My oldest child and only daughter is 40 weeks pregnant and due to deliver my new grandchild any day now*. I decided to fly from Seattle to her home in Iowa City, arriving a week before the due date and planning to stay a week after she gives birth. This makes a total of 14 days. In case you aren’t doing the math…a looooong time for a mother to live with her daughter, son in law and 2 ½ year old grandson.
I am having fun, though, and my heart is full every morning at 7:30 am (5:30 am my West Coast body time) when I hear my grandson Zay call for me from his crib. So far, I feel like I am being helpful. I get Zay up every morning, help him get dressed and make a “shnack” (AKA breakfast). Then we plan some type of activity such as story time at the public library, walking to the city park, swimming in the city pool, reading books and so on.
Meanwhile, my daughter is keeping busy. She and I are a lot alike; we can’t sit still. She finished work 5 days ago and has done the following while I have been here: Eaten at least five organic hard boiled eggs each and every day, kind-of-sort-of taken a nap each afternoon for a wee bit, had her pregnant belly tattooed with temporary henna, dyed her hair blueish purple (in places), woven red and beige feathers in her hair, had her toenails painted with floral embellishments, done some crafty arty activities, eaten every type of rhubarb dessert known to humankind, replaced a toilet seat, put on a light dimmer, and so on. I think she will “pop” any day now. ANY DAY!
Today I needed to go downtown to “Home Ec“, a sewing/crafting/yarn shop that is second to none. This adorable space, owned by two young, ambitious women, has bolts of interesting fabric and upscale notions for sewing and quilting. The central area of the store bursts with irresistible yarns of every variety, weight, color and price point. Many of the spools are hand dyed right here in Iowa. The back room is littered with large tables – some set up with sewing machines, others for crafts. Classes of every kind are held throughout the week – everything from summer dress-making to doll-making classes for kids. They even rent out the space by the hour to people who don’t have enough room in their own homes. What a dream! And to top it all off, they also serve coffee drinks, teas and sweets. I stopped by for yarn as they were finishing up rice crispy squares topped with caramel sauce and marshmallows! Too sweet for my taste buds but I guess the women here love these treats when they come to knit and chat.
After my interlude at Home Ec, I wandered over to the New Pioneer Coop. Whenever I visit my daughter and her family, I try to make dinners and a few other delicious favorites so that I am invited back. Now I know my way around this wonderful store. This time I purchased organic meat, chicken and assorted veggies I wasn’t able to find at the local farmer’s market. After the Coop I ran through the aisles of the local HyVee for other groceries, then to the dry cleaner to drop off a few items. As I drove back to my daughter’s house I passed by the daycare where I know I can drop off my grandson in the middle of the night if need be. WHEN the baby comes.
When I finally returned home, I decided to make Zay’s favorite breakfast: scones. I filled them with chopped pecans and miniature cinnamon chips from nearby Kalona, Iowa. Whenever I ask Zay what he wants to eat, he inevitably yells out “Shcones!” What is a grandmother to do?
Cinnamon Chip Pecan Scones (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
Makes 8 large scones
- 2 cups all purpose flour (or pastry flour if you can get it)
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp regular salt
- 5 Tbsp cold salted butter, cut into 20 pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans or any nuts you prefer
- 1/3 cup small cinnamon chips (or diced dried apricots or currants)
- 1 cup heavy cream
With oven rack in middle position, heat oven to 425 degrees.
Place flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with a steel blade. Whisk together or pulse briefly until it develops a gravel-like appearance.
Remove the cover from the food processor and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients.
Recover and pulse quickly 10-12 times.
Add nuts and cinnamon chips and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to a large bowl.
Stir in heavy cream with rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to cling together, about 30 seconds.
Transfer the mixture and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds.
Pat the ball into an 8 inch circle and cut into 8 wedges with a bench scraper or knife. Place wedges on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove parchment and scones to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
These can be frozen when they are absolutely cool. Then they can be thawed completely and toasted briefly.
END NOTE: My daughter gave birth after this post was written. Zay now has a beautiful baby brother!