It’s Saturday morning and the rain outside is falling gently, greening the grass before my eyes. It is cool and wet, and a good day to stay indoors. I hear my yellow bowl calling me.

So I’m in my kitchen, staring into my cupboard at that huge bag of quinoa that I bought the last time I was in the city. I’ve tried a few quinoa recipes off the net, and so far, not so happy. I could try this one more time, I think, or, I could do something tried and true.

When I was a little girl I loved getting off the school bus and walking into our bright orange kitchen, especially if it was perfumed with the smell of my mom’s good cooking. And if the scent was chocolate chip cookies, well … pure happiness! The ultimate comfort food from back in the day, before anyone had heard of high cholesterol and gluten-free was not a household term.

This was my mom’s recipe:

Mom’s Original Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups shortening

4 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

4 tsp vanilla

Beat above until light and fluffy. (Would you believe I’m still using the little hand mixer I got as a wedding present from John and Carol Harvey? True story. And it’s still going strong, although I have been having quite the exotic dreams about a big, beautiful Bosch mixer.)


4 cups flour, sifted (Truthfully, I’ve never sifted flour in my life.)

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt

Stir in 4 cups chocolate chips. (Yes, 4 cups!)

Drop from teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

I’ve probably eaten a billion of these cookies over the years, and I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count. But in the past few years, I’ve been trying, you know, to be a little healthier. So here is the updated version of this recipe that I make now:

Mom’s New and Improved Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups butter or margarine

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

4 tsp vanilla

Beat above until light and fluffy. (I know, it’s not much different yet. But just wait!)


4 cups whole wheat flour (I do this recipe with whole wheat all the time and I promise you, the kids won’t even know the difference. And if you have a wonderful friend who will grind you some fresh organic spelt that you can use … even better!)

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt (I use skimpy teaspoons, because it can be a little salty if you do the full amount.)

Mix it all together and then, before the temptation is too great, hand the beaters to whichever child is closest!

Stir in 2 cups chocolate chips, plus 2 cups of whatever else you have hanging around your kitchen. Today I used pecans, but I’ve used dried cranberries, walnuts, coconut … pretty much anything you like will work.)

Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheets. (They do spread a bit, but I still pile a bunch on each cookie sheet. Like 16 or 20 at a time. I’d rather have them a little squarish from cozying up with their neighbours than be baking cookies all day.) Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

And if you have a cool old green ice cream pail from, say, an Aunt Viv to store these in, then … you and I have both had a perfect rainy Saturday morning.

(And hey, if you have a great quinoa recipe, please share!)

You may have heard me talk about it before, my grandma’s yellow bowl. I think of her every time I use it, which means I think of her almost daily. I love using this bowl, because it says so much to me about who she was. Practical, hard-working, loving, generous. All of this is summed up for me in this old, well-used, scratched yellow bowl.

Today the yellow bowl is mixing cranberry/oatmeal/pecan cookies. We love these cookies here. We love them so much that I always make a quadruple batch. Overflowing goodness.

This is my wish for you this Saturday. That whether your day holds sadness, joy, grief, laughter, pain, or peace … that you will somehow feel the connection, the love, the goodness that I feel from this simple, yellow bowl.

Ross Family Favourite Cranberry Oatmeal Pecan Cookies (quadruple sized)

2 cups butter

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (I’ve been decreasing the sugar amounts each time I make this, and will likely decrease again next time.)

1 1/2 cups white sugar

4 eggs (or three, if that’s all you have in the fridge ’cause you used the rest up making the morning pancakes)

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp nutmeg

6 cups oats

2 cups dried cranberries

2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In your own personal version of the big yellow bowl, cream butter and sugars, add eggs and mix. Add flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg and mix (I use my electric mixer). Add oats, cranberries, and pecans and stir with a big ole spoon. Drop by heaping tablespoon onto cookie sheets and flatten each cookie a bit with your palm. I make these babies BIG. I fit twelve of them on a cookie sheet.

Cook for about 20 minutes until the edges are a bit brown. Let cool a bit, and enjoy!