WE FOUND IT! The Perfect Eating Plan!

Apr 22 2014

photo (87)I was on a quick trip with my cousin last week, and now I’m home Doing All the Laundry and Drinking All the Coffee and Being Late for All the School Drop-offs and Listening to All the Urgent MomMomMomMomMommyMoms!, but I need to interrupt All Those Fun Things to tell you what Jen and I discovered in the middle of Rachel Ray’s magazine while sitting on a boring, blissful beach in the scalding, silent sun for two whole days


We found

Which I’ve been searching for for at least FOREVER. 

And there it was at the bottom of page 36. 

The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day
and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night

photo 2 (75)

So the premise is you eat vegan meals during the day, which is NOT the part of eating plan that’s perfect. Obviously. Because I’m not going to be a vegan before 6pm or, really, anytime. Not because I’m opposed to veganism; it’s just a) I’m nowhere near organized enough to put an entire vegan eating plan together and then, hahaha, stick to it, and b) cheese.

But did you see the second part of that subtitle?! 

Because I realized what I am capable of doing was right there on the page in green and white.

I am, in fact, already doing it.



And OK, yes, I’m behind the times.

And OK, yes, I’m defining it all wrong.

But whatever.

Because I AM A FLEXITARIAN where Flexitarianism is defined not as eating mostly vegetarian with the occasional sidecar of meat but instead as totally flexible eating.

The Mixed Martial Arts of Eating!

A hodgepodge of food plans.

Like a chocolate cupcake, a banana and the handful of Easter candy I snuck from my kids’ baskets for breakfast. And trail mix with M&M’s for lunch. And my kid’s leftover fried rice for second lunch. And a trip to the farmer’s market for fresh, organic, local produce in the afternoon, because I care about healthful eating, folks, followed by I’m Confused Why You Keep Asking What’s for Dinner – Have We Run Out of Fake Kraft Mac & Cheese? for dinner.


It’s my -ism!

Which is when Jen noted that, when it’s defined right, she’s a Flexitarian, like, all the time.

Me, too!

So we decided to start the Flexitarian All the Time Diet.

To support our fellow Flexitarians! And to make millions, of course. Millions. 


We’re calling it F.A.T. for short. 

Who’s in??

15 REAL Dos and Don’ts of Juice Cleansing

Jan 30 2014

I’ve started a juice cleanse to jump start myself back into better eating habits following this past season of life which I shall call the Unlimited Chocolate and Cheese season. And also the Don’t Hold Back the Butter season. And the Of Course I’ll Have Fries With That season. A good season, to be honest. A great season. And one I fully intend to revisit. But one from which my clothes and I need a brief break if we’re going to have any hope of making our relationship long-term. 

I’m also — obviously doing the juice cleanse because I’m an Oregonian so this kind of thing is periodically required. Frankly, a juice cleanse is an easier way to keep my Oregonian card than buying therapy llamas, although not nearly as awesome.

Of course, before I started, I researched juice cleansing and juice fasting online. Ostensibly so I could do it right, but really to plan exactly which rules to break. Like the No Solids Rule. Yeah – totally breaking that one with small amounts of lean protein because I’ve met me without protein and I’m not very nice. 

Now that I’m a day and a half into my juice cleanse, though, and, therefore, an expert, I’ve realized my research didn’t fully prepare me. 

Just in case you, like me, are curious about juicing, I thought I might put together a list of what to expect at the beginning. What to know ahead of time. And what behaviours to avoid. Not, you know, the kinds of Dos and Don’ts that come from a registered dietitian with master’s degrees in nutrition science and public health. No. This list is more of a nuts and bolts list; a practical list; or, as I like to call it,

15 REAL Dos and Don’ts of Juice Cleansing

juiceReady? Here we go.

1. DO understand you will be drinking things that look like Jabba the Hutt… like if you took Jabba the Hutt, crammed him into a blender, flipped liquify, and poured him into a cup. This is, I am now convinced, why people say blended fruit and vegetable juice tastes surprisingly good. Because you look at it, expecting a sort of chunky, foamy Jabba the Hutt flavor, and are so pleasantly surprised to be choking back something that tastes more like apple and spinach that you can hardly believe your good luck.

