Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cinnamon Chip Scones and The Tudors

Almost every night for the last three weeks I've been in my room watching The Tudors.  I am addicted to this show and everything associated with it. Have you seen it?  It's a fictional/factual based account of the reign and marriages of King Henry VIII. His story rivals any modern day soap opera that I have ever seen (and I've watched a lot of soap operas in my days). Everything about this time period intrigues me: The Renaissance, the Tower, the clothes, the jewels, the wives.  I am in deep.  I am probably the last one in the world to watch it, but thanks to Netflix I have quickly caught up.  The only problem is that I'm on the last season and I don't want it to end : (
It all stared the day I listened to The History Chicks podcast about the six wives of Henry VIII.  I had downloaded their biography of Julia Child (which was amazing, by the way) and I noticed on their website a podcast about Henry's wives. For some reason I downloaded it and from that day on I have been hooked on all things Tudor.  I needed to know more.  From there came more podcasts, documentaries, websites, Facebook pages, twitter accounts (did you know Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn are on twitter? Weird but true ) and this amazing Showtime series that I am enjoying so much.  Not to mention that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is quite a cutie, and looks nothing at all like Henry VIII. Thank you Showtime - in my mind Henry will always be far more attractive than he actually was ♥
I am also currently reading a book called Anne Boleyn by Norah Lofts.  Out of all the wives I find her story the most fascinating.  She was Henry's second wife, the Queen that fell from grace and met a tragic end. Very tragic. Henry claimed that he "built her up and could bring her down" and that's exactly what he did. True love turned to such hate. Her story is complex and I'm just scratching the surface.  I have so much more to learn.
Here is what I know for sure.  Number 1: Henry VIII was not a good husband (if he even looks at you run for the hills!).  Number 2. Being a lady in Henry's court was not easy.  Women were political pawns and not treated very nicely.  Although they did get to were beautiful gowns and jewels. Number 3. Good luck spinning the roulette wheel of childbirth.  Even if you are lucky enough to survive the labor (with no epidural! ) you best be having a boy. Especially if you have already promised the King you would. 
I'll post some links at the bottom of this post to a few Tudor related websites and podcasts in case you are interested.  Personally, I can't get enough of the drama : )


In real life news: My husband has been asking me to make scones for weeks.  I finally had time today to whip up a batch.  This recipe for cinnamon chip scones is my favorite.  If you don't have cinnamon chips you can use regular chocolate chips OR you can do what I did today - half and half.  It's so good! Scones are the perfect treat for anytime of day.  Rob (the husband) likes them with his coffee in the morning, and I prefer them with afternoon tea.  Either way they are yummy!

Here's how to make them:
3 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup cold butter (12 tablespoons), cut in cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup cinnamon chips (today I did half cinnamon/half chocolate chips)
melted butter and cinnamon/sugar to dust on top

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients.  Cut in the butter with your fingers until it forms course crumbs.  Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla.  Fold in the cinnamon chips.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently (*flour you hands first so the dough won't stick to your fingers*)

Press dough into a large disk, about 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick.  Use a biscuit cutter dipped in flour (mine is 4 inches) to cut out biscuits.  Place at least 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.


Brush each one with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 13 - 15 minutes.  Makes about 8-10 large scones. The first cinnamon scone I ever had was at Starbucks.  This recipe taste just like it! ♥  Enjoy.


I needed the perfect something to go with my book today and this scone did the trick.  It also kept me away from my TV for far too long, so off I go - back to my bedroom.  Season 4 awaits me!
And just in case you are a Tudor geek like me, here are just a few links that you might find interesting...

Well, that's it for me today. I hope all is well in your part of the world.  It's cold and blustery here and tomorrow I'm making soup.  Happy Fall~

