My daughter’s school is nearly fanatical about forbidding fattening foods in the classroom. The school’s restrictions on permitted snacks suggest that each eight-year old suffers from advanced heart disease and diabetes due to obesity. I agree with limiting sugar-intake in children. Like a hawk, I scrutinize what my children eat. (And I’m just amazed at how much sugar they can consume in one sitting.) Unlike the once-a-year penny-candy stick Laura Ingalls Wilder received in the Little House On The Prairie, sugar treats are continually dispensed in our modern world. My kids’ hairdresser rewards them with Tootsie rolls. The pet shop clerk offers them Mounds bars. Our wonderful neighbors send over cookies and candies to show their affection. Thus, I applaud the school’s attempt to put the brakes on sugar ingestion, despite the feeble impact these rules may have. At least the rules counter-balance our cultural practice.

But as any veteran dieter will tell you, one good binge undoes weeks of progress. So it was on Valentine’s Day. Lauren returned from school with a sack-full of candy. No longer do children simply exchange tiny Valentine’s cards, most also pass out candy. All the well-intentioned rules were ignored, except by Ryan’s mother.

Ryan’s valentine came in a baggy with a cookie and a printed recipe. Lauren announced that these were “The BEST COOKIES EVER!” “Can’t we make them, Mom? PLEASE!!!”

The recipe surprised me. It both conformed to the school’s regulations about sugar and fat content, AND Lauren liked it. The cookies were mostly oats, cranberries, and apricots, – foods that Lauren typically disdains. The sugar and flour content was minimal. But they were laced with mini-chocolate chips, so maybe that’s why she deemed them beyond acceptable.

Thus, when it was time to celebrate “C-Day” we chose to make these Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies. Once a week Lauren and Dave and I celebrate a letter in the alphabet. (We’re trying to ready Dave for kindergarten.) I bake something that starts with the special letter, while Lauren and Dave write the letter and paste it on the door. Then Dave collects things around the house that begin with the letter and places them in our special alphabet box.

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