Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pumpkin Scones

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones Recipe

Perfect for a fall morning, these pumpkin scones are so moist and flavorful you’ll be wanting to make them year round. They'll taste just like the ones you get from Starbucks without standing in line.
Scones Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg
Sugar Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk
Spiced Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
Scones Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl.
4. With a fork, pastry knife, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter remain. Set aside.
5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin, half and half, and egg.
6. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
7. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide).
8. Use a large knife to slice the dough into three equal portions. Cut diagonally to produce 6 triangular slices of dough.
9. Place on prepared baking sheet from step 2.
10. Bake for 14–16 minutes until scones turn light brown.
11. Place on wire rack to cool.

Sugar Glaze Directions:
1. Mix the powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoon milk together until smooth.
2. Brush glaze over the top of each cooled scone.

Spiced Glaze Directions:
1. As sugar glaze firms, combine the spiced icing ingredients.
2. Use whisk to drizzle over each scone and allow to dry before serving.
Makes 6 pumpkin scones.


mom_of_4:  These are my new weekend morning indulgence!  I have made them a couple of times and they turn out beautifully.  My "secret" - which is really Martha Stewart's secret, but who's counting - is to use a food processor to make the dough.  Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the cutting blade already inside.  Use cold butter from the refrigerator or freezer and pulse the food processor to cut it in.  Then add the wet ingredients and run the food processor long enough to bring it all together in a ball.  I like a rustic-looking scone, so I pat it out to the thickness I want and cut into rough wedges.  Drizzle with glaze and serve with butter.  Yum!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Healthy Hamburger Helper

I came across this recipe on a blog I follow called The Nourishing Cook and it was an instant hit!  It starts with raw sweet potato that you need to cook in the skillet as well, but if you have cubed roasted sweet potato on hand (like I always do) it cuts the cooking time down dramatically.  Another "cheat" I use on this recipe is having frozen chopped spinach on hand.  A 15 minute meal!

Healthy Hamburger Helper  (mom_of_4 comments in italics)


  • 1 pound ground beef or other ground meat (preferably grass-fed)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, bacon grease, tallow or lard (I used bacon grease, of course!)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cubed (for SCD or the GAPS diet, use carrots instead, about 2 cups cubed)  (this is where I pull out the leftover roasted sweet potato...)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons coconut flour (see my resources)
  • 6 large leaves chard, kale, spinach or other greens, chopped (about two cups measured chopped)


1. Chop onions, sweet potato or yam (or carrots) and mince garlic.

2. Saute the onions in the oil first until lightly browned. Or you can saute until they are caramelized if you would like.

3. Add sweet potatoes (or carrots) and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes.
4. Make room in the center of the pan and plop in the hamburger. Brown the hamburger.

5. Meanwhile, cut up the greens (I have chard here).

6. Once ground beef is (mostly) browned, add the coconut flour. Mix and saute until the sweet potatoes are soft enough for your taste.

7. Add the chard to the pan once sweet potatoes are cooked. Only cook the hash 5 minutes or less with the chard in it, you don’t want to overcook it.

8. You’re done! And leftovers are yummy and easy to heat up too!

(A few dashes of soy sauce is the perfect condiment to round out the flavors in this dish.  Even the kids loved it!)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Crockpot Honey Chicken with Dried Fruit

from Busy Cooks

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruit pieces (I used apricots and raisins)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped (minced)


Place all ingredients in 4-5 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours until chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked. Serve over hot cooked rice or egg noodles. 8 servings

Do not use bone-in pieces of chicken because the recipe may not work. Bone-in dark meat chicken cooks very differently from boneless in the crockpot.

mom_of_4's Favorite Chicken Curry

My favorite chicken curry recipe is the "Basic Meat Curry" recipe from the More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. First, I think it's ironic that my favorite curry recipe is from a Mennonite cookbook, but I guess we have been busy being practical and economical all over the world. Second, it's just as interesting that I did not discover this recipe until a coworker brought it for a department potluck. I asked him for the recipe and he brought me a photocopy from the same cookbook I already had. What is so special about this copy, is that on it his wife has recorded a family moment the day she tried the recipe - their son's first music class - and added her own "tweaks" that saved me a lot of trial-and-error.

Basic Meat Curry (with my comments in italics)

Saute in heavy deep skillet or kettle (I use a deep skillet with a lid):
2T fat, oil, or shortening (umm...butter, of course!)
2 onions, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic (2 cloves, definitely 2)

Blend in small bowl:
2 T lemon juice or vinegar (lemon juice)
2-4 t. curry powder (2 is mild enough for the kids, I like 3)
Stir curry mixture into sauteed onions and fry lightly 1-2 minutes. This produces a relatively mild curry; if desired, season with additional spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cumin, or cayenne.

Add one of the following:
1 3lb chicken fryer, cut into small pieces (6-8 chicken thighs, I like bone-in to add richness)
2 lbs beef, cut in 1" chunks
2 lbs lamb, cut in 1" chunks
2 lbs meatballs, browned
Stir-fry briefly to coat meat with spices.