2. DO understand what a juice cleanse means: no refined sugar, no salt, no fat, no solids, no alcohol, and no caffeine.

3. DO understand a mother of five will insist coffee is a plant derivative and, as such, can be reasonably included in a diet of fruits and vegetables.

4. DO understand she will also make an exception for half-and-half which is really just juice of cow.

5. DO NOT try to tell the mother of five she’s breaking the rules, doing it all wrong, and shouldn’t even bother if she’s not going to do it right. She’s been breaking the rules and doing it all wrong for years; if she previously abandoned all rules of socially appropriate behavior by, oh, say, wearing her pajamas to the store in the middle of the day, sans makeup, bra, panties, socks and dignity to procure medicine, a nasal aspirator and off-brand Popsicles with extra dye and sugar for a sick child, then juice cleanse rules really don’t stand a chance. Nice try, though.

6. DO understand when you get caught eating Pop Chips in the bathtub that it will be hard to convince your 7-year-old that you are eating juice of potato. This is not meant to discourage you from making the argument; it’s simply fair warning to be prepared to really sell it.

7. DO realize that if you have ever said to your child, “If you were really hungry enough, you would eat it,” the Jabba juice is karmic justice, and it’s time to put up or shut up. It’s time to decide… are you really hungry enough? If not, it’ll be waiting for you at breakfast. Maybe by then you will be.

8. DO understand, after you have put up, that Jabba the Hutt will wreak havoc on your digestive system. 

9. DO understand this is what cleansing means.

10. DO understand you must remain within darting distance of a toilet for at least 24 hours.

11. DO NOT think you can run out for a quick errand.

12. DO NOT think it will only be a few minutes and you really, really need just one thing from the store.

13. DO NOT, I repeat do NOT, get stuck waiting for a train.

14. DO thank your lucky stars for indoor plumbing.

15. And DO thank God you made it in time.


There you have it. 15 REAL Dos and Don’ts for Juice Cleansing. 

Do you juice? If so, what would you add? AND what’s your favorite recipe? I’m looking for more ideas. FYI, I do not recommend the spinach, celery, carrot, cucumber, lemon combo… blerg.

Easy Peasy 2-Ingredient Fudge (and Day 3 of 7+ Giveaways)

Dec 16 2013

Reposted from December 2012 because Christmas is almost upon us, and I don’t know about you, but I need something to be ridiculously simple right now.

Do you already know about this fudge recipe? Do you? Because, if so, you should not have been keeping it to yourself all these years. I cannot even believe the amount of time I spent standing over a stove waiting for marshmallows to melt, you guys. That’s time I’ll never get back.

OK, here’s the deal. This recipe was originally created by Eagle Brand or Kraft or some company like that. I don’t know for sure; the internet’s a murky pit of unconfirmed rumors. All I can tell you is that my mom-in-law let me in on the Great Fudge Secret after I told her I didn’t believe she made her fudge in less than 10 minutes of hands-on time.

“Impossible!” I said. “Everyone knows the major ingredients in fudge are time and danger, stirring pots of bubbling fat and boiling sugar over fire while dozens of tiny children play with balls and Legos and Hot Wheels underfoot. It’s tradition, Judy. Practically one of the doctrines of the Christian faith.”

And Judy said, “Nuh uh.” (Which is a total lie. My mom-in-law has never, to my knowledge, said “nuh uh” because she’s classy. But she meant “nuh uh” in her heart.)

And I said, “Prove it.”

And then she did.

