I must confess. I took possession of the blue (albeit slightly purple) bidet to crack the nut of the BODC. No pun intended. Yes, fellow readers, I, Christy McDevitt now own the bidet complete with Ava nail paint detail. It will likely be the main character in an upcoming post but for now I'll stick to my introduction.
As I mentioned, I live and play in Bend, Oregon. Which is a place generally cooler than most vacation destinations. I enjoy biking, hiking, running, collage work, home repair, volunteering at Antioch Church. Where they are decidedly balls out with messages of worship like this.
Micah just released his first CD Falling In Love. And was an intern here at Antioch. Last year was pretty crazy as I had three interns from the program living with me! They are all now living, playing and working in Bend. Totally amazing women.
I work for the United States Forest Service here as the Staff Officer for the timber program. In summer sometimes I fight fires. On really good days I get to fly in a helicopter and look down on the Deschutes River.
The Forest Service here is super engaged with the community. One of the cool things my co-workers are proud of is a recent grant to establish a Children's Forest here on the Deschutes. See the video for amazing pictures of doe-eyed children looking well-behaved and panoramic shots of a meadow (Ryan Ranch) we'll soon be reclaiming as a wetland!
As far as domestic abilities go I enjoy cooking, baking, yard work (although that's been a steep learning curve), interior design, art, building things from wood which ranges from children's stools to a chariot I once fabricated for a drama production. Ah, but that's another story for another time.
Lately I've been enjoying baking some wonderfully sensuous vanilla scones. I admit the motivation was provided after I realized I was spending nearly $10 a week on the tasty version from Starbucks. Hmm.. need to pay more attention in the Dave Ramsey classes! I found this recipe at Restless Chipotle and made a few revisions.
One of my difficulties with anything vanilla, is that I get tired of buying expensive vanilla bean pods. Predictably I only use a small portion and the remainder turns into a crusty edifice to dreamt-about-but-not-baked recipes. Much to my relief I have discovered vanilla bean powder. Composed of ground up pods and seeds the stuff is relatively cheaper than fresh beans, tastes excellent and keeps much longer.
I would recommend the Madecasse brand. Recently named as one of the "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World" for building a chocolate company in one of the poorest countries in the world. According to the company their aim is to:
Make fine chocolate [and vanilla] in Africa. It's a revolutionary idea in the chocolate world (some would say even a bit crazy): And there are a thousand reasons why it isn't usually done. But, it's an idea that can make the world a better place, generating 4x more income than fair trade cocoa alone. Even Madecasse product you savor starts the change in one, small corner: Madagascar.
Jaovavy (farmer) with freshly harvested cocoa
Vanilla orchids are meticulously pollinated by hand, no wonder this stuff is pricey.
Go in with your friends and order several jars, save on shipping, or they make great gifts! Along with the recipe!
Madecasse Vanilla Bean Scones
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar
7 T cold butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 c. sour cream (full fat is best)
1 t. vanilla flavoring
(you can substitute 1 t. of vanilla flavoring if you don't want to help save the world with the other stuff)
1 t. madecasse pure vanilla powder
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla flavoring
enough cream to make a thick glaze (only a small amount)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
Add butter chunks to the flour mixture. With hands, pinch butter chunks against bottom of bowl and squish with your fingers until they are all mixed into smaller bits (pea-sized or smaller).
In another bowl, mix sour cream, egg yolk, vanilla flavoring and vanilla powder in another bowl. Pour sour cream mixture into flour mixture. Stir gently with spatula until mostly mixed.
Using additional flour as needed, form batter into 3-4 fist sized balls. Place on cookie sheet. Pat balls into small rounds roughly 2" thick. Using clean, wet knife, slice rounds into six scones each. Gently separate scones by 1" or so. It's okay if they rise and touch each other during baking you can cut them apart later.
Secret Step: Let them rest for 15 minutes. That's right, you heard me. Before they go in the oven. Let them rest. Your scones will be amazingly soft, fluffy and dreamy. Your guests/husband will say things like, "MgHTh.. vis is vee beft fcone eeve eeveer thad MgthbBTh!"
Once they've rested bake for 15 minutes or until slightly golden on top.
Cool completely. Mix ingredients for glaze. Roll scones top side down in the glaze and place back on cookie sheet. It may take a couple hours for the glaze to firm up. Getting the right thickness of glaze is a bit of a tricky process. Too thick and it breaks the scones, too thick and it all runs off. Either way they are delicious.
Great this time of year to use for Strawberry Shortcakes!