Monday, May 31, 2010

Tribute to My Grandfather, Henry Edward Hess, Sr. (In His Final Days)

Dear friends,

As I write, my 97 year old grandpa, Henry Edward Hess, Sr., is in his final days, or even his final hours. He is in hospice care at my parents' home in Maryland after a heart attack last week. He is not able to talk and we're not sure he is really aware of anyone. I am expecting a phone call any time now to tell of his passing. I am so grateful that he is surrounded by loving family, including my mother and father, my sister Barb's family, my Aunt Barbara from Hawaii, and my mom's cousin Ruth Ann, who drove up from central Virginia to help.

The apples don't fall far from the tree, because Grandpa and Grandma are two of the most loving people I know.  They are a mere 24 days away from their 76th wedding anniversary, and their marriage is full of warm and genuine affection.  He and Grandma have done a whole lot of extra kissing and handholding in the past week, just like they did when Grandma was in the hospital after breaking her hip a couple of years ago, as pictured to the left.  They always speak kindly of one another and serve one another gladly.  What an example to me!   Grandpa has always been affectionate to us children, too.  It was always a pleasure to cuddle up on his lap in the rocking chair and hear him tell jokes. 
  
Grandpa has kept his trademark sense of humor to the end, asking my sister a few days ago if she wanted his false teeth. Barb said, "No thanks, I have my own. Do you want them?" He replied, "Nooo, I came in without them and I may as well go out without them." As they say, you can't take it with you. Grandpa had to have a blood transfusion while in the hospital, so my cousin Elizabeth's joke made him chuckle: "A man got a blood transfusion, but the hospital ran out of blood so they substituted borscht. Now his heart never skips a beet."

After retiring as an insurance agent, Grandpa and Grandma took the opportunity to travel around the globe. I can't remember all the places they visited, but I think I remember Iceland, New Zealand, and Germany, among other countries. For more domestic trips -- say, a 10,000 mile round trip Alaska trek (via our house in San Francisco) -- they drove a bright orange VW bus that we dubbed "The Orange Crate." They liked to have fun at home, too. We always played games like Scotch Bridge when we visited their "Squirrel Hill" homestead in Pennsylvania, then their retirement home in South Florida, or more recently my parents' home in Maryland, where they have lived for several years. I hope I always keep their sense of adventure and family fun.

Grandpa is also known for his thriftiness and resourcefulness. One symbol of that would be his garden. When they lived on 10 acres in Pennsylvania, he had a huge vegetable garden. I remember snapping peas on their porch.  He still has a garden -- he just makes other people do the work for him!  He hunted deer every year and smoked his own venison. Grandpa is the one who inspired me to learn how to make turkey scrapple from scratch.  See here: My Scrapple Experiment (It’s More than Meat and Cornmeal to Me!)  It's one thing he always made for us when we visited. He's quite the cook. When he came home from the hospital this weekend, he ate some soup he had made and frozen a few weeks ago when my Aunt Nancy from Kentucky was visiting them.

Perhaps my dearest memory of visiting Squirrel Hill is that at a Hess family reunion there in 1976, I became aware of God's mercy and took Jesus as my Savior.  (Read more here: My Story of Liberty in 1976.) I wish I had a picture of that momentous gathering, but here's one from the 2006 reunion at Frances Slocum State Park.  Grandpa is in the light blue shirt in the front row.  I'm toward the right with Melody sitting up on my lap.



It is an honor to be a member of this Hess clan. Not including myriad distant cousins pictured above (many of whom are my dear friends), my grandparent's direct living descendents add up to five children, thirteen grandchildren, almost thirty great-grandchildren, and soon-to-be four great-great-grandchildren.  My daughter Mary's son Jacob is due on Grandma and Grandpa's 76th anniversary on June 24 -- which is also Mary's birthday and the date of the aforementioned 2006 reunion. May his memory live on in the stories we tell and the pictures we share.

I thought you might like to read something that my grandmother wrote about 15 years ago. I added in a few things she told my sister this week. This is a great lesson in family history because she tells what life was like throughout the early 20th century.  There are more similar photos here: Vintage photos from the Hess and Ransom families

Memories from Dorothy Ransom Hess
Your grandfather Henry Edward Hess was born in 1912 in the small town of Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, on the Susquehanna River. Years before there had been a fort built there. Forty settlers from Connecticut walked or came by horses to settle in the Wyoming Valley on the Susquehanna River and named the area Forty Fort. I had a great, great grandfather, Captain Samuel Ransom, who was killed and scalped by the Indians while trying to defend the fort where the settlers went for protection.  (Read more on this here: American Revolution stories from our family history.) 

