Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Baby Girl Bed Head - Installment 7

Well, it's been a while.

She has woken up with shockingly pretty hair for a while now. In fact, there have been several mornings where I've thought, "Man, I would love it if I woke up looking like that!"

She has soft curls, swoopy bangs, the perfect side part... she's beautiful.

Not Monday.

This is what we woke up to...

The crazy thing is that the ONLY WAY to get rid of the hair that covers her face most mornings is to COMPLETELY wet down her hair. Good thing she LOVES that. (cue: eye roll)

Anyway, Isn't she lovely?

Love her.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cherry Scones

Let me start by saying this...

I don't like cherries.

There, it's out there now.

But, I really don't think it's my fault.

I blame cough syrup manufacturers.

Cherry-flavored medicine was one of the WORST ideas.

Although, I was very fond of playing Hi-Ho-Cherry-O upstairs at my grandparent's place.
Anyone else grow up playing that game?

Well, now that it's out there, I will tell you that my husband loves them.
A sweet friend brought us a bag that she got at a fruit stand and, I kid you not, he'd have eaten the whole bag (if his stomach wouldn't have argued with him about it later).


ANYWAY, one of my favorite memories from my childhood was making scones with my dad. Our family recipe has worked for Chocolate Chip Scones, Blueberry Cinnamon Scones, Cinnamon Raisin Scones, and Cranberry Scones (sometimes with White Chocolate Chips, too - YUM!).

So, I thought I'd see what would happen if I tried Cherry Scones.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can add ANYTHING. I think the cherry scones would be great with dark chocolate chips added in but since I didn't have any, I used white chocolate chips.

Here's how it works:

Rinse off some fresh cherries.

Chop and pit the cherries until you have a cup and a half of chopped cherries. (At this point, I set them out on a paper towel to dry a little bit... it'll help later)

Place flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and cream of tarter into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir to combine.

If you're not familiar with cream of tartar, here's a picture. (You find it in the spice aisle. A certain husband, who shall remain nameless, might have thought that I was asking for a kind of cream and spent some time in the dairy section. Oops.)

Dice 2 sticks of butter and add to the flour mix.

Now, the way we used to do this when I was a kid was by using a pastry blender and combining it by hand. However, I use my fancy stand mixer with the paddle attachment to blend it all together.  It should resemble small crumbs.

Beat one egg and one egg yolk and add that to 2 tsp of vanilla and 1- 1 1/3 C half & half. (This is where it gets tricky - Use 1 C for fruit scones and 1 1/3 C for scones with things like raisins, chocolate chips, etc - or if you live in a drier climate.) Set this aside.

Add the cherries and cinnamon (and I might have added some white chocolate chips, too) to the dry ingredients and gently fold together. (I only use the paddle attachment on my mixer when making scones with hard ingredients like chocolate chips. For the fruit scones, use a spatula and be gentle!)

Make a little hole in the middle of the dry ingredients to pour the wet ingredients into.

Gently fold together until mixed... It doesn't have to be super well mixed. And, having a few little chunks of butter is ok. Scones are very forgiving.

Cover the dough and put it in the fridge overnight (or if you make the dough in the morning, you can bake them that night). DON'T SKIP THIS STEP. It makes the next part WAY easier and you'll want the butter in the dough to be chilled again.

When the dough is fully chilled, turn 1/4 of the dough out onto a floured surface. There's no kneading necessary. Sprinkle a little flour on the top and gently pat into a circle until the dough is between 1/2 and inch and 3/4 of an inch thick.

Use a large knife to cut the circle into 8 triangles.

I use a spatula to lift them onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. (Let's hear it for parchment paper! WHY DIDN'T I START USING THIS STUFF A LONG TIME AGO?!)

In another tiny bowl, beat an egg with 3 tablespoons of water and lightly brush the tops of the scones with this egg wash.

Sprinkle on as much sugar as you're comfortable with. ;)

Here's what they look like on the pan before baking:

And, after being in a 425 degree oven for 13-15 minutes:

That, my friend, is a beautiful picture. A delicious, beautiful picture.

Serve them warm with a little butter melting over the top.

