Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Birthday Blues

I know a lot of people who hate when their birthday rolls around. Either they dread getting older or they hate the attention of the day. I like birthdays and I enjoy celebrating with friends and family.
This year, however, I felt the birthday blues.
No, I didn't reach the big 3-0 yet... (I am GENUINELY 29 years old).
Actually, My birthday falls out Feb 5, and exactly one week later is what would have been my grandmother's birthday on Feb 12, and then one week later is my sister's birthday on Feb 19. So every year we would all celebrate our birthdays together. As my grandmother aged, we would actually be celebrating her birthday and her milestones, and used her party as an excuse for mine and my sister's (I was OK with that!).
It has been only 3 months since my grandmother passed away and it hit me hard when I could not celebrate with her. My grandmother was just about to turn 60 when I was born and since we were exactly 60 years apart, I always knew how old she was even when she could barely remember. Sometimes I would have to say, "Grandma, you are 88- remember? I know because I am 28!" And then we would laugh about how she could barely remember her name...
The memories are great but the void is greater. I still think I will just pick up the phone and call her when I have a few extra minutes or visit her every time I drive west on route 287. I wanted to plan our celebration of her 89th year just like we have done for the past few birthdays.
I guess the coming year(s) will be full of missed celebrations... birthdays, holidays, graduations, and family get-togethers.
I will certainly use these opportunities to remember Grandma but I know that missing her there will hurt.
My birthday has come and gone and hers will pass without celebration. Time will heal the wounds and I will begin to appreciate the days that remind me of my grandmother's legacy and life.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bread Machine Whole Wheat Challah

I think this is one of my most popular (and easy!) recipes. My friends always ask me for it and due to popular demand, I am posting it on the blog. You can make it with all white flour if you like- it comes out yummy too!
This recipe is intended for a 2 lb bread-machine on the dough setting. I now have a 2.5 lb machine so I will put those quantities in parentheses after each item.
The ingredients must be added in order:
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup oil (1/3 plus 2 Tbl.)
2 eggs
1/2 Tbl. salt
2 1/2 slightly heaping cups bread flour (3 cups)
2 1/2 slightly heaping cups whole wheat flour (3 cups)
Make a dent in the center of the flour with a spoon and add:
1 pkg dry yeast
Put bread machine on dough setting. When it comes out it should look like this. You can let it sit in the machine a little longer if it hasn't fully risen to at least the top of the pan:

Braid it when it is finished and coat with egg and seeds as desired and bake (no need to let it rise again) in preheated 350 degree oven for 38-40 minutes.
Here is the result:

Come again!