Saturday, August 28, 2010

strawberry scones

If you've ever had your scones turn out heavy and rather unappetizing, you  might be thinking "hm, those look good but I can't make them". You can. I did. And they are sooooo light and creamy! I found the recipe over on Annie's Eats (I really love her recipes!) and have made it over and over.

The main difference between this recipe and the other ones I have tried (and I have tried many) is that is calls for yogurt instead of cream or half and half. Maybe that's what makes them so good?
These also freeze really well!

Strawberry Scones
1 large egg
¼ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
½ cup milk
1 tsp. orange or lemon zest [I've been using orange and it tastes wonderful!]
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 heaping cup diced fresh strawberries [I use thawed frozen berries because they are cheaper - and because I usually have some on hand]

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, milk and citrus zest until blended; set aside.  In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Pulse briefly to blend.  Add the butter pieces to the bowl with the dry ingredients and pulse several times to cut the butter into the flour, until the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas.  (If you don’t have a food processor, you can just as easily mix up the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives or forks.)  Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add the strawberries to the flour mixture and toss to coat.  Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and gently fold together with a fork or spatula until a sticky dough has formed.  Knead just a few times to ensure that all the dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough is cohesive.  (Only if absolutely necessary, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time to hydrate the remaining dry ingredients.)
Transfer the dough to a well floured work surface and pat into a disc about 7-8 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.  Slice the disc into 8 wedges.

To bake the scones, preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.  Place the shaped scones on the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes before serving.

To freeze, transfer the baking sheet with the shaped scones to the freezer and let them chill until they are firm, 30-60 minutes.  Wrap the scones individually and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to bake.  Bake as originally indicated, adding a few minutes to the baking time (usually about 18-20 minutes for me.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

poem and ponderings

God's Grandeur
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.               The heavens declare the glory of God;
  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;                   the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil                                                              -Psalm 19:1
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?                   Creation itself also will be set free from its
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;                          slavery to corruption into the freedom of
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;         the glory of the children of God.
  And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil     For we know that the whole creation groans and
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.                             suffers the pangs of childbirth together until now. ...
                                                                                         but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us
And for all this, nature is never spent;                                 with groanings too deep for words;
 There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;                                                - Romans 8:21-22,26
And though the last lights off teh black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
- Gerard Manley Hopkins

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

homemade granola

 before being put in the oven

I made granola the other day and it turned out better than I thought it would (aside from being slightly burnt)!
The recipe ended up being a combination of three that I had on hand, using the things that sounded good to me and leaving out the things that didn't (or that we didn't have in the cupboard).

All done! Yum.

"The will of God is ... bigger"

John and I have been married for 28 months, and it's been good. Not always easy, but very, very good.

"The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It my seem much worse, but in the end it's going to be a lot better and a lot bigger."~Elisabeth Elliot

I found this post in my drafts file, originally written last June. It's still true (all I needed to change was the number of months). God's ways are not our ways.
His thoughts, plans and ways are ever so much bigger and better than ours.
If He had given me the chance to opt out of certain experiences over the past 2 1/2 years I certainly would have! But then I would have missed out on the blessings.

Isn't it good that even though we can't see the end, God can?

Monday, August 16, 2010

God-powered Mothering

 One of the blogs I follow - Femina, written by Nancy Wilson and her daughters/daughter in law - posted about loving our children. Not just loving them, though, but loving them with a I Corinthians 13 kind of love, a Christ-like love. I was thinking of paraphrasing what they wrote, but it's all good!
So here it is:

