Monday, April 27, 2015

Thing #48. Master a couple quick 
cookie recipes.

More than once, my young children failed to tell me they needed to take cookies to school until the night before, or, if memory serves, the morning of. I suppose I could have zipped to the grocery store, but I opted instead for a batch of  “No Bake Cookies.” Really more of a candy than a cookie, it’s a confection that is cooked on the stove rather than baked.

It’s a little tricky to master. Cook them too long and you have a dried mess that doesn’t hold together. Cook them not long enough and they don’t set up. I finally made note of my exact stove top setting (“6” for example, rather than “medium”) and the number of seconds things should boil. 

I have my sister-in-law Marla to thank for the recipe. Thanks, Marla.

No Bake Cookies
2 c sugar
2 T cocoa
½ c milk
4 T butter or margarine
1 t vanilla
3 c uncooked oatmeal (I prefer quick cooking oats; they’re a little softer)

Combine first four ingredients in 2 quart saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Boil about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls on waxed paper. (Even better with ½ c peanut butter added to the first part.)

Another not-quite-as-quick option is “Cake Mix Cookies.” As the name implies, the cookies are made from a cake mix so they go together quickly.

Cake Mix Cookies
1 box cake mix, any flavor
1/3 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
(Optional: add ins like chocolate chips, nuts, . . .)

Mix all ingredients well. Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Thing #44 Dry flowers from special occasions.

To dry flowers from a special occasion, hang them upside down in an out-of-the way place. Roses do especially well this way. Tie a tag to a stem that records the occasion. Once dried, put the flowers in a vase, and you’ll have a lovely arrangement—and a reminder of a lovely event.

Thing #45. RSVP.

Having recently helped with a wedding and reception, I’ve come to appreciate the RSVP. RSVP an abbreviation for the French phrase "répondez, s'il vous plaît," which means "reply, please." The few minutes it takes to let someone know if you plan to participate in their event eases stress and creates enthusiasm. So RSVP, and please do it ASAP.

Thing #46. Learn from an expert.

I took a tennis class in college, and learning a few basics really improved my game. It improved it from terrible to mediocre, but it did improve. Read a book—or a few web articles—about caring for houseplants. You’ll be surprised at what you don’t know. Same for photography. Better yet, spend time learning from a friend who is good at something you’d like to master. Then you’ll deepen a friendship at the same time.

Thing #47. Slip your electronic device into a resealable plastic bag when you need to protect it from drips and spills.

I learned this from my friend Cindy who didn’t want to drop her iPad in her hot tub. I use this tip when using my Nook as a cookbook.