Italy is a magical place to live. There is so much history around every corner. People are warm and hospitable, at least where I live here in the South. Any time people find out that I live in Italy, they always begin to gush about how amazing Italy is, and how it is on their bucket list to come visit, or how much they enjoyed their visit when they were here.
Italy is also a gigantic frustrating paradox. The other day I went to the city hall to renew my ID card. I had lost my old one, and needed to make a new one. I walked into this beautiful building with an inner courtyard lined with antique columns. It still feels almost as if you are stepping back in time. And then when you walk into the offices within those buildings, you definitely feel like you are stepping back in time!
When I tried to renew my ID card there was a slight problem… I had two social security numbers. The one on my ID that I had been using for 15 years, and the one registered at my city hall. They could tell right away that it was the error of my city hall, and that the ID on my social security card was correct, but for some reason they were not able to fix it. And so I waited. And went from lovely non functioning office to even lovelier, even less functioning office trying to find someone who could correct my number. Then the inevitable here in Italy…. they told me to come back tomorrow.
I returned to the lovely building the next day to ask about my number. I waited again. I went to various offices again. This time, however, it seems that they were finally able to solve the problem. So I returned down stairs with only one social security number and sat at the desk of the lady who would be making my new ID card. When I handed her my paper work and photographs, her very first words were, “What horrible pictures! They are really ugly.” At which, after all I had already been through, I chose to start laughing. I thought it was pretty funny that she would say something so rude and direct to me after all of their incompetence. Lovely ID lady, however, did not think it was funny! She looked right at me and said, “This is no laughing matter.”
I suppressed my laughter at the outrageous two days I had just experienced and finished my ID card with the ugly photos. As I walked out onto the street, in the middle of the historical part of town, a laugh bubbled up again. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband this one! It’s a good thing that I had these healthy oatmeal cookies waiting for me at home. The fact that they were healthy, made me feel a little better about my “ugly” ID photos!
To make your own healthy berry oatmeal cookies, so that you to can feel better about yourself (lol), you will need a few simple ingredients. Begin with measuring the vegetable shortening (you can substitute vegetable shortening with margarine if needed) into the bowl of you electric mixer. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 egg to the bowl and beat for 2 more minutes until light and fluffy (be sure to scrape the sides)
In a separate bowl measure 3 cups of oats and 1 1 and 1/2 cups flour. Whisk lightly with a fork until blended. Add the salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk again with fork until the mixture is well blended.
Add the dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix on low just until blended. Add blackberries and stir in by hand or mix on low with your electric mixer until the dough reaches a beautiful purple color. If you stir the berries in by hand they will still smash and blend with the dough, but you will end up with larger pieces of berry in your cookies. If you do not care for berry chunks in your cookies just blend it with your mixer on low for a short time. It will leave much smaller pieces of berry and spread the flavor more evenly throughout the batter. My kids like berry flavor, but do not like “cooked berries”, so I usually opt to beat the dough lightly once I have added the berries. Just look at the beautiful color these blackberry cookies create!!
Chill dough for 1 hr or overnight. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Place dough on cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. I got my mats at IKEA and I could not live without them! They make cookie making so much easier! Bake for approximately 8 minutes. Keep on the first batch. Ovens vary! They should be puffy and lightly golden brown around the edges, but not gooey in the center. Allow to cool on a cooling rack or cutting board and then store in an airtight container.
We love them for breakfast with our cappuccino! The berries keep the cookie humid and the oats make you feel good about yourself! Because you know, oats are among the healthiest grains on earth. They’re a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits. These include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease! So whoo-hoo! You can eat these and not feel guilty!