Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Think I need to join some type of support group.

For those who can't help but bake, for those few people who are so drawn to it at times it keeps them up at night.I think a support group isn't a bad idea. Hi, I'm Miss Bliss and I can't stop baking!

I can waste many an midnight hour pouring over my cookbooks and old recipes, looking for ways to reinvent my favorite things. I have made more scones lately than I care to admit. However, I have diligently baked them up and given them away. This really and truly is the only way that I am not going to end up being 300 pounds!

I do have to say that although I rarely find a combination for scones that I don't love, these were incredible. These are not my recipe though, I borrowed it from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen cookbook. I am stock piling recipes for when Mr. Fantastic's whole family comes for Christmas. Then I can bake to my hearts content and never have to give away a thing, because I am lucky enough to have a house full to consume it all. Mr. Fantastics mom loves her some blueberries, so Geea, these are for you!

Blueberry Lemon Scones

Makes 8 scones


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the blueberries
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectionery sugar, sifted
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Toss the blueberries in some flour to help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the scone when baked; then fold them into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12x3x 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in half; then cut the pieces in half again, giving you four 3-inch squares. Cut the squares in half on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Mix the lemon juice and confectionery sugar together in a microwave safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Microwave it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any; lumps and then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

There is a note above this recipe in the cookbook straight from Tyler himself that says:

This is a side note to all the guys out there. If you bring your woman warm blueberry scones for breakfast in bed , you'll thank me later.

I had these made the night before so all Mr. Fantastic had to do was roll out of bed, turn on the coffee maker and throw these in the oven. He is still thanking Tyler.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Can't Sleep? Make Scones

As most of you know, I don't sleep much. And fall tends to be one of those times for me when I sleep even less. The minute that chill hits the air I find myself up to my elbows in busy work. It's mindless, and it's usually comforting. I find both of those qualities in baking.

However after a recent sizable weight loss, if I bake I have to give it away. I cannot take the chance of being left alone with a dozen or more fresh baked scones! So bake them I will and then I proceed to pack them up and give them away, I give them to the bus drivers and the neighbors, I send them to work with my husband. All I really needed out of that was the comfort and the activity late, late at night. I don't need the hundreds of extra calories that I would mindlessly consume throughout the day if they were sitting in my kitchen.

Now that I confessed that I am absolutely weak against the power of the baked good, I have another confession, I LOVE those horrible processed cakes called Devil Dogs. They are totally a guilty pleasure for me, and I haven't actually consumed one in many, many years. And the reason for that is if I buy a box and leave it in the cupboard, I will not be able to stop myself from eating the entire thing. Maybe not in a day but in a ridiculously short amount of time. So I simply do not buy them. I avoid walking down the same isle as them at the grocery store. I go to great lengths to insure that my exposure to them is limited and always in plain view of the public. I know, it sounds more like an affair than a confection, but sometimes, in life there are things that you just cannot resist. So you avoid being in a place, time or position that could make things less than platonic. For me that is the snack isle!

Chocolate Chip Scones

4 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 extra-large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk or water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine 4 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add to the flour/butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Combine the chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon flour and then add to the dough and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough out to 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick. You will see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the outsides are crisp and the insides are done.

(Adapted From Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Raisin Scones) Give credit where credit is due.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Don't Eat My Baby

I really can't stand snakes. I am not a super girlie girl when it comes to the creepy crawlies. Spiders don't bother me, reptiles are not my favorite things in the world to see, but I can deal with them. But snakes, oh my god, I just can't even think about them with out my skin crawling!!!! So when we went to a birthday party this Sunday for a cousin, and The Reptile Guy was there, it was less than calming for me.

Boots has no fear when it comes to these things, as you can see...
Little P remained on the porch safely out of harms way for most of the show! She looked as mortified and sickened as I felt!
But I do have to say that the kids were absolutely riveted! The age range of kids there was from a little over one to about 14. They were all completely enthralled with the whole experience, as were the adults that were there. And as grossed out as I was, I still managed to learn something. The handlers were incredibly knowledgeable and very patient and personable. When everyone was done petting the reptiles they were given antibac and a small snake as a thank you for following the rules.
So on the ride home when Boots declared that he wanted them at his birthday party, although I felt my heart skip beat at the thought, I agreed, thinking at least it's educational. We'll see how brave I am in March!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Long Awaited Bus Ride

Thank you all so much for showing the huge love and appreciation for the undead ! Never thought I would say that in this blog! But having done so, I still find it amazing the support you can find in the people that read your blog. I for one, was surprised at the overwhelming amount of e-mails I received in response to the advertising of the book. And the well wishes! I just adore you people!!!! So thank you all so very much!
Okay, on to the first day for Boots. As you might remember he started a private Pre-k this past January. He loved it. It was only two days a week and only an hour and 1/2 at a time. And it was being taught by a woman he knew. All of these things were adding up to a wonderful two days for the boy. My hope from that was that he would gain some independence and be able to experience a class room setting as well as understand the role of teachers and students. He, like most children in this setting thrived. So when it came time for our districts Pre-K program which is 1/2 day Monday through Friday. They also bus the Pre-K students. I am not sure if this is how it works for most schools, but that is how it is done here.

