Thursday, April 7, 2011

Baking Fun and Goodness

Today there was sun, snow, rain, hail, more snow, more hail, and then just cold, damp skies. It felt like the world needed a little bit of homemade bread...or at least I did. I Googled "best easy bread recipes" and found one on called Simple Whole Wheat Bread that looked and sounded delicious (how can you go wrong with a recipe that calls for lots of butter and honey?) So right after the kids woke up from their nap we decided to have an afternoon of baking fun! I didn't know if they would be interested or not, but as you'll see...they got quite involved:)

After I mixed the warm water, yeast, honey, and flour together, I let the babies try some honey. Let's just say Oliver licked every spot of honey off of his sticky little hands, and Audrey licked the spoon and somehow got her hands on the measuring cup I had used for the honey and licked that clean too. I think they liked it. Meanwhile, Gracie was eating her chicken and green beans like a good girl:)

As I was mixing the whole wheat flour into my bubbly, gooey dough I realized that making bread is messy business. I forgot to flour my hands before pulling the dough out to knead which made my hands a sticky mess, the countertops were well-floured, and I had a tower of dirty dishes (a tribute to my baking endeavor) in my sink. I secretly hoped it would be phenomenal bread that would take my breath away and make me never want to purchase store-bought bread again as to somehow justify the effort and mess.

While I baked, the little ones decided to pull all of my bakeware out of the drawer beneath the oven and slide them around the hardwood floors running as fast as they could and randomly crashing into things. I wonder if they thought that was what I was doing? Do they equate the word "baking" with loud crashing tin and a huge mess in the kitchen? I guess that's not too far off...

Since the whole process took over 3 hours, I had to put the babies to bed before the loaves came out of the oven. I brushed the tops with butter and was absolutely amazed at how beautiful they all looked! I let them cool for about 7 minutes (I couldn't wait a second longer), turned them out of their pans, cut a slice, and you know what? They were phenomenal. And the first thought that crossed my mind just happened to be how utterly scrumptious my homemade bread was and how I've never tasted anything so warm, chewy, and delicious in my entire life. I won't rule out stale, prepackaged, store-bought bread completely - :) - but I think I just may make bread making a monthly tradition in our home.

Simple Whole Wheat Bread
Time: About 3 hours
Yield: 3 beautiful loaves


  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
  2. Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
  3. Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely

Creative Ways to Decorate with Tea Cups...

While searching for instructions on how to grow plants in tea cups, I found this article with even more creative ways to use them whether they be old, mismatched, or even chipped! A dear friend of mine makes lovely birthday/housewarming gifts by collecting unique coffee cups, small bowls, and tea cups at thrift shops and yard sales, and then transforming them into little decorative planters by adding soil and a small plant! (#3 below gives further directions on how to properly grow plants in a teacup) So pull those old tea cups out of your cupboards and turn them into something lovely and practical this very afternoon!


    • 1

      For a creative and dainty candle holder, place a tea light or small votive candle inside a tea cup. Trim the wick and light to bring instant ambiance to any room. Add one to the bathroom, dining room, living room, or master and guest bedrooms.

    • 2

      Place a 1 cup scoop of your favorite scented potpourri into a tea cup to freshen a bathroom, kitchen or laundry room.

    • 3

      Turn a kitchen or garden-style (bay) window into a miniature flower or herb garden using three or four mismatched tea cups and saucers. Simply add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of small pebbles to the bottom of the tea cup. These will provide your plants with needed drainage. Then add about ½ to 1 cup of potting soil on top of the pebbles. Place 3 to 4 seeds or 1 young plant. such as an African Violet, Baby Tears, Ivy or any kitchen herb, into the soil. Water lightly and place in a windowsill receiving filtered sunlight.

    • 4

      Display a collection of shells or buttons in a tea cup.

    • 5

      Tie an 8 to 10 inch piece of thin (1/4 to 1 inch width) ribbon to the tea cup's handle and make a bow. For added interest, tie a small silver spoon to the ribbon as well, or simply rest the spoon on the saucer.

    • 6

      Use a pretty patterned tea cup on your dresser to collect loose change or earrings.

    • 7

      Place an elegant tea cup (or two) on a desk to hold paper clips, tacks or stamps in style.

    • 8

      Use a fancy tea cup in a bathroom to display small decorative soaps, cotton balls or bath beads.

      article found at:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good Earth Tea's "Tag You're It" Quote Winners!

A few months ago I composed an original inspirational quote for Good Earth Tea and entered it in their "Tag You're It" competition. Last month they contacted me to let me know that my quote had been selected and would be printed on the tags of their Sweet and Spicy Tea along with the other 24 winning quotes. This week they published the winning quotes on their website which can be viewed and enjoyed at: