Jumbo Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

Jumbo Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

Golden Raisins and sweetened coconut make these hand-sized oatmeal cookies extra chewy.

These yummy treats will turn nearly anyone into cookie monsters. When we served these at a gathering where several children were present who are known for being very picky eaters, they couldn’t get enough of our cookies. In fact, one of our favorite little 3-year-old friends grabbed a handful of them before leaving the party. We laughed as his eyes darted around the room to make sure no one noticed what he’d done before he escaped his “covert operation.” We know your guests will want to swipe some for themselves too, so be sure to make plenty to go around!

PREP: 20 minutes + 30 minutes chill time
BAKE: 20 minutes + 5 minutes cool time

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups golden raisins
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut or 1 cup unsweetened coconut and 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium glass bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Add oats, raisins, coconut and cinnamon; beat just until combined.
  3. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Drop level 1/4-cup measures of dough, 1 ½ inches apart, onto baking sheets.
  5. Bake until cookies have spread and are golden brown and soft to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

TIP: You can also freeze unbaked cookies and bake them later. Place unbaked cookies on baking sheets and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Transfer to resealable plastic bags (label and date); keep up to 6 months. Bake as many as you need (without thawing); place 1 1/2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

YIELDS: 2 dozen

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Diana’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Diana's Peanut Butter Cookies

Indulge your sweet tooth with Diana’s Peanut Butter Cookies. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

One of our all-time favorite comfort foods is peanut butter. And who doesn’t love cookies? Marry the two, and you come up with a scrumptious treat that never stays in the jar for long! Your family will devour these before you know it, so you may need to double the recipe. We can’t lay claim to this yummy version though. Our maid of honor and one of our dearest friends shared this with us. But they are simply too good to keep to ourselves! Read more of this post

Celebrate our planet this April

April 2011

Earth Day is in our hands 2011

Earth Day is celebrated worldwide on April 22, although it may be commemorated on other dates in your community.

Dear friends,

Despite tax season, April is a fun month. The weather is generally a little warmer, spring is officially in full swing, and people’s spirits are generally much better than they were during the chilly winter months. Plus there are several great events to look forward to!

As we’ve told you before, one of our favorite charities is the Nature Conservancy, whose motto is “Protecting nature. Preserving life.” This year in celebration of Earth Day (on April 22nd), they are encouraging all of us to get outside, have fun and explore nature as a family. They’re also urging people to “picnic for the planet,” by hosting picnic meetups in 199 cities around the globe.

The Earth Day Network is also urging people to pledge to live and act sustainably. You can find great resources about how to reduce your carbon footprint on their Website, find ways to get involved and can even make donations to the cause.

But Earth Day also means the release of a brand new film from Disneynature, African Cats! The film follows two feline families striving to make a home in the wildest place on earth. See African Cats during opening week, and Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to protect the savanna these cats call home. And before you watch the movie, be sure to visit the African Cats Website for educational information and downloads that can help you teach your children about the science and geography themes in the film.

And if you’re in Cincinnati, you can join us down at Sawyer Point at noon on Saturday, April 16th for the 41st Anniversary Celebration of Earth Day! There will be tons of stuff to see and do for the entire family, including animal presentations featuring an aquarium and petting zoo, a rock-climbing wall, great food and live music.

Then, on Friday, April 29th, head on down to Great American Ball Park for UC Night at the Reds! The Reds will take on the Florida Marlins and the park will be packed with UC alumni. Buy reduced rate tickets, then be sure to show up early for the pre-game activities and FREE giveaways in the Reds fan zone!

The reptile house at the Cincinnati Zoo during Zoo Blooms

Color explodes at the Cincinnati Zoo during Zoo Blooms throughout the April 2011.

Get out your garden gear and prepare to plant a tree, because the 29th is also Arbor Day. For those of you who aren’t sure what the Arbor Day Foundation is or how the day gained popularity across America, you can check out two articles Jathan wrote last year about the trees in our lives and the origins of Arbor Day on his philanthropy blog, Some People’s Lives.

April is also a great time to start planning your summer garden. You can visit the Cincinnati Zoo for ideas during the entire month of April as the park explodes with color during Zoo Blooms. This event always fuels our imaginations, particularly since spring makes us anxious to plant tons of herbs, veggies and flowers of our own. Because we plant the majority of these plants in containers, be sure to watch for a future blog post about that. We’ll give you some great tips on gardening, including inexpensive ways to make your yard look phenomenal!

And in case you missed them, be sure to explore our site for great food ideas, including everything from kitchen basics like heart-healthy Chicken Broth to our favorite Southern Fried and Southern Barbecued Chicken recipes. Then check out family favorites like Tomato Soup with Mozzarella Croutons, Classic Cinnamon Buns and No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Cookies. If you love Italian cuisine, try our authentic Italian Minestrone and Rigatoni with Rapid Ragu. For something spicy, kick up the heat with Hoppin’ John, a traditional Southern dish with just the right amount of heat. There’s something for everyone on Jathan & Heather!

So what are you waiting for? Get outside, commune with nature, plant a tree, take a picnic, watch a game, or plan your garden. It’s spring, and there is no better time to enjoy the great outdoors!

Love,
Jathan & Heather

p.s. Watch the preview to African Cats below!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Cookies

No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Cookies

Quick and simple to make, these no-bake cookies riff on traditional Rice Krispies treats, but add the deliciousness of peanut butter!

As both a child and an adult, two of my favorite snacks have always been Rice Krispies treats and peanut butter. So what could be better than marrying the two? In this simple no bake cookie recipe, these flavors blend wonderfully with sugar and vanilla to create a no-fuss cookie guaranteed to put smiles on kids of all ages.

PREP: 5 minutes
COOK: 10 minutes
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups salted peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups Rice Krispies
DIRECTIONS
  1. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with wax paper or baking parchment. Place the corn syrup and sugars in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  2. Stir in the peanut butter and mix well to combine. Quickly stir in the vanilla and Rice Krispies. Spread into the lined baking pan. Cool and slice into squares.
YIELDS: 16 squares
© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.

Fudgy Brownies

Fudgy Brownies

Rich, thick and chewy, our Fudgy Brownies are a decadent and delicious treat your family will love.

We have tried a lot of different brownie recipes in our time. But this is the one that we always come back to. These are thick and moist and impossible to put down once you sink your teeth into their sticky goodness. We guarantee that your family will love this delicious treat!

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for foil
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with foil; butter foil. Set aside.
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, stir frequently, until almost melted. Remove from heat; stir until completely melted.
  3. Whisk in sugar and salt until smooth; whisk in eggs. Gently whisk in flour just until smooth (do not overmix). Fold in nuts, if using.
  4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (they should form a ball when rolled between your fingers), 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  5. Use foil to lift from pan; peel off and discard. Cut into 16 squares.

Yields: 16 servings.

© 2010 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.