Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fun at the Ranch and All My Favorite Cookies!

Tex here, fresh off of an invigorating weekend at the ranch. I love to go down there. Get away from the city and enjoy some of the simple things that you just don't get to do when you live in town. Like campfires and Polaris rides through the woods. 
Funny thing about the ranch, though, you just never know what you might find. 

Of course, these babies are expected this time of year. The pasture was full of calves.

And beautiful views are always welcome.

Don't see many of these little fellas, though.
Not sure how this baby mole managed to stray away from his mama, but he was still cute.

Much cuter than this guy.
I'm referring to the gator, not my son. Although Ryan would not agree. To say that he loves gators would be an understatement. So when this fella wandered into one of our ponds, Ryan couldn't wait to catch him. And, as you can see, he did just that. This was his farewell kiss, though. Little Buddy (yes,Ryan named him) went back to the pond after we took this pic. A few months later, he was gone.

Ryan has another passion, too. And I hate when these guys show up.
Yep, that's a Copperhead. As in poisonous snake. See the stick in Ryan's hand? He uses that to catch these disgusting creatures. Personally, I prefer a gun, but Ryan captures them, ogles over them, scares the fire out of us, then releases them into the woods. Hopefully the snakes are freaked out enough from being manhandled that they won't come back.


But enough about yucky things like gators and snakes. I'd much rather talk cookies.

You ever see a recipe and think, "I gotta try this?"

That's exactly what happened to me as soon as I perused this recipe.

I love cookies. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal... Which is exactly why this captured my attention. Why not combine them all?

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies. Sounds yummy, doesn't it? However, the name is a little misleading. They should call them Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. Kind of a mouthful, huh? And you know what's weird about these cookies? 

No flour. 

That's right. There is no flour in this recipe. However, there IS lots of flavor and fiber. So in my book, that makes them almost healthy. I mean chocolate is one of the major food groups, right? ;)

So here's what you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 cup rolled oats (not instant or quick - I used the old fashioned style)
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (I used my 60% cacao instead)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Cream together butter and sugars.
Nope, not looking to creamy to me either, but that's what the recipe said.

Add the vanilla, eggs and peanut butter.
Now we're looking creamy.
And, if you're a sucker for peanut butter like I am, this smells divine.

Stir in baking soda, oats and chocolate chips.
Yep, this is a work out. And I must forewarn those of you who like to sample their cookie dough like I do. You get started with this and you might not be able to stop. Oh. My. It was AMAZING.

Drop by 1/4 cupfuls (yes, you read that right) onto a cookie sheet.

Then partially flatten with your hand.

Bake 14-16 minutes. The cookies might not look done, but they'll continue cooking out of the oven.

Now came the real test. I was afraid they might be crumbly. Instead, they were soft and chewy. And oh-so-satisfying. One of these with a cup of tea about mid-afternoon and you'll be good until dinner. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
Our dogs like going to the ranch, too. And they always know when we're about to go. They see us bringing down suitcases and loading the car and they get all excited. 

Dixie, our golden retriever, has a special fondness for fish. Sometimes the boys will throw a few bass into the stock tank and Dixie will stay there for hours, chasing the fish round and round. Which is good exercise for this pudgie pup. She's even jumped in a time or two, though she doesn't hurt the fish. 
All she wants to do is play.

What did you do this weekend? Work or play? Did you watch the big game? Did you do something productive? Or did you kick back and enjoy doing nothing?


  1. Oh my gosh, I loved this post! I was ewwwwing at the baby mole, then falling off my chair at the gator (AND THE KISS), and then ogling that copperhead! (I have to say that your 'scaring the fire out of us' made me laugh out loud. I've never heard that phrase and it's a great one!)
    Cookies look good, too, but the wildlife (as seen through the eyes of a boy and a dog) was perfect!

    1. Yes, Ryan is the epitome of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. I blame the Crocodile Hunter, God rest his soul. Ryan adored that man. I mean he went into mourning when Steve Irwin died. So it really is true that you should be mindful of what your children watch when they're little.

