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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

 


We absolute love this bread, made primarily from freshly ground wheat berries. (See the recipe below for details.) It is easily made with the help of my amazing Bosch machine, which mixes and kneads dough for six loaves of bread at a time. It's a happy day in my kitchen when I take time to make this bread. With just the two of us here now in this season of life, the six loaves last for weeks, with enough to share, as well.

After a break of a few months (summer days, and also several trips), I had a bread making day again in October. I made two batches of this bread, so besides the loaf of bread set out for that week, I could put 11 loaves in the freezer for the coming weeks/months for us, and also to share. 

We love this bread for sandwiches, or to have a slice with a soup meal, and also to use for toast. We think it is especially delicious and tasty when toasted. After you get a taste of this bread, it is really hard to buy purchased bread. There is no comparison.



Ingredients:

7 cups water, hot
1 cup oil
1 cup honey
2 Tbsp dough enhancer
1/4 cup gluten
2 Tbsp salt
6 Tbsp yeast
12 cups flour, freshly ground
10 cups additional flour (more or less, as needed)


Directions:

1. Grind 8 or 9 cups of wheat berries in Whisper Mill; enough to produce 12 cups of flour. Measure the 12 cups and set aside.

2. In another bowl, set aside 10 additional cups of flour: I use 3 cups of white whole wheat flour + 4 cups of unbleached flour. (If there is any extra of the freshly ground flour, use it in place of some of the white whole wheat flour.)

3. Microwave the oil and honey together before starting; also set the yeast out on counter to come to room temperature.

4. Put all ingredients in Bosch bowl, up through the 12 cups of flour, with the yeast on top. Pulse until the flour is completely moistened.

5. Knead on speed 1 while adding the additional flour. Add only enough flour until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Turn to speed 2 and knead for 4-5 minutes.

6. Grease counter (or my green dough mat), set the dough on the mat, cover with a tea towel, and rest for 20 minutes.

7. After the 20 minutes, slam the dough on counter seven times (to get rid of air bubbles), shape into a round shape; and cut into 6 equal pieces.

8. Slam each piece another 7 times, and shape, placing in greased bread pans.

9. Bread Loaves - set in pans and put on counter (covered with tea towel) to rise until doubled in size. 

10. Place in preheated oven (350 degrees), and bake for 35 minutes.

Hamburger Buns - shape one of the six portions of dough into 8 pieces; press down firmly on a greased jelly roll pan. Brush with egg-wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water or milk) and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let rise until doubled and bake about 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown.

Dinner Rolls - shape each portion into 11-12 pieces; place in a greased round pan. Brush with egg-wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let rise until doubled and bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Hoagie Buns - shape each portion into 2 long pieces (or more pieces for smaller hoagies); place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg-wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let rise until doubled and bake for about 15 minutes.

Cinnamon Rolls - I also use this dough recipe for my Cinnamon Rolls that I make each Christmas season, using one of the six portions for a 9x13 pan of cinnamon rolls. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

In the Kitchen: Flatbread Pizza, Zucchini Bread & Muffins, & Pumpkin Brownies

I love to try new recipes, even after 49 years of marriage and of cooking for those I love!



Here's one I tried recently for lunch! We really loved this! I tweaked it a bit from the original, but made it as written for the most part. I used some naan flatbread that I had in the freezer from Sam's. Olive oil, shredded chicken mixed with pesto, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, spinach and basil leaves = delicious!
Look for “Pesto Chicken Caprese Flatbread” at tastesbetterfromscratch.com


Using some of the zucchini from our garden, I tried a few new recipes, including this Banana-Zucchini Bread recipe.


Another new recipe using zucchini was these Zucchini Muffins.


Click here for this yummy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies recipe. Another new recipe I tried this fall!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Whatever the Season, Whatever the Circumstance



I love the seasons. And some are my favorite, like autumn. There is just so much beauty in this season! I wish these days could go on and on, forever.

And I also love it when life goes smoothly, and the beauty and joy just spills out onto everything. I wish for days that are peaceful, beautiful, and trouble-free. I don't like stress.

But what if we could train our eyes and our hearts to see beauty on any day, even on the hard days?

"When it seems as though you are facing nothing
but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity
to experience the greatest joy that you can."
(James 1:2 TPT)

"Every time we face anything that causes us to cry out to God, let's declare that this hard time will be a holy time, a close-to-God time."
(Lysa Terkeurst)

What we keep our eyes on, where our hearts rest, what our focus is on ... determines our joy. A hard day and difficult times may be just what we need, to turn to the true source of joy. Joy that doesn't need perfect circumstances. For joy is available always, a gift from our faithful, loving God. I am continually learning this, over and over. And it is true.

"The crucial detail for us to have peace
 in the midst of everything we face
 is to stay close to the Lord."
(Lysa Terkeurst)


(The last two quotes above are from Lysa Terkeurst's book It's Not Supposed to Be This Way. I just finished reading this, and highly recommend it.)


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

In the Kitchen: Dehydrating Herbs


I love my herb garden, and did not know till the past few years how amazing it is to have fresh herbs to use. You can click here to see a glimpse of the herb garden we've had for two summers now, located right outside the patio door in our kitchen/dining room. It's so handy to just take a few steps from the patio to clip a few herbs as I'm preparing a meal.

