Looking out at the dreary winter weather, I can't help but drift backwards in time and memory. Reminiscing when I was a barefoot child paying in the dirt as my Grandmother Iva worked in her flower garden.
She and our next-door neighbor, Mrs. Lancaster, grew petunias, peonies, roses and giant sunflowers.
I liked the sunflowers best because it meant we would eat the roasted seeds fresh out of the oven, Mrs. Lancaster would make sunflower butter and, ultimately, it would become Sunflower Cookies.
I never caught the gardening bug. As a matter of fact, I believe that both indoor and outdoor plants have collectively come to an agreement to ensure that their species never has to deal with me.
What is my proof you might wander: Every living plant placed in my care dies within 48-72 hours. Even fresh cut flowers have an unnatural short lifespan when given to me.
"Oh no," I recently told a friend who gave me a beautiful poinsettia for Christmas. "It will be dead in a matter of days. Any living plant screams it's final death cry when given to me."
My friend laughed and said I was silly, but I don't think she was laughing two days later. The gorgeous red leaves shriveled and curled up into nasty little clumps, which were falling all over my desk and the office floor.
I haven't touched it since it began dropping lifeless petals. Someone else is taking care of the poor thing, which is still desperately clinging to life on my desk. But I think it's searching for an escape route because it always seems to be in a different place when I came back to the office.
Honestly, I am ashamed to look at another victim in a long stream of my serial flower killings, but I leave it alone out of hope that maybe this time one flower might make it.
I love the beauty and aroma of flowers, but find myself banished to the realm of "silk flower arrangements."
Although apparently at war with the plant world for some unforeseen reason, I am able to enjoy the bounty of the beautiful sunflower, it's delicious seeds.
In my memory, Mrs. Lancaster did this by hand, but I recommend using a food processor to save time.
In the processor bowl, blend 1 cup of oven-roaster non-salted sunflower seeds until a powder-like substance (scrape down the sides if needed) before slowly adding
1-3 tablespoons of sunflower/vegetable/canola oil. Don't worry, the paste is supposed to be a grayish color.
Remove the paste from the processor to a small bowl before stirring in salt and honey to your taste. (Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.)
Cream together a 1/2-cup each of salted butter and Sunflower Butter and 1 cup each of sugar and brown sugar until well mixed. Add two eggs, 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in the bowl, mixing thoroughly.
Slowly stir in 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of each of salt and baking soda before adding 3 cups of rolled oats and 1 cup of flaked coconut.
You can add 1 cup of sunflower seeds at this point if wanted, but, as a child, it was fun to lightly roll the dough into balls and then roll in the seeds before baking the cookies.
If you add the seeds to the dough, coat a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray before dropping the dough by spoonfuls onto it. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until they are a light golden brown.
Dust with a light coat of powdered sugar (or regular sugar) before removing from the baking sheet.