Mishearings, Part 2, and Chocolate Cutouts

While as a doctor I don’t find hearing loss funny, it can lead to some hilarious stories.

My mother is deaf in one ear from having her eardrum blown out when I was a kid (she’ll tell you that it’s quite painful). Because of this, we’ve always had to make sure to speak up and talk on her “good side.”

We also need to make sure that we speak clearly.

We were driving to a church ice cream social when we were younger, and we were all listing off what kind of ice cream we wanted to have.

Me: I want Mackinac Island Fudge.

Dad (while pulling into the church parking lot): I just want ice cream!

Brother #1: I want cookies and cream!

Mom (whipping her head around and yelling in a stern voice): How DARE you say that??? We’re at church!!!

The rest of my family exchanged confused looks.

Dad: Honey, why is it bad that he wants cookies and cream ice cream?

My mother then burst out laughing and it was a few minutes later before she caught her breath enough to tell us…(while we all still looked on confused)…

“Oh goodness, I thought he said herpes and cream! You can’t talk about herpes at church!”

To this day, cookies and cream has never been known by its actual name…nor has anyone in my family eaten it since.

No Mistakes Chocolate Cutouts

Chocolate Cutouts

perfect if you decide to combine with cream…for ice cream sandwiches 😉


  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c cocoa powder
  • 3 c flour, plus additional for rolling
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder


  1. Cream together butter and sugars in a stand mixture. Add in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until combined after each one.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. With mixer on, slowly add in dry ingredients until well combined.
  3. Refridgerate dough at least 1 hour (overnight is best).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Flour surface and rolling pin. Using a ruler (this helps, I promise!), roll out dough until 1/4 in thick and use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes.
  6. Place cookies into greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes (it’s really easy to overcook these, so it’s best to undershoot and then try them after they cool for about 5 minutes to see if they’re at your desired softness…personally I don’t like my cutout cookies too hard!).

Fireworks and Cobbler

Discovering new allergies is never a fun experience.

Now, I am a person known for having interesting allergies. Pool chemicals make me look like I’m still wearing my bathing suit for hours after I’ve taken it off (if I don’t pre-dose with benadryl and shower immediately afterwards, that is). The adhesive from cardiac monitors made me look like I had lyme disease on my chest and abdomen for a week after surgery. Eating blue cheese can land me in the hospital with my entire GI system waging war. Hyacinths, my grandmother’s favorite flower, at her funeral made me appear to be sobbing uncontrollably for the entire day.

And yet somehow I’m not allergic to the average things. Go figure.

It was the Fourth of July and I was in living in Phoenix at the time. At Tempe Town Lake (which I might add isn’t even a lake at all, but essentially a man-made channel that brings water all around the Phoenix metro area), they would do a 45 minute fireworks show to celebrate our nation.

Since I was only living in Phoenix for 3-4 months in a furnished condo, I didn’t have anything that even mildly resembled a picnic blanket to lie on while watching fireworks. So, my ex and I headed down there, figuring we would just sit on the grass.

When the fireworks started, we realized that lying down on the grass was a better idea. About halfway through the show, I realized that my back was really starting to itch. At first I thought it was maybe just a bug crawling on me (after all, we were lying on the grass), or maybe it just was that the dry grass (come one, this was grass in Phoenix) was just scratching me.

Upon getting home. I went to wash my face in the bathroom. I then, after turning, saw my back and gasped.

I was allergic to grass. My entire back from my head to my toe (beside the parts covered by clothes) was a mass of angry hives that had started to blister.

Needless to say, in summer I’m always wearing sandals unless I’m at the beach. And I always bring a chair or a picnic blanket.

Hive Free Mixed Berry Oatmeal Cookie Cobbler

well, unless you’re my ex…he was allergic to fruit


  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 c fresh fruit, or enough to fill up a 9×13 baking dish halfway (I used a container of strawberries and 2-3 pints of blueberries, but feel free to use whatever you’d like…I’ve made this before with cherries, peaches, etc…anything on sale that you can throw in the oven is delicious!!!)
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. In a large bowl (or stand mixer), cream together the sugar and butter. Add the vanilla and egg. Mix in the flour, rolled oats, baking powder, and salt. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes (but a few hours works fine, too!).
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Fill a 9×13 in glass baking dish with fruit (it should come up about halfway). Sprinkle fruit with granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice.
  4. Scoop cookie mixture on top of the fresh fruit. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the cookie dough looks lightly browned.
  5. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes for fruit juices to set and serve.

