It’s been a long winter, here in Vegas. It’s been snowing, which is very unusual. We had a snow day, which never happens. Temperatures have been low and the wind has been near constant. No one here knows what to do with the snow and that goes for our homeless community as well. We’ve been focusing a lot of our energy on supplying tents, blankets and warm clothes.
Hot coffee and soup have been popular foods. In fact, soup has been so popular that everyone on G Street is walking around with four bowls and a belly full of soup.
My goal is always to fill the need. The people we serve don’t need more soup so I put away my crockpot and started brainstorming.
Fortunately, my good friend, Lynn came by my house over the weekend with supplies for me to take to G Street. Tents, hygiene supplies, a case of peanut butter and a few jars of jelly. She is great at finding a bargain. When the universe sends me peanut butter and jelly, I make sandwiches.
I had two loaves of bread already and plenty of paper bags. For about ten bucks I picked up individual bags of chips, sandwich bags and seedless oranges. Another dear friend, Annette, answered a request that I made on Facebook for drinks and brought me two cases of water. She included a bag of Hershey kisses for our friends, just to be sweet. So I put my kids to work packing 24 sack lunches.
I have a confession to make. I don’t involve my kids in enough of my volunteering. I have a terrible habit of doing things myself when it’s easier than involving my kids. I’ve been working on it around the house but I haven’t done much to change this behavior when it comes to serving the community.
I tell them that it’s important but when it comes to serving, they are usually not as involved as they should be. The problem with this is that I started my path into volunteerism, in part, to be a good example for my kids.
I am attempting to remedy this bad habit of excluding my kids by forcing them into hard labor. Having them prep items at home is the easiest way to get them involved and should I be brave enough to bring the whole clan down to G Street with me, sack lunches are quick and easy to pass out. There’s no chance that they will burn themselves or spill food everywhere.
Since I still have peanut butter and jelly left, I will likely be making sack lunches with my family for a few more weeks. While this meal is hearty and practical they don’t exactly say “lovin’ from the oven.” My kids were occupied assembling so I had time to bake cookies while they were distracted.
Oatmeal raisin cookies have a bad reputation. Sure, they aren’t their glamorous cousin, chocolate chip cookies but they are delicious and a little healthier. I also love making oatmeal raisin cookies because the dough doesn’t come pre-mixed from Pilsbury. When you bite into an oatmeal cookie, you know that it was homemade.
These cookies are moist and sweet. The combination of brown and white sugar give the cookies a depth of flavor that you will love.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1-1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 C butter, softened
3/4 C brown sugar, packed
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 T vanilla
3 C oatmeal
1 C raisins
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; sift ingredients, looking our for clumps of baking soda. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until blended. Add flour-mixture. Mix until blended. Add oats and raisins and continue to mix. This is a thick batter, so be sure to stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl completely and continue mixing at least twice or until oats and raisins are fully incorporated.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool two minutes on cookie sheets then remove to wire rack. Cool completely before removing. Enjoy.