Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Best Ever Honey Whole Wheat Bread!

I have been making this bread for over 3 years...and have been meaning to blog about it for just about that long! It took several months to gradually adjust a recipe I found until I was satisfied with the results: a soft, light-tasting, no-white-flour, all whole wheat bread.

I have found that I prefer this bread to have a short stay in the freezer before cutting, seems to tenderize the crust even more. As this is the only bread we now eat (no more store stuff!), the freezer time isn't a problem. I make a batch or two a week, always being sure to have a loaf or two or more in the freezer!

Because I make this bread so often, I mix up the flour and gluten beforehand and place in quart bags. This helps evenly distribute the gluten throughout the flour – if you don't, you can end up with gluey glops in your bread. Ick. This also cuts down my preparation time (I've got my recipe memorized), and I can quickly grab a bag and put a batch together in my bread machine in the morning.

And, this bread really must have the gluten. Gluten helps keep whole wheat bread soft and tender. Make this bread without, and you'll notice the difference!!


In bread machine place:
1-1/3 cups warm milk
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons canola (or olive) oil
1/3 cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten

Thoroughly combine and add:
3-3/4 cups whole wheat flour (I've used every brand and found that Gold Medal has the best results!)
3 tablespoons gluten (find this in the baking aisle – I use Bob's Red Mill)

Make a small well in flour and place:
1-1/4 teaspoons yeast

Choose your bread machine's dough setting. When cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a greased or floured surface (I use a cookie sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray – keeps my countertop clean, too)! Divide dough in half. Press one half into a rough rectangle (see pictures) and roll tightly towards you. Pinch and turn ends under. Place dough in greased loaf pan. Repeat with other half of dough.
Cover bread with cloth and let rise in a warm place until edges just begin to round the edge of the pan (this can take anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity of your house, the season, etc).

Once dough has risen, you can brush the top with a light egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp of water), if desired (I don't even bother with this step anymore)! Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

When cool, package and freeze...or slice and eat.

Best whole wheat toast and sandwich bread...ever!! Ever.

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**DISCLOSURE: Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Last Heiress by Mary Ellis

Bestselling author Mary Ellis (A Widow’s Hope) presents The Last Heiress, a new romantic standalone that intertwines the lives of a British manufacturing heiress and an American merchant caught in the turbulent time of the War Between the States.

First of all, I really thought the cover of The Last Heiress was beautiful. I was also very interested in the Civil War time period.

However, The Last Heiress moved really slow for me. In fact, I got one-third of the way in and put it down. I didn't pick the book back up for over a week. I then restarted it and was able to feel a little more interest in the story. But, once I got past that same first third of the book, several pages dragged again.

I'm not sure if it was the plot or characters – likely a little of both. I could never tell if Jackson was good or bad? Perhaps just a spoiled, rich kid? Because he seemed to be a kind husband, but unpleasant in most all other dealings. Same with Abigail and Amanda – whom I had difficulty keeping straight! Sometimes sweet, sometimes snooty? (I guess we can all be like that...)

The war obviously disrupted Amanda's plans to acquire cotton, but I felt that that storyline ended too abruptly. She didn't seem to be busy finding other suppliers like she continued to claim she was in America for; instead, she was making excuses to meet up with Nate.

For me, The Last Heiress didn't quite match the beautiful cover. The story was too slow and choppy for me to enjoy.

Thank you to Mary and Harvest House through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Outlaw Takes a Bride by Susan Page Davis

Johnny Paynter flees Denver to escape being hanged for a murder he didn't commit. At his brother's ranch in Texas, where he thought he could take refuge, he finds his brother, Mark—dead. Taking advantage of his strong resemblance to his brother, Johnny assumes Mark's identity. Soon Johnny discovers that Mark had been corresponding with a widow named Sally in St. Louis, and she's en route to be a mail-order bride to Mark. Seeing no other option, Johnny makes a fateful decision to go through with the wedding, posing as his brother. But Sally has secrets she's hiding, too. How will a marriage survive with so much deception?

Mail-order bride stories have always fascinated me – I mean, it's hard to believe some woman would just answer an ad and travel for days, or weeks, to marry a man she has never met, even if they did correspond for awhile. I guess it was just a precursor to internet dating?!

Outlaw had a great twist! Of course, no good relationship can be based on lies...and poor Sally unknowingly gets herself mixed up in Johnny's mess. As we all know that one lie can lead to another and then another – oh what a tangled web we weave! – it was almost painful to watch Sally's confusion and Johnny's rejection of her. You just wished you could shake Johnny to 'fess up, but again, another good lesson: peer pressure doesn't go away when you leave your teenage years behind!

Peer pressure, fear, lies, guilt... ouch.

My suspicions of whodunit was right on, but it didn't ruin the story. Instead, I was just waiting to see when the truth would finally come out.

Quite honestly, I wasn't ready for the story to end! I wanted just a few more chapters, as I'd really come to like Sally and Mark/Johnny and I felt their story ended just a bit too abruptly.

If you enjoy mail-order, western type stories, you'll want to pick up The Outlaw Takes a Bride!

Thank you to Susan and Shiloh Run Press through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings

Abigail Stuart thought she was Jeremiah Calhoun's widow.
But Jeremiah Calhoun is very handsome, very alive, and very perplexed.

Most Inconvenient Indeed.

With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone--a practical solution for both of them.

After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain--until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?

I've read several of Regina's books, and I really enjoyed A Most Inconvenient Marriage. The twist of marrying the wrong man is not new, but having him die and the right man show up is!

Abigail was strong, but sweet...and Jeremiah was tough, but tender. Great leading characters. The supporting cast was likeable, too. A Most Inconvenient Marriage had all the right ingredients for a great story! If you enjoy mail-order bride type stories, you will want to pick up Regina's latest book!

Thank you to Regina and Bethany House through NetGalley for sending me a copy to read and review!

Did you find my review helpful? Please rate it on Amazon and Christianbook.

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**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**
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