Favorite Crunch Time Treats

When I want to pay tribute to a family member or friend I find myself in the kitchen creating. For some reason, I find myself thinking about that individual as I mix, blend and taste. This month, I celebrated a niece’s graduation from high school with a new cookie recipe my son’s bus driver gave me; and I honored a few father figures, who contributed to the many positives I have in my life, with a rhubarb crunch from my late Grandma Duris’ recipe box.

Nutella Cookies

These didn't last long!

My son’s bus driver is a favorite in my book. She gave this new cookie recipe to me a few days before the end of the school year. It’s from Come Cook with Me by Dorothy Zehnder and was published in the Detroit News back in April. Since Nutella is a staple in my pantry, it was a snap to bake these up a couple Saturdays ago. All of my cookie testers (i.e. children, husband, niece, etc.) gave these the thumbs-up. The bus driver received a dozen for giving me another reason to buy Nutella and for having a dynamite smile every time she brings my son home.

1 cup butter/margarine, softened

1 cup Nutella

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup white sugar

3 eggs

2.5 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups uncooked oats

1 cup coconut (I left this ingredient out and they were still delicious)

1 cup chocolate chips (for all-natural, try Ghirardelli‘s semi-sweets)

.5 cups dried cherries

.5 cups sliced almonds

1. Cream together butter, Nutella and sugars. Mix in eggs.

2. In separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into creamed mixture until everything is well blended.

3. Add all other ingredients and stir until everything is mixed well.

4. Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 350-degrees for 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and then remove to cool on rack.

Rhubarb Crunch

Ooh la la la!

For the 13 years we have been married, my husband has been begging me to make him some kind of rhubarb treat. I can relate. His late grandparents used to grow it in their garden just like mine did; and would make pies and other delicious desserts with it. Thankfully, my late Grandma Duris’ recipe box contained a couple superb rhubarb dessert recipes she was known for serving at family reunions. I created a rhubarb crunch, which I also brought for my mom and dad to sample last night. I don’t know the original source/creator of the recipe, but I believe my grandmother cut it out of the Detroit News or Free Press.

1.5 cups sifted flour

1.5 cups oatmeal

1 cup brown sugar

.75 cups melted butter

1 tablespoon cinnamon

4 cups diced rhubarb (I made mine with 2 cups rhubarb and 2 cups sliced strawberries)


1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Mix flour, oatmeal, sugar, butter, and cinnamon until crumbly. Press part of mixture into 9-inch square pan.

2. Put rhubarb in pan over crust.

3. Combine sugar, water, vanilla and cornstarch in saucepan. Cook until clear. Pour over rhubarb.

4. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for one hour. I prefer mine warm and with ice cream.





The Original Saturday Real-Life Escape

It began Saturday morning. I started the engine, set my music to the Black-Eyed Peas, and sped out of the driveway. Squealing my tires, I left my husband, children and dog for my sister and Hob Nob Pinot Noir. I escaped to the land of The Original Cottage Inn, Stucchi’s, the University of Michigan and flirty boutiques.

At The Original, my sister and I savored a child-free meal and traded strategies on how to avert meltdowns. Somehow food and drink tastes so much better without food strikes, projectile air launches, or requests for drink refills. Plus, nothing beats The Original. Just think about it. Does Ataris’ cover of Don Henley’s Boys of Summer measure up? Say what you want. It just doesn’t do it for me. The same goes for food. Mastery of artful, tasteful duplication is tough and not without peril.

Our escape route also included a trek through the campus at U-M, hunting for stylish spring accessories, and indulging at Stucchi’s. That scoop of cinnamon crumb cake was absolutely delicious; and worth every calorie and fat gram.

The original Saturday real-life escape was extra special with a visit to my sister’s home. There, I cuddled my nephew who is a bundle of six-month cuteness and discussed how challenging it was to catch leprechauns with my niece, Annalise. She even showed me the box she made for trapping them. Life is beautiful.