Search Results for: oatmeal

Six Months

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Although a cliche, it is amazing that our little boy has been around for half a year! In just this much time, we will be celebrating his one year birthday. It really is hard to believe what he has learned in six months.

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New this month, he has been eating solid foods. I started right at five months, and he now eats pureed fruits or vegetables once each day, usually at lunchtime. It took some getting used to for him, but his pre-school has helped teach him how to sit, open his mouth, what a spoon is, and to swallow. He now anticipates it and knows what’s happening in the high chair. And he loves to eat. I wrote about how we are approaching solids here and here. I am now wondering when to introduce a second meal and am thinking about trying oatmeal again with a puree stirred in for flavor.

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Also new this month, Logan has been sitting up with support, he got his first two teeth (bottom center), he got his first ear infection and head cold, and he can push his body up on his hands and toes, rock his body and scoot backward. That all sounds so tiring to learn! He picked up the lift, rock and scoot all last weekend in Birmingham. It’s pretty amazing to watch. Now we need to get to baby proofing!

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He has been doing a great job at overnight sleeping. We put him down after his final bottle, he wiggles and gets comfortable and within 15 minutes, he is asleep all on his own, no tears. It’s been the best part of what I think of as “baby phase 2″ with the newborn phase/months 0-3 being part 1. It is true that we hardly remember the nights of feeding once or twice and being exhausted all day. I can’t say I will miss it. I can say I will not look forward to it the next time around.

Sleep training took a lot of work and frustration near the end of Month 4 and into Month 5, but it was well worth it. Thanks to Jeffrey for not being bothered by wailing and screaming and keeping the monitor all night long so I don’t have to hear it.

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More new this month is school! Logan has been at school for about four weeks. He is there from about 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 4-5 days/week. I am enjoying going back to work part-time and getting into my own routine, and I am glad we made the decision to send him to school. He is very social and his teachers are great with teaching him things like how to eat, sit at a table, sit up, use a sippy cup, hand-mouth-eye coordination, etc. We are in a great groove of drop offs, naps, meals and our after-school routine. I have also learned there will always be something I didn’t get done.

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This was a busy month–he also went to his fourth state (after Texas, Colorado and Florida) and 6 and 7th plane ride to Birmingham, AL. He was a major trooper since he got two teeth while he was there, I came down with a head cold, and he ended up getting it too along with an ear infection after we got home.

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All in all, it was a great and busy month, and my favorite month so far. Hoping for more exciting things in Month 7! Stay tuned for a day in the life of our 6 month old post, an update on our simple weeknight dinners, and maybe a guest appearance from Lily again.

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Time in the Kitchen

It’s amazing what a little planning can do. I used to be a better meal planner, like when I used to have a lot of time to cook dinner, grocery shop, and read magazines or blogs to get ideas. That seems so long ago!

For the last 6ish months, we have picked up more food than ever before. I really miss home cooked meals and dislike spending money on picking up food when I have a pantry/fridge/freezer full of food and actually enjoy cooking. But for many of those months, finding the time to plan, grocery shop, and actually cook and then clean was just not high on the priority list. A shower or holding baby was higher up.

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Finally though, homemade dinners are back on the table. Now that I’m back to work, I have more structured days. Logan is also more independent, takes semi-predictible naps, and best of all, he can put himself to sleep at night. That means by a little after 7 p.m., the baby is asleep and the adults can actually eat together.

I am trying to plan a rough menu for the week over the weekend, shop for the ingredients, and then stick to it during the week. I am trying to be simple and logical about it–detailed dinners aren’t going to happen, and neither are too many new recipes. We are sticking to tried and true that we know we like. 2-3 weeknights of cooking in is probably realistic.