This is also pretty healthy, too!


Caffeine and Cookies

Sometimes your trip is longer than expected. Also, caffeine can keep you awake.

My parents were big believers in long car trips when we were kids (I’ve been to 45 states so far). My one and only flight was to California in 8th grade, and that was only because we had one week and you can’t exactly drive to California and back from Michigan in that time frame.

That’s why here we were, driving from Michigan to Yellowstone National Park when I was between 10th and 11th grade. It was our last day of driving, and my father thought that it wouldn’t be that bad, since we just had to drive across Wyoming. We were in Ely and had just stopped for both ice cream (my mom and me) and tacos (my dad and brothers). And, somehow, we ended up with a 64-oz Mountain Dew.It was approaching dusk and we were leaving town for the rest of the drive. We were traveling in a full-sized Ford Econoline van with a pop-up trailer attached to the back.

At that moment we noticed the deer running along the side of our car. And that deer then decided to turn in front of our car.

There was quite a bit of shock afterwards, since my family had never hit a deer before (which actually was an amazing feat with how many trips we had to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula). Somehow, our car and everyone in it were fine, so we got back on the road.

I then was placed in the front seat and put on “deer duty” to spot any animals that could possibly run in front of our car. I also was given the 64-oz Mountain Dew to make sure I stay awake.

At this point, I should probably mention that I had never had caffeine before in my life. Ever.

Needless to stay, I was wide awake and wouldn’t shut up for the next 9 hours while my dad drove and my brothers and mother slept. From reports, I was barely making sense at some points. And I was singing and dancing along to country music while strapped in with a seatbelt. I also was jumping into air (or as far as I could jump while in a seatbelt) whenever I saw something that *could* be an animal that might run into our car.

My father maintains that I wasn’t *that* annoying. I’m convinced he’s just trying to be nice.

P.S. Personally, I wasn’t that big on Yellowstone- it was too touristy. However, Glacier National Park in Montana was infinitely nicer.

Caffeinated Chocolate Pecan Balls

eat these to stay awake


  • 2 sticks softened butter (feel free to do this in the microwave if necessary)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 and 3/4 c flour
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder (make sure it’s unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c chopped pecans
  • Cooking spray


  1. Mix together butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Pat down, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Coat cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  5. While oven is preheating, remove cookie dough from the fridge. Roll dough into teaspoon-sized balls. Place onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake cookies in batches for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies just feel firm. Let cool and serve.

Imaginary Friends and Cookies

I had a very active imagination as a child. My family went along with it.

My favorite television show was “Pound Puppies.” I had a few of the stuffed animals (honestly, I found one in the closet a few years ago and it looks like an early beanie baby).

However, Cooler the dog was also my best imaginary friend.

My family had been camping for a week and we had just packed up our entire campsite. We were all in the car, waiting to leave, when I told my father, “Daddy, we can’t leave yet! Cooler is still outside! We can’t leave without him!”

My father, bless his heart, then got out of the car, opened the door, and whistled and yelled for all to hear (and my father does have the reputation of being the loudest person in my family),

Here Cooler, come on boy! Here Cooler Cooler Cooler!

He then enthusiastically clapped and waited by the car door until I told him that Cooler had hopped in safely (and while the rest of my family died of embarrassment while the whole campground looked on).

I only hope that one day I’m that kind of parent.

Kid Approved Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip

a slightly healthier version of your favorite childhood cookie


  • 1/2 c vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c white flour
  • 1/2 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c quick-cook oats
  • 3/4 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream together shortening and sugars, then mix in egg, water, and vanilla.
  3. Add in flours, salt, and baking soda all at once and mix in.
  4. Add in oats, chocolate chips, and cranberries and evenly distribute through the batter (I find it’s best to use your hands for this step).
  5. Drop by teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until middle of cookies just starts to set (they’ll already look more golden brown because of the whole-wheat flour).

Makes approximately 20 cookies (this recipe easily doubles).