Monday, April 22, 2013

A Day for Cooking and Resting

That's what Sunday is for me before I begin the new week. Fold a little laundry, bake some things for the week ahead and make something for dinner that either uses up leftovers or is more complicated than I'd make during the week. 

Fresh homemade buns for tomorrow's dinner ... turkey & cheddar sausages. Plus two loaves of soft french bread to serve with other meals. While the bread was rising, I started a small batch of strawberry jam. I definitely need more jars!

I made enough for each of the kids to have a small jar. And, some for home. I need to purchase more jars so I can small batches of seasonal fruits all summer long. I don't have the freezer space to store large batches of anything, but I do have a good storage space in the basement perfect for jars.

I also picked the best strawberries (about a dozen) of the bunch and made strawberry scones, one of the easiest things on the planet next to my favorite bread recipe.

You do not even need a mixer for scones. They start like biscuits with all the dry ingredients together then butter mixed in until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Then mix the wet ingredients together before adding to the dry ingredients. The key here is not to mix too much, just get them combined. I mixed the strawberries in last.

And, just kept going ... I made potato pancakes for my hubby. I think he would have eaten them all himself. I think I have just enough left for a snack.

Then to make my weekend, the sun was out for the first time in days. I like rainy days, but last week's rain forgot when to stop, leaving a lot of people cleaning out basements and crawl spaces or stuck behind flooded creeks, rivers or fields. The best part about the sunshine was getting to see how the first pair of finished drapes make the living room look.

I have a feeling I'm going to be hanging them for the summer to block out the sun's heat and keep the house cool, but in the winter, some of them will be coming down to let the light and heat into the space. The pair in the living room are the first of 4 pairs. I'm not sure I want to put another pair in the living room yet; and, I'm unsure I want to put them in the dining room at all.

Living room windows in progress

I'm thinking that I will go ahead and finish the panels and then set up storage for them so I can pull them out when I want them. Originally, I was going to do the windows all the same, creamy sheers, beige lined drapes and a brown, tan, deeper beige flocked fabric for the valances. Now, I'm considering making creamy valances for the dining room and only the two panels for the living room, but we'll see if I need more in the dining room later.

One of the dining room windows w/valance
And, ending with the recipe for Strawberry Scones from adapted from Baking with Julia by Julia.

Strawberry Scones
3 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter cut in tiny pieces
1 c half-n-half
1 Tbsp plain yogurt
12 frozen strawberries, sliced (I used fresh ones)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. (I baked mine at 350 but for a slightly longer time).
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter pieces. Do not overwork or the butter will melt.
Mix yogurt into half-n-half, then add strawberries. Add liquids to sifted flour mix and combine gently.
Turn out on to lightly floured surface and pat into a square approx. 1/2-inch thick. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

*Notes: I used 1/4 cup sugar over the strawberries and only mixed 1/4 cup in with flour. When adding the liquids, I did not add strawberries until last. I also chose to scoop large spoonfuls onto a silicone baking sheet. Then I baked them at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Of 10 pieces, this morning I put 5 in the cookie jar.
**You could also top these with demerara sugar or raw sugar before baking. I like the rough texture that leaves crannies for jam!


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