Over a Cup of Coffee: At play with ‘Haystacks’

This week’s recipe is intended for children, although there certainly isn’t an age restriction. The recipe is quick to make, and there is a lot of stirring that kids will enjoy.

I first made “Haystacks” when I was teaching an early childhood class for teachers.

We tried out the recipe to see how it would work for a “Little Boy Blue” nursery rhyme topic. If you’d like to make “Haystacks” with your children, you’ll need: 1 cup of butterscotch chips, ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup salted peanuts, and 2 cups chow mein noodles.

First, cover the table with paper towels. Place wax paper on one or two cookie sheets.

Let your children practice their measuring skills by putting the butterscotch chips and peanut butter in a microwave bowl.

Then, microwave at half power for 3 to 4 minutes, until the chips are just soft and shiny. (Adult supervision is necessary.)

Next comes the stirring.

Let your children take turns stirring until the mixture is well-blended. Add the peanuts and noodles and stir some more, until the peanuts and noodles are coated.

Then let the kids drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto the wax paper. Cool until set. (During hot weather it may be necessary to chill the haystacks in the refrigerator.) Then enjoy.

I thought about this recipe because I’ve been thinking about what all is done around a table.

It all came about when my husband, Lyle, and I ordered a new table and chairs. The old one had seen two sons grow up and four children well on the road to growing up, the oldest 17 and the youngest almost 11.

The old table got so it wobbled. The legs stayed sideways. A “table check-up” revealed that places where the legs had been welded to the table were breaking.

It was only a matter of time before one broke and the table fell, possibly at mealtime. So, we decided on a new dining room set. Meanwhile, before it was delivered, all of our children were home for a supper meal, and we reminisced about the years with the old table.

Lyle and I are firm believers in eating meals together around a table. That’s because family members talk.

Over the years, our family has spent countless hours talking about politics, world affairs, family “goings-on,” family history, just about anything a person could think of.

There was even toddler talk. As our bodies were nurtured with food, so were our minds and souls nurtured.

But, that’s not all that took place around the table. It was a place where homework was done, artwork made from markers and Crayons, 4-H projects were completed, milk and cookies consumed, Christmas presents created, cookies decorated, even objects studied under the microscope.

The table, with a blanket thrown over it, became a tent. Sometimes the table was even a canopy bed with blankets and pillows piled underneath.

Now, the new table and chairs are in place.

Yesterday our daughter-in-law, Brandi, and granddaughter, Megan, drove over.

They tried out the new chairs and commented that the new table is a little higher than the old one and that there will be a lot more room for our family when sitting around it.

A new table and more memories to create.

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