I Escaped The Gaping Maw..

Well, we finally did it. We broke down and bought a Costco membership. We entered the gaping maw of consumerism and were converted. Because PEOPLE! You can get a two-pack of huge organic peanut butter jars for $10, and bread is half the price as it is at our regular grocery store. And we go through a ridiculous amount of just those two items. Stella Artois is less than a dollar a bottle. We typically don’t go through much of that, but we would like to. So forget everything I have ever said about Costco and the people that shop there – if you have peanut butter addicts for kids, the deals on peanut butter alone will save you a fortune.

So that was what we did this morning. It took a lot of word swallowing for us to get in the door because we swore when we let our membership lapse 8 years ago that we would never renew – back when it was just the two of us, we found the whole thing to be just over the top and unnecessary. Ten pound blocks of cheese, pallets full of toilet paper so abrasive you can use it to refinish furniture (yes, Kirkland Signature, I am talking to you), 12 packs of frozen pizza, 5 pound packages of peanut butter, and wine by the case – when there were only two of us, we had no use for these things. But now we have two little boys who can eat 10 pounds of cheese for a snack, and we are burning through peanut butter at an alarming rate. Things have changed.

I am also finally accepting that my regular grocery store doesn’t have very good selection or prices on organic produce. Costco doesn’t have a huge organic selection either, but the prices are good on what they do have.

But the main reason we finally went there was because it seems as though our regular grocery store is going to be affected by a strike and so I don’t want to cross the picket line. And since there aren’t any regular grocery stores for about 10 miles around that aren’t affected, we have to go out of our way to get food. Costco turns out to be one of the closest places.

I also ran today. I was feeling off – I had a side stitch, my shoulder was still bothering me, and I had a crampy calf, so I was probably dehydrated. But I put in the miles anyway.

Distance: 5.44mi, time: 56:55, pace: 10:28min/mi, speed: 5.73mi/h.

http://mapmyrun.com/workout/413589329

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Gems

It’s a cold, rainy Friday here at our house and this kind of weather makes me want to do something to make myself feel better. I miss the sun already. Although I will say I am cheered somewhat by the fact that snow has started falling in the mountain passes. Maybe we will have an early ski season? Trying to stay positive!

Hey, speaking of staying positive, it is a scientific fact that cookies can improve mood, especially if they contain chocolate. I can’t point you to any official research on the subject, but I can tell you that I have personally tested and proven this hypothesis many times. However, in my observation it’s dose dependent. If I am feeling down and eat one or two cookies, I feel happier after. If I eat an entire batch, then I am more depressed and considering bulimia as a viable life choice.

(Just kidding, this blog neither practices nor endorses bulimia).

It is said that emotional eating = no bueno. However, I am pretty sure that whoever said this does not live in Seattle. If you live in Seattle and you know you are at the front end of a 6 month stretch of no sun, you do what you gotta do. So, I am going to have some damn cookies. However, in the interest of not undoing all my hard work, I need something sort of healthy(ish) that still tastes good and feels satisfying. Everyone in the family has to like them, since I don’t want to have to eat them all myself.

Here is a recipe that fits the bill. It contains no flour, no butter and only 7 ingredients, so it is super simple to make. The dough also keeps pretty well for a few days in the refrigerator, so if you’re like me and can’t leave cookies alone, you can just make a few at a time so you avoid eating the whole batch in one sitting.

Hopefully this time I listed all the ingredients! There are only supposed to be seven, so I think we are okay this time.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Gems

1/2 cup peanut butter (can be crunchy or creamy)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the peanut butter, brown sugar and egg in a medium size bowl (I mix them in the bowl of a stand mixer).

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In a small bowl, stir together the oatmeal and baking soda, then add to the peanut butter mixture. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. Stir chocolate chips in by hand.

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Scoop a spoonful of dough (should be a 1″ to 1-1/2″ lump) and roll into a ball between your hands. My lovely assistant here demonstrates the proper technique – it’s more of a cradle and pat, than a true roll.

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Place about 2″ apart on a nonstick cookie sheet.

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Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or just until bottoms are slightly golden.

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These cookies are about 100 calories each, fairly high in protein and low in cholesterol due to using peanut butter instead of butter. Just don’t be like some people I know and eat the whole batch. Remember it’s not so much about what you eat but how often and how much.

So go ahead and enjoy yourself. Winter IS coming, after all.

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This is Max and Oleg, Eatandrunmom’s official cookie testers, and they have approved this message.