooling rack.

3. In a medium bowl combine hot water and salt. Stir until dissolved. Add marshmallow cream, shortening ( I’m not crazy about shortening and may use butter next time) and powdered sugar. Beat until well combined.

4. Spread filling mixture onto flat side of half of cookies. Top each frosted cookie with another cookie. Makes 13 sandwich cookies.

I store my cookies at room temperature in my plastic cookie keeper that’s air tight. These are so much better than store-bought cream pies…look out Little Debbie’s!

 

 

Enjoy your week and take time to bake for your friends and loved ones!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

Raise Your Daughter to…

I don’t have a daughter but will be gaining a daughter-in-law in a few months. Despite raising sons, I know raising daughters can be difficult especially in times like this. You don’t have to go far to see slim looking Barbie doll women in the media, magazines, tv and movies. Even when I was growing up it was so easy to see perfect sized women in the media.  I never seemed to fit the mold, being overweight and not having a thread of confidence. Yet here I am…I managed to overcome all that pressure girls are thrust in and I can only hope that girls of today (including my sweet niece) make it unscathed.

With these thoughts, I hope moms and dads can raise their daughters to:

 

 

Be themselves and not waste energy comparing to others

 

 

 

Believe in themselves despite what others say or do

 

Look in the mirror with a strong love and acceptance

 

Love their body and accept it

 

 

We can only hope that our girls and young women are taught to thrive, being entirely who they are despite messages from society. 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

 

 

❤️❤️❤️

A Diner in the Eighties

 

 

A smokescreen curled round a red neon sign,

clouding my vision as a shrill whistle hovered

in the air-conditioned room.

A patchwork of various people chitter chattered

amongst themselves,

with a whinny shrieked laugh in the background.

Some fussy youngsters sat with grandma,

as she attempted to quiet their cackles.

The blazing sun beat on the windows,

melding with the intense cooking of the kitchen.

The sweat and frenzy of the summer day

wore on people’s faces like masks.

Mens’ shirts were unbuttoned with being free

and women wore short snappy sundresses and

tank tops.

A pungent smell of fried foods hung thick

in the air as exhausted waitresses flung their orders

at the stout short order cook.

A strong essence of vanilla

and a rich burst of coffee brewing enticed me,

convincing me to order a piece of

homemade pie.

A diner of the eighties…can you picture it?

I started writing this piece in 1992 and here I am finishing and polishing it 25 years later! 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

Be the Reason ❣️

Shared from Facebook, Wild Woman Sisterhood

 

Be good to others always!

You don’t know what a person battles

day-to-day.

Be good.

Be kind.

Be patient.

Be forgiving. 

All because that’s the right thing to do

and wouldn’t you want that back? 

Be the reason. 

Thank you Wild Woman Sisterhood for the inspiration.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❣️

 

 

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

 

I missed making this treat for Christmas so managed to get it done this weekend.

 

 

 

I remember that many years ago my mom made a cream cheese Bisquick Raspberry coffee cake for Christmas morning. She had a special book in the eighties with the recipe and now my sister has the book. It’s a delicious and easy coffee cake to try for your family.

I don’t usually buy Bisquick but I do especially for this delicious coffee cake!

 

 

 

I’ve made it several Christmases, switching the raspberry jam for strawberry and it still had the same delicious taste! It’s been a few Christmases since I’ve made this , so this weekend I decided to try it again. It’s yummy warm and accompanied with a cup of coffee.

The recipe- Bisquick Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

You will need for the cake:

1 ( 3 oz) pkg. cream cheese

4 Tbsp. butter

2 c. Bisquick mix

1/3 c. milk ( I used Lactose free for Lactose Intolerance)

1/2 c. raspberry jam ( can substitute strawberry)

 

For the Glaze:

1-2 Tbsp. milk

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Maraschino cherries

 

Cut cream cheese and butter into Bisquick. Mix until crumbly. Blend in milk. Knead with hands into a smooth ball. Tear off two pieces of waxed paper the size of a cookie sheet. Place the dough on one piece of paper with the second piece on top. Roll out dough to a 12 x 8 rectangle. Remove the top paper and flip the dough on a greased cookie sheet. Spread jam down the center. Make 2 1/2 inch cuts at one inch intervals on each side of the dough. Fold the strips over the jam. Press lightly so that the strips seal together. Seal ends so the jam doesn’t seep out. If you noticed I didn’t seal it up on one end by mistake but it came out okay.

Bake at a preheated 425 degrees F oven for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool. Drizzle coffee cake with the icing. Garnish with cherries or walnuts if desired.

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite coffee cake recipe? Is there a story with it?

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Thanks to My Husband, the Snow Plow Driver

Thank you to this hard-working man,

my husband who works multiple jobs

snowplowing, shoveling, sanding, chopping up ice

 and clearing walkways for people

so they can live comfortably.

He sure is a blessing and I’m truly thankful for his hard work! 

Dear God, please give him a day off, without snowfall 

or rain.

He needs his rest so he can be his best! 

