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Sunflower Oatmeal Bread

My husband loves sandwiches made on sunflower bread at a local diner. When we discovered the owner ships the bread all the way from New York to North Carolina (therefore justifying the extra charge for the sunflower sandwiches), I thought, “Couldn’t they just make their own, save shipping and serve fresher slices?” With only a little time online, I found a delicious recipe that might not be exactly like its New York counterpart, but this bread receives rave reviews at our house.

Here’s the recipe:
SUNFLOWER OATMEAL BREAD
1 1/4 C warm water
1 package dry yeast
pinch sugar
1 1/4 C warm buttermilk
1/4 Cup honey
2 T molasses
2 T melted butter
1 1/3 C whole-wheat flour
1 C regular rolled oats
3/4 C sunflower seeds
1 egg, beaten (and divided)
2 t salt
5 cups plain flour (approximately)

In a medium, non-metal mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Let mixture stand for five to ten minutes while you mix together the buttermilk, honey, molasses, and butter. (When I warm the buttermilk in a two-cup measuring cup in the microwave, I add the butter to save a step. Then I add the honey and molasses.)

In another bowl,combine the whole-wheat flour, oats, seeds, and salt. Pour in about half of the egg. You’ll use the rest of the egg later.) Combine the buttermilk, yeast, and flour mixtures. Mix with an electric mixer at medium for three minutes.

Add several cups of the plain flour, and then move dough onto a floured work surface. Knead the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and elastic–about five minutes.

Cover the dough with a lint-free towel, and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Its size should have almost doubled.

Punch down the dough, shape into three equal, round loaves. Place loaves onto greased baking sheets. (I use baking stones.) Cover and let rise again for about thirty minutes. Brush the tops with the remaining egg.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty to thirty-five minutes. Cool on cooling racks before serving.

The whole process takes around three hours and uses several kitchen tools, but the bread is wonderful and worth all the bother. It’s not too sweet even with the honey and molasses, so it’s perfect for savory sandwiches. I like it toasted with peanut butter and blueberries for breakfast or with a smear of lemon ginger jam.

If you can’t use all the bread at once, freeze one or two loaves.

Try this bread. You’ll be happy you did!

 

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My go-to recipe especially for the fall is one I found in the Three Rivers Cookbook Volume I. It’s called Burger Bundles, and it is one of the most requested dishes in our house. I’m making it today, in fact. Quinn loves it so much that he wrote about his love of Burger Bundles for one of his college application essays last year. Really. The original recipe is wonderful, but I’ve adapted it to fit a busy lifestyle.

Here’s my take on Burger Bundles.
1   pound ground beef (I use the 93/7 lean version.)
1   12-ounce can evaporated milk, divided (I use skim.)
1 – 1 1/2 cup Pepperidge Farm Stuffing
1   can condensed cream of mushroom soup ( I use the Healthy Choice one.)

Mix 6 ounces of milk with ground beef. Add the stuffing mix. Shape the beef into meatballs and place in a 8×11, sprayed casserole dish. Mix 6 ounces of milk with the mushroom soup and pour over the meatballs.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.

This dish makes house smell wonderful and feel warm and toasty, a perfect dish for ravenous teenagers after soccer practice. For that reason, I always double this recipe.

Enjoy!

Recipe for a Last Supper

Tomorrow we leave for West Point.

If everything goes as planned, Quinn won’t be back home until Thanksgiving. For the past two weeks, I’ve been cooking his favorite meals and desserts. He asked for pesto twice, so I thought I’d share my recipe today.

Pesto
2 cups packed fresh, washed and dried, basil leaves
¼ cup pecans *
2-3 crushed garlic cloves
¾ parmesan cheese
olive oil**

Puree the first four ingredients in a food processor using the steel blade. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil through the top or the feed tube. Process until mixture is combined.

Enjoy with pasta or spread on crusty bread. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator or freeze.

*The original recipe calls for pine nuts, but they are expensive–even in whole food stores or in the strip district of Pittsburgh. I always have pecans in my freezer and use them because my family doesn’t taste a difference. I’ve also seen recipes using walnuts. Experiment.

**The original recipe calls for ½ cup of olive oil. I can’t bring myself to use that much, so I drizzle the oil in the mixture until all the ingredients bind together in a paste.

This is a quick recipe (except for picking and washing the basil) and good for hot summer nights. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

He’s had his favorite meals, broken in his new boots, and packed his bag. We’re ready for the new chapter God’s written for us.

Go Army! Sink Navy!