I am always amazed at how the turning of a new year motivates so many people in so many ways.
Example #1: The 60 (SIXTY!) people in my Zumba class yesterday. That was 55 minutes of trying to avoid 120 elbows.
Example #2: My intense need to clean out the freezer this afternoon.
Becky and I always do a quick purge of the fridge when we get home from the grocery store - a habit we learned from Mama B - but today I felt the need to purge more than usual, so I opened the dreaded, overpacked freezer and started chucking things into the trash can with a vengeance. Pan of cinnamon rolls from Easter time? Chucked. Test biscuits from Thanksgiving? Chucked. Frozen fruit that's been in there since...um...sometime so long ago that I don't remember buying it? Chucked.
Seriously, Beck had to jump out of the way so she didn't get hit by flying frozen food. And when that freezer was clean, it was a weight off my shoulders I didn't know I was carrying. I mean, who knew clearing away freezer clutter would be so satisfying?
Which makes me wonder...what else in my life needs cleaning out that I don't know about?
Which in turn freaks me out just a little, because cleaning out cupboards and closets and the scary mess under my bed aside, that could turn into a Big Question with Big Answers. What in my life is nourishing and good and worthwhile, and what is just freezer clutter?
It's a tricky one too, because you can bet that cleaning out your life is a lot more difficult than tossing expired cottage cheese into the trash.
But that's okay. One thing at a time. Big Questions aren't meant to be answered right away anyway.
In the meantime, you can make some Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, which I baked specifically because I had a half-used jar of peanut butter and some peanuts taking up room in my cabinet.
These treats have loads of sugar and mix-ins, to the point where you can hardly call them cookies. They're more like peanut butter oatmeal chocolate candy with a little bit of egg and flour holding everything together. And boy are they delicious. I'll never have to decide whether or not to chuck leftovers of these from the freezer...because they'll never make it there in the first place.
As for those other Big Questions, I have a new motto for the new year: It's okay to be scared - it gives me a chance to be brave.
Happy New Year,
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes approximately 6 dozen cookies
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (I used kosher salt)
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups salted whole peanuts (unsalted are fine too)
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Stir together oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Blend sugars, butter, and peanut butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low. Add oat mixture, and mix until just combined. Stir in peanuts and chocolate chips. Dough will be pretty stiff.
- Drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. You might need to roll the dough into balls to get it to stick together.
- Bake cookies one sheet at a time, rotating sheet halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 12-13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.