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January 2011
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March 2011

Tea and Sympathy

SconesOver the past few days, the news has alternately made me angry and disappointed. Disappointed overall in the lack of empathy I'm seeing folks have for others who lack their privilege. And angry to see those smugly assured they will never be poor, or female and pregnant raising a child alone, and thus can not imagine why we should provide social support for those who need it.

When I've seen folks in my twitter feeds being hateful, I've unfollowed. When I've seen thoughtful posts such as the one I linked to above, I have shared them. I am only one person, but I try to do what I can.

Most of what I can truly impact is, of course, my own immediate surroundings. How I behave, my empathy for others. And of course, my baked treats. For as long as I can remember, I've used baking as a way to show those close to me that they have my love and support. (And I've contributed a fair number of treats to charity bake sales.)

This is why today I am finally getting off my butt and making my blueberry scones. I'd wanted to bake them for my team for Christmas, but I battled a nasty cold for most of Christmas, and colds and baking do not mix. So there you have it -- Christmas in February: Frog Hollow jam and scones from me. It's a small gesture, but one from the heart.

Recipe adapted from the Ritz Carlton Book of Afternoon Tea, a gift many years ago from the fabulous Miss Mitzi.

  • 3 cups flour, self-rising
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter (8 TBSP)
  • 1 1/3 cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup dried blueberries (Substitute a cup of Guittard milk chocolate chips if you are not a blueberry fan)

Butter 2 cookie sheets or spray with cooking spray; set aside. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F (220 c.) Sift dry ingredients together. Add butter, cutting in or thumbing in, until butter is integrated throughout, as tiny flakey crumbs. Slowly pour in milk, stirring in with a knife until just combined. Add blueberries, and stir in. You will have a very sticky dough. You may roll out the dough on a floured board to a 1 cm (1/2 inch) thickness and cut with a 2" pastry cutter into rounds, or use a floured ice cream scoop to make the balls of dough equal sizes and drop onto your cookie sheets. Personally, I prefer the drop scones, as you get some crunchy bits on top.

Bake 12-15 minutes until they are golden on top. makes 20 drop scones, or 24 rolled scones. 3 Weight Watchers PointsPlus points per scone.


Cheddar Apple Pork Meatballs

Meatballs1 lb. ground pork

1 cup reduced fat mexican blend cheese

1 medium onion, grated

1 medium apple, grated (I used honeycrisp)

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 egg, whisked

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

I adapted this recipe from a recent Everyday with Racheal Ray issue, lightening it up a bit. Pork and apple is such a classic combo, and the cheese makes the meatballs a little different (and tasty).

In a large bowl, stir together all of your ingredients, saving the egg for last to bind it all together. Spray cookie sheet with non stick spray. Form pork mixture into 16 equal sized meatballs, and place onto cookie sheet. Broil for about 10 minutes. If you are doing WeightWatchers, it's 3 PointsPlus per meatball.

I served these with egg noodles tossed with 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream and 2 TBSP butter.

One of my favorite new recipes in some time. I froze the remaining meatballs for a future dinner.


Time and Space to Think

spa snacksWhen I don't have enough unscheduled time, I don't feel like writing. Hence the lack of regular updates to this blog over the past year. Honestly, when my schedule is packed too full, when I get home I don't even necessarily feel like vegging out in front of the tv or the computer either.

It is impossible for me to feel creative -- to BE creative -- unless I am able to give myself the headspace to sit and think. To let my mind wander.

Jumping from thought to loosley connected thought until a great idea posp up that inspires me to bust out my notebook and a pen and scribble it down.

This need for headspace is not just a leisure time need either. How can you find creative solutions to business problems at work if you are in back-to-back meetings all day, scarfing down your lunch when a conference call ends a few minutes early?

I need time to read. To read books. Magazines. Blogs. The twitter and Facebook posts my friends make. This helps me recharge, get inspired and carry on about my usual routine.

I've started scheduling monthly weekdays off. On most of them, I head to a day spa for a massage at a minimum, with a longer stay on a quarterly basis for a facial or a mani/pedi. This is significant downtime without distractions. A truly valuable commoddity in my overscheduled life. No blackberry buzzing at me. No phone ringing. No kitty clawing at my leg.

Darkess. Quiet. Soothing rituals. Plenty of space for the mind to wander. This is a gift I give myself and urge you to do for yourself as well.