Donna, her husband Dwayne, who is also a nurse and their daughter Hannah attend a fund raiser alongside Donna's "office"--the rescue helicopter.

"I know they will never remember my name, but I hope they will remember a calm voice telling them it will be okay," says Donna Whalen, a flight nurse from Cedar Crest, New Mexico.

"Helping others is in my blood. Working as a flight nurse means I'm a critical care nurse, emergency medical responder and flight crew all in one. I work with some of the best paramedics and pilots out there and go to work each day not knowing what kind of call I will respond to. Some days I provide medical attention and others comfort."

"We work 24 hour shifts, often planning meals together, especially on weekends. Due to the unpredictability of our job, lunch/dinner combos are common. There is a weight requirement for flying so we are all interested in eating healthy. We almost always do grilled veggies."

"I became a flight nurse after many years of working in cardiac intensive care. After seeing how diabetes and obesity contributes to poor health it has made me try to make a fairly healthy way of eating even better."

"I consider healthy foods, whole foods that are prepared at home. My family and I are fortunate to have a piece of property that provides us with fruit trees, a vegetable garden and chickens which produce fresh eggs every day. I want to offer food to my family that is free of pesticides, nitrates and preservatives."

"I don't believe in sugar or fat substitutes and I also find that moderation is the key. I like to bake, but my favorite trick is to bake, save some for my family and take the rest to work."

"We eat meat, fish and poultry several times per week. Whole grain foods are served in our home and I cook with spices instead of salt and fat to bring flavor to my dishes."

"I love cooking. It is a way to express myself, to be creative and to learn about different places and cultures. I enjoy reading the history behind a dish. And most of all, I am happy to pass this on to my daughter, Hannah because she loves to cook too!"


Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies from Donna were a huge hit with everyone at Penzeys.


  • 1½ Cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. CINNAMON
  • dash GROUND CLOVES
  • dash GROUND NUTMEG
  • 1 Cup butter, room temperature (Donna uses unsalted)
  • ¾ Cup sugar
  • ¾ Cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 TB. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 3 Cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 Cup golden raisins
  • 1 Cup craisins
  • 1 Cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. If using foil, lightly butter it to prevent sticking. Because the cookies are cooled on the pan the greasing is important. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and SPICES. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the honey, eggs and VANILLA. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat well. Stir in the oats, raisins, craisins and pecans. Drop the batter by the tablespoon onto the cookie sheets, spacing the mounds 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten the cookies. Bake at 350° until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on the cookie sheets before storing in an airtight container.

Prep. time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 10 minutes per pan
Yield: 54-60 cookies

Nutritional Information: Servings 15;
Serving Size 2 cookies (54g); Calories 220; Calories from fat 90; Total fat 10g; Cholesterol 30mg; Sodium 80mg; Carbohydrate 32g; Dietary Fiber 2g.

Oatmeal Cookies



Need any spices for this recipe?

Description Price Quantity
Cloves Ground 1.2 oz. 1/4 cup jar $4.45
Penzeys Cinnamon Ground 1.7 oz. 1/2 cup jar $6.65
Nutmeg East Indian Ground 1.0 oz. 1/4 cup jar $4.25
Single Strength Vanilla 4 oz. Bottle $13.99