Life Changing Choices & Scones

prize winning jam filled scones

prize winning jam filled scones

What does the Pillsbury Bake-Off and the Navy have in common? Well, it is about life changing choices. Like “nothing ventured, nothing gained” or “taking the road less travelled”. It’s taking one step forward into the unknown. That first step of change can be exciting, scary or not whatever you expected it to be.

William is stepping on the Green Giant's foot

William is stepping on the Green Giant’s foot

Anyone who enters recipe contests completely understands the notion of being bitten by the contest bug. That is what happens to me after Pillsbury names my “Glasnost Apple Pie” a finalist in 1990 (Bake-Off #34). What??? I won??? Hard to believe taking that first step with my little recipe makes me realize that some one besides those who love me like my food. Nothing would ever be the same. My very first contest experience was incredibly fabulous and the funny thing, I did not win a dime. So, it wasn’t about the prizes, but the experience.  It was life-changing as my passion for cooking turned into a lucrative hobby.

Four years later I landed a finalist spot again. This time the whole family was flying to the Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego to enjoy Bake-Off #36 festivities and the family vacation of a lifetime. Can you imagine a private party at Sea World? My kids thought I was a genius. While I prepared Middleberry Scones my husband and children were out at the beach.  Bill later tells me that William was completely captivated by some US Navy SEALS who were out in the cold Pacific practicing maneuvers. When he asked his dad to explain who these guys were and what they were doing he declared, “I am going to be one of those guys some day.” He was only 5 years old when he made that life-changing decision. He never wavered from the dream of joining the Navy.

Losing William in a tragic accident is the sudden destruction of the world I know.  Unanticipated death is so shocking and overwhelming; it is incapacitating. I did not see it coming and I am not prepared to defend myself. There are not enough coping skills in my arsenal to save me from this pain, but there is a daughter who over time digs down deep and gently pulls me up from the depths of despair. There is also an unexplained energy. It comes in the physical form of a heart, a squeeze like a bear hug and vivid dreams. And it comes at unexpected times. I call them “whoosh moments”. Psychiatrists and psychologists are quick to write that these incidences are the griever’s inability to accept the unacceptable. I say the MD’s and the PhD’s don’t know Jack or I mean Will. Some day I will explain.

William accompanied me to quite a few cook-offs. He was like a good luck charm always encouraging me to just do my best and have fun. He made me feel like a winner much like all who were ever in his presence. I am so very proud to be a Navy Corpsman mom and thankful for all the special memories of my sweet William. He was the best of the best. And to all of those who love him, too, or ever lost a child, I promise he/she is with you. Choose not to suffer. Choose to celebrate his or her life. Please share YOUR whoosh moments.

Next month 100 finalists will by vying for a 1 million dollar prize at the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off. For 1 lucky winner it will surely be a life changing experience, but maybe for the other 99 as well. In the meantime, enjoy my prize-winning Middleberry Scones with a cup of tea and celebrate all the life changing choices and whoosh moments in your life.

Middleberry Scones

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. grated orange peel

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2/3 cup half-and-half

1 egg

1/3 cup raspberry or strawberry preserves

1 tsp. sugar

Spread and Garnish:

1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

16 fresh raspberries or strawberries, if desired

1 tsp. grated orange peel, if desired

Heat oven to 425ºF. Lightly grease cookie sheet. In large bowl, combine flours, 2 Tbsp. sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and 1 tsp. orange peel; mix well. Using fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In small bowl, combine half-and-half and egg; blend well. Add to flour mixture. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto well-floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Divide in half; pat each half into 8” circle. Place 1 circle on greased cookie sheet; spread preserves to within 1” of edge. Place remaining circle over preserves; pinch edges to seal. Sprinkle top with 1 tsp. sugar. Cut into 8 wedges; do not separate. Bake 15-18 minutes or until edges are golden. Cut through scones. Serve warm with cream cheese; garnish with berries and 1 tsp. orange peel.

20 thoughts on “Life Changing Choices & Scones

  1. Lisa – thank you for sharing with all of your many, many admirers and friends! Whoosh moments are there for us to know there is a higher being who continues to love us. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • And he did a Rutger’s lacrosse camp one summer. I bet he felt like all that and a bag of chips with that beer and now I know why he loved hanging out with you.

  2. I lost my son in May to an undetected heart problem, He was handsome, smart and charming-one of the great loves of my life. One day at a time, anything more it too overwhelming. Good Luck, I hope that your sweet William is with you every step of the way!

    • Mary Beth, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. What is your son’s name? There is a special bond between a mother and son and so when you call him “one of the great loves of my life” I totally get it. We all grieve differently and whatever feels right for you is right. Some days it is one step forward and others it is two steps back. Just know that your son wants you to be happy. It has taken me 2 1/2 years to get to where I can really talk and write about my William. I know William is with me and I guarantee your son is with you, too.

  3. You have come out of the blog gate in stellar fashion – such a great spirit of teaming your cooking endeavors with the memories of dear sweet Will ! Congrats on this wonderful blog!!

  4. You have a wonderful way with words – they are the ingredients of your story. I am enjoying learning more about you (college was a long time ago!) through your blog – and of course I am so impressed about your cooking/baking feats! Keep blogging – this is really wonderful and I love the recipes.

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