Banana Date Scones

I was inspired by Dandy and her awesome date recipe this morning. It reminded me of one of my favorite breakfast (or anytime I’m craving them) food: Banana Date Scones.

These little jewels are tender and oh-so-good and the little bits of date literally melt in your mouth.

Here’s what you need to do to make them:

Preheat the oven to 450 

Get yourself 3 really ripe bananas

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See all those beautiful black specks? That means our banana is perfect, at the height of sweetness. If you have some not quite ripe bananas and you want to speed up the ripening, just put them in a paper bag with an apple. The gas given off by the apple will make the bananas ripen faster. Also a good reason to not put them in the same fruit bowl on your counter.

 

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Peel them (like I really needed to tell you that right) and squish them up really good in a bowl. I utilized the volunteer services of my 6-year-old for this part.

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Now mix in 1 egg and 2/3 cup of cream (pretend you see cream here, apparently I forgot to take a picture of the cream in the bowl). Set aside.

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In a large bowl add 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp of baking powder, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp of salt. I usually use kosher salt, but when baking I use regular plain salt. The grains are finer and you aren’t left with undissolved crystals of salt in the final product.

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Mix it all together with a wire whisk. I hate sifting and this keeps me having having to do so. It will break up any clumps and insure that the baking powder is evenly distributed.

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Now in another small bowl measure out 8 ounces of dates. These beauties are Mejool Dates. I buy them at Costco and I absolutely love them. They are moist and sweet and I definitely understand where date sugar comes from now.

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Pit them and rough chop them into small (maybe 1/4 inch pieces). I usually cut them down the middle, pull out the pit, cut them into fourths, and then cut the fourths into five or six pieces each depending on the size of the date. You want them to be small chocolate-chip-size pieces.

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Now go back to your bowl of dry ingredients and take a couple of tablespoons of the flour mixture and use it to coat and seperate the date pieces. This helps keep them from sinking in the batter or lumping all together. You wouldn’t want them to lump all together because then one scone may have a lot of dates and others not so many.

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Now, pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and mix it up until just combined.

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Add in the dates and mix 10 times. No more. You don’t want to create gluten here, just mix it up. The batter will be slightly sticky and lumpy.

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Scoop out about a 1/4 cup of the mixture and place on a greased or lined baking sheet. If you use the thin aluminum cookie sheets place your sheet in the upper 1/3 of your oven, otherwise place it in the middle. My baking sheets are the half sheet pans like you get at a cooking supply store or kitchen store. My hubby bought them and the Silpat years ago when he knew he was coming home late from a business road trip. Isn’t he sweet?

Anyway, bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

 

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Serve  warm with butter or cream cheese or, if you can get it, clotted cream.

Hint: Split them like an English Muffin. Use a fork and work your way around the perimeter of the scone, poking the fork straight in and then out again. This will keep you from crushing or crumbling your scone and it opens beautifully that way.

Y’all Come Back Now.

August 26, 2009. cooking. Leave a comment.

Revel Bars

Hey, you.

Yeah, you.

The cutie reading this right now.

Stop what you are doing and go here right now:

http://spontaneousclapping.blogspot.com/2009/08/revel-bars.html

You have to try these. They are the best cookies that I have ever had. Oatmeal cookie on the bottom. Fudge on the top.

OMG!! My house smells so good right now. You absolutely wouldn’t believe how good it smells.

That is until you make them. Theeennnn, you’ll know.

Here is the picture that Dandy posted to give you an idea.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a good picture because I couldn’t get the cookies away from my family. Can you believe it?

Go, try these.

Y’all Come Back Now

August 19, 2009. cooking. 2 comments.

My Homeschool Building Blocks

This week is the beginning of the public school year in our area. So I decided that this week would also be the beginning of our school year at home

well trained mind

This is the backbone of what we do. I love Susan Wise  Bauer and Jessie Wise. They are a mother and daughter team who speak from experience. Jessie taught her children at home after being told “how dare you teach your children to read before they come to school”. I mean, can you believe the nerve of a parent actually teaching her child to read because she was ready to read before school?!

Susan and Jessie describe a classical education solely at home or supplementing what the child is learning at school. It is the way I wish I had been taught.

Which brings me to my next reccomendation:

well educated mind

This is also written by Susan Wise Bauer. It is a guide to giving yourself the classical education that you wish you had received in school.  In leads you gently through history, the ultimate story, by guiding you through the evolution of the written word that forever shapes the world we live in.

It also instructs on how to critically examine what you have read and how to express your thoughts and ideas into the written word.

