Monday, February 6, 2012

A Cure for Apathy

Today was rough. Among some personal things and school things, I came home after a long, hard jog and quick stretch, expecting to feel better. Physical strain is one of my favorite ways to escape the day, escape my trouble and to concentrate on the burn in my legs and the swift beat of my heart.

Today though, my remedy didn't work. I came home feeling indifferent to the world, and after ingesting about a pound of chocolate, I didn't feel much better. I made a list to quell the overwhelming-ness that was breeding the indifference in my head.

It helped, but after laundry and picking up a few things at the grocery store, I didn't have much to show for the hours I'd been occupied. I sat down at my laptop to watch...anything. Reading wasn't even appealing. At this point, I was tempted to check for fever. I ALWAYS want to read.

I suddenly felt worse than apathetic. I felt lazy AND apathetic. So what did I do? I decided that the Vanilla infused bourbon that's been sitting on my table for 7 weeks needed to be strained and put to good use.

I pushed myself out of my chair, turned up the radio and began banging the edge of the lid of the container holding the liquid against the counter (much to my dog's dismay). Our poor neighbors, who knows what they thought was happening. LOUD NOISES! BARKING DOG! LOUD MUSIC!

I finally got the lid unscrewed and strained the liquid into another container with a spout-thing, to make it easier to transfer the liquid from that, into a funnel, into three glass bottles with droppers. That's a lot of transfer. I didn't think of that-and now my kitchen smells like a distillery.

Regardless, I now had three bottles of young, dark, beautiful, homemade vanilla extract. Granted, one I promised to a friend, but that still left two! What to make?


Recently, my husband and I have been working all hours, trying to avoid the poor house, but it has come to the point where I must get creative, if we are to keep eating healthily and organically.

We honestly have tried to go back to super-store produce, to save money (because frankly, my husband has the appetite of a small militia and our food bill far surpasses any of our other bills, besides rent). This being said, it did not go well. We trashed the few non-organic (probably GMO) apples we bought, and decided that I would hunt for low organic prices, more local markets and make pretty much EVERYTHING from scratch.

I just quit one of my jobs, so that I could have more time to focus on my studies (and my home). This is taking some adjustment time, but I'm grateful for it. In spirit of being a bread-hound and Husband being a protien-disposal, I decided the cheapest and best way to keep us from buying junk food (usually organic, but still processed and expensive) is to keep a continuous supply of easily accessible treats and a large, hardy meat product readily available.

In short, we cooked a huge chicken overnight two nights ago and I decided to bake with fervor tonight.

Husband loves scones. The big, burly man, who, mind you, has been named Samson by our pastor's boy, Tarzan by a friend's husband, Fabio by my mother and Gaston by myself, you can imagine the giggle I get watching him eat the little dainties. No, not eat. Scarf. He scarfed both batches I made last week within a day or two! (I may have helped a bit.)

I've also kept a few batches of buttermilk biscuits in the freezer, to act as my breakfast and accompany our other meals. (Since I lived in France, I haven't been able to shake the habit and need for at least a little bread with every meal.)

Those stockpiles were exhausted yesterday, so I decided scones would be best (and I needed to do something with the over-ripe blueberries in my fridge anyway). The new twist, though, was that I didn't have any buttermilk (hence all of the scones, biscuits and a pan of gingerbread last week).

Insert coy smile HERE.

I enjoy tampering with recipes, if you've read any of my previous posts, you know this (unless it comes to French macarons). Anyway, I decided that I would substitute the buttermilk with cream, an egg, vanilla extract, and a little less butter.

The dough came out a sticky, impossible mess and I fought and played with it, while dancin' and jammin' to Blake Shelton's Honey Bee. Two-steppin' around my kitchen with, what must have looked like a flesh-eating monster, singing and laughing at not being able to get the mess off of my fingers, cured my indifferent attitude.

With my blood pumping, a smile on my face, flour on my apron and producing something with my hands-in true country girl, farmgirl style-I became my happy self again.

I tried to pat out the dough on the floured counter, but ended up dumping about a 1/4 cup of flour on top of the heap, just to hammer it out. I was finally able to at least get blobs of goo onto my parchment-papered baking sheet.

Sticking them in the oven, I was convinced they'd taste like matted flour and Husband would eat them anyway, because in his words, "if you eat it fast enough, it doesn't matter what it tastes like."

Queue my eyes rolling. Genetically disposed super-taster over here.

After about 15 minutes, I could hear the blueberries sputtering and oozing, and decided they were done. After transferring them to the wire rack, I laughed softly, thinking that my earlier attempts were so pretty. They looked like they came from a coffee shop, but then, I tasted one of the new ones.

Oh my goodness, they were fluffy and light and kind of amazing. Happy accidents are so fun!!


Anyway, after thinking about it, every time I have felt a little down or apathetic, and I've baked, I've always come out nice and shiny again, like dusting an oak armoire, I feel renewed.

What do you do to pull yourself out of the dumps?

P.S. I started T'ai Chi and Yoga this week in my stress reduction through movement course and HIGHLY recommend them to anyone with a stressful or busy life.

Blueberry Scones


2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon (about) vanilla extract
Handful dried and fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. Cut butter into small pieces and use your hands to combine the ingredients. It should look like a yellow meal when you're finished.
In a separate bowl, combine cream, vanilla extract and beaten egg, then add to dry ingredients. Stir in fruit. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll dough out and cut into shapes.


  1. Your scones look so good. Those hockey puck ones from the bakery are terrible. Mine are really sticky too, I like to throw in orange zest, and coconut into mine. I will try your recipe sometime.

  2. Thanks! Mmm, orange zest would be great! Maybe with a lemon or raspberry glaze? I'll have to branch out on flavors :)