Baking Cream Scones. Sharing a #recipe that takes me back in time

Cream Scones with recipe

Over the last few years, I’ve surprised myself with just how much more interested I am in the act of creating food. Sure, I grow herbs and veggies in my garden, and can cook chicken, beef dishes, heat up vegetables, and bake muffins or a cake out of a box, but something was lacking.

Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s because fast food is so accessible, and the fact that we live an ‘I want it now’ culture. In any case, I’ve found my food experiences inadequate of late.

What I’ve always cooked is edible and tastes fine, but upon reflection, shouldn’t the food we eat fully engage our senses? Shouldn’t there be less indifference and more attention given to what we put on the plate? Maybe we need to locate that enthusiasm again and fully participate in the act of creating food. These are the things I’ve been considering lately, along with this latent desire to mindfully enjoy each and every bite! And, does it take reaching middle age to find all of this out?!

Sometimes I think about my mom and how she valiantly tried to teach me how to cook. When I was younger, I just wanted to be outside, in the garden or in the pool, and as an admitted introvert, I preferred hanging out in my room listening to music or reading books. I was happy to eat what mom made, but not so big on the creating part! It seemed like a chore.

Fast forward to my thirties when my Mom died. Not only did I grieve for her, but as it turned out, for her cooking. That sounds outrageously selfish, and I do miss her, but I also miss her perfect Yorkshire pudding, scrumptious scalloped potatoes, oozing butter tarts full of plump raisins. I could go on. Really, I took her cooking and what she served us for granted. Maybe I thought I could learn by osmosis, and maybe that’s not far off because I have learned along the way how some of the things she taught or told me actually stuck.

So, not only do I miss my her presence, but I miss the smell of the kitchen when the aroma of the food wafted through the house. My dad and I were talking about her one day, and I brought this up. He felt the same way of course, and happily he’d kept all of her handwritten recipes and cookbooks.

He gave them to me, (probably thinking it was a futile effort, lol), several years ago, but in the interim, I discovered three more reasons to up the ante on my kitchen skills.

One is Pinterest.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve noted how often I’m on that website when it’s getting close to dinner time and I’m hungry! All of those scrumptious recipes to save on my recipe pin board… It’s such a great place to find many a tantalizing food image, along with a link to the recipe. When I saw the breadth of choice out there, it was an epiphany. I’ve been persuaded to try cooking something new.

The second thing would be cooking shows, (and food blogs, too), but especially cooking shows, each hosted by many different personalities, because that host sets the flavour of the show, (pardon the pun), just like the food recipes they’re creating.

There’s a show about food for everyone. No wonder there’s a Food Network! Having said that, it was likely Anthony Bourdain’s show who first engaged my attention on CNN. I loved how he traveled the world, diving into different cultures and sharing their love of food. I still enjoy seeing the old Julia Child shows on PBS too, or Lidia’s Kitchen on the Telelatino channel. In their own way, each chef is so entertaining. Plus, you learn something new, and you get to eat!

The third is probably the most important reason. Along with my mom’s cook books, I now have in my possession the ones that belonged to my great-great grandmother. These books hail from the mid 1800’s into the early part of the 20th century.

This all hearkens back to my mom. Cooking or baking from a recipe passed down from our ancestors and people we love, but who are now lost to us, is a special way to visit them once in a while.

Back to the present. Today I baked my mom’s cream scones from her recipe. Talk about comfort food on a cold winter day!

Not only did they turn out really well, but boy, did I ever enjoy eating them again after so many years!

While they baked, I closed my eyes. The smell from my own oven took me right back to mom’s kitchen. It was truly wonderful, and the best part is that these scones are delicious, and so easy to make!

I’d like to share that recipe here.

Noreen’s Cream Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup table cream (18%)

Mix dry ingredients, add butter, stir in cream, and knead

Roll into a pie shape, (on floured surface)

Bake on non-stick pan

10-12 minutes at 450 degrees

Enjoy! ~ Karen

The flower power of Nasturtiums – More than just a pretty face! Edible flower gardening

Nasturtium – A real power flower!

Did you know? Edible flowers contain many vitamins and minerals. They’re rich in nectar and pollen, too.

When I was a little girl, I remember quite clearly a time when my Mom grabbed a daffodil away from my hand (that I’d just picked from her garden), and was about to shove in my mouth to eat.  I have two points to make about this little flashback.

1) NEVER eat anything from the garden unless you know it’s okay! (Daffodils are NOT okay, and your Mom will agree).

2) For some reason, I’ve always looked at flowers in a way that some people look at a big juicy steak!

Years later, now with a garden of my own, (and a bit of knowledge thankfully), I grow flowers that not only attract pollinators, but some I can eat, and so can you!

Rose hips & Lavender

For the rose connoisseur, rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C and may contain up to 50 times more of this vitamin than you’d find in an orange. In this post however, I’d like to talk about Nasturtiums.

I’ve grown these pretty, eye-catching flowers for many years so they’ll trail along the front of my garden border. But the best part is that this plant is edible.

It’s fairly well known that the flower can be used in salads and stir fry’s. With a slight peppery flavour, it reminds me of watercress. More than just tasty, nasturtium flowers are high in vitamin C., (about the same amount you’d find in parsley), and in addition, they contain the highest amount of lutein found in any edible plant.

Lutein is a natural carotenoid found in orange-yellow fruits/flowers, leafy vegetables like kale, (carrots of course), and egg yolk. (A flamingo’s diet is rich in carotenoids which gives them the pink plumage that makes them so beautiful!)

In our eyes, carotenoids are present in macular pigments, where their importance in aiding against ocular disease is currently under clinical research. So eat your plants. 🙂

Saving Nasturtium seeds

I save nasturtium seeds to plant more next year, but I also harvest some unripe pods to create condiments, especially spiced herbal vinegars.

For this recipe, simply steep them in a jar of vinegar for a week or two, along with any other herbs you like for additional flavour, (shake daily), then strain and bottle. It’s really that easy!

The leaves are also rich in vitamin C, and in addition, they contain a sulphur compound that apparently offers an excellent anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antibiotic source when eaten.

Nasturtiums, Hollyhocks, Scarlet Runner beans

Edible flowers should be picked in late morning after the dew has gone, but before the sun is high in the sky. Pick the fully open flowers.

Never eat any flower that’s been in contact with chemicals or other poisons such as pesticides or herbicides. Organic is always the way to go! If you grow it yourself, you know it’s safe for your family. Otherwise, the local farmers’ market is another great source to find healthy food.

Much like growing grapes for making wine, flowers of the same variety, but grown in different locations, will have a slightly different taste.

This ‘terroir‘ as it’s called, (and I just love this word!) 🙂 is pronounced tĕr-wär′. It offers the complete set of local conditions where a particular fruit, vegetable, or herb, (cheese & other hand crafted food), is produced, including the soil-type, weather conditions, topography, obtains its individual character.

Flowers and foliage may taste a little different at the end of the growing season too, and can vary from year to year. Think of dandelion leaves which for me, always taste best in spring.

And, the best part you ask? Flowers are mostly free of calories!

Once more

Do NOT eat ANYTHING from the garden if you aren’t absolutely sure you know what it is first! – Thank you!

More edible flowers

Bee balm
Borage
Calendula
Chamomile
Chive flowers
Dandelion
Daylily
Lavender
Lilac
Marigold
Mint
Nasturtium
Pansy
Rose hips
Sage
Squash blossom
Violet

Have fun experimenting, and happy gardening! ~ Karen

If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake! – Here’s a recipe instead!

The title of this post refers to a tune my Mother-in-law used to sing to my son.

In this case, I was actually going somewhere. I baked this cake to take and share at our family Christmas dinner.

-> But, I forgot to take it!

After kicking myself over this memory lapse, we ate it when we got home. (Which wasn’t such a bad thing, either.)

I took a couple photos before we ate it, but do wish I’d taken photos during the baking process. Next time for sure…

In any case, I’d like to share the recipe. It’s somewhat based on a recipe of my Mother’s that I found in an old cookbook of hers from 1959, called ‘Nellie Lyle Pattinson’s Canadian Cook Book’, by the Ryerson Press.

The recipe is called ‘Orange Cake’, but I put my own twist on the recipe and turned it into a ‘Lemon Cardamom Cake’.

With no oranges at home, I subbed it with lemons instead, and added cardamom too, which blends perfectly with citrus.

