I think about, talk about, write about scones... a lot! I serve them to family and friends every chance I get, sure that they will love my scones with the same measure of passion I do. And they do.
Just the other day I spent a few moments doing what any normal, scone loving foodie might find herself doing on a lovely summer afternoon... I wrote a haiku.
To surpass my perfect scone.
Try not - Just bring jam.
My scone recipe began nearly 12 years ago in the lobby of a doctor's office. I was living in Plano, Texas, having just married my husband, and picked through the layers of hunting and fishing magazines to find an outdated Better Homes and Gardens. It was then and there that I came across a little recipe entitled "Pat-a-Cakes"; scones so simple even a child could put them together. I found a link to their original recipe right here.
Over the years I've made them a myriad of different ways. As a simple Thanksgiving Day dinner accompaniment I stir in pecans and golden raisins; for a tea party I increase the zest and add in poppy seeds; for the children I pour in chocolate chips; and to share with our Sunday School Class I've been known to turn them into maple oat scones. This last alteration exploded my understanding of how much fun (and how simple) scones could be! At this time in my family's dietary history I was avoiding bleached white flour, and began substituting whole wheat flour, then I began blending up oats and substituting them for half of the flour. I didn't think they could get any better! Sweet Marmalade, was I wrong!
This past year I've been taking baby steps to go completely wheat free in our home. Along the way I've made muffins that are as dense as hockey pucks, and brownies that are as crumbly and tasteless as wet chalk. But my scones have been a delight to transform!
Here's my new and improved wheat free OAT SCONE RECIPE:
3 cups blended oats (Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats will allow you to go Gluten Free too)
1/2 cup raw honey
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375. Mix together all ingredients until well mixed. Shape into triangles of rounded cakes and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes depending on scone size.
Here are two of my (current) favorite variations:
Coconut & Date Oat Scones - Stir in 1 cup of blended coconut, 1 cup of blended / sweetened dried dates, and 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts. Substitute almond extract instead of vanilla extract. (Wonderful with raspberry jam!)
Chocolate Oat Scones - Add 4 TBS. Cocoa Powder and 1 cup of mini chocolate of carob chips. Garnish with a drizzle of agave syrup and serve warm.
Photographer Tammy Labuda flew all the way from TX to our lake house in Northern California to try my scones and blessed me with many fun pictures and this sweet review. Let me know what you think! Go ahead and tell me in a Haiku if you dare!
In a mere 18 days, two and a half fleeting weeks, a handful of talented writers and photographers will descend upon our lake house for a glorious weekend of writing, resting, laughing and crying, and... eating. Eating together, the breaking of bread, inviting one another into the deep knowing we call friendship as we pass the sparkling blood orange juice around the table.
During one long, albeit terribly too short, afternoon last year, the two photographers and I went to the home of the talented Northern California Artist, Carolyn Marchetti. She shared with us her work, her home, her studio, and a scrumptious meal overlooking the Marchetti's lakeside orchard. The environment was lovely, though honestly it paled in comparison to the hosts and their immediate transparency and zest for life, love, food and friendship. After the meal I left their circle of laughter and clicking cameras, and returned to the quiet of the writers back home. But the story goes on, after I left the lunch table, that our dear hostess' husband Tony commented thus, "It all happens around the table." Tony is Italian by heritage and by this adage, it seems to me; a culture of people who know how to cook, to eat, to love, and to express themselves passionately... around the table of life.
Family, life, friendship, celebrations and daily meals, laughter and information are shared here. Laid down as offerings, saying, "I want to know you and be known by you."
Around the oval farm table, inside the great bay window overlooking the lake, we breakfast, sharing our goals for the day. At lunch we reconvene with surprising news of what we've learned as we've written and prayed and read. And then, at night, on the wide side porch, with a tunnel of warm wind whipping up from the lake and through our hair laid down, we eat more, share more, laugh more. As the sun drops low in the sky, even the deer in the field below make their way beneath the trees, and the bats take flight overhead, gulping up their own meal together. While I would prefer our roasted garlic bruchetta to their insect buffet, the picture is still of family... diving deep and soaring high... together. Around the table.
And so, with just these 18 days left to plan and prepare, I've put together the flavors that will usher in the knowing; the menu that will act as canvas to the art of friendship we'll unveil one meal at a time.
3rd Annual Creative Retreat - MENU
- Fried egg atop a mixed green salad, served alongside a short stack of
Gorgonzola and bacon pancakes.
- Chocolate Oat scones, yogurt, and fresh mixed berries
- Mango Chutney Chicken Salad, green grapes, cheese and crackers
- Goat cheese stuffed dates, roasted garlic bruchetta, and spinach summer salad.
- Iced lemon squares
- Granola parfait
- Cold cut platter and more fresh fruit
- Creative Retreat's Signature Heirloom Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad,
Chicken pesto and sun dried tomatoes.
"It All Happens Around the Table" has become our lake house mantra. Photographer Jenni Keiter blogged about our afternoon, and this profoundly simple statement, here.
I'm writing this post from my son's bedroom floor. He has been struggling with night terrors and simply can't close his eyes peacefully without one of us by his side. So here I sit, encouraging him without words... just by my nearness.
Encouragement is such a powerful thing and we all need it. For us moms it's especially true when times are most challenging; when finances have added stress to an already tense marriage, when sleep deprivation has taken it's toll both physically and emotionally, when negative self talk has replaced all that is true and left you feeling broken, empty and unloved. Have you ever received a casual hug from a friend and turned to a puddle of tears? Encouragement. We need the nearness of a friend by our allegorical bedsides when night terrors come calling.
How blessed I am to have a small army of Encouraging friends; they are partners in this journey we are all on, as mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, and women...
Today I gratefully celebrated many of them with my annual "Barnabas Tea."
Barnabas was the man who brought Paul to the apostles after his conversion, then Barnabas continued to encourage Paul throughout his ministry. The ladies I served tea to this afternoon have been Barnabas' in my life this past year, bringing me back to good teaching when needed it, and supporting me as I step out in ministry.
We had scones, creme and curd; a mixed green salad with balsamic pecans, crimson raisins, and rotisserie chicken; egg salad with bacon and brie; and for dessert pear pie and chocolate fudge.
Since there are so many others who should have been around my table this afternoon, I've included my pear pie recipe below - it's sure to encourage your taste buds in the very least.
I also want to encourage my first two Giveaway book recipients, Laurie W. and Nora H. Your books will be sent tomorrow! Thank you one and all for posting your comments, encouraging my heart with your feedback, and allowing me to feel a sense of community as I write my way through this blessed journey.
1 unbaked pie shell
3-4 ripe pears (peeled and sliced)
2 large eggs
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
Beat eggs until frothy.
Mix sugar and flour and add to eggs, beating well.
Beat in vanilla and butter.
Layer pears in bottom of pie crust and pour mixture over the top.
Bake @ 325 for 50 minutes.
If pie is still jiggly, turn oven off and let sit for an additional 15 minutes.