Friday, November 21, 2014

Cherry and Chocolate Chip Scones #gluten free



I have been using my cast iron "cornbread pan" for making scones.  I find that when baking with gluten free flours that sometimes if they are baked in a molded pan they do better.   What I mean by this is that they don't spread too thinly across the pan like they might if baked on a cookie sheet.  I rather enjoy my scone to be thicker than a soft cookie.

I made these scones with some leftover gluten free flour blends that I had in the cupboard.  I usually break the flours down so that you know exactly what is going into your recipe.  Well, this time around, I will just mention that any gluten free all purpose flour blend will work fine.  The one thing that you need to keep in mind is the guar gum or xanthan gum. If your blend contains this already then do not add it to the recipe.



I have used both fresh raspberries and fresh cherries to make this recipe.  I love the cherry and dark chocolate combination and this is the one requested by my family.  I know that someone will email me about using frozen fruit.  I honestly have not made them this way so I don't know if they would work or not.  I know that when I use the fresh fruit and they are cooled after baking that the area around the fruit is a little damp.  By using frozen fruit I am not sure if this would require a longer bake time or not. You will really have to use experience and judgement if that is the route you wish to take.  Let me know how they turn out if you use frozen fruit.

The icing is not required but the scone itself is not too sweet.  I think the icing adds a nice pop of flavor and dresses the scones up when they are cooled down.

Please share on Twitter, Stumble Upon, Facebook and Pinterest. Thanks



Cherry and Chocolate Chip Scones
Makes 7-8 scones using a cast iron pan

1 1/4 gluten free all purpose gluten flour blend (I use this one)
1/2 teaspoon guar gum (ONLY use if not included in flour blend)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter, soft
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 coconut palm sugar (regular sugar may be substituted too)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I use these chocolate chips)
1 cup fresh cherries or raspberries, frozen may be used too

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare any muffin, scone or molded oven proof pan with cooking spray.

2.  In a medium size bowl combine all of the ingredients except the fruit and chocolate chips.  Combine well.  Add fruit and chocolate chips and gently fold until well blended.  Be careful not to over blend and break the fruit down.

3.  Evenly divide the batter between 7-8 muffin cups or triangles if using a cast iron pan.  They will be quite full.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  Let cool completely before serving.

4.  While still hot drizzle the scones with your favorite glaze.  I use a simple glaze recipe of 2 tablespoons milk to 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

Written by Sherron Watson


NOTE:  I have attached affiliate links to my Amazon account. A purchase is not necessary.  This is a good way for me to share with you what I use in my own kitchen.  If a purchase is made, I do make a small percentage that goes right back into the kitchen for new recipes.  Thanks--Sherron

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: A few pictures from my week.  

I got my third Stitch Fix box in the mail and I loved it all.  
I only kept two things though.  The earrings and the black top.







I used to knit.  I always thought of myself as more of a crocheter. It has been fun revisiting this craft.  My grandmother was a fabulous knitter and she first taught me when I was about 8 years old.  My first scarf was simple: just a knit stitch.  I am almost done with my second piece: knit and purl for a seed stitch.






We had some work done on the house and in the midst of digging they clipped some lines.  We were without power for a few hours.  Our neighbor, Tom, saved the day and got us back up and running.  Thanks TOM!


My first Hawaiian Applique wall hanging.


I pulled my flute out.  Christmas always has me in the mood to play.  


I made a few things this week:



TURKEY INSPIRED VEGETABLE TRAY

BBQ CHICKEN--RECIPE COMING SOON



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Slow Cooker Apple Pumpkin Butter


This is the best apple butter I have ever made and I have made a lot of recipes trying to find the perfect texture and flavor.  I really really wish that I had tried adding pumpkin years ago; really, I do.

If you have read my blog then you may have heard me mention some apple butter that I had in a small town name Talkeetna.  It is the stuff that keeps me up at night trying to duplicate it and dreaming about the consistency.  I remember it being thick--very very thick and full of flavor.

This is just like THAT apple butter only THIS butter has pumpkin and I LOVE it.  I really really love it very very much.

It's late and I am loopy--LOL  Anyways this apple pumpkin butter is amazing. It is super easy too because you throw the ingredients into the slow cooker and let them cook, stir and sweeten.  We sampled it while the butter was still warm but I think it taste best after it has cooled in the refrigerator.

