All posts by Laurie Graves

I write about nature, food, the environment, home, family, community, and people.

Drop Scones Come to Central Maine

Oh, the things I have learned from the wide world of blogging. For example, before I started following Tootlepedal’s excellent blog, I had never heard of drop scones. Tootlepedal lives in Scotland, and he writes about everyday life—music and biking (hence the name Tootlepedal), family, nature, cooking, and friends. In short, all the things I love.

Tootlepedal has given the nickname Dropscone to one of his friends, and at first I thought it was simply a play on words because this particular friend often dropped by with scones. Imagine my surprise when Tootlepedal recently wrote that Dropscone stopped by with drop scones.

“What?” I said to myself. “Drop scones are an actual thing?’

It seems that they are. When I looked up drop scones on the Internet, I discovered that they were what we Americans would call small pancakes.

“Oh, cool!” I said, continuing the conversation with myself. I am a huge fan of pancakes, and I am lucky enough to have a husband who makes delicious pancakes.

Recently, Tootlepedal actually posted a picture of some drop scones delivered by none other than Dropscone. And those drop scones sure did look like pancakes, little but thick.

Filled with a longing for pancakes or drop scones or whatever you want to call them, I said to Clif, “How about if you make some drop scones on Sunday?” (Our friends Joel and Alice were coming over for tea and coffee and conversation.)

“Sure,” Clif said, who’s always ready for a food challenge.

Before Sunday, Clif read a bit about drop scones and decided that unlike his usual pancakes, his drop scones should have some sugar. Following Tootlepedal’s suggestion, Clif also decided that he would use a spoon rather than a ladle to drop the batter into the frying pan.

And so he did.

Here are the cooking drop scones.

Clif made a big plate of them, but they didn’t turn out exactly as he had hoped—he wanted the drop scones to be thicker. Nevertheless, Clif’s drop scones were good enough, and by the time we were done, there were only two drop scones left on the big plate. We certainly tucked to, as we would say in Maine. Because they were officially drop scones, we served them with butter and jam rather than maple syrup.

There is a lesson here. Sometime good enough is just fine.

 

The Joys of Spring

Readers, it has finally happened—the event I have been looking forward to since the spring equinox, and it ranks right up there with forsythia and the song of the peepers. Drum roll, please: yesterday marked the first time this year that I was able to hang laundry outside on the line. Happy, happy day! From now until October, laundry will be hung on the line rather than inside on racks.

As if that weren’t enough joy for one week…the maple tree is in bloom. These tiny bursts of red are one of my favorite flowers. They complement every bird, no matter the color, that comes into the backyard—the   goldfinches, the cardinals, the chickadees, the nuthatches.

And what a joy to have birds around me as I worked in the garden. I heard the sharp rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker, the twitter of the goldfinches, the caw of a crow, and the haunting call of a loon.

With such music, it seemed as though the big bed in the backyard was cleaned in no time.

Even more joy: The ferns are starting to come up.

And last but not least, Clif sifted compost for me, and this will soon go in the back garden.

Such a lot of joy for one week. Who could ask for anything more?

 

 

Happy Earth Day, Happy Birthday!

Today is a special day for us. Not only is it Earth Day, but it is also our daughter Shannon’s birthday. Happy birthday to a very special person!

My blogging friend Judy noted that Earth Day is forty-nine years old, almost old enough to be a member of AARP.  Too funny! Judy also wrote that even though she gets stung more than she would like, she still leaves all manner of flowering weeds in her lawn to attract bees and other pollinators. Yay, Judy!

My blogging friend Eliza wrote that “every day should be Earth Day where we do our best to take care of our planet.” Hear, hear! And she posted an oh-so-lovely blue bouquet in “a small, cobalt-blue tincture bottle.” What a fitting way to honor our beautiful blue planet.

From the often curmudgeonly but nonetheless excellent website Tree Hugger, here are ten tips to make every day Earth Day.

Today is a gray but mild day in our neighborhood. To honor Earth Day, we are not going anywhere at all. It will be a no-car day—we do our best to have several of these each week. If the weather allows, we will sweep the patio and haul out the small patio table from our cellar. Heck, if the rain hold off we will even have our first patio drink of the season, where we will toast Earth Day and our birthday daughter.

Finally, here is a picture of a small fallen tree on the edge of our yard by the woods. A wonderful example of how nothing is wasted in nature.

Happy Earth Day to all!

Reinventing the Wheel with a Nutritional Yeast Veggie Broth Mix

For someone who cooks a lot—we eat nearly every meal at home—and for someone who eats a mostly plant-based diet, I can be a little on the slow side. (Occasionally, we do eat eggs and some dairy.) For example, I have just discovered the wonders of nutritional yeast, thanks to our daughter Dee and the vegan cookbook she bought Clif and me for our birthdays. (Yes, she bought us an instant pot, too, which we love.)

One of my absolute favorite recipes is a cabbage, potato soup that is finished with a half cup of nutritional yeast, giving the soup a rich, beefy taste without the beef. Holy cats, it’s good. Even on the third night, I’m not sick of the leftovers.

This is a preamble to my next burst of enlightenment. Recently, I was having tea with my friend Joan, and I was raving about the cabbage, potato soup with nutritional yeast.

“Sound good,” Joan said. “Reminds me of a bouillon mix a friend gave to me. It has nutritional yeast and spices.”

For a while, I didn’t say anything, blinking in astonishment as I thought of the wonders of a bouillon mix made with nutritional yeast and spices—delicious, nutritious, plant based, and frugal. Four of my favorite things.

As soon as I came home, I hit the Internet and immediately found a terrific recipe on a blog called My Plant- Based Family. The veggie broth is easy to make and jazzes up even the simplest meal, such as ramen noodles with soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix one tablespoon of the broth with a cup of hot water and  you have a tasty base that can be used in any soup that calls for chicken or veggie broth.

Recently, I made a batch to give to my friend Beth, and Clif, who has a flair with graphic arts, made a nifty label to go on the jar. As it turned out, the label was so nifty that at first Beth didn’t realize the broth had come from our very own kitchen.

Anyway, I can’t recommend this broth mix enough. Because I am not a fan of a strong onion taste, I don’t put as much onion powder as is suggested in the recipe. (I cut the amount in half.) But if onion is your thing, pile it in.

And say adieu to those expensive boxes of veggie or chicken broth, which—let’s face it—don’t taste all that good.