Without further ado, here you go!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 & 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed if you can!)
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground cardamom pods
  1. Preheat oven to 350, grease a 9″ round pan. (You’ll likely have more batter than you need, so make some cupcakes, too. I used an pie pan to create a more decorative edge, purchased on Etsy.)
  2.  Cream shortening thoroughly until light and fluffy – add vanilla extract & grated lemon
  3. Add sugar gradually, mixing well after each addition
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, mix in milk. Beat until mixture is smooth
  5. Sift flour, measure, mix.
  6. Sift baking powder, salt, and cardamom
  7. Add all dry ingredients, & mix until smooth
  8. Pour batter into prepared pans
  9. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (up to 45 for square pan) Stick a toothpick in. If it’s clean, the cake is ready
  10. Let cool on rack

In addition to that, I slathered on some store bought whip cream, then added some blueberries and raspberries. It gave it a nice colour! Then some confectioner’s sugar sifted on top. Yum!

If you decide to make it, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Happy baking! ~ Karen

Sharing an elderberry syrup elixir recipe, and DIY kits too!

It’s that time of year, again… Cold and flu season.

We often feel run down around the holidays, which makes us more susceptible to these kinds of viruses. But, many people are turning towards older herbal remedies, especially elderberries, (Sambucus nigra).

The use of elderberries has gained in popularity. With some scientific testing to back it up, elderberries can offer relief from coughs, colds, & even the flu when made into a syrup elixir. Also known for their immune boosting properties, elderberries are rich in antioxidants, and a source of Vitamin C.

It’s one of the best alternatives to big-pharma products, some of which may contain additives that people don’t want to give themselves or their family members. A must-have in many people’s natural cold and flu cabinets, (aka fridge in this case!).

I take a spoonful (a day) at the sign of an oncoming cold, or if I feel run down, or have been around someone else who feels sick. For the past 3 years, (knock on wood!), my elderberry syrup has kept these kinds of viruses at bay.

That’s why I’d like to share our new DIY Elderberry Syrup Kit! Now, anyone can create this lovely, useful herbal alternative.

Available here, at my -> Etsy Shop

This kit includes all the ingredients you need to create your own syrup, plus. easy-to-follow directions, & recipes, & a drawstring bag. .📨 

All you need to have on hand is some honey (or maple syrup), to create a batch of elderberry syrup that will last most of the winter, if kept in the fridge. (Approximately 32 oz, or 1 quart.)

The labelled & organic ingredients include:

× Elderberries
× Elderberry flowers
× Ginger
× Echinacea Root
(Spices) × Cardamom× Cloves × Cinnamon Bark × Star Anise × Eleuthero Root

🙌 Here’s my recipe! (Feel free to share)

  1. Place elderberries, water, herbs and spices in sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let the mixture steep for an hour.
  4. Using cheesecloth, (or a very fine mesh sieve), strain the mixture.
  5. Transfer your batch in to a jar and stir in 1 cup of honey, (or maple syrup if you so desire).
  6. Keep it in the fridge, sealed for up to 3-4 weeks.

Be well my friends!

~ Karen

P.S. View more of our DIY Kits -> HERE.

Thank you!


*** Please note:
× These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

× Please review this product’s ingredients before use to determine if you have an allergy, if you’re pregnant, or breastfeeding. ***Always consult a physician if unsure.

Feathered friends and winter wildlife

Somewhere online I read an article on feeding birds throughout winter, and the ornithologist suggested it’s more beneficial to us (humans) than it is for the birds.

That’s likely true!

Like many people, I don’t offer food to wildlife spring through fall, (well, except for hummingbirds & the local fox kits), but it does feel wonderful to witness a few feathered friends during the dark depths of winter, when most others have migrated to warmer climes.

Perhaps it just feels good to think we’re nurturing wildlife in some small way. 🙂

Along with birdseed, seed heads from perennial plants left uncut in the fall will provide food and shelter for all kinds of birds and small creatures during winter.

A few examples of these plants include echinacea, asters, rudbeckia, and ornamental grasses.

Not only is this uncut fodder great for wildlife, it’s nice to have some structure in the garden over the winter when everything else is hiding out until spring. Ornamental grasses look especially lovely covered in fresh fallen snow.

The temperature has now dipped well below zero, (currently -14 Celsius).

Combine that with a blanket of snow, (not quite as much in that photo below -> last winter), I do think it’s time to make some suet for the hardy wee birds who choose to stick around all year, so I can enjoy watching them gather outside my window.