The Chocolate Chunk Cookies that Brought Me Back from the Brink


Chocolate chunk cookies

Have you ever eaten something that provides proof there’s a higher power watching out for you?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s been a rough few weeks around here. I had surgery three weeks ago, and the abdominal incision site will not heal. In fact, it kept getting bigger each time they checked it.

The recovery has been very humbling. Two weeks ago, I thought we had hit a low point when the Hippie Husband had to help me shower. But there was a lot more humility in store. Last week, a specialist looked at the wound, furrowed his brow, and issued new rules. I have to be flat on my back or standing straight up at all times. But mostly flat on my back. I can do the stairs once per day. The Hippie Husband has to lift me out of bed. And off of the toilet. Sigh. He’s a good man, and he does all of these things while helping me maintain maximum levels of dignity and humor. But ugh . . .

My kids are now used to doing everything without me. Little Hippie gets home from school, does her homework, and entertains herself until dinner. Baby Hippie asks for Grandma when he wakes up each morning. Of course this is a good thing – how blessed I am to have such a support system. Friends are dropping off meals, my parents are taking care of a ton of the child care so that HH can take care of me and keep working full-time, and we have offers of help pouring in all the time.

I am lucky on just about every level. But I will admit that this has been a challenge. Being flat on my back is a real pain in the butt, figuratively. And it’s literally a pain in the lower back. The high-protein diet, coupled with the lack of activity, means that I’m spending most of the day forcing myself to eat protein-y things, which goes against my carb-obsessed constitution. And my insurance company started denying coverage on all of the wound care stuff. By last Tuesday at noon, I was a mess. I had just burst into tears while on the phone with an insurance call center rep, I was sick of choking down tuna and other animal proteins, and I really really really wanted a homemade cookie. Obviously, nobody around here has been baking lately, and even if we had a dozen cookies sitting on the counter, I couldn’t eat them – I still hadn’t even hit the halfway mark on my protein quota for the day.

The rest of the day continued on the same track. I logged 15 calls between the doctor’s office, the home medical equipment providers, the wound specialist, and the insurance company. At least 4 of those calls involved tears. No progress was made except to learn that insurance wasn’t going to budge. Around 5 p.m., I said, “I give up.” I was done.

While doing a bit of wallowing, I added up my protein for the day. I was already very close to my quota. This was a pleasant surprise – I could eat a carbohydrate snack! Now to decide what gluten-filled treat would get the honor . . .

The Hippie Husband returned from a run to the drugstore, grabbed the meal my friend Karen had dropped on our porch, and came upstairs with a note from Karen. And a batch of freshly-baked chocolate chunk cookies. They were still warm.

I didn’t realize how hopeless I had become until the despair lifted just a teensy bit. That cookie arrived at the exact moment when my soul most needed it. Karen had mixed the perfect combination of chocolate, sugar, butter, and love. I savored the wonderfulness of that cookie, and then decided to try the insurance company one last time before they closed. Calm and collected, I got the job done. Never underestimate the power of a cookie.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.75 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ยบ
  2. In one bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and Greek yogurt. Beat in granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs.
  4. Gradually mix in flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Mix in semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or chips.)
  6. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Karen says that these are also great as bar cookies: Spread cookie dough into a 9 x 13 pan and bake about 20 minutes.

***EDIT*** A few days after I drafted this post, we learned that my insurance company actually had not denied any claims. It was a paperwork problem with my doctor’s office. As a nation, we’re talking a lot about health care – I don’t want this story added to the Big, Evil Insurance Companies’ rap sheet.

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2 thoughts on “The Chocolate Chunk Cookies that Brought Me Back from the Brink

  1. Made these again last night. We halved the amount of choc chunks called for. We’re totally chocolate people but 12 oz in 3 dozen cookies was WAY too much for us…

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