Tuesday, December 13, 2011

From Cookies... to College Road Trips

Amazing!  In the Babble food blog voting you all have moved me from #197 to #28.  We are in the last weeks of voting.  If you enjoy "Snippets" will you   Click here or on the side link to the right.

 Thank You!

Molasses cookies.  One of our favorites for the holidays.  They have all of the warm scents and spices redolent of the season.  I cannot recall a winter that has gone by when we didn't have these cookies filling the house with their rich aroma.

These are soul-satisfying cookies.  No fuss cookies.  Humble and unassuming nibbles that ask for no praises or glorification.  

On the positive side, their unassuming presentation lures one to pass over them for a more ornate choice - leaving more of these chewy, spicy molasses flavored cookies for, well...me others.

These Molasses cookies are extra special this year.  Every batch of cookies, every meal at the table, every holiday that passes is of special significance  ~ we have a senior in the house ready to embark on a new journey next year. 

In October,  M. and I returned from a whirlwind  college road trip.  This year is it~a chapter closes~a new one begins.  It was time to hit the road and see where her next journey in life might possibly be.  Now, college applications are all in.  The grueling waiting period commences.  

We were off to the East Coast to visit campuses in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  We were giddy with excitement to see the fall leaves dressed in their brilliant reds and oranges, feel the snap of crispness in the air, and the crunch of early morning frost on the ground.

As we flew over Atlanta, GA we could already see swaths of brilliant fall foliage down below.  

Visiting college campuses is certainly an exhilarating time for both parents and their children.  Poor M. She was filled with stress over handling interviews and about making  lasting impressions. 

I tried to bear her consternations and agonies over the "what ifs" and "maybes".  My face was a countenance of solace and understanding, but, truth be told, I had a most enjoyable time following her around ~ free from the anxieties and strains of  fretting over "rejections" and "acceptances".

The air was breezy, the foliage spectacular, the campuses lovely, and the little New England towns were charming.

We wandered campuses, peeked in libraries, ate in dining halls, and listened to student panel discussions.  

I cannot say that I would be the least bit interested in going back to my college years.  I very much enjoy being in my '40s. I feel more confidant about myself, my interests, and my place in this world.

Actually seeing the locations of where your child might relocate is immensely helpful in making college decisions.  I found that my trepidation about this impending change has greatly eased.  The unknown is often much more worrisome than the known.

The New England campuses were filled to the brim with charm and scholarly atmosphere.  While M. was occupied with interviews and information sessions, I had plenty of time to take in the surroundings, enjoy the beauty of each campus, and imagine possibilities of her new life next year.

It was amusing to trace back to the beginning of this college selection process when she was younger.  Listening to her thoughts at that time and what her aspirations are now parallel her growth and maturity into young adulthood.

We were uncertain if all of the colors of New England would be gone since they had quite the deluge of snow earlier in October.

The reds were brilliant.  The oranges were glowing.  The corals, browns, and whites created a quilt of entertaining colors that washed my spirit with beauty and happiness.

Like I mentioned, and chuckle to admit, the time perusing each campus gave me ample time to relax and simply enjoy the beautiful surroundings.  I can't quite say the same for my travel partner!

My new fall drink was a café latte with a tiny squirt of pumpkin flavor from Starbucks.  So wonderfully aromatic and warming.

This time next year so many changes will occur.  So many of you who (amazingly) read my rambling musings, have been so kind with your supportive and caring words.  

I've met so many other mothers who have just turned this corner with their children or who are in the same chapter as me.  I appreciate all of your words of wisdom!

It was an exhilarating whirlwind of college campus tours.  Navigating the city of Boston has all of the frenetic pace of Houston but with so many added curves thrown in!  

Instead of fretting over next year's loss ~ I am giddily anticipating which of the towns visited might become a new area of travel and exploration for the rest of us!  

I will be thrilled with each and every one of the locations M. has selected.  Now, all that's left is that nagging concern..."rejection"  or "acceptance"!!  

Simple Molasses Cookies:

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 egg
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt shortening over low heat.  Remove and let cool.  Add the sugar, molasses, and egg to the shortening.  Sift the dry ingredients.  Mix everything together.  Chill.

Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll each ball into a bowl of sugar and place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake at 375˚ F for 8-10 minutes.


  1. How wonderful!! Our son is going to college next fall. He has chosen to go for his B.S at the same University his dad and I work, so we will not really go through the experiences you have, however it will be a memorable time, I think.

  2. Beautiful cookies.
    Sigh - we are in the same place with daughter #1. Applications submitted. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Will keep my fingers crossed for her.
    We are starting to go through the process again with daughter #2 - a Junior.

