Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Salads and Scones

Friday night I was exhausted and was in need of a quick meal. Preferably something healthy, since I also knew I'd probably be indulging in a handful (or eight) of m&ms. I stopped at the grocery store; the grape tomatoes were on sale (buy one package get one free) and the organic baby spinach was also on sale. Perfect starting point for a great salad!
This salad had spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, crumbled goat cheese, and was topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I also opened the last bottle of wine we have from our trip to Sonoma in August.

Dinner is served!

And of course, a little dessert.

Saturday was a whirlwind of hitting the gym, grocery shopping, and some Christmas shopping. When I got home from all of my errands I was in the mood for another salad. Bring on the spinach and grape tomatoes! This time I made a few changes, and also baked some pumpkin scones to have on the side! I still have five jumbo cans of pumpkin in my cabinet, and am not at all sick of pumpkin treats yet, so these will keep on coming!

Scone ingredients:

Dry ingredients - all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

Chilled butter, cut into small pieces.

Cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. I did this by cutting with two knives for several minutes.

Pumpkin, Greek yogurt, and 1/2 an egg white (egg whites are easier to separate if you use the shell to scoop up the whites). The pumpkin and yogurt make these scones very moist.

Whisk together wet ingredients.

Add wet ingredients to flour/butter mixture.

Stir until just moist.

Put dough on a floured surface and knead four times.

Shape dough into a circle about the size of an outstretch hand.

Cut dough into six pieces.

Grate fresh Parmesan cheese to top the scones.

Brush scones with remaining egg whites and top with grated cheese and chopped walnuts (I only put nuts on half since Pat won't eat them). Bake at 400 degrees for about 13 minutes, or until golden.

I had a scone with salad. This salad had the spinach and tomatoes from the day before, but I changed up the other toppings. I sliced a pear and split it between my salad and Pat's, added dried cranberries and crumbled goat cheese, and again used a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.

Wow!!! Seriously, I love pumpkin and I love scones, but these came out better than I imagined! I love the taste of the ginger accompanied by the Parmesan cheese and the crunchy walnuts. These are so delicious! Pat had one with his salad and said "I thought scones were supposed to be dry and bland" - the pumpkin and yogurt made these very moist. They are especially delicious when eaten hot!

Note to self: when baking in the afternoon before going out that night, its a good idea to check for hidden dough/cooking remnants. While out to a nice Italian dinner with friends I reached up to the nape of my neck and felt some dried scone dough. I think my hair had been covering it, but nonetheless, not an attractive look!

Pumpkin Scones
I found the original recipe in Cooking Light, halved it, added some more spices and changed a few ingredients.

Makes 6 scones.

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg white, divided
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • grated Parmesan (couple tbsps)
  • chopped walnuts (optional but delicious!)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal.
  3. Whisk pumpkin, yogurt and 1/2 of the egg white in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just moist. Knead 4 times with floured hands. Make a circle (about the size of your outstretched hand) and slice into 6 triangle(ish) shapes.
  4. Transfer dough to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and brush with remaining egg white. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped walnuts (press nuts in to stick). Bake for about 13 minutes, or until golden.

Sunday morning I woke up early for another packed day. I hit the gym (I ran 4 1/2 miles doing hill intervals and did back and bi strength training) and when I got home all I could think about was eggs and pumpkin scones. Not to toot my own horn (ew I hate that expression) but this was probably one of the best breakfast sandwiches I've ever had in my life. So delicious and satisfying!

I heated a scone in the microwave for 30 seconds, cut in half, and filled with eggs (2 egg whites, 1 yolk, over medium) and steamed spinach (steamed in the same pan as eggs). Incredible.

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