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Plano, Texas, having just married my husband, and picked through the layers of hunting and fishing magazines to find an outdated Better Homes and Gardens.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!
On a Holiday such as Thanksgiving I love a perfectly set table with gleaming crystal and an overflowing fragrant centerpiece; I love the gentle strains of a string quartet mingling with the aromas brought on by 24 hours of cooking. O... and how I LOVE well groomed children wearing coordinating shirts, sitting patiently (and thankfully) around the table, eagerly awaiting our feast! But let's be realistic here...
This was how our Thanksgiving Day looked.
Shirts were tossed off
In lieu of sunshine on the skin.
Tire swings and branches,
Basketballs and dirt bikes,
Happy outside boy bodies.
They came to the table with sweat.
They came to the table
Switching place cards with brothers
so they could sit next to a specific friend.
They came to the table
pointing out the things they would eat
and the things they wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole!
Then they gobbled up their turkey and asked for more Martinelli's
They were loud with laughter and... thanks.
It was all a bit chaotic for me. Truth be told it always is. But in hindsight I'm challenged to be thankful myself. Thankful for the three boy bodies shooting out energy and joy from each and every pore. Thankful for the space here at home for them to romp and roam and play. Thankful for friends with bushels of boys who understand our crazy Holiday madness.
Have I given up on table manners? HEAVENS NO! Did I still buy them coordinating Christmas sweaters that will end up on the floor before Grandma can snap a picture on Christmas Eve? Yes, yes, yes... Ideals, Ladies! Ideals! I am a sentimental fool and spend much energy each day correcting behavior and training their outward manners and inward hearts. But I refuse to let their BOY-ness shatter my THANKFUL-ness. I commit each day to be Thankful for what they are that day, even as they interrupt my quiet and controlled dreams of elegant Holiday tables. Let's purpose to enjoy them as boys as we help cultivate them into Gentlemen.
A special welcome to those visiting from
Exciting news, Friends! Today the boys held their second Lemonade Stand & Bake Sale and brought in a whopping $112 to support BIble translation projects! If you haven't read about our goals for fundraising this year, or the ministry we are partnering with, check it out here. Or you can simply visit this link to read more about the Boma people in Southeast Asia who's Bible translation project is 97% done as of today. Today's fundraiser all went toward the Boma people and due to such generous lemonade drinkers, five more verses were funded.
Next, my eldest will begin writing his handwritten support letters and sending them out to family and friends. If you would like to be on his mailing list simply leave me a message.
Now, for those of you who were able to make it to today's Bake Sale and taste those LIFE CHANGING BROWNIES, I've decided to share the recipe. And for those of you who weren't able to be there, you may jot down the recipe as well.
CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIES
Make a batch of Giradelli's dark chocolate brownie mix, cool, cut, and ice with frosting made from the back of the Hersey's cocoa powder box.
1 stick of butter
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Families from Classical Conversations who gave generously
and joyfully to the boys' cause today, thank you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Tomorrow is Father's Day and while I already posted about the best gift I can give my husband here, I thought I'd share my favorite gift to make for my Dad each holiday.
You see, tis the night before Father's Day, and I just wrapped up a batch of my Great-Grandmother's Nanaimo Bars.
What better thing could I give my Dad than a sweet, familiar recipe he enjoyed growing up? The two most common treats I make for him are his Grandmother's Graham Cracker Squares, and these Nanaimo Bars.
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (200 grams) graham cracker crumbs or crushed Digestive Biscuits
1 cup (65 grams) sweetened or unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked)
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 - 3 tablespoons milk or cream
2 tablespoons (20 grams) vanilla custard powder (Bird's) or vanilla pudding powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (230 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners or icing) sugar
8 ounces (120 grams) semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter
1 tsp. milk
Butter or spray a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan with a non stick vegetable spray.
Bottom Layer: In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).
Middle Layer: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).
Top Layer: Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Then, in a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate for about 10 minutes or just until the chocolate has set. Using a sharp knife, cut into squares.
Yield: Makes about 25 squares.
Preparation time 45 minutes.
Happy Father's Day, Dad!
My friend Angie, over at Celebrating Holidays has done it again! She has taken her time researching Easter traditions, meals, songs, and practices and put them together in an easy to read format. I'm always ready to teach my children fun facts as we decorate our eggs, hunt for candy, and make our Resurrection buns.
The first time my children made these scrumptious little edible lessons was at Angie's house four years ago for our preschool homeschool co-op. The little ones each took a white marshmallow and heard from their teacher about Jesus and his sinless life. They learned that after Jesus was crucified his friends took him down from the cross and anointed his body in burial spices (in our case, cinnamon and sugar). Then their little hands folded the anointed little marshmallow up in dough and placed it in a muffin tin to bake. When we pulled the buns from the oven the children gathered around to see the miracle that had occurred in our very midst. The marshmallow was gone and an empty tomb remained!
Today, this Good Friday, the boys and I went over our lesson again. Asher is old enough this year to enjoy the sticky sweet fun as well as the lesson it delivers. He asked to pray as we sat around the table after our cooking lesson was complete and we were ready to eat. He prayed, "Thank you God for God. Thank you for this food and that you are in Heaven now. Thank you that when I die I get to be with you there. Amen".
Blessing upon you and your young ones this Good Friday. Let us not grow weary... Sunday's coming!
Christ be with me
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ in me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ on my right
Christ on my left
Christ where I lie
Christ where I sit
Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man
who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man
who speaks of me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me
Salvation is of the Lord.
