Paper and Ink Imaginings

just playing with paper and ink


Oatmeal Walnut Cookie Bars

oatmeal walnut cookie bars

This is my oatmeal cookie recipe, that I love to make into cookie bars.

Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats

Cream together butter/margarine and sugars. Beat in eggs, vanilla. Add baking soda, cinnamon and mix well. Mix in flour. Stir in walnuts. Finally, stir in oats.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet or baking pan.

Bake in 350 F oven for 10 – 12 minutes (cookies) or 20 – 25 minutes (cookie bars).



Tollhouse Cookie Bars with Mini M&M’s

m m tollhouse cookie bars

My mojo is here, but very worn out from whatever vacation it took away from me.

Yesterday, the most creative thing I did was baking. I made Tollhouse Cookie Bars, substituting Mini M&M’s for the Tollhouse Morsels.  I baked them in my Pampered Chef Stoneware Pan.

(I also scrubbed the kitchen floor and ran errands with Offspring3 – tasks I don’t consider very creative!)



Mini M&M Brownies

mini m m brownies

So, I am in a funk here.

Lack of motivation.

Loss of mojo.

Heavy sigh.

I think I watched half of “Grey’s Anatomy” season 5 (Netflix) on Sunday.  (I did laundry, weekly ironing, ran errands, and helped with brownies – not a total couch potato)

Offspring3 wanted to bake goodies for some school friends. We made a double batch of Baker’s Chocolate One Bowl Brownies, and sprinkled mini M&M’s on top (Target has 12 ounce bags, so I can use them for baking – YIPPEE!). Photo taken by Offspring3 prior to baking.

Have a good Monday.



Potato Salad

potato salad

I had to make some potato salad this past weekend. Just felt the need! My Mom gave me this recipe when I got home from Germany (not a family recipe, not sure where she found it). I was pregnant with Offspring2, and this was all I wanted to eat. Cravings are funny things! (With Offspring1, I craved Doritos, with Offspring3, it was Olive Garden all you can eat salad with house dressing.)

Originally, I liked that the recipe was for a small batch of potato salad. Now, I figure I am making the mess, I might as well make a big batch (and 2 of the 3 offspring give it a thumbs up). I used a 5 pound bag of Yukon Gold potatoes, and tripled the list of other ingredients.

Potato Salad

  • 4 cups of diced cooked potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • black pepper to taste

Have a great day!

Sour Cream Pound Cake

sour cream pound cake

Before Christmas, I made Sour Cream Pound Cake muffins (same recipe, just in muffin tins) specifically for my Dad (my Mom was on dietary restrictions, and she was not baking). Something went wrong in the baking process…I don’t know if I added my eggs too quickly (not enough mixing in between), or if my oven temperature was off. The muffins fell, and totally stuck in the Pam-sprayed tins. The broken pieces tasted fine, but were the wrong texture. No worries, we (including my Dad) ate as much of the batch as I could dig out of the muffin pans!

I’ve made the recipe in loaf pans twice since Christmas, with no problems. We ate (gobbled) the last of the second batch last night.

A family friend gave us the recipe years ago. This one from Taste of Home is almost the same: Taste of Home Sour Cream Pound Cake . (The recipe I use has 1/4 cup LESS sugar.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Mini Brownies

mini brownies

Hubby and I went to college town late Saturday afternoon to take Offspring1 and Offspring2 out to dinner. We haven’t seen them since their spring break (4 weeks), but we didn’t want to disrupt their schedules too much. Offspring1 suggested a restaurant named Sardi’s Pollo A la Brasa, that serves Peruvian Chicken (rotisserie chicken, similar to what we get from Giant or Sam’s). A VERY busy cafeteria style restaurant in an old Pizza Hut building. A bit loud. It was really good food. Sadly, Offspring3 was working and didn’t get to join us.

Of course I had to take a treat for the Offspring!

I love Baker’s Chocolate One Bowl Brownies – quick, easy. I used mini muffin tins (sprayed with PAM), and added a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of Nestle’s Mini Tollhouse Morsels to each one prior to baking. Baking time will vary, I think mine were in the oven for 18 minutes (and it was probably a minute too long).

Offspring1 and Offspring2 each got a disposable container of brownies (along with other supplies they had requested).

The Pillsbury Doughboy is so right, NOTHIN’ SAYS LOVIN’ LIKE SOMETHING FROM THE OVEN!



Macaroni Shrimp Salad – #lunch

shrimp salad

I am in the midst of emptying/cleaning/painting the master bedroom walk-in closet while hubby is on business travel.

