Life's Secret Ingredient

The container of mascarpone cheese unexpectedly captured my attention in the grocery store and got me thinking about baking some scones.

During my cooking class in Italy this summer, we whipped up the filling for tiramisu with mascarpone cheese and it tasted so good I wondered what mascarpone cheese would be like in a scone — or maybe even on a scone.

I haven’t done much baking lately since I’m waiting for some sort of divine inspiration to assemble my bulging file of recipes into the new notebook I bought in Atlanta last year.

And since I can't organize all my scone recipes, I certainly can't bake any scones, can I? 

But I've missed whipping something up in my kitchen, so last weekend despite the fact that my recipes are still a mess, I became inspired to bake again.

When I spied a lemon and a container of raspberries in my refrigerator, I decided to concoct lemon-raspberry-mascarpone-cheese scones. I looked a recipe up online and subtracted some heavy cream to add my cheese. The photos of the scones looked so promising.

I was quite hopeful this would be my new favorite flavor. 

But the first bite out of the oven left me underwhelmed. 

And hungry for something more. 

Maybe it's more of what God has for me?

Sometimes I feel as if I’m too far down the road of life to have so many questions. The only questions I should have at this stage of my life should be about maximizing my retirement account contributions. 

But until I figure that out, I have to believe I should keep trying different recipes to discover the direction to head for the next chapter of my life.

And prayer just might be the secret ingredient.

Not just the watch-over-me and help-me kind of prayers I've prayed most of my life. 

Prayers that compel me to show up, even when I don’t feel like it. That require a little discipline to persevere and not grow tired when it seems there’s not an answer after a few days. {Or months or years.}

And I’m saying new prayers, too.

I take God’s words already written in scripture and pray them back to him just to reassure my heart that he is working all things for my good, all the time, even when I can’t see exactly what he’s doing.
When God moves like only he can do, he stirs up our lives and changes everything. 
But more than anything, he changes me.

He steadies my insecurities and anchors me.

He holds my disappointments and satisfies me.

He handles my fears and calms me.

He sees my frustrations and encourages me.

He captures my heart and loves me.

{Maybe you would like an infusion of prayer for what’s gotten a little stale in your marriage, your job, your friendships and your relationship with God?}

Start with praying his words -- any words in scripture that talk about his nature, his promises, his love -- back to him. And see if it becomes your secret ingredient.

So the final verdict on my raspberry-lemon-mascarpone scones was that the flavors were quite delicious but the dough was far too dense. 

I packed them up and took them to my coworkers {who will dunk just about anything in their coffee}. 

Next time I’ll try a different dough recipe. 

If I can only find one in my recipe book. 

But I’m on the cusp of a three-day weekend and I’m feeling the spark to organize my dessert recipes. 

Besides, my niece Devon has been asking me if she can bring over her American Girl doll Grace {the doll who travels to Paris and runs a baking business} so we can make a French dessert {for Grace, I presume} in my baking kitchen.

I wonder if I have a recipe for lemon-raspberry-mascarpone macarons? 

I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart.


  1. Good morning, friend ...

    I'm always refreshed when I share a few moments with you. Spiritually challenged or caused to smile or my borders stretched just a bit more?

    The best kind of relationship. Even if it is online ...

    Hugs to you!

    1. Linda,
      So grateful when you stop in and visit - -if only we could enjoy coffee and a scone -- but then again, maybe not, since I can't seem to find a scone worthy of serving any of my friends! Here's to perseverance! :)

  2. ohhhh I so wanted those scones to turn out better-- you had my mouth watering!!! I love this Valerie!! I have been spicing up my prayer time (at your suggestion I might add...!) with a little more prayer because I think you're right-- it's our secret ingredient and our secret weapon. I hope you have a Wednesday as sweet as you are! Thanks for sharing an encouraging word as only you can! ♥♥♥
    P.S. And yes I followed your train of thought perfectly on the lack of organization precluding any such creativity in the kitchen... have you been looking at the messy stack all my own hidden in the cabinet above the stove...????!!! it's precisely why we keep eating the same 3 meals over and over and over for dinner....! xo

    1. Heather,
      You and me both! My quest for the perfect scone recipe never ends -- but maybe that's the fun of the pursuit! I love it that you also have a messy space in your kitchen but you are far beyond me because you are actually preparing 3 meals for dinner -- I think that is an amazing accomplishment! :)

  3. The scone flavors were amazing. So the dough was dense, but the flavor was perfect (and I ate about four!). In life, sometimes we are rough on the outside but sweet on the inside; we appear different than we actually are. Your scones were exactly the same. And isn't what's on the inside that really matters? I'd take those scones any day of the week, dense and all. And because you're right on one other note, a little coffee makes everything even better!

