Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Challenging the Status Quo with Cookies

Our 5 year old son started Kindergarten this August!  I can't believe it really.  Not only are we trying to establish some new routines around our house but we are also getting to know his new school.  As parents we are required to do 50 volunteer hours during the school year.  They have lots of ways in which you can fulfill these hours.  One of the committees I volunteered for was the Baking Committee.  Go figure.  
I was contacted by a very nice lady who was heading up the committee who is in charge of organizing the bakers.  We primarily bake for the school bake sale that happens at lunch on Mondays and Wednesday.  Kids are allowed to purchased baked goods. (1 per child for the smaller kids and 2 for the bigger kids).  The price for each item is 25 cents.  I am assuming this is more about responsibility and the use of money than a big profit maker.  We also bake for other events like Grandparents Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, the Thanksgiving feast- that sort of thing.  I was told we had to provide 3 dozen of any baked good (cookies, brownies, cup cakes) or 6 dozen if they were minis-like cupcakes.  I was also told that Sister Regina (the principal) wanted to make sure we had some healthy options each week at the bake sale.  She then told me raisins and fruit slices tend not to go over so well and they usually get tossed.  Then she continued with some helpful advice.  "Your best option is to stock up on Publix cookies when they have their buy one get one free sale."  HUN?!  I thought to myself this IS the baking committee right?
So before I fully commit to the non-baking, baking committee I thought I would ask some questions.  I asked if it was okay that I did indeed bake.  I did get a yes but a surprised yes none-the-less.  I will assume it was a pleasantly surprised yes.  Then I asked if we had to leave out nuts or follow any allergy restrictions.  She responded with a "no". Okay I thought, we are getting somewhere. I let her know we only used organic ingredients at our house so I would be providing organic baked goods.  There was a very long pause over the phone.  "Does your child have Crohn's Disease?  Because we have another family with a child with Crohn's disease and their family avoids all gluten.  They even make their own condiments." It was everything I could do to contain my laughter. Not to make light of this serious immune disease  but since when did eating healthy become synonymous with having a food allergy? 
I had her attention, so I proceeded to let her know about our families choice to limit the amount of chemicals we eat as it is important to not only to our health but the health of the environment as well. She was curious and inquired about the cost and where we get our organic food from.  She shared with me that she use to bake her own bread and got away from that as her kids got older but wished she still did.  She also stated that she too had purchased some organic produce from Publix and found it to be much better tasting.    We finished our pleasant conversation talking about our kids and the highlights of the school. After our phone call I came to the realization that there are likely more children than I previously thought that don't get much homemade of anything.   So my goal this year is to Challenge the Status Quo.  I will start with the baking committee.  Perhaps my organic cookies will be a big hit and parents and teachers will realize you can provide a child a special treat that does not include a bunch of words you can't pronounce.  And maybe, just maybe the healthy option won't be tossed in the trash.
Oatmeal Gorp Cookies

So today's recipe is for a very tasty, good for you, organic (if you choose),  HOMEMADE cookie.  These are the first cookies I have made for week 1 of the bake sale.  They are one of our families favorites and I hope they will also be yours.  

Oatmeal Gorp* Cookies
* Gorp is an outdoors term for high energy snack

1 cup of coconut oil (you can use 1 1/4 cup of butter instead)
3/4 cup of cane sugar
2 medium very ripe bananas ( previously frozen ones work best)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal 
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of all purpose flour (as you get more brave you can use all whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
Your choice of 2 of the following:
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of chopped nuts ( pecans or walnuts work best)

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine oil, sugar, banana, egg and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until blended.  In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients.  ( flour, salt, baking soda, spices)  Toss until mixed.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet while blending with a mixer.  Add in your choice of chocolate, raisins or nuts.  Mix well.  Drop 1-1/2 inch rounds onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until slightly golden on top.  These are best removed from the oven when slightly soft  in the middle.  Cool complete and store in an air tight container. 
This recipe makes around 2-3 dozen depending on your size but I always double the batch. 
I store mine in the freezer.  This helps control the cookie monsters in my house.  :)
Ready for the oven

You gotta love it when you have the perfect amount of dough for the final cookie.

Cookies for the Bake Sale

If Archer had a good day at school, then this will be his afternoon snack.

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