Grandfather Hess lived at Forty Fort through his kindergarten years. Public schools did not have kindergartens at the time; private people ran them and charged for it. Then his father decided to move to the country to raise his children and he bought a 165 acre farm out beyond Dallas, Pennsylvania, near Demunds Corners. They had cows, horses, chicken, pigs, turkeys (I was scared to walk over there sometimes to see my best friend Elizabeth because they had a mean turkey gobbler). They hired a man to help them farm because Great Grandfather Hess was really a banker and drove one of the few automobiles in the area down to the city of Wilkes-Barre each day to work in the bank.  He worked in a bank in Scranton, then became President of the Dime Bank of Kingston. 

Grandpa Hess attended a one room school for his first eight grades. They walked about a mile to school. When the weather was nice they could cut across fields and through the woods to get there. There were about 15 in the school and three in his grade. The first teacher was a man teacher who was quite mean. He used a switch on them and sometimes would yank them out of their seats by the hair and hit them for talking or misbehaving. He was glad when they got a woman teacher. Each day one of the big boys would take a pail and go down the hill for a pail of water for drinking. They all used the same dipper. They had two outside toilets and Grandpa's brothers were so embarrassed that he went into the girls' toilet one time. They had a potbellied stove in the room for heat.

When it came time for high school, the township had to pay for them to attend any school they could get to. Some folks would move in town with relatives or friends for the week and go home weekends. Of course with Great Grandfather Hess working in the city, his children would ride into town with him and go to Kingston High School. Grandpa Hess and his best friend Hilton Long would sometimes take the trolley out to around Dallas and walk the five miles on home so they didn't have to stay in town such a long day. They graduated from Kingston High School.

I was born on down the river from Forty Fort in a small town called Dorranceton, later merged with Kingston. I went to Kingston schools. The first five grades I walked about three blocks to school. Then it was six blocks until I was through eighth grade, then further to walk to high school. When I was around five years old, my father decided to buy a farm, too, and bought one right across the dirt road from the Hess farm. So you see, we grew up as neighbors. We only stayed at the farm from May until October and then would go down to our city home. That was until the big stock market crash in 1929. Then my father sold our city place and we lived in the country one. My father was a contractor and built hundreds of homes in the Wyoming Valley. Imagine, in those days he sold homes for $500 and automobiles cost about $500. He was also one of the first to own an automobile in the area. The houses of course didn't have plumbing nor electricity at the beginning. Like out in the country, we used oil lamps and candles and gas lanterns until our fathers bought Delco light plants for our electricity.   (The picture above left is of the Ransom home in Demunds.)

Airplanes were a rare sight. We would go outside to see them when we heard them flying over. I can remember going outside to see Charles Lindbergh fly over on his way to New York, and then he flew solo in his little plane clear across the ocean to France. That was quite a feat. We didn't have the big planes at that time and couldn't hop a plane to New York or Philadelphia like we can now.

Our first radio caused lots of excitement. We had to use our ear phones so only one could listen at a time until we finally got a speaker to set up on top the radio. You didn't just plug in your radio at first, you had batteries working it. Folks would brag that they heard Chicago last night, or New York.

When I was fourteen I invited him to a Valentine Party and they played kissing games. We said we'd all invite boys. So I invited Henry. And he'd never been to a party with kissing games. He drove the Cadillac down, and all the kids were saying, "Who has that big Cadillac?" He was 16. He kissed me and some of the others too. We played Post Office and Spin the Bottle. It was all the rage about then. After that he asked me for a date. From then on if there was anything going on at school Henry and Elizabeth and I would all go together.

When we first got married we had an apartment over the Ransom garage. We had a nice sized living room and a small kitchen and a bedroom, and we built a big porch across the back. There was an outside toilet, or we used a pail. It wasn't really winterized but we had a heating stove up there.  Our daughter Barbara was on the way when we had the apartment. My mother wasn't well and Mother Hess got sick, and I guess that first winter we went over and stayed with Mother Hess and Henry's brother George in the big Hess house. She died that spring.  Henry's older sister Amelia and her husband Sam were in the Hess big home, and we had George come live with us in the little Hess house down by the road.  There were two Ransom houses and two Hess houses.

