Lizzard Loves Blue Sky Snow Covered Vail

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Baking & Helping

I love baking. 
You already know this though. 
I also love helping. 
You might also already know this.

Chewy and good Chocolate Chunk with
Walnuts Cookies
On Monday, I baked a new recipe for the first time that I found on Smitten Kitchen. If you don't at least occasionally look at Smitten Kitchen, check it out - the recipes are delicious & the blog is beautifully photographed. The recipe I tried is here. I chopped up the remains of 3 different dark chocolate bars and sprinkled the dough balls with sea salt before I baked them. I chose to use toasted walnuts.

These cookies were baked as a thank you treat for the nurses working 12 hour shifts taking care of my mother in law, Barb, at the Crozer Hospital ICU. Barb had a 13 hour long surgery on Thursday and has been in the ICU since. Things are touch and go. Chris & I flew to be with my father in law Rich, my sisters in law Jen & Beth and be by Barb's bedside during the annoyingly strict visiting hours. More family came to visit throughout the weekend & week which was comforting indeed.

Why do I bake for the nurses? I bake to tell them they are seen, appreciated & needed. To try to bribe them into giving Barb even better care than they already are. As insurance against anything less than compassionate and gentle care. Also, to keep myself calm amid the storm. My husband's family (myself included here) are in a terrible middle ground of waiting. We don't know what the future holds for Barb. She remains sedated & stable in her bed in the ICU. Vital signs remain normal. No one knows what is next. It is horrible. As much as I know the care the nurses & doctors are giving Barb is great, the place is not. The ICU restricts the hours you can visit your loved one, it restricts the number of people who can visit at a time (only 2), and feels like a cold and lonely place. I am incredibly scared and sad and stressed and my heart hurts each time I think of my mother in law spending a big part of everyday away from all of those who love her. 

So I bake. I bake bread, I bake cookies, I bake whatever comes to mind. I want to offer my family in law the best of what I have to offer. The best I have to offer pretty much always comes in the form of edibles.

I am home from Philly now. I am still baking. Approximately no one should be shocked by this. The nurses will get 2 more deliveries of cookies when Chris returns to his family on Saturday. One of my most favorite cookie recipes of all time; Salted Oatmeal Dark Chocolate from Real Simple. I swap out the shortening in favor of melted coconut oil. If you make them - please don't over-bake them. They should be pretty darn pale when you take them out of the oven. They retain their chewiness best if they don't brown in the oven. 

Salted Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies
If anyone has any tips for handling an ongoing medical crisis; I am open to them. I'm sure that some of you have dealt with similarly sick family members and I'm sorry for that. I'm hoping you can share some advice about how you dealt with the sadness & stress. If you have spare good thoughts & prayers; please send them Barb's way. She is heroically strong and has made it this far - but every little bit helps. Thanks all and as always; happy baking.
Close up of the Salted Oatmeal Dark Chocolate
Cookies to show how the chocolate erupts out
of them. I love how it does that.

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