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Happy New Year! It’s my first post of 2016, and I’m so excited to see what this year will bring!
If there’s one food I want to see lots of in the coming year, it’s homemade bread. We’re all familiar with the yeasty goodness of bread that doesn’t come in plastic bags from the grocery store, and it’s so easy to get a perfect loaf with just a little help from my best friend, a.k.a. the bread machine. Life was so cold and dark before we met!
Luckily, fresh bread is always possible, and this one is special. It’s made with mostly whole wheat flour, which will help you stick to your healthy eating resolutions. It’s also full of walnuts for an extra protein punch, not to mention sweet Craisins® Dried Cranberries. It’s a loaf worth making!
On a day like today, I really need the extra sustenance. Studies have shown that today is one of the trickiest of the whole year. People drag themselves back to work and school from the celebrations of weeks past and realize that winter is ahead. If you look at it that way, it can be pretty grim.
But there’s so much to look forward to! Good TV, for instance. A lot of shows took mid-season breaks, but now they’re back. I’ll get to find out if the world ends on Heroes: Reborn, or find out if the world ends on Once Upon a Time. Now that I think about it, maybe I should stop watching television shows that deal with any coming apocalypse. It might explain those disturbing dreams I keep getting.
When I wake up after a night of dreaming and prepare for a day of work after a too-short winter break, I need to have a motivating force to propel me out of bed and into the cold, dark morning. And that force is bread, pure and simple. How could breakfast get any better?
If I’m feeling energetic, the best topping for this bread is cream cheese. But honestly, if I’m in a rush, I’ll eat it alone. There’s so much flavor happening here. Plus, the walnuts provide protein while the Craisins® give me that sweet zing I crave every morning. And with the whole wheat flour, this healthy bread gets me through until lunch. When I have more of the bread, of course. I made sandwiches with this for my kids, and they had a ball calling it “crazy bread.” For years, they’ve referred to Craisins® as “Crazies.” I love it.
And if I’m not packing my Craisins® into the best bread ever, then I’m sending them to work and school with everyone. This time of year, when packing lunches gets harder and harder as we try to find new foods to make everyone happy, we know we’ll always be good with Craisins®! After all, fresh fruit is hard to come by in the winter, but these magical “Crazies” equal a fruit serving.
You might be fighting off a case of the post-holiday blahs, but remember that good things are still in store! Fresh bread and good TV make life better. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions you can’t keep, focus on the joys of life and make this a year to remember!
Honey Whole Wheat Craisins® Walnut Bread
2 eggs at room temperature
1 cup warm (not hot) water
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
2 and 1/4 tablespoons yeast (if you use a packet, it’s pre-measured)
1 cup Craisins® Dried Cranberries
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
additional beaten egg (optional)
- As recommended by bread machine manufacturers, start with the wet ingredients. Put them into the bread machine in the order listed above.
- Once the wet ingredients are in, add the salt, sugar and both flours.
- Using your index finger, make a small well in the flour. Fill it with the yeast.
- Select the dough cycle on your bread machine and press start.
- Shortly before the dough is set to come out, coat one large or two regular-sized loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Once the dough is done (usually about an hour and a half, depending on your machine), take it out and put it on a floured surface.
- Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Knead the Craisins® and chopped walnuts into the dough until evenly mixed in.
- Place the dough into the prepared pan(s). Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an hour.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. If desired, brush the top of each loaf with beaten egg.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool. Store in a bread box or airtight container.
To find Craisins® and other products (like new Craisins® Fruit Clusters), look in the dried fruit section at Walmart!