Monday, June 29, 2009

Strawberry Cream Scone Shortcake

My friend, Traci started a fun new cooking blog called Kitchinspirations involving a monthly challenge to cook and post about. This month's challenge was strawberry shortcake, which suited me right down to the ground, as I just acquired a fantastic new recipe in Kansas (from my old friend, Liz and her mom) that I was very excited to apply. It's a basic cream scone recipe that I experimented with a fair bit over the last week since I got home. I served it to the O.F. this last weekend to great reviews!


Strawberry Cream Scones:

*2&1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
*1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
*1/2 teaspoon Salt
*1/4 Cup Sugar
*1&1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
*A large spoonful of strawberry cream cheese
*Several frozen, diced strawberries

Some powdered sugar and raw sugar for sprinkling.

Mix up all the dry ingredients, then slowly add the cream. When fully mixed, add the cream cheese.


You should have a nice, thick, biscuit-like dough. If it seems too wet, mix in some more flour. When the desired texture is achieved, add the berries, but be very careful not to mix too much at this point, or the berries will juice all over the place. This is why it's best to use really frozen berries.



(These next few photos are from a batch I did without strawberries - pretend they're in there)



Tip the dough onto a well floured surface and knead 8-10 times. Make into a ball and pat out into a flat circle (about an inch or so thick).





Cut into eight wedges. I use a pizza cutter. If you, like my mama, think scones are just too darn big, you can divide the dough into two sections, making two flat discs, thus making smaller scones.




Place on an ungreased or parchment lined baking sheet (I love me some Silpat though). Sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar and raw sugar.




Bake in a 425F oven for 18-22 minutes, until a lovely golden brown.




You can, and probably SHOULD just eat them plain. If, however, you want to go the extra mile and turn them into a decadent shortcake-like dessert, please read on. (Mama, avert your eyes.)

Top with whipped cream (I made mine, but the store bought stuff is great too) and warm strawberry sauce (heat some strawberries and a little juice with some sugar and corn starch in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often until thick). Nummy.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Aunt Birdie


This woman's name is not Birdie. In fact, it's Kimberly. She's darling and wonderful, and we adore her. She's part of our O.F. (Oregon Family) who all came over last night (please forgive me for not getting more photos of everyone - I was having too much fun :) ). For some reason, we shortened her name to 'Berly awhile ago - just one of those things James and I found funny and cute, and she doesn't mind. Jimmy, however has decided she's to be "Birdie", and told me over and over again about this game he was playing with BIRDIE. I'd say, "'Berly?", and he'd say, "Yeah. Birdie."

Anyway, I didn't really grasp the rules of the game, but for at least fifteen minutes, he would get into some position on the floor and say, "Again", and she'd release this paper towel to float down onto him. Rinse and repeat. When this game got old, he stuck his feet up so she could drag him around the kitchen while he laughed hysterically.

Then, Aunt Traci had to take a turn, as poor Birdie's back was starting to go.

I feel your pain, Birdie. I really do.

Workin' At The Car Wash

After hitting some garage sales yesterday morning, during which he was fantastically well behaved and patient, I figured the J-Bird deserved a reward, so I stripped him down and let him run through the sprinkler in the back yard. He was tentative at first, so I had to hold his hand (which meant I, and my clothes were drenched), but he got the hang of it and was soon running joyfully through the water, clapping and hollering "YAAAAAY!!!!". After awhile, he decided that his little car needed a washin'.

So he started moving her into position...




...gave her a last little push....




...aaaaaaand....ran away. I don't know about you, but I find that's the best method for car washing.


Incidentally, I got that awesome plastic slide for $3 at one of the garage sales we went to. They were selling it for $5, but I like to dicker. The guy even threw in a little stepstool for free (for Jimmy, so he can reach the sink for handwashing). James just looked at me and said, "WHY did you just buy that?" In this case, when James says "Why?", I say "Why the heck NOT?!?" :)

How Did This Happen?

He's gotten so big! And he LOVES to help. Yesterday morning, we went garage sale-ing in our pals' neighborhood, but before we left, Jimmy and I made some banana chocolate chip scones to take to them for sustenance.

