We have a story called On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer, in which the reader is taken around the world to see what is happening on the same day in March. This week we've been reminded of a page that describes the disappearing snow of March.

Just when you can't even remember spring,
that wild Chinook blows in like a dragon,
and quicker than you can say Medicine Hat,
the biggest snow fort ever
is nothing but a dragon-shaped patch
in somebody's backyard.

On the same day in March..."

Above is our dragon-shaped patch in the backyard.

I've been cooking and baking, more out of necessity than enjoyment. I do enjoy it, so I'm not going to complain. I regularly make muffins using roasted butternut squash, whole wheat flour, flaxseed and wheat germ because they make excellent breakfast fare at our home, particularly for one of my children who does well with the additional fiber. To make the muffins, I start by roasting, gutting and pureeing a squash, and I go from there.

I also made some bread yesterday. I didn't plan to, but I went to the grocery store and stopped first at the deli to get Jeff some sliced turkey, and then I planned to stop at the bakery to pick up a loaf of bread for sandwiches. The woman at the bakery seems to love to snicker at me for getting the bread in just the paper bag, without the plastic bag too. When I stopped at the deli, I asked the gentleman behind the counter if he could wrap it in paper instead of plastic and he honestly had no idea what I was talking about. By the looks of him, he was 65+ years old, and I cannot believe that he has never seen deli meat wrapped in paper in his lifetime! After that long discussion, I didn't have the stamina to get the bread at the bakery, so I decided to make some. Homemade is always so much better anyway, at least in my home. So, I made some oatmeal-honey-whole wheat bread. The ingredient list was RICH. I would never make is as an everyday bread because it calls for all of the things that are just so extravagant for a standard bread recipe: milk, honey, butter and an egg wash. Good bread can be made from just flour, water and salt! But at the time, I saw this recipe and knew it would be a success, so I went with it. If I were to make it again, which is unlikely except for a special occasion, I would use less yeast and more salt. Salt will bring out the flavor of the bread, but it also makes it tougher, so there's a fine line that you have to walk there. I used rice milk and Smart Balance instead of milk and butter, and I omitted the egg wash because 'A' is allergic to eggs.

Here is the recipe:

Oatmeal Wheat Bread

2 cups whole milk
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking) plus additional for topping
1/2 cup warm water (105-115°F)
2 tablespoons active dry yeast (from 3 packages)
1/2 cup mild honey
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for buttering pans
3 cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour
About 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
Vegetable oil for oiling bowl
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Heat milk in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over low heat until hot but not boiling, then remove pan from heat and stir in oats. Let stand, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooled to warm.

Stir together water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon honey in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Stir yeast mixture, melted butter, and remaining honey into cooled oatmeal.

Stir together whole-wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add oat mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead with floured hands, adding just enough of remaining unbleached flour to keep from sticking, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes (dough will be slightly sticky). Form dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel; let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Lightly butter loaf pans. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf, then place 1 loaf in each buttered pan, seam side down, tucking ends gently to fit. Cover loaf pans loosely with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly brush tops of loaves with some of egg wash and sprinkle with oats, then bake until bread is golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. (Remove 1 loaf from pan to test for doneness. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen.)

Remove bread from pans and transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

That's not all. I've been moving toward a meat-free diet without really focusing on it (I never liked meat when I was younger, so all I'm really doing is coming back to my authentic eating preferences). I need to add some protein to our daily diet, so today I decided to use up some things I had in the cupboard and in the fridge by making a batch of quinoa-red bean burgers. Not bad. Our kids didn't like them, even after we renamed them "Princess Patties". But they did like the french fries I made (oh yeah, I made the best, bestest french fries EVER today!).

Click here for the french fry recipe. I used organic Yukon Gold potatoes and they were just unbelievable!


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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!