I Go to the Barn Because I Like the Oatmeal Date Cookies

Band of Horses has this song called “I Go to the Barn Because I Like the.”

Now, I love this song, it’s one of those “let’s go sit on a swing tied to a tree in the middle of a moonlit field” sort of songs. Melancholy, sad, chill, nostalgic.

But, to be honest,  I can’t help feeling kind of bothered that I’m not really told why the writer likes to go to the barn. “Because I Like the”…what? What is it? Why won’t you tell me?

I was listening to this song while I was baking today, though, and I think I figured it out.

Band of Horses is hiding something…in the barn, I mean. Cookies. They’re hiding cookies in the barn.

Bear with me here.

I was baking cookies, trying out a new recipe, and I used butter, eggs, yogurt, and buttermilk. Everything that comes from a barn, hence…Band of Horses goes to the barn because they like cookies.

And you would go sneaking off to the barn too, if you found these cookies there.

These cookies are just whoa. Think coffee cake meets granola bar. Dates, oatmeal, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut, allspice…secretly whole wheat and reduced fat…sounds good? Chya, that’s what I thought.

Cream together:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar

Beat in 2 eggs

Add in:
3-1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

Mix in:
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Stir in:
3 cups oatmeal

Finally, add in:
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dates
rounded 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Optional: 1/2 cup bits of unsweetened baking chocolate (which will compliment the spicy sweetness with a dark, earthy flavor )

Bake at 350 degrees for about 16 minutes or until the cookies have slightly browned edges.

 Do eat these warm. Do eat them with milk. Do take them with you on a hike or a picnic. Do continue to wonder what it is in the barn that Band of Horses likes so much.

Home Sweet Home Pancakes

This recipe blog post is kind of awkward for me.

1. I’ve been sorta-kinda working on it for like four weeks.

2. The first recipe I didn’t make myself.

3. I kinda failed on the recipe I did make.

Just letting you know ahead of time.

With that all cleared up, I want to talk to you about pancakes.

First, nothing says “Home sweet home” like pancakes made from scratch for breakfast. They were actually yelling that at me before I ate them. It was kind of weird.

Okay, I’m sorry, my pancakes don’t talk. That was a sick joke. I promise not to do that again.

Anyways, my daddy happens to make the best pancakes. And not with bisquick…we actually try not to say the b-word in my house. Just because the pancakes on the box look fantastic does not mean they taste anywhere near as delicious as from scratch. Trust me, it’s totally worth the effort.

So these pancakes my dad makes–they’re not only made-from-scratch yumminess, they’re actually rather nutritious for you…of course, that’s pre-butter and maple syrup drenching.

Here’s how he does it:

Set aside 1 mashed ripe banana

Mix in a bowl:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 TBSP sugar (for sweeter pancakes, add another TBSP)
1 TSP baking powder
1 TSP salt
½ tsp baking soda

In another bowl:
Whip 2 eggs
Then add:
1 1/3 Cups (approx.) low-fat buttermilk or low-fat plain yogurt, until the desired consistency is reached
(For richer pancakes, add 1/4 cup of melted butter)

Stir wet ingredients into the dry, until just combined.

Once the skillet (greased beforehand) is heated up, reduce heat to medium, then spoon batter onto skillet. The pancake is OK to flip when the batter starts getting a bunch of holes in it, but cook time will vary depending on how dark you want your ‘cakes.

Don’t you want some of these sweeties?

Now, I saw this recipe by Joy the Baker called The Single Lady Pancake, so I performed my own rendition of it the next day with some of the leftover batter from the aforementioned recipe. This is how it went down:

I got a 1-cup measuring cup, which I filled with 2 Tbsp of oatmeal…

A heaping Tbsp of dark chocolate chunks…

And about half of a large sliced banana.

Then I poured pancake batter into the cup to fill up the remaining room, and mixed it all together.

Now I ran into a little problem…I was so excited about this pancake, that I poured it on the skillet immediately…

…but  I forgot about spraying the skillet.