1 c tomato juice or sauce (I buy the small cans of tomato sauce to have on hand just for this recipe)
1 t. salt
1-2 c. broth or water (2 c chicken broth is best, but I've used water in a pinch)

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 2-3 hours for beef and lamb, 1 1/2 hours for chicken, 20 minutes for meatballs. Add more liquid during cooking as needed for thin stew consistency. Thicken slightly with flour just before serving, if desired. (I just keep an eye on it and take the lid off to reduce the sauce if it is too thin)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hearty Lentil Soup

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 parsnip, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and mix in the onions, carrot, parsnip, celery, potato, and leek. Stir over a medium heat.
  2. Place lentils, tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, a splash of the soy and Worcestershire sauces and wine in the saucepan. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked.
  3. Remove the bay leaves from the soup. Stir in the cilantro and serve.

mom_of_4: I made this today and it makes a lovely soup. As usual, I didn't have all the ingredients on hand, so instead of red wine I used some beef stock; left out the soy sauce, green onions, potato, and cilantro; and used canned lentils instead of dry. I'm not a big fan of the parsnip in the soup - it tasted like a woody carrot. Maybe that's what they taste like. Anyway, I would like to try it again using all the ingredients. It definitely needed the potato to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

Decisions, Decisions

(The Riverwood MOM's Group has graciously allowed me to be a contributor to their blog. This is what I posted there today.)

I've been thinking a lot about faith lately. There are so many of us who are facing big decisions right now and I don't know about you, but until recently I would agonize over them, paralyzed with fear that I would make the wrong decision. Like God was sitting in front of me knowing which way I should pick and waiting to see if I would choose the right one.

Friends, that is so far from the truth.

God wants us to be active in our decision-making, confident and assured (James 1:6) that He will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5), that He is infinitely patient with us and ready to correct us if we are heading in a way that is less than His best for us. He wants us to boldly approach His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), expecting His answer and His safety net if we don't choose wisely. I used to interpret that expecting good things from Him was putting an expectation on Him, that He had to deliver because I was believing in Him. And that never sat well with me, considering He is the Almighty and I am mere human.

However, God opened up for me the other day the realization that expecting Him to do good things for us is a reflection of our understanding of His goodness. That we expect Him to do good things for us because we know He is good and that He wants to, not because He is obligated to just because we have put our faith in Him. It's the difference between the expectations that are put on you and the faith that someone has in you because they know you. Your boss expects you to get your work done because you have to. Your best friend knows that you will help her because she knows you and the relationship you have.

It's the faith that's the key. Faith used to be an effort for me, an exertion of my will. But now I'm starting to see that it's a confident resting in the knowledge of the One who loves you and in the relationship you have with Him. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."

It is impossible to please Him without faith.

The Amplified Bible explains faith as "that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness." (Hebrews 10:22) Friends, you can't have faith in Him without knowing all these three things. A God of wisdom and goodness is a good friend but has no power to save. A God of power and goodness means well and can get things done but without wisdom it won't be in your best interest. A God of power and wisdom without goodness is the dictator that will always be making you eat your vegetables and never let you have dessert.

That was the God I was serving before He opened my eyes. And once I started to receive a revelation of how very good He is, I found I could make decisions with a lot more confidence. I came to the point where I had to decide if I believed the Word or not. If He says He is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1) and that He will never abandon me, then I can make a decision in faith that He knows my heart and He will catch me if I fall. And not only that, He will make everything work out to my good! (Romans 8:28)

Do you have a decision you are wrestling with? Consider laying it down before the Lord and boldly expect Him to give you an answer as you step out in faith knowing that your relationship with Him and knowledge of His power, wisdom, and goodness will never lead you astray.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Link for the Day

I love this post about parenthood from Amy's Humble Musings! It's so true!

Parenthood: Worth every second (if you don’t need art supplies)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Call Display

God phoned me the other day. And because of call display, I almost didn't answer. I didn't recognize the number and it was from another area code, so I assumed it was some sort of survey or telemarketing attempt. I don't know what made me answer, but I was so glad I did.

Because God doesn't call every day, you know.

I had been agonizing in prayer over something that I've been holding up to Him for what seems like forever. Recently, God has been opening up to me new revelations on faith and deceptions I have believed for a long time, and frankly, I was expecting something amazing and dramatic to come right away and fix the situation.

When it went from difficult to worse, I got confused. And then determined that I had to do what I thought I should do even though it didn't feel like the big step of faith I thought I should be doing. It felt like I was trying to fix the situation in my own strength. But I decided to lean on the truth that God knows my heart and that He is my shepherd and will not forsake me. So I took my step of faith that felt like the opposite of a step of faith.

And God phoned me to tell me everything will be all right.

Actually, it was a call, out of the blue, from a ministry I just started to partner with. They called to see how I was enjoying the material I received and if I wanted prayer for anything. But I knew that I knew that I knew that God was aware of where I was at and that I needed to hear from Him in a tangible way.

After I hung up, I thought about my call display and how close I was to not answering the phone. And wondered, would Jesus use call display? Would He screen calls, or would He be ready to answer each one? Would He use it to know who was calling so He would have just the right word for them or would He not use it at all, preferring to be pleasantly surprised by each call He received?

That led me to wonder about how I use call display. Sometimes I choose not to answer. Sometimes I pray for grace first before I answer. Most times I am happy to answer. And sometimes I like to see who called but didn't leave a message. I will tell you this, after receiving that divinely appointed phone call, I will be thinking twice about not answering when my phone rings.