So two weeks ago, we did a Cooking Light baked chicken tender recipe (if I had more time, I’d find the recipe for you!) with a side of 90 second rice and sauteed green beans. Then one night we did Gazpacho and Arugula Salad. Last week, I planned Tex Mex Soup (this link is really old), Falafel Burgers that I ended up not making, and Pita Pizzas with leftover chicken from the gazpacho that I didn’t put in the soup. Planning and buying the ingredients, and having the recipe tagged ready to go makes all the difference. I am telling you, I have gone back to the very basics.

This week, I planned a crock pot chicken taco recipe and another recipe from Cooking Light for Pasta Carbonara with tomatoes and asparagus.

In addition to weekday dinners, I have been busy baking too. One day after work, I even made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies! (recipe on the flipside of the Quaker oatmeal jar.) Last weekend, I made morning glory muffins (picture above) and banana bread for a neighbor.

For me, finding time to plan the week is most important and that is what I am working on!

Baby’s First Foods, Part 1

Leading up to “starting solids,” as it’s called when babies start eating real food in addition to milk, I read some books and websites about how to start the process. I read Baby-Led Weaning, which was popular among other mom blogs I read, and also a chapter in Baby 411 about starting solids. I also read a little on BabyCenter and asked friends about it.

Overall, I was left confused. At our four month pediatrician appointment, our doctor said I can begin starting Logan on rice cereal or oatmeal. I wanted to get our sleep situation figured out before I added a new hurdle, so I decided to wait until he was five months. We also had a good thing going with his bottles, and he is very healthy with just that. Babies also don’t “need” the nutrition from food for many more months. It takes quite a while for them to actually learn to eat.

The theory behind Baby Led Weaning (aka Baby Led Solids)  is that when babies are ready, they should learn to feed themselves. BLW recommends starting around 6 months, knowing that it’s all for play until about 9 months when baby gets good at handling food themselves. There’s no need for purees. Babies should experiment with food, learn how to put things in their mouth, and learn how to chew and swallow. It’s also a shared family activity where baby can eat what their parents eat, just in smaller bites. Purees confuse them and are unnecessary. I asked our doctor, he had never heard of it, and I decided to keep reading other ways to introduce food.

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I bought a box of baby oatmeal and decided we would try that. It was awful looking–soupy and runny and smelly (you mix it with formula or breastmilk), Logan thought I was trying to poison him and kicked and screamed. We did this about 3 times, many days apart. We then decided to skip oatmeal and move on to fruits and vegetables. Who wants their first food to be from a box anyway? Right when he turned five months, I decided a jar of squash was a good first food. Surprisingly, Logan loved it! He was all business when eating. Would open his mouth, swallow and then whine for more. Wonderful! We have a good eater!

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The unofficial rule of solids is to do the same food for 3-4 days to make sure the baby doesn’t have a reaction. We did our squash and he loved it.

Then I moved onto jarred sweet potato. Yuck! Logan would kick and scream and get very, very mad. We tried carrots. Pears. Homemade sweet potato. He hated it all. This lasted about a week. I was confused. Then, Logan started school. I asked his teacher if she could try feeding him. For her, he did great! Ate everything I sent. Hmmm, he is playing me.

So now, we are still moving through foods, trying new ones every few days and finding things Logan likes. I don’t rule out any foods and will go back to them eventually, or send them to school. I am doing a mix of jarred foods that I send to school and some homemade that I’ll feed him at home on the weekends. I hope to make more at home as I learn what he likes, but jarred is good for starting.

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Back to my plan of feeding him–For this month, we will do all purees. He is too young for BLW anyway. I would like him to get used to tastes and textures and practice swallowing with a spoon. Around 6 months, I think I will try “sticks” of food like sweet potato, broccoli, avocado, zucchini, etc. that are steamed and able to be gummed, and let him start playing with that. The main fear of BLW is choking, but if you do the program as they recommend, the baby should gag before they choke. And apparently the gag reflex is farther forward in the mouth than an adult so the baby won’t get food stuck. If he isn’t ready, we’ll continue with purees and try again later. My goal is for him to move onto “sticks” and small bites of steamed food sooner than later and to keep exposing him to new fruits and vegetables.

