a lazy sunday afternoon.

You know what I love about lazy Sunday afternoons?

The fact that you can stay in your pj’s all day.

The fact that you can read or sleep or take a walk whenever you please.

The fact that there’s nothing on the to-do list except to “make a batch of whole wheat bagels.”

Okay.  If we’re being completely, 100% honest here, mom did most of the bagel work.

I really did, however, stay in my pj’s all day.  And I really did read and sleep and walk whenever I so pleased.

That’s what I love about a lazy Sunday afternoon.

(p.s. I promised Mom that I would help her taste test.  It’s tough work, but somebody has to do it.)

The bagels were beyond delicious.  And that’s the honest truth.

Whole Wheat Bagels–adapted from the original “Bernard Clayton’s Book of Breads” homemade bagel recipe, as seen on this website.

We made several variations in this recipe.  Cinnamon raisin, in which some of the dough was mixed with cinnamon and raisins before being dunked in the boiling water.  And poppyseed studded bagels.  My personal favorite, however, were the onion bagels.  They’re amazing and would make the perfect egg sandwich.

These are fun to make.  Even funner to eat.  I hope that you find yourself with some lazy Sunday afternoon so that you can stay home in your pj’s, do as you please, and have nothing on your to-do list but to “make a batch of bagels.”  Enjoy!

(p.s. Don’t let this long list of instructions scare you…bagels are quite simple to make and they’re not overly fussy.)

  • 3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cups hot water
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 egg white, beaten, mixed with 1 tsp water
  • Toppings of choice (raisins, poppyseed, garlic powder, dried onion flakes, etc.)
  1. Sprinkle a baking sheet with ground cornmeal.
  2. Into a mixing bowl, measure 3 cups whole wheat flour and stir in the dry ingredients.  Pour in the hot water and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.  Add the balance of the flour, a small portion at a time; stir by hand.  When the batter gets thick and heavy, lift from the bowl and place on the floured work surface.
  3. Knead for 10 minutes, adding flour if the dough is too sticky.  Dough should be firm and solid when pinched with the fingers.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in volume, about 1 hr.  During this period, bring the 3 qts of water to a boil in the large saucepan.  Add sugar.  Reduce heat and leave at a simmer.
  5. Turn dough onto a flour-dusted work surface and punch down with extended fingers.  Divide dough into 17 pieces.  Shape each into a ball.  Allow to relax for a few minutes before flattening with the palm of your hand.  With your thumb, press deep into the ceter of the bagel and tear the depression open with your fingers.  Place the bagels together on the work surface.
  6. Cover the bagels with wax paper and leave at room temp only until the dough is slightly raised, about 10 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 400.
  8. The water should be simmering.  Gently lift one bagel at a time with a large skimmer and lower into the hot water, 2 or 3 at a time.  Simmer for 1 minute, turning once.  Lift out with the skimmer (or tongs), drain briefly on a towel, then place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with all bagels.
  9. Brush bagels lightly with the egg white-water glaze and sprinkle with favorite toppings.
  10. Place bagels on the baking sheet and bake on the middle oven shelf for 25-30 minutes.  When bagels are lightly brown, turn them over to complete baking.  Remove from oven when shiny and brown.
  11. Place on metal rack to cool.

Question: What do you usually do on a lazy Sunday afternoon?

luxurious mornings

Most mornings include a hot cup of tea.

I’ll pull on a fuzzy, warm pair of wool socks, make a hot bowl of oatmeal, and check my to-do’s for the day. 

Most mornings.

And then there are those mornings when I just feel like being luxurious.  Luxurious beyond the basic tea and oats.

I buy a loaf of whole wheat oatmeal bread from Whole Foods.  Chosen because the crust gave in and *crunched* when I squeezed it.  Perfect.  I swirl a pat of butter on two thick, toasted slices. 

I make an omelet that has more veggies than your typical side salad.  Handfuls of spinach.  Diced bell peppers.  Onions, mushrooms, tomatoes.

And then, I eat in bed.  Luxurious.

The value of a special breakfast should never be overlooked.

The enjoyment of eating breakfast in bed should be enjoyed at least a few times a month. 

If you’re feeling a little fried from a busy holiday week, and/or if you’re walking away from the weekend without enough catch-up time (why does this always seem to happen?), I highly recommend planning a special breakfast for the week.  You’ll love it. 😀

Question: Do you ever eat breakfast in bed? 

a change of mind

“Croutons are boring.”

I’ve thought this thought more times than I can count.  They’re fillers.  Stuffed into a gorgeous salad, just to take up room.  Kind of like iceburg lettuce. 

In fact, I can honestly say that croutons are the one item in a restaurant salad that I will push off to the side.  Feta cheese, yum!  Cranberries, yum!  Roasted beets, double yum!

Croutons? Stale.  Hard.  Tasteless.  Cardboard.

So today I set out to prove myself wrong. 

I’ve been told that croutons should start with either a bread that you hate (thereby turning your bread into something you love) or they should start with a bread that you love (thereby turning your croutons into something extraordinary.)

I chose the latter.

A nice, crusty loaf of pumpernickle, complete with a doughy-soft center.  A gentle but complex flavor.  Perfect.

I resisted the urge to eat a hunk of bread just as it was, and diced it up into little bite-sized cubes.

The next step was heating the pan. 

My goal was to have a crunchy crouton that still held on to its soft, fluffy center (no stale croutons, please!)  With that in mind, I threw the heat to high.

Once the pan was nice and hot, the bread was tossed in, along with about a tsp of olive oil.  The garlic powder was added later on, once the croutons were almost at their ready point.  Nobody likes burnt garlic!

The real test came when I plummeted a hot crouton into my mouth, instantly tasting the garlic-infused pumpernickle flavors.  It was crunchy.  Then it was soft.  It was exactly what a crouton should taste like.

Instead of shrugging the croutons off to the side like I might normally do, I gobbled them all up first.  And found myself wondering why everything else on my salad had to be so boring.

It’s amazing what a homemade crouton can do.

Homemade Croutons–serves 1

Try these crunchy-soft croutons on top of your favorite salad, a homemade soup, or even as is with a smidgen of cheese to garnish.  Try different spices, oils, bread for a change of flavor.  Any way you eat them, these croutons are deliciously addicting!

Oh, and try to withhold your desire to eat a hot crouton directly from the pan.  Let it cool for at least a minute or two.  Otherwise you will burn your tastebuds, and all hopes of enjoying a delicious meal will be lost.

  • 1 large slice of bread, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • garlic powder
  1. Heat pan to medium-high. 
  2. While pan is heating, toss together the bread and olive oil.  Add to hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Cook until browned and hard on the outside (about 5-6 minutes.)  Sprinkle garlic powder and cook for another minute or so.
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: What is your favorite part of a salad?