Now, I’ve looked online for this recipe because I was just going to link you to it on Facebook — you know, a quick “hey, check this out” — but every one I found makes this harder on you than necessary. And can I just say? We’re moms. We do not always have time for double boilers or myriad ingredients. We need some things, sometimes, to just be easy, and since that easy thing apparently can’t be communication with our husbands or acquiring self-raising children, I give you:

Easy Peasy 2-Ingredient Fudge

Here’s what you need:

    • 3 cups (510 g) chocolate chips
    • 14 oz (396 g) sweetened condensed milk

And here are some optional ingredients (select some or none but not all ’cause ew) :

    • 1 T. vanilla
    • Nuts
    • Crushed candy canes
    • 1 T. booze, like bourbon or rum or peppermint schnapps
    • Whatever sounds delicious

Step 1: Combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk into a microwave-safe bowl.

Step 2: Microwave until chocolate chips are melted. I microwave on high for one minute, stir, microwave on high for 30 seconds, and stir. When it all stirs smoothly together, it’s done.

If you want to add other ingredients, now’s your chance. Feel free to throw in vanilla, peppermint oil (see below), nuts, candy cane bits, sprinkles or booze. Check your cupboards and add whatever looks yummy. One note on liquids, though… don’t add more than 1 tablespoon of those, ’cause you don’t want to change the consistency of the fudge too much and prevent it from setting. Serve the fudge with a sidecar of bourbon, is what I’m saying.

Step 3: Pour into a greased 9×9 pan. Embellish if you must.

What do you want me to say about this? I was feeling very Better Homes and Gardens today. Or Family Fun magazine. It happens sometimes, and then I try to love myself and not feel ashamed. Kind of like when I secretly think that Snuggies look awesome.

Let it set in the fridge for one hour.

Step 4:

Cut and serve.

And that’s it, folks. The easiest peasiest fudge on the planet.



Easy Peasy 2-Ingredient Fudge:
the faster, more boring directions

  1. Combine 3 cups (510 g) chocolate chips and 14 oz (396 g) sweetened condensed milk in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave ’til melty (1-2 minutes) and stir ’til smooth. Add other ingredients if you insist on making this complicated.
  3. Pour into a greased 9×9 dish. Let it set for 1 hour in the fridge.
  4. Cut and serve.


Today is Day 3 of 7(+) Giveaways!

I invited the 5 Kids Blog advertisers (see the column to your right) to join me for 7 (or more!) days of giveaways. CHECK BACK for a NEW GIVEAWAY EVERY DAY.

DSCN4111Today, Aliesha of Aliesha’s Oils is giving away a bottle of doTerra Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Peppermint Oil.

Peppermint oil is used for headache, fever, heartburn, varicose veins, bad breath, and nausea, and it’s completely safe to take while pregnant.

It’s also ideal for cooking; just add a couple drops to your favorite fudge recipe and VOILA! Mint fudge! 

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations, Tina!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this blog post by 11:59pm (Pacific Time) on Tuesday, December 17th. One entry per person, please. A winner will be selected using a random number generator and posted on Wednesday.

This giveaway is open to international participants. International shipping provided by me.

Note: The 5 Kids Blog advertisers provided no additional compensation for these giveaways. Aliesha is paying for the cost of the giveaway and U.S. shipping. She paid me for her ad only, and this just seemed like a fun way to work together for your benefit. OK? OK.


Do tell, friends: what’s your go-to recipe during the holidays? The food you always make because you can count on it. Or the food your family insists on having. Is it an elaborate Beef Wellington? Or Kraft Mac & Cheese? Your grandma’s famous apple strudel? Or Breyer’s ice cream straight from the carton? We’re not judgers. You can tell us. And you can link us up to recipes, too!

If you’re in the market for other simple, delicious recipes, check these out:

  1. Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls — yep, from scratch to table in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Like a Christmas miracle.
  2. Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Bread
  3. Super Duper Uber Cheater Pants Cookies
  4. Easy Peasy Apple Cake – or substitute other fruit. A fun, quick holiday treat.
  5. Or, for the full list of Five Kids Blog Recipes, click here.

