Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Return to Normalcy, Kind Of

I am feeling much better now, compared to my last pissy post. Last Sunday, I went to my Mom's ruined home by myself and dug through the debris and piles of still-good stuff. The insurance people are doing their job, which is to pack up and clear out the remaining items, clean them and then after the reconstruction is done, they will return the cleaned items to the home. I went back to gather some things to bring here, because as I said before, my Mom does not want to return there, and will sell the house as soon as it is fixed up. When the home sells, she will retire and come to live with us.

I am not kidding when I say I have 25 big, black garbage bags full of burned and wet items to sort through, sitting outside in our driveway. When the firemen came to put out the fire, they threw everything outside of the home, that included everything from dishes, clothing, furniture and lots of my Mom's personal papers with her private information-- banking account numbers, social security, everything! The reconstruction crew shoveled everything into the garbage bags and left it outside. I felt panicky having it all out there, so easy for someone to walk by, take a look inside a bag and pluck out an envelope or piece of paper with Mom's info on it. We were lucky enough to have a friend with a flat-bed trailer who was willing to load up all the bags on it and drive it 2 hours away to our home. Both Mom and I feel better knowing they are here, even though the insurance people haven't seen it and can't claim it for reimbursements.

Anyway, now that my Mom has returned to work, it is up to me to sort through the bags and I try to do at least 2 a day. A good half of it is ruined but there are salvageable things, clothing that can be washed, hard goods like pyrex bowls and silverware are fine, if they weren't broken when they were thrown outside and then shoveled into the bags. Most of the paper goods though, are not save-able-- I throw books away, they are too thick and wet to burn in the fire pit, but anything with a name or personal info on it gets burned. Clothing that got burned get the buttons snipped off and I saved a few shirts for crafting projects; some only had a sleeve burned but the rest of it was fine, so the material can be recycled into something else.

I am trying to balance our home life while sorting through burned items and helping my Mom out. My husband has been so great with handling all the phone calls to various people and for that, I am grateful I married a hearing man. Relay services for the Deaf are great, but it's much easier to do person-to-person calls instead of third-party calls.

In an attempt to return to normal, I made cookies with the girls yesterday and they were so good, I had to share the recipe.

The minute I opened the oven door to see if the cookies were done, I could tell they were going to be good just by looking at them! They had that crinkly look to them and boy oh boy, I couldn't wait to eat one.

I modified the recipe to suit what I had on hand and the girls are constantly asking for another cookie. Even the Husband is raving about these cookies and telling me if I ever had a bake shop (which we dream about sometimes), I ought to include these cookies. It made just about 4 dozen cookies and between the 5 of us, the last cookie got eaten a little while ago. If you make these, I suggest you make a double batch.

2/3 c shortening

1 1/2 c packed brown sugar

1 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/3 c powdered cocoa (such as Hershey's cocoa)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 c bittersweet chocolate chips (I used a bar and chopped it)

2 c heath toffee bits

Heat oven to 375*

Beat shortening, brown sugar, water and vanilla in large bowl on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; beat well.

Beat in flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits. Drop by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet and cool completely on wire racks.

These cookies are truly delicious-- moist and crunchy at the same time. Let me know if you try these.


Sparx said...

They sound completely yummy - glad you're feeling better. I hope that the rest of the fire damage is sorted quickly and smoothly - that must be so stressful for all of you and such a sad thing for your mother. Big love, hon!

SabrinaT said...

OH MY GOODNESS!! Bless you and your mom.. I am glad she is safe. I hope things feel better soon.
The boys and I were looking for something to do this weekend. I think cookies are just the ticket..