Bears Nachos and Consolation Cookies

Ooohhh poor Eric. In case you're not a football nut, his beloved Bears lost the NFC Championship to the Packers today. He was so nervous going into the game, saying it was "the biggest football game in his entire life." Well, it seemed like the Bears waited until the 4th quarter to really show up, and it was just too little, too late. The Packers played really well, and now I'm excited that the team from my state is going to be in the Super Bowl! And, seeing as how I absolutely loathe the Steelers, you better believe I am going to be cheering for the Packers with every fiber of my being.

Rewinding to before today's game, we ended up deciding against going to Replay, a sports bar up the street, just because it was going to be so incredibly packed, and we wouldn't be able to sit with our friends anyway. So we opted to watch the game at home. I didn't care either way, but watching at home meant we would need game-time snacks! So I decided to make a little theme pig-out food: Blue-and-orange (Bears colors!) nachos. 
Except... we loaded the nachos up with so much stuff the blue-and-orange motif kind of gets lost. On top of the blue corn tortilla chips, we added chipotle cheddar cheese, diced red pepper and onion, mashed black beans and pickled jalapenos. After popping them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 6-8 minutes, they came out perfect. We were pretty gluttonous, and polished off the entire pan before the first half was over. Looks like that hour of yoga we did this morning was completely wasted. Oops!

Like I mentioned before, the first half of the game was pretty boring. It was such a low-scoring game, and not much exciting was happening. Clearly, it was not holding Mr. Pancakes' attention:
Things didn't look good for the Bears from the get-go, and even around the third quarter, I could tell Eric was feeling defeated. I knew it would ruin his evening, so right after the game ended, I went straight into the kitchen to whip him up a little something that might make him feel better. Some Consolation Cookies, if you will.

These are actually what I've coined my "To-the-Max" Oatmeal Cookies. What makes them so maxed-out? Well, I've loaded them with all things good: Toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and sweetened, flaked coconut.

I highly recommend these cookies for anyone who's feeling a little down after their team's loss. Except if you're a Bengals fan like me - then you'd be baking them nearly every Sunday, and it wouldn't fare so well for your wasitline.

First, combine all your dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, toasted walnuts, cranberries, coconut and chocolate chips.
 In a separate bowl, cream together your softened butter and brown sugar until it gets nice and fluffy.
Then, add your egg and vanilla to the brown-sugar-butter mixture. Make sure it all gets combined well.
Then, add your dry ingredients to the wet, and beat until just combined.
Finally, dump the dough by the tablespoon (I like to use an ice cream scoop - bigger cookies!) onto your cookie sheet, press them down a bit, and bake! Ten minutes later, you'll get these chewy, comforting little babies, sure to take away any pain that might be lingering in your sports-broken heart.

To-the-Max Oatmeal Cookies (or "Consolation Cookies")
(please note that I halved the recipe so we'd only have about 10 cookies to drown our sorrows in)

3/4 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375.
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, walnuts, coconut, cranberries and chocolate chips. 
In another bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and beat until just combined. Don't overmix!
By heaping tablespoon, scoop the dough on a lined baking sheet. Flatten them a bit with your hands. Bake for 10 minutes.

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