Easy Peasy One-Pan Sausage Cashew Stuffing

Nov 21 2013

Turkey Day for us Yanks is one week away, and counting. For some of you, that means fine-tuning your menu, grabbing a few last-minute items at grocery store, and spending the weekend blissfully rolling pie crusts on your immaculate marble slabs (they keep the butter colder, I hear) while your children decorate the house with all the leaves you so diligently gathered and pressed in October when they were at the peak of their fall colors and not, you know, rotting brown goo like the leaves in my gutter. All of you who are living that dream, please say so; I mean it very sincerely when I say I want to live vicariously through you, because there’s no way my weekend’s gonna go down like that.

Instead, I sat down last night and wrote an email to my family, fine-tuning (read: correcting) the menu my cousin sent us last week. It’s not that Leslie didn’t mean well. She was thoughtful and organized, helpful and funny, and she remembered almost everything. But she’s – and I know those of you with families can probably identify with family members like this – broken.

Is that harsh?

I don’t mean it that way.

It’s just I think sometimes we need to be willing to speak out about what’s OK and what’s Not OK so certain behaviors don’t perpetuate themselves and so we don’t silently condone things that Aren’t Right.

Things like not including any desserts in the Thanksgiving menu, Leslie.


I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

She didn’t include any desserts in the Thanksgiving menu.




She didn’t even think about desserts.

Because she doesn’t like desserts, and so desserts don’t occur to her.


And, even though Leslie is one of my very best friends, I think it’s time to publicly acknowledge that there are limits to our friendship and there always will be until she can overcome this blind spot.

Also, she didn’t assign anyone to be in charge of beer.


I know. It makes me sad, too.

So thank goodness I corrected the menu, right?? I put myself in charge of beer, so please don’t worry about our Thanksgiving; we’re going to be fine. And then I assigned Cake and Pies and Fudge to family members. And then Extra Fudge to my mom who wrote me back suggesting she also bring Extra Extra Fudge, because she’s worried we won’t have enough after she’s done “straightening all the edges” in the pan.

So here we sit, with Turkey Day almost upon us, and I plan to spend the weekend scrambling and scrubbing and buying and baking and getting only 63% of All That Must Be Done done. And that’s OK. That’s fine. That’s part of it. Because it turns out that when I’ve stopped and when I’ve sighed and when I’ve succumbed to my humanity, grace will come and fill the other 37%, and that’s when giving thanks, the kind that comes from the heart, will truly begin.

But just in case you, like me, are trying to cram Too Much AWESOME into Too Little Time, I thought I would offer you another Easy Peasy recipe, like our Easy Peasy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls and our Two Ingredient Fudge, which offer ALL of the deliciousness and cut the work time in half. Or quarters. Or eighths when we’re really lucky.

Today’s recipe is:

photo 1 (3)

Easy Peasy One-Pan Sausage Cashew Stuffing
Or Sausage Cashew Dressing since we’re not stuffing it anywhere.
Although you certainly may stuff it anywhere you like.

Alrighty then.

Sausage Cashew Stuffing!

I love this recipe because it’s delicious, EASY, doesn’t dirty more than 1 pan, and it requires a maximum 20 minutes of hands-on time + another 20 minutes in the oven. For me, that equals a Thanksgiving WIN, bigtime.

Here’s what you need:

photo 1

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon each of thyme, sage and garlic salt
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage (make sure it’s spiced as breakfast sausage… I know this seems weird, but I’m telling you, it’s a major reason this recipe works)
  • 1 small loaf of bread, cut in 1-inch chunks, or a baguette cut in rounds, which my grocery store calls “party bread” ’cause WOOHOO! PARTY BREAD!
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews
  • 2/3 cup broth

And here’s what you do:

Step One: Preheat your oven to 375F.

Step Two: Pan fry veggies, spices and sausage.

photo 4In a pan that’s safe for stove-top and oven, add 1 Tablespoon olive oil, diced onion and celery, all spices and breakfast sausage. Cook over medium-high heat on the stove-top until the sausage is cooked through and the ingredients are starting to brown.