 

Please thank your local snowplow operator and town worker today

for he works so very hard for you! 

My Mom’s Grace

Dedicated to my mom, her resilience in life and her grace I didn’t know until now.

 

My beautiful mom

 

 

About six weeks ago while my mom visited me, she excitedly gave me a pamphlet announcing a dance class that she was in. ” Could you go to this, Mary?” she sweetly asked me and of course I said I would. I thought at first that she wanted me to participate in the dance class and I wasn’t sure how I would do, but then I discovered that it was a dance recital and that I would be in the audience. Phew! What a relief that I didn’t have to bust a move!

 

 

                                                    My mom and niece on Cookie Day

 

 

The dance class, Body in Motion, was for women over 65 and was held in a function room at the Horsemeadow Senior Center in North Haverhill, New Hampshire. Instructor Jeanne Limmer taught this class highlighting confidence and joy. The women journaled during the class and performed simple dance movements. It was a reflective and emotional discovery for all of the ladies. The dance class instructor drove a two-hour trip to teach the class, with reservations at first. But as the class went on and she got to know these amazing women, she was happy to do the drive.

 

Courtesy of Upper Valley News Taken by Liz Sauchelli

 

Upon entering the building, I noticed happy positive people with teeming smiles and an energy I wanted to bottle up for myself! My mom stood there proudly when I arrived. I knew that I HAD to be there for her and that it was definitely a special event.

 

Shared from Upper Valley News Taken by Liz Sauchelli

 

 

The presentation was graceful and inspiring. The women took turns saying profound words to describe themselves using words such as strength, kindness, love and peace. Each woman  performed a quick fluid movement with her word, either reaching her arms to the sky or hugging herself.

 

 

Courtesy of Upper Valley News Taken by Liz Sauchelli

 

 

At one point in the program all the spectators were invited to dance on the floor and celebrate movement while focusing on the positive aspects of life. Swinging my hips and whole body among all these happy graceful souls, I felt alive! It was a few beautiful moments of sheer pleasure and peace, ones that I would love to reenact again. I didn’t care what people thought and no one else did either. We all celebrated life through dance and movement while practicing it in a forgiving space with no holds barred.

 

The closing of the recital was when all the women stood in a semi-circle and a joyous song, Bird Song by Heather Masse played. This angelic voice floated across the room singing , ” I hear a bird chirping up in the sky, I like to be free like that and spread my wings so high.”

 

As this beautiful tune played I watched my mom. She danced with peace and love, with a beaming smile that lit up the room. I was so proud of her that day, of her courage to participate in the recital, her grace to spread her wings and fly and not care what people thought. It was one of the best moments I’ve shared with my mother in a long time and I thank God for this chance to connect with her. I love her so and don’t tell her enough.

 

Myself, my mom and my sister Barb

 

Check out this song, Bird Song by Heather Masse on Spotify or iTunes. It’s a lovely expression of peace, a song that can be danced to or a great background for creating art or writing. Let me know what you think if you listen to it.❤

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

 

Church Bells 🔔

 

My mom’s hometown church, Union Village Vermont.

 

As a young child I remember hearing the church bells ringing as entering church. It was peaceful and magnificent, something that evoked sentimental feelings within me. Back then I knew that it was a signal for worshippers that church was about to commence and that it was a bold celebration of God.

 

 

 

Do you know the history of church bell chimes and what the ringing meant?  Upon reading Eric Sloane’s American Yesterday, I learned that long ago church bells communicated community events such as births and deaths. Every time a male died the bells chimed three times three and for women, three times two. Shortly after moments of silence the bells would ring the number of years the person lived. I wish I lived back then to witness this…a true ceremony and tribute that would send goosebumps up my spine.

 

This church holds much of my family history. My mom grew up in this town and married both my father and stepfather at this church. My maternal great grandparents and grandparents are buried here as well as my Great Uncle Connie.

 

 

 

All church bells were rung three times a day, in the morning, at noon and at 9 o’ clock for a curfew. In later times the bells were ringing every hour and that tradition continues today.

 

 

When I took my boys to a local Congregational church in a nearby town, I learned that the bell ringing was the children’s responsibility. Besides being that, it was a special treat for them to take turns pulling on the thick hemp rope up and down. Each child had to pull with all his might and sometimes a younger one would need an adult’s strength to help. It would pull their little bodies up towards the low ceiling, like an exciting carnival ride, as they chimed the ringer after church services. My boys did it a few times, and as they performed the special Sunday ritual, their faces lit up with a joy that I wish I could’ve bottled up. The beautiful jingle filled the church yard with heavenly music, bringing a thrill to many who heard it.

 

 

 

 

 

This is my former neighbor, Esther Heath and her son Doug. She used to bake pies for the local firemen’s auction and it would be raffled off for as much as $ 1,000!

 

 

 

I’ve had a special experience with church bells during a neighbor’s funeral. This woman, Esther Heath, was very involved in the town and played the organ at the local Methodist church at one time. She was a farmer’s wife who raised two children and stayed active in our small town. I remember a few of our visits when she would crack a funny joke and we both would laugh uncontrollably. She had quite a sense of humor.

 

 

 

After the little funeral ceremony, all the people who paid their respects, either walked up the country road or drove to the nearby church. As we talked quietly, the air felt still. I solemnly  started pondering over my life and how precious time is . While I thought of how blessed I am, the church bells called to the whole town. Amazing! I choked back tears as I walked and listened to the chimes, one after another. I didn’t count how many times it wailed and it didn’t matter to me, just that it rang in honor of this woman. I’ll never forget it or probably experience that again.

 

A photo of our small town hall and the church on the right. Photo from UnionLeader.com

 

 

Long ago church bells jangled for fire warnings and if war had begun. It was a widespread communicator, tolling to spread the town message. Today the bells still toll in celebration of marriages and in honor of the deceased. They announce a church service in honor of God. Church bells, in all their long history, represent community, God and bring people together in ceremony. Thank goodness for them and all that they represent!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

When I Stopped Writing

Most of my life I’ve written…starting on school yellow lined paper and graduating to writers tablets and journal notebooks. I always felt like I had to get my thoughts down or they would be lost forever. I’ve said before that writing saved me for I’m a talker and people would much rather read something then hear babbling on and on. In my opinion.

Even though I write now and have my blog, there was a time I walked away from it. It was mostly because I had a young energetic schedule with my family. Instead of investing the needed time to pen my thoughts I got hooked on the internet. As a young learning mom, thousands of parenting sites appealed to me and sometimes I was glued hours after the kids were in bed.

 

I wish I could go back and recapture that lost time. I could have documented raising my boys much better than I did. Then I ran into an old friend and he asked me if I was still writing. I had forgotten about it…maybe not completely but it had been years. It triggered ideas of putting the pen on paper again.

 

Soon after  I bought a new cloth bound writers journal. I was going to be true to myself again and no matter what anyone thought of my work, it was happening. This little hiatus from my writing made me stronger and I can honestly tell you that it was as if I had never walked away. The language flowed within me spilling on to the pages, making up for lost time.

 

From this point in my life I can predict this hobby/ calling will always be a priority like breathing and loving. It’s something I won’t deny or abandon now for it’s a part of me and without it, then I just won’t be true to myself.

 

I hope you found your hobby or calling and that you are staying true to it. If not start searching for it by dabbling in different hobbies, writing, drawing, painting, acting, singing, crafting…some ideas. Once you find it, you’ll find practicing it is vital for your happiness.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

A First Train Ride (Then and Now)

 

The year was 1987 and I was eighteen years old. Picture a young naive kid, who came from a small town, with a dream to seek out what the big city had to offer. So long ago my mom dropped me off in White River Junction, Vermont, so that I could ride the  train to New York City. It was an exciting adventure, my first train ride, to visit my older brother David in Brooklyn.

 

 

I don’t remember all about my train ride but I do recollect that it was a seven or eight-hour stint on a smooth rolling train called the Vermonter. We rode through humble towns like Bellows Falls and  expansive cities like Hartford, Connecticut. The landscape sprawled before me, scenes  of city cars and buildings everywhere and others of fields and barns. At one point the train started going in the other direction, therefore I had to stifle the sick feeling. I had never rode backwards before! Ugh!

Here is my son checking out the schedule with his dad

Boarding the train on a frigid day. Thank goodness for the sun!

 

Now, so many years later I was reminded of my trip through my son’s first train ride on the same train. Branden is about the same age as I was, with the youthful energy to try new things.  I was so proud of his eagerness to travel, exploring new ways of transportation.

 

The station sits in White River Junction, Vermont nestled on the White River, adjoining the Connecticut. Dating back to the 1840’s the city thrived as a railroad junction and continued until its decline in the 1960’s. Then the highway system became the most important means of travel. Yet the station remains and travelers still take advantage of the passenger train.

 

As Tom, my son and I waited outside the station, a well seasoned railroad employee trudged up to us. He jingled his keys in the bitter cold and apologized for not opening the waiting station sooner. ” Lots to do today. ” he whispered, sending plummets of steam from his breath. Since we were early and the only ones waiting so far, we assured him that it was fine.

 

 

Entering the musty room I was plunged back in time. A boarding schedule stood on the wall, not digital or modern,  but resembling the same schedule I saw so long ago. Wooden benches stood in the middle of the room. It was as if we were in the Planes, Trains and Automobile movie beside actors John Candy and Steve Martin.

 

 

 

It was surprising to me to have many people pile into the station at the last-minute, perhaps holiday travelers going home as it was New Year’s Day. At the estimated arrival time we all stood just a few feet away from the track. The wind whipped against us as we stood in the snow, a true New England boarding experience in January. Finally the train whistle sounded, giving me goosebumps and it hurriedly chugged up to us. Right away the attendants lowered the icy steps and herded people onboard. This was it…Branden boarded for his  first train adventure and we drove home happy for him.

 

Do you have a train ride story?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