Any foods your babies liked more than others? When did they stop purees and move on to table food in small pieces?

Sleep Part 2

This week has been a real doozy. We have been having sleep problems for about 10 days and decided to break the swaddle cold turkey and tackle the middle-of-the-night bottle.

The first few days and nights were not good. Logan basically didn’t know how to sleep without his swaddle. On Saturday, he literally didn’t sleep all day except in the car for some short rides. He was surprisingly happy all day though. At night, he woke up 2-3 times for the weekend.

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Once we got passed the weekend, he was at least falling asleep without the swaddle, but I still have to rock him almost to sleep and it has been taking up to an hour (not good). He is still waking up in the night, but we are working on the swaddle situation first.

In other baby-related news, Logan can push his upper body up like below, and is enjoying his Jumperoo much more. He has learned how to hit the floor with his feet and jump. We also tried oatmeal two times for him, but he didn’t like it, so we will try again another time. It looked pretty gross too.

Next week we are hitting the road/sky again and taking Logan to Dallas to meet all our Dallas friends. And then in a few weeks, he goes to school!

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I hope to one day start cooking and baking again and making a weekly meal plan, but it’s very hard to think about that when all my daytime is spent fighting for his naps or trying to entertain him or reading about baby sleep.

 We are hoping this sleep thing is just a phase and we will move past it soon! Thank you for your help in the comments and emails!

Four Months

Logan is four months old! Yes, I can believe it. March feels like forever ago, and I don’t know where April and May have gone. Also can’t believe it’s the middle of July and I go back to work in a month.

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It is true that babies get more fun as they grow. New this month are the sounds and expressions he is making. We get the cutest squeals and oohs and goos and ohhs along with guh. Right on July 4, Logan learned to roll over. He was working so hard to go from back to front, and then he did it. It was the cutest. He has gone the other way, but I don’t think he has figured out that when he gets stuck on his belly, he knows how to roll back. Right now he just starts crying out of frustration.

He is also using his hands a lot more. He holds toys, grasps loveys, blankets and burp cloths, and my hair and pulls hard. He is more alert everyday and is enjoying play more. We have some new toys for him to look at and touch, and he still loves his play mat, looking at his mobile in his crib, and anything musical. He can sit in the Bumbo for a few minutes, and also the Jumperoo with some stabilization. Both are new this month. Done are the bouncy seat and swing. He wants to move!

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He is also becoming a big boy, literally. He weighs 16 pounds, double his birth weight. I don’t know his length yet, but it is long. It is getting hard to hold him for long periods, like how he likes to be rocked to sleep. I’ll get back to our changing sleep habits another day.

He also transitioned to all sleeping in the crib last month, no more swing or bouncy for naps. And also this month was our first virus, which was no fun.

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We also transitioned to all formula in the last month, which has made his feedings more predictable and my life a little more free and enjoyable.

In the next month, he will take two trips by plane, and probably start trying some solid foods like oatmeal. At his rate, he will also be walking and talking and running the place soon!

Three Weeks Old

Logan is three weeks old today! Since I’m not great at uploading pictures in a timely fashion, these pictures are from the past week. He might be even bigger by now! Lots to share this week—read on!

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We are having a great time and getting better at feeding, shhing, swinging, and waiting for him to nap. In the past week, we have learned some new tricks that he enjoys to calm him, like standing outside, walking outside, strolling, and babywearing.

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Lily is starting to show some interest in her brother too. It’s funny when he starts crying and she looks at him to see who is making those noises. We aren’t sure what she thinks of him.

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My parents were here two weekends ago and are coming back this weekend.

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Logan also discovered he likes the swing! It’s becoming a favorite nap spot. We had a little trouble with the swing at first, and he didn’t like it, but then a friend showed us how to raise the seat to an incline and now it’s great. Lily protects him.

