On my sixth day of self-exile in my own home, and several sourdough loaves later, I wanted to try something different. My lazy self, before the world turned upside-down, would buy a loaf of Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal bread once or twice a month. Baking bread, especially sourdough, isn’t onerous (Thank you Lord for my bread machine!) but does require you set aside the time necessary to manage the process. It doesn’t require a lot of brain cycles, but in my previously ‘normal’ routine, starting bread after six o’clock at night meant being up past my bedtime before it was done and cool enough to bag. Weekends were usually spent running errands, volunteering, shopping, visiting friends and relatives or attending events. For the foreseeable future, my bread machine and I are going to be BFFs!
It was raining and thundering this morning. That means a perfect day to make bread. I asked Terry what type of bread he would like me to bake and he said ‘honey oat.’ So I went to my favorite flour company (King Arthur Flour) and searched through their recipes for an oat bread. I landed on the Vermont Whole Wheat Oat Honey bread recipe with 207 reviews and an above four star rating. I thought I’d made this recipe in the past, so I blithely started dumping the ingredients into the pan of my bread machine. My first clue that this was NOT a bread machine recipe should have been the two cups of water. Most bread machine recipes are between one and one and a third cups water with three to four cups of flour.
I ran out of my favorite blend of tea last weekend when my son and daughter-in-law visited us. I waited impatiently Saturday morning for ten o’clock to roll around so I could head north to downtown Leavenworth to visit the local enclave of British teas, foods and sundries: the Queen’s Pantry.
I brought my empty four ounce tin, already properly labeled for Irish Blend tea, with me to the store. The store clerk suggested I try some iced Elderberry tea, one of the two special daily teas made available to customers. I filled a small Styrofoam cup with two or three ounces of the Elderberry and sipped it while browsing through the rest of the store. I liked the sweetness of the tea and asked her if the iced tea had been sweetened with sugar. She confirmed my suspicion that any sweetness came from the infusion of elderberries when steeping the tea. I ordered a couple of ounces to take home, as well as two ounces of Japanese pan-fried green tea, another favorite variety I had run out of.
In one of the windows, a cute four cup tea pot sported the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ slogan from WWII during the Blackout when Germany bombed Britain relentlessly. I found a set of matching salt and pepper shakers that I decided to buy, since I haven’t had a matching set for the dining room table in decades.
I asked the clerk if she had a set in a box, as I didn’t want to take her display ones. She assured me they had several more on display and in the back so she urged me to grab the pair and bring it to the counter. She returned them to their box and rang up my tea and shakers.
I slipped in the Tune Shop next door, hoping to find some guitar picks for Terry. The selection lacked the brand and size he prefers, but I bought a half dozen just to make him laugh at my inability to select a proper pick.
I almost didn’t stop by the farmer’s market, since it was already past eleven o’clock. But I needed some honey, and the market is only a couple of blocks away from Queen’s Pantry. I bought my honey and tried a slice of locally grown Gala apples. I couldn’t believe they were already harvesting them. I should probably check my own apple tree to see if the apples are ripe.
I’ll be baking more Honey Wheat bread soon, as the temperatures drop, and we use quite a bit of honey when we make a marinade for grilling chicken. I talked briefly to a local farmer and said “Hello” to a class mate of mine from high school who has a stall of soaps and breads.
My final stop before returning home was the local K-Mart/Sears for some triple-A batteries for Terry. I also bought a couple of frames to finally put Derek and Rachelle’s college graduation photos in.
I’ll get Terry to hang them up in the dining area on either side of the front window. I also found a new steamer on sale but none available to purchase. I made it all the way home and all the way to the end of this blog post before realizing I forgot to acquire a rain check for the steamer. I guess I’ll be making a second trip to K-Mart later today to assure I get the sale price on that item. The steamer we have is too small (tiny really) and we’d like a new one so we can steam an entire head of broccoli, not just half or a third of one.
I think I’ll warm up some leftovers for lunch and steep some of the Elderberry for a fresh glass of refreshing iced tea to complement it.