Preferably, like all my recipes, you will do this in an ugly nightshirt, or, alternatively, with skinny jeans that are entirely too skinny which you found on your bathroom floor and threw on for “just a minute” in the morning underneath your nightie so you might be more appropriately clothed to run downstairs and tell the wild banshees God gave you for children to STOP SCREECHING LIKE THAT and OH MY WORD and SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS? and then, as always, ended up wearing the rest of the day. Hypothetically speaking.

photo 3For the pan, you might want to use a beautiful, enameled cast iron number like this one that sits on your shelf gathering dust. OR you can use the trusty 12″ cast iron skillet you got from your grandfather because, even though it doesn’t make for the prettiest website pictures, it makes you happy.


Step Three: Add bread, broth, and mix it all together. Sprinkle cashews.

photo 3 (2)photo 4 (2)

Once your veggies, sausage and spices are all nicely browned (or, like me, they’re a tiny bit brown and you’re too impatient to wait for them to be really brown ’cause it’s going to finish cooking in the oven anyway and you can always cheat by hitting it with the broiler at the end), add the bread and the broth and mix it together well.

Psst… I know those little croutons are more popular to use for this than bread is, but I don’t like how they fall apart into mush. Not a fan. I like chunks of bread that are big enough to soak up all the pan juices and flavors without falling apart, making it more like a hot panzanella, or Thanksgiving-flavored Italian bread salad, than traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. You can always add more broth for more of a bread pudding consistency or less broth for a crispier result.

Finally, sprinkle those cashews over the top, drizzle it with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, and taste test to be sure you don’t need to add any more salt. 

Step Four: Bake in the oven at 375F for 20 minutes.

And then, if you like yours crispy on top and warm and soft in the middle, put it under the broiler for 3 minutes.

photo (84)

Step Five: Eat.

photo 1 (3)


Serve it with a salad, and this makes a fantastic stand-alone meal, as well. I might have recently had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for example. In my nightie. With skinny jeans.

The End


Fellow Americans, what are you doing for Thanksgiving?
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Folks From Other Countries, do you just wish we’d shut up already about this holiday? (I’m not sure I’m done talking about it, so say no!)
And what is your favorite holiday food?

Also, if you have an Easy Peasy, delicious, time saving, go-to recipe, I want to hear it, STAT. Feel free to link us up!

And you can find all the Five Kids recipes here.






If You Don’t Make Your Kids Sign This for Halloween, You Don’t Care About Fair Compensation or Childhood Obesity

Oct 28 2013

Five kids is a lot of kids and that means, no matter how frugal (read: utterly cheap) we try to be, birthday parties and Christmas presents and Easter baskets and, oh dear Lord, school fundraisers make our bank balances weep with the pain of it all.

But there’s one time of year when we make it all back, baby! And that time is here.

photo (3).PNGI’m talking, of course, about Halloween. Because five kids is a lot of kids and we’re raising them to be a candy gathering machine.

Now, I realize there’s some debate over whether kids should get to keep their own candy, how much they can eat, and whether they’re required to share with their parents. And I’ve heard persistent rumors there are parents who sneak bits of candy here and there, dipping hands stealthily into the kids’ buckets throughout Halloween night, stealing a steady stream on the nights that follow, and hoping not to be discovered with chocolate breath or a green tongue or in the act of hasty chewing behind the kitchen door.

Well, it’s time to come clean, parents. All the way out of the candy-stealing closet. It’s time to stand up for ourselves and demand our rights, because you know what? Kids can’t do this trick-or-treat thing without us. That’s right. We’re a critical part of the plan! And it’s time we’re paid a fair in-kind wage for services rendered.

You know what else? There’s an obesity epidemic in this country. It would be irresponsible for us to allow our kids to eat all their own candy. We are helping them, and they need to know it so they understand we are here for them in real and practical ways.

And so, because we must work together to promote fair working conditions and the good health of our children, I strongly urge you to sit down with your family before Halloween night and sign this agreement.


