Annabelle’s Oatmeal Cookies

Drought scarred maple tree and black cat.

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! This morning, I’m looking out at a maple tree that is trying its best to show off, even after forty days straight with no rain. We’ve since had a good bit of rain, but you can still detect the scars of drought on the tree’s leaves.

Can you see the black cat? It belongs to a neighbor, and I suspect it is watching for birds and squirrels at my feeder.

Just in time for Fall, I’m sharing a recipe from Annabelle’s collection. She loves to make these, because her neighbor, Tom Franklin, loves them.

If you’re new here, you may not know who Annabelle is and you may be wondering about it. She’s a sweet, middle-aged lady from the 1950s, who lives in my Kinsman Redeemer series of novels.

What’s so great about this recipe is, you can make the dough and put it in your fridge, then bake them later. You can even freeze the dough. The cookies are thin and chewy, kind of like lace cookies. They are wonderful served with hot tea or coffee. If you’d like a printable recipe, you can download it from my Facebook group page here: Betty Thomason Owens Readers Group.

Annabelle’s Oatmeal Refrigerator Cookies* – an old-fashioned, chewy, oatmeal cookie!

Ingredients:

½ cup lard (I prefer softened butter, but you can also use your favorite vegetable shortening)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1-1/2 tbsp. molasses
½ tsp. vanilla
7/8 sifted flour (that’s ¾ cup + 2 tbsp.)
½ tsp. soda
½ tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups rolled oats

Sift dry ingredients (except the oats) into a bowl and set aside. Combine the first seven ingredients (shortening through vanilla) in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with a large spoon (you can also use a mixer). Add the sifted dry ingredients and stir well.

Add the oats to the mixture. Using hands, mix thoroughly. Note: Annabelle preferred the hand-mixing method. You can continue with a mixer or stir with a spoon.

Additions: Tom Franklin loves these cookies with raisins, so Annabelle mixes in about ½ cup of plumped raisins (she soaks them in hot water for a few minutes to plump them). You can also add chopped walnuts or pecans at this stage.

Mold the dough into a long, smooth roll about 2-1/2” in diameter. Wrap in waxed paper (or plastic wrap). Chill until stiff. This usually takes about three hours, or you can leave it in the fridge overnight.

Heat oven to 400°

Unwrap dough and using a thin, sharp knife, cut in thin slices 1/8” or 1/16” thick. Place slices on a greased baking sheet. Note: I prefer to use parchment paper on my baking sheets. It’s just easier! And I use a serrated electric knife to slice it. It works best if you have left the dough in the fridge overnight.

Bake until lightly browned (about 8 – 10 min.). Annabelle’s note: Watch these closely, you don’t want to burn them.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

[You can slice these thicker to make larger cookies, but they really spread, so leave lots of room in between]

*This recipe is adapted from one found in the 1950 version of the Betty Crocker cookbook.

I Love You Because

Hello, and welcome to another Thursday morning! It’s officially Autumn. The leaves of our dogwood tree are starting to turn from green to red, triggering a poignant memory…

“Why do the leaves turn color, Mama?”

I looked at my four-year-old son, then back at the dogwood tree in the middle of our yard. The small tree was always the first to display red and orange leaves. Did I know the answer to his question? “The sun shines less this time of year, so the leaves don’t make as much chlorophyll.” I almost ended with a question mark, because I wasn’t quite sure my answer was right. I’d pretty much bombed out in biology.

My little boy frowned and shook his head. “No, Mama, God paints ‘em.”

“Okay. Why did you ask if you already knew the answer?”

He shrugged before bouncing away to join his brothers playing in the court.
My son was certain of his answer, whether scientifically correct, or based on his four-year-old trust mentality.

It made me wonder, why do we ask questions when we already know the answer? Are we hoping the answer will change?

My son had an inquisitive mind. He asked me questions throughout the day for days on end. Sometimes I grew tired of coming up with answers. I may have gotten snippy a time or two.

We taught our children to believe the impossible, that God created the universe by speaking it into existence. His words started a chain of events that centuries later, resulted in the natural beauty around us—the red, orange, and golden leaves in fall. So, maybe He had painted the leaves in the beginning…but why?

Lost in thought, I didn’t hear my son’s approach until he draped his arms around my neck and hugged me.

“I love you, Mama.”

My heart overflowed. “Why do you love me?”

He rested his head against my shoulder. “Just because.”

Notes From My Journal

coffee, cup, laptop, memePen poised over November 1 in my journal, I’m sitting here wondering what happened to summer. It seemed entirely too short. One day it was hot, and the next–I’m wearing woolly socks and sweatshirts.

And I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

Speaking of quick turnarounds, my latest work-in-progress (conveniently set in the summertime), has surprised me twice. The first time, when my antagonist turned out to be not so antagonistic. Honestly, that one set off a chain of events I didn’t know how to tie up. Then today, an unexpected situation changed the entire ending I had planned. And quietly–just like that–everything in my story world fell into place. Don’t you love when that happens?

While we’re on the topic of love, my protagonist (the main character) is battling a huge crush. And no wonder. The guy I set in her way is not only great-looking, but smart, too. And he has a really great smile. 🙂

November is National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo)! Many of my writer buddies are using this time to work on their next novel. I’ve got ten more chapters to complete in mine, so maybe I better get clacking. That’s only about 25,000 words. I can do that. Sure.

November is also a month of thankfulness. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. How about you? What stands out for you? I hope you’ll drop me a note and let me know, so I can rejoice with you.

So, happy fall y’all. I’ll be back next week with another book review. I’m excited about this one, because it’s written by a very good friend of mine. A masterful suspense writer. She kept me on tenterhooks, nose to the page, far too long into the night hours. Ah! Another reason for an extra cup of java!

CLICK TO TWEET: Hello #Thursday Morning! What are you #thankful for? #amwriting

Next week – I will be reviewing Frozen Notes, by Fay Lamb, and there will be a giveaway! So stop back by, and join the conversation.

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The Glory of Life

2f111-shutterstock_85609522Outside my window, the maple trees are putting on a show of brilliant colors. Their last hurrah. Winter comes close on the heels of Autumn here.

There are things about each season I love. And things I don’t like so much–no need to talk about those. I love the cooler temperatures of Autumn. The crisp air of a Fall morning is energizing. The smell of the burnishing leaves, their crunch beneath my feet, all add to the season’s ambiance.

As the trees shed their leafy cover, gaps open up, and the bright sunlight spills through the windows, lighting up our rooms. Thus, revealing summer’s deposits of dust and cobwebs. Oops! Fall cleaning scheduled.

Autumn is especially poignant for me this year, as a dear friend prepares to make her final journey. I remember the Spring of her life, when as a bubbly cheerleader, she spread joy and sunlight wherever she went.

SeventiesChoir
We were so pastel…so…70’s…

I was a few years older, but we lived on the same street and attended the same high school. Later, we were both members of the same church youth group, and youth choir. At my wedding, she told me I was beautiful, and we (my husband and I) were like movie stars. It was all very romantic. She couldn’t wait for her day to come.

It did, several years later, when she married her best friend, another of our youth group and youth choir members. Still bubbly and outgoing, she had added a college degree and looked forward to a career in teaching. Soon she had a home classroom filled with three beautiful daughters. Blessed daughters, to have such a mother, who gave herself to their raising and training.

As she prepares to leave this life, her legacy of love and compassion lights our memories and warms our hearts. We’ll miss her, oh my, yes. But her light will never go out. As Fall’s glory fades into Winter’s chill, hope survives. Spring will come!

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. –2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV

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