Dude, this is going to be quick…
It is marathon weekend! Well, a half for me and a full for others…but anyway you look at it…there are miles to cover and fun to be had!
I have a playlist to make – which, by the time I am done making it, will be more fitting for a 70 year old who needs pumped up for a few laps around the mall and not the 20 something girl that will be wearing a sparkle skirt and mouse ears Saturday morning, knocking out 13.1 miles.
I have to pack. Like, find my flip flops and contact case. Bathing suit? In mid-January? Yikes. These legs are white. Like blinding pasty white…a white that only exists on the legs of Ohioans in mid-January. Sunglasses…if not for the sun, then for the glare coming from my kneecaps. And sunscreen…large vats of the goop – see pasty whiteness above.
I have Thursday night TV to watch….Big Bang and Grey’s is new this week. I am a TV nerd without a DVR….
Important stuff people…and I have to get you this scone recipe, because seriously…you need to make these this weekend!Read More
Happy Tuesday friends!
I am gonna let you in on a little secret about myself…this whole endless sunshine and extreme warmth is wearing out its welcome. I need rain. Much like my grass. I need a few days of overcast skies and big fat raindrops. Not a thunderstorm. Just rain. No blue sky. No yellow sunshine. Just gray clouds and cool rain. Oh and that smell after the rain…Seriously, I need that! Gloomy, right? I can’t explain my love/need for this particular weather pattern…but as much as sunshine and heat make you happy, rain and clouds make me happy.
Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that I ‘need’ to live in the cloudy and rainy and mild pacific northwest. Call me crazy. Call me nuts. Call me a whack-a-do. Or if you are my mother, you will actually be calling to tell me ‘no’. But a girl can dream, right?
And by pacific northwest, I am channeling Seattle. And by channeling, I am talking about a mild obsession.
I am more obsessed with Seattle’s weather than the actual city itself…seeing how the closest I have ever gotten to the city is by watching Real World: Seattle and Grey’s Anatomy. Not joking. Maybe I should visit first. And by maybe, I mean I am currently planning a trip…I am thinking fall and I am totally going solo. Randomly walking around a city by myself seems luxurious and simple and exciting. So, does anyone have any must do’s or see’s or eat’s for the city of Seattle? And yes, I know I will need a raincoat…polka-dotted.
And rain boots. I have always wanted rain boots.
When I am dying for some rain and I am rain danced out…I bake. Normally something I would prefer to pick at while sipping a hot cup of coffee. A hot cup of coffee that is warming my hands and soothing my soul while I read a good book or read the morning paper (if I got the paper, that is – cnn.com counts, right?). A sweet treat to balance the slight bitterness of the coffee. A sweet treat to sooth my ever hungry sweet tooth.
Chocolate chocolate chip scones did just the trick last week…when the 3rd straight day over 95 had worn me thin. Had me hoping and wishing and praying for a mere sprinkle to be released from the cloudless blue sky. I popped these scones in the oven, brewed a large pot of coffee, turned the a/c on high, and curled up in my favorite chair with a good book and pretended that the sun was not shining. Because in my world. It was raining.
- 1 + ¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ Cup + 1 Tablespoon Dark Cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 2+3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- 6 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter
- ⅓ Cup White Granulate Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Espresso Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Hot Water
- ½ Cup Heavy Cream
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Cut cold butter into small cubes and add to dry ingredients. With a pastry blender or with your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of peas. ( hint: I never seem to be able to do this quite quick enough – butter always starts to melt! I have found that grating the butter on a cheese grater and then placing butter in the freezer until needed works best!) Whisk in sugar.
- In a seperate mixing bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon of hot water and espresso powder. Once the powder is dissolved, add the cream, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the flour/butter mixture and add the chocolate chips. With a fork, begin to mix until the dough begins to come together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently and quickly knead dough until it forms into a ball. Roll dough out into a circle that is about 1 inch thick (or about 7 inches in diameter) and cut into 8 wedges.
- Place wedges onto prepared baking dish and bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool before enjoying.
- Store in an airtight container, will keep for several days.
I just did something crazy.
Something I have been wanting to do for several years.
And by several… we are talking 10 years.
Something that my dad will call me nuts for doing. Not for the first time or the last, thankfully.
Something that will take 4 months to prepare for.
Hours of time set aside.
Determination and motivation will be needed.
I’ll need some new tunes…
What am I doing?
In 4 very very very short months I will be, if all goes right, a marathoner.
A marathon finisher.
I am über excited.
This will be quite the journey.
So, yes…I just signed up for my first marathon.
Holy Cow Balls!
No turning back now.
Not only have I signed up, given my shirt size, and paid ninety bucks…but I have now just told the world my plans.
Have I mentioned cow balls yet?!?
Here goes nothing.
OK, I am going to freak myself out if I continue to write and think about 26.2 miles that are in my near future. Plus, it is not like I am the first to run a marathon…so it really is no big deal. (except in my world it kinda is!)
Have you ever run a marathon? If so, please lend me your tips…I am all ears!
You wanna know the great thing about training for a marathon?
I think I’ll be able to eat a few more baked goods without feeling the least bit guilty. I am not going to go hog wild, but I am looking forward to a few more cookies or ahem..scones in the near future.
I will dig these out of my freezer when the time comes. Chocolate chips and almond slivers. Vanilla glaze. All I will need is a strong cup of coffee! I might actually be looking forward to the 10+ mile training runs.