One of your Grandfather's first jobs was in an ice plant. Before they learned how to manufacture ice, men cut ice from lakes and ponds and stored it in an ice house where they packed the ice in sawdust to keep it from melting. Then men would truck it from house to house and sell you maybe fifty pounds for your refrigerator and it would keep things cool for a few days. We were married over ten years before we bought an electric refrigerator. After the refrigeration business died down, your grandfather learned how to sell life insurance and that remained until retirement.

While still in the ice business, the war, World War II, came along and your grandfather served in the Navy. He was a Machinist Mate second class. He didn't have to fight. He was on a repair ship to keep refrigeration units working. He was gone for almost two years. They were a long two years for me for we had five children and I was expecting the sixth. While he was away in 1944, David George was born in the back of my brother Willis' car with his cord around his neck.  All I could remember was taking the blanket and saying "Here Louise, wrap him up in a blanket." Willis came later and said, "Dorothy, we buried the baby on top of Mother Hess." They wouldn't take a whole grave for a baby. I never wanted to go to the cemetery to see. I heard Henry telling somebody that when we die and are buried he wanted something about David too.  I was in the hospital a week and I don't even remember being in the hospital.

Then along came TV. Our neighbors bought a TV set and graciously let our children and the neighbor children to come in Friday night and sit on the floor and watch a certain family program, like "I Remember Mama" or some such show. It was a great Friday night thrill. After a year or two they wanted to buy a better set so offered their set to Grandpa Hess for a reasonable price and we became TV owners.

Now we are into the Computer Age. What fantastic changes every day. We just can't keep up with what they are doing. Look at your children, as young as they are, having their own web site and we don't even know what all that means.

Grandpa and Grandma with their five living children,
celebrating their 75th anniversary last year




My cousin Elizabeth took this sweet picture a few weeks ago.


Here is a picture of Grandpa and me in November 2008.  I took him to his favorite restaurant, Red Lobster, for his 96th birthday since Grandma was still in the hospital and my Mom was caring for my Dad after his traumatic brain injury (from which he fully recovered).

Want to read and see more?




I love you, Grandpa, and I'm going to miss you so much!  As I prepare to become a grandmother this month, I hope I am as sweet as you are!


Virginia

[Epilogue: Grandpa passed away on Thursday, June 3.]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On the Church: Potluck, Pedestals & Pr'arrows

Dear friends,


Last night in our Bible study group, we were discussing what church is. I wasn’t taking notes (I usually do), but three P words came to mind that I thought about and brought up in the course of our conversation.


One is that church is ideally like a potluck dinner. It’s not just the pastor serving out a meal, but everyone bringing something different to feed each other’s souls. This is especially true in a small group setting, where we are interacting with one another rather than listening to a sermon. But it is true of the church at large, too – not just the local church but the “universal church” made up of believers from every nation and generation. The Bible teaches “the priesthood of every believer” – we are all meant to minister to one another. We each have a unique perspective to offer, unique gifts that God has given us to bless one another. In my potluck analogy, this might be a main dish, a side dish, a dessert, or a beverage – spiritually speaking that would be something to edify, encourage, challenge, instruct, amuse, or quench a thirsty heart.


The second word is pedestal. In our church, we’ve gone through a bit of shaking in recent months since the resignation of one of our pastors brought many troubling issues to more public light. This shaking is a gift, even though it has brought a lot of pain and many people have left. Why is it a gift? Because in so many ways, people have put our church and pastors on a pedestal over the years. One man said last night, “We thought our church was ‘da bomb!’” (as in something really special), to which another man instantly quipped, “Yeah, and da bomb exploded!” But God doesn’t want us to place our trust in a church or in other people who will invariably fail us in some way at some point in time. The purpose of being “shaken” is to topple things off their pedestals so they are instead resting on the one true and solid foundation, which is Jesus. Humility requires us to lower ourselves and lift up the Lord. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you." Likewise, as someone else brought up, we are sometimes overgrown plants that must be pruned back to make us even more fruitful. He cuts away what will hinder us – even good things! -- to allow his energy to flow even more powerfully into the areas where he wants us to grow. Painful? Yes! Necessary? Absolutely!


