Friday, February 24, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread

I made bread last Saturday!
It turned out quite well. I would like to continue making bread at least a couple of times a month. This recipe made three loaves, and Mark and I are only partly way loaf #2 by the end of the week. It freezes well in the meantime.
I got the recipe from Dorothy. Thank you, dear friend! Here's the recipe I used from her:

Dorothy's (Half) Whole Wheat Bread recipe (from Michelle)

50% Whole Wheat Bread

3 C warm water
1/2 cup honey (or 2/3 cup sugar)
2 Tbsp dry yeast
4 Cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 cup salad oil
2/3 cup dry powdered milk
4 cups white flour

Combine warm water, honey and yeast in a large bowl. Let set until yeast dissolves (about 5 minutes). Add whole wheat flour, salt, oil, and pwd. milk. Stir well. Add white flour gradually. When fairly stiff, place on floured counter top and knead in the rest of the white flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place ingreased bowl, turn over so that both sides are greased. Cover and let rise until double in bulk (1- 1 1/2 hours). Divide into three loaves, place in greased pans, cover, and let rise again until tops of loaves peek over tops of pans. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Rub tops with margarine for soft crust after taking loaves out of pans.

Dorothy’s notes:
If you have access to Gluten Flour, adding 1/4 cup to the mix will help create a less crumbly texture in the bread. Since I always have ground flaxseed around, we almost always add a handful of that, too. Here’s my trick for a faster rise: Put a damp washcloth into the microwave and turn it on high for 1-2 minutes. You have just created a warm, steamy room. Quickly place your pan of dough inside (on top of the damp cloth) and shut the door. (You won’t need to cover the dough). In this environment your bread will rise almost twice as fast. After baking, take the bread out of the pans right away to cool. I used to put margarine on the tops, too, but have learned it isn’t necessary. After removing the bread from the pans I just set them on a big towel and wrap the edges of the towel over the bread. The crust softens nicely.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Some time ago I read about this video.

I finally tried it out this week. Amazing.

No really, you ought to try it. I did, and I honestly felt like a new woman afterwards.

Give yourself the gift of 15 uninterrupted minutes.

So, so deeply relaxing. Mmmmmm...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

To be a little girl again...

I got to spend a couple of days with my parents. I felt like a precious, treasured little girl again. Sometimes my life gets so hectic and crazy, with so many responsibilities. What a gift to have someone fussing over me, reminding me how to do things. I felt pampered and a little girl again, but only in all the very best ways.

For example...

When they pick me up at the airport, they make sure I ride "shot gun" in the front seat. Mom sits in the back so I can have the honored place in the car. Dad does a dry run drive to the site of my seminar in the morning. He wants to make sure I can find my way, and he stops at the hotel where my seminar will be held so I can go in and find out where to park.

Their home is small, so I sleep in the "guest house," their travel trailer. At bedtime, when I head out the door to my little hideaway, my mother asks me if I have a flashlight. No, I assure her there is plenty of moonlight and I'm only walking 30 feet across the driveway to the trailer. Dad doesn't pester me about a flashlight, but he follows me out the front door and stands on the porch to make sure I arrive safely.

When I need to borrow their car to drive to my seminar in Spokane (the reason I got to go visit them in the first place), Dad makes sure the car is filled with gas. He gives me a hand-drawn map to make sure I know how to get to the highway. I almost remind him that Mark and I have driven that route a number of times, but I feel so precious and protected that I only tell him thank you, and I'll be careful to go the right way. Mom packs a lunch for me.

For crying out loud, I am 57 years old and almost in tears at their tenderness. I wish we didn't live so far apart. I wish I could take care of them sometimes. But I am thrilled at their independence and zest for every day. I love being their daughter. I love the way they raised me. And sometimes, just for a couple of days, I am so blessed to be their little girl again.

They live in the mountains north of Spokane. It's a 9-hour drive away from us (I flew this time). Even though I wish they didn't live so far away, I completely understand their love of this beautiful area. This is the view they see every day.

 Most of their heat comes from the wood stove. They haul, split, and stack their wood themselves. Great exercise! Dad brings more wood from the shed to the house every day.

Dad has rigged up his "Rube Goldberg contraption" to get the wheelbarrow up onto the porch. That takes good balance and eye-hand coordination...muscles, too!

Mom and I posed for a minute in front of Dad's woodpile on the porch.

 They have a beautiful, iconic barn on the hillside behind their home. On Saturday morning, the snow-covered pasture called to me, beckoning me outside to play! The neighboring rancher has installed a gate in the fence behind their house into the hillside meadow, so it was easy to slip through and go for a little hike.

 The snow was perfect for an outing. Just crunchy enough to not be slushy, but not icy or slippery. What a glorious day!

From the barn, looking back down on Mom and Dad's "ranch" - the green roofs in the center of the photo. It makes me breathe more peacefully to just look at this photo and remember the view, the beautiful valleys and mountains, and the tender visit I had with my parents.