Just call me crazy.
Chocolate Chip Almond Scones w/ Vanilla Glaze
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2/3 Cup Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, chilled
1/2 Cup Almond Slivers
1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
2 + 1/2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Whole Vanilla Bean
Pinch of Salt
Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk together buttermilk, vanilla extract, and egg. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut the cold butter into pats and then using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue until the butter is pea sized and the mixture is rather crumbly. Stir in the almond sliver and mini chocolate chips.
Make a well into the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk/egg/vanilla mixture. With a fork, mix until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a rectangle – about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rectangle into even squares and then cut squares crosswise to make triangles. Place triangles onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until they just begin to turn golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.
Prepare glaze: Cut vanilla bean lengthwise and with a sharp knife, scrape out all the tiny vanilla bean seeds. Whisk the innards into the heavy cream. Slowly whisk the confectioners sugar and the pinch of salt into the cream/vanilla mixture. Whisk until smooth. You may add more confectioner’s sugar or cream until desired thickness is reached.
Once the scones are cooled, spoon glaze over scones and let sit until glaze is set. About an hour or so.
p.s. I apologize for the lacking pictures. I am figuring out my new schedule and trying to find a routine that fits. Plus, did you know the sun sets freakishly early this time of year?!? Before you know it, the sun and all its lovely light is gone, vanished, vamoosed…It’ll be OK, because I am enjoying my new job! I am however trying my best to capture the light when I can…but planning is not my forte, so please bare with me.Read More
Every morning I have a pretty constant routine (be it 6am on my week off or 6pm of the work week). Wake up, lay in bed and think of a reason to get out of bed, remember that I get to eat again, and then make my way downstairs. Once the coffee is brewed and breakfast prepared, I turn on the Today program. I love the Today program. This week I have been unable to watch this program or really any news or talk-show. Why? William and Kate…they are everywhere and I am slightly annoyed.
Maybe its because I think it should be a more private affair, or that the 34million could be spent on so many other things, or that I don’t know what fabric type could cost $400,000 (cost of wedding dress!!!), or maybe its because I am jealous of all the above?! (all my facts came from a morning radio show….see its infiltrated even the country radio station!) So I am not going to be watching on Friday morning and will only see her gown on the front of People at the grocery checkout. However, while I boycott this viewing, I don’t want to be left out (I feel conflicted) so instead of watching, I decided to celebrate the event by baking scones. What could be more British?
I have made and enjoyed many a scone in my lifetime. Heavier than a cookie but sweeter than a biscuit. Its a great treat any time of the day. I mean the British really have something here. I compiled all my scone recipes from various sources and tried to figure out the ingredient proportions. This is not easy and I found it frustrating, but I fumbled along. I mean is there a reference out there describing the basic proportions needed for cookies, cakes, bread, etc…I would love to trial and error the proportions of dry to wet ingredients, and 1 egg vs 2 eggs, etc…but my food budget is not unlimited, plus what would I do with all that food!? So, I am reduced down to looking at other’s recipes and altering small things here and there to make them feel like my own (when I know they’re not since I haven’t put as much work and effort into changing them as their test kitchens have spent in creating them…to have a test kitchen!) OK done dreaming…
After studying these recipes, I figured I could create my own ( cocky I know…). I made them with the basic ingredients; butter, cream, baking powder, sugar, flour, along with dried fruit and chocolate. They came out pretty good, but definately needed some tweaks. They resembled and tasted more like biscuits than scones. So I went back to the drawing board and recipe pile and changed some things, mainly increasing sweetness among other things. This result is much better and full of flavor (what was lacking in the first batch). If you would like other scone recipes, I gained most of my information from foodnetwork.com and allrecipes.com.
(Makes 8 LARGE scones for 8 HUNGRY people)
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Cup granulated white sugar + plus extra for topping
1 Tablespoon baking powder (make sure its not outdated…fresher the better)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon
12 Tablespoons of unsalted butter (1+1/2 sticks) – cold and diced
1+1/4 Cup heavy cream (calorie free kind – ha!)
1 Cup dried cranberries
1/2 Cup toasted almond slivers (toss in skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes until slightly brown - watch carefully not to burn, let cool before adding to mixture)
1/2 Cup chocolate chips (milk, dark, semi-sweet…your choice here – I like dark with cranberries)
Preheat oven to 375°F
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest in large bowl.
Cut in chilled butter with pastry blender, hands, or stand mixer using paddle attachment (what I used this time around). Butter should be pea-sized when finished.
Mix in heavy cream until the dough begins to come together. – Don’t over work.
Mix in cooled almonds, dried cranberries, chocolate chips.
Empty out onto a floured surface and shape into a round disk
Roll dough out to 1 inch thickness. Roll it into a circle and cut it into triangles or use a biscuit cutter for round ones – be creative!
Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. I like to line mine with parchment paper (easier clean up)
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on wire rack or eat right away with a nice pat of butter
* The dough can be made, refrigerated, and baked off when needed, say for breakfast the next morning (wrap tightly and use within 1 day of making).
*Baked scones can be frozen – wrap tightly/airtight.
*To reheat loosely wrap scones in aluminium foil and heat at 250°F for 5-10 minutes if scones are at room temperature or refrigerated, heat at 350°F for 15 – 20 minutes if frozen. (Information gained from Simply Scones).
Oh and my tulips have bloomed!Read More