And just a few months ago, we got the idea to purchase a dehydrator with some gift money we received, to try out drying some of the herbs for winter use! 


Here's a tray of freshly picked basil leaves, on the trays and ready to be dried.


I followed the recommendation of a garden blogger to purchase this dehydrator, and have been quite pleased so far! It came with four trays, with the option to purchase more in the future.


It will be fun to use the dried basil, rosemary, and spearmint through this fall and winter. And I look forward to learning more about dehydrating other herbs, also veggies and fruit in the coming months/years.


So very thankful for our herb garden, and also for these dried herbs to use throughout the coming months!


NOTE: It's been a bit quiet here on my blog for the past month or two. We've been transitioning into retirement these past few months, and have been focusing on other things. We've also been very blessed to go on two recent trips ... a 15-day trip with kindred heart friends of ours, and then another trip to visit family in TX! And now, during this beautiful season of fall, I'm back here with another post! With more coming soon ...

Friday, August 21, 2020

How are Your Roots this Summer?


How does growth come to a plant? How did these cucumber plants grow to overflowing our garden this year?


How did these sage, basil, parsley (and more) herb plants grow so lush this summer? Producing so bountifully that this is the year that I am trying out preserving them with my new dehydrator?



And these impatience flowers on our patio, how did they grow to be so beautiful, overflowing their planter, filling us with their beauty each day?

And how about me, and how about you ... how are we doing this summer?

It has probably been the most unusual time of our lives for each of us. We've gone through five months now of a global pandemic with all the repercussions that have affected many or all of us in some way or another. And on top of all that, just when we were maybe starting to catch our breath, we have seen unrest on our streets. And in our land.

How are we doing with all this? Is it possible to not only survive, but also to thrive and grow, even in the midst of this intense heat?

I've been reminded often. I've needed to be reminded often. That bitterness, anger, and complaining do not bring results, and do not bring the beauty that we all long for in our lives. Bitterness and anger lead to more bitterness and anger. We've seen that happening.

There is a better way. In our efforts to help, to survive these challenging times, and in our need to be healthy and productive, we need to be sure to nurture the soil of our hearts. Daily, each day. To let our roots grow down to keep us strong.

Let your roots grow down into Him,
and let your lives be built on Him.
Then your faith will grow strong
in the truth you were taught,
and you will overflow with thankfulness.
(Colossians 2:7 NLT)


But how does this happen; what is it that feeds our roots, and what brings growth?

I have found that it is in the daily, in the moment-by-moment living of our days ... turning towards the Son, reaching towards the life-giving water. Picking up His Words, reading with our minds and our hearts; pausing, responding, receiving His love. To pause, be still, and receive.


To be still is to receive.
To faithfully pause, to soak up His love and His Grace.
The soaking up, the receiving, is what brings growth.
To still our souls is to open the door to receive.
To be what we were created to be.
To grow into something beautiful.
By His power alone.
Becoming beautiful and fruitful. For Him.


It's what I see in our gardens; our veggie garden, our herb garden, our flower pots on our patio. I see stillness. A receiving. A depending on the Creator to bring the growth.

But blessed are those 
who trust in the Lord, 
and have made the Lord 
their hope and confidence.

They are like trees planted
along a riverbank
with roots that reach 
deep into the water.

Such trees are not bothered
by the heat or worried
by long months of drought.

Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop
producing fruit.

(Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT)



Lord, may our roots grow down into Your Truth, Your Words, each day.
May we rest, even in the midst of the heat, 
as Your Words settle down into the deepest places of our hearts.
May our roots be strong, and our fruit be honoring to You,
bringing beauty and growth that will spread to a needy world.   


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

 

We have had an overflowing harvest of cucumbers in our garden this summer! It seems that many others are having the same experience in their gardens, too. 

In fact, it seemed by mid-July that our cucumbers (planted on the north end of our 10 x 30 foot veggie garden space), were on their way to take over the entire garden. We decided to put up a wire garden fence, stopping their path right before they overtook the tomato plants (in the foreground in the photo above). You can see the multitude of yellow flowers on the cucumber plants! 

We've been picking cucumbers for about four weeks now, and I knew I needed to try to preserve some of them. I ended up preserving about 23 small containers of cucumbers ... about half were put in the refrigerator, and the other half I've put in the freezer.

Click here for the Easy Refrigerator Pickles recipe that I used from Taste of Home (recommended to me by one of our sweet daughters). Several of the comments with the recipe mentioned that they do very well in the freezer, so besides using them as refrigerator pickles, I'm trying out the freezer option this year, as well. (Note: I did double the amount of brine suggested, just as our daughter also did, and as others had mentioned in their review of the recipe.)

They are really delicious, and have already been adding a tasty touch to some of our summer meals. We especially like using them on sandwiches that we often have for lunch.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

My Daily Delight


Make God the utmost
delight and pleasure of your life,
and He will provide for you
what you desire the most.
(Psalm 37:4 TPT)

Lord, may You be my delight
above all else, today ...
may I keep You always
before me, all through this day,
filling my heart with Your truth,
and Your unfailing love.

In the midst of all this day
will bring, may You be my
utmost delight, all by Your
grace and power alone.

I have always loved this verse,
and sometimes, reading it in 
a new translation brings even
deeper clarity ... may Psalm 37:4
be an encouragement to you
today, as well.

(Photo taken on our Pacific Coast Trip 2016)