A few months ago, I started watching this series on Netflix called Shetland. A Scottish crime drama show based on the Shetland Islands. I devoured every episode and once I’d finished, was in a show hole. What would be next? What would I do with my evenings now, laundry? HA.
It took some research, as well as conversations with my buddy Dave (who also watched Shetlands) and discovered a British crime show called Father Brown. The episodes are inspired by the stories of GK Chesterton. Basically, Father Brown is the local priest who has an uncanny knack for figuring out murders in their town before the inspector does.
The first few episodes I wasn’t entirely involved, but eventually, the programming grew on me. Especially the fashion (mid 50s era) and the quaintness of the town. Of course, Father Brown, played by Mark Williams (aka: Ron Weasley’s Dad) captured my heart. I noticed in the first season, his trusty side kick, parish secretary Mrs. McCarthy, often had her “award winning scones” on hand. No one could resist them and I found myself pausing the television to get a closer look.
Those scones did look divine.
It became my mission to track down a recipe and recreate them. The only problem was, the only type of scone I’ve ever really eaten were the giant American variety with frosting and/or filled with chocolate chips. Mrs. McCarthy’s scones look like American biscuits. And there was another road block: clotted cream (or Devonshire cream, should you choose). Clotted cream is thick cream made by indirectly heating full-cream cow’s milk using steam or a water bath and then leaving it in shallow pans to cool slowly. From there, the “cream” rises to the top (I can’t type that line without saying it like Macho Man Randy Savage) and that’s what you put on the scones, along with the fresh strawberries.
I’m not even sure where you can get fresh full cream cow’s milk. I mean, I could probably get my hands on some of it back home in Tennessee, but here in Atlanta, I don’t have the same connections. So I put the scone dream on the back burner until one evening, I decided to simply Google it.
And you know what? There it was. Someone on the internet was feeling me. They understood the quirky addiction to Father Brown and the obsession with making those damn scones. After reading the recipe (which you can find HERE), I realized that the recipe wasn’t as difficult as I had originally thought.
For those of you who know me, you know that I’m not the greatest baker. My cookie skills are more along the lines of buying the prepackaged version at the grocery and baking them at home. My husband is the ultimate cookie baker, that’s for sure. Making homemade crusts for pies is lost on me, which of course, is why Pillsbury makes them for us. I remember when my husband and I were dating, I invited him over for dinner. Earlier that day, I tried to make a pie, which tasted like shit. I quickly ran out to the grocery and bought a Boston Creme Pie pie, which also tasted like shit. We still have a good laugh over it and any time we’re in the grocery and I see one, I’ll say, “Hey, you want me to pick this up for dessert?”
Yesterday morning I decided to make the scones. I woke up, did started some laundry and thought, “It’s time. I gotta know if these scones are any good.” I know that everyone cooks and bakes differently, but for me, I prefer to have all ingredients in front of me with the measurements already in place. It’s just easier for my brain to work that way and I’m sure there’s a fancy culinary school name for doing that- I’m just too lazy to look it up.
So I set off on my quest to make Mrs. McCarthy’s award winning strawberry scones.
The dough itself was simple to make and as the recipe states, more along the lines of an Irish scone- as Mrs. McCarthy is Irish, not English. I was able to make the dough in my food processor and it rolled out beautifully. I used a small glass to cut the dough, because we don’t own any cookie cutters. I baked them at 425 for 11 minutes and they were absolutely perfect.
The next step was making fresh whipped cream. The recipe calls for clotted cream, but I didn’t feel like warming up a gallon of milk in a 13×9 for 12 hrs to scrape what could be a disaster off the top. Maybe in the upcoming months, I’ll brave this task and report back on how delicious it is.
By eleven a.m., I was putting together my first scone. I used a bit of my mother in laws homemade strawberry preserves on the bottom, sliced up a strawberry, topped with whipped cream and then topped with a scone.
I took a moment to admire my handiwork and then promptly ate it. I took the time to appreciate how it all tasted. The light sweetness of the whipped cream, the tartness of the strawberries and the thick scones. It was, by far, the most delicious breakfast I’d had in awhile. Heh.
So without further ado, I give you the award winning strawberry scones! Let me know if you decide to make them or if you have your own favorite scone recipe! I’d love to try it!
Next weekend one of my dearest girlfriends is getting married. Seeing that I’ll be standing next to her rooting on this joyous occasion, I thought it would be in my best interest to get my feet cleaned up. To be fairly honest, it’s been a hot minute since those little toes were pampered and I’m pretty sure I could cut glass with the calluses and hangnails. Gross, I know, but this is real talk here.
I grabbed my coffee and headed over to the local nail salon, where I’d been several times before. As I sat down in the chair, the nail tech and I started chatting. She always remembers me and asks why my Mom doesn’t come in with me anymore (she moved back up north) and then she asked me how old my son was now.
“He’s sixteen…” and before I could ask her the same she responded, “What? Sixteen? Your face looks so young, but your gray hair makes you look old. I’m so confused.”
As my brain scrambled to process this backhanded compliment, she then tried to save face: “I know you’re not old, but… the hair. It just makes you look older.”
Thank lady, I get it. You can stop talking now.
The gray hair runs deep in my family. My Mema was gray early on and my Dads hair was about the same as mine when I graduated high school (twenty years ago, holy shit). While one uncle is salt & pepper, the other has stark white hair. It’s a family trait that creeps up in your early thirties and from there, it’s Hello Mrs. Claus! I can clearly remember wondering when my time would come or if it would be my little brother who would get the gray first.
Guess whose hair is still just as dark as it was when they were nine? Not mine.
