Monday, February 15, 2010

It Doesn't Have to Be Expensive to be Special

This teapot is one of my cherished possessions. I bought it in Bath, England, when I studied abroad in London while in college. I've never even used it. It's been tightly guarded behind glass doors in a china case. All that changed on Valentine's Day.

I finally decided that I didn't want my boys growing up, eyeing the items in that china case, but never being allowed to use them. I wanted them to know that I cherish them enough to trust them with my special things. Because really, they are more important to me than the things. We give people a sense of honor when we trust them with something dear.

That gift, in itself, was worth more to them than a bag full of Valentine's Day treats. And truly, even though it was free, it was the best Valentine's Day gift of all. On the holiday where we celebrate love, the boys were shown in a very tangible way that they are loved enough to be esteemed with previously forbidden things. We all shared a special memory of using the teapot and serving plate I carted all the way from England, and then packed carefully when I moved cross-country, for the very first time. We enjoyed some delicious cranberry-orange scones and tea and filled our hearts to overflowing this Valentine's Day. It was the best Valentine's Day ever, and it was free!

Cranberry-Orange Scones (the best!)
(recipe from my friend Jodi)

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. sugar
1 T. grated orange rind
1/2 c. butter, cut up
2/3 c. buttermilk
1 c. dried cranberries (or use fresh/frozen--not so tart if you cut them in half)
1 T. milk & 1 T. sugar

Combine first six ingredients; cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Add buttermilk and dried cranberries, stirring just until moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 or 6 times. Pat into an 8-inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges and place 1 inch apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet (I use a baking stone). Brush with milk and sprinkle with 1 T. sugar (I use raw cane sugar). Bake at 425-degrees for 15 minutes or until scones are golden brown.

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  1. This sounds perfect! I have to make the "snack" for my morning Bible Study tomorrow. And, since I have a tree full of fresh oranges, all I'll need is the cranberry. I wonder if I'll find them this time of year, though. Have you used frozen?

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Hi Lisa! Yes, I think these would be great for that! Fresh oranges growing on a tree sound so wonderful (and tropical!). (It is 30-degrees where I live today!).
    I usually buy extra bags of cranberries around Thanskgiving and then freeze them, and pull out the amount I need (mixing them in frozen). But...I think what the recipe means is Craisins. Have you used them? They are by Dole, I think...and they come in a small bag by the raisins and other dried fruits. Having eaten the scones both ways, we prefer them made with the Craisins (slightly less tart).
    Hope the recipe turns out great for you!!
    :) Cheryl

  3. What a sweet memory to make your boys! I remember tea at Grandma's house with her special tea pot. Those scones look like a fabulous treat for a cold snowy afternoon!

  4. Cheryl - The Craisins will have to be a good substitute. I knew I couldn't find fresh cranberries, but my grocer didn't have frozen, either, and I've used up my stock. I do have Craisins, though.

    I would happily share some of our sunny, 75 degree day. Looks like we're headed quickly toward "summery" weather here in the desert.

    Thanks for the response. I appreciate it.


  5. I usually use craisins. I buy the huge bag at Sam's and keep them in my freezer. They are great on salads, too.

  6. Ah-Craisins at Sam's Club! Great tip! I never even thought of that. I will have to pick up a bag next time I am there. Where are they in the store?? :)

  7. Your scones sound lovely - and I'm so pleased you used the teapot. My Mom used her special china for me when I was growing up, and I did it with my son as well. Whenever he had a rough day at school I'd let him choose what china tea cup and saucer he wanted to use from my Mom's collection for a cup of tea after school, like she used to with me. It really makes kids feel special, and it can be very comforting for us adults as well!

  8. Thanks, April! You're so right about those simple acts make them feel so special (and it takes a big act of trust on our end to let them use it and hope they'll be careful and not break it--especially as far as little boys are concerned, who tend to spill so easily!). I think they can sense that we are putting that trust in them, though, and that's part of what esteems them so :)
    Thanks for writing!

  9. I promise I'm not blog stalking...just wanted to pop over and tell you I made the scones last night. They were delicious and a huge hit!! Thanks for the recipe. It's a keeper.


  10. Lovely, just lovely. I am always wanting to buy one of those and then feel frivolous because I don't want to spend money on pretty things that have no use.

    Of course I can buy one and actually serve tea with it!


  11. Hi Niki...oh, I do hope you can get one someday :) I think you'll love it! (And yes, do use it!). How special kids (and friends) would feel to have a little tea party with an ornate teapot. (Think of it as an investment in hospitality) ;)