While they bake and wash and vacuum, I put shoes on the shoe shelf, fold laundry and tuck it away. A quick peek out the back door reveals toys, tools, more shoes and a dog leash. I am tired of cleaning so I scoop everything up and dump it in the Mothership (our catchall basket) in the corner of the living room. All of this takes less than an hour. If I am faithful to keep on top of shopping and sorting, cleaning and cooking, it's easy instead of overwhelming. I enjoy the rhythm of daily tasks.
Now the children are gathered in the playroom playing Crash on the Game Cube with Stuart and I am alone in an orderly living room. I like the way the house feels when the beds are made and the dishes done. It's satisfying to see the fruit bowl filled with fresh fruit and the book basket stocked with fresh library books. When my counters are clean and the living room is cleared of books and toys, my mind is cleared of clutter and there's more room for thinking.
The scones are cooling on the counter. Lauren fills our dinner cart with plates, water, whipped cream, fresh peaches, butter and the scones. We sit around the table and assemble dessert. The scones are delicious. Light and flaky. We eat and share our compliments with the chef. We delight in each other's company and soak in the refreshment of the resting time that follows our chore time.
I have had some recipe requests in the past few days. I will share them here in case more of you are interested. I write all of our recipes in the format I am using here. It makes it easy for my little bakers to follow the directions without too much help from me. We keep all of our favorites together in a binder. Each page is encased in a plastic sheet protector because we're messy cooks. This way I don't have dozens of cookbooks cluttering my kitchen.
(This is the Classic Currant Scone Recipe from The New All Purpose Joy of Cooking)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl whisk:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Blend the butter into the flour using the back of a fork until the dough resembles bread crumbs.
Whisk together, then add all at once:
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Blend until the dry ingredients are moistened. Dump the dough out onto the counter and knead gently just until the dough sticks together. Press dough onto a ungreased baking sheet and pat into an 8 inch circle. Brush the top with 2 to 3 teaspoons of cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Use a knife or a pizza cutter to slice the circle into 8 pieces. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on rack and serve warm.
*My favorite variation is to substitute a teaspoon of orange extract for the vanilla and add about 3/4 cup chocolate chips to the dough. You could add any type of dried fruit or flavored extract that appeals to you.
Lemon/Raspberry Streusel Muffins
Mentioned in the sidebar under Around the House
(from Cookin'Up Country Breakfasts...my favorite breakfast cookbook)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a separate bowl, combine:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup vanilla or lemon yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredient jut until moistened. Fold in raspberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full (I fill them right to the top.) Sprinkle the tops with the topping.
In small bowl, combine:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
Blend with the ingredients with the back of a fork.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. (I have found that the bottoms of the muffins are less likely to get dark if I set the muffin tin in a glass baking dish.) Let the muffins cool in the pan for at least 1o minutes before removing onto a wire rack.
Yield: About 1 dozen