Oh the JOY!

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There is something synonymous about Sundays and food. Whether it be a bigger than normal Sunday brunch or a home-cooked Sunday night dinner, time spent with family and friends over a great meal is the best way to cap-off the weekend and kick-start the week.

The heavenly (no pun intended) bacon smell wafting up through Church this morning from the breakfast with Santa inspired me to get right home, get into the kitchen and get my JOY of cooking on. My JOY apron (which I wore all day) is another goody from the holiday care package compliments of Julie (thank you again!).

First order of business was prepping all of the ingredients for my Tuscan White Bean soup so that it could spend some quality time in the slow cooker. Gotta love the “set and forget” aspect of crock pot cooking! Recipe to come soon.

After whipping up a quick batch of Stephanie’s homemade granola bars (substituting milk chocolate chips for the dark chips she used and adding raisins for sweetness and walnuts for extra crunch) I settled down on the couch with my Joy of Cooking book to read about bread making. The process was definitely new to me and there was lots to learn.

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For those of you who enjoy cooking and/or baking and do not own this book…it’s not too late to add it to your a letter to Santa. In my opinion, it is a kitchen staple and has been a tremendous resource for us. Not only does it include thousands of (great) recipes it is a full encyclopedia of ingredients and techniques. A huge help for a bread baking novice like myself.

I decided on the whole wheat bread, gathered my ingredients and started working. I felt like I was back in organic chemistry lab—exact measurements, monitoring the temperature of my water…baking is truly a science!

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Although I could have used the upper body workout that the 10 minutes of kneading would have provided, the dough hook attachment on my stand mixer was suitable replacement.

Pack your patience, the bread requires 2 45-60 minutes periods to rise and another hour to bake. But let me tell you, this was worth the wait. Our home smells wonderful and it was a great accompaniment to our hearty soup.

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look at the steam coming off the soup…yum!

And even better…lots of leftovers for the week.

With dinner done and very minimal mess in the kitchen, I’m aiming to finish Danny’s Christmas stocking tonight. Right now it looks like an red and green leg warmer but it’s getting there!

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Hope you all enjoyed lovely weekends.

What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday?

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