Between off-hours freelance work and all-hours baby-raising, I frequently lose track of what day—or even month—it is. So far the seasonal cues here in Texas, too, have run along the subtle lines of less-summer, more-summer, way-summer and autumn (with exactly one snowfall in February that lasted an hour, left nothing behind and brought the city to a spellbound halt). I’m still learning to tell the difference between them, and thus have to stop and think, now and then, about whether August has happened yet. The calendar’s cadence is comforting, though, and I love me some holidays— I’ll take any excuse for some extra ‘special’, and feel it’s important, somehow, to make little marks along our lives’ winding paths, leaving signposts in the cyclic subconscious: December smells like orange and clove; we lie on the beach in July. It’s important to pause every once in a while and celebrate where we are, whatever month it happens to be.

Parenthood involves a running roster of Things To Do, making pauses elusive, at best. And while Aaron and I have gotten the juggling act down to a science, we realized at some point a ways back that we weren’t differentiating between our week days and weekends much at all. So, we’ve made some minor adjustments and brought the extra ‘special’ back to the weekends: we take turns on morning Kaspar-watch and allow each other one day each to sleep in. We prowl for seasonal produce at the farmer’s market on Saturdays. We do things out in the community, or with our friends, and take time to clean, or cook something fancy. Sometimes, when we're lucky, we get out for a date night. Though we still rarely score a work-free weekend, setting some time aside in the office with a cup of tea, a treat and something to accomplish can feel surprisingly like special Me-Time on a Sunday afternoon.

I try to take a little bit of Me-Time during busy weekdays, too. Kaspar’s naps are unpredictable in timing and duration, and it’s tempting when I finally get him down to jump headfirst into cleaning food off the floor, responding to emails, and taking a shower… all at once. But I find it’s actually more productive—in my role as a parent, and as a busy person—to take a break, come back to the present moment before racing on to the next, remember what day it is in the first place, and discover why this day merits celebrating. Food on the floor and all.

And what better way to celebrate Me-Time today than with a warm cup of tea and a scone?

I whipped these up yesterday to make my Sunday work-spurt special. Success. Then I had another scone mid-morning today, with some tea. Kaspar’s nap lasted exactly as long as it took me to make the tea (Aaron always gets the big hour-plus naps out of him in the afternoons… I am yet to experience this), so I had my snack while reading Curious George books with a baby in my lap. I’ll make my Me-Time later… My tea-time today was as special as it gets.

I hope you’ll make some Me-Time (well, you-time) for yourself today, and every day. Make these scones to go along with it, and you’ll be in mama-heaven. I like to play with different types of flour in my baking, and call for both oat flour—which makes things moist and cakey—and brown rice flour—which imparts more of a crumbly/flakey effect—here. You can use regular wheat flour if you’d like, though, especially if you’re wanting a really accurate scone-like texture. You’ll notice that I added a bit of sweet potato and acorn squash into the mix, too—putting our farmer’s market bounty to good use! You can also use canned sweet potato or pumpkin. These scones are decadent—they don’t taste like vegetables, really!—and delicious. And they hold up well in the fridge or freezer, so they'll be ready and waiting for Me-Time, whenever you make it happen.

Click read more for the recipe.

What You’ll Need

·  About 2 cups oat flour

·  About 1 cup brown rice flour

·  1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

·  1 tablespoon baking powder

·  3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·  1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

·  1/4 teaspoon salt

·  About 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, cut into chunks

·  1 cup mashed cooked (or canned) sweet potato, squash (I used ½ an acorn squash from the farmer’s market, and a quarter cup of mashed sweet potato), or pumpkin.

·  1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon rice milk (or soy, cow’s milk, almond milk, etc.)

·  2 tablespoons granulated sugar

·  1/4 to 1/2 cup currents or raisins (optional)

What You’ll Do

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fehrenheit. Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, and use a pastry blender, or your fingers, to mix into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumb-like. Add raisins or currents (if you're using them).

2. In a small bowl, whisk the sweet potato, squash or pumpkin (feel free to mix and match) and 1/2 cup milk until well blended. Add to flour mixture and stir just until dough is evenly moistened. Add additional flour (alternating between oat and rice) and mix until the dough is the consistency of Play-Doh. It’ll be moist and somewhat sticky, but should not be fall-apart wet.

3. Grease a 12x15 inch baking sheet. Scrape onto a lightly floured surface, and gently pat/shape into a 6-inch round 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut wedges from your dough— make them whatever size you want your scones to be—and use a spatula to carefully relocate the wedges onto the baking sheet (I do this one at a time… It’s a little messy and sticky, and I sometimes do some re-shaping on the baking sheet).

4. Use a pastry brush, or a spoon, to spread the a small amount of milk over the tops of the scones. In another small bowl, mix granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over scones.

5. Bake at 375° until the scones are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack; serve warm or cool.

Mmmmmmm. Me-time.

06/27/2011 20:58

Mmmmm...not sure which sounds better...scones or "me" time!

06/28/2011 03:24

These look delicious. I'm sending this to my sis. Might be good for those kids with allergies? Although, of course, these are not for them, they're for her time!

04/19/2012 04:47

Just from the title I knew this would be an interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

07/14/2012 02:00

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