The third word is pr'arrows. I’ll be you’ve never heard of that one since I just made it up this morning. It's a contraction for the words “prayer arrow.” Last night at our meeting, I realized that part of being “church” is to take the time to encourage and pray for our brothers and sisters who have ventured to far places on this globe to spread the Good News about Jesus to those who have not yet heard. They are engaged in “spiritual warfare” for the hearts of those for whom Christ died. Do we send them out there by themselves to the front-line? Maybe geographically we can’t be with them, laboring alongside them, but we can certainly cover them with fervent intercessory prayer – shooting out pr'arrows to assist them in the battle. I am trying to become more faithful in this, so I divided my prayer list into six days, with different things for each day. One of my daily categories is world missions, with one continent per day. I pray for three or four missionaries/ministries (most of whom we know personally) each day. To add practicality to my prayers, I also try to send encouraging e-mails, ideas for ministry, and occasional care packages. Why is this so important? Because in many cases, these dear men and women have had to leave their beloved home churches and minister in places where there is no established local church.  They still need "church" though, or they will be even more vulnerable to discouragement and burnout.  We are called to care for them!


  • Potluck: We are each a vital part of the body of Christ, bringing our offerings to bless one another. Read 1 Corinthians 12.
  • Pruning & Pedestal: We must be willing to let go of anything in our own lives that hinders us or others in our walks with Jesus. We must lift HIM up, and not place our trust in imperfect humans and organizations. Read John 15:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 3.
  • Pr'arrows: We can cover our brothers and sisters in intercessory prayer even when we cannot fellowship with them face to face. Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-13.
What is the church to you? Think about it, even if you are not currently a part of one!


Blessings,


Virginia Knowles

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baby Shower and Bible Translation -- Afternoon at Wycliffe

Dear friends,

Today my husband Thad and I drove down to Wycliffe Bible Translators, where our daughter Mary Tindall works, to attend one of her baby showers.  There were almost 20 of her co-workers there.


 I made this for Jacob for his nursery, which is a jungle theme. I hand sketched the pictures and scanned them into the computer. Lydia did the layout, printed it out, and framed it for me. The top says, "Jacob's Jungle" and the bottom says, "Let's Go with God on a Grand Adventure!" (That's one of my favorite phrases.)

The theme of the shower was English tea party.




  



Add caption
 After the shower, we drove over to Wycliffe's main building so Mary could show us her office. I actually peeked into this very room a couple of years ago when we were on a field trip at Wycliffe with our home school co-op. The room was previously used for video production, so it's a large open room, rather dark with track lighting.



 "The Last Language Translator" by Hyatt Moore, a former Wycliffe president. Who is the man in this picture? No one knows. Could it be you? Who will be the translator of the last Bible-less language? (There are more than 2000 left!)  Mary actually wrote an article about this painting here:  Who is this Man? 

Mary gave us copies of some of the Wycliffe literature for which she has written articles. The one on the left is the lead article in the Wycliffe Annual Report 2009. You can read it here: Stepping Out.

The one on the right is an article about a translator in Papua New Guineau, Victor Opungu, for the "In Touch" donor letter.

I bought some books, calendars and a poster in the Village Shop. The book near the back of this photo is a beautiful volume of paintings, drawings, and sculptures from around the world. It is called "In the Image of God: Faces and Souls that Reflect their Creator." Many of the paintings are by Hyatt Moore.
"Mine!" by Carol Planthold is my favorite picture in "In the Image of God." The boy is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I bought this poster for our computer room wall. It lists 26 languages which have no Scriptures in them. I purchased the matching book, From Akebu to Zapotec, a few years ago when we were on a field trip at Wycliffe with our home school co-op.
I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour!  There are more photos here: Facebook Album of Mary's Wycliffe Baby Shower (Public Access).

To find out more about Wycliffe, click here: http://www.wycliffe.org/

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quotes and Poems to Keep You Going

"Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." -- Saint Francis of Assisi

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I found these quotes while going through old archives of my Hope Chest e-magazine on my computer.

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Here is a small excerpt of an Heirloom Quotation taken from the 1857 book, Home Memories; or, Social Half-Hours With the Household, compiled by Mrs. Mary G. Clarke.

