Ashland, Wisconsin

It seemed strange typing "Ashland, Wisconsin," as a title of this post. Oregon has an Ashland too...with a Shakespeare Festival and everything! So being in Ashland, Wisconsin, just seems wrong. We decided to have a day to rest up yesterday, but then ended up making the drive to Ashland. I'd read something enticing on Facebook that made us want to go to Wal-Mart. And let me just say that using the word "enticing" in the same sentence with "Wal-Mart" also seems completely wrong. And so it's just call yesterday a day of wrongdoing. Sometimes it's good to take a walk on the wild side.

Getting back to the morning, however, I spent quite a bit of time on my slow-stitching, finishing the first section. 

There was slow-stitching off and on during the day, and I've nearly finished the next section now.

Then I was itching to try a cookie adaptation to make cookies for one...or two, in this case. We each had one cookie, but I would have gladly eaten both, if necessary. You might remember when I tried baking some chocolate chip cookies for one back in May while Mike was off at the races with Erik. Here's the photo from back in May:

They were fine, but they didn't measure up to my favorite cookie recipe of all time. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: This is the only cookie recipe you'll ever need. It covers all bases. And so I decided to try cutting it down to turn it into a cookies for one (or two) recipe. When they came out of the oven, they looked like this:

They looked good. I wasn't sure this was going to work since I'd cut the recipe down to 1/6 the original, which meant using 1/6 of an egg. My friend The Google told me I could substitute buttermilk for the egg, and so I was experimenting, using 1 tablespoon of buttermilk as a stand-in for the egg. When we tasted them, they were every bit as good as the original recipe. There might have been some happy dancing, if I'm remembering the day correctly. 

So here's the recipe I came up with. You can have a party for one (or two) if you like.

Chocolate-chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries for One
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Makes 2 cookies


1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cups rolled oats, old-fashioned
3 tablespoons toasted pecans, chopped
3 tablespoons dried tart cherries, chopped course
1/8 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks about the size of chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/4 cup packed brown sugar, preferably dark
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract


Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.  In second medium bowl, stir together oats, pecans, cherries, and chocolate.

In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute.  Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add buttermilk and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 30 seconds.  With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until just incorporated.  Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide dough evenly into 2 portions, then roll between palms into balls about 2 inches in diameter; place on baking sheet, spacing them about 2-1/2 inches apart.  Using hands, gently press each dough ball to 1 inch thickness.  Bake 15 minutes until cookies are medium brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will seem underdone and will appear raw, wet, and shiny in cracks). Do not overbake. 

Cool cookies on baking sheet on wire rack 5 minutes; slide parchment with cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.  Using wide metal spatula transfer and store in an airtight container.


These cookies can be made with walnuts or skinned hazelnuts.  Also dried cranberries can be substituted for the cherries.  Quick oats can be used in place of the old-fashioned oats, but will yield a cookie with slightly less chewiness. These cookies keep for 4-5 days stored in an airtight container or zipper-lock plastic bag, but they will lose their crisp exterior and become uniformly chewy after a day or so.

* * * * *

Okay, so then it was time to head out for our very exciting trip to Wal-Mart. We left the kitties in their morning napping places.

Sadies had a nice clean quilt. I'd washed it in the morning since it had been fouled in every way possible along the way.

We found the quilt shop, but it was closed on Tuesday. It's closed on Sunday and Tuesday, weirdly. Oh well. Better luck next time. We decided to drown our sorrows with lunch at a nearby brewpub. I've been on the hunt for beer t-shirts for Erik's October birthday. We had sandwiches, and Mike sampled one of their brews. I'm not a beer drinker, but I do like hard ciders.

After lunch, we did our Wal-Mart shopping, picking up the mystery item, and then also picking up whatever was on our grocery list. On the way home, I captured this barn. It isn't a very good picture since I had to take it out the back window on Mike's side, but there you go anyway.

Okay, and so the mystery item was this Zevo Flying Insect Trap. Someone was extolling its virtues on Facebook. We've been plagued with little tiny flies and gnats pretty much since leaving Oregon. Good grief. They've nearly driven us crazy. We swat every one we see, and then one of us opens the door and a new hoard flies in. So, people seemed to think this contraption was effective. It was about $25 for the trap and a couple of refills. It uses ultra-violet light, which supposedly attracts bugs. Inside is something akin to flypaper. They fly into the trap and then get stuck on the sticky paper inside.

