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.

No Greater Joy

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. Welcome.

I have officially renamed this post three times. Hah! And I am fully coffee’d up, so I can’t use that as an excuse. Speaking of coffee, I wish we could meet for a cup one day. I’d love to talk to you. Hey, we can, if you live nearby.

I’ve got a book signing at Barnes & Noble next week, and they have a cafe!

What is your greatest joy-producer? We have lots of things in this world that can bring us happiness (or take it away). But, joy runs deep and tends to last throughout the driest season.

We happen to be in a dry season right now. Everything’s looking pretty wilted and the temps are soaring past the 100-degree mark. Hot! The sun bakes the soil and cracks form along the surface, but down deep, water flows. You know it’s there, because the trees, whose roots run deep, are still green and healthy.

Are you deeply-rooted in a joy-producing life?

I hope so. But, if you’re experiencing a dry season, here are a few helpful suggestions:

  • Immerse yourself in the Word of God. Since joy is a fruit of the Spirit, it needs to be cultivated.
  • Singing praise and worship always lifts my heart. Find good music on YouTube or your favorite Christian stations or apps.
  • Pray and spend quiet time with the Lord. Find a quiet place to sit in His presence.

Joy is a choice you make. Doing any one of these things will help you. Making a regular habit of doing all of them will provide the growth you need to send your roots down deep.

Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you.

Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
    sing the glory of his name;
    give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
    So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you
    and sings praises to you;
    they sing praises to your name.” Selah [Psalm 66:1-4 ESV]

Click-to-Tweet: Are you deeply-rooted in a joy-producing life? No Greater Joy via @batowens #Joy #ThursdayInspiration

Throwback Thursday

It’s Throwback Thursday on Facebook, so I thought it would be a great time to repeat one of my favorite posts. This one is a showcase of Kentucky. A quick trip around the state and I don’t even mention some of the best places, like cave country and Lake Cumberland, among so many others. Sweet little places like Glendale, Kentucky and the Whistlestop Cafe. I could go on all day, but I won’t. So, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the ride:

Oh, Kentucky! I love my beautiful home state. Yes, it can be steamy-hot in the summer, but most of the time, it shines like an emerald. Some years, the grass stays green all winter. Last year, the neighbors were still mowing their lawns in December.

They call it bluegrass, but it’s really green. And honestly, bluegrass is not all that hardy. Many Louisvillians replaced it in their lawns, after an especially dry summer killed their bluegrass.

I love this picture! ❤

When most people hear the name Kentucky, they think of “My Old Kentucky Home,” horse racing, and a few famous drinks. But Kentucky is a lot more. We have plenty of lakes and mountains (small mountains) and rivers, and in between, lay peaceful rolling pastures lined with black fences. Follow the narrow roads–the scenic byways–and you’ll catch sight of some gorgeous animals, along with their equally beautiful abodes. These thoroughbreds live quite well.

Over the mountains and through the woods, you’ll find one of nature’s more incredible phenomenons–the natural bridges, along with some awe-inspiring scenery, as you approach our border with West Virginia.

Ever seen a moonbow? Certain times of year, you can witness one over Cumberland Falls (picture from many moons ago, and not at night, when the moonbow appears).

And a really big ark park. Encounter a replica of Noah’s Ark, in Williamstown, Kentucky, near Lexington and within easy distance of Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve never been, but we’re planning a trip soon. I’ll write an entire post, complete with pictures! 🙂

Photo by Karen Jurgens

We have a little cave–OK, a Mammoth Cave–situated near I-65, on the Green River. Hike through the underground caverns, then take a relaxing cruise on the river. No matter how warm it is outside, take a jacket or sweater, it’s cold underground.

Bardstown, Kentucky is a beautiful small town, one you won’t want to miss. My Old Kentucky Home is located there, along with some wonderful home-cooking restaurants. The countryside in all directions is scenic, sometimes breathtaking. Watch for deer, though. Especially early morning and early evening.

I’ve saved Louisville till last. Churchill Downs is open year round, though a lot more exciting in spring and summer. This resident has never attended a Derby, but I have been to the races on less hectic days. They also have a wonderful museum.

Visit the Louisville Slugger in downtown Louisville, if you’re into baseball, or just interested in seeing the big baseball bat (photo-op!). Located nearby, the beautiful Muhammad Ali Center, the Ohio River,  and its locks and riverboats.

Some of the top cuisine in America is located in Louisville. And we have a miles-long riverside park with a ped-bridge over the Ohio. Down River Road a ways, toward the beautiful new East End bridge, is a place called Captain’s Quarters, a restaurant best known for its scenic views and ambience. One of my favorite spots.

And there’s so much more.

I know, this sounds a bit like a travelogue. Can you tell I’m proud of my home state? (And I didn’t even mention basketball).  Yes, we’re land-locked. We don’t have ocean access, but if your vacation needs don’t require hot, sandy beaches, you might like it here. Especially if you love beautiful horses, lakes, and rivers.

By the way, this post is by no means an exhaustive list of the many places to visit in Kentucky. You’ll find that here: Kentucky Tourism.

Have you visited Kentucky? What’s your favorite attraction?

Click to Tweet: #Kentucky – a beautiful place to visit, and a nice place to live. #travel #ontheroad

Save

Save

Save

So Late So Soon

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”–Dr. Seuss

Well, if you think my blog post is late, you’re right. The time for coffee is well past, unless I’m having decaf. I think not. The truth is, I forgot it’s Thursday. Yep. The week went by so fast! I’m riding a wave and trying to stay balanced, when suddenly, there’s the beach.

Of course it’s Thursday. Good thing I went to work this morning. 🙂

But it’s Thursday afternoon!

So, in lieu of a long post, I’m sharing another wonderful quote from Dr. Seuss (author of the first real book I ever read). And I’ll leave you with my most recent meme. Yes, I’m still marketing the latest book.

If you’ve already read Annabelle’s Joy, please consider leaving a review at Amazon and Goodreads. Even a short review helps. It’s one of the most thoughtful things you can give a writer. And thanks so much for visiting my blog. I’ll try to be on time next week!

Click for More Info