We are bustling. We are caroling. We are hopefully laughing more than crying. I know that Noelle and I have been baking enough rolls and cookies and cakes and pies to feed our expanding family, ten times over.
This afternoon, Ryan and I visited my sister and her family. We held baby Ryan as his afternoon feed dripped into his stomach. We stretched his limbs and tickled his toes. We sat on the couch, close and warm, and we gave silent thanks that baby Ryan had made it this far. Despite the exhaustion and the confusion that my family is still facing, we find a way to love and laugh and hold onto each other during these trying times.
After leaving baby Ryan, my husband and I ventured to Super Target...a fun place to visit during the week before Christmas...to say the very least.
I was astounded by the number of people pouring in and out of the store, grabbing up the last copy of Glee, fighting over the best granny smith apples in the 1.49 sale bin.
So many faces marked with stress and exhaustion. So many aggravated gestures and unkind words.
As I saw all these people, I remembered how heavy baby Ryan sat in my arms a few hours earlier, I remembered his sweet smile when my Ryan rubbed his beard against baby Ryan's face. These memories instantly wiped away any glimmer of stress. These memories remind me about what Christmas is truly about.
I was challenged to come up with an original recipe using the thick and creamy yogurt that Chobani is well-known for. I love creating new recipes...and I love a gift of yogurt... so of course, I accepted with excitement.
What a wonderful Christmas blessing it was to receive a package of yogurt on my front door stop a few days later! Even more exciting...I got to sign an oven mitt that each participating blogger had signed and passed along.
After thinking about what recipe to make with my Greek yogurt, I settled on a subtlety sweet honey yogurt bread. This bread is wonderful with jam or a thick spread of nut butter. I love giving bread as a housewarming gift...but I'm always sure to make extra so I can keep a loaf of my own.
The Chobani yogurt imparted both flavor and texture to this loaf. The slight tang of the yogurt paired perfectly with the honey, and the creaminess made the bread light and soft.
I have been a fan of Chobani yogurt for over a year now. I eat it with my morning granola, and I love adding it to bread and cake recipes. For those of you who have yet to experience the creaminess of this brand...take the time to give it a try...you won't be disappointed!
3/4 cup whole milk
1 6 oz container of low fat Chobani yogurt
1/3 cup honey
7 TBSB butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1. Heat the milk until warm, whisk in the honey, yogurt and melted butter and beat until smooth. Once the mixture has cooled to 110 degrees, whisk in your egg.
2. Combine 5 cups of flour, the yeast, and salt in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low, add the yogurt mixture and stir until combined, about two minutes.
3. Increase to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but should stick slightly to the bottom. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour (2 TBSP at the time) if the dough is too sticky.
4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand to form a smooth ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Move dough to a floured surface and pat into a 9 x 9 inch square. Gently roll your loaf into a 9 inch log and place the seam side down in your greased pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 45-70 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.
7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If desired, brush the top of your loaf with a dab of melted butter. Bake until the bread is lightly golden, about 45 -50 minutes. Let the bread cool in the pan for five minutes before turning out.
When I was asked to nominate a blogger to complete this challenge...I knew exactly who I wanted to pick. Lindsey from Gingerbread Bagels has been an immense blessing in my life over the past few months. During a time of tragedy in my family, Lindsey's sweet words and packages brightened my otherwise dark days. She is nothing but sweetness...her blog is chock-full of amazing recipes and her words offer such encouragement.
Thank you again Chobani and Lauren. I was blessed to have the opportunity to do this!
Anecdotes and Apple Cores