Kind of a fail.

But, hey, just because it doesn’t look pretty doesn’t mean it can’t taste good.

So after I scraped that sucker off the skillet, drizzle a little honey on it, piled on the rest of the sliced banana and some granola, I stuffed it. In my mouth, that is.

Best pancake ever? Totally.

Still recovering from S.A.D.?

February 14th. Some people are still smiling from the dates they went on. Some are watering those beautiful-smelling flowers their significant other gave them. Some are still drying their eyes or recovering from the effects of eating way too much chocolate because none of the above happened.

Can I give you a little post-Valentine’s Day cheer from my own S.A.D. experience?

I woke up that morning, fully aware it was the V-day. My first self-consolatory action was pouring myself multiple cups of “Love Buzz” coffee from Equal Exchange–the closest you can get to liquid love.

I watered the flowers my roommate bought me. Isn’t she sweet? She tried to convince me that a boy had left them on my desk, but I didn’t believe her.

I ate some homemade granola that my parents sent me. And well, they sent me See’s candy, too, but come on–HOMEMADE GRANOLA!!! That is love.

And my grandparents sent me some fuzzy slippers! They’re the best, and guess what? It was their 52nd anniversary too! That means they’ve been married FIFTY-TWO YEARS. They’ve made it through FIFTY-TWO Valentine’s Days. That’s radical. I can’t get over it…

I ended up listening to a lot of this guy’s stuff, too, totally pretending that Christofer Drew really wrote “She’s Got Style” for me. *Sigh*

I also made a Valentine’s CD  to play in my hall’s community bathroom. I put Mayday Parade’sMiserable at Best” on it. That might have been kind of mean.

Some really sweet boys stopped by to give my whole hall Disney Princess Valentines. Maybe I’ll make them some brownies sometime.

After lunch, I decided to treat myself and skip my Greek lab to go buy a few groceries with some money my Daddy gave me. I bought an avocado. I love avocados.

Roses are red, the ocean is blue,
Chocolate is sweet, I love First East!

Since I had no singular boy to give cookies to, I decided that I would make some for a whole hall of guys. These guys are the best, too; they make me laugh and let me go longboarding with them, so I decided they deserved some Valentine’s Day cheer.

And, well, I had a Dove Chocolate to give you, but it was too hard to pass it through the keyboard, so I just decided to take a picture of the wrapper. Best advice you ever received from a Dove wrapper, right? That’s what I thought, too.

Hope your Valentine’s Day wasn’t so sad. <3

The Devil Wears Peanut Butter Chocolate M&M Cookies

The Devil Wears Prada = a headbang-’til-you-die metalcore band from Dayton, Ohio.

Peanut butter and dark chocolate = the most raw-rocking food marriage ever.

Oatmeal = so hardcore.

I happened to combine all three of these. With a small addition of sugar and flour. And now I think I’m about to go into a peanut butter-chocolate-Cookie Monster vocals-induced coma.

I’m not joking! These cookies are as face-melting as TDWP’s “Danger: Wildman”!!!! You don’t get it…

I go through these stages where I just NEED peanut butter and chocolate. And when this craving combines with a cookie craving, too…well, there was no way I could make it through this weekend without baking some cookies, I DON’T CARE THAT THE DORM KITCHEN IS CLOSED DOWN, I’LL TAKE MY COOKIE BUSINESS OVER TO THE NERD’S DORM KITCHEN INSTEAD!

Right. So, me and this great girl I know that lives across the hall gathered all of our supplies and before long had made the most intense batch of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies EVER…

Reason #1. We both love The Devil Wears Prada and other music old church ladies don’t understand–and when two such people bake together, of course the product comes out hardcore.

#2. The cookies came out moist and chewy and thick, the way hardcore cookies should be.

#3. In addition to adding peanut butter (the good, natural kind you have to mix and actually refrigerate) and Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips, these cookies contain also contain Peanut Butter M&Ms. Yes.