Speaking of learning to write and homeschooling, this is another resource that we have been using this year:

complete writerfirst language lessons

“Writing with Ease” is written by Jessie Wise. It is written for parent of the beginning elementary student and guides you through teaching your student to learn the foundations needed for good scholarly writing needed for high school and college.

“First Language Lessons” is written by her daughter Susan Wise Bauer and is exactly what the name implies. It guides the parent of the first and second grade student through scripted grammar and narration exercises designed to gradually strengthen the students mental language abilities and introduce basic grammar.

Along with these wonderful resources we are also using:

story of the world Ancient times

“Story of the World:Ancient Times” is the first in a series of four books designed to introduce the early learner to the great story of History. It is also written by Susan Wise Bauer. There is a workbook that we use that has activites designed to reinforce the story in book. There are coloring pages, activity ideas, map pages,and more for each chapter in the accompanying text.

You can probably tell already just how much I like these two women! I do use other books and sources to teach, but I find myself referring to these books over and over. I just haven’t found any that are better or easier to use.

This is just a little taste of where we are starting this year. My high schooler is studying Chemistry, Trigenometry, Constitutional Law, United States History, Classic Literature, Driver’s Ed (OMG!! ), and a Home Economics Course. We will meet at our Co-op for the lab portion of some of these courses with the bulk of the learning taking place at home. She does have texts to follow, but we also use our library and the internet to supplement and expand upon what we are learning. 

And I do mean we. One of my favorite parts about homeschooling is learning new things alongside my children. Even though I am a well-educated college graduate, I learn something new everyday. I would hate to imagine a world where there was nothing left to learn. How boring would that be?!!

So go, read a good book already. Don’t forget to let me know what it is.

Y’all Come Back Now.

August 11, 2009. Homeschooling. Leave a comment.

Laura Has Arrived!

As mentioned in my previous post, for the third year in a row we are blessed with an exchange student in our home.

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This is a picture of all of us at the airport late last night when Laura arrived.

We are excited to have Laura come to live with us. When sincerely believe that when you open your home and heart to one of these wonderful children you will be blessed in ways you cannot imagine. It has been true for us the past two years and I am positive the trend will continue. I do this because I would want someone to do it for my children. I want the parents of these wonderful girls to feel safe and comfortable in the fact that thier daughters are loved as if they were my own. And I do love them as if they were my own.

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This is Melanie, who stayed with us last year. Notice that she has crawled into my bed, just like my own girls. I hope these girls know how much they mean to me. I miss them when they go home. I feel as if I am sending a little piece of me to the other side of the world. But isn’t that how we all feel when our children move away?

Join me in welcoming Laura to my home and to the United States.

Y’all Come Back Now.

August 5, 2009. Notebook. Leave a comment.

Getting Ready for Laura

Today has been spent doing that thing which I dread most, cleaning house.

From top to bottom, behind every bookshelf, and under the furniture the dust bunnies tried to hide. But try as they may, I found each and every one of them.

It is not as if I am a neat freak (which I am and my family is not) or anything.

See, for the third year in a row we are hosting an exchange student.

Our first exchange student came to us from Germany.

 This is HannahDSCF0963This is Hanna.

Are you confused yet?

The darling girl in the braces on the left is my lovely daughter, Hannah. The cute blonde on the  right sans braces is Hanna. While they are said slightly differently, Hannah with an a sound and Hanna with an ah sound, they ended up answering to either or both names all year. At school Hanna was Hannah-Hanna. One of her teachers made a game out of it by calling her Hannah-Hanna repeated over and over until finally he ran out of breath and then he stopped.

Hanna was originally to stay with another family in our area and had already made all the arrangements and been accepted by our school when the other family had to back out. Another exchange family sent out requests and we answered with a little bit of trepidation because we had never even thought of hosting an exchange student before.

We loved having Hanna come stay with us and we liked it so much that it made us open up our hearts and our home once again for Melanie.

We loved having Melanie come and live with us, but once again we had issues with names.

See my best friend is named Melanie.

It was confusing at times because even Melanie’s (the one from Germany) nickname, Melli, still sounded enough like her name that both would answer.

Now, here is where things get a little strange and my friends are starting to wonder about my sanity.

Remember that cute little girl in the ski fairy with questionable taste in jewelery?

106_1089 This is the one.

Her name is Lara. Pronounced La Ruh.

Our next exchange student is from Spain. Her name is Laura. Pronounced La ooh ruh in Spanish, but Lor uh in English.

Do you think it will be confusing around here again this year?

Yeah, me too.

There are betting pools that if we host another one her name will be Chrystal.

My money is on yes, but you never know.

Y’all Come Back Now.

August 1, 2009. Notebook. 1 comment.