I thought this would make it until Thanksgiving day-NOPE. I have to make another batch this week. We have decided it is a tasty addition to our homemade multi-grain gluten free pancakes. It is--I won't lie.

The apple butter will be cooked with a sweetener but I always add more when it is done cooking.  This way I can make sure I don't get it too sweet.  While the butter is still warm I will add brown sugar until it is perfect for my family.  I have also used honey and coconut sugar to sweeten our apple butters in the past. My kids like the brown sugar.  I don't bake with it that often so I don't mind using it here in this recipe.

Please share on Pinterest, Faceboook, Twitter or Stumble Upon.  Thanks!

Slow Cooker Apple Pumpkin Butter
Makes about 2 to 2.5 cups

1(15 oz) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
3-4 medium size apples--Granny Smith's are what I use
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie seasoning
1/3 cup palm sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (sounds weird, but I like it with just a bit of salt)
optional--add brown sugar to sweeten when finished --to taste

1.  Prepare apples by washing, coring and quartering them.  I did not peel them either.

2.  Add ingredients to slow cooker, stir well and cook on low for 4 hours.  I have done this on high for 2 hours but you need to watch it. The edges get very dark and you don't want the butter to taste scorched.

3.  When apples are soft use a stick blender or potato masher to mix the butter when finished cooking.  I like mine with a few chunks so I don't blend until smooth.  This is just my preference, you do what your family likes: chunky or smooth.

4.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Written by Sherron Watson

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sifting Through Life: Am I listening?

Sifting Through Life segments are about my life and how I have dealt with certain situations.  The topic changes weekly and they don't always include food or recipes.  It is a segment that allows me to talk honestly and openly.  All opinions are my own and are just that, my opinions.  This is my voice talking about my life.  ENJOY!


Looking out my window I can see that the leaves on our trees are thinning.  As I look at my computer screen my eye will catch the slight movement of one leaf falling slowly to the ground. One at a time. Right on cue, as I type these words, one slips to the ground.  One leaf lets go and then another and another and soon I will have a ground covered in crispy, dried leaves.  Then what?

The big question at my house is do we rake or do we not rake?  We are torn.  The process of trees shedding their leaves is natural.  The piling up of leaves on the ground is natural.  The process of releasing and letting go is also natural.  

Our arguments range as to how we should take care of our HUGE leaf problem. One child mentions that we should leave them because the ground needs the nutrients provided by the leaves when they break down.  Another disagrees because of the amount of leaves.  She states that too much of anything tends to create an unbalance spectrum.  The wind will take them is another thought that gets tossed around.  Oh, but then our neighbors have to deal with our leaves and this makes me uneasy.  

The falling leaves are something that we can't avoid each year unless we cut down the huge leaf bearing trees in our yard.  Will that solve the problem though?  I don't think so.  Our neighborhood is full of these beautiful trees that provide us with an exceptionally amazing Spring.  They offer homes to the birds and squirrels during the cold Winter months.  I would miss them.  They have come to be a part of our yard and landscape.  

I gain great joy from seeing the trees in my yard.  The texture of the bark.  The changing color of their leaves.  The rustling the squirrels make as they hop through the piles.  I would miss watching the trees shed each leaf as it makes and finds its final resting place in my yard. I would miss the gentle reminder that our lives ebb and flow like the seasons or the trees in my yard. 

I imagine myself as a tree.  Am I shedding the leaves of my soul as this change is coming over me? I feel wonderful.  I am opening to my true self.  My mind, body and soul are enlarging to accept more. My heart is softening.  Changing not who I am but actually listening and turning with a greater desire to realizing that I am finding my path in this life.  I am finally able to navigate through the piles of leaves that I have discarded with the anticipation of what is before me.  Knowing that as the trees in my back yard will once again bud, bloom and become full; so will I.  

Shedding a few leaves isn't a bad thing.  It opens up a chance for us to grow.  To start over.  To refresh.  To live.  I have fought this change for quite some time.  I can't avoid it anymore.  

I didn't realize how closed I had become.  Protecting my inner self became a full time job.  Wearing an armor, like the bark of a tree, to protect my heart, my feelings, and eventually my sensitive soul-- instead of just being me-- caused me to be distant, aloof, and vague.  I have made the decision to stop hiding.  Stop blending in.  Stop fighting the urges, the small whisperings,  and of late, the strong desire to listen.  I won't hide behind a tree anymore. 