We went to see his class room and meet his teacher a week before he started school along with the other 16 students and their families. I knew right then that any concern I had was totally unfounded. He loved the room, loved the teacher, loved the assistant (whom had Little P in another class last year and adore her and was waiting to get Boots) he couldn't wait to sit and listen and learn. Some of his classmates were hesitant to leave the leg of their parents to explore the room, Boots, on the other hand was almost always a step a head of me! I realized looking at his huge smile and almost insanely contagious excitement that he was in fact, going to be just fine. And boy was he more than ready for school.
Then came the best part, he woke up about three hours too early, bubbling with anticipation not for what the first day of Pre-K might bring, but for the long awaited bus ride. He had spend the last three years watching his sister get on the bus every morning and happily skip down those steps every afternoon. And that, my friends was what he was truly waiting for.
He boarded that bus with just the slightest turn to wave and say good bye smiling the whole way.
There was not one tear shed, not by him any how.
What happens after the bus pulls away is not pretty, not for lots and lots of mama's. I was no exception last Thursday morning. Mr. Fantastic took the day off to see both kids off to school which is yet another thing I LOVE about this man. Little P started a new school as well, but we will talk about that tomorrow! So he was there to help mop up the ridiculous trail of tears that led back into the house!

And at 11:20 on the dot I was pacing the end of that drive way like it was my job. I was more than ready to know that my baby was fine, to hear all about his day. And last but certainly not least, to know that the bus ride although exciting for him, and nerve racking for me, went fine. You see, he has never ridden in a car with anyone that would not sacrifice them self to save him in a heart beat. I do not know this bus driver and I was fairly certain that sel sacrifice was not part of his job description.

However he did arrive home, safe and sound, declaring that this was the best day of his whole life, all four years of it!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tickets to Hell, I have mine, do you have yours?

As some of you may or may not know, Mr. Fantastic has spent nearly the entire last year working on, writing for, and publishing a anthology called Jesus Hates Zombies. It also the amazing work of 16 artists on 17 stories. It's been a serious labor of love for him and I couldn't be more proud... So if you want to check it out, click here for the official site.

The cost of this huge, 138 page bound graphic novel is $17.00. plus $2.00 in shipping, and we will ship it anywhere for that one low price. Pre-orders are being taken here.

Thanks for checking it out. I have tons and tons of posts to catch up on. Including Boots first day at pre-k and that first bus ride. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pancakes for Us

I am on a bit of a food quest as of late. I am bored. Bored, bored, bored. I think you get the point. So I have decided that we will start branching out to other cultures. As some of you know I LOVE Nigella Lawson. Not only is she incredibly talented, she is incredibly real. A quality that I am highly in favor of. So when she said that she could make pancakes that tasted like cheesecake, I decided those must be worth trying. And they were!

First you get all of your stuff together.
You make the strawberries and set them aside, I forgot to take pictures of that part!

So then you make the main part of the batter, and yes that is cottage cheese you see in the batter.
Then you get out your three egg whites
And whip the hell out of them, but not to the point of meringue, more like a light foam.
Then you fold the egg whites into the batter.
Then on to the griddle they go. I used a 1/4 cup measure. The Mickey Mouse ears are optional.
Then you smoother them in the strawberry sauce (recipe below!)
End result is happy kids, who ate cottage cheese and eggs with no added oil and no butter or syrup. Every little bit helps!
Recipe courtesy Nigella Lawson

Serving suggestion:
2 cups strawberries, chopped into quarters
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar

3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon best-quality vanilla extract
1 cup cottage cheese
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Put the strawberries into a bowl and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir before covering with plastic wrap and leaving to steep while you make the cheesecakelets.

Mix the egg yolks with the sugar, beating well. Add the vanilla, cottage cheese, and flour. Then, in another bowl, whisk the whites until frothy with a hand whisk and fold into the cottage cheese mixture.

Heat a smooth griddle or nonstick skillet and dollop the batter onto it make cakelets of about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Each cheesecakelet will take a minute or so to firm up underneath, then you should flip it and cook the other side, and remove to a warmed plate when ready.

Turn the strawberries in the ruby syrup they've made and squish some pieces with a fork at the same time. Serve with the hot cheesecakelets.