We're almost there! The cherry and plum trees are starting to flower, the crocus and daffodils are up, gardens are being prepped for planting. Daylight Savings Time means there is light when I leave the office, and I've been taking advantage of our lovely weather with evening runs both yesterday and today (I'm feeling very well-prepared for the 8K on Saturday!!!). Spring is just around the corner and I couldn't be more excited. The change in seasons has me craving lighter foods but also has inspired me to clean out my pantry, to use up the winter-worthy ingredients that are dwindling in quantity and make way for those that come with spring.
Among the items found? Crystalized ginger, dried cranberries, a bowl full of oranges. Okay, so the oranges were on my table, not in the pantry, but to me they make the perfect bridge from winter to spring. You see, I grew up in Florida, where winter citrus is abundant as are 80* December days. I've never associated oranges with cold weather and probably never will. And who doesn't think of warm, tropical places when biting into a juicy orange? Anybody? The power of positive thinking will get you far and I am determined that my bowlful of cheery oranges will carry Virginia straight into Spring without another winter storm. :)
On Sunday morning while perusing my pantry I was dreaming of baked goods, as is often the case, and thought of one I hadn't made in awhile. Scones.
For years I wasn't a fan of scones. Those I had tried were dry and crumbly, with nondescript flavors that left them completely unmemorable. Until one fateful Friday morning when a friend shared her daughter's fresh-baked scones at an office meeting, and I was hooked. Soft and supple, moist and flakey, the mix-in possibilities were endless. I knew I had to have the recipe, and lucky for me she shared.
The basic recipe for these scones was given to me years ago and I've been trying different variations ever since. Many different flours have made it into the experiments, all-purpose, bread, white whole wheat and whole wheat included. The whole wheat pastry flour is my favorite. It gives the scones the fluffier texture found when using the all-purpose, but leaves you with a happier conscience after having one for breakfast.
Citrus Scones with Cranberries and Gingermakes 8 scones
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 tsp orange extract
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp orange zest
8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut up
1/2 cup sugar (I used turbinado), plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup crystalized ginger, chopped
Preheat oven to 375*. Spray a baking sheet with oil.
Mix buttermilk with egg and extract, whisk smooth.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add orange zest. Stir to mix well. Add butter and rub in with your fingers until the mixture looks like course bread crumbs. Add sugar, cranberries and ginger and toss to distribute evenly.
Add egg mixture and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.
Turn out dough on a floured board and give 5-6 kneads, just until well mixed and cohesive. Flatten dough into disk about 3/4" thick. Cut disk into 8 equal wedges.
Bake on prepared baking sheet for 20-25 minutes until medium brown. Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely.
For another Bella Eats scone variation, click here.
Thank you all for the great feedback regarding future bella terra posts. I'm really excited! :) I hope to answer all of your questions in posts over the next few months...you've given me some great ideas.
And, a thousand Thank You's for all of your kind words and good thoughts towards Kelly and her recovery. She is home and healing and we are all so thankful that she was wearing a helmet. For those of you who doubt the importance of wearing one, read this post.
Be sure to check out Heather's blog for an exciting Coconut Milk Product Giveaway! I've been dying to try this stuff...
And last...my new job is awesome!!! I've only been there two days but I am LOVING it so far. Yay! :)
Have a great Wednesday everybody!
Good evening! As promised...a semi-quick post.
Breakfast: Two Kashi Go Lean blueberry waffles with 1 tbsp almond butter and a sliced banana, all sandwiched together. Yum. :)
Morning Snack: Dark chocolate covered strawberry!!! They were delivered to us this morning from a dear friend in North Carolina. Of course I dug right in while my lunch was heating!
Lunch: Spinach salad and TJ's Veggie Lentil Soup. My salad consisted of spinach, hearts of palm, orange bell pepper, alfalfa sprouts, dried cranberries and light ranch dressing (I know you've seen a lot of the light ranch lately...I'm trying to use up the bottle!).
Afternoon Snack: Peppermint Eggnog Scone and a cup of Sugar Cookie Sleighride. This is the last of the scones, I sent the others to the office with Brian. They were way too tempting (as evidenced by my last few posts...)!!!
Dinner: Butternut Squash Potage (recipe follows) and a spinach salad with yellow bell pepper, black beans, fresh currants and light ranch.
This soup is so easy and perfectly creamy, without any cream! I made a variation a few weeks ago here. I've been thinking about using the potage method to make a butternut squash soup for awhile now, and am so glad I did! I have an old favorite squash soup recipe that uses 1 cup of cream, and I couldn't even tell that the recipe I made tonight didn't have any cream! Healthy and yummy...perfect.
Butternut Squash Potagemakes 4 servingscalories: 267 fat: 3.2g sat fat: 1.9g carbs: 54.8g fiber: 5.9g protein 8.5gIngredients:
one small butternut squash (1-1.5 pounds), peeled and diced into 1" pieces
one medium-large onion, diced
4 medium russet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and diced into 1" pieces
1 tbsp unsalted butter
5 cups chicken or veggie broth (I use Better Than Bouillon no chicken base...love it!)
salt + pepper
Melt butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes.
Add diced potato, squash and broth. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until potatoes and squash are soft.
Strain veggies from soup and reserve broth. Puree the veggies in a food processor or blender using some of the reserved broth as needed.
Add all broth and pureed veggies back to saucepan and heat through. Season to taste.
I love the Better Than Bouillon line. We keep the no-chicken base in our fridge at all times...its so much better than having cans and boxes taking up room in our teeny pantry!
Alrighty...I'm off to continue with Christmas holiday/travel/baking/gift prep. Have a fabulous evening and Tuesday!