Writing about my experience of quitting Facebook was a challenge for me to understand at the time, but I couldn't fight the urge anymore.  I had to listen to the prompting.  The reality is, it turned out to be one of the most honest pieces that I have ever written; with great responses from friends and readers that were feeling the same vibration too.  I connected to a group of like minded people because I let my inhibitions fall to the ground.  The desire to act at that moment was inspiring.  I listened and I poured my heart out in my post.  

The events of this week have only confirmed to me that listening and acting and following through are an important part of who I am as a Mom, Wife and Writer.  I can't worry about what others might think or say because all the matters to me is getting the message out.  I sit at my computer and the words just come.  Hope, love and kindness are messages that are needed in this world of hardship, loss and struggle.  Finding the balance in our lives is important.  There is a beacon in my life that I have avoided for a long time.  This innate sensitivity, that I have had since I was a small child,  to offer love, joy and kindness is too overwhelming for me to hide anymore.  I need to listen and share through writing my thoughts.   

I started Sifting Through Life as a way for me to write honestly and openly.  Even with the knowledge and prompting to keep this as authentic as possible I have still been holding back: afraid that some will find me different, crazy or weird.  Too forth coming with information and an honesty that makes others feel uncomfortable.  Honesty that comes from a place of love and longing to share that we are all unique, valued, of worth, and sacred.

The falling leaves, floating pass my window, are gentle reminders that shedding
my old self is only preparing me for a better experience in this wonderful life I have.  My journey to this point has been filled with pebbles, stones, rocks and even boulders tossed with great force in my direction.  Those will no longer be the deciding factor as to my freedoms to write what I think and feel.  My knowledge comes differently than for most.  I can't fight it anymore.  

My happiness this past week has been an awakening experience with my family.  I feel like they are seeing me for the first time.  I am not hiding anymore. I have never hidden my intuitions from them.  It is kind of a joke around our family. A secret that we share within the walls of our home.  They know and love me anyways.  Oh I do love food.  I love cooking, creating, photographing, and editing.  Food has led me to this place in my life by offering me a branch, if you will, to open up and to share thoughts of encouragement through the stories and lessons in my own life.  

I am listening.

Listening and writing, not for the masses,  but for the one.  If one person can gain a smile, a happy thought, or a feeling of value; then my efforts will be worth the few moments I take each day to write and reflect.   I have been reminded that there is a duality that exist on this earth.  When we are not in balance things have a tendency to shift and slide.  Finding a balance in our lives is important.  My balance involves writing, accepting and acting on my thoughts.  If I don't then the voice in my head does not let me rest.  Today my thoughts are quiet but only after I sat and decided to write a post.  Not knowing what would come but watching the process unfold just feels right.  The simplest of reactions to my flow of writing is listening. The words just come.

Listening is learning.  I am learning to listen and to share my thoughts with the hope that a connection is made.  Connecting with people and listening to their stories is something I have done my whole life.  Through listening to others I am learning so much.

Are you listening?  I believe that each of us has the ability to feel and to know for ourselves the plan that we helped create when we came to this life.   We have a built in data center that allows us to hear our own direction and insight.  The key is knowing the "song" that is being sung and tuning into the right frequency.  Sometimes we are too busy to hear, our lives are too noisy to pay attention, or we just need to be reminded to pay attention.

This is that reminder.  Be mindful of your life now. See what is happening.  Recognize if a change is needed.  Listen to how you are feeling at this very moment.

Listen.  Then get real quiet and listen again. In this space of deep quiet is where you will find guidance, serenity and peace.


Written by Sherron Watson

Friday, November 14, 2014

Turkey Inspired Vegetable Platter


Yay!  One of my family's favorite holidays is finally right around the corner. It just so happens to be Cory's birthday too.  About every 7 years his birthday falls on Turkey Day.  

Last year we went to a friends home and I was invited to bring a vegetable tray. I googled a few different versions of turkey themed trays and came up with this version which is similar to what I saw online.  

I try to balance my colors so that there are an array of colors to work with to create the turkey's feathers and backside.  Getting the face just right was a bit harder than I thought because I had to figure out how to cut the red pepper to make the gobbler.  I used one black olive, cut in half,  and two round carrot slices for the eyes.  The beak is a cucumber cut into the shape of a triangle.  The face is the bottom of a green bell pepper.