I often try to convince myself that these count as breakfast, when, let's face it, they are definitely a dessert... or snack... or anytime sort of yummy treat.

I did bring a few over to the friend who brought me the cherries and she gave me her seal of approval, so now I feel comfortable sharing the recipe with YOU!

Click HERE to download a PDF of this recipe card.
***I live at a very high elevation, so to adapt this, I only use 3 tsp baking powder, I used 1 1/4 C half & half, and I did a slightly heaping cup of flour for the 4th cup of flour added.***


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fun on the 4th

I love the 4th of July.

The weather is usually great, it's a good excuse to see friends and family, the food is fantastic.
As a kid, it usually included going to my aunt and uncle's lake house, Mt. Pleasant fireworks with my dad's popcorn, the big fireworks on Lake Michigan (ALWAYS with good friends), popsicles, potato salad, bbq chicken by dad on the grill, bonfires, pool time and loads of sunshine.

And, the occasional matching t-shirts from Old Navy.

Seriously, who didn't have to wear one of these as a kid? And, a better question, will they EVER stop making them?

This was our third 4th of July in CO. And, while I have very high standards set by good ole Racine, I have to say, Lake City does the 4th well. If they didn't, I'd be tempted to travel back to WI just for the holiday.

It was a little bittersweet for us that this was the first year John wasn't riding a horse in the parade. It is so fun to watch him and other camp people riding by on our sweet horses, but this year he actually got to sit with us! So, that's fun.

We live in a town of between 300-400ish but for the 4th, our population EXPLODES. There are people everywhere. My parents were here for the 4th last year and laughed when I told them this morning that we actually had a traffic jam in town after the fireworks last night. We sat still for no more than 5 minutes. BUT, to us, that's a HUGE traffic jam.

Anyway, on to pictures!

The day starts here with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the school (which we didn't go to) followed by a parade (which we did go to).

Somebody was mesmerized by the firetrucks...

I think he gets that from his Papa Scott.

Then, this fella came wandering through.
Because what parade is complete without Uncle Sam on stilts? No parade I want to be at, that's for sure.

I got to see this lovely lady. (Check out her blog for tasty recipes)

This is most people's opinion... especially during this holiday...

This little lady was a trooper in the hot sun. She especially enjoyed when they started throwing candy. (note the clenched fist)

The parade is followed by booths full of goodies, crafts, and fair food around the park and near our shops "downtown" where you can find ice cream, coffee drinks, t-shirts, souvenirs, candy,... all sorts of goodies, all with an old-fashioned, small town feel.

The park is packed with tourists and locals and everyone anxiously anticipates the start of the foot races.

No kidding.

The afternoon is spent with all different age divisions participating in foot races at the town park.

And, cut throat. Some of these races get intense!

We made the executive (read: mommy and daddy) decision to take our kiddos home to rest. But, not before getting our annual turkey leg to share. (Yum!)

The kids were exhausted. And, in true Lake City fashion, it down-poured during the afternoon anyway. Here, that is welcome. It cools off the heat of the day and always brings that sweet mountain smell. I think that must be what Heaven smells like.

Anyway, the next stop for us was dinner, games and fireworks with some sweet friends that evening.

We played this game (that I can't remember the name of) and other than the times when my third-trimester-sized belly got in the way, it was really fun!

This little man is not picky, as long as it has wheels and he can get some good speed, he'll ride it.

And, then there is this girl.

We do NOT take enough photos together.

But, I try to get plenty of them!

Ok, so we were up the hill where Lake City starts. There is a valley you can't see in this picture that town is nestled in.

WAY across the valley (I had my 'big girl' zoom lens on my camera) and up another hill is a water tower. That is where they shoot the fireworks off from. This picture is of them watering down the brush near the water tower. Can't be too careful!

Here's a picture pulled back a little further. The circle is around that water tower.

And, this was my first attempt at firework photos with my 'big girl' camera. What do you think?

After the fireworks, when all the kids were nice and sleepy, someone wrapped up the little miss and she turned to me and said, "Look! Mom! Cozy," with the sweetest smile on her face. 

I'm so thankful for the men and women who have gone before us and for those who are currently devoting their lives to making sure that my family and I can have days like this.
Hope your 4th of July was as great as mine.