“Now these seasons of “house cleaning” are good in their place, and are duties which every skillful housekeeper deems indispensable. But my friends, now as Spring advances, let us not think only of our earthly dwellings, but turn an eye within and see if our souls are prepared. There are periods for moral “house cleaning.” The time of revival is the great cleaning, renewing time. Perhaps a long winter has supervened in which impurities have been accumulating. The furniture of the soul has become dusty; jars and discords may be found there, and spiritual sloth may have crept in. The harp may need to be taken from the willow and tuned anew. The darkness of winter has hindered us from seeing much of this disorder. But now the Lord begins to shine a light of greater brightness on the soul, and if we wish for clean hearts we must not quail beneath his searching rays. But working together with him as our helper and guide, we may become vessels unto honor meet and fit for the master's use.”
 
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The Things That Haven't Been Done Before
by Edgar Guest

The things that haven’t been done before,
Those are the things to try;
Columbus dreamed of an unknown shore
At the rim of the far-flung sky,
And his heart was bold and his faith was strong
As he ventured in dangers new,
And he paid no heed to the jeering throng
Or the fears of the doubting crew.

The many will follow the beaten track
With guideposts on the way.
They live and have lived for ages back
With a chart for every day.
Someone has told them it’s safe to go
On the road he has traveled o’er,
And all that they ever strive to know
Are the things that were known before.

A few strike out, without map or chart,
Where never a man has been,
From the beaten paths they draw apart
To see what no man has seen.
There are deeds they hunger alone to do;
Though battered and bruised and sore,
They blaze the path for the many, who
Do nothing not done before.

The things that haven’t been done before
Are the tasks worthwhile today;
Are you one of the flock that follows, or
Are you one that shall lead the way?
Are you one of the timid souls that quail
At the jeers of a doubting crew,
Or dare you, whether you win or fail,
Strike out for a goal that’s new?

As you might know, Edgar Guest, an immigrant from England, is among my very favorite poets. Starting as a teenager in the late 1890s, Eddie Guest wrote a daily column for the Detroit Free Press. When he died at age 79, he was world-famous for his thousands of homespun poems that had touched the lives of millions.
 
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Thank God for Dirty Dishes


This poem was written by an anonymous teenage girl, and can be found in The Guidepost’s Handbook of Prayer, compiled by Phyllis Hobe. I copied it on a card to post over our dishwasher so we can be cheerful about this chore.  It's been hanging there (laminated) for well over 10 years!

Thank God for dirty dishes
They have a story to tell.
And by the stack we have,
It seems we are living very well.
While people of other countries are starving
I haven’t the heart to fuss,
For by this stack of evidence,
God’s awfully good to us.

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Do It Anyway 

by Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

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Good for good is only fair;

Bad for bad soon brings despair;
Bad for good is vile and base;
Good for bad shows forth God’s grace.
~~ A Welsh Folk Saying

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Whole Wheat Goodness: Pancakes, Bread in a Machine, Peanut Butter Cookies

Dear friends,

I know I already did a cooking post recently, but I've got some more recipes from my kitchen, and I've thrown in some extra life notes, too.  All of these use mainly whole wheat flour since it is generally healthier than plain old white stuff.  I usually just buy it at the grocery store, though my friend Tonya has offered to provide me with fresh ground wheat.  In the past, when I was baking bread regularly, I bought 25 pound bags of organic stone ground whole wheat bread flour at Economy Health Foods out in Apopka, but that's quite a drive for me and my bread machine was broken, so I haven't gone in a long time.   We have a bread outlet store close to us, where we can get premium Arnold's whole wheat bread for as little as $1 a loaf, as well as bagels, English muffins, potato rolls, etc.  That's our main bread source.

I also try to keep other baking staples on hand, including powdered milk to add extra protein, wheat bran and/or oatmeal for fiber, and yeast.  The packets or small jars of yeast that you buy in the grocery store are quite expensive, so I buy it in one pound bags at Sam's Club; it lasts a really long time in the freezer.  The kids prefer the texture if I use part white flour along with the wheat, and I accomodate them most of the time since I'm not a food purist.  I'm not a Mennonite either, despite the fact that two of my recipes were adapted from Mennonite books.

Whole Wheat Pancakes
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (or 2 cups whole wheat, 1 cup white)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups of milk (can make with powdered milk)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but highly appreciated!)
Directions:
  • Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. 
  • Coat a griddle with vegetable oil and preheat it. 
  • Transfer some of the batter into a large measuring cup for easier pouring.
  • Pour batter onto griddle and fry your pancakes!
  • Serve with warm syrup.
I bought my griddle - a large rectangular one that covers two burners on the stove - at Walmart about 15 years ago.  It's simple and scratched up, but it still works.  I usually put a covered casserole dish nearby to keep the pancakes warm until they are all ready to eat.  That is, unless, the kids are waiting at the stove to grab them as they come off.  

