When I was a tween I had a friend whose parents were super American and as a first generation American on my dad's side and my mom with one foot still in Mexico, I loved being around American families to see how they did things. Luckily my friends parents were wonderful people and let me spend a lot of time at their house. They were the one family my mom let me spend time with and at Christmas time they made cookies they called cowboy cookies. They were so good and had oats in them and felt so American to me. Over the years I have adapted the recipe and worked to make it a tad healthier and these are the cookies I now make for my son and think of my friend and her lovely parents every time I make them even though this version is so far from the original. Here is how you make them...they are so freaking good you will love me and hate me when you bake up a batch on your own. Its okay though, you can curse me out.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a bowl and stir with fork or whisk to combine. In a mixer, mix the butter and sugars until combined then add the applesauce, eggs and the vanilla and mix until a creamy consistency. Then add about 1/4 of the flour mixture to mixing bowl and mix until combined. Repeat until all of the flour mixture has been mixed and combined. Then add the oats, dates and chocolate chips each one at a time in that order and stir with a rubber spatula. Your arm will get a workout because with all of these extra goodies it is hard to stir and combine and they will be thick in consistency. Sometimes I use my hands to mix it all up. Then you scoop out dough int balls on a cookie sheet and bake until just browned around the edges 8-11 minutes. I have found with my current oven 8.5 minutes makes the perfect cookie and I use a cookie scoop to form my dough balls. When you remove them from the oven, let them cool on the pan for a few minutes and them use a spatula to remove them and put them on a wire cooling rack. This recipe makes a shit ton of cookies....like 40-50 so I use all of my cookie sheets and as soon as I take one out, pop another in, fill a cookie sheet while I wait for the one out of the oven to cool, etc. They are great for gifts, bake sales, cookie swaps, leaving for Santa. I suppose you could cut the recipe in half for a more reasonable yield, but I have never tried that. I just make the whole batch, give some away and curse myself out while I eat the rest. My two year old is obsessed with them and this is basically the only sugar he gets when I make them, so it feels good to watch him indulge on something where I know all of the ingredients and there is some fiber and healthy stuff in there. I have prep time down to about 15 minutes, but plan for about 1.5 hours with baking time.
One thing I really hate about NYC is all of the endless lines, especially around the holidays. I have two businesses to run and a super active kiddo, so the last thing I have time for is waiting in a super long line for a Santa photo. My perfect spot for flawless photos at an affordable price is Brookfield Place. For around $30 you can get digital photos emailed to you and pre-book a time. When you arrive you still have to wait a bit (about thirty minutes) but they have a waiting area that is very grammable and has some kiddo activities. This year they had markers to color ornaments which is completely stupid for kids before they are about to take photos (imagine marker stains on the outfit you picked out), but I had my own activities for kiddo and he sat at the tables until it was time to take photos. The set is really nice and the Santa was agreeable. I know there are other places in the city you can reserve, but I honestly think this is one of the best prices and easiest to reserve. I also am not the kind of organized mom who is going to book 10 months in advance for some posh experience my kid will never remember. I am a practical mom who wants the cute photos, doesn't want to wait in the line and wants to book from my phone about a week or two out.
I own a successful fashion marketing, events and experiences agency where I work on killer shows for NYFW, produce awesome events for beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands. A little over two years ago I had a son and that changed the game for me because I realized there is no one giving honest advice on the best way to live your best life in New York City with a baby and toddler. Bloggers are now called influencers and earn a living from endorsing products and services they might not have if they weren't being paid. I respect the industry and the women (and some men) leading the charge and running their own businesses, but I created this space to share some things I have discovered living in Brooklyn, owning a business, trying to make it look glamorous and sometimes failing miserably. I earn my living with my awesome businesses, The Riviere Agency and Roamlinks, so I don't need to tell you I like something to put food on my table and I can tell you something sucks when it really sucks because my bills are paid from another source. I live in Downtown Brooklyn (two stops away from Manhattan) so a lot of what I find for kiddo is close to home. If you live in Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights and have a baby or toddler this is for you!