We took a peek inside this morning, and sure enough...bugs...all stuck up. Take that!

So you can see it was a terribly exciting day...slow-stitching, baking, kitties, barns, and...just to top it all off...a trip to Wal-Mart. My least favorite store. Well, I could name one other I like even less, but let's just be nice for one morning, okay?

All right. So I need to get going with breakfast and other morning stuff. We're heading out for our boat tour of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore this morning. This will be a new boat trip for us, and we're looking forward to it. We might have done this during our trip back in 2014, except that we ran out of time. We'll get it done today. I'm hoping to have lots to tell you in tomorrow's post. 


Barbara said...

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap. ~ Barbara Jordan

Katie said...

The cookies look wonderful. I'll have to save that recipe for later... And you're getting into an area where a lovely store, much like a super Walmart only 1000% better, called meijer. (No caps.) Their produce is waaaaaay better and they have a full grocery department as well as clothing and tools and toys and, well, everything like the dreaded store. If you have to venture out again, I suggest a stop for comparison. We have a dreaded Walmart a mile from us, but I will drive the extra four in the other direction (small town life!) to get whatever I need from them. Particularly since all our small grocery stores have gone kaput.

Sara said...

And interesting bug trap. And an interesting cookie recipe. I'm so glad you shared!

Sorry you missed the quilt shop. We drove to Kansas over the weekend for a family reunion and I missed the shop in my dad's hometown. We arrived at 4:30 on Friday - only to see they are only open Monday-Friday from 10 to 4. And not open at all on Saturdays.

Susan said...

I am going to try the cookie recipe. And I am going to look for that trap. Walmart is my least favorite store too. I agree with Katie, Meijer is so much better than Walmart.

piecefulwendy said...

Too bad about the quilt shop not being open when you were in Ashland, but the brewery looks like a decent place. I'm not a beer drinker either, but I can tolerate a hard cider now and then. Those cookies look good; I'd probably eat both!

Jenny said...

How exciting, a boat trip, I'm looking forward to reading about that.
Zap, zap, take that, you little flying nuisances!

gpc said...

I am also excited to hear about the bug trap -- can't wait to hear how you like it after it's had time to do more magic! And thank you for the cookie recipe -- I am pretty sure that will find good use here this winter. I don't even bother making cookies any more since Jack avoids them, which means I am forced to eat them all. Usually the first day.

Anonymous said...

Another vote here for Meijer over Walmart. We have a Supercenter Walmart in our town but no Meijer. So we occasionally drive 25 miles to the next county to shop at Meijer. A new one opened closer then the one we usually go to but it had some gizmo attached to the very center front bar of the child seat that I kept banging into whenever I put something in the cart or reached for my list/coupons. I guess it was for a smart phone for those that scan & pay. No way to flip it down or out of the way. And it was on all the carts. Irritating!
Have fun on the boat tour. Sounds refreshing after this long, hot, humid Summer.

Teresa F.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Wally's World has a huge X marked on their door as far as I'm concerned at least until they can prove to me that they haven't gone totally to self checkouts. One more way for giant corporations to line their pockets by not hiring checkout people. There's nothing I need there that warrants me going unless I'm absolutely forced. All that to say I understand how you feel. On the other hand sounds like the trap was worth it. Hmmm....must check our hardware store and see if we can get one because fruit flies have set up their invasion tactics and apple cider vinegar can't keep up.

Grams Jean said...

I love traveling vicariously with you as you venture across our nation. Wildfires out here in the west has us smothered in smoke. 2 of my siblings live near Seattle and a big fire up Stephens Pass is dropping ash on them. I'm so glad you put a comma between baking and kitties! Giggle!

Grams Jean said...

I love traveling vicariously with you as you venture across our nation. Wildfires out here in the west has us smothered in smoke. 2 of my siblings live near Seattle and a big fire up Stephens Pass is dropping ash on them. I'm so glad you put a comma between baking and kitties! Giggle!

Darlene S said...

Thanks for the tip about the Zevo Flying Insect Trap. I'll definitely give it a try. I hate no-see-um mosquitos in the PNW. Hopefully this will take care of it and I can sleep at night!