I made this Macaroni Shrimp Salad two weekends ago. It is not my lunch today.

Offspring3 was watching YouTube clips of Jimmy Fallon as I went upstairs to take this photo…this one with Jonah Hill:


OK…back to #lunch above…

Husband requested a batch of Macaroni Shrimp Salad. He brought home some beautiful shrimp from our local Green Valley. I was not really feelin’ it, but I made it. Even without a gallbladder, the mayonnaise in this bothers me, so I was not planning on consuming much after the tasting to see if there was enough Old Bay Seasoning. But guess what?? The Old Bay was exactly what I needed to get me out of the mid-winter food blahs!

old bay canIn my recipe binder, this is labeled as “Aunt June’s Macaroni Shrimp Salad”, but Aunt June claims that Aunt Linda found the recipe on a box of macaroni way back in the dark ages (1960’s). It will always be Aunt June’s recipe to me! (right, cousin Pati??)

Here is the recipe that I found came the closest to what we make. It is not exact, but I am not giving away this family recipe! (sorry!) I will say, our version contains no onion, dill or chives. And I used a lot more Old Bay.  😉

Welcome Home Blog’s Macaroni Shrimp Salad

Thanks for stopping by!

Chocolate Trio of Treats

chocolate trio
I am volunteering in the high school guidance office again today. During this scheduling time (2.5 weeks in February… this is my 7th year volunteering for this annual process), the employees in Student Services bring in special lunches for everyone to share. They have always been gracious enough to invite me to eat with them on the days I volunteer. On Friday, I looked at the lunch schedule and spoke with the person responsible for today’s lunch, and offered to bring dessert. As long as CHOCOLATE was acceptable. 😉

I made Black Bottom Cupcakes (top right), Mini Cheesecake Bites (bottom), and Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting (top left).

Looks like a lot of work, right? Not really. I made the 2 parts to the Black Bottom Cupcakes recipe, but baked some of them individually (hence the Mini Cheesecake Bites and Chocolate Cupcakes). And I have already shared my favorite Fudge Frosting Recipe in THIS Chocolate Cupcake post from April 2013. I got 84 treats out of the single batch recipe today (I did aim to make them a little small – maybe my inner Top Chef thought we were doing an Amuse Bouche challenge!).

Rather than typing my Black Bottom Cupcake recipe , I found ALMOST the exact one at – Black Bottom Cupcakes Recipe . The difference – my recipe calls for a 12 ounce bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (to be added to the white part of the recipe). I normally get 60 Black Bottom cupcakes (mini muffin pans) out of the recipe.

Thanks for stopping by!

Mint M&M Chocolate Cookies

mint m&m cookies 2013

Mint M&M Chocolate Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups Mint M&Ms (plus more for decorating)

I drop the dough by teaspoon onto the cookie sheet, then decorate each lump with 3 M&Ms. Bake at 375 F degrees for 10 minutes.

YUM. Mint M&M bags are smaller than regular bags – 9.9 ounces. I used a bag and a half (between the 3/4 cup in the dough and the M&Ms to decorate the tops).

The snowman on the left is a German or Austrian smoker (Put lit incense inside, the smoke will come out the mouth near the pipe…in theory, anyway. I am not an incense burner – too many allergies!). The train ornament on the right is something my mother gave me in the mid to late 1970’s. It has a watch battery and plays “Jingle Bells”. Both are on the mantle in the family room this year.

Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter cookies 2013

Christmas baking season has begun here!

I made a double batch of peanut butter cookies, and rolled the dough balls in mixed sugars (granulated, decor blue) before baking.

Pillsbury Peanut Blossom Recipe

Obviously, I skipped the Hershey Kiss “blossom” with this batch. I will make another another double batch with Hershey Kisses.

My mother always made three kinds of cookies for Christmas – Tollhouse, Russian Tea Cakes, and Peanut Blossoms. These have a special place in my heart, if not my arteries!  😉 I copied the recipe into my recipe binder from the original insert that had come in a bag of Pillsbury’s Best Flour back in the 1960’s. I will have to ask her if she still has that piece of paper stashed in her cookbook.

Christopher Radko snowman ornament – I surf the internet for ornaments on sale Christmas day. Try Macy’s (Holiday Lane category) . (Have no fear, I am not abandoning my family or guests in the middle of the gatherings to go internet shopping…even after I have been up until 1:30 am wrapping gifts, I still seem to wake up at least an hour before any pre-agreed-upon Christmas morning wake up call.)

Santa mug – unknown origin (from my childhood).