The crossed silver spoon hooks on which I have chosen to hang the apron:
And the teeny weeny bluebird salt and pepper shakers on the table:
From the day that I met them in Orlando, Zach's family has made me feel comfortable and welcome. The cast is as follows:
The Maven: Zach's younger sister is charming, passionate, easy to talk to and a talented musician. She has the same sense of humor as her brother which is the quality I have always loved most about him.
Mr. Tennis: Zach's dad is lovable, kind-hearted, charismatic and generous.
Orlando Grandma: Mr. Tennis' mother is spunky, thoughtful and can make anyone laugh.
The Boston Lady: Zach's mom is smart, compassionate, encouraging and someone I look up to a great deal.
The Writer: This is The Boston Lady's nickname for her son about whom I have already said enough.
So here you have it: a guest blog by The Boston Lady. This post along with so many others can be found on her own blog, The Boston Lady. Enjoy!
When The Writer entered Kindergarten, he made a life-long friend who was a steady fixture in our house over the years. They were truly opposites. The Writer being somewhat quiet and introspective and his buddy, Elliott, a virtual whirlwind of activity and mischief. It ended up being such a special friendship not just for The Writer, but for our whole family. Elliott was just a part of our household and we liked to think of him as our second son.
The Writer and Elliott with their sax teacher, Mr. Wier circa 1999
When Elliott and The Writer were in middle school, I was the morning carpool driver. The boys will tell you those were somewhat hellish mornings waiting for our third carpool member, a female, to emerge from her house, always 10-15 minutes late. It was an exercise in patience and restraint. It was during these years that I started giving Elliott a little bag of homemade peanut butter cookies on his birthday. A tradition I've sworn to carry on as long as possible. Since Elliott still lived in O-town, this task has just been a matter of dropping the cookies off at his parent's house as I knew he would drop by there on his special day. I always got a phone call, or special thank you note from him declaring it was always his best birthday present. Well, I know my second son, and he is a flatterer, but I appreciated his appreciation nonetheless.
This year, Mr. Elliott is living in Oklahoma! Awaiting the birth of his baby girl! The Boston Lady had to think ahead this year. I extracted Elliott's address from him while he was in Orlando in December. I marked today as the day I would make THE cookies and Monday for mailing day so they would arrive to Elliott, Birthday Boy, Daddy-to-be, by Feb 3, his day of birth.
Elliott doesn't know the recipe I use. It's one I've modified over the years, but it is a classic peanut butter cookie recipe that I always use from a cookbook my mother gave me when I married Mr. Tennis in 1981.
The book always falls open to the peanut butter cookie recipe because I've used it so much over the years for school bake sales, Christmas cookies, family get togethers and of course the annual baking of Elliott's Bday cookies.
So here you have it:
My Second Son's Birthday Peanut Butter Cookies:
(From The Joy of Cooking)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
Beat until soft:
1/2 Cup of butter
Add the sugar gradually to the butter and blend until creamy.
1 Cup of peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Sift before measuring:
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
Add flour to batter as well as:
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.
I vary the recipe slightly by adding the vanilla when I blend the sugars and butters. It just seems to help them blend better. I also do not sift my flour. After everything is mixed together (in my Aunt Dot's bowl, using my mother's wooden spoon) I add a bag of Reese's peanut butter chips.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Press a fork into some leftover flour and press down cookies forming the usually seen grid pattern on peanut butter cookies.
Bake 10 minutes, let cool ten minutes and then remove from pan and let cool on some paper towels.
Happy Birthday Elliott!! Love, Your Other Family