A Halloween Agreement for More Acceptable Working Conditions
made this 31st day of October, 2013
between the Children and the Parents

WHEREAS the Children are unable to trick-or-treat without the Parents; and WHEREAS the Parents, due to unfair social and cultural constraints, are unable to trick-or-treat by themselves;

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of mutual undertakings, the parties herein agree to the following:

SECTION 1: the Parents will perform the roles of costume designer, make-up artist, hairstylist, safety patrol officer, and manners coach.

SECTION 2: the Children will perform the role of trick-or-treator.

SECTION 3: the Children will acquire an obscene amount of candy.

SECTION 4: the Children will share, without objection or complaint, all candy with the Parents.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties herein have executed this agreement the date first written above.




So, folks. What do you do for Halloween? Trick-or-treat? Go to harvest parties, instead? Stay home and turn off all the lights?

And, if you’re out canvasing the neighborhood like we are, what do you do about all the CANDY? We dump it all in a pile when we get home, let each kid pick 15 pieces to put in a bag to save, freeze everything with caramel in it – because YUM – and the rest is for everyone to share. Which means we dole it out to the kids as we feel so inclined, and Greg and I (emphasis on “I”) eat WAY TOO MUCH every night after the kids go to bed. :/ I’ll admit, it’s a system that could use a little work.

Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Scones

Aug 7 2013

BruceandBrendaIt’s time for another Easy Peasy FAST Homemade recipe, and since my friends Bruce and Brenda are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to open an artisan bakery in our home town, I thought this would be the PERFECT time to sucker them out of one of their top-secret recipes. And… bwahahaha… my evil plan worked!

The Pacific Northwest is famous for a few things. Gorgeous evergreens. Pristine mountain lakes. See-through air. A little rain here and there. Weird weirdos who are weird. Blackberries. And scones. In other words, our family loves it here.

Traditionally in these parts, scones are county fair food, served piping hot with blackberry or raspberry jam. And, let me just say… YUM.

photo 13

I’ve made scones before, usually from the Fisher Fair Scone mix or, in a pinch, from Bisquick, ’cause that’s how I roll with all these kids. Imagine my surprise, then, when Brenda sent me this recipe which took exactly the same amount of time to make scones from scratch, for a total mixing and baking time of 25 minutes. To be honest, I felt a little stupid for using a mix all these years, but that works out well because I asked Bruce and Brenda for a Stupid Easy recipe, and I was planning to publicly malign them for only sending an easy one, but now I know they had faith I’d deliver the stupid part myself. (Psst… they didn’t. They’re nice people.)

This morning, because I care about you and I’m willing to sacrifice myself for the greater good, I made scones. The kids complained, but I carried on. Of course, the kids were complaining about each other and not about the scones, but I say whatever we do while kids complain earns us extra bonus parenting points. Which can be traded for nothing except feeling superior, but sometimes feeling superior is worth it, right? Yes, right.

Anyway. Here for your cooking pleasure are my directions for making scones. Brenda’s directions differ slightly in that they are concise, coherent, and don’t contain ridiculous asides about what to wear while baking, so I’ve offered hers at the bottom of this post in case any of you like things that make sense.

Here we go!


photo 11

Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Scones
Recipe by Brenda of Newberg Bakery
Superfluousness by Me

photo 1

Step 1: Scones should always be made while wearing your pajamas. Preferably not attractive pajamas. We’re talking comfort here, not beauty. For example, I like to wear the gray, shapeless University of Washington t-shirt I stole from my dad’s dresser in 1991. The neck is frayed. The color is terrible. There are tiny holes everywhere. And this baby is as soft as Egyptian cotton. Probably. I’ve never felt Egyptian cotton, but I hear it’s soft, man.

You, of course, can wear whatever grody pajamas you want. Sweats or yoga pants are usually a good choice, especially when the inner thighs have worn through. And it’s obviously better if you plan ahead and don’t change out of your pajamas from the night before, especially if you’re making scones for dinner.

P.S. The 1980’s banana-clipped high pony tail is optional but an excellent way to dress up your scone-making ensemble. Highly recommend.

photo 2Step 2: Assemble ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. milk

Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients and cut in the butter.

