Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Novel Deadlines, Family Reunions, and Berry Chocolate Chip Oat Scones

My apologies for my recent blog neglect. It is all for a good cause, I assure you (or rather, a combination of several good causes).

Firstly, I am in the midst of yet another (but hopefully the last) novel revision. As you may recall, the last revision transformed the novel from a novel-in-stories into a novel told in chronological order from many narrative viewpoints. This seemed to go over rather well and this current round of revision is further refining that transformation and adding a few extra chapters, mostly for character development and resolution (I seem to rather enjoy ending things a bit too in medias res). So as not to drag revisions on too much longer, however, I have saddled myself with a fairly rigorous but entirely self-imposed deadline. Should I succeed in following this deadline to the letter, I will finish all current novel revisions in time to send the book back to my agent by the morning of August 12th. Whether or not this actually happens is yet to be determined, but I am over 2/3rds of the way through the book now and have met every daily deadline I set thus far (Knock on wood).

Secondly, this past weekend led to my attendance of not one but two family reunions, my mother's side and my husband's father's side. My mother's side is very large and boistorous and we all get on rather well for family, especially at parties (We all rather enjoy parties). Not only do we have a full day of reunion, but after dark, there is usually a bonfire after party at which my cousin's husband, my dad, and myself play guitar together and lead the family in much golden oldie singing and merriment. It pretty much kills the weekend of all other possible goings-on and that's just the way I like it. Yeah, my family rocks and I'm not too modest to admit it.

Thirdly, I had not been able to practice the guitar since well before the move into the new house, meaning I had a lot of practicing to do to make sure I remembered any of my usual playlist for the bonfire. I also first had to even find my capo, which ended up being in the first box I looked in, except that I didn't see it until the fourth time I looked in that particular box. Over five hours of practice was squeezed into one week's time and in that same week, I was also struggling to meet novel revision deadlines. It's a wonder I got out alive and playing the entirety of my playlist, plus "The Song of the Lonely Mountain" from the Hobbit, which I learned because I could not get it out of my head.

All of that being said, I hope you can excuse me.

Fourthly, for both reunions, you are supposed to bring a dish to pass. My husband made banana cake for his (at my suggestion because banana cake makes me happy). For my reunion, I made a scone recipe I originally found for the latest office potluck, which was ancestry themed. I'm a big mutt, but my last name is Scottish. Thus, I made oat scones. For the potluck, they had raspberries and semi-sweet chocolate chips in them, and I really thought after making them that they would have tasted better with white chocolate chips instead. For the union, I did that with half raspberries and half blueberries. The second batch ended up having a bit too much oat, but I love these scones and their little triangle shape, which I sadly forgot to photograph in my eagerness to eat them. Both times.

Berry Chocolate Chip Oat Scones

what you need:
1 1/2 cups white wheat flour
2 cups rolled or steel-cut oats
1/4 c sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup berries (any variety). frozen beforehand at least overnight
1 egg, beaten
1 stick butter, melted
1/3 c milk
half a bag of chocolate chips (any variety)

1. Mix flour through berries in a large bowl. Then, make a well in the center and add egg through milk (mixed together in a small bowl) to the well. Mix until dough forms. Add chocolate chips. Mix again. I recommend white chocolate chips and 1/2 c raspberries and 1/2 c blueberries.

2. At this point, you can either make full size or bite size scones. For full size, separate the dough into two equal balls and flat them both onto a greased baking sheet until each is about 1/2 an inch thick, give or take. For bite size (which works well for a party), separate the dough into four equal balls instead and flatten to same thickness.

3. Use a knife to cut each circle of dough into eight equally sized wedges (cut into fourths and then cut each fourth in half), as in the image below:

4. Bake inan oven preheated to 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Scones are done when they have risen slightly and are lightly browned on top.

5. After the scones have cooled, cut then apart at the same lines you created before you baked them and either serve immediately or refrigerate.

They remind me of the raspberry scones I used to buy at my favorite coffee shop (which has since gone out of business) near John Carroll University. Tasty and healthy, full of fiber and fruit. What more could you want?

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