‘Morning, y’all! It’s a brand new day and I celebrated it by going on a 4 1/2 mile walk/run. Way more walk than run but these old knees will only take so much and I’m here to say I ain’t going under the knife. I’m also here to say I’ve made a concerted effort to not grumble and complain. I’m a pretty positive person and I choose to continue to be. I’ve become more vigilant in staying away from fatalistic and dismissive people, conversations and social media. That’s not to say I’m turning a blind eye to those in need. Heck, no! I’m a huge softie and will continue to give to those in need even when it doesn’t feel good. Consequently I choose to count my blessings because I am so darn fortunate. Think about it. We have our pools and fire pits. We have the means to pay people to clean our houses, mow our lawns and wash our cars. We live in lovely, gracious homes alongside our good-looking, respectful yet fun-loving family members. Our health is good and, for those who have issues, medical assistance is available to them. I’m not saying life is perfect but tell me this quarantine period hasn’t opened your eyes to a few things we’ve taken for granted in the past. More than ever I see butterflies and birds while working out.
Our son is staying with us during this period of isolation so I get to see him anytime I want and don’t have to share him. We cut up all the time and laugh our heads off. Even the dog’s happier. Having had a little extra TLC my orchids are positively popping and gorgeous. I am the “plant lady” who changes the orchids in my son’s office (also known as “the dining room”). I’ve been baking more than ever, see recipe below, and have so appreciated the time spent in the kitchen to just putter and rattle around with no time restraints. Hey, I don’t have to share my bathroom with anyone and don’t think for a New York minute I’m not grateful. My besties, Dana and Andrea, and I are in constant phone communication, shopping for shoes and all manner of things. I miss them terribly but, somehow, we still manage to shriek with laughter and gaiety. Soon enough the three of us will have another Girl’s Weekend. My husband’s busier than ever with work and teaching. I won’t say he’s happier than a dead pig in sunshine but he’s A-okay, ya know?
I am surrounded by peace and beauty. I’m going to be surrounded by even MORE beauty when the 4 vintage quilts I won on eBay arrive. What was I thinking? Oh well! I won’t think about it so problem solved. Just please don’t tell my husband😬In conclusion, life is not just good, it’s damn fine.
I’ve been hearing quite a bit about people who have been doing all kinds of baking since they’re home and have time on their hands. Blake Shelton even said Gwen Stefani’s been baking bread. And I understand the energy and preoccupation behind it. It’s kind of pulI. Better said, to lose yourself in the process while creating comfort. I made up this recipe because I was looking forward to spending some lazy, relaxing time in the kitchen, walking away if I felt like it, strolling back to the kitchen when it suited me. Plus I craved a healthful dinner roll that didn’t come out of the oven weighing as much as a small brick. The entire process takes some time so this is the ideal project for anyone who may be stuck at home, for instance, during a quarantine. This recipe makes a rather large batch but I like to freeze half after baking to serve at some future Sunday dinner. I know I go on about the merits of whole wheat pastry flour but, I promise, once you try it you will be positively enamored of it. Whether you’re making pancakes, pizza or bread, whole wheat pastry flour is so the way to go. These rolls come out soft and fluffy. The recipe calls for several risings and that’s okay. One of the benefits of a few risings is it allows the dough time to develop, which it does, giving a deep, nutty flavor to the rolls. This bread cries out for a slathering of butter and jam at breakfast. The rolls are perfect for lunch, split, toasted and stuffed with homemade chicken salad or pimento cheese. A torn piece of a roll pinched in hand will happily sop up any dinner juices. They’re just gorgeous, y’all. I hope in between online meetings and calls you’ll duck in and out of the kitchen to try these little babies out.
Soft & Fluffy Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (one packet) yeast
- 1 1/2 cup warm milk, no hotter than 115°
- 5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup melted butter + 1 tablespoon to brush on top
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- olive oil for kneading
- To the bowl of a stand-up mixer add warm milk and yeast. Stir gently and let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
- With the paddle attachment, mix in 1/4 cup butter, honey, eggs and salt.
- Add 1/2 of flour and mix until completely combined. Let rest 15 minutes.
- Add remaining flour and mix for 5 minutes.
- Place a baking sheet on the counter, drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on it and rub the oil in with both hands. Do not clean your hands.
- Rub the oil all over your palms and fingers then transfer dough to oiled baking sheet. The dough will be very loose.
- Fold the dough, literally fold it over, 6-7 times. Cover with an inverted bowl and let rest 5 minutes.
- Repeat the folding and resting process 3-4 more times. If you don’t know how to fold, simply google Schitt’s Creek. Just kidding. Fold the edge of the dough over, push the dough away with the heel of your hand and give the dough 1/4 turn. Repeat as recipe dictates.
- Remove bowl from dough and oil the inside of bowl. Transfer dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise one hour in a warm, draft free spot.
- Punch dough down, cover and let rise one more hour.
- Lightly cover a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Oil hands. Pinch off 20-22 equal size pieces of dough, roll into balls and place in pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30-40 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 375°. Bake rolls 19-22 minutes or until tops and bottoms are golden.
- Brush tops with remaining butter and cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.