I was wearing my apron, so he dug through the apron drawer and found one for himself, insisting I tie it on him. He wore it all morning.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dressing for Dinner


I let Jimmy choose what he wanted to wear when he got up from his nap yesterday. This is what he came up with (along with some orange crocs, which he wore when we went for a walk after supper). The best part about this costume is the tail, which wags when he walks.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Haircut

Jimmy has wild and crazy cowlicks. I've done what I can to tame his hair, but I usually just let it fly, and I kind of like it. The first thing anyone says when they see him though is always, "Oh my! Look at that hair!", which...might start to bug him eventually. It's kind of starting to bug me. I was thinking maybe it was my haircutting that's the problem, so I thought I'd trim it up with the clippers and start over, as I just can't stomach paying $20 for a two year old to get a haircut. I didn't actually intend to make it QUITE this short, but I was using James's beard trimmer, and the guard apparently does NOT stay in place. I set it on 9, the longest setting, did a swipe, thought to myself, "Hmm...that seems really...short", checked and saw that the guard had slid to 3. Doh.

It's just hair, and it will grow back.

And it's actually kind of cute - makes you look at his beautiful eyes, instead of his crazy cowlicks. ;)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kia

When James and I met, we were both driving nice, comfy, slightly older, completely paid for (thanks, Dad!!) cars. Mine was a gorgeous, red 1994 Toyota Tercel (stick shift - so awesome) and J's was a cool, green 1996 Ford Taurus. Those cars served us very well. I drove my Tercel until we moved to Oregon in 2004. Because it was a stick shift, and we knew we'd probably start having kids shortly, we sold the Red Rocket to a friend and bought our wonderful Subaru Forester. James kept his Taurus, and we've rocked along for the last four and a half years. Sadly, the Taurus was starting to kick the bucket though, and we found that our Forester didn't have as much kiddo room as we'd thought, so we started saving and James started researching good used cars.

Yesterday, we pulled the trigger on this.

My new ride.

A 2008 Kia Rondo. Highly rated for safety, decent gas mileage, and a lucky find, as it's one of Consumer Reports' "Used Cars To Look For", and it has very low mileage. The funny thing is that I wanted a mini-van, and James was dead-set on a sedan.




This is basically both. It has a third row of seating which can fold halfway down (as seen here)...




...or all the way down for hauling all the accoutrements that go along with wee ones these days. Thus, it has all the great "pack-it-in" capacity of our Forester PLUS the option of more seating, PLUS much, much more leg room for the J-bird, who will no longer have to ride with his knees in his ears.





And....it's awesome. James is happy that he gets the Forester too - especially since I spent two hours cleaning, vaccuming and polishing it for him last night. :) More than anything, we're thrilled to have two newer, comfy, roomy, totally paid for cars (we're not car payment fans - hence the saving up) to last us another ten years each (we hope!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Welcome to the Jungle

In my prolonged absence, my garden's heart grew fonder, and it exploded into a lush jungle of gorgeous, putting on its best show for my return. I had a fantastic time pulling weeds and giving haircuts to the plants that were getting unruly (like my grapevine - we will have zillions of grapes this year - you can't even see the arbor it's on!!), and then I just sat and enjoyed the splendor of being outside in my lovely garden yard without sweating. Did you know that Kansas is HOT?!?! Like...walking on the sun hot. Like spending five weeks in a sauna hot. Like seeing everyone you ever knew while in a full, red faced sweat you can't cool down from...hot.

But I digress.




Pincushion flowers.



Daisies




Lots of lavender




Lilies aplenty...









Allium



Phlomis




The aforementioned grapevines




Begonias so red they glow




Apple trees



Japanese Iris




And my little helper




With my big helper!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Here's the thing about James - he gets me. When we got home last night, the entire house was spotless. He'd even organized cabinets and mopped the floor! He knew that all I would want to do after being gone for five weeks and flying for four hours with Jimmy was to come home, put Jimmy to bed and relax, and I was able to do just that, thanks to James.

He's pretty amazing, my husband. He's got his quirks, don't get me wrong, but he sees all the way to the bottom of my personality, and he loves me anyway. He's my best friend in all the world, and I cannot tell you how deeply I missed him while we were apart.


Jimmy missed him too. :)




I'd also like to recognize mine own Daddy. He taught me what a man's supposed to be - how else would I have known James for the gift he is when I saw him? Thank you, Dad for all you are and all you've done for me. I love you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jimmy's Friend, Jadin

We had a fun day today - garage sale-ing and running errands. This evening, my sister Olivia's childhood friend, Brittany brought her little boy, Jadin over to the farm. We swam in the pool, had some supper, and then the boys played on the patio.


They emptied the water bucket, one little container at a time.





Then they blew some bubbles.




Jimmy even got the hang of it!


Jadin mainly licked the bubble wand.







This is one cute little dude.





As they drove away, Jimmy waved and said, "Bye friends!!!"

It was a lovely way to spend our last evening in Kansas. Tomorrow we fly home!

Some More Family Gems