I dumped the first 4 things in a bowl and added softened butter. I think you’re supposed to use cold, hard butter; the kind that had a rough childhood and yells at kids to stay off his lawn. But softened butter is way easier to manage. This is probably why my pie crusts suck, but never mind that; softened butter worked fine for these scones and I didn’t have to put up with all the grumbling from the cold, hard butter.

photo 3photo 4For those of you who didn’t grow up with a mama who taught you these things, here’s how you cut in butter:

You literally cut the butter into the dry mix. Using 2 knives like scissors, one in each hand, cut back and forth through the bowl until the butter and flour form small pea-sized bits. Ta da! Success!

Note: I used salted butter because I think for myself and you can’t tell me what to do. (Also, I really desperately didn’t want to take 1,000 kids to the grocery store for unsalted butter, which I didn’t have.)

Step 4: Add stuff if you want. Brenda recommends 1/2 c. of inclusions like chocolate chips or fresh fruit or white chocolate chips with dried cranberries. That last is one of my favorites. I’m also a huge fan of my sister-in-law’s frosted lemon scones, which she manages to make gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free because she’s a practitioner of black magic, but I don’t know what all she uses for flavoring other than eye of newt, so I’ll have to figure out a way to bribe her to let us in on her lemon scone secrets another time.

Might I also recommend peach cinnamon scones, chocolate chip scones drizzled with cinnamon honey, candied orange and macadamia nut scones, blackberry lime scones (tiny bit of lime juice + lime rind + fresh blackberries), and/or vanilla scones coated in orange vanilla icing? Yeah. Gonna have to go make more scones right now.

As for me, I made plain scones. I know… what? But seriously, there’s something amazing about the simple original with blackberry jam. They were calling my name, and who am I not to listen to their siren song?

Step 5: Stir in the milk. 

Brenda said, “If you need more, add just a bit at a time so as to not make them too sticky to handle.” I needed ~3 Tbsp. more milk than the 1/2 c. the recipe calls for.

photo 5The very best part about stirring in the milk is the fact that you need to be sure not to stir too much. Stop stirring when the dough comes together into a slightly crumbly ball. The less you stir, the lighter and fluffier the scones. So basically, the lazier you are, the better this recipe works. Or, put another way, I’m making scones for dinner for the rest of my life.

Step 6: Shape the scones.

photo 8Brenda recommends dusting your counter top or cutting board with flour and using that as a surface for shaping your scones. I bypass that entirely because I have a 20-year-old Pampered Chef baking stone that’s so seasoned (read: ugly and wonderful and absolutely nothing sticks to it) that I don’t need a separate surface. I just shape ’em on the place where I’m going to bake ’em.

Shape your dough into a ball and press it down. Then cut scones into 8 equal wedges and place them, separated, on your baking sheet or stone.

photo 10

Step 7: Bake.

Bake your scones in a preheated 425 degree oven for 18 minutes. Mine were done at 17, so start checking after 15 minutes or so. You’ll know they’re done when they’re golden brown and you can’t stand it; you have to eat them right now.

Step 8: Pull them out and eat them hot.

Yum. Also, yum.

This, in my humble but completely correct opinion, is the Ultimate Pacific Northwest Breakfast. Hot coffee, fresh scones, bowl of blackberries.

photo 12

Drizzle honey liberally and this = perfection.


Brenda’s Real Recipe and Directions

2 c. flour
3 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
6 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. milk

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter.

Add 1/2 c. of inclusions if desired: 
Chocolate chips
White chocolate and dried cranberries
Toasted nuts
Fresh fruit

Stir in the milk. If you need more, add just a bit at a time so as to not make them too sticky to handle.

Dust board/counter top with flour. Shape dough into a ball. You can either press it down into a circle and cut into halves, then quarters, then 8ths or you can cut the ball in half and make two portions of a total of 16 smaller scones.

Place on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 18 or so minutes.



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P.S. Guess what my kids were doing while I was making scones?

Did you guess playing nicely in the backyard where I sent them after all of the complaining?

Why, yes! You’re right! That’s exactly where they were.

