5-minute microwave chocolate chip cookies

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My latest over at Parade Magazine online comes just in time for the weekend: 5-minute microwave chocolate chip cookies.

As you’ll see, I offer up some recipe leeway to get it just right — and by all means, feel free to tinker: add some oats and raisins, for instance, or stir in a half tablespoon of almond or peanut butter. If you like bananas, why not just go jump off a cliff and do the rest of us a favor? Because no one likes bananas in their cookies. No one. But some walnuts or even caramel chips would be ok.

Despite being super delicious, the cool thing about these is that the kiddos can do them all by their lonesomes. (Can you pluralize lonesome? Huh.)

So offer up the guide, step back, and rejoice in the fact that someone else is making you cookies. Unless they have bananas in them.

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Ingredients

  • 1 coffee mug (any size is fine and dandy)
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted. Yum.
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4ish Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate chips
  • Pinch salt (I like Maldon or kosher because you can feel it)
  • Cap of vanilla
  • Ice cream (optional, but don’t be foolish: Go for it.)

Directions

  1. Melt your butter in your mug.
  2. Add your sugars and your salt and stir.
  3. Now add your egg yolk and vanilla and then stir some more. You should be in smell heaven right about now.
  4. Flour. This causes all manner of debate in our house. I say just about nearly 4 tablespoons, while my wife prefers a little less. So add in somewhere between 3 or 4 tablespoons of flour and stir it around until you think it resembles cookie dough. I like my cookie slightly denser, so I always add close to 4. My wife prefers less tasty cookies, so she uses even less. But no less than 3 tablespoons. We’re agreed on that. Tinker around a bit with the recipe to get your own flour proportions just right. I know, tough work.
  5. Now add your chocolate chips and stir. Use as many as you like or as little as you like. (If it’s late and I want the girls to go to bed sometime in the near future, I only let them use, say, a tablespoon of chips, and it works just fine.)
  6. Now, microwave. I recommend 45 seconds. My wife recommends 40 seconds. Again, household debate. The cookie will appear almost wet and sheeny after 45 seconds and you’ll think it’s not done, perhaps. But it is.
  7. So now you have a cookie in a mug and very little mess to clean up. If you’d like, add a couple dollops of ice cream and enjoy the front row seats to delicious.

My kind of summer

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Pretty sure that although these are meant for sharing, it’s just not going to happen.

Vero here, Vero there

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My team got absolutely creamed by Emme’s team, but I couldn’t help but leave excited and inspired.

We flew to Seattle to see a National Women’s Soccer League game and witnessed a display of sportsmanship that made it all worthwhile, that made me remember why sports can be good for the soul.

You see, I like the Portland Thorns while Emme, with dreams of becoming a goal keeper like her favorite player, Hope Solo, roots for the Seattle Reign.

Her team won 5-0.

It was brutal.

The Thorns seemed to collapse after the first goal. And Emme wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.

“Dad?” she began, “What was the score again? I forget …”

Weirdly, despite the rout, the Seattle fans seemed as quiet as church mice. While the Portland fans, who drove up to stack the upper reaches of the stadium, were loud and boisterous enough to draw sharp looks from the home fans. It seemed that even as the score piled up against them, the Portland fans grew even louder. It was impressive. It was amazing, in fact. It made me believe that, finally, after so many years and leagues, the women’s professional game is here to stay in the United States.

Now, as for the next part, I admit bias. Vero Boquete is my favorite player, and I think the best in the world for her dumbfounding foot skills and incredible field vision. Sometimes it seems as if she’s playing against Emme’s U9 team, for all the times she changes direction and then skirts a perfect pass through the defense or hammers a ball through the net. Just you wait, you’re going to hear even more about her during the Women’s World Cup next summer.

So anyway, after the 5-0 rout, the Portland team sort of began to wander off the field, while Vero started yelling and beckoning them to come recognize the fans who probably drove many hours to chant and cheer and root for their favorites. Even after all the other players eventually did wander off the field, she remained to recognize the fans some more. I imagine those cheers feel pretty damn awesome for a player who, when she was a girl, was booed by parents for having the audacity to play on a boys team, the only option. I also imagine it’s displays like this that led Portland fans to overwhelmingly vote her player of the year and create a chant for her alone, a chant we’re frequently humming around the house. Mad foot skills and sportsmanship after a humiliating loss. What’s not to love?

So yeah, that was cool a game, despite the loss. That was the kind of lesson you hope sports convey to kids: play hard, be a good sport.

As an epilogue, the Thorns just played the Reign again this weekend and got revenge with a 1-0 win — a win that got them into the playoffs. Those playoffs are held this Saturday and Sunday on ESPN2, and I urge you to watch — especially the Thorns game on Saturday. If you’re a soccer fan, you’ve really got to see one of the best players in the world work her magic.

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Gone fishin’

emme

I can’t remember the last time the kid wore a dress. This one looks so short because I’m sure I bought it months ago and it’s remained in a closet since then, until we had to pull something, anything, out to wear to a fancy dinner — a fancy dinner at which she found herself outside in an olive tree.

More soon on our trip to Seattle to see a fantastic National Womens Soccer League match. Until then, it’s back to running and jumping for us …

The fire of thine eyes

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They grow up so fast. You hear this a lot.

But it’s rare when you can actually see it — when you can bear witness to a sudden, awful transformation that creases the eyes, dulls them a little, weighs down the shoulders, and saps some relic of childhood joy that you’ve probably long forgotten about yourself until this very moment.

You can try it any time, of course.

Just call the child onto your lap and say, “You know, it’s just me and mom. Santa isn’t real.”

Then wait a few seconds. You’ll see a small light of recognition turn on behind her eyes and then, wait for it, because here it comes: The light dies. The eyes are a little darker now. They always will be now. There’s something missing from them — a joy, a fathoming, an ability not to suspend disbelief but the childhood gift of never knowing the need.

I didn’t blow the Santa story. I hope there’s one year left.

Instead, we were sitting in her room, Emme’s too long limbs stretched across my lap. We were reading a Calvin and Hobbes anthology she picked up from the library.

“Ooh, ooh, watch this, watch this,” she laughed, pointing to a panel.

“Calvin’s going to come home and Hobbes is going to just attack him, watch!”

We giggled and laughed. There were times I couldn’t even breathe enough to read and times I wondered how on earth I was going to quickly explain existentialism.

Then it happened. I assumed she knew.

“Did you ever notice how Hobbes is a tiger with Calvin but a stuffed animal when anyone else is around?”

I can think of a dozen or so books and poems wherein a tiger plays a symbol — wisdom, perhaps, or age. Something wild in the soul, maybe. Danger. Death.

Youth.

Imagination.

Or growing up.

“Yeah,” she said, “I have.”

I nodded.

“Why do you think that is?”

And there it was. The recognition. And then the darkening. A sweep of sadness across her face.

“Dad,” she said after a moment, “Dad, I really wish you hadn’t told me. I … just …”

I wonder if there’s an finite amount of light to growing up. You experience new things and new lights go on, new connections are made. But to make room for this process, other lights, perhaps the most joyful and important ones, go out.

Sometimes you can see it happening, and it will haunt you as a parent to know how many you are already responsible for and how many you have yet to extinguish.