  3. I'm with you on at least two counts in this post: 1) I would never turn down a simple molasses cookie just because it wasn't "fancy" enough (delicious is good enough for me), and 2) I have no interest in reliving my college years.

    Regardless, I hope your college-bound genius finds the perfect fit, and one that helps your mind be at ease. It certainly isn't easy, but there is someplace for everybody. Of this I'm certain.

  4. Molasses cookies are some of my favorites for the season. Yours look delicious and chewy. Congratulations on your food blog nomination and good luck with the college search!

  5. I love the college photos...the two times we did the tour with our daughters are some of my favorite memories. One daughter was 'into' the whole process and the other was having a difficult time coming to terms with leaving home, and so looking at schools was fraught with emotion. Can't wait to hear how it all turns out, what a stressful time!
    Molasses cookies are a family favorite here, too, and I love seeing how different each version looks. Yours are so nice and puffy.

  6. Sarah, Wow. My oldest has just started middle school and it is amazing to think that college is not so far off. You photos and words made me feel like we were on the trip with you and your daughter.Good luck with this next adventure in parenting.
    And I have to say... that first cookie photo is perfection!

  7. Your daughter is so blessed to have you for a mom...and she is going to be just fine, and do great because of it! Your pictures made me want to 'do' Fall all over again...and I had just recently made my peace with it being Christmas!
    Thank you for sharing your glorious trip...and the cookie recipe. My doctor recently told me to have a tablespoon of molasses every now and then (very good for you, very alkaline-ing for the body), I wonder if these cookies would count?
    xo J~

  8. These are the kind of cookies I need after my kids goes to bed...
    To make me forget my long crazy day and to make me smile before I go to bed....

    See these cookies made me a poet...
    I bet they taste good and super delicious... Comforting The soul...

    I love the pictures... they are beautiful as always...

  9. Amazing pictures!! I loved your blog so much!! The cookies look equally amazing. Please feel free to visit my blog and facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Cosmopolitan-Currymania/213631198670124

  10. It's an amazing and wonderful time - this year of transition. Watching your baby blossom and grow and reach out and spread his/her wings. Enjoy every minute!! And - what fun revisiting the college campuses I visited with my kids..altho only a few short years ago..now seeming like an eternity!!!

  11. How beautiful are your pictures, posts and recipes. Great work! I was drawn to this recipe because it reminded me of these Indian/Pakistani biscuits called Nankhattai which are similar in shape and some flavours which I grew up eating- though they are made of semolina and are eggless! I think I must blog about them soon!

  12. What an exciting time! Your daughter is lucky to have such support and positive affirmation from you. It's time for her to go out into the world, and I'm sure you've done a great job preparing her for it. :)

  13. What a great time and what a calm handling of this big life change :)
    Hope M. gets into the school her heart desires! It makes a whole different experience when you love the place vs. attending for the sake of attending.
    I know you will be strong and but does not hurt to wish you strength anyway :)

  14. I remember the years of looking at colleges with my mother. I dragged her EVERYWHERE and I mean everywhere! She was a good sport. I'm a bit indecisive ;) You've captured Boston beautifully! It's such a wonderful city. I hope you enjoyed your time here! The cookies look delicious by the way. They are so plump looking!

  15. I remember taking my daughter to look at schools. Can't believe how fast the time flies by...treasure these times. Lovely post and delicious looking cookies!

  16. LOVE Molasses cookies - will have to give them a shot. I have a high school senior as well but since it's the 3rd time around for me, the stress level is not quite as bad. I see your daughter is looking at my alma mater - wishing her the best of luck!!

  17. Beautiful pictures of your trip that perfectly capture the warmth of the autumn landscape.

  18. What an exciting time in the life of M and yours Sarah! Beautiful pics and this journey in life but I am with you - I don't want to go back to my days wobbling through life. I am looking forward to life at 40 which is around the corner for me :)

    Your molasses cookies are wonderful and full of rustic goodness.

    I wish you and your family and M. every success as she walks upto this new frontier in her life.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  19. College campuses are such beautiful places, your photos are gorgeous. I enjoy going back and visiting my college and seeing how much it has changed, yet stayed the same. Like you, I would not go back to my 20's for anything. Although I do hope the next 20 years do not go by as fast as the last 20!

  20. Such gorgeous photos of your trip and these cookies...delightful!
    P.S. Congratulations on moving up to #28 :)

  21. What beautiful photos (I did my college tour the summer before last!)

  22. So glad Nancy shared this recipe. I love molasses cookies. I did the same thing a few years ago with my oldest, she is now a Junior, it was a whirlwind.


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