ladies, start your ovens

Today is the first day of September! YEAH! This means that cooler weather is right around the corner and I even baked yesterday since I thought the hot oven wouldn’t be too overwhelming. I am so glad to say goodbye to summer weather! Joe had been asking for Shepherd’s Pie so we made it for dinner last night to go along with the artisan bread I had baked for the first time in weeks. Both recipes just seem to say “back to school.”

Artisan Whole Wheat Bread

This is my version with inspiration from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It makes 3 loaves and, trust me, they will all be gone as soon as you slice and butter them! Note: for perfect loaves, buy King Arthur flours. It is totally worth the few extra pennies per loaf that you will spend. This is a no-knead recipe so if you are used to kneading bread, resist the urge. These will be perfect loaves!

4 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour
1 ½ TBS. granulated yeast
1 TBS. coarse salt
¼ cup vital wheat gluten
3 ½ cup warm water
½ cup honey (try a variety of types of honey because each kind adds its own flavor to the bread)
½ cup flax seeds
1 well-beaten egg

In large bowl combine all ingredients, being sure to measure flour as accurately as possible by leveling each cup with a butter knife. Mix well either by hand or in mixer. Cover with damp cloth and allow to sit undisturbed for 2 hours. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam. Lightly flour hands and pull up three equal chunks of dough, shaping each into grapefruit-sized balls. Place on cookie sheet and preheat oven to 450 degrees. When oven is hot, slash tops of loaves with a sharp knife. Lightly brush each one with egg wash and sprinkle with flax seeds. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool on rack. Enjoy! This bread makes great sandwiches and is extra delicious toasted.

Shepherd’s Pie
~ serves 12

2 lbs. ground beef, browned with 2 TBS. minced dried onion and 1 TBS. minced garlic then drained
Add the next 3 ingredients and mix well
1 lb. bag each frozen corn, frozen green beans, frozen peas and carrots, thawed or canned or fresh equivalents
1 large can or 2 small cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated cheese
10 large white potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed with 1 stick butter, ½ cup sour cream, ½ cup milk, coarse salt and pepper to taste, 2 TBS. chives, and 1 TBS. minced garlic
1 TBS. Chives, garlic, paprika, parsley flakes

In large casserole pan, pour in meat mixture, sprinkle evenly with cheese. Spread mashed potatoes over all and sprinkle with paprika and dried parsley flakes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and everything is heated through.

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  1. Grace says

    Thank you for the bread recipe! I’m going to try it as soon as I can find some gluten. Store bread has tasted so nasty to me lately. I can barely bring myself to gag it down, but I don’t have time to knead a big batch of bread. This looks like a great alternative.

  2. says

    Hmmm…the Shepherd’s Pie is something that we may give a try. However, I’ll have to pare down the recipe from 12 to well…way less. Daughter likes to cook, I don’t, so I’ll show it to her and hope she grabs the bait!


  3. says

    It is still in the 90’s here; still very much summer. I can’t wait until the first hint of chill in the air in order to bake yummy things for my family.

  4. Susanne says

    Cheddar cheese soup adds a nice kick instead of the mushroom soup. I also put thyme in my Shepard’s Pie.

  5. says

    Grace, I didn’t realize my local grocery store sells vital wheat gluten until I had ordered some from the King Arthur store online. So maybe you can find it in a grocery store where you are. It sure makes a lighter loaf of bread.

  6. says

    Susie, you all might want to make this when Paul is home some weekend and then send the rest of the pan back home with him. I have done this for Ben, putting freezer bags or individual sized plastic containers in a cooler for him with ice or one of those ice packs. I sent home lasagna and pot roast like this for him one weekend and he ate like a king for a couple weeks! Now Julie makes him feel like a king instead! 🙂

  7. says

    Suzanne, I must try that cheese soup….sounds so good. I also use that with my Chicken Enchiladas.

    DB, we are enjoying a break for now but it is supposed to heat up a little over the weekend I think. I am ready for fall.

  8. says

    Also, Amazon sells good quality gluten and yeast less expensively than the store — and with their current “3 months free prime for moms” the shipping is free, too. Of course, the gluten comes in a 6 pack, so it’s only practical if you are going to continue bread baking. But we’ve gotten to the point that I make bread almost every day because it is THAT easy. Oh, the kids think I’m amazing. . . Gotta love the good-mommy brownie points from the kids! (Oh, this type of recipe? Easier than a box mix of brownies. . .)

  9. says

    TG, that is good to know. Now that it is cooling off, I am really wanting to get into the groove of baking every day. Loving the flax seeds right now…

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