giant oatmeal spice chocolate chip raisin cookies

my friend Barbara and her husband Kevin are training for a 100-mile bike ride to support Barbara's mom, who is recovering from lymphoma, and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. as part of her fund raising, she is also hosting a benefit concert this weekend and asked if i would bake some cookies for sale during intermission.

i opted to make an oatmeal cookie. Barbara suggested making large cookies for the sale, so i went hunting for a recipe and found this giant oatmeal-spice cookie recipe from Southern Living, March 2003. i modified the recipe based on several others i had seen. this oatmeal cookie is chewy on the inside with a lightly crispy outside. while i was mixing up the ingredients, i discovered that i didn't have ground ginger, so i added a little more spice than what the recipe calls for below.

Giant Oatmeal Spice Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen large cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cardomom

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons white sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups quick oats
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup chocolate chips

1 In a small mixing bowl, combine first 7 ingredients and mix well.

2 In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of white sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract, beating until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing in with a spatula or wooden spoon.

3 Stir in the oats, raisins and chocolate chips.

4 Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5 Drop cookie dough by level 1/4 cupful two inches apart onto baking sheet. Dip the base of a round glass in the remaining 2 tablespoons of white sugar and press the cookie mound to flatten.

6 Bake 2 cookie sheets at a time at 350F for 11-12 minutes, switching cookie sheets on oven racks midway. Cookies should be golden brown when done. Cool slightly on baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

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vegetarian mexican lasagna

to avoid eating out, due to the H1N1 flu virus, and to save $$, i've made a decided effort to start cooking our own meals regularly. yesterday, i made basic rice and beans and we had quite a bit of beans leftover. so today, being Cinco de Mayo, i thought i'd make something Mexican (again) and a variation from our leftovers. i remembered a Mexican lasagna recipe i had seen on the meals matter website and went in search of it. thankfully, i had the necessary ingredients in my fridge and pantry to make a vegetarian version of the recipe.

Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

12 oz pkg Yves Meatless Ground Round Original
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
pinch of salt
1 12 oz jar salsa
6 10-inch whole wheat and corn flour tortillas (Trader Joe's)
1 can refried beans
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican Style cheese

1 Preheat oven to 400F.

2 Heat oil in medium saute pan. Crumble meatless ground round into pan and cook to heat through, seasoning with cumin, taco seasoning and salt. Turn heat off and stir in half of the salsa.

3 Spread remaining salsa in bottom of 10-inch glass pie plate. Top with three tortillas. Spread half of the beans over the tortillas, then half of the ground round mixture, then half of the yogurt or sour cream and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese.

4 Top with remaining three tortillas and repeat the layers, topping off with 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.

5 Place pie plate on baking sheet to catch any spillage. Cover pie plate loosely with aluminum foil.

6 Bake in oven until hot throughout and cheese has melted, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve in wedges with additional shredded cheese, guacamole, and a salad of shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro and green onion.

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