Thursday, April 14, 2011

Warning: Weight Gain Ahead

In one of the comments on Tuesday’s post, my friend Kim expressed some concern about possible weight gain with the “kids in the kitchen” experiment. If you are in some turmoil about whether such a thing would happen, please let me put your mind at ease.

You will, most assuredly and without a doubt, gain weight during this experiment.

In addition, you will eat far more helpings than you are actually hungry for and gulp down multiple cookies when your stomach wants just the one. Basically, you’ll give yourself permission to gorge guiltlessly all in the name of boosting your child’s self-esteem.

“No, I won’t,” I hear you whisper under your breath.

Yes, you will. Why?

Because when you begin to lay your fork down in surrender to a pleasantly content belly, they will look at you with those large, needy eyes, silently whimpering, “You didn’t really like it after all. I knew you were just acting or else you would have cleaned your plate like you always do at Red Robin when they give you those huge burgers the size of your head and a bushel basket full of fries and you eat every last bite and moan and complain about how full you are but then you say it was so worth it because it tasted so good. The plate of pasta I gave you was barely the size of your right hand and you’re not even close to finishing that. I knew I was a crappy cook.”

And so you will pick up your fork again, saying “Whew, I just needed to give my arm a rest because my bicep was aching from all that eating! Honey, can send the pot this direction because I want to load up my plate; it’s looking barren.” And their eyes will soften and fill with love, and your bulging mid-section will seem such a small sacrifice for the great acceptance they feel at that moment.

Honestly, though, the whole experiment is truly a labor of love in many ways. Please don’t imagine the Smucker kitchen is all fun and giggles each night as we cook together. More than once I have uttered “could you watch what you’re doing and stop making such a mess” or “you’re the one who picked out this recipe so you’re the one who has to stand at the stove stirring it for 15 minutes so I really don’t care if you arm does fall off.” I’m no Ma Ingalls, especially at the end of a day full of whiney babies, more loads of laundry than I care to disclose, and 4 hours of homeschooling. But still, they love it…and so do I.

In honor of the approaching Easter holiday, I thought I’d pass this recipe your way. Lucy chose to make this on Monday after her Primavera Pasta. It’s not mind-boggling in it’s complexity or sophistication. It’s basically butter, sugar, and M&M’s…so just be prepared to eat at least half a dozen.

Consider yourself warned.

Lucy’s M&M Easter Cookies (adapted from The Great American Bake Sale Cookbook)

14 tbsp. butter, softened (you’re looking at 2 tbsp. shy of 2 sticks)
¾ c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 ¾ c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ c. Easter-themed M&M’s

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Then add the vanilla and egg. Next, mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the M&M’s. Drop large spoonfuls (I’m talking heaping tablespoons) onto greased (or Teflon-covered) baking sheet. On a complete side-note, if you do a lot of baking and do not have one of these Teflon sheets I’m talking about, please forgo your morning latte from Starbucks for about three days and then use the money to purchase one. Okay, back to the business at hand…

Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. The centers might still be a bit doughy, but no worries, my baker-friend; they will firm up once out of the oven. Just let them set on the sheet for a couple of minutes before you move them to a rack to cool.

They’re cute. They’re buttery. And they contain chocolate. Time to get on your stretchy pants, folks.


  1. HA!! Love this post and it's so so true. Another strange occurrence that I didn't expect was the sheer amount of MEAT we will be consuming. John and I choose to cook vegetarian about 4 times a week (both for budget and health reasons) All of the meals the kids have chosen are very very meat based dishes. I might have to hide certain cookbooks from them next time. :) (Although I must admit that Gabriel's pork chops last night were scrumptious, as were his cream laden mashed potatoes...helloooo stretchy pants.)

  2. How fun, Kim! I'm so glad Gabriel's first meal went well (though I am sorry that stretchy pants will now be the new norm). And I like the idea of hiding certain cookbooks; I will definitely be adopting that tactic.

  3. Awesome, Maile. So awesome. I expect my mom ate far more than her fill of all the concoctions my bro and I made. That's a good memory. Thanks.