The leaf lettuce is not necessary but I do think it adds a brilliant ruffle around the edge of the tray. It gives this turkey his "ruffled feathers" if you like.

I served the tray with our favorite dressing:  Parmesan Ranch.  The recipe can be found here.

I don't believe a recipe is needed to successfully make this tray.  Use your imagination, use your favorite veggies and make it as big or small as you like. This tray is HUGE.  I made it for 30 people.

The ingredients I used in the picture below are: carrots, celery, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers, green leaf lettuce and romanesco.

You could also use:  red onions, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower, olives, mushrooms...I think you get the idea.  Go and have fun creating your next turkey platter.

Please share on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon.  Thanks!


Written by Sherron Watson

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY:

 Our week has been a full one.  We are in the final days of good weather before the cold weather finds Maryland.  We spent time in our yard raking and playing.  Not a single leaf has been bagged--YET!   
A glimpse into our lives.
ENJOY



Baby Cheeks are so kissable.  I can't believe she is one.






This recipe is posted on the blog. It came out yesterday.

I said good bye to a friend on Monday.  She is moving.  We walked every Monday.  This was our last walk before she starts the next phase of life.



I shared an experience I had with Cory while out on one of our walks.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Link here




Written by Sherron Watson



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sliced Acorn Squash with Parmesan Cheese


I decided that I wanted to photograph my acorn squash with the seeds still inside the center.  I felt that the seeds are a part of the acorn squash that quickly get discarded and forgotten.

The detail of the webbed center with the slippery seeds shows that great effort has been put into the growth cycle.  Thankfully the seeds are easy to remove.  I use a large spoon and gently scrape the sides.  The seeds go down the drain and I am left with two halves. Have you ever saved your seeds?  Would you treat them similar to pumpkin seeds and eat them?  Let me know if you use them and how.

We are fans of squash.  On the blog you will find an array of squash recipes.  We eat one zucchini every day in either our breakfast or dinner.  I find that squash just fits nicely into most recipes that use eggs, vegetable dishes like soups and stir frys,  as well as, stand on their own in simple recipes.

Here are links to a few of our favorites:

Creamy Baked Acorn Squash
Kuri Squash with Sausage
Zucchini Cheese Souffle


I like to use simple ingredients when working with squash.  The tender squash meat is transformed when seasoned with a bit of extra virgin olive oil or grass fed butter.  Then if you decide to add salt, pepper and some seasonings the dish is expanding its flavor profile.  When the slices came out of the oven I decided to add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  I found when the the squash was broiled and the edges were browned that this added a wonderful finishing touch to this simple recipe.

So the question that I run into is this.  Is this considered finger food or not? 

Well, for me it is not finger food because I eat the green peel too.  The cooking at a high temperature softens the green peel to a degree that it is edible.  I have several friends and family that also eat the whole slice.  It is also okay to eat the slices like you would a slice of watermelon.  I would consider the guest at your table to see if they are comfortable eating finger foods.  Who knows, they might like it.

If you are inclined to share recipes on Pinterest, Stumble Upon, Facebook and Twitter, I really do appreciate each and every share.  Thanks! Sherron


Sliced Acorn Squash with Parmesan Cheese

1 acorn squash, cleaned out and cut in half
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Flake Salt  (I use this brand)
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Have a metal cookie sheet ready.

2.  To slice the acorn squash into 1/4 inch slices you will need a large sharp knife and a stable cutting board.  I used my belly to support the squash and pushed down on the knife to make the slices.  Trying to saw or cut them like a tomato did not work for me.  Use a technique that will help you achieve the result.

3.  Toss the slices in a large bowl with all of the seasonings and oil.  I did not give measurements because this step is based on your family and what they like.  I used my reliable 4 pack: salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.  I also added some fresh mint.  You add what you like and use seasonings that best fit into your family's appetite.

4.  Bake slices for 20 minutes of until tender.  Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese over the top layer of slices and broil until golden brown.

5.  I removed the cookie sheet and transferred the slices to a serving plate.


Written by Sherron Watson

Note:  I have included one affiliate link to show you the brand and type that I use. There is no obligation to buy.  I do make a small fee but this all goes towards ingredients for recipes.  

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