Downton Abbey Scones on This Fantastic Friday

Downton Abbey fans can whip up a batch of vintage scones and make the DA magic last a little longer.This Fantastic Friday post is an homage to last Sunday’s Downton Abbey finale. The recipe’s posting today so fans can whip up a batch of scones, make a pot of tea, put on their best English accents, and be jolly good sports all weekend long.

Downton Abbey Dairy-Free Scones

Between yesterday’s top ten list and today’s recipe, it feels like Downton Abbey Week along our gravel road. Today’s recipe comes compliments of Downton Abbey Cooks, the brainchild of food historian Pamela Foster. You can find Foster’s original recipe, along with many other Edwardian England dishes, in her post about guilt-free scones.

I spotted the recipe while sitting under the dryer and reading the paper at the hair dresser’s. It sounded so good, I came home and created my own dairy-free version. The scones were an immediate winner, receiving the coveted Hiram seal of approval. They were light, crispy, and flavorful. They will be a staple at our house, even though we don’t have a kitchen maid to sift the flour 3 times!

1 cup unnbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons frozen lard
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup dried fruit (I used dried cranberries)

Heat oven to 450°. Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. Sift three times. (Or have Daisy the kitchen maid do that part.) Add sugar and mix in well. Grate frozen lard (another job for Daisy) and add to dry ingredients. Lightly cut in by hand until mixture has the consistency of sand. Stir in dried fruit. Add almond milk, a tablespoon at a time, mixing dough with a fork after each addition. Stop when dough holds together, but before it gets sticky.

Kneed dough gently a few times. Do not overwork! Form dough into a circle and place on a cookie sheet or heated baking stone. Press dough until it’s a circle 1/3 inch thick. With a knife, cut into 8 wedges.* Separate them slightly. Bake for 5–7 minutes.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

The Downton Abbey finale, a guitar player in the making, and bunny ears on babies in this week's 3 thoughts.

  1. The Downton Abbey finale was perfect. After Nurse Jackie ended with a drug overdose and the mysterious Don Draper as mysterious as ever in the last episode of Mad Men, Downton Abbey’s finale where love and compassion make it possible to face changing times with hope and strength made it a story worth watching.
  2. After the Man of Steel repaired a little guitar for a six-year-old boy, the first grader’s music teacher* sent a thank you with the following message: “My student’s first goal is to pick out the tune to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. After that, he wants to learn the Smoke on the Water riff.” The Man of Steel’s been smiling since the email arrived.
  3. Our grandkids will all be together this weekend. I bought Easter props in hopes of getting some fun pictures of the 3 of them. The 3 1/2-year-old will cooperate, but does anyone have suggestions about how to keep bunny ears on a 14-month-old and 11-month-old long enough to take a picture?

*The music teacher is giving this little guy lessons on her own time. For free.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Downton Abbey, love according to Dorothy, and the loss of a wonderful man in this week's 3 thoughts.

  1. Unless Julian Fellows has something up his sleeves, there’s no way Isobel Crawley can pull ahead of Lady Violet in their zinger contest before the series ends.
  2. At the end of my last visit with Mom–after I’d taken her to the doctor, squired her to lunch, and restocked her supply of library books–she said, “You’re so good to me, Jolene. Don’t change, okay?” That’s as close as she gets to “I love you” without coaching.
  3. Melvin Aspengren, the most outstanding elementary school janitor I ever worked with, died earlier this week. He took pride in his work, cared about kids, and was a role model to children and adults alike. Oh, Mel, you will be fondly remembered and dearly missed.

Who are you missing today? Leave a comment.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

David McCullough and The Wright Brothers, a Downton Abbey movie, and glitter in this week's 3 thoughts.

  1. Note to self: Do not allow glittery Christmas cards anywhere near your work area unless you like holiday sparkle on all surfaces, including your laptop keyboard and your favorite pens for days and weeks to come.
  2. David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers is a fascinating book and the audio version is read by the author. I highly recommend it.
  3. Rumor has it a Downtown Abbey movie is in the works. I’m in.

What rumored movie sequel has you turning cartwheels? Leave a comment.

Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions I Wish I’d Made

After a very productive week, I'm wishing I'd made these 10 New Year resolutions to check off my to do list.For some reason, the first week of January 2016 was a highly productive one for a certain inhabitant of our gravel road. Had I known on January 1 what I know now, the following New Year’s Resolutions would have been listed and checked off in 7 short days, rendering the remaining 359 guilt and fancy-free.

10. Come to grips with getting older after learning of several former co-workers and present dear friends, who are our age contemporaries, are dealing with age-related health conditions.

9.  Cut back the geraniums wintering over in the upstairs bedrooms and water them less so the woody stems stop rotting.

8.  Send out Christmas cards as a staunch proponent of the better-late-than-never school of thought.

7.  Find a group to hand quilt Mom’s remaining quilting projects, sewn together by my daughter a year ago, and which have been lurking in the corner of the guest bedroom ever since.

6.  Launch a redesigned website full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes that make half the archived posts disappear for a few days.

5.  Garner a 100 new likes on my Facebook author page thanks to EA/TEF parents who read the first EA/TEF Awareness Month post at

4.  Eat a few Kirkland non-dairy chocolate covered almonds every day.

3.  Watch as many seasons of Downton Abbey as possible in preparation for watching Season 6.

2.  Call a dear friend in Harding County, South Dakota and make plans to visit next August during the 100th Anniversary county fair.

