I was saving this for a weekend but Hell's Bells!, people, I'm too busy eating these on the weekend to write about it. Weekends are safe times to bake these because, I tell you from bitter experience, being alone in the house with two little people who cannot reach the counter is a dangerous set-up for me eating the whole batch by myself. At least come Sunday, I can trust that Jeff will help me out. And, truth be told, he is much more honest about sharing than I can be; the kids are sure to get plenty.
Speaking of which - Paleo children eat A LOT! I have had my jaw on the floor all week about the sheer volume of food they have been putting away. The beauty of it all is that I can say Yes, go ahead all day long because all the choices are nourishing. I do load them up with protein, fat and veggies in the morning, at lunch and again in the evening, but the hours in between feel like one interminable snack. I had a pretty funny text conversation with a friend this morning who is also raising two small and voracious Paleo children and we were brainstorming snack ideas and at the same time lamenting the frustrations of setting limits with children. Why is it that they need to ask you for something they cannot have every 15 minutes, as if you have suddenly had a stroke and, along with it, a change of heart?...oh yes, I think we SHOULD eat chocolate cake and ice cream right now and watch a scary movie and get a gun to shoot people, yes, it is 7:30 in the morning but WHY NOT? Well, why not? Playing and eating are their job, no?
If there is one thing I can emphasize about successfully getting an entire family to eat Paleo, it is that you cannot serve what is not in your house. Just Don't Bring It Home (or Buy It While Your Out). Probably my other rule would be: Be Prepared, like a good scout. And maybe my last one would be, Feel the Craving, or Hear the Whining, and Serve Meat Anyway. But no, these are not meat scones.
My family is not unlike anyone else's - my five year old is especially good at, ahem, lobbying for his interests. What I realized after working through this with a few friends is that children are wired to request, and wired to desire, and it is part of my role as an authentic and loving leader in my home to help them work with that, maintain some order, and also recognize how grateful I am that my kids feel comfortable enough to tell me what they desire. If it's not ice cream or popcorn or hot chocolate (his three most requested foods, at all times of the day, anywhere) then it's video games (we don't play them), TV (we don't have it) or movies (again, rarely), guns (you must make your own weapons in this house if you want them) and an airplane trip to see Grandma (who has all these things, and bread). But even if I had all those things flowing through the house like a swollen creek, it would likely be another host of requests. I'm not saying I'm any better than he is - I spend a good deal of (wasted) time wanting what isn't really going to make my life much richer. I have my own monkey-mind list of wants that will drag me through a day if I forget to wake up! and acknowledge the inanity of my grasping, a cacophony of thingamajigs that my mind will quickly turn into needs if I don't take a minute or two to distance myself and count my blessings. My desires are just a little less sweet, maybe a little more expensive (peace and quiet, a minivan, a new bike helmet with hippy flowers on it like the one I just saw on that girl in the grocery store), and sometimes they are just as carnal (a breve cappuccino, a marathon session of Doc Martin-watching, a big glass of La Crema Pinot Noir). It wears a person down, this clamoring. Double-wears you when your own mind is doing it, and then your kids pipe in, too, and you still have to make breakfast.
All the more reason to put your feet up, pour a dark cup of coffee, and slather the grass-fed butter onto a wedge of crumbly deliciousness. On the Paleo scale of eat often or sometimes, this is a definite some-timer. Maple syrup and huge servings of nuts and dried fruit are borderline. But I tell you now: I'll take this over caving at the grocery store and buying my kids a pack of "gluten free" cookies that are full of crap I cannot pronounce nor explain from whence it came, and I'll take this when we have a Saturday morning family breakfast picnic and want to sweeten the deal, and I'll take this on those days when the Mama Bear in me wants to bake for her little cubs, and nuzzle their little necks, and just indulge in the whole primitively encoded ritual of nurturing my little bottomless-pit children with something fragrant from the oven.
A disclaimer: large volumes of raw nuts might bother that tummy. Don't believe me? Eat the whole batch and report back to me. Better yet, just share. I don't think we were intended to eat two cups of almond meal heaped with sugar in a sitting. Another alternative is to soak the nuts and then grind them yourself, or soak the meal, dry it, and then bake. Lord almighty, that sounds like a lot of work. I think I'd rather just not bake. Though I am soaking nuts more now in their whole form and am still learning from this process myself; I think the right answer might be the more spiritually mature one: restrain yourself from eating too much, and share what you have.
So here's the thing: make these on a day when someone you love is around to share, pull out the Kerrygold butter, pop in the Frog and Toad Are Friends audiobook (yes, I could recite it by heart now, I am sure) and enjoy your food. Let your monkey-mind go wild for awhile, let your mouth chew and lick and savor, then rein it all back in check and move through your day with a happy belly and a full heart.
Cinnamon Raisin Scones
2 c almond meal
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp pure maple syrup, grade B is fine (and no, this is not Aunt Jemima. Read your labels!)
1/2 c organic raisins
Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk the dry ingredients together, and make a well in the center. Add the syrup and egg, beat with a fork, and slowly incorporate all the dry with the wet. The texture will be sticky. Add the raisins in and turn the dough over until fully incorporated. Scrape the dough out onto a silicone mat or parchment paper lines baking dish. Form into a 1-inch thick round with a spatula (or your hands). Score into eighths with a serrated knife (this is to remind you to share) and sprinkle with a small dusting of additional cinnamon. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until golden on top. Let cool slightly before serving (I dare you to be able to wait, though). Ridiculous with a little butter but equally good plain.
Prep time: 5 minutes, Bake time: 20 minutes. Keeps two days in sealed container.
How do you feed the monkey mind?