Wednesday, December 22, 2004


We buy some gifts for our immediate family -- that is, the kids or each other. Everyone else gets something made. Since I preach that "you can do this too" (not that most people want to, but there is nothing extraordinary about little ole me), most times these come with instructions on how people can do this for themselves.

I don't have instructions for the eggs. You have to have a flock of chickens that you don't keep confined to get real eggs. I don't have instructions for the cheese because it starts with having a cow or goat and milking it. If you do that, I'll be glad to help! If you don't do that and got a round of cheese for a present, you must be very special to me.

But for the rather plain bread I'm doing this year (not my whole grain sourdough) and the granola (thanks to my friend Laura) and the BodyButter, here ya go:

Body Butter

melt coconut oil (I set the jar on the warming shelf of the wood stove). Add essential oil(s) of your choice until it smells the way you want it to (my current favorite is lavender and rosemary in about equal parts). Pour into using jars or tins and let harden. Slather on body after bathing to pamper your skin and nose.


1 cup each old-fashioned oatmeal (rolled oats), wheat flakes, and rye flakes
OR 3 cups rolled oats
OR 3 cups 7-grain cereal (which is what we use since we buy it by the 50# bag from the Mennonite store)

½ cup walnuts or almonds (or any nuts or no nuts), coarsely chopped if desired
¼ cup unhulled sesame seeds (I will usually use sunflower kernels) (I also put in same amount of flax seeds)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup any light oil ½ cup maple syrup2 teaspoons vanilla

½ cup raisins or currants or dates or other dried fruits, cranberries are nice

In a 10-inch (or larger) cast-iron skillet, combine the grains, nuts, seed, and cinnamon.
In a measuring cup, combine the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix well with small whisk if you can. Pour over the dry ingredients while stirring. Mix well to blend.

Toast over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the oats and nuts become crispy and brown, the sesame seeds begin to pop, and the maple syrup emits a burned-sugar aroma, about 5 to 7 minutes.

To Oven Roast: Combine the oat-nut mixture and the rest of the ingredients (except dried fruit) in 1 large or 2 small cast-iron skillets or spread on 1 large jelly-roll pan. Bake in medium oven, stirring occasionally every 5 to 7 minutes, until grains are dry and crisp, about 20 to 30 minutes.


Let the bread machine mix and knead:
12 oz milk, scalded in microwave & cooled a bit
1 egg
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp salt
dollop olive oil
4 cups whole wheat flour (if store bought, King Arthur or Hogsdon Mill brands) (I usually use 1 cup freshly ground flax seed and top up the measure with flour)
4 tsp gluten
2 tsp yeast (I find Red Star really is better and I'm not much of a brand person)

Put machine on dough cycle, checking to make sure wet/dry ratio is good (dough ball forms properly). When it is finished, make it begin kneading again, then stop, shape and put into greased loaf pan to raise.

When raised (soft poke in top doesn't bounce back), bake in medium oven 30 to 40 minutes until internal temperature is between 190 & 200 (not under 190, not over 210).

Turn out to cooling rack and cover with towel until cool then store in airtight container (bag).

To quote Greg Lake (of Emerson Lake & Palmer):

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave New Year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear

Hallelujah Noel be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas you get you deserve.

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