Have a great weekend, friends! xo

 ♥ Lamp post at my parent's house.  My Dad is so clever ♥

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Creamy Rice Pudding

Hello Friends! We just got back from a weekend trip to Maine.  The weather was cool, crisp, and a little drizzly.  I didn't get to see as much foliage as I would have liked (due to fog), but what I did see was still very pretty.  The orange and red leaves are so vibrant against the evergreen and birch trees. Its quintessential Fall. The house we stayed at was about 4 hours from home, way up the top of a mountain in Rangeley, Maine. (click the link to see some beautiful photos of Rangeley Lake) We met my parents up there on Saturday.  Mom greeted us with a pot roast dinner.  Just what we needed after the long journey. We had all the comforts of home ♥
 The weekend consisted of lots of R&R.  We played games, watched TV ( I watched a whole season of The Tudors), drank tea, and ate way too much! I was literally in my slippers for three days : ) But isn't that what you are supposed to on vacation??! It was a lovely get-a-way that was much needed and deserved by all of us.  We also stopped at this really neat 50's diner for lunch on the way home.  Let me take you back in time for a minute....
 I took more pictures of the inside, but unfortunately they didn't come out very well. It was too dark : ( What you missed was a long counter with red stools, Coke-A-Cola signs, and vintage photos all along the walls.  There was also a punched tin ceiling and a black and white checkered floor. It was a really cool place!  Check out my Instagram for a few more photos that didn't make it onto the blog. PS - The food was great too!! ~
 While I was away I was thinking of something yummy to make for us this week.  Rice pudding has been on my mind for a while now.  It's so warm and comforting and it's the kind of treat that makes you feel cozy no matter where you are or what time of day it is.  Perfect! Since I feel a touch of a cold coming on I knew this is exactly what I need. Even better, when I got home I discovered that I had all the ingredients right in the pantry.  Sweet! No need to make an extra trip to the market.  Let's get to work....
Here's what you need:

3/4 cup white rice
2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 cinnamon for dusting

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil.  Stir in rice.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and summer for 20 minutes.

♥  waiting is the worst part..... ♥

Combine cooked rice with 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar, and salt.  Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 - 20 minutes.  Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk and beaten egg.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter and vanilla. 

Scoop into individual serving bowls and sprinkle with cinnamon (as much as you like!). 
I like to eat my rice pudding warm, but it's also delicious cold.  

I put this creamy rice pudding in the same category as hot cereal, oatmeal, and tapioca.  It's something I love to eat in the early morning hours, when it's cold and dark out.  I don't know why.  I just makes me feel good ♥

Have you been leaf peeping yet this season?  If so, where? I love hearing your stories!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Hello! Did you know it's officially soup season?! Well, it is to me.  Ever since we've jumped into Fall I've been craving soup.  I've done apples and pumpkins, and now it's time to warm up a bit ♥
Making a  pot of soup is very comforting to me.  I love listening to it bubble as I putter around the house. This was my first attempt at pasta fagioli soup. My husband holds this soup to high standards because it's one of his favorites.  After 15 years of marriage (on Friday!) I finally took the plunge and gave it a try.  I got the recipe from one of my favorite blogs,  Tracy made it look very easy and you know what - it was!  I was amazed at how quickly this soup came together.  It's perfect for Fall.  Make two batches and freeze one for before trick or treating, or when you just need to warm up on a cool, crisp night. It's so delicious. 
(P.S my hubby loved it : )
Here's how to make it:

Recipe from Tracy at

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 oz. pancetta (or bacon), minced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (15oz canned)
a pinch red pepper flakes
salt & freshly ground pepper
4 cups (32 oz.) chicken or vegetable stock
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup dried pasta, medium shells or elbows
Parmesan cheese and parsley (for garnish)

In a soup pot over medium low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta or bacon, onion and garlic and saute slowly, stirring until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste and simmer for 20 minutes. (*note: Tracy's recipe adds 1 tablespoon of chopped, fresh sage at this point.  I'm not a huge fan of sage so I left it out.*)

Add the beans and stock and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Add the pasta to the soup and simmer until the pasta is tender, 12-15 minutes.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls.

 Garnish with the cheese and parsley.  Enjoy!

I made a pot of this on Saturday and it's already gone! I'm going to make more tomorrow so we can have it all week. After a long day at work it's nice to know I have a hot bowl of soup to come home to ♥ It's comfort in a bowl ~

I'm excited because tonight I am starting to watch the series The Tudors.  It's all about the life and many wives of Henry VIII.  That period of history is so interesting to me and the series came highly recommend by a favorite podcast of mine, The History Chicks.  Have you heard of them? These ladies have awakened my love of history!   I am planning a future blog post all about my favorite podcasts (coming soon!) and The History Chicks will be at the top of my list. Anyway, I'm looking forward snuggling up on the couch and getting into a good series.  It's getting darker earlier now, so why not make the best of it.  Yet another reason I love the Fall!