1.  Record personal information in your copy of The Caregiver’s Notebook so you can tell people attending caregiver organization workshops to do the same without feeling like a hypocrite.

What New Year’s resolutions would you make in hindsight? Leave a comment.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Hand therapy graduation, personal eating disorders, and Downton Abbey Season 6 in this weeks 3 thoughts.

  1. The hand therapist signed my official release from treatment almost 12 weeks to the day from surgery to reconnect my thumb tendon. I can now wear my wrist watch and wedding rings, type as swiftly and inaccurately as ever, drive, dress and groom myself, cook. and dust (sigh) like a a big girl. Life is good!
  2. Unfortunately, I still can’t use my good hand to lift chips with salsa to my mouth without dripping it on the only spot of white shirt showing beneath a woolly winter sweater. Many thanks to the staff of La Caretta and my husband for pretending not to notice my personal eating disorder.
  3. And, though the hand therapist’s office was mere blocks from the library, I totally forgot to check out the Downton Abbey DVDs in order and in time to watch all 5 seasons before the upcoming premiere of season 6. As if I haven’t already suffered sufficient consequences from the careless handling of kitchen knives.

How are you preparing for the premiere of Downton Abbey? Leave a comment.

Top Ten Things to Anticipate in 2016

Much to look forward to in 2016: Grandkids, kids, family camp, Downton Abbey, Katie Wetherbee, Doc Martin, Wednesdays with Dorothy, & Sherlock. Delicious!2015 was a wonderful year that included the births of 2 new grandbabies, the release of 2 new books, meeting more people in the special needs ministry community, and the completion of my mystery novel. (No need to mention chance encounters with kitchen knives and the consequences thereof.) I am looking forward to 2016 with as much anticipation as last year. Here are 10 things I’m excited about.

10. Fresh fruits and veggies from our CSA. Fresh strawberries and sugar snap peas in June. Sweet corn and tomatoes from July through September. Melons in August. Are you drooling yet?

9. New seasons of Sherlock, Doc Martin, and Downton Abbey. I’m even putting together a new outfit, all black, to wear during the final episode of DA.

8. Receiving an email from my agent saying my novel, See Jane Run!, has been accepted by a publisher. I believe in positive thinking.

7.  Spending a week in Idaho at Shadow Valley family camp next summer. (See photo above.) Hopefully with the Man of Steel this year.

6.  Co-presenting a workshop about special needs inclusion with Katie Wetherbee at next spring’s Accessibility Summit in McLean, Virginia.

5.  Visiting my sister and her husband in Phoenix from January 16-23. This one’s doubly sweet with 8 inches of snow on the ground.

4.  A year’s worth of Wednesdays with Dorothy playing Rummikub, Uno, and waiting for her sense of humor to peek through.

3.  Going to Latvia to participate in a special needs family camp. Yes, you read that right. Latvia. At the end of June and beginning of July. More on that later.

2.  Watching our kids navigate the world as adults and marveling at how well they do it.

1.  Hugging and smooching the grandkids every chance I get. They’re all at that completely kissable age and love to cuddle. This stage doesn’t last forever, but should hold firm for 2016. It’s gonna be great.

What are you looking forward to in 2016? Leave a comment.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Parenthood finale

  1. Delight: When you step in the door to visit your kids and your grandchild runs to greet you, arms wide open, and asking, “Grammy Jo and Papoo! Want to play ‘Where are my toes?'”
  2. When I picked up Mom for her dentist appointment, she made it very clear she didn’t want to go…all the way to the car….all the way to the dentist’s office…and all the time we were there. When I said, “Well, I didn’t like going to the dentist when I was a child, but you took me anyway because you cared about me,” her response was, “That’s a whole different story.” Yes, I am officially parenting my parent.
  3. Hard on the heels of the Parenthood finale was the announcement that Downton Abbey will end after Season 6. So the search begins now for a good series or two to replace them. Fans of either show, what do you recommend?

Top Ten Things to Love about Late January 2015

January 2015

10. After being very disagreeable for a week or two, the temperatures finally decided to behave themselves.

9.  A church fundraiser provided the opportunity to make dairy free “buttermilk” brownies, sample a few, and give the rest away. Check tomorrow’s post for the recipe!

8.  Our daughter and her husband moved into a condo, which means we’ll be getting rid of some old furniture.

7.  Co-author Katie Wetherbee and I are almost done editing the page proofs for Every Child Welcome, which is scheduled for release on April 27, 2015. (Yes, you can pre-order now!)

6.  Whittling away at my to list in the second half of January means February may have some free time to work on the mystery novel again…if I can remember what it’s about.

5.  Watching and listening to reporters trying to talk about “under-inflated balls” without breaking into fits of adolescent giggles is highly entertaining.

4.  The Parenthood finale. Which is also the worst thing about late January since it signifies the end of a fantastic television series.

3. Downton Abbey, Season 5.

2.  Mom’s doing her best to adjust to her new digs in assisted living.

1. The Man of Steel finally gets to meet his new grand daughter this coming weekend.

What do you love about late January 2015? Leave you comments below.

Three Thoughts for Thursday


  1. A new baby girl. Pink ruffles and white lace. I can hardly wait to meet her.
  2. Maybe Lady Edith will have her moment in the sun during Season Five of Downton Abbey…if Dowager Countess Violet is willing to share.
  3. -7° is way too cold for a mid-day high temperature. But it’s a good reason to sip my favorite frigid weather drink–hot, spiced cider. Yours?