1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons peanut butter (I prefer smooth!)
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt (I prefer iodized sea salt)
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins (dried cranberries or chocolate chips if you like)

Preheat oven to 350º.

Melt butter and peanut butter together in microwave. Stir in sugars (white and brown), eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add flour and mix well – then stir in oatmeal and raisins.

Scoop cookies onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake approximately 9 minutes at 350º. All ovens are different, so they may take a little longer than 9 minutes.

Have you ever smelled baby’s breath? It smells like cookies made with heavy amounts of butter and sugar.I have three birth children – Alexander, seven years old, Zoe, four years old, and Melia, one year old. I have nursed all of them. Before my first was born, as I sat in the expecting parents classes, I believed nursing would be the easiest, most natural thing in the world. You pop them on, they attach. Alexander took to it with no problem. My second child Zoe was a different story.When Zoe came home from the hospital, she had a hard time latching. It took eight weeks to get the whole breastfeeding thing down right with her. In the middle of the night, when I had to take her out of the comfortable bedroom to the kitchen to supplement with a bottle or try to endure the screaming with attempts at nursing, I turned to food to be my motivation.Zoe was born right before Christmas. As a gift from someone at work, my mother received a mason jar filled with dry ingredients and a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies: first a layer of oats, then a layer of flour, then a layer of sugar, you get the idea. Our first venture out of the house with our second baby, we went to dinner at my parents’ house.

My mom had made the oatmeal raisin cookies, they sat on the countertop in a little wicker basket inside a holiday patterned tea towel. They cookies just spoke to me, the scent of cinnamon, the heathery color, the soft texture. They almost broke apart when you looked at them, and they were fresh from the oven. You know how you can tell a soft cookie from a hard one? Look at the edges, and underneath the cookie. There should not be too much browning on either area of the cookie.

That evening at my parents, I skipped dinner and just ate cookies with milk. I found it very nutritious, the cookies have peanut butter, so I had protein, oatmeal is just fabulous for you, raisins have iron which unfortunately, I lack. And I drank soy milk so as not to make Zoe gassy (that was all I needed – a gassy baby who couldn’t latch).I took home all of the remaining cookies and ate them when I woke up with Zoe that night. It made it so much nicer to feed her, lie on the couch snuggled in a blanket with her, eating cookies, listening to CNN and watching the blinking Christmas lights on the tree. Zoe and I had our first niche. We were both happy.Oatmeal raisin cookies also happen to be my husband’s favorite cookie. Opting for oatmeal raisin over chocolate chip, growing up on olive oil instead of butter is probably why my husband still has only nine percent body fat. It’s just not fair.I made these cookies about twice a week while Zoe was a newborn. When I knew these cookies were waiting for me, it was easier to get out of bed at 2 a.m., 4 a.m., and 6 a.m. However, my weight started going in the other direction – up, that is, and I desperately wanted that baby weight off so I could get into my jeans I hadn’t worn in months.

About the time I cut down my oatmeal raisin cookie habit, Zoe got the hang of nursing quite well which meant I could just pick her up and nurse her in my room where she slept. No more trips out to the living room, no need to make bottles three times a night, and my waistline went down.

And one year later, it came time to wean her. At eight months old she started reaching for her big brother’s sippy cup, and she could handle one pretty well, so I gave her one of her own, filled with either soy milk or regular milk. She didn’t want it, she wanted the comfort of nursing, not a cold, hard plastic cup. She screamed so loud when I denied her nursing that in the middle of the night, to keep everyone from waking up, I walked paces across the living room floor until she stopped, once again looking at the twinkling lights on the tree. To calm her down, I wound up the Snow White snow globe on the mantel which played “Some Day My Prince Will Come”, and sang it over and over.

Weaning didn’t just take two or three nights. Like learning to latch, Zoe did it on her own good time, and I missed the deep, uninterrupted sleep I got for a few hours at a time. I was losing my resolve to wean her, more than once in the middle of the night I considered putting off weaning another month or so just so I could continue getting sleep to restore my energy. “I’ll wean her after the holidays are over”, “I’ll wean her when Alex starts pre-school”, “I’ll let her wean herself”. Excuses, excuses, and withering motivation. What to do?

Make oatmeal raisin cookies, said the voice inside my sleep-deprived conscience. The next day, or shall I say, when the sun came up, I reached into my memory and the pantry to make the coveted oatmeal raisin cookies. But this time, there was another hungry little mouth to feed. Another little hand reaching into the cookie jar. Yes, as soon as my little girl was old enough, I packed her screaming, eight-toothed mouth with a cookie and followed it up with milk, and just like her mother, she would calm down almost immediately. The scent of cinnamon lingered in her mouth when she said “Momma”. The cookies actually made Zoe’s breath sweeter than it was before. It certainly made her midnight disposition more pleasant when we snacked in the wee hours.

I dreaded those nights of lost sleep, of listening to screaming, of praying my son would not wake up and hoping my husband would not fall asleep in the car on his way to work after listening to snow globe music all night. But I looked forward to the cookies, and to a time when my daughter would just sleep through the night, which I now believe is something neither they nor I will ever do. Maybe not for thirty years or so. Life just has a way of carrying on into the late night hours, no matter what kind of day we have had ¦very soon I will be weaning my third child, the older kids inevitably wake and wander into our room in the middle of the night, and one day they will become teenagers who come home late and we, as parents, won’t sleep until they return. Sleep is somewhere in the distance, waiting for me until I get there.

But those nights singing to Zoe, swaying to fairy tale songs on piano keys resonating from the snow globe, under the moonlight that came through the windows – those are gone forever. If only I had not been in such a rush.

When I am feeling particularly sentimental and sense that this is happening way too fast, I find myself dragging the oats, raisins, peanut butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, butter and cinnamon out from the pantry. I am honestly being moved by some force of nature that longs for pudgy cheeks, curly soft baby hair, sprouting teeth under gums but most of all, cookie breath. Cinnamony, sweet cookie breath.

Smantha Gianulis

Samantha recently released my her family food memoir, Little Grapes on the Vine…Mommy's Musings on Food & Family .

Samantha is a self-taught chef. She worked in the Catering and Special Events industry for seven years before becoming a stay at home, now a work at home, Mom.
She appeared on NBC's ivillage Live.

Smantha Gianulis

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https://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2016/05/Oatmeal_Rasin_Peanut_Butter_Cookie.pnghttps://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2016/05/Oatmeal_Rasin_Peanut_Butter_Cookie-150x150.pngSmantha GianulisApron Strings Cooking ColumnHome CookingCooking and RecipesOATMEAL PEANUT BUTTER RAISIN COOKIES1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted1 cup granulated sugar2 tablespoons peanut butter (I prefer smooth!)½ cup packed brown sugar2 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla1 ½ cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon ground cinnamon½ teaspoon salt (I prefer iodized sea salt)3 cups oatmeal1 cup raisins (dried cranberries...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids