Friday, August 23, 2013

Blueberry Scones

These are always a big hit every time I make them. They are from America's Test Kitchen and turn out wonderful every time!

It is important to work the dough as little as possible—work quickly and knead and fold the dough only the number of times called for. The butter should be frozen solid before grating. In hot or humid environments, chill the flour mixture and workbowls before use. If fresh berries are unavailable, an equal amount of frozen berries (do not defrost) can be substituted. An equal amount of raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries can be used in place of the blueberries. Cut larger berries into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces before incorporating. Refrigerate or freeze leftover scones, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. To serve, remove foil and place scones on a baking sheet in a 375-degree F oven. Heat until warmed through and re-crisped, 8 to 10 minutes if refrigerated, 16 to 20 minutes if frozen. See final step for information on making the scone dough in advance.


8 tablespoons (4 oz. / 113g) unsalted butter (1 stick), frozen whole (see note above)
2 (1 oz./ 28g) tablespoons butter - melted
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (about 7 1/2 ounces), picked over (see note above)
1/2 cup (4 oz./ 120 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (4oz) sour cream
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surface
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees F. Grate frozen butter on large holes of box grater (you should grate total of 8 tablespoons). Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of ungrated butter and set aside. Place blueberries in freezer until needed.

2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.

4. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Following illustrations, fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.

5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough from one end to the other, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.

6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

To Make Ahead: After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425 F degrees and follow directions in step 6. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375 F degrees, follow directions in step 6, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes.

*I used one tablespoon of turbinado sugar for the last step instead of 1 tablespoon regular sugar.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Weakness equals Strength

I am continuing in my online Bible Study at Proverbs 31 Ministries and have been SO encouraged by what I have read there, and the scriptures I have been pointed too in other ways today. Our family is reminded that when we relinquish control of our lives and truly say 'Yes to God' we often face trials for God to see if we are truly sincere and surrendered. There are so many times I fail, I lash out when my life gets interrupted with things I don't like such as sickness, children's disobedience, misunderstandings, etc. After the fact I often feel so incredibly guilty, and want to raise my tear-stained face and say "I give up!" "I can't do this!" "I don't want to do it anymore!" "I am alone!" In her book What Happen's When Women Say Yes to God, Lysa Terkerst shares how she would label herself in these moments. "I don't qualify to be a woman who says yes to God. Look at how I've acted: impatient, unkind, emotional, angry, unstable, and irrational." (pg. 70)

How many times have I said that too. BUT God doesn't want us to give up. In fact He doesn't want OUR abilities, OUR strength (which is very lacking!), OUR perfection. He just wants our surrender and obedience to Him, and in His amazing ability can turn our weaknesses into His strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardship, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (ESV)

God loves paradoxes! We are to live for Him by dying to ourselves, we are to find freedom when we are slaves to Him, we are strong when we are weak...because in our weakness the world will see that the strength we have can only come from another source, God!

This paragraph from Lysa's book helped to encourage my failing heart today.
"I am not a woman who should be labeled unable. I am a woman on a journey of learning how to make sure my reactions don't deny Christ's presence in me. I am a woman who says yes to God not because my emotions and reactions are always perfect. No, I say yes to God because He is perfectly able to forgive me, love me, remind me, challenge me, and show me how to weather trials in ways that prove His Spirit resides in me. I remind myself often that people don't care to meet my Jesus until they meet the reality of Jesus in my life." (pg. 70)

God I truly want my life to shine as a bright light of your love and forgiveness to a lost, hurting, and dying world. Help me not to be so concerned about my lack of ability, but to learn to trust in You and rely on Your strength, Your love, and Your guidance, not mine. Mine will fail. Yours is eternal and powerful! Help me to take joy in my weakness to know you will give me Your strength when I surrender all to you. Amen.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rapunzel Dress

So the first Disney princess movie my oldest daughter watched was the new Disney Tangled, their rendition of the story of Rapunzel. It is quite good, we really like it, though we've had to explain a lot of things that are hard for an 'almost 3 year old' to understand. Anyway, she just took to this story and would dance around the house singing the songs! This summer we took a trip to Disney World and she was able to 'meet' Rapunzel and a couple other princesses there, and she thought it was "the best day EVER!" :-)

Every day for a while now, she has begged to put on a dress that looks 'like a princess' each morning to play in. I though she would really enjoy her own Rapunzel dress so instead of paying extortionate Disney World Princess dress prices (it really was unbelievable!) I decided to make her one myself. I used a T-shirt of her's to go by on the bodice and sleeve pattern from a dress pattern I had made her. Then made up a lot of it as I went, but this is the final product and I am very pleased with it. Most important is that she is thrilled with it. She said, "Mom, you did such a good job on my dress!" Can't you tell by the look on her face?! LOL

Little sis wanted to dress up too, so we found her a fancy dress to wear. And of course there had to be LOTS of flowers and hair-bows in the hair, "just like Rapunzel, Mom!" LOVE being a Mom of girls!!

The Letter 'A'

My oldest has recently become much more restless with every day activities and play, so I decided it might be time to start her on a few 3 year old 'lessons' and so far she is LOVING it! My husband and I are looking at some curriculum for her, which will make my life easier with another toddler running around too. But so far I have just Googled coloring pages and tracing pages for different letters of the alphabet and have found tons of free stuff! One site I've used the most and you will see in the pictures is Paper and the Pea. It is so fun to see her loving this! And little sister is also joining in at her level and ability and is also enjoying it. :-)

I had some colored foam sheets so thought it would be more fun to let her use scissors, which she ADORES using, to cut pieces for a collage on the alligator. And it wouldn't matter how she cut them, there is no precision just practice using the scissors. Then gluing on the green pieces to fill in the alligator was fun. (Note to Moms: don't turn your back for a moment, after this picture she cut her dress!) 

I love learning to use scissors!

Lots of concentration!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Noodle Auf Lauf

This recipe is a favorite with our family. It came from my dear German friend, Ulrike, when I lived in England. She made it often for her family and for me when I went over to eat and I was hooked! It is such an easy meal to make and taste's divine. I mean, how can you go wrong with hotdogs, cheese, and pasta? Hope you enjoy!!


12oz box pasta - you can use any shape, I prefer Rotini
8oz cheddar cheese - or can use whatever you like best
6-8 hotdogs or 1 smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
2 large tomatoes
Season salt or salt and pepper
Dried Oregano - about 2 Tablespoons

Step 1: Boil pasta according to directions on the box.

Step 2: While pasta is cooking, chop the hotdogs or smoked sausage, and tomato into bite-size chunks.

Step 3: Grate the cheese. Please don't buy pre-grated cheese, it really doesn't melt as well!

Step 4: Once pasta is done, drain the water and layer half the cooked pasta onto the bottom of a casserole dish.  Add a layer of half the chopped hotdog and half the tomatoes. Sprinkle with season salt and 1 Tablespoon (or so!) of oregano, to taste. 


Step 5: Sprinkle half the grated cheese on top of the pasta, hotdogs, tomatoes, and seasonings. Then make a second layer on top the same as before ending with the cheese.

Step 6: Place a microwave lid or some plastic wrap (with a vent opening) on to the casserole dish and microwave 6-8 mins on high, depending on your microwave. 

The cheese will have melted and it will be hot all the way through! Let rest a few mins, then serve immediately! You can add your favorite veggie or a salad along with this to bulk it out more. It should feed 4-6 depending on how big an eater you are!!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lemon Cake

So I just received this in my email inbox. It is from Paula Deen's magazine and you can go to Cooking With Paula Deen to see the original. It looks SO good that I think I will have to get some lemons this weekend and try it out! Sounds refreshing for these hot August days. I LOVE baking cakes and am always looking for new cake recipes to find the 'perfect' ones for each flavor! Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

Lemon Cake with Lemon Butter Cream

Makes 1 8 inch round cake

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature 
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Lemon Buttercream Frosting 
(recipe follows)
Garnish: lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Spray top of each parchment paper round with nonstick baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla, beating just until blended.

In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition.

Using a soup ladle, spoon batter evenly into prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Wrap cake layers in plastic wrap. Freeze layers until ready to frost.

To frost cake, unwrap cake layers. Spread Lemon Buttercream Frosting between layers and on sides and top of cake. Garnish with lemon zest, if desired. Store cake, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days.

*For great basic vanilla cake layers, omit the lemon zest and lemon juice and increase the vanilla extract          to 1 ½ tablespoons.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Makes about 4 cups

1 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons milk
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
Yellow food coloring gel

In a medium bowl, beat butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Beat in lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in food coloring gel, just a small amount at a time, to reach desired color.

Monday, August 5, 2013

My First Online Bible Study

I am SO excited about participating in my very first online Bible study with the ladies over at Proverbs 31 Ministries. The Bible study is based on Lisa Terkerst's book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God." This is the first day and I have already been challenged by a technique for meditating and memorizing God's Word that I have known about before, just under a different name. The 'new' name I learned today is called 'verse mapping' and the info about this can be found here. We are working on Deuteronomy 6:5 today.

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." (ESV)

So far I have circled the word, 'You' at the beginning of the verse realizing that this is a personal challenge for me to put into practice. 

The second word I circled is 'shall' (looks like I might circle EVERY word :-)) which is a helping verb meaning it is something that will happen in the future. The idea here is that it is a command to make sure you DO love God. It is intentional. I need to consciously think about and act on loving God and make it a priority, planning on it being a reality in my life.  

I will continue to work on this verse through the day and this week. I am excited about how God will work and change my own heart to be drawn closer to Him through this study. Thank you ladies at Proverbs 31!