    1. You are making me laugh, Bree! {Oops I forgot my coworkers sometimes read my blog!} I'm glad you are willing to try all failures from my baking test kitchen -- and your talent for looking on the bright side sure makes the scones sound better than they were! :) And yes, coffee makes everything WAY better! {Pumpkin spice season, here we come!} Pumpkin scone anyone??

  4. Valerie- We just watched Grace!! my girls love American Girl dolls and the movies are fun-( if they had had them when I was little I would have been so into them too!!) My littlest was curious about the macaroons too - they were so pretty she wasn't sure if you could eat them!! I have also been working on using scripture in my prayers- rewriting them in my own words-it has been really good- a way of receiving for me- and like you said a secret ingredient! I like that thought! :) I wish I could sample your scones :) they sound yummy! Thanks for this beautiful post and for encouraging me and pushing me towards more of Him! with much love

    1. Susie,
      I love that about your girls and the dolls! My niece even went to a party where they all dressed as their dolls -- it was a great opportunity for her to wear her French beret! I agree with your littlest that the macarons are pretty -- but I'm not a huge fan of them since I think they look better than they taste. Some bakeries are better than others! And you are too sweet about wishing to sample my scones -- some day I will discover the best recipe, I'm sure -- but until then I'll keep trying!

  5. Oh if you need an amp in the baking dept come to my house. The best thing I have ever made is break apart cookies! I try and try to make breads from scratch but underwhelmed is how I feel too. Zuchinni bread and banana bread still elude me. I LOVE scones and have never braved them on my own, so we must some day in your baking kitchen! Enjoy the American "girl" time. Tell Devon I had the original Samantha. Jenn

    1. Jenn,
      We must be on a quest to discover the bets scone recipe -- wouldn't that be fun?! But oh -- I have the BEST recipe for zucchini bread -- from Pittsburgh and I will have to share it with you -- so easy! :) Aren't the dolls fun? I love watching Devon with hers!

  6. Valerie, I see you are still practicing recipes for scones with a bit of your original revision. From your coworker's comment, I have a feeling your scones taste better than you will admit. :) I love the secret ingredient to life. I, too, have been trying more to pray God's Word as I read.

    1. Trudy,
      I think I will ever be practicing scone recipes but today I discovered my favorite scone from Target boxed in a mix -- maybe this will be the answer to my scone dilemma! :)

  7. You know Valerie, I KNOW to pray God's word. I just forget sometimes! Thanks so much for this yummy reminder!

    1. Ellen,
      So nice to have see you around here again and hear your encouraging thoughts!

  8. Oh, this has me in tears. I really thought I knew how the life of a good little Christian girl would turn out. But it's just not going as planned. I wonder why about so many things, and I feel so lacking in purpose. I simply love your blog and it speaks to me everytime I read it. Thanks, keep writing. The scones sound yummy.

    1. Debbie,
      Oh old friend your words about my blog are so encouraging to me - - you have no idea! But your words about your life are touching my heart tonight and I'm praying for you. And I'm right there with you with so many questions and lack of purpose but when we do not know what to do, we can look to him (I love that story in Chronicles when the king prays for the people saying the only thing they can do is keep their eyes are on God) and know that he promises to walk alongside us AND lead the way, which seems counterintuitive, how can he do both? But he does and he will. Praying for you! xoxo

    2. Popping back over to read this. Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement!

  9. Funny how when we start really praying, God shows up in a whole new way. Can't wait to hear where He takes you (and what dessert you make next!)

    1. Sarah,
      Prayer is so mysterious, that's for sure! And as for dessert, I might just give up on the perfect scone from scratch!

  10. Hi Valerie, I like this secret ingredient. I was wondering what it was and as I read through like waiting hungrily for a surprise, PRAYER thats the Key.

    Beautiful suspense friend and well composed.
    God Bless

    1. Ifeoma,
      Oh your words are so kind! Love having you here with your words of encouragement!


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