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In the last week I also decided to figure out how to “”wear” the baby. I have a Moby Wrap (above) and a Baby Bjorn. I successfully figured out both with the help of friends and YouTube videos, and Logan likes it. Except above when he was screaming. There’s not much to calm him during the 5 p.m.-7 p.m. hours. They really do like being snug and close to your body. I wanted to figure it out so I could have options to easily take him outside when I have to walk Lily and I’m by myself.

And it’s nice to have free hands. Right now I like the Bjorn a little better. It has more back support and is a bit easier to get on by myself, and just looks more secure. But I need to practice with both more!

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And on a lazy Sunday (well lazy when Dad is home to help!), everyone took a little snooze while baby was sleeping in the afternoon.

There are plenty of things we’re still trying to figure out, like baby gas, naps, and other ways to calm him during the day. And for me, I’m feeling really good and am trying to figure out when I could exercise when I’m able to start back again. I’m also getting the hang of feeding and pumping but still figuring out lots!

I’m also trying to find some time to cook. One morning last week, I hard boiled eggs, made some oatmeal squares to freeze for snacks, and made some raw chocolate chip balls for snacks too. I found I needed some more snacky things for during the days and needed something besides apples and peanut butter!

Jeffrey also cooked two dinners at home this weekend, which was so nice!

And I decided to stop eating Greek yogurt for a while to see if it bothered Logan’s stomach, so breakfasts have been a lot of oatmeal, eggs, and toast.

That’s the update for this week! Lots going on and so much to learn!

Back to Basics: Overnight Oats

Back with another basic recipe that I eat all the time, at least twice a week for breakfast. It’s overnight oats!

It is very hard to get a good and appetizing picture of this, but just go with it…

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Overnight oats are basically cold oatmeal made with milk and yogurt instead of water. I write often how I don’t like to prep my breakfast in the morning and much prefer to “grab and go” of something I prepped the night before. Overnight oats are also eaten cold, which is perfect because it’s too hot for a hot breakfast most days!

I like this better than hot oatmeal because it has more protein from the milk and yogurt. The texture is kind of like mush, but I like it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you’re expecting it to be like oatmeal. Adding something crunchy helps.

Here is the basic recipe of how I like my overnight oats, and below I list some ways to change it up.

Basic Overnight Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C old fashioned Quaker oats
  • 1/3 C vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 C milk
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • 1-2 T gold or black raisins
  • dash cinnamon
  • ~1T peanut butter
Instructions:
  • In a tupperware or the bowl you’re going to eat breakfast in, mix everything together.
  • In the morning, top with something crunchy, more fruit, or leave as-is. Eat and enjoy!
Other mix-ins or toppings could be any kind of nut butter, a jam, a cereal on top, chia seeds mixed in, nuts on top, coconut, other dried fruit, etc. I really keep it as simple as in the picture all the time! The peanut butter mixed in is my favorite part.

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For more of the Back to Basics series, see the How To page.

Back to Basics: Granola

I have a new idea for the blog–a series on basics. Not all recipes can be creative, take a half a day to make, or use lots of ingredients. And not all weeks have original content all the time! We like repeats too, especially when they are awesome. It also takes a lot of time to continuously find new things to try and write about!

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This week, we’re talking about granola! If you were reading about a year ago, I was on a granola kick. There were bars, sticky bites, loose granola. It was crunchy, sticky, one burnt batch from not watching close enough, and some were fruity or full of good spices. We went through a lot of Quaker Oats!

Recently, I’d been thinking about granola again. I like it with breakfast, on top of yogurt for a snack, and I had a lot of raisins in my pantry.

I referred to my favorite recipe from last year and made some modifications based on what I had in the pantry. From the original recipe, I accidentally left out the brown sugar and didn’t notice in the taste. I don’t have flax meal in the pantry anymore, and I used more raisins instead of craisins. I also didn’t have almonds so I used more pecans and peanuts. Use what you have!