Except not in our backyard.


photo 3 (51)My 6-year-old boy children and their 6-year-old boy cousin scaled the fence to the neighbors’ yard to hang out with their (granted, super adorable) teenage girls.

Yes, that’s right. Because that’s practically the same thing as, “Go play in the backyard.” I mean, I didn’t specify which backyard was “the,” now, did I?

And our neighbor, being the best neighbor in the history of the world — never, ever cold, hard butter — and shockingly never incensed by the shenanigans of my children or their irresponsible mother or the heinousness of our house/yardkeeping skills, rewarded the littles with Popsicles.  And texted me pictorial evidence from her phone.

photo 4 (31)

I’m telling you; it takes a Village. Of course, I’m not sure what our Village is trying to teach our kids, but we have Popsicles and scones, so who cares?


On Not Doing All the Things

Jul 10 2013

I celebrated telling you that my son thinks I’m as big as a 450-pound mountain gorilla by having cowboy pizza and beer for dinner last night. I did not have any of the chocolate chip cookies, though (because I’d had 2 for breakfast and then my kids finished them off while I wasn’t looking), so I’m counting that as success and moving on. Onward and upward! And a little bit outward, thanks to the pizza and beer.

I got on the scale this morning. The same scale I’ve been avoiding for a couple months. I half-expected the display to read GORILLA, but it didn’t. My scale has no sense of humor. He’s a Strictly The Facts, Ma’am kind of guy. I’m like, “Can we please, for once, make light of this?” And he doesn’t even smile a little when he’s all, “Nope.”

Despite the gorilla / pizza / beer / cookies situation, though, my weight is unchanged. And by unchanged, I mean I’m heroically maintaining the depression gain. Plus the 20 years of incremental but steady weight gain before that. Next time someone asks me about my ability to commit and follow through, I’m going to mention how dedicated I’ve been to these extra pounds. Some people treat them like they’re unwanted. Me? I’m downright hospitable. Nurturing, in fact.

But wait! There’s more!

Butt weight! There’s more!

(My husband is from a punny family. I’m not. After 18 years of marriage, “butt weight, there’s more” is my very best pun. You’re welcome.)


Do you ever have moments you’re pretty sure you’re carrying stuff you don’t need – or even stuff that’s harmful – but you just don’t have the energy or time to identify it, focus on it, dig it out, and eliminate it?

Yes. Me, too.

It’s just that living life, doing our best, sometimes not doing our best in favor of doing our mediocre, and being this tired take time. All of the time. In the world.

I’ve found I can do 4 things in my life:

  1. I can be internally healthy. Write. Read. Nurture my heart and my spirit. Treat my depression. Be kind.
  2. I can be physically healthy. Work out. Plan meals with whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Log what I eat. Go to bed early.
  3. I can spend quality time with my family. Bike rides. Movie nights. Family meals. Conversations that include eye contact.
  4. I can keep my house clean.

Yes, I can do 4 things. Problem is, I can’t do more than 2½ of them in any given week. And lately the weeks look a lot like numbers 1 and 3, faking 4, and not so much 2.

photo (66)Once upon a time, it really stressed me out that I wasn’t able to do all the things. After all, other people seem to do all the things, and they seem to do them well. But, you know; I’m not other people. I’m just me. And I’m coming to terms with that. So now it just sort of stresses me out. But I’m also able to relax sometimes about the things I can’t do right now. To stop beating myself up for not doing all the things.

It appears as though life is a series of cycles. I’ve focused on my physical health in the past. I will focus on it again. Maybe even soon. But I find it difficult to regret spending the past few months on my mental health and on trying and failing and trying and succeeding and trying and trying to be kind.

I admire people who can simultaneously maintain a high level of physical fitness, mental health, investment in relationships and an orderly environment. I’m just not that person. So I’ve decided to lighten up. (Get it?) To just wait. Just weight. With pizza and beer in hand.


What about you? Are you able to do All the Things? If no, which Things are on the back burner right now? And how do you treat yourself about that?