- A 2-kg box of amazing chocolate from my dearest Tina, my German flatmate. She mailed it about a month and a half ago, and by the best luck in the world (/God?) it came on Valentine's Day. There is now a massive pile of European chocolate on my desk that I'm slowly and remorselessly getting fat on. Because Tina is so amazing, about a third of it is marzipan-filled (favorite), a third is hazelnut-filled (second favorite), and the final third is hot chocolate mix. OHMYGOODNESS I'm going to die of chocolate bliss. (There are also a couple of non-nutty things, which I will share with you at the earliest possible moment, you-know-who-you-are. The rest of you are also welcome. Just ask.)
- A card from my grandmother. Predictable. BUT this year it's age-appropriate AND had money in it to "Go have a latte," in her words. Done.
- A flamenco skirt!!!!!! EEEEEEE!!!! I am in love with it. I just ordered it Thursday (Friday?), so it got here surprisingly fast, and I am pleased. Color choices of this particular skirt were red (too fiery), black (too plain), and blue (the color of 3/4 of the things I own). Guess which one I got?? That's right, it's beautiful and blue and ruffly and swishy and perfect. I've been stomping happily around my apartment in it + my flamenco heels since it arrived, constantly prepared to run quickly into my room if the door opens.
Love is also: the bread I made on Sunday.
I got the recipe from the back of my bag of flour. I figured it had to be pretty legit for them to use it on there, right? RIGHT. SO RIGHT. It made two very beautiful, deliciously fragrant loaves of honey whole wheat bread. I love it because it's flavorful, healthy, and perfect for sandwiches. It was totally, totally a success. (Of course, the banana muffins I made at the same time are less than good. But we're going to forget about those.)
Recipe: Honey-Whole Wheat Bread
- 2 packages regular active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (105ºF-115ºF)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup butter/margarine
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups very warm water (120ºF-130ºF)
- 4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 3/4 - 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; set aside. In large bowl, mix honey, butter, salt, and very warm water; cool 5 minutes.
- To cooled honey mixture, beat in 3 cups of whole wheat flour with electric mixer on low speed, scraping bowl frequently, until moistened. Beat on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour and dissolved yeast. With spoon, stir in 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour until dough pulls cleanly away from side of bowl.
- Place dough on floured work surface. Knead in remaining 1/2 to 1 cup all-purpose flour; continue kneading 5 to 10 minutes until dough is smooth and springy. Grease large bowl with shortening or cooking spray; place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80ºF-85ºF) 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Generously grease 2 (8x4- or 9x5-inch) loaf pans with shortening or cooking spray. Gently push fist into dough to deflate; divide in half. On lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough with rolling pin into 18x8-inch rectangle. Starting with one 8-inch side, roll up dough tightly, pressing with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal; pinch each end to seal. Fold ends under loaf; place seam side down in pan. Cover; let rise in warm place 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 375ºF. Uncover dough; bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour. (Makes 2 loaves)