Thursday, October 23, 2014

In Which I Conquer the Scones, and Other Off-Topic Quick-Takes

My blog description says quite clearly that Don't Forget the Avocados is not a food blog. However, the time has come, the walrus said, to talk of other things. Of ships and seas and sealing wax, and cabbages and... scones.


I generally cook and bake rather well (to misquote Mrs. Elton from the movie Emma, "My friends say that I certainly know how to make a cookie"). However, success in two areas of baking has historically eluded me. My first problem is with scones. They just don't turn out. The recipe will say to add "enough" cream. I add cream. But how much is enough? How much is too little? In the end, my scones have always tasted of baking powder or had an unfortunate texture. This is very sad, particularly when the failure of a scone is accompanied by the loss of the perfectly good chocolate chips or dried cranberries that I put into it.

However, recently I was inspired to try again.

And, hooray and hallelujah, the oven light has shone. My scones now turn out. They are delicious. They are moist, blueberry-y and nice. Here is the lovely recipe. I don't bother with the glaze (I think it would make them too sweet, anyway) and I definitely follow the advice of grating the frozen butter. I also put a bit more cream in than specified in the recipe.


This is the one that turned out.

My second challenge is in the arena of the pie crust. The part where I add ice water is as confusing as the part where I add cream to a scone. My crusts have heretofore been too tough. However, for my most recent pie crust, I used half butter and half vegetable shortening. Hooray. It worked.


I have been spending quite a bit of time on Pinterest, thinking about Christmas ornaments and Advent decorations that I could make. So far, I have made this little duck from this pattern. What do you think? I wish the head were a bit bigger. It looked fine until I stuffed it.


I want to make a set of ornaments for a Jesse/Advent tree. The idea is that there should be one ornament for each day of Advent, and the ornament should tie-in with the Scripture reading for that day.

(Here's the Source)

I've noticed that the ornaments displayed online by various Catholics seem to cover the story of the Bible (creation, Moses, etc.). However, I think that I would like my ornaments to correspond with the daily readings from the Treasury of Daily Prayer. The challenge is that some of those readings are difficult to illustrate with a felt ornament. How does one illustrate Old Testament passages about imminent judgement, especially once one has already created an ornament with swords and spears? Any suggestions?


Speaking of Pinterest.... You know how in old Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie, Miss Marple is aware of other ladies' pregnancies at an uncanny date, and it turns out that she has seen them purchasing a baby book in the book store? It occurs to me that if Christie were writing today, Miss Marple would notice that a not-yet-facebook-offically-pregnant friend has created a new Pinterest board about maternity fashion or nursery decoration.


Random thought: In America, we have mail carriers who bring the mail to our mailboxes. The British, in contrast, receive the post in the postbox. Yet we Americans have a postal office instead of a mail office. Why is this?


I've had a few articles on Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife lately. If you feel inclined, you can read about:

Supporting Your Pastor

We enjoy the incredible gift of learning each week from someone who not only devotes himself to prayer and study, but who has also learned the original languages of Scripture and been taught the history of Christian doctrine and theology. This highly-trained individual also cares for members’ individual needs—he visits them when they are sick, counsels them when they are troubled, and brings Holy Communion to their homes and hospital beds. Acting on Christ’s authority and by Christ’s command, he administers the Sacraments that give us life. It’s amazing.


Rejoice. He Has Overcome the World.

The world can become a heavy burden on our shoulders. So much of what it does is wrong. We have grown accustomed to knowing that Christians and other dissidents live torturous, forgotten lives in North Korean prison camps. We are reminded often of the babies who are “terminated” in their mother’s wombs. We register little surprise when we hear that one of our city’s residents took a bullet to the head on a recent summer evening. Yet fresh suffering, fresh wrong, and fresh horror finds its way into our daily news consumption. Stories of frighteningly aggressive, death-dealing Islamic fighters remind us just how broken this world is. Perhaps we try to brush off the thought of children beheaded, or perhaps we lie awake and mourn for them, or perhaps we go online and post scathing critiques of our nation’s commander-in-chief. No matter what our response is, we carry a little more weight inside our chests. A little more heaviness.


Happy Friday!
Linking-up to Conversion Diary.


  1. That duck is adorable! I've been pinning ornament ideas for this year, but the big kids made it REALLY easy on me and requested a pink bear and a snowman (the same snowman that I made my sister last year which took almost no time). I just have to sit down and make a list of what everybody gets, but then I remember that it's October... Ah well, might as well plan ahead!

    1. A snowman sounds nice and swift. I always find it easier to feel motivated to actually do stuff either well ahead (early enough so that I can feel a pleasant sense of being virtuously prepared) or last minute (when I feel a less-pleasant feeling), so early is good as far as I'm concerned!

  2. I love the duck. I am super impressed that you made it.

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  4. Oh, that scone recipe sounds so good...! Thanks for posting the link. (Her photography makes me drool, too.)

    Also, I love those Jesse tree ornaments!! Wish I could make anything so polished...

    1. Yes, her site is dangerous. I haven't loved all her recipes, but they are still great inspiration.

  5. For imminent judgement... scales? Those balance scales that symbolize justice, not fish scales or piano scales.

    I haven't made scones since I moved away from WI and a friend who also loved them. My family doesn't feel the scone love. Hmm. Maybe if I started a book club I'd have a reason to make them. :-9

    1. Definitely. Scones and book clubs seem made for each other.

      Yes, scales would certainly work. I wonder what the theological impact on a small child would be if they spend Advent thinking about judgement? Presumably the ornaments would emphasize the concept in a way that the readings alone would not, for a little kid, at least.

    2. They already get hit with the "naughty or nice" judgement from Santa Claus, so I think a little theological discussion of judgement would not be amiss. Tempered with lots of Gospel, of course.

  6. My intro to scones was an oatmeal one. . . made easily with melted butter.

    And. I have the answer to all pie crust woes. The answer is lard. It really makes the very best pie crust. (Don't believe anybody that gives you a recipe using oil and orange juice.) I also put a tiny splash of vinegar in the ice water. I learned about lard from the best pie crust makers on the planet, two lady-sisters in our congregation who were raised in an orphanage. If you believe nothing else I type ever in this world, remember that lard is the answer. Real lard. Not hydrogenated. Or partially.

    There's still a learning curve with making pie crust, and there will be a few failures. Don't let it stop you. It's a worthy skill to have.


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