One of these "connections" I have is a very special one to me, with a child named Nathan. Without delving into too much gory detail, he is a very withdrawn boy more at home in the corner with his nose in a book than in the middle of a group activity. He's quiet and hardly ever speaks to anyone, which makes him the target of pranks and offhand "jokes"... things that to outsiders shouldn't be a "big deal" but are absolutely devastating when they happen to you personally. Some of his "quirks" (such as refusing to drink milk or freaking out at the thought of cheese in his meal) drive the teachers to distraction, and unfortunately the outcome is usually that Nathan is told to "get over it".
My kitchen at work is now almost a "therapist's office" - a safe haven for both students and teachers alike. I get the kids who were angrily throwing materials in the classroom, and the ones in tears for reasons they refused to say. Likewise, I've had teachers on the verge of exploding with frustration and those so stressed out about their future that they were unravelling. It was in my kitchen that I had a chance to work with Nathan one-on-one, through good times and bad - and because I saw so much of my own withdrawn childhood in him we now connect in a way that neither annoys me nor frustrates him.
One of these "sessions" came about while I was baking off a batch of cookie dough for the toddler class - a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that came from my mother and had never yet failed me. The comforting, familiar smell wafting through the school had a calming effect on almost everyone, and for an hour at least things seemed a bit quieter at "the zoo". When Nathan came in (supposedly for a glass of water, but I have my doubts), he was so enthralled by the thick, chewy, sprinkle-filled cookies that he quietly, but determinedly, asked me if I would please make them for his class soon. And I did... the next day.
I could have called these magical treats "Mrs. Mac's Cookies" as well, as the same recipe became the first cookie that teacher (a brilliant woman of almost 60) ever made! Simple enough for two year old's tastebuds and complex enough for the more sophisticated adults, a multigenerational, multicultural snack perfect for parties, packed lunches and picnics is easier than ever - and you don't have to be the popular, athletic kid to enjoy them.
This week's #SundaySupper is taking place in a grassy, sunny park on a comfy gingham blanket... that's right, we're having a picnic! There are lots of recipes in our picnic basket this week for some seriously good, perfectly portable food. Check out all the treats below! The event this week is hosted by Katy of Happy Baking Days - thanks Katy!
Salads and Slaws:
- Bacon Ranch Potato Salad from Juanita’s Cocina
- Caprese Spinach Salad from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Chicken Chopped Salad from Table for Seven
- Cold Pea Salad from Shockingly Delicious
- Creamy Potato Salad with Roasted Pears, Cilantro and Romano Cheese from Gourmet Drizzles
- German Potato Salad from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Hawaiian Cole Slaw from Curious Cuisiniere
- Italian Chopped Salad from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Kale Pasta Salad from Hip Foodie Mom
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Mizeria (Polish Cucumber Salad) from From Fast Food to Fresh Food
- PA Dutch Pepper Cabbage from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Pineapple Slaw from I Run For Wine
- Spaghetti Salad from Country Girl in the Village
- Tortellini Pasta Salad from Supper for a Steal
Sandwiches and Mains:
- Avocado Chicken Salad Sandwich from Momma’s Meals
- Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Tomato Sandwich from Magnolia Days
- Grilled Bratwurst and Onion Open-Face Sandwiches from The Urban Mrs
- Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Green Goddess Sauce from Foxes Love Lemons
- Herbs-Garlic and Parmesan Croissants from Basic N Delicious
- Indian Spiced Chicken Drumsticks from Soni’s Food
- Japanese Picnic Bento Box from The Ninja Baker
- Mini Chicken Salad, Avocado and Cheese Subs from Big Bear’s Wife
- Moroccan Fried Chicken from MarocMama
- Pepper, Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Quiche from Happy Baking Days
- Picnic Basket Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Noshing with the Nolands
- Salmon in a Jar from Healthy. Delicious.
- Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Spam Musubi fromKimchi Mom
- Apricot Oat Nut Bars from Pies and Plots
- Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispie Treat Pops from In The Kitchen With KP
- Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Fruit Salad from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Fruit Salad with Honey Port Drizzle from Family Foodie
- Loaded Butterscotch Bars from Vintage Kitchen
- Nathan’s Cookies from What Smells So Good?
- Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treat Truffles from Chocolate Moosey
- Shandy Popsicles With Raspberries from Ruffles & Truffles
- Texas Sheet Cake with Pecan Frosting from Food Lust People Love
- Triple Chocolate Punch Bowl Cake from Neighborfood
- Fresh Limeade with Chia Seeds from girlichef
- Pineapple Sangria from Growing Up Gabel
- Strawberry Basil Lemonade from The Messy Baker Blog
- Strawberry Lemonade from Gotta Get Baked
- Top 10 Wines for Picnic #SundaySupper from ENOFYLZ Wine blog
- Watermelon Agua Fresca from Daily Dish Recipes
You can join in the chat on Twitter too: we’ll be tweeting throughout the day and sharing all of our picnic recipes. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. To join in, just follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets. You can also check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and photos.
Nathan's Cookies (Chewy Chocolate Chip Sprinkle Cookies)
Makes about 55
1 ½ cups non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
2 cups packed dark brown sugar (I like Demerara,any high molasses kind will do)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp pure vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp honey
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tbsp baking soda
½ tbsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 cups chocolate chips (nothing fancy, really - Hershey's works perfectly!)
¼ cup multicoloured sprinkles
- In a bowl, cream the shortening, sugars, milk and vanilla until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, egg yolk and honey, beat well.
- Add the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, beating until just blended.
- By hand, stir in chocolate chips and sprinkles.
- Cover the surface of the dough with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Scoop cookies (about 1 ½ - 2 tbsp each) onto parchment-lined sheets 3 inches apart.
- Bake 9 - 11 minutes for chewy cookies, or 12 to 15 minutes for crisp cookies.
- Cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to rack to cool completely.
Total Fat: 8.6 g
Cholesterol: 10.1 mg
Sodium: 7.2 mg
Total Carbs: 22.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 1.6 g