About five years ago I noticed the gray starting to creep in. Little strands at my temples, then at the nape of my neck. My other brother, who is also my hair stylist, would often tell me to just leave it be, but I wasn’t ready. I would fight this fight to the bitter end. My dark hair meant that I was still young. That I wasn’t growing older. That I wouldn’t be weirder than I already am.
Then, around two years ago, I started to notice that when I dyed my hair, the gray would just force its way back into my hairline within a matter of weeks. Those weeks got shorter and shorter and before I knew it, after a fresh cut and color, the gray would be back within two weeks. I texted my brother, half crying, half hoping for a miracle. “Just leave it. It’s awesome.” And so, with a deep breath, I accepted my fate.
I can’t remember the last time I had color on my hair and as of today, I’m probably 50% silver. My husband loves it. He says the gray makes me stand out, matches my personality. God love him, he’s the absolute best!
Just yesterday, I was feeling awesome about my hair too. I had taken the time to style it in a 1940s fashion with soft curls on one side, a victory roll on the other. Check it out (complete with non serious face):
And then today, I get the backhanded compliment about it making me look older (fyi: today I have my hair up, which shows more of the gray vs yesterday when it was only half up).
As I sat in that chair looking at myself in the mirror, I wondered if I should make an emergency hair appointment. Should I just buy boxed color? A wig? Does this gray make me look older than my 38 and a half years? As women, I think there is this stigma that we have to continue to look younger than what we truly are. It’s a heart breaking fight for some of us. There are creams, masks, lasers, peels, surgery and, of course, hair color. And for some women, that’s okay. That’s their choice to fight the hands of time. If that’s what makes them feel good, then hey- feel good! Ain’t no shame in that game!
The longer I sat there though, the more I thought about how growing older is a privilege that many individuals don’t get to experience.
Each laugh line is a gift.
Each wrinkle tells a tale.
Each gray strand tells me that I’m awesome.
To shoo away the cloud that had formed over my head, I grabbed my phone and pulled up Pinterest, but not before I was sidetracked by some crazy recipe making homemade Oreos (who the hell has time for that?). I started to look at boards dedicated to gray hair: dyed gray, natural gray, long gray, how to hide the gray, help it along, how to style it, how to love it. On and on and on.
All these women embracing what is natural. All the others are paying hundreds of dollars to achieve what I’m getting for free. I decided right there in that chair that I would continue to love my gray hair.
That I’d let it continue to shimmer and shine.
Hell, maybe I’ll let it grow as long as Crystal Gayle’s hair.
Wait. Maybe not that long.
The only thing I’m not sure of is why so many women with gray hair wear so much topaz jewelry. Is that a requirement? Because if it is, I have some serious catching up to do.
For six months, I’ve been listening to my intuition.
Listening some more.
That tiny, gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. The one that made me feel anxious and sad. The one that let me fill a void with snacks and snacks and more snacks. The one that wouldn’t let me sleep.
I forgot who I was. Where I was headed. I was, plain and simple, just living to live. I couldn’t tell you the last time I painted, sat down and read a book, went to bed early with my husband to just lay there and laugh.
This afternoon, on my final drive home from work, I cut the radio off and listened to myself. The gnawing feeling was gone. I felt this enormous release of energy wash over me and by the time I’d made it to my driveway, I was so exhausted and so drained. Walking up the stairs felt as if weights had been attached to my legs. Once inside, I dropped my purse on the floor and I sat on the couch for thirty minutes in the cool air conditioned living room, listening, to the quiet afternoon.
My dog hopped up on the couch and curled up next to me.
He welcomed the calm.
And today, I took one step toward my own personal goals and wept in the shower- which was the final page in a very long book.
My diet has been all messed up recently.
I fell off the food wagon.
A few months back, I bought the Eat to Live book and everything was going really well. And then I saw a recipe where I could eat whole wheat pita and that’s where the spiral started (well, that and work/school stress).
I’m not going to turn this into one of those body sadness posts (even though it feels that way). I gotta get that shit in check, for real. But in all honesty, I did whip up a pretty awesome stir fry with all the veggies that were about to turn over to the rotten side (and I added a thing of tofu) tonight. The sauce was just a mix of whatever I had on hand: miso paste, fish sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, blah blah.
It was legit.
Last week I was scoping out ModCloth for some deals. Their entire line has changed from what it was six months ago. Long gone are the dinosaur dresses and pencil skirts with candy on them. Now every article of clothing seems… monotone. Maybe they’re just gearing up for the Pumpkin Spice season. Who knows.
What caught my eye though, was this mystery grab bag they were offering for $15. I was game and I placed my order. Today, I got a half sweat-shirt that says “Lazy Daisy” on the front with half assed bedazzled daisies. I’ll probably give it to MD’s girlfriend. XL my ass.
Inside the package though was a coupon for one of those meal delivery services. The coupon is for $35.00 off my first order. The hell! $35.00? So I logged onto the website and looked at what they were offering.
First of all, the picture under “Family of four” shows a smiling couple with two small children. So, yes, in theory, that Family of Four package would work out great- we all know that the kids pictured in that photo wouldn’t even dream of eating a kale risotto. More helpings for the parents! Yay kale!
So, I started clicking around for the “Family of three, one of which is a giant teenager” option.
Take heed meal delivery people- you need to start offering meal plans to families with teenagers.
Think of the profit increase! You could include a fancy, thick loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, 18 slices of ham and three different kinds of sliced cheese (and that’s just the lunch portion). There could be a snack option that includes an entire box of cereal and another gallon of milk, complete with a tub of yogurt and three bananas. And if you could, make Pop-tarts a crumbled topping. And Hawaiin rolls to make sandwiches out of. And salad. With veggies. But no cucumbers. Pint sized chocolate milk. AND FOURTEEN BOXES OF MAC N CHEESE.
All for $4.99 per person, per meal.
Hey, a Mom can dream, right?