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New Year's Pantry Challenge, Small Bites offer Big Flavor, Day 12

Posted Jan 21 2011 5:21pm
Today's Menu
Breakfast Meyer Lemon & Cranberry Scones with Lemon whipped cream
Fruit Smoothie

Lunch Leftover Chicken Curry Masala
Leftover Wheat Berry Salad
Kids: Grilled cheese sandwiches
Hard-boiled eggs
Sliced apples

Snacks Tangerines
Raisins
Spiced Popcorn

Dinner Red Lentil & Squash Soup
Sourdough Toast with Salmon Salad


Today I surveyed my cupboards and refrigerator hunting for something unique. Now that we're nearing the end of the second week without grocery shopping for wants or cravings I find myself digging deep for that spirit of creativity and challenge. Why do a Pantry Challenge if I'm not willing to press in when the shelves look bare?

Ok, I should clarify, nothing around here looks bare. Who am I kidding? Isn't that the lesson of this kind of "grocery shopping fast." We in America live in complete abundance every day. And even when I deprive myself a little. Even when I discipline myself not to give in to convenience and excess I'm still really sitting right here in the middle of it. I've got grocery stores and restaurants and fast food havens practically in my backyard. The farmer's markets in California's Central Valley are pregnant with ripe fruits and vegetables and it's January for crying out loud. We truly live in the land of plenty.

My lesson for today's Pantry Challenge is remembering the beauty of small bites. The Spanish have it down; they serve up delectable small bites aka "tapas" all the time. I *love* tapas. I love the idea of a small, artful plate before me. I adore the idea of eating slowly, contemplating each bite. When I was a swinging single girl I had room for small bites. I could afford the time. Now I'm a busy mama constantly fighting the clock, the incessant requests, the turned-up noses, the thrown-down food, the dietary needs of others. I seldom get a chance to breathe between bites. Today I'm reminded that if we stop to savor, we can find beauty in quality over quantity.



I found this Lemon-Cranberry Scone recipe  and tweaked it with my kids in mind. I found a bag of cranberries from Thanksgiving. (Seriously, they were still good!) I dug out some lemons shared from a neighbor's tree. Meilani and I got out a small flower cookie cutter and had fun making something simple look sweet and fancy. The babies devoured them. (Ok, they licked the lemon whipped cream off and asked for more.) We all were surprised at the beauty in simple ingredients - butter, organic sugar, whole wheat flour, meyer lemons.



Cranberry-Lemon Scones with Lemon Whipped Cream

Ingredients:
-2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (from about 3 lemons; preferably Meyer)
-2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
-1/3 cup organic raw sugar plus 3 tablespoons additional if using fresh cranberries
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
-1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped coarse
-1 large egg
-1 large egg yolk

-1 tablespoon lemon juice
-1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
-1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Chop cranberries and zest lemons. Reserve zested lemon for juice later.
3. In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Add eggs and lemon juice.
5. Use a pastry blender or fork to mix until dough comes together. Gather in a ball.
6. Dust a cutting board with flour. Press the ball into a 9" round. Use a small cookie cutter or glass to cut out mini scones.
7. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
8. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
9. Meanwhile, beat cream, adding agave syrup and lemon juice. When soft peaks form, stop beating.
10. Remove scones from oven. Cool on a plate and serve with a small bowl of the lemon cream for dipping.

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