      What's that you say, Virginia? Nobody's ever scared the fire out of you? Surely you jest. I mean, after all, you do have six kids. ;)

  2. Thank you for giving me a new appreciation for my Canadian winter weather. I will never complain again about snow or wind chill because that means we don't have any alligators up here!!!! And while I'm sure your part of Texas is beautiful I will never be visiting it any time soon. Snakes, gators...ack! I nearly hurled my breakfast. The cookie recipe looks divine...as long as I can separate from reptiles. Of course, if I want to be a hero at school I could show that gator kissing picture and win a few points with the boys. Shudder. You are a brave woman.

    1. Nope, no bravery here, Kav. Just a poor mom being railroaded by two sons. And you can come visit any time. You'll be safe, I promise. That was the first gator I'd seen in nearly twenty years. As for the snakes, well, we'll just have to take Ryan with us.

      But I know what you mean. I absolutely HATE snakes. And spiders. Wanna know something funny? Gator boy freaks out over spiders.

      Hmm...I guess I failed to mention the scorpions. Not deadly, but those stupid things are the bane of my existence.

      Okay, enough of that. Let's eat cookies. :)

  3. Saying yes please to the cookies and no thank you to the critters. LOL.

    1. I hear ya, Tina. Though the baby mole and the calves are kinda cute.

  4. Oh -- and I wanted to tell you that I made your brownies last week. Yum...but true confession time -- I left out the hot stuff. I know, I'm such a chicken!!!!!

    I have all the ingredients for these cookies and am in need of baking cookies for me and a friend who I gave coupons for a batch of cookies a month. This one will be February's cookie of the month! :-)

    1. Bock, bock, bock!!! Please tell me you at least added the cinnamon, Kav. Nonetheless, I'm glad you liked them.

      Make sure you don't overbake these cookies. I'm afraid they would turn crumbly then. And we don't want crumbly. We want soft and chewy. Right? :)

  5. Those cookies! No flour? But, oh, oatmeal and chocolate chips! I have to try these :)

    Now, about those critters. There's a reason we don't live in Texas anymore. Prayer is a powerful thing, and I can pray hard when I'm surrounded by the kinds of {{{shudder}}} things we dealt with in Texas. When God moved us back north, I missed my Texas friends, and the beautiful Texas skies, and the cowboys...but not the copperheads, scorpions, rattlers, and the bane of my life: cockroaches.

    Keep you critters down there, Mindy, and let your sons enjoy them. Meanwhile, pass the cookies! :)

    1. Consider them passed, Jan.

      We don't have a problem with cockroaches. (THANK YOU, JESUS!) Perhaps the occasional water bug, but they're usually dead on sight. As soon as I see them, I kill 'em. :)

      Scorpions? Well, that's another story. Never seen one at the house, but I've been stung numerous times at the camphouse. Heaven help them if I see them before they see me. :)

    2. I hate to tell you this, but water bugs ARE cockroaches. Well, wood roaches. Kissing cousins.

      Awful, awful things.

    3. And they don't live in SOUTH DAKOTA!!!!!

    4. Yeah, I know. They're all cockroaches and they're all awful.

  6. This is what keeps me in the north. My snakes are harmless. There are no crocodiles. I have no roaches here (The rats probably eat them!!!!)

    Our bug time is short, comparatively. Our waters are safe. And if it's not white outside, then it's usually green, north woods deciduous hardwoods.

    As much fun as it is to visit Texas and the south, Tex has just managed to explain why I don't live there.

    I know my limits, LOL!

    But the cookies look great, a lot like the almond butter ones I have scheduled for later this month and I promise, Mindy and I didn't call each other and plan this!

    The pictures are G-R-E-A-T. I love seeing Connealy's calves getting born in a blizzard (poor babies!!!!) and Ivan out there, dressed to hunt up half-frozen babies.

    The cute calves in the clean pen is a much more hospitable pic, LOL!

    1. Ruthy, there was this cute little black calf bouncing around the pasture this weekend. Tiny little fella, still had his cord. But his fur was fluffy and shiny new. So fun to see them like that. Not so cute when they grow up. Good eating, though. (sorry, Kav)

  7. I spent the weekend with 2 friends quilting and eating and visiting- we decided that none of us like salad or eating alone but with others it's delicious! now I'm playing catch up on the bog posts! and no way with gators or snakes - I'd want a gun too though I remember my mom and grandpa using hoes...shudder...