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Touring Wisconsin Food

Tag: cookie recipe

Wisconsin’s CROP Walk Through Madison to Feed The Hungry

The other afternoon I listened to a radio interview with leaders and members of various U.S. churches. The interviewer wanted to know if people were giving less to churches and church food programs during these difficult economic times. The answer repeated around the country was, “No, giving levels are steady.” Cutting back on taking care of people in their community is not happening. When asked if the giving to soup kitchens and food pantries would likely decrease as times worsened, pastors replied that, to the contrary, hard times brought people together. We Americans look after each other. Our history verifies this. When soup lines grow longer, more people show up to cook and serve more soup.

This spirit of giving was evident this past Sunday in the Church World Services’ sponsored CROP Walk held in Madison, Wisconsin. Hundreds of people gathered at Covenant Presbyterian Church and walked 3.5 miles to raise money for local food banks and international hunger relief organizations. My children and I participated, but chose the shorter 1.5 mile route. People who wanted to raise money for food but couldn’t walk sat in rocking chairs in the church and “rocked for hunger”.

The atmosphere inside and out was one of camaraderie and fun. We were all happy to help in this small way and so glad that others were helping too. Our walk through Madison’s Tenney Park along Lake Mendota was gorgeous and a warm breeze blew through brightly colored, sunlit autumn trees. Upon our return we received the gifts of baked goods, fruit, juice, and bottled water donated and distributed by folks in other local organizations who wanted to help too. A band played music for us as we sat on the grass, resting and eating our treats.

But this snacking and walking followed the real efforts of raising the hunger-relief money by asking friends, neighbors and family to donate. The previous day, Lauren (9), Dave (5) and I rang neighbors’ doorbells, described the CROP Walk, and collected donations. Nearly every door that opened, also opened a checkbook. Rather than with economizing hesitation, people gave to our cause with approving encouragement.

None-the-less, it’s uncomfortable asking for money. There’s always the embarrassment of not having enough money oneself to meet the need. But the need of the world’s hungry is too great for individuals to address singly. We need each other. And so we come together.

To show our gratitude for the donations we collected, Lauren and Dave and I gave out homemade sugar cookies we had baked that morning. We made them in Halloween shapes and sprinkled them with coarse sugar and cinnamon. I used Helen Myhre’s recipe from her Norske Nook Cookbook. Helen’s delicious baked goods are a Wisconsin treasure. Farm-woman turned restaurant-owner and author, Helen has made her Norske Nook restaurant in Osseo, Wisconsin the place to go for cakes, pies, and treats. Helen’s sugar cookies are simple to make, and great to eat. Click on “Continue reading…” for Helen’s easy recipe.

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Healthy Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies Kids Crave

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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