"1. Love is longsuffering. Moms will have plenty of provocations in this world, so they need to be able to suffer for a long time. Some of this longsuffering involves putting up with people who degrade motherhood and despise children. Moms need to think long term, give themselves a good job description, and adopt God’s view of the high calling of motherhood.
2. Love is kind. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). Much kindness (and unkindness) comes via words. Pervasive kindness means listening, forgiving, anticipating, speaking, and doing. It includes physical comforts for your kids: giving them clean beds, warm food, soap and water. It is a LAW of kindness, which means it includes discipline and instruction that is given kindly.
3. It is not envious. Not of other mothers, not of other people’s children or their accomplishments or grades or personality. This means no comparisons with the other siblings, no complaining. Children feel their parents disapproval and it can crush them.
4. It does not vaunt (parade) itself. Moms should be careful not to provoke others to envy (or disgust or weariness) by putting their children on display in a bragging way, hijacking every conversation back to the report card or the clever cuteness. This does not mean that moms should not praise their children and rejoice in their accomplishments. But the Christmas letter should not be full of vaunting.
5. Love is not puffed up. This implies being full of oneself. And this is the kind of mom who cannot be taught by her own children because the kids are never right, and mom is never wrong. This kind of parent is full of her own authority and looks to lord it over the kids rather than love them. She demands attention.
6. Does not behave rudely (unseemly). This means improper or inappropriate behavior. We’ve all seen this at the grocery store: “You are driving me crazy! I am going to count to three and then I’m leaving you here!” Love does not threaten. Love takes responsibility. Love doesn’t over-share about her children’s needs, failures, weaknesses, or sins.
7. Seeks not its own. This kind of mom gives herself away. Home is for the family, and the schedule is for the kids, not the kids for the schedule. This means family night is not the night the kids dread.
8. Not easily provoked. This kind of supernatural love doesn’t react. It sees the big picture and doesn’t flip out over spilled milk or muddy shoes.
9. Thinks no evil. She hears both sides of the story first before making a judgment. She doesn’t believe everything she hears. She does not attribute motives.
10. Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. When someone else’s child fails or flunks or loses, she does not do a victory dance.
11. Bears all things. Sickness. Slowness. Messiness. Childishness. She can bear these things if she has supernatural love.
12. Believes all things. She loves the truth! She lives it out and she teaches her children to believe.
13. Hopes all things. This kind of supernatural love can believe that God is in control of all things, even this sickness or this frustration or this loss. This kind of mom hopes in God and knows He is writing her story and her children’s stories.
14. Endures all things. Who can do this without the supernatural love and power of God?

15. Love never fails. This love sees the kids to the finish line with faith and courage.
Okay, so who doesn’t need supernatural love to do this? Pray to God for it! He loves to give the supply."

He does love to give when we ask (especially when we ask for things that make us more like Him), and always will.

Asking God for love like His reminded me of the verses at the end of Ephesians 3:
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

Amen and amen.


better things

"Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind." -c.s. lewis

"Better things ahead" - so true and so good to ponder.

Monday, August 02, 2010

triple ginger cookies

One of my favorite summertime flavor combinations is lemon and ginger (well, anytime combinations really). Lemon cheesecake with a ginger crust. Gingerbread cake and lemon curd. And lemonade with gingersnaps.
I had a hankering for the fresh and tangy combo again last week and made up some ginger cookies - not gingersnaps though. These are really, really zingy Triple Ginger Cookies. So zingy that instead of using a typical "rounded spoonful" of dough, these are only 1/2 a tablespoon worth each. Pretty much the size of a quarter.

2 cups spelt flour OR whole wheat pastry flour (I used whole wheat)
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon star anise, finely ground
4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
2/3 cup fine grain natural cane sugar, sifted (I used Xylitol)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 large egg, well beaten
1 cup crystallized ginger, then finely minced
2 lemons, zest only (I used orange zest)
Preheat the oven to 350F degree. Line a couple baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or a Silpat mat (I used a knock-off version of a Silpat from Crate and Barrel), place the extra sugar in a small bowl, and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, star anise, ground ginger, and salt.
Heat the butter in a skillet until it is just barely melted. Stir in the molasses, natural cane sugar, and fresh ginger. The mixture should be warm, but not hot at this point, if it is hot to touch let it cool a bit. Whisk in the egg. Now pour this over the flour mixture, add the crystallized ginger (make sure it isn't too clumpy), and lemon zest. Stir until just combined.
I like these cookies tiny, barely bite-sized, so I scoop out the dough in exact, level tablespoons. I then tear those pieces of dough in two before rolling each 1/2 tablespoon of dough into a ball shape. From there, grab a small handful of the big sugar you set aside earlier and roll each ball between your palms to heavily coat the outside of each dough ball. Place dough a few inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cookies puff up, darken a bit, get fragrant and crack.
Makes about 4 dozen or so.

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