Just prior to my high school graduation, awards were announced with the entire school packed into our basketball gym. My cheerleading and scholastically equipped friends were called up to receive coveted college scholarships, cash prizes and certificates of various descriptions. Then, my name suddenly rang out through the mic:
“The award for Home Economics goes to Jennifer Clay!” OMG – are you kidding me? Somehow, I had received this, in my opinion, less-than-coveted award, and I was totally embarrassed! It was obvious that my Home Ec teachers saw something in me that I did not see in myself. My soon-to-be mother-in-law jokingly nicknamed it the “Sterling Silver Egg Beater Award”. That added to my misery!
Fast forward forty-eight years, and I can see, in looking through my rear view mirror, that this award was actually very relevant to my life! Back in the “good old days” junior and senior high schools actually offered Home Economics courses that helped to prepare students to live on their own – to prepare tasty meals, sew their clothes, even clean and decorate their soon-to-be dorm rooms and apartments. These classes were not gender sensitive as both boys and girls were included. I had taken every course offered from 7th through 12th grades. And apparently, without knowing it, I had done pretty well!
So, how did all those classes and the “Sterling Silver Egg Beater Award” play out in my life? For many years, I continued to make most of my clothes. My parents had gotten a divorce when I was 17 years old, and that was how I kept my wardrobe, including prom dresses, fresh. When I moved into my own apartment upon graduation, I was able to sew curtains and pillows, bedding, plus more clothes, and keep myself fed. When my children were young, I happily hung wall paper, sewed their quilts, smocked dresses, made pillows, and jumped on just about every decorating bandwagon that came along. And, I have kept up the whole decorating thing to this very day! (I can’t imagine a woman without a sewing machine!) Check out my blog post, The Official Do’s & Don’ts of Decorating In The Round.
My baking skills continue to outweigh my desire to cook, as evidenced by the dozens of recipe books, files and notebooks I possess. While working as the Buyer/Operations Manager for a non-profit on the San Bernardino National Forest, I won an employee Bake Off Challenge with my spectacular “Berries In A Cloud” recipe. I even started my own cleaning and decorating business a few years after moving to the Big Island, sharing my goodies with my clients. Then, an interesting thing happened…It occurred to me that I would rather sell those homes than clean them. Hence, I became a Realtor®! I soon discovered that my Home Ec talents benefited my buyer and seller clients too.
Now, as a member of a brokerage office, most recently Coldwell Banker Island Properties Keauhou, I love to share my favorite recipes with my co-workers. Whipping up a batch of tasty cookies or brownies just feels natural to me. And I love the look on my fellow Realtor’s® faces when I carefully pull back the foil to present the goodies of the day! My favorite recipe is Oatmeal Crisp Cookies, a recipe shared by a neighbor at least 35 years ago. These cookies are crisp on the edges, yet chewy in the middle. The unique combination of Rice Krispies, healthy oatmeal, chocolate chips and plenty of butter make them irresistible! Almost without fail, someone will beg me for the recipe, of which I happily share. I have brought these cookies to office meetings, open houses, gift exchanges, even on our Christmas Office Cruise! It does my heart good to share these fruits of my labor.
So, now I am happy to share this coveted recipe with you! Enjoy…
PS – Exactly what did I receive as the Home Economics Award? Turns out it was likely the most valuable award presented, two five-piece place settings of sterling silver flatware. I hung onto the flatware until I was preparing to marry five years later. I was working as a floor manager for a department store, and was able to trade in those 10 pieces for 45 pieces of the flatware of my choice! Not bad, not bad at all!!!
Oatmeal Crisp Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 cubes of softened butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cups chocolate chips
2 cups Rice Krispies
Optional: 1/2 cup raisins and/or 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla with your mixer until creamy. Add flour, salt, baking powder and soda. With a wooden spoon, carefully add oatmeal, Rice Krispies and chocolate chips (plus optional ingredients if you choose). Be careful… You don’t want to crush the Rice Krispies!
Drop spoonfuls 2” to 3” a part onto baking sheets and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Pull the cookies out when the edges are lightly browned and the centers are still a pale yellow. Don’t overbake! Immediately remove cookies from pan and cool on waxed paper or a cutting board. Yummy when still warm.
Hint: You can keep the batter in the refrigerator and bake one sheet daily. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc baggie. PS – Don’t forget to share!