Today I am thoughtfully reminiscent of the time I spent in the kitchen baking with my grandmother. 

Now, she wasn't a fantastic cook. She would do crazy things like make pink mashed potatoes for Valentine's Day. For her it was more about expression I think. And she made you clean your plate. It was horrible actually. But man...she could bake ANYTHING.

I remember the time she "tricked" me into trying a bran muffin with dates in them. She was so excited like she had just invented the telephone or discovered electricity. I was probably only four or five but I remember it clearly. I said, "Dates? How did you get dates in there?". She said she put them right in the middle so no matter where you cut into it, you would see the date. So I asked, "What date did you put in? Saturday, Tuesday? That's a good idea 'cause then everyone will know what day it is. " She laughed and laughed. Scooped me up and gave me the biggest, warmest hug and told me how much she loved me.

I didn't understand for quite some time what the heck was so funny but I knew the kitchen was the heart of my grandparents home and baking was about much more than flour and butter. I think because of this I have always included my kids, and the kids I have minded over the years, in my kitchen and will continue to do so with my grandchildren. There is something so comforting about going through my grandmother's recipes. Seeing her handwriting, remembering all the great things she used to do and say.

For us the food brings us together but it's the sharing of our triumphs and failures that cements us.

One of our family favourites is homemade chocolate chip cookies. We love the basic recipe and we add other things in sometimes to change it up. You can add chopped walnuts and shredded coconuts or grated creamed coconut OR even crushed candy bar pieces. I also make this recipe with a whole wheat flour substitution and Splenda to reduce carbohydrate intake for my son. This works out to about 17g carbs per cookie which is still a lot but it means he can sometimes enjoy a sweet treat every now and then.

The kitchen is where our family still tends to gather instinctively. To share stories, hammer out conflict and celebrate great news.

And I can't imagine it any other way :)

Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can halve this recipe, it makes a lot!

Dry ingredients, mix together in large bowl:

  • 2 1/4 cup flour

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp baking soda

 Add to dry ingredients and mix

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)

Add in 1-2 cups chocolate chips depending on if you prefer a "doughier" cookie or not. Adjust this amount to what looks good to you when you mix them in. (Tip - I keep my chocolate chips in the fridge so they don't melt if the kids are using their hands to mix it)

Drop by rounded spoonful on to cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes at 375 F. (Oven temperatures may vary, keep your eye on it for the first batch)

Let cool and enjoy!