I woke up at 1am this morning, fully convinced it was time to wake up. All of a sudden I was wide awake in the dark, just waiting for the alarm to go off. After a couple minutes, I finally checked the time only to discover that if I was to wait for the alarm, I would be waiting five long hours.
See, this is what happens when the seasons change. My alarm is back to buzzing in the dark at 6am, without a hint of dawn. This is always a tough transition coming off the summer months’ where I was awoken every morning to a sunshiney Disney-esque tableau (birds singing me out of bed, woodland creatures helping me do my make-up, etc). Any time I do wake up in the middle of the night (and I do this a lot thanks to general insomniac issues and a natural predisposition towards needing less-than-average amounts of sleep), I am pretty disoriented.
To make matters worse, once I am awake, I am AWAKE. My brain is ready to rock and roll, it’s jumping all over the place. Breathe deeply, clear your mind, enter a meditative state, count sheep for godssakes…
Noooo! It’s time to PARTAAAAAYYY!!
Ugh. Some things never change.
My mum still rags on my with stories about how I didn’t sleep through the night until I was four years old. She would rock me gently, sing to me, snuggle me, and then- just when she thought I has dozed off- would check my expression in the mirror, peering at my little eyes over her shoulder and… NOPE. READY TO PARTY.
My great-grandmother was also like this. She just… didn’t need a lot of sleep to function. Both her and I operate pretty well off of four hours of sleep or so a night. I know, I know, those people who need a lot of sleep hate me right now. But it’s a double edged sword! It means that while all of you are merrily snoozing in la-la land I’m sitting awake in bed like this. Bored in the dark.
Do I watch something on my laptop? No, then I’ll never get to sleep. I always heard about how the blue light coming off our devices is messing with our sleep schedules. If my melatonin levels are rapidly plummeting anyway, the last thing I need is a blue light in my eyes.
… read? Reading usually puts me back to sleep. But I don’t have a book on the go at the moment. I could re-read one of my favourites, but that would involve going downstairs to the bookshelf, and if I go through the effort to get up and walk downstairs, I am definitely going to wake up even more.
Do I think of blogging ideas? Get up and do something productive? I nudge my dog, Hannah, in her bed and even she is too conked out to want to play or snuggle. She opens one eye just a crack and gives me her best ‘please go away’ look. (which I will throw back in her face when she wakes me up to pee at 5:30am)
Some nights I wait in the dark until boredom or anxiety sets in (it’s funny how much the mind can race directly to every stressful thing in your life at 2am), and then finally cave and pull out the laptop. Netflix to the rescue.
If I’m lucky, as I was last night, I will wait and wait and wait and then finally doze back off. This second stage of sleep starts the sleep cycle all over again, so it’s usually fraught with vivid and bizarre dreams but hey- at least I’m asleep!
Last night one just one of those lucky nights. Unfortunately… right, that sleep cycle. The average person’s sleep cycle looks a bit like this. You cycle through the stages of sleep every few hours. This means that for a recommended 8-hour sleep, you cycle through 4 full cycles. This is supposed to be really good for your brain. I even heard of a recent study that claims your lymphatic system literally ‘rinses’ the brain of toxins during this cycle, preventing disease and other problems.
Of course, if your sleep cycles are interrupted, or if you typically wake up after just two cycles like I do… things can get a little wonky. Instead of waking up at the end of your last cycle, where your body is naturally coming out of sleep (stage 1 or 2), you wake up from the alarm right smack-dab in the middle of stage 4. This is what causes grogginess and a general ‘ugggghhh’ feeling in the morning. Like I felt, this morning!
So, for mornings like that. When your sleep cycle is all gummed up, or maybe you’re just finding the transition from summer daylight to fall darkness a little trying… scones. Cheesy, bacony, fluffy, moist scones.
I add a bunch of grated apple to my scones because, not only does the apple flavour work really well with both cheddar and bacon, but it’s also a great way of working some extra fibre into your breakfast. Doesn’t hurt that it makes these little pillows of morning happy extra moist.
Finally, I skipped the traditional stick of butter in this recipe in lieu of an alternate technique using a couple scant spoonfuls of residual bacon fat. We’re getting enough heartiness from the cheese and bacon in this recipe, we don’t need to weigh you down with extra butter, too.
|Cheddar Bacon Scones with Apple & Chives|| |
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 Tbsp chives, chopped
- 5 rashers smoky bacon, cooked and chopped
- 2 Tbsp bacon fat, cooled but not solid
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1¼ cups milk
- 1 cup apple (peeled and cored), grated
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, ground pepper and baking powder. Add the grated cheese and cooked, chopped bacon and toss to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, Dijon mustard and bacon fat until well combined. Add grated apple and chives and stir to combine
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a fork, mix until just combined. If the mixture is too dry, add an additional splash of milk.
- Press the dough out on a flat, clean, floured surface. Do not use a rolling pin for this as it may prevent the scones from rising. Once it is ¼ inch thick, fold the dough over on itself once. This will give the finished scones a classic 'break' in the middle so they will split easily (to drizzle butter on!).
- Cut your scones out using a round cutter or the edge of a large glass. Lay scones on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until risen and golden brown.