And, #4. These cookies are…healthy. Please don’t cry.
Now, when I say “healthy,” I mean in the sense that these cookies contain low amounts of sugar, use no butter, and contain whole grains and healthy sources of protein and fat. The proof is in the pudding, or the cookie rather, just look at this recipe, my dear:

Blend well in large bowl, as if creaming butter and sugar:
1 cup natural unsalted peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

Add in and beat well:
2 eggs
2-1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt

Mix in well:
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda (add first so soda can react with yogurt)
1/2 tsp. salt (adjust if p&b is salty)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Stir in:
2 1/2 cups of oatmeal

Finally, add:
1 cup dark chocolate pieces or chips
1  cup Peanut Butter M&Ms

Bake at 350 degrees, about 10 minutes. Do NOT over-bake, or these cookies will come out dry, as if all the peanut butter was sucked out of them. Err on the side of being not quite done, because they will cook a little after they are taken out of the oven.

I recommend eating them warm with a glass of cold milk…while listening to “Dogs Can Grow Beards All Over.”

Underoath and cookies?

I am about to share with you one of my deepest, darkest secrets. It’s also a very yummy secret, so  brace yourselves…

I like to bake. That’s not the secret, though. I often like to experiment with recipes, since I’m a health nut. That’s not the secret either. The secret I’m about to reveal is a recipe I created for the best healthy cookies you will ever taste in your life–oatmeal chocolate chip beauties I like to call my Underoathmeal Cookies.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Jenn! First…cookies that are good for me and taste amazing? At the same time? I don’t believe you…

And second, what’s with the name?

I’m so glad you asked! I’ll start with the name first…

Underoath happens to be one of my favorite bands (at least, before Aaron Gillespie left), and since these cookies are about as intense and yummy and insane as the band is, I simply combined “Underoath” and “oatmeal” (an extremely important ingredient) together. Hence, Underoathmeal Cookies.pigIf you don’t like these cookies because they’re named after Underoath…then go eat something packaged from Savemart.

Now, the healthy part…I hope you’re ready for this. You’re socks, if you’re wearing some, might just explode off of your feet. Or melt your nail polish. Anyway…

These cookies pack only a quarter of the butter and half of the sugar that regular oat/choco chip cookies do. Snap dizzle. Wait, there’s more!

In place of butter, I substituted low-fat plain yogurt, which adds moisture and protein. I used whole wheat pastry flour, lots of oatmeal, and walnuts. The whole wheat flour carries fewer calories than its white cousin, and oatmeal is just wonderful for you anyhow. The nuts add the good fats your body needs, and a wonderful crunch.

But the cookies are chocolate chip, right? And chocolate is not so good…right?

WRONG! Well, partially. First, the chocolate I put in these cookies is 72% dark, which is dark enough to be able to carry a significant amount of those amazing antioxidants! I get the pound-plus bars from Trader Joe’s (don’t you just LOVE that place?). Anyhow, chocolate is just wonderful, so I think you should eat it anyways.

So, I’m sorry if your socks exploded or nail polish melted…these cookies happen to be just that awesome. So awesome…that I’m giving you the recipe–right here!

Blend well in large bowl:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

Add in and beat well:
2 eggs
3-1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt

Mix in well:
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda (add first so soda can react better with yogurt)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Stir in: 3 cups of oatmeal
1-1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate
1 cup chopped walnuts

Drop rounded on nonstick cookie sheet, flatten just a leeetle bit (these cookies won’t spread as much as normal ones do), and stick in an oven preheated at 350 degrees, and cook about 11 minutes. Tip: Let the dough sit a little while before baking, to allow the oatmeal to soak up some moisture. Sometimes I let it sit over night, but I’ve had good results either way.

Well there you have it! I hope you enjoy these amazing cookies; this recipe has been kept mostly secret up until now. I suggest eating them with milk, coffee, or to top off a beastly lunch. You may have an even more heightened experience if you listen to Underoath at the same time.