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Oatmeal Raisin Granola

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 C old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 C pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 C unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 C sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C gold rainsins
  • 1/2 C black raisins
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 3 T applesauce
  • 2 T smooth peanut butter

Instructions:

  • Mix maple syrup, applesauce and peanut butter in a small pan on the stovetop and let simmer for 8-10 minutes over low heat. It will get thick and caramel-like. Don’t let it burn.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the wet to the dry once thickened.
  • Pour on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Bake at 300* for 45 minutes, stirring every 12-15.**
  • Cool for 20 minutes before eating.

For this batch, I actually had to take Lily for a walk while the granola was baking. She insisted. I turned the oven off at about 20 minutes and left the tray in. It was perfectly done when I got back. Just watch your batch so it doesn’t burn!

 

Oatmeal Raisin Granola
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

 

Ingredients
  • Oatmeal Raisin Granola
  • 2.5 C old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ C pecans, chopped
  • ¼ C unsalted peanuts
  • ¼ C sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ C gold rainsins
  • ½ C black raisins
  • ¼ C maple syrup
  • 3 T applesauce
  • 2 T smooth peanut butter

Instructions
  1. Mix maple syrup, applesauce and peanut butter in a small pan on the stovetop and let simmer for 8-10 minutes over low heat. It will get thick and caramel-like. Don’t let it burn.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the wet to the dry once thickened.
  3. Pour on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 300* for 45 minutes, stirring every 12-15.**
  5. Cool for 20 minutes before eating.

Holiday Recipes in Review

Happy Monday! I am out of work until after the new year and enjoying some time off. We have two trips planned, our final travels before Baby G arrives. I hope you enjoy the week before Hanukkah/Christmas.

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Here are some of the recipes I’ve made this year with a holiday theme if you’re still looking for something to make.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate Dipped Lemon Cookies

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Marshmallows

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Gingerbread Men

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Pumpkin Apricot Loaf

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Apple Cranberry Sauce

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Oatmeal Bars with M&Ms

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And from last year:

Chocolate Bark

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Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf

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Marshmallow Logs

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These cookies will help you get through a hump day, or anyday. Somewhere between a Tollhouse cookie and an after dinner mint, these cookies are soft and plump with a crispy exterior.

As much as I try to bake healthy, cooking with butter is just really, really much better.

Here is how this cookie came to be: I wanted to find a cookie that I could make a lot of for gifts. I wanted them to be perfectly delicious, a nice round size, and special.

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I started with this recipe on How Sweet It Is, doubled it, subbed in Andes mint baking chips (win!) instead of chocolate chips, and then realized that her recipe is basically the Tollhouse cookie recipe cut in half. Sneaky. And no wonder they are really good.

My recipe (below), makes about 45 medium sized cookies. Growing up with Tollhouse cookies usually in the house, I rolled these into bigger sized balls which made for a nicely round and substantial cookie size. You could make them smaller for more cookies.

I planned this batch for gifts, but then took them to two parties and now I need to bake more.

The secret that makes these cookies so great are the Andes baking chips. Perfectly chopped, the chocolate blends into the dough and makes even the non-chocolate bites minty. Pretty tasty we think.

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes about 45 medium cookies

  • 1 cup butter (two sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5  cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups Andes mint baking chips (found in the baking aisle at holiday time)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combined.
  • Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon with the mixer on medium speed. Beat in oats.
  • Mix until dough comes together. Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Remove dough from fridge and roll into big 1 1/2 inch balls. Set on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Lightly press down on dough to flatten it.
  • Bake at 375 for 18 minutes, or until edges start to brown.

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 Who can turn down a chocolate cookie? I’ll bet Santa will like them too.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 40
 

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies makes about 45 medium cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter (two sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5  cups rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups Andes mint baking chips (found in the baking aisle at holiday time)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combined.
  4. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon with the mixer on medium speed. Beat in oats.
  5. Mix until dough comes together. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove dough from fridge and roll into big 1½ inch balls. Set on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Lightly press down on dough to flatten it.
  8. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes, or until edges start to brown.

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