My dad is a very busy guy. He is the advisor of Northern Lights Youth Services, which operates the state chapter of SADD, among other things, and they're always in need of additional fund-raising. One annual event that they put on is a community steak and chicken feed.
A few years ago, my dad booked Outback Steakhouse to cook a charity dinner, where the organization would receive a certain percentage of each ticket sale. But a few days beforehand, Outback canceled. Dad's group had already sold hundreds of tickets and had no way of contacting everyone, so Dad got to work.
He bought steaks and chicken breasts through a local food distributorship, bought potatoes from a local farmer, and purchased some sides and cookies to go with. The hubby, my brother Cory, and I grilled all afternoon. It was a lovely, humid, 85-degree day, and we were standing in the sun in front of a few gas grills and a HUGE charcoal grill. (That day will live in infamy as The Day the Hubby Lost His Arm Hair.) The food ended up being better than Outback's food, with a much higher profit margin for the organization.
So we do this every year now, although we're a bit more organized. The hubby, Cory, and other volunteers grill steaks, chicken, and burgers for the kiddies. We have a covered veranda, and we use only gas grills (easier to control, less loss of arm hair).
I am also on grill duty this year, because Cory's in Iceland. (On a side note, we hope he's still alive. He let us know a week ago that he arrived safely, after a 25-hour delay in JFK, and we haven't heard from him since. I baby-sat this kid nearly every day for 10 years. I taught him to read and write. I went to all his baseball games and spent my precious money on bottle after bottle of blue PowerAid. And this is how he repays me???)
Not that I worry.
Anyway, the steak and chicken feed becomes kind of an extended-family affair. My dad oversees everything. My mom and her friends Sandy and Virginia prepare the food on the buffet table and keep everything stocked. Sandy's sister bakes the potatoes, and a few parents help man the kitchen and the ticket table.
Smoke inhalation and cleanup aside, it's a rather fun way to spend the day.
Instead of buying cookies this year, Mom and Dad decided on homemade. Mom and Virginia called dibs on anything with chocolate (how mean), so I was asked to make several dozen cookies that contain no chocolate or nuts. And that might appeal to more of an old-fashioned crowd.
So I'm making some snickerdoodles, and I was going to make just some plain oatmeal cookies (the hubby won't allow a raisin in our home). But I thought I could make things a bit more interesting by adding some butterscotch and toffee. You know me, always thinkin'. I think it worked.
Oatmeal Scotchie Cookies
Makes 3 dozen
1 c. butter-flavored shortening
1½ c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1½ c. flour
2 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
1 c. butterscotch chips
1/2 c. almond toffee bits
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using a mixer, beat together shortening and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.
3. Add salt, baking soda, and flour, and mix until combined. Add oats and mix thoroughly.