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I have L O V E on my mind. If you are looking for a wonderfully comprehensible history lesson to share with your kids about the person of Saint Valentine, then visit celebratingholidays.com. Angie is the best Mommy-Historian on the Internet!
But more than a history of the man who laid his life down for his love and allegience to the Lord, I want to know how I can share love, celebrate love, and instruct my boys to love one another and others deeply this holiday. As with all the holidays associated with great gobs of candy, how can I teach them something transcendent and applicable, other than good dental hygiene?
While they get excited about buying Valentine's cards for friends, they moan tragically when I call them to the table to address their envelopes. And though we have a wonderful time making chocolate cookies dotted with red m & m candies, after they've hand delivered half a dozen plates to neighbors, they still fight over the biggest cookie that remains on our plate at home. So, how to model and teach love in these days leading up to Valentine's Day?
Yesterday morning as I made a batch of Valentine's Trash, I looked up to find my two biggest boys playing their DS' under a blanket together on the couch. The way the blanket fell over their two little heads, enveloped them in a soft and cozy heart.
I put down my wooden spoon and tiptoed over to tickle their soft little toes. The blanket dropped as they squealed, and they gave me their tender smiles. I whispered, "you guys love playing Star Wars DS together on Saturday mornings, don't you?" Honestly, they had immediately gone back to their games, but the sparkle in their eyes told me the answer I already knew to be true.
L O V E
The boys love to be near one another on slow days. The big brother asks the little brother to help him through the upper levels of the game, and the older one praises the younger for being so good at video games. The little one beams back for a fraction of a second before returning to his screen.
Yes, Mama's it's so important to use each holiday to reinforce good lessons of love and grace, what is lovely and true, but let us not elevate the holidays so much that we miss the little moments happening all around us each and every day.
Put down the wooden spoon, (I did not intend that to be metaphorical) and come around the counter to the couch to tickle their toes and praise them for loving one another well today.
Happy Valentine's Day... and Happy Everyday... from our home to yours.
No, I'm not confused about which Holiday is fast approaching; I know by the carols and the lights already strung on our neighbors' houses that Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. But as I awoke this morning with Advent on my mind, for today is the first day of the Blessed season, I thought of Palm Sunday and how similar the two pre-Holidays are.
On Palm Sunday the people of Jerusalem shouted for joy as Jesus entered their city, heralding Him the long awaited Messiah. They shouted, "Hosanna. Hosanna in the Highest... Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" They were celebrating His coming.
The latin word for coming is advent, and during our Christmas Advent season we prepare our hearts to welcome Him with similar strains, "Joy to the world, the Lord is come!"
Advent season can be celebrated in a myriad of ways, both traditional or contemporary, but the purpose is always the same... to prepare our hearts for the King of Kings, the Messiah, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.
My family always did the advent wreath when I was young. I remember going to church each year on an early winter night as a child, along with all the other church families, to make advent wreaths. Each family would get a styrofoam ring and fresh evergreen trimmings to decorate it with. I can still smell the pine scent mingled with our spaghetti dinner in the "fellowship hall" beneath the sanctuary, as I recall the fun of our advent tradition.
Before leaving church with our advent wreaths we'd also receive a little booklet of nightly scripture readings and songs to sing, three purple candles, a pink candle, and a white candle. When we got home mom would put the wreath on our coffee table and set up the candles around the ring, with the white candle standing alone in the middle. On the first Sunday of advent we'd light the first purple candle and read together the evening's verse, and sing together our advent song. Sweet memories of preparing our hearts for the coming of the Lord at Christmastime.
Now it's our turn to be the parents and help our children ready their hearts for the coming of the Messiah. "Hosanna," we long for them to one day shout, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"
Last night i went online to see if I could find some help getting ready to celebrate advent with my own little family some 30 years later. Angie over at Celebrating Holidays has done a wonderful job laying out simple yet specific Bible readings for each day during the Advent season. She tells us the meaning of our common holiday symbols, where they come from and why we celebrate them as we do to this day in America. She also offers songs, crafts, recipes, and Christmas stories to be read aloud. It's all you need for celebrating Advent with your children this year!
Wherever you find your inspiration about how to celebrate the season, start this year by making fun traditions that begin on this first Sunday of Advent. Here's what our family is going to do for the four Sundays of Advent:
Advent Sunday #1. Light a fire in the fire place tonight and tell the children that Jesus was born to be the LIGHT of the world!
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)
"While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:5)
Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light." (John 11:9-10)
Advent Sunday #2. Next Sunday light the Christmas tree and talk with your children about how Jesus desires for us to be His personal light bearers as well.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. (Philippians 2:14-16)
Advent Sunday #3. Hang a strand of Christmas lights in each of the children's rooms and share with them one on one how we are to believe in the Jesus, and be saved.
"Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. (John 12:36)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:10)
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? (Romans 8:24)
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Advent Sunday #4. Light the fire again as a family and read the Christmas story found in Matthew 1:18 - 2:23. It's a wonderful thing to have and to use a family Bible, for that is where the Light can be found. Then pray together that your family would grow to better know Jesus as the Light throughout the Christmas Season and all year long.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19)
For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life. (Proverbs 6:23)
On that very first Palm Sunday, the people shouted their Hosannas. Hosanna literally means, O Save! They were in desperate need of salvation, and so are we, and so are our children. Let's use the age old tradition of advent with our young ones and our spouses to shout together "Hosanna. Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" And "Joy to the world, the Lord is come!"