Background note: I adapted this recipe from one in the Mennonite story book Prudence and the Millers by Mildred A. Martin.  The book has stories about health, safety and nutrition for children. It is in the same series as Wisdom and the Millers, Missionary Stories and the Millers (one of our all-time most favorite dog-eared books), and others.  Click the link above to see it at http://www.rainbowresource.com/, a wonderful home school supply company with awesome selection and discount prices.

Peanut Butter Power Cookies

Cream together:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick butter (slightly softened)
  • 2 tsp vanilla (imitation is fine)
  • 3/4 cup water
Add other dry ingredients and mix thoroughly:


  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets, squash slightly with a fork, and bake at 375 degrees until browned.  You can also make bar cookies in a baking dish, but these can take a little longer to bake.


Background note: The kids had been wanting to make peanut butter cookies.   I adapted this recipe from two that I found in the More-With-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre, that my sister Barb gave me about 20 years ago.  It is a Mennonite cookbook with "suggestions on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources."  They talk a lot about making do with what you have.  That's one reason I made peanut butter cookies.  I had tried buying peanut butter at Aldi, but the quality wasn't as good as the Walmart store brand.  I didn't want to use it on sandwiches, but figured the flavor wouldn't be as obvious in cookies, mixed in with the other ingredients.  I was right.   "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!"

Whole Wheat Bread in a Machine

Pour into the bread machine pan and mix around a little with a spoon:

  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast
Add other wet ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg (beaten)
Add dry ingredients:


  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. wheat germ (optional)
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
Turn on your bread machine to the correct setting and wait for your yummy bread. I like to serve mine with butter and honey.

If you like, you can make up gallon size zip-lock bags of bread mix (dry ingredients only, not including yeast) and store in the cupboard. Then you can dump in the ingredients easily whenever you want to make bread. For six batches, use these proportions of ingredients, mix them all together thoroughly in a large bowl, then scoop a little over 5 cups of mix into each bag.

  • 18 cups whole wheat flour
  • 6 cups white flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 2 Tbs. wheat germ (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered milk
Background Note: I was on my way to the grocery store with several kids and one of them was really grumpy.   I told him I was going to take him home instead of to the store, and turned down a side street to double back.  There happened to be a garage sale there, and I saw a bread machine for $15.  I had lost the paddle on our old one, and knew it would cost more than that to replace it (having done it once before) so I bought it.  It didn't have an instruction book, but it's easy enough to figure out.  So I guess this unplanned diversion was "providential."   When I got home, I couldn't find the recipe I used for years to make bread in a machine and I couldn't get on the computer to look one up, so I hunted down a traditional bread recipe in a book and improvised.  Unfortunately, I started out with too much liquid.  I peeked into the machine to check on the dough as it was mixing and noticed it was too soupy, so I added another two cups of flour.  This in turn made too much dough, so it overflowed the pan and stuck to the sides of the machine in a delectable towering loaf.  But I did adjust the recipe so it would fit the machine, and it turned out just right.  Sometimes you have to twiddle with things a bit to get them to come out right.  That's life with a learning curve.

The pictures shows how that first loaf came out.  The top ripped off when I removed it from the pan.  I didn't even get a picture of the second loaf, because one of the kids took a piece off the top as soon as it finished.  Oh, and now that I have a bread machine again, I finally printed out the recipe and taped it to the inside of my kitchen cupboard, along with my banana cake recipe.  I also put a copy of it in my recipe notebook.  It's a regular binder that I started using because one of my spiral bound cookbooks fell apart.  I hole punched the pages and stuffed them in the notebook, and now I add in any other recipes we make up or glean from the web.  (Speaking of which http://www.allrecipes.com/ is our favorite source.)

Bon appetit!
Virginia

P.S.  You know me.  I can't resist throwing in some Bible verses.  I couldn't find any about pancakes or peanut butter cookies, but here are several that Jesus spoke about bread!  An abundant feast for the soul...

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation,  but deliver us from evil."  Matthew 6:9-11

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."  John 6:35

